Wednesday, June 2, 2010

DoT Leveling

Since my main is a priest I am clearly going to level by casting DoTs on things and then ignoring them until they die. I used to love smiting my enemies down, but those days are well and truly gone.

Of course the thing that matters when you are killing swaths of enemies with DoTs is how much damage you can do with one or two DoTs. This typically meant that for DoT classes the only thing that mattered was spell power when leveling (and at max level as well, I suppose). With hasted DoTs adding ticks to the end of DoT length, we now have the possibility of increasing our damage through haste rating as well.

If you are wearing two-piece tier 9 then your Vampiric Touch ticks seven times1. That means you would need in 14.29% haste or more to add an extra tick to the end of your Vampiric Touch. If you have less haste the ticks will come faster but you won't actually get any more damage out of them. At level 80, that would require 469 haste. Here's some assumptions we'll use to figure out how much haste increases our damage:
  1. We have about 3700 spell power
  2. Darkness will be going away to be replaced by our 8% passive talent tree bonus
  3. Shadow Orbs will have no effect on our damage if all we do is cast VT and SW:P
With 3700 spell power, Vampiric Touch will do nearly 15400 damage. That 469 haste would give us an 8th tick, increasing the damage to 17600. 469 spell power, on the other hand, would increase the damage by only 1794. Haste wins! Well, haste wins as long as you have exactly the right amount of it, more or less doesn't affect your damage at all until the next multiple of 469. If we are casting Shadow Word: Pain as well then spell power beats out haste at 469, but if we get 547 haste - the amount required to get a sixth tick of Shadow Word: Pain - then haste pulls ahead again, despite the extra 78 haste having no impact on our Vampiric Touch damage.

But we all know that the amount of rating required to get 1% haste is going to go up massively between now and level 85. Here is a list of how much rating it would take to add one tick to your Vampiric Touch as you are leveling.

LevelRating for Extra VT Tick

While one extra Vampiric Touch tick might do more for you than 469 extra spell power, it certainly does not do more for you than 1928 extra spell power. In fact, at that rating conversion, haste is worth less than 30% of spell power, and it is only worth that much if you have the right amount. 1800 haste rating, of course, is completely wasted.

What's the lesson? While leveling, ignore everything but intellect on gear. A piece of gear with haste may be better at level 80, but it will become obsolete in no time. Unless something is done about the rating conversion, haste will stay obsolete the entire expansion, just like all ratings will for all classes.

Side Note: Will single- or double- dotting be sufficient to kill things?
According to modelling tools, level 80 characters in exclusively quest greens can do about 2400 dps without raid buffs. That means the typical level 80 monster is about 5 to 6 seconds worth of modelled dps. Assuming our dps doesn't drop between level 80 and level 85 - which isn't necessarily a safe assumption, but lets run with it - that should put us up against mobs with around 30k to 35k health. We would be able to two-DoT for that much if we can gain around 1900 spell power - the resemblance between this and the amount of haste we need to get one extra tick on Vampiric Touch is surely coincidental.

1. If you threw away your tier 9 gear, run some heroics and buy yourself some gloves and shoulders for leveling and farming. Even at level 85 I doubt there will be anything better for mowing down large numbers of mobs.

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