Wednesday, October 30, 2013

400 Headless Horseman Kills, and Still No Mount

So I hit an interesting milestone last night.  Based on data previously reported on this blog and in a few spreadsheets I'd kept in various places, I was able to calculate that last night represented my 400th Headless Horseman kill across my various toons.  This number may be low by 10 or so kills, because in 2008 and 2009, prior to the introduction of the use of the dungeon finder tool for taking on the Horseman, I likely did defeat the Horseman a handful of times by actually assembling a group and traveling to the instance.  But I'm guessing it wasn't more than a handful, so we'll ignore it for purposes of this story.

So, 400 kills.  No mount.  Frustrating yes.  What are the chances?  Which of course prompted the follow up identical question, seriously, what actually are the chances?  And now it starts to involve some math.

I'm going to start with the assumption that the reported drop rate on wowhead is correct, or at least close to it.  They're reporting it as 0.5%.  To calculating the odds of "not" having something happen a certain number of times in a row is actually pretty straightforward.  You take 1 - (chances of it happening), which in this case is 99.5%, to get the probability of it "not" happening.  You then raise that number to the power of n, where n= the number of attempts.  So in my example, this would be 99.5% to the 400th power, which is 13.5%.

So if the drop rate is accurate, there's a 13.5% probability that I would kill the Horseman 400 times and have no mount to show for it.  Which is not as low as I thought it might be.

In any given year, if I'm running the Horseman every day on 11 characters, that works out to a 46.2% chance of not getting it that year (99.5% to the 154th power, with 154 being 11 characters times 14 days), or inversely stated, it's a 53.8% chance of getting it in any given year, so a slightly better than 50/50 shot every year.

Now let's say that wowhead has it completely wrong, and do a little sensitivity analysis.  What if the drop rate is only 0.2% instead of 0.5%.  (Based on personal experience so far, I'm going to assume the drop rate isn't higher than they've reported).  In that case, the probability of me not getting it at all after 400 attempts actually rises quite a bit to 44.9%.  The odds of getting it in any one year (again, running it every day on 11 different characters) drops to 26.5%.

So, back to our old scenario of a 0.5% drop rate.  If I want to be 99% sure I'm going to get the mount, how many times do I need to kill the Headless Horseman to have a 99% chance of actually getting it.  The answer to that, is around 900, or slightly more than 3 more years worth of runs.   I'll actually get to the point where I have about a 95% chance of getting it sometime during the 2015 event.  Maybe I'll just go buy myself a sky golem instead.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Garrosh, You Did Not Disappoint Me

So I managed to get Garrosh down on two of my characters this week, which I consider quite an accomplishment given how difficult the fight is.  My first attempt on Tuesday night on my warlock, I gave up after several hours and 9 stacks of determination.  I finally went back to it on Friday evening and was able to get him down.  With only 6-7 stacks this time.

I then went back with a guild group on Saturday night on my death knight and managed to get him down on the third try.  Go guild group!

So that's two down and nine more to go.  At the moment, only 6 of those 9 are actually geared enough to get into Siege of Orgrimmar, so I've got some ToT work to eventually do on 3 of them. I plan on taking a shot at it on my hunter tonight, who is the only other toon that I have that has also finished the third wing.

The fight itself is pretty interesting and there seem to be a few pretty simple keys to getting it done properly.

First, you need someone you can count on taking down one of the engineers.  It's a relatively easy job.  For my warlock, it's a one chaos bolt type of task, so I can portal over, blast him with the bolt, and get right back to helping with adds.

Second, folks with interrupts need to be focusing on the Far Seer's right away with strong AoE taking down the rest of the adds.  During phase 2, it's mostly being aware of the ramifications of the empowered abilities are, taking out mind controlled players as quickly as possible and interrupting their casts always.

Once people get the priorities on the adds right and really start hitting on the interrupts, it is actually a pretty straightforward fight from there.

For the other 5 toons in SoO, my druid and priest have both done the first wing but nothing more.  My shaman, monk and mage haven't done any of SoO at this point so will all be starting from scratch.     At this point, given the amount of time it is taking to run each of these wings, it will likely be a long time before I get all of this done.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Assault on Garrosh Begins Tonight

So the end is now in sight for my goal of having all 11 of my max level toons take down Garrosh.  Thank you Loot Pinata Island for making all the gearing I did before patch 5.4 seem like a complete waste of time.

So of my 11 max level characters, 8 of them are currently geared enough to roll all the way through Siege of Orgrimmar.  Three of them have already done the first 3 wings, and two more have at least done the first two.

Unfortunately, that leaves 3 toons that may need to take a run or two through ToT in order to hit the minimum ilvl requirements for SoO.  Of course a few more Timeless Isle drops could potentially help with that too.  I need one more set of plate gloves, a leather helm, and a neck piece.  Of course, I should see if I can pick up a cheap valor neck for my rogue as that might go a long way towards putting him over the edge.

There's been some decent ilvl progress on these toons, but not a ton.

So here are the ilvl changes since my last update in mid-September:

Warlock - 520 -> 531
DK 496 -> 512
Hunter 498 -> 509
Druid 499 -> 504
Priest 501 -> 503
Mage - holding steady at 498
Shaman:  496 -> 498
Monk 490 -> 496
Paladin 481 -> 487
Rogue 478 -> 485
Warrior 473 -> 484

I've also taken to storing all of my Timeless pieces on a single toon to make tracking and distributing them easier.  I've got a simple little spreadsheet that shows which toons still need what upgrades, and I've been using that to hand things out after they drop on various toons.

I will likely be working through this in the order that they're listed above, with the hope that the already geared toons can do a little Timeless Isle farming while they wait in queue and hopefully get additional drops to help along the bottom three.

I think the biggest issue is that all three will likely need weapons out of ToT in order to hit the magic 496 mark (unless I want to pay up for crafted 502 weapons for each of them, which I don't).  So my plan is to use coins to get the enough Mogu Runes of Fate to have bonus rolls on all the ToT bosses that drop weapons for them (and maybe trinkets too since you're limited to one TI trinket per toon).  In any case, once the first 8 manage to down Garrosh and I can focus on the last 3, getting them the rest of the way to 496 shouldn't be too time consuming.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Hatred of Gates of Retribution Prompts a Return to Leveling

So before I start with anything else, let me just clarify that while the sheer time required to complete Gates of Retribution has turned me off of raiding quite as extensively as I was, I have by no means given up on it.  I'm still taking 2-3 characters a week through the complete set of available LFR content - currently my warlock, death knight and hunter.  

It also doesn't mean that I've given up on my plans to run all 11 of my Horde toons through to a defeat of Garrosh at some point.  It just means that I'll probably only be doing it once on most of those toons.

Which, assuming the next expansion is coming any time before late next summer, leaves me an enormous amount of time to go back to working on the rest of the alt army - notably the Alliance side of things.

Those alliance toons have really been completely neglected for the last year or so as I've focused on Pandaria on the Horde side, gearing up and raiding on my stable of Horde toons.  

The last update on this blog on the leveling status of my Alliance army was on August 21, 2012, just shortly before the release of MoP, followed by a brief update in September that I had in fact managed to get my Alliance hunter to 85 before MoP released.

So here is where those characters stood on the last update, along with where they are now:

Death Knight - still at 85
Hunter - still at 85
Druid - 36 -> 40
Mage - 35 -> 39
Paladin - 34 -> 40
Priest - 33 -> 39
Rogue - 34 -> 37
Shaman - 34 -> 40
Warlock - still 38
Warrior - 32 -> 39
Monk - new at level 10

I'm really looking forward to the new LFR wing being released later today and hope to have run through it on my warlock by the end of the day.  After that, we'll see if the death knight and hunter get runs all the way through this week as well.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Some Advice for Gates of Retribution

So I've been spending a fair amount of time in Siege of Orgrimmar on various toons at this point.  I also managed to get an 8th toon geared for the place with the addition of my monk, getting some good drops in ToT as well as some Loot Island love and now being officially all ready to go.

At this point, barring some corrections coming out of today's maintenance, I have to admit that the 2nd wing of LFR is not my favorite thing in the world.  I've run it four times so far on various toons, and each time it has taken right around 4 hours.  Not something to be taken trivially.

In almost every case, the problem had nothing to do with either our dps, the amount of heals or the gearing of our tanks.  In each of those cases, multiple wipes on each boss was almost always the result of the fact that the majority of the people who had queued had absolutely no understanding of the fight mechanics.

When did it become OK to queue for a fight without doing at least a little bit of research?  After all, it isn't really all that difficult to pop over to Icy Veins and spend 5 minutes doing a quick read through of each fight. Hopefully this wing will get easier as more folks experience it and start to learn the fights, but for now, it has really turned me off of LFR.  I just don't have that kind of time to invest at each go.

So here are my quick and simple pieces of advice for LFR groups on the various bosses in Wing 2 of LFR:

Galakras.  Set up your Tower Team before the pull.  Kill adds.  Don't stand in fire.  Wait till the demo is down to head up the tower. When Galakras drops, everyone stand in a straight line behind him.  Whoever gets the fire ball, just go straight backwards.

Iron Juggernaut.  Pop a defensive cooldown and stomp on mines occasionally.  Make sure you don't have the Laser Burn dot before doing so.  Don't stand in bad stuff.  During the siege phase, put your back to something and move out of bad stuff.

Dark Shaman.  Holy crap blizzard.  Maybe a little less trash here?  (Unless you're an elemental shaman, in which case, squeeeeee!!!)  Kill slimes, ASAP.  If you can't kill them at range, stay the hell away from them.  Don't stand in bad stuff (do you sense a theme here?).  Tanks, keep the bosses moving, but not too fast, so people aren't forced to dodge lots of bad stuff.

Trash before Nazgrim: run right up to the demos in the drag and take them out ASAP.  On the shaman in the drag, pull one out of group one at a time, mark him, and burn him down, to keep them from healing each other.

Nazgrim.  Kill adds.  Kill adds.  Oh yeah.  Kill adds.  Stun.  Silence. Watch for the whirling ax and don't stand in it (see theme above).  Melee - just stay the hell away from the Bonecrusher guys and let the ranged take them out.  Go deal with the other adds instead.

So I've gone back to working on leveling other toons.  So the long-neglected Joar army of Alliance toons, (which all happened to be named variations of Mel instead of Joar for reasons that completely escape me) has been getting a small bit of attention.  No mass moves in leveling, but I've rediscovered some of what I enjoyed about just leveling toons in the first place.

I also started an elemental shaman on Thrall to get started on the next batch of Horde toons.