Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An Explanation of Haste

When haste was first introduced into World of Warcraft as an item stat, it seemed there was a great deal of confusion on how it actually worked. Even now that haste has become an extremely common stat that can be found on a significant portion of caster gear, it seems that there are still questions on how exactly each percentage point of haste affects spell casts and global cooldowns.

Well, nowadays there are a great many resources (such as WoWWiki's Casting speed page) available that explain how exactly haste rating and haste percentages modify spell casting speed and the global cooldown, as well as formulas that allow you to calculate how much haste you need to reach a target goal—such as reducing the 1.5 second default global cooldown to the 1 second minimum. Unfortunately, it seems that what many of these resources don't provide is an explanation of why haste behaves the way it does, and so the purpose of this post is to explain exactly that on a conceptual level.

If we think about it, there are two ways to view the meaning of the word "haste". The first way is to interpret it something along the lines of "take less time to do a set task", and the second way is more akin to "do more in a set amount of time". Generally speaking, when we think of haste, we're likely to think about the first interpretation. For example, "Max hastily made his bed" most likely means that although it normally takes Max 3 minutes to make his bed, in this case he managed to make it in 2 minutes because he rushed. However, World of Warcraft uses the second interpretation instead of the first. An example of this interpretation would be "If I work with great haste, I should be able to paint 3 walls before dinner instead of 2."

So, you're probably thinking "Well, what's the difference? Taking less time to do something is basically the same thing as doing more things in a certain amount of time!" It turns out, there's a significant difference, mathematically speaking. Let's say Al and Bob are cutting carrots, and it takes both of them about 1 minute (60 seconds) to cut 10 carrots. After a while, Al and Bob get bored, and so Al decides to cut his carrots in 50% less time while Bob decides to cut 50% more carrots each minute. If there was no difference between the two, then Al and Bob should still be cutting carrots at the same rate, right? Well, Al begins cutting 10 carrots in 60 - 50% = 60 - 30 = 30 seconds, and Bob begins cutting 10 + 50% = 10 + 5 = 15 carrots in 60 seconds. After 1 minute, Al ends up having cut 20 carrots while Bob has only managed 15.

Now, how does this apply to World of Warcraft? Well, if you think about haste using the first interpretation—making each cast/global cooldown take less time—then the numbers are going to seem counterintuitive. Thinking about it this way would lead to the conclusion that you would only require 33% haste in order to reduce 1.5 seconds to 1 second, since
1.5 seconds - 33% = 1.5 seconds - 0.5 seconds = 1 second.
It would also lead to the conclusion that 100% haste would make all of your spell casts instant, since
1.5 seconds - 100% = 1.5 seconds - 1.5 seconds = 0 seconds.
Yet this is not how haste behaves in the game.

However, if you try thinking about it with the other interpretation—that it allows you to cast more spells in a set amount of time—it begins to make much more sense. The way I conceptualize it is that haste increases your casting rate. So, if you have 100% haste, then you can cast twice as many spells in the same amount of time it would take you to cast a single spell with no haste. If we use a 3-second spell as an example, then
1 spell per 3 seconds + 100% = 1 spell per 3 seconds + 1 spell per 3 seconds = 2 spells per 3 seconds.
So, if it doesn't take 33% haste to reduce a 1.5 second spell cast or the 1.5 second global cooldown to 1 second, then how much haste does it take? If you conceptualize it with the formula just above this, you can math it out:
1 spell per 1.5 seconds + ? = 1 spell per 1 second
1 spell per 1.5 seconds + ? = 1.5 spells per 1.5 seconds
? = 1.5 spells per 1.5 seconds - 1 spell per 1.5 seconds
? = 0.5 spells per 1.5 seconds

0.5 spells per 1.5 seconds is what % of 1 spell per 1.5 seconds?
(0.5 spells per 1.5 seconds) / (1 spell per 1.5 seconds) = 1/2 = 0.5 = 50%
So, you need 50% haste to reduce a 1.5 second spell cast or global cooldown to a 1 second cast or global cooldown.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

4 Unconventional Uses for Divine Intervention

By reading this post, you hereby agree that neither Gryphonheart nor The Lion Guard will be held responsible for any repercussions resulting from taking this blog post seriously, including but not limited to ostracization from the Paladin community, permanent removal from a raid group, addition to the opposing faction's "kill on sight" list, and repeated queries of "OMG wut just hapend?!?!?!"

And so, without further adieu, 4 Unconventional Uses for Divine Intervention:
  1. Are you tired of your Pallyfriends giving your class a bad name by repeatedly bubble-hearthing after raids? Did some Nubadin just ninja-loot your item, run face first into the closest group of mobs, pull them back onto you, and then begin bubble-hearthing to add insult to injury? Put an end to the bubble-hearthing shenanigans with Divine Intervention! Nothing stops a bubble-hearth more effectively! That Hearthadin will never know what hit him!
  2. Is another healer constantly sniping your heals? Does she refuse to stop, no matter how many times you've asked? Is she gloating over your lack of haste? Well, here's how to teach her not to mess with you: just Divine Intervention her as she tries to snipe your next heal, and watch the hilarity ensue. As a bonus, you'll even be able to taunt her by taking an AFK to go grab some cookies while she's forced to sit around and resurrect the entire raid group due to being the last person left alive.
  3. Does your pre-made team repeatedly get steamrolled in battlegrounds because of that guy? Do you sometimes wish that guy were played by a headless chicken, so that he'd be more effective? Ever find yourself wishing you could just use that guy as bait? Well Divine Intervention can help! Simply cast it on that guy while he's being ganked and not only will your opponents be thoroughly confounded (leaving them open to a coordinated counter-attack), but the incessant "Immune" messages will rile them up into a frothy that guy-hating frenzy! It's a win-win scenario!
  4. Are you exhausted of running all the way back to the beginning of an instance just so you can turn in your completed quest to the NPC standing right outside the instance gate? Does the prospect of taking a portal to a nearby city and then traveling back to the instance you just left leave a sour taste in your mouth. Well, once the final boss is downed, just Divine Intervention a nearby ally and you'll find yourself just a short corpse run back to the instance entrance! No longer will you have to put up with potential respawns or portals that inconveniently leave you half a continent away! Just take a quick short cut through the spirit world and BOOM!—you're just a loading screen or two away from your destination!

Monday, January 12, 2009

First Foray into the New Naxxramas

I am one of those people who holds the opinion that one should not enter the raiding environment until one has had the opportunity to properly prepare oneself. By this I mean taking the time to run some heroics, replace at least a few of the leveling greens and blues one's acquired on the trek to level 80, and started earning reputation with the appropriate factions to ensure access to good items and item enhancements. Additionally, I also feel that one should take the time to do some research about the items available from various reputations, dungeons, raids, and vendors, and then properly gem and enhance those items that seem as if they'll have decent enough staying power to remain worthwhile, as well as learn about the encounters one will inevitably come across in the raid.

So, knowing those beliefs, I probably look like a big fat hypocrite for going to Naxxramas less than 24 hours after reaching level 80, still wearing gear primarily consisting of Tier 5 quality items, and without knowing any of the encounters in the particular wing we entered (Military). Well, I sure feel like one, too. That's probably the biggest contributing factor to why I'm inclined to say my first post-Patch 3.0.2 Naxxramas experience was not as fun as I think it should have (or at least would have otherwise) been. Spending several hours feeling like you're just letting 9 other people down has a way of sucking all the enjoyment out of things, and even though I dearly love the group I went with, I don't think I'll be joining them for their future least not for now.

Although, to be fair, I do think that I managed to perform at least decently well, especially considering I wasn't the only undergeared person there. Also, it wasn't as if I sought out a Naxxramas run to go to—I was...uh...I guess the best term would be "aggressively recruited" by a group of friends who I've ran with for various raids since back before the Burning Crusade launched.

Still, I don't think I'll be doing that again. At least, not until I've had a chance to properly prepare myself for round 2.

Achievement Earned: Level 80

Yes, yes, I know. I'm horrible at keeping New Year Resolutions. But isn't just about everybody?

Regardless, I finally hit level 80 late last night (or this morning, if you want to be technical), which is great because now I can hopefully begin working on some higher-quality content for this blog. If you're wondering why I haven't been writing posts with more—oh shall we say "substance"—prior to now, it's because I find it very difficult to begin wrapping my mind around end-game concepts when I'm still leveling. I think it's probably because I'm one of those people who enjoys the journey more than the destination, and so eyeing end-game gear lists and stat weight scales and such just takes the fun away from the present.

Anyway, at the time I hit level 80, I had completed nearly every quest available to me in Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, and Grizzly Hills, as well as gotten just under halfway through Zul'Drak. (If you're wondering why I said "nearly", it's because I skipped the torture sequence in Borean Tundra.) I have to say, the early quest zones in Northrend are incredibly interesting to me, as both a gamer and a lore fanatic. Learning about the ancestry of the human and gnome races, as well as the battles within the various dragonflight, giant, dwarf, and troll factions was/is absolutely fascinating. Also, it's pretty much impossible to dislike a quest titled "Kickin' Nass and Takin' Manes", even if it is from a group Gryphonheart doesn't completely trust...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

2009 is finally here, and with it comes a batch of New Year resolutions. My resolutions for The Lion Guard are (in no particular order):

  • Post more often — the internet problems I still continue to face really put a damper on my posting habit. Hopefully things will be back to normal soon and I can meet the goal I originally set for myself back in early November.
  • Update site graphics — I'm currently experimenting with a few graphics design programs, and hopefully I'll be able to spruce up the site a bit and possibly even add some original artwork.
  • Add additional pages/features (such as blogrolls, helpful links, character profiles, etc.) — I've been planning to get this done for quite some time now. May as well add it to the resolution/to-do list, right? :P
  • Be more positive — it feels like I'm doing (or at least wanting to do) a disproportionate amount of ranting on this blog, and that wasn't my original intent. Time to get back to the basics and find something more constructive/useful to say.
Happy 2009, everyone! Warmest wishes of health, happiness, and prosperity in the year to come!