Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nine! Nine! Nine! Nine! Nine!

Let's say that there are 100 dance moves in a fight. That's not too many, barely more than 1/minute/player. How effective the players must be to have 1% chance to kill the boss? Repeat, to have mere 1% chance. X^100 = 0.01, so X = 0.01^0.01 = 0.955. Yes, that's 95.5%. You must be that good to kill the boss once in 100 tries.

How about 10% chance what practically means a "kill today": 97.7%. And how good you have to be to farm the boss, having 90% kill chance? 99.9% How about hard mode, having 1000 dance steps? 99.5% for 1% kill, 99.8% for 10% and 99.99% for farming. That's lot of nines.

Want more nines? Same boss, 10 players, 10 steps they must all make. They have a "newbie" who is "just" 90% good. That's 98.6% for a 10% kill and 99.9% to have 33% chance to kill. Higher kill chance with that "noob" is impossible. It means that any raid that doesn't have a strict fixed roster will wipe insane amount until the core players are above 99% so they have a chance to "boost" the new player who obviously can't be above 95% after a few tries.

This system also destroys the feeling of progression. Your increase of skill from 0 to 95% is totally invisible, you see nothing but wipes with no visible sign of improvement (without charts or simulation software). But there is more: failing in something "epic" isn't that bad. The guy who stand up to a much stronger opponent and loses in a fair fight still commands respect. Someone who fails in something trivial is an idiot. Something that you can do with 95% chance is by definition trivial. I mean, how hard is it to stand in that big swirling shadow thing? And looking at your HP bar before doing so? An 8 years old could do it. Yet we desperately fail to do so. I mean we do it right most times, and fail only very rarely. But very rare is enough. And when we do so, when I do so, I clearly feel an idiot and not a hero who lost to a dragon.

So the dance fights:
  • Require 95+% performance.
  • Do not signal progress below this percentage.
  • Makes it impossible to carry a single "noob" who is "just" 80% good. Having a new player in the raid means wipefest until he reaches at least to 90%
  • Makes you feel an idiot when you fail (and you must fail as without wipes the content would be over in a week)
We must get rid of the damn thing already. Tomorrow I'll tell who is responsible for this terrible design. You'll be surprised.


Foo said...

I recieved 'grief' for taking an extra healer during learning phases, and concentrating on dancing over DPS.

However, it had results. We downed Shannox pre-nerf with 10k dps, and seconds on the enrage timer.

Newbies are given the least challenging role, and I pre-pick harder roles.

On normal mode, only a very few individual missteps are critical; the majority of them just increase difficulty for everyone else.

Carson 63000 said...

Your calculations assume that a single failure by a single player = guaranteed wipe and failure of that attempt.

That's not strictly true, though, is it?

Often a dance failure = player dead, and a battle rez being needed. Maybe. Maybe it's a dead DPS and you can press on because it's late in the fight and current DPS is well ahead of any enrage timer.

One of my most memorable first kills was Sarth+3D back in 3.0. Brutal fight. But I completely noobed it up, got killed by a lava wave, and spent probably five minutes of the fight dead and watching the other guys beat it. Granted that was 25-man not 10-man so there was more potential to win even with a dead healer!

Sum said...

We must be playing a different game.

There is no normal mode fight where people have to be "95 %" perfect or the raid will wipe. The normal modes generally allow a lot of room for mistakes?! Take the Ship fight, you don't even have to stand in any of the little circles and you still beat it as long as you have sufficient dps to nuke down the adds. Big circles you have to be in but 1-2 raid members can fail on that it still won't be a wipe.

Even on Madness, if one person forgets to move away from the meteor or use the dream on shrapnel, there is still combat rez.

Hardmode bosses typically do not have 10 times more "dance steps" than normal mode. they have additional mechanics yes, but the biggest problem is usually the tight tuning that does not allow individual fails the way normal modes do.

Anonymous said...

sorry, just checking your math:

your perfectly right, that with a skill of 95.5% skill, you have a chance of 1% to get ervery dance right in one try.

But to not kill the boss in 100 tries, every try has to fail, which makes the probability (1-0.01)^100, which is 36%, and not the 1% chance top kill the boss ...

Kredon said...

You should add one significant assumption to you caluculations, otherwise the statement is incomplete:
- Failing at one single dance-step means a wipe.

At least in normal modes in most cases that is not given. Nevertheless, I like the approach of expressing the raid-success in terms of such precentages..

Anonymous said...

Though I agree with you, the proof needs to be refined with weights regarding some crucial roles during the dance and some less crucial roles (people who will die during the encounter and will not wipe the raid)

Mick said...

These numbers only apply to fights where 1 person failing 1 check = wipe, which have thankfully always been fairly few and far between (Archimonde holds a special place in my heart!). I know that there are a few more fights these days where this is the case, but they are still the exception, not the rule. I think dance failures, or "reaction speed failures" as they should really be called, are much more effective when they result in a decrease in raid performance as opposed to outright death (i.e. if a person fails they soak up healer mana/output instead of instantly failing the encounter). I think part of the problem is now that the raid focus for most people is on 10 man, insta-deaths become far more noticeable than they were in 40 & 25 man raiding. I remember our first Chromaggus kill way back in the day had almost half the raid dead from people failing to LOS breaths, but we still pulled through as enough of the correct people lived (i.e. the healers & tanks). These days there aren't really many fights where you could do the last quarter of a fight with only 5 people instead of 10.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous with math: wrong. If you have 1% chance to kill, the expectation value of tries needed to kill is 100. It is true that you have 36% chance to not kill within 100 tries. But you also have a non-zero chance to not kill in a million tries. The long tail has large weight.

@commenters with the "fail in dance is not wipe": yes it is. Your comment is true with "fail in dance of one guy if everyone else is awesome is not wipe" is true. For example you can survive people not standing in the big swirl of warmaster if those standing in it has topped HP (which is unlikely since healers were spending the last seconds running to the swrirl). Also you can have combat res (if you have resser class who is not on CD and not a DK tank tanking) where you get an unbuffed, 0 mana player back who will probably die again in the second he presses accept.

Tuzvihar said...

Gevlon, I think your math is wrong. You have to consider the 'chance to not kill' the boss also, and the floor below which it is a guaranted wipe. You can be last man standing with 1 HP and the boss being dead, or you can have 10 man on 100% HPwithout a single failure and anything between that. I guess 80-90% should be the floor based on my personal experiences. Our guild managed to kill Morchok HC with 9 people, one shaman dying to a stomp, CR, dying again. That means 1 out of 10 was not contributing a lot to the fight overall, so a 90% performance floor should be reasonable.

Tuzvihar said...

Add to the previous please: Your math is right for the 'Heigan dance' acheivment.

Morterion said...

So, it seems that you need to
1) Fail at running into the swirling thing.
2) Fail at healing (it IS possible to have raid on full HP).
3) Fail at using defesnive cooldowns.
4) Fail at activating BR (AoE damage is predictable, usually).
5) Fail at healing after BR (when I play paladin, I try to give strong instant heal after BR, LoH, for example).
4a) Fail at mana regeneration (not using Innervate, Mana Tide, Plea+autoattack, Hymns, Mana potions, Arcane Torrent after you got BRed).
4b) Fail at tanking as Blood DK (never had any problems with using BR on my Blood DK).
4c) Fail at raid composition (no BR at all).

And raid must fail 1-4 alltogether. Not so trivial.

Anonymous said...

Can we agree on definition of dance boss once and for all? Because i can't figure out for the love of me what exactly "dance" is.

Anonymous said...

Because of this math, fights like LK HM or Ragnaros HM were so difficult.
But for your current target content this is just wrong.

There arnt many fights, where a failure means wipe.
Missing a void zone? Wipe? No, its only 100k dmg, healer can compensate. 10 Player missing a voidzone -> to much dmg -> wipe.

Its not about doing 1 failure in a fight and wiping because of it.
There is so much more about raiding and if you dont understand that, you have to learn so much more.
Mostly every failure can be recovered. It just depends on player decision:

Beth: Tank went up, but dps took the 2. web, so there is no healer: Healer has to say it in Voice Chat, Tank uses CD's, bottom focuses on getting 3. web asap. (happend to us in hm several times and was often NO wipe).
nefarian: 1 person missed his platform and went on an other: Told the healer to hand interupt, shadow priest to swim to the other platform, also wait for the next electrocut

Main tank died: Off tank taunts -> cd's, battle rez.

There are Cooldowns in a game for a good reason. You always have a battle rez, which means that you can recover a major fail!
You have dps CD, for killing an add faster, so you dont get overrun.
Healer have cd's like divine guardian.

Do you know what the difference is between a good player and a very good player? Both of the do failures, but the very good player, know's how to recover.
Pala bubble, Ice Block, need more examples?

Also a good raidleader can increase the chance of recovery with fast comands, in those situations. Understand the fight, understand the tactic and know what happens if 1 player is dead / CCed / disconnected. Is it only a dps thats nuking on the boss? Is he handling adds and someone else has to cover. Is it a tankhealer, should the tank uses cd's? Raidhealer -> raid cd's.
Is it the person that needs to hit the gong for atramedes? Do it yourself or assign someone else.

In some situation, you only have a few seconds to do the right things, to recover. This is what player skill / raid leader skill means. Compensate you own or other failures.

If you really think, that everyone has to carry his own weight and shouldnt help other's, you will underperform.

Also your previous performance and current performance show's that most commenter's have better knowledge about raiding.

chewy said...

Since you chose not to publish my previous comment I'll try a re-phrase.(I know, I know, your blog, your rules).

I contest the fact that there are 100 dance steps. Unless you mean there are 10 dance steps to be repeated 10 times, I'm not sure.

I would suggest that there are 10 dance steps but because that doesn't make the maths work in your favour you've chosen 100.

Choosing the number of steps randomly and stating it at the start of argument is a very good debating technique but it doesn't make it true.

Anonymous said...

Strictly speaking this assumes the 100 dance moves are independent in the sense that the chance of failing one is independent of whether you fail any of the others. I don't think that's really true - if you know that you should do X the first time the boss does Y, then you also know it the second time.

Also I would add that most of the dance stuff is really pretty binary - you either don't know how to do it and will always fail, or you know how to do it and will almost always succeed. So it's not like your chance of succeeding step X scales linearly with your practice on it - I think it's more likely that you can probably reach 98% on a step by reading up on the fight and watching a video, reach 99.5% by trying the moves a few times and from then on progress very slowly.

So it'd probably be more fair to say that each raider has 1-4 types of dance moves, that you start out at 0%, progress to at the very least 95% by being told what to do (95% is not really a lot - if I tell you what to do and show you a video of doing it, and the skills involved aren't complex, I'd be surprised to see even than 1/20 failing it - 1/50 is a better estimate, I think.), and also you should add in that a single fail does not necessarily equal a wipe, that different dance moves have different impact on success chance and so on. The easiest way of doing these calculations is really by doing a simulation - if you don't want to do it, just post the data for some specific fight and I'll do it for you.

Tazar said...

Gevlon in my opinion you are just constantly running into a no voice chat problems. Even small mistake can be easily compensated with voice chat but without it everyone had to exactly know the same tactics and actually you can't compensate for mistakes easily.

Currently we do not have 10 people for raids so I'm often forced to take people from trade. Even when I take someone from better progressed guild or someone who have the knowledge about encounter we sometime do some things little bit different. Those differences are noticed during encounter and are easily handled using team speak where I can just ask them to do B instead of A. No wipe needed.

Riptor said...

@ Anonymous dance: Me neither.

I am starting to think that dance = movment.

@Gevlon: could you clarify this form me? Do you concider Encounters with reactionary movement (non forseeable events like Shadow Crashes, Fire, Meteors, Adds, etc) to be dance?

nehunter said...

Your math is wrong: it assumes that every mistake leads to a wipe.

In some fight there are vital roles and moments were a mistake leads directly to wipe.

Redo the math and take only those into consideration.

A single lava-wall hugger can be caried eventually at ragnaros.

Camo said...

"This is what player skill / raid leader skill means. Compensate you own or other failures.

If you really think, that everyone has to carry his own weight and shouldnt help other's, you will underperform.

Also your previous performance and current performance show's that most commenter's have better knowledge about raiding."

I think everyone should pull his weight.
If someone doesn't replace him.
No one has to 'help' (carry) those that are unwilling to perform. If they are unable perform they have to check their goals.
You may perform better if you have someone that compensates the failures, but what is the price?

Other commentators may perform better, but what do they use?
Voice chat? Fixed group? 'Helping'raidleader ?

Gevlon said...

@"How many dance steps" people: The same thing in 100 times are 100 steps. For example 50 beams on Morchok is 50 steps.

@"what is dance" people: dance step is an arbitrary boss-specific move that you must perform in a small timeframe or fail the encounter, typically die likely cause a wipe. You can't prepare for the dance step in any other encounter and it is not related to an overall WoW-knowledge, or even worse, specifically designed to be counter-intuitive (like stand in the bad shadow at Warmaster).

Bancinja said...

Anonymous with CD-s:
In theory, there are plenty of available cooldowns which can be used to overcome some fails. In practice, if one is attempting non-trivial boss, usage of them is almost pre-set. For restoration druid cooldown example, in Madness of Deathwing, 1-st platform could be Tree of Life, 2-nd - Tranquillity, 3-rd - again ToL and Tranquillity, 4-th - again ToL Tranquillity. Timings might be slightly off though.

Anonymous said...

"I think dance failures, or "reaction speed failures" as they should really be called, are much more effective when they result in a decrease in raid performance as opposed to outright death (i.e. if a person fails they soak up healer mana/output instead of instantly failing the encounter)."

We had that in ICC, and you can also notice it in post-nerf normal raids. The result: the healers get blamed for every death which occurs no matter how much the player who died could've circumvented damage. Dance or not, as a healer I rather see someone who fails immediately die. He won't fail again next time because he will look into why he died and how he can avoid that next time. If he just gets some (or a lot) damage he probably won't notice, care, or think it is normal. Case in point: in LFR you see the same people over and over again taking damage on Ultraxion Heroic Will mechanism. If I'd be the healer I'd drain my mana keeping these morons up. They're much better off dead since then they may notice they do the fight wrong. In this regard, LFR does allow you to teach the mechanics but it does not force you to. In contrast, if you run out with Valiona & Theralion debuff and then get dispelled (or more fun: a healer immediately dispells themselves and dies) then it is a one-shot, and crystal clear who failed.

The instant death after combat res issue is an issue on lootship when the resser accepts the res on a wrong moment. The person who gets ressed should accept only on a safe moment, and should learn when there is such a safe moment. It is also possible to glyph res spells like Rebirth so they give full health. These glyphs are viable for every classes/roles which can combat res.

More important than all of the above is what exactly is a dance fight? What is the definition of this? What exactly are dance movements? Because moving out of the charge is same as moving out of fire as far as I am concerned. Sometimes it is a bit hard to see. Shockwave, same. Then you have one more moving out of fire (drake), slow/stun (sapper), and some move into fire. Both of those are easy to see.

Riptor said...

but these mechanics were always present in WoW. Even Encounters in Karazhan had such Dance. Sure, many Mechancis were repeated but i think that was rather due to limitations in Bandwith/CPUs of that time.
Anyway, as you describe it, its just normal Bossfights:
- Don't stand in X, don't get hit by Y
- Stack raid/camp in Z
- Boss might do A, to counter that, everyone do B...

This actually just sounds like raiding to me and not some horribly broken mechanic.
Also, after wotlk was so easy, how else should raiding have been made more challinging? just up the DPS/HPS requirements? that would even cause a greater outcry as everybody above the reuirements would rofelstompf through every new patch and those below would have to wait for a nerf to kill the first boss.
The most challangeing Bossfights in previous expansions were alwasy those where everybody had to watch out for Bossmechanics and you could not just assign your trusted few Players to them (interrups, kiteing, aeo tanking, etc). If Blizzard carried the Mechanics that made C'Thun, Kael'Thas, Mimiron hc, Yogg +0 (all prenerf and this list is by far not complete) such great Raid ecounters over to Cataclysm you should consider yourself lucky.
You now get to see and play tuned down Versions of Bossmechanics that before could onyl be enjoyed by the hc raiders. I will take some time and watch some Videos of these Encounters you talk about, but I think you are now actually "raiding" and not just collecting shinys from glorified trashmobs...

Antivyris said...

I think quite a few of you are missing the whole picture here.

Take a second, step outside your role, and look elsewhere. A good example of a 'classic' raid fight would be Ultraxion for healers. A good example for Tanks would be Zanozz, and a good example for DPS would be Yorshaj.

Do they have movment mechanics? Of course. Typically, you could tell a raiding guild from a non-raiding guild because when you need to collapse, a raiding guild actually all stacks up almost withing a single 3 yard circle. When a non-raiding guild 'collapses', it's almost 10 yards. I believe all of us saw this from time to time on Chimaeron.

Another example since everyone likes to equate what a dance boss is is Heigan. Also, i'd say Thaddeus was as well. But how about Four Horseman? Four Horseman had tons of mechanics more than Heigan, yet, you never heard of it as a dance fight. That's because it wasn't. You had to pre-plan who whent wher, which order to DPS in, and how to spread around bosses. However, like someone above said, if you messed up something, you rarely died. You would probably end up failing, but you wouldn't outright die.

This is the difference between 'dance' and 'standard'. Dance, if you fail a mechanic you now have to make up for 12.5% lost DPS. However, in a skill/gear based fight, instead of the failee going to 0% dps (or dead dps), he drops to perhaps 50%. Then, you only have a 6.25 deficit to overcome, meaning tanks need to push out approximately 0.44% more and DPS 0.89% more. This truly follows the 'bring the player' mentality. The die-on-fail system punishes you for not bringing a twitch-gamer.

I believe we all have been in fights where it would be a kill if X player didn't die and just put out 50% dps.

If you look, this is kind of how the raid finder works. There is a massive disparity in the DPS meters, but since few mechanics kill people, the top performers can make up for the bottom. This is how it should work, and I believe this is why you miht still see good raidiers in LFR for a long time to come, because socials love being the hero with the extra DPS that helped the dps-challeneged of LFR down that boss.

Anonymous said...

The worst thing about wiping due to failed dance is when someone else fails to a dance step that is trivial to yourself.

I wager that tomorrows post puts the blame of WoW shifting from gearcheck to dancecheck raids on BC hardcore raiders. They were fed up with running old content to gear up newcomers to the latest raid. That led to "welfare epics" AND dance to let people raid who didn't even deck out completely in welfare epics. It should have been 17/17 items from current 5man giving the necessary power to complete the current raid.

Anonymous said...

Would dance mechanics be more appropriate in a tier above hardmodes? Heroics currently point out a lot of these mechanics (ground stomping boss in Stonecore now displays a "move out of me" ring on the floor, etc.) -- and these are supposed to be a step above normal. Most games with progressive difficulty require you to "dance" with increasingly greater skill with less room for error, and in a multi-player setting this goes for everyone. How about this: LFR/easymode would essentially replace DBM, normal would remove some of the warning messages, heroics remove the "move out of me" rings on the floor and increase the damage penalty for not obeying the mechanics (not 1shotting unless gear is crap), and "Champion" mode (tier above heroics/hardmodes) enforces full 1shotting dance mechanics with corresponding achievements and higher ilevel gear.

chewy said...

Oscella - I hope your definition of the dance is what Gevlon means because it's the most concise definition that I've yet seen.

"A dance fight - A fight which includes a dance mechanic"

"A dance mechanic - A random mechanic that kills a player immediately if they don't react quickly enough in a specific but limited way"

Do I paraphrase correctly ?

Gevlon is this what you mean by a dance ?

Anonymous said...

I would also like to read about the alternatives of dance.

What other ways are there to increase the complexity of fights?

Maarten said...

I'm with Riptor here. I'm not sure about Vanilla, but in BC's Zul'Aman there were many bosses where certain movements were necessary. I actually described those raids to non-WoW players as "dances". I enjoyed them too, as it added an additional challenge.

Karazhan had the opera, Netherspite
and Prince.
SSC had Leotheras the Blind and Lady Vashj (also a favorite of mine)
Need I go on?

Péter Zoltán said...

This model is true for hardmodes. At least it was true for T11 hards before nerfs. I cannot really comment more recent content.
At some bosses (like hc Alakir) even 1 fail was a sure wipe, some other places you could go as far as 2-3 fails, but almost never more.
When talking about fails I talk about minor thing like interrupt aoe spell late on Maloriak. People die -> wipe. Or even if they don't die, healer mana will be so strained you will wipe 2 mins later due to hard oom. Stuff like that happened way too many times and this slowly kills the fun.

Azuriel said...

It means that any raid that doesn't have a strict fixed roster will wipe insane amount until the core players are above 99% so they have a chance to "boost" the new player who obviously can't be above 95% after a few tries.

Two things.

1) Has it occurred to you that Blizzard does not particularly care about supporting non-fixed roster guilds (with LFR up and running)? After all, the majority of your dance objections go away if you group with people of similar skill levels, e.g. people that improve at the same pace.

2) The "99% competency" bit is honestly a Red Herring here. All 100 of those dance moves could be "don't stand in the fire." While I accept your math that all 10 people have to be 95.5% effective to get a kill in a hundred tries or whatever, none of those numbers has any bearing whatsoever on how difficult it is to achieve said effectiveness.

In other words, it is fairly trivial to go from 90% effectiveness at not standing in fire to 99.9% - people fail, no doubt, but it's only a matter of reducing tunnel vision. Pushing a button at the same time as 5 other guys on opposite ends of the room would be much, much more difficult to improve upon.

Honestly, the way you are presenting your numbers makes it seem like walking across the room without tripping and snapping your neck seem like a massive accomplishment, despite billions of people doing so every day. How difficult it is to go from 95.5% --> to 99.99% is the only thing that matters, not that 99.99% is required.

Ephemeron said...

@"what is dance" people: dance step is an arbitrary boss-specific move that you must perform in a small timeframe or fail the encounter, typically die likely cause a wipe. You can't prepare for the dance step in any other encounter and it is not related to an overall WoW-knowledge, or even worse, specifically designed to be counter-intuitive (like stand in the bad shadow at Warmaster).

By this definition, Ultraxion is a dance fight. Players need to click/press Heroic Will within a small timeframe to avoid dying and wiping, you can't prepare for this arbitrary mechanic in any other encounter, and it's not related to overall WoW knowledge.

Furthermore, between Hours of Twilight and Fading Lights, this fight incorporates more than 100 "dance moves" in total. And yet you praised Ultraxion as the best fight in Cataclysm content, and beaten it in less than 100 tries. Why?

As for Blackhorn's "swirly things", they're hardly the first ever source of damage that is split between all targets hit. There are quite a few options for practicing the raid's collapsing skills, from Valiona/Theralion to AQ20 Anubisaths.

Bristal said...

IMO a dance is something you have to know to do before doing it. Moving out of fire is intuitive. Killing the most threatening mob is intuitive. Even target switching and using objects for buffs can be intuitive.

But killing just THAT mob so we can spawn another mob that can't be killed until 9 stacks of a buff given by another damn mob so it will explode and expose another mob blah blah blah...that's a dance.

Anonymous said...


Remember the golden times when taunt had a 5y range?

You could spot the noob whe he ran away from the mobs, thus, away from the tank.

- How intuitive is to run towards the danger? Not a lot.

- RL example: Most ppl cringe and step back from danger, 90% more effective is usually to step sideways... Any combat training 1-0-1 also counter instinct/intuitive.

I think all your argument is about performance and willingness to fail in order to achiev a kill. I raided since wow started in Europe and MC, BWL, Gruul, Magtheridon, etc... all had specifcs, all had "do now or wipe" moments. the difference now is wow is made to play with ppl you don't know, don't want to talk to and will resent for talking to you.