Monday, April 12, 2010


This blew my mind, courtesy of Gnomeaggedon -- apparently people in BGs are NOT sheep...they're fish. I am resolved to take a few people into some BGs and try this "mutual support" thing out for myself!

Did WSG Dye Its Hair?

...because apparently it is no longer the redheaded stepchild. Picking up SOTA Holiday numbers over the weekend, WSG, though it lags behind, is not nearly the joke-far-outrunner that it used to be. Why? I have no idea; it definitely feels with 3.3.3 as if there may have been a subtle tweak on Blizzard's part to give you an empty plate for most of a WSG match and then SUDDENLY THROW YOU A WHOLE BUNCH AT THE END FOR NO APPARENT REASON. *cough*. Anyway, the numbers here for Strand, with a caveat*:

SOTA HOLIDAY HPM (Cyclone BG, 41% win)
Winning HPM : 190.68 (92.7% of WSG holiday)
Losing HPM : 106.55 (115.3% of WSG holiday)
Overall HPM : 141.11 (101.63% of WSG holiday)
Average Objective Points : 7.24 (WSG gives 8.6)

* My record this weekend was 2-8...bad streak I guess. So while I am pretty confident of the loss numbers, the win numbers are based off two games and may therefore be awry to some degree or another.

Put another way, WSG on holiday gives 98.4% of the HPM of Strand...a difference which for all practical purposes you could probably consider to be nonexistent, given the potential fluctuations in the data.

The breakdown of "bonus honor" seems to be as follows, for the holiday. Remember that 1 OP (OGCMAT wordage) = 1 "bonus honorable kill" (blizz's wordage) = 124 honor (what you actually care about).

* 1 OP for each level you break through (ie one of green or blue. You do not get two points if you break both, which was news to me), to a maximum of 4 (blue/green, red/purple, yellow, relic door).
* 1 OP for capturing the relic
* 1 OP for each level you successfully defend (but unlike offense, both doors must remain up to count)
* 1 OP for the opposition not capturing the relic
* 2 OP for clearing the map
* 3 additional OP for winning the map.

Bizarrely, for each of the gated objectives (not the clear or the win), you also get 37 bonus honor in addition to the standard 124. Why that should be, I'm not sure...there it is though. *shrug*.

What I find interesting here is the potential to judge how well an average Strand team performs. If you subtract out the "congratulations for just sticking it out" honor, a team scores 7.24-2-(.41)*3 = 4.01 objective points in a game. Mathematically, that translates to, say, in a game where you manage to break into the courtyard (3 points), they are going to break down the relic door (you get 1 for them not capping). If you don't knock down the yellow gate (2 points for you)...they may knock it down (you get 2, for the relic and the relic door). If you get stopped after only one wall, your points come from...stopping them after two walls. No matter how well you do, the other team always does slightly better...which in Strand means winning. And I suppose that makes sense given Alliance's losing pattern in this BG, in my battlegroup. That is, of course, an *average*. In reality, you capture the relic sometimes (5 points), they capture it sometimes (you get 0 points), and most times are in the middle.

If you look at a further breakdown here:

Average Offensive OPs (overall): 3.45 -- we get into the courtyard somewhere between knocking the yellow door (3) and the relic door (4).

Offensive OPs when we win : 5. Le duh, to win you must have captured the relic. I include only for completeness ;-).

Offensive OPs when we lose : 2.67. Which is not bad; we still tend to do OK, we get stuck 2/3 of the way past the red/purple doors (2) to the yellow doors (3)

Average Defensive OPs (overall) : 0.56 -- abysmal, really, we keep them somewhere between the relic and the relic door, on average.

Defensive OPs when we win : 1. Frightening. They knock the relic door, but not cap? That's unlikely and what this really translates to is : when we win, it's not because we stop the Horde from capping, it's because we manage to do it faster than they do.

Defensive OPs when we lose : 0.22. But again -- to lose by definition involves losing the relic. The only reason this is not a flat zero is because of the occasional tie, which in terms of HPM counts as a loss.

More on those sorts of things as the spreadsheet develops...I know it doesn't seem it but we are still relatively new into the 3.3.3 madness :-)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

This just in : WSG still sucks

Despite the temptation it provides me to slit my wrists, I bravely ventured into WSG over the weekend to gather data for you, my lovely readers. (Lies. I did it b/c my mind would explode if there was a gap in my spreadsheet. But I like you guys too). There's not enough data for a table as yet but :

WSG Holiday Notes :
Winning HPM : 205.65
Losing HPM : 92.41
Overall (on Cyclone BG, with a 43% win ratio) : 140.74

Average Bonus Honor in a game (from capping the flag, 248 points, clearing the map, 496 points, and winning, 372 points) : 1079.2

There is a maximum of 13 "kills" of objectives in WSG(H) -- 4 for finishing, 3 for winning, 6 for 3 flag caps. If you correlate from the above, 1079.2 / 124, on an average map you are scoring 8.7 of these Objective Points, as I'm labelling them for comparison. I've come up with a whole slew of new things I'm tracking with the introduction of 3.3.3, just to try to come up with reasons why the honor in some bgs is so much better than others.

By way of comparison :

EOTS (Random, non-holiday) Notes:
Winning HPM : 247.08
Losing HPM : 111.89
Overall (Cyclone, 49% win) : 178.02
Average Bonus Honor in a game from objectives (only points) : 674.65
Average OP : 5.44

This is assuming that you queued for a random, and got EOTS. If you queue specifically for EOTS, thus forgoing the bonus 1862/621 honor, you end up with rather more unpleasant numbers, to wit:

Winning HPM : 116.87
Losing HPM : 64.78
Overall : 90.26

So what makes the difference? Why does WSG have a worse HPM than EOTS? At first I thought, well...maybe it's b/c you kill more people in EOTS? But you don't, I have an eots kill average of 27.81, and in WSG, 35.5. In WSG(H), those tend to be worth 25.08 honor apiece, versus 20.71 in EOTS...and that's considering that EOTS gives you a buff when you kill someone near a tower. So I kill *more*, and they're WORTH more, in WSG. So that's not it. I think the answer here is in time committed -- my average EOTS game is 13.71 minutes, whereas WSG stretches out into 22.7, which is roughly 50% more. I would venture to guess that your honor gained in WSG on holiday is better...but it takes you too long to get it. A similar argument could be made for the blitz versus the Standard Win in AV -- you get a crapton more honor doing it the latter way, but at too much of a cost in time to stand up to a blitz solely on HPM grounds. There are other excellent arguments against the blitz -- Cynwise has some over on his site but I can't seem to find it atm...will ETA when I do -- but you can't beat it for return on your investment.

ETA: On a whim, went into the spreadsheet and the above appears to be true. WSG(H) gives you 3127.66 honor, on average, while EOTS(R) is 2481.73.

I rather suspect that the formula here is going to boil down to taking a given holiday weekend, and comparing it to the table which I shall in the future get together ;-), and saying, if 4 or more of the Random Battlegrounds are better honor, skip the holiday and queue for random, playing your odds. If three are better, it's a 50/50 shot so do the holiday if you enjoy that BG, or skip it if you don't. And if only 1 or 2 are better, hit the holiday BG.

The tree rests.

Friday, April 2, 2010

And just in case

You were doubting my credentials to write the previous article, I finally got this last night!

Go me!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Eye of the Storm : All in the Title

Do you know what the key to winning Eye of the Storm is? I'll tell you : it's The Eye of the Storm! Right in the title, crazy I know! Let me illustrate what I mean, using stick figures of meditating men so that I, too, can make Cynwise's day. Here's two storms :

In both examples there is a RAGING SPINNING TORNADO OF DEATH on the outside, and a peaceful, calm, meditation-worthy space in the center. And that's how you win EOTS -- fight at the towers, which are around the periphery, and not in the center. Unfortunately, Blizzard has decided to play a cruel joke on this strategy and put a big shiny flag in the center, which encourages people to try and grab it. I once read this referred to as a "buglight" and that's totally true : try for it and you're like to get fried. Most likely by ele shammies knockbacking you off the edge into oblivion but that's a complaint for a different post. So let's look at a couple things here :

What are my resources?

You have 15 people on your team; with this you can reasonably defend control of 3 nodes -- 5 at each makes for a solid defense. As in Arathi Basin, controlling three nodes leads to winning; also as in Arathi Basin, you frequently CAN'T control three nodes because half of your team will be fighting like idiots in the road and not actually at a node. Ahem.

What's the mechanics?

You win by gaining 1600 points. You gain points by holding towers, and capping flags. Capping flags gives you more points the more towers you have...kind of like a snowballing effect.

With one tower : You earn 1 point per second, and a flag cap is worth 75 points.
With two towers : You earn 2 points per second, and a flag cap is worth 85 points.
With three towers : You earn 5 points per second, and a flag cap is worth 100 points.
With four towers : You earn 10 points per second, and a flag cap is worth 500 points.

It's much like AB in that there's a huge gap of difference between mostly-dominating with 3 (4 in AB), and totally dominating by owning every node.

As far as honor is concerned, you gain it from your usual three suspects -- killing people, the bonus honor from doing a random, and from completing the BG objectives. The objective in EOTS is simple : points. You gain 124 honor every 267 points (on a nonholiday), ie at 267, 533, 800, 1067, 1333, 1600. You also gain 124 honor for completing the map, regardless of win or lose, and 124 honor for winning. If you win, therefore you get 8 x 124 = 992 honor from objectives.

On a holiday, you gain 124 honor every 160 points, for a total of 10 "ticks" (as opposed to the 6 on a regular, non-holiday day), ie at 160, 320, 480, 640, 800, 960, 1120, 1440, 1600. The 124 honor for clearing the map, and the 124 honor for winning, remain unchanged. A holiday win is therefore worth 12 x 124 = 1488 honor from objectives.

What are my options?

There are two accepted strategies for Eye of the Storm. One is much better than the other, and the other is the one that gets used all the time. Raise your hand if you think they're the same. If you raised your hand, go pug a few more BGs and come back when you're not so naive.

Option 1 : Capture two towers, and then run the flag

This is what usually ends up happening in pugs. It's easy to run from your start point, grab the two nodes closest to you, and then go to the flag. The problem is this results in a mirrored map -- you are forcing the other side to follow the exact same strategy, which results in both sides fighting over the same objective, the flag in the middle. You are both accruing tower points at the same rate, and so control of the midfield flag spawn will make or break the success of this plan. Here's the problem with this plan : you look at the map, and you think there are four nodes. The cleverer among you may even have said, aha no, there are 5. There are six. And successful execution of a 2+mid plan relies on you controlling four of them. Remember when I said you only really have enough people to control three nodes? That's why this is a bad plan. Another picture :

The six nodes are : Mage Tower (upper left), Draenei Ruins (upper right), Fel Reaver Ruins (lower left), Blood Elf Tower (lower right), the flag spawn (in the middle), and wherever the flag happens to be. To pursue this strategy you must hold your two towers, control the flag as it's being moved from the center to one of your towers, AND control the middle so that once the flag is capped you can pick it back up again. This is difficult to execute in practice, and tends to result in seesaw capping games where the last to cap wins. This is why you frequently hear "don't cap till we have mid" in an eots game of this type.

Option 2 : Control 3 towers

This is by far the better option. Best of all, if executed correctly you usually only have to worry about controlling TWO nodes! Here's the thing : if you control three towers, only two of them are likely to be attacked, the third being out of range of any but lonely stealth-attempts. Again :

And the thing is, as the other side attacks those two nodes, people like the sheep they are will drift to the defense of those nodes, which is exactly where they need to be. In the above picture you'll end up with the lion's share of people defending MT & BET, with a token few at DR.

You do not need to worry about the flag in this situation. Remember the math up above? With three towers you gain 5 points per second. They are gaining 1 point per second. A flag cap with one tower is worth 75 points. That means that *just to stay even with you* they have to cap a flag every 75/4 = 18.75 seconds. It's not gonna happen, trust me. The average time it takes to cap a flag is 137 seconds, from the games I've recorded. And I've never seen it faster than 90 seconds. You can completely ignore the middle if you like. Of course, if the other side is intelligent they will know this as well and be trying to grab a second tower, so they will also be ignoring the middle -- which may allow you to cushion your lead with an easy snatch-and-cap. But don't get locked into a fight over it -- if they want it, let them have it, because although they may be too stupid to realise it that flag is worthless to them. Which leads to the last point :

When should I flutter my moth wings and go towards the buglight?

There's three situations you could be in, but generally this goes back to what I said at the beginning : the center must be a place of calm and meditation. In other words, if nobody's there, feel free to grab the flag. If there's a big fight going on, then you would be better off doing something else. But specifically :

* You have one tower : You might consider making a flag grab if you can get away with it easily, but you SHOULD NOT CAP IT. Your goal here is solely to slow down their runaway win and buy your actual offense time to get a second (and hopefully third) tower back. Do not send more than a handful of people after this.

* You have two towers : If you're smart here you should be capping a third tower here. Look at it this way : capping the flag will take you two minutes, and net you 85 honor. Capping a third tower is an increase of 3 points per second. So if you can take a third tower in (137-(85/3)) less than 109 seconds, you would be better off doing that. Which sounds like a short time but your time-sense is very telescoped in BGs, that's a long time to fight over a node. If however you're fighting in a stalemate, a very well-matched game, the time it takes to cap a third tower may be outweighed by the ease of a flag cap, if you can control the mid. Just remember : that third tower will always work for you, and defenders will drift to your two vulnerable towers naturally; the flag will only work for you till you cap it, at which point you have to recalculate your odds all over again.

* You have three towers : Focus on defending your towers and you will win automatically. That said, similar to one tower, if nobody's in the middle why not make a push for it? Cuts down your win time by (100/5=) 20 seconds. Again though, don't make a serious effort at it; the flag at this point *does not matter* to either side so your primary focus should be on what is -- defending your towers.

Oh and lastly I suppose, if you have 4 towers : you outclass them so badly, why not? Just as with three towers, you really only have two vulnerable towers to defend (the two closest to the opposing side's starting spawn point) so you have a little wiggle room to grab the flag if you've got someone sitting around doing nothing. And you cut your win time by (500/10=) 50 seconds. Of course, you're already going to win in (1600/10=) 160 seconds = 2 minutes 40 seconds or less anyway, are you really that impatient? :-).