Questions & Answers: Heroic DPS (part 2)

Here’s a question from Noorie:

Nice blog. I enjoy the info here, as well as the personal touch.

Not to hijack a thread, but I was wondering if I could get your opinion of what spec would benefit my current gear:
http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Anvilmar&cn=Noorie

Prior to Dual Spec, I tried the Deep Fire FFB, as well as the Deep Frost FFB, and found (as you pointed out) with such low crit my dps was suffering.

I’m trying to do H runs as much as possible for gear / badges, but haven’t had much luck w/ rolls / drops. :)

Even though this is a question about personal DPS, as usual, there’s a lesson here for all mages at this gear level to learn!

Looking at the armory link above, here’s what you see:  Frost/TTW spec, very solid spellpower (1700 unbuffed), very low crit chance (11% unbuffed), very low haste rating (79), and an extremely impressive amount of hit rating (361).

So a couple observations:

  1. That much hit rating is nice for raiding (especially without a shadow priest applying misery or boomkin applying faerie fire), but not necessary for heroics, since heroic bosses are only level 82 not 83. 
  2. Getting that hit rating is severely hurting your supporting stats (crit and hase).  Since, as you mentioned, you have not been able to acquire high-level gear yet, the gear you do have access to is the type that makes you trade crit/haste for hit, or vice-versa.  This definitely rules out Deep Fire as viable specs for the time being, as it requires high hit rating AND high haste.

So what to do?  Well, maybe I’m biased, but I would take a good look at arcane.  Here would be my plan of action:

  1. Use the standard 57/3/11 arcane spec.  This instantly alleviates the hit problem:  with elemental precision and arcane focus, you’re getting 6% hit from talents, meaning that you can cut over 100 hit from your armor and still be capped for raid bosses.  I’d shoot for right around 250.
  2. Replace those Ebonweave pieces.  Don’t get rid of them entirely (you might need them in the future), but those should be the first to go into your bank.  Why?  Because you can replace them right now with spellweave!  By dropping the ebonweave robe and belt, you are giving up 119 hit rating that you no longer have any use at all for, and picking up a massive 155 haste
  3. Follow my arcane guide (it’s not shameless self-promotion if it’s on my own blog!) for glyph and rotation info.

That would be my plan.  I think a lot of mages believe arcane has really steep gear requirements, but really that’s only if you’re trying to run it regularly in 25-man raids (and even still, it’s much more manageable at low gear levels than you probably think).  Additionally, it keeps you from having to scrounge up hit rating at the cost of all other stats, and allows you to perform way above your gear level on short boss fights. 

I would remind mages of this:  the only possible way a deep fire or frostfire mage can perform beyond his/her gear level is by getting lucky with crits.  Sure you can manage your rotation perfectly, keep living bomb up all the time, always time your cooldowns perfectly, and always hit hot streak pyroblasts – but honestly those are things you SHOULD be doing if you’re FFB or deep fire.  The specs are very simple to play and therefore you should be near-perfect while playing them.  Your DPS on any given fight is basically dependent on A) your gear, and B) your luck.

With arcane, however, you can definitely perform above (or below) your gear level with perfectly average luck.  On a one-minute heroic boss fight where you blow through your cooldowns, blow through your mana, evocate, and blow through your mana again, I guarantee you post an outstanding DPS number regardless of how lucky you get with crits.  Of course, if you do that and the boss fight happens to go on for another minute, your damage will drop way below where you should be performing. 

But the point is, when your gear level is low, do you really want to lock yourself into a spec that’s ties your DPS directly to your gear level??   I would much rather take my chances with one that gives me the opportunity to transcend it.

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3 Responses to “Questions & Answers: Heroic DPS (part 2)”

  1. gnomeaggedon Says:

    Nice write up.

    Over capping HIT is a sure way to blow your dps… definitely need two sets (or 1.5 sets) of gear to balance the raiding with the heroics.

    I have been tempted with Arcane lately, but haven’t got (&/or taken) the time to play around it it yet.

    I wonder what exactly Noorie means by:
    “my dps was suffering.”

    – What was it… 1k, 2k, 3k?
    – What is the expectation?
    – Does it really matter (assuming that Noorie is enjoying the spec otherwise)? I know I am not doing 40% of the dps in any heroic (and hope not to, because that suggests that someone is failing), but everything is going down fine.
    Also, assuming that gear, spec and rotation are good.. what’s Noorie’s cooldown usage like?

    I know if I am having a lazy night, and not bothering with (or getting the opportunity to use in certain boss fights) coolddowns, that my dps will look slack.

    – Is the dps comparison boss only, or trash included?
    If it’s trash included there is a good chance that other characters are cleaning up before Noorie gets warmed up. if Noorie isn’t using cooldowns in trash, then this would be accentuated.

  2. Karch Says:

    Very fair points, Gnomeaggedon. Just to reply:

    -I would argue that if you ever think “hey, my DPS is suffering,” then your DPS IS suffering. The specific number doesn’t matter too much; I think every mage with reasonable experience has a sense for what kind of numbers he/she should be putting up, both overall and relative to the other party members. If you ever get the sense that you should be doing more damage, then yes, you probably should be doing more damage.

    -I’m assuming that because this blog is all about improving DPS, and Noorie asked the question to this blog, then yes Noorie cares about improving DPS :)

    -Excellent point about overall vs. boss dps as well – only concern yourself with boss fight dps!

  3. When is your DPS too low? « Armaggedon’s coming Says:

    [...] he had one the other day about how to fix low DPS, which prompted me to respond asking when do you know if your DPS is too low and does it really [...]

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