Author: Ewok (Obviously)
~~ Introduction ~~
Hello all, ever since I have made my marauder I played it on Carnage and from the start I found it an intriguing spec. Almost all DPS specs have procs, even arsenal, but there is no spec where the proc chances are so diverse as on Carnage.
This guide gives you an overview of these chances and the effects they have on the rotation of a Carnage marauder. I would not call it theorycrafting since there are not any damage numbers in this guide and as base for this guide there are some assumptions which are worked out by others who do call it theorycrafting.
Most of the guide is about combat with one foe, like an operation boss or an operation dummy and there is one example of an aoe rotation. And yes, in real fights you will almost never get a 2 minutes uninterrupted rotation. This does not mean this guide is useless because you should stick to the rotation as good as possible. In every situation, you will have to adjust the rotation to what you are fighting against. It takes a lot of time and experience to perfectly execute Carnage in every situation, but I hope this guide will help you with it.
There already are lots of discussions about the 2.0 gearing of a Carnage marauder. I am not going to discuss it. After reading multiple calculations I decided to go for the spec (5/36/5) and with the following gearing rules: 200 accuracy rating, maximize surge, no critical rating and always power over strength. (The autocrit on Force Scream is the breakthrough)
~~ The Form ~~
Ataru Form - I will start with explaining this most complicated stance or form in the game. I will not go further into the accuracy, because the interesting part is the 20% chance to trigger a second strike on every melee attack, NOT every melee ability. Almost every melee ability consists out of multiple melee attacks, but the ataru strike can only happen once every 1.5 seconds which is once every global cooldown.
For example, the ability Assault has 4 melee attacks. Each independent melee attack has a 20% chance to trigger an ataru strike. The cumulative chance of an ataru strike from one Assault is 59.04% (1 - 0.84).
Below in the table can be seen how this form affects all melee abilities. Be aware that there is a chance for the abilities Massacre and Ravage to trigger 2 ataru strikes.
The abilities Vicious Throw and Dual Saber Throw are ranged abilities with melee attacks. They do have a chance to trigger an ataru strike when you are in 7 meters range of the target. I have no clue why they made it 7 meters. It is not mentioned anywhere, but found it out by trial and error.
~~ The Abilities ~~
Ravage - Your highest hitting ability with also a high cooldown of 30 seconds. It is your only channel ability and can be interrupted. You should NEVER have to interrupt this ability, so do not use it when you know you might have to move. (Remember, dying because of not moving while channeling is dying with honor!)
Massacre - -3 rage (+1 rage Enraged Slash) - Your filler ability with moderate damage when you have enough rage. Gives you a buff which increases your Ataru Form chance to 50% for 6 seconds. Massacre consists out of 2 melee attacks. One of them triggers an ataru strike bypassing the rate limit, but the other attack has a chance of 50% to trigger a second ataru form during this ability making this ability the main source of your procs which will be discussed later.
Force Scream - -2 rage (+1 rage Blood Frenzy) - A high hitting force attack which should only be used when Execute is up. Has a cooldown of 9 seconds.
Gore - -1 rage - An ability dealing a small amount of damage, with 2 melee attacks so a chance on an ataru strike, granting 100% armor penetration for 4.5 seconds and all that off the global cooldown!
Battering Assault - +6 rage - Deals a small amount of damage with 3 melee attacks and builds up 6 rage. It should always be used on cooldown unless your armor penetration from Gore is up. Has a cooldown of 12 seconds (Enraged Assault). Make sure you have 6 rage or below when using it to use it optimal.
Assault - +2 rage - Your second filler ability with low damage from 4 melee attacks building up 2 rage. You should use it as less as possible but eventually you will have to use it multiple times in a rotation since the 6 rage from Battering Assault does not cover the rage cost of all abilities during the 12 second cooldown.
Force Charge - +3 rage - The ability to get to a target fast while building up 3 rage and dealing 1 low damage melee attack, with a chance on an ataru strike!
Vicious Throw - +1 rage Slaughter (-3 rage (+1 rage Enraged Slash)) - A high hitting ability that can be used on a cooldown of 6 seconds on targets below 30% health with a rage cost of 2, or as a rage free ability on all targets when Slaughter is up. The ability consists out of one melee attack with a chance on Ataru Form strike when within 7 meters of the target.
Dual Saber Throw - 0 rage - A free ability with moderate/high damage usable all the way to 30 meters from the target. It consists out of 2 melee attacks which can trigger an Ataru Form strike when within 7 meters of the target. You should almost always use it on cooldown.
Rupture - -2 rage - This is an ability you should only use on some rare occasions instead of a Massacre. It deals more damage than Massacre, but does not grant you Massacre's procs. Use it only when you know the one replaced Massacre would not have given you any usable procs. It consists out of 2 melee attacks.
You build up 4 Fury each time you use a rage-spending ability or kill an enemy, but not when you have 30 Fury or Berserk or Bloodthirst are up and running.
Frenzy - Cooldown of 3 minutes, always use on cooldown when at 0 Fury.
Berserk - Increases your alacrity for the next 6 alacrity affected abilities by 30%. Remember that it does not lower the cooldown of your abilities. You should use it whenever you have 30 Fury build up. An argument could be made to only use it when you are building rage with assaults, but I do not recommend that. You build up 4 Fury each time you use a rage-spending ability, but not when you have 30 Fury or Berserk or
Bloodthirst - The best offensive cooldown in the game best used when at 30 Fury together with Frenzy, Berserk, Adrenal and Relic or at certain points in boss fights. When your relic, adrenal or Frenzy are available it is smart to wait to combine, but if it takes too long before Bloodthirst comes up, do not wait a second and keep using them on cooldown. Most of the time, 20 seconds is my limit. If you have to wait more than 20 seconds for a Bloodthirst with other cooldowns already available, do not wait with using them to combine.
~~ The Procs ~~
Programmed Random OCcurences
Ataru Form - The most important proc in Carnage which is already discussed at the top.
Execute - Increases damage of Force Scream by 10%. Triggers on 30% of all your strikes. The buff will stay for 15 seconds.
Blood Frenzy - addition to Execute which makes Force Scream refund one rage when used with proc.
Towering Rage - the most important addition to Execute which makes every Force Scream an automatic critical hit when used with the proc. These 3 last procs together do not have a cooldown which will almost always result in Execute being up when Force Scream comes off his 9 seconds cooldown. Never use Force Scream without Execute!
Slaughter - your most important proc (besides ataru form of course) which resets the cooldown of Gore and makes Vicious Throw free and usable on all targets! This proc is the base or your rotation which will be explained later. It has a 20 seconds cooldown and the free Vicious Throw buff will stay for 15 seconds.
Overview of proc-chances
The table below gives an overview of the chances to trigger the procs on every attack consisting out of melee attacks.
Table 1. Note: these percentages are only applicable when at the start of each of these abilities the 1.5 second cooldown of ataru strike is not running. It also assumes that all your melee attacks are successful and nothing gets dodged or evaded.
|Ability||Chance to trigger 1 Ataru Strike||Chance to trigger 2 Ataru Strikes||Chance to trigger Execute||Chance to trigger Slaughter**|
|Ravage (2 GCDs)||73.79% 98.44%||21.25% 70.31%||26.60% 38.67%||38.46% 61.70%|
|Massacre[/color]||- - - - - 100.00%||- - - - - 50.00%||- - - - - 40.50%||- - - - - 57.38%|
|Assault||59.04% 93.75%||-||17.71% 28.13%||26.57% 42.19%|
|Gore||36.00% 75.00%||-||10.80% 22.50%||16.20% 33.75%|
|Battering Assault||48.80% 87.50%||-||14.64% 25.50%||21.96% 39.38%|
|Force Charge||20.00% 50.00%||-||6.00% 15.00%||9.00% 22.50%|
|Vicious Throw*||20.00% 50.00%||-||6.00% 15.00%||9.00% 22.50%|
|Dual Saber Throw*||36.00% 75.00%||-||10.80% 22.50%||16.20% 33.75%|
|Rupture||36.00% 75.00%||-||10.80% 22.50%||16.20% 33.75%|
* Only when closer than 7 meters from the target away
** Only when slaughter is off cooldown
.. . ..% : Chances with Massacre buff up
~~ The Rotation ~~
In the rotation of a carnage-marauder there are two distinctive phases: the rage-spending phase and the rage-building phase. What distinguishes these two phases is the presence of the armor penetration buff from Gore for 4.5 seconds. In every 4.5 seconds armor penetration buff, 3 GCDs can be used following the next priority list. Make sure that when a the rage-spending phase is near, you have at least 8 rage. Building up rage when the 4.5 seconds armor penetration buff is up is a waste of damage.
Priorities in rage-spending phase
1.) Ravage - use only in this phase.
2.) Force Scream - only in combination with Execute.
3.) Vicious Throw - from the Slaughter proc.
4.) Dual Saber Throw - on cooldown.
5.) Massacre - occasionally swapped with 4.) because of the higher proc chance than Dual Saber Throw.
Abilities in rage-building phase
(-) Battering Assault - rage-buidling.
(-) Assault - rage-building.
(-) Massacre - to build up Execute when you have enough rage.
(-) Vicious Throw - only when not used in the rage-spending phase and the buff from Slaughter is about to end.
(-) Dual Saber Throw - on cooldown, except when Battering Assault is available.
(-) Rupture - instead of Massacre when Execute is already up.
(-) Force Scream - in the rare case when not used it in a rage-spending phase because of the lack of Execute and Execute comes up just after the rage-spending phase .
The cooldown of Gore resets when Slaughter procs, which has a 20 seconds cooldown. Gore has a cooldown of 15 seconds.
Ideally, you have a 4.5 seconds 'normal Gore', a 1.5 second break, after that a 4.5 seconds 'procced Gore' (from Slaughter proccing during the first gore or break) and then an 12 seconds the rage-building phase. In this grid below is shown how the first 44 seconds of the rotation would look like.
Image 1. This grid shows the first 44 seconds of the most ideal rotation phases of carnage. You use Gore directly when it comes off cooldown. Slaughter procs in one GCD and you use Gore directly again one GCD after Slaughter procced.
There are a couple of reasons why this perfect rotation cannot be continued forever:
1.) Rage management; Battering Assault has a cooldown of 12 seconds. If you want to use it on cooldown, to minimize the amount of Assault's in your rage building-phase, you will eventually have to use Battering Assault during a Gore or wait one or two GCDs with that Gore. The last option will mess up the perfect rotation and will eventually lead to a Slaughter proc during the GCDs you wait which makes you have one rage spending-phase less because the reset of the Gore cooldown is most useful just after the cooldown started.
2.) The unpredictability of the proc from Slaughter; in Image 1 you see when the 20 seconds cooldown of Slaughter end, it takes only one GCD to proc it again. In Table 1 can be read that the maximum chance of Slaughter proccing in that GCD is 57.38%, when you use Massacre. When you use a Force Scream in that cooldown you have no chance to proc Slaughter.
With the chances in Table 1 you can say that you will most likely need 2 or 3 GCDs to proc another Slaughter after it comes available. The consequences from this problem are not as bad as those from reason 1.) and will only extend your short rage building-phase with 1 or 2 global cooldowns.
3.) Miscellaneous reasons like having to move on boss fights; always keep track of your 20 seconds Slaughter cooldown and when you know Slaughter and Gore are both available and you are about to continue fighting, ALWAYS directly start with using Gore to prevent the Slaughter proc from deleting one of your rage-spending phases!
Image 2. The consequences of Slaughter needing 2 GCDs to proc. There will eventually be a small delay in both rage-spending phases with no big consequences. You still use Gore directly when it comes off cooldown and one GCD after Slaughter resets its cooldown.
Image 3. The consequences of constantly waiting 2 GCDs with Gore when it becomes available. At the 76th second your Slaughter procs, but does not reset your Gore cooldown because you have not used Gore yet! The result is a loss of one complete rage-spending phase which massively lowers your damage output.
Conclusion of the phase rotation
(-) Since Slaughter is a proc and is completely random, you cannot prevent the small delay that will eventually build up which can be seen in Image 2.
(-) Most importantly, when your gore is about to become available (from its natural cooldown) make sure you are completely ready (more than 8 rage and Execute up) to use it optimally and directly when it becomes available. The consequence of waiting 2 global cooldowns can be seen in Image 3. When your Slaughter procs directly during the 'normal Gore' it cannot hurt to take 1 global cooldown to get enough rage thus using the procced Gore ultimately. When Slaughter procs late, do not hesitate and use Gore directly.
Force Scream and Execute
Force Scream has a cooldown of 9 seconds and should only be used with the procs from Execute. You should try to get the Force Scream in an rage-spending phase as much as possible. The most ideal way to do that is locate the first Force Scream in the beginning of the 'normal Gore' and then the second Force Scream 9 seconds later in the end of the 'procced Gore'. The question is: will your Execute be up for the second Force Scream? The application of Table 1. on each situation will give you the answer.
Table 2. An example of a part of the rotation with 2 rage-spending phases separated by an Battering Assault with the chances of Execute being procced every ability.
|GCD 1||GCD 2||GCD 3||GCD 4||GCD 5&6||GCD 7|
|Ability||Gore + Force Scream||Massacre||Massacre||Battering Assault||Gore + Ravage||Force Scream|
|Individual chance on Execute||-||40.50%||40.50%||25.50%||22.50%, 38.67%||-|
|Cumulative chance on Execute||-||40.50%||64.60%||73.63%||87.47%||-|
From Table 2. can be seen that in a basic rotation like this, there is an 87.47% chance of Execute being up after the 9 second cooldown (6 GCDs) are over. This means that in most if the situations you can stick to having one Force Scream in every rage-spending phase. Just make sure that in the 12 to 14 seconds the rage-building phase you have build up the Execute to be able to use a Force Scream directly in the first 'normal Gore'.
On rare occasions, you will not have an Execute for a Force Scream in the first or second rage-spending phase. In these cases you will have to do with one Force Scream in the two rage-spending phases. If after that your Execute procs in the first 3 second of the long the rage-building phase, directly use Force Scream so the 9 seconds cooldown will be over at the end of that long the rage-building phase of 12 to 14 seconds.
The 30 seconds cooldown of Ravage does not fit well in your phase rotation. Sometimes it will be possible to use it once in the 3 rage-spending phases and sometimes you will have to wait up to 10 seconds for once in the 4 rage-spending phases. It is worth it waiting 1 GCD or sometimes even 2 GCDs with your Gore to be able to get one Ravage in every three rage-spending phases. Just make sure not to wait too long too much because missing out on a reset of Goremakes you lose a complete rage-spending phases. (Image 3.)
Image 4. The first 90 seconds of an average sustainable rotation with using the 'normal Gore' used directly when available,
Slaughter needs 7 seconds (3 GCDs) to proc and you use your 'procced Gore' one GCD after the reset from Slaughter. Ravage is used once in each 3 Gores and Force Scream in each Gore.
In the Gore on the 43th second, both Ravage and Force Scream are supposed to be used at the start. Ravage takes priority.
In the 79th second, Force Scream is supposed to be used in the end of that Gore, but Execute procs too late and never cast Force Scream without Execute!
The 12 seconds cooldown can be a problem but does not have to be. When you try to fit in the 12 seconds cooldown of Battering Assault in the average sustainable rotation of Image 4. it appears to fit perfectly (see Image 5.), since the repeating phases are in a 24 seconds time frame. This makes it possible to fit one Battering Assault right between the 2 rage-spending phases and in the middle of the long rage-building phase.
Of course, when your Slaughter takes longer (or shorter) than 7 seconds to proc the repeating phase can become longer or shorter than 24 seconds. Longer is not a big problem since waiting one GCD with Battering Assault does not ruin your rotation. There will be a problem when you use Battering Assault in the last seconds of the long rage-building phase which makes it impossible to use the next one between the 2 rage-spending phases what basically will lead to the loss of one complete Battering Assault unless you decide to use it during an rage-spending phase. When you have to choose between these two evils the decision can be made by looking to your rage. If you do not need the rage from Battering Assault to make optimal use of a rage-spending phase you should just miss out on one. On the other hand, if you do not have enough rage to make optimal use of a rage-spending phase it does not matter and using Battering Assault during a rage-spending phase is the best solution.
Like mentioned before, never wait too long with starting a rage-spending phase with Gore, even if this means losing an Battering Assault.
Image 5. The first 90 seconds of an average sustainable rotation with the perfect use of Battering Assault: between the two Gores and in the start/middle of the rage-building phase.
You might have already wondered, why is the 30% alacrity boost from Berserk not mentioned before? The answer is quite simple, Berserk chances NOTHING in your rotation.
The rotation I have explained is all based on cooldowns of abilities and procs and Berserk does not influence those cooldowns. It only makes you able to use more abilities during the phases which increases your chance to proc Execute and Slaughter (when off cooldown of course). This increase of the proc chance will make it easier to stick to the perfect sustainable rotation.
The only real question that can be asked is: when in the rotation do I use Berserk? I have heard a couple of good arguments:
(-) In the rage-spending phase; this makes me able to use 4 abilities (or Ravage with 2 abilities) in the 4.5 seconds Gore.
(-) In the first rage-spending phase; this increases the chance for Execute and Slaughter to proc which increases the chance of an successful 'procced Gore' with procced Force Scream.
(-) In the rage-building phase; this enables you to use your Assaults faster which will lead to more Massacres in this phase with an even higher chance to have Execute up again for the first 'normal Gore'.
(-) In the rage-building phase; here you build up less Fury than in an rage-spending phase. Since having Berserk up disables you to build new Fury, disabling building Fury in a phase where you would gain less Fury anyway is the right choice.
The fact is that there is not a certain timing or cooldown on Berserk so it will always become available in another moment and another phase.
All the 4 arguments mentioned above are reasonable arguments. But in the end, you should not wait with using Berserk and use it always directly when it becomes available. This enables you to get the most Berserks as possible in your rotation and makes you have to worry about one timing less!
Berserk and Ataru Form
Before was said that because Berserk makes your abilities go faster, your proc chance is increased. All procs are based on Ataru Form which has a 1.5 second cooldown. Berserk does not decrease this cooldown, so is it really true that your proc chances are higher during Berserk?
To answer this question we will have to look at combat logs because we are not simply speaking about global cooldowns, but about a combination of abilities being used with an attack speed increased by 30%. Many people think this results in abilities being used in 70% of the global cooldown (1.5*0.7 = 1.05 seconds), but this is not true. An attack speed increase of 30% makes you use 1.3 ability instead of 1 ability in each global cooldown. This makes the global cooldown 1.5/13 = 1.154 seconds.
These 1.154 seconds go together with the 1.5 second cooldown of Ataru Form. If an Ataru Form triggers in the middle of an ability while having Berserk up, the cooldown overlaps the whole next ability making the chance to proc on that ability 0%. In the next image can the difference be seen between the use of 12 Assaults with and without Berserk and the effect on the amount of Ataru Forms.
Combat log without Berserk: Show
Image 6. Two combat logs displaying the use of 12 Assaults with and without Berserkup and the influence this has on the amount of Ataru Strikes, the time each Assault takes and the overlap of the Ataru Form cooldown over other melee attacks. These melee attacks have no chance on triggering an Ataru Strike.
Combat log with Berserk: Show
Note 1: As can be seen in the first log, the first Ataru Form hits at 27.257 and the second at 28.720 with a difference of 1.460 seconds which is lower than the cooldown of 1.5 seconds! This means or the combat log is wrong, or the cooldown of Ataru Form starts not at the Ataru Form, but at the melee attack that triggers the Ataru Form. The last option does not change anything.
Note 2: With the 30% increased attack speed from Berserk, theoretically the abilities would take 1.154 seconds, but the combat log shows an average of 1.233 seconds. This simply means the game is not able to perfectly increase attack speed by 30%, which in my opinion should be fixed.
Yes, the cooldown of Ataru Form during Berserk overlaps more melee attacks than without Berserk. This makes the chance of an Ataru Strike triggering each attack lower, but this does not make the chance of an Ataru Form triggering each global cooldown lower. When Ataru Form is off cooldown, Berserk makes it trigger faster again.
To sum up, having Berserk up decreases the chance to trigger an Ataru Strike on an ability, but increases your chance to trigger an Ataru Form in general, since the cooldown of Ataru Form is still the same, but it will be triggered faster when it comes off cooldown.
~~ The Opener and Other Examples ~~
Before 2.0, starting with Ravage used to be the best opener. Nowadays you will have start with spamclicking Gore with directly Battering Assault and Massacres to get the procs up.
Table 3. An example of an opener consisting out of two compact rage spending-phases controlled by the armor penetration from Gore with the rage balance and comments.
|Berserk + Frenzy + Bloodthirst||0||Use Channel Hatred with Brooding before to have 30 stacks of Fury, also use relic and stim|
|Force Charge + Gore||0 (+2)||Immediately after the first abilities, Gore to prevent a direct Execute proc.|
|Battering Assault||2 (+6)||To get the cooldown started and to have enough rage for the first burst.|
|Massacre||8 (-2)||To build up Execute and Slaughter|
|Massacre||6 (-2)||To build up Execute and Slaughter|
|Dual Saber Throw||4||To get the cooldown started and to fill the last second of the Gore|
|Gore + Ravage||4 (-1)||With Slaughter, after this your Berserk is over|
|Force Scream||3 (-1)||With Execute|
|Vicious Throw||2 (+1)||The second perk of Slaughter|
|Assault||3 (+2)||Entering the rage-building phase|
After the opener, each rage spending-phases follows the priority list mentioned above, under 'The Rotation'.
The rage-building phase does not have a priority, below is an example of how the 7 global cooldowns can be filled.
Table 4. An example of a rage-building phase of 7 GCDs, the rage balance and the cooldown of Gore.
|Ability||Rage (+/-)||Cooldown of Gore (seconds)|
|Battering Assault||3 (+6)||7.5|
|Dual Saber Throw||9||3|
- 2 Assaults and Battering Assault to actually build rage.
- 2 Massacres for the damage and to build up Execute.
- Dual Saber Throw for the free damage directly when it comes off cooldown.
- Rupture because of the higher damage than Massacre and Execute already being up.
When hitting 5 or more enemies with area of effect abilities, how do the 2 compact rage-spending phases look like?
Table 5. An example of two compact aoe rage spending-phases controlled by the armor penetration from Gore with the rage balance.
|Gore + Dual Saber Throw||12 (-1)|
|Sweeping Slash||8 (-3)|
|Battering Assault||5 (+6)|
|Gore+ Sweeping Slash||11 (-4)|
|Sweeping Slash||7 (-3)|
|Sweeping Slash||4 (-3)|
Besides this example, area of effect is not mentioned in this guide. When you are using aoe, the phase rotation will be exactly the same with 2 huge differences: you will use only aoe abilities during the rage spending-phases and you will have to build up 12 rage to maximize the aoe damage output in the rage spending-phases. There will be a lot of unavoidable Assaults in the rage-building phase, but the aoe burst is the 9 seconds after is definitely worth it and is most likely the highest aoe burst damage in game! (When hitting 5 targets for those 9 seconds)
As can be seen all throughout this guide: nothing is certain. Every 'sustainable' rotation has a ~10% chance of going wrong each 20 seconds because of uncertain procs. Does this mean the guide is wrong and you should use a rotation that has a 99.9% chance of going right all the time? Definitely not, if you are going to play by such a rotation your damage output would be really low.
The point I have tried to make is that it does not matter if your rotation can go wrong ~10% of the times, as long as you know how to handle it and get back to the rotation. It does mean that every fight will be different. There will be fights where everything goes right and you have an incredibly high DPS and there will also be fights where everything goes wrong. In the last case, knowing how to react when an unexpected proc happens or not happens is the key to keeping your damage output high. Knowing the chances makes you able to be prepared for every unexpected situation.
I am sure there will be mistakes in this guide, so please react and comment when you have a feeling that some assumptions or strategies are wrong!