Friday, October 31, 2008

Dude, Where's My Sequence?

So I finally got frustrated enough with my own clumsiness to sit down and do some math regarding the new spells and how they fit together. I mean, I guess I owe it to my blog to do actual math and research. Good bloggers can't just post all willy-nilly like, right?

To start out any true theorycraft section, you're gonna have to start with some assumptions. Here are mine:

  1. One may never, in any rotation, clip off the end of Curse of Agony. This would result in a large loss of damage as the spell is made to ramp up over time. Noob move fo'sho. All other spells can be clipped for the sake of a rotation. This should be minimized, but it CAN be done without being perfectly mana efficient.
  2. Haunt should be kept up as much as possible to maximize other any and all DoTs.
  3. The durations and cast times are correct as found on Mystic Chicanery. She is almost always on the ball, so I didn't double check. Plus most of my resources are blocked at work (where I do most of my thinking/posting).
  4. Damage coefficients are similar to those found on WoWWiki. This was the best information I could find, but it only really matters when deciding the "importance" of spells, which is sort of an opinion anyways.
  5. In a raiding environment, Curse of Agony, Curse of the Elements, or Curse of Doom may be used. No other curses see much use from me, so I didn't deal with them.
  6. My left hand is on the 1,2,3, and 4 keys during raiding. Thus, these are the keys open for heavy usage. Anything that needs to be used regularly needs to fit on these keys. The exception to this rule is AoE spells. I can slide over to a different section of the number bar for these spells, and they will not really be considered here.
  7. The cast sequence will probably not be simple enough to program on one key like I've done in the past, and will probably not be as simple as the one I posted from maxDPS earlier. Thus, I'm trying to think outside the box.
  8. Easier = Better. To an extent.

That is sort of a lot of assumptions, but I think they all make sense, or will here very shortly.

So, to cut down my focus even more, I'm going to assume the first rotation I want will be using Curse of Agony. Also, I have never liked Immolate in my rotation. Before the patch, this was mostly because I had a high stacking of shadow damage, and not a lot of fire damage. I no longer have such a neat excuse, so now I will just use the fact that it has the lowest damage coefficient at 65%, and I question its worth. Sure, it has that direct 20% instant damage crap, but is it worth the headache and potential loss of time to do other things (namely s-bolts)? Thus, IF I can fit immolate in, I may, but I'm not going to plan on using it for now. At least not until I see something concrete telling me "ZOMG I have to use this".

The first thing I notice is that there seem to be three spells with durations in multiples of 6: CoA (6x4=24s), Haunt (6x2=12s), Unstable Affliction (6x3=18s). I will abbreviate these as CoA, H, and UA from here on out. Since CoA absolutely cannot be clipped, I put it first and drew out a 24s window in which to organize my other spells. Just dealing with those three spells, here is what I got, with the numbers in parenthesis indicating "windows of opportunity":

CoA H UA (8.5s) H (6s) UA (~1s)
CoA H (10.5s) H UA (7s)
CoA H (6.5s) UA (2.5s H (9s)
Back to the top.

Next, I begin to fill in those windows with the other spells I want to cast: Corruption and Siphon Life (Corr and SL). Any remaining time in those windows can be filled with Immolate if you choose, Shadow Bolt spam, Life taps, or other filler. Thus, I get:

CoA H UA Corr SL (SB filler) H UA
CoA H SL (SB filler) H UA
CoA H SL (SB filler) UA H
Back to the top (minus Corr if you've been good about Haunt)

Well, this doesn't look "too" bad, but is obviously going to take some thought. Basically, if you start with CoA, you then cast the other DoTs you want to use and refresh as they run out, filling the remaining time with the filler spells. If you have a good DoT timer, this shouldn't be too hard. It is nice that Haunt will refresh Corruption, meaning you only need to cast it that first time.

With Curse of the Elements, it is slightly simpler since the curse runs for 120s and can be clipped if needed:

CotE H UA Corr SL (SB fill)
H UA (SB fill)
H UA SL (SB fill)
Repeat the last two lines until the curse runs out and then start from the top (minus Corr if you've been good about Haunt)

Similarly with Curse of Doom (which runs 60s):
CoD H UA Corr SL (SB fill)
H UA (SB fill)
H UA SL (SB fill)
Repeat the last two lines until the curse runs out and then start from the top (minus Corr if you've been good about Haunt)

Easy enough, I guess, but how to really implement this? Especially in a manner that doesn't get you completely lost. In part 2 I'll discuss how I'm setting this up on my buttons, putting it to work, and some ideas for trash. I was going to do it all in one post, but my work browser is acting up and chunks of text keep mysteriously disappearing... haunted work computer? Happy Halloween to me... grrr. More from home later tonight or tomorrow.


  1. Definitely food for thought since Affliction will be my dual spec of choice. Is there any reason why you don't use Haunt first since it would increase the damage of CoA by 20%? Was it just due to clipping issues?

    Excellent post!

  2. No, in fact, in practice I routinely switch up the order. More on that in my next post, but my goal is always to keep haunt up as much as possible. I think the way the "windows" work out, if you put haunt up earlier, it will run out earlier and it makes things a little more complicated.

    What I'm finding is that my curse is going to have lower priority than most of my other spells, so if a tick misses the 20% damage, but my rotation is simpler and easier to maintain, I'll take it.

    Again, more on that to follow, but the short answer is: No, just preference and how I laid it out.