Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Not so fast, kitty!

True to form, I've been spending most of my group time in Cata so far tanking. You'd think people trust the bear or something...I dunno.

That said, I've had a few opportunities to go cat and shred some heels and it's taught me something that, inexcusably, I never seemed to know before. It's taught me that I need to slow down my attacks.

The cat rotation, even with the recent simplifications, is still pretty hectic and chaotic. There's a lot going on and a lot for you to keep track of. That, compared with the nature of the Energy mechanic, can lead to a certain degree of button mashing. Hell, the very nature of being a DPS can lead to a certain degree of button mashing.

It makes sense, right? If you're a caster and you're not casting a spell the moment your GCD is up, you're losing DPS. Not just casters, either...Ret Pallies, Enhancement Shamans, and (to a lesser degree) DPS Warriors should all be hitting that next ability as soon as they can.

But the Cat (and Rogue and Hunter) playstyle require a little more finesse and, ironically given our hyper-fast attack speed, patience. Why? What's the difference?

Energy, unlike Mana or Rage, is a time-based resource. It empties fast and regenerates slowly and steadily. More often than not, we're not working with a surplus.* The only time you're truly wasting energy and limiting your DPS is if you're sitting with a full Energy bar, doing nothing.

Let's take Shred, for example. On most boss encounters, Shred is going to be your primary attack. And at 40 Energy, it's a costly. Since Energy regenerates at 1 per decasecond (or 10 per second)** if one Shred takes you down to 0 energy, you're going to be waiting a full 4 seconds until you can use it again. If you sit there (like I used to) and mash your Shred button until it can go off again, you're back at 0 Energy and waiting for your next special attack.

This is bad, mmkay?


Many, many bosses in Cata require interrupts. And, conveniently, Cata gave us the ability to ram our noggin into something hard enough to interrupt it. But you need Energy to do it. 25 Energy, to be exact. That's 2.5 seconds of Energy-time. So what happens if an attack takes you down to 0 energy and suddenly the boss starts casting something that needs to be interrupted? You can't help. Not if it's not a very long cast-time spell.

"But Saniel," you say. "So many classes have interrupts now. Who cares if I can't use mine?"

First, I generally dislike depending on someone else to do something that I could. Second, some bosses require more interrupts than one, or even two people can handle on their own. But mostly, this is just a crappy attitude and shows that you're not a team player and are only interested in the size of your Recount-peen. Shame on you.

But okay, let's work with that attitude. Let's say we want to keep our DPS numbers as high as possible, even at the expense of being a team player.

A big, big part of kitty DPS is having 100% uptime on our bleeds, Rake and Rip. Let's say you've just Shredded yourself down to 0 Energy and then suddenly realize that both are about to expire. Uh oh! Now it's going to take you 7.5 seconds to get them both back up. And I really hope you're at 5 combo points before you apply that Rip, or you've wasted even more DPS! Bad kitty!

And if your Mangle debuff is at risk of dropping off in the same time frame...tsk tsk.

So slow down those special attacks! Try to keep some Energy in the bank.

In a completely ideal situation, you'll spend most of your time hovering between 70 and 30 Energy. This will just about let you rip off any special ability you need to as long as you're not locked out by the global cooldown. Ideally your energy will never top out. Ideally it will never bottom out either.

There are, of course, exceptions.

If you're fighting Baron Ashbury and you know he's about to Asphyxiate everyone...go ahead and burn through your Energy. You'll be back at 60 by the time you hit the ground.

Breaking Rom'ogg's chains? Burn away. You want them down quickly and you're going to be running away as soon as they're broken anyway.

Need to empty yourself to interrupt Rajh's Sun Orb? Do it.

Are you approaching 90 or even 100 energy for some reason? Then fire off two fast attacks to get yourself back down into the safe range.

Reapplying bleeds and debuffs is another good reason to burn through some extra energy fast.

Overall, it's just about knowing the encounters, knowing your timers and rotations, and playing smart.

Please, do us all a favor and play smart.

* - For the sake of simplicity, I'm ignoring Tiger's Fury, Berserk, and OoC procs.

** - Also for the sake of simplicity, I'm using the base rate. Haste now affects how fast our Energy regens and can change these numbers, but the basic idea remains the same.
blog comments powered by Disqus