Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Posts with tag math

AddOn Spotlight: Automaton


AddOn Spotlight
focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience - the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond - your AddOns folder will never be the same! This week, Automaton takes some of the tedium out of little tasks!

What's the only thing better than an addon with a beautiful and pristine interface that rivals all addons with its ease of use? An addon with NO UI AT ALL, minus the text commands. This week, I'm going to show you Automaton, an addon that is as light as they get while providing a host of awesome functions. It's bare-bones addon day today on AddOn Spotlight! Won't you join us?

Read more →

Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

15 Minutes of Fame: The Pi Guy

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Sorry, no typos in the headline. It's not the pie meme that's the topic of today's 15 Minutes of Fame. (You'll have to turn elsewhere for your just desserts.) We really do mean pi -- you know, 3.14159 ... We're not quite sure how pi and WoW go together. And frankly, neither are players on US Llane, where the mysterious Pi Guy holds court in Trade. "He's in Trade chat spamming pi and other fascinating formulas, like how 99.9 = 1," writes our tipster, "which makes sense after he shows you the steps ... which he does. He's got top-of-the-line gear, which in itself is a nice thing. But on top of that, he's a math genius. A very mysterious math genius."

We suppose community fascinations have formed up around more bizarre memes than pi. But a mysterious mathematician lurking in Trade? How could we allow this stone to remain unturned? Without further delay, we offer up for your consideration the curious tale of Gauss, the Pi Guy.

Read more →

Filed under: Virtual selves, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Math problem: Average winning roll

Here's a question that occurred to me while I was walking home from the subway recently: What's the average winning roll in a five-man group, assuming everyone rolls? That is, if you randomly chose five numbers between one and 100, what is the expected value of the highest one?

I know a bit of statistics, but I really don't know how to begin getting at that one. However, I do know how to write a script that will calculate the answer. (Yes, these numbers are only pseudorandom, but I did some limited testing with real random numbers (from random.org) and the results were the same. Besides, I'm pretty sure Ruby's Mersenne twister pseudorandom generator is good enough for testing distributions like this.) The average winning roll out of a group of five people is 82.8 83.8 83.3 (tested over many, many repetitions). Now can any mathemagicians tell me why?

The graph above, in case it isn't clear, is average winning roll on the y-axis vs number of people rolling on the x-axis, tested over 100,000 trials for each group (the relatively small sample size is why the first point is not right at 50, and probably why the curve is a little wobbly).

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances

Using WoW for learning in schools

We've heard about WoW in schools before, but usually it's at schools of higher learning, where they're studying social networks or how society evolves. But a group in North Carolina is planning to put WoW in schools in a different way: by using situations in World of Warcraft to develop literacy, mathematics, and other competencies. WoWinSchools has math lessons and other tests based around WoW terms and knowledge: one example question asks "Which types of heals produce a greater number of recovered hit points during an encounter?" Another wants to know "Which buff (a spell that enhances a character's abilities) is more effective for your character, Blessing of Kings or Blessing of Might?" The idea is to use situations that the kids are familiar with in World of Warcraft (raiding, for example), and apply higher level thinking to those situations.

There are even creative writing suggestions dedicated to the game, from writing an RP story about a character in Azeroth, to writing a song parody (that one should be taught by Professor Turpster) or designing a quest chain. And lest you think they're just joking around, there's a whole slew of research behind the idea, too, and it definitely makes sense: kids who play World of Warcraft are much more likely to be interested in problems about DPS and Healing rather than Susie and Bobby's apples that we added and subtracted back when we were kids in school.

It seems like the only place this is implemented is in one afterschool program -- while there are lots of good ideas here, it's not necessarily being used in many classrooms yet (and my guess is that not every student in schools would vibe with a World of Warcraft-based curriculum, either). But it is a plan in development, and anything that better helps teachers understand what their students are interested in is probably worthwhile.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Talents, Buffs

Solving the mathmatical tangles of ArPen

Armor penetration is probably one of the most misunderstood stats in the game, for a number of reasons. First of all, it's only become popular lately -- while it's been in the game since 1.10, it's only started showing up regularly on items in Wrath. And even then it's really only a meta-meta stat: the core abilities like Strength and Agility are easy to understand, the next level of abilities are things like hit rating and crit rating, and then armor penetration, you could argue, goes another level after that: it's a stat that affects a stat affected by a stat. It's for that reason, then, that Xanthan argues we need a more elegant solution.

Armor penetration basically allows you to hit an opponent as if they're wearing less armor than they really are. That's not to hard to understand -- if you have a certain amount of armor penetration, then the opponent armor number in the equation that determines damage done is lower (edit: by a percentage, not a number) than it would usually be. But the confusion comes in when you see how armor penetration scales. It actually scales exponentially, not linearly -- if you have no ArP and you increase it by a little bit, you only get a little extra damage increase. But if you have a lot, and you add a little more onto that, then you'll get a bigger damage increase, due to the way the math works (I'm bad at math, but Xanthan has an excellent, clear description of the calculations in the forum thread, and we've posted some explanations before as well). Blizzard recently capped ArP at 100% (so you could never get into a place where you're reducing armor below the amount of armor that's there), but it's still possible to have the amount of armor reduced equal the amount of armor on a target, causing the equation of armor vs. armor penetration to divide by 0, and at that point, things get wacky, and terms like "infinite damage" come into play.

Read more →

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Buffs

BobTurkey updates Priest theorycraft


Disc Holy
MP5 1.0000 1.0000
Spirit 0.3317 0.6397
Intellect 0.7853 0.7480
SP 0.6000 0.6000
Crit rating 0.3564 0.3763
Stamina 0.2000 0.2000
Haste rating 0.2925 0.3059
I love theorycraft. One of my favorite things about WoW is the fact that you can do math about it, and that math can help you play better. One of the better examples of theorycraft out there was MK, author of A Dwarf Priest, who did some seriously cool work on Holy gear ranking for Wrath.

However, MK hasn't been seen around lately, and hasn't updated the information for patch 3.1, with its big changes to spirit and to Priest talents. Fortunately, a blogger named BobTurkey has stepped in and thoroughly reworked all the numbers, at great and interesting length. It's times like these that I really love the WoW community.

Read more →

Filed under: Priest, Items

The math behind random drops and rolls

Reader Sekhar P. sent us an interesting story of a strange roll seen in Naxx recently: Haunting Call dropped, and four people needed. The rolls came up, in order: 1, 2, 3, 4. The raid boggled at how unlikely that must be. Sekhar's tip set off a round of discussion among our WoW Insider staff: while it seems unlikely that four numbers would come up in sequence, the math on it isn't any more likely than any other four numbers (3, 69, 82, and 95, for example, or even 4, 8, 15, and 16). The odds come out to 24/100^4, about 0.00000024%, or about two chances out of 10 million. Of course, probability is tricky, so the chances that any one of those rolls would come up is still one out of 100 -- just like coin flips, previous die rolls won't affect the current die rolls (mistaking that is often called the gambler's fallacy) But the chances that any specific four numbers would come up are the astronomical chances above.

Of course, math aside, that still doesn't keep us from trying to predict how random rolls might work. We also recieved word from reader Emily about a site she and some friends are working on that is trying to predict just how much you'll have to run a certain instance to pick up some of the rarest items in the game, like Baron Rivendare's mount. Unfortunately, it's not a relevant indicator -- it looks like all they're doing is "simulating" runs on the item, and then tracking when it drops in their simulator. They're putting the math behind the chance into practical numbers.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Raiding, NPCs

Blizzard LF numbers geek, pst

If your idea of fun in playing World of Warcraft is to mine the auction house or raid buffers for statistics and then turning them over every which way, then Blizzard may have a job that's of interest to you. Admittedly, the best candidate would also have a degree in "computer science, statistics, operations research, industrial engineering, and mathematics, or business administration, marketing, or management with strong quantitative focus" but we're sure there are some WoW Insider readers who fit their Data Analyst posting bill.

Sure, it may not be the most glamorous position ever offered, but it's still working for Blizzard - and in this case, working away from the front lines. Think of the perks; the awesomeness of being able to get in on Blizzard games well before anyone else gets to; the cool gifts that Blizz seems to like to give employees; the ability to get in to BlizzCon without having to play tag with the mrglrfrling Failoc. All that, and hey - it's translating numbers to non-number-geek English, which seems to be a passion amongst many of the numbers geeks I know. So if you've got the chops and are looking for a job many would envy you for, what are you waiting for? Get to applying - and good luck!

[Via Virtual Economy Research Network]

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Economy

Replenishment: What are the odds?

There was a recent flurry of interest surrounding the Replenishment mechanic due to Ghostcrawler's statement that "we assume that you have Replenishment available to your raid." He said that it doesn't mean raids will be undoable without it, but that they're tuned assuming you have it, and if you don't, you'll need to out-gear or out-skill the raid, or else you'll have problems.

In this post, I'd like to look at just how easy it is to get Replenishment in your raid. There are three Replenishment specs: Retribution Paladin, Shadow Priest, and Survival Hunter. As you can see, they're all DPS specs. Historically speaking, these specs were probably selected because they had been viewed as suboptimal for raiding (in the case of Survival and Ret), or because they had been valued for their mana regeneration (in the case of Shadow), although at the moment all three of these specs have competitive DPS and don't really need group utility to prop them up.

Unfortunately, GC never clarified whether he was talking about 10- or 25-person raiding, so I'll examine both. I will make the simplifying assumption that the 30 specs are equally distributed in the raiding population: any given character is 1/30 likely to be of any given spec. Put another way, each spec enjoys a 3.3% share of the character base. I know this is not actually true, but it's a very helpful simplification and I don't think it will distort my numbers too much. Edit: Yes, I'm also assuming every Survival, Shadow, and Retribution raider has the relevant Replenishment talents. I think this is a pretty safe assumption.

Read more →

Filed under: Hunter, Paladin, Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Classes

YouPlayorWePay claims to offer downtime insurance

I think this is a wild idea (even if it is something I wouldn't actually put my money in). We got tipped about a new site called "You Play or We Pay" and from the looks of it, these guys are offering none other than downtime insurance. That is: you pay a fee to them regularly, and then they "compensate" you for any downtime that your server has. They call it "third-party compensation," but that sounds like insurance to me.

At any rate, we wouldn't quite recommend jumping in headfirst yet -- they haven't, as far as we can see, revealed any prices, and while you can register your characters, you can't actually get any sort of payout quite yet, as they say they're still working on the system. For all we know the site could be an elaborate scam at this point. But it is an intriguing idea, and if they're really ready to put their money where their FAQ is, these guys may have an actual business plan that depends on Blizzard keeping the servers up. Just like all insurance companies, they must have figured out that the servers stay up more often than not, and that there was money to be made there.

It's quite an interesting plan, and we'll keep an eye on it to see if they ever announce a fee or explain themselves better. The math doesn't quite seem right here, but if somehow their fees are low enough and the payouts are high enough, it's possible that you really could be compensated for downtime by a completely separate company other than Blizzard. Very interesting.

Update: The company has contacted WoW Insider, and we've requested an interview. Stay tuned.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money

Northrend's Gross Domestic Product: 719 million gold

Our friend The WoW Economist started a little project the other day: he added up, according to the top items lists, all of the products sold from Northrend across the servers, and then multiplied each by what he calls a "median" price (though exactly how that's reached, we're not sure), and landed on a huge amount of gold: 719,918,239.7. Obviously I'm not a WoW Economist (I'm not even that good at math), but that sounds to me like Northrend's gross domestic product: players are creating an economy of 719 million gold in Northrend from week to week.

Unfortunately, that number alone doesn't tell us much, except that there's a lot of gold moving around in Northrend (it would be interesting to compare this to, say, Azeroth or Outland's equivalent, though the more useful numbers would probably be Outland before the new expansion hit, when everyone was still farming and selling items from there). And it will be interesting to see this tracked in the future: the real GDP is usually used as an indicator of both standard of living and a country's economic health, and while there are drawbacks to using that number to gauge both of those qualities, it's probably fair to say the economy in Northrend is booming. Maybe tracking this in the future will let us see how new content patches or item or even class updates can affect what the economy does there.

Very interesting. EVE Online's creators, CCP, have actually hired an economist to help run their ingame economy, and while WoW's isn't generally seen as quite that complicated, there are still plenty of big numbers to play around with..

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Encrypted Text: The fuzzy math of theorycrafting

Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we'll be talking about the methods used to break down gear and talents into their fundamental parts, and compare them intelligently.

While it's not recognized as an official term by the Oxford Dictionary, "theorycrafting" is definitely the biggest buzzword in the Rogue community. Originally coined by Starcraft players looking to use their mathematics knowledge to perfect their strategies and unit build orders, it refers to the idea of using math to guide your choices, instead of simply playing from your gut.

From the lowest level of forum troll to the most serious raiders, many Rogues love to punch numbers into spreadsheets and talk about the PPM (proc-per-minute) chance of Mongoose. Theorycrafting is a largely arcane art, and unfortunately an inability to play ball with these math magicians can be grounds for ostracism from the discussion at hand. Asking for talent or skill help on the Public Rogue Forums will likely result in recommendations like "Check the spreadsheet or delete your character."

Obviously you've become attached to your assassin of the shadows, so after the cut we'll talk about how to become a theorycrafter even if you weren't first in your algebra class.

Read more →

Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Raiding, Classes, Talents, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Phat Loot Phriday: Torch of the Damned


We've been a little husky the past few weeks here at Phat Loot Phriday, so this week we're aiming to fix that, and get back to what this column is all about: gigantic spiky, glowy things that you can kill with.

Name: Torch of the Damned (Wowhead, Thottbot, Retribution)
Type: Epic Two-hand Mace
Damage/Speed: 396-595 / 3.80 (130.4 DPS)
Abilities:
  • +51 Strength, +45 Stamina
  • Improves crit strike rating by 38, improves haste rating by 50.
  • Great for Paladins, and any other class that uses weapon damage for certain abilities. Warning: this gets into some deep math, and you guys know I'm bad at that, so expect to see some more number crunching in the comments. Basically, Seal of Command, a Ret Pally talent, gives a chance to add 70% of the weapon's damage to any normal attacks, and since most weapons trade off speed for damage (as in, the slower the weapon, the higher the damage), slow weapons are better -- you'll get more damage output when SoC procs. And since this weapon is very slow and very powerful, you'll get more damage overall out of Seal of Command.
  • The Haste rating is also good for Paladins, not because it will help with Seal of Command (SoC is a procs-per-minute talent, so no matter how many times you hit, you can't get it to proc more often), but because it'll let you hit more often, which means more white damage. Any class that benefits from big swing damage (Windfury is awesome when it procs with a huge weapon like this) will love this mace.
  • Oh, and anytime we mention a two-handed weapon, Matthew Rossi's eyebrow twitches until we mention Titan's Grip. Imagine seeing a Warrior wielding this baby... and something else at the same time. Yeah.
How to Get It: Drops from the Essence of Anger, which is part of the Reliquary of Souls in the Black Temple (which, trivia for you, was influenced heavily by Sinistar, an old arcade game). Essence of Anger is the third phase, so get your 25 man raid up to that point, be one of those silly Ret Paladins (silly Paladins -- DPSing is for Hunters, Locks, Mages, and Rogues!), and spend your DKP or win the roll, whatever you need to do. Then you too can haul around this big purple spiky Mace, swinging it at will and bringing your enemies to their knees with just one proc.

Getting Rid of It: You probably won't, for a while. But it does disenchant into a Void Crystal, and vendors will buy it back for 18g 43s 86c

Filed under: Paladin, Shaman, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Phat Loot Phriday, Bosses, Classes

Some remarks on drop rates


I'm going to keep this relatively short, because a full discussion of probability could fill several college semesters. However, there is one misconception that some WoW players have that has been bugging me lately.

Let's say you read that Shattered Sun Supplies have a 10% chance to contain a Badge of Justice, and, excited, you go out and do enough dailies get 10 Shattered Sun Supplies. You open them all and find not a single Badge, or you find five badges. Do either of these outcomes mean the 10% drop rate is wrong? No! They do not! All a 10% drop rate means is that for each Supplies, there is a 10% chance that it contains a Badge. Random events have no memory, so no matter how many badges you get in the first nine Supplies, your chance to get a Badge in the tenth Supplies is still 10%. The traditional analogy is that if you flip a coin nine times and get heads each time, the chance of getting heads on the next flip is still 50%.

Now it is true that you will probably get a Badge in ten Supplies if the drop rate is 10%. If you're interested in how likely it is, here's the calculation to do. The chance of not getting a Badge in one Supplies is (100% - 10%) = 90%, or 0.9. Raise that to the tenth power, for your ten independent Supplies-opening events, and you get the chance of, ten times out of ten, not getting a Badge: 0.9^10 = 0.349, about 35%. So in fact, out of ten Supplies, you will get a badge (100% - 35%) = 65% of the time, about two thirds.

TL;DR version: A drop rate is a probability, not a guarantee.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Phat Loot Phriday: Vengeful Gladiator's Touch of Defeat


We haven't done a lot of PvP gear here (any, I think) on Phat Loot, but I figured this phat wand might be a good place to start.

Name: Vengeful Gladiator's Touch of Defeat (Wowhead, Thottbot, WoWWiki)
Type: Epic Wand
Damage/Speed: 252-468 Fire / 1.90 (189.5 DPS)
Abilities:
  • +18 Stamina, +14 Intellect
  • Improves your resilience rating by 14, which is standard for PvP arena gear -- anything to counteract those big crits.
  • Increases damage and healing by magical spells and effects by up to 18. Which doesn't seem like a lot, but for a wand, it's pretty good.
  • The big difference between this and the other PvP season 3 wand, the Piercing Touch, is that this one doesn't have spell penetration on it. The tradeoff is the Intellect, and a few damage points, so it's up to you. Higher end players might go for the penetration (that's the only way you can get past resistances), while a player who is in the Arenas only in between raids might grab this one. It's up to you.
How to Get It: Like we've said, you need to play Arena PvP to grab this one. It's available from the Arena vendors for 1000 points, which doesn't require too long to get, as long as you're a good and steady player. Holding onto a 1500 rating in a 5v5 team will get you a little over 300 points a week, which means it'll take 3-4 weeks to gain this many points (and of course you've got to play 10 games a week and make sure you're playing a good percentage of the team's total battles).

But there's another catch -- season 3 added personal and team requirements to purchase the weapons. So to actually buy this, not only do you need the points, but you need to have a personal and team rating of 1850 to buy it. You don't need to keep up that rating to keep the weapon, you just need that score when you buy it. Wrong. No rating needed for the wand. Never mind.

Which gets us back to the reason why we stay away from PvP gear here on Phat Loot: no matter how much you covet this, if you're not a good player, it's not yours. In the future Arena seasons, we can expect this loot to come back down: next season it'll be cheaper, and the season after that it might even be available for BG honor and tokens. But right now, it's be good or go home for this high-end Arena gear.

Getting Rid of It: Vendors won't buy it, and like most PvP gear, it doesn't disenchant. But you worked hard for that rating -- while you could destroy it if you happen to find a better wand in Northrend, you might as well keep it as a trophy of your winnings.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Phat Loot Phriday, Arena

Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Occupy Orgrimmar
Midsummer Flamefest 2013
Running of the Orphans 2013
World of Warcraft Tattoos
HearthStone Sample Cards
HearthStone Concept Art
Yaks
It came from the Blog: Lunar Lunacy 2013
Art of Blizzard Gallery Opening

 

Categories

Joystiq

Massively

Engadget