Thread: Bad Datamining

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  1. #1

    Bad Datamining

    Hello people!

    Today, Zarhym pointed out that the change to Heroic Strike in the latest PTR build was the result of bad datamining. I see that kind of stuff every now and then and figured I'd take the opportunity to explain how things (partially) work during patch days.

    1. Bad Datamining
    It happens, it's usually the result of new features/changes on Blizzard's side or just something dumb we did on our side. A good example is the Circle of Healing's radius change in the latest PTR build, we're currently poking at a few things in the tools we use to compare patches and radius calculation basically went herp derp in the process. It happens, but it's really not that often and I usually point it out in a very visible way on the front page.

    2. Weird stuff
    The 2nd category is weird stuff, and is exactly what happened with Heroic Strike in this build. Sometimes Blizzard decides to update something but a PTR build is created when they're in the middle of updating, that's when things get scary.

    Let's take Heroic Strike, this is how the spell looks in the game files in the different versions of the game:

    Live - An attack that instantly deals ${8+$ap*$m2/100} physical damage. A good attack for moments of excess rage.
    4.0.6 PTR Build 13449 - An attack that instantly deals ${8+$ap*$m2/100} physical damage. A good attack for moments of excess rage.
    4.0.6 PTR Build 13482 - An attack that instantly deals ${8+$ap*$m2/100} physical damage. A good attack for moments of excess rage.
    4.0.6 PTR Build 13529 - An attack that instantly deals ${8+$ap*60/100} physical damage. A good attack for moments of excess rage.

    Basically, all the $xxx stuff is here to parse different values stored in the files, sometimes they're just in the same files, sometimes they're stored in another file, etc ...

    You will notice that the spell string changed in build 13529 and the $m2 part was replaced with just the AP scaling of Heroic Strike (60%). The $m2 part is originally here to get a value from the spell effects of that spell, in the case of Heroic Strike the effect 2 is a dummy serverside effect and the value is "60".

    And that's exactly where our problem is, see how the value evolved during PTR testing:

    Live - 42
    4.0.6 PTR Build 13449 - 42
    4.0.6 PTR Build 13482 - 60
    4.0.6 PTR Build 13529 - 60

    The new value was updated in 13482 designed to work with the new spellstring format was updated in build 13482, however, the spellstring itself was only updated one build later.

    The result is a bugged AP scaling on Heroic Strike, this is why I announced a boost from 75% to 93% in Build 13482 and a reduction from 93% to 60% in Build 13529, which was the change listed in the official notes (-20% damage on heroic strike). Update - I forgot to mention that you also have to take into account the scaling by level, Heroic Strike starts scaling at level 14 and stops at 80 and gains 0.5% every level.


    • 42 + (80 - 14) * 0.5 = 75% AP
    • 60 + (80 - 14) * 0.5 = 93% AP

    Sadly, I have absolutely no way to check if these changes are intended or not, we never know how old or how new official notes are and we never know if developers decided to experiment with a new change on PTRs just for a build to see how it goes, that's why I list them.

    I do a lot of manual verification in patch changes, a lot, and I sometimes skip changes when they really look weird, but ultimately I don't have people from Blizzard on MSN that I can just poke to ask "HEY GUYS, CAN YOU CHECK THAT PLEASE?".

    The whole thing is not a big deal, it happened in the past and it will happen again but I had some free time and I figured I'd give you an explanation.

    Hugs and kisses

    Boubouille
    Last edited by Boubouille; 2011-01-20 at 11:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Bloodsail Admiral
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    Dont worry bro we still love you <3

  3. #3
    Yeah, on a sidenote, I really have to point out that it's the CM's jobs to warn people about datamining.

    If I screw up, I usually get a "don't worry, we love you!" because I have a cute Garfield avatar and because I can ban you anyway, but they are literally on the front line, especially now that developers such as Ghostcrawler stopped posting on forums and have been replaced with CMs.

    If I announce something stupid, they're the ones who get to deal with the giant wave of spam/whine because something got nerfed somewhere.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boubouille View Post
    Yeah, on a sidenote, I really have to point out that it's the CM's jobs to warn people about datamining.

    If I screw up, I usually get a "don't worry, we love you!" because I have a cute Garfield avatar and because I can ban you anyway, but they are literally on the front line, especially now that developers such as Ghostcrawler stopped posting on forums and have been replaced with CMs.

    If I announce something stupid, they're the ones who get to deal with the giant wave of spam/whine because something got nerfed somewhere.
    ....You're not actually garfield T_T?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Warchief94 View Post
    ....You're not actually garfield T_T?
    Wow, spoiler tags please!

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRu0xts_rpI

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Boubouille View Post
    ... especially now that developers such as Ghostcrawler stopped posting on forums and have been replaced with CMs.
    Is this now Blizzard policy? Is GC now limited to the occasional (extremely interesting) blog post?

  7. #7
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    Yeah, after some very minor trollin (SORRY BOUB <3) i must agree its stupid now the devs have limited access to the public on the forums. Can't really understand the logic behind that, unless the CEO's of blizzard dont see there to be enough reason for the people making them all this money commune with the people who made them all of the money wow generates. In my personal opinion, its one step closer to wows demise, mainly because the devs have pretty much said at blizzcon that the vast majority of their changes in the game itself (class, pvp, stuff) came from what people on the forums where saying and such.

  8. #8
    I have no idea, but since Ghostcrawler's last post was "we'll look into new ways of relaying info to players" I'll assume it means "higher ups eventually got bored of all the whining and told me to restrict myself to blog posts and to stop stealing the CM's jobs"

    Kalgan and Daelo didn't really post much in the first place so I'm not sure about that, Valnoth/Furor was apparently moved to the Titan team in December, and much older devs such as Kisirani/Caydiem or Slouken left Blizzard.

    So yeah, I think all the devs are gone from the forums now.

  9. #9
    I cannot remember them stating as much, but it's what you can currently observe. I can see the reasoning though:

    - The Cataclysm is here. He doesn't need to be on the frontline as much as he had to during the switchover. Changes and questions are less fundamental in nature. It's not like the world is being ripped apart atm.
    - His blog posts are there to address major or long-term issues with the authority he (as a dev) seems to have over the community.
    - Having the CMs report major or returning issues to him, instead of reading and replying to everything himself frees up time. His job is not to answer us and if this allows him to spend more time on the job, let the CM's do their job.

  10. #10
    Bloodsail Admiral Naoto's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information regarding data mining it's good to know but I wouldn't worry too much about a mistake here and there it does happen and considering it's for the PTR it really is no big deal at all but good job anyway, and considering Blizzard seem to be releasing alot of patch notes and PTR versions it's also easy to make mistakes. Just do what we all do, blame Blizzard.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Boubouille View Post
    I have no idea, but since Ghostcrawler's last post was "we'll look into new ways of relaying info to players" I'll assume it means "higher ups eventually got bored of all the whining and told me to restrict myself to blog posts and to stop stealing the CM's jobs"

    Kalgan and Daelo didn't really post much in the first place so I'm not sure about that, Valnoth/Furor was apparently moved to the Titan team in December, and much older devs such as Kisirani/Caydiem or Slouken left Blizzard.

    So yeah, I think all the devs are gone from the forums now.
    Alex Afrasiabi (Valnoth) got moved to Titan? Isn't he the lead world designer of WoW.

  12. #12
    Yeah, that's a "friend of a friend of a friend" level of information, don't really take it as 100% sure. I didn't waste time trying to get a decent confirmation that because I don't think a lot of people care, but it makes sense that Furor would eventually join Tigole.

  13. #13
    Cataclysm is filled with bugged tooltips since first PTR release. They just seem not to worry much about updating them, especially on PTR.
    Anyway whole thread for some reason reminded me http://www.wowhead.com/spell=61983

  14. #14
    Yeah, Test Eric Axe is still my favorite.

    And Cataclysm isn't really filled with bugged tooltips, it's just that Blizzard is doing their best to update all of them to reflect AP/spell power scaling, Glyphs, etc ... Some of these spells were designed 4 years ago and a lot of fun stuff can happen when you poke at very old code.

  15. #15
    Stood in the Fire Vaelyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aragniel View Post
    I cannot remember them stating as much, but it's what you can currently observe. I can see the reasoning though:

    - The Cataclysm is here. He doesn't need to be on the frontline as much as he had to during the switchover. Changes and questions are less fundamental in nature. It's not like the world is being ripped apart atm.
    - His blog posts are there to address major or long-term issues with the authority he (as a dev) seems to have over the community.
    - Having the CMs report major or returning issues to him, instead of reading and replying to everything himself frees up time. His job is not to answer us and if this allows him to spend more time on the job, let the CM's do their job.
    Yea, but GC's always been on the frontlines, diverting misconceptions and pointing out the obvious. I will miss his posts! :-D but at least Blizzard gave me the option of keeping him close to my side by taming his gaming avatar ^_^

  16. #16
    Having come from a Game Developers background, there are actually two simple explanations as to why it is good to limit the number of posts by the developers and allowing the CMs to do more:

    1. Variable Information:
    Too often do Developers post their own view of what they program. Sometimes its just a "play" phase and other times the information changes rapidly or my be wrong entirely. Not only that, some developers, when they post, unintentionally tend to say completely oppisites... in affect contradicting themselves. CMs like to keep a "unified front", ie. a flow of information is controlled in the sense that everyone is saying the same thing. Having developers concentrate on the development, while CMs pass information on that is only relevant to those involved (like an internal bug database for the developers to go through) chances are if a Dev is interested, they tend to contact that person on their own via PM.

    2. Line of Defense against QQs, Trollers, Bickers, Beggers
    If a developer is a regular poster on a forum, people experiencing issues and/or complaint either with the game or people inside tend to go and demand changes from the developer directly, rather than have a CM sort it out. This takes unecessary time from the Developer because in essence his head in not where it should be (coding stuff). That could cause changes to code that could result in unintentional bugs, wasting time trying to help that one user or just generally being slowed down because they get swamped with people demanding stuff. A CM can filter relevant information on to the development team, and they can then provide feedback for the CM to pass on. The "babysitting" of a form is a CM's job, and having developers post there at irregular times makes that job much much more difficult.

    GC being one of the top dogs can of course comment on issues passed on to him from the CMs and he seems to be responding to those things that have the highest level of concern within the community. Obviously a CM can do this too, but he has made a name for himself, and if any other person other than GC gives this information, its usually not believed or people demand confirmation from GC when, lets face it, he got plenty of other responsibilities too.

    So, its not always pressure, but sometimes its best to do what the CMs do best and let the Devs do what they do best. If a community respects that, then they respect that decision too. Unfortunately, the official Blizz forums are anything but respectful.

  17. #17
    Bloodsail Admiral Lancer's Avatar
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    No worries!

  18. #18
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    Well Boubille, you and your team are only human, mistakes happen. However, I really think the folks who see the info you post, then go to the main boards and go "OH MY GAWWWWW" maaaaayyy want to step it back a bit. Datamined data is... well, datamined. You often hit it spot-on, but if it's not official yet, not in the patch notes, and seems strange, why not just... wait for an official announcement?

    Like the CoH thing from yesterday- you posted the descreased radius size. I thought it was odd, but was just going to wait on it (or maybe test it on the PTR) before I said anything. Then they come back and say "No, that info is wrong", to someone who was screaming bloody murder on the official forms. Frankly, I'm afraid that they'll point the info back to you and say, "HE DID IT", and then Blizzard comes and carries you away in their windowless van to their labor camps where you data mine bits all day in the quarry. Wait....

    Can't folks just... be a little patient?
    :|

  19. #19
    Thanks for the post Boub. Huge fan of what you do here, and you do it very well (usually =P).

    As always though, I think it's important that the general populace knows that datamining is an imperfect science. Even if it was, PTR is PTR, much like beta is beta. Sadly the type to read a PTR datamined comparison, then run to the WoW forums and cry about it don't tend to have the mental capacity to comprehend these things.

  20. #20
    Don't worry Boubouille, we love you!

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