Tuesday, October 27, 2009

High School Math

Nothing could be a bigger waste of time, right?

I know we all though it was a huge waste of time then, and I wouldn't disagree.  Most of Geometry and Trigonometry I never used again.  There have been some things which I use regularly and enjoyably, but a good chunk of it I haven't touched since, and I'm a 'Mathematician' of sorts.  It seems odd to me that I learned more useless stuff in High School Math than I did in College.

If we took out most of the crap that's currently in the courses, time could be spent much more productively.  One thing that I most enjoyed in college was that Moore Method of teaching.  Basically, lecture, instruction, and text are kept to a minimum, and the bulk of the course actually comes from the students working problems, proving theorems, doing the work themselves.  The teacher assigns theorems and problems, and the students have to prove them.  This places the students so deeply in the material that they can't forget it, making you learn much better, and forming a closer community in the classroom.

I had several classes that were all taught in this method to some degree, all advanced classes, and I loved each and every one of them. 

Furthermore, applying this type of teaching to High School Mathematics classes would more successfully accomplish what the courses are trying to do anyway:  Make the students think.  Geometry, in particular, is about fostering and improving a student's ability to think rationally and deductively; promoting analysis of problems instead of just hazarding guesses at everything, and it's about time it started to do that.

Someday I hope to teach Geometry just to get to do this.

-Henry out.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sad Bear is Sad

I love my bear, it's my favorite character, and although I'm away from the game right now, I miss him terribly. But it's been said that bears have problems. From reading an article on WoW.com, the problems seemed to boil down to 2 things:
  • It's hard to gear a bear
  • And bears have trouble with AOE aggro.
The unfortunate situation is that with the changes to how bears gear in Wrath there are now lots of people who want the same gear that a Bear would want. Bear gear is loaded with agility, crit, haste, and attack power. Guess who else wants those things? That's right: Cats, Rogues, Enhancement Shamans, and Hunters. Now, consider the Plate tanks. They have their own special category of gear, which only they get to use. They have a considerably easier time gearing up.

My hope was that in Cataclysm, with the removal of defense rating and the addition of the mastery stat, that plate tanks would have to share their gear with plate DPS. Unfortunately, in the twitter chat that Blizzard held, they addressed this question and said that plate tanks would retain their special gear niche. This bothers me, since it seems that the issue is simply being ignored. It doesn't seem likely that the developers will reopen with Tanking Leather gear niche, so I have no idea how this problem is going to be fixed. Hopefully, in Cataclysm, Hunters and Enhancement Shamans will be further dissuaded from using Leather, lessening the issue.

The problem with Bear AOE threat is that it relies completely on Swipe spam. This makes it very difficult for us to react to new problems without interrupting the Swiping, possibly losing control. Also, since we can't use other special abilities while Swiping (aside from Maul), we lose single target aggro, which makes it difficult to maintain aggro control over classes who AOE and Single Target DPS at the same time (Rogues, Hunters, etc). Now, it's time to compare.
  • Warriors: Thunder Clap - Cooldown, big threat
  • Warriors: Shockwave - Cooldown, big threat, however, it's directional
  • Paladins: Consecrate - 100% uptime, Paladin can't move out of it.
  • Death Knights: Death and Decay - Larger than Consecrate, not 100% uptime, Cooldown
  • Death Knights: AOE diseases - 100% uptime, easy to spread.
  • Druid: Swipe - As discussed above.
 I can think of a few fixes to this problem.
  • Give a proc off of Mangle that buffs your next Swipe.  So we get periodic AOE burst, and allows us to use a single target ability without worry.
  • A new ability that uses the Bear's currently unused mana to activate, allowing for an early fight threat burst, than can be activated periodically throughout the battle.  This could add to the Bear's druidness.  After all, a Bear druid is not just a Bear, it has mana, it should be able to use it, but can't now because it can't shift out of form.
That's all of my current ideas for helping improve the Bear.  Although, I do have a tip:  Thorns scales with Spellpower, so either get a resto or boomkin to keep it up on you, or switch to spellpower gear when you need to recast it.  You will see a dramatic increase in Thorns' damage, which will help with threat.

EDIT: Proofreading fail.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dungeon Design: The Dragon's Lair

I said that I would talk about a dungeon idea that I had, so I'm going to do it. The general setup is that there is dragon who lives in a volcano that has been terrorizing the local area and needs to be stopped.

You enter the mountain through a cave on the side, a long holdover from before Lavodormu took hold there. You go down and down, and eventually the cave opens up and you enter the main chamber. An old iron bridge that was used to cross through the mountain spans a magma lake and the dragon sleeps in the middle of the bridge. The bridge inclines to a higher platform on the other side. When you approach the dragon, the battle begins.

Lavodormu fights you on the bridge, posing as a barrier to prevent you from getting to the other side. The dragon swipes with his claws, bites with his jaws, and breathes fire upon your party, forcing you to move away from the recently heated iron.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On WoW 5-man design

This is a response to http://bit.ly/1FK87X

Blizzard has updated it's 5-man design philosophies every expansion so far, to try and correct the weaknesses and failures of past philosophies. So here is my analysis of the Wrath 5-man design and where I'd like to see it go.

What is good?

a) Dungeons serve dual purposes, not only do they provide gear and the culmination of storylines for those who are leveling, but they also serve as a launching board into the endgame for max-level players.

b) Their short duration makes them accessible, and with a good group, take only as long as a few quests might.

c) Varied boss design and encounter mechanics makes each dungeon feel different.

d) Dungeon quests increase the incentive for going, and provide good loot and money.

e) Daily quests increase the reward:effort ratio further boosting Dungeon participation by max-level players

f) Badges let everyone profit.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


This is just the tip of the Icecrown (pun intended).

Here is the summary of the complaints.

"I can't believe you get to kill the Lich King in the 5-man (note: likely not true), you should only get to kill him in the 25-man raid. 5-mans and 10-mans are for pussies, RAWR EPEEN RAWR, Arthas is too cool."

"I can't believe people doing normal dungeons can get raid level gear, you should make people have to do raid progression to get epixxxxxxx. How dare you decide that the elitist structure of raiding that has persisted in WoW before is a bad thing, and allow more people to access this cool content that you spend so much time on. I don't like change! If other people have good gear, how else will people know that I'm the 'coolest guy ever'. You should have to spend copious amounts of time w/ assholes like me to get the good stuff. RAWR EPEEN RAWR" I would just like to note the armory profile of the complainer http://bit.ly/1sARtE . Looks like emblem and 5-man stuff to me.