Blood Pact: The chaotic influence of haste

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill may play affliction in-game, but really she's a destro 'lock IRL.

I'm starting to dislike hit rating again. Previously, with reforging, it was totally possible to sit there with 14.96%, 14.97%, 14.98%, 14.99%, or the occasional rare times I nearly hit fifteen-even, just off by a mere handful of rating points. Now, with the huge amounts of stats on our gear, I feel like we're approaching Wrath-era hit rating juggling, where a new piece means you're way under hit cap or way over hit cap.

This is not a fun stat balancing. Hit is coming back around to the pre-reforge era where it it's actually irritating to balance, not just annoying.

But I don't want to talk about spell hit this time. I want to talk about the very-coolness of haste.

Haste as affliction

I primarily play affliction, so I gear for affliction, obviously. I go for the haste/mastery gear, as SimulationCraft had been telling me before to keep haste and mastery about equal. Now, haste is pulling ahead, and I know that the tier 15 default profiles for affliction that SimC develops have stacked haste on their gear. Everything is haste: gems, reforges, enchants. Currently my haste rating is literally over 9000.

Sure, the heroic tier 15 scale factors for affliction say mastery is probably greater than haste (I say probably because the error range on the graph is pretty large), even putting hit above haste, but if you look at the gear that is being simmed, there's 14k haste and 6k mastery.

But to be honest, just stacking the crap out of haste is boring. At least with DoT breakpoints where extra ticks are added, it was a bit of a fun balancing game for me. Have enough haste, but not too much! DoT breakpoints are still there, but they don't seem to affect the gearing as much as they did before. I unfortunately haven't made the time to figure this out myself (I hear Pandemic makes everything a little weirder), but I have been adjusting my gear long enough to see a bit of a trend.

I don't see the direct math yet, but Zagam at Icy Veins points out that the pure haste profile doesn't beat the haste equivalent with mastery profile by much. As I get closer to a DoT breakpoint, I see my scale factors in SimC point more toward haste, and as I reach and pass the breakpoint, haste lowers and mastery comes back up to almost equivalency. So far, haste continues to stay technically ahead, but it definitely weaves up and down with mastery synergistically.

Haste comes out superior because haste will affect everything, including filler like Malefic Grasp and Drain Soul, but mastery for affliction only affects the technical DoT damage (not channeled damage). For channeled filler spells, haste doesn't really add more ticks, but it still shortens the time between ticks, so you end up with more ticks because you have more casting to do.

The synergy between haste and mastery comes in off the Malefic Grasp effect since mastery will increase the damage done by the Grasp ticks as well as the main DoTs, and haste will give you more DoT ticks overall, but also more Grasp ticks.

Destruction in affliction gear

Warlocks all know that affliction's fire, Fel Flame, is already green, so there's not much point to getting green fire if you're not going to show it off at some point as destruction or demonology. Even now, I play a better destro offspec than I do demo, even if demo is the better option to share stats with affliction (haste and mastery) than destro (crit and mastery).

But I can still decently do destruction in my hasty affliction gear. I don't have as big crits as proper destruction gear, so Chaos Bolt is maybe not as exciting as it could be. But in general, playing as destruction in affliction's gear is a good exercise in mashing buttons is mostly the right order. There isn't much elegant play for destruction in super hasty gear.

My guild mastered the Durumu maze just before the visual enhancements went out, we were looking ahead at Primordius and Dark Animus. From the preview on the LFR, my guild's other warlock and I saw quite clearly that destruction with Mannoroth's Fury would completely rock on Primordius.

Destruction in less hasty gear

As it was progression, we decided to bring more competitive destruction DPS by reforging out affliction sets to fit destro better. We didn't change up gems or enchants -- just reforge out of all the haste and into crit or mastery. He has more haste/mastery pieces while I had some extra crit pieces in my bags, so he ended up with a little more mastery than crit while I ended up with a little more crit than mastery. Since I did my reforging the day of raiding, I wanted to practice with the drastic change in casting speed with my new, lower haste levels.

I got my first taste of real destruction in a heroic dungeon run by popping off a 1M Chaos Bolt under Dark Soul. One million. I was cackling with glee. Sure, as an aff'lock used to 1.25-second or less casts, it seemed to take forever to get a Chaos Bolt off, but when you did... oh Gul'DAN. Delicious.

In the end, my guild one-shot Primordius, so the reforging to destruction probably wasn't even necessary. We later killed Dark Animus as well, switching back to affliction while on our guild's raid break. Even if we could have done Primordius with affliction, after that I wanted to build a proper offset for the spec. It wasn't just the super awesome damage that came from consuming burning embers. The flow of play shifted from mashing buttons in a general order to actual management of what I was casting.

Under less hasty gear, mana management actually matters. This is because of Chaotic Energy, which replaces Life Tap for destruction. (I think that's weird; Ember Tap ought to replace Life Tap, even though I get it that the current swap is a swap between mana regeneration methods, not between taps.) Haste increases mana regeneration. Super-high haste means super-high mana regeneration, and low haste will result in something closer to the base 625%.

So it doesn't really matter when you cast Chaos Bolt as a high haste build, because plain Incinerate won't really dent your mana pool. You actually have to spam your AoE spell in order to hear a "low mana!" ping from an addon. In lower haste, however, the importance of Backdraft comes into play. I fell into the old expansion mechanic trap with Backdraft -- I thought the important part was the cast time part. So I sat there thinking, well of course Chaos Bolt has a super long cast, you just wait for Backdraft to cast it. Destruction used to be a proccy spec anyway.

Wrong. So wrong. Don't cast Chaos Bolt under Backdraft (unless you unfortunately capped your embers and need to burn a whole ember off).

The point of Backdraft is the lower mana cost. Incinerate is a fast enough spell already, but Chaos Bolt doesn't take mana. The only way you'll lower your Chaos Bolt ember cost is by equipping two pieces of tier 15. Blindly spamming Incinerate, on the other hand, is going to spend your mana pool pretty easily. So you want to hit Conflagrate regularly so you can weave Incinerate into as many Backdraft procs as you can, and then the long Chaos Bolt cast actually serves the dual purpose of awesome damage and refilling your mana pool.

When I played destruction in my affliction gear, I tended to the fill-up, spend-down strategy. I'd gain embers all the way up to four and then spend my embers all the way down again. In the reforged for destro gear, I started to step-up, step-down my embers, where I'd actually try to balance around 2-3 embers rather than aiming for a full four. I'd make two full embers than spend one. It wasn't really possible for me to fill all the way up at once like before; that amount of Incinerating without a break was more than my mana regeneration could handle.

So in the end, even though I ended up going back to my old affliction setup, stepping into destruction with semi-proper gear showed me how cool the balancing of a stat can be, if the stat affects a DPS spec in an interesting way (or, in the case of affliction, mixes with another stat's effects). Now, if only we can figure out a way to extend this to hit, and maybe the hit cap wouldn't be so much of a pain.

Recommended Reading

Topic:World of Warcraft - Genre:OnlineGames

  1. 2013/04/16(火) 18:13:17|
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WoW Moviewatch: Quest Busters Episode 2 - Those Bears Up There

AFK Players have returned with a sequel to Quest Busters. It's hard to find the words to properly describe Quest Busters Episode 2 - Those Bears Up There. With mindblowingly good animation, astounding flow, and a hilariously engaging script, this machinima will easily be one of the best WoW videos of the year.

Don't let yourself miss out on the astounding appearance of Thor Ultralisk of Void Ray EX. It is one and a half minutes of pure joy, all wrapped up in a clever parody song. Of course, Thor Ultralisk isn't the only in-joke in the video, but you can spot plenty of your own.

Thanks to the AFK Players for an unbelievably good video. Here's hoping you find a tree of your own, one day in the near future. Read more

Topic:World of Warcraft - Genre:OnlineGames

  1. 2013/04/12(金) 18:41:00|
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Pet Battle System

Previewed at BlizzCon 2011, the Pet Battle System allows most formerly non-combat pets, also known as companions, to become battle pets and battle each other for bragging rights, leveling, and addition of abilities. While this feature was not released until the Mists-Logo-Small Mists of Pandaria expansion was released, the expansion will not be required use the pet battle system and will be available to all players.

This system will act much like a secondary profession and will be available to all players.

Companions will now be able to battle each other in a new turn-based combat system to level up and unlock new abilities. Pets will also be able to encounter and battle pets in the wild to capture them for the player. Players will be able to fight with teams of pets up to 3 for each player at a time. Customization, progress status, abilities and info will be tracked in a new Pet Journal.
Pet Battles mockup Master Trainers abilities BlizzCon2011Example master trainer UI.

Eventually you will be able to seek out new Master Pet Tamer NPCs (were called master pet trainer) to learn new pet abilities from them if your pet is worthy and can defeat the trainer's pet.

Engaging in pet battles may award the player experience similar to gathering professions. Players may disable invites to pet battles.

To get the highest percentage possible of participants, Blizzard has decided that players will not know the identity of players they are fighting against. This is to avoid trash-talking. Another way they are hoping to diminish the negativity involved in some aspects of PvP, they are also only recording wins.

In patch 5.3

Battle pet hit accuracy will change in Patch 5.3, including that the chance of pets dodging attacks and pets missing will be reduced.

A “hit chance” will be listed for all abilities and this value will update if the pet is affected by abilities that increase or reduce the chance to hit
The base 5% chance to dodge will be removed.
The chance to miss opponents of higher levels from 5% per level to 2% per level.
The base 5% chance to gain a critical strike (for 1.5x damage) will remain and +/- 10% damage variance on all abilities.

Basics from Beta FAQ:

PvE battles take place in two ways: against NPC trainers and against pets that you can fight in the world. Pet tracking will let you find pets in the world that you can fight and capture. Keep an eye out!
PvP battles also have two varieties. You can choose to duel another player or you can queue up and be matched against another player of similar skill. Note that you do not earn XP for duels.
Pets heal a portion of their health after every fight. The amount healed is 50% of the damage that they took during the fight. You can also full heal all of the pets in your journal with the [Revive Battle Pets]ω ϖ spell (10 min cooldown; 3 min warmup after login).
If one of your pets die in battle you can resurrect it using the Revive Battle Pets spell or just find a friendly, neighborhood Stable Master. Read more

Topic:World of Warcraft - Genre:OnlineGames

  1. 2013/04/10(水) 18:13:49|
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Blizzard announces a new mount: the Swift Windsteed

Last night, via their Facebook and Twitter, Blizzard released details of a new mount, the Swift Windsteed.

What they didn’t release with what’s in the public domain at this point was any detail on how players go about getting their greasy paws on the Windsteed. Since the recent release of the adorable fire kitty, as we got all squishy about in Legendary Episode 97, it seems possible that the two both be purchaseable for real money from the Blizzard Pet Store.

However, the dataminers have been busy, and pulled up images of all the different colorways available of the Swift Windsteed. This, to me, makes it far less likely that this will be a purchaseable mount, or a reward for the annual pass, which is soon to expire for early adopters. It’s not impossible, of course, that it might be either of these things, but there are very few real money mounts, even considering all the Trading Card Game mounts, which are the exact same mount with different colorways. This, to me, makes it far more likely to be an in-game reward, perhaps purchaseable at a higher reputation level from one of the new factions we discussed recently here on GAMEBREAKER. You can see the image below of the different options; which do you prefer?


Anyhow, the mount appears to resemble the Qilin, the Chinese chimera, which is slightly confusing given that there’s another mount available in the game with that name. It’s not likely to be a new skeleton, although judgement will have to be reserved until we see it moving. It’s a good, if bizarre-looking new skin, and anything that allows players to fly a scaly goat that floats on a cloud can’t be a bad thing.

In addition to the Swift Windsteed, there are also updated models for the Gryphon and Wyvern – the Alliance and Horde faction mounts. The current models have been upgraded, and a new level of both mounts has been added – the Grand Armored Gryphon and the Grand Armored Wyvern. Both of these require artisan flying to mount.

Of course, this will increase anticipation of new models for other aspects of the game, including characters. While it’s safe to say that updating character models is a huge task, given the plethora of animations and equippable items, any new model can be taken as a signal that progress is being made. GAMEBREAKER remain optimistic for new character models in the not-too-distant future.

Topic:World of Warcraft - Genre:OnlineGames

  1. 2013/04/09(火) 18:16:24|
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Find a Party in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is a MMORPG as known massively multiplayer online role-play game which allow a large number of player join into the game at the same time and server. Players are able to communicate combat, trade with other players. Most players deliver WoW items, WoW gold and WoW equipments with Auction House or face to face. In matter of fact, many items and treasure equipments are gotten by kill monsters and powerful bosses. However, it is very difficult to do. We advice WoW player join to party because of many quests can be finished more quickly and safely with the help of a good group. Groups allow you to go places that you would otherwise not be able to go (and survive) by yourself. Doing quest with a group can help players gain WoW gold and WoW experience easily. Here we will introduce how to find a good party.

Looking for Group Interface

The Looking For Group interface provides the best method for finding other players. Depending on your selection, either the "Looking for Group" or the "Looking for More" interface can be used. Both interfaces have tabs at the bottom that let you easily switch between the two. The Looking for Group interface allows individual players to be added to a queue of other eligible players looking for a group and matches them up based on preferences they have set. The Looking for More option allows for a group to search out additional members to complete a group.

Ask For Groups in Popular Areas. Sometimes it's good to start asking for a group in areas where players hang out. Main cities such as Stormwind are a good place to ask. Finding your party and group, start your wonderful World of Warcraft life! Do WoW power leveling is bored, but if you have members do together, that is a great feeling for your game life!


Guilds are a great source of help. You should consider joining a guild because you might have an easier time getting help and finding groups. This of course depends on the quality of the guild you join. If it doesn't work out, leave the guild and find another one! This is very convenient for your World of Warcraft!
Meet Up On Site

Sometimes after traveling to a quest location you might find players already there. Ask them if they want to team up. For collection quests (collect x skins) people might not want to team, but for other quests, people will often like help. Give it a try. If you have two parties, see if you can merge the parties into one group!

Topic:World of Warcraft - Genre:OnlineGames

  1. 2013/04/07(日) 18:02:50|
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