This post was published long before the Mists of Pandara Expansion.
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Affliction Scribbles: Refuting the Haunt block

TL; DR Issue: My current rotation is clipping Unstable affliction and Immolate (really bad since clipped immolates sometimes refuse to refresh) OR it’s causing downtime in Haunt and dropped Corruptions.

TL;DR Solution: Stop casting Haunt/UA/Immo as a block and go back to watching 4 things (Haunt, UA/Immo, SL, CoA) instead of three. Refresh Haunt before it expired to prevent corruption from falling off.

The long version.

In boss fights my rotation is as follows:
Shadowbolt, Haunt, Unstable Affliction, Immolate, Curse of Agony, Corruption, Siphon Life.
After these spells are up, I fill with Shadow Bolt until any of the above need to be refreshed. Fill with Drain Soul when the boss is below 25% health.

Haunt has a 12 second duration, causes gcd and has “flytime” (the time it takes for the spell to fly from you to the mob). You -can- refresh haunt early since the cooldown is less than the duration.
Corruption has a 18 second duration. Because of Everlasting Affliction it can be automatically refreshed by Haunt or Drain Life.

Let’s say I’m in the middle of a fight. Corruption is already on the mob. I cast Haunt. This should reset Corruptions so it has 18 more seconds on the mob. Haunt has 12 seconds.

12 seconds later Haunt expires. At this point Corruption has 6 more seconds on its duration.

Six seconds -sounds- like an eternity.. but I’ve found that unless I -immediately- refresh Haunt, I end up dropping my corruption.

If I immediately cast haunt then it should cause corruption to refresh. (1.5 second cast + ?? flytime + latency < 6 seconds). If I hesitate.. or finish casting the shadow bolt I was in the middle of.. or life tap.. or fumble my keys.. then most likely I will cause corruption to fall off (hesitation + 1.5 second cast + ?? flytime + latency > 6 seconds = dropped corruption).

Regardless, casting it this way doesn’t result in 100% uptime on haunt. There was a section of time there where Haunt -wasn’t- on my target. This is bad.

What I really should do is start casting Haunt at least 1.5 seconds before the end of its duration. It would also increase the probability that I wouldn’t accidentally drop corruption off.

The problem -I have- is that in order to ease my cast sequence I’ve grouped Haunt/UA/immo together into a casting block. Whenever Haunt goes down I immediately put up Haunt/UA/Immo. It makes it so that instead of watching 6 cooldowns I’m really only watching three (haunt, CoA, SL). But it’s at a cost.

UA and Immo each have a 1.5 second cast time and a 15 second duration.

By grouping Haunt/UA/Immo together I’m guaranteeing that either I’m going to clip both UA/Immo OR I’m going to have downtime on my Haunt (and therefore drop my corruption).

Neither of those are good options. Currently, because my tiny little brain can’t handle juggling any more timers, I’ve gone with clipping UA/Immo. It’s probably the better option of the two. But an even better option would be to just decouple Haunt from UA/Immo. *sigh* Guess that’s what I’ll do.

So the initial cast sequence remains the same.. but on refresh.. (in order of importance)
If Haunt has 1.5 seconds remaining, start casting next haunt.
If Corruption has fallen off, recast corruption.
If UA has 1.5 seconds remaining, start casting next UA/Immo.
If CoA has expired and it looks like the mob will live more than 24 seconds cast next CoA.
If mob is below 25% health, channel Drain Soul until one of the above occurs.
If SL has expired and it looks like mob will live more than 30 seconds, cast next SL.
If next spell to expire has < 4 seconds until refresh then Life Tap or Dark Pact. (esp if next spell to expire is Haunt).
Cast Shadow Bolt.

Things I'm still thinking about:
- I'm half tempted to work a tick of Drain Life in there just to keep Shadow Embrace refreshed. Occasionally it seems to drop.. it's probably because SB is such low priority. Even just starting the Drain Life channel would quickly refresh the stack.
- If there are > 3 people who will benefit from CoEl then I’ll change from CoA to CoEl. This is based on pre-Wrath logic.. I haven’t re-examined it to see is CoEl wouldn’t be a better option all around.

If GhostCrawler loved me..

Haunt duration would be increased to 15 sec (or UA/Immo would be decreased to 12 seconds) and “flytime” would be removed .
Unstable Affliction would be changed to instant cast (ok, this is more a nice to have than anything else).

Unfortunately I know he doesn’t love me.. he never calls, he never writes.

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9 comments to Affliction Scribbles: Refuting the Haunt block

  • Illiara

    I use the same rotation as you, really.

    What would REALLY be helpful is if they took Nightfall/Glyph of Corruption procs off the GCD. It’s a great boost of damage when it procs, but that extra second REALLY throws things off.

  • Dan

    This is the second source I see that opens their rotation with shadow bolt. Is there a reason for this? I open with my instants so that when I start casting my spells with cast time the target is taking damage WHILE I cast. Normally I do siphon life, corruption, curse of agony and then I get into the haunts, unstable affliction, etc… once all my DoTs are up I fire in shadowbolts to fill the void and refresh DoTs as needed with haunt having the priority. I’m just wondering if I’m missing something by not opening with a shadow bolt.

  • Man, I am completely in the same boat and I love the suggestions and the comment. Some have crossed my mind as well. The bottom line is there is PLENTY of room for Blizz to make some small changes that could really help aff’locks out. I hope they do at least some of those SOON. For the amount of work I *feel* like I’m doing on boss fights, I sure don’t have a lot of DPS to show for it. I mean, when I feel like I’m playing my butt off (which was sure to top charts TBC), I’m lucky to keep up with the hunters of the world. Granted they need a nerf and we a buff, but I hate that feeling.

    I hate that immolate “bug” too. I’d like to just go with the clipping solution and be done with it, but the bug was in full force in my raid last night… really throwing me off. Sometimes I can decouple, like you say, and keep it up, but add a complication like having to move around in there and it gets real tough. I just don’t have enough eyes.

    *Sigh* QQ I know. I’m just sad warlocking is so rough right now. Especially because my Pally counterpart is on a high shimmery horse currently.

    Fulguraliss last blog post..Ding 20!

  • Nibuca

    @Illiara
    I agree that it would be nice for the 0 cast time SB to be of GCD.. but that’s a bit OP. When that effect procs on my screen it shows a HUGE symbol on the screen so I know it’s available to cast. I just fit that cast into the next available spot for GCD. (the addon for the symbol is called Power Auras).

    @Dan
    Shadowbolt and Haunt trigger the “Shadow Embrace” debuff on the mob. It stacks twice. For a total of 10% more damage. My goal is to get that up, and in a two-stack as soon as possible and then to keep it up (any haunt or sb refreshes the stack).

    Yes, you could lead with a different spell.. and eventually get a two-stack.. but getting it early yields more damage.

    @Fulguralis
    In this patch 3.0.8 we’re slated to get some “durability” increases to help with PVP. I don’t PVP so I won’t comment on the changes with regards to that. In the next major patch, 3.1, we’re slated to get some much needed shining. So far I havne’t seen exactly what that’s going to entail.. but GC has said that they’re going to probably change soul shards to something more fun.. and probably ease the complexity of the Affliction cast sequence.. and probably increase the viability of Demonology for either PVP or PVE. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    @T-Sonn
    Ohhh nice question. I think that deserves a blog post.

    short answer: atm it’s good for avoiding fall damage when you know a boss will pop you into the air.. after 3.0.8 it’ll also remove snare effects.. so it might be nice to use on the last boss in the Nexus to get out of the ice chains.

  • I’m feeling you, Nibuca. I’ve revised getting a dot-timer for 2 1/2 years, even though I’ve been Aff almost that whole time (there was a brief fling with that Felguard, but I swear, he meant nothing to me).

    I love the complicated aspect of this spec, and the busy-ness of it, but it IS getting damn hard to avoid downtime & clipping.

    Here’s another question for you: what the hell is Demonic Circle really good for? For THIS I leveled to 80?

    T-Sonns last blog post..Blog, Like Author, Is Work In Progress

  • Illiara

    @Nibuca

    I’ve pretty much trained myself to watch for Nightfall procs at this point. What really throws me off is that it shares a sound with a couple of moves that other classes have. I’ll check out the addon. :D

    Nightfall IS awesome and stuff, but compared to some other stuff, it kinda bugs me. It does bring extra pewpew, but Frost Mages get something in their tree that on procs makes their next Firebolt instant and mana free. It’s just QQing, I know…but still.

    I’ve recently incorporated Immolate into my boss routine. I don’t cast it in a block with UA and Haunt though.

    Haunt > UA > CoA > Corruption > Siphon > Immolate > SBx2 > Haunt/UA > SBx2 > Haunt/UA > Immolate. May be different for you because of your own haste (mine’s kinda low), but I have yet to clip Immo.

  • Leokun

    One thing you could probably try out is to include haunt within your shadow bolt macro. I’m not entirely sure if this would work, since i’ve decided to saty away from affliction until the impending fixes are implemented but how bout you try a macro like this:

    /cast Haunt
    /cast Shadow Bolt

    In theory, whenever Haunt is off cooldown the Haunt spell would be used, otherwise by pressing the macro button the Shadow Bolt spell is cast. One less button to worry about may un-complicate things.

  • Leokun

    Yesterday patch 3.0.8 came so I decided to try out the new and improved destro witht he conflag glyph and the harder hitting chaos bolt and found myself with miss matching cooldowns and very bad numbers. My fps simply killed my dps. I did get to see some nice spikes on dummies but nothing i wasn’t seeing before on my fg/ember regular build.

    Tonight i’ll try once more with a new macro concept that may prove as usefull for Affliction locks as it would for me as Destro.

    The macro would look like this:

    /castsequence reset=1 Incinerate, Chaos Bolt

    By spamming this macro it will use the Incinerate and then Chaos Bolt, and if Chaos Bolt but if the Chaos Bolt is on cooldown and a second goes by which I hope is enough time to even be able to cast it when it’s not on cooldown, Then the macro would reset back to shadow bolt.

    The affliction alternative would be:

    /castsequence reset=1 Shadow Bolt, Haunt

  • Adrios

    My life is a bit easier, being the CoE lock, but here’s my (general) rotation:
    CoE, Haunt, SB, UA/Immo/SL, Corr, Haunt…then SBspam (replace an SB with an LT as needed), Haunt on CD, and alternate UA/Immo and UA/Immo/SL.
    It’s slightly suboptimal, but much easier on the brain, as SL lines up. Getting hitcapped makes life much easier (no resists), as does fights without movement.
    The only other wrinkles are replacing SB’s with a single tick of DS for bosses sub 25%, and remembering to drop an infernal when I estimate 1 minute remaining on boss.

    Also, I haven’t done much research, but the new glyph of CoA might now be worth it…if so, it will fit well after SL in the above rotation, though you’re giving up a few secs of uptime.