Stacking Cooldowns

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft since before the Burning Crusade expansion, but Wrath of the Lich King is the first time I’ve really progressed through end-game content. Needless to say, I’ve been learning a lot of new things.

One new thing that I’ve learned is how to combine cooldowns to get the most bang for my buck. Previously, I would alternate cooldowns so that I’d always have one available to use. It’s not a bad strategy, but certain cooldowns can increase the effects of other cooldowns, so if I use those cooldowns together, I’m getting more benefits than if I used them separately.

This doesn’t work with all cooldowns, however, so choose carefully. For example, imagine that I have two trinkets, one that increases my attack power by 500 on use and one that increases my attack power by 600 on use. If I use them together, I’m not getting any more benefit than if I were to use them separately.

However, if I were to use one of those trinkets followed immediately by Call of the Wild (pet ability in the ferocity tree), which increases attack power by 10%, that extra attack power from the trinket is being used to calculate the bonus attack power I get from Call of the Wild. Another pet ability that is great to use with Call of the Wild is Furious Howl, which increases attack power by 320 and comes from wolf pets.

There are lots of ways that hunters can combine cooldowns with procs or other cooldowns to maximize the bonuses. You can even use other raid or party members’ cooldowns with your own! For example, Rapid Fire, which increases attack speed by 40%, stacks with Heroism/Bloodlust, which increases attack speed by 30%. Using Rapid Fire right after a shaman uses Heroism/Bloodlust will increase your attack speed by even more because it calculates attack speed after Heroism/Bloodlust is applied. Rapid Fire also stacks with Improved Aspect of the Hawk.

My favorite combination is to use Rapid Fire with the proc from my Whispering Fanged Skull, which increases attack power by 1100 for 15 seconds. That way, I’m getting in more attacks while I have that huge attack power increase. The trinket procs pretty consistently, so it’s easy to anticipate when I’ll need to use Rapid Fire. Both cooldowns also last for 15 seconds, so the timing is good.

For Beast Mastery hunters, of course, The Beast Within is great to combine with an attack speed or attack power cooldown, as it increases damage done by 10% for the duration. For Survival hunters like myself, an attack power, armor penetration, or damage-increasing cooldown might be good to combine with a Lock and Load proc since you get to quickly fire three of your best shots.

For the hunters that like to combine manual cooldowns, macros can make this a lot easier. However, I prefer to combine one manual cooldown (depending on how many I have) with one or more procs. That way, I’m combining as many benefits as possible to increase DPS. Between talents, glyphs, pets, procs, trinkets, and other cooldowns, there are many, many ways to combine benefits. Hunters can really get creative and see what works best for them. If you have some combinations you like to use, post a comment and share with the rest of us.

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