Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Affliction Rotation Update

For today's discussion, I'd like to point you in the direction of a recent post by Nibs over at the MC regarding short term damage on mobs. The gist of it is that Haunt seems to reset the timer for a Corruption tick. Thus, my current rotation of Corr, H, SB would cause the first corruption tick to have an almost 2 second delay (depending on flytime). This is no bueno.

She lays out a couple of scenarios that are completely valid. I've always maintained my reason for casting Corruption first is my affinity for leading off with an instant cast. I just don't like wasting those initial seconds when I'm getting positioned (it's kind of like: CHAAAARGE, not WAITFORCASTBAAAR). Besides, if you're going to get that far down into the theory of the spells where you're worried about wasting 1 or 2 seconds of a Corruption tick, aren't you doing the same thing by waiting to cast anything until you get stationary.

I mean, if I begin my rotation 1.5 seconds later, then not only did I waste that initial cast time, but also delayed that GCD. Wouldn't I be, in effect, getting double dinged by that time, losing nearly 3s? And, in that case, what would it matter if Corruption resets itself? It's hard for me to wrap my mind around it, but the bottom line here is that Nibs does a great job of explaining a basic warlock spell mechanic that we need to understand in order to make the best decision for each of our own rotations.

Now, I thought about reversing SB and Haunt in my rotation as well, giving Corruption some leeway to tick. However, if you cast Corr followed by a ~1.5s GCD, followed by a ~2s SB (your corruption ticks sometime during the SB cast bar), followed by a ~1.5s Haunt cast with fly time... I think I'm going to fall in the same situation of "clipping" a Corruption tick due to refresh. So, that doesn't really gain me anything.

So, it seems that the only way to truly negate this effect is to cast Haunt before Corruption. Even then, whenever you refresh Haunt, you may run into this clipping issue, so you can only really avoid it on your opening rotation. I think this makes any overall effect on your damage minimal. Nibs seems to agree with this, pointing out that this really isn't important on long boss fights as the loss of one (really a half) tick is insignificant. The only place it may matter is on short living trash, and even then only to the tune of what one tick of Corruption might give you on the front end.

Thus, while nice to know, it's not really going to change how I do things. However, if other affliction 'locks point out to me that by leading off with Corruption, I may be clipping it with my first Haunt, I would have to agree. I've made my case above as to why I think it works out for me, but that doesn't mean everyone plays the same. If you're not casting Corruption while moving into position, for instance, it wouldn't make as much sense for you. In that case, you may think about leading off with your cast bar spells. It's just how my playstyle works, and I felt the urge to make that clear.

I'd like to finish with a /wave to Megs at Out Of Mana who recently announced her recession from the public eye. It is always sort of a shock to have our daily reading disrupted permanently like this. The warlock community in particular will surely miss her contributions. I wish her luck in her future endeavors and may God grant her the adventures she seeks. Fellow Catholic, fellow Warlock, fellow gamer, fellow blogger: /salute.


  1. I have a 2 part question about this. (second kinda depends on the answer to the first...)

    1) When Haunt refreshes your corruption, does the corruption refresh itself with your current spell power buffs (from trinkets/life tap glyph etc) and debuffs (from the embrace effect etc) that are active when the Haunt hits? (or does it just keep rolling with the same buffs/debuffs from when originally cast?)

    2) Do you ever cast corruption again to gain the aforementioned buffs/debuffs? (if the answer #1 is 'no')

    The mechanics behind this function are newer to me and I've not done much research on how they work. So hopefully, you (or someone else) can set me straight.


  2. It's slightly more complicated than that as I understand it.

    First, you have to understand that every DoT you apply will derive its damage from an equation that takes numerous things into account. For us, this is mostly our spell power value. That's why we pop trinkets and such BEFORE casting our DoTs. This is basically the same way any spell works that is dependant on any of your base stats.

    Secondly, percentage modifiers are factored in when the damage is DONE. So things like Shadows Embrace and Haunt that tell us they increase your damage by a certain percent effect each tick individually. These effects don't affect the player's stats, but the target's vulnerability so to speak.

    Here are two examples:
    1. You life tap, cast corruption, and then haunt - life tap increases your base spellpower stat (whith the glyph or bonus), so that when corr comes later, it calculates based on the modified base stat. However, say you get delay before you can get off a haunt, so the first tick of corr hits without having the haunt effect up. Then you get the haunt effect up, and each subsequent tick is boosted from haunt. You've missed one tick for the bonus, but not a big deal. Corr is refreshed at the same base damage it started off with.

    2. You cast corr, then LT, haunt - Corr is before your LT bonus, so it misses out on your bonus spellpower and is weaker. Then you cast haunt which refreshes it at its starting spellpower, and so are still missing out on the LT bonus. This is the worst case. If I know i've done this, I might let corruption run out and start it over.

    The problem with doing that is that you have to then let haunt run out so you have significant downtime while you wait for your corruption to run out and all your other DoTs are missing out on damage. I'm not sure it's always worth it. However, if i've been, say, web wrapped and its really close to running out anyways... then I may let it and make sure I get my bonuses up. Does that make sense? It's highly situational. In an ideal world, we don't have to make that decision, but it does come up a lot.

    That is how I understand that mechanics. I could be wrong, but I haven't seen otherwise yet.

    The rule of thumb you can use is that if it modifies your base stats... DO IT FIRST! If it doesn't modify a base stat, just get to it ASAP. :-)

    This mechanic would also explain why people with trinkets that need to "activate randomly" will do some crap before a fight to try and get it to pop. I can't say I'm always that hardcore, but if you really want to maximize your damage from that trinket, that's the way to do it.

  3. Shadow Priests have a similar talent called Pain and Suffering that refreshes the duration of Shadow Word: Pain when you Mind Flay. It does not "reset" the duration of the spell, it merely "Refreshes" it so the duration should never end.

    Casting Haunt should not prevent Corruption from ticking every 3 seconds as long as the spell is active. It doesnt act like it's reapplying the spell on the target so you have to wait 3 more seconds. As long as the spell is up, it will continue to tick every 3 seconds as long as you use Haunt to refresh the duration.

    Just as a test, go to a training dummy. Cast corruption and immediately cast haunt. You should see that Corruption will tick at the 3 second mark every single time. All that Haunt is doing is ensuring that you don't have to recast Corruption.

    This is exactly how Pain and Suffering works for Shadowpriests and Haunt should work in the same mechanic as that, the Moonfire glyph for Moonkin and the Shred glyph for druids. Its not resetting anything.

  4. That's a great test. I was trusting Ms. Nibs, but if someone has a chance to do that test let me know. I'll see if I can stop by a dummy me'self.

  5. I'm as guilty as anyone else of sticking Corruption and Curse of Agony onto bosses whilst running into position.
    I'm also just as bad at saying "Shadowbolt, Haunt, Corruption, UA, CoA" when people ask me what's the best rotation.

    It's funny that sometimes I still manage to pull aggro from tanks when a fight first starts, even as Affliction.
    That gets me back into the 'give the tank 10k threat' mode of thinking that we used to have back in BC.
    Comparing that to 'will I clip a dot tick?' makes me wonder if we over-analyse everything these days.

    The perfect roataion is never going to exist unless you are fighting Patchwerk every week.

    With all the running around in Ulduar, I think the first few seconds of a boss fight are not going to make or break your success.

  6. @Vlad - I completely agree here. The only reason I give so much thought to some of these things is because I think its important to understand what's going on even if you can't be "perfect" all the time. At least we know what "perfect" is, right? I find that that helps me give better advice to other 'locks, since I know not only what is best, but also "why".

  7. Yeah it's kind of tricky. Haunt refreshes Corruption's duration rather than "reapplying it."

    If you attempt to recast Corruption after Haunt has refreshed it, it will say a more powerful spell is active.

    Unfortunately, I tend to fall in the "trash doesn't matter" category most of the time. I probably shouldn't think like that, but I've decided that where I need to really look at my dps and needed improvement lies with bosses.

    Although, if I'm possibly missing a tick on trash, that's not good. =/ I'm usually tossing up the instas first on them, trying to have damage every second I can. :P

  8. @Fulg - If you managed to land Corruption without your LT/trinket bonuses, shouldn't you be able to fix that by just re-casting Corruption (not Haunt) without waiting for it to drop off? That way all you would lose is 1 GCD.

  9. @syrana
    I agree with you about trash. Trash we see in naxx, os, and vault, just isn't like trash used to be. Now days we just gather everything up and AoE it down. Not much to worry about in respect to a rotation, its just make sure you are casting an aoe spell all the time...
    I hear in Ulduar there is supposed to be more involved trash pulls that won't be just AoE tank and AoE spank, but I've only pugged the first boss a few times so I don't really know for sure.
    In my opinion, the boss fights, and your personal dps on those fights, are really the only dps that matters in the grand scheme of things. (Who likes to brag that they are a better AoE'er...and to that person who does...well pin a rose on your nose! /violen :P )

  10. @fin - Actually, if haunt has refreshed it, it won't let you saying "a more powerful spell is active" even if you've missed your trinket stuff. At least that's what I've seen.

    @SB/Syr - I'm a lot worse on trash when I'm raid leading too as I tend to just use trash time to get ready for the next boss fight and hardly DPS at all. When I'm not RL, I want to maximize whatever damage I can to keep my spot on the charts (it's a challenge to myself to deal the most damage over the course of the night... not neccessarily the highest DPS, but the most damage done). Sometimes that means two button AoE raiding, other times you have to make the decision to run through DoTs. Just depends, and maybe Ulduar will change that slant.

  11. Hello, I would like to ask your help. I apologize beforehand for my english. I am extreamelly unhappy with my warlock, I am considering to delete it completly. Before the patch, I could put 3.5K dps being demonologist. After patch, I barelly can put 2.5, and I spend almost 1000 golds in respec with different types of trees suggested by other demo. Finally my guild asked me to do something about it, we run Naxx and Ulduar and they are not hardcore, but they want good dps. I was told to go affliction. But now I am more lost than before, I don´t know afflication at all, and now I can barelly put 1.8K dps. I am the best healer in my guild with my holy priest, I can even heal more than druids, so I don´t believe I am a bad player. But even if I am the worst player in the world, there must be a way for me to learn to put 3K back with my warlock. Please help me, I am so sad and unhappy latelly. I will let my email if anyone would like to help me: vag.cordeiro@gmail.com

    Thank you for your attention :)

  12. Two things: First, sorry for people who comment and it doesn't go up right away. After a week or so I have moderation on so that spammers don't surprise me and try to imbed crap in old posts. If it doesn't show up right away, don't freak out :-).

    Second, how are you measuring your numbers? For an accurate affliction assessment, you will probably need to isolate a fairly stationary boss fight to really know what's going on.

    Here's an example: If on patchwerk (at stationary fight), I'm doing 4k DPS... then on trash I may be hovering around 3k average (yes, that bad) and on other more mobile boss fights I'm probably somewhere between 3.7k and 4k depending on how good I play and the fight. (Of course, this also will depend on raid composition, so you don't neccessarily expect the same numbers every night... they should be in the ballpark though.)

    The first place I'd start is to see if its a problem on all types of fights or just some types, then we can narrow it down. I'll probably try and shoot you an email as well.

    Secondly, there are a couple of different tools out there to check how you're doing on uptime. WowWebStats is one of the most common ones. I don't personally use it, but Nibs does over at the MC and has written a couple things about how she uses it to analyze your uptime and what it means. She's definitely worth checking out as well.