Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Scotty Principle

I am not a big Star Trek fan but there is one episode of The Next Generation that has always stuck out for me. It is the episode called Relics where the crew finds an old Federation ship wrecked and abandoned. When they examine the ship they find that the teleporters are still active and holding an aged Scotty from the original Star Trek in stasis.

To be honest, I had to look most of that up on Wikipedia to remember what happened, but there is one scene in the episode that has always made me laugh. As usual there is sort of problem that needs solving and Geordi La Forge has an idea of how to fix it, and tells the captain it will take 2 or 3 hours. When Geordi and Scotty get back to Engineering, Scotty asks Geordi, "How long will it really take you?" Geordi says, "2 or 3 hours."

Scotty's response is shock and he says "You told him how long it would actually take you? How do you expect to be considered a Miracle worker if you tell them how long it will really take."

The moral of this story is that, if you lower expectations, it's much easier to please your audience.

This may seem like a random story, but I wonder if Blizzard is trying to use this process to manage their player's reactions. Lets face it, the only way they could make a majority of the player base happy in one shot would be to make bonuses and buffs that are so clearly awesome that everyone loves them immediately. That may sound nice to players but it is a slippery slope. Players will always expect the new bonus to be better than the last one. If you give into that desire then you run into issues with stat inflation.

So, how do you keep the players happy, prevent inflation, and still provide interesting buffs that provide a decent buff? You lower expectations.

With a set bonus you give them something you know is worse than what you intend. That way when they complain you buff it to what you really intended. The players still may not be completely happy with it but it's better than what you originally showed them, and you give off the illusion of taking player concern into account.

I'm not saying Blizzard does this, but it makes me wonder when I see a set bonus so clearly bad like the original version of 4T10 and then a quick buff within 24 hours.

The New Set Bonuses:

2 Piece Tier 10: When you gain Clearcasting from your Omen of Clarity talent, you deal 15% additional Nature and Arcane damage for 6 seconds. (Changed from 10%)

There were a lot of different valuations thrown around yesterday regarding this set bonus. Most of them valued it as about a 2%-2.5% dps increase. I think those estimates are a little optimistic, but let's assume they are in the ball park. A 50% increase to the buff would make the estimated DPS increase 3%-3.75%.

I still think these estimations are a little high, but they are definitely in the ball park of what I think a set bonus should provide. I still don't like the fact that it is another random proc that we must rely on for DPS, but that doesn't look like it is going to change. In short, I am happy with this buff at the moment.

4 Piece Tier 10: Your critical strikes from Starfire and Wrath cause the target languish for an additional 5% of your spell's damage over 4 seconds.

This is much better than the original set bonus, but there are some questions about how it will impact our DPS.

How will the extra damage be applied and how often? We know that is applied over 4 seconds, but is it every second? Every 2 seconds? This is important because we cast spells faster than every 4 seconds. We can cast Wrath almost every second, and it is quite possible to have two crits in a row. Does the second crit over write the first? What if the first crit was a Starfire crit with more damage than the second crit which was from Wrath?

These are very important questions when trying to determine the value of this buff. Especially when it comes to Lunar Eclipse where some people will have close to 85% - 90% crit chance. Will this set bonus be useless in that situation?

I have done some napkin math to try and put a value on it. Assuming that the dots don't overwrite each other, a Chaotic Skyflare Diamond is equipped, and the caster has a very high crit chance around 45%-55%, this buff would increase the damage of Starfire and Wrath between 3% and 3.5%. Assuming that these two nukes make up about 80% of our DPS , this set bonus would increase Moonkin DPS by 2.5%-3%.

There are some other considerations that I've excluded to make the math easier, but I think this is a good estimate of the value, and probably a little optimistic. If my napkin valuation is correct then it is a little lower than I would like. I thing the set bonus should be worth between 3.5%-4%, but that is just my opinion. One thing, that can't be argued is that it is a whole lot better than the original 4T10, and that may have been Blizzard's goal all along.

(Edited by Flamedor)


Jerrod said...

I have a different theory. Basically, way back in the beginning of Wrath they came up with all the set bonuses.

Fast forward several months, and they rework how eclipse works. Now fast forward to now. They go in to the file from the beginning of wrath and cut&paste all the set bonuses for T10. Its old code, they don't plan on really releasing it yet, so it goes on to the PTR unreviewed. And then mmo-champion goes and data mines it out and publishes it. The blues rush to make the datamined info official. And the realize that a chunk of the set bonuses don't make sense any more, and update them.

Think how awesome that 4T10 bonus would have been under the old eclipse setup? It'd have changed your 30 second rotation to a 24 second rotation. That'd have been awesome.

So I don't think its a case of managing expectations, as much as code written a long while ago going live on the PTR without having been properly updated to reflect changes between the original conception time and the release. Keep in mind, none of this gear is actually even available on the PTR yet. It was not put out there as release ready.

lissanna said...

The rejuvenation 4-piece resto bonus also has a sort of out of place feel to it. They reduced the duration of rejuvenation, and (in the exact same patch!) they are giving us basically extra rejuvenation ticks as a set bonus.

Sometimes, I really don't understand the process.

With the balance set bonuses, they could work out to be good, but I'm still really not convinced...

Chris said...

I believe the 4pc bonus will work in a similar fashion as a mage's Ignite ticks, for example: Wrath crit for 10k would put a dot up for 500 damage over 4 seconds, you crit again with wrath 1 second later for 10k, now the dot will add another 500 damage so it will be 1000 damage over 3 seconds then back down to 500 for the last second. But as you pointed out how often the damage ticks will play a large role in how effective this set bonus is.

I'm not sure if this is exactly how it will work, but that's what I assume.

P.S. Absolutely love your blog =D

Anonymous said...

If the 4T10 works anything like Deep Wounds, then "Linger" will all be addative.

If a wrath cits for 10k ..a ticking dot will appear on the mob, ticking probably each second for a full amount of 500. If you wrath again 1 second later for 10k again, then the timer resets to 4 seconds and the current amount of 500 gets incresed by 500, therefore ur "Linger" will increase its damage done per tick, however the duration is still 4 seconds.

On the other hand if "Linger" only *hits* after the 4 seconds duration, u could end up with a big freaking *HIT* if u keep refreshing the 4 second timer...

Whichever way it sounds delicious.

Anonymous said...

To Chris: Let's hope not. Ignite ticks have been bugged in one way or another from game launch to this day. Two crits very close together can "munch" and one never triggers an ignite. Kind of sucks if you get the fireblast ignite and lose the pyro's.

Gibbiex said...

The rejuv nerf makes sense if you assume it was a bug in the first place. You can the further assume that blizz is saying, well, if people get 4 pc t10, that's too powerful, so OMG nerf DR00Ds. So, one might say they are looking the top tier of raiders and adjusting the rest of us for that reason.

LXj said...

> I'm not saying Blizzard does this, but it makes me wonder when I see a set bonus so clearly bad like the original version of 4T10 and then a quick buff within 24 hours.

How about that: Blizzard is still working on the patch, and they didn't release any information about set bonuses by themselves. Whatever leaked on mmo-champ was obviously some "placeholder" data.

Whenever MMO Champ publishes some about data mined or beta information, players start discussing and complaining and praising, while it might be an area the developers haven't actually looked at. 3.3 is still months ahead, and whatever Blizzard have not announced officially is work in progress.

LXj said...

To explain my point: imagine you see an unfinished building. Would you say "OMG it has no roof, how are people supposed to live there?" or "What, there is no electricity there?"

TTFK said...

To get a likely idea of the 4PT10 bonus mechanic, I would suggest looking at the 4PT8 Elemental one which has similar wording.

Eric said...

The only thing I found about OmenOfClarity was at this site . I just hope it turns out to be pretty useful. I know there are times when I get back to back Omen's and that would be more wasted DPS, not to mention if we had to move during the proc (which is totally random)it would go to waste as well. Though it's hard to complain with damage when haste and crit are high. Who knows

Jonny said...

well, so far i'm sceptically about those set bonuses.
the 2pc bonus is forcing every balance druid to put a point in Ooc, what might be a waste if its not necessary to be skilled cause of mana issues.
the 4pc bonus could be nice, depending on the mechanism --> the old rolling ignite anyone ? ;-). if not it might be really poor ..

but lets chill and wait until some testing can be done on the ptr ... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have an accurate description of OoC proc rate? wowhead and wiki are both different.

Only way to work out how good t10p2 actually is.