Thursday, August 1, 2013

Naked Science: A Thank You to Frostheim

Alright, my explanation of where I've been and what I've been doing for the last two years is going to have to wait a few more days, due to huge news in the Hunter Community.

If you're reading this backwater and seemingly abandoned hunter blog, you've almost certainly already heard that Frostheim (co founder of Warcraft Hunter's Union, co host of the Hunting Party Podcast, and writer for WoW Insider) is retiring from WoW blogging and podcasting. All good things must come to an end, and Frost's dedication to WoW, hunters, dwarfs, and science have all been very good things. I have to view his retirement as a nerf to my personal DPS.

Before I get into what Frost has done for me personally over the years, I just want to mention a few of his epic moments. Most if not all of these events involved help from other folks, but go with it-this is a thank you to Frost. He got an entire album (or at least an EP) of hunter songs professionally produced. I think it's safe to say no other class can claim this, and if I'm wrong please correct me in the comments. He organized some ridiculous events involving the WHU baby hunter guild. My personal favorite was the all level 50 hunter (max was 80) raid on Thunder Bluff. Seriously, watch this video if you've never seen it. And then watch all of the other stuff they did. One of my only regrets in WoW is that I never found the game time to level a second hunter and participate in any of these events. Frost and company also raided current (at the time) 25-man content with nothing but hunters. The class knowledge used, especially relating to spirit beasts, was stunning. That is no small accomplishment, and again if another class can claim that I'd like to know about it. In my opinion, no one is more responsible for the removal of the hunter minimum range than Frostheim. We all bitched about it a lot, but Frost made an intelligent argument for why it was unfair and unnecessary. Over, and over. And over. And it worked:) He made this argument in many venues, but he found a way to bring it up regularly on the Hunting Party Podcast where he gave us hours of infotainment. I'm not a guy who schedules life around WoW (with the exception of raids sometimes), but I try hard to catch the live stream of that podcast. Frost has added a ton to this already excellent podcast, and once he hosted the 100th episode where they all played the HPP Drinking Game. I tried to play along with them and was shit-faced at a totally irresponsible hour of the day. I'd do it again as it was so much fun. Too bad nobody ever got around to uploading the post show:) Speaking of podcasts, Frost blew some minds on Convert to Raid. By just talking about hunters the way he thinks about them, he startled the seasoned hosts of an excellent podcast. Which brings me to the naked science.

For a middle of the road raider, I get questions and compliments regarding my hunter surprisingly often. The questions almost always involve specifics such as rotation, gems, profession bonuses, and of course, gear. Usually if the question is specific enough I can answer it. I'm not able to answer it because I theorycraft myself. Or because I read Elitist Jerks. Or because I'm awesome at WoW. I can usually answer hunter questions because I listen to the HPP and I read Warcraft Hunters Union. Until this week, that's about all a hunter had to do to be decent. Trust me on this one, because I basically suck at video games in general. Frost has given us so much solid, scientific information about hunters that even someone like me can seem good. And I distinctly remember when he became my source for hunter information. The first post was Theorycrafting 101. Just the section on margin of error alone was eye opening, and it made me wish my dad was also a physicist. It also changed the way I made decisions and assumptions regarding WoW. To this day if I'm disagreeing with another hunter about something within the margin of error, I consider it a draw. An extension of Frost's data driven approach to the game can be seen here, as another example. Take a second to look at the header, because it's hilarious. He put an entirely plausible formula on the chalkboard for loot bribery! Once, in the early days of Dragon Soul LFR I convinced an annoying pug that 32g/ilvl was the "accepted" bribe price for loot. But the penultimate moment when I realized Frost was the source for hunter thorycrafting was this article. He ran heroics naked to make an important point. It has settled (in my mind, if not the other party's) many gear related disputes over the years. If it's TL;DR for you, just read the last section. Talents and raid buffs have changed a ton since it was written, but the point remains. If your dps sucks, don't blame your gear. Pretty much everything else you can change contributes more to your dps than your gear. The other hunter in my old raid team has been reinforcing this for a long time. I always outgear him, and he (almost) always out performs me. If your dps is low, gear is the last thing you should blame. Literally the last thing. Look at your rotation, look at shots fired, check Female Dwarf. But if you blame your gear (as I had done from time to time before the article) you'll just seem foolish and wrong to the naked scientists of the world (of Warcraft).

This has already become a much longer article than I had intended, which is a tribute to its subject. I've glossed over a lot of stuff. He helped create hunter BBQs and Blizzcon hunter meetups. He has a cloak named for him. Frost has even instigated and performed hunter poetry (other class/communities have that, right?). He is currently publishing a ninja board game! But most importantly, he's a really nice guy. The day I published the first post on this blog I emailed him and others just to say, "Hi, I'm gonna try this thing.." Frost emailed me back the same night with kind words and a little advice. If that's not classy I don't know what is. Frostheim will be missed in my little corner of the Hunter Community. In fact, his work over the last few years is why I capitalize the term "Hunter Community." I've been playing a hunter since classic and we have the amazing Community that we do in part because of him.

Thank you Frost.

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