Thursday, 1 October 2009

[Fin.] An end to the madness.

If you are one of the followers of Udder Madness, you may have noticed that my posting this year has been somewhat lacklustre (viz., non-existent since May).

And it is now time to close my WoW-related-blogging doors and move on.

Reading back over what I wrote during the last year, I really liked working on Udder Madness, and am not ashamed to put my name to the posts. The prima blogga experience was interesting and useful, and I found I have a taste for blogging.

So, if you liked Udder Madness, or a part thereof, or whatever-reason-you-have-for-reading-this-farewell-post I hope you will join me at my new blog:

DS Ex Machina:

There once was a blogger in WoW
Who played an anthropomorphic cow
His grades they did slip
The fan hit the shit
He's writing other stuff now

NB: Update, the domain expires soon.

/Udder Madness  out.

A Study in Procrastination

This is a post I started writing quite a while ago and rather than carry it over to the new blog, I decided to quickly just publish it, since it's a) heavily wow-related and b) the only half-way finished draft lined up for UM.

As a student, you often have multiple deadlines at a time. You obtain mild satisfaction from telling other people how you have 4 assignments, 3 presentations, a couple of posters, a dissertation on the life of duckweed on some lake during the two weeks either side of the summer solstice, all of which are due about this time tomorrow. And you haven't been able to start anything on this list because you've had other stuff to catch up on, you had to work 232 hours last week to pay for rent AND food, and you were required to babysit the twins because your mother is a hamster and your sister has just been diagnosed with testicular cancer. And that's not even mentioning the seven exams you have next week, all spread over the course of two-and-a-half days. You're a poor downtrodden bastard who drew the short straw in every deal throughout history, and your lecturers, every member of the opposite sex, the forces of evolution and the universe in general absolutely hate you and conspire against you to make your life the sort of experience trauma surgeons have nightmares about.

The more discerning audience may end up asking tricky questions, with the inevitable result that they find out that you've had at least a month to work on all your assignments, your presentation briefs were given out in July and of course you've know your dissertation topic since the end of last year. If said audience attempts to make some smart remark like "why didn't you start earlier?" then they're obviously not privy to the fundamental rules of procrastination that govern our generation (I can't remember what the designation of this generation is, but I personally like to refer to it as 'Generation XXL').

Rule 1: Chance of Procrastination is Related to Time Left Before Deadline
In fact the relationship between these two quantities of the form P = a*XXXX(t)+c
where P is the chance that procrastination will occur at any given time set aside for a given task
t is the time remaining until the deadline (in some unspecified unit of time)
a and c are arbitrary constants greater than zero
and XXXX was a carefully calculated, eerily accurate formula that has been lost to modernity because the researchers ran out of coffee

Rule Two: Procrastination is Easy: There's Always Other Stuff To Do
Let's take a look at a WoW player (viz. WoW addict), and how they might go about doing an essay:
10:53: "man, that was a late raid last night. Didn't get to bed until 3, no wonder I woke up late. Well, too late to go to my 11 o'clock class now. Might as well have breakfast."
11:47: "nothing on TV, might as well get dressed"
12:01: "what to do... oh hey look, this essay is due next week, better do some research."
12:02: "hmmm, could go to the library, but Google scholar will do just as well, and save me a trip, so I'll have more time to do this essay, right?"
12:04: [You have 13 new messages]
12:29: "Time for lunch!"
12:44: [ says]: "wat u up 2?"
12:58: "hmm, better check auctions and in-game mail before I start this essay"
13:02: "oh man, AV is the daily, I can farm a bit more honor, and get some gold, and we win AV all the time."
14:26: "finally won AV, hasn't been this bad in a while. Guess I'll do my dailies while I'm at it, otherwise I'll never get my epic flying mount"
15:38: "So. Hungry. Need. Food."
16:01: "Oh hey look, 'Blogger And Blood Elf' wrote a new post, better go check it out."
16:23: "THEY'RE DOING WHAT?!?!?! Time to head over to WoWInsider."
16:48: [ says]: "howz ur essay goin?"
16:49: "Oh yeah. The essay. Well, time to cook dinner soon, and then TV and raiding. Guess I'll do it tomorrow."

Rule Three:
Will finish this later.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Quantum Butterflies downs Malygos

Quantum Butterflies on Aman'Thul have now cleared all normal 10-man content pre-Ulduar.
After an exhilarating 2 1/2 hours of serious encounter progression, in what was for most people their first trip into the Eye of Eternity, we finally downed the Aspect of the Blue Dragonflight.
Each attempt saw us get progressively closer to the kill, as we worked out healing rotations, dps placements and co-ordination and making it to the drake phase alive. We hit his enrage timer multiple times during the third phase, and on the final attempt were left with only two of us alive (myself as a healer and the main tank ^_^). For our troubles I picked up some snazzy Focusing Energy Epaulets which may or may not replace my T7 (breaking my set bonus until I can get the helm, but then I don't really use Holy Light that much), and a mage got Greatstaff of the Nexus.

Being part of a team tackling such a difficult encounter, and seeing our rapid progression was a really cool experience, and I dare say quite a few of us were surprised when we did get him down on the first night.

Great job guys, time to head to bed (have to get up for work in 4.5 hours, ugh).

PS: Damn, forgot to take kill screenshots. But then giant hearts floating in the middle of empty space aren't nearly as impressive as a bunch of naked hordies desecrating a corpse ;).

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

[Notwow] Udder Madness loves whiteboards

Well, quite evidently I'm blogging at work. And while this isn't necessarily unusual, I don't really have a lot to do.

Following on from the critical license failures mentioned earlier, I have since been contacted by the Australian-based support with three separate solutions, none of which worked, and the problem has now been escalated to the developers in the UK. Of course, as of posting, it's roughly 3am for those hat-tipping, tea-guzzling chaps over there (hope Ark and Beks got over their jetlag and are happily sleeping), so this application probably won't be working anytime today. Basically turning a planned 10-hour day into a 3-hour day. I should probably just go home.

Instead, here's a PXT of the whiteboard in my office in it's current state (apologies for the terrible quality, my cheap cellphone camera isn't good at dealing with the reflective surface):

This is (hopefully) the solution for the PDE: x'' - 3x' + 2x = 1, with boundary conditions x(0) = 1 and x'(0) = 0, using derivatives of the Laplace transform. Yay, maths. The final answer I got was x(t) = 2 - t - exp(t). It was written on the whiteboard after I was unable to finish the question in a test, and, frustrated, spent an hour completing (and often reworking it).

Yes, sorry, I'm bored. I'm going home. Please remember:

For Great Justice: Arena healing as deep protection.

Healing as a paladin in Season 6 is proving interesting. As previously mentioned, I find that paladins seem to have a lot less utility than the other healing classes (lack of mobility, drain, cc and instant casts), and particularly vulnerable to lock-outs and mana drains.

Until recently I’ve healed only as deep holy: either 51/20/0 or 49/0/22 (S5 only, since the ret talents were changed in 3.1.0). Recently I’ve looked at other specs, mostly to address the aforementioned issues of utility and mana regen, and since deep Holy gives very little to 2v2 and 3v3 healing. Two alternative specs are popular: ret/holy and deep protection. Of the two

Retribution/Holy (e.g. 32/0/39): has Repentance for control, and infinite mana with Judgements of the Wise, plus trading the Art of War for the loss of Infusion of Light. Additionally it has stun removal, Pursuit of Justice and increased crit %, as well as improved damage output.

Deep Protection (e.g. 19/52/0): infinite mana via a refreshable and undispellable Divine Plea, increased survivability from various stamina bonuses, considerable increases to FoL and HL healing due to increased crit coefficient and a stamina to spellpower conversion (in my mediocre gear I now get 3.7k FoL’s, with 7k crits, and 21k HL crits), as well as a 20 second (!) Hammer of Justice cooldown, and the 3-second silence of Avenger’s Shield (including a daze, and affecting up to 3 targets).

I’m currently trying the deep Prot version, and have to say that it’s interesting and fun to play, a lot more so than deep Holy. The control offered by the 20 second Hammer of Justice cooldowns is impressive, as well as access to Avenger’s Shield. A 6-second stun every 20 seconds is highly entertaining. Against healer/dps we play very aggressively, and mana regeneration is excellent, and means swapping glyphed Seal of Wisdom for the 3-second RNG stun of Seal of Justice for more stunning entertainment (the controlled stun from HoJ is on a separate cooldown to the uncontrolled SoJ stun).

However without the combination of Holy Shock, Divine Favour, and Infusion of Light, double dps does tend to sh#t all over us once Divine Guardian runs out, plus silences/interrupts are even stronger against me without instant heals. Lack of Light’s Grace and Judgements of the Pure also means that healing through Mortal Strike becomes a pain (especially after the stupid damage from a Bladestorm), and the spec requires a dps partner with decent survivability (i.e. a plate-wearer). But overall it’s a lot more pleasant to play than the fairly dull reactivity of deep Holy.

Further thoughts will probably follow as I play the spec more, yet one thing does occur:

The Holy tree is in sad shape when delving deeper into Protection or Retribution can prove more beneficial for 2v2 arena healing.