Wednesday, June 23, 2010

AV : Fail At Failing

The title reflects the trouble I had with AV over the holiday in trying to lose, where unfortunately my side was not in the mood. Consequently, going 9-1 makes my AV potentially skewed in the same way that Strand was in the opposite direction (2-8). I apologise...I tried to lose, I even asked them to (whimsically) at the beginning of dice. So :

AV Holiday Honor (Cyclone BG, 57% win)
Winning HPM : 530.83
Losing HPM : 123.2
Overall HPM : 357.37

In comparison with the other holiday BGs I have posted,

AV : 100%
EOTS : 57%
SOTA : 39%
WSG : 39%

I have also updated the holiday chart link on the right, if you would like to compare to the old data.

In other news, does anyone know what the deal is with how many people you can queue for a BG? I was certain it was five. Then I went into one and queued 6 people all night long, and so revised my understanding to "as many as you want, the 'join as party' is misleading"...and then when I deliberately recruited for 6 the other night, it told me my party was too big to queue for it. What gives?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Holiday EOTS Paint By Numbers

WARNING : If you don't like numbers this post is not for you!

I gathered data for EOTS(H) over the's up on the Updated Holiday HPM post I have linked on the right, along with SOTA & WSG. The nutshell:

Winning HPM : 283.92
Losing HPM : 126.32
Overall HPM : 204.76

EOTS : 100%
SOTA : 69%*
WSG : 68%

Interestingly, the old WSG data is about 69% of the old EOTS data, so that stuff seems intact. What this says to me is reinforcement of the asterisk I put next to the Strand data when I put it up (short version : my data was skewed toward the losses and so win data was likely not as accurate as it could be), so people out there who liked SOTA and were sad that it was apparently sucking as bad as WSG, have hope, the situation may change.

What I would like to do with this data today is draw some comparisons with regular EOTS (which I also have data for) to make some general conclusions about holiday/nonholiday experience. To recap :

Regular EOTS
Winning HPM : 247.08 ( -37 )
Losing HPM : 111.89 ( -14 )
Overall HPM : 179.18 ( -25 ) gives you better than regular. You may take your dunce cap and sit in the corner now. Here's where the interesting numbers come in though, and I think it shows fairly conclusively that when a BG is on holiday, it attracts better players. Yes, most of us already knew that, and no, it's not just the fact that I was fighting at BET yesterday with one arena master on my side, against two arena masters on the horde side (yes, they killed me badly), that makes me wonder that. It's just that, much like the assumption that WSG sucks for HPM, which everyone implicitly knows to be true, it's nice to have hard numerical data to back that up.

Points in Favor of the "Smarter People" Argument

Point A : Time Investment

A regular EOTS match lasts an average of 13.71 minutes. On a holiday it lasts 13.9 minutes. The games are fought closer and so they tend to last longer. Why? Because it's harder to roflstomp a good team than a bad team.

Point B : Smart Targeting

I don't mean to sound like a self-absorbed prick here but taking me as a healer and extrapolating to generally cover all people who heal -- on a regular game, I die 2.65 times. On a holiday, 2.67. It's close enough that I guess you could call it statistically insignificant (.7%). I choose to look at it as saying that maybe it shows that people are ever-so-slightly better about targeting and killing healers on the holidays.

Point C : The Map

On a holiday, games that devolved into 2v2+flag games were more common. This correlates Point A; games are more evenly matched, and abandoning a 3-tower strategy to go for 2+flag usually follows upon the heels of recognising that the opposition is too tough to grab a third.

Statistically : On holiday, I recorded 10 games, and two of them were flat-out 2v2 matches, with another 2-3 that started out that way but eventually gave way to a 3-tower game. On regular, I recorded 20 games, and two of them were flat-out 2v2 games, with one unrecorded that you could give the benefit of the doubt to if you wanted and pretend it was a 2v2. But the gist is: it's basically twice as likely to get trapped into a 2v2 on holiday as it is otherwise.

People are also slightly smarter about fighting you for that flag cap in that situation -- on a holiday, a flag cap took 2.31 minutes on average, as opposed to 2.28 on regular. There's also correspondingly less flag caps in total -- 7.19 caps on average (both sides put together) for regular EOTS, 7 for holiday.

Point D : Dropouts

Four of my 20 regular EOTS games were joined in progress...none of my holiday ones were. That could be a fluke, and why I put this point last b/c I think it's the most nebulous, but it could indicate that people are more likely to play it out on holiday than otherwise.

Point E : Point Differential

The average point value for losing a game of EotS (both Horde and Alliance together) was 670 for nonholiday losses, versus 624 for holiday losses. You could make the point that therefore people are more skilled on regular b/c they manage to get more points even when they're losing, but I would argue differently. I think it means that the teams that win have it more "together" on a holiday than otherwise -- to allow the losing teams more points on a nonholiday to me speaks to sloppier play.

I think also what it might come down to is those 2v2 games -- smarter players, recognising that they're in a 2+flag situation, will be better about controlling mid before they cap (hence the longer time between caps on a holiday, also), and therefore keeping the losing team's point totals smaller.

How can we test that? By looking at the differential between flag caps (how many times the winning side caps, versus the losing side) on those 2v2 games. Using the 5 games (2 certain, 3 sort-of) from the holiday, the average differential between winning side / losing side caps is 4.8. Using the 3 regular EOTS games...the average differential is 3. I don't think I'm going too far here to say that there's a direct correlation between that number and how effective your control of midfield is -- the smaller the differential is, the worse your midfield control is, and the higher it is, the better you were at monopolising it.

Conclusion : If you want to play a game with smarter people, go to the holiday weekend BG. Ron Burgundy imitation: It's SCIENCE.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Picture is worth a thousand words!

and I lack the words to express my head-shaking outrage, anyway, at Blizzard reintroducing the snare to Tree of Life form. No, actually, WTF doesn't begin to cover it.

Tree of Life needs to be like this (jump it to 8:30, sorry) :

and not like this.

Yuk yuk, they're TREES, therefore it would be HILARIOUS to ROOT them to the ground!

If my roots are so powerful they slow me by 50%, then I had damn well better be able to cast Entangling roots at a 40 yard range, on no diminishing returns, on up to three targets, and maybe throw in making it an instant cast. That MIGHT even out the terrible, terrible idea it is to reintroduce this idea.

As Beru said so other form is penalized for shifting into the tree-defining (pardon the pun) form. So not only does everyone else get to keep their form while ours is reduced to a cooldown with 17% uptime, our CD has negatives associated with it that nobody in their right mind would consider worth it, with the anticipated-heavy-movement fights in Cata, to say nothing of the always-movement-intensive PvP?

Fail, Blizz. Way to fail hard.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

PvP Talents?

ETA: I am a total n00b because apparently you can already queue as a raid...the "Join as Party" button being somewhat misleadingly named!

Looking ahead to Cataclysm it is clear that Blizzard wants to make PvP more accessible than ever before, which I think is generally a good thing. Cata could be the best thing to happen to PvP since...well, idk...random BGs?

We are getting guild talent trees in Cataclysm, and we have definite word that that will include PvP talents of some kind. You earn these talent points by accruing guild currency, which are acquired in various ways...but most noticeably for us, by winning rated BGs. Here's the kicker there though : in PvP as in PvE, they're throwing a ballpark number around of 75% guild participation for it to count as a guild win to get the points. That means 7/10 of the people in the raid (or WSG, explicitly used as an example) have to be in your guild.

Thought 1 : 7 > 5. Therefore they're going to let us join queue for BGs in a raid, finally, instead of limiting it to least for the rated BGs. About time, Preform AV Enabler is getting kind of clunky and it's annoying anytime you try to set up a premade to pause and wait 15 minutes while the people who don't have the addon have to go download it. I suspect this is only into effect on rated BGs -- elsewise you'd get the same complaints that people had before about twinks rolling over casual pvpers, until Blizzard separated them. But maybe it could work on normal BGs too, since Blizz has something in place already (allegedly) to try and match premade groups against similar-sized ones.

Thought 2 : Talent trees are supposed to (theoretically) make people more loyal to guilds. I'm wondering if it won't actually encourage less -- "ok, everyone gquit and join our guild for the duration of this raid so you can get our perks...then you can go back to your original guild after." Blizzard could stop that by saying you needed to be in a guild for a certain amount of time before you had access to the wouldn't even need to be that long, probably a day would work since PUGs aren't usually formed that far in advance. But it seems unlikely that Blizz would do that.

Some of the talents posited include a mass rez, mass summons, extra gold loot, reagent-free raid buffs, reduced mat cost for flasks and other consumables...most of which seems to me is pretty PVE-ish. We could get some mileage out of raid buffs, I suppose, and it's likely that rated BGs are going to be SRS BSNS enough to at least require flasks so maybe that helps too. The big problem here is that in PVE, you don't care if guild A has a certain perk, and guild B doesn't...they're not competing against each other, and there isn't something like "you do 5% more damage" or "raid bosses have 5% less health" that would cause all sorts of progression drama about who has Legitimate Kills and who doesn't. But in PVP, guilds are going to be competing directly against each other, which makes a whole host of "give you an edge against the content" talents unworkable for balance reasons.

The only PVP talent I've seen proposed is to reduce the flag cap time by a second, which I suspect is highly unlikely, again for balance. It looks to me like by "PVP talents" we're actually going to get stuck with the wuss-talents that can go either way (like the raid buffs). I've thought of a couple things but they all run into that balance thing and I can't seem to come out with a way around it.

* More efficiency -- maybe guildies move x% faster, or x% faster mounted speed, to get to objectives faster. This is again a pvp/pve talent both but useful in BGs certainly.

* More information -- maybe guildies can see when another guildie is under attack, and by how many people. Much like calling incs at a flag, but more automated the way some addons do now. Alternately, give all members of the guild "track humanoids" for the duration of a BG. But what if guild A has this and guild B doesn't? Fairness? Or do we assume at this point that any serious PVP guild, even if they don't have Unbalancing Talent P, will probably have Unbalancing Talent Q, and therefore they work/cancel out?

* Terrain alterations -- there's already been some hints of this with individual talent trees like the mages' wall of ice, or the rogues' fog thingy (I forget the name). What if the guild leader had something like this at their disposal that they could use every..idk, 15 minutes, to limit it to once in a BG.

* My pet idea : allow two guildies to set up a portal that's operable as long as the channellers at both ends are not disrupted. Say it's a 20s channel that allows you to port from ST to farm, but subject to the same disruption as any channelled cast. So if something's under threat, you could rush reinforcements there...but only if you can keep the enemy off your portal-anchor long enough to do it. It's a massively unbalanced idea, of course, and would only work if you were working off what I said above, assuming that the other side of the BG would also likely have some kind of kickass talent too. It might be worth mentioning that the Zerg can do something similar to this in Starcraft with a thing called a Nydus Canal (and I think SCII also but I'm not as up on that as I should be) so it wouldn't be a new concept for Blizzard.

What ideas can you come up with? If you were running a PVP guild in cata, what end-level talent would make you drool with anticipation?