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Emperor-Norton's Guide to Annihilation, or how to be Gorband

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Sentinel / Marauder
Emperor-Norton's Guide to Annihilation, or how to be Gorband

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Emperor-Norton
12.10.2013 , 04:49 PM | #1
Are you tired of converting Rage into Massacre and Force Scream? Does your Vicious Slash, Force Charge and Rupture button stare at you from your quickbar with sad, underused eyes? Annihilation may be the right spec for you!

The challenge of playing Annihilation well is less of moments that require split second decision making (though it does have them); it requires planning ahead, features little change in tempo, and is a consistent challenge compared to Carnage’s periods of frenzied action and ponderous buildup. To be successful with Annihilation you will need to keep up a pretty constant vigilance over your Rage but also the cooldowns for your abilities to be successful. You will also need to learn to change plans on the fly and adapt to bad RNG.

Since non-combat action matters are boring, I will direct you to Oofalong's Guide here for questions you have about what may not be covered in my Guide. I would also like to thank him for advice and help in formulating this guide.

Terminology

Since I am not lazy, Sentinels can read my Watchman Guide here. I update both simultaneously and they should be just as up to date.

The Spec

For general purpose DPS, 36/8/2 is the optimum spec to use. What is best can change depending on fight. When maximum DPS is not absolutely necessary and there is a lot of AOE, 36/10/0 would be better. You can switch things around depending on the fight. If you don't need to Interrupt nor do you need Pacify, taking the points out of Subjugation and into Blood Ward would be better. I almost always take 2 points in Phantom since it makes Camo an excellent gap closer if Charge is on CD or if I need to get somewhere that I can't Charge to. The duration increase can also make for a good defensive CD.

Learning to Play

For the main Marauder PvE trees, RNG is a part of life. While bad RNG can cripple Carnage’s DPS, the same can be said for Annihilation. If you don't want to deal with RNG in one of the best PVE DPS classes, do yourself a favor and roll a Marksman Sniper.

On another note, if you want to be good with Watchman you need to keybind (if you already do, ignore this paragraph). With two important abilities that require precise timing and are off the GCD, it is inefficient to click with this spec. You need to move your mouse to hit 2 things, I can just hit 2, V, and R to activate both and an ability on the GCD in the same tenth of a second. While keybinding will suck and you will want to rewire your brain, as a former clicker, it is definitely worth it.

I make no statement that how I play Annihilation is the absolute ideal way to play the spec, or that there is theory crafted math to back this up. This Guide is for the purpose of taking the way in which I play Annihilation on a high level, and distributing that method to other players to improve their play of the spec (and not long ago I was one of the less successful players who thought the spec was very underpowered relative to Carnage). I make no guarantees that this is the absolute optimum way to play, other than the way I play puts me up with the best players in the World. I will also say this Guide is subject to change as I learn more about the spec and find ways to improve my play. Without further delay, let us begin.

The Basics

The rotation for Annihilation can be summed up as using Annihilate, Rupture, and Deadly Saber on cooldown while making sure you have the Rage to use them. Vicious Slash, Dual Saber Throw, and Ravage are nice; but they aren't the cornerstones of the spec and should generally be treated as fluff damage for when you have what you need for your core attacks. Ravage I may make an exception for, but I will elaborate more on that later.

The rotation of Annihilation can be broken into 6 second Annihilate windows. The spec consists of nothing but these Windows. The usual Window will be as follows:

Annihilate > Rupture > Filler > Filler.

Your filler can be any of the following: Force Charge, Battering Assault, Assault, Vicious Slash, Dual Saber Throw, or Ravage. 6 Rage is required to execute that window. Deadly Saber is on a 12 second CD, so you need to know when it will be coming off CD and plan for it accordingly, this obviously increases the rage cost to 9.

Of course Rupture could not proc, in which case you place a filler in its spot.

One of the things you will need to do is learn to look at multiple abilities CD's, translate those seconds into what GCDs they will come off in, and then create a mental picture for what order you will use them. Deciding you only need 1 rage generating ability to generate what you need, then deciding Charge gives you enough rage so you can save Battering Assault for later, and that you can use Dual Saber Throw before you need to use Annihilate again. This is what you should be thinking around the time you are starting that Window, if not before. To be successful with Annihilation you can't be too caught up in the moment.

While this may seem basic, it requires consistently perfect execution and the ability to juggle multiple ability cooldowns simultaneously.

How 2.0 changed things

We all know that 2.0 added Bloodlust, 4 stacks of Annihilator (bringing the CD of Annihilate to 6 seconds at full stacks), and changed the 2 piece PvE set bonus. The result of this was making the spec tighter, require more rage, and more reliant on RNG. Another noteworthy thing was to allow Vicious Throw to proc Pulverize. In my opinion these were all good changes. They made the spec more difficult and engaging to play and when I practiced pre-2.0 Annihilation for the heck of it (just don't spec into Bloodlust or Indefatigable Onslaught) it felt pretty slow and ponderous.

Focus on your Rage

In 2.0 both Marauder specs were changed to make their rotations more challenging and were given a lot of RNG to deal with. The RNG added to Annihilation to in 2.0 was Rage generation. Knowing how much rage you have, how much you need, and when to rely on RNG is crucial to playing the spec well.

Your DoTs

They are your most rage efficient attacks you have and, outside of Ravage, are the hardest hitting abilities you have (yes Deadly Saber and Rupture do more damage than Annihilate or Rupture). What makes them the key to high sustained DPS is they will usually pay for themselves in either their high uptime making Bloodlust able to proc often (Deadly Saber) or having enough ticks to allow Hemorrhage to recoup their cost (Rupture). Naturally the spec plays the easiest when these have a high uptime and once they get rolling rage management gets easier.

Deadly Saber

This ability does the second most damage per cast and does around between 9000 - 10000 damage in full 78 gear. It will typically pay for itself in rage cost not so much from Hemorrhage, but from its high uptime allowing you to consistently get rage from Bloodlust.

Each stack of the dot hits for as much as a single tick of Rupture (So 3 ticks of Rupture does as much damage as 1 tick of Deadly Saber at three stacks) and it ticks either once every three seconds or when a new stack is applied. The dot lasts for 6 seconds if no new stack is applied. The ability should last for 9 seconds before it wears off, so it should have a 75% uptime.

Delaying Deadly Saber is definitely a bad thing and should at all times be kept on cooldown. Good play of the spec requires you to know its cooldown and prepare for the additional rage cost when it comes off CD in addition to your normal attacks.

A bit of an oddball thing I recommend is to keep the abilities you use the most bound to the same modifier key. In other words, if your keybind for Deadly Saber is 3, it is good to have your Annihilate, Rupture, Assault, Vicious Slash, Battering Assault, Force Charge, etc. not be bound to a key plus shift or ctrl. The reason for this if you are trying to simultaneously press Deadly Saber, which is bound to 3, and Annihilate, which lets say is Shift + R; the game won't recognize you as trying to hit them at the same time like you would if you were doing R and 3. It is thinking you are either doing Shift + 3 or R, which can cause problems. Just a little suggestion for people to think about.

Rupture

The Marauders short duration dot, it does slightly more damage than Annihilate and Vicious Throw and is very rage efficient. The net rage generation this ability gives from Hemorrhage I would say is probably somewhere between 1.5 and 2 per activation, but closer to 1.5. The dot is pretty simple, ticking once every second for six seconds. The lockout for Pulverize makes things pretty simple where a good phase simply keeps this dot ticking continuously. You never want to clip the end of the dot, so only apply the ability 3 GCD's or more after the last activation.

Technically speaking, it doesn't really matter where you place Rupture in the window (provided it doesn't naturally come off cooldown at some point). So long as it procs, you can put it at the end or the beginning of the window. However right after Annihilate is best since if it does naturally come off cooldown, it will skip a window and appear at the end of the second. The alternative would be to skip two windows and appear in the third window at the spot for Annihilate or its normal spot, which means you can lose possible use of Rupture. Think of it this way, with Rupture naturally coming off cooldown you can either do:

Rupture > Annihilate > Filler > Filler > Rupture > Annihilate > Filler > Filler > Rupture > Annihilate (fail proc) > Filler > Filler > Filler > Annihilate > Rupture > Filler > Filler

or

Filler > Annihilate > Rupture > Filler > Filler > Annihilate > Rupture > Filler > Filler > Annihilate (fail proc) > Filler > Filler > Filler > Annihilate > Rupture > Filler > Filler

Both examples have 4 uses of Annihilate, but the former has 4 uses of Rupture while the latter has 3. Another advantage is since Annihilate requires 5 but uses 4 rage, the required rage of Rupture first is 7, while Rupture after only needs 6.

However having it in the third or fourth GCD doesn't matter if the following Annihilate fails to proc Pulverize, but the one after that does. Putting it in the third GCD is bad because if you get lucky with Pulverize you have no place for Ravage. In a case where I was first able to use Rupture in the third GCD, I would just wait and place Rupture at the fourth GCD in the window, unless something like BA or Charge was coming off CD in the fourth GCD.

Berserk

Of course Berserk isn't a dot, but it is related to them so I am placing this here. The optimal time to use Berserk from a damage standpoint is when you have two stacks of DS and are about to activate the ability that will apply the third stack (at which point the dot immediately ticks). Usually this will also be with Rupture up, which means Berserk will be consumed in three seconds with your dots critting in this fashion:

DS - - - - - - DS
R -- R -- R -- R

The other good time to use Berserk is when DS at three stacks is just about to hit its halfway point. It will still be consumed in the above fashion, but the above will still be better. The reason for that is that if you don't have Rupture, you may get all the ticks of DS at 3 stacks to crit.

If Rupture isn't up the effect will linger for a while which will push back your next Berserk considerably. I have noticed that if Rupture is used up quickly you will be at 30 stacks again in around 24 seconds, which will allow it to be up for about your every other Deadly Saber.

The best place to use Berserk in terms of in your GCD bound rotation for me is after either of the two attacks before Annihilate. That way the 15 second 4% damage buff from Weaponmaster would affect 3 Annihilates instead of 2. However I still use Berserk before the third stack is applied regardless.

Your Direct Damage Attacks

Annihilate

The capstone ability for Annihilation, it does a considerable amount of damage (slightly more than Vicious Throw, yet less than Rupture). The need to feed the rage cost of the ability is what gives the spec most of its challenge, but what makes the attack worth it is its synergy with the as powerful but cheaper Rupture. Its high chance of resetting the CD on Rupture allows Rupture to have a high uptime and playing the spec on a high level requires that you use this ability on cooldown every single time. This ability gets less important in an execute since Vicious Throw does the same job for cheaper, but still needs to be used (both for its damage and high chance of proccing Pulverize).

This ability_needs_to be used off of cooldown essentially all the time. If it spends a GCD without a number on it, bad Marauder.

Ravage

This ability is hard to use in the Annihilation rotation (at least the 2.0 version). It hits for a lot, but finding a place for it in a tightly bound rotation is difficult. The ideal spot to use this ability is after Rupture with enough rage to pay for Annihilate when the channel ends. Alternatively, using it when Pulverize doesn't proc works quite well; since you have a GCD for rage if needed and many times that will allow you to keep the damage rolling with no delay to the core rotation. Ideal rarely happens however. The thing about Ravage is that it hits hard. Really hard. The DPS done by Ravage is slightly higher than the total DPS the spec can put out (which includes Ravage), so delaying it by much is a bad thing.

Seeing what the CD on Ravage is when it gets under 10 seconds, comparing it with other cooldowns (what the CD on Annihilate is to see on what window it will come down in, where it is relative to other rage builders like BA and Charge, etc) is important to playing the spec well. The biggest way to shoot yourself in the foot with Annihilation is to tunnel vision what you are doing and not plan things out. Playing well I will use it within the first 2 windows where it comes off CD.

One thing I don't like to do is channel Ravage where there is 3 seconds or less on the CD for DS, or if I won't have the rage for DS. The reason is that will delay DS, which is a bad thing.

An important thing to do is clip the channel of Ravage at 2.7 seconds, since that is when the third tick hits. Channeling after that is wasted time. This is also a convenient way to correct for lag with abilities (it puts the GCD back on par with the Cooldowns).

I will note that if I am channeling Ravage, and Annihilate will be coming off CD (this also applies to the time between GCD's) at the end of the channel, and I only have 4 rage, I will still be prehitting my keybind for Annihilate going into the final tick of Ravage, even though I don't currently have the rage for it. Since many times I will get that 1 rage just in time and allow me to use Annihilate. If it doesn’t work I immediately switch to Assault and then use Annihilate.

Vicious Throw

Your execute ability. 2.0 changed it from a really cheap, free damage ability to a cheaper version of Annihilate (by giving it the same 66% chance to proc Pulverize). It does the same main-hand damage as Annihilate but Annihilate has an off-hand attack, so Annihilate does a bit more damage. One of the things I am trying to think through is whether the offhand makes Annihilate a more important option than Vicious Throw. The arguments broil down to higher uses of Vicious Throw is cheaper, which allows more frequent uses of Annihilate (so more combined uses), versus the damage of Annihilate makes it more important. Currently I lean on the former, but my opinion can change. Its proper use is explained in the Execute section near the end of the guide.

Dual Saber Throw

The 30 meter, AOE, and filler attack given to Marauders in 2.0. It does higher damage than Vicious Slash and if you can aim it at multiple targets it does an incredible amount of damage. It is still certainly useful for Single Target however.

Preferably I would put it in the third position in the window, aka Annihilate > Rupture > Dual Saber Throw > Filler as this should keep it from interfering with the cooldowns from other abilities and would make it so it can be used off cooldown, although don't use it if you need the GCD for rage generation. Before I had shrugged the ability off as fluff damage but I think I am coming to the realization it should be used as much as possible if you want to maximize your DPS.

This ability should be used over Vicious Slash whenever possible, the only exception should be if you are going to go over 12 rage. Use if and only if you have the rage for Annihilate, Rupture, and/or Deadly Saber.

Vicious Slash

Your general rage dump. Has a fairly low chance to proc Pulverize, but before the execute phase it is a decent enough ability. For the record, 2 Vicious Slashes aren't as good as Annihilate for proccing Pulverize, combined they only have a 55% chance of proccing Pulverize. Use it if and only if you either have or will have the rage for your Annihilate, Rupture, and Deadly Saber.

Rage Builders

The abilities that feed the Annihilate engine.

On another note, don't use Battering Assault and then Force Charge with one attack in between, since that will give both abilities the same cooldown and cause a conflict. Plus usually using them together will put you over 12 rage, which is a waste. If possible use Charge before Battering Assault as this will keep their cooldowns reasonably spaced out. Eventually they will end up coming together again, but until then it spaces out rage generation and makes it easier.

Battering Assault

2.0 made Annihilation line up perfectly, everything fits into the cooldowns that are factors of 6... except Battering Assault. This ability gives a large amount of Rage (and gives the most rage per second when used on CD) and I would preferably use it either after Annihilate or right before it. The reason for this is that the ability will appear in the opposite spot when it comes off CD (if used before, appears after and vice versa). If used after Annihilate, it will skip a window and appear at the end of the second. If used before, it will skip two windows and appear right after Annihilate. Using it between those GCDs will simply have it come off CD at the same time as Annihilate, so if you can't use it after Annihilate you might as well just wait until the attack before Annihilate. See the Rupture section earlier for the same basic idea.

An interesting thing to note is that this ability has three separate hits, 1 MH and 1 OH happen instantly, and an MH that happens 1.5 - 2 seconds after.

Force Charge

Your Gap Closer that has been re-purposed to feed the Annihilate engine. If you can get the necessary rage with just using Charge and have both Charge and BA available, just use Charge. The reason is that the abilities will remain in separate windows when they come off CD, which evens out future rage generation. Never use Charge two attacks after BA as that will give both abilities the same cooldown.

Using the ability for bosses that move around is tricky since you need to balance its use as a gap closer with its use as a rage generator. The problem is the nature of Charge’s and BA’s cooldown, makes Charge the superior rage generator. So the way I use these abilities on the dummy tends to be different to how I do so in an Operation. Good play of the spec usually involves learning when you will have to move and use the ability in between those times, but still have it up when movement is needed. Like only being able to use it in place once for Brontes on Council since you will need to use it for movement every other time.

When you don't need it for movement I would just about always put using Force Charge over Battering Assault for rage generation. The reason is that the naturally shorter cooldown on Charge puts a greater gap between it and Battering Assault when it is used first, which just about guarantees they will come off cooldown in separate windows down the line, which will even out rage generation. This assumes either ability can give you the rage you need to pull off a window.

I am debating whether I would want to save Force Charge for the third GCD in each window instead of TST. The advantage of this is it should always keep Charge and BA separate and allow for greater gross rage generation. Either way, this shouldn’t be the most important issue ever.

Assault

Your standard rage builder with no cooldown. It builds two rage but because it has so many little attacks (4 in total; 3 MH, 1 OH) it will very often generate 3 rage per use due to Bloodlust. Beyond that, there is not much to say about this ability. Use it when you need rage but Charge and Battering aren't available.

You shall know the RNG, and the RNG shall set you free

Lots of the difficulty for Annihilation is knowing generally how often you get rage from RNG and knowing when it is a safe bet to assume you will get it.

Here are just a few things I typically do and rely on RNG for. Most of the time, Assault will generate 3 rage due to Bloodlust, it is usually good to channel Ravage after Rupture when you only have 3 rage left and that RNG will get you the other two to immediately use Annihilate. There have been times where I have channeled MS with 1 rage and ended up with 5, and times where I do channel with 4 rage and get 0. There will be times where I have 4 rage and Annihilate is coming up, but a rage is generated .2 seconds before the GCD for Annihilate is coming up, but I am still hitting Annihilate in anticipation of this happening. Obviously if that doesn't work I immediately hit the keybind of an attack that generates rage. But you would be surprised how often that works out for me. Mostly predicting RNG requires practice, and paying attention to your rage while practicing.

Getting started.

The best way to begin to practice ideal Annihilate for someone new is to parse and only use Annihilate, Rupture, Deadly Saber, and your rage builders. No Ravage, no Vicious Slash, no Dual Saber Throw, etc. The point of this is to form a priority of those being absolute priority (this should obviously be done on a dummy). From there work in other attacks and the objective is to always to use Annihilate, Rupture, and DS on CD every time. A lot of people I meet have mucked up priority systems and need to rage on using those abilities over all else. In this way I would actually say that being experienced with Annihilation puts you at a disadvantage, since you have your own priority system that may not be ideal.

Other Rotations

The building stacks phase.

This is without a doubt the easiest part of the rotation for me to play and execute. Simply do the beginning attacks up until Ravage and then keep hitting everything off cooldown, things should work out perfectly. Use Vicious Slash and Assault in the filler slots to make sure you have the rage for Annihilate and possibly Rupture.

The basic opener for Annihilation that just about everyone agrees on is the following:

Force Charge + Deadly Saber > Battering Assault > Rupture > Annihilate > Ravage > Rupture (if procced)

The basic build up to a 6 second CD on Annihilate should be the following. However don't really try to memorize this, just do the above then basically hit everything when it comes off of cooldown, if you do things right you will do this sequence.

Force Charge + Deadly Saber > Battering Assault > Rupture > Annihilate > Ravage > Rupture (if procced, if not ignore) > Dual Saber Throw > Force Charge + Deadly Saber (if no Rupture proc, there will be a filler before) > Filler > Filler (normally Vicious Slash then Assault) > Annihilate > Rupture (if not ignore) > Battering Assault > Filler > Filler > Force Charge + Deadly Saber > Filler > Annihilate > Rupture > Dual Saber Throw > Filler > Filler > Battering Assault > Annihilate > Rupture > Ravage > Force Charge + Deadly Saber > Annihilate

Of course whenever Rupture doesn’t proc you can just add a Vicious Slash.

After that point Annihilate has a 6 second cooldown so you can begin the regular rotation.

It is worth noting that assuming Annihilate and Deadly Saber are used precisely off CD, Deadly Saber will always come off cooldown in the time between the attack before and Annihilate in the sustained window. However due to lag and the fact that no one is perfect, DS will slowly show up later and later in your windows.

Execute Phase

Out of everything in my Guide this is the area where I am definitely the least confident in what I recommend. This is also one of the reasons that I would love it if Bioware would allow you to set the dummy to 29% to test execute rotations. The basic idea of what I do comes from Gorband's Annihilation Guide here.

Maximum Pulverize

My current favorite Method is use VT in the place of Annihilate, but use Annihilate if Vicious Throw fails to proc Pulverize. Basically do:

Vicious Throw > Rupture > Filler > Filler

or

Vicious Throw > Annihilate > Rupture > Filler > Filler

The problems with this is there is no consistent rage amount to aim for, but you could just use Annihilate as a rage dump if you are getting lucky with Pulverize on Vicious Throw. This setup does have the advantage of being very easy on rage management. I do currently think this is the best setup to use.

All the Direct Damage

One way I am thinking about playing the spec at the moment is using Annihilate, Rupture, and Vicious Throw as much as possible. Essentially have a rotation based on:

Vicious Throw > Annihilate > Rupture > Filler > Filler > repeat

The filler will just about always be Force Charge, Battering Assault, or Assault due to the high cost of the earlier attacks. Of course feel free to use something else if you have the rage. You would need at least 8 rage to successfully execute this window. The advantage of this setup is Pulverize will have a ~90% chance to proc, has two spare GCDs for rage management, and uses all your main attacks.

The problem with this setup is the really high rage cost. While I was testing this I would use Ravage just to keep good damage going while I used the earlier attacks. I would also run into problems of building over 12 rage, and wasting rage here is definitely a bad idea. How well this has worked for me varied from parse to parse.

VT > Annihilate

The other option I have considered is using the normal rotation, but substituting Vicious Throw for Annihilate and using Annihilate when you have the rage. This rotation functions the same as pre-burn, but since Vicious Throw is much cheaper, it makes rage management easier. However this is the rotation you would use if you lose your Annihilator Stacks but are in a burn.

One concern I have about these setups is there no consistent lengths of windows, so you can't plan where to place certain other abilities. For example if you are doing 7.5 second Windows you can expect to have Battering Assault at the end of every other window. If you are doing six second you can expect to have Charge at the end of every window. If you mix them you can't expect that. Expect this section to get cleaned up when I have more time to extensively test these. Even the 1.5 Million Dummy (imo) doesn't give you enough execute time to give a good sample.

Update: After trying these several times I will say I feel the most confident in Maximum Pulverize. Out of the parses I do I have gotten very nice results. While crits were fairly lucky I was very surprised by how much DPS it could do. At the moment I recommend people use that rotation <30%.

I try to do this but I can't see what am I doing wrong?

When looking at other people's parses I rarely check their crits and look more at their ability activations. Specifically I judge people on how often they use certain abilities, and then I take a look at how lucky crits can help their parses (in how high their average hits are and how high their crit % are). Your APM in Annihilation should be between 45 and 46, anything less and you either aren't hitting abilities fast enough or have bad lag. A BA relic will also boost your APM by .5 to 1 depending on your time in the parse.

Assuming a 5 minute dummy parse (this means no executes) you should have between 88 and 92 hits from Annihilate (which means 44 to 46 activations) but playing very well you should be between 90 and 92 (92 is the most you can have in a parse). Deadly Saber should have somewhere between 123 and 125 hits, which means you activated the ability 25 times. Rupture being RNG based is harder to map on a good parse should be a bit over 70, bad RNG can definitely keep in the 60’s however. Force Charge should be used just over 20 times (there is no offhand hit so each hit is an activation), while Battering Assault should have around 54 - 57 hits (there are three hits per cast, so 18 - 19 casts). Ravage depends on how people view how to use it. I am pretty sure Gorband is more conservative with it than me, but you can at most have 60 hits from it (so 10 casts) but anywhere from 48 to 60 is good. Those are my averages anyway.

And finally, that ends my guide. Hope you learned something and this will increase the number of Juyo Forms I see out there.
Macedonicus - Glorious Sentinel - Pot5
Musco - Filthy Marauder - <Zorz> - Harbinger & <Postmortem> - TEH
Bringing Musco Fetish to a Server near you!
Make me feel special and read my Watchman / Annihilation Guide

Emperor-Norton's Avatar


Emperor-Norton
12.10.2013 , 04:53 PM | #2
Reserved.

Change Log:
Spoiler
Macedonicus - Glorious Sentinel - Pot5
Musco - Filthy Marauder - <Zorz> - Harbinger & <Postmortem> - TEH
Bringing Musco Fetish to a Server near you!
Make me feel special and read my Watchman / Annihilation Guide

znihilist's Avatar


znihilist
12.10.2013 , 10:50 PM | #3
Great guide!
I wanted to comment on something (I do have questions, but those will come later).
Regarding the execute phase, Vicious throw hits more per point of rage than Annihilate does, so while it is cheaper you are also getting more damage per resource used per GCD. So initially it seems obviously better to use VT instead of Annihilate since you will be getting more damage and have more rage to spend. However, that extra rage must be used or else it is a DPS loss. The obvious choice is to use VS, but if you calculate the amount of damage per rage per GCD you get from using VT+VS in place of Annihilate then the later is more efficient. So I guess simply replacing Annihilate by VT is not the best choice.

However, I am interested in this one:
Vicious Throw > Annihilate > Rupture > Filler > Filler
I never thought of doing that particular rotation, but I wonder if DS or Vicious Throw would have more Damage per rage per GCD. If that's the case (and I think it might very well be), then I believe that would be the best efficient use of our execute phase.

Emperor-Norton's Avatar


Emperor-Norton
12.11.2013 , 12:33 AM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by znihilist View Post
Great guide!
I wanted to comment on something (I do have questions, but those will come later).
Regarding the execute phase, Vicious throw hits more per point of rage than Annihilate does, so while it is cheaper you are also getting more damage per resource used per GCD. So initially it seems obviously better to use VT instead of Annihilate since you will be getting more damage and have more rage to spend. However, that extra rage must be used or else it is a DPS loss. The obvious choice is to use VS, but if you calculate the amount of damage per rage per GCD you get from using VT+VS in place of Annihilate then the later is more efficient. So I guess simply replacing Annihilate by VT is not the best choice.

However, I am interested in this one:
Vicious Throw > Annihilate > Rupture > Filler > Filler
I never thought of doing that particular rotation, but I wonder if DS or Vicious Throw would have more Damage per rage per GCD. If that's the case (and I think it might very well be), then I believe that would be the best efficient use of our execute phase.
Thanks! I just wish more people would comment on it.

I would use Annihilate in the place of VS as a Rage dump. I never really was fond of that method tbh, it always didn't seem that viable as a DPS increase in an execute. As I test more it will probably get deleted. Since I couldn't test executes while writing the Guide I went with a "give all ideas and let you decide" notion.

Deadly Saber is pretty awesome. If we are talking per GCD, best Damage ability you have, by far. Even more so if we factor in that it doesn't take up a GCD (I do know what you meant though)

I haven't done much parsing, but I just did this parse with Armor Debuff but no Inspiration, BA Relic, or Adrenal. It was a pretty unremarkable parse aside from its execute. I was using the maximum Pulverize method and the DPS was quite good. Even if the crits were definitely lucky, I was able to put out a surprising amount of DPS (another parse I did was even luckier). Regardless, I believe that this method works very well. So if I had to put my finger on what is best, I would go with trying to proc Pulverize as much as you can. The Guide has been updated.

Anyway, looking forward to your questions.
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oofalong's Avatar


oofalong
12.11.2013 , 08:50 AM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by Emperor-Norton View Post
Reserved.
Nice guide
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Quote: Originally Posted by EricMusco View Post
You are correct Oofalong.

znihilist's Avatar


znihilist
12.13.2013 , 05:31 AM | #6
My first question is on Berserk and this:

DS - - - - - - DS
R -- R -- R -- R

Let me explain what I want to say with numbers.

X = Tool-tip damage of DS (1163 for me)
DS: puts a dot for X damage that will tick every two seconds for 6 seconds ---> Each tick is X/3
Rupture: puts a dot for 2X damage that will tick every second for 6 seconds ---> Each tick is X/3 + weapon damage that currently for my level of gear will do on average around 1.3X taking into consideration crit/surge, the 12% from Juyo, 30% damage reduction from the boss, and the 20% armor penetration debuff that we more or less always have in a raid setting.

If we activate berserk with the way you mentioned:

We have three stacks of DS doing 2.0262X per tick (surge rating for dots is 102.62% with my gear) with auto-crit.
The damage we do is:
4 ticks of rupture(X*4/3) and 2 ticks of 3 stacks of DS (2*X) + direct damage of rupture (1.3*X) ---> 8.054*DS tool-tip damage

If we do the Following:

Activate berserk the moment we hit two stacks of DS and wait for it to end and then apply rupture (or apply rupture after the second tick of 3 stacks of DS):
2DS -- 3DS -- 3DS -- 3DS + R -- R
In this case we are doing: 2.0262*X *(2/3+1+1+1+1/3+1/3) + 1.3*X for 10.0802*DS tool-tip damage.

That's 20% more damage, but I must be missing something here. Because it seem your method does more damage when I parse, any insight on this one ?

Aluvi's Avatar


Aluvi
12.13.2013 , 01:08 PM | #7
I don't play Annihilation much anymore, as I only PvP these days, but this looks like a well written guide, and I agree with most everything in it (some points I might need to test out myself to see how they parse with the changes).

I always advocated the proper use of berserk as well to maximize the dot damage potential early in the games release, but later I switched to just using it asap. I was curious how you felt about simply using berserk as soon as it pops to increase fury generation? It seems to me that delaying berserk might do more harm than good over the duration of a fight, as every time you have a 30 stack and use a GCD without using Berserk, you are wasting fury. That fury could easily turn into several extra Berserks over the duration of a fight. So, do you always feel that it is best to try to line up your Berserks with 2 stack of DS, or are there scenarios where it is better to simply hit berserk in order to get your next 30 stack started sooner? I'd think the damage differential between an ideal Berserk vs having a few extra berserks would be minimal at best, and the "ideal Berserk" method requires a lot more attention to your rotation with a higher possibility for actually reducing your damage output.

Just some food for thought.
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Emperor-Norton's Avatar


Emperor-Norton
12.13.2013 , 05:16 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by znihilist View Post
My first question is on Berserk and this:

A certainly respectable amount of Math.

That's 20% more damage, but I must be missing something here. Because it seem your method does more damage when I parse, any insight on this one ?
You are delaying Rupture to be able to only have DS tick. That is definitely not good. Another thing I want to note, when it is up Rupture is actually as good DPS as DS at 3 stacks. DS hits for 3 times as much every 3 seconds, but Rupture does as much damage with its 3 ticks over that 3 seconds. So you are getting big hits and good damage from Zen, it isn't necessarily providing good DPS for its uptime.

I also suppose I treat my GCD rotation and DS rotation as separate units. So I wouldn't delay Rupture for DS, since they operate in separate systems. You also have Berserk up for so long that it delays your next one considerably (you are basically advocating having 9 second duration for Berserk vs a 3 second one, when it would take ~20 seconds to build up a new one). The way I do it is because it strikes a balance with Damage and using Berserk up fast (so you can use it more). Also the Berserk typically will show up at the same spot in every other DS if used fast. So by using at this spot you jury rig it to appear where you want it at every spot down the line.

Quote: Originally Posted by Aluvi View Post
I don't play Annihilation much anymore, as I only PvP these days, but this looks like a well written guide, and I agree with most everything in it (some points I might need to test out myself to see how they parse with the changes).

I always advocated the proper use of berserk as well to maximize the dot damage potential early in the games release, but later I switched to just using it asap. I was curious how you felt about simply using berserk as soon as it pops to increase fury generation? It seems to me that delaying berserk might do more harm than good over the duration of a fight, as every time you have a 30 stack and use a GCD without using Berserk, you are wasting fury. That fury could easily turn into several extra Berserks over the duration of a fight. So, do you always feel that it is best to try to line up your Berserks with 2 stack of DS, or are there scenarios where it is better to simply hit berserk in order to get your next 30 stack started sooner? I'd think the damage differential between an ideal Berserk vs having a few extra berserks would be minimal at best, and the "ideal Berserk" method requires a lot more attention to your rotation with a higher possibility for actually reducing your damage output.

Just some food for thought.
Thank you.

As I stated at some point in the guide (I admit it is quite long) I have noticed that Berserk just seems to pop up in the same point of my rotation while I am parsing (assuming it is used up the fashion I outlined). From a math standpoint, 1 stack of DS ≈ 1 tick of Rupture, so 3 stacks of DS ≈ 3 sticks of Rupture. So ideal Berserk has lets say 10 Dot ticks, while using it on CD can result in situations where you can get effectively 8 or less. And I do think I said at some point in the Guide that it is just as good (DPS wise) to use Berserk midway through DS at 3 stacks, since that is when DS ticks for a second time. The dots will crit in the same fashion if Rupture is up. Although I admit there are times where I use Berserk when I will only get 1 tick out of 3 stacks. But if it shows up when say I am just activating DS, I would save it.

I don't have that much trouble tracking it. I guess that may be because I can take at boss debuffs and see 1, 2, or 3, or I just keep a mental note of when I last used DS. Or I have played the spec too often so I can do it in my sleep.
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bengeminiani
12.15.2013 , 01:53 AM | #9
Nice Guide, and it helped me alot. But at the moment i am struggeling more with the Stats then the Rotation.
There are many rumors around about 3 Important Stats: Strength Augments VS AP Augments and about Crit as Annihilation marauder.

My Gear is 72set/78 with Set Bonus. all Augments with Strength I do on the Training dummy 2900 - 3100 DPS
My Stats are as following:
Strengh: 3273
Melee Bonusdamage: 1052,9
Force Bonusdamage: 1601.8
Melee Crit: 19,52 (0.00% Crit Value)
Force Crit: 25.97%
Melee Precision: 99.80%
Force Precision: 109,80%

My Question is:
1. Strengh or AP Augments? Strenght gives me Bonusdamage + Crit, AP only Bonusdamage.
2. I noticed that when i put crit i loss lots of DPs. So do i need it or not?

Emperor-Norton's Avatar


Emperor-Norton
12.15.2013 , 05:10 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by bengeminiani View Post
Nice Guide, and it helped me alot. But at the moment i am struggeling more with the Stats then the Rotation.
There are many rumors around about 3 Important Stats: Strength Augments VS AP Augments and about Crit as Annihilation marauder.

My Gear is 72set/78 with Set Bonus. all Augments with Strength I do on the Training dummy 2900 - 3100 DPS
My Stats are as following:
Strengh: 3273
Melee Bonusdamage: 1052,9
Force Bonusdamage: 1601.8
Melee Crit: 19,52 (0.00% Crit Value)
Force Crit: 25.97%
Melee Precision: 99.80%
Force Precision: 109,80%

My Question is:
1. Strengh or AP Augments? Strenght gives me Bonusdamage + Crit, AP only Bonusdamage.
2. I noticed that when i put crit i loss lots of DPs. So do i need it or not?
Nice to know it is working as intended.

Strength Augments were barely superior to Power (AP) in 72 gear. I imagine in 78 gear Strength Augments are even better. Your Accuracy (Precision) is where it should be.

Crit Rating should be a DPS increase over Power when used from the amounts of 0-200 (possibly 300), so having small amounts of it should be good. In practice Crit Rating is more volatile than Power, so depending on what crits it can have cases of being better or worse. Though on average it should be better than Power.
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