GCDs – What Changed; What Didn’t
September 29, 2010 100 Comments
It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a post analyzing our GCD situation, and suffice is to say much has happened since then: Runic power gains have been globally nerfed. Unholy Presence now reduces the GCD. Weapon speeds appear to have 3.8s as the new “norm”, as opposed to the previous 3.6s of Wrath. The melee haste raid buff was reduced to 10% from 20%. So on and so forth.
What do all of these changes have in common? They all reduce the total globals we consumed, fortunately.
The big question is; does it do enough? Are we no longer capped, even without haste rating, or is the problem still as present as ever?
For better of for worse, it all depends on which of the two dps specs you’re looking at:
A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words, so I’m not quite sure what else I can add!
As always, I tried to be as generous as possible to the situation. I ignored any scraps of haste rating from gear. I ignored Raise Dead. I ignored Butchery. I ignored the potential use of Dark Simulacrum. I ignored Empower Rune Weapon. I tried to give the issue the benefit of the doubt, but short of plain distorting the facts, the spec is capped (on average over time), plain as day, and I just can’t make it appear otherwise.
And remember, this is just the dual-wielding rotation. I’ll leave it to your imagination what 2-hand Frost looks like with Might of the Frozen Wastes factored in! Spoiler: it consumes an additional ~3.5 GCDs directly, due to the extra Frost Strikes, and then another ~2.5 GCDs from Runic Empowerment procs (and the feedback loop therein) off of those FS. Essentially, that’s an extra 6 GCDs a minute – or a 15% increase. Whether that makes UP worth it is likely a yes, at least once you start being more realistic and accepting that at level 85, you’re not going to have 0% haste from gear!
At any rate, many may wonder why the GCD situation looks relatively unchanged, despite the RP nerf, from the last time I did such charts; that’s because, previously, glyphs had still yet to be touched and Ghostcrawler had said many times it was better to pretend they just didn’t exist at that point in time. The spec, or at least its dual-wielding version, would not be capped (at 0% haste, anyways) without Glyph of Frost Strike, for what that’s worth.
A bleak picture? Perhaps. Fortunately, Unholy is a shining light in the darkness!
Huge disclaimer before I begin: This example graph is not representative of our actual rotation, simply of the number of globals consumed! That’s very, very important to understand. In reality, you would never Death Coil within 2 seconds of already having done so. All that changes is the order of abilities, not how many you use. In reality, you would obviously replace a Scourge Strike with a Dark Transformation whenever needed. All that changes is the occasional name listed under Action Taken, not the number of actions taken. Neither have any affect on the usage of globals, which is all I’m concerned with here.
Now, with that out of the way, one can see that Unholy has a ton of empty globals: 29 before factoring in procs! Sudden Doom takes that down 3, and Runic Corruption (the math for its GCD consumption can be found here) another 6, still leaving 20 free.
20 free per minute? “But Consider,” you might say, “that’s exactly how many globals you gain from Unholy Presence over Frost Presence! Wouldn’t we still be better off running in FP and being exactly capped, instead of running in UP and sitting on our hands a third of the time?”
You would… if you were naked fighting a training dummy, perhaps.
In reality, of those 20 globals, you’re going to be able to consume a healthy amount in actual play. There’s Blood Tap, which is a free SS (and thus a fourth of a DC) every minute. There’s Butchery, which is a free DC (and thus a chance at another RC) every minute. There’s Anti-Magic Shell, which can range from 0 to 7 (with the glyph, which you may as well take) DCs (and all of the resultant Runic Corruption procs) every 45 seconds. There’s Dark Simulacrum, which can be another two per minute. There’s haste from gear, which even in a mix of leveling greens and dungeon blues, I already have 10% of on beta. There’s also the more exotic factors: Heroism and Empower Rune Weapon, for example, whose worth is a bit more difficult to quantify.
At the end of the day, is Unholy still going to have free GCDs even when you add in all of the above? Yes, in most cases… but only a small handful – maybe half to a full dozen, on average, as I see us using up 50-55 in regular gear on your average fight – which isn’t enough for us to want to switch back to Frost Presence and which is probably in lines with the amount Blizzard was trying to accomplish; so my hats off to them! Perfectly done.
Unholy is just an absolutely beautiful spec now. It’s not GCD capped, but it uses enough (in raid/PvP situations) to not feel too empty. It has excellent synergy between itself and the ghoul. Its playstyle is very dynamic, and greatly changed (for the better) from Wrath. It has actual flavor, not just a million different focuses. It’s truly 2H centric, at least for the present. All in all, it’s shaping up wonderfully.
Of course, the tree still has its faults, make no mistake. Some bland talents – here’s to looking at you, Virulence – remain. Gargoyle is incredibly lackluster these days – it still melees, it takes away a chance and a half to proc Runic Corruption, it takes away a chance and a half to stack Shadow Infusion, its damage hasn’t scaled well, and so on. Stats are wildly imbalanced, with mastery rating being far below haste rating. Diseases are still rather dull.
But Rome wasn’t build in a day, or so the saying goes, and Unholy is looking quite good. Will it ever realistically reach the point where I – or anyone else – can claim no fault? Of course not. There are always going to be some issues, perceived or concrete, and that’s simply unavoidable. The current issues, however, just aren’t that big of a deal, and if the spec went live as is today, I would have a blast playing it – and, ultimately, that’s what matters.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the damage is quite up there!
Wanted to get the above out there, since a couple had been asking, but some other quick notes to attend to:
- I’m currently working on my Unholy Cataclysm thread for Unholy. I probably won’t throw it up until the release of 4.0 is imminent, but don’t worry – even if the patch were to unexpectedly hit, say, tomorrow, I could have a full-fledged post rivaling in quality my previous one up within 24 hours. Trust me!
- I’m still unsure what I’m doing about Frost. I really just need to see with Darkside, the current author, if he plans to continue the spec’s thread – or if anyone else is looking to do so. If not, then I would happily undertake it. If he or another is still going to maintain it, then although I’ll continue to post Frost relevant information here – best in slot lists, stat weights, so forth – I will leave that thread to whomever, as there’s obviously no need for two and I’m sure whoever did it would do a perfectly solid job.
- Everything covered in the current Unholy thread will be in the new one, and then some. Obviously my posting here will continue unabated (and should likely get a boost once the expansion goes live and there’s actually interesting stuff on live to discuss), but beyond that, I haven’t figured out anything specific. Perhaps I’ll have the guide in its entirety here, but extended and better formatted. Perhaps I’ll just have some extra additions which don’t fit in the EJ post. Perhaps this, perhaps that. Time will tell.
- Sometime between now and Cataclysm’s release, I’ll probably be redoing the format of the blog. Improving it, of course. Unfortunately, the free hosting of wordpress severely limits what I can do, but I’m still not certain I can reasonably justify bothering with a private domain and such for what is, essentially, no more than a means for me to share my thoughts on this and that. I don’t know; no real good option, but whatever I’ll do, I’ll make the most of it!
- Weekend after this is my birthday. Just throwing that out there!