Clipping my what? You’d kiss your mother with that mouth…

17 Jun

DoT management.  Its a misunderstood aspect of our dps, and clipping DoTs is a sin equivalent—in the shadow priest world—to punching a baby (unless its a gnome baby.  That’s practically required for entry to the club.)

But what exactly does this mean; why is it bad; how do we avoid it?

First, a DoT is a damage over time effect.  I’m surprised to meet even seasoned priests who use the term without understanding it.  Technically, some other abilities are also DoTs, like our shadowfiends, but these do not usually fall under the same category.  At its most basic, DoT management is keeping your damage effects up on the target (or targets) that you’re killing.

It seems like a simple solution to just reapply one when it gets low on remaining time, right?  Mages will do this with important debuffs, so why not DoTs?  This action is called clipping, and it isn’t as great as it looks.

Basically when you put a damage spell that ticks (counts down at regular intervals) on a target, each of these evenly spaced ticks will do damage.  While this time varies by spell and haste value, our shadow word: pain ticks every 3 seconds.  Let’s assume you’ve applied it to a target you are not using Mind Flay on.  If you apply a new Shadow Word: Pain one second before the old one drops off, the last tick of damage is lost.  The first spell counted two seconds, was about to do damage (tick) on its third second, and was replaced by a new Shadow Word: Pain that will wait 3 seconds before ticking.  Total wait time between damage ticks: 5 seconds.  If you’d let your old DoT drop off and replaced it even a second later, the time between ticks would be 4 seconds.  This seems really small, but considering we have three DoTs and we reapply them dozens of times over a fight, it adds up really fast.

How do we avoid clipping DoTs?  You’re clipping for one of two reasons.  Either you didn’t know about it and now you’ll fix it, or you’re trying to cut out that second after a DoT drops off and you’re outsmarting yourself.

Try installing an addon like Mind Flay Clip.  It’s designed for shadow priests, and it’s useful to see how you’re doing.  I know folks who use it in raids, although I’m a personal fan of using it on test dummies in Org for 3 or 4 hours (with your shadowfiend you can go forever without running out of mana) until I get the “feel” for my perfect rotation.  It takes a ton of practice, but its well worth it.

The best news, Shadow Word: Pain (when reapplied with Mind Flay) extends the duration of the DoT without changing the rate of ticks, meaning you will not clip it.  In addition, the Cataclysm predictions suggest this will be the case with all DoTs.  If you want to max your dps now, practice.  If you’re done with this expansion and are planning to watch youtube videos of cataclysm screenshots for the next several months, forget everything you’ve read here 😛


4 Responses to “Clipping my what? You’d kiss your mother with that mouth…”

  1. Pugnacious Priest June 17, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    I hate hearing that warning sound when I have cliped my mindflay; it makes me anxious – and start thinking – right I am going to be super careful now. *Jingle ( the money noise is my warning) aw crap..

  2. calsong June 18, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Swweet! I got PPed on.


  1. Murloc Parliament - June 18, 2010

    Parliamentary Papers…


  2. Parliamentary Papers | Murloc Parliament - August 8, 2010

    […] Calsong of Mind Spike, so far, is teaching me how to not fail at shadow priesting, especially not clipping dots. […]

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