Monday, October 27, 2008

Cast Sequence Update: Carpal Tunnel for 'Locks?

I wanted to make an updated post on how my cast sequence is working for me. To start, here is a rough picture from our recent ZA run showing my entire UI:

You may notice several familiar addons here:
  • X-Perl is my frame replacement addon. I love the large debuff icons with timers inside. Also, highly customizable. My one complain is that it does not show "readycheck" feedback.
  • Necrosis is my one-stop shop for warlocky needs. Glad they updated this one.
  • Dominos is my button bar manager. Very similar to Bongos if you had that one back before the patch. Highly customizable. You can see various self-created bars around the screen. I like the auto-fade options too, because you some buttons are a pain to go dig for, but you don't want clogging up your screen as well.
  • Fubar is at the top with various plug-ins. These are just nice to have: RaidFu, MoneyFu, LocationFu, DurabilityFu. I think that's what I have up there.
  • Questhelper is hidden. I'm also trying out the atlas map replacement addon. So far I like how it comes up in its own window and has instance maps. Auctioneer is another must that is hidden.
  • You may also notice that I've split my chat window in two. This isn't an addon or anything, but I like to have all my guild chat and party chat in one window and then all the other crap in another so it doesn't get so clogged up.
That's not really an in-depth look at a UI, but I may spotlight some addons at a later time. There are numerous other blogs that have done that though, so no need to reinvent the wheel. Feel free to leave a comment if you'd like to see more about a particular addon.

What I wanted to zoom-in on is my main action bar. Last time I just gave you the numbered buttons, but I thought I should add the whole thing:

You can see the same main bar I pictured before, plus the pet bar, and some bars of my own creation. One is a vertical bar on the left containing my banish and fear macros (I need to post my banish macro at some point), along with a summoning button. These are not used enough to get a key bind, but its nice to have them close by. On top is a bar that I use for miscellaneous crap that I feel the urge to use. Food and drink live there, as do my trinkets. You can see the mage-food I popped in there on the far right. Also, newly added: Haunt.

This brings me to the main point of this article. With the rotation macro I discussed in an earlier post, I find it necessary to refresh haunt on its own sometimes. I like to have the Haunt button for that reason. My goal is to start with haunt and keep it up the whole time in order to get the most out of my DoTs. Also, it's nice that it keeps you topped off if you need to life tap. A solid dose of Haunt will keep your mana pool from being exhausted even without tapping your demon.

For trash mobs, when they take longer than, oh say 2 seconds to die (which is hard to find nowadays it seems), the only DoTs I've been putting up (in order) are CoA and Corr after Haunt. Why? Because they are the two instant cast DoT's and the quickest to get me to s-bolts. With things dieing so quickly, its tough to justify DoTting it any further. For some of the tougher trash, I will use a full rotation. In short though, an aff'lock is gonna be hard pressed to eek out respectable DPS on trash mobs.

This makes focusing on the boss more important to salvage our reputations as killing machines.
My generic strategy for a boss fight is simple: get through one solid rotation, then refresh as you can. This is hardly news to any warlocks, and doesn't probably result in the best possible DPS, however it is practical. Even when completely focused and in my "element", I'm finding it much more difficult to keep all my DoTs up. I can't really see losing a DoT or two to make it simpler either. The bottom line is that Blizz has made the affliction warlock's job a very active one.

Is this bad? I don't really think so. It's challenging and I like a challenge. However, it can mean you feel like you're a complete noob when fighting some of the more difficult bosses. I've had occasions where I get lost in my rotation and just start it fresh for the sake of my sanity. This is greatly exacerbated when I raid lead or on fights with a lot of movement. However, the mobility of an affliction 'lock really helps in comparison to other classes on the same fights.

All that being said, I've seen some very respectable numbers on the meters. I use recount (not mentioned above), and have been consistently one of the top few in Damage Done. This means I must be doing a decent job of killing stuff. When you get right down to it, that's what matters: burning that SOB down.

Random thought(s): Does anyone know why that is abbreviated S.O.B and no S.O.A.B? I mean, is "of" really that much more important than "a"? *shrug*. Also, the zombies are getting particularly annoying, some are not immune to fear however. If you're quick upon landing to hit a howl of terror, sometimes you an avoid an unfortunate bite. Also, its funny to watch them all run and then kill them... slowly.


  1. I just recently set up my additional bars for keybinds. I picked the F keys for the 2nd row and CTRL+number keys for my 3rd row (top). I typically end up clicking stuff up there anyway. So far, it's okay, but I'm finding that the F keys are a little far away. I think it'll be fine once I get used to it though.

    I use bartender for my extra buttons, and I was surprised to find your bags displayed so nicely. My backpack icon looks bigger than the others; it's ironic, since it's a 16 and the others are 18's.

  2. When I toyed around with Affliction, I couldn't come up with a rotation that didn't leave 2 seconds of dead time with Curse of Agony. Someone recommended I get the Glyph of Curse of Agony to extend the duration and that would solve the problem but I switched to Demonology permanently before getting a chance to try it out.

    Just out of curiosity, what Glyphs did you go with on your Lock? For major I went with Corruption and Health Funnel. I'm saving my last major slot for Glyph of Felguard which isn't available yet. For minor I took Drain Soul which hasn't procced once and took a free Unending Breath glyph.

  3. Hmm, that sounds like a good post for today as I started typing a response and it got a little lengthy... Check back with me this afternoon after I've had a chance to gather my thoughts and notes :-).