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An ex-raid leader, gamer extraordinaire.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bloodlust & You

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that most of the time, Bloodlust should be burned on the pull. This generated some interest and I promised to look back to the subject, so here it is.

First, we should compare Bloodlusting early or at Execute range, and ElitistJerks do not fail to deliver us some math. TL;DR version is (copied from EJ):

  1. If there is no other factor, use BL early to maximize the number of people and cooldowns available.
  2. If one particular phase needs to be burnt through in the shortest possible time, use BL then, and match cooldowns to BL.

There is a few good reasons why Bloodlust on the pull is so great. 
Proc-Based Buffs:
Make a Death Knight on the PTR, give him some proc trinkets, give him a runeword, and go to a dummy. Toggle auto-attack, and watch the number of buffs that appear from procs in 1-5 seconds. 

Most (if not all) proc based buffs have a very high chance to proc, with differing cooldowns. Usually, it's something like every 45 seconds (or 90, or 135. You get the drill). The nature of these abilities is they're unreliable, even if you keep track of multiples of 45 seconds. Even then, not all procs diligently go active every 45 seconds. So, the only time you can rely on these procs, is the beginning of the fight.
X Minute Cooldowns:
Classes' cooldowns do not always match. For example, Rogues' Adrenaline Rush, Death Knights' Summon Gargoyle/Empower Rune Weapon are five minute cooldowns that insanely benefit from syncronization of buffs. For all classes, it's a direct DPS increase to burn all their cooldowns at once on the pull, and later burn them as they come off CD. Now the problem is, some of these cooldowns do not come off CD simultaneously. There are 1.5 minute, 2 minute, 3 minute, 5 minute cooldowns. A large part of DPSers damage comes from timing the usage of cooldowns.

"We'll let you know when we're going to Bloodlust" is murder to DPSers. DPSers [should] plan ahead. We need concrete information to whether burn our Cooldowns to squeeze a bit more DPS or wait if we know there's a Bloodlust coming our way in a minute.

Haste is multiplative:
The simplest math is, if you have a cooldown that gives you %50 haste, and there's the goold old %30 Bloodlust, one might think that the final haste is %180. This is wrong. The correct math is: 100 x 1.5 x 1.3 = %195. Different haste effects stack insanely well. But this is the tip of the iceberg.

While haste for casters offer almost a direct damage increase, for melee classes currently it only effects the amount of while damage they do. To make the stat more attractive, Blizzard has several on-strike abilities that scale well with Haste: Druids proc Clearcasting, Death Knights proc Killing Machine, Rogues regain energy, Warriors gain more rage, Shamans proc Maelstorm Weapon and [I believe] Paladins deal more damage from their Seals. The faster you hit, the more yellow damage you will deal.

And what happens if you syncronize all Cooldowns at once? Haste gives you more special abilities, and your other buffs increase your yellow damage.

"Okay, we get it, but why more DPS?"
I think a lot of people actually understand the mechanics of Bloodlust and why is it a straight-up DPS increase when all of these are blown at the start. The problem is, the raid leaders often come from Tank/Healer roles who devalue exactly how is all this DPS is beneficial to their guild. They say, "We don't have a problem with DPS, our Tank dies at X / our DPSer die at Y" and to them, more overall damage from raid is unnecessary.

This is one of the fallacies I've time and time tried to combat. Or that the added damage is required for certain parts of encounter when the boss hits relatively harder. I'll bite, time for a little napkin math:

The boss has a one minute phase [based on your raid damage] when it hits like there's no tomorrow. Bloodlust, while not directly increasing the overall damage by %30, it does increase frequencies of yellow attacks and is multiplicative, so let's stick with this number. You blew the Bloodlost for %30 raid wide damage increase for a 1 minute phase:

First 40 seconds: %30 damage increase, effectively 52 seconds of damage. +4 seconds = 44 seconds.

You've gained 16 seconds of less punishment on your tank. [In case you're wondering, this is exactly how long Saurfang would take, if you had 15 DPSers pulling off 10k DPS each. Obviously, if your guild pulls 20k sustained DPS, he'll only take 30 seconds and if you blow Bloodlust then, you'll close it up in 22 seconds, gaining 8 seconds less of a punishment].

So what is this - Bloodlust now is another healer tool to heal the tank less? Why - I never knew!

Aside from the fact that, if you can keep up the tank for 44 seconds of saurfang cleavefest, you can probably spam it a bit more for 10 more seconds. That and, assuming you'll lose a few DPS on the way, while an early Bloodlust would result in perfectly delaying the first mark for a good while with all the alive DPSers rocking the boats. Yes, you should blow Bloodlost on him on the pull.

I was told Rotface is another fight where one should save Bloodlust for %30. Directly from Wowwiki:

"It's frequently recommended to use the DPS cooldowns at 30%. This is not a useful recommendation, since the encounter mechanics remain the same over the whole fight - there is no special enrage at low boss health. The only thing which changes is the Mutated Infection rate, the time between Infections slowly decreases. For this reason, it's best to use all cooldowns just a few seconds after the pull, as soon as everybody is in position. At that point, all damage dealers can maximize their output undisturbed from Infections or small Oozes. It's even possible to have the kiting tank help DPSing until the second Infection."
And in case you're wondering -no, I'm not a writer at Wowwiki. Heh.

Next time you go to a farm boss of your's, please redirect your raid leader to this page, and ask them for an experiment: That you blow Bloodlust on the pull and try to see if there's a difference. Ask for people how it felt [It should be gooood]. Ask whether your healers had mana issues with overall length of the fight cropped thanks to DPS optimization.

You should visibly see a difference between a boss being whacked and a boss being whacked. This also serves a second, nice psychological side effect - people enjoy seeing big numbers! They will see how fast the boss' health is dropping, and they'll be excited. This excitement is particularly useful in progress nights, where you struggle with the morale of the guild. Keep the spirits up -one particular way to do is spoil your DPSers and let them have fun with the 30 seconds of godmode. They'll be more eager to loose hell on the boss, and thus, your guild will reap the benefits.

One thing of note is, I don't suggest you use Bloodlust on the pull for every single boss. If you're unsure off boss' abilities, or you're confident the boss is not an asshole like Anub'Arak is at p3 and yes, your whole raid can instantly die over the course of 1 second, then opt to use it on pull as a default, which will help you see more abilities on progress wipes.

Optimization and DPS science is not easily "X is True, Y is False" for every single case, and Blooslust is an example of an ambigious discussion. Strictly mathematically speaking, Bloodlust on pull is undisputedly a DPS increase beyond your imagining. However, this doesn't mean it's undisputedly the right choise all the time. For example, I can't think of any boss in ICC where I don't want to Bloodlust immediately [Well, Gunship doesn't matter, but it really doesn't matter seeing how easy it is]. In previous content, we had bosses like Yogg-Saron and Anub'arak who laughed at Bloodlust.

I don't expect tough healers to think 10 seconds less off tank punishment is worth losing 1 minute of mana because the DPSers didn't benefit from Bloodlust the best. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. But please, for what it's worth -tell exactly when you're going to blow Bloodlust to your DPSers, before the encounter. They will thank you for helping them do their job.


  1. Also worth note about bloodlust being a surviability cooldown:

    Your healers benefit from 30% haste as well. So faster heals should mean the ability to heal more incoming damage.

    So it is especially great at the last phase of sarufang where you will have more marks up + your current tank is taking a major beating.

  2. I must admit, taking healers into consideration when popping bloodlust, is demoralizing for me. But that is one of the benefits of Bloodlust, true.

    If I were in a fresh new guild trying Saurfang, I'd go with Bloodlust on the pull first, to try it out, and see how healers do when it's in 30% range. I've rarely witnessed tank deaths in our guild, outside of probably being unable to interrupt General Vezax in time, so for a steady damage (albeit high), prioritizing Bloodlust to help healers alone (as it'll hurt DPSers bad, not to mention the mana of the healers due increased combat time) don't really ring to me.

    But as I've said, the highest amount of contribution you can get from Bloodlust is to tell your DPSers when it's going to happen, as opposed to "Okay guys, it looks good now. Let's have a bloodlust!" random nonsense. Mine is merely an aggressive attitude which I defend, but in either case, the guild *should* have an attitude with Bloodlust. It's probably one of the most important buffs for a raid.

  3. Saurfang generates more runic power in the enrage phase of the encounter, increasing the rate of his attacks and runic power gaining. Mark of the fallen champion will also hit harder, increasing the chance that someone will die and thus prolonging the fight. While dps may blow cooldowns early on into the fight and thus wont be able to synergise them with the bloodlust phase. However this would be the coordinated burn phase you can warn your dps about. You are likely to gain the full 40 seconds of dps time which I feel is utilising it successfully.

  4. Excellent look at Bloodlust. I agree that to many people, it's counter-intuitive to lust at the onset of a fight, since they see the largest challenge as the end (and thus it is the segment of the fight that they want to barrel through).

    Re: bloodlusting during Saurfang's enrage, the assumption here is that your healers will be saddled with the same number of marks as they would had you bloodlusted at the beginning. This is incorrect. Because your raid team can essentially limit Saurfang to a constant minimum gain rate through the course of the encounter, you can actually end up with one less mark that you would otherwise have (and a lower starting BP value). This limits the healing load and counterbalances the sentiment that healers need more support when BP gain increases at the < 30% threshold.

  5. I agree with bloodlust/heroism at the start of a fight unless it's needed for the execute phase.

    Consider that my main is a resto shaman, and one of my alts is a Affli lock who is terribly undergeared. As well as the cooldown synching argument, which is probably the best argument for BL on pull, my affli lock will see a ~25% dps increase from BL at the start of the fight. Corruption keeps the stats from the initial cast, no matter how many times it is refreshed. This means that BL/haste pre-pot at the start of a fight, 3x nightfall stacks form Haunt/SB, curse of the elements, +crit & +haste trinkets then corruption. Corruption will tick twice as often as it would otherwise, for insane damage and crits. This alone puts me from close to the bottom of the dps list to 3rd from top on a fight like Toravon. My lock has a 4500 GS.

    On a fight like Saurfang, the benefit of BL on the pull is exponentially multiplicative . Not only can the dps synch their cooldowns and go hell for leather, they can unleash molten fury at the boss without having to stop dps to switch targets, or move out of the way of blood beasts. All the time the DPS are moving, or switching targets and interrupting rotations/letting debuffs and dots drop off the boss, they are wasting the benefits of the BL buff.

    TL;DR use BL at the start unless there is a real benefit to using it at the execute phase.