Friday, February 22, 2008

More Haste, Less Rush

There are a tonne of items with Haste rating bonuses dropping in 2.4, which prompts a short examination of the stat and specifically how it affects hunters. Obviously it increases the rate at which we can make physical attacks, but what does that actually mean? Let's start with the basic haste mechanics, which were last changed in patch 2.2. The formula since then has been:

Hasted Speed = Weapon Speed / (Haste bonus 1 * Haste bonus 2 * (1+ (Total Haste Rating / 1576)))

Note the reference to both Haste bonus and Haste rating. These are two different things, and different abilities and items contribute to them. Attack speed increases from quivers and ammo pouches count as a bonus, as does the Beast Mastery talent Serpent's Swiftness, the hunter ability Rapid Fire and the Shaman spell Bloodlust. The Drums of Battle temporarily adds to the haste rating, as do items like my rather lovely Shoulders of Lightning Reflexes.

This formula applied to my current raiding gear is:

Hasted Speed = Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix / (Quiver of a Thousand Feathers * (1+ (Shoulders of Lightning Reflexes / 1576)))
Hasted Speed = 2.90 / (1.15 * (1+ (37 / 1576)))
Hasted Speed = 2.90 / (1.15 * 1.0234)
Hasted Speed = 2.46, which is just what it says on my Auto Shot tooltip. Yay!

It's good to note that Steady Shot's speed is also affected by haste, even though it doesn't say it on its tooltip. Its cast time is 1.5 seconds, which makes the formula for me:

Hasted Steady = 1.5 / (1.15 * 1.0234)
Hasted Steady = 1.27

This is a pretty essential mechanic, particularly if you're a BM hunter. If it was locked at 1.5 seconds, BM Hunters with full Serpent's Swiftness would lose the ability to weave Steady whenever they were Bloodlusted or popped Rapid Fire! So, Steady must accelerate as well.

Now that we've covered how haste works, we can look at what haste actually does. With 105% haste, you make 105 attacks in the time you would've usually made 100, which means a 5% increase in damage per second. This is good stuff, and this increase is a multiplier, which can means that the damage increase from haste gets larger as your gear gets better. If you do 500 DPS normally, a haste increase of 5% will take you to 525 DPS - an increase of 25DPS, which is equivalent to an extra 350 AP using the standard 14AP = 1 DPS conversion. If you do 700 DPS normally, the same 5% haste increase will take you to 735DPS - an increase of 35 DPS, which is equivalent to an extra 490 AP. That's pretty great stuff, so the more haste the better right?

Well, not exactly. The first downside of haste for hunters is that because we're firing faster, we're using mana faster. In endurance fights, this can be a problem. With a lot of haste, you're going to have to be very aggressive with mana pots, and possibly make use of Superior Mana Oil. Boxes in talents like Efficiency and Thrill of the Hunt also help. If you're still having troubles, Aspect of the Viper is your friend.

Haste also isn't that useful in Arena or Battlegrounds, unless you have a significant chunk of it. If you've got a very respectable 158 points of haste rating (a 10% speed increase) you're going to fire 10 shots in your standard time of 9, which will certainly help in bursting someone down, but it's unlikely you'll get the chance with all the interrupts, stuns, fears, traps, charms, intimidations and blinds flying about like doves in a John Woo movie. Personally, I'm going to concentrate on Stamina and Resilience, but I can see that half a second in the Arena can mean the difference between a win or a loss, not to mention peppering a caster with shots can almost halt their spells entirely.

There's also a limit to the amount of haste that can be stacked before it starts messing with a hunter's shot rotation. Auto Shot has a 0.5 second hidden cast time, which reduces the time Steady has to fire without delaying the next Auto. The standard player to server latency is around 0.2 seconds, but for me in Australia it's more like 0.35 seconds. This means, with my current raid gear:

Auto Speed = 2.46
Steady Speed = 1.27
Real Steady Speed = 1.27 + 0.5 + 0.35
Real Steady Speed = 2.12

This leaves 0.34 seconds of time to safely absorb network blips and human error without clipping my Auto Shot. When everything is running smoothly, it even allows me to sneak an Arcane shot into that gap every few cycles, which is good for the DPS. Now, If I had 200 points of haste rating and a 2.7 speed weapon like the Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle, the numbers would be:

Auto Speed = 2.08
Steady Speed = 1.16
Real Steady Speed = 1.16 + 0.5 + 0.35
Real Steady Speed = 2.01

This leaves only 0.07 seconds of safe time, which isn't enough to avoid clipping, given network jitters and my inevitable late night reflex degradation. I'd also lose the ability to slide in Arcane shot. This is an extreme example, but it demonstrates that although haste is quite powerful, it ultimately has a limit. Weapon speed, talents, latency and shot rotation all play their part, as well as all the other stats and bonuses you'll be missing out on by specializing in haste gear.


John S said...

Fantastic post! As you know, I've been a bit confused by Haste rating/bonus for a while, so this really helps! Thanks.

TeePee said...

Great post mate! You've covered it all nicely... Here's hoping someone gives spellcasting haste the same love some time soon heh

Wolf said...

Really clear explanation and helped me a lot to better understand haste. Thank you.

Jezrael said...

Coming late to the party - but thank you! A really good explanation of haste. I'm in Aus myself and with my latency I've tended to avoid haste, I have a 2.10 attack speed as it is.