Glow's branches

Ramblings of a resto druid

Category Archives: blogging

More quiet busy-ness

Been away for work for a few days, so not much WoW activity and not much bloginess. I have been working on the first of my ‘Druid healing – advanced’ pieces to follow on from my basics guide. The first part will be about managing healer aggro and that’s about three quarters done so should be up in the next day or so.

Small revamp

Just a quick update to say my basic healing guide is up (yay!) and explain a small reshuffle of some pages, in case you’re looking for them.

I’ve just completed my Ultra-Basic-Druid-Healing-Guide (here), but realised that it probably ‘lived’ with my druid CC guide (this one) so I’ve bundled then together in the menu structure under Druid guides (this). As I explained earlier, I’m working on a ‘Part 2’ of the healing guide, which will live there as well – it just seemed a more logical structure.

I actually found writing a short-short version of the healing guide extremely difficult. After playing a resto druid for so long, I love chatting about the intricacies and nuances of the class; so splitting it down to ‘do this, then do this’ felt a bit wrong.

But I was driven by a conversation I’d had with another druid. He was stepping into healing for the first time in Cata, and he was having mana issues. So we chatted about what spells he was casting – and when I mentioned using Omen procs for expensive heals it dawned on me.

He didn’t know what clearcasting was.

And that’s not surprising in a sense, as it’s not entirely intuitive for a beginner. But that planted the seed. If I was writing a ‘get started in 30 minutes’ guide – what bones would I strip it back to?

So anyway, hence the ultra-basic-ness of it. No spec choices, no glyph choices, no detailed ui. Just ‘here’s a spec, here’s a healing strat – go for it’ approach. All of that hurt a bit.

But it’s done – the pages reshuffled, the guide published –  and any feedback is welcome.

Quietly busy

I haven’t posted for a few days, but I have been busily updating the blog stealthily in the background.

I’m currently working on a guide to druid healing. Sigh. I know it adds to the huge waving sea of information out there, but my concern is that there isn’t much that’s pitched at absolute newcomers to the spec/class. With that in mind I’m currently shaping up a two part guide:

1. Resto druid healing for absolute beginners: including

  • one sample talent build with a brief rundown of talents,
  • our key healing spells described in plain language,
  • a simple strategy for healing 5 man dungeons, and
  • simply key binding and ui tips

2. Resto healing, the details: including

  • managing mana,
  • tank and raid healing strategies for raids, and
  • setting up raid frames/macros

Not surprisingly, this is taking me a while.

I’ll  post the first part soon (hopefully over the weekend) as that’s nearly done; I just need to add some screenshots and flesh out the last section a little. Writing this to be as short and simple as possible is a challenge, especially when I love the class/spec and tend to ramble when I let myself loose.

The second section I’m mainly writing for self-indulgent reasons. I know there’s already lots of detailed druid guides out there,  but I don’t want my ‘simple’ guide to be seen as all there is, so the need to flesh this out in a second ‘chapter’ compels me.

So in summary: watch this space, especially if you have a friend/alt/offspec interested in dipping toes into the pond of resto druid healing for the first time.

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.]