Here is the long awaited post on cooldown timing!
Basically, there are a few methods that will work, and one method that is hardest to set up and execute, but will return the highest DPS. Here they are:
- Macro everything to a commonly used shot, have all pet cooldowns on auto-cast, and use all available cooldowns as soon as they come up.
- Macro many things to shots, but save some things (like potions and racials) for heroism/bloodlust.
- Macro only Kill Command to shots, and manually cast everything else when you’ll get the most out of it.
We all know the first one- many of the hunter shot macros out there have trinkets, racials, rapid fire, and kill command macroed. That works, and you will get the average performance of all these abilities.
If you elect to manually time casts, here is the list of cooldowns you can choose the timing of:
- Rapid fire: haste
- Readiness: resets all hunter ability cooldowns (no pet ones, however)
- Call of the Wild: AP (percent based)
- Furious Howl: AP (static)
- Potions: haste or crit (static)
You don’t gain any advantage stacking static quantity agility or attack power buffs together compared to just hitting them when they’re available. Also, Using a haste cooldown when you’re already on a haste effect (like heroism/bloodlust) will not gain you as much DPS as not stacking. Stacking a haste with an agility, attack power, or armor pen buff will give you more DPS than casting both separately.
-Furious howl is on a 40 second cooldown, however trinkets are on a 45 second internal cooldown and can take up for 55 seconds between procs. Since it’s a static AP buff, it doesn’t provide you any synergy DPS for firing it with other static AP buffs/procs. It does stack multiplicatively with haste (and I believe armor penetration, but correct me if my logic is off). In my case, I’m going to leave this on auto-cast.
If you elect to manually manage it, casting furious howl is not as easy as it sounds. If you leave it off autocast, your pet will almost never have enough energy to use it when you want to fire it. To get around this, you need to have a macro to turn on auto-cast, and another one to turn it off in a few seconds after the pet uses it. Unfortunately, the command used for this can not be placed in a /castsequence that would let you toggle it.
/petautocaston Furious Howl
/petautocastoff Furious Howl
If you want, you could combine those into one macro with a conditional key (like alt), but I’m not going to write it now.
-Call of the wild does do more DPS when you stack it with AP/agi buffs. It’s a 10% buff, so casting it when you have the highest possible AP will increase it’s DPS. Stacking haste on top of that just adds even more synergy. Whenever possible, you want to make sure that furious howl and a trinket are up when you use this. On a fight that’s less than 5 minutes, you want to save this for heroism/bloodlust and time it so that it coincides with as many of your procs and buffs as you can. If you have to wait for half of heroism for trinket procs, consider ensuring that you have a rapid fire or haste pot available to extend the haste buff.
How do you take advantage of all this? You need to identify your uncontrollable procs, get an addon that will help you predict them, and make sure you know which cooldowns to stack with them. Your trinkets and heroism/bloodlust are the primary source of procs. In my case, I have the greatness card which gives me a bunch of agility every 45 seconds or so, the grim toll which gives me a bunch of armor pen on the same internal cooldown.
It took me a while to figure out the best addon for tracking internal cooldowns on trinket procs, but I settled on one called SexyCooldown. It’s very flexible, but all you need to do is create a single bar, and under the option where it asks you what to track, only select item cooldowns. Note that ForteXorcist will not show you the internal cooldowns unless you have SexyCooldown installed, but if you do, it will.
- Always ask your raid leader when they’ll be calling for heroism/bloodlust.
- Try to know ahead of time how long the fight will be.
- Always try to cast call of the wild during heroism, rapid fire, or a haste pot with as many AP increases as you can stack.
- Don’t leave a cooldown available for too long unless you’re sure you won’t be costing yourself applications over the fight.
- When you have normal cooldowns available (that you’re not saving for heroism), try to time them to be used with trinket procs.