Efficiency – Measurement and Balancing Issues

Just some food for thought.  Now that we are essentially entering the balancing phase of Beta by the sounds of it.  Not in it myself, so can’t say from direct experience, just from the tone of the blue posts and what information is getting released on official and fan sites.

We have heard a lot about fast and inefficient, the efficient and expensive/slow nuke when discussing changes to healing and to a lesser extent dps roles.

The problem with Efficiency is how to define it in the World of Warcraft context.

In simplest terms this is a 2 variable issue, for example DPS and HPS or Damage per Second and Healing Per Second.  But the term efficiency that is thrown around the most are DPM and HPM or Damage per Mana or Healing per Mana and the cast time is thrown in there such that the DPM/HPM is an increasing value directly related to cast time.  So as cast time goes up so does Mana Efficiency.

The interesting question now becomes does this trend hold when we go to DPMPS and HPMPS or Damage per Mana per Second and Healing per Mana per Second.

For arguments sake lets throw some random numbers at the issue.

Spell
Cast Time
Mana
X
XPS
XPM
XPMPS
fast24002000100052.5
medium2.55004000160083.2
slow3.51000100002857102.8

So using these vague numbers we see something interesting based on 3 metrics of efficiency.
XPS – slow
XPM – slow
XPMPS – medium

Lets try some new numbers to see if we can get a fast, slow, medium result.

Spell
Cast Time
Mana
X
XPS
XPM
XPMPS
fast2400600030007.53.25
medium2.550070002800145.6
slow3.560010250292817.084.88

With these values we get.

XPS – fast
XPM – slow
XPMPS – medium

Now when I was coming up with these numbers it was a real balancing act to get the results I wanted. The interesting part was I did not have to change the slow very much just change its cost. Because of this interesting dynamic I hope people are keeping a close look at the mana costs on the large nuke heal. Not just as a % of base mana but what that actually translates into within a class and on a whole. If your base mana is only 20-25% of your entire mana pool that means that Int on the gear is more important and base mana really really needs to be brought inline with one another across all classes with mana.

Now these three values being simple enough become orders of magnitude more complicated when we throw Haste/Crit/Mastery Bonus into the mix.

I really don’t have an overall opinion on all of this.  It was just some things I was thinking about when it comes to balancing healing and dps cast times and effectiveness.

Blizzcon Ticket Purchasing Window – AKA the Internet Lottery from Hell

I have been stewing upon this topic for a while and whether it was worth posting and bringing it up or not.  While I look for the next thing to talk/complain/suggest/contemplate I might as well.

Before I get to my thoughts on how to improve the experience lets take a step back and actually look at the problem by asking a few questions.

  1. How many players of Blizzard Games would want to attend Blizzcon?
  2. What is the maximum capacity of the current venue?
  3. What percentage of the answer to question #1 is the answer to question #2?
  4. If ticket price was raised slightly to rent more and therefore increase the answer to #2 does the answer to #1 end up less than #2, if not then it may be time to rent even more space and raise the ticket price slightly.
  5. What time is it?
  6. No seriously what time is it and by which clock are you using?
  7. When do tickets go on sale?
  8. No seriously when to tickets go on sale and defined by which clock?
  9. What is your current internet latency to the server?
  10. What is the official world clock time?
  11. What is the difference between official world time and the time on the server?
  12. What is the difference between your local clock and the official world time?
  13. Are you using your computer for time and do you set its time automatically from a time server?
  14. Does Blizzard’s server actually use the official world clock time server?
  15. So do you know when you need to click refresh to be able to by tickets given all of these variable some of which are unknown?

The end result is that no one really knows when you will be able to attempt to buy tickets and actually stand a chance to acquire them.  If many of these are actually based on the official world time then you have a good approximate guess.

I believe the figure tossed around was somewhere within the first 30-45 seconds, if not less, all people who were able to obtain tickets were already in queue.  That is really an unacceptable system.  If it is going to be a lottery then well lets make it an actual lottery.

New System – Based on Beta.

So what I would imagine would be where there is a time period for Beta tickets to be sold, say over a 2 week period.  Every 48 hours a new lot of “winners” would be sent notifications that they could log into Battle.net and purchase tickets.  If they don’t buy them by the next interval they forfeit the chance.  Now they could also call in and purchase them by phone and what ever other methods are currently in place.  Some sort of verification code would be needed and the ticket limit would also be in place.  This should be done via Battle.net accounts and not the individual game accounts, especially after Diablo is released.

For example say 30K tickets are available and lots of 1000 battle.net accounts are chosen randomly.   So Monday 1000 notifications are sent and say 90% actually want to go so from the first lot you have 900-3600 tickets sold since people can buy up to 4 tickets with actual purchase data a better model could be built to determine how many lots on average you would need.  Then at the end you just do smaller lots until you sell out.

This would be much more orderly and would put the randomness on Blizzards RNG rather than variations in time and space.  In the end I may not end up being able to go to Blizzcon again under this system but at least I know it was not because I could not refresh fast enough or did not guess the time differential correctly.

Kaeley: The Kingslayer

Well my Mage Kaeley was able to get in on a LK 25 Kill last night.

So I want to give a shout out “post” for the group that helped me acquire the title, achievement and the ability to unlock hardmode 25 man content in ICC if it is wanted.

The guild was Chambers of Shaolin on Elune-US of course and here be a link to their website.

This was just another way to thank them for inviting me into the raid to get the aforementioned benefits.  Yes I paid them some gold and it was a very reasonable amount.

I have some more thoughts on the whole ICC experience, not my experience with CoS or the guild some of my characters are in Conspiracy, the instance as a whole after 8 months, but I will save that as a separate post.