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Thread: ISB Vs. Scorch (Is there a legitimate conclusion?)

  1. #1

    ISB Vs. Scorch (Is there a legitimate conclusion?)

    ISB Vs. Scorch (Help Please)
    Alright. There have been plenty of times I have bounced something off one of your member's shoulders, and have been presented with amazing feedback and information. This time, I have to up the level, and really dig for what I want.

    The argument at hand;

    "When considering a Warlock and a Mage(2) in terms of DPS loss, which comes out ahead when faced with who to assign ISB/Scorch?"

    Its been a long standing argument between our Mages and Locks. Currently we have a warlock who specs into ISB to provide the debuff for our casters. Now, from what I am seeing he is either plagued with one of the following;

    Parse below is with our ISB warlock (Forsakensake).
    http://worldoflogs.com/reports/Dig7W.../?s=946&e=1189

    1) Lowered DPS due to a gimped spec (Is that possible with ISB or should he still be putting out significant numbers)
    2) Just a bad player.

    Now I am under the assumption that the mages lose less DPS than a warlock when speccing into the equiv (Scorch). I should also add we currently run with three mages. Having 1 spec into scorch would not be a terrible idea. However it is also an option to have them rotate.

    Now, this all came to light when I compared Fosakensake's performance as destruction (Which will always come ahead of ISB I am assuming) to his performance as ISB.

    http://worldoflogs.com/reports/mkY5z...?s=4103&e=4689

    Questions I am looking to have answered;

    Is it possible for him to do better as ISB?
    What losses do the mages suffer from speccing into scorch?
    How does it compare?
    How do you guys handle this debuff, and what were your experiences in figuring out which was more beneficial?

    Now I have read that there is a ~70 DPS loss to the mage depending on which encounter, and whether there are multiple target switches. Is it the same for a warlock?

  2. #2
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    To help folks understand (as I had to dig around myself) the comparison is between: Improved Scorch and Improved Shadowbolt. Next question is who has to apply this debuff, as it falls into a 'I lose DPS buffing the group/raid' category.

    I do point out that Glyph of Improved Scorch is something to consider, as a mage can debuff multiple targets and just need to refresh it every 30 seconds. A fire mage is able to apply this debuff in a single cast, which frees him to DPS unhindered, or even work in a Scorch to sustain the debuff effect. Catch is this requires a fire mage (which I believe isn't the top DPS build) and a major glyph slot.

    I would see if any of the mages can incorporate the Imp Scorch talent/glyph, and how that affects DPS amongst them and the warlock.

    Aside, I end up running my Unholy DK spec for application of Ebon Plaguebringer, thus freeing up the warlocks' from casting Curse of Elements. It sounds silly, but the competition to prove DPS is rather intense and measurable by things like Recount or WWS. Even if you're applying a notable debuff, being on the bottom of the meter carries a nasty stigma.

  3. #3
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    For the warlock, assuming that they wouldn't chose to take the talent under normal circumstances it will cost them 5 talent points.

    For the mage, the same assumption puts the cost at 18 points (15 to qualify to buy it + 3 for the talent). Of course a Fire or FFB mage will by default take Imp Scorch.

    So, the question becomes : Should you make a warlock spend 5 talent points in their spec on ISB or make a Mage take a Fire/FFB spec.

    There is, however, a 3rd option : Ret Paladin. Heart of the Crusader 3/3 provides the same effect every time the paladin judges the mob. Only cost is the 3 talent points, since the paladin would be judging anyway. Side benefit - unlike ISB and Imp Scorch, HotC also boosts physical critical rates.

  4. #4
    Does Heart of the Crusader stack with Improved Scorch/ISB? Or is it a substitute?

  5. #5
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    Heart of the crusader is a separate buff category. The spell crit from scorch/ISB stacks with heart of the crusader (HotC doesn't stack with crit portion of the totem of wrath). Both of these stack with the spell crit provided by moonkin aura/elemental oath.

    Having spoken to our primary warlock (whose opinion on such matters I trust absolutely) and mage class leader about this myself a while ago, the conclusion I reached was that it's better to have the mage do it so long as the mage is specced fire; they could get the glyph of scorch, but it's not mandatory and all it does is reduces the initial application cost (5 casts vs 2) at the expense of overall lower dps (maintaining the debuff costs just one cast in either case, and there are three very tasty glyphs for fire mages which have a significant impact on personal dps). As an aside - theorycrafting shows a fireball/torment of the weak build to be highest possible dps, and there's some debate as to whether an arcane build provides the same theoretical dps potential. In practice, because Ulduar gear in general favours crit over haste and the tier items are heavy on hit for an arcane build, the fireball spec is almost certainly the best for personal dps... it's just boring as hell to play in my opinion

    For warlocks, the highest dps build at the moment is a destro build which makes no use of shadowbolt. Applying the ISB debuff means either gimping this spec and using shadowbolt in an already complex rotation, or using a different spec (I believe the spec most readily suited to it is an affliction build) which has lower potential dps.

    As such, if you have a fire mage I would suggest having them do it (it's a very small dps loss to cast 5 scorches at the start of a fight and then one every 30 seconds). If you have arcane mages and destro locks only, it's a question of politics; it is however worth bearing in mind that as one of them would have to use a non-preferred spec, the mage changing would have lower dps loss than the warlock, but it may not be fair to force a single player to play a spec they don't want to for every fight. The ultimate solution may then be to have everyone concerned use their dual specs and take it in turns to be the gimp.

  6. #6
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    Bashef's class leaders have given him good info. It depends on the specs of your mages/warlock, but if you have a FB/TTW or FFB mage around, have them keep scorch up (with out the glyph) and tell the warlocks to throw their points elsewhere. If your only mage prefers to play arcane, then some type of solution where they share the burden would have to be devised.

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    I'm unsure of the itemization requirements of affliction/destro, but changing from arcane -> FB / FFB requires the mage to have an alternate set with more hit and a high priority on crit, instead of haste, in order to not take a noticable damage decrease.

  8. #8
    Honestly, a skilled Affliction Lock is the way to go. S bolt's apart of their natural cycle.

    One detail for peeps. Affliction and Destro builds actually have very similar output in single target fights. Affliction's more complex to maintain top dps but it's top end dmg is almost dead even with Destro builds.
    Simulationcraft on post-3.1 specs - Elitist Jerks

    In all honestly, not to knock on your Lock but it's probably something to do with his Dot management, spec, gemming and other things. The spec is certainly different than Destro both from itemization and play style perspectives.
    Quote Originally Posted by Esch View Post
    I do point out that Glyph of Improved Scorch is something to consider, as a mage can debuff multiple targets and just need to refresh it every 30 seconds. A fire mage is able to apply this debuff in a single cast, which frees him to DPS unhindered, or even work in a Scorch to sustain the debuff effect. Catch is this requires a fire mage (which I believe isn't the top DPS build) and a major glyph slot.
    In a crazy fight where you run the definite risk of losing the Scorch debuff or run into situations where you'll apply it multiple times for whatever reason, it's useful. However outside of those situations it's a significant dps loss to use Glyph of Scorch over Glyph of Living Bomb, like ~5% loss. Usually if there's more than one Mage, the Mages will hopefully all open up w/ Scorch if nothing more than to give the tank some extra breathing room and then settle into spamming Fireball/FFB. Then whichever Mage draws the short end, by design or luck, they'll maintain the buff from there on.

    Fire's the top dps build in most situations. FFB is right up there due to improved AoE dps, Ulduar having alot of AoE situations and ridiculously good mana efficiency. Arcane's competitive, but it's only situationally more powerful (Mimiron hard mode's the only one that comes to mind), lacks the raid buffing utility Fire/FFB builds bring, lower AoE dmg and having significantly more micromanagement mechanics.

  9. #9
    A demonic pact lock is a raid DPS increase. This spec also provides Improved Shadow Bolt. Right now I provide ~350 spellpower through demonic pact, that's 70 spellpower more than totem of wrath, and assuming a raid setup with 8 caster DPS with an average scale factor on spellpower of 1.5, it's 840 DPS to the raid- before considering the benefit healers gain from the extra spellpower- and before considering the benefit of freeing up Searing totem/Magma Totem.

    Additionally since I provide improved Shadow Bolt in this spec, mages can pick up glyph of living bomb, and in total they gain nearly 200 DPS aswell.

    This spec does come with a side note or 2, namely that it doesn't bring much to the table on fights where special buffs are provided (Hodir and Vezax for example) or fights like Yogg Saron / Mimiron (Yogg Saron = Crusher > Felguard- you can put your felguard on other tentacles, but for the largest part of the fight your felguard will be without melee buffs, meaning a lot less DPS, Mimiron is too much DPS downtime for the felguard if you manage to micromanage it enough for it to not die to begin with).

    Fortunately, there's dual spec for those fights. Other than those fights, your raid should have a demonic pact Warlock- and your Warlocks should stop being meter hungry scrubs and sacrifice that little bit of personal DPS for increased raid DPS.

  10. #10
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    Warloco's solution is what we have been doing lately as well. A demonology warlock providing ISB and demonic pact is every casters best friend. I think he is usually on curse duty too since we do not have any Unholy DKs, poor guy It is my understanding that this only really becomes viable when your lock is sporting mostly T8 gear, but as we go into T9/10 it will become even more powerful.

  11. #11
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    As a raiding warlock, I can tell you optimally a warlock spec'd into Meta(Demonology) will have gimped personal DPS... of course they give the raid TWO benefits. One being a more powerful SP buff that scales 10% of the Warlock's SP which a Demo lock should have at least 3k+ giving anywhere from 300-400 SP to the whole raid. Secondly they give 5% debuff. With their rotation which should look like

    Curse - Immolate - Corruption - SB & SB - SF @ 35% and below
    it will be up 100% so long as he/she is alive.

    The problem with Demonic pact is that the up-time is less then ToW because it depends on the pet critting... so there is almost no way it will be up 100% of the fight unless RNG is just really amazing

    A good Meta warlock can pull decent DPS on certain fights... like Mimiron and stand still typical patchwerk style fights because it's awesome for weaving at execute phase

    In general, if you have multiple mages... having them cast Scorch in a rotation to build it up without glyph they can keep it up through out the fight... although for a burn style fight I'd suggest not because it will ruin their DPS as opposed to a meta warlock

    I don't have numbers to back up my claims, but I can almost guranteed you that a Meta warlock will provide more dps/benefits for the whole raid then having a scorch rotation done.

  12. #12
    Demonic Pact uptime should be around 94% assuming all melee and caster crit buffs are present, and assuming your felguard doesn't need to stop attacking. The lock does need decent gear to make it worth while though, as said.

    You're right that meta spec is a DPS loss, what you should consider however is that using ToW is a DPS loss compared to searing totem aswell.

    And last, in patch 3.2 Blizzard is fixing some demonic pact problems that will basically make ddemonic pact scale with an additional 29% of a meta lock's spirit. This will for my lock mean an extra ~25 spellpower more to the raid.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Warloco View Post
    A demonic pact lock is a raid DPS increase. This spec also provides Improved Shadow Bolt. Right now I provide ~350 spellpower through demonic pact, that's 70 spellpower more than totem of wrath, and assuming a raid setup with 8 caster DPS with an average scale factor on spellpower of 1.5, it's 840 DPS to the raid- before considering the benefit healers gain from the extra spellpower- and before considering the benefit of freeing up Searing totem/Magma Totem.

    Additionally since I provide improved Shadow Bolt in this spec, mages can pick up glyph of living bomb, and in total they gain nearly 200 DPS aswell.

    This spec does come with a side note or 2, namely that it doesn't bring much to the table on fights where special buffs are provided (Hodir and Vezax for example) or fights like Yogg Saron / Mimiron (Yogg Saron = Crusher > Felguard- you can put your felguard on other tentacles, but for the largest part of the fight your felguard will be without melee buffs, meaning a lot less DPS, Mimiron is too much DPS downtime for the felguard if you manage to micromanage it enough for it to not die to begin with).

    Fortunately, there's dual spec for those fights. Other than those fights, your raid should have a demonic pact Warlock- and your Warlocks should stop being meter hungry scrubs and sacrifice that little bit of personal DPS for increased raid DPS.
    I play a Mage. I'll sleep with you (Or offer up one of our other raiders for the job if you want) if you join my guild and raid with me. . . please.

    I was honestly wondering about a Demo lock though. I wasn't quite sure how much spell power you guys rock in full Ulduar gear. I know Mages have some of the lowest spell power, but I didn't think it was THAT big of a difference

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warloco View Post
    Demonic Pact uptime should be around 94% assuming all melee and caster crit buffs are present, and assuming your felguard doesn't need to stop attacking. The lock does need decent gear to make it worth while though, as said.

    You're right that meta spec is a DPS loss, what you should consider however is that using ToW is a DPS loss compared to searing totem aswell.

    And last, in patch 3.2 Blizzard is fixing some demonic pact problems that will basically make ddemonic pact scale with an additional 29% of a meta lock's spirit. This will for my lock mean an extra ~25 spellpower more to the raid.
    Shamans get extra % of SP from ToW being dropped even if Demonic pact is going up they get a self buff w/ glyph that should stack with pact

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by cpt_craig View Post
    Shamans get extra % of SP from ToW being dropped even if Demonic pact is going up they get a self buff w/ glyph that should stack with pact
    That glyph provides a smaller DPS gain than even the worst DPS totem (Searing totem), or rather- it's a dps loss if demonic pact is present.

  16. #16
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    The buff is a free 84 SP, 30% of 280(I maybe wrong, cuz I iz bad at math)
    After ToW is casted... they can cast Searing Totem right afterwards and they still get the buff(it lasts 5 minutes)

    Anyways, that's kind of off topic...

    I am interested to see where you found "And last, in patch 3.2 Blizzard is fixing some demonic pact problems that will basically make ddemonic pact scale with an additional 29% of a meta lock's spirit. This will for my lock mean an extra ~25 spellpower more to the raid."

    If you wouldn't mind providing a blue post

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by cpt_craig View Post
    The buff is a free 84 SP, 30% of 280(I maybe wrong, cuz I iz bad at math)
    After ToW is casted... they can cast Searing Totem right afterwards and they still get the buff(it lasts 5 minutes)

    Anyways, that's kind of off topic...

    I am interested to see where you found "And last, in patch 3.2 Blizzard is fixing some demonic pact problems that will basically make ddemonic pact scale with an additional 29% of a meta lock's spirit. This will for my lock mean an extra ~25 spellpower more to the raid."

    If you wouldn't mind providing a blue post
    Currently on Live, Demonic Pact does not scale with Glyph of Lifetap ("Increases your spellpower by 20% of your spirit for 20 seconds after casting life tap"). And while it does scale with Fel Armor ("Increases spellpower by 30% of your spirit"), it does not currently account for the Demonic Aegis talent ("Increases the effect of your Fel Armor by 30%"). Demonic Aegis does make Fel Armor scale with 39% of our spirit, however this extra spell power is currently not considered for the Demonic Pact buff.

    This basically means that Demonic Pact currently scales with a flat 30% of a Warlock's spellpower. On PTR Both these bugs are fixed, making demonic pact scale with an additional 20% of our spirit though Glyph of Life Tap and 39% through Fel Armor if talented for Demonic Aegis (instead of 30%). Although these fixes have thus far not been documented- it's very easy to test.

    Also the duration of the buff from Glyph of Life Tap is being increased to 40 seconds, which more or less guarantees that it's up (Since you'll practically be OOM if you dont lifetap for 40 seconds)

  18. #18
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    The buff from Totem of Wrath Glyph stays even if you switch to a different fire totem after placing the Wrath Totem. This makes it the third highest DPS Glyph an Elemental Shaman can have behind the Flame Shock and Lightning Bolt Glyphs.

    As for the other, a Fireball (with Torment the Weak) spec is the highest scaling DPS they can get. Arcane performs well if you aren't min-maxing buffs but once you stack everything in the raid Fireball spamming ends up top by a pretty big margin (~10% from what I have seen in the Theorycrafting).

    Don't make a Destruction Warlock do Improved Shadow Bolts. All the strengths in the tree are fire based damage now so basically you cripple them if you make them inject wrong schooled spells into their rotations. The best bet is to convert one of them into a Affliction lock as mentioned above.

    Really though your Mages should be switching to Fireball spam and co-ordinating to drop 2 Scorches each at the beginning of the fight while nominating one of them to maintain it. Since 20/51 (18/53, 19/52, whatever variant) is top damage anyway they should naturally gravitate toward it if they are like the Mages I know. :P

    A link so you can see what I mean. This should also give you an idea of what kind of DPS swing you should expect depending on which person you ask to handle the crit debuff.

    SampleOutput - simulationcraft - Project Hosting on Google Code
    Last edited by minrog; 07-31-2009 at 06:54 AM.

  19. #19
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    Hey all, first time posting here.

    With mages choosing Arcane now, and the buff to affliction locks, what do you guys think about who should be applying the 5% spell crit debuff? I would like to hear what you guys think.

  20. #20
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    Default Demonology cookie-cutter spec takes imp SB so naturally a demo warlock would probably have it while a mage might not, also for a mage I'm not sure if its like the old one where you have to stack it but warlock is one 2-second or less cast every 28-30seconds. In a raid I have no problem using shadowbolt once every 28-30seconds.

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