Archive for January, 2010

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Do you have an ego? If so, keep reading! Would you like an ego? If so, keep reading!

This post is dedicated to us, the thinking, educated people. Pats on the back for everyone, we are all the best humans on earth. Go us.

In short, the Dunning-Kruger effect is thus: a cognitive bias in which “people who are unskilled… reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.”

Effectively, this is a strange behaviour where the incompetent do not realize their own incompetence, due to their incompetence. They never recognize they’re doing anything wrong, indeed they outright lack the ability to even reach such a conclusion. Thus, they think they’re doing fine, nay, fantastic, and as such develop a hugely inflated opinion of themselves.

The inverse of this is also true.

The competent do not realize their own competence, because they are competent. They see greater skill in others, recognize their own failures and mistakes, and thus try to improve. Inevitably they do improve, becoming much, much better than where they used to be.

But the competent (usually) never realize it. They get better, yes, but they still think themselves the abject incompetent failure they used to be. They still make mistakes, they still see others better than they.

The incompetent unskilled develop massively inflated opinions of their own ability, whereas the competent skilled vastly and consistently underestimate themselves.

Just read the wikipedia page already.

How many of you are nodding “that is so true”? I know I am.

How else do you explain the absolute failtastic cock buckets pulling 2k DPS in 245 gear espousing their supreme uberness?

How else do you explain how Tamarind who quite obviously is a fantastic healer continues to think himself largely incapable of healing a blade of grass through a light breeze?

Consider. Let’s say you wipe. Everyone is dead, the boss is not. Where does the blame get shifted?

Incompetent people will blame others. It’s not them defending themselves, or trying to shirk the blame, trying to deflect blame so their failure isn’t revealed in front of their peers. In actuality, they are incapable of even seeing their own failure. They can’t. They flat out cannot comprehend themselves failing in any way. It must be someone else who screwed up, because they didn’t make any mistakes.

These guys do not improve, because they don’t see that there is anything that needs to be improved.

Competent people will blame themselves. It’s not self loathing, or a martyr syndrome of any sort, they are simply capable of recognizing their own short comings. They know perfectly well they can fail, have failed, and will fail in the future. They second guess everything they’ve done, analyze their own performance and say “if only I did that, if only I did this.” They “logically” come to the conclusion that it was their own fault, that they failed and single handedly caused the wipe.

These guys stop, think and talk it over, try new strategies, do research online, doing everything within their power to improve.

To all of us competent players… cheers. We rule. Now if only we could get past that crippling self doubt thing, we’d be good to go.

I tell you, right here right now, that you are awesome. You are a skilled player capable of great things. “But I-” NO! SILENCE! You are awesome! “But there was that one time where I-” OF COURSE there was! You think skilled players never make mistakes? You think skilled means flawless? NO!  Skilled players make mistakes, always have and always will. What makes a skilled player skilled is that they learn from those mistakes, that they can even realize a mistake was even made.

WARNING: Critical levels of happy detected. Dumping joy to disc, loading QQ. Please stand by.

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Disclaimer: the solutions I offer were all thought of by me in the past few days. I do not claim any of them to be original ideas. Maybe I invented them, maybe I read a suggestion on some forum somewhere a year ago, maybe I just borrowed a mechanic from another class.

Problem: unpredictable and unreliable burst damage.

Generally speaking, when a class wishes to burst, they push a couple buttons which massively increases the damage they are capable of pumping out. A warrior pushes Bladestorm, a frost mage pushes icy veins, arcane mages push arcane power.

Fire does not have such an option. Fire has Combustion, which essentially creates guaranteed crits that crit harder than normal. This is going to become a common theme in the rest of the post here, the core problem here is too much RNG.

When a warrior pushes Bladestorm, he is dealing tons of damage immediately, possibly to multiple targets. When a frost mage pushes Ivy Veins, he is casting much faster, resulting in a huge increase to effective damage output. He can also use Deep Freeze and shatter combos. This is all immediate, on demand burst damage. (more…)

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My level 74 marksman hunter averages 1300 DPS on a target dummy in quest greens and with aspect of the viper active easily 60% of the time.

I have a guildie who’s warrior alt in absolute shit gear (and even the Bind to Account sword from WG) pulls 2200 DPS on heroic dungeon bosses.

I healed a HHoS once, starring a rogue in iLevel 200 epics (his offhand was a 187 blue) and he was drunkenly stumbling about with around 900 DPS. After killing the rock guy, there was a comment made about being stoned, and this fail rogue said “i’m stoned irl”.

So I said “That explains a lot”. He said “lol…”

Then his DPS immediately spiked to 2300 and stayed there for the rest of the instance.


The closest we’ve come to downing Anub’arak hard mode is 10%. We’ve wiped at that number repeatedly. It hurts so much, to come so close and yet still be so far. Oh well, soon we will have our T10 gear and steamroll over the poor guy. Probably for the best, to be perfectly honest. After a night of heroic Anub’arak, our poor healers are rendered catatonic on the floor, blood seeping from their ears as the infinite abyss of sub 30% health bars claw at their fragile hearts.

I can almost hear them weeping over the sound of my keyboard. A thousand lamentations of a thousand inadequate renews.


I got my 2piece for T10 finally. Took me long enough.

The effect from the 2piece bonus is called “Pushing the Limit”. An appropriate name, for I get to cast 1.5 second ABlasts with its effect up. Needless to say, it is an extremely good set piece. Shall I compare it to a woman?

She is a long lost lover, a lover I had been rudely separated from many many centuries ago. As fate would decree it, I was lost. Abandoned. An infinite sadness settled upon me, never had I felt such devastating loss. But I would not tire. I could not tire.

For her love, it burned brighter than four hundred billion suns, a beacon reaching out to me across the murky depths of the world, across the sea of black that calls itself the universe. For eons, I searched the world, searching endlessly for my lost love, in the desperate hope that one day… one day we would be reunited.

That day has come, and oh what a glorious dawn it is. See how the sun rises, its gentle light sweetly caressing her face. Tears stream down our faces, as we embrace for the first time in thousands of millenia. Part of me cannot believe that my search is over, that she is real.

This tiny, niggling seed of doubt is swiftly quashed by the warmth of her arms, the silkiness of her skin, the faint scent of cinnamon in her hair. Never have I felt such all encompassing joy. I am home, at last, after so long.

She softly whispers in my ear, her voice the most beautiful music I have heard since the dawn of time itself. She says…

“I have a sister, you know. And she’s open to the idea of a threesome.”

The siren call of 4piece T10 calls to me.

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Fire Questions Answered

In regards to the frag belt, as opposed to simply building the individual bombs.

If you want to use the cobalt bombs every minute instead of the belt every six, go right ahead. The belt is far cheaper in the long run, which is the only reason I consider it superior to using individual bombs.

I have not run into any situation where the six minute cooldown on the belt has hurt me. I simply do not use it more often than that. I have some individual cobalt frag bombs sitting in my engineering bag, but they have never been used. The belt has proven to be enough.

It’s also worth noting that the belt and grenades only partially share cooldowns. If you use a grenade, this puts both the grenade and belt on cooldown for one minute. If you use the belt, the belt is on cooldown for six minutes, but the grenades are only on cooldown for one minute.

I say, use both. Default to the belt if it’s up, if not, then use an individual frag. Best of both worlds and it will save you some cash. (more…)

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Dear Mr. Gnomeaggedon, Sir

I’ve had several pleas from the various far flung corners of the internet for help, regarding fire PvP. So without further ado, I will try my best to answer those questions.

First, gearing questions.

  • Ignore haste, crit and spellpower all the way

Haste is the best friend of frost and arcane PvP specs. Not so for fire! As a fire mage, the only spells with a cast time you will ever be casting are Polymorph and Scorch. Literally every other spell you ever use will be instant cast; you simply do not need to use haste for anything.

Instead, gear for crit. Your base PvP set has all crit, aim to get crit on every single piece you use. Buy the crit necklace, the crit cape, the crit rings, and so forth. If you end up with some haste from, say, your raiding weapons, that’s fine, just make sure your actual PvP gear is haste free.

Gem for spellpower and spell penetration. It might be tempting to gem for, say, crit, but don’t give in! Primarily you’ll want to gem Mysterious Dreadstones, and you’ll want to end up with around 120 spell penetration. This should nullify most of the resistances you meet in general PvP. Naturally, once you have enough spell penetration, fill everything else up with raw spellpower. (more…)

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Adapting Specs For Your Needs

A cookie cutter spec is not the end all, be all spec.

A cookie cutter spec is a base line spec that will serve you well in any situation. It is an unmodified car, the basic WoW UI with no addons. It will get the job done.

A cookie cutter spec, however, is not always the best spec.

A raiding fireball mage, for instance, does not take blastwave or dragon’s breath. But… what if that fireball mage raids 10-man and is the only non-healer ranged class in the raid? Suddenly those two talents become extremely good for the Deathbringer Saurfang fight, don’t they?

The cookie-cutter arcane spec, for instance, does not include Slow. But again, consider the Deathbringer example above. What if this mage doesn’t raid, but instead chain runs heroics? Slow is amazingly good in any kiting situation, whether that is due to a fight’s mechanic or tanks incompetence.

Sure, you could use frostbolt instead. You could very easily simply use a spell that takes around a second and a half to cast with a 20% weaker snare. Slow is better, of course, and will make the fight far easier, but it is still possible to be victorious without it. (more…)

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Talking About Forst Fro a Bit

As has been noted elsewhere, there is a macro that the warlocks discovered that can be a rather large boost to frost’s DPS.

I found a thread here, Lhivera talks about it here, and krizzlybear goes into great detail here.

The jist of this whole crazy thing is that you macro your water elemental’s attack (/use waterbolt) into your frostbolt. This forces the elemental to cast more often than it otherwise would. It is always a DPS increase to do this, though the increase itself can vary greatly.

It is very important you do not macro /petattack! If you macro that, it will constantly interrupt your elemental’s cast. Putting in /use waterbolt simply forces it to cast all the time, which it doesn’t do by default. For some reason. I don’t know why the elemental suffers from latency. This seems very odd to me.

I cannot imagine this being intentional. It feels like some inscrutable issue with the pet AI that some poor newbie programmer is going to spend weeks smashing his head into. Good luck, newbie programmer. Bring redbull.

I do not expect this issue to be fixed for quite some time, even the great “will fix every issue in the game ever” Cataclysm probably won’t fix this. In any case, frost needs every DPS boost it can get, so even if it is technically broken, a DPS boost is still a DPS boost. (more…)

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Ten wipes on Putricide, no kill. Damn it all!

We came so damn close, too. As in “thirty thousand health remaining” close. Only two tanks and one healer were alive at that point though, and all of them died in about two seconds. Gah.

Our raid composition:

Protection warrior, main tank. Protection paladin, abomination jockey and off tank for phase three. Discipline priest and holy paladinto keep everyone alive, then six DPS as follows: arcane mage, boomkin, fury warrior, unholy DK, combat rogue, and a survival hunter topping it off for replenishment.

The boomkin played as a hybrid. Boomkin spec, but he would frequently drop into caster form and heal when it was needed. The raid wide damage is very light up until phase three, the problem we were running into was the huge burst damage that would usually kill someone.

Solution? (more…)

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I originally thought Lady Gaga was some sort of internet meme, some random quasi-terrible 80’s artist resurrected from the dead for the lulz. Think Rick Astley, but chosen more for tripping balls David Bowie-ism than annoying catchy pop music.

Then I actually went and watched a Gaga video (poker face if you must know) and this basically confirmed the “random resurrected 80’s artist” theory I had going.

It took until stumbling across her wikipedia page for me to realize that she was this new big thing that didn’t even release an album until late 2008. Though it turns out she’s heavily inspired by David Bowie, so at least one theory survived an actual fact check.

To put it charitably, I’ve been completely unaware of this whole phenomenon. Those crazy kids these days and their shenanigans. Which makes me think… does this mean that I’m just so out of touch with popular society as a whole that I somehow managed to miss a sensation that literally tens of millions have been enjoying for over a year? Or does it mean that I’ve managed to become an old fogey before I’m even out of university? (more…)

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Lowbie LFG

So far, I have played three different characters through the Dungeon Finder tool. A destruction warlock, early twenties; a prot warrior, mid 40s; a discipline priest, early sixties.

Queue times, oddly enough, are basically exactly the same as they are for 80 heroics. The queue as a DPS warlock usually runs about ten to twenty minutes, the queue time as a healer is always under a minute, and the queue time for a tank is instant. Which is just bloody fantastic! Tanking is surprisingly fun, but I could be horribly misguided at the moment.

See, I’ve tanked Zul’Farrak twice now. That is the extent of my tanking experience. However, I ran Zul’Farrak with a holy priest specced into (and glyphed for!) Lightwell. I was a bit “wtf” at the start, but mr. priest kept pounding that “use the lightwell! USE IT!” drum pretty damn hard, so I figured what the hey. Thunder Clap keeps aggro pretty well by itself, I can afford to deselect my target for a second.

Turns out? That Lightwell we all mock churns out slightly over 500 health every two seconds, or basically 1500 health over six seconds. That’s pretty dang powerful for a lowbie instance, considering that’s half my hitpoints. (more…)

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