Behavior of DoTs and Haste in Warlords of Draenor

Among the various bits of mechanical info that’s been revealed about Warlords is the fact DoTs and HoTs will no longer have “haste breakpoints” and will no longer “snapshot” your stats at cast time. Celestalon has mentioned this a few times on twitter and frequently responded to questions about it. Since a lot of people seem to have questions on how the math of this breakpoint-less system will work, I want to to explain some of the behavior that will result from this. First, a brief history of this whole problem.

Current System: Haste Breakpoints and Rounding

Before Cataclysm, haste generally did not affect the rate of DoT ticks. There were a few exceptions, such as the Glyph of Rapid Rejuvenation that caused the tick rate of Rejuvenation to be affected by haste. But this did so by shortening the total duration of the HoT and keeping the number of ticks constant, so it didn’t have to address the big question of DoTs and haste: what do to with the fractional ticks that appear when you do this?

When Cataclysm introduced a general mechanic whereby DoT ticks would be accelerated by haste, it handled this problem by changing the duration of the DoT, rounding it to the nearest integer number of ticks.

To work an example: say a DoT has a 12-second duration and a tick period of 3 seconds. Unhasted, when you cast the DoT, a 12-second debuff appears on the target, and the 4th tick will occur exactly as the debuff expires. If you add 25% haste, the tick period will decrease to 2.4 seconds (3/1.25). Since 5 ticks at 2.4 seconds is exactly 12, you will still get a 12-second debuff when you cast the DoT, and now it will be the 5th tick that occurs as the debuff expires. But what if you only had 20% haste? Now the tick period is 2.5 seconds (3/1.2). Since there is no system in place for handling partial ticks, the game can either give you:

• A 4-tick DoT that lasts 10 seconds, or
• A 5-tick DoT that lasts 12.5 seconds.

In fact, you get the latter. The game rounds to the closest whole number of ticks, and since in this example, the 5-tick option is closer to the default duration of 12, that’s what you get.

Finally, if you had 12.5% haste, the tick rate would be 2.667. So a 4-tick DoT would be 10.67 seconds, and a 5-tick DoT would be 13.33 seconds. These are equidistant from 12, and this is the oft-discussed “breakpoint.” At any higher amount of haste, you get 5 ticks, and at any lower amount, you get 4.

“The Proven Healer” — Advanced Guide for All Classes

This is a supplement to the guide I wrote for Wowhead, meant to include more detailed class-specific info for people trying to find every advantage they can to get their title, or to push beyond it. It’s generally assumed you know the basic info from the guide, but now that I’ve done wave 30 on Endless myself on all the classes, I can say a lot more about exactly what worked well on each.

General

• Your frames should have an alert for the Chomp debuff, and for Oto’s Shield Wall.
• Chomp is the trickiest ability to deal with in healer PG. More than ever, you have to stress anticipating and handling it promptly to succeed at Endless. Chomp, more than anything else, punishes you for being behind when it appears. When you’re having a problem with a Chomp wave, figure out what’s happening before the Chomp appears that’s causing people to not be topped off.
• Macro your interrupt and stunning spells to “/targetexact Large Illusionary Hive-Singer” so you don’t have to worry about targeting.
• If you’re looking to squeeze out every advantage you can, try using a separate gear set other than your raid set so you can gem differently. At this low ilvl you want to gem Int on every class, which you probably stopped doing in your raid gear.
• In general, the best item in any slot is a socketed item with an Int socket bonus.
• In any event, remember to use a hat with a Burning meta, not a legendary.
• The best trinket after scaling is Relic of Chi-ji, as its stats are disproportionately high for its ilvl. Zen Alchemist Stone (JP upgraded) also has as unusually strong proc. Otherwise, just use passive Int and a good mana proc, like Dysmorphic or Horridon’s.
• The best cloak is the legendary, even without the proc; it has a few extra stat points.
• The best possible weapon is a socketed 1H from Throne of Thunder (such as this). This will have both a socket bonus and an Eye of the Black Prince.
• Professions are mostly neutral since you want the 320 Int from all of them. Engineering is a bit more efficient since you can have it up at the hard beginning of each wave.

Wave Details

The biggest focus of this guide is class-specific cooldown planning. One general point throughout: since each wave is exactly 1 minute long, and most cooldowns are multiples of 1 minute, you have to use them very crisply at the start of the wave (or whatever the planned time is) so future uses aren’t delayed. Here’s an outline of the waves, with some more detailed comments:

1. Easy. No cooldowns, goal is to save mana and build resources. Good time to practice multiple interrupts on a caster while Ki/Kavan interrupt also.
2. Hard. Large Hive-Singer, as well as a Large Aqualyte doing heavy tank damage throughout. Ki is usually ready for the opening stun on this LHS. Add your interrupts where you can until it dies, but since it dies first, the tank is a bigger worry in this wave than the group. Being topped off going into wave 3 is important.
3. Easy but takes care. Chomp is a mechanic that punishes you heavily if you don’t handle it immediately.  Have instants saved for the opening double Chomp. Stunning the first Tunneler before it dies can prevent it from Chomping a second time. If you’re behind during the wave, a possibility is to efficiently keep people alive until combat ends and the Chomps fall off automatically, but this is not as good as handling them quickly.
4. Medium. Double dispels and heavy tank damage. An explosion due to bad debuff luck won’t kill the group–the main worry is the tank–but you have to top everyone off before wave 5. You specifically don’t want Oto to blow his Shield Wall here, so keep him stable, even using a tank cooldown if needed.
5. Very Hard. If Large Hive-Singer casts unmolested, he gets people low to set them up for a bad Chomp, right as the Conqueror is Enraging on Oto. Ki won’t always be ready to open on the LHS, so you have to watch it (you can let him interrupt if you see him Shadowstep over). Preventing its first casts and/or using a big cooldown pre-emptively will make sure people aren’t at low HP from two Sonic Blasts at the moment the Tunneler arrives.
6. Hard. Hectic wave, but the only thing that should wipe you is falling behind on Chomp. Oto takes a lot of damage, and if you let him get low, a Chomp can be really bad.
7. Easy. Tank cooldown is a good idea, but otherwise you should try to get mana back after 4/5/6. Locking down the Small Hive-Singer saves you a little mana healing the group.
8. Medium. As long as you have a way to mitigate damage in the opening seconds, this wave is generally manageable. Group CCs and mitigation cooldowns are good. After one Flamecaller is down, there’s little threat of a spike. If you interrupt the furthest Flamecallers so they run towards the AoE clump, the group’s DPS will be better.
9. Very Hard. The Large Hive-Singer can live a long time, wearing down the group if his casts aren’t interrupted. You want to interrupt him early and often, but keeping him far from the group for a long time can cause them to kill him last. Mix throughput cooldowns and interrupts to deal with the constant damage for as long as he lives. The worst moment is the very start when the first cast happens at the same time as a Chomp–interrupting it and dealing with the Chomp immediately gets you off to a good start.
10. Easy. All you need here is a tank cooldown. Think about topping off any class resources and saving other cooldowns to start the next cycle.

The general pattern is that the waves that need throughput cooldowns are 2/5/9 with a Large Hive-Singer. Secondary cooldowns are good on 4 and 6. Tank cooldowns at 2, 4 or 5, and 10, and 7 if you can fit it in. An important tank cooldown is Oto’s Shield Wall (2 minutes), which he will use anytime either a Conqueror Enrages or his HP is low. If the latter never occurs, he’ll use it at 2, 5, 7, and 10, which is what you want.