Friday, January 4, 2008

Schnell! Schnell!

Part Dos of my epic posting about spell haste rating.

First off, I'm going to address some of the concerns brought up in the comments on the last post. Delos, the whole 15.?!?? haste rating = 1% only applies to attack speed haste rating. It is not the number for spell haste conversions, but for melee peoples like rogues and warriors. For them, its a whole new can of worms, since auto-attacks don't actually have a cap on their haste ratings.

For spellcasters, its still 21 haste rating, sadly.

And again, I cannot stress this enough. There is NO STAT that should deter you from spell hit rating if you are under the cap. Simply put, there is no stat that is better than spell hit for DPS increases. Get spell hit capped before you even start caring about the rest of the stuff.

And Megan is definitely right. Spell Haste is a wonderful stat for PvP.

I've talked about it before. Mobility is one of the most important things to have in a competitive environment. If your spells take less time to cast, thats less time you're sitting there, self-snared. The GCD be damned, if you have a Paladin casting .8 second Flashes of Light...
Well, its self explanatory. Good luck stopping that cast from getting off.

Anyhoo. Part two.

Spell Haste, if you thought it was confounding before, check out the madness it does to Arcane spells.
Obviously, the easiest example is Arcane Missiles. This channeled spell normally takes 5 seconds to go through the entire spell, and adding spell haste, rather simply, reduces it accordingly. 10% haste rating will reduce it to a 4.5 second, 30% to a 3.5 second channel. And so on. Exactly like we talked about with fireball, an exact DPS increase.

Arcane Blast... is weird. Due to its varying cast times, it has varying returns from spell haste.
Devoid of "Arcane Blast Buffs" the spell has a cast time of 2.5 seconds. For the sake of simplicity, let's assume the 20% haste from Icy Veins.
Devoid of the buff, the spell drops to a 2 second cast speed. Pretty darn good, right there. That's a flat 20% increase in spell damage right there.
But then... Arcane Blast gets faster. 1 buff would normally shave off some time, giving us a new cast speed of 2.17 (the buff note itself is wrong, ignore it. The tooltip states 2.17, and it is far more accurate than the 2.2 the buff claims it is).
So what's 2.17 with a 20% spell haste? That will give us a 1.74 cast time. All mighty fine at this point, still a flat 20% DPS increase. Woot!
So now we have two stacks of the buff. We're now looking at a base cast speed of 1.83 seconds. Toss in the 20% spell haste... we get a 1.46 cast time.

Uh oh. See what just happened there? We dipped into the GCD is what happened there.
With two buffs, that 20% spell haste rating is NOT giving us a flat 20% DPS increase anymore. By dipping into the GCD, we're actually ONLY getting an 18% DPS increase.

Well, shucks.

So, 3 buffs of Arcane Blast now, giving us a new base cast time of 1.5 seconds.

Guess what else lasts 1.5 seconds? Thats right the GCD. With 3 buffs of Arcane Blast, spell haste of any amount has proved itself utterly useless.

So that's Arcane Blast. If you're speccing Arcane, take it with a grain of salt. Arcane Missiles chugs happily along, and Arcane Blast does fine most of the time.

So now we get the "misc" spells.

We're talking stuff like Portals, Evocation, Blizzard, things like that.

Surprisingly, these spells all behave exactly the same way when it comes to spell haste.

The following spells behave, under spell haste effects, exactly like we've discussed before:
Arcane Missiles, Fireball, Arcane Blast, Frostbolt, Flamestrike, Scorch, Pyroblast.

All other mage spells are either instant, and thus are not affected at all, or fall into the "Misc" category.

Which I guess is mislabelled, as they aren't really miscellaneous, just a wee bit odd in their own right.
All these misc cast time spells, Portals to capitals, Blizzard, food summoning spells, etc, benefit from static spell haste effects only. By that I mean, if you have bracers that give 25 spell haste, all these spells will have that cast time reduction. Evocation, for example, will only last 7.88 seconds rather than 8. You still get the exact same amount of mana, it just doesn't quite last as long as a spell. For example, with a static buff of 10%, that 10 second portal to Shattrath will only take 9 seconds (And no, it still does NOT become an instant cast when you use Presence of Mind. At least, not on the current PTR build).

However, these same spells do NOT benefit from buffed spell haste effects. Things like Bloodlust, that buff cast speed, have no change in the cast time of these spells.
Only the static stuff like the 45 spell haste on them pants will.

Think you can pop Icy Veins and have an Evocation that lasts 6.4 seconds? You are sadly mistaken.

On a related note, when is Presence of Mind going to cause Evocation to be an instant cast? Hmm?

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Today we're going to talk about spell haste, and interject every now and then with a random phrase in German.

Like so!

Ich möchte essen kinder kuh.


Spell Haste then.

It is a mechanic that effects the cast time of any given spell. For example, a 3 second fireball. If we have some spell haste, it will cast faster, taking less time to do the exact same effect. For example, we can reduce fireball to 2.8 seconds, or 2.1 seconds, depending on how much spell haste we have.

To put it quite bluntly, spell haste is an incredibly useful stat and you should kill all who stand between you and spell haste.

Think of it like spell hit. It is incredibly useful, as point by point, it provides a greater increase in DPS than the other spell stats.
Up until it gets capped, anyways.

Yes, thats right. Spell haste has a "cap", a point where any more spell haste is completely wasted.
Quite bluntly, there is a mechanic in play that you cannot change, no matter what you do.
You see, the "Global Cool Down" is a period of 1.5 seconds, that starts when you cast, or begin to cast, most spells (Some, such as Counterspell, do not incur the GCD, but are still restricted by it, in that they cannot be used while the GCD is still resetting). The GCD effectively means that you cannot cast more than one spell per 1.5 second time slot.

Let's say, for example, you cast Scorch. It starts the GCD, and it takes 1.5 seconds to cast. 1.5 seconds later, it goes off, you do some damage, and the GCD has reset, and you are allowed to cast another spell. If the next spell you cast is Fireblast, it goes off instantly, and the GCD begins. Thus, you are sitting there unable to cast any spells for the full duration of the 1.5 second cooldown.

In this example, spell haste would be a wasted stat. The mage cannot cast any spells faster than 1.5 seconds, therefore a 1.5 second cast time is the "cap" for spell haste.
Note that spell haste does not effect the length of the GCD. It is always 1.5 seconds, no matter what, end of story, tod für alle menschen.
Therefore, any spell haste is wasted on any spell that has a cast time of 1.5 seconds or less. Spells such as scorch, and any instant, gain nothing from spell haste. These spells are considered "haste capped". Dies ist wichtig.

But... there are some spells that are "outside" the GCD; spells that take longer than 1.5 seconds to cast. These spells benefit from spell haste, and they tend to benefit a lot. The longer the initial cast time of the spell, the more benefit the spell gets from spell haste.

Take, for example, or 3 second fireball (Feuer-Ball!!!) that we mentioned above. Every percent of spell haste you get, it reduces the cast time by whatever percent it is. Very straightforward.

If you have 1% spell haste, that means that your fireball will cast in 99% of the time. Thus giving your fireball a new casting speed of 2.97 seconds.

If you have 10% spell haste, that means that your fireball will cast in 90% of the time. Thus giving your fireball a new casting speed of 2.7 seconds.

You see how this works?

If you have a 10% spell haste on that takes 2 seconds to cast, it will still cast in 90% of the time. However, 10% of 2 seconds is only .2 seconds, not .3.

So the 3 second spell gains a larger benefit from spell haste than the faster spell. On Pyroblast, a massive 6 second cast, a 10% cast speed reduction would shave off a full .6 seconds, giving a new cast time of 5.4.

And yes, before you ask, spell haste rating does affect channelled spells. That 5 second Arcane Missiles you're so fond of? Slap a 20% spell haste percent on there and you get a 4 second Arcane Missiles. Each pulse comes faster, and thus resulting in more damage in the exact same amount of time.

Again, there is the cap of 1.5 seconds. The cap is different for each and every spell, however. For fireball, this cap will be at a spell haste of 50%, thus cutting out half the cast time of fireball, so giving our fireball a 1.5 second cast time.
If we have it at a 60% spell haste rating, fireball will have 1.2 second cast time, but we'll still only be able to cast the spell every 1.5 seconds. There's that GCD bugging it up again.

So look at it this way. Spell haste means your casting spells, outside the GCD, at a faster rate. Meaning you're doing more damage in the exact same amount of time.
And that dear mages, is the exact definition of DPS, isn't it?

If you have a 5% spell haste value, that means you can cast 5% more fireballs, therefore meaning you have 5% more DPS, right?
Well, not quite. Considering an infinite fight, yes. If you cast forever, you will see a flat 5% increase given 5% spell haste value.
But it's not that easy, is it? Mobs die, sometimes you have to move, and considering fire spec, you have to refresh that oh so precious Scorch debuff.

So. Let's assume the following.
You have max scorch debuff. And then you chain cast fireball. Thusly, you can cast 9 fireballs, which uses up 27 seconds to do so. Then you refresh the scorch debuff, and repeat.
Let's introduce 10% spell haste here.

Now, each fireball casts in 2.7 seconds, rather than 3. The Scorch debuff must be refreshed every 29.9 seconds (it lasts 30), or you lose the debuff.
If we cast 9 fireballs with the new cast time of 2.7 seconds, that brings us to 24.3 seconds used. Hrm. Well, look! We can fit another fireball in! So, with 10% spell haste, we can now cast 10 fireballs in the exact same amount of time! (2.7 x 10 = 27 seconds)

Mathe ist mir ein ekel.

But what if we have only 2% spell haste? Those 9 fireballs are going to use up 26.46 seconds to cast, taking 2.94 seconds each. If we try to cast a 10th fireball, that will take 29.4 seconds to do, and we'll lose the Scorch Debuff.

So. Spell haste only truly shows its worth once we reach a point where we can fit a new spell into the previous alloted span of time.

Have I bored you out of your skull yet?

Ok, I'll make this quick. On longer battles, spell haste has certain "threshold" levels. Using our fireball example, 2% spell haste will give you practically no benefit, and no real increase in DPS. However, 10% will give you a very powerful benefit, and will in fact net you a mighty powerful 10% increase in DPS.
On shorter fights, ones that you will, for example, not need to refresh scorch because it will be over too fast, that 2% spell haste increase will indeed grant you that 2% DPS increase.
If you're simply chain casting frostbolt, you will always get the exact DPS increase, because thats the only spell you ever really use. No spell rotation means everything is incredibly straight forward.
Arcane is incredibly awkward and complicated in this regard, and I will have to return tomorrow with that info.

Number wise, from a caster perspective, 21 haste rating = 1%. You know those new pants, (Pantaloons of Arcane Annihilation) that have 45 haste rating? That will give you a 2% haste rating right there.
Find the spell haste, get the spell haste, adore the spell haste. It is a golden stat and you will love it.

Any major haste effects, like a Shaman's Bloodlust and Icy Veins, should be worshipped like the pagan god's they are. The DPS increase from these abilities, however long they may be, are incredibly powerful. How can you say no to a 20% DPS increase from Icy Veins? How?!

Simple. You cannot.

Welcome to 2008

Year of the internet-not-working-so-I-can't-do-shit.

Seriously, no internet is full of epic suck.

Monday, December 31, 2007


As seems to be the fashion on New year's, I'ma gonna do a New Year's post.

Let's reflect on the past here...

So. I started this blog, enjoy it quite a bit, and even seem to be gaining some solid popularity out here in the cold and hard blogosphere.
Look at me go! I'm blogging about WoW! And doing ok at it! And I even provide useful information every now and then!


So where do I go from here? So far, I seem to have 3 types of blog posts. Posts where I yell about stuff, swearing up a storm and shouting in text form.
Then, I have the posts meant for nothing but sheer amusement, such as my wildly popular Urinal post.
And then I actually have the useful posts, like my somewhat disorganized 'World of Magecraft' stuff.

So what do I do? Each of them seem to be popular. I have readers who love my rants, I have readers who come here occasionally for the helpful information I occasionally provide, and, of course, everyone loves my amusing stories. I'm a bloody comedian, dont ya know??

I suppose I could become El Magi de Serioso : |
And be all helpful posts and become a well-respected blogger widely known for his magely wisdom.

Or maybe I could simply become a ranter, and essentially become a troll that has a blog. Wait, what?

Or go the amusing story route, and become the Dave Barry of WoW.

I say... let's do all of them ^_^

I'll expand on the Magecraft guides, and set it all up with a linky bar and more specific titles, a la BRK's hunter training list.

Then, once I have all that out of the way, we can rant and amuse to our heart's content, and still have plenty of useful posts linked so I never degenerate into some useless turd of a blogger.

That way I never get stuck doing utterly pointless rambles, like this post.

In Game Goals!

- Get my hunter leveled up to Outland capacity, so I never, ever need to farm primal fire on my mage AGAIN.
- Replace all those stupid blues my mage still wears. Either something from Karazhan, which I STILL haven't run, or with some welfare shinies from the honour (Canadian spelling, bitches) system. Whatever works.
- Save up gold to get an Epic Flyer mount
- Get the kodo PvP mount, which is the only PvP mount I'm missing
- Get a warlock twinked out for the 39 bracket. Underworld Band ftw!
- Finally get around to leveling my poor neglected Alliance toon. That little dranei has sat at level 4 since February
- Remember to add Icy Veins into my uber cooldown macro when I get that
- Figure out how I can spec back to raid fire, and somehow get out of all the Al'ar runs my guild does


P.S. Snuggles the wrathful tiger says hi.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Raiding as Frost

Quick Stats

Most Common Spec
10/0/49 - Clearcast deep frost
Gains 200% damage from critical hits.
Spell Hit Cap: 164 (126 for Frostbolt)

So. Raiding as frost. Can it be done?

Yes, yes it can. And well, I might add.

All three main mage specs for raiding (here we're discussing raid arcane, raid fire, and raid frost), play differently.

Arcane, essentially, specs the mage into a balls-to-the-wall Burst DPS spec, mana be damned. Going full bore Arcane Blast with cooldowns blown will put the mage OOM in a matter of seconds, but his DPS will be insane. Utterly insane. Until his mana bar goes limp.
Think of it like the spec designed to kill the trash in raids as fast as possible.
Picture it like a Drag Racer, designed to reach speeds of excess of 240 mph, but can only maintain this for a half mile.

Fire is the opposite. It specs the mage as far away from burst DPS as possible from mage, and essentially specializes the mage for boss fights. Thats why it's so popular, "the" raid spec if you will. Any fight thats under 10 seconds is a waste of a fire mages time. This spec is designed for the long haul.
Think of it like the spec designed to fight the boss mobs in raids efficiently.
Picture it like a massive trucking... truck... designed to reach speeds of no more than 80, 90 mph, but can maintain it for almost a thousand miles.

Frost is the middle ground here. It does not have the same amount of burst damage arcane is capable of, and it does not have the long haul power that fire does. It has better burst damage than fire, and has far greater longevity than arcane.
Think of it like the spec that tries to find a comfortable middle ground between boss fights and trash killing.
Think of it like a wee little Toyota sports car that can go 140 mph, and keep it up for a couple hundred miles.

So, in the effort of providing the information that will help you decide what car is best for you, I present: Raiding Frost.

Firstly, your spell rotation will look something like: Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt.... you get the idea.
Frostbolt is your spell. Use it, love it, bind it to every key on your number pad and mash your fist against it.

Get a giant USB "Big Red Button", bind "Summon Water Elemental" to it, and every time that cooldown is up, YOU PUSH DA BIG RED BUTTON.
Get some spell damage trinkets, and spam the HELL out of those things. When Icy Veins gets released, HIT THAT MUTHER TRUCKER EVERY FRIGGIN CHANCE YOU GET.

The power of Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Frostbolt is rather limited.
A lot of the true power of Frost's raid DPS is getting the absolute most out of your cooldowns.
The Water Elemental is a significant source of DPS, about 350 DPS when you, the frost mage, have around 750 spell damage.
If you don't take advantage of it, you are a magnificent moron. USE IT. LOVE IT. Trash pull going down and you need to spam sheep? Summon Elemental, send it after one of the other targets, sheep your mob. You get some nice DPS.
Standard trash pull, expected to go for a minute and a half? Summon your Elemental, sick it on something. When it expires, Cold Snap and get it right back out again.
350 DPS is a lot to lose out on, simply because you're too lazy to push a button.
Quite bluntly, a water elemental will account for a good 10-15% of your total DPS when you actually use it. Did you do 200k damage in a boss fight? That coulda been 220k if you had used the water elemental.
Timing the water elemental will be the hardest skill to raiding frost. It has low health, and no ways to protect itself. Therefore, literally any AoE effect will pretty much kill it outright.

Similar to fire, frost also has its own debuff. Whereas the Scorch debuff increases all fire damage by 15%, the frost one increases the critical strike chance of frost spells by 10%.
Just like the fire version of the debuff, you want to have it up as much as possible (yes, the water elemental gains the 10% improved crit as well).
However, you don't need to cast something besides your standard nuke for this debuff. Keep right on frostbolting away, it will build on its own.
However, due to the lower duration of this debuff (15 seconds) it will be harder to keep it up and running at all times during movement fights.
Keep in mind that Ice Lance does refresh the debuff, so use that whenever movement is required. Never, ever use an Ice Lance when a Frostbolt could be used instead. The damage difference is so huge, that spending a GCD on an Ice Lance when you could be casting a Frostbolt is a serious waste of time.
Only use it when movement is required, and you simply do not have the time for a frostbolt.

There is an interesting thing to note about frostbolt. It is, mathematically speaking, one of the oddest spells a mage has. It has two unique quirks that no other spell has. First, it receives what the mage community has dubbed a "ghost hit" from elemental precision. Namely, frostbolt receives a total of 6% spell hit from the talent rather than the 3% everything else gets. This is most likely due to the second quirk.
Most spells can do one of three things when they are casted at a mob. They can "miss" (which will show up on screen as "resist), be resisted in the technical sense (do partial damage), or hit, doing full damage.
Frostbolt is, mathematically, a binary spell. This means it can only do one of two things. It can either hit, or it can miss.
Non-binary spells can kind of hit, landing what is caused a "partial resist", whereby some of the damage is shrugged off the mob you casted at.
Like, if fireball is partially resisted, instead of doing the 2200 damage its supposed to do, it will do a measly 1100 damage. You get the picture?
Frostbolt CANNOT do that. It can only hit and miss, and cannot be partially resisted. Which means that when you cast frostbolt, it is unaffected by level based magic resistances.

(Level based magic resistance is thus: when mobs have a higher level than you, they have an innate spell resist to anything you cast. Mathematically, a level 73 mob (like a boss mob) will have a resist value of 24. This works out to about a 6% resist rate. This level based spell resist cannot be overcome by any means. GG, spell penetration.)

While both arcane and fire magic will see ~6% of their spells be resisted or partially resisted because of this level based magical resistance, frostbolts will never see that. They will always, mathematically speaking, hit 99% of the time.

Frostbolt, oddly enough, does NOT proc Judgment of Wisdom, that handy Paladin buff that some paladins toss on mobs so the casters can snag some more mana.

Anyways, there ya go. Raiding Frost. Make sure you have the Frozen Shadoweave set, and go kick some ass.