Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blue Post: Haste and the GCD

In case you missed it Murmurs, started another really good thread regarding Haste and the Global Cooldown. You can find it here.

Since Blizzard is looking at haste a little more closely in patch 3.3 with the possibility of having DoTs affected by haste, Murmurs has taken this opportunity to summarize the Moonkin issues with haste rating.

I'm sure the issue is well known to most of you. Moonkin's have two primary nukes. After Starlight Wrath, Starfire has a base cast time of 3.0 seconds, Wrath has a base cast time of 1.5 seconds, and as always the minimum GCD is 1.0 second. After you account for Celestial Focus, Improved Moonkin Form, Wrath of Air, and Nature's Grace, a moonkin only needs 400 haste rating to cap the affective Wrath cast time at 1 second.

This ends up causing a problem with how we scale. Moonkin are is the only spec that has a nuke with a 1.5 second base cast time and is a core part of the rotation. This causes an inequity when Blizzard tries to balance us against other classes. In WotLK we balance very well in the Tier 7 content, but seemed to have slipped some as we progress to higher tiers. I can't blame this all on haste, Wrath, and the GCD, but it is definately a contributing factor. Since we don't scale as well with Haste rating as Mages, Shaman, and Destro Locks do, it creates and opportunity for us to fall behind in DPS.

That's the issue as I see it and I think this is what Murmur's was trying to point out.

The Blue Post:

Ghostcrawler stopped by the thread and posted these comments.

So in theoretical-space, how much do think these problems go away if haste doesn't bump into the global cooldown for some of these spells?

I know it's cumbersome to explore why that would be the case, because I don't want to stipulate that haste rating just gets cut in half or whatever. I also think it complicates things when you start talking about all the added benefits of spells becoming instant (such as being able to move and not being interruptable).

I'm trying to get at whether it is the way different spells behave under haste or whether it's the GCD that's the problem.
I'll be honest, I'm not completely sure what Ghostcrawler is trying to get at here, and I'm a little confused by his response. I think he is trying to address the solutions that are being suggested. So, I'm going to take that approach from here on out. The two basic suggestions I've see are to lower the GCD or increase the cast time of Wrath.

Lower the GCD:

Currently the minimum GCD you can have is 1 second. Some people are suggesting that this should be lowered even further or possibly eliminated.

Personally, I don't like this possibility for a couple of reasons. Vontre explained it best on post #146 on the thread.

It's the gcd, except the gcd cap is fine where it's at because 1 second is about as low as you want to go for the human brain to process action -> button press -> server command -> return to client -> evaluate result. Problem is Wrath is too fast for a primary nuke.
Lowering the GCD is not a clean solution. When you consider the latency and the human factor, you realize that you can cast only so fast. While we would technically scale better, the practical aspects of the game would limit the impact of the change.

Increase Wrath's Cast Time:

There are multiple ways to do this. Some have suggested increasing Wrath's Cast time using a Glyph. Others have suggested that some of the buffs that reduce Wrath's cast time be changed or eliminated. Let me look at these possibilities separately.

  • Glyph: The suggestion is that blizzard add a glyph that increases Wrath's cast time by 0.5 seconds and the damage by 33%. This would not change the DPS of the spell at zero haste, but would allow it to scale with haste more appropriately. I like this suggestion but I see two issues with it.

    1. The first issue is how this impacts Eclipse. A lot of people complain about how Wrath procs Lunar Eclipse on only 60% of crits but it's done for a practical reason. It makes Solar and Lunar Eclipse proc at a similar rate. If you increase Wrath's cast time without increasing the proc rate of Eclipse you throw off that balance.

    2. The second issue is what type of Glyph would it be? If it's a major glyph then your losing DPS by not having one of your other glyphs. Making it a minor glyph wouldn't have this problem since most of the minor glyphs we currently use have little impact, but it would increase our DPS indirectly and my not qualify as a minor glyph.

  • Lowering Talent Haste: This suggestion is that Blizzard either nerf or eliminate some of our haste providing abilities. If we have lower haste then we will brush up against the GCD less and eliminate the scaling issue.

    The problem with this suggestion is that it is a straight nerf to our DPS. The affect would be moderated by the increased usefulness of haste rating, but in total the affect would be a nerf. Therefore this doesn't fix the problem unless they buff Moonkin in other ways as well.
The Third Option:

The third option is that they fix moonkin scaling in some other way without touching Haste or Wrath's cast time at all. This has been alluded to by several people, but not out right said. Blizzard could fix our scaling issues by making us scale with another stat at a higher rate then most class do.

For instance, what if Crit Rating not only increased your Crit Chance, but also increased the amount of damage your critical strikes did. Any change like this would take a lot of balancing, but my point is that Haste is not the only stat that could be used to make us scale better. The best option maybe to leave Wrath, the GCD and all of our haste the way it is and tweak moonkin DPS in some other way.

In some ways, I think this is the best option, but it's probably the most difficult to implement.


Anonymous said...

Leaving haste the way it is and allowing moonkin dps to be buffed in another area is unacceptable imo. Having a main nuke going below 1 second is not only not adding DPS, it causes spell queueing to stop working, and decreases DPS. Also, left alone, heroism/bloodlust continue to provide no benefit for wrath.

Anonymous said...

why not simply give wrath a base cast time of 2.0 seconds and increse it's damage by 33% without a glyph? Just change the base spell.

Pucc said...

Wrath does have a base cast time of 2.0. Its a talent that drops it to 1.5. Its a talent that is not skipable in any balance build.

Anonymous said...

What is diferenciating Wrath from Starfire if you increase the cast time. They are already similar nukes and increasing cast time would make it Starfire (Wrathfire) with nature damage.

Task said...

I like the idea to change the casting time but why use a glyph?

Change the talent that reduces cast time of wrath to instead increase damage.

Then the proc rate of eclipse may be adjusted for wrath's new cast time.

lissanna said...

My objection to increasing the cast time through a glyph is that we ALREADY spend 5 talent points to lower it. So, we're wasting both talent points and a glyph slot if you leave the same talents but add a glyph to undo what we spent talent points on.

If you just changed the tier 1 talent point to buff damage instead of reduce the cast time, you really hurt moonkin PvP that relies on the lower cast time. You'd have to move that cast time lowering somewhere else, and Nature's Grace would still manage to cause problems, but just at a slightly higher haste cap... and there wouldn't be much of a difference for switching between a 2 second spell and a 2.5 second spell...

Just nerfing Nature's Grace (but buffing damage some other way) is a better solution all the way around until they can add new spells to our PvE rotation.

Anonymous said...

If you nerf Natures Grace you will hurt resto... unfortunately....

Anonymous said...

I have quite high latency ~400ms 'cause I play on a US server but live in Europe.

I dislike the wrath clipping issue because the spell queueing only seems to allow 1 spell in the queue ... but not if the casting is clipped .. and due to my lag I think I'm worse off than people closer to the servers.

Is it bad if they did something about spell queuing so that it doesn't clip?

... say if I spam wrath twice ...why doesn't it just get cast twice via spell queuing?

Sure we would still clip and not get much benefit from additional haste if we were clipping, but it would be less of a pain ?

Anonymous said...

the issue here is scaling..

it cannot be fixed with a glyph
it cannot be covered by

increasing wrath cast time is a heavy nurf (especially for lower geared or leveling boomkins) unless u boost the dmg it does

Merlot said...

There are two other possible solutions. One Ghostcrawler touched on himself, which is reducing the effectiveness of haste rating so that you may still benefit from it in higher levels. Stat inflation is a massive issue in WoW in many areas and I think Blizzard could do worse than try and reign in some of the biggest offenders.

The other option is to remove haste from gear altogether. A bit drastic, I admit, but Rohan makes a good case for it at Blessing of Kings: http://blessingofkings.blogspot.com/2009/10/spell-haste-bad-for-game.html

Kring said...

Warlocks scale terrible with crit. We are the only class which doesn't have anything benefitial attached to a crit (Nature's Grace, more than 100% bonus dmg, instant additional lightning bolt, ...). Destro get 6 % more dmg if conflagrate crits, which is diminished by the talent that increases conflagrate's crit chance by 25%. The pet, which is about 10% of our damage, does not scale with crit (and haste) which lowers the value of crit (and haste) even more.

Destro Warlocks also have to sacrifice a glyph to make Conflagrate usable. If the spell consumes the Immolate effect it's completely useless in it's current form. We use conflagrate, life tap and incinerate. Glyph of Immolate (10% to Immolate, 10% to Conflagrate) cannot be used but would be a nice glyph. Same is true for Glyph of Imp. We actually would have more then 3 good glyphs. :-)

Destro Warlocks drop under 1s cast time for Immolate when backdrafted and can easily drop under 1s cast time for Incinerate while under heroism and backdraft.

These are not real arguments, you just have to compensate otherwise.

The DPS in the end is what counts and not the scaling with a specific stat. Although it's hard to compete with classes that scale perfectly with every stat (arcan/fire/ffb mages).

QuestionC said...

The fact that we cap out at a certain level of haste is part of what makes Moonkin at least mildly distinct from being Leather Wearing fire mages. I don't really want us to become another "stack haste end game" caster class, like Mages, Warlocks, and soon to be Priests.

Gammonflaps said...

Nice blog, has got me thinking alot about Wrath.

Rather than raise the cast time, and in turn damage done (to keep DPET the same), perhaps an overhaul of the spell would be an idea?

Make it a channelled spell such as Mindflay for example? The individual ticks still have the same mechanics regarding proccing Lunar eclipse, and GCD clipping will not be an issue.

We'll then gain full benefit of BL regardless of which eclipse we happen to be in, and will change our playstyle a wee bit.

Ofc this will have to be delicately balanced, but I'm sure it could be worked out.

Duskstorm said...

I think the biggest issues are that the talent that reduces wrath cast time also reduces starfire at the same time (so you can't skip it), and it's a t1 balance talent, so altering it for raiding moonkins will affect resto, pvp, and hybrid builds. It's a house of cards situation.

To fix the haste/wrath problem with raiding moonkins, we have to do it deeper into the balance tree in a way that doesn't "undo" the cast time reduction in t1 balance tree.

My suggestion would be to nerf the haste from celestial focus by a percent and bump damage 1%ish separately in a talent that both pvp and pve moonkins take (but not resto druids).

I think the issue is that it's actually frustrating with t8/t9 gear to suppress your haste rating.. you have to do a lot of regemming, passing on gear that has too much haste, etc. We already do that with hit rating, but so does everyone else and that's the one stat that has a hard number that you have to meet.

Beamz said...

I think everyone, including the devs, agrees that W and S are too similar as they exist now. But while increasing the cast time of W is a solid way of making the haste stat useful, it blurs the spell distinctions even more. The conundrum sparks two thoughts in my mind:

1) We know that haste is being taken off gear in Cataclysm and the stat will be altered in a different manner. How much can they play with the current imbalance before the devs run into problems with the new system for the expansion's scaling?

2) I think the spells need more differentiation. A random suggestion is that Starfire become a cleave spell that hits up to 2 additional targets for 50% of the primary target damage. Wrath can have a DoT like ignite added to it or have the spell leave a 1-2 charge residual debuff that makes your next Starfire hit for double.

Come up with your own way to differentiate the spells, too, because its time for an overhaul.

Tulveli said...

I often find myself not wanting to spam hurricane in heroics if I'm unlucky with OoC procs, and so my dps lingers behind the melee, with their cheap burst aoe abilities. A starfire cleave could be a great option to increase our dps in heroics (not that they matter, but just a thought).

Having said that... what about nearby CC? or targets that the tank has no threat on? I'd be wary of any uncontrollable aoe abilities (unless the cleave is no-threat, like lightning overload, and won't target CC).

The other issue with this is that if Blizzard had to balance starfire around a cleave-like ability, then it would have a reduced single-target damage, and thus would be a nerf.

I don't have any suggestions of my own.

Matt said...

The Devs have said that Wrath and Starfire are too similar, so I think changing one of the spells, Wrath, would be the best bet.

My suggestion:
Let's increase the cast time on wrath by 0.5 seconds and give it a secondary effect. For example, your Wrath casts add xx seconds to your Insect Swarm application. This can work because at some point your going to have to cast Starfire because of Eclipse and it will get to burn down the extra seconds you added to it.

I wouldn't put a cap on how many seconds you could keep adding to IS. If Wrath was 2 seconds talented, then the IS increased application would have to be at least 3. Of course the loss of Wrath DPS from the added 0.5 second, would be partially compensated by the ability, and if those numbers look like a nerf, we could increase the damage on IS a little to make up for it as well.

Maybe Graylo can put some numbers to this to see if it's reasonable.I will if I get a chance to in the near future.

Ravencrest, US

Serawyn @ Dethecus said...

Increasing Wrath cast time is a step in the wrong direction; or more accurately takes it one or two steps closer to just being a green wiggly version of Starfire in the nature tree. We have two nukes that they tried to make roughly equal to each other. One scales poorly, the other one doesn't. Even when they balanced it out they've still given us two nukes that don't add unique debuffs or rotational advantages outside of Eclipse.

Outside of Eclipse, which is a contrivance of WotLK that we'd all be amused to see go away, there isn't really a reason to have THESE two nukes.

Anonymous said...

I say - leave everything the way it is and give all Boomkins a big red button.

The button can be used once per 48 hours, but when it is pressed in any fight, all creatures, regardless of levels, etc, die immediately. Including our own guild mates. And loot can only be obtained and used by the "lone-standing" boomkin.


Anonymous said...

I second the motion to create the big red boomkin button. Best feature ever. Until another class gets their own big red button, but hey at least we will be first.

Beastious said...

Don't know if anyone has posted this idea:

Starlight Wrath
Reduces the cast time of your Starfire spell by 0.5 sec. Increases your Wrath spell damage by 30%.

Each point - 0.1 sec / 6% damage.

No glyph needed, no change in wrath base cast time. Just change the talent already there.

Darkcanuck99 said...

@Beastious - excellent idea, and it fits very well into the vien that Blizzard has taken with Wrath and SF in the past.

Another option; change NG to increase the spell haste on SF and all restoration spells by 20% and reduce the cast time of wrath to 0(instant). That eliminates your GCD issue as well as provides us with additional functionality and mobility.

Yet another option is to change imp Moonfire to allow both of our DOTs to crit, then change 2pT9 to increase the chance by 15% or whatever. This would allow us to value crit more heavily then haste... but it does not address the root of the problem.

Arturo said...

What if they do a talent that says like 'when you cast Moonfire for the next N seconds your wrath's cast time is increased by 0.5 sec and starfire cast time is reduced by N (0.5??) sec' it would both resolve the scaling isse and address the dps problems i heard of. No i'm not a mmonkin, not even a druid.