Glow's branches

Ramblings of a resto druid

Monthly Archives: February 2011

Visualising search terms

I’ve been playing with some of the data that WordPress supplies. I’m mildly disappointed with the stats package that you get in WordPress, and the inability to use Google Analytics with my blog, but I digress.

Over the past couple of months, the main thing I’ve been watching are the search terms people have used when they land on the site. It’s self-filtering, as the things they search for are the things I have on my site, or they wouldn’t end up here… but nonetheless it’s interesting to see what folks are looking for, and how that matches to the content I have created thus far.

I naturally started off playing with generating a graph* from the search terms and phrases. A bit of a population map showing the frequency of the terms and the number of connections between them. I tried using yEd and Gephi (both great graphing tools), and using TGF and DOT formats.

I had to spend a lot of time cleaning up this data before manipulating it. There are *many* ways to refer to the Twin Emperors for example, so I tried to unify as many synonyms and remove as many typos in the search terms as I could.

My clean data looked like this kind of thing: (this is just a fragment of course)

twin_emperors 85
druid healing magmaw
healing maloriak
twin_emperors 85
druid healing 4.0.6
healing magmaw druid
solo aq40 85

This then almost naturally falls into then had to convert the terms into a DOT file – which would be simple if either of yEd or Gephi fully supported DOT, but they don’t. So I ended up setting up adjacendies in the data for connected terms, which isn’t ideal, but at least preserves the relationships between terms. So the data I ended up importing into Gephi looked like this:

twin_emperors — 85;
druid — {healing ; magmaw}
healing — maloriak;
twin_emperors — 85;
druid — {healing ; 4.0.6}
healing — {magmaw ; druid}
solo — {aq40 ; 85}

And the output of this in Gephi, after some further massaging and playing with different layouts: (click for full version)

Graph of search terms using Gephi

This is only the ‘main body’ of the graph. There are quite a few ‘islands’ of terms that aren’t connected to this, but the scale starts to get a bit crazy, so I’ve just pasted in this main connected ‘contintental landmass’.

There’s a lot to be said for just removing the nodes that only appear once, to give a better feel for the connections between the terms that occur most often.

Then of course I tried not displaying the edges, and scaling the labels according to their connectedness. But of course if I’m going to do that, I may as well use a tool like Wordle:

Wordle word cloud of the search terms

But then I lose the actual connections between the terms, and some of that is really interesting. But of course Wordle is fast, and it’s pretty.

So. I will persevere with my graphs. Maybe in another couple of months when I have more terms under my belt I’ll have another play. And who knows,  maybe Gephi will fully support DOT so I can skip a few steps in transforming my data from search terms to a graph of connected relationships.

* [I like graphs. And when I say graph, I mean one of these, not one of these. I was actually goning to do a postgrad in graph theory, but ended up along an entirely different path. Alas.]

Soloing heroic Azjol-Nerub


Kind of despondent after a failed attempt at soloing Naxx bosses, I headed out to Azjol Nerub to see if that was soloable at 85.

My usual set up: feral druid tank spec and gear, 346ish ilvl.


The only really bad trash were the watchers before Krik’thir. I wiped the first time due to being locked down during their web wrap ability.

I ran back in with a clear plan: kill the watchers. I know that sounds obvious, but the first time around I was taking it causally, swiping and thrashing to my heart’s content. Second time around I pulled each watcher group one by one, worked hard at my single target rotation, and ignored the other two mobs until each watcher died.

Mmm comfy little web blanket caccoon

This worked much better, and I killed them with only a couple of web wraps to contend with.


Krik’thir the Gatewatcher

As soon as the last watcher group died, Krik’thir engaged. He started out fairly well, but he puts up a series of poisons and curses, so I got fairly low by the end.

And the blanket unravelled

A swipe and a thrash was enough to kill is small adds. The large adds I killed with berserk on the first wave, and ignored the second wave as I was close to downing the boss.

All and all he wasn’t too bad, best to save mitigation cooldowns to use towards the end.


He was much easier, but again, I only just killed the three groups guardians by the time he’d killed his own adds.

Hadronox - I don't remember such a vivid selection circle before...

Once I’d engaged he was a simple tank and spank. I shuffled out of the gas clouds, but that’s the only fancy footwork required.


He was quite tough. I’d never tanked him before, so it took me a while to get the hang of avoiding his Pound; it would be much easier if I’d done a good job of that.

Simple tank and spank at the start, then the first wave of adds was fine. After the second/third wave I started to take a bit of poison damage – I really should have focussed down the Venomancers.

But once he was back up after the last add wave,  I popped cooldowns and down her went.

Anub'shiash,... er Anub'rekhan... ern... what was your name again?

So not bad for 20 minutes of entertainment, certainly perked me up after the failed Naxx run. ANother one to cross off my list.

Magmaw drakonid trash

The double drakonid pull just before Magmaw is pretty brutal. I’ve briefly described how we handle them in my Magmaw post here – but as I’ve had a few folk ask specifically how we handle them I thought I’d describe this pull in more detail here.

Excuse the Maths, but this pull is all about the geometry.

We set up in an obtuse isosceles triangle arrangement, as shown below. the Skull and the Cross are the two drakonids, the yellow circles are the radius for the thunderclap; only the tanks and melee should be damaged by this. The red ‘plus’ and blue ‘fire’ is the ranged/heals camp.

Positioning for double drakonid pull

The rationale and details for this positioning:

The drakonids will each charge the furtherest raid member from themselves, and you want that to be the tanks rather than a squishy cloth person. If you set up as shown, the distance between the each drakonid and the other tank is greater than the distance between a drakoid and the ranged group. See below:

Obtuse isosceles triangle

We mark a reliable ranged dps and tell the ranged and the healers “stack on the mark”. It’s important to be fairly tightly stacked, if you wander too far back you may end up further away from a drakonid than the other tank. If you wander too far forward you will start getting damaged by the thunderclap.

When the drakonids charge, they will stun their tank for a few seconds, so healers will need to heal their tanks hard right after a charge. Also, this often brings the drakonids slightly closer together, so the tanks may need to take a couple of steps backwards once the charge-stun wears off, or the range may need to edge back just a bit to avoid the thunderclap.

The drakonids enrage once their parter dies, so we dps the skull mob down to around 15% health, then switch to kill the cross mob (before he gets really cross, har har) and then dps back to skull to kill him quickly. Healers should be aware that skull will be hitting the tank fast and hard at this point, so both tank healers should be healing the remaining tank.

And that’s it! I have a video I took of this last night that I’ll upload once I’m back home from work, but hopefully the diagrams are helpful.

Edit, Video: this isn’t a clean kill, and I screwed up towards the end so my tank dies. And then the other tank dies… but that happens 🙂 Hopefully it will show the positioning and shuffling I talked about above 🙂

Magmaw kill video – tank pov

Our guild’s latest Magmaw kill, from a main tank’s point of view. A bit messy, parasites in the raid at one point, but no deaths 🙂


(Don’t tell @magmaw I posted this >.> )

Soloing Heroic Violet Hold

Violet Hold was a boring heroic during Wrath, so I was kind of putting off going in there to solo it. Each time I ‘ported into Dalaran, I’d fly past the entrance on the way out to another dungeon, and pretend I hadn’t noticed it.

This weekend I finally went in to have a look. And to be honest, it wasn’t too bad.

Usual set up: feral tankish spec and gear, ilvl 346 or thereabouts.


The main worry I had as I entered the instance: would I be able to kill the trash quickly enough to avoid having  overlapping portal spawning? Luckily that didn’t happen (during the trash anyway). I did sometimes end up with a mini-add left over from the single-mob portals, but in general speed wasn’t an issue.

Trash in Heroic Violet Hold

For groups I stayed in bear form and single target DPSed them down one by one. For the single mobs I generally stayed in kitty form.

The only real thing to watch for is that one of the dragons puts a bleed that doesn’t drop until you’re healed to full. I just saved Frenzied regeneration for that.


Well I got lucky, and got the two arguable easiest bosses, if not the simplest.


My first boss was Ichoron. I stayed in bear form, but in hindsight perhaps cat form would have been better. She doesn’t throw out much damage, and I just pulled her to a switch between each split so that I could use them to kill her globules.

Surprise! Not all globules are globules...

As I pulled the last switch, I turned to meet some very dragonny looking globules marching towards the gate. Oh goodie, the next portal had spawned, and I hadn’t noticed. 7/18…

I took Ichoron to the door, swiped the dragons, and finished her watery highness off there, before turning back to the adds. I barely killed them as the next portal spawned, but from then on everything stayed under control.


An easy tank and spank. With this beast I started out in bearform, but quickly switched to kitty and popped berserk. The only real precautions I took was to strafe out of his fire.

Brashly, you have come to wrest the secrets of the Living Flame! Oh, wait.


She was a similar story. I started out in bear form, but after taking stock of her puny arms I realised she wasn’t hitting very hard, so switched into cat form for the remainder. Again, the habit of aeons forced me to strafe out of her blizzards.

A valiant defense, but this city must be razed. (I think the Kirin Tor already raised it. Har har.)

So not a very useful ‘guide’, as the bosses I encountered were quite simple, but nonetheless a recount of my latest adventures for my list. 🙂 Go solo it! It’s got a few challenges that make it much more fun than it was at 80.


The entrance to the Violet hold

And a footnote: a screenshot for Voros to show that I’m practising. Check out his screenshot posts here: The Art of Screen Shots

New treeform animation

So I discovered this today while healing a heroic. How did I miss this patch note….?

Magmaw is on twitter

Yes, our favourite anelid is tweeting about life as Nefarion’s captive.

Read his daily rants and concerns, he answers questions and loot requests, including:
– “Now back to me- now back to you. Back to me- back to you. Back to Mangle.”
– “Halfus just told me plate mail is not biodegradable. Great. NOW what will I do with my leftovers? #ItsNotEasyBeingGreen”
– “I suppose the hallmark of civilization is forgivene- WAIT, WHAT’S THAT IN YOUR GCALENDER?!”

But how does he tweet?
– “My handlers are kind enough to apply a spike to my forehead daily, which I then use to type out messages.”

Read his tweets:

Follow him: @magmaw