*Tap Tap* Is this thing still on?
I’ve been very busy lately between holidays, preparing for classes, and recovering from the plague. I’ve barely had time to play, let alone write blog posts. In fact, I really don’t have time to write this blog post, but it felt important enough that I made some time. But only enough for a quickie.
By now you’ve probably heard about today’s hotfixes, specifically the three affecting us the most:
- The Haste stat is now 11.1% more effective. For example, characters at level 100 now receive a 1% increase per 90 Haste (up from 1% per 100 Haste).
- Sacred Duty now causes the Paladin to gain 30% (up from 5%) more of the Haste stat from all sources.
The third change there is just a DPS nerf, which is probably warranted simply because Alabaster Shield was far and away the best DPS glyph we could use while tanking (Harsh Words is an even larger gain, but not really advisable while tanking anything relevant). Not much point discussing that change further.
The first two are big though. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll recall what I said in November about why haste was underperforming:
I think the biggest reason haste is weak this expansion is entirely unrelated to class mechanics. It’s actually fairly simple: the rating conversion got nerfed, hard.
A simpler fix would be to modify that rating conversion for prot paladins, either directly in the game data or (more likely) indirectly by increasing the rating boost granted by Sacred Duty. If Sacred Duty suddenly increased haste from gear by 30% rather than 5%, haste would be back in business.
In later tests on Maintankadin (with a significant amount of assistance from Ashaton), we determined that even 30% wouldn’t quite be enough on its own. Sacred Duty would need to be around 40% to push haste ahead of mastery under all circumstances.
It seems like Blizzard agreed. Haste must have been underperforming for a lot of classes to warrant an 11.1% buff to the rating conversion. Combining that with a 30% Sacred Duty is effectively the same as a 44.44% Sacred Duty, more than enough to push haste up to be our most preferred stat. So our attunement finally matches the stat we want.
How to Homebrew A Sim
To illustrate that, I ran some sims for the six currently-viable talent combinations – any combination of Seraphim or Holy Shield with any of the level 75 talents. The first sim here is pre-hotfix. In the second sim, I applied a spell data override to artificially buff Sacred Duty to 44%. In case you’d like to know how to do this yourself, here’s a quick tutorial. First, here’s the spell_query entry for Sacred Duty:
This tells us that the 5% bonus to haste is stored in effect #1, which is effect id 233413. If we want to change that to 44%, we can override the base value using the code:
This can be placed anywhere in the simc file or the text of the Simulate window.
Here are the two reports:
And here are the scale factors generated from each sim:
As you can see, haste performs much better post-hotfix than before, at least according to scale factors. That said, scale factors are notoriously unreliable because they rely on the assumption of local linearity, which isn’t often obeyed. For example, we’ve seen before that haste’s value can be all over the place with Seraphim because of odd breakpoint interactions. It’s far more reliable to look at scaling plots, which is why both of those sims contain said plots. Let’s look at those.
(As an aside, I have plans to implement a more robust scale factor algorithm in SimC some time soon-ish, but that takes time, which it’s clear by now I don’t have!)
From experience, we know that haste performs better in HS_DP than in HS_SW. In fact, HS_SW is generally the absolute worst case for haste, so let’s look at that first. Here’s what the scaling plot looks like for HS_SW before the hotfixes:
To read this plot, you have to understand what the sim is doing. It’s running a bunch of simulations with +X of each stat and plotting the result. Thus, the line for bonus armor represents the result of a bunch of sims with -500, -450, -400, …, +400, +450, +500 bonus armor artificially applied. It plots the results of those sims as a continuous line. Since adding bonus armor reduces your TMI (making you more survivable), this line has a negative slope – in other words, it goes down from left to right. The steeper that slope, the better the stat is at reducing TMI and thus the better it is at helping you survive.
So in summary, the closer to horizontal the line is, the worse the stat is; conversely, the steeper the line is, the better the stat is.
It’s clear here that bonus armor has the steepest slope, which is why it generates really large (negative) scale factors. That’s why we covet bonus armor items so much. The yellow line for mastery is the next-steepest, and as we know by now mastery is our dominant stat when we’re using Holy Shield. The rest of the stats have slightly shallower slopes, and the absolute worst of them here is haste.
This is how we know haste is the worst, even if the scale factor calculations occasionally suggest otherwise. Local fluctuations can cause an anomalously high scale factor when you’re only looking at ranges of +/-175 stats, but if you generate a plot like this you’ll see the long-term behavior of each stat very clearly. Generally speaking, that long-term behavior is what you care about, because a variety of factors (variable latency, player reaction time, player error, having to break rotation to do other things, time off target, etc.) tend to smooth out the local fluctuations you see in simulations.
Now let’s look at that plot from the post-hotfix sim:
We actually see a local fluctuation in the haste curve immediately to the left of zero, which would lead you to believe that haste is still bad. But if you look at the whole plot, you can easily infer that’s not the case. Above zero, the slope of the plot is much steeper, second only to the bonus armor line. And if you keep looking farther in the negative, you see that the haste line gets steeper again. If we continued this plot for more negative values, we’d see the haste line catch back up to (and overtake) mastery.
And remember, this is the worst-case scenario for haste. HS+SW generates the weakest haste values. If we instead consider something like HS+HA:
The haste line is very clearly the second-steepest here, putting it solidly ahead of the other secondary stats (except bonus armor, of course).
The Seraphim plots are a little weirder thanks to a few factors. For example, if we look at Seraphim+HA, we get this plot:
It looks like haste is great on one half of the plot and terrible on the other. On the other hand, if we look at Seraphim+DP, we get a different story:
Haste is pretty clearly ahead of the pack here. Again, I think this long-term behavior is what we care about with Seraphim simply because it fluctuates so much based on somewhat questionable breakpoints (i.e. how many GCDs or ticks of X or whatever else happens during the fixed 15-second Seraphim buff).
In any event, this change pretty clearly accomplishes what it set out to do. Haste is going to jump from last-place into first-place amongst the non-bonus-armor secondary stats. For pretty much every talent selection, you’ll want to prioritize haste. What you go for after that will depend on your talents – with Holy Shield, you may favor mastery, with Seraphim you may favor critical strike. Though a haste/mastery focus won’t serve you poorly for any talent combination, so if you want to be able to swap back and forth between talents freely that may be the most versatile strategy.
DPS values may be worth considering as well. To give you some idea of how that works out, here are the DPS scale factors for HS+DP (the most popular spec) and Sera+HA (arguably the most common spec for mythic progression):
As you can see, this change also vaults haste to the front of our DPS priority.
So my summary of stat valuation here is
Bonus Armor > Haste (to 50%) > Crit (Seraphim) >= Mastery > Crit = Vers > Multistrike > Haste (above 50%)
That “to 50%” is important now that we’re getting so much haste from Sacred Duty, so it’s worth considering that 50% haste cap in more detail.
The 50% Haste Cap
Because the GCD is capped at 1.00 seconds, there’s a limit to how much haste is useful. After we reach 50% haste, it stops reducing the GCD of abilities affected by Sanctity of Battle, though the cooldowns of those abilities are still reduced. However, the majority of haste’s value comes from that GCD reduction. This means we only want enough haste to get us up to 50%, because anything after that is better off as a different stat.
There are two raid buffs that increase our haste multiplicatively. The first is the 5% haste raid buff, and the second is Heroism/Bloodlust, which gives 30%. To figure out how much haste we want, we need to account for both Sacred Duty and those buffs.
If we have X haste rating on our gear, it will turn into 1.30*X haste rating on the character sheet. So for example, 1000 haste rating from gear (or from Seraphim) will show up as 1300 rating on the character sheet. We’d divide that by 90 to figure out how much percentage that gives us – in the case of Seraphim, it’s 1300/90, or 14.44% haste.
To figure out how much haste we have after raid buffs, we’d have to convert that to 1.1444 and multiply by the value of the raid buff, which is 1.05. So if we started with no haste on gear and just Seraphim active, we’d end up with 1.1444*1.05=1.2017, or 20.17% haste. If someone popped Bloodlust, it would take us to 1.1444*1.05*1.3=1.5621, or 56.21% haste, well over our cap.
For us, it’s more useful to work backward from 50% overall haste to figure out what rating we want to stop at. Since the bonus from Sacred Duty is included in the character-sheet values, I’ve given both “raw” and “character sheet” rating values on the table below.
|Raid Buff (5%)||3858||2968|
|Emp. Seals (15%)||2740||2108|
|Heroism Only (30%)||1385||1066|
Note that the Seraphim values on the table are just 975/750 less than the associated buff value. For example, if it takes 3858 character sheet haste rating to hit 50% with just the Raid Buff active, it takes 975 less (or 2883) to hit it while Seraphim is also up. So if you want to hit 50% during Seraphim in that case, you’d stack 2883 and be below the cap the rest of the time.
The raid buff is active in these sims, so we really only need 3858 haste rating on the character sheet to hit the cap. The profile only has 688 character-sheet haste, so we’re well below that. Even with Seraphim active, we have plenty of headroom for more haste. However, we’ll always be over the cap during Heroism, with or without Seraphim active.
What this table really tells us is that we should stop stacking haste when we hit 3858 character-sheet haste rating, or about 42.87%. That’s a pretty steep target, so it’s not clear we’ll be able to reach it even in Tier 18. We’ll have to see how much ilvl inflation takes place from T17 to T18 and beyond to see for sure.
This does, however, mean that you’d be well over the cap during Seraphim or Heroism. Note that TMI is fairly insensitive to that – your worst spikes tend to come when you don’t have either of those active, so it’s going to value haste highly if it’s helping you stay alive outside of those buffs. I think this is the more useful valuation of survival, though, because you don’t plan around the periods of the fight that can’t kill you.
That said, if it offends your sensibility to be “wasting” (and I use that term very loosely here) haste rating during Seraphim, the table tells you what targets to aim for. Between 2883 and 3858 rating, you’ll be “wasting” some of the haste rating granted by Seraphim, so you could stop at 2883 and start focusing on other stats.
Again, I don’t think we’ll get there any time soon, but worth throwing out there, primarily for those that are considering ways to push their DPS higher. If you’re going over the cap during Seraphim, then that haste is wasted from the perspective of doing more damage.
Note, however, that the DPS scale factors provided earlier in this post automatically include the reduction inherent from heroism. In other words, haste is still our best DPS stat despite the fact that it provides almost zero extra DPS during heroism in this gear set.
1) Even a “quickie” Theck blog post is 2300 words.
2) Haste rules the roost. Stack it up to 50%, being aware of the haste-cap limits provided in the table earlier in the thread.