Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dude, There's My Sequence

And here it is! The exciting conclusion to my three part series on how to fight your way out of a brown paper bag! Or, cast sequences if you prefer.

Boss Type Fights

For boss fights I try to stick to the sequence I outlined. Normally you have fair warning that a boss fight is going to occur, so you can be ready with your CoA right off the bat. This will also pop your trinket. I advocate popping your trinket before DoTting, as it will give your DoTs the most benefit. I have seen some that do it before shadow bolt filler, and this is not bad, but I like to try and minimize my reliance on spam.

Thus, I lead into a fight with the flowing spells: CoA, Haunt, UA, Corr, SL, and then filler. Therefore, my button presses look something like this: Alt+1, 4, 3, 1, 3, 2 (filler). Then I just watch my DoT timer and refresh as needed. I try to start casting Haunt and UA shortly after they hit the 2 second mark since if I clip them a bit its no big deal. For CotE, alt+1 is replaced with alt+4.

Having Haunt on its own key here is important because it is the one you will be updating the most. I also clip SL a lot in order to keep my macro “on” UA in the sequence. This seems to work fairly well for me and is pretty simple I think. It just requires watching your timer and a little getting used to which spell is on which button. After running a couple raids with this, I was pretty quick on it. You should almost never have to refresh Corruption as Haunt takes care of that. On a typical boss fight, I’m pushing 1000 DPS.

For 10 or 25 man Trash

This is based on the current state of the game. That is, with the nerfing of most instances, trash is dying REALLY fast, but it may not be that way at 80. My goal here is to get the most “bang for my buck”. You want to maximize your short time damage because you’re not gonna get time for all your DoTs to tick fully. Thus, I’m throwing CoA out the window. It needs time to ramp up before it gets its damage on, and there just isn’t time here. Similarly, I’m not going to be using any curse. Sure, CotE may help everyone get higher DPS, but you don’t need it here. They’re dying fast enough without the bonus, why was time on it?

This is where I look at the spell damage coefficients for DoTs. The question I wanted to answer was: “which DoT is going to perform the best with a limited number of ticks”. If you’ve put points heavy into the affliction tree, you should already have Empowered Corruption. Also, if you notice, a lot of talents seem to mention Corruption. I think this is a hint. Combined with making Corruption instant cast without talent points, this is a strong sign that it is our best DoT. The coefficient backs this up, as with the talent it is 129.6%, the highest of any DoT.

If you’ve picked up the Glyph of Corruption, the spell also gives you a 4% chance to enter a Shadow Trance. To top it off, Corruption is also refreshed automatically by Haunt. What else do you need? A neon sign? USE CORRUPTION ON TRASH. You will get the most for your money here.

So for quick trash, I just try to throw a Corruption on each target (if we’re not AoEing). Most tanks now can hold a decent enough aggro on multiple targets that one DoT is not going to pull hate. If you have a lot of Corruptions ticking, you’re gonna start proccing Shadow Trances, so then you get to become a machine gun of Shadow Bolts. That’s the fun part, and will let you keep a respectable DPS on quick dying trash. I like to throw in Haunt too if there is a chance just to refresh the DoT on the main target and others if I can. However, Haunt’s long 8s cooldown really prevents it from being spread around. The healing component is worth it though, to keep yourself full and “life tappable”.

If you’re AoEing, it’s simple: Seed of Corruption for the win. I’ll also throw an occasional rain of fire, as it does damage right away and is no longer gimped by gear. Previously most ‘locks had a much higher shadow damage, but with recent gear changes this is just no longer the case. Also, the addition of “crits” to our AoE’s helps each of them as well.

Longer Living Trash

For longer living trash, such as when you run a heroic five man, you may see some benefit from applying more DoTs. As such, I have developed a sort of hybrid approach of the two strategies outlined above. Basically, I’m still not using curses because the duration of the fight is still going to be shorter than the 24s run of CoA. Anything shorter than that I think removes the usefulness of any of our curses.

As such, I still like to lead off with Corruption. Then I move to Haunt, UA (SL if it looks like there will be time), and finish off with a Shadow Bolt and maybe Drain Soul. Thus, my key presses look like this: 1, 4, 3, (3), 2, 5. Again, pretty simple. In shorter fights, you won’t have pay attention to DoT timers as much, and the order doesn’t matter as much, since you shouldn’t have to be refreshing many of your DoTs. The only one I really try to refresh in between shadow bolts is Haunt, which has the added benefit of keeping Corruption up.

This worked pretty well in three separate heroic 5-mans I ran last night, and netted me a respectable 670 DPS. Not as good as I am on bosses, but not as abysmal as I had been seeing post patch. In fact, I would say that is about where I was prior to the patch, though slightly lower across the board because I’ve had a few gear upgrades since then.

Solo/Leveling Mobs

For soloing or when you’re out leveling, there isn’t really a big difference in the above approaches. You’re just going to have to choose which one makes the most sense for what you’re killing. The difference is you may have to throw in things like Fear to keep mobs off you, or kite, or whatever it takes. The sequence I’ve outlined is flexible enough to handle this if you know what you’re getting into.

Obviously, I’ll be testing this part more once the expansion comes out and I actually have to do this, though I have had to fear kite and solo some mobs in raids and in the wild (i.e. Roar for Oz in Kara or random world elites when farming).

And The Results Are In

As I’ve pointed out, I’ve seen numbers pushing 1000 DPS on boss fights, and averaged around 670 DPS on different types of trash. Obviously this can vary depending on how things go. I use recount to track this and glance at it quite often during a raid or instance to see how I’m doing. I think perhaps the most telling stats come from a recent raid of SSC where the breakdown of my damage after 4 hours of raiding looked something like this: 23% Corruption, 18.5% S-bolt, 15% UA, 15% CoA, 11% SL, 8% Haunt. Also there were a couple other spells in there to make up the remaining percentages such as SoC and Drain Soul. However, the majority of the instance was quick dying trash and boss type fights; we didn’t do a lot of AoEing. It is nice to see that a DoT, and not Shadow Bolt spam account for a majority of my damage even though Shadow bolts still make up a large portion of my damage.

All in all, it seems that we’re trending to be more DoT reliant, and more diverse in our damage. Though it makes keeping up a cast sequence more of a challenge, it is my opinion that this is a good direction for our class and tree to be headed.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, its nice to see a DoT ahead of Shadowbolt for once. Even as Affliction pre-3.0, Shadowbolt was always my top damage spell. Is Blizzard finally getting things right?