Climbing the Ranks: Ranged on Krosus

While we all wait for the release of Tomb of Sargeras, it can be fun to try and move up the ranks on some of the current fights. In this post, we’re going to try to help you do just that. I’ve broken apart different elements of the fight to see how much they affect your DPS. I also compare DPS increases from better skill to better gear. And then I will put this all in perspective to show you how much each element helps you climb the ranks.

For this article, I’m focusing on ranged DPS. Next time, I’ll look at melee. While this advice can be applicable to Mythic, I’m going to use examples from Heroic since that accounts for the majority of players. And if we’re honest, the majority of mythic players probably know these tricks already.

For the rest of us, it’s time to dig in!

Fel Beam movement hits your DPS hard

One of the biggest DPS losses for ranged characters is moving during the Fel Beams. People lose around 4-10% by moving for 1-2 seconds.

During Fel Beams, top ranked players do the “stutter step.” They move a few steps over during each global cooldown until they are in right place before the next eye beam goes off. If you aren’t doing that (or aren’t doing it really well), here’s where you can lose DPS:

  • Interrupting a spell cast so you can run into position (I’ve been known to do this!)
  • Running for longer than your global cooldown and/or continuing to run when your global cooldown is up
  • While moving, not using spells that can be cast while moving

How much does this add up?

In order to figure this out, I combed through a lot of logs to analyze spell usage and watched the replays on WCL. (A handy feature when analyzing movement!) I also made some custom scripts for simulation purposes. I took the Krosus model in Ask Mr. Robot’s simulator, which models each Fel Beam, the chance you’ll get targeted by Orb of Destruction, movement for Burning Pitch, and so on.

For Fel Beams, the default Krosus simulation setup assumes players are using the stutter-step, which means they lose no DPS. I modified that setup to make two custom versions: 1 second of movement to get into position for the Fel Beams and another with 2 seconds of movement time.

Let’s look at just a couple of examples. The results will vary a lot depending on your character. I don’t want to draw attention to someone not playing right, so I am going to use a generic character to demonstrate. My generic character is 890 iLevel with 1 legendary.

Balance Druid

They have some of the bigger drop offs from movement, averaging between 5-10%, so let’s take a look at simulation data for my generic, heroic character:

  • Stutter-step: 508k DPS
  • Movement for 1 second during each Fel Beam: 480k DPS
  • Movement for 2 seconds during each Fel Beam: 466k DPS

The difference between the default stutter-step script and moving for 1 second comes down to 6 Starsurges, 9 Solar Wraths, and 4 Lunar Strikes. Those 19 casts account for the 27k DPS difference. The drop off from 1 to 2 seconds of movement times is similar as well.

Affliction Warlock

They lose less DPS while moving, but it’s still substantial – 2-4%.

  • Stutter-step: 559k DPS
  • Movement for 1 second during each Fel Beam: 544k  DPS
  • Movement for 2 seconds during each Fel Beam: 538k DPS

Here, the difference from movement shows up with less Unstable Affliction casts, which results in less ticks as well. The damage loss from that adds up to about 12,000 DPS, accounting for nearly all of the 15,000 lower DPS from movement.

Why does extra movement impact some specs more than others?

I asked Swol this question, who does super in-depth theorycraft reports across DPS specs, since he has more insight into this than I do.

“Some specs, like moonkin and frost mages, suffer more because they have tight timing on their rotation to maintain important buffs/debuffs. When movement causes a failed/missed cast, it costs a lot more in damage than a single spell.”

Krosus Ranking - Orb of Destruction

Orb of Destruction and lost DPS

When you get targeted by Orb of Destruction and have to run, you will lose roughly 0.5% to 2% or more of your DPS, depending on the length of the fight and how long you’re out of range of the boss. There’s not much you can do here other than use movespeed abilities.

For the Orb of Destruction, the default boss setup assumes you have a 1 in 11 chance to be targeted and that you will be out of range of the boss for 3 seconds. While averaging this out is great for getting gear advice, it doesn’t tell us how much damage you lose when targeted by the Orb of Destruction.

So I made another set of custom scripts: one where you never get targeted by the orb, and another where you get targeted once per fight.

  • Krosus (stutter step) – Never getting targeted by an orb
  • Krosus (stutter-step) – Getting targeted by 1 orb

You lose around 0.5 – 1% of your DPS on a 5:00 minute fight and 1-2% of your DPS on a 3:30 minute fight. On shorter fights, losing 3 seconds of DPS time is a bigger percentage of your active casting. To use a clear example: if you lost 3 seconds of DPS time in a 30 second fight, that would be 10% of your DPS.

How does this compare to getting better gear?

Remember how I set up these examples on characters that have only 1 legendary? I did that so I could add one of the best legendaries and see how much their DPS increases (instead of swapping out a ho-hum legendary for a better one).

This shows me the most dramatic DPS increase we can get from a better item.

If we look at my Balance Druid example:

  • DPS gain from moving for 2 seconds to using the stutter-step: 466k to 508k, a gain of 42k.
  • DPS gain from moving for 2 seconds with 1 legendary to moving for 2 seconds with 2 top legendaries: 466k to 496k, a gain of 33k.

Taking a look at the Affliction Warlock example:

  • DPS gain from moving for 2 seconds to using the stutter-step: 538k to 559k, a gain of 21k.
  • DPS gain from moving for 2 seconds with 1 legendary to moving for 2 seconds with 2 good legendaries: 538k to 564k, a gain of 26k.

It’s most often the case that getting better at movement will increase your DPS more than adding a legendary, especially if it isn’t one of the best ones. Less dramatic gear improvements have a much smaller impact than perfecting the “stutter step” for Krosus.

A graph to put it all together

Krosus DPS effects

The green bar in this graph shows the most DPS you could do (100%) – assuming you have top legendaries and “stutter step” so you don’t lose out on DPS. Each bar below the green bar adjusts just one thing, and shows the max DPS you can do compared to that green bar. Lastly, at the bottom, I combined 2 things that impact your DPS to show how they can start to add up.

Notice the graph starts at 90% on the bottom, not zero. Keep that scale in mind. I wasn’t trying to make it more dramatic, rather more clearly illustrate the differences.

Test these on your own character

To test out the impact each of these has on your character, follow the guide I wrote. I walk you through each step and link all of the modified boss scripts that I referenced in this article.

Ultimately, how does this help your rank?

For each 1% that you increase your DPS, your rank will go up 1-2 percentiles, until you reach the 95th percentile. Then for every 1% increase in DPS you gain half of a percentile rank (because the gap between the 95th and the best player is much larger).

If you gain 4% from better Fel Beam movement and swap in a better legendary for 3% more DPS, that’s a gain of 7%. That means you could move from the 80th percentile to the 87th or even into the low 90s. Or from the 60th to the 70th. Or from the 90th to the 96th.

Once you’ve perfected all of these things, all you need is a lucky streak or two to get those really high ranks. Good luck out there!

Filed Under: WoW, Krosus, Nighthold

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