Hello Guardians!

I took a bit of time off to do the 30 Days of Character Development posts, but we’re back now with a new roundup! Nothing in terms of changes to the game, but there are a few interesting tweets that I would like to comment on.

Celestalon Tweets

6.0 tanks will do 70%(?) dmg of a DD-since you can kill every boss with every tank, isn’t it obivous best dmg tank>other tanks?
No… We’ll be balancing tank DPS just as much as we balance DPS DPS. Tanks have their own strengths and weaknesses, as always.

I mean….I would hope that would be obvious to most people. When tanks have a “fixed” DPS value (relative to actual DPSers) of course they have to be balanced with each other. I hoped everyone would’ve understood that by now.

Does that mean tanks are going to end up less-fun? A lot of the fun of tanking recently has come from vengeance.
Who can say if any specific change makes the game more or less fun for any given person. But no, it shouldn’t.
You’re most likely not having fun because of Vengeance->DPS; rather because you do good damage, and the def gameplay is fun.

I’m sorry but if you’re a tank because you like doing lots of DPS, you’re a tank for the wrong reason. You should be a tank because you like being the one “in the line of fire” so-to-speak. Tanks will obviously still be expected to DPS to their maximum potential, that potential just won’t be the same as someone that specializes in dealing damage, for example.

I imagine a change like this might drive away some tanks, but all of the good ones that actually enjoy tanking as a role will stick around.

Watcher Tweets

Would you agree that that there’s a tad too much spiky damage favoring smart healing? E.g. Galakras drakefire and juggernaut
Alternately, there’s a tad too much smart healing and ambient AoE healing so that non-spiky damage isn’t even noticed.

This is something that’s been touched on before, but I wanted to bring it up again. The smart heal “arms race” has become a problem that now even directly affects tanks. Many raids nowadays don’t even have someone dedicated to looking after the tank, this is something even Treckie and Slootbag both referenced during the recent Protection Paladin episode of Final Boss. There are so many smart heals flying around that any gaps in a tank’s survival are fully covered without any direct attention from a healer. Any other spikes a tank can cover on their own.

There has been some discussion whether simply “dumbing down” smart healing will be enough. I think that, plus the change to a fixed 20m raid size – at least the raid size that has the razor’s edge balance – will go a long way to bringing back actual decision making when healing.

will of the emperor was a really fun fight to tank because it wasn’t “taunt at x” any plans to make more encounters like this?
Awesome, glad you enjoyed it — we’re always looking to add new and engaging tank mechanics. We know “taunt at X stacks” is bland

You may remember that I alluded to this directly in my Blizzcon Recap post. I’m still not going to tell you what we talked about, but it did cover other ways to make encounters engaging for tanks when they aren’t getting smacked in the face. Trust me when I say that Blizzard understands this is a problem and wants to improve it.

with the ease of spec switching gear in WoD are we likely to see fights intended to be 3 or 4 tanked for mythic?
Not 4. 3 sometimes, when it adds something to the fight, kind of like 25H has always worked (e.g. Stone Guard, Dark Animus).

This isn’t really too far off from what Watcher and I talked about at Blizzcon. Right now there are a couple of encounters that benefit from having a 3rd tank around….Dark Shamans being the most obvious. With a 20m Mythic raid size you’re going to have at least one extra tank class on your raid team – our current plan is to have both a 3rd and 4th string tank that mains melee DPS – so it stands to reason they might be expected to jump in and tank once in a while. Obviously a similar caveat to the above tweet applies, you can’t do that on every encounter.

Guardian Roundtable 4

In case you missed it, we recorded the 4th edition of the Guardian Roundtable this past weekend. Go take a listen and let me know what you think. Have any ideas that you think might be cool? Send them my way!

Here we are wrapping up this series. It’s been fun, and we’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming on Monday.

Second day of favorites! Favorite comfort food, favorite vice, favorite outfit, favorite hot drink, favorite time of year, and favorite holiday.

Ooooooo more favourites!

  • Comfort Food: Freshly caught salmon from the river. In Bear form.
  • Vice: The only thing that she might consider a vice is enjoying combat too much.
  • Outfit: Easily her robes that she earned from time-trial (Challenge Mode) dungeons.
  • Hot Drink: Arielle doesn’t enjoy hot drinks.
  • Time of Year: Winter. She enjoys the cold, probably because she spends most of her time in an animal form.
  • Hohliday: Lunar Festival.


Pick two songs that describe your character at two different points of their life, and explain why you chose them.

I’ll be honest here, I’m really terrible at songe. I’m going to have to pass on this question because I can’t think of anything relevant :|

If your character’s life was a genre, what would it be?

Action-Adventure. Easy.

How does your character smell? Do they wear perfume or cologne?

Arielle typically smells like either a freshwater stream or a coniferous forest. In genereal some kind of “nature” scent. She doesn’t “wear” anything per se, but since she spends most of her time in the forest it tends to permeate her skin.

And finally: Write a letter to your character, from yourself.

Dear Arielle:

Thank you for all of the friends you’ve allowed me to make over the years. Don’t worry, you’ll always be playing with your friends for as long as you live.



Getting Into Theorycrafting

January 15, 2014

The idea for this post came from a Twitter discussion between myself, Poneria (author of the Warlock column on WoW Insider), Dayani (author of Healiocentric), and Theck (author of Sacred Duty) about how someone should start theorycrafting. Something that was brought up is that noobie theorycrafters find it far too daunting of a hobby to get into. So I thought I’d share with you how I got started, and maybe you can take some inspiration from it.

In an Expansion Far Far Away….

Some (or most) of you may not actually know this, but I only started seriously “theorycrafting” at the tail end of Wrath. As you may or may not remember when the pre-Cataclysm patch hit, Swipe was doing basically no damage. It was actually causing some pretty significant problems for Bear tanks (including myself) that were still dallying around in ICC. I looked around the on the forums, and didn’t see anything that would explain why this had started happening. Since nobody else appeared to be doing anything, I took it upon myself to do some digging. Back then I didn’t do any sort of empirical evidence gathering – or turn out to be right even – I did dig deep enough to get a response from a Blizzard CM. That got me noticed by a couple people you might know. Reesi and Fasc.

I had gotten a taste of what it felt like to be recognized…..and to be honest I liked it. I wanted to pursue it a bit further. So naturally the first step was to learn more about combat mechanics. I had a bit of an understanding based on the years of experience already playing the game. I knew what the various stats did but I didn’t really study them in great detail. So I took the next step.


I took Fasc’s spreadsheet (at the time) and started playing with it. I learned what each of the stats did, how they interacted, coefficients, ratios, the list goes on. This knowledge helped me find defects in the spreadsheet and help Fasc fix them. Not only that, but once I understood how Armor worked, I moved on to what would be my first serious bit of theorycrafting.

Back in Catactlysm beta Astrylian had started a thread on EJ for basic storage and updating of Guardian information. During Cataclysm beta it quickly became evident that this information was not being kept up-to-date. I found that abilities were not doing the amount of damage they should’ve been doing, at least according to the listed AP coefficients. Since Astrylian was no longer updating his post, I decided that I might as well start doing tests myself. This lead to what is now known as the DPS/TPS Spreadsheet which you can find in the menu above. Not only that, but it would also lead to determining what the ideal DPS rotation was for Bears in both Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria. Tangedyn and Yawning would go on to use this information in Mew, and most recently Pawkets has been using it to keep SimC updated.

None of that would’ve happened if I didn’t first take the time to learn WoW’s combat system, and how it affected my class. Pretty much all of that information is available somewhere on the internet nowadays for your particular class and spec. A quick Google search is usually all you need to get started.

It’s All About Accuracy

One of the things that will make or break a serious attempt at theorycrafting is accuracy. I’ve previously mentioned that my first attempt wasn’t even remotely accurate, primarily because there was no practical way to gather the data to make a diagnosis. For most of you out there, this is not the case. There aren’t any ambiguous mysteries left in this game, and any that are introduced are swiftly clarified by Blizzard themselves. Therefore it comes down to making sure that the data you’re presenting is actually accurate. The two methods that I use the most to ensure accuracy are In-Game Experimentation and Peer Review.

In-game experimentation is actually relatively simple, and usually involves things like target dummies. For example the method of verifying the AP ratio on a physical attack reduced by Armor:

  1. Strip all gear and buffs.
  2. Use the ability on one of the respawning target dummies in a starting area (I used Stormwind). These dummies have 0 armor – verified by testing for a difference in damage between a dummy affected by Weakened Armor and one that wasn’t).
  3. Add various levels of gear and repest (2).
  4. Compile the results and determine the slope. This is your AP modifier.
  5. Check the slope by calculating the damage value from AP at various levels of gear. If all have the same base damage, you have the correct slope and your damage equation.

Of course, when you’re presenting your information it’s a general rule that you will include your data and your methods so that they can be replicated by others. That way they’ll know you’re right.

Peer review is the act of asking someone to look over your work. For the information I compiled on trinkets in ToT, I asked Theck and Hamlet to look over it to make sure I had done it right. Since they were the ones that did the original proofs (one of them even at my request – remember Talisman of Bloodlust?), it made sense to ask them for a little help. It’s worth pointing out that asking someone in private – in game or a DM over Twitter – is much different than doing it publicly. Most theorycrafters are actually quite nice, and are very willing to help out when asked. However when you do ask for peer review, don’t harass the person you’re asking. We’re typically a very busy bunch. Here’s a general overview of the projects I have going on right now:

  • Writing Blog Posts for TiB
  • Hosting, Scheduling, and Recording TWP
  • Moderating and Responding to TiB Forums
  • Checking in on the Official, MMOC, Icy-Veins, and EJ Forums
  • Running a Heroic 10m Raid Team
  • Creating Video Guides
  • Streaming

And that’s just the WoW related stuff. We’re very busy people. Nice, but busy. We’re happy to help, but if you ask us you can’t harass us to get it done for you. If you don’t hear anything in a week or so, it’s fine to just check in and see how things are going. But if you nag us daily or something else equally ridiculous, you will swiftly become ignored.

Remember if you want anyone to take you seriously – be it your audience or someone reviewing your work – you must be professional.

Hello Bears!

As Arielle posted over at teamwafflecast.com, the Guardian Roundtable is upon us again!! Full post below:

Since it’s almost beta season, that means it’s time again for another session of our Roundtable series. Our 2nd group this time around is going to be Guardians! Who will be here?

  • Arielle – Host and Moderator
  • Buraan – Writer for The Inconspicuous Bear. GM and Tank for Divergent-EU. Finished West #52 10m, and is now re-progressing in 25m.
  • Ahanss – Tank PG Top Scorer, Soloer Extraordinaire, and tank for Eighty Six.
  • Kartog – Tank for Seriously Casual and TiB Forumite.
  • Fatsteak – Tank for Defenestrate. Finished West #68 / US #18 25m.

As before we will talk about the current state of Guardian Druids, what the panelists would like to see changed, talents, glyphs, and tactics. As always we’ll close with an open Q&A session with questions submitted by the community.

I’d also like to mention that I’ll keep my interjection to a minimum this time around, since everyone already knows what I think. You’re really just listening to hear what others have to think too :)

Do you have a question you’d like to have the panelists discuss on the show? Post it in the comments.

I didn’t mean to leave it until I had four, that’s just the way it worked out.

If your character could time travel, where would they go?

When she was born. While Arielle made peace long ago with the fact that she’s an orphan, she would still like to know who her parents were.

Is your character superstitious?

In the biggest possible way I can say this, No. Arielle is a creature of logic and rolls her eyes at superstition. If something hasn’t been proven to be true, she doesn’t behave as if it is.

What might your character’s ideal romantic partner be?

Not even Arielle knows the answer to this. She has no desire for children, and has no time for romantic nonsense. She spends far too much time fighting evil and learning from Ursoc to be concerned about such things.

Describe your character’s hands. Are they small, long, calloused, smooth, stubby?

Her hands resemble those of most Night Elf warriors. Long and slender, but with a strength that belies their appearance.