Overview: Theorycraft in WoD

Warlords is Changing the Theorycrafting Game

Guys, I am so excited right now.

This is the first time I’ve really been part of the Theorycraft community at the launch of so much new information, and the real consequences of all the information keep swirling around in my head. Somehow, the most exciting part for me is the way Theorycraft as a whole is going to have to change as we approach the new expansion. This is so exciting to me that I just had to talk about it first and foremost, so buckle up as we take a white-knuckle ride through the new challenges that WoD is bringing to us!

Important Changes

There are some overall changes which have been announced which really dictate the way in which we will be approaching Theorycraft over the next few weeks. Some of them are small changes, some are huge, and as a whole they signify a step-change in the way we think of Theorycraft. Note that I’m talking only about Theorycraft for healing and even more specifically with Shaman in mind! Without further ado, what are the important changes?

Coefficients and Analysis

One of the less sparkling, but nonetheless subtly important, changes was the simplification of heal calculations in WoD;

  • Intellect no longer increases your Critical Strike Chance.
  • Healing Spells no longer have a Base Heal; they are purely spellpower based.
  • Ancestral Awakening has been removed.

Together, they mean that the mathematics of stat comparisons (for primaries and secondaries, though we don’t know about tertiaries like Cleave yet) simplifies massively. There will be little need to use simplifying assumptions (like “let’s assume the Crit from Int is minimal and ignore it”) so we will be able to much more quickly and efficiently pin down what stats are interesting to us. This is exciting, because some of the mathematics I’ve been attempting in order to make sense of MoP stat decisions has been truly messy; in comparison, WoD will be nice and clean and easy. Yay!

Fundamentally, that means that you can expect to see a much clearer set of theorycraft coming your way, and (potentially) a much better idea of what stats are better to gem for (no reforging, remember).

NB: Dayani over at Healiocentric covered this very well in her post “WoD Mini-Analyses: Healing Gameplay“. Gogo read!

Mana Regen Scaling

Mana Regen is now going to be much higher at base levels, and will scale much much slower with Spirit than it previously has. This means that Spirit will be a much less required stat, but also that we will be seeing less of an emphasis on discussion of Spirit levels which we need to function properly in a raid. Finally, since the scaling will be rather low, we shouldn’t expect to see our thoughts on Spirit change much between the WoD launch and the final tier.

Randomness and “Smart” Heals

Smart heals are officially dumb! They will now select random targets (damaged > full hp, and player > pet) within their range. This has a huge impact upon how we see their efficiency. Not only will this change mean that healers have to make better decisions for themselves, but it means that when applying theory to these Dumb Heals, we will have to take a more statistical approach in our assessment.

Image from philippseifreid.com.  Click the image to read an awesome blog on the role of the Central Limit Theorem in games!

One of the major challenges that this brings is in understanding how to statistically describe a given raid-healing situation. This is where the real meat of the problem comes in, and it will be especially useful because it will inform how we talk about Chain Heal, Resto Shaman’s Mastery, and a whole plethora of other abilities. I genuinely think that this is the most interesting challenge out there right now, and you can bet I’ll be (trying) to lead the charge.

Triage Healing

Why have I left Triage healing ’till last if Randomness is the most exciting shift? Primarily because it reinforces what I was saying then. Just in case you’re not convinced about what I said, consider this;

Players will not be topped immediately; we will spend the largest proportion of our time healing people in the semi-critical “Triage” health region described so well graphically by Vixsin;

Image from lifeingroup5.com. Click the image to see Vixsin’s sparkling original post on “Non-Critical Healing Noise in Mists of Pandaria”.

The real impact of this is twofold;

  1. Statistical descriptions of players hovering around 50% health will actually work. They won’t be correct 100% of the time (and certainly not in farm situations), but for progress they will finally have a real meaningful use.
  2. We spend so much time in the medium region that Shaman’s Mastery becomes one of those stats for contention; the statistical properties of the raid will matter just as much as the coefficients of the spell!

As a result, we could see some really interesting (and/or unintuitive) results from the combination of these considerations!

My Mind is Racing!

With those in mind, I think that the way things are going right now means that we will see a lot of cool Theorycraft come out in the next few months. In the mean time, here are the challenges which I’m most interested in;

  • The statistics of raid health pools and how to describe them.
  • The statistics of Dumb Heals and their consequences.
  • How Chain Heal’s randomness interacts with High Tide.
  • How mana scaling for Shaman interacts with Resurgence procs.
  • Condensation Totem! Seriously, this is one interesting mechanic.

That’s all for now folks, until then have fun! For more posts from me, and other great resources, check out my summary page and the Icy Veins Resto Shaman Compendium.

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About stoove

A physicist, researcher, and gamesman. Likes to think about the mathematics and mechanics behind all sorts of different things, and writing up the thoughts for you to read. A competent programmer, enjoys public speaking and mechanical keyboards. Has opinions which might even change from time to time.
This entry was posted in Alpha/Beta News, General Science, World of Warcraft and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Overview: Theorycraft in WoD

  1. Pingback: WoDsplosion! | UNconstant

  2. Pingback: Warlords of Draenor Mini-Analyses: Healing Gameplay | healiocentric

  3. Something good is being injected into my brain after reading this. Thanks for the interesting write up! For the latest news on WoD can click on this link!

    http://wowultimatum.com/blog/world-warcraft-warlords-draenor-enters-alpha-testing-phase/

  4. Pingback: A Big First Look at WoD Alpha Notes – Part 1: Healing Changes | Life in Group 5 – A Resto Shaman Blog

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