Thursday, 24 February 2011

Throwing Axes are OP

Well, I have been thinking all day about what my KB:Death ratio data really means and what I can conclude from it all when I saw this...

A Marauder on the PTS in Defensive Warpforged killing a Shadow Warrior in Offensive Warpforged .. at range with Throwing Axes.

I wonder how much just these Defensive Procs are contributing to whole imbalance thing. Oh Boy.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

KB:Death Ratio - Now & Then

Some very valuable feedback in the comments from my last post has spurred me into further analysis.

My results last time showed that those folks with RR90 scenario weapons scored a disproportionate number of killblows for their rank and my hasty conclusion was that this is proof of the power gap.

The feedback I got was... did I consider that the very same people who are RR90 are also the most skilled and experienced players and therefore dominate regardless of gear.

I did think about this angle whilst putting those last numbers together but I can be blamed of making the common statistical mistake of confusing correlation with causation. Here's an example of what I mean copied from t'internet:

"Consider school students' shoe sizes and scores on a standard reading exam. They are correlated, but saying that larger shoe size causes higher reading scores is as absurd as saying that high reading scores cause larger shoe size.

In this example, there is a clear lurking variable, namely, age. As the child gets older, both their shoe size and reading ability increase."

The omitted lurking variable in my case is player skill.

So, accepting the assumption that the most skilled of players will always dominate, has the new gear in 1.4 made the best players dominate even more? Do these players kill more whilst dying less?

Cconveniently I have a combat log saved from May 2010, 9 months ago. I am using the ratio of kill blows : Deaths as my measure and this obviously "rates" DPS classes above Tanks & Healers.

Below is a table showing the top 20 players ranked by KB:Death ratio from one night in May 2010 compared to one night in Feb 2011 on Karak Norn.

As can be seen the "best" players, or those in the best groups, were just as dominant on that night back in May as they are on the night in Feb. Extending this to the top 50 rather than top 20 gives an average of 6 KB:Death now compared to 5 KB:Death in 2010.

This analysis suggests that the top players are running amok but only to the same degree as they were 9 months ago. Statisitically the two data sets are very similar.
There is not an overwhelming power shift.

Of course these very skilled players will dominatae over low RR players even more in their new gear than they did 9 months ago and I can understand more and more why Mythic's repsonse to the power gap has been to adjust the lower level armour sets.

Feedback is extremely useful and warmly received :) Sorry for the error (see edit)

EDIT: First time up this post detailed a slightly better KB:Death ratio in May 2010 than nowadays. I forget to fully calculate some of the numbers. New results suggest KB:Death ratio is slightly better now than then but the two data sets are very similar. My conclsion is the same h, I think, that skill does prevail over gear, but I will take some extra time to mull this over. Please draw your own conclusions :)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

3220 Killing Blows

Did you know that your combat log records every kill blow that happens within your current zone for both Order and Des?

I am not one to accept coonventional wisdom without some kind of look-see at the facts so in order to try and measure the power gap I have parsed my combat log from a typical night of RvR on Karak Norn and this is what is says.

The total number of kill blows was 3220. This was in 3.5 hrs so one killing blow every 4 secounds. Good stuff!!!

The combat log also tells you who was killed and by whom. There were 700 unique characters names who landed a KB or fell to one. This is more than I expected. Lots of people, or enough!, out and fighting.

I think these are very good numbers. That's lots of people playing and lots of fighting in the zones.

Next though, when an auto-attack lands the killing blow the combat log details the weapon that was being used....

[11/02/07][23:31:52] Knofel has been slashed by Aeoluw's Sentry's Blade of Reverence in The Cursed City.

From this I can work out how many people are using which type of weapon. Scenario weapons all have the same name for each RR band - e..g "Axe/blade/sword/whatver of Supremacy" for Order RR65 weapons, "Blah Blah of Malevolence for Destro RR90". There is also the "Imposing" wepaons. From this I can determine how many killbows high RR folks are getting compared to low RR.

Time for some graphs...

The graph on the left is the number of unique character names that landed a killing blow with each rank of scenario weapon and is my approximation at the renown rank distribution at the moment. There were 6 characters seen using a RR90 Scenario weapon.

The graph on the right shows the number of killing blows landed by each rank of scenarion weapons and is an approximation of which renown ranks are landing the most killing blows. RR90 characters landed 64 kill blows.

You can see killing blows for RR90 on the right hand side chart is disproprtionate to the distribution of ranks on the left and is out of sync with the normal distribution. This is show more disticntly on the chart below.

This is the ratio between the first two charts. It is number of killing blows per RR char. At RR90 a character lands 3.7 KBs on average. RR65 0.4 KBs per char on average.
This is a clear indication that RR90s are running rampant slaughtering as they go. I do not want to descredit them for their skills and abilities - because I have see some of these guys in action and they are good.
But the Kill Blow ratio chart shows a nice and steady increase up from RR65 to RR84 like you would expect. The drastic increase at RR90 is a measure of the effect of the power gap.
Remember I determined RR by KBs from scenario weapons but now knowing the names of those who use a RR90 weapon I can work out the total kill blows and their deaths. The ratio was 224 killed 30 deaths. 17 of their deaths were a single WE who I guess was out ganking. So, with her removed, the ratio would be 171 KBs to 13 deaths. Unbalanced.
The good news is there are plenty of people playing and fighting, averging a kill every 4 secs in the zones I was in. Most people are still sub 90 and their kill blow ratio is not out of hand. This means this game is still enjoyable... most of the time.
But RR90 Power means those players can run amok and when you run into them repeatedly it's probably not so enjoyable. Let's hope Myhic address this with 1.4.1.
There are a low number of kills from low RRs though so new players into T4 do need the boost they will be getting from 1.4.1, especially as player majority of players push into they high RR80s.
All being said, I still have great time out in RvR, even if we do need to pay special attention to certain players. Most of the time it's an even fight, all being said. The real problem for me is the RvR mechanic. The fun just grinds to a halt when it's siege time, but that's another story, and another patch.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Power Gap - Feeling It

Since my last post about not feeling the Power Gap there have been several posts from other people who are definitely are feeling it.

Bootae has quit because of it. Sad days.

Blaq puts it at the top of his priority list in his post WAR on depreciation

Zizlak get’s Doomflayered Right in the Face.

Whilst Taransula rejoices at getting into Doomflayer in The Big Ding claiming Doomflayer is everything she hoped for.

I can’t help feel that I am being contrary with my point of view that I am not feeling the power gap pain, perhaps being blindly optimistic, so I am left revaluating what I said when I made the point that I still thought the Sov 8-piece abilities would retain their tactical advantage over DF.

In order to try and compare the gear I have used the cost of the first rank of the renown ability to work out an equivalent renown point cost of 5 pieces of each armour set. Basic stats like Str & Tough cost 1 renown point for 4 stat points. 2% Melee Crit is 5 points. For armour I have used the value on talismans – 164 armour is equivalent cost to 23 STR.

Doomflayer is as much above Sovereign (33% more renown points cost) as Sov is above Invader. This is a big step up in terms of stat points but Sovereign get an 8 piece bonus ability that Doomflayer does not.

Let’s look at the abilities that a Full Sov group could have available to them over a Doomflayer group.

2 Healers - 2 x Absolute Preservation – the party cannot be crit for 20s
1 Offensive Tank - Leading the Charge – 60% movement speed increase for everybody
1 Def Tank – Inexorable Force – 5s CC group immunity
MDPS -Desolation - Area effect morale strip
RDPS – 50% increased AP for enemies

The morale strip Desolation and two Absolute Preservations are key for me. Immunity to crit for 20s will reduce incoming damage by a huge amount , maybe 30% overall but a lot less spike damage. Being able to drop your morales but denying the enemy theirs is another biggie.

Of course this relies on a high level of organisation and teamwork to pull off, and I guess herein lies the problem. The vast majority of encounters between two sides are not between super-organised groups. I’d be foolish to claim “if you get super organised in your Sov it will be okay”. Errors will always be made on both sides and the margin for error between Sov and Doomflayers is too much.

A PuG group in Sov would get tramped on by PuG Doomflayers but you could say the same thing about gear throughout the four tiers of Warhammer.

So the question is – should a group in Full Sov stand a chance verus a group in Full Doomflayer? And if so, how much and in what circumstances? 1 in 10 chance if they get lucky with crits, or manage to get the first KD in?

Likewise, what chance should a group in Invader stand against Sov?

I don't know. If you have a thought on this please do reply.

The real bad news for me is that Warpforged gets the same abilities as Sovereign does and as a 5-piece bonus, not 8 like Sov. From my graph Warpforged to Sov is equivalent to Sov to Anni. This is seriously Eek.

Mythic do need to make adjustments to the gear. I think for starters they could change the structure of both DF and WF to make them 6-piece instead of 5 to prevent grabbing the Sov 3-peice bonus. The set bonuses could be granted at 4 and 6 instead of 2 and 4. I would also remove the Sovereign-style abilities from Warpforged. I think these changes would not upset anyone who has worked hard at getting the gear already, at least not as much as downgrading the whole set.

The aim would be to give the player a real choice between awesome personal stats or valuable group abilities.

Mythic have also released details on plans to allow your RR to level over and above your XP level which they estimate seeing people around RR60 when they hit R40, which will help even things out a lot, especially if Warlord gets a little revamp with an eye on the type of group-abilities that Sov has - how about a group-wide Cleanising Wind for Tanks in 6-Warlord?

Monday, 7 February 2011

Power Gap - feeling it?

I'm honestly not feeling the power gap right now, or at least not where it matters (in da jibblies).

Sure, I can't go anywhere solo without getting ganked, but I have never setup for duelling anyway so this doesn't bother me. It's not a single player game.

In a group I still think organisation and teamwork is more important.

I've ran about 20 odd scenarios with assorted guild premades in the last couple of weeks and have perhaps lost 2 of those*. On one occasion we had 3 out of 5 players sub-70 (me included) and we won 7 out of 7, including versus well-known Destro premades. The group was SM 52, SM 59, BW 68, WP 83, IB 83 - hardly the pwn all group of the century. Idly roaming about with the same group between Scs we encountered 2 RR90 players, a DoK and a Marauder. We killed them without any trouble, as you would expect 5 v 2. They were not the "group-killers" of internet fame.

This is not me trying to be all leet and knowing, not at all. I am just saying that, from my experience, which is all I have to go by, I do not feel that being outranked and outgeared means an automatic loss, which is the impression you get from reading the forums.

Perhaps the gap is not wide enough yet. I get the feeling that whilst many individuals may be RR90+ already, guilds/warbands on average, are not. Maybe some are just beginning to reach a position where they have more members online than not hat are RR90+. This may start to change the picture entirely, but I'm not so sure.

Sovereign Gear provides some excellent bonuses that significantly benefit a group. Doomflayer and Warpforged may bring great individual power but my money is on Sovereign retaining it's importance to a warband's overall performance, with DF & WF giving players more choice between group utility/synergy and all-out raw DPS/heals.

* - to put this into context a bit, in the 2 lost scenarios we were convincingly beat and hardly seemed to make a dent in our opposition whilst they creamed us, so yeah, with all things being equal I am not dismissing the importance of gear and rank.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

We Care A Lot

This song, one of my favourites from back in the day, sums up how I see the WAR community these days. We care a lot, but some people have faith no more. I am still okay with things. I was certainly interested to read what Mykiel had to say the other day but you are not going to catch me linking to a Bon Jovi song! First time I have linked a video, let's see how this works out...

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Colour of Renown

Boy, Keep Sieges are a mood killer aren't they. I really enjoy warband nights but a couple of times recently we've ended up at the keep. Fun out in the lakes skirmishing, pushing back and forward, la la la, real PvP, ends up with the big clusterfudge that is a keep siege. We try to make the most of it.

I blame the renown. "Big Tick Incoming". Folks can't resist. It's like a warband galloping purposefully through the lakes, a force to be reckoned with, only to spot an AFK Shaman taking a dump in the bushes. Purple Lust just takes over. I can feel the tension, people glancing about, straining at the bit. Do we kill him? Shall we kill him? One person goes for the kill and the frenzy takes over. The warband falls over itself to kill the poor little git. Bmoo-ooo, bmoo-ooo (that's the sound of everyone mounting up again).

Of course, a firm "ignore the Shammie" from the WB leader would keep everyone on track and rewarded with a fuzzy little feeling inside that we are a pro unit after all. (Note: This is a fictional example, I would never go near a gobbo with it's pants down!)

It's the same with a Zone Lock or a Keep tick. You can't blame folks for wanting a nice chunk of renown, I mean everyone else is going to get it aren't they?

You could be fighting in KV, perhaps quite literally against the odds, maybe not quite earning the renown you deserve, when someone says "praag is locking". Glances. Shall we go? People are already starting to scroll, then cancelling it, then scrolling. Are we going? Don't get left behind!!!

I feel it's detrimental to the game for everyone to chase Zone Locks.

  • Why not just reward all players in all RVR zones whenever a zone falls? So Praag locks, everyone in Dwarf and Elf gets the tick for it too.
  • Why not base the size of renown tick you earn directly on how many players you & your group has killed? You have playing RvR for 3 hours, you've contributed to 300 kills. A zone lock somewhere, you get a nice, healthy tick for it worthy of the contribution you've made to RvR as a whole.

Keeps could still be important for the zone lock... but that's another post.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Reasons for Quitting and Not Quitting

Reasons for Quitting
I've had two long breaks from WAR, both around the 5 month mark.

The reason for both times, I thnk, were the same.... burnout + slow progression.

With a busy family life I can only play 2-3 hours a day, tops, and even this cuts into my sleeping time. This would be fine in itself, but coupled with very slow progress through renown I slowly burnt myself out.

I pugged it a bit too much if I'm honest, and got fed up of losing. Even in a guild premade, even with vent, my precious time slot was too often spent getting farmed over and over in scenarios. My guild was quite a good one, but it was a large and mostly blobbed about. Franky, I craved the kind of competitive play and organisation I would read about on other blogs and forums. My restricted playtime held me back from applying to "top guilds".

My class didn't help either, the Swordmaster. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but being widely perceived as gimped, being behind the gear curve, and not really catching up I got tired of it all and drifed away.

Back for 1.4
I still followed the WAR blogs, mostly my favourites Bootae, Werit and Super Effective, so I followed the news about 1.4. The free 10 days "Return to WAR" offer was enough to tempt me back in mid-December.

I would not have resubbed if it wasn't for the accelerated progression up to 80. Now I can play at my own pace and still feel like I am making progress.

I vowed to find myself a guild too, one whereI felt at home and I am pleased to say that I did and that I am really enjoying myself in-game.

Well, I am glad this post is out of the way, it didn't contain any maths at all.