A rather interesting feature of Warlords of Draenor is the much anticipated “Item Squish”.
Basically, numbers are getting too big to rationalize. It’s hard to fathom ten
billion health and a halfmillion DPS, compared to a million health and five
thousand DPS, so Blizzard wants to make all the numbers ingame smaller.
Stolen from MMOChamp. From Blizzcon. 
A quick technical aside, many people believe that Blizzard
is performing the number squish because computers take longer to calculate
bigger numbers. Assuming Blizzard has upgraded their servers to 64bit code,
this is erroneous. An unsigned 64bit integer goes to 2^{64}  1,
or 18,446,744,073,709,551,615. Any calculations on numbers smaller than that,
be it 10 + 20, or 10,000,000,000 + 20,000,000,000, take the same amount of
time. In Computer terms, if the numbers can fit in a single register,
it doesn’t matter how big it is. Technically Blizzard would still be okay on 32bits,
as long as boss health stayed below 4.2 billion or so, but we’re rapidly approaching
that (Malkorok has 1 billion health on 25man Normal, for example).
Back to the squish itself, Blizzard claims that our relative
power won’t change, and that our ability to solo old content won’t change, but
my intuition tells me that this is mathematically impossible. Now, instincts
about math are often wronga prime example of this is the Monty Hall problem,
which states:
‘Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?’
Most people figure keeping to the same door is the better
choice, however, you have a much better chance to win that car if you switch to
the other door. The Wikipedia link gives the proof, but the end result is any
time my intuition tells me something about math, I figure I need to question it
(not to mention justify my minor in Pure Mathematics). So let’s run through
some numbers and figure out whether my instincts are right, or if Blizzard’s
statement is true.
The first thing I did was determined the DPS curve for all
of WoW. For each raid tier, I tried to find a boss with the following
qualities:
 Tight enrage timer (DPS race)
 Single target
 As little movement as possible (i.e.: Patchwerk fight)
 25 Normal data exists (Tier 2 and 3 I took 40man data and normalized the health to 25man)
Tier

Boss

Health

Enrage

Raid DPS Required

2

*(999,300) 624,562

5 Minutes

2,082


3

*(3,850,000) 2,406,250

7 Minutes

5,729


4

3,375,000

~7 Minutes

8,036


5

4,500,000

10 Minutes

7,500


6

10,500,000

6 Minutes

29,167


7

13,038,575

6 Minutes

36,218


8

30,000,000

15 Minutes

33,333


9

20,910,000

10 Minutes

34,850


10

40,440,000

5 Minutes

134,800


11

90,620,000

7 Minutes

215,762


12

99,978,288

6 Minutes

277,717


13

184,238,336

6 Minutes

511,773


14

641,000,000

8.5 Minutes

1,256,863


15

1,226,000,000

12 Minutes

1,702,778


16

1,055,102,592

6 Minutes

2,930,841

* Health normalized by multiplying by 25/40.
~ No enrage timers for 25 man raids exist. Text suggests that ~7 minutes the raid will be overwhelmed.
% No Patchwerk fights exist on this tier. Anub’arak is the only one with a tight enrage, but between the life leech and the adds, the Raid DPS required is probably a fair bit higher than listed.
~ No enrage timers for 25 man raids exist. Text suggests that ~7 minutes the raid will be overwhelmed.
% No Patchwerk fights exist on this tier. Anub’arak is the only one with a tight enrage, but between the life leech and the adds, the Raid DPS required is probably a fair bit higher than listed.
If we plot the data on a graph, it’s very clearly an
exponential curve:
But
we already knew that. Blizzard has stated a number of
times they’re aiming for an exponential power curve, so that gear can
feel
exciting, and such that you actually replace your gear when an expansion
drops. But as you can see, the lower end is incredibly compact in terms
of values. The jump from Void Reaver to Brutallus may be a factor of 4,
but the raw value is only about 22,500 DPS, which is nothing in
comparison to the 1.2 million DPS jump from Iron Qon to Malkorok. So how
do we reconcile this with ensuring that we can solo the old raids and
not have numbers get ridiculously small rather than being crazy big?
One of Blizzard’s claims is, “it will STILL take 5s to
kill a Timeless Isle Gulp Frog.” To ensure that’s true, it’s a simple case of
just scaling your current power down and the health of the mob down by the same
factor. For example, if you do 100,000 DPS today, and a Gulp Frog has 1.4M
health,
it would take you 14 seconds to defeat the Gulp Frog. If Blizzard wanted to
scale down DPS so that the same character after the squish would only do 5,000
DPS, it’s a simple matter of dividing both numbers by 20, so the Gulp Frog
after the squish would have 70,000 health. No big deal.
So how about soloing old raids? If you wanted to use the
same level 90 character to kill Festergut, before the patch it would take 404.4
seconds at 100,000 DPS. After the patch, Festergut would need to have only 2,022,000
health to achieve the same result at 5,000 DPS. Not so bad.
Things start to get a little weird, inline with my expectations on an exponential curve, when you apply
the same thing to the first few tiers. Princess Huhuran would need to have only
49,965 health to have the same effect, which is less than General Drakash
in UBRSa 5man level 58 bossby nearly half. Void Reaver, only 225,000
health. That’s not to say it’s impossible, just a little strange. It’s honestly
a large enough difference between Tier 2 and Tier 16 that if Blizzard only reduced the Vanilla
tiers by a factor of 10 instead of 20 (meaning Huhuran would have 100,000
health), the ability of a max level character to solo that boss wouldn’t be
greatly impacted, though someone at level 70 might struggle a bit more than
they would otherwise.
If we were to take the squish to its literal conclusion, it
would fall apart once you hit Vanilla content, so I feel my instincts were
justified. But at that point the numbers are so small anyway that the precise
factor one would utilize applying the squish is largely irrelevant. The math is
a bit basic, but it supports Blizzard’s statements just fine. I doubt they’ll
just apply a multiplier to reduce the values because I’m sure there are
subsystems that I haven’t looked into that would fall apart, but given I didn’t
go to Blizzcon, I couldn’t begin to guess what they actually did (the squish
was in effect at the Warlords of Draenor
demo stations, apparently). Still, it seems feasible. I’ll be interested to see
how they go about doing it.