Friday, 31 January 2014

Status update

State of the blog

As you may have noticed, not much has been happening with this blog. It is now one year old, and there have been 3 posts. So ... does that mean this blog is dead? No, it ain't dead. I have plenty of ideas to write here "some sunny day", it is just that I didn't get around to actually doing so ...

Some ideas for blog posts that have been floating in my head, but never materialized so far:
  • The auction house, and my findings from analyzing the AH data that Blizzard publishes via its Community Platform API
  • On my twitter feed I have frequently mentioned my goal of getting a character of each class to 90 and a character of each race to 90. What's the status there (hint: the "all classes" bit was reached many months ago, for the "all racesbit" there is only one pending).
  • Also mentioned via twitter frequently is my fairly large number of level 90 characters (even without above goals in mind). Currently the counter is at 25 characters at 90. What makes each character different from each other? How do they gear up? With experience in many classes and specs, what is my view on what makes a character more fun or less fun?
  • Little not-so-well known facts about World of Warcraft that I discovered, sometimes by accident. For instance, did you know that the monk "Glyph of Zen Flight" allows a monk to fish while in Zen Flight? That's a great way to stay out of reach of nearby pesky mobs.

However, I keep getting distracted by "real life" (tm), so if and when I may find time to actually write about these things, I don't know... Only time can tell.

And then there are of course little things such as trying to find out how to work effectively with blogger. For instance, how do I include a picture in the blog? And how do I make wowhead links pop up the linked item in the tooltip? I should make some test blog post some day to test those ... oh wait, maybe I just did that :)

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Embedding tweets in posts

I just bumped into a tweet from @AlternativeChat remarking that she just figured out how to embed a tweet in a blog post. Well, that sounds interesting to me, so let's try.

First, here is the result:

The process is described in detail on twitter's website. If you are using some kind of what-you-see-is-what-you-get front-end for your blog editing (as is default for Blogger) you will need to switch to raw HTML editing mode before you can insert that snippet that you copy from twitter, of course. So some familiarity with HTML comes in handy.

Multiple tweets in one post

One thing to keep in mind is that the snippet from twitter contains two elements - a "<blockquote>" element and a "<script>" element. If you want to embed multiple tweets I guess you should make sure that the "<script>" element only appears once, for instance at end of your blog post. Each embedded tweet is described with a "<blockquote>" element; the script only needs to run once to turn all those blockquotes into more fancily displayed tweets.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating of course, so here is a second tweet (the followup to the one above)

Note that in this post I moved the "<script>" element (they are equal for both tweets) to the end of the post - and only left one of the two.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Pet levelling - the use of level 25 carriers

Finally a post today - mostly because my initial though for it didn't fit in a tweet ...

The topic is World of Warcraft Battle Pet levelling.


It is probably well known to experienced pet wranglers that the most efficient way to level pets is to make a team of the pet to be levelled together with two level 25 pets. The key is that where normally the experience from a pet battle is spread across all surviving pets, any level 25 pets don't eat up any experience. The scientist in me wants to validate that claim though, so I did a little test.


For the test I went to hunt winterspring - an area with level 17-ish wild pets. Level 17 is high enough to grant large amounts of experience to low level pets, while at the same time not posing much risk to all but the lowest level pets (beware the Alpine Chipmunks and their "Woodchipper" bleed though)

Test 1

For the first test my team consisted of a level 11 Stunted Yeti, and two level 25 pets (an Electrified Razortooth, plus a third pet that didn't even come into action). I picked a fight against a wild level 17 Alpine Hare.
The Yeti gained 605 experience.

Test 2

For the second test, my team was a level 11 Snarly, a level 23 Golden Civet Kitten, and a level 23 Malayan Quillrat. Once again I bravely fought a level 17 Alpine Hare and his companions. I used all three of my pets (none of them died).
In this run the Snarly gained 220 experience, while the two level 23 pets didn't gain any experience.

Test 3

For the third test I brought a level 11 Sinister Squashling, and two level 25 pets. Different from test 1 I now made sure to use both level 25 pets during the battle.
The result was the same though - the Squashling gained 605 experience, just like in test 1.

Test 4

For the last test I brought a level 11 Nether Ray Fry, and the same two level 23 pets as in test 2. Different from test 2 I now only used the civet, the quillrat never came into play.
This time the Fry gained 323 experience


Some observations:
  • Winning a pet battle distributes the experience to all pets below level 25 that participated in the battle
  • If a pet doesn't participate in a battle it does not gain experience
  • On the flip side, if a pet doesn't participate in the battle, that means that pets that did participate gain a greater share of the experience.
  • Pets below level 25 that participated in the battle but are too high level relative to the opponent get a reduction on the experience they gained. "Reduction" can go all the way down to "get no experience at all". In my tests (cases 2 and 4), the level 23 pets were way too high level, and this reduction removed all experience. Note that this reduction applies after the experience is shared across participants, so this really eats away experience from the whole team.
  • Level 25 pets act different: they do not get a share of the experience. Instead they act just as if they did not participate at all, so they cannot eat it away for lower level pets.
  • Pets that are much lower than the opponent gain a bonus on their share of the experience. This isn't obvious from the test results, but this effect can explain why the experiences gained (220, 323, 605) aren't exactly in a 1/3 : 1/2 : 1 ratio as you would expect.


Now for the reason why levelling a low level pet together with two level 25 pets works better than levelling a team of 3 equal-level pets:
Both cases gain about the same total experience per battle if all pets survive. In the "three equal level pet" case that experience is spread out over all pets, while in the "caried" case the one low level pet gets it all. However, the team with the high level carrying pets can finish fights much quicker, with less downtime, and against higher level opponents (triggering the experience bonus). The downtime is less because the lower level pet in that setup is likely to gain a level, implying a "free heal", while at the same time the level 25 pets can survive a few battles without a need to heal.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Knock knock, is this thing on?

So here it is then, my first blog post... Let me use it to describe what you can expect from this blog.

What is this blog about?

The main topic will be the game of World of Warcraft, my activities in it and my views on it. Well, that is the plan at least. There may be an occasional digression on topics related to programming.

Who am I?

No, that cute troll lady you see in the image box is not really me - in real life I am neither a troll, nor female, nor called Yoco. In the real world I am a forty-something year old guy, born in The Netherlands, but living in Finland. In the World of Warcraft and its associated internet locations I tend to go by the moniker Yoco - it is the name I use on forums and on twitter (@yoco68) for my warcraft-related stuff. The story behind that name is something for another day.

What do I play?

At this point you may expect me to disclose my in-game "main" character, or at least give hints about her class, spec, faction, achievements and more. I won't. That is not because I don't want to give out that information, but because I don't have a main...

Hello world, I am Yoco, and I am alt-o-holic

(and have been since the World of Warcraft European launch in February 2005).

Instead of a single main I play a large number of different characters. Sometimes I'm in the mood for leveling a young character, other days I spend my in-game time playing one of several maximum level characters. At the point of writing this I have a level 90 Death Knight, Mage, Hunter, Warlock, Rogue, Warrior and Monk, and among those are Trolls, Goblins, a Forsaken, a Dwarf and a Pandaren. There is a whole bunch of younger characters as well. Most of my activities are horde side on the Arathor(EU) realm, some are alliance side on Nordrassil(EU) and occasionally my old alliance toons on Stormrage(EU) get some play time too.

One of the great things about World of Warcraft is how it caters to very different people. Some seek hard challenges in raids and dungeons, others see WoW as an advanced chat medium, and there are many other ways the game can supply entertainment.

For me it is more about the breadth than about the depth of the game. You won't find my characters in cutting-edge raid content. In fact, you won't find them in any raid content - except an occasional trip to an old raid instance and ask the bosses nicely if they have some spare battle pets... However I am fully committed to get a set of maximum level characters containing all classes and all races. (No, not all race-class combinations, there are limits to the madness :) ). I am in no hurry with that though - I enjoy the lessons from all those Pandaren that tell you to slow down, the game is to be savored...