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.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 Ticks||Std Buffs||DI||NG||DI&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.