October 16, 2007

Stopcasting in 2.3: A Return to Button-Mashing

New readers, please note! This post was based on theorycrafting from an old build of the patch 2.3 PTR. Button mashing is not viable in WoW 2.3. Instead, remove /stopcasting from your old macros, keep Quartz, and continue to try to start your next cast as soon as you enter latency phase. If you hit your button too early, it will not cause your current cast to fail (as it did in 2.2), but it may cause you to incur a global cooldown penalty.

GMW readers know I've talked about using /stopcasting macros with Quartz before, but with the PTRs up, it's time to take a look forward at how spell casts will be changing in patch 2.3. Here's the relevant portion of the patch notes:

"Client spell cast requests are now sent to the server even if your player is already casting another spell. This eliminates the need for /stopcasting in macros to compensate for latency."

How is this different from how casts in WoW work now?
Right now, casters who aren't using /stopcast macros lose cast time to lag on any spell which takes longer than the global cooldown to cast. Quartz is a cast bar mod with a built-in latency indicator which can currently be used to time when to hit a macro so that the client (your end) will let you force-stop your old spell and begin casting a spell before it heard back from the server saying that the spell was complete. Timed correctly, spell #1 would complete and spell #2 would start with minimal time lost due to your own lag or server latency. This requires a caster to carefully watch her cast bar and then hit her macro one time once the cast reaches the safe zone.

What does this mean for casters after the patch?
The change in 2.3 means that your client won't have to wait for a “go ahead” from the server in order for you to be able to start casting a new spell. The client will no longer lock you out of starting a new cast, which means that you'll be able to repeatedly hit your cast button until the server knows your last cast has finished. The first attempted cast which reaches the server after it registers your last cast as completed will go through. In essence, the effect will be like having v2.2 /stopcasts already macroed into all your spells. In practice, it means that we'll all get to go back to mashing our buttons instead of perfectly timing a single tap of our macros.

In spite of this change, Quartz will remain a useful tool, because it gives you a visual readout of when your spell should be finished. You can use the Quartz cast bar to spam your cast button just before the cast bar reaches the “safe zone.” Here's a look at the difference in the two approaches:

In 2.3, /stopcast macros will only be useful for interrupting spells (i.e., stopping your fireball cast to counterspell your target), and not for decreasing cast lag. Old macros which served the second function may now cancel your casts if used, so you should delete or alter them accordingly to remove /stopcast. To maximize your spell casts in 2.3 and beyond, get a cast bar with a latency indicator, and spam the button for your next spell when your cast bar approaches the latency phase.


Leiandra said...

Good write-up. Let the mashing begin! lol

Girl Meets WoW said...

There's now talk of binding cast sequence macros to scroll buttons, all hunter-style. Madness!

Gwaendar said...

Just read this as I started browsing your blog. Since I was blogging about this very feature yesterday myself, I found out from the o-board that mashing will actually be a bad idea in 2.3 - I have a full write-up on Altitis, if I may be so shameless to plug myself here :)

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