Saturday, April 24, 2010

What Did You Say About My Gear, Again?

Tonight, I was running random heroics with Altoholic and TheTank's Rogue Alt. I was playing my second-priest, who is also my newest 80. For some background, this particular character has a wow-heroes gear score of 2035. (Wait, wait, this blog is called Gear Score: Zero! Well, yes, it is, but if I popped into heroics naked, it'd be a little inconsiderate of me, so I try!). Our final heroic of the night was Heroic Halls of Reflection.

Now, I don't mind H-HoR all that much. I was just a little surprised that my baby priest is a-okay to be let in, but my hunter gets carded at the door then told she's too young.

Today has been one long string of gear score related incidents after another. My protection paladin, with a gear score of 2,542 on wow-heroes's scale was, without a word, kicked out of two different raids. One was ICC10, and the other was ToC25. In both situations, wow-heroes states I'm adequate for the job. Apparently, according to today's raid leaders, you need a gear score of 3,000 to attempt ToC25. Not TotGC. ToC. Tell your friends.

So, what's the first thing I see when I zone into the Surprise H-HoR?

01:55:56 [PallyTank]: not with these heals
01:56:04 [PallyTank]: sry folks

Ah, yes. The gear score monster strikes again. We take a look at the paladin, and now I can tell you that she has a wow-heroes score of 2821, with 46K buffed health. After we take a moment to convince PallyTank to give it a shot with us, PallyTank popped a health flask and things got off to a start.

And so I healed.

Things went smoothly, at first. But then, things started to happen. Things like aggro issues. Altoholic and TheTank's Rogue Alt had to hold back for fear of peeling aggro off PallyTank. Meanwhile, our dear friend PallyTank allowed the healer (that's me!) to catch aggro like a bad cold. Multiple times. The ranged adds often went completely uncontrolled, and when called on her lack of adequate tanking, PallyTank of course blamed the DPS.

Something wrong in any group setting? Blame the DPS! Totally their fault, guys. Ttly.
Things finally managed to spiral out of control, and we wiped after the first boss.  Unfortunately, PallyTank didn't use a few key abilities when fighting undead - such as Holy Wrath, for instance. Ever. 

Our next wipe came on the Lich King escape event, near the end. PallyTank was graciously allowing the abombs to spew their green crap all over the party, and the Witch Doctors and other assorted variety of ad were allowed to facially rape my poor priest with little intervention.

Politely, we offered some advice from the seats of experience; key binding raid marks for ease of pointing out DPS targets, how to key bind said marks, utilizing class skills such as Holy Wrath to stun the undead, and the classic 'face the yucky bad thing away from the good guys'.

02:33:44 [Altoholic]: Just keybind your y key to skull.
02:33:57 [PallyTank]: I don't know how to do that stuff
Yet, we were a patient lot, and gave it another shot!

And wiped horribly as the tank failed at aggro and ad management once more. Finally fed up, I gave some sage advice born of years of experience at WoW:

02:41:54 [GearScoreZero]: Lr2Tank
Truer words were never spoken.
02:41:56 [Altoholic]: You... spewed shit on us.
02:42:05 [Altoholic]: I asked you to turn the fatties around for a reason.
02:42:08 [PallyTank]: LOOK AT YOUR WEAK ASS DPS
02:42:09 [TheTank's Rogue Alt]: i didnt have agro and died
02:42:13 [PallyTank]: YOUR WEAK ASS HEALS
02:42:15 [Altoholic]: We can't do more DPS.
 When the DPS can't put out more DPS, not out of inability, but rather because if they did they'd be getting sweet love made to their faces, there just might be a tanking problem

02:42:32 [PallyTank]: i CAN HEAL THIS EATING 
 It had to be done.
How exactly PallyTank could heal H-HoR eating with a ret offspec is probably a topic best left for another day. Suffice to say that within two minutes we had a new tank - a druid. Once we got around the initial fun of said druid accidentally falling off the ledge, then after the post-wipe run back the druid moving on to initiate the event without everyone yet inside, buffed, and mana'd up, we finally got a good, solid go at running like sissies from a slowly approaching and very pissy Lich King. 

And this, folks, is what happens when the tank doesn't suck.

The druid was better than the paladin in many ways, and it wasn't even gear related (though that was a minor bonus). No. He took the wipes with good humor, and accepted that he had made a mistake. He didn't try to blame anyone else. He didn't try to play victim. He took it like a man (bear? cow?) and moved on with his night. 
The attitude he displayed was really good, and for that, my hat goes off to him. Having the tank fall off the ledge in H-HoR honestly made my night after PallyTank's failtankery. Most epic wipe ever. (Except for that one time on Noth... Except nobody has ever wiped on Noth. Especially not us.)

Now, our dear fifth member, the third DPS, was a warlock. I can only imagine that this man must be a paragon of virtue unto himself. He was silent for most of the run, a trait I admire in pugs, but to be honest, I can't help but wonder if he was so quiet out of sheer terror that it would turn out all three of us also played warlocks and wanted to give him some more of our wonderful advice. (Worry not my friend! My warlock has been in her early 20's for three years.)

At the end, all I really have to say is: what did you say about my gear, again?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shadow Priests: Assessing Upgrades

 When I first began to play my priest, I knew nothing. Slowly, over time, I started to learn. One thing I learned is that gear selection involves a lot of numbers. Anyone who knows me knows that I dislike math. I heartily dislike math. Yet, oddly, when it comes to assessing shadow priest upgrades, I'm enthusiastic. I almost love the math. I'm not one to go off and discover and formulate, but I do know how to use the formulas that others have discovered and made, so that's what this post is about.

Simply put, I'll be explaining the process I personally use to assess my shadow priest's upgrades and gear choices. I imagine others use the same methods, but for people who's eyes cross as much as mine do when they encounter numbers, I'm hoping this post will prove useful. Many sites for spriests implement mathematics to show the value of a piece of gear. I'm writing to show folks how to understand this, and, furthermore, how to use it to their advantage.

According to (which is where ElitistJerks seems to get a bit of their spriest info) the following values are true:

Int = .22
Spir = .59
SP = 1
Hit = 1.88 (to cap)
Crit = .76
Haste = .98
Lightweave = 73
Black Magic = 66.64

You will notice that the numbers quoted on EJ do not perfectly match SP, but they're close.

Furthermore, again from, the hit cap is as follows:
* 289 hit is the cap with 6 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 315 hit before you can go to 5 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 341 hit before you can go to 4 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 368 hit before you can go to 3 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 394 hit before you can go to 2 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 420 hit before you can go to 1 point between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 446 hit before you can go to 0 points between Shadow Focus and Misery

And also, gem information from
Red gem slots:
Runed Cardinal Ruby - 23
Yellow gem slots:
Reckless Ametrine - 21.8
Blue gem slots: (if used for Metagem or using at least 6sp socketbonus)
Purified Dreadstone - 17.9 (needed to activate
Chaotic Skyflare Diamond:

9000*0.35*(209%/200%-100%) = 11000*0.35*0.045 = 173.25 dps = 83.25 PP
10.2 PP penalty for using two blue gems instead of red gems -> 70 + 21*0.76 = 85.96
Detailed math in old BRGA thread, look for "Math of CSD".

What does this mean?

Until a shadow priest achieves 289 (usually rounded to 290, as, if I recall correctly, it's more like 289.something), then hit rating is granted a total value of 1.88 vs spellpower.

To figure out the total value of an item, the multipliers quoted above are used.

How To Assess An Upgrade for a Shadow Priest

You have two options.
One: you can simply refer to the Best Raiding Gear for 3.3 thread on, or, a more personal approach, you can weigh the value of the items yourself, taking your gem, enchant, and need of hit rating into account.

As an example:

To decide which piece of gear is better, we will be using Strip of Remorse and Sash of Ancient Power. We will assume that each belt will be altered with an Eternal Belt Buckle and Runed Cardinal Ruby.

First, we can assess the value of the socket bonus available on Sash of Ancient Power. In this piece, we have two sockets. These sockets are Red and Blue. The socket bonus is +7 sp. The value for a red epic gem is 23 sp. The value for an epic sp/spir gem is 17.9. Therefore, 23 + 17.9 + 7 = 47.9. If we were to gem straight sp, we would have, instead: 23 + 23 = 46. As we see, it is slightly beneficial to meet the socket bonus.

This means that we will assume that Sash of Ancient Power will be socketed with 1x Purified Dreadstone and 2x Runed Cardinal Rubies

Strip of Remose will be socketed with 1x Runed Cardinal Rubies.

Now that we have decided the sockets, we can begin to truly assess each piece.

The stats we need to pay attention to are as follows:

Sash of Ancient Power:
+64 Intellect
3x Sockets (w/ Eternal Belt Buckle)
Socket Bonus: +7 Spell Power
Equip: Improves hit rating by 43
Equip: Improves haste rating by 49
Equip: Increases spell power by 81.

Strip of Remorse:
+68 Intellect
1x Sockets (w/ Eternal Belt Buckle)
Equip: Improves critical strike rating by 55
Equip: Improves haste rating by 62
Equip: Increases spell power by 105.

As many shadow priests know, once hit capped, spell power is the most valuable stat. However, there is a certain logical fallacy. If we were to compare the raw spell power of both belts, it would look like this:

Sash: 23 + 23 + 12 + + 7 + 81 =  146
Strip: 23 + 105 = 128

It appears that the Sash has an 18 sp advantage over the Strip.

But, assuming you're over hit cap, do you really need that 43 hit on the sash? How can you tell which stat it better when?

Let's figure it out.

Returning to the values and stats listed above, let's set up some simple math to answer our question.

First, we take the stats that we have values for, and put them together as an addition problem:

64 int  + 23sp Runed Cardinal Ruby + 23sp Runed Cardinal Ruby + 12sp Purified Dreadstone + 10 spir Purified Dreadstone + 7 sp socket bonus + 81 sp + 49 haste [+ 43 hit]

We keep the hit separated in [brackets] because we want to be able to easily see the value with and without +hit, as, after hit cap, hit is a 0 value stat.

68 int + 23 sp Runed Cardinal Ruby + 55 Crit + 62 Haste + 105 sp

Now let's go and add the multipliers in:

64(.22) int + 23sp Runed Cardinal Ruby + 23sp Runed Cardinal Ruby + 12sp Purified Dreadstone + 10(.59) spir Purified Dreadstone + 7 sp socket bonus + 81 sp + 49(.98) haste [+ 43(1.88) hit]

68(.22) int + 23 sp Runed Cardinal Ruby + 55(.76) Crit + 62(.98) Haste + 105 sp

Now, remove the labels to simplify our math:

Sash: 64(.22) + 23 + 23 + 12 + 10(.59) + 7 + 81 + 49(.98) [+ 43(1.88) hit]

Strip: 68(.22) + 23 + 55(.76) + 62(.98) + 105

Now that we're down to the numbers of it, some people's eyes might start crossing, but stick with me!  Let's work through each set and simplify the multiplication.

Sash: 14.08 + 23 + 23 + 12 + 5.9 + 7 + 81 + 48.2 [+80.84 hit]

Strip: 14.96 + 23 + 41.8 + 60.76 + 105

Now, we add all of that together to get our total values based on stat weight.

14.08 + 23 + 23 + 12 + 5.9 + 7 + 81 + 48.2 [+80.84 hit]
37.08 + 23 + 12 + 5.9 + 7 + 81 + 48.2
60.08 + 12 + 5.9 + 7 + 81 + 48.2
72.08 + 5.9 + 7 + 81 + 48.2
77.98 + 7 + 81 + 48.2
84.98 + 81 + 48.2
165.98 + 48.2
213.98 [ + 80.84 hit]
213.98 OR [294.82 w/hit]

14.96 + 23 + 41.8 + 60.76 + 105
37.96 + 41.8 + 60.76 + 105
79.76 + 60.76 + 105
140.52 + 105

From the math, we see that the overall value of Sash, without counting its hit, is 213.98. The value of Strip is 245.52. From this simple math, we have learned that the stats on the Strip are more valuable than the stats on the Sash.

However! If you are below hit cap, remember that hit is still valued at 1.88 vs sp. That means, if you are below hit cap to the point that you will need all of the hit off of the Sash, the sash is worth up to 294.82.

How to judge your hit needs!

Remember the hit cap numbers quoted above. To properly assess the value of an item you need hit from, be sure to calculate only for the +hit you will be using from the item. For example, if an item gives you 43 hit, but you only need 12 hit to be capped, only calculate the value of +12 hit. This will help you choose between multiple +hit pieces to find the best upgrade for you.

I hope that this post has proven useful to someone out there. :)

Gear Score: Zero

Gear Score: Zero - the lack of a gear score. Also known as naked. Though if we want to get technical about it, I'm sure a shirt or tabard would be fine!

So, what's going on here? I feel like talking, and if people feel like listening,  I'll be happy to have provided entertainment, if nothing else.

To get started, I'll tell a bit about myself!

My WoW experience began in March of 2007, when a friend talked me into giving the game a try, with the incentive that he'd pay for my monthly subscription fees for me, if I would play WoW with him. Since it was only a $20 loss if I didn't like it, I didn't have much to lose, so I bought it. A month later, I bought the expansion pack and by the third month, I had taken over paying for my account. As of November of 2009, I play on two accounts.Currently, I have seven characters at level 80, two of them being priests.

My interests in WoW vary from RP to raiding, pvp, and the auction house, so expect a dash of variety in my posts.

So, who am I? I am a 25 year old woman just finishing up my associates degree and turning my eye to the job market. I'm a firm believer that there's more girls out there playing WoW than people seem to think. I'm also a firm believer that there is no such thing as girls on the internet.

I play Horde, of course.

My main alt on WoW is a priest on the Twisting Nether server. I rolled him with intent to heal, but I leveled as Shadow, and by the time I reached level 70, I seemed to have become typecasted! I remained Shadow as I raided Kara, though I always kept my healing gear on-hand for off-spec healing. By the time I joined a guild which ran 25 mans, the typecasting continued, and I served as one of the guild's two shadow priests. With them, I earned my Hand of A'dal title, but in the last few weeks of Burning Crusade, I left the guild in favor of the RP guild I'm still in today.

In Wrath, I decided to finally make my main spec Holy. I raided Nax10 with my RP guild, and Ulduar10 and ToC10 with a raiding alliance. I earned my Rusted Proto with a rather epic save involving spending the last of my mana to Guardian Spirit the rogue and critting Vezax to death with my wand for the final achievement I needed.

Currently, I'm seeking a stable ICC10 man group and I am raiding ICC25 once a week.

On other fronts, I'm slowly plugging away at the Battlemaster achievements on my rogue, though ultimately, my goal is the 100,000 honor kills achievement.

I also aim to hit the gold cap someday.

So, why a blog? Blame Altoholic Anonymous.