Greedy Goblin

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Combat resurrection

As you know, we killed Lord Rhyolith as #6800, pre-nerfs, in a short 1:40 session. The fight was much easier than Beth-litac or even Shannox in our subjective opinions. In the second lockout we scheduled similar time to him, before going Baelroc.

Well, after 2 and a half raids on him, the good Lord finished the lockout alive and happy. We were just unlucky. We were good and everyone topped and than bam, someone stood in the lava or got melted down by some stray add lost somewhere. Again and again. The drivers were already perfect in a sense that we never got more than 5 stacks. DPS great, people topped, everything almost perfectly when someone just went from 80+ to zero in now time. Lava flow or meltdown.

We definitely had the skill to kill him, since we did. Our DPS, HPS were much higher than on firstkill. Stacks much lower. Everything almost perfectly when something terribly unlucky happened.

Finally, after calling the last raid, something hit me. On the last try the unlucky one cried out for combat res, what we did not have. We had combat res on firstkill raid. We used it pretty often. We had no combat res in the failed raids. That was the difference that changed the easy pre-nerf kill into a pointless "farm" wipefest.

If there are n events that can wipe us if someone fails, and there is X chance that the event is handled, then the chance of nobody dying in the fight is Xn. In case of 1% fail chance and 100 events, we have 37% chance to kill the boss. With 5% fail chance we have 0.6% chance to kill. However if we have a combat res, we have the kill if zero or one fail events happen. The chance for that is the old Xn plus Xn-1*(1-X)*n. With the previous data, the kill chances are 73% and 3.7% Double and 6x more.

X and n are unknown to us, but we don't have to know them if we want to display the chance of win with combat res vs without. If the without chance is W, then X = W1/n, so the chance with combat res is W + W(n-1)/n*(1-W1/n)*n = W(1+n*W-1/n-n), which becomes irresponsive to n if n > 20 and can be plotted:

We killed Rhyolith in about 15 tries, the first tries were learning ones, so our chance to kill was around 10% with combat res. By bringing no CR, we decreased this chance to 2%. Of course from now on, we won't leave home without a combat resser class. If we can't find any, we go progression raid and learn some new boss instead of wiping on "farm". Always have 1 CR capable player in the raid!

PS to those who did not get the other point: of course there is no "luck", there is just fail, both on individual and strategic level.


Anonymous said...

In my old guild (quite social, slow progression) we always had about 3-5 battle Rex in a 25man. Unlucky people kept getting battle-rez'd until we ran out ... But often we still wouldn't beat the boss. Strangely, it was quite conistent who was unlucky ...

spinksville said...

I always wondered why every class didn't have a combat res. It makes so much more difference, especially in smaller groups. Maybe it made more sense back when druids had a combat res instead of a normal one.

Anonymous said...

Some of the hotfixes to Rhyolith broke him. At least for us, on the first week he was a pushover, on the second he doing crazy damage on the phase transition, getting stacks out of nowhere as far as we could tell. We still killed it, but it was harder than the other 4 bosses combined.

A look at forums seems to support the theory something is wrong with him.

So I don't know if you should be putting the difference entirely up to a missing combat rez.

Azzur said...

I do agree that combat res is pretty important. And I'm happy with blizzard's current implementation - one combat res per 10-man and multiple classes having this ability.

What I'm surprised is Gevlon's attribution to the failure to "luck". There is no luck in WoW - it means that people did not learn how to minimise risk. Fires in Rhyolith is 100% dodgeable with good awareness.

maxim said...

My WoW experience so far suggests that trying to use raid-wide considerations to compensate for individual fails might get you through easier content, but ultimately leads nowhere fast.

Not saying combat rezz isn't important. It's actually up there with Heroism and replenishment. But don't fall into the trap of taking individual fails lighter because you don't have optimal composition. If anything, raiding without a combat rezz puts premium on individual performance.

Grim said...

Oh yes there is luck. Rarely of course, but there are encounters that come down to pure luck.

Ryolith is one of them. Where the volcanoes spawn and which ones are activated is completely random, no matter what Blizz is saying after "fixes". Get 2 volcanoes in a row activated behind him and you are pretty much dead. Get lucky on all 9-10 that you will likely stomp out before phase and he drops like a fly.

Squishalot said...

Good analysis, there is only one fault in the maths (the possibility that the combat resser is the person who dies). What it does demonstrate, however, is that you're realising how important raid composition is. Previously, you would normally argue that any player is welcome, irrespective of class. Now, I can only presume that you will be putting combat res players ahead of non-combat res ones.

At 5% fail rate, with 4 combat res players, you go from 0.6% up to 43% win rate. At 1%, you go from 37% to 99.6% win rate. Arguably, no matter which way you turn the sums around, the presence of the combat res, from a value perspective, is worth the raid bidding for (warlocks discounted due to random nature of a fail - alternatively, are people willing to pay for soulstone insurance?).

Alternatively, it's just yet another rule in The PuG's toolbox.

If you expand the analysis (which isn't really possible, because of the difficulty in judging the numbers), you could apply the same principles to any utility buff. For example, the presence of a class with Heroism / Bloodlust / Time Warp, or Power Word: Fortitude, or Blessing of Kings (or equivalent hunter pet's ability) will add value also, in different quantums.

Squishalot said...

Additional note: In your Lord Rhyolith scenario, with 10% success rate with 1 combat res, the math suggests that you would have 67% success chance with 4 combat res characters. Even 2 combat res characters would more than double your chance to 26%. Go start druid/DK stacking, and increase your time/cost returns!

Tuzvihar said...

I remember the good old times, where even OOC ressurection was possible, started Garr with 40 people, and during the combat the max number of dead people were around 30 at the same time, but thanks to the 3 OOC rezzers, when Garr died, all 40 were alive. :)

Anonymous said...

Yip, he was impossible for my fixed alt group last week as well. Has nothing to do with combat resses when the exact same 10 people can't repeat the kill after 2 hours.

Anonymous said...

Yes some call it luck ...

Is it luck that in 1 try the void zones only target the skilled players, who can easily ran out of them?

Yes of course it's luck. But if you have 10 or 25 players who can run out of the void zone, you dont need luck.

Are you unlucky to get stunned while you are standing in the void zone? Sure. But if you are a mage, you could blink out of the stun and void zone.

What i m trying to say. Luck is a huge factor! But it's the raidgroup that defines how much luck you need for a kill.

You will notice as a raidleader, that most of the time the same players are unlucky. That doesnt mean that the other lucky people wernt in the same "unlucky situation", but they were skilled enough to avoid death.

I.E. a skilled mage would use blink. A less skilled mage would die and say that he got hit by both abilities and had no chance!

Most fights have random components and most classes have cooldowns to even survive the worst case situations (if played correctly). A battle rez is just another cooldown to survive (as a raid) worst case situations.

Conclution: Having a battle rez is always better, that not having the option.

If you have no battle rez, this means, that you need more skill on every player, that they use there own cooldowns. Or that you are lucky ;)

FYI: We killed him 1. try, without 1 death. Battlerez isnt mandatory.

Grim said...

You haven't been raiding for a while have you?

10man is limited to 1 CR per combat (not sure if shaman self res is exempt). Warlocks can cast Soulstone on dead people.

Anonymous said...

Lazei of Paragon wrote a nice blog entry about luck and the RNG:

About Rhyolith:
I would not call it luck dependent. Rather that people have to get used to the mechanics and the "flow" of the encounter. We one-shot him last week, but it took us 5 tries this week. Sure vulcano spawn can affect the difficulty, but the real problem is if the players make mistake (especially the driver(s)).

Sure battle rez is useful to have, but you can also 9-man the encounter

Squishalot said...

@ Grim - No, I haven't (as I've indicated multiple times before in comments, I play solely as a casual, and haven't even stepped foot into any Cata raids, not even BH), so I apologise if I inferred incorrectly. The same note then applies (up to 3 times) for 25-man then.

Strutt said...

Maybe not luck but RNG. pretty much same diffrenece

Garothar said...

When you say "unlucky one", how exactly did the person die? I can't really recall any luckbased elements of this spesific encounter, unless of course it was caused by a disconnect.

Trelocke said...

Shaman self-rez does not count, just fyi. I tried to find the quote from Blizz and was unsuccessful but I remember reading something somewhere that said part of the reason for giving more classes the ability to brez is they are designing their encounters with having to use this mechanic in mind.

This is not to say that people *should* be dying, only that Blizzard is creating encounters where things *can* kill players through very little fault of their own.

Anonymous said...

"However if we have a combat res, we have the kill if zero or one fail events happen."

This is not correct.

Some fail events result in the immediate death of exactly one raid member, but some do not. A fail event can also result in multiple deaths (such allowing a bomb to blow up among the healers), and it can also not result in any immediate deaths (such as failing to cleanse a debuff which puts more strain on the healers and increases the odds of a subsequent fail causing a wipe). Neither of these situations will be helped by a single combat rez.

Additionally, a combat rez is not an instant reset to how things were before the fail event. The rezzer has to shift attention off of his actual job for a few seconds, and the rezzee will be missing health, mana, buffs, etc. in some fights, being out of position may also be an issue.

Finally, there is the potential for an opportunity cost resulting from not bringing the person the combat rezzer replaced. Their buffs, their skill, whatever - this will be highly situational.

What you have here is a theoretical maximum benefit. Sometimes you will approach this, sometimes there will be no benefit at all. It will depend on a number of factors, primarily the nature of the fight. Would I like to have a combat rez available on every fight? Absolutely. But there's no way I'd blindly let an imperfect equation take precedence over my own intelligence in putting together a raid comp.

Vixsin said...

Remember Gevlon, that a combat res does not have a constant effect on the probability of a wipe because some failures are not recoverable. Thus the impact of a combat res is only on that segment of the failures which can be recovered from. Using your example, a combat res would not mitigate the effect of one overzealous DPS turning Rhyolith into the lava, but it would mitigate the impact of one person standing in a fissure line.

As to the whole concept of "luck" being a viable source of failure ... while there is "luck" (RNG) in some encounter characteristics or mechanics, it is your failure to appropriately plan or respond to that event, not the event itself, that results in a wipe. If the player had no control over the outcome of the event, then I would concede that a PVE encounter was luck-based. But since that has never been the case for any encounter--suck it up folks, your failures are of your own making.

Anonymous said...

Well, personally I think about it this way: A person has x% chance of being able to make the correct move to handle a specific mechanic. Some players push it to 99%, maybe even a hundred, but the vast majority of players occasionally fail even if they manage to do it most of the time. Maybe it's because they have very slow reaction time and a lack spike pushes them beyond the point of being able to react, maybe they have bad awareness and they are only looking their character 50% of the time, maybe it's some other reason.

Yes, if we assume perfect play, there is no luck element, but for me it appears that most players can't ever achieve such level of play, no matter how much they might practice. Even if it's not truly random, it's "random" for most practical purposes, especially when you take into account that some players are almost guaranteed to fail while others are not, and most boss abilities tend to be randomly targetted.

With that said, "RNG killed me" is a bad mindset. Even if you completely untalented and have 5s reaction time, blaming your failure on "luck" certainly doesn't help you at improving it at least a bit.

Anonymous said...

First of all let us call the ability "combat res(urection)", "battle res(urection)", "CR", or "BR"; not "combat rezz". That is unnecessary leetspeak.

I believe the ability of having a combat res available makes some people lazy, inattentive, and slack. They believe they will be resurrected when they fail. If you have such a person in your group, do not (combat) res them. Let them run in, and be sure to reprimand them. Combat res available or not! It is a last resort ability.

"Additionally, a combat rez is not an instant reset to how things were before the fail event. The rezzer has to shift attention off of his actual job for a few seconds, and the rezzee will be missing health, mana, buffs, etc. in some fights, being out of position may also be an issue."

This is a fair point.

A druid's rebirth, when glyphed, will however bring someone up with full health. This in contrast to shaman's self res, DK raise ally, and warlock's soulstone.

There are addons which help you spam raid chat with your missing buffs such as "BuffEnough".

"If the player had no control over the outcome of the event, then I would concede that a PVE encounter was luck-based. But since that has never been the case for any encounter--suck it up folks, your failures are of your own making."

Tunnelvision theory.

As I gave example in other thread about LK HC. If the Valks picked up the wrong persons it was a wipe. If the wrong person gets a trap on Shannox and is frozen it is a wipe. Now say the person who is able to do 30k crit is frozen. What then? Say you have 8 people who can run out of the trap in time, and 2 cannot. From raid perspective isn't it entirely luck who gets the trap and who does not? After all, the numbers are out of your control. Same with the volcano. If 2 land right behind Rhyolith it is a wipe. The only logic conclusion can be that luck + skill = win. The luck that the right person gets the debuff, that not 2 volcanos land behind him, that not 2 healers get caught by Valks. The skill is to furthermore use your gear and class potential to defeat the encounter yet if you are unlucky with RNG you never get to win. You cannot ignore RNG and say it was merely skill since others with less skill than you were more lucky and got the boss down. It was not their skill which got the boss down; it was their luck/RNG.

Likewise, if you do BH25 it takes skill to be the only warlock (on my realm, warlock and rogue are not popular classes in BH). You can start your own group to achieve that, you can join as one of the last people knowing you are only person with that class (the mages and lolplate will make up for you) or if you do invite a warlock you only invite those who already have the gear you need. Does that mean all the warlock gear is yours? No. You cannot be sure tier pieces for warlock will drop. It is entirely RNG. If it does not drop for you, you used skill to get the gear, but you were unlucky. There is nobody to blame here, including yourself.

That said, attributing failure to lack of luck is _individually_ often abused as a lack of skill even though from group point of view it can be correct. If you take my Shannox example, the group is unlucky the stoned drunkard got the trap on 'em. The individual was not since he was doomed to fail.

Péter Zoltán said...

You better bring 2+ CR for obvious reasons: if there is only one, he can't CR himself :)
CR is extremely important. Before 4.1 only druids had it and guess what, we had not a single druid on our 10m roster. We lost a server first Atra HC and several ranks on other hc encounters because of this.
CR also has a little negative effect of making your raiders feel a bit less repsonsive for themselves.