I know it’s been quiet here, but it’s not because I’m in another one of those navel-gazing moods of mine, honestly.  There’s just a lot going on and it’s hard to see a good blog post all the way from beginning to end. Last week’s flowchart was a bit of a fluke as I was at my desk at work with Visio running on my PC and a conversation from guild chat ringing in my ears, metaphorically. So that one more or less wrote itself.

This is not to say that work is not being done on the blog. I am around 2/3 of the way through my next omnibus overview (I hesitate to call it a review) of Unit Frame addons, somewhat related to the HUD overview a couple of months back. I won’t blurt anything out here other than a thought that the time of the general Unit Frame addon may be coming to an end. And maybe that’s a good thing.

I’m also working on yet another overwrought origin story for one of the many alts that hang out here.  In this case, Floramel. How, exactly, did a hard-bitten veteran of the Stormwind criminal underworld end up as part of my virtual family?   I’d be lying if I said I didn’t steal just a little bit of the story from Joss Whedon, but it was a good bit.

-=-=-=-=-=-

Guild-wise, we’re 9/12 over at Eff the Ineffable.  I know that our RL and GL are probably disappointed that we have not downed any of the final 3, though we did get Cho down to 20-ish percent this weekend. That was probably our last chance to beat the 4.2 nerf, as this coming week may be raid-less.  There has been talk of a lockout extension. We might get one more chance.

I do get the sense that I personally disappoint in my performance, and I regret that. I am a slower learner than others in our guild, and it makes me less likely to run the right way or have the right angle at the crucial moment, until I become really familiar with the fight. As an example, when we downed the elemental council, I was one of the first to go down on the final phase. I can try to justify that all I want, but the fact remains that 9 other people didn’t. While my DPS is generally in the top 3, my effective DPS is much lower if I’m tanking the floor.  At any rate, this poses the hard decision between taking me, or someone else that does not die as much.  As an RL, I know what my decision would be.   Progression bosses should be faced by the best of us.  If I don’t cut it, I will loudly cheer them on.

Still, on fights in which I used to die frequently, I’ve improved. For example, I survived the Atramedes fight this time, which I usually haven’t.   So I can be taught.

One of the takeaways from our Cho attempt a couple of weeks ago was that our DPS wasn’t up to the task of getting Cho down fast enough – we would probably hit the enrage timer. So, I took a look around for ways to improve.  One thing I did was go to Mister Robot to audit my equipment.  I had been avoiding this but I really needed a sanity check.  The good news is that most of my equipment choices – including gemming and enchants – were good. A couple were not.  I also spent a few gold to purchase a BoE belt that is close to BiS as a result of this audit.

The bad news was that my reforging was very off from the suggested optimal.  This leaves me with a conundrum.  There are three, maybe four reforging schemes out there and none agree.  The one I was using was an addon called Reforginator, and it was really sweet.  It used the collective wisdom of Elitist Jerks to drive its optimization engine, but the engine itself made a plethora of calls that disagreed with Robot *and* Pawn.  Pawn was closest to Robot’s suggestions, but not quite there. And, finally, there is the raw tap from EB itself, but that’s another story1

The upshot is that I gave Reforginator the heave-ho and used the Robot profile.  DPS improved a little bit, but not dramatically. What was interesting is that on the Cho fight, my DPS was extremely consistent, whereas in the past it’s been all over the place. I’m not sure what to make of that, but consistency is usually a good thing. Unless you’re a screw-up.

One thing I need to do next is try different reforges with FemaleDwarf.com. If this favors one over the other, that will help me decide. On the other hand, FemaleDwarf DOES suggest I take a cat in raid, as well.  What is not taken into account is that the buff a cat brings is already present. I bring a wolf because nobody else gives the +crit that he does.  The rather surprising news is that my DPS is 2K lower than the theoretical that FD suggests I should be getting.  THAT will require some review.

-=-=-=-=-=-

The Cho fight itself is quite a task to master.  Whereas most bosses have one or two gimmicks, Cho has at least four, if not more.  There’s the worshipers gimmick, there’s the blob placement gimmick, there’s the tentacle gimmick and the corruption gimmick. He has both a hard and a soft enrage timer. 

Each of these gimmicks has to be sorted out and mastered.  Right now, we’re hurting on the adds, and Blizz didn’t make that easier when they changed the timer on the Fury debuff (I think that’s what it’s called), since it’s now out of sync with the add spawn.  So that’s one thing. Then the placement of the add when he dies is also an issue. Too far apart side to side, and no one AoE will stop them.  Too close together, and the add tank is two-shot by previous pools. And if you don’t burn the big add fast enough once he’s in place, same thing happens.  AND if you take too many DPS off Cho to help, he’ll enrage.  You get the picture. Gimmick after gimmick, and precision is absolutely necessary. So we’re learning how to be more precise.

The good news is we saw Phase 2, so we now have a real sense of the phase 2 gimmicks. I think.

-=-=-=-=-=-

Having maxxed out Engineering, I’m now working on a helm and gun that may or may not be BiS for me.  Pawn says that the helm, with cogs, will be. Robot says the gun will be. I’m also farming the Jeeves pattern in Northrend, oh joy. I’m finally able to put stuff on the AH that may earn me a few bucks here and there, which is fortunate as my nest egg has dwindled to half of what it was when I set foot on the server.


  1. Yes, I am aware of Rawr. And I imagine it has yet another suggested weighting. I’m leaving it out to minimize confusion as much as I can. But I’m not ruling it out. []
18 Responses to “Monday Ramblings”
  1. Zelmaru says:

    My feelings are… yes, do what you can to improve. But there are a ton of variables involved. It’s annoying that Rawr gives me different answers depending on whether Rhee is in the raid… like I’m going to keep a 2nd gear set for when she’s not there.

    What matters, though, is what the world of logs spits out IN PRACTICE and not the theoretical. If you see an improvement, great. If not, go back to the way you’re doing things.

    Example time: EJ and other conventional wisdom says for holy priests to pick mastery over haste, once raid buffed haste hits 12.5%. However, mastery is largely wasted on chimi and other fights (it ends up as overheal). So despite the theorycraft, I end up erring on the side of haste over mastery because it WORKS BETTER in practice for me, given all the variables of our raid team and encounters.

    • Grimmtooth says:

      I think the sims have better success with DPS because it is better understood as a straight throughput-based system, regardless of how they got reengineered for Cata. Healing, on the other hand, is very much event-driven, and that’s hard to predict appropriately. So your experience in Cata largely tracks my healer’s in Wrath – conventional wisdom fell apart in the face of what worked.

      Using the entire raid as a laboratory is a hard thing to do, but, as you say, it’s the only result that matters, in the end.

      • Zelmaru says:

        Well sort of (for dps). If your dps build is unkind to fights with a lot of motion, then it might be worth it to change to a build more forgiving of running this way and that. Practice dummies are a little bit fail in that regard.

        • Grimmtooth says:

          I guess what I mean is that buffs aside, DPS is less dependent on what is going on with fellow raid members than healing is, whereas healing has to react to what happens to every raid member as well as the fight itself. Very hard to model that as opposed to what is essentially a known quantity for DPS.

  2. Yngwe says:

    My $.02 on reforging for Survival:

    A. get as close to hit cap as possible (either a little over or under)
    B. find your haste sweet spot (squeezing X number of steadies/cobras in between your signature shot)
    C. reforge everything into crit
    D. reforge any haste that can’t be reforged into crit (crit/haste gear) into mastery, as long as you stay in your haste sweet spot.

    I don’t know how scientific or right that is, but that’s how I do it. Basically, it is balancing haste v. mastery, while squeezing as much crit out as you can. If you look at Warcraft Hunter’s Union, they will give you the exact numbers you need for haste caps. For me, however, it is more about being comfortable with the rotation than being at the right cap.

    • Grimmtooth says:

      @Yngwe – I haven’t thought much on that post on WHU RE: haste caps, though I do have it bookmarked for later reference. Considering I’m close to or over 360 iLevel now, I probably should go back and review that again, and maybe play with it a bit. I think FemaleDwarf will let me tweak those numbers in situ – that would give a good ballpark figure to work with.

      Gah, more homework! :)

    • mimfollee says:

      Actually, thats what Mr. Robot is guiding you to, at least for SV hunters

      • Grimmtooth says:

        @mimfollee – Wow, if Roboto is shooting for the next haste plateau, I’m sorely lacking something. I’m pretty well-geared for a non-hard-mode raider (or so it seems) and I’ve been at the same haste level for quite some time. Now I’m REALLY curious – need to go find out just how close I am :)

  3. theanorak says:

    The other thing worth bearing in mind is that some of the addons/sites, while seemingly updating the code, aren’t actually updating their coefficients (expecting you to do that yourself). So the last version of Pawn I looked at (a month or so ago, I think) had wildly out-of-date stat priorities for retribution, for instance.

    It’s also confusing because you know your general stat priority as a DPSer probably going to be Primary stat > Hit (to cap) > Expertise (if applicable) > crit/haste/mastery, and also the general priority for crit, haste and mastery. However it’s easy to forget that for the secondary stats, the relative values can change at certain thresholds. The commonly-used example is haste and its effects on dot ticks: for MAXIMUM dps, you need to reforge to just over the haste threshold for the next extra tick, then switch to your next-best stat. It’s disconcerting when you use an optimisation tool and it tells you to reforge away from your “best” secondary stat: I know *my* instinct is to assume the tool is wrong, even though it’s far more likely to be right than me!

    Also, I think most of these tools assume you have every applicable raid buff, and set your reforge targets with that in mind. Particularly in ten-man, its possible you might be missing a stat buff (depending on who is in tonight’s raid) and therefore under threshold. It’s less likely now that buffs are typically available from multiple classes, but still…

    For me, *I*’m the greatest limiting factor. Tweaking my max output for an extra theoretical 300dps (a 2% gain) will mostly likely be almost unnoticable if I’m doing 15k but my my theoretical max is 20k. I’d probably be better spending 20 mins practicing dpsing-while-moving or remapping my keybinds.

    Remapping keybinds is *horrible* though, so I haven’t done that :(

    • Grimmtooth says:

      @theanorak – Yep, one reason I trust Pawn more than Reforginator is that I was able to tweak its numbers directly. It certainly hasn’t updated for a while, which is cause for concern, but of even greater concern is that Reforginator HAS, but the underlying decision-making routines just aren’t (apparently) making the right decisions based on stat weights.

      I actually have the keybind remapping task ahead of me. I’ve decided that to be effective dual-spec, I need to have similar functions tied to similar keys across specs, or I’ll forever be fumbling. It takes me FOREVAR to get used to a new set of keybinds, so “I feel your pain” :)

  4. lonomonkey says:

    Grimm… don’t be so hard on yourself.

    Week after week you’ve been with us and working your butt off to improve yourself. Improvement might not come at the speed you like but I’ve seen improvement every single week.

    You are doing your best and constantly trying improve yourself and that’s ultimately the only thing that really matters. I have no problem being patient with you.

    /salute

  5. Alas says:

    Speaking for myself, I have no disappointment either in you or in our raid progress as a guild. For the guild, when you consider that we got started in mid-February with actual raiding and then had to scrape raid teams together for many weeks until our roster stabilized, we’ve done rather well in the time we’ve had. Would it have been nice to get a Choggy kill before 4.2? Yes. But we will still do it and I think we’ll see Firelands bosses down before the next tier of content is released.

    Speaking for you personally, I think you do a tremendous job. I know you didn’t write this post in an effort to troll for compliments, because that’s not who you are. But that you did write it shows the effort you are putting in to doing what you can to improve. When we started Eff, we said as long as people were actively working on being better and doing better from week to week, that was all we can ask for. This is something we’ve seen in you for sure. It’s given me a kickstart to look a little harder at how I can make my frost performance better.

    I don’t think anyone is ever done trying to get better anyhow. There’s always something to look at and to work on. Seems like an uphill struggle from time to time, but as long as we’re having fun, I think it’s worth it.

  6. Grimmtooth says:

    @Alas @lonomonkey – Well, your thoughts mean a lot to me as two of my favorite DPS fiends – srs, is good to have goals to fixate on!

    But on a more serious note, I do know that my main issues always have been around backing into bad things / stepping in the bad things / Sending my pet after bad things / ____ing the bad things (you get the picture), and that’s something that I totally need to overcome. Newsflash when I find the formula :)

    It’s nice being with a guild that (a) as aspirations to srsly raid and (b) give people the opportunity to learn at thier best pace, whatever that be. The best words I have for the impression I get is (I can’t believe these words are passing my keyboard) a /professional demeanor/ about the task at hand. I’m not sure that suffices, but that’s the best words I have for it right now.

    Such compliments may drive me to try MM as an alternate spec. Stop it, you. :)

    • Yngwe says:

      Reading your last comment made me think of something. How much time do you spend looking at your action bar and focus? Some people consider Survival an easier “rotation,” but it is also very reactionary and requires you to pay more attention to what shots are available. With a little practice, you may actually find the rotation for MM (or BM even) to be less arbitrary and require less concentration to maintain. Most hunters would probably disagree with me, but I think that is the case for me, and it may be for you too.

      Going back to my “I am awesome!” guest post on Alas’s blog, if you find that the MM or BM rotations requires less concentration from you, that frees up more of your attention to get out of the bad.

      Now that 4.2 is upon us, we are coming to a great time to experiment with different specs. We will be running a lot of random heroics for quick valor points. That should be a good time to play around with MM or BM.

      • Grimmtooth says:

        @Yngwe – I actually have set up a few alerts in Power Auras for that very reason – alerts for when explosive shot is up, for when black arrow is up, for when I’m over 90% focus, etc. I keep my four main keys together so there’s minima fussing about with the button hand, leaving the mouse hand free to run around.

        But, yes, when I can, I do try to optimize that rotation, and that means I’m very focused on what’s up and what’s next.

        One of my goals for this week is in fact to get proficient with MM or BM (at least get in some real practice on both) so that I have a better single-target spec for those times I need them. I’ve gotten so used to SV, this is going to take some serious effort and time at the dummies :)

  7. mimfollee says:

    Oh, are you guys having 3 or 4 waves of adds before kicking him down to 25%? My guild had issues with the fight, until we cottoned on that if he is about 35% when the 4th add spawns, we can burn him down 10% before he releases the black oozes. It helps immensely to do it with only 3 add waves. The tank picks up the add as usual, and we spread around to stay out of purple.

    Second thing we tweaked was the heroism use, instead of poping it the moment p2 starts, we would wait several seconds before using it.

    Finally, if you have issues with the tentacles, just tab target and shoot whichever one is up. If you try to follow tank spot thing and find “the one tentacle” for all dps, you waste time. Main thing is interrupting those things and getting them down as fast as you can :)

    Good luck

    • Grimmtooth says:

      @mimfollee – that’s an interesting idea. I personally have no idea but I’ll be watching next time and put a bug in the RL’s ear if that’s the case. It would definitely uncomplicated things.

  8. koalabear says:

    quick tips for cho’gall (if you arent already doing so):

    Make sure you have traps down when the adds are coming out. Unless you start worshipping they will slow the adds and help out your dpsers big time.

    If possible, two heal the fight. Assuming people are staying out of the bad, you _should_ be able to two heal until everyone’s dps increases to make up for losing that extra dpser.

    Along with what mim said above – tab target the adds. interruptions are the most important aspect of that phase.

    Shoot for under 50% health (ideally around 45% or less) when the 3rd big add comes out.

    Without knowing the strat you guys use I don’t really know what other tips to give you guys. Good luck! :D

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