Monday, April 14, 2008

Warlocking 201: Timing Your Trinkets, Part 1

So you've done it! You've got the gear, the spell damage, and finally found a great DoT rotation and cast sequence to work with. You're ready to take your Warlocking to the next level! But before you can graduate to the almighty 0/21/40 raiding spec, you've got some growing to do, and those trinkets sitting in your inventory are a great place to start.

Let me just start by saying that trinkets, while awesome and completely necessary, are really quite a deceptive bunch. They let on to be much more simplistic than they actually are, advertising that they increase your spell damage for a duration of time, but saying nothing about where in your DoT rotation you should use them, if anywhere at all.

When I first started raiding with an Affliction spec (first as UA, then Ruin), I wasn't really worried about buffing my DoTS with added damage. I popped my trinkets AFTER applying them, hoping to have the added damage affect as many Shadow Bolts as possible. I assumed that was where the most DPS was, and I never questioned it because the approach performed extremely well.

However, I recently began to question that long-standing assumption, and after chatting with fellow 'lock and blogger Psychonia, actually crunched the numbers to see exactly what is going on behind those sexy trinket animations, and what damage I was or wasn't missing.

Assuming that the Warlock is level 70, has 1000 bonus damage, no talents (simplifies things greatly), and is using the Icon of the Silver Crescent, here's what I calculated:

Popping a trinket AFTER applying DoTS and BEFORE Shadow Bolt spamming would result in 155 x 0.8571 (trinket's added dmg multiplied by SB dmg coefficient) x 8 (number of SB casts within 20 seconds) = 1062.8 overall bonus damage. Pretty straightforward and simple enough, right?

Well, the math involving the DoTS is a little more complicated and difficult to keep track of, so I calculated them the long way just to keep myself from missing something important down the line. Sorry for the number-orgy in advance. =P

With the same assumptions as before, except this time popping the trinket BEFORE DoTS have been applied, the numbers looked like this:

DoT - Coefficient - Base Damage - Damage After Bonus - Damage After Trinket

CoA -- 120% -- 1356 -- 2556 -- 2742
Cor -- 93.6% -- 900 -- 1836 -- 1981
UA -- 180% -- 1050 -- 2850 -- 3129
SL -- 100% -- 630 -- 1630 -- 1785
Imo -- 20%DD,65%DoT -- 327, 615 -- 1792 -- 1924

DoT damage difference totals PLUS Shadow Bolt x 5 (number that can be cast in the remaining time the trinket is active) = 1561 overall bonus damage.

Hmm, interesting.

So the result is that you get about 30% GREATER damage production trinketing before going through a DoT sequence than when using trinketed Shadow Bolts alone.

But wait! There's a pretty serious problem with our data! The base numbers do not take into account critical strikes and Improved Shadow Bolt procs, which have a significant impact on our would-be conclusions.

It turns out that if you average one critical strike every four Shadow Bolt casts, or a crit rate of 25% (the magical Ruin > UA threshold), popping a trinket AFTER applying your DoTS equates to more DPS. This was exactly the situation I found myself in, which helps explain why spamming trinketed Shadow Bolts worked for me. However, if this is not the case you find yourself in and you are also very lacking in the Spell Hit department, than you should definitely trinket BEFORE applying your DoTS.

Make sense? I hope so! But if not, let me know, and especially do so if I made a mistake somewhere. ;)

Next week, when Warlocking 201: Part 2 lands, we'll take a look at WHERE in your DoT sequence is the best place to pop a trinket, if that's where it needs to be. In the meantime, however, go grind your Hit and Crit gear buy some high-end gems if you need to. Because the sooner you have the stats to go 0/21/40, the sooner you won't have to worry about these DoT sequences anymore.

And the sooner that is, the better. ;)


Horns said...

I'll let you do the math since you seem to be much better at it then I am, but what I usually do is pop the trinket before applying DoTs, and still get to cast a few Shadowbolts while it's active.

Anonymous said...

You're saying that if I have less than 25% critical strike rating I should pop my trinket before my dots? Does that include critical strike talents?

Anonymous said...

LOL! jag i guess you figured it our =) i love how things are situational and there never seems to be a hard fast rule for anything be it world of warcraft or just plain life :P

Necrobutcher said...

sweet pic for the article. wtb green fire!

Logan said...

@anon - If you're at 25% crit and still affliction, you might want to consider respeccing or regemming. DoT rotations are fun and all, but so are 8k shadowbolts :).

Fuhsnuh said...

Recommendation for Lol of the Week!

Anonymous said...

Wow I didn't know batman was a warlock!

Jagoex said...

@Horns: Heya bud. I had already done those calcs and came up with a greater base value for DoT-popping versus popping before SBs. Of course, a high crit-rating and ISB tilt the data towards the latter's favor.

I think it's also fair to say that, because trinkets have different up-times, the data calculated for this post only applies to the Icon, and that other trinkets may vary in their most-suitable application. It'd be interesting to calculate the values for all damage-centric trinkets...

@anon1: When considering your Crit-rating, ALWAYS consider your talents. If your talents put you up around 25% Spell Crit and you have a high Hit rating (approaching 202), you should definitely pop this trinket AFTER applying your DoTS, and even consider respeccing to 0/21/40. ;)

@Psy: Heheh, yeah, you lit a fire. And you're totally right about everything being incredibly situational... as per the specificity of this trinket, for example. And now, I plan on calculating data for as many trinkets as possible! Look what you've done! =P

@necro: I saw that pic on WoW Head and freaked. I'd love to see that Skull of Gul'dan graphic effect in a spell talent, similar to Shadowform. Green fire ftw for sure.

@logan: I'm with ya regarding your advice to anon. At 25%, it's time to start considering 0/21/40 as long as the Hit rating is there as well.

@fuhs: lol, k dude, looking at it now.

@anon2: Heheh, I noticed that too. Good observation.

Thanks for all of your responses!

Logan said...

So when do we get the post that calculates the haste rating boosts from Skull of Gul'dan and Drums of Battle and when the appropriate times to pop those are? I needs to know!!!

J/K, but great work on the calculations/thoughts on this post! These are the kind of things that I wish I knew when I first started raiding and thought it was a good idea to do stupid things like refresh half-finished DoTs every time I popped my trinket. :-/

(and yes, we have a 'lock who just leveled leatherworking the other day for the sole purpose of being able to use Drums of Battle... and they're AWESOME)

Jagoex said...

Heheh, I'm hoping to crunch some numbers this weekend.

Dude, that makes me sound so cool, doesn't it...