Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mailbag: Haste Breakpoints

I know it's been a while since I blogged last, I apologize for the lack of content. My real life has been very busy. In WoW, my guild situation has been very unsettled, and I've had a bit of writer's block when trying to come up with blog ideas. Luckily a reader reminded me of a topic that I had meant to tackle, but apparently had forgotten about. So, this week I am reaching into the mailbag and take a look at Haste Breakpoints.

The Question:

From what I understand and have read in several places is that although there are several haste "break points," after the break points haste is still a better stat to have than mastery or crit. Am I misunderstanding the information or is this correct? The "Top" moonkin on the server keeps his haste at 18 percent, right around a break point but currently I have mine a bit higher. Thank You.

Jason E.
What are Haste Breakpoints?

The short answer to this question is a level of Haste rating at which your DoT or HoT gains an extra tick of damage or healing.

You may remember in WotLK, Haste did affect some HoTs and DoTs by reducing the duration of the spell. The spells did the same amount of damage or healing, but did it in a shorter amount of time. This is pretty much the same way that Haste changed Nukes. The problem with this was that by the end of the expansion our haste levels were very high, and the durations of those HoTs and DoTs were nearly cut in half. This caused several problems for both DPSers and healers that I won't get into.

In Cataclysm, Blizzard fixed those issues by changing the way haste affects HoTs and DoTs. Now, at specific levels of haste HoTs and DoTs will gain an extra tick and extend the duration of the spell. This means that the duration of both Moonfire and IS will always be between 17 seconds and 19 seconds long no matter what buffs or how much haste rating you have.

What are the Haste Rating Break Points for Moonfire and Insect Swarm. The table below shows you how much Haste Rating you need to get an extra tick of damage. All of the columns assume you have Moonkin Aura, DI = Dark Intent, NG = Nature's Grace. If a column is blank then you would reach the break point with just the buffs indicated and no additional Haste Rating.

Extra TicksStd BuffsDINGDI&NG

Why Haste Breakpoints are Significant:

The significance of Haste Breakpoints revolves around the Damage per Execution Time (DpET) of your spells. This is the Damage done divided by the time it takes to cast the spell. Since our DoTs are instant the Execution time is the Global Cooldown. Typically Haste affects your DpET by reducing the Execution time of your spell, and small increases in Haste result in small increases in DpET. Haste Breakpoints change this equation. When you reach a haste breakpoint, you not only reduce the cast time of the spell, but you also increase the damage of the spell by adding an additional tick of damage. This causes the DpET of your spells to jump when you reach a Breakpoint, and the output of a single spell cast increases significantly. Also, since your DoTs duration increases at the breakpoint, it means you are casting DoTs less and Nukes more. This should have a small impact on your DPS.

Haste Breakpoints matter most when you don't plan on refreshing the HoT or DoT. This is why healers care about the breakpoints so much. To a healer, it doesn't really matter if the healing happens over 11 or 13 seconds. If time is really important they are likely using a direct heal instead of a HoT. So, healers don't really care about the HPS of a spell, but the HpET can be very significant. When a healer reaches a breakpoint that extra tick means that their HoT heals for more. So they get more output from their spells because they typically don't refresh a HoT on anyone except a tank.

For moonkin, there is a similar situation when we are AoEing groups of adds. Hurricane is quite weak and mana intensive at the moment, and Wild Mushroom has a 10 second cooldown. Therefore, if you expect the adds to live more than 15-18 seconds it's typically best to multi-DoT the adds to do the most damage, and being just over a break point significantly helps in that regard.

Why Haste Breakpoints are Unimportant for Moonkin:

Passing a Haste Breakpoint is definitely a good thing, but it's important to not over value it's impact. Crossing a Breakpoint may be huge for the DpET of a DoT, but it has no special affect on the DPS of a DoT. Yes, an additional tick of a DoT will increase the damage of the spell but it also increases the duration of the spell. As a result the DPS of the spell before and after Breakpoint is virtually the same. You gain a little time by passing a Breakpoint, but the amount of time gain shrinks with each breakpoint you pass and becomes less significant.

The main reason you shouldn't care about Haste Breakpoints is overall stat valuation. Once your hit capped, Haste is the best secondary stat no matter where your stats are relative to the Haste Breakpoints. If your just above a breakpoint, Haste is still better than Crit or Mastery. Therefore it doesn't make any sense to keep your haste at a breakpoint. More Haste is always better if the alternatives are Crit or Mastery. So, to answer Jason E.'s question, there is no reason you or the other moonkin should hold your Haste levels at 18 percent. The only possibility I can think of is that he may switch to resto quite often and uses the same set of gear. In which case he is trying to optimize his gear for both rolls.

TL-DR: How I view Haste Breakpoints.

Haste Breakpoints, are a good thing to keep in mind when gearing your toon, but they shouldn't have a huge impact on your gearing choices. The only time they play a really significant roll in your DPS is when you are multi-DoTing adds and don't expect to refresh the DoTs. Plus, Haste Rating is always a better stat than Crit or Mastery. Therefore, it doesn't make any sense to sacrifice Haste for Crit or Mastery even if you just past a break point.

If at all possible I would prefer to be slightly above a Breakpoint than slightly below one, because there are advantages to being above a breakpoint. However, I wouldn't sacrifice anything more than very small amounts of Hit or Int to get there (i.e. 20 points), and I definitely wouldn't hold my haste levels constant until I could reach the next Haste Breakpoint.


Ohken said...

When you do refresh a dot, the breakpoints don't just matter less. They don't matter. Due to a separate Cataclysm change, so long as you refresh a dot between its last two ticks, the dot will keep on ticking with exactly the same delay between each tick.

When you don't refresh a dot, I realize from your post that moonkin have it better than trees. For moonkin, the breakpoints for both dots are apparently the same. For trees, the breakpoints are at all different levels of haste. As a result, whenever you add haste to go from one breakpoint to the next, all that haste is completely wasted except for the one spell that went past a breakpoint. This diminishes the value of haste dramatically.

As such, haste seems mainly valuable to trees due to the intangible benefits of having a faster reaction time when something surprising happens.

Graylo said...


"When you do refresh a dot, the breakpoints don't just matter less. They don't matter."

Sorry, but that's not correct. Passing a breakpoint extends the duration of your DoT by 1.5~ seconds give or take depending on you haste level (at out low levels of haste it's likely higher).

This means you cast your DoTs less to maintain 100% up time. If you are casting DoTs less then you are casting Nukes more, which is a DPS increase.

Passing a Haste Breakpoint should be a DPS increase, because you dont' have to cast your DoTs as much, but I don't think the gain is huge and shouldn't prevent you from adding Haste after you pass a breakpoint.

As I said, in my post, I would rather be a little above a breakpoint then a little below one, because there are some DPS advantages, but I wouldn't hold my haste levels at a breakpoint when the alternative is Crit or Mastery.

Cryj/Farstriders said...

Interesting, and I followed most of it, but I got a bit confused with the way breakpoints affect the total duration of the spell.

Specifically, you'd mentioned that our DoTs will always be between 17 and 19 seconds, regardless of haste levels. But, if the breakpoints add a tick (1.5seconds) to the duration of the spell, wouldn't that push the total length out to much greater than 19 seconds? I think that's the argument that's being used for why we'd be casting/refreshing DoTs less and nukes more...but if the spell duration is capped at 19 seconds, we're talking 1-2 wraths or a starfire.

And if haste interacts with DoTs to speed up the ticks, and at breakpoints the number of ticks is increased(increasing total damage) so that the DoT will still have about the same duration...doesn't that mean an automatic DPS increase on the DoT (higher damage over approximately the same period of time?)

Mostly I'm just trying to make sure I understand the mechanic - I get that the takehome message is int>hit to cap>haste>>other.

steelbender said...

Yeah, I was confused by that as well. I thought haste decreased the time between dot ticks, and no longer messed with the length of time the dot lasted. The breakpoints are the points at which the ticks have been sped up enough for another to fit in the duration. True?

Anonymous said...

The total spell duration changes with haste. I dont remember what the base duration is, but say with some value of haste you get off your last tick at 18 seconds. You add a little more haste, and now the last tick is 17.9 secs. Even though the base spell duration is longer, you won't be getting another tick. So the effective spell duration is shorter. When you add enough haste to reach your next breakpoint, the duration jumps back to the base duration.

Anonymous said...

Cynwise did a good job of explaining the concept here:


Thats for warlocks but its the same for moonkin.

Graylo said...


Think about it this way.

Haste reduces the amount of time between DoT ticks. With out any haste your DoT will tick every two seconds for a total of 18 seconds.

If you add Moonkin Aura into the mix you now have 5% haste and your DoTs will tick ever 1.90 seconds (2/1.05 = 1.90) for a total DoT duration of 17.1 seconds (9*1.90 = 17.1).

So, as you approach a breakpoint the duration of your DoT gets shorter and shorter. Moonkin DoTs will reach a breakpoint around 6% haste, so at 6% haste the duration of a single tick is 1.89 seconds (2/1.06 = 1.89) for a total duration of 18.9 seconds (10*1.89 = 18.9).

This process repeats it self for all levels of haste. The more haste you gain the shorter your dot duration will be until you reach a break point at which time it will shoot back up, but never more then the duration of one dot tick. Because of that the duration of our moonkin dots will always fall between 17 and 19 seconds no matter how much haste you have, but the number of ticks you have in that dot will always be increasing as you increase your haste.

Volunsteer - Shadowmoon said...

Thanks a lot for this post Graylo, but I think you should prob just change the name to "I told you haste was our best stat after hit cap and spell power Mutha Effa!!!"

It is interesting to have the stats on where we get our extra ticks from the dots, but over all haste is still greater than crit and mastery. I know you don't have a lot of freetime but I would like to see a rework on our gear esp things like trinkets. I know your numbers are pretty close but you said yourself that the numbers on the trinkets prob arent right. (If you are taking "requests" that is)

In any case YOU DA MAN!

Anonymous said...

Regarding trinket valuations, there's this from SimulationCraft :

Anonymous said...

Isn't the main reason breakpoints dont matter to us is bc we dont refresh our dots when they fall off?? Only at the start of eclipse.

Raysa said...

i'll never believe that the mirror (heroic or not) is that good, except graylo tells me so. ^^ ... and explains it to me. :)

Moonwhisper said...

When I read it the first time, I was confused too in regard to "extended" duration. As I understand it now, it is always shorter or equal to "unhasted" base length.

I have another topic..perhaps a bit away but nevertheless important :)

Before Cata there was always some interaction between crit and haste.
and it was advisable not to favor one too much above the other.
Is this completely gone now?
Do haste breakpoints cause crit "effectiveness" breakpoints?
Is there a minimum crit breakpoint?

I have a really bad feeling because my haste already reached 2100 and my crit is only 320 rating points (taken from battlenet). Can you perhaps tell here or in a future blog comment your PoV on this.
Many thx in advance!

Lespaul said...

Breakpoints, as Graylo explained, are important from the point of view of DpET, or DpCT (damage per cast time) if you prefer. As far as is possible, DoTs should always be cast within an eclipse, and clipped as little as possible. If you refresh a DoT outside of eclipse, and then clip it at the beginning of the next eclipse, the damage resulting from that cast is reduced, and it would probably have been more efficient to cast a nuke instead. Hitting a breakpoint increases the DpET of DoTs while keeping the dps more or less equal. Haste between breakpoints increases their dps by reducing the duration over which the damage is applied.

mushu said...

Per Calculated from EJ on his blog at http://www.intent-kt.com/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=2288 comes this (quote):
***EDIT: There is some in game feedback that the 13th tick of dots happens at 1930 haste with NG. This doesn't mesh with what we would expect the calculations to be based on haste formulas but apparently there is some in-game rounding going on. This rounding may change some other valuations above as well but 1930 is the significant haste mark (for T11 gear) that I'd make sure and stay above.