Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mailbag: Haste Breakpoints

I know it's been a while since I blogged last, I apologize for the lack of content. My real life has been very busy. In WoW, my guild situation has been very unsettled, and I've had a bit of writer's block when trying to come up with blog ideas. Luckily a reader reminded me of a topic that I had meant to tackle, but apparently had forgotten about. So, this week I am reaching into the mailbag and take a look at Haste Breakpoints.

The Question:

From what I understand and have read in several places is that although there are several haste "break points," after the break points haste is still a better stat to have than mastery or crit. Am I misunderstanding the information or is this correct? The "Top" moonkin on the server keeps his haste at 18 percent, right around a break point but currently I have mine a bit higher. Thank You.

Jason E.
What are Haste Breakpoints?

The short answer to this question is a level of Haste rating at which your DoT or HoT gains an extra tick of damage or healing.

You may remember in WotLK, Haste did affect some HoTs and DoTs by reducing the duration of the spell. The spells did the same amount of damage or healing, but did it in a shorter amount of time. This is pretty much the same way that Haste changed Nukes. The problem with this was that by the end of the expansion our haste levels were very high, and the durations of those HoTs and DoTs were nearly cut in half. This caused several problems for both DPSers and healers that I won't get into.

In Cataclysm, Blizzard fixed those issues by changing the way haste affects HoTs and DoTs. Now, at specific levels of haste HoTs and DoTs will gain an extra tick and extend the duration of the spell. This means that the duration of both Moonfire and IS will always be between 17 seconds and 19 seconds long no matter what buffs or how much haste rating you have.

What are the Haste Rating Break Points for Moonfire and Insect Swarm. The table below shows you how much Haste Rating you need to get an extra tick of damage. All of the columns assume you have Moonkin Aura, DI = Dark Intent, NG = Nature's Grace. If a column is blank then you would reach the break point with just the buffs indicated and no additional Haste Rating.

Extra TicksStd BuffsDINGDI&NG

Why Haste Breakpoints are Significant:

The significance of Haste Breakpoints revolves around the Damage per Execution Time (DpET) of your spells. This is the Damage done divided by the time it takes to cast the spell. Since our DoTs are instant the Execution time is the Global Cooldown. Typically Haste affects your DpET by reducing the Execution time of your spell, and small increases in Haste result in small increases in DpET. Haste Breakpoints change this equation. When you reach a haste breakpoint, you not only reduce the cast time of the spell, but you also increase the damage of the spell by adding an additional tick of damage. This causes the DpET of your spells to jump when you reach a Breakpoint, and the output of a single spell cast increases significantly. Also, since your DoTs duration increases at the breakpoint, it means you are casting DoTs less and Nukes more. This should have a small impact on your DPS.

Haste Breakpoints matter most when you don't plan on refreshing the HoT or DoT. This is why healers care about the breakpoints so much. To a healer, it doesn't really matter if the healing happens over 11 or 13 seconds. If time is really important they are likely using a direct heal instead of a HoT. So, healers don't really care about the HPS of a spell, but the HpET can be very significant. When a healer reaches a breakpoint that extra tick means that their HoT heals for more. So they get more output from their spells because they typically don't refresh a HoT on anyone except a tank.

For moonkin, there is a similar situation when we are AoEing groups of adds. Hurricane is quite weak and mana intensive at the moment, and Wild Mushroom has a 10 second cooldown. Therefore, if you expect the adds to live more than 15-18 seconds it's typically best to multi-DoT the adds to do the most damage, and being just over a break point significantly helps in that regard.

Why Haste Breakpoints are Unimportant for Moonkin:

Passing a Haste Breakpoint is definitely a good thing, but it's important to not over value it's impact. Crossing a Breakpoint may be huge for the DpET of a DoT, but it has no special affect on the DPS of a DoT. Yes, an additional tick of a DoT will increase the damage of the spell but it also increases the duration of the spell. As a result the DPS of the spell before and after Breakpoint is virtually the same. You gain a little time by passing a Breakpoint, but the amount of time gain shrinks with each breakpoint you pass and becomes less significant.

The main reason you shouldn't care about Haste Breakpoints is overall stat valuation. Once your hit capped, Haste is the best secondary stat no matter where your stats are relative to the Haste Breakpoints. If your just above a breakpoint, Haste is still better than Crit or Mastery. Therefore it doesn't make any sense to keep your haste at a breakpoint. More Haste is always better if the alternatives are Crit or Mastery. So, to answer Jason E.'s question, there is no reason you or the other moonkin should hold your Haste levels at 18 percent. The only possibility I can think of is that he may switch to resto quite often and uses the same set of gear. In which case he is trying to optimize his gear for both rolls.

TL-DR: How I view Haste Breakpoints.

Haste Breakpoints, are a good thing to keep in mind when gearing your toon, but they shouldn't have a huge impact on your gearing choices. The only time they play a really significant roll in your DPS is when you are multi-DoTing adds and don't expect to refresh the DoTs. Plus, Haste Rating is always a better stat than Crit or Mastery. Therefore, it doesn't make any sense to sacrifice Haste for Crit or Mastery even if you just past a break point.

If at all possible I would prefer to be slightly above a Breakpoint than slightly below one, because there are advantages to being above a breakpoint. However, I wouldn't sacrifice anything more than very small amounts of Hit or Int to get there (i.e. 20 points), and I definitely wouldn't hold my haste levels constant until I could reach the next Haste Breakpoint.

Monday, February 7, 2011

4.0.6 Review

MMO Champion is reporting that patch 4.0.6 will be released tomorrow. Since this patch was released piece by piece over a fairly long time I thought it might be a good idea to go through and remind everyone what is included. Both the gear list and the raid guide have been updated to take the new patch into account.

PvE Changes:

Total Eclipse: Benefit from mastery increased by approximately 33%. This buff sounds bigger then it is. In reality it's a modest DPS increase of 2.5%-3.5%, but it will change the way we gear and reforge because it moves Mastery Rating ahead of Crit Rating in terms of marginal value.

Wild Mushroom: Several changes were made to WM in this patch. It's now instant cast, the radius of detonation was increased, and the damage was increased by 30%. If you haven't been playing with WM already, you better start. It's going to be a big part of any AoE rotation we do, and there are several fights where it will be very nice.

Moonkin Form: Grants 15% damage reduction instead of increased armor, and shapeshifting in or out of this form now breaks roots. I much prefer a 15% damage reduction over the increased armor. Some of you may be a little confused by the shapeshifting section of the blue comment. In short, Blizzard took away the ability for all druids to break roots with shapeshifting, but gave it back to Moonkin and Restos.

Starfall: Will no longer strike targets that are not in combat and will now drop stars at a slightly faster rate. This is primarily a quality of life change that I approve of. I think most of us have been in a situation where we hit Starfall and pull a mob we didn't intend to, or saw our stars wasted on insignificant targets. This should make life a little easier during trash, and should increase our significant DPS during boss fights.

Glyphs: Glyph of Entangling Roots will now reduces the cast time of Entangling Roots by 0.2 seconds, rather than making it instant cast. Glyph of Wrath now increases damage done by Wrath by 10% and no longer requires Insect Swarm on the target. Neither of these changes are huge, but are worth remembering. I loved having GoER for 5mans because it made CCing so easy, but I can see how it could be a problem in PvP. The GoW change shouldn't mean a whole lot since Insect Swarm should have a near 100% uptime, but it should be a small DPS increase for the fights where you use GoW.

Fungal Growth: The duration has been increased to 20 seconds. In addition, it should now be much more responsive when detonating Wild Mushrooms. I wasn't real impressed with Fungal Growth when I played with it because I thought it was fairly short and didn't apply quick enough. This should fix both of those issues.

Shooting Stars: The buff duration has been increased to 12 seconds. A small quality of life change that's probably a bigger deal for PvP and leveling then it is for PvE. If you weren't getting a Starsurge off in 8 seconds you were likely doing something wrong.

Mana Cost Reductions: Moonfire, Sunfire, and Typhoon all had their mana costs cut in half. Obviously it's a positive change but in my experience probably isn't that significant.

Profession and Buff Changes:

Meta Gems: New Meta gem Burning Shadowspirit Diamond will increase Int by 54 as well as increase your Critical Strike damage by 3%. In addition to that, the meta requirement for all 3% crit damage gems has been changed to must have 3 red gems equipped. The Burning Shadowspirit Diamond will be BiS, but will likely be difficult to find right after the patch. I would have a Chaotic ready to use right away and pick up the Burning when it becomes a little more available.

Engineering: The Synapse Springs effect now lasts 10 seconds, down from 12. This reduces the effectiveness quite significantly. The average benefit of the Synapse Springs is now just 80 Int but in reality is likely different when you consider other factors.

Bracer Enchant: New bracer enchants are available, on of which will increase Intellect by 50. This is really a nerf to the leather working profession buff. This means Leatherworking now provides the user with 80 Int instead of the 100 or so that it did before.

Off-Hand Enchant: Superior Intellect now increases Intellect by 40, down from 100. It sucks but I'm not surprised. Giving a 100 Int enchant to the off hand slot was probably a bit overpowered, especially since Staffs didn't have a similar enchant. I still think MH/OH combo is the better way to go, but his nerf evens the playing field a little.

Tailoring: Nothing really changed with tailoring other then some tooltip fixes, but it is the new over budget profession buff. Lightweave Embrodery is providing around 105 Int due to a smaller then expected internal cooldown. I'm not suggesting that everyone should change to it because I bet it will be nerfed, but it is definately the best for now.

Alchemy: New Alchemist's Stones for Agility, Strength, and Intellect have been added. The new Int trinket isn't going to be BiS. It might not even be a good transition item since the Darkmoon Card and Stump of time are so easy to obtain, but I'm sure it can work into your plans some how depending on what your gear needs are.

PvP Changes:
I should really call these non-PvE changes because many of the changes above are significant for PvP as well. These are a few changes that don't really impact PvE but will be significant to some of you.

CC Changes: Entangling Roots, Hibernate, & Nature’s Grasp now have a PvP duration of 8 seconds. I don't PvP much so I'm not sure what the significants of this is, but I think it standardize the CC a little bit across classes.

Set Bonus: The PvP Balance druid 4-piece set bonus effect has been increased to 20 Solar Energy and 13 Lunar Energy, up from 5 and 13. The effect will also now be more intelligent at choosing whether to give the druid Lunar or Solar Energy (it checks the Balance Power to determine which to give depending on which energy is higher at the time). Again, I'm not sure how significant this is, but I sounds like it should be a pretty big help.