Tuesday, May 20, 2008

To macro or not to macro: redux

BRK has recently made a post on his testing of two different shot rotation macros based on his gear. In what is quite a change considering his vehemence not all that long ago BRK is looking more and more like he will move to using a shot rotation macro. Some of his readers are professing their disappointment in this change in BRK's attitude, for myself I think that you do what you want to do and it's not up to anyone else to judge. If using a shot rotation will result in more Kill Commands getting used and higher DPS for BRK then he should go for it. Fo'shizzle.

This post raised the spectre of shot rotations macros again for me. Some time ago I posted about how I don't use a rotation macro at all and prefer to manually fire my Kill Commands and get into the zen rhythm of shot rotation. Well that hasn't changed, but if there's a chance that using a macro could improve my DPS then I should try it since moar DPS is going to contribute to my raids ability to succeed.

I'm using the BoJ Crossbow of Relentless Strikes which has a 2.80 speed. This is only slightly different than Tuskbreaker at 2.90 and I have read that a 3:2 macro is best for slower weapons and specifically the bow I'm using. However according to some of the commenters on BRK's post 3:2 is the only way to roll since the changes to autoshot.

Reading a thread in the BRK forums has been elucidating... great googly moogly as Ratters would say.. there's a lot of mathimafications going on. Too much for this boingy eared elf. I always feel like I'm wading through molasses trying to understand all the hardcore theory craft stuff. A fellow called Manito has put together a couple of macros that you put on separate buttons with one macro triggering the other so designed to help get around the KC 'lock up' issue which is sometimes experienced by players and is a 'known issue'.

Apparently this macro also 'flexes' to a 1:1 rotation depending on various factors (such as lag, item procs etc) during use. I believe this relates to no longer using the /castsequence command.

I've also gathered from my reading that an attack speed of between 2.00 and 2.10 is considered optimal for the 3:2 rotation. There was a lot of talk about haste but since my weapon is slightly faster than the optimal I don't think this is an issue. I don't have any haste items at the moment, just the passive haste from things like my quiver and my attack speed is 2.03 so within the 'comfort zone'

There are two issues which concern me as regards using this new 'the' macro: latency and mana consumption. Actually make that three, I should include FPS as well.

Since the last time I tried using a rotation macro several things have changed:

  1. The whole evolution from /castsequence

  2. I am now using a utility that allows me to connect to WoW through a specific proxy via my ISP (all checked out and kosher with Blizz) which has seen me drop from an average of 6ooms too a more comfortable if less than perfect 260ish

  3. Also one of the changes in 2.4 got rid of the need apparently to use /stopcasting in macros since your client will now let you fire off a new action without waiting for the 'action executed' notification for the previous action from the server. I think that's how it works now anyway...

  4. The changes to mana regen post patch 2.4 and my subsequent speccing out of ImpAotH and into 5/5 efficiency

  5. While my ping is improved ever since 2.4 my FPS has gone to sh1te. I even upgraded my rather old graphics card to try and improve matters - and while I'm fine most places - even seeing great numbers like 70+ fps in 'questing' mode my FPS during boss encounters in 25 mans is craptacular - sometimes as bad as 3-4 fps. I've turned down spell detail to the minimum and etc and am not really sure what else to do. This is probably a topic for another post anyway.

As can be seen there are some good things and some not so good things. I think ultimately I'm going to need to head over to Dr. Boom and try out the macro for myself. I happen to have Tuskbreaker sitting in my bank all scoped out and ready to rock so I might as well grab some ammo and do testing with both the gun and my currently equipped crossbow.

It will be interesting to see if I notice any difference from manually timing my shots. The other thing of course is that a raid is drastically different from being able to stand still and pewpew in a controlled situation so even if the results are an improvement when using the macro against Dr. Boom I'll still be reserving judgement until I see how I fare in a 25 man.

I also think it's important to take into account that your overall damage and DPS isn't just about your shot rotation. I review the wowwebstats from each of our weekly raids, and whilst I don't do any serious number crunching (not math literate remember) I do look at my performance compared to the other hunters in the raid. One thing I have noticed is that as long as my presence and DPS time is on par with the others we tend to have comparable damage, which tells me that I'm doing ok without a macro. Still it's worth checking out. I'll be sure to post my findings.

Once I get Seph to 70 though - currently 69 wooot!

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