What do you think of when you think of haste? Do you look at haste with affectionate eyes?
When I think of haste, the cold gleam of hate in my eyes should remind all those around me that I can be a grumpy death knight. Haste is, by far, the most complicated stat to deal it. It looks simple enough, haste makes you do stuff faster. But the value of haste defies understanding, it seems to actively resist being quantified into exactly how much faster and why. Sure, it makes you do stuff faster, but it also does things in a bumpy way. You can't get half an extra hit in per fight, just like your army ghouls, gary, and timmy can't get in half of an extra hit. So, unlike all the other stats, haste is riddled with steps along the way, where someone or other gets in one more hit with that extra juicy point of haste.
Despite all this, haste is generally considered crap for DW frost dks. It's our worst stat, point for point, and this is for a couple of reasons. The biggest of all these reasons is that we don't have any time to do more stuff. DWF dks are already "GCD capped", or using an ability every GCD, with very little haste. This isn't an inherent design flaw, but rather stems from plague leech and AMS. Plague leech generates 2 runes every 30 seconds, and has the added benefit of being used only when we need it. It also takes up a GCD to cast, so it ends up spending 3 GCDs every 30 seconds, or 10% of our time, just on PL. It's worth about 8000 haste, in terms of rune regeneration, and is actually better because it's on call for whenever we want it. AMS, in a similar vein, generates on-demand runic. With the regenerative magic glyph, and a decent amount of magic damage in the fight, AMS generates a LOT of runic. So much, that it ends up eating a large number of our GCDs as we try to keep up with the runic gain, which leads to BT charges, which leads to HBs which leads to more FS. It takes a while for the flood of resources to die down after an AMS usage.
While not letting us use more stuff with all of the extra resources coming in from PL and AMS, haste still gives us more white hits, as well as proc uptime, km procs, pet swings, ect ect. The non-rune related benefits of haste seem to be worth about 50% of it's total value, with the other 50% coming from actually being able to use the runes. When we are GCD capped to the point we are now, and unable to use half of the value of haste, the other half simply isn't good enough to compete with better stats like mastery and crit. And so, haste is weak, and feels bad because it leads to wasting more resources. Most DWF dks avoid haste like the plague.
There seems to be one breakpoint worth reaching. The T16 2-set bonus is as follows: Killing Machine grants 500 mastery for 6 seconds, stacking up to 10 times. Now, haste makes the uptime of "death shroud" go up in a pretty linear fashion. More haste means more melee swings means more KM procs, which in turn means more death shroud buffs. However, there is also a pretty big step hidden here. Death shroud lasts 6 seconds, and in that 6 seconds you do a certain number of melee swings. Going from 5 swings to 6 swings is actually a really big deal, as it's an extra chance to extend the duration of a proc instead of proccing a fresh one a half second later.
The most important, and only really viable, breakpoint I could find was for 8 attacks in the 6 second period. It doubles the uptime you have on a 10-stack of the 2-set. It's worth a net increase of about 1400 dps, or 0.4%, which is amazing for a single point of haste. It's easily reachable and worth reaching in current gear.
The breakpoint is at 3686 haste. Below is a list of all of the breakpoints.
Attacks: Interval Between Attacks Haste required Haste from gear required Haste rating
5 attacks: 1.2 1.08333333333333 0
6 attacks: 1.0 1.3 0
7 attacks: 0.85714285714286 1.51666666666666 0
8 attacks: 0.75 1.73333333333333 1.08672936259143 3686
9 attacks: 0.66666666666667 1.95 1.22257053291536 9460
10 attacks: 0.6 2.16666666666667 1.35841170323929 15233
11 attacks: 0.54545454545455 2.38333333333331 1.4942528735632 21006
12 attacks: 0.5 2.6 1.63009404388715 26779
After calculating the values, I tried them out in simC. At 3686, (nearly exactly), the sim reported a huge increase in both damage and 2-set 10 stack uptime. I was overjoyed to have everything work out, and thought I'd be wrapping up soon. Then I tried the next breakpoint at 9460. There was none. I tried 15233, and uptime went from 25% to 40% in a single point of haste. 21006 was missing as well. The culprit of the missing odd breakpoints is the way simC handled auto-attacks. It activated main-hand and offhand attacks at the same time, causing a super breakpoints, gaining 2 attacks half as often. This was quickly fixed, thanks to Collision in the simC IRC channel, and yet upon trying out the new version, I found that the odd breakpoints had moved from on top of the even breakpoints to about ~2000 haste before they were supposed to be. This had me perplexed, until I ran through a simC output log and noticed the problem. At the end of bloodlust, the swing timer remaining for each weapon was different, and the dynamic adjustment in haste caused the weapon swings to desync. This gap between weapon swings led to the odd breakpoints, or breakpoints with the offhand weapon, to be in an unexpected place. This could be fixed simply enough, but to what end? Review of in-game logs show that melee hits happen 0.2% more often than they should, and not in perfect intervals. That could just be logs misrepresenting the information, but in-game testing also points to desyncing issues. If you autoattack a dummy out of range, wait a second, and move in range, you can watch your toon attack with both weapons at the same time, and then seemingly sync back to alternations, and then back to at the same time, over the course of several seconds.
I'm 95% sure that the autoattacks of the mainhand weapon are timed correctly, but I'm not sure what the hell is going on with the offhand. Luckily, the first odd breakpoint is at 9460, and that's not worth going for. Stick as low as possible haste, without going lower than 3686, and expect to see a little bit of extra damage!
It's possible to force sync weapon swing timers by stepping out and in of range. That would bring the odd breakpoint right down to on top of the even breakpoint, which would be a DPS gain. Stepping in and out after every single melee swing..... (if you didn't lose any dps by stepping out of range)
Would make the death knight hokey pokey a way to increase DPS.
Huge thanks to Arrak in #acherus and Collision/Reia in #simcraft for helping me get this all figured out.
I'm trying out a new style with the google images because reasons. I like it, do you like it?