Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Thoughts on Multi-DoTing

Maybe I just hadn't noticed it prior to Cataclysm, but one of the hot topics for this expansion has been Multi-DoTing. A lot of people are looking at the WoL rankings and wondering how player X did so much DPS, and I am no different. In fact, I've paid more attention to the rankings then I ever have before, and I've wondered why in some cases the ranked players are doing so much more DPS then I am. As I filter through the logs I'm finding several reasons for the differences, but one of the more consistent reasons is Player X is Multi-DoTing or Multi-DoTing more successfully then I am.

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of experience Multi-DoTing. I could make a lot of excuses about how it wasn't really necessary in TBC or WotLK, and could give you a lot of reasons why that is true. However, they are just excuses. There were times when Multi-DoTing would have helped but, I didn't recognize the possibility and didn't take the opportunity to learn the skill. As a result I'm a bit behind the 8-ball and trying to catch up.

In this post I want to talk about some of my strategies for Multi-DoTing. I am by no means an expert on this topic and I can't point to any parses to prove my Multi-DoTing leetness. I am still learning, and if you have any suggestions or thoughts please post them in the comments.

Multi-DoT vs DoT-AoE: What the hell am I talking about?

I saw a post on the internet some where, that I agreed with completely. I don't remember where it was, or who wrote it, and I unfortunately can't find it now. However, it talked a little bit about the difference between Multi-DoTing and DoT-AoE.

When Multi-DoTing, you are still using the standard Moonkin rotation, just with more DoT casts. You are still casting Starfire, Wrath, and Starsurge while trying to transition from one Eclipse to the other. The only difference is that you are casting twice as many DoTs because you are refreshing them on two targets (or possibly 3). You probably only have 2 or 3 targets, and they may be positioned in different parts of the room. This means that traditional multi-target DPS doesn't make sense. A good example of this is Valiona and Therlion or Heroic Magmaw.

With DoT-AoE, you are not using the standard Moonkin Rotation. You probably have 5 or more targets that have relatively low health. Your DoTs are really used as filler while you are waiting for your Wild Mushroom cooldown to come back up. If at all possible you are also probably tying to hold Solar Eclipse to maximize DPS since all Moonkin AoE and DoTs are buffed by Solar Eclipse. A good example of this Vile Swill in Heroic Maloriak or the Poison Bombs in Omnitron.

I wanted to make this distinction, because in this post I'm primarily focusing on Multi DoTing, rather then DoT-AoE. Multi-DoTing is where I am struggling, and if done well I think has a much greater impact on a fight then DoT-AoE does.

My Multi-DoTing Issues: I've noticed two main problems in my recent attempts to Multi-DoT.

  • Tracking DoTs on Multiple Targets: I have Power Auras set up to track my DoTs on my current target and have used several different DoT Timers in the past, but I've never used anything that would track DoTs on multiple targets. I was having a hard time knowing when to refresh the DoTs on my second target.

  • Switching Targets: Being able to change targets quickly is a key to solid DPS in any fight, but changing targets to Multi-DoT is a lot different then changing targets to DPS an Add or to focus on a different boss. When Multi-DoTing you are changing targets frequently with out the content of the fight changing to signal that change. I've found this to be a lot more difficult then just changing when a new add appears.

My Multi DoTing Solutions:

  • Addons: My first thought is that there is probably an addon that can help me, but I have yet to find one I like. I've tried two addons to help me track DoTs on multiple targets. The first I used was Fortexorcist. It's an addon made for Warlocks, and I had heard good things about it. Unfortunately, it was not for me. I was overwhelmed by the amount of Set Up that was required and I didn't find it to be intuitive at all. The second addon I tried was Ellipsis, and it had the opposite problem. It works fairly well out of the box, but I found it to have limited set up options, and it tracked some silly things like Mark of the Wild if I was the one to cast it. In general, I thought the addons were a waste of time. They just gave me another thing look at on an already busy screen. As a result the went mostly unused. Plus they didn't provide any help targeting the multiple targets I wanted to target.

  • Single Refresh Timer: Some of you may know RandomSmo from the WoW forums and the Moonkin Repository. He is now with Juggernaut on Mal'ganis and seemed to be doing very well Multi-DoTing. So I sent him an email and asked if he had any suggestions. He said that he used a single timer on one target and refreshed the DoTs on all targets based on that one timer. For fights like V&T this is great since the targets exist for the entire fight and are less likely to get out of sync, but would be less effective if the timing is less consistent.

  • Boss Frames: The boss unit frames can be very helpful, but I found it very hard to pay attention to them when they are on the right edge of my screen. The good news is you can move them with an addon like Shadowed Unit Frames. I've moved them closer to the center of my screen and they are help fuil in a couple of ways. First, they can display your debuffs that are on the boss. This allows them to act as a bit of a DoT Timer if you need to see who had DoTs and who doesn't. Second, it also makes targeting the boss easy since you can click on the frame. Effective use of boss frames can solve both of my problems, but there is an issue. The boss frames only appear for bosses. Of course I don't want a frame for every add that my appear in a fight, but on a fight like Magmaw the target I'm Multi DoTing is not a boss so boss frames don't work in all Multi-DoTing situations.

  • Macros: Traditionally I like to use macros when I need to change targets quickly, but I've found them to not be all that effective when Multi-DoTing. Usually when an add would spawn I would use the macro to target it, add use the same macro to switch back when the add died. For a macro to work with Multi-DoT you would need multiple macros since the extra targets don't die before you switch. I also thought about using mouseover macros or cast sequence macros, but those won't work due to the Moonfire/Sunfire macro issue. In short, I haven't found a good way to use macros in Multi-DoTing.

  • Name Plates: With click targeting I have found Name Plates to be very helpful. They make clicking the right target much more helpful and with the default UI you can set them up to only show for hostile targets. They do have a couple of issues though. First, they move around to much when mobs are grouped close together, but that's really only a problem on trash I've found. Second, on fights with a lot of adds they can dominate your screen. Take Magmaw for example, The Parasite nameplates are all over my screen, I would like a way to filter them off for specific names if possible.

TL-DR: My Current Strategy

Learning how to Multi-DoT is clearly important if you are looking to maximize your DPS on a lot of encounters. I can't claim to have mastered the ability yet, but here is my current strategy. I've found the Boss Frames to be the biggest heal. They can give you an idea of the timing of your DoTs, and they make changing targets fairly easy. If I'm trying to Multi-DoT adds that don't have a boss frame, I am using Smo's single timer idea, and refreshing my DoTs on all targets at one time.

I've tried several addons to track DoTs on multiple targets but I didn't find any of them very helpful and they just cluttered my screen more. I found macros to be fairly unhelpful as well, since we can't macro due to the Moonfire/Sunfire macro issue, and needing multiple macros to switch targets back and forth.

If you have any suggestions or have a different system for Multi-DoTing, please post them in the comments. I would love to hear them.


Dale said...

Tidy plates has a dot timer and you can filter which debuffs appear. I think it's worth a shot, I didn't like it though and just went back to the We single dot timer to reapply both.

I also moved the boss frame in a little as well and made the debuffs larger.

Dimensional said...

On AddOns:

- TidyPlates shows icons of your DoTs with timers above enemy nameplates, if you enable them (I think it is a default option, but I'm not sure). Main drawback: it adds some clutter in several fights.

- Gnosis allows you to set up timers for DoTs on your target, focus, boss #4, party #1's target...

Refreshing DoTs on all targets at the same time is perhaps the best strategy in terms of performance/complexity

Shafts said...

Graylo, good post. I've been working on this exact same issue for about a week now. Here's my current solution that has significantly increased my dps:

1. Install TidyPlates which shows the Dots right on each mobs nameplate with a number counting down the seconds left on IS and Moonfire/Sunfire. This solves the problem of knowing which mobs need to be Dotted or refreshed. Note that the default setting of TidyPlates shows a counter for Earth and Moon, but this can be removed in the settings.

2. Create a mouseover macro so with one keypress you can refresh you dot on whatever target your mouse is over. As you mentioned in your post, there's a nasty bug affecting Sunfire macros making them nearly impossible. There are two workarounds that I have developed (note that I use the same keybind for both IS and Moonfire/Sunfire, but one requires the Shift key to be held down).

IS/Moonfire/Sunfire Macro Version 1:

/tar [@mouseover,harm,exists,nodead]
/click [nomodifier:shift] NAMEOFBUTTONWITHMOONFIRE
/cast [modifier:shift] Insect Swarm
/targetlasttarget [@mouseover,harm,exists,nodead]

This one instantaneously changes your target to your mouseover, casts the appropriate dot, and then changes your target back to your previous target. If you have no mouseover, then it casts the dots on your target. NAMEOFBUTTONWITHMOONFIRE should be replaced with a button on your action bars somewhere that contains the moonfire/sunfire spell pulled from your spellbook. This use of /click fixes the Moonfire/Sunfire bug and allows Moonfire or Sunfire to be cast correctly during eclipse. However, there's a bug in this macro if your main target, aka the boss, is also your mouseover target. When that happens it will clear your target after the macro runs. This was a little clunky and there's no way to directly fix it, so I redesigned the macro to the one below.

IS/Moonfire/Sunfire Macro Version 2:

/focus target
/tar [@mouseover,harm,exists,nodead]
/click [nomodifier:shift] NAMEOFBUTTONWITHMOONFIRE
/cast [modifier:shift] Insect Swarm
/target focus
/focus none

This macro duplicates your current target as your focus, changes your target to your mouseover (if any), casts the appropriate Dot, targets your focus (your old target), and then clears your focus. This pretty much works perfectly with one caveat: you will lose your focus if you had one set before you cast the dot. As a moonkin, I rarely find myself needing to use the focus feature, so it's an acceptable trade off for me. I usually only need focus for roots/cyclone/hibernate, which don't come up all that often during raid bosses. For heroics and trash, I just have to remember to check on my cc target occasionally to see if I need to refresh.

Hope this helps!

PS - I re-wrote these macros from memory (not near my home pc), so let me know if they are not working and I can double check the code when I get home.

Duskstorm said...

I've been toying with setting up tidyplates to do this. My strategy is to combine the fact that you can keybind the mousewheel with the mouseover macros people have posted. So you see that the DoT needs to be refreshed on a mob's tidy plate, and you just hover over the mob and mousewheel up, then mousewheel down to refresh as quickly as possible.

This would ALSO help aoe-dotting too.

Meadow said...

I think there is an easier way :) All of your dots have the same duration, yes? So dot your main target first, then your secondary target. When your dots are about to run out on your main target, refresh them, then switch to your secondary target and refresh them there. Then switch back and continue dps. The works as long as the time to switch between targets is roughly the same, which it usually is, or you can focus your second target if you feel you might have trouble finding them again.

Anonymous said...

instead of mouseover macros cluttering my action bars, i like to take direction from my resto setup and use clique for things like DoTs and CC. It allows you to set click combos to hostile or friendly, so you can use the same combo like shift-left click to heal friendly units or dot enemy targets, which is very useful. it also allows you to assign fully functional macros to click combos, something i think a lot of people don't realize.

i've also tried forte exorcist and while i agree that it causes too much clutter, if i could figure out how to seperate the current target timers from the secondary timers, it might be useful to put smaller timers for the secondary targets somewhere off to the side.

Anonymous said...

I am a tidy plate user myself. I also use tidy plates for watching the timers of my CCs so I know when to reapply without having to re-target or focus the mob.

Tidy plate can be prone to clutter and you can play around with the setting to reduce it but with a ton of mobs it can still be an issue.

I noticed that tidy plates appears to have a mob popup list of multiple mobs. I haven't played around with it too much but I wonder what functionality that option has.

Lakini said...

Thanks for the post, I have been looking for something on this.

Venasaur said...

The problem with tidyplates you have is because by default Blizzard don't allow overlapping the nameplates of mobs. You have to check ok that option in the game configuration (I don't remember exactly where it was), or check ok the same option in the tydplates configuration

(I had this problem after patch 4.0.1 in HC LK, the mobs bars started to dance like a freek and I couldn't see shit even if my life was counting on it)

Tom said...

I just added multi-target dot timers to Raven in the latest release (version r143). Well, I call them debuff trackers since you can track any debuffs you want using white or black lists. They are useful for keeping an eye on CC targets as well as watching your moonfires and insect swarms. There is also equivalent for buff tracking to watch thorns and hots, if you want.

I find using Raven together with TidyPlates is a good solution since Raven makes it easy to monitor expiration times for all mobs at a glance and TidyPlates help re-select targets when it is time to refresh debuffs.

Lespaul said...

I believe multi-dotting in Wrath was never used cos the DpET of dots was less than nukes so you were better off single targeting or aoeing.

As for now: I'm also a fond user of PowerAuras. I have IS set up to the left, and MF to the right of my character, with timers below the icons. Quite simply I just tab from add to add until the sequence returns me to the first target, wait for that timer to expire and start over. On Magmaw I'll drop my Shrooms on the ranged player (i spec into FG for this) in anticipation of the pillar, then detonate as the adds appear, TAB, IS, MF, TAB, repeat til all are dotted, WMx3, Detonate, rinse and repeat til they're dead.
I use a Belkin N52TE game pad and have my keys set up like this:
Top row (right to left): Starsurge/Typhoon (shift mod), Wrath/Starsurge macro, IS, WM Detonate, SHIFT.
Middle row: Starfall/Solarbeam (shift mod), Starfire/Starsurge macro, MF, TAB.
Bottom row: CTRL far left for push to talk.
Index finger runs SS & Starfall, Middle finger Wrath & Starfire, Ring finger IS & MF, and Little finger shift mod, TAB and Vent. Thumb stays on the D-pad for moving, and right hand keeps right mouse button held down so I can turn while casting or strafe as necessary.

Stan said...

I have looked at Raven as a replacement for Elkano's BB.. if it can track multiple targets I must try it.
If you use Clique, in the options of each spell, you can make the spell hovercast with any target specified or hovercast global..these are mouse over macros. Personaly I have wheelmouse up to MF/SF and wmdown to IS. I use tidy plates also.

Udds said...

As mainly a PVPer now, who used to raid alot, I have an addon I think is amazing for this (I play affliction and moonkin in pvp atm, which is strictly about keeping max dot time on multiple targets 3-5 usually). Platebuffs is fantastic because it shows each dot above the nameplate of the target and the time remaining. If you use a nameplate addon already, you can use that to resize your nameplates too, if you find them to be too big for your taste, but this is how I deal with them in arena, when targets are far less predictable in their placement and dots are getting cleansed off as well, so you have to watch closely to be able to refresh. Hope this helps!

long time lurker said...

/script DEFAULT_CHAT_FRAME:AddMessage("\124cff9d9d9d\124Hitem:43705:0:0:0:0:0:0:0:0\124h[Danath's Copper Coin]\124h\124r");

Anonymous said...

/cleartarget [@target,dead]
/clearfocus [@focus,dead]
/target focus
/cleartarget [@focus,noexists]
/focus target
I find this macro super-useful for fights with 2 targets. You set one on focus and target the other one: once you press the macro, it automatically switches targets (and focus), making multi-dotting very easy (specially with a good keybind for it, I personally use "\" - on the left of "1").
You could say "just use tab", but tab doesn't work when you're not facing the target. Also, you can track your dots by just watching frames using this macro if you don't like addons.
If you don't have a focus yet, it will focus yuor target and drop it (your target), which can result in a dps loss if you're not used to this macro; therefore, just use it before the fight starts to set focus (or manually click the frame) and then use it midfight for a fast focus/target switch.
Have fun :)

PS: I'm not totally sure that it'll work as it changed something from then copy/paste in this comment form, report any error please!

Whitestrife said...

Eu-Eredar Char: Whitestrife

Heh gray, i enjoy your indeep thoughts about wow since wotlk and it always helps me alot to improve my theoritical knowedge.

I am sure that i can now help you improve your dps, explaining how to manage your interface better.

If you want you can add me ingame for detailt infos:

My interface is based on 3 ideas: as simple and inconspicuous as possible, as less addons and memory usage as possible with as much as possible raidinformation, targetinformation, easy to see multitarget vision and so on.

That interface is a ongoing work of about 3 years moonkinbased raidinginterface. I am a perfectionist so i never stop tuning here and there :) i just do this as a hobby just for me but if i can help you i will do my best. I can upload a few pics after work if i made you curious now how this will look like.

Best regrets and sorry my bad english


Shyner said...

I like the idea of how TidyPlates shows the dots above the target, but I don't want to have to turn addons on and off depending on the fight.

That addon will make fights like H. Halfus and H. Maloriak a HUGE clusterf***.

I use xperl for my unitframes, and I'm able to see only my dots that are on my focus. Is there no addon that lets me have multiple focus'? That seems the easiest way of tracking dots.

Udds said...

@shyner - plate buffs lets you choose which buffs/debuffs show above frames. You can't select certain frames to show through it (but i know tidy does this) but it will limit the amount of boxes above the plates to whatever you pick

Ian Darke said...

Funny -- I was going to write you to ask to put up an article on this very subject :)

I've been struggling w/ multi-DoTing as well.

I just started playing w/ a few tactics:

For fights w/ two targets, I focus the alternate target and then I used the addon "NeedToKnow" to set up DoT monitors on my focused target. I have this moved to the left side of my screen and I keep my main UI elements that track DoTs/CDs/etc on the right side.

I bound a key to "target last target" and I use that to switch more quickly.

This works fairly well on a fight like Nefarion, but doesn't seem to work well for AOE DoTing. I just downloaded TidyPlates and have been trying to get it configured to my liking. You can configure TidyPlates to put only specific DoTs on the nameplates.

I'd love to see some math on what the best DoT refreshing strategy is -- esp on a two target fight and w/ a 4-set bonus.

I'm also not sure which of my glyphs is best in this scenario as well...

Shyner said...

So, I downloaded TidyPlates to work on multidotting, and I found that I don't really look at them at all. Most of the time, the 2-3 mobs are either stacked directly on top of each other (H. Halfus), or are too far apart for me to see both plates easily without rotating my camera up to the ceiling (H. Valiona).

Everytime my main focus' dots expired, I'd just refresh them on everything which seemed to work pretty well.

I might use a target last target macro for fights with only 2 adds, but other than that, TidyPlates just seemed to be a waste of addon space.

Does anyone else have any helpful addons?

oggyowl said...

For V&T I use a very simple macro just saying /focus for the one in the air, and apply it when shes taking off. From there I just cast IS and MF with my focus target modifier. And if I need to move I just apply dots again. Constantly ranking high there so its not too bad.

Whitestrife said...

sooo myb your busy atm

i link it for you here if you back here and wants to take a look at

on the top left side right under my health bar, there shows the bossbars up with nothing more then a huge percent text for bosses like the Twilight Ascendant Council. In this pic its invisible cause there are no bosses around : )

Whitestrife said...

it didnt take the full link in the last comment :D

i dont know, myb not my day

Whitestrife said...

myb i have to seperate it or so :D


Anonymous said...

i haven't played much since cata came out, and i don't know how you have your keys bound, but I used the tab key (default target next enemy) a lot, especially for small groups of enemies, and found it extremely effective. With a little practice this allows you to switch between enemies very quickly, doesn't require macros or additional addons, and makes the enemy your target. With a little practice and feel for the dot timing, you will be switching to adds with 3,2, or 1 second on dots left. Also, you do not have to see name plates or move your cursor. it also targets enemies in front of you first i think, allowing you to target adds that are separated by some distance easily. Food for thought i hope.