Musical rhythm in class rotations

| Tuesday, February 9, 2010
As I was watching a drummer I was suddenly amazed by something: musicians can be as perfectly synchronized as those radio-linked clocks. The key is that they are not merely hitting notes. That would sound terrible. That is what little children do when first learning. Instead they play. They are not picking what to play, instead they simply play it, and the result is a continuity, a perfection, that is hard to find elsewhere.

Imagine if a pianist tried to play by having every set of keys passed to them, instant by instant. It would sound terrible. They would have no flow and their rhythm would turn to crap, even if the cues were perfectly timed.

I don't believe this is isolated.

Classes in WoW exhibit similar behavior. DKs have their rune rotations; regular, cyclical, unending. You could make a very strange, but regular, metronome from their runes. Other classes have rotations as well. Then there is the first come, first serve of retribution.

There is the steady rhythm of the 1.5 second GCD (oh fuck you, Bloodlust). In theory this means that ret paladins could play their spells almost as a musical composition; unrepeated and without clear pattern, and yet still create a coherent work of art through the regularity of the GCD and the intelligent choice of the next spell.

Then comes T10 2-piece. An unpredictable proc. I suppose that's redundant since proc comes from programmed random occurrence. But I think people have forgotten that procs must be random; I admit I tend to use it for either random or infrequent events. Or just stuff happening: "Icy Touch procs Frost Fever." Why not just fucking say "applies"? Dumbass.

Random. It's right back to the pianist with keys thrown at them. I succumb to this. DS is up, but I was already pressing the CS key. There goes my damage. I'm trying to 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 but which 1.5 is next? And is this a 1.5? No no, just a 0.5 because the auto-attack reset it, and now I'm back to 1.5 until I reach the next small gap. How do you expect me to play this shit? Worst composer ever.

Paladin tanking I can do as 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 due to alternating cooldowns. Give me enough time and you will see my swaying back and forth in my seat with the casts and chanting to myself 6 9 6 9 6 9... Then I get stunned or lag or in some way shaken from my trance and I swear a bit. As an angry musician, I throw something, often my shield.

I wonder what the DPS gain would be if ret had a set rotation. Set it out to be the same theoretical DPS, but make it something predictable for the player. I think we'd see a huge DPS gain. At least 10%. It's not just the non-ideal spell now and then, it's also the frustration and loss of control of missing one and then the next is off and, well I'm sure you've seen a musician miss a note, then another, and they just crash sometimes. As for lag, it's much easier to adapt to the delay if you're not randomly changing casts, or not changing what you cast and losing that damage instead.

What would we sound like?
When I get a chance, I hope to find rotations for all classes and specs and assign a note to the spells. Plug those into GarageBand and see what I get. The FCFS will likely end up a bit chaotic, but who knows until we hear it? If I had musical talent, I'd actually play them, but alas, my skills are weak.

I only fear one thing: After I make these, will one class sound so much better that Ghostcrawler will nerf it?

Are musicians better at DPS?


Anonymous said...

Assign different instruments to different classes .. a tribal drum for the tank, perhaps, drums in the deep. The tinkling of a xylophone as the healer ticks off Lifeblooms and tosses Rejuv. The driving riffs of a guitar as a mage or hunter hammers home the hurt.

What does a 5-man "band" sound like I wonder?

Nice idea!

Klepsacovic said...

@Bri: I think a military sort of drum would work for tanks, a rata tat tat used to lead soldiers off to die horrible deaths. Healers seem harpish; perhaps priests.

Whatever the 5-man band sounds like, it would clearly lack cowbell.

I'm glad you liked it.

Anonymous said...

I really like this concept- the dot rotation and cool downs on a shadow priest could be much like the layering of a musical piece- I am invisioning our piece played on a pipe organ the ebbing and flowing as dots are reapplied punctuated by our mindblasts on kool down and a disonant chord shadow word death on occasion- I think a holy priest would have to be percussion the tinkling triangles if prayer of mending the glockenspiel of renew and four flask the banging of symbols- seriously an awesome concept I shall be imagining my composition when next i play

Klepsacovic said...

@pugnaciouspriest: Now that you mention it, prayer of mending always sounded musical to me. As a tank, I hear it as a starting gun; when that is fired off, GO!

I wonder how I would do DoTs. Maybe the initial cast would be the note and the ticks would be it, but softer. For curse of agony it would build up, while for doom it would be a tiny initial sound with a crash at the end. Mind flay seems that it would be nails on a chalkboard.

SlikRX said...

I think DoTs would need to be some sort of vamping sound... maybe like the driving, "loping" bassline from the beginning of Pink Floyd's "Dogs of War"

HoTs, well, no idea there...

SlikRX said...

Oh, forgot to mention the clash/gong that Prot Pallies already have. (I *love* that sound)

I play one, and I STILL can't remember which ability it is...

Amber said...

I'm a musician, and I'm absolutely horrible at DPS. I much prefer healing. :)

Melfina said...

This is a really cool idea. Now I must compose a marksman hunter piece, gorram it.

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