Monday, July 7, 2008

Spell Damage vs Spell Haste (for Moonkin)

Note: This guide was written well before WotLK as released. The information and modeling done here is based completely on a BC version of WoW. While I thing this information is still generally correct, It does not apply direct any more. I do plan on writting a new guide and will post on my blog when it is done.

Spell Haste is the most misunderstood stat within the Moonkin community. If you watch the WoW druid forums regularly you see plenty of Spell Haste questions. The sad part about his is many of the people answering these questions provide incorrect or miss leading information. With this post I hope to provide the answers providing the Pros, Cons, and Breakeven points of Spell Haste.

1. Spell Crit is excluded from the calculation due to the fact that it affects Spell Damage and Spell Haste equally in terms of DPS. I ran the numbers with several levels of crit and the ratio between Spell Damage and Spell Haste is the same for all levels of Spell Crit used.

2. Spell Hit is excluded from the calculation due to the fact that it affects Spell Damage and Spell Haste equally in terms of DPS. I ran the numbers with several levels of hit and the ratio between Spell Damage and Spell Haste is the same for all levels of Spell Hit used.

3. This analysis has been written using Starfire but all moonkin spells are very similarly affected by Spell Haste. Therefore this analysis can be applied to Wrath and other Moonkin Spells.

4. Calculations assume that the caster is level 70.

Talents and other Buffs Affecting Spell Haste:
There are several items and spells that temporarily buff haste, but none of these last longer then 30 seconds. Therefore they will be excluded from the calculations.

General Spell Haste Info:
* Spell Haste lowers a spells casting time and lowers the global cooldown. Haste cannot lower the global cooldown below 1 second. However it would take 785 Spell Haste to lower the global cooldown to 1 second. This level is not possible to achieve long term with gear currently available in game.

* Spell Haste has no affect on the damage caused by a single spell. It only changes the casting time.

* Spell Haste has diminishing returns. Your first point of Spell Haste will affect your cast time more significantly then your second point.

* Cast Time Calculation: Base Cast Time / (1+(Spell Haste / 1570)) = Actual Cast Time. Ex: 3.0 sec / (1+(157/1570) = 2.73 sec for Starfire with 157 Spell Haste.

The Math:
As with all of the Spell DPS stats the value of Spell Haste and Spell Damage are highly dependent on each other. Obviously the amount of DPS you gain from one point of Spell Damage increases the more Spell Haste you have since Spell Haste will decrease your cast time. The amount of DPS you gain from one point of Spell Haste increases with the amount of Spell Damage you have because Spell Damage increases how much damage your spells do per cast.

How much additional DPS will you receive from an additional point of Spell Damage?
Moonfury, Wrath of Cenarius and your Spell Haste all affect the amount of DPS you gain from Spell Damage. Starfire has a base Spell Damage Coefficient of 1, and let X equal your Cast Time. So the additional damage from one point of Spell damage is:

Damage = ((1 + 0.2)*1.1)/X, So if you have zero haste Then
Damage = ((1 + 0.2)*1.1)/3.0
Damage = 1.32/3.0 = 0.4400 DPS per point of Spell Damage with zero Spell Haste.

How much additional DPS will you receive from an additional point of Spell Haste?
First we need to figure out how much DPS Starfire does on a normal cast. It has two components, base spell damage and bonus spell damage. Base spell damage is the damage that comes with the trainable spell with no bonus from gear. A max rank Starfire can hit for between 550 and 646. It is increased by 10% because of Moonfury, so the average base spell damage for Starfire is 657.8. Bonus spell damage is what you receive from gear and is calculated on your character screen. It is modified based upon the base casting time of the spell and talents. Starfire has a Spell Damage Coefficient of 1, and it is modified by Wrath of Cenarius and Moonfury as I said before. Of course all of this need to be divided by your Spell Cast Time. So the DPS of your average non-miss Starfire is equal to:

DPS = (657.8 + (Spell Damage)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1)) / Cast Time
DPS = (657.8 + (1100)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1)) / 3 = 703.2667, If you have 1100 Spell Damage and zero Spell Haste.

Now, if we had one point of Spell Haste to the equation then we increase the average DPS per spell cast. Using the equation

DPS = (657.8 + (Spell Damage)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1)) / Cast Time
DPS = (657.8 + (1100)*(1 + 0.2)*(1.1)) / (3/(1+(1/1570))) = 703.7146, If you have 1100 Spell Damage and zero starting Spell Haste.

So from one point of Spell Haste you gain 0.4479 DPS with 1100 Spell Damage and zero starting Haste. Lets compare this value to the DPS value I calculated for one additional point of Spell Damage.

0.4479/0.4400 = 1.0180

So, at 1100 Spell Damage and zero starting Haste, one additional point of Spell Haste is worth 1.0180 points of Spell Damage.

I have calculated this value for several levels of Spell Damage and Spell Haste. Here is a graph that shows the results.

Break-Even Point:
As you can see from the graph above the value of Haste is below that of Spell Damage ever for some reasonable amounts of Spell Damage. Not only that, but as your starting haste increases the value of an additional point of haste decreases relative to Spell Damage.

This brings up two important questions. When should you start picking up haste? How much haste is too much haste? If we ignore the mana concerns that come with Haste, these questions are very easy to answer from a mathematical standpoint.

When should you start picking up haste?
Assuming that you are starting with zero Spell Haste, one point of Spell Haste, will provide more additional DPS then one point of Spell Damage when you have 1,072 Spell Damage fully raid buffed. This is a fairly easy level to reach if you uses flasks and other consumables, but hasted should not be equipped before you reach this level.

How much haste is too much haste?
Unlike Spell Hit, there is no reasonable level of Spell Haste where Spell Haste becomes worthless on its own. However, if you collect to much Spell Haste you can push its value below that of Spell Damage as we can see from the graph above. You can find this break even point with a simple equation.

Spell Damage > Spell Haste + 1,071

If that equation is correct for your toon, then you do not have to much haste. So for example, if you have 75 Spell Haste, then you should have at least 1,146 Spell Damage fully raid buffed.

Gemming for Spell Haste:
Another very common question is when should you gem for spell haste. And it is a little more complicated to answer. It depends on stat your not gemming because your gemming haste, and what quality of gems you are using. Lets look at each of the stats and see how they affect the choice.

Spell Hit – Assuming you are not hit capped. Spell Hit is always more valuable then Haste. If you are not hit capped do not gem for Haste.

Spell Crit – Spell Haste will always improve your short run DPS more then Spell Crit. My math showed that Spell Haste was better then Spell Crit even if you had very low crit and very high haste. So don’t be afraid to put a Reckless gem in those yellow sockets instead of a Potent gem if your above the break-even point.

Spell Damage – This is the complicated one. Unlike the other stats Spell Damage has a lower stat value then Spell Haste. So you will get more Spell Damage on a gem then you will Spell Haste. For Example The Runed Crimson Spinel will give you 12 Spell Damage. The Quick Lionseye on the other hand will give you 10 Spell Haste. So right off the bat Spell Damage has a 1.2 greater value then Spell Haste. This cause us to have a different break-even point when gemming for Spell Haste over Spell Damage. It is:

Spell Damage > 1.2 * (Spell Haste) + 1,386

If that equation is correct for your toon, then you can gain more DPS by gemming for Haste instead of Spell Damage. So for example, if you have 75 Spell Haste, then you should have at least 1,476 Spell Damage fully raid buffed before you gem for haste over damage.

1. My results show that moonkin shouldn’t consider equipping haste until they have at least 1072 Spell Damage raid buffed. This however is an absolute minimum and higher levels of Spell Damage are recommended to be safe.

2. You can always gem for Haste over Spell Crit to increase your DPS, but should never gem for Haste over Hit if you are not hit capped.

3. You need at lease 1,386 Spell Damage raid buffed to gem for Haste over Spell Damage, but should probably have significantly more.

4. This whole article ignores the mana issues associated with Haste. If you find that you are running out of mana at the end of long fights then you should probably hold off on equipping haste until your mana situation is more stable.


Anonymous said...

Very informative. I have only been able to add about 20 haste to my gear at this point just replacing my +dmg and crit gems with +dmg and haste. I'm about 14 points over the hit cap so I have some wiggle room. If I can ever get the haste neck from ZA I'd be a happy camper.

Good luck and keep up the good work!

Caladwen - Eitrigg

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the analysis!

Anonymous said...

Yes, although I love haste, math for pve is cruel, as moonkin offspec I not get much to raid and normal pve you arre hardly buffed up to those amounts, so its effective do a machinegun but you drop in dmg, u can do burst dmg if needed, in heroic far spot from SP and start nuke in proper time may save his life, as u very soon take aggro from him and if mob isnt dead by time it reaches u u can withstand some hits from most heroic mobs and if healer is aware of this tactics, u free to nuke. My best nukage is stand on consecration and do whatever:)

For PVP dont hesitate to equip as much spellhaste as possible. thre wraths in 4 seconds with 1000 damage are more than 2 with 1700 in pvp. Try hasted boomkin shootout with non hasted Bommkin, he will be chacking armory righ at GY:) For AV max haste and spam wraths , i use max rank for needed burst kill, for standard spamming 1 rank down and for low mana situations or really long shootdowns of some healer use 2 ranks down, its nice to beat up pally or shamy on mana, if he fucks up and is low try max rank , on resto druid use max rank to force NS and otherwise he must run, almost no chance to outheal wrath in PVP gear, in PVE gear has low HP on other hand so is more vulnerable to bursts. For warriors I recomend from little bit safe spot starfire, u gonna be king of warkillers. combos with crit included SF SF MF, they gonna love ya

Anonymous said...

I'm confused; you seem to be saying two different things.

Your work shows spell haste is worth slightly more DPS than spell damage, point for point, after a raid buffed spell damage total of 1078. (I am well past this point, and my upgraded gear will be past this point as well.) Yet... you discourage gemming for spell haste until a raid buffed spell damage total of 1,386.

Falling between the raid buffed spell damage values 1078 and 1386, I'm a bit confused -- wouldn't gemming/gearing for spell haste over damage be the better dps option? (Spell hit is capped elsewhere.)

If not...

In theory I could drop spell haste altogether and have no value for it at all, but I'm extremely wary of that idea.

Samyna - Sentinels realm

Graylo said...

@ Samyna

There is a big difference between Gemming for haste and gearing for haste.

At 1078 Spell Damage 1 point of Haste will improve your DPS the same amount as 1 point of Spell Damage. So this is when you start to think about equipping it.

However, Spell Damage and Spell Haste are not gemmed at a 1 to 1 ratio. A Runed Crimson Spinel gives you 12 Spell Damage, but a Quick Lyonseye gives you only 10 Spell Haste.

If you only have 1078 Spell Damage and one spell haste gives you the same amount of DPS as one spell damage then why gem for haste? For the same gem socket you can get 20% more DPS.

For it to make sense to gem for haste over spell damage one point of Spell haste has to be worth 20% more then Spell damage in terms of DPS.

1386 spell damage is the point where one spell haste is worth 1.2 Spell damage. At this level you will get the same amount of DPS out of a Runed Crimson Spinel as you will out of a Quick Lyonseye dispite the different amount of the stats.

To make a long story short I'm saying you get more DPS out of 12 Spell damage then you do out of 10 haste until you have 1386 Spell damage raid buffed.

Anonymous said...

Ahh. It makes much better sense when you put it that way! Thanks for clearing up my question.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the math, good stuff!

One thing to note, It might be ok to gem haste if the socket bonus makes up the difference. Some items (boots of incantations or armwraps of kaldorei protector) take a yellow socket and have a +2 damage bonus if that condition is met. Therefore a +10 haste would come out slightly ahead of the +12 spinel. Even better, a reckless pyrestone would come out ahead (+6 damage, +5 haste) of the +12 spinel.

It would be worth it to keep the socket bonuses in mind, if you are min/maxing at this level.

Graylo said...

Good points.

I have a bias where a rarely don't go for the socket bonus so I usually don't look at other options. I think haste is good for almost all yellow sockets.

Anonymous said...

Cdin, that opinion is jsut that; an opinion. Math proves you wrong.

Graylo said...

"Cdin, that opinion is just that; an opinion. Math proves you wrong."


What exactly are you referring to?

I think I have laid out the math on haste fairly well and my results agree with the conclusions reached by other very successful raiding moonkin.

If you see a problem with my math please point it out and I will evaluate it.

Trying to discredit my analysis without any stated reasoning helps no one.

Anonymous said...

Like most min-max posts this assumes that you have an almost unlimited flexibility in choosing gear. When looking at real items it is not always so cut and dried. Given a choice between taking a piece of gear that has one more damage versus a piece of gear that has one more haste your calculations would be correct. But this is all that your calculations show. Lets look at a made up example given three items.

Pantaloons of Damage
+10 damage

Pantaloons of Minor Haste
+10 haste

Choosing between these two if your damage is below your threshold you should obviously choose the damage pantaloons.

But lets say you have the opportunity to pick up the

Pantaloons of Slightly Greater Haste
+11 haste

Even below your calculated cap of 1072 haste the Pantaloons of Slightly Greater Haste are better. So to say that you shouldn't start to pick up haste until you have a higher plus damage then 1072 is not actually true. It just means that this is the point where one more point of haste is worth more then one more point of damage.

The part of your post that deals with gems is obviously more accurate, because a player always has a choice about what gems to use.

Anonymous said...

Very nice post! I was just reading something similar on the EJ forums. Both of these have helped me in deciding if and when to socket for Haste. I am currently at 1311 spell damage unbuffed, so I think I will drop some of that for haste and see how I like it :)

Graylo said...


True. In pure DPS terms, it may make since to pick up haste before you have 1072 spell damage if you are giving up sufficiently less spell Damage, spell crit or what ever. Theoretically you are correct.

However, I stand by my conclusion for more practical reasons.

1. Haste has a very steep value curve and its value diminishes quickly as you pick up more haste. So, it is very easy to over load on haste even in pure DPS terms if you pick up to much of it to early.

2. When I said 1072 spell damage, I said 1072 spell damage raid buffed. Given all of the consumables and enchants available this is fairly easy to reach.

3. All of this ignores the down sides of haste. If you don't have the spell damage to break even on haste, then you don't have the mana to support your haste gear, unless your in a situation with an over geared Spriest.

My analysis was written to help moonkin figure out when they should start considering picking up some haste. Practically speaking it doesn't make sense to gear for haste before 1072 because of the downsides to haste and the non-haste gear available. So not only can picking up haste to early limit your DPS, but you could also be passing up good gear choices that will improve your DPS because they don't have hastes downside.

Let me think about it and I may change my wording to more clearly reflect my position.

If you want to reject my conclusion because it is an opinion fine. However, I will point out that your opposition to my conclusion is just an opinion also and no more valid or correct then mine.

Graylo said...


Glad I could help. Thanks for checking out my blog.

Anonymous said...

is the spelldmg value in the calculations raiduffed or unbuffed

Graylo said...

That is raid buffed. So you could start thinking about Haste even if you have only 900 base spell damage but get to 1072 with flasks, totems and other buffs.

However, your mana concerns will be a lot higher if you have only 900 spell damage