# Tag Archives: Cataclysm

## Calculating DoT & HoT Haste Sweet Spots

One of the biggest challenges with the new way DoTs (and HoTs) work in Cataclysm is knowing when you’re at enough Haste to make it worth your while to add more and get extra ticks on your spells, or when it would be better to switch over to a different stat like Mastery or Crit. This is further complicated because each spell has a different breakpoint or plateau due to their duration and intervals, so you can’t just say there’s a set Haste level for your class – it all depends on what you’re casting.

The formula for computing the number of ticks is relatively straightforward:

Round ( Base Spell Duration / ( Base Tick Time / (1 + Haste %)))

In other words, take the base tick time, modify it with haste, then see if the base duration would round it up to an additional tick.

Straightforward doesn’t always mean simple, though. In order to make decisions about how much Haste to stack, you’ll want to look at all of your DoTs and see where the sweet spot is for you.

Recognizing that some people are more comfortable with math than others, I went ahead and built a spreadsheet so that you could see how your spells would work with Haste. Cyn’s DoT/HoT Haste Calculator:

• Lets you configure four spells with different durations and tick times.
• Gives you a place to enter your current Haste percentage and see its effect on each spell and the GCD.
• Lets you see how much Haste rating you will need to reach specific Haste percentages at level 70, 80, and 85.
• Provides a table of Haste values from 0%-50% with related values for each.

To use it, download the file and open it with the spreadsheet program of your choice. If you don’t have one, I recommend the free OpenOffice suite. Change the DoT1-4 values to match the values for the spells of your choice, then put your current Haste value in the big yellow cell that says YOUR HASTE % HERE. The values should fill in.

Here’s what it looks like, if you don’t want to fire up Excel or OO:

I debated putting in a duration calculator, but it cluttered things up too much for a 1.0 release. I’d appreciate any feedback you might have on this spreadsheet. Corrections, comments, whatever, let me know!

(And for the Warlocks out there, I’m sure you see that the default DoTs are: Immo/UA, Corruption, BoD, BoA. Just as it should be.)

Update 12/31/10: I’ve updated the spreadsheet to version 1.1 to include Hamlet’s breakpoint math, below. (Thanks, Hamlet!) There is a new section that shows you where the first 4 ticks are added to your DoT/HoT, as well as the next Haste value you will need to reach to gain an additional tick.

Update 1/2/11: Updated to version 1.11. Fixed a bug in the table, thanks Hylix!

## Tol Barad and the Ghosts of Wintergrasp

Wintergrasp was one of the great success stories of Wrath – a PvP zone with epic battles between hundreds of opposing players. Hundreds. The Battle for Wintergrasp unified factions on servers like no event before or since. The call would go out in Dalaran that the battle was starting. “Please start a new raid, this one is full!” people would cry out in the prep rooms, and if you were smart, you used addons to create those raids. Every two and a half hours servers would come together to beat the crap out of each other on the frozen fields of Wintergrasp.

And it was glorious.

This is not to say Wintergrasp was not without its problems in the beginning – do you remember driving siege engines through the walls? – but it was an immediate success on a scale that Blizzard was not prepared to handle. Wintergrasp caused Northrend servers to crawl during good battles, and crash during the really big ones. The lag during larger battles never really went away, even when WG went to an instanced battleground.

Wintergrasp was an immediate success, and somewhat unexpectedly, it stayed successful for the entirety of Wrath of the Lich King. Tenacity and the self-righting mechanics allowed outnumbered factions to compete. The map is interesting and requires players to make choices about what to attack and what to defend. The southern towers required attackers to make choices about how much strength to commit to offense versus defending the towers, while giving the defenders a reason to leave the safety of the Keep. The Keep itself is large enough to prevent a concentrated buildup of defensive forces, requiring defenders to make positioning choices.

But most important of all, Wintergrasp gave players an incentive to participate.

There’s a fundamental difference between PvE and PvP encounters: motivation. A PvE encounter has to offer a reward for the players to make them want to do it. Justice Points, badges, gear, achievements – whatever it is – all these things are offered as incentives for players to engage in, and defeat, the PvE encounter. In PvP, however, you have to motivate both sides to play, winners and losers alike.

Think of it as having to pay raid bosses to show up to be loot pinatas. You can’t have PvP without the other players, and they have to have a reason to show up.

Wintergrasp did this extremely well. Not only did it reward victory extremely well – a zone-wide XP buff, Stone Keepers Shards for heirlooms, and tokens that let you get great gear – it rewarded failure, too. People wanted to win, but even if they lost, they still got both honor and tokens. Victory was rewarded well, but failure wasn’t a complete waste of time.

This brings us to Tol Barad, Cataclysm’s PvP centerpiece.

Tol Barad is, ultimately, a simple battleground. It’s smaller than Wintergrasp, with somewhat simpler objectives. Looking at it topologically:

The goal is simple. The attackers (who use the green graveyards) need to take and hold the three outer nodes (Warden’s Vigil, Slagworks, and Ironclad Garrison), while the defenders (who use the purple one in the center) need to prevent this. The 3 towers (Spires) can be destroyed to add time to the clock, but they’re not really important.

To capture one of the outer nodes, you need to have more players in that area. You don’t have to be winning, you just have to have more players around it. The more players you have, the faster the bar swings to your side.

Sounds simple, right?

There’s only one problem: Tol Barad is broken. Gevlon warned folks 10 days ago to stay away until it’s fixed. Mat McCurley over at WoW Insider has an excellent analysis of the six problems affecting Tol Barad, as well as solutions to fixing each one of them. Both of these posts are worth your time to read, especially Mat’s WI post.

Look at that map again. The defensive strategy is simple – send all of your forces along a purple line to the node where the attackers are weakest. The attackers, in turn, will have to keep circling around on the green lines, trying to outnumber the defenders at any one point. But the defenders will always be able to get to a new node first. The attackers have the tactical advantage at the node due to the nearby graveyard, but the defenders have the strategic advantage for the battle.

“I don’t believe in no-win scenarios,” a famous starship captain once said, and I don’t either. Attackers can win Tol Barad, in theory. It’s just really, really, really hard. It involves subterfuge, deceit, spying, and being as underhanded as you can manage, but you can do it.

But even though it’s possible, it’s just not worth it.

THE GHOSTS OF WINTERGRASP

I remember looking over the gear I could get from Tol Barad and wondering where all the PvP equipment was. I mean, for a place that you have to fight tooth and nail for, why would I want to even bother? Some daily quests? The incentives are all wrong. I would rather spend my time in battlegrounds grinding out Honor and Conquest points than fighting for Tol Barad.

I should not be ambivalent that the opposite faction controls Tol Barad all the time on my server. But I am. What is in it for me that I can’t get elsewhere?

Wintergrasp hit the rewards perfectly. Not only did you get access to a raid boss for winning, but you got heirlooms for the PvE crowd and good offset pieces for the PvPers. And the losers had a reason to participate – even if you lost, you edged closer to that gear, and eventually you’d win and be able to buy it.

Tol Barad, frankly, doesn’t offer me enough to make it worth the effort.

I was having a good night in the battlegrounds earlier this week, so on a lark, I queued up for Wintergrasp again, and joined into a 5v5 running battle across the entire zone. Wintergrasp doesn’t really work as a 5v5 Arena, but I saw a few familiar faces in there (mostly on the other side) and enjoyed securing workshops, building catapults (hey, it’s all we could afford), and trying to survive long enough to get some damage done on the walls. It was fun, but not very good. Small WGs favor the defenders, heavily.

But I knew that if we put enough people in, on both sides, it would have been a fair fight. You may not be able to do as much with only 5-10 people per side in Wintergrasp, but you certainly could take the keep with a little bit of work.

Not so for Tol Barad. The strategic problems are such that if you have 1 person, or 80, the results will be the same.

I love the idea of Tol Barad. I want to see it flourish, to thrive, to be the reason I log in at specific times each day. I want it to put Wintergrasp to shame, because Wintergrasp’s time is gone.

But for now, Tol Barad is just a pale ghost of Wintergrasp.

## Would You Like to Play a Game of Chess?

It's all fun and games in Warsong Gulch. And all the other battlegrounds, too!

Practice makes perfect.

That’s true in sports, it’s true in games, it’s true pretty much everywhere. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice, of course.

Starting with the latest Arena season, excuse me, Rated PvP season, you’ll be able to do just that.

Beginning with Arena Season 9, we’re giving Arena and Battleground teams the option to challenge each other to War Games, a new kind of skirmish that allows teams to practice, set up matches against friends or rivals, or even try out potential recruits.

War Games allow you to engage in a PvP scrimmage with other people on your server. It’s like a /duel, with groups, only you get to choose where you fight. You don’t gain any Honor or Conquest points here, nor Honorable Kills – but you do get to send your group and another group into any BG or Arena to practice your skills.

This is a great thing for casual and hardcore PvPers alike, allowing people to practice without consequence. You’re in a group that you choose, so you no longer have to pug a battleground to learn how it works. You can explore at will if your opponents are friendly (hellooooo, better BG screenshots!) or use it to actually compete with other groups in your guild.

I read over the FAQ Blizzard posted above and it covers a lot of possibilities War Games modes opens up. I think this is a great tool, one that can be creatively applied to make battleground PvP a better experience for everyone.  You can bring new players into Battlegrounds and teach them how it works without the pressure of competition.  You can try out different group compositions and strategies. You can hold intraguild competitions – my own guild leader is already planning a 2v2 bracket event with prizes.

One of the biggest challenges to getting people into battlegrounds and Arena is unfamiliarity with the game, combined with the pressure of having to learn very quickly. War Games will definitely help make them more accessible, while also giving a tool that high-end players will use to perfect their play.

I’m really excited that Blizzard implemented this. It’s due out this week, and I can’t wait to try it out.

Let me know how you plan to use /wg in the comments!

Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

## Patience

Patience.

If I could give you one piece of advice on the eve of Cataclysm, it’s to have patience.

A great many things are going to happen over the upcoming days and weeks. They will be exciting, and fun, and you should take part in them.

But you should also remember that you have time.

A great many people will return to the game, or begin playing for the first time. There will be a lot of competition for resources, for position in the new guild society that is coming, for bragging rights.

Have patience.

Don’t let the expectations of others make you do things that aren’t fun for you. This is your play, not theirs. Take your time.

Enjoy the wonder of the new world. Don’t be in a rush to become jaded.

You have time to see it all.

Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

## Battleground Brackets Halved

The PvP brackets have been cut in two.  What was once 10-19 is now 10-14 and 15-19; two brackets where one formerly existed.

Rilgon (of Stabilized Effort Scope) tipped me off to this today, and it looks to be true in all the brackets I checked. I can’t find official confirmation of this, but hopefully we’ll see something soon.

If true, this is a fantastic change. It will be great for levelers, as it removes the huge disparity between the top and bottom of the brackets.  It will be really interesting for twinks, giving people a lot of options where to lock XP.  (Level 10 twinks will probably become dominant in the 10-14 bracket due to favorable mechanics at level 10.)

Let me be clear – right now this is not official. There have been some posts on Something Awful about this, and my own observation is that this seems to be the case. Treat this as a rumor until you hear it from a blue post.

But man, what a thing to hope for. Just when I thought the surprises had stopped, Blizzard pulls this one out on us. Well done!

Update: while it’s not a blue post, there’s a great thread started with the new bracket listing.  Some interesting additions include Eye of the Storm in the 30s and AV having a 60-64 bracket, making it more difficult on the expansion twinks who tended to dominate the 51-60 bracket before.  (Expansion twinks just use endgame Vanilla gear and don’t get BC, so they never level up but have unlocked XP and hammer the leveling bracket. Now they’ll face Outland gear, and lots of it.)

Update: Confirmed! (Thanks, Ambermist!)

Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

## Burning Down The House

So here it is, the Shattering of old Azeroth.  The old world is gone, and while parts of it are familiar, so much of it is not.  Stormwind and Orgrimmar are awesome.  They are different in ways I didn’t expect. They look better, they feel more like living cities.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? I sure am. And I love it.

Don’t get me wrong; it was disconcerting to sit there, dumbfounded, just trying to take in the changes to very familiar cities. I think it’s important to maintain focus, to embrace constraints, and to set goals.

But last night, I had no idea where to even begin. Any half-baked plans I had for Cataclysm were thrown out the window due to the sheer immensity of the changes.

What I felt, more than anything else, was like a younger me, logging in to this game some coworkers had talked about, saying, “how addictive can this World of Warcraft be, anyways?”  But instead of truly new player, I have at least some idea of what I’m doing now. I’m not struggling with how to move my character around, or how to write a macro, or how to fund my adventures.

No, I think what overwhelmed me, more than anything else, was knowing all the new things that are out there to experience, and knowing that I wanted to make it last.

I remember those heady feelings of going into a new zone, knowing nothing about it other than that I had a quest to deliver something there. The experience of discovering something new is potent, heady, and I want to savor it.

I looked at my stable of alts, of those that I’d gotten up to level 20 or so, and thought about them a lot. See, I’d experienced the old game through the eyes of Cynwise; all of my effort was poured into her. For a while it was her and her banker; then Cynwulf was born, then another alt, then another… all good, because rolling alts is a joy all its own.

But it leaves me with a question I think a lot of players are wrestling with right now: how do I want to experience this new game? If you’ve been playing for a while, you have the knowledge and resources to do pretty much whatever you want. You can ignore the new old world, wait for Cataclysm to be officially released, and level your 80s to 85 and start playing at the level cap again. You can roll a bunch of alts and level them all at the same time. You can roll one alt, and experience the game again. You can take your existing characters and run them all through it. You can delete everything and start over from scratch.

I feel like we wrestle with the Tyranny of Choice in Warcraft too much; with so many choices of what we can do, we sometimes forget what it is we really we want to do. But in this case, I think the choices are a good (if completely overwhelming) thing.  It’s time to challenge those assumptions we’ve made about what we want out of our play time.  It’s time to try new things, to see if we like them.  It’s okay to not be perfect, to not be leet, to not know what you want to do.

Sometimes you have goals. I’m someone who likes goals, even if they’re kinda silly. Absurd. Far fetched. I’m big on having goals, on embracing constraints. It’s good to have a narrow focus.

But sometimes, you don’t know what it is you want to do next. You wander from activity to activity, sampling a bit of everything.

And that’s okay too.

I don’t know what I’m going to do next in Warcraft. I’ll log in tonight and… see what happens. I’m not in any rush, not in any hurry to get it all done now. Maybe I’ll roll an alt. Maybe I’ll play the AH. Maybe I’ll try soloing Deadmines again. I got no clue.

But I’m not going to try to do it all at once.

Slow down. Take your time. Find out things that you want to do, and do them. The joy and wonder of things being new wears off all too quickly. Don’t be in a hurry to be jaded.

This game will only be new once. Well, twice, since this game was already new once.

Okay, MAYBE, it can be new a third time in the future if they do this all over again. Whatever. My point still stands.

So.

If you feel like you want to do everything that’s new in Warcraft, but don’t even have a clue where to begin?

I’m right there with you, happily overwhelmed.

Filed under Cynwise's Battlefield Manual

## How Warlock DoTs Work in Cataclysm

Look out, Cynwise! The Training Dummy is sneaking up on you!

As part of the massive mechanics revamp that came in patch 4.0.1, substantial changes have been made to the way damage over time spells are handled in Warcraft.  The way you thought about DoTs in Wrath is now wrong; it’s time to start thinking of them the Cataclysm way.

Let’s take a look at the bread and butter DoT of Affliction: Corruption.

Setting aside abilities that refresh DoTs for a moment, in Wrath, the right way to refresh a DoT was to let it tick the last tick, then immediately refresh it, like so.

This gave you 12 ticks for 2 GCDs of work.  Warlocks need to evaluate the DPCT (Damage Per Cast Time) of a spell, and in this case we see that those 2 GCDs gives us the full value of each Corruption spell (6 ticks) in the most amount of time.

What you wanted to avoid, at all costs, was clipping the DoT.  Clipping your DoTs meant refreshing it before the last tick, like so:

Clipping the DoT overwrites the first cast entirely, so the final tick of the first one is cancelled out by the delay preceeding the first tick.  In the time it took you to cast two Corruption spells, you got 11 ticks instead of 12.  The DPCT of each Corruption has been lowered by 8% just because the DoT was clipped. That’s a huge DPS loss.

I like to think of it as a single unit, the pause first and then the tick.  Casting the DoT starts with the pause, ignoring the previous spell.

This has been changed for the better in Cataclysm.

If you cast in between the penultimate and final ticks, your first Corruption spell gets its last tick in, and then the duration is extended beyond that as you’d expect.  You don’t want to let it fall off, because then you’re introducing the lag we used to have, and you have about a 2 second window between ticks to refresh Corruption.

Why after the penultimate tick?  Why not refresh it all the time?

Well, let’s see what happens then.

This example shows refreshing the DoT after the third tick.  The fourth tick still happens – it doesn’t get clipped – but the duration doesn’t stack up to a full 36 seconds.  You get 10 ticks for 2 GCDs of work, or a 17% DPCT loss for doing this early.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should NEVER do this. In a real fight, your instant casts should be refreshed whenever you’re moving, especially now that they don’t clip a tick in the middle of the rotation.  If you’re moving, you should be casting your Curse, Bane, Corruption, and then Life Tap to keep up your mana. Never stop casting!

But standing still, yeah.  Wait until the second to last tick, then refresh the DoT.

THE ONE DOT YOU STILL DON’T CLIP

The new refresh mechanics are fantastic, but there’s still one DoT you let fall off.  Can you guess what it is?

That’s right: Bane of Agony.  Take a look at its ticks:

Bane of Agony hits REALLY HARD at the end. (Not quite to scale.)

Bane of Agony has quick (2 second) ticks that ramp up over the course of the DoT: 4 weak, 4 middle, 4 strong.  This makes it ideal for use while pet tanking, as the aggro starts off very slow and ramps up with the damage.

But it also means that if you refresh the DoT before the final tick, you’ll overwrite a strong tick with a weak one.

This is somewhat counterintuitive, given how Corruption works above.  You’d think that you’d get your strong tick off, and then 4 weak ticks.  But no, you get 5 weak ticks.  Strip off your gear and hit a training dummy, you’ll see it in the logs.  Everything goes smoothly, you get 24 ticks total, but during the refresh you’ll get 5 weak ticks.

So. Let your Bane of Agony fall off, and refresh it once it does.  Everything else? Hit before the last tick.

THE EFFECTS OF HASTE & HASTE PLATEAUS

Haste has changed so that it tries to fit more ticks in to a static spell duration, instead of reducing the duration with the same number of ticks.  Each cast can give you more ticks of a spell than before.  In Wrath, Haste could make an 18 second/6 tick Corruption spell a 13.5 second/6 tick spell, giving you a DPS increase without actually changing the DPCT of the DoT.

In Cataclysm, Haste adds more ticks into the existing duration, which maintains the same DPS, but increases the DPCT of each DoT.  Let’s look at the two models.

Haste reduces the amount of time between ticks equally in both models, so the ticks are coming at the same frequency.  Assuming spell damage has not been altered, then the DPS is exactly the same between each model.

What’s different is the DPCT of the DoT goes up dramatically in the Cataclysm model.  Over a boss fight, you will spend less time refreshing the DoT if it adds ticks within the existing duration instead of shortening the duration.  In a 5 minute fight, you’d spend 23 GCDs casting Corruption in Wrath, but only 17 GCDs in Cataclysm, for the exact same DPS.  That’s a 35% increase in DPCT.

This means you have gained 6 GCDs to cast other spells during that fight, just by changing the way Haste is calculated.  That’s pretty cool!

However, this new mechanic has created some interesting problems when stacking Haste.

See, the game now has to decide when it’s going to add another tick.  There’s a specific amount of Haste which will give you a new tick, and when you hit that level of Haste, your DPS goes up by a large amount. But Haste only really benefits your DoTs when it gets you over the threshold. This rounding off leads to a phenomenon called the Haste Plateau.

Here’s the difference between 24% Haste and 25% Haste:

A very small amount of Haste in the first scenario would add a big DPS boost.  Haste in the second situation doesn’t help very much (until you get near adding a 9th tick, of course.)

This is different from the Wrath method of simply compressing the DoT down – Haste scaled linearly with that model, with the more Haste added, the faster each DoT burned.  In the Cataclysm model, Haste scales in a quantum fashion – you hit a threshold where the game rounds off, you get another tick.  Then you plateau out until you reach the next threshold.

Here’s a graph, definitely not to scale, about how the different models worked.

This graph shouldn’t be taken as a DPS comparison between the two systems – it’s just a way to show the different kinds of scaling going on here.  (Besides, DPS should be static between the two models.)  But the idea is straightforward: there are Haste values where your DoT DPCT will take a big jump.

Now, you’re probably asking, what are those Haste values?  When do I need to start looking to prioritize Haste over Mastery or Spellpower?

Well, for a Destruction Warlock using Immolate in a raid environment, Elitist Jerks has the Haste Plateau values as: 157, 781, 1406, 2030.  My own testing shows that I don’t gain an extra Immolate tick until around 10% Haste, which I think was around 500 Haste.  Not having raid buffs is probably the reason for the discrepancy in our two tests, so I’ll just put both out there and encourage you to hit the dummies with your own gear.  Swap pieces in and out, reforge them, and then count the ticks on the dummy.

The most important thing to take away from this is that while Haste is, in general, very good for Warlocks (and other DoT-based caster classes), there are times that Haste will be better for you than others.  Also, different spells will scale differently with different amounts of Haste due to duration and intervals between ticks.  Bane of Doom (4 ticks every 60 seconds) scales poorly, while Bane of Agony (12 ticks every 24 seconds) scales really, really well.  Immolate, Unstable Affliction (5 ticks over 15 seconds) and Corruption (6 ticks every 18 seconds) are all on the same 3-second scale.

There's a lot of math in this part, so Cynwise is going to reenact some of her favorite parts of The Return of the Jedi for you. You're welcome.

AUTOMATIC REFRESHES AND HASTE

All of the above is important theory for warlocks to know, but in practice, Affliction Warlocks never worry about refreshing Corruption manually.  They keep it going with the Everlasting Affliction talent, which gives Haunt, Drain Life, and Drain Soul the ability to refresh it for them.  This DoT-refreshing ability simplifies the Affliction priority list considerably, because all you have to worry about is keeping Haunt on the target, as it will take care of Corruption.

But, Affliction still needs to keep Unstable Affliction and Bane of Agony rolling on a target, and those now have two different methods they’ll need to consider.

Demonology has joined Affliction in the DoT-refreshing camp, as the new talent Cremation refreshes Immolate when Hand of Gul’dan is cast.  This is cool, and helps reduce the complexity in an already complicated priority list.  But the Cataclysm Haste model can do wonky things to this refresh.

Take a look at the 24% Haste example up above.  See the dangling blue line at the end of it?  That’s a good conceptual representation of what’s going on – you’ve got almost, but not quite, enough Haste to make it to that last tick.  And the duration between the ticks is still really close.

But the DoT ends on the last tick.  So while it’s convenient to say that Haste doesn’t reduce the duration of DoTs in the Cataclysm model, it’s not entirely accurate.  But only Demonology warlocks refreshing Immolate with Hand of Gul’dan actually do need to worry about it right now.  Pay attention, Demo locks!

I mentioned earlier that the game has a way to determine when you get another tick on your DoT.  It takes the time between ticks – reduced by Haste – and divides the total duration of the DoT by that number.  It then rounds off the result to figure out how many ticks you’ll have.

In other words:

• Take the time between each tick – for Immolate, it’s 3 seconds.
• Apply Haste to it by dividing it by 1 + the Haste percentage.  For 9% Haste, it would be (3/1.09).  10% Haste would be (3/1.1).
• Divide the total duration of the DoT by the hasted tick speed to find out how many ticks the DoT will have.  Immolate is 15 seconds, so 10% Haste would be 15/(3/1.1) = 5.5 ticks.  9% Haste is 15/(3/1.09) = 5.45 ticks.
• Round that number to the nearest integer, so 10% rounds to 6 ticks, while 9% rounds to 5.

So while you get 5 ticks at 9% Haste, and 6 ticks at 10% Haste, keep one important fact in mind: the tick speed is not rounded off.  The spell ends when the last tick ticks.

DoT duration equals tick speed times number of ticks.  So the following Haste values give you the following values:

• At 9% Haste, each Immolate tick will take 2.7523 seconds.  You’ll get 5 ticks, for a duration of 13.76 seconds.
• At 10% Haste, each tick is 2.7273 seconds long.  You get 6 ticks, for a duration of 16.3636 seconds.
• At 15% Haste, ticks are 2.6087 seconds, you get 6 of them, and Immo lasts 15.65 seconds.
• At 20% Haste, ticks are 2.5 seconds long, you get 6 of them, and Immo is exactly 15 seconds long again.
• At 29% Haste, ticks are 2.32 seconds each, you have 6 of them, and Immo is 13.95 seconds long.
• At 30% Haste, ticks are 2.3077 seconds long.  This is the breakpoint for 7 ticks on Immo, and the DoT is 16.15 seconds long.

While this has interesting implications for Destruction (who should strive for 10% Haste no matter what), it is even more interesting implications for Demo.

Consider: Hand of Gul’dan is on a 12 second cooldown, with a 2 second cast time, before Haste.  That’s 14 seconds between each refresh of a spell that, unhasted, has a 15 second duration.  Okay, no problem, right?

Only, Haste can both shorten or lengthen the duration of Immolate, depending on the specific value.  It never goes outside a certain range (13.64-16.36 seconds), but the lower end of that range drops below the CD and hasted cast time of Hand of Gul’dan.

Take 9% Haste again.  9% Haste brings HoG’s cast time down to (2/1.09) = 1.8349.  With a 12 second CD, that means HoG can be cast once every 13.8349 seconds.  Awesome!

Except you’re refreshing a spell that has a Hasted duration of 13.76 seconds.  Oops.

There isn’t really a great solution for this, aside from Demonology locks knowing where their Haste is and making sure that they can effectively refresh Immolate.  The area between 7-9.5% Haste seems to be the really dangerous area; the next such place where this happens is around 29% haste, and the HoG cast time is only 1.55 seconds then.  So it’s not a big deal then, just at low Haste levels.

I don’t think the Cataclysm Haste mechanic is broken because of this issue.  I think, if any technical solution is really needed, dropping the CD of HoG to 10 seconds through a Glyph would suffice.

This is just one of those places where the math gets really interesting, and where a little bit of Haste stacking can go a long way towards improving your DPS.

Did you have any idea DoTs could be so fascinating?

A FINAL WORD FOR HUNTERS (AND ROGUES AND FERAL DRUIDS AND…)

A final note about this article.  While I’m writing this for Warlocks, these new rules should apply across the board to all magic DoTs.  If you’re a caster  with DoTs – Mage, Shadow Priest, Boomkin, Elemental Shaman, Warlock, and maybe even Death Knights, though I’m not positive – these rules should now apply to you.  If you’re a class with physical damage DoTs, I’m 99% sure that Haste doesn’t affect your tick speed.  You can also still clip your DoTs (if they don’t automatically refresh).  The reasons behind it aren’t really clear to me, but I’ve been assured that this is how it works.

Basically, if your Haste is tied into your energy regeneration, you’re probably not getting any benefit to your DoTs from Haste.  And that sucks.

Because this new way of handling DoTs?  Sure, it requires some math to understand.  But the changes are awesome.

I hope all DoTs start working like this soon.

Questions?  Corrections?  Leave ’em in the comments.

Update (January 11th, 2011): Somehow, I forgot to mention that I put together a calculator for Haste Sweet Spots. If you want to toy around with your own values, give it a try!