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.