Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Raiding Spec Roundup - Part 2 - 53/3/15

Today's build is a 53/3/15 build, Haunt/Ruin with Improved Imp. The imp is the affliction pet of choice at the moment, mainly because of felhunter bugs, along with a boosted imp mana regen rate which allows him to never go OOM in most raids. For the rotation, see my previous blog post on affliction raiding. Below 25% on a boss, I use drain soul as my filler, and I drop immolate from my rotation. There are a few points here or there that can vary in this build. However one thing I must stress is that once you're using decent gear, any 1 point in ISB is better than 1 point in Molten Core.

It probably goes without saying this is one of my favorite builds. I was able to pull 5700 dps on patchwerk last night using a Doomguard, though we had a bit of lag, so I think I could have done more. (Oh what I wouldn't give for one lag-free night of raiding these days) This build is also probably one of the most difficult specs to raid with. It's a complicated spec that requires absolute focused attention, the use of DoTimer, and coordination. Blizzard is going to be simplifying this spec in some way, which will be a welcome change for most. Especially considering that when the content becomes more difficult, this spec will too.

This spec thus far has been edging out the competition to seemingly be THE top dps spec. Several warlocks have broken the 6k dps barrier with this spec. The more you have to move around while using this spec, the more difficult keeping the rotations becomes. Some argue this spec loses more when you have to move around compared to other specs, but there is no way to quantify one way or the other with any certainty. But, played correctly, this spec is truly awesome.

This spec also scales far better than some might think. Haste is actually great for this spec, as it allows you to get through rotations quicker, throw more nukes in between refreshes, and ramp back up after dps pauses due to fight mechanics. It benefits tremendously from spell damage, and benefits from spirit more than any other spec as well. Simulations show this spec actually scales better than any other spec that warlocks have.

Even with the difficult rotations, I have to rate this spec 10/10. Well played, it's a kick ass spec in every sense of the word.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Raiding Spec Roundup - Part 1 - 0/41/30

Today I'm starting part 1 of what will be an overall review of the different raid specs I'm playing with these days. People often ask me why I'm not spec'd one of the two "top dps" specs (deep affliction or deep destruction), and my answer is that if I want to continue to try and contribute to the warlock community as I have, it does me no good to just play 1 spec and never get first hand experience with anything else.

This Raiding Spec Roundup will be exclusive to our blog, and will also be posted on The Warlock's Den.

I start with 0/41/30, a Felguard/Emberstorm build. My rotation consists of using Corruption, CoA, Immolate, and Incinerate. I use the Felguard for my pet, and use Demonic Empowerment every time it's up, and my Felguard will get to use it for the full duration. (ie, I dont pop demonic empowerment if I am 2 seconds from having to pull my Felguard off of doing dps for some reason) My current stats with talents and self buffs (no raid buffs) are around 2500 spell power, with 25% crit, 425 haste, and hit capped.

The first thing that I notice about this build is that it's extremely easy to play. It's probably one of the easiest builds I've played so far. The rotations are simple, and aside from a bit of pet management, there isn't much to say. I don't have too much difficulty keeping the Felguard alive on every fight. You just have to pull him back using passive in cases where he would die, such as fire waves on Sarth, or the AoE damage on Sapph, etc.

I'd strongly recommend this as a build for newer warlocks who are getting used to the ideas and concepts of raiding. It's a very fun build, and outside of the fact that it falls short on dps and has a lack of scalability compared to the "big two", I really have nothing bad to say about it. It's a good build if your server gets really laggy too, since the timing of your casts and rotations are not critical.

For PVE I'm going to rate this build an 8 out of 10.

Edit: See the thread on wowmb. There is some great feedback there:

Monday, December 29, 2008

I was pretty sure they covered this in warlock elementary school

There is another warlock in my guild, who shall go unnamed to protect the oblivious, who has decent gear and shows up for raids fairly regularly, but who has always struck me as doing completely inadequate dps. He is Affliction (and the reason that I am not, since THANKS BLIZZARD Shadow Embrace is still busted), but I regularly trounce him on damage meters, on fights with tons of movement like Grobbulus and on fights where we stand still and beat the living crap out of things like Patchwerk. I'm not particularly better geared than this guy, and Affliction is widely hailed, both by my peers and on numbercruncher sites like Elitist Jerks, as a vastly superior raid spec.

This has baffled me for weeks now, and I figured out why today.

Being that I am Destruction, the best way for me to squeeze out that extra little bit of dps involves not only watching whether my own Immolate is on a target, but whether someone else's Immolate is up there as well, so I can throw another Incinerate when it's debatable whether recasting Immolate will overwrite the last tick without having to worry about whether Incinerate will grab the bonus damage. So I paid particular attention to the Immolate buffs on the boss, and lo and behold... Not only did the other Immolate never fall off, but it was being refreshed before it was done ticking.

This guy is Affliction, remember, and he had been refreshing not just Immolate but all of his DoTs before their final tick had gone off.

I feel it is my place to say, if you are reading this post, DO NOT DO THIS. EVER. You hear lots and lots of chatter about how it's very important to keep your DoTs up all the time, and it is! However, what people mean when they say this is that it's very important that you refresh your spells as soon as they fall off. Never refresh a DoT before it is done ticking. That last tick of damage you're overwriting is damage you have already paid for, both in terms of mana cost and in terms of time spent casting. Every single time you overwrite a DoT that still has a tick or two left, you are wasting that damage. You are robbing yourself of that DPS.

I informed the warlock in question of his error in private following our raid today, and I expect to see an astronomical increase in his DPS tomorrow. Maybe I shouldn't have told him so he could continue making me look good by comparison.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An update to the Affliction Guide

Edited part of the guide, changing it to this:

If you can pre-cast, you should start with a shadowbolt, and then haunt. Now, many people often ask why you would do this, and some people are even under the misconception that casting haunt after your DoTs is somehow more efficient. Think about it this way: Haunt should have 100% uptime for the entire fight. And since DoTs receive the bonus no matter when the debuff went up (before the DoT was cast, after the DoT was cast, makes no difference), it only matters that the debuff is up. So, why would you cast DoTs first, and have the first several ticks not get any benefit from Haunt? If you're going to have Haunt up the entire fight anyways, wouldn't it be better to have ALL ticks benefit from Haunt? Of course. The same goes for shadow embrace. The first stack is put on by that shadowbolt, and the second stack by Haunt.

So, your intial cast rotation will look like this:

Shadowbolt > Haunt > UA > Immolate > CoA > Corruption > Siphon Life. After that, you're now into what is called "filler" time. If your raid does NOT have a moonkin druid or unholy death knight, you will use CoE for your curse instead.

If you cannot pre-cast, then start with instant cast DoTs such as CoA, Siphon Life, and Corruption. Getting these up as you move into position will start your dps up sooner.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Debuff Limit Gone

And has been since the xpac was released. Basically confirms what several of us have been saying all along. So, if anyone tries to claim "omg my debuffs are getting knocked off" you can throw this at them. ;)

We changed how the game handles debuffs (ie negative state effects on targets) on creatures with Wrath of the Lich King. The old hard cap of 40 debuffs on a target no longer effectively exists. You can now apply way more debuffs to a target without them dropping off before their duration expires. The default WoW UI will not normally display all these debuffs, but they really are still there!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why Corruption is still worth casting as Heavy Destro

Consider this: a screenshot of a single Recount of a single boss fight. Consider it the "in practice, biopsy-style" theorycraft, taking a single slice of a fight rather than a whole night of fights smushed together.

Incinerate: 50 casts, 302930 total damage.
Cast time: 1.93.
DPCT OF INCINERATE: 302930 dmg / 96.5 (total time spent casting) = 3139 DPCT

Corruption: 56 ticks, 44599 total damage.
Cast time: 1.35 (hasted GCD)
56 ticks, since Corruption has six ticks per cast, is 10 casts with four missing ticks.
44599 (damage) / 56 (number of ticks) = 796 (average damage per tick)
44599 + 4 * (796) = 47783 (amount of damage those ten casts should have done in total)
DPCT OF CORRUPTION: 47783 dmg / 13.5 (total time spent casting) = 3539 DPCT

Thank you for playing. I do Bar Mitzvahs.

Side notes:
1.) That does include Imp Corr, which I have. Nevertheless, the DPCT is remarkably higher and would at worst even out untalented.
2.) The Incinerate damage is including whatever it gained from the Molten Core uptime it wouldn't have had without Corr being up.