This post was published long before the Mists of Pandara Expansion.
The tips and techniques explained here may be outdated.

So You Think You Can Dance

dance_stepsI can’t dance. Not to save my life. Every morning Wii Fit scolds me that I only hit about 1/2 of the Steps in the Wii Step “perfect” and the others, meh, I just make it onto the balance board without falling over. I have no sense of rhythm and God forbid I should try to sing.

DPS against a boss is very much about having the rhythm. It’s about knowing your steps, what needs to come next and hitting it at exactly the right moment. I think I hit it about half the time. Half the time in a boss fight I’m soaring along at nearly 5k dps. The other half the time I’m like that goofy gal at the highschool dance who’s snapping her finger slightly out of step with the music.

In my Affliction rotation I need to juggle the following:

1. Life Tap
2. Haunt
3. Corruption
4. Unstable Affliction
5. Curse
6. My Filler. Shadowbolt or Drain Soul

To help with this I use addons. Mostly Power Auras and Button Timers. The addons are my metronome.. without them I’d be hopelessly out of step.

Every second of my rotation goes like this:

While the last thing I did is casting (or in GCD) figure out what to do next:

Glance at health/mana and buttonTimer slot for LifeTap.
– If my health is high (or if I think the healers are ok with healing me) and I don’t have the Life Tap buff (or if it’s close to running out) hit Life Tap.
Glance at Haunt on ButtonTimers.
– If I recently heard Haunt ding(Power Auras makes a sound when Haunt is available to cast) or if I see that Haunt is off of cooldown Cast Haunt.
Glance at ButtonTimer for Corruption.
– Everlasting Affliction should keep corruption up all the time assuming that I’m on top of keeping my Haunt up.. but if Corruption is down, Cast Corruption.
Glance at ButtonTimer for Unstable Affliction
– If UA is down or the UA slot has turned red (ButtonTimers indication that the duration remaining is less than the adjusted casttime) then Cast Unstable Affliction.
Glance at ButtonTimer for Curse
– If curse is down and I think the boss will live > 20 seconds, cast Curse of Agony (Most raids I run with have a boomkin or Unholy deathknight to supply the effect from CotE)
If the symbol from Power Aura is up that shows me that boss is below 25% then:
– Channel Drain Soul. If Haunt dings then wait until after the next Drain Soul tick to recast Haunt (will refresh haunt, Corruption and Shadow’s Embrace). If Curse is down and I think the boss will live longer than 20 sec then re-cast curse. Then go back to channeling Drain Soul.
Otherwise cast Shadow Bolt.

Things that kill my DPS:
– Dying. Dead DPS is (nearly) zero DPS. Better to be alive then on the top of the meters.
– Too many adds. When I have to dps a bunch of different adds at the same time as the boss I find that I do a really crappy job at dps. Affliction just doesn’t have good burst damage to kill the adds efficiently (they die too quickly) and because I’m constantly cycling to the adds I lose a lot of dps on the boss. I -could- pad my DPS numbers by helping less with the ADDS but that would be detrimental to the raid group (I’m not here to “win” the dps meters). So -I- at least won’t be doing that.
– Too many life taps. I need some mana.. but not to always be at 100%. I need to keep the lifetap buff up. So if the buff is up.. even if I’m low-ish on mana (but still have ~25%+) I’ll hold off on tapping and keep on dpsing instead.
– Clipping CoA. A HUGE amount of Curse of Agony’s damage happens in the last tick of the dot. DO NOT RECAST COA UNLESS IT HAS FALLEN OFF YOUR TARGET AND DON’T BOTHER TO PUT IT ON YOUR TARGET IF THE TARGET ISN’T GOING TO LIVE UNTIL THE LAST TICK.
– Clipping Unstable Affliction. In my post about ButtonTimers the Addon’s author popped in and commented that you could update certain Buttons to change color when the duration of the spell was less than the cast time. I did this for my Unstable Affliction and have noticed that I must have been clipping this dot a lot. The button changes color MUCH MUCH later than I thought it would.
– Not Drain Souling enough. Do not start before the boss is below 25% as you’ll have very weak ticks.. but after the boss is below 25% you should spend as much time as possible generating Drain Soul ticks. It really is a make or break for your execution DPS.

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6 comments to So You Think You Can Dance

  • Heh. The few raids I’ve done on my holy priest, I think I used about 3 spells. Some people might have thought I should use more. But I don’t want too. I don’t know how you can keep track of it all.
    .-= EvilElleon´s last blog ..Color Hair Go Boom! =-.

  • You call it a rotation, but technically it’s a “shot priority” list. Locks need to stop thinking of the /castsequence and start hitting the hard and nasty spells as often as they can, while using the dps fillers when nothing better is available.
    .-= Everwrath of Silvermoon´s last blog ..Moving House =-.

  • This post is beyond awesome. Thank you, Nibuca, for showing the world that it’s not nearly as easy being an Affliction Warlock as everyone seems to think.
    .-= Frijona´s last blog ..Friday Linkday: October 2, 2009 =-.

  • Wenike

    One thing I was noticing, you kept saying if you “think” the boss will live another 20 seconds, do whatever spell. Have you tried an addon like TimeToDie to know for sure length of time? It still guesses based on current DPS, but its really handy to know if the group is getting close to a timer of sort and if some extra DPS should be pushed.

  • Nibuca

    @wenike
    OOO now if only PowerAuras could be tied to TimeToDie… I may need to investigate this.

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