Alacrity and the Global Cooldown
Alacrity, which saw a major rework with game update 3.0, has a number of important effects:
- it reduces the cast time of cast or channelled abilities,
- reduces the cooldown of certain abilities,
- reduces the internal cooldown of certain passive abilities,
- reduces the time between ticks of HoTs/DoTs
- increases the rate of resource regeneration (heat, energy, Force, etc.) and
- reduces the global cooldown (GCD).
Arguably, the biggest benefit to stacking Alacrity Rating is reducing your global cooldown, which increases your potential abilities per minute (APM). By default, the global cooldown for all classes is 1.5s. The global cooldown is essentially a cap on your APM. While a few abilities are off the global cooldown, most are not. In ideal circumstances like dummy parses, having, say, +1% Alacrity rating equates to approximately +1% healing or damage per second. Additionally, your resource regeneration rate is adjusted to account for the fact that you are able to use more abilities per minute.
GCD and Rounding
There has recently been discussion on the SWTOR forums and r/swtor, the game's official subreddit, that Alacrity may not be reducing the GCD as intended.
The discrepancy emerged in a forum thread about some unusually high Fury Marauder parses uploaded to Parsely.
Not sure if you saw the other comments in the thread, but the gcd always rounds up, not down like the post you quoted in the op. So a 1.31s gcd will round to 1.4 seconds, not 1.49s = 1.4s like that guy said.
doc (yellow_ on the SWTOR forums) is among a few players to have independently run tests to find the values of Alacrity Rating that correspond to these breakpoints at 1.4s, 1.3s, etc. In a post to the aforementioned reddit thread, he gives the breakpoints as follows:
0-702 Alacrity = 1.5sec GCD
703-1859 Alacrity (7.15+%) = 1.4sec GCD (1.39991)
1860+ Alacrity (15.41%) = 1.3sec GCD (1.29971)
The 1.2s breakpoint is somewhere in the region of 3,000 Alacrity Rating. Presumably, there are breakpoints beyond this but GCDs below 1.2s are unobtainable with current stat budgets.
In other words, players should consider aiming for values of Alacrity Rating as close to those breakpoints as possible and not below them. It’s important to note that Alacrity’s effect on cast times, ability cooldowns, etc., is more granular. However, specifically in terms of the GCD, every point spent above those thresholds is wasted.
It’s unclear how long Alacrity has been behaving this way and whether it’s intentional or a bug/error. It could go back as far as the rework to Alacrity with game update 3.0 in December 2014. Alacrity is not the most intuitive stat and calculating its effects is tricky: again, this only came to light by scrutinising parses. Further, in-game tooltips are notoriously unreliable: the tooltips for HoTs like Kolto Probe still don’t reflect their reduced duration from Alacrity, for instance.
Alacrity also has a history of wacky behaviour. Shortly after game update 3.0, a number of players reported that it was not working as expected, including members of Zorz, an accomplished raiding guild. Specifically, Alacrity was not increasing the tick rate of HoTs or DoTs. It was also causing HoTs and DoTs to lose ticks when an adrenal or cooldown like Stim Boost or Polarity Shift was activated part way through its duration. Given its complexity and BioWare’s update cadence, perhaps it shouldn’t surprise that Alacrity is still causing headaches.
What is the actual impact of Alacrity’s strange behaviour? It affects everyone but will be most noticeable to dedicated players who parse, hardcore raiders and those well over a breakpoint.
In PvP, it’s often hard to leverage the reduced GCD from Alacrity because you are forced to move and regularly stunned, rooted, interrupted, etc. In light of these Alacrity mechanics, I’d advise aiming for one of the breakpoints (which one depends on your class and spec) and allocating the rest of your stat budget to Mastery, Critical Rating or Power.
In PvE, where uptime (time on target) tends to be much higher, you can leverage those extra 3 or 4 GCDs per minute. Here, the benefits of min/maxing are much more tangible and, if the Fury parses are representative of other specs, the difference could be on the order of a couple of hundred DPS/HPS.
Now that this has come to light, hopefully BioWare can investigate and clarify whether Alacrity is working as intended—and fix it if not.
- merovejec (2017-09-27). Re: Concentration/Fury on Parsely Leaderboards [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=933260
- shyroman (2017-09-27). Re: Concentration/Fury on Parsely Leaderboards [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://www.swtor.com/community/showpost.php?p=9424427&postcount=18
- Winky86 (2017-10-18). Re: Alacrity Effect on GCD (especially for classes with instant attacks) [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/swtor/comments/7759os/alacrity_effect_on_gcd_especially_for_classes/
- docdocdocdocdocdocdo (2017-10-18). Re: Alacrity Effect on GCD (especially for classes with instant attacks) [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/swtor/comments/7759os/alacrity_effect_on_gcd_especially_for_classes/dojc8b3/
- Anonymous (2014-12-29). Alacrity still/more useless then before? [Online forum comment]. Re: Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/swtor/comments/2qp77n/alacrity_stillmore_useless_then_before/
- KTap (2015-08-01). Re: Bug - Dots and Hots Lose Ticks With Alacrity Boosts [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=788582
Thanks go to