Saturday, April 19, 2014

Haste, Breakpoints, and Dual Weaponry


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

Dual Weaponry: 

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?


  1. Love the new style with google images. Also... do you think top-end DKs will start using the step in and out of range for auto-attacks playstyle? My gut says no because it sounds ridiculous, but then again people will do crazy things for more dps...

    1. No, I think with our swing timer at 0.8 seconds, combined with that preventing use of active abilities, you'll lose a lot more DPS than you would gain by having the swing timers line up.

  2. So I can drop below 4k haste now eh? Sweet!

  3. can't seem i can go lower that 10% haste all this time anyway :)

  4. Currently sitting at 3644 haste on my gear, is that enough for me to get the 8th attack? You said nearly exactly in your post about the 3686 haste rating required.

    1. We seem to be attacking 0.4% faster than we should be, but the breakpoint should be HIGHER than 3686 according to math, so I'm not really sure. It doesn't help that I can't easily check 10-stack uptime with any logging system.
      It comes down to how much you trust that the blizzard coding makes sense. If we swing melee attacks exactly at the timer we should based on the haste we have, you need exactly 3686 haste.

  5. AMS for soaking RP "they" say, well "everyone" says, but... What about the times you need it as a heal cooldown? On Garrosh, when your healers have way too much to do (phase 3 especialy). Is it worth it to say "screw you healers" and hope they're able to keep you alive?

    1. Soaking RP happens when you soak damage. When you need it as a heal CD, you hit it as a heal CD, and enjoy the 100-200 free runic that comes along with it. When you DON'T need it as a heal CD, you try to game it to get as much runic as possible out. This is only the case when you're being hit by less than 100k magic hits.

  6. Like the layout with the images. Keep it up!

    I assume those haste caps include the melee haste raid buff? Since we provide it ourselves, it's not something to worry about.

    What about people that are stuck with a higher amount of haste? I'm sitting on 6955 haste (mostly because it's my offspec). Is it worth shooting for the next cap, if it's close?

    Also, this sounds like a haste breakpoint that'll remain in the game come WoD?

    1. Yes, it includes the melee haste raid buff. If you're stuck with a higher amount of haste, that's life. It's technically worth going for the next breakpoint, if you're within 1k of it, but it's at 9460, and I hope no one is stuck at 8500 haste. This breakpoint is tied to the 2-set, and should go away as we swap over to new tier gear in WoD.

  7. Hi, so the Breakpoint is at ~3700 haste for DW dk's.....but this is only the breakpoint for DW - or for 2Hand too?
    I've played DW in SoO Progress, now in HC Farm i reroll on 2hand....i like it more xD
    I use SimC since 1 year, but now the 2hand Stats are very confusing. :( Crit is over Haste and Mastery for sure, but which Stat vom Haste and Mastery is better? 17,7 k crit, 12,5 k mastery and 5,5 k haste are the stats at my Gear atm...but is there a Haste Breakpoint for 2hand?
    My 2nd Question is because Ask Mr. Robot - he advise me to take 160 exp / 160 crit gems in red - i take 80 str 160 i right or wrong in this?
    Thank you :)

    1. It's only the breakpoint for DW, 2H has another breakpoint, which I will try to get around to finding eventually. It might be making haste jump up in value in the sim wherever it is.
      Using expertise in a red gem is worth it IF you can gain more of a secondary stat (with a weight above str/2) through reforging.
      For example, player A has 2550 expertise, and is exactly at the cap. If they gem their 2 red gems with expertise, they gain 320 expertise at the cost of 160 strength. That puts them 320 over the cap, which they can reforge 250 of into crit. So, the gain of 250 crit for 160 str ISN'T worth it.
      Player B is at 2600 expertise, and adding 1 expertise gem trades 80 str for 160 expertise. They can then reforge away 205 expertise into crit, bringing them down to 2555, which means trading 80 str for 205 crit, which IS worth it. AMR generally checks all these cases out, so if it's advising you to do so, and you're put in the correct stat weights, it's probably a gain.

    2. Ok, now i understand the gem-situation a little bit better - i put in the correct stats every tim i use AMR. It advise me to take 3 exp/crit gems in red and in the rest str/ i do it now. :)
      The haste breakpoint is very difficult to my gear (the stats in my first question) SimC give me e scale factor of 4,38 mastery and 4,41 haste....i taked this skale factors in AMR an it says i have to reforge full on haste after crit - but i would lose very much mastery. So i reforged at 17,7 k crit, 11,9k mastery and 6,1k haste...take this in SimC an get 4,42 mastery and 4,40 haste. I took this scale factors in AMR and he reforged me on Crit > mastery > haste. It seems that the haste breakpoint at my gear is ~6,1 k haste. Do you think i'm right in this point?
      Thx for your help, you make a great job here ;)

    3. I'm not sure what the breakpoint is atm.

    4. I'm not sure too. :)
      But i think it is higher as the DW Breakpoint. Maybe he would change the BiS List a little bit if he would be at 6-8k haste, don't you think? So it could be that the Demolisher's Reinforced Belt from Juggernaut and Helm of the Night Watchmen from Spoils as Off-Set-Item could be very strong for 2hand.....but only if the Breakpoint is not to low. xD

    5. Btw: the breakpoint of DW is ~3.7k haste unbuffed or buffed?