Greedy Goblin

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Is mathematics bad?

There is a thread in the official forum that drove lot of attention, including Ghostcrawler's.

It says that Elitist Jerks (and other similar forums) are bad since they provide a "good" spec/rotation, "forcing" everyone to do it, taking the "fun" out of the game.

He claims that the reason why people should choose specs should be "I don't know, I just like it".

Ghostcrawler points out that for most people the larger DPS could be gained by gemming and enchanting properly and following basic game rules like "melee from behind" than from adapting the EJ-talent. While it's true it's also irrelevant from the main point that made this post "Essential".

The original poster also claims that bad players feel entitled to look down on other bad players because of their "noob" spec, despite the fact that they are both attacking from front in the middle of a big patch of fire, and their overall damage done is equally low.

The opinion of Worldofdiscourse is also completely true, and irrelevant: what makes WoW sucks is the lack of options. The DPS just stand there, performing his rotation. EJ is just byproduct of this bad design.
If there would be more situations, there could be more viable specs. (Like boss is interruptible, has 50% resistance to interrupts, but there is a talent that increases interrupt hit chance by 5x10%, or boss activates elemental shield forcing all casters use a different school, so a hybrid mage could always have medium damage, a full fire could only lolDPS on fire shield)

The debate on the forum about "EJ discourage experimentation" is simply stupid. No harm could be done if you spec to some nonsense to practice with the dummies or test it in a horrible PuG where you can be DPS No1 with autoattack.

The point is: you cannot escape mathematics! There is nothing in the world that could not be described by scientific rules having mathematic formulas. Of course there are things that we don't understand yet to have exact formulas.

The post is an outcry of a social person to be accepted, loved and not judged for being the way he is. The simple idea that "in the game you are valued after your performance" is inacceptable for him.

He blames EJ for bringing mathematics to the "
many players incapable of understanding, or if left to their own devices, wouldn't have even had any interest in [theorycrafting]". He believes that if people would be unable to know who suck, they would not care about his 1600SP and love him. While the team would suck, they would take the suck as an inevitable bad luck and stand together instead of blaming each other (him).

He is probably right. Without public forums those who have no mathematical/science degree would not be able to decide which spec is better (except for some obvious choices, like speccing into Improved Voidwalker and having an imp).

However while social people care about human relations and feelings, the real world exists with all its consequences. Yes, in the game we could all suck together in brotherhood, but in real life ignoring the facts for human relations/emotions can literally be lethal ("you need no seatbelts since I can drive").

And on the top of that: even in the game you could not escape the consequences of your ignorance. Just because your guild could not know the right specs/gearing without EJ, someone (most probably the guys with math/science degree) would know it. These guys would down end bosses while you and your guild would suck on the first trashpack. They would have the shiny epics, fly on mighty dragons while you would be walking on the ground in your greens. And you would have no clue how to be better!

He wrote "within a less hardcore player community in which ignorance would have, almost certainly, been bliss.". What's essential for success in all worlds: "ignorance is never-ever a bliss". Yes, knowing that you suck hurts your emotions but help you to fix your real problem.

There is a way to artificially create ignorance: use lot of alcohol or drugs! However I seriously doubt if it's the way to achieve anything.

What does that do with game economy? Well, Blizzard can and will nerf the bosses for the "blissed" people. But they cannot nerf the other guy in the AH for you. If you ignore accounting, analyzing supply and demand, further patch data and just buy and sell "what you feel like", you'll end up grinding elementals quickly. Business is driven by fairly simple mathematics. Ignore them and go down!

PS: every time when I deeply undercut someone he asks "why don't you match prices with us, why are you ruining the economy?". I don't bother to answer "because my price is mat price+50G, so I make 50G profit on every sell and I sell a lot". I don't answer because if he can't add up material prices, too bad (and too good for his competitors like me).


Plastic Rat said...

I don't think EJ makes that big of a difference. I don't spend a lot of time on there, but for the most part, when I re-spec or work out my rotation, I found out that whatever I've chosen is around 95% of whatever the current 'best' spec is. Most of the differences are personal choices which I know drops my DPS slightly, but it makes my character more flexible and effective in other ways.

I work this out by following common logic, reading the tooltips and a bit of testing if I'm unsure.

The other day we ran an instance and towards the end, I was checking to see if everyone was buffed and ready to go when I noticed the hunter had 'Aspect of the Viper' on. They also had full mana as we'd just finished drinking/eating /buffing. So just before the pull I said, 'By the way, you're still in Viper.'

The hunter says 'I know'. One of the other party members asks 'Were you in viper this whole instance?' The hunter says 'yes' and something to the effect that they never run out of mana with it on. So I said 'well do you know you could also be doing a LOT more DPS if you were in Hawk?'

They replied that they didn't play the character often and didn't know that. But.. I mean IT'S RIGHT THERE IN THE TOOLTIPS! READ THE DAMNED TOOLTIP!

Conclusion? People who suck will always suck, access to Elitist Jerks or not. People with a brain will always do better, whether they have access to community theorycrafting or not.

Hirvox said...

I don't think EJ makes that big of a difference. I don't spend a lot of time on there, but for the most part, when I re-spec or work out my rotation, I found out that whatever I've chosen is around 95% of whatever the current 'best' spec is.Yes, that's the beauty of mathematics. If there really is an objectively best spec, independent researchers will reach the same conclusion.

I work this out by following common logic, reading the tooltips and a bit of testing if I'm unsure.In other words, using an approximation of the scientific method.

However, like almost everything else, EJ can be misused by clueless people. Nobody should use their specs just because an authority figure (like a guild leader) does so. They should understand the core principles behind the conclusions (like you do) to make the most out of it.

Zekta Chan said...

There are reasons behind each spec's dps rating, simple or not.

What I read there, is a "dumb"/"not-willing-to-learn" people blaming others for being smart and willing to learn.

Sounds to me like, "We shouldn't have education, so that everyone is fair and as dumb as myself"
Sounds ridiculous to me,
The reason why EJ had such a reader-base is that their calculation/information is useful,
and people find solid information on that.

I can't see any one should support the "So that everyone is as dumb as me" argument.
When anyone run instances, it's their responsibly to do their work. With or without a guide to do so, only makes one "look not so bad" by comparison. So should we just drag all average player to stupid player so that they'll be "fair"?

The forum poster's argument sounds ridiculous to me.

Jorad said...

This is very similar to the Damagemeter debate. "We would all be so much better off if noone used Recount."
So the original poster is right: Damagemeter/Theorycrafting doesn't suck. It's a lot of the people who misuse them who suck.
He had the answer himself and still argued against it, because he is a social. "Ignorance is bliss" says all.

I meet a lot of people who are against all theorycrafting and if I bring it up to them, they immediately start to groan and tune out. Do you know how they choose their spec?
They copy the specs of the best guilds - Ensidia, Method & co!
These guilds choose their spec because of theorycrafting for sure.
It just seems really silly.

Neil said...

My main frustration with the idea of "best spec" is that you can't use anything else without reducing your performance. There are spells, talents, and even entire talent trees that will never be used by anyone who cares about their performance.

Yes, in the real world, there is the idea of "best" and people need to live with that, math is important, etc etc. I live and work by those philosophies.

But, this is a computer game. I think it's silly that BM Hunter "can't" use Invigoration. I think it's silly that Feral Druids "can't" use Feral Aggression. Etc, etc.

There are are talents that are interesting, fit the nature of the class, are useful - but are not AS useful as spec XYZ which is mathematically determined to be top DPS, so you're a fool for ever using them. I can see how that fits the spirit of maximizing efficiency and min-maxing, but does that really fit the spirit of a computer game that is meant to be played for fun?

I definitely agree with the idea that EJ is a flawed byproduct of bad design.

Jorad said...

But that is Blizzards fault, not the players'.
The endgame needs the best DPS and the best mitigation, so people find out what is the best with theorycrafting.
If only one spec is viable, then that is Blizzards fault.
(Btw: most times that isn't true. Some specs are better for DPS one the run which is needed in a lot of encounters and some specs are better for short bursts of damage which can be better than a high sustained damage output for some fights. In TBC I topped Damagemeters on some fights (Movement fights) with my shadow spec despite it being inferior to mages/warlocks in theory.)

If you just do 5 man instances or even 10 man, then other specs can actually be more useful. Oh-Shit-Buttons are much more important, CC/Interrupt is more important, the time it takes to setup your rotation is important as well.

In a world without theorycrafting, there would still be a best spec: everytime a good player meets someone who does more damage with the same gear, he will ask him how he does it and if the only difference is the spec, then he will copy that.
In the end all good players have nearly the same spec.

Stabs said...

Gevlon, isn't this guy basically making the "good enough" argument that you made a few weeks ago?

With regard to the accusation that EJ have turned the WOW forums into a sea of douchebaggery I can respond from memory and say they were just like that before EJ. If some forum troll wants to say "you suck" they don't need a spreadsheet to do it.

Regarding cookiecutter builds there have always been these in any game with customisable characters. Diablo 2 was very prone to this.

Regarding experimentation theorycrafters and those of us who understand the maths experiment far more than the 1k dps guys.

Lastly it's not just maths. It's IQ and priorities. For example I see dps taking +armour talents. That's a pvp/soloing talent that will reduce their raid dps. But quite possibly when they put their build together they weren't really thinking about raiding. For people to perform at their best they need the concept of speccing for their raid role as priority and then making do with that spec in other situations. This is probably kinda obvious now but it wasn't all that common 3 years ago. (Remember all the 31/5/15 Warrior raid tanks all you old-timers?). This is an area where EJ have encouraged optimisation.

Another example of IQ over maths is Malan over at EJ who made the case for run speed enchant on boots. At the time most people following the maths picked a stat enhancement on boots for higher dps. However because dps frequently needed to move out then move back in (eg Prince Malchezzar) time on the boss was an important but unrecognised factor. Malan argued convincingly that higher time on the boss with slightly lower dps is more overall damage out and this became accepted theorycraft. Lateral thinking.

Carra said...

The whole game of dpsing is one mathematical model. So obviously there is a "best spec" to do most dps in that model. And people are trying to find it. People who are not using this best model will fall behind people who do. Anyone who wants to be competitive is forced to use the good specs.

And there are multiple good specs. For my DK alone there are about 4 viable specs to choose from. Plenty of choice, try them out and see "which one you like".

Yes, there are other ways to improve your game: pick good gear, position yourself behind the mob, use consumables, raid compositions,... But players who are topping the charts with their good specs will already know and do that already so it's a moot point.

Barrista said...

@Plastic Rat:
Did you get through the instance with him having Viper on? Looks like you did. So who cares? Is it really something to get upset over? You make a mental note to not do any heavier content with this person and move on.

@ Original Post:
I'm a math/science geek. When I'm working in the lab, I come up with a theory, I do the math or look at the chemistry. BUT after this I have to run experiments to decide whether my hyphothesis is sound. Sometimes there are unseen factors which may contribute (physical interactions usually).

So is EJ bad? Are their mathematics bad? No. But if they don't run experiments to test it, then they are just bad "scientists" or theorycrafters.

Since my career involves math and science, I really don't care to do it when I go home and so I will use EJ. But, I have seen the math and then compared two items using training dummies. And sometimes the math doesn't match reality. So theorycraft all you want, but run the proper "experiments" to test the theory.

As for the post you were referring to, this person should do whatever they want. It's their money. But they will need to find people that don't mind raiding with them and aren't so insecure that they need constantly prop themselves up by putting him down. I don't necessarily like to raid with poorly geared or itemized players, but I don't feel the need to talk shit about them either. We finish naxx either way. As I said to Plastic rat, I make a mental note and try not do anything higher than maybe a heroic with them (I'm not the raid leader). Heroics are so easy that I don't care how anyone other than my tank is geared as long as they have over 1k dps.

The thing that is "flawed" in EJ is that you sometimes have to wade through an enormous amount of total crap before you find anything of value. Why? Because everyone is there looking and commenting on their class/spec. They all want to be a part of it and most add very little which is significant to the discussion.

*vlad* said...

EJ discourage experimentation.

No, Blizzard discouraged experimentation by removing the uniqueness that used to be the different classes, and replacing it by "All classes are equal" bullshit.

No longer 'LF Warlock or Mage', now just 'LF random' or 'LF dps'.
This leads to even more ignorant players who only know how to spam aoe and have no clue what a debuff or cc is.

Okrane S. said...

lol, that thread is just the type of thread I would answer just by saying:

QQ moar pls

Seriously. Let's dumb this game down even more. Not that tanking, healing and dps-ing has never been easier and encounters are more trivial than ever before.
Let's feed the idiots even more. Because it seems the game is just full of them.

Yeah... how about: all dps classes get all abilities removed and replaced with a single ability called DoDamage - which does the same damage every time. Ofc healers and tanks get their version spells: DoHeal and DoTank.

Sarcasm aside, it's already easy enough to be "good enough", as in, the game is easy enough to allow your dps, hps or tps to be moderate and still succeed.

This new way of thinking, "I am good just as I am, I dont need to look for improvement" regarded as a trend in today's society, brings about one serious underlying problem.

"It's ok that I'm not smart enough and I wont try to improve because the system will take care of me and offer me a good life anyway". Aside social Darwinism, which seems dead from this perspective, who the hell will run the system then?

Think middle class american society.

Chris said...

What ever happened to just wanting to be the best? I mean, look at most super-successful people in the world - CEOs, professional athletes, etc. They get to where they are by never being satisfied, by striving to be the best, or to make more money.

Are people really content with their shitty lives and their shitty pay that they don't care about advancing? Are they satisfied just complaining that their bosses make more money than them, but insist that they're smarter? Guess what? Your boss did SOMETHING to get better paid than you. Complaining about it won't get you to that position - hard work and a drive to succeed will.

Back to the original point here - EJ is like copying a test from a friend. Maybe you don't really understand all the answers, but its better than flunking the course. The fact that Blizzard lets people cheat on their exams is their own fault.

Barrista said...

"look at most super-successful people in the world.. They get to where they are by never being satisfied, by striving to be the best, or to make more money."

Um, we're talking about a game here. A game.

And haven't you ever heard the saying "the world needs ditch-diggers too"?? I know WoW is not the world, but people will strive for what is important to them. Maybe being the best, in a game, isn't important to them.

Honors Code said...

"The point is: you cannot escape mathematics! There is nothing in the world that could not be described by scientific rules having mathematic formulas. Of course there are things that we don't understand yet to have exact formulas."

Your faith in sciece is commendable.

the1jeffy said...

@ Zekta

"So should we just drag all average player to stupid player so that they'll be "fair"?"

Welcome to no-child-left-behind education. The OP-complainer against EJ is a product of the "everyone wins a medal" style of 'teaching.'

Some will always be better than you. Always. You just have to personally decide what level of better you are willing to work toward, and know that you choose to let people be better than you, or decide to compete to be better.

@ Gevlon

This post does conflict in a small way with your "Good Enough" posts. If a non-optimal spec/rotation/gear level gets you to the 2500 DPS you need to succeed, then why worry about doing more?

Chris said...

@ Barrista -

I know its just a game. But as is discussed many times in this blog, sometimes attitudes in-game are a reflection of attitudes in real life.

And lets all be honest here. Striving to be the best in WoW doesn't really take a heck of a lot of work.

We're talking about EJ here. People who HAVE put in a ton of work so that YOU don't have to.

How hard is it to read a message board about your class? That can take, what, a half-hour max? You have your spec, rotation, buffs, gear lists, etc all laid out for you. All you have to do is follow simple instructions.

But its amazing at how many people refuse to put in such little effort. And by little, I mean none.

Barrista said...


I didn't even know EJ existed till about 4 or 5 months ago. While gearing doesn't take a lot of work, it does take a lot of time.

In-game attitudes are not always a reflection of real life. Although I have degrees in math and chemistry, I refuse to do math for this game. I show to raids ready and am usually top dps. The company I work for pays for my brain and they get it. Blizz does not.

I've been nitpicked by a fellow raider for having my wrists enchanted with +35AP rather than +50 when I was in the top 3 dps for the raid! So some people who complain are just insecure themselves. Or they just want to nitpick so as to feel better about themselves even though they have lower dps. I say nothing to other players who I think are geared wrong etc. I naturally assume that it's none of my business as long as we are completing content in a timely manner.

As for EJ, for some classes the writeups are good and some they aren't. The paladin forums are very good, but the mage forums? These people need a technical writing class. I've actually gotten my info for my mage from bloggers who have probably taken the time to wade through the horrible writing styles.

Grumpy Misanthrope said...

I don't think the WorldofDiscourse opinion is irrelevant. It speaks to the heart of a lot of dissatisfaction with all computer games in these days: the fact that there is really only a place for Timmy/Spike and no place for Johnny in these games.

Chris said...

@ Barrista -

I do agree with you on the EJ Mage forums - awful.

If people are going so far as to critique your enchants when you're top 3 dps, I agree with you that's a little overboard.

But I think we're not talking about people like you and me who obviously pull their weight. We are smart players and probably would have found optimal specs on our own had we been left to our own devices.

I think we're more talking about the M&S who scream GIMME MOAR FREE EPIX.

Anonymous said...

I can see it on the guild recruitment channel now;

'Looking for more players to join our guild. Must be well geared, arts graduates not accepted'

Dallanna said...

Tom Lehrer very wisely sung once:

"Oh try as you may, you just can't get away from mathematics!"

Yeah, that's all I got out of this topic. :p

Viscount said...

This whole topic reflects a sad state going on the world today. We have gotten into the method that compotition is bad because it hurts self esteme. We raise children to think they are not responsible for what they do and how well they do it. This is a disservice because compotition will not go away just because you want it to. Dogbert from the Dilbert strip said it best "I agree we should get rid of all weapons in the world... Because then I would be able to take over with a darned butterknife."

This post really doesn't conflict with the good enough post. The forum post called for ignorance and ignoring any kind of rating system. Gevlon had a set criteria, and as long as it was being met, things were accomplished. The forum poster would not even like that criteria.

Just because EJ makes a "best" post does not mean you have to follow it. If you want to spec a different way you are free to. You just better be able to justify it and be able to perform your roll. If you cant do that then your spec doesn't matter at all.

The problem is not elitist jerks, recount, or anything of that nature. This person thinks that without any way of identifying poor players, they could not be singled out. But bad players will still be singled out if by process of elimnation. Joe raid leader has two runs, one with Norm the noob and one without. They notice (maybe over time) that the fights go much smoother, the boss dies much quicker with this group. He also may notice Norm needs a rez after almost every fight. He goes with the group that does better. The poster wanted everyone to feel good. Joe feels really good with this raid group without Norm.

In summary, this guy wants to be carried. He think his $14 entitle him to see everything in WOW. Well WoW is a game, not a movie. When you pay your money you get to watch the entire movie. If you cant play the game well you dont finish it. If he wants to see all content he can watch boss downing videos and press on the key board and pretend its him there.

Grumpy Misanthrope said...

What ever happened to just wanting to be the best?Chris, when I get paid a substantial wage to play WoW, then I'll care about wanting to be the best. Until then, I play to have fun (Yes, I know Gevlon regards the word fun the same way Clinton and Stacy regard the word comfortable). As long as I don't lose aggro when I'm tanking, or the party doesn't die when I'm healing, or I do a proper share of the DPS when I'm DPSing, I don't care about being the best (hell, I've played a feral druid from Vanilla release, there was certainly no best back then).

And unlike Barrista, I have done most of the math, so I know the best specs. What I lament is the fact that there's no room for creativity. You know your role and you maximize the numbers with your spec. There's no way to do the unexpected to save the day. Which, ultimately, will be the reason I am getting bored with WoW. Not because I'm not #1 on the meters. That's just a time thing. But because there's only 1 way. And once you've done that one way, it's boring.

Rob said...

@zekta chan: Wasn't that the premise for (At least) one Sci-fi story? That, in not so many words, socials took over, and everyone was given handicaps so no one was better than anyone else.

I think Blizz has realized at least to some extent their error, as evidenced by the death knight tree. They wanted 3 tank specs, 3 pve specs, and 3 pvp specs. They didn't do a terrible job at it either, even though it certainly wasn't perfect. Since then, they've said they liked how it turned out, and that they'd like to do more stuff like that.

I have to agree that bosses are kind of limiting. For instance, slow, way down the tree for mages, doesn't affect wrath bosses. If you're pure pve, you aren't going to get any benefit from that point. There are other talent points that are similarly handicapped, and that can be disappointing, 'cause some of those are really fun talents.

Chris said...

@ Grumpy -

"Chris, when I get paid a substantial wage to play WoW, then I'll care about wanting to be the best. "

I play in a flag football league on the weekends. I have a lot of fun playing. I also try as hard as I can to win. I don't get paid to play.

And if I didn't try to win, I'd get kicked off the team and lose any fun I would otherwise have.

Gevlon said...

@Neil: as long as you are "good enough", you can use suboptimal talents for other purposes. I for example did not part from my improved tranquility.

@Stabs: KNOWING about the best spec is different than DOING it. If you are good enough, you have the luxury of not doing it. But if you don't know it, you can't improve if you find yourself below the threshold. And you can't calculate "good enough" without math.

@Barrista: the EJ guys usually do experiments to prove their work, but you are right, without hard data, there is no science. (BTW welcome fellow chemist)

@the1jeffy: "the no child left behind" was a very good example. That's the most stupid law I've ever heard of.

@Misantrope: the worldofdiscourse idea is irrelevant for this post, not in general.

@Chris: the amateur football is a good example. Just as WoW it's for fun, but there is no fun without challenge, and sometimes victory.

Bristal said...

Anybody hear of the Millenium Generation or Gen Y? Starting w/ people born in the early 1980's, this generation was raised by baby boomer parents who showered them with praise and gave them trophies for getting out of bed. I have seen some recent high school graduating classes with 50 valedictorians.

As they mature, they are proving to be difficult to motivate in the workforce, and apparently don't care to excel (or be analyzed) in their recreational endeavours, either.

MyName said...

I think some of the criticism is valid in that, if you have any kind of source of good information you can end up with a herd mentality, just like people who become too dependent upon auctioneer to make their prices when sometimes the best move is to just wait for the people who are dumping goods below cost to drop off instead of beating their prices.

However, the complaints from Ghostcrawler could also be those of any designer who picked up on an idea that they think is cool, but no one is using it because they want to up their DPS by 30 points or something by taking these other talents. EJ is the king of finding the extra 30 DPS, not the king of fun talents so they're looking for different things here.

Aboo said...

No one is to "blame" for their spec choice or their dps output but themselves.

This WHOLE conversation, including the linked posts smacks of a refusal to take responsibility for your own actions.

NO ONE forces you to spec for max dps. You make decisions to reach the goals you want to reach. You can choose to spec 20 points into each tree and have a blast with World of Warcraft. It's a personal decision made by each player.

Stop blaming your decisions (or anyone elses) on Blizzard or EJ. That's just ignorant and self limiting.

If you want to raid end-game content then you need to be at your peak efficiency. If that is fun for you, then fantastic. If it's not, then find a different goal. And have fun in Naxx 10 pugs. That IS possible you know. :)

Plastic Rat said...

"Did you get through the instance with him having Viper on? Looks like you did. So who cares? Is it really something to get upset over? You make a mental note to not do any heavier content with this person and move on."

Thanks captain obvious, I would never have thought of that.

The point wasn't that we couldn't finish the instance, the point was that a bad player will ignore all information on making them better, regardless of the resources open to them e.g. even the tool tips.

How I handle that specific situation both then and in the future has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.

Stupid Mage said...

EJ is merely a source for information. On the plus side a lot of what they have is accurate. But you can't blame them for making the game worse. Especially if their advice is sound.

There's a lot of people in the game that just don't care about their performance, never read anything outside of the game and they're happy with it.

Then there are people that want to get as much out of their characters as they can. EJ is there for them.

EJ is not wrong or evil or bad. EJ are the guys saying hey, if you want to do well at the sniper range, maybe you should use a sniper rifle. If you want to take dual pistols because you like it more, go ahead. But you're not going to hit shit at 500 yards in spite of you doing what you like. It isn't EJ, it's just how it is.

Thunderhorns said...

EJ is a great tool for those players that want to improve. I think Blizzard should be happy that there are players dedicated enough to this game to be as good as they can be and help others to do the same.

It's not the end all be all as most of the specs and rotations are obvious as all get up and don't take a rocket scientist to figure out. Like DK unholy spec isn't hard to figure out and the rotation is a natural rotation that only a total fool wouldn't figure out.

But places like EJ help alot with figuring out the best way to prioritize items moreso than specs and rotations. I've had more help from them with stat prioritization than for spec.

Specs can be tweaked a little with little loss of DPS. Itemization is pretty exacting and you better build your gear set right or you won't be up to snuff with your dps, healing, or tanking.

Thunderhorns said...

I disagree that there is no creativity in specs. EJ has done nothing but help creativity by showing various specs and their dps output and by encouraging a ton of people to play with different specs.

For example, the guy who took the first steps toward finding a viable DW DK spec was certainly experimenting. The Unholy spec was a no brainer DPS spec, but this guy decided he wanted to DW and found a new spec to do it and then posted it for others try.

I've read a number of different DK specs that put out very good dps that leave room for points to go in different places. And that was all experimentation.

So places like EJ encourage results oriented experimentation. I'm glad a place like EJ exists to show you can get the job done in more ways than one and to prove it mathematically.

And as long as you bring something to the raid, even if slightly less individually but more to the group, then most guilds are happy.

Anonymous said...

EJ - excellent resource. I respec a lot, and I've tried a fair few crazy hybrid specs, some of my own, and some of other people's.

The actual specs EJ post are almost completely irrelevant to me - they are for pure (raid) PvE, with BiS gear, and optimal raid stacking. That's *not* my concern. (I main tank, when progression raiding). (And yes, they've theorycrafted that, too, but tanking has more conflicting goals.)

So... I have different aims from them. What I *do* find very useful is a lot of their research and analysis.

I roll my own specs, but it's nice to know roughly what I'm giving up, when I do something atypical.

People who want to impose stupid requirements without thinking about them are going to do so no matter the quality of the source, and if they aren't open to discussion or thought, then it's their loss, not mine.

Barrista said...

@ Plastic Rat:

"The point wasn't that we couldn't finish the instance, the point was that a bad player will ignore all information on making them better, regardless of the resources open to them e.g. even the tool tips. "Thank you Private Obvious (since you obviously want to get personal). My point was who cares? Is it really mattering in the end? Not always. I just can't get into petty debates. I just don't get so emotional as some seem to over someone else being a poor player. I care about my performance and only my performance. I'm selfish.

I haven't done the math, because as I said, I get paid to do such things. Also, I'm a chemist first and a mathematician second. When I started finding theorys that weren't working for me, I realized that following EJ religiously was not the best. It was a guideline. You have to run experiments and find out what is best for you. Differences in gear etc can change things.

The difference for me between doing this and flag football is my brain just needs a break when I get home. If you played football for a living would you play flag football the exact same way or would you use it as a way to relax and have fun?

Joe Nothin' said...

I have a couple of things to say:

The first thing is that "i just like it" should be the best answear when talking about spec choises, and it should be a mathmaticly vaible answear.

Right now i play a death knight and my dps spec is unholy. I could get pretty much the same DPS with a good frost spec, or a blood spec. They are all viable, and the end result would be the same, so i can choose the one i like best. I think this should be the same for all classes, but its something the devs need to do. In theory, however, its a good answear to the question.

The second thing, is that EJ never say anything groundbrakeing. Its all commensense, the specs they offer never differ much from the ones i come up with and its allways small diffrences that are mostly up for debate or personal taste. EJ never had a big impact on my game play or spec. Giving them such mythical power is retarded. You dont need to be a math major to figure out the best spec for what you do. I study philosophy, god damn it.

phoenixboy said...

Dammit. I did a comment about the fact that math is just a tool, and that people shouldnt whine so much because somebody else find out the way of use the fact that the world can be explained with mathematics for improving themselves and other.

In short: Less QQ, more Pew Pew.

But my coment didnt show up and i dont know why. Anybody else is having that problem?

Stupid Mage said...

"My point was who cares? Is it really mattering in the end? Not always. I just can't get into petty debates. I just don't get so emotional as some seem to over someone else being a poor player. I care about my performance and only my performance. I'm selfish."

I'm only quoting you because you bring up a valid point. Does it really matter? Most of the time it doesn't. The boss will often fall even though somebody is short by 1k DPS.

But what if it does matter? What if the raid consistently gets 5% wipes because somebody is 1k dps short? I'm curious if that inspires you to try harder or means that person has to figure out what they need to do to improve.

Artorin said...

It seems to me that specs can have varying meanings. For instance speced for dps or speced as frost or arcane as a generalized allocation of talents. Then there is the more specific specification of talents in those trees.

I fully believe that you should spec in the tree that you WANT and fits your playstyle. If you like frost then raid as frost if you like BM then raid as BM. Where I draw the line however is that if you are in a raid and in a dps role then your talents better maximize that. You want to raid as BM? Fine but take those damn points out of improved armor and stamina and put them into talents you need.

There are debates on what exact talents you should take but for goodness sake don't ever roll a frost mage without Torment of the Weak or a BM without mortal shots. Play the way you want to do... but spec to maximize what it is you are doing!

Every class has filler talent points that are left over to play with and put where you want but that is never a reason to take a survivability talent over a damage talent. If you are an elemental shaman and its between taking 6% less damage or having 65% pushback resistance... that is valid choice. But don't take 3 points out of elemental weapons to take both of the above options!

Liege said...

Some people enjoy the game by maximizing every aspect of their character. These are the people in the top raiding guilds on each realm. They read (and post on) EJ and may even perform controlled, scientific experiments or advanced mathematical calculations to enable them to squeeze out an extra 2 DPS. Their spec changes probably with every patch, and sometimes it is changed just for a certain encounter. They don't feel satisfied with anything less than 100% and will do everything possible to be as good as they can. Some of us would consider this "work" and refuse to do it because we don't see any way it could possibly be fun.

Other people enjoy the game by arbitrarily selecting talents that just sound fun. They go around pew-pewing, without even measuring their DPS, let alone trying to increase it. Gear decisions may often be made based on appearance rather than stats. They'll go to raids and try to follow instructions, but don't care whether their contributions are as large as they could be.

Most players are somewhere between those two extremes. Having fun in WoW is everyone's ultimate goal and everyone achieves it differently. I try very hard not to be a snob about the particular way I enjoy the game, or to look down on people who have achieved more (by saying such things as "they must have no life") or less ("scrubs", "bads") and to maintain the perspective that everyone is enjoying the game in their own way. After all, I don't want people to impose on me the expectations they have of themselves.

The core of the complaint here seems to be that the people who insist on clearing the latest dungeon before other players (probably the top 10% of raiders) will be forced to adopt optimal specs and rotations. That's just the nature of being in a bleeding-edge guild in any MMORPG and I'd advise any player, if you don't like being forced to spec and play a certain way, to either suck it up or find a more casual guild that runs Naxx 10 or heroics.

Decide for yourself whether you would rather have a wider variety of options available to customize your character or whether it's more important to you to be able to fully clear the very hardest dungeon currently available in the game. Neither option is "wrong" - it's just a choice you have to make.

angelspire said...

I'm not used to write comments but can't skip this.

YES. The mathematics are the ONLY major thing that significantly differs WoW from other MMORPGs.

The most interesting thins in WoW is that you actually can ESTIMATE your output and spec \ gear accordingly.

I personally don't use EJ as a "the only way to do it" source, but more to compare their estimations with my own one. Finding differences is an interesting process by itself - it shows how good you are in understanding the mechanics and math of WoW.

And for all those commenters - you CAN use other builds. You CAN use other DPS cycles. You still CAN be on top with all that. Though, it most likely will need alot more attention from you.

EJ builds are targeted for what is called "average". If you have <100ms lag and you are very skilled player - you can do better with that or another build still. But that will require really good skill and REALLY good understanding of game mechanics and math.

That's it. Remove (really cool) combat mechanics from WoW and you will get another "autoattack and go drink tea" game those are hundreds on the market.


Aislingi said...

Missed the god damn point completely.
This isn't about "being the best".

This is about the community taking EJ's word as gospel and treating everyone who dares experiment, *gasp* learn for themselves and maybe, sacrifice a few DPS for sovereignty over their toon.

To whoever said or, implied that people who don't use EJ are bads who need to be carried?
How good are you, if you just lay back and wait for some guild of arrogant, "stop having fun guys" to do all of your thinking for you?

Fact is, this game existed just fine before EJ and it would continue to do fine without. The only people who praise EJ over all care more about their e-peens and pokemon-esque be the best garbage than actually playing for fun.

The point is, you don't need EJ and copy pasting their builds and gear to be good.
If you do, why not just hand them your mouse?

EJ is a good resource. That is all it is. Not the end all be all of a game.

scooter said...

I love the assumption towards the end that only those with mathematics/science degrees exhibit general mathematical competency.

You must have been an English major since you have the ability to write in English on this blog?