I wish I were as good as the sims say I should be

Been dabbling a bit with SimulationCraft. I didn’t really mess with it long enough to get any real deep insights, but below are some random observations. I used these options:
—  Fia’s SV talent/glyph/gear spec
—  Patchwerk style fight (stand in one spot and hammer the boss)
—  100% active time (yeah, right — I am usually lucky to break 90%)
—  All CDs and shots as they are available
—  576 second fight
  • Figuring out how many total seconds are spent per shot, plus how much damage each shot does, the best “bank for the buck” shots are (in descending order of awesomeness)

The least bang for buck comes from Auto Shot, and next worst is Cobra Shot. My take on what this means is, focus control is critical to maxing dps — every time I insert an unneeded Cobra Shot because I am over-compensating on focus, I am wasting dps.

  • In this standing 9.6 minute fight, I should ideally be firing off:
Over 100 each Cobra Shots and Explosive Shots
14 Dire Beast
87 Arcane Shots

Explosive Shot should account for 20% of my dps. In comparing some of the World of Logs entries for a recent one of our guild raid fights similar to a Patchwerk style, I see that I do actually come pretty close to this 20% number, but my total number of shots is nowhere near “ideal”, even pro-rating for differences in time.

I am not/not a methods player by any stretch of the imagination. But I think once in awhile these kinds of simulators can help me to think about how I can become better.

My main takeaways from this little exercise are:

  • I have to get better at minimizing my shot down time. More active time = more shots fired = more dps
  • I need to do a better job managing my focus. I am pretty good about dumping it with Arcane Shot above 75, pretty good about building it below 20 if Black Arrow or Crows is about to come off cooldown, but in the middle I am sloppy about it.  (Use the WalMart logistics model: “just in time” focus!)

Back to the practice dummies.  And come on, Proving Grounds!

Blizz Takes Away Readiness — For the Toon and for the Player

screamMost of the betting for 5.4 going live puts it around the first or second week after Labor Day in the U.S., about a month  from now. At the risk of annoying those of you who were whining about having nothing left to do in game two weeks after Mists was released, I say to Blizz, “For crying out loud, give us a break!”

As I was thinking about some of the hunter changes coming up in 5.4, it occurred to me that removing Readiness from our abilities is fundamentally a matter of removing choices from play style. Hunters are pretty much at the total mercy of a staggering array of cooldowns, and while Readiness itself is really just a meta-cooldown, it at least offers us a once-per-boss-fight way to control the assembly line. I’m sure there are hunters out there who can control every cd so precisely that they manage to do mad dps as well as orchestrate every major cd so they are available at exactly the right moment, but the rest of us like to know we have a little slack. If we have slovenly failed to calculate the convergence of the 6+ cooldowns — each with a different reset timer — in our 7-10 shot rotation and suddenly it’s THE MOMENT on the boss, there’s good old Readiness waiting for us, ready to absolve us of our sins at the push of a button. It’s a very tiny way for me to control my game play on my own timeline, and it offers a respite from Blizzard’s relentless auto timers.

For me, the end of an expansion or a major patch serves a similar base function to Readiness — it’s a time when I can control my game play on my own timeline, with no pressure to push through Blizzard’s progression gates. I finally get to breathe a little. My main is relatively well geared, I have a few level 90 alts, and my professions are producing some respectable income. Since I don’t have to grind LFR-instances-scenarios-rep on my main, I get to have fun running some lower level stuff on my alts, doing some of the achieves I haven’t had time for, leveling my monk and figuring out how to heal on it, and generally enjoying guild chat and activities.

I know, I know — no one forces me to do a full opt-in at the start of new content. But come on, anyone who really loves this game can’t help but put pressure on themselves to move through to whatever their goals are as soon as they can. It’s human nature. Right? For me, the process is complicated by my pesky day job, so that I can only play a couple of hours a day most days, so I add more pressure to myself to move forward when I see others in my guild progressing at a faster rate. Not that I am competitive, mind you!

Blizz, I am pleading with you — save me from my Type A personality! Delay 5.4 as long as you possibly can. I’M NOT READY!


Fancy Cloak – whew!

YET ANOTHER (POSSIBLY LAST) UPDATE/ADDENDUM: Since the last update, it appears Blizz has fixed the “stand on the rail” glitch I was able to make use of. Sorry guys, looks like kiting the adds is the only technique.

UPDATE/ADDENDUM: Since I wrote this, Blizz has nerfed the hit and health of the adds for this encounter. It should still be a viable procedure however. Also, for info, when I did it, I was ilvl 520.

Well, I finally scored my Tigerfang Wrap, after two nights of frustration and close to 1000 gold in repairs. Well, actually, two nights added to 11 weeks of frustration, since that’s how long it took me to collect the 12 Titan Runestones.

I am not really sure what Blizz was thinking when they designed this particular quest, but I am certain they were NOT thinking “hunter”. The quest is Celestial Blessings, effectively the last one before getting the fancy cloak. Basically, you go around to the four major temples, speak with the main spirit at each, and select one as the locale for fighting Wrathion. Thing is, you don’t get to choose which one. If you are ranged DPS, the only one available to you is the Jade Temple scenario, not very friendly to hunters:

  • The Celestial Offering buff you get there is 10% increase in Intellect (attention Blizzard, hunters are physical ranged damage dealers, not casters).
  • Hunters have very few self heals — more if you are specced BM, but still they are pretty puny.
  • Hunter (SV mainly) burst DPS is nothing to write home about.
  • As of very recently, Feign Death does not work on the powerful adds Wrathion spawns. Thus, all the cool forums that tell you exactly how to run out to the platform deck and FD to drop aggro on the adds are pretty useless as advice.

Most people will figure out for themselves what works best for them, but for what it’s worth, here’s what I did:

Start by selecting some useful talents. Here’s what I used. Even though I think BM might be the best spec for this quest, I don’t recommend respeccing into it if you are not used to playing it. My main hunter runs as SV, so I just rearranged a few talents to boost my cc and help with health issues. Blink Strikes is especially useful, as it keeps your pet behind Wrathion, which gives a big boost to damage in this fight.

Celestial Blessings-Talents

      1. Put your pet on Passive and Growl. Use a Ferocity pet so that you can use Heart of the Phoenix. Make sure you have buffed yourself with food and a flask, and don’t forget to pre-pot just before you start the fight.
      2. Start the fight by clicking on the gong.
      3. Send your pet in to attack Wrathion, and then immediately use your Move To command to have your pet move Wrathion into one of the side alcoves. This gives you a lot more time to deal with the adds when they spawn. As soon as he is moved, launch one of each of your traps where anything leaving the alcove will have to go through them.
      4. Burn all your cooldowns except Readiness, and hammer Wrathion until the adds spawn. (And remember to stay our of Wrathion’s AOE.)
      5. When the adds spawn, you can ignore them for a few seconds if you want to get some more damage done to Wrathion, but fairly soon you should turn your attention to them so that you can aggro them. They are very powerful and can quickly kill your pet.
      6. As the adds begin to come after you, hammer them as you kite, using Barrage, Multishot, and whatever else you can think of. You goal is not to kill them, just ensure you have aggro. They seem to have a huge hit box and they hit hard, so do not let them get too close to you. After a few seconds of this, turn around and run like hell up the steps and straight to the back of the platform.
      7. At the back of the platform is a railing and a small little jutting out place outside the railing. That’s what you are aiming for. When you get to the railing, stop and jump up onto it. Do not jump outside of it to the little jutting out place — doing so resets the quest. (However, if things are going badly you can jump out there and save yourself some repair bills.)
      8. The adds will have followed you up onto the platform but they will stop attacking you, looking as confused as little orange blobs can. You just wait on the rail. Eventually the adds — in groups of 2 or 3 — will filter back down the stairs. If you stay away from the stairs, they will never come back onto the platform.
      9. Wrathion will stay downstairs fighting your pet, and at some point will move into his Mirror Image phase. You should be able to see when this happens. When it does, jump down from the rail and recall your pet. Do not engage the mirror images downstairs, just let the phase play out. And be patient, it will take awhile.
      10. After the Mirror Image phase is over, Wrathion will come up onto the platform. No adds will spawn. Most of your cooldowns should be available, so burn them, then use Readiness after they have played out and launch them again. At this point it is a simple matter to just avoid his AoE and kill him.

See, easy, huh?