Lhivera’s Library

Adventures in World of Warcraft, Dragon Age, the real world, and beyond

April 2012

A few site notes

Thursday, April 26 2012 at 10:10pm CDT

Beta is still essentially unplayable. I logged in this evening and, unlike last night, didn't instantly crash out, but did find myself stuck on a kite hovering in midair. Going to have to wait a bit longer to give the latest changes a real shakedown, I guess.

Those of you who have been paying attention have probably noticed a few changes on the site:

  • Instead of just a list of some other game blogs, I'm now pulling in their three most recent posts (no more than one per blog, though).
  • Fancy quotations are now appearing in the header, so you can be subjected to my taste in such things.
  • Site messaging has been turned on.

Mage Changes, Build 15640

Tuesday, April 24 2012 at 9:21pm CDT

Build 15640 is being deployed, and there are many changes listed on the various community sites. A couple of notes before I dig into the meat:

  • Don't believe the cast time reductions being reported on MMO-Champion. I'll eat my hat if those are real. First, I'll buy a hat.
  • The damage number changes may or may not be correct. I won't really trust them until the database is parsed for Simulationcraft.
  • Glyph of Arcane Language - Your Arcane Brilliance spell allows you to comprehend your allies' racial languages. I love it.

Lost Weekend

Monday, April 16 2012 at 7:19am CDT
Bring it, Darkspawn

I got stuck behind a bugged quest NPC on the beta server this weekend, and decided to take a little break and return to my slightly obsessive Dragon Age project. Having played through Origins a few times, and DA2 about twice as many times, I decided I wasn't perfectly satisfied with the full timelines I had established. I then deleted all my characters from both games and started work on four new Origins characters to get the right combination of events and character flags I wanted set going into DA2.

Ji Firepaw, Apple Cider Mage, and Jessica Ahlquist

Thursday, April 12 2012 at 8:54pm CDT
This post has nothing to do with game mechanics. I will be talking about political and social stuff like this from time to time (I did, after all, mention the real world in the site's subtitle). If that bugs you, well, you were warned. When Apple Cider Mage first brought up the Ji Firepaw thing, my first instinctive reaction was: "What? People flirt. A lot of guys will flirt with women, even upon first meeting them. Most of these same guys will not flirt with men. This behavior may often come off as creepy, but it does happen, and why should fiction present a world that is better than, or even as good as, the real world?" And then I remembered what a whole lot of Christians in Cranston, RI had been saying to Jessica Ahlquist.

A Closer Look at MOP AOE, part 5: Comparing Timelines

Saturday, April 7 2012 at 4:55pm CDT

Now that we've taken a look at how the rotations for each bomb spell might progress over the course of a minute, and had a look at the way their damage output increases over the course of the timeline, let's compare all four bomb setups side-by-side for each of the three target scenarios.

Important note: The original version of this post included numbers based on the assumption that Glyph of Fire Blast would spread Living Bomb to five targets, ignoring the three-target limit (behavior that was reported by another tester, and either was incorrect or was a bug). I've been informed by a developer that this behavior is not intended; the numbers and commentary below have been edited to reflect this fact.

A Closer Look at MOP AOE, part 4: Nether Tempest

Friday, April 6 2012 at 11:28pm CDT
Nether Tempest and fillers cumulative damage over time

Finally, we'll take a look at Nether Tempest. Unlike with Frost Bomb and Living Bomb, the rotation when using Nether Tempest changes depending on the number of targets, so we have three separate timelines. Nether Tempest does not perform particularly well with larger numbers of targets; indeed, at ten targets, we start using Blizzard and Flamestrike as the primary spells, with Nether Tempest as filler. The specifics will be discussed before each timeline.

A Closer Look at MOP AOE, part 3: Spreadable Living Bomb

Wednesday, April 4 2012 at 9:32pm CDT
Living Bomb (spreadable) and fillers cumulative damage over time

Next (and the last one for the evening), a look at Living Bomb used in conjunction with the Fire Blast glyph. Important note: the original version of this post indicated that Glyph of Fire Blast could spread Living Bomb to five targets, ignoring the three-target limit. I have since been informed by a developer that this is not the case (and if he's reading this, thanks for the information!) In fact, Living Bomb is spread to only three targets.

The rotation and total damage is therefore almost identical to standard Living Bomb; as Living Bomb has only a 1-second GCD, using Fire Blast to spread it only saves a half second over casting it three times manually. The timeline chart looks pretty different, because the ticks and detonations of the three bombs are synchronized, and thus the damage with the glyph will be higher than the damage without at some points on the timeline, and lower at others. The timeline will also look much shorter and simpler; since all five bombs will tick at essentially the same time after spreading, I simply multiplied their tick and explosion damage by three and treated them as single events.

A Closer Look at MOP AOE, part 2: Living Bomb

Wednesday, April 4 2012 at 8:02pm CDT
Living Bomb and fillers cumulative damage over time

Next we'll take a look at how Living Bomb fares in the same situations. This time around, we'll be using the maximum of three manually-placed Living Bombs. Filler spells are the same as with Frost; Frozen Orb the first time, Blizzard and Flamestrike as best as they fit in between the bomb times.

As you'll see, it's slightly weaker than Frost Bomb at 10 targets or higher, is about equal at 8, and is slightly better at 6. It improves further relative to Frost Bomb with fewer targets.

A Closer Look at MOP AOE, part 1: Frost Bomb

Wednesday, April 4 2012 at 5:42pm CDT
Frost Bomb and fillers cumulative damage over time

So my first post on AOE on Mists of Pandaria was very quick and simple and, as some commenters pointed out, didn't tell you much about how the different abilities could be expected to compare in actual situations. So I'm now working on a series of five posts that will look at the same three scenarios — six, eight, or ten targets with a duration of one minute — for each bomb spell and the fillers it can use.

Warming Up to Frost, but Pandaren Need More Jaws

Tuesday, April 3 2012 at 10:46pm CDT
Liebowitz on the road by ox cart

So you know how I said my problems with Frost might be more a question of getting used to it than an actual problem with design? Hopping on my Mage for a few quests this evening, I'm thinking that may in fact be the case. I was a lot more comfortable this time around. Frost Bomb's cast really does seem to flow reasonably well from Frostbolt and back, and I'm gradually, and grudgingly, getting used to working without Improved Cone of Cold as my go-to freeze effect.

Frost Feels a Little Weird

Sunday, April 1 2012 at 7:54pm CDT
Frozen Orb roaring off down the road near the Monastery

I haven't been able to put as much time into beta as I hoped, mainly just because I'm having trouble getting my head into it. Pandaria is beautiful, the quests are entertaining, the animations of Pandaren NPCs are smooth and enjoyable. But a combination of insufficient sleep, Missouri Summer heat (in Spring), and the starting zones being crowded to the point of discomfort and annoyance means I rarely log on for more than 20-30 minutes at a time.

And so I'm really not sure whether Frost feels a little strange because there's actually some sort of problem with the design, or because I just haven't had time to get used to it.