Saturday, November 1, 2008

Where Your Sequence, Dude?

So yesterday I gave sort of a “behind the scenes” look at generating a cast sequence. It isn’t necessarily maximized or “the best”, but if you understand why you’re casting spells in a certain order, you can be more flexible as the situation calls for it.

It also looks to me as if we're being led away from a sequence that can be programmed to one key in a macro. Blizz seems to be making affliction Warlocks more dependant on DoT timers by giving us a lot more to juggle that doesn’t necessarily fit well together. It is certainly going to take a lot more brain power to keep up all of our DoTs. It would seem to require hitting multiple keys in quick succession while keeping an eye on a DoT timer in order to keep up a solid complement of DoTs on a mob.

Blizz, however, seems to share our concerns with this post from Ghostcrawler:

We think the complex rotation is very hard to pull off in PvE too and seems to almost mandate a mod, which is a problem. We have some long-term plans to change Affliction around a little bit.

So, depending on how long term "long term" is... this all may be a crock. However, hopefully I can give you some good insight into how to mess around with a sequence of your own. It doesn't have to be completely math intensive, and can help you be better overall by understanding how to choose spells in certain situations.

So with all that being said, let’s get to the meat of this post: implementing a cast sequence.

In the past, I had a simple linear sequence that I put up and then was careful not to clip CoA when I used it. Sure, I had some downtime, but it was pretty efficient and easy. On complicated fights, it wasn't very hard to hit the one button to make sure everything was kept up pretty well and my DPS and Damage Done reflected the benefits of this. I posted the macro in an earlier post if you are curious.

For better or worse, spell mechanics have been added that really muck up a single macro like that, further strengthening the benefits of using multiple buttons for a sequence. The following is how I attempt to make the sequence I chose manageable in a raid environment.

First, let’s take a look at how my button bar is set up:

There are some significant changes from when I last posted a picture of my bar. Mostly, I moved my wande and fire spells off the number keys and up to just a clickable area. Here’s a quick look on what is on each of my number buttons:

  1. Contains a macro that pops either of my trinkets when they are ready, while also casting Corruption or (alt modified) Curse of Agony.
  2. Casts Shadow Bolt or (alt modified) Soul Fire.
  3. Contains my cast sequence macro previously mentioned. I have modified it at this time to cast only Unstable Affliction and Siphon Life. Modifying with alt allows you to just cast UA.
  4. Casts Haunt or (alt modified) Curse of the Elements.
  5. Contains a macro that puts all three Drain spells on one button. Default is Drain Soul, alt is Drain Life, shift is Drain Mana.
  6. Soulshatter. IMO a must for those times when you “accidentally” pull aggro.
  7. Contains a macro that binds all types of fear to one button. Default is Death Coil, alt is Howl of Terror, shift is normal Fear.
  8. Rain of Fire
  9. Seed of Corruption
  10. Contains a macro binding a couple utility spells to one button. Default is Life Tap, alt is Demonic Pact (or Demon Tap as I call it), shift is Fel Armor.
  11. The last two buttons are just the two kinds of pots. I like to keep these at hand for emergencies. I have seen some good macros that let you pop a pot and healthstone, but since I use Necrosis, my stones are handled elsewhere.

It is important to note that I use alt extensively. Depending on your addons, you cannot use Shift for the first 6 buttons as it will shift bars on you. Thus, for 5 I don’t really use Drain Mana, but it does make the button clickable if I ever need it. This is also why my fears reside on 7, since there is no “bar 7” to flip to, I can use shift in the same manner I use alt. Also, I cannot use Control because that is how you access your pet bar. Again, this behavior changes with addons, but that’s how mine works.

Also, I will try and post a few of those macros at later dates if anyone is interested. In this post I’m trying to just focus on what goes where.

Okay, so now that you have an idea of my set up, tomorrow I’ll tell you how I use it in several common situations. I actually have it all written out, but it appears to me to be far too long to make just one post. I really did mean to post it all today as promised, but after I had said all that I wanted to… ZOMG it’s long. I’ll schedule it to post tomorrow at noon, so tune in then for the exciting conclusion!


  1. Have you considered combining your aoe spells? It seems like seed of corruption and ALT rain of fire could get you another button. You could even add SHIFT hellfire in there for good measure.

  2. Yeah, I was just too lazy to write yet another macro. Plus, I only really have two AoE spells and like to have them both at hand if I'm going to go to the trouble of moving my hand ALL THE WAY over there. :-)

    For now, its not a problem, but it is definitely a good thought.