Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cooldowns - when should I use them?

If you've read my last few posts, you already know I'm bad at using my CDs. I hoarde those babies like they are solid gold, and that if I hang onto them long enough, the perfect moment will occur when I can use them and shine like the Golden Throne itself. Of course what generally happens is either a) they don't get used and we die, or b) they don't get used and we just muscle through it.

Either way, it's a bad thing.

So, over the last few weeks I've been really scouring the logs to try and improve the use of my CDs. I look for inconsistencies and places where the healing was really heavy, and did I use a CD there? While this is all well and good, I need to develop a better habit of when to use my CDs in the moment - not after the fact.

Listening to DBM

While DBM doesn't yell 'now would be a good time to pop wings', it does warn you of in incoming event. After you've done the fight a few times, you'll figure out which of these are AoE warnings, and which are just informative for someone else. This can give you an idea of when it might be a good idea to hit something, and if you can afford to use Divine Plea.

What CDs are you talking about?

Really, I'm talking about all our CoolDowns - offensive and defensive.

Avenging Wrath - Our golden wings, these babies give us a 20% increased healing/damage bonus for 20 seconds. Talented down to 2 minutes, they can really provide that extra oomph you need to get through a phase change.

Divine Favor - On a slightly longer 3 min CD, this gives us 20% haste and 20% crit for 20 sec (glyphed to 30). A powerful CD, this also can grant an extra tick from Holy Radience. Personally I don't glyph for this, but if you use LoD over WoG, it may be worth having.

Hand of Sacrifice - Talented down to 1.5 min, lasting 12 sec, it transfers 30% of the damage taken by one target to you. With the healing recieved by PoTI, you shouldn't run into a issue with insta-gibbing yourself. I like to cast this on the pull, and whenever I know a large damage spike is coming out.

Lay on Hands - Immensely powerful, talented and glyphed down to a 7min CD (it was an hour in aVanilla), it will heal any party member back to full, and (if glyphed) give you 10% of your max mana back. I've often used it just for the mana return, but it's definately a better safe than sorry cast.

Guardian of Ancient Kings - 5min CD, this big boy will heal your target for the ammount you heal, plus everyone within 10yds gets 10% of that healing - for 5 heals. I'm torn on this CD, on the one hand it's some good free healing - on the other, it seems like a really long CD for only 5 casts.

Hand of Protection - Another 5min CD, makes a single player immune to physical damage for 10 sec. Situational, but great for saving an overeager warlock from imminent death.

Hand of Salvation - 2min CD, this reduces a players threat by 2% per second for 10 sec. This is a permenant threat reduction, not just a quick patch. You can glyph it to give the 20% reduction instantly, but the threat will return when the buff fades. YMMV with this one.

Divine Plea - While this is getting buffed in the next patch to 12% over 9 sec (18% glyphed), it currently returns 10% (15% glyphed) of your max mana over 15 seconds, but comes with a 50% healing debuff penalty. You can cancel the effects with a /cancelaura macro, so you can at least get a few ticks of it. With the healing debuff though, you may find that you spend more mana trying to keep up than you actually get from it.

Divine Shield - The infamous pally bubble, it's down to 8sec (goodbye bubble hearth) but it does prevent all magical and physical damage. It's got a 5min CD though, so use it wisely.

Divine Protection - Talented down to 40sec, this reduces all damage by 20% for 10sec. I've taken to glyphing this, which changes it to 40% magical damage reduction and 0% physical reduction. With the ammount of magic damage flying around in the raids, this has proved to be quite benificial.

Aura Mastery - Doubles the effects of any aura for six seconds. While the duration requires some good timing on your part, doubling the effects of your resistance aura can really reduce the damage your raid is taking. It's on a 2 min CD, so use it liberally.

Wow - what a list

Wow - that is a long list of CDs that we have at our disposal. From throughput to damage reduction, and a host of utilities, our toolbox is pretty full. With all those options, it's tough to know when exactly to cast them. While maximizing them is certainly everyone's goal, the first step is to actually cast them. With that in mind, take the voting mantra from Louisianna and change it up a little.

Cast early, and cast often (as opposed to vote early, and vote often). A cooldown unused is a cooldown wasted. While there's obviously no good reason to cast HoP on your hunter (unless you just like killing their DPS), you may save yourself some mana by putting it out early. Every bit of damage we can prevent is one more cast that you don't have to make. Same with having bigger/faster casts.

So, even if you're casting them at imperfect times, you're better off (generally) using a CD than not. As you get used to casting them all the time, evetually you'll start to 'feel' for those right moments to use them.

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