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Re-examining Haste Breakpoints

Rating: 7 votes, 4.43 average.
One of my ďpet projectsĒ over the last few weeks has been looking at Affliction Warlocks. This involved expanding my understanding of the class along with explaining both how I arrived at the conclusions Iíve made, and what those conclusions are, in the hope that people would understand theorycrafting a little more. As per usual with me this diverged slightly into an exploration of haste breakpoints.

What are haste breakpoints?
In order to get everyone on the same page, itís time to catch everybody up. Haste breakpoints are the points where you go from X ticks to X+1 ticks on a particular damage or heal over time effect. They also apply to channeled casts and ďcast & forgetĒ AoE spells. Basically anything with a time component that isnít a direct cast.

The haste rating values that youíll have seen in one or two earlier blog posts are the ultimate end of all this breakpoint work, giving you the exact values youíll need to hit particular points, and then progress no further. Most Casters (either Damage or Healing) will refer to these on a semi-frequent basis.

The above doesnít really explain why we like the breakpoints. The logic behind it is that of efficiency, ie: getting X haste means when I cast spell Y, I get more damage/healing from it. The percentage gain will be (Z+1)/Z where Z is the number of ticks before the breakpoint. Lifebloom getting an extra tick is only a (15+1)/15 = 6.67% gain, vs Flame Shockís (8+1)/8 = 12.5%.

This efficiency is pretty crucial to healers, improving the healing returned from every point of mana spent. There is a downside to haste for healers, which is where it increases mana consumption, so nailing those efficiency points can be quite critical. For DPS casters, on the other hand, this efficiency requirement just isnít there as managing mana as a resource isnít necessary for maintaining damage output.

Iíve got all that, now what?
For healers, itís just a question of which breakpoints to aim for. For DPS casters, Iím afraid itís time to throw the idea of haste breakpoints, or indeed, breakpoints in general, out the window.

Yes, thatís correct: no more breakpoints.

There will still be certain points where stat priorities will change, as you can see in this graph for Affliction Warlocks (based on the default T14H profile in SimulationCraft). X is the change in haste, while Y is the change in DPS.

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What Iíve done here is taken a trend line for Mastery, used Excel to generate a formula for it, calculated an error range (which isnít visible on this graph) and then shown where the DPS resulting from a change in haste is outside that error margin. Iíve changed the graph around a little, so anything above zero on the Y axis is where Haste is worth more than Mastery, and vice versa under zero.

Most of you will be looking at this going "I can see the break points as those spiky points in the graph", and you'd be correct in a way. The trick is realising that those spikes relate to a rapid change in DPS resulting from a change in haste, rather than a point where you should aim for.

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In this graph you can see the increase in DPS with each increase in Haste (every data point is +10 haste on the previous) in red, while a 9 point moving average is in black. It's this black line I want you to look at, noticing that for most of the entire 8000 rating range, it's fairly linear. Yes, there are a few spikes, and even 3 dips, but overall the gain in DPS is fairly flat.

This means that whole "efficiency" argument that works for the healers isn't justifiable for DPS casters, as we'd expect to see frequent large drops in the value of haste if this were the case. In other words: adding additional haste past a breakpoint keeps increasing your DPS by a fairly normal value.

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This last graph is a plot of the actual DPS values from adding/subtracting X of either Haste or Mastery, and as you can see they are both fairly close (remember in these plots, a lower Y value when X is negative means that it's a bigger DPS loss to take away that stat). You can see where the large spikes from the earlier graphs are located, but here they are fairly small by comparison as we're looking at absolute DPS figures rather than a relative change.

The entire 8000 rating range covers a DPS range of 118,000 to 142,000. This makes the 0-400 dps spikes on the first graph rather small, even if we take into account the 0.05% error, which is only 70 DPS on average. That 400 DPS is only 0.28-0.33% of the total DPS, so it may not be a worthwhile investment of time to optimise your haste levels to such specific points.

So how much haste do I need then?
This is the wrong question to be asking. The better question to ask is "how do I prioritise stats now?". It's not a simple answer though, as you'll want to focus Intellect then Hit (up to the hit cap) and then, depending on actual values, slightly massage the secondary stat values.

Using Affliction as an example, the initial weights produced go Int > Mastery > Haste > Hit > Crit if we take them at face value. However, as discussed in a previous post Hit should really be the second stat to prioritise. Of the remaining three, Haste & Mastery are obviously fairly close, while Crit falls behind in a distant fifth. The resulting priority is as follows:

Int > Hit (to cap) > Mastery >= Haste > Crit

When using this to evaluate gear, gems and enchants, changing M>=H to M>H is OK as long as when you're reforging you change it the other way to M=H, as you've already put enough of a Mastery bias on your gear by how you've selected it, and forcing more Mastery on will likely result in your stat weights getting messed up (resulting in that classic reforge X>Y leads to X<Y cycle). It's mostly about making sure you don't go mad on stacking one secondary stat when another is so close in value.

Haste breakpoints are still useful, but they are points where the value of haste is multiplied for a very short duration rather than points where haste is devalued as you pass them.

TL;DR
In short, if you're really close to a breakpoint you can try to get past it, but otherwise ignore them. You should also treat very small differences between stat weights as being no difference at all.

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Comments

  1. Unregistered's Avatar
    Interesting Analysis.

    I have long been saying that Affliction Warlocks do not need to worry about haste breakpoints - but I have used a different argument to reach the same conclusion. It is good to see someone come to a similar conclusion using a different analysis. A short summary of what I have been saying for a while, if folks are interested:

    Affliction has multiple DoTs that should all have a near 100% uptime if a player is skilled. As a result, hitting some sort of haste breakpoint where a DoT gains an extra tick during its duration does the same DPS just under and just over the haste breakpoint. What changes is the duration of the DoT. So, theoretically when you are just at or slightly over one of these breakpoints, you don't have to refresh the spell as often. This will then allow some extra time in the fight to use other spells (typically the filler, malefic grasp). That explains the blips in the graph you made. They are not very pronounced for Affliction, as you clearly showed for us.

    I would argue further that the amount of "extra time" these breakpoints provide under ideal, theoretical conditions is not something that 95% of players would ever be able to realize in-game. So, those little blips in the graph around the breakpoints wouldn't even be there for real players in the real game. All you have to do is let a DoT drop for 2-3 seconds over the course of the fight, or start channeling malefic grasp a half second late a couple times or cut off a tick a couple times and the entire theoretical gain is lost. Movement in fights will cause this to happen for most players most of the time.

    There are some spells for which I think getting to a haste breakpoint will actually yield a noticeable DPS gain even for the average player. Devouring Plague and Combustion are the two I am thinking of. Those spells are on a longer cooldown, so they will often run their full duration without being refreshed. That is the main reason that I think real players playing the real game will actually notice a benefit from reaching those two particular haste breakpoints. When you get an extra tick of combustion, for example, if it did 10,000 damage/tick - you would do 6 ticks for 60,000 damage before the first breakpoint and 7 ticks for 70,000 damage just after it. That is a substantial gain which is actually realized because the DoT is allowed to run its full duration each time it is used.

    People think that I have made a mistake when I say that you only need 24.92% haste with a shadow priest instead of 24.97%(which is what you need for an extra tick on SW:P). As you have demonstrated here in a different way, the breakpoint for SW:P just doesn't matter, so I dismiss that 24.97% number as irrelevant.
  2. Binkenstein's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered
    Interesting Analysis.

    I have long been saying that Affliction Warlocks do not need to worry about haste breakpoints - but I have used a different argument to reach the same conclusion. It is good to see someone come to a similar conclusion using a different analysis. A short summary of what I have been saying for a while, if folks are interested:

    Affliction has multiple DoTs that should all have a near 100% uptime if a player is skilled. As a result, hitting some sort of haste breakpoint where a DoT gains an extra tick during its duration does the same DPS just under and just over the haste breakpoint. What changes is the duration of the DoT. So, theoretically when you are just at or slightly over one of these breakpoints, you don't have to refresh the spell as often. This will then allow some extra time in the fight to use other spells (typically the filler, malefic grasp). That explains the blips in the graph you made. They are not very pronounced for Affliction, as you clearly showed for us.

    I would argue further that the amount of "extra time" these breakpoints provide under ideal, theoretical conditions is not something that 95% of players would ever be able to realize in-game. So, those little blips in the graph around the breakpoints wouldn't even be there for real players in the real game. All you have to do is let a DoT drop for 2-3 seconds over the course of the fight, or start channeling malefic grasp a half second late a couple times or cut off a tick a couple times and the entire theoretical gain is lost. Movement in fights will cause this to happen for most players most of the time.

    There are some spells for which I think getting to a haste breakpoint will actually yield a noticeable DPS gain even for the average player. Devouring Plague and Combustion are the two I am thinking of. Those spells are on a longer cooldown, so they will often run their full duration without being refreshed. That is the main reason that I think real players playing the real game will actually notice a benefit from reaching those two particular haste breakpoints. When you get an extra tick of combustion, for example, if it did 10,000 damage/tick - you would do 6 ticks for 60,000 damage before the first breakpoint and 7 ticks for 70,000 damage just after it. That is a substantial gain which is actually realized because the DoT is allowed to run its full duration each time it is used.

    People think that I have made a mistake when I say that you only need 24.92% haste with a shadow priest instead of 24.97%(which is what you need for an extra tick on SW:P). As you have demonstrated here in a different way, the breakpoint for SW:P just doesn't matter, so I dismiss that 24.97% number as irrelevant.
    In the case of Shadow Priests there is a significant point where haste dramatically increases in value over a 100 rating range, but outside of that everything is still linear.
  3. Mojito's Avatar
    I hope this is still a visited post.
    I believe that both the post and the first comment (both made last month) have a wrong perception of the workings of haste and I will try to explain my opinion in the following.

    1) the post
    Your graphs (which by the way have a difficult to read resolution) show haste and mastery rating producing the same amounts of dps.

    Things to point out:
    a) haste values produce less % haste than mastery values produce % mastery - aka haste has a higher diminish return in terms of percent, not dps for now)
    which means that if we try to keep haste and mastery similar in rating:
    we will have around 6000 haste and 6000 mastery which corresponds to approx. 14% haste and 30% mastery (+ affli bonus =54%). These stat relations are disputed by all theorycrafting so I am asking whether or not I understood you correctly. (assuming gear lvs of 495)

    The reason why I believe haste points are important is 2fold:

    1) another tick on a dot within its duration (explained in more detail below) yields a significant dmg difference, all other haste values should realistically do nothing because they do not affect channeled spells (this is an assumption I can verify if need be) and do not affect dots in any ways until another haste cap is reached.

    b) The second question is in regard to the first comment:
    "What changes is the duration of the DoT" - where are you taking this assumption from?
    Dot duration is never changed by haste values, not since WOTLK. Instead the rate at which the dot ticks is increased and at a certain haste plateu, another tick fits within the duration of the dot. Hence a higher ticking time is unaffected by dot clipping (pandemic) or refreshing dots.

    I hope you can defend your reasoning and hopefully point out where my logic is flawed.
    I intend to add to a respectful discussion only, please read everything as such

    best
    Mojito
  4. Mojito's Avatar
    i need to add something to this post: Namely that it is true that haste reduces the duration of the dot, but only temporarily:
    Quote
    "baseline corruption is 10 ticks
    with 2,3k+ unbuffed haste you gain 11 ticks
    with 7k+ unbuffed haste you gain 12 ticks

    and so on.

    Also notice that before each cap your total duration reset of corruption, which means that

    From 0 to 2,3k haste cap your corruption goes from 18 seconds to 17 seconds, where once it reaches 2,3k cap it goes back to 18,x seconds and until you hit the next cap at 7k it will go from 18,x seconds to 17 seconds. Every time a new "tick" appears in haste value it goes back to up in duration with one more tick within the length.

    A short sumup would be:

    The closer you get to the haste cap, the shorter total duration your corruption will have (we are talking a second or so)
    Every time you hit a new haste cap, your corruption "reset" its duration timer but gains another tick within the timer
    " -Sparkuggz
  5. Binkenstein's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mojito
    I hope this is still a visited post.
    I believe that both the post and the first comment (both made last month) have a wrong perception of the workings of haste and I will try to explain my opinion in the following.

    1) the post
    Your graphs (which by the way have a difficult to read resolution) show haste and mastery rating producing the same amounts of dps.

    Things to point out:
    a) haste values produce less % haste than mastery values produce % mastery - aka haste has a higher diminish return in terms of percent, not dps for now)
    which means that if we try to keep haste and mastery similar in rating:
    we will have around 6000 haste and 6000 mastery which corresponds to approx. 14% haste and 30% mastery (+ affli bonus =54%). These stat relations are disputed by all theorycrafting so I am asking whether or not I understood you correctly. (assuming gear lvs of 495)
    There aren't any diminishing returns on haste or mastery. 1% haste at 10% will give the same DPS increase as at 20% haste. The common misconception with "haste diminishing returns" is that the percentage of total DPS gained is lower, which is a perception issue. Nothing else gets evaluated in % gain, everything is in fixed DPS gains.

    The reason why I believe haste points are important is 2fold:

    1) another tick on a dot within its duration (explained in more detail below) yields a significant dmg difference, all other haste values should realistically do nothing because they do not affect channeled spells (this is an assumption I can verify if need be) and do not affect dots in any ways until another haste cap is reached.
    There are ranges where the value of haste gets vastly inflated as you add more, but in most cases these are very small (in terms of haste changes) and counteracted by flat points or even loses elsewhere. Shadow Priests are about the only exception to this that I can see, but haste still scales linearly outside that point, meaning there's no reason to stop at that specific range.
    b) The second question is in regard to the first comment:
    "What changes is the duration of the DoT" - where are you taking this assumption from?
    Dot duration is never changed by haste values, not since WOTLK. Instead the rate at which the dot ticks is increased and at a certain haste plateu, another tick fits within the duration of the dot. Hence a higher ticking time is unaffected by dot clipping (pandemic) or refreshing dots.

    I hope you can defend your reasoning and hopefully point out where my logic is flawed.
    I intend to add to a respectful discussion only, please read everything as such

    best
    Mojito
    The duration of the dot does change. There's a variation of +/- half a tick. This has been part of the standard dot mechanic since it was changed (either WotLK or Cata). Therefore a dot like Flame Shock can last anywhere between 29 and 31 seconds, depending on haste values.
  6. Binkenstein's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mojito
    i need to add something to this post: Namely that it is true that haste reduces the duration of the dot, but only temporarily:
    Quote
    "baseline corruption is 10 ticks
    with 2,3k+ unbuffed haste you gain 11 ticks
    with 7k+ unbuffed haste you gain 12 ticks

    and so on.

    Also notice that before each cap your total duration reset of corruption, which means that

    From 0 to 2,3k haste cap your corruption goes from 18 seconds to 17 seconds, where once it reaches 2,3k cap it goes back to 18,x seconds and until you hit the next cap at 7k it will go from 18,x seconds to 17 seconds. Every time a new "tick" appears in haste value it goes back to up in duration with one more tick within the length.

    A short sumup would be:

    The closer you get to the haste cap, the shorter total duration your corruption will have (we are talking a second or so)
    Every time you hit a new haste cap, your corruption "reset" its duration timer but gains another tick within the timer
    " -Sparkuggz
    Except that the overall DPS of the spell increases, not because the damage has increased, but because the duration has decreased. This is why haste still scales linearly for dots.
  7. Jormund's Avatar
    Haste gives linear increase in DPS when you consider only one DoT, or spells without cd.

    When you consider a full DPS cycle, it seems to me it might be different.
    If you have haste beyond a breakpoint that gives you a tick on a DoT, the duration is shorter.
    If that tenth of a second doesn't allow you to cast one more spell and you refresh the dot at the same instant you would without haste, you didn't really gained more DPS, did you ?
  8. Binkenstein's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jormund
    Haste gives linear increase in DPS when you consider only one DoT, or spells without cd.

    When you consider a full DPS cycle, it seems to me it might be different.
    If you have haste beyond a breakpoint that gives you a tick on a DoT, the duration is shorter.
    If that tenth of a second doesn't allow you to cast one more spell and you refresh the dot at the same instant you would without haste, you didn't really gained more DPS, did you ?
    Given that the graphs are for a complete sim, and not individual dots, I would say that you are incorrect.
  9. Jormund's Avatar
    I don't know the affliction DPS cycle or spell priority.
    But if i take the example of the elemental shaman, there are 2 spells with a cooldown: lava burst (8s) and elemental blast (12s), when both are on cd, you cast lightning bolts.
    If you just finished casting a bolt and one of the other spells is available in a fraction of a second, it is better to wait for it, considering the damage difference between the spells.
    Thus you have idle time in the cycle. In this situation, 0.1% haste won't give you a 0.1% damage increase. There is a breakpoint when haste gives you one more lightning bolt between those "cd spells".
    If you add a dot in this cycle, i think the reasoning stands. The higher damage of the cd spells will sometimes make you chose to delay the refreshing of the flame shock (even by a very small amount). If the start time of the second flame shock is the same with or without the small amount of haste, the overall dps is the same.

    I trust your simulations, but i don't find where my reasoning is wrong.
    Updated 22-12-2012 at 07:32 PM by Jormund
  10. Binkenstein's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jormund
    I don't know the affliction DPS cycle or spell priority.
    But if i take the example of the elemental shaman, there are 2 spells with a cooldown: lava burst (8s) and elemental blast (12s), when both are on cd, you cast lightning bolts.
    If you just finished casting a bolt and one of the other spells is available in a fraction of a second, it is better to wait for it, considering the damage difference between the spells.
    Thus you have idle time in the cycle. In this situation, 0.1% haste won't give you a 0.1% damage increase.
    If you add a dot in this cycle, i think the reasoning stands. The higher damage of the cd spells will sometimes make you chose to delay the refreshing of the flame shock (even by a very small amount).

    I trust your simulations, but i don't find where my reasoning is wrong.
    While you're correct, the timeframe where this is practical is so small that it's a DPS loss to try to use normally. Plus, it's worth pointing out that Elemental also scales haste linearly, and does not have any break points.

    I think your problem is you're still attached to the idea of the "rotation cycle", which isn't possible now with procs & other random events.
  11. Jormund's Avatar
    While i understand that procs diminish the frequency of the situation i described, it still happens.
    It doesn't "feel" so rare when you are playing. But maybe it is, i admit i have not calculated the probability of it occurring, the impact of it must be drowned in the quantity (english is not my native language, i am not sure how you would say that last sentence).
    Updated 22-12-2012 at 07:53 PM by Jormund
  12. Unregistered's Avatar
    Perhaps another thing to mention is how Simcraft calculates scalefactors. It adds 1000 (default) to a stat value, calculates new dps and divides the difference by 1000.
    For all stats this works fine, for haste this will result in moving scale factors while gaining more haste, because it happens that you are right before or directly after a haste value where you gain an additional tick after and before adding scaledeltas, which will result in shorter or longer dot runtime, in simcraft this will give you different dps values, so the calculated scalefactor will be worse or better.

    I know this is not directly connected to your graphs and theory, but for me it is another reason why the haste scalefactor constantly changes.
  13. Nefrebornn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jormund
    Haste gives linear increase in DPS when you consider only one DoT, or spells without cd.

    When you consider a full DPS cycle, it seems to me it might be different.
    If you have haste beyond a breakpoint that gives you a tick on a DoT, the duration is shorter.
    If that tenth of a second doesn't allow you to cast one more spell and you refresh the dot at the same instant you would without haste, you didn't really gained more DPS, did you ?
    Their is a major difference in elemental and affliction as well, our filler spell is a channeled ability that "ticks" damage off hence stopping it at partial cast does not interrupt the damage it applies if finished after a "tick" and broken by the cast of say a dot refresh. This is not true of elemental in which your haste could cause deadspots in your rotation where waiting that .5 second or choosing another lb instead of elemental blast of lvb. This concept in my opinion further increases the value of haste
  14. Binkenstein's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nefrebornn
    Their is a major difference in elemental and affliction as well, our filler spell is a channeled ability that "ticks" damage off hence stopping it at partial cast does not interrupt the damage it applies if finished after a "tick" and broken by the cast of say a dot refresh. This is not true of elemental in which your haste could cause deadspots in your rotation where waiting that .5 second or choosing another lb instead of elemental blast of lvb. This concept in my opinion further increases the value of haste
    There are no deadspots in the Elemental rotation.
  15. Unregistered's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered
    Interesting Analysis.

    I have long been saying that Affliction Warlocks do not need to worry about haste breakpoints - but I have used a different argument to reach the same conclusion. It is good to see someone come to a similar conclusion using a different analysis. A short summary of what I have been saying for a while, if folks are interested:

    Affliction has multiple DoTs that should all have a near 100% uptime if a player is skilled. As a result, hitting some sort of haste breakpoint where a DoT gains an extra tick during its duration does the same DPS just under and just over the haste breakpoint. What changes is the duration of the DoT. So, theoretically when you are just at or slightly over one of these breakpoints, you don't have to refresh the spell as often. This will then allow some extra time in the fight to use other spells (typically the filler, malefic grasp). That explains the blips in the graph you made. They are not very pronounced for Affliction, as you clearly showed for us.

    I would argue further that the amount of "extra time" these breakpoints provide under ideal, theoretical conditions is not something that 95% of players would ever be able to realize in-game. So, those little blips in the graph around the breakpoints wouldn't even be there for real players in the real game. All you have to do is let a DoT drop for 2-3 seconds over the course of the fight, or start channeling malefic grasp a half second late a couple times or cut off a tick a couple times and the entire theoretical gain is lost. Movement in fights will cause this to happen for most players most of the time.

    There are some spells for which I think getting to a haste breakpoint will actually yield a noticeable DPS gain even for the average player. Devouring Plague and Combustion are the two I am thinking of. Those spells are on a longer cooldown, so they will often run their full duration without being refreshed. That is the main reason that I think real players playing the real game will actually notice a benefit from reaching those two particular haste breakpoints. When you get an extra tick of combustion, for example, if it did 10,000 damage/tick - you would do 6 ticks for 60,000 damage before the first breakpoint and 7 ticks for 70,000 damage just after it. That is a substantial gain which is actually realized because the DoT is allowed to run its full duration each time it is used.

    People think that I have made a mistake when I say that you only need 24.92% haste with a shadow priest instead of 24.97%(which is what you need for an extra tick on SW:P). As you have demonstrated here in a different way, the breakpoint for SW:P just doesn't matter, so I dismiss that 24.97% number as irrelevant.
    The one thing I'd add to this though, and that is, hitting a haste breakpoint can essentially free up an extra gcd per minute. Take an extreme example of a relatively short dot going from 12 second duration to 15. This means you have to only cast it 5 times per minute as opposed to 4, allowing one extra gcd of whatever spam spell you're using per minute. How much of an affect this has is dependent on the strength of the spam spell for your class. This is beyond the standard benefit of haste allowing your dots to tick quicker and spam spells cast faster. The catch with Warlocks is that you have 3 dots and obviously can't hit breakpoints on all of them. If you are going to go after a breakpoint as an Affliction Warlock, it should likely be Unstable Affliction, as the number of casts per minute is most reduced by hitting the breakpoint for this spell (due to its relatively low duration). This isn't an argument for saying that you must go after breakpoints, but it's an aspect of breakpoints that wasn't mentioned here, and should be considered in the analysis.

    Another way this could be phrased is that this increases the effective dps of the spell, and in a long fight, effective dps equals actual dps for all practical purposes. By hitting a breakpoint on a low-duration spell, you're generally increasing the effective dps by a lot at the expense of casting it slightly less often, but the extra cast-times saved are filled with low-effective-dps filler spells.
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