On Wednesday evening, blizzard released the next tier's gear for testing. Hunters now have the Rylakstalker set, with a few pretty decent bonuses.
For BM (I'll get into SV and MM's bonuses another time), the bonus reads:
(2) Set: Kill Command has a chance to reset the cooldown of Bestial Wrath.
(4) Set: While Bestial Wrath is active, one additional pet is summoned to fight with you.
After a few thousand Kill Commands, it looks like the "chance" to reset is somewhere close to 20%, or about one in every 5 Kill Commands will reset Bestial Wrath. I ended up averaging 1 Bestial Wrath every 31.8 seconds, which is a pretty nice little bonus.
Lining-up Multiple Resets:\
When I say I averaged a BW every 32 seconds, that could be a bit misleading. Sometimes I would go through the entire cd of BW, and it would reset the old fashioned way, and sometimes it would reset on the first Kill Command I cast after popping BW. Unfortunately, this is going to make Beast Mastery just about as reliant on RNG as Survival has been in 5.4. however, there are a few things we can do to manage some of those quick resets, and make sure we're prepared to get the most DPS out of them.
The first question that was brought up to me, is should we use the second BW immediately, before the first is over. I imagine the line of thinking here is something like: if we wait until the end of of BW, then we might miss a reset, because BW will be off cd already. So let's take a look at how that would compare.
If our goal is to always have BW on cd when we hit KC, we can accomplish that by simply macroing it into KC. That way, if it resets on one KC, we'll use it fractions of a second before the next KC, allowing it to be on cd again, before the next KC. So it would look like this:
0 sec - Cast Bestial Wrath
0 sec - Kill Command - resets BW
6 sec - Cast Bestial Wrath
6 sec - Kill Command - doesn't reset BW
12 sec - Kill Command - doesn't reset BW
16 sec - Bestial wrath ends.
So in this situation, where we received one BW reset right after casting BW, we would have been better off waiting until the end of BW to cast the second, since that would have given us 20 seconds worth of BW, and here we only got 16 seconds. What about if it resets twice in a row? That would look like this:
0 sec - Cast Bestial Wrath
0 sec - Kill Command - resets BW
6 sec - Bestial Wrath
6 sec - Kill Command - resets BW
12 sec - Cast Bestial Wrath
12 sec - Kill Command - doesn't reset BW
18 sec - Kill Command - doesn't reset BW
22 sec - Bestial Wrath ends
Here we actually did get an extra 2 seconds (we would have only had 20 seconds, again, had we waited until BW were finished to re-cast it). If we continue to play this little game, and look at all the various options on which KCs reset BW, you'll find most of the time, you're going to get 4 or 8 extra seconds of BW by holding off on casting it until the BW that's currently up is over. But, there certainly are some situations where that's not the case, and you'll gain 2 or 4 seconds of BW by always assuring BW is on CD before casting a KC.
I'm having trouble getting Warcraft Logs to work reliably with Beta information, at the moment, so this next bit is perhaps more speculation than fact. You've been warned.
So, when you do get multiple Bestial Wraths in a row, we have a new set of problems. The traditional advice for dealing with BW, is you should pool focus leading up to when BW comes off cd, so when you cast BW, all you have to do is hit KC and AS (and Kill Shot, if it's that time in the fight). This is still just as true in WoD as it's been in MoP (with exceptions for barrage and Glaive Toss). Using BW while you're low on focus, means you're buffing cobra shot (or focusing shot, if you swing that way), which just, well, isn't what you want to use your buff for.
What I found produced the best results, was holding my second BW even longer, hitting a couple of Cobra Shots (and, if applicable, focus fire, but we'll get to that later), then popping my second Bestial Wrath. This allowed me to really get the most out of the Bestial Wraths. Furthermore, if you hit BW a second time right after the first one ends (and you started the first one right before hitting a Kill Command), you'll only just barely have time to get a second Kill Command into the second BW. If you end up running low on focus, and need to use Cobra Shot, you may push the second Kill Command out of the BW buff. The benefit of using a couple Cobra Shots before reapplying BW, is you will then be reapplying it right before your Kill Command, insuring you'll most definitely get two into both Bestial Wraths.
Once I have access to less bugged logs, I'll try to actually run the numbers and some probabilities, to see if I can verify this, but for now, I feel pretty confident about it.
2-Piece w/ Barrage
This also plays pretty well with barrage. Because Barrage has that super high focus cost, it can be a bit difficult to use without delaying your Kill Command, however, if you use it while in Bestial Wrath, What I've found gets the most out of my BWs, is hitting my normal Kill Command and Arcane spam, and then on the very last GCD of BW, use barrage. This gives you the half focus price, without having to use a big long channel in the middle of BW.
Though as I mentioned above, I'm not completely trusting my logs at the moment, it does appear that Barrage is not snapshotting damage. So if you cast Barrage on the last GCD of BW, you'll only have one second of buffed Barrage hits, not the full 2.X. So if you do end up with a string of multiple Bestial Wraths in a row, I don't think it would be wrong to cast Barrage on CD (instead of waiting until the end, so long as you can insure that you aren't delaying Kill Command.
Focus Fire Glory
I am loving the new Focus Fire. While in the past, Focus Fire has been more of a Focus Regen kind of cd, that you really just use during the dull points when you're going to cast a few Cobra Shots; now it has become a monster DPS cd. I don't have enough numbers to say so definitively, but it's looking like the AP bonus to FF is going to be enough to make stacking it with BW more valuable than having five stacks of frenzy on your pet during BW. The real reason I love it so much, is after testing a lot of Marksmanship, I'm just so bored with cast times. Cutting down the cast time of CS 66% of the time is just awesome.
Without the 2-piece bonus, the best way I've found to use Focus Fire, is make sure you want to hold your frenzy stacks so you have five, 10 seconds before BW comes off cd. If you can use it 10 seconds before BW, then you'll have 10 seconds of increased focus regen, and 10 seconds for your pet to build back up a few stacks of frenzy, in addition to having the AP buff all the way through Bestial Wrath. Then I can generally use it again after BW, so long as I have at least around 35 seconds left on my BW cd timer.
I did once, while testing, have the problem where frenzy ran out of time before building another stack, so I lost my four stacks. Because of this, I'd say it's still worth while to have a decent Weak Aura or Tell Me When set up, so if it's within about a second of falling off, you can use up whatever amount of stacks you have. Even if it's for a smaller AP/Haste buff, it's better than nothing.
With the 2 piece set bonus, there's really no way to plan out your Focus Fire uses, since you, for the most part, have no idea when you're going to be getting your next Bestial Wrath. It's not too bad though. For one thing, having 5 stacks of frenzy is still a pretty decent buff during Bestial Wrath, so as on live, you'll still never want to cast focus fire while in BW, as it's a very wasted GCD, and you're already getting some benefit from having the frenzy. If I do get a couple of Bestial Wraths in a row, I will use FF right after the first one, then hit a Cobra Shot, before reapplying BW.
There's really not much going on with your 4-piece. It doesn't affect your rotation really. One consideration might be that because it will lose up-time when it bugs out, you'll want to switch targets before casting BW, but that's something we all should have been doing anyway. Bendak over at Eyes of the Beast found the summoned pet wasn't doing any basic attacks, it was only doing melees. Which means we don't get a lot of DPS from it. Basically, a lack-luster bonus, even if it is cool to see a second pet up there. With the huge rotational change in the 2-piece bonus, I think we'll be ok without getting much out of the 4-piece.
I am getting more excited about having to play BM for another xpac. The Focus Fire buff is interesting and fun. That two piece set bonus, even if I'd prefer a lot less RNG, it's pretty cool. I was loving seeing constant bit red pets smashing the boss's face in. I haven't tested the SV or MM changes, but they're looking fairly interesting also. I'll try to post my thoughts on those set bonuses early next week.
For anyone who made it all the way through this fairly long post, tomorrow is my birthday. I'll most likely be off line for a bit this weekend. While I do love beta testing, and especially testing hunter abilities, it's not exactly what I think of as a fun birthday activity.
I've seen a few explanations of how multistrike affects your damage, and each time I was left a bit unsatisfied. So, as perhaps can be expected at this point, I decided to try to give it a shot, and really spell it out as clear as I can.
Multistrike - gives most abilities up to two separate chances to hit their original target an additional time for 30% of the original amount in PvE.
Just as a little side note here, to make things a little bit clearer, from this point forward, I'm going to refer to one of the 30% damage shots following your main shot as a "multistrike", and i'm going to refer to the stat as "MS" ("MS%" or "MS Rating").
The trouble in understanding that, is it doesn't really explain how much of a damage increase each % of multistrike gives you. However, with a little bit of algebra, we can convert this to a bit simpler to understand function.
To start off, the number of multistrikes you average per shot will be a simple function of the MS%. If you have, for example, 20% MS, then you have have a 36% chance of getting at least 1 multistrike for any individual ability you use; that is to say, if you fire 100 arcane shots (which do 5000 dam each, we'll get to that later though), you'll get (on average) 36 of those to proc at least one multistrike. In addition to that, you have a 4% chance of getting 2 multistrikes off of any individual ability. So of those 36 multistrikes (proc'ed off of a hundred abilities), 4 of them will will have partners, bringing our total up to 40 multistrikes out of every 100 abilities. Of course, that's the same thing as saying you'll average .4 multistrikes per shot, if you have 20% MS.
Then, because each of those multistrikes do 30% as much damage as the original shot, in our little example here we can go ahead and multiply that in there. If we have 100 arcanes doing 5000 damage each (500,000 damage total), and then we'll have 40 multistrikes which will do .3*5000 damage, that brings us 560,000 damage, a 12% increase in damage. And that's the number we're really interested in. For 20% MS, we get a 12% increase in damage.
The function which explains that for any given MS% or ability's damage is:
Total Damage = (MS% * 2 * .3 * base damage)
Or we can divide that all by the base damage if we're interesting in just the percent increase in damage:
Increase in damage = (MS% * 2 * .3 * base damage) / base damage
which can be simplified to a much easier:
Increase in damage = MS% * 3/5
In increments of 5% MS, that ends up looking like this:
|MS %||Dam. Incr.|
For those who don't like to think in algebraic, the easiest way to understand that, I think, is looking at that last entry, with 100% MS. It makes sense that 100% MS would give you 60% extra damage, since it will guarantee you 2, 30% extra damage shots. The point of all of this is, 1% MS gives you 3/5 % increase in damage.
There is then, just one more number we need to look at when thinking about the stat: the amount of the stats on gear that it takes to make up 1%MS. As it's tuned currently on the beta (which seems likely to make it onto live, at this point), it takes 66 MS rating. That means for every 66 MS you get a 3/5% increase to your damage. For a 1% increase in damage, then, you'll need 110 MS rating, which is a somewhat interesting number, and not because it's the smallest number that's the product of two different substrings (just look it up), but because it's the exact same rating you need to get 1% crit (which much more conveniently, 1% crit happens to equal a 1% damage increase).
So basically, we have two stats which do the exact same thing. This doesn't mean they'll be of equal worth. Currently there are a few more mechanics which add benefits to crit; perhaps the biggest for hunters right now is the MM Aimed Shot, which returns 20 focus to you when it crits. Another major effect on the value of the stats is the newly introduced Stat Attunements, which provide 5% more of the respective stats from gear. There's also specs like Survival which has a basic, flat increases to Multistrike damage (for those interested, you get more stats from your gear, and you get 20% more damage per multistrike, so in the end you get 1% of MS from less stats, and instead of getting 3/5% damage increase per 1% MS, that extra 20% damage per multistrike gives you a total of .72% damage increase per 1% MS). *Edit* Thanks to dues payer and WHU member Jacques for pointing out that the 20% is not applied to the damage of the original shot, but to the damage of the multistrike.
The last thing I'd like to bring up (which I've already mentioned on this site, but I feel like it's worth reiterating) is that that Multi-strike is multiplicative with with the other secondary stats (except for perhaps haste). What I mean by that, is if your arcane shot does 5k base damage, and you have 25% crit, and 25% multistrike, your arcane shot will not average 7500 damage (which would be 5k + 5k*.25+5k*.25), instead, it's going to average 7812.5 (which is 5k*1.25*1.25). This is because Multistrikes can Crit. So Critical nets you more damage when paired with Mulistrikes, and vice versa. This is also true of Versatility, and for hunter specs, Mastery (on applicable abilities).
Anyhow, after writing this, I'm not sure if I've actually managed to make the subject any simpler, or if perhaps I've made it seem even more confusing. Hopefully something in here will help someone, though.
I finally, last night, was able to go over my logs from testing the latest iteration of Barrage. As I've already shown relatively similar comparisons using SV, I'll try to keep this fairly brief.
If you don't remember, the new barrage has a 20sec CD, and does 960% weapon damage to its main target, at a greatly increased cost of 60 focus. My stats were as follows:
I killed a couple of test dummies to come up with this info, which amounted to around 18 minutes per fight. Still, even at that length, there were several discrepancies that didn't regress toward the mean, so either RNG is off a bit, or I'm not testing something right. Anyhow, here are the shot values as MM, with Lone Wolf:
|Shot||Hit||Crit||Per cast ave:|
With each test, Chim Shot came out the clearly most valuable shot, as the highest damage dealing shot, the highest Damage per Focus, and the highest Damage per Cast-time per Focus, at 1601.65. For comparison's sake, the DPCTF (there's gotta be a better way to say that) for the shots ended up looking like:
What's more interesting here, however, is that Aimed Shot (even without TotH procs) beat out Barrage in both Damage per Focus, and Damage per Cast-time per Focus. If you have a TotH proc, then Aimed Shot's DPCTPF shoots up to 582.99, and when you crit with a TotH proc, the DPCTPF outpaces even Chim Shot, going all the way up to 1748.96. (I'll add more on this later).
The result of this is, unfortunately, for single target the fancy new buffed barrage will net you less DPS than spamming Aimed Shots. Glaives gives you a lot more bang for your buck, so to speak, and at the same time gives the spec an extra instant to use when you've got nothing else to do. If you aren't using Lone Wolf, the numbers do look a little bit different, but the value of Barrage only comes up to about the same as Aimed Shot, it doesn't really pull ahead.
One of the other things I noticed about using Barrage with MM, is it doesn't play well with TotH. That is, because of the super long cast time for Aimed Shot, you've really got to use your AiS quickly, or you'll lose your stacks of TotH. This can be a problem if you're attempting to pool focus to use for Barrage. At the whim of RNG, getting off Barrage on CD can sometimes be troublesome.
Revisiting the Chim Shot vs. Aimed Shot Debate
As I mentioned above, the value (as measured in DPCTPF) of Aimed Shot goes up when you get a crit, or when you use it while having TotH. Another way to increase the DPCTPF of Aimed Shot, however, is using Rapid Fire. RF brings the cast time of AiS down to 1.55 seconds (in the 660 gear I was testing in), which brings the value of Aimed Shot up to 2493.68 (with TotH, assuming automatic crit from Careful Aim). There is still some tuning to do, and I'll continue to check the numbers, looking at different gearing options and such, but so far I feel like we're pretty much ready to say during Rapid Fire, if we have TotH up, we spam Aimed Shot, even at the cost of delaying Chim Shots. If you don't have TotH procs to use, then Chim will retake the lead, however.
Stat Weights and the SimC
A quick bit extra, while I'm talking about Marksmanship, there have been some questions about stat weights due to simulations from the recent builds of SimC. What people have noticed, is when they run a simulation using the Marksman t17(heroic or mythic) gear set and fight type, they're getting a report that says Multi-shot is, by a decent margin, the most valuable secondary stat.
The problem with this, however, is that we now have three (four for some specs, depending on how their mastery works) which have very similar results, and furthermore, are multiplicative. So the value of Multi-strike increases if you have a lot of crit, and vice versa. This comes down to a very basic concept:
x*x > (x-1)*(x+1)
Of course, in the case of our stats (especially for MM), certain stats will have added mechanical bonuses, such as Aimed Shot crits returning focus. That has to be accounted for as well, but if we didn't have those, we would get the most DPS from having similar amounts (after adjusting for rating to percent increase ratios, and the stat's actual function for increasing damage) of Crit, MS, Versa and Mastery (assuming Sniper Training is up the entire fight).
The problem with the default build on for MM hunters on SimC is that they've started you out stacked with crit; it's on nearly every piece of gear, and all enchants are crit enchants. At that point, when you already have all of that crit gear, yes, 1 more MS rating will net you more dps than 1 more crit rating. But if you switch the default build, and add in just a couple pieces that have MS already on them (I switched the helm and shoulders, but kept all the crit enchants), then run the sim, Crit will overtake MS in value again.
This is going to be a continual problem in WoD. While some specs/classes may still have a definitive stat priority, for MM hunters at least, most of the secondary stats will remain so similar in value that your goal will be finding the right balance of all of them, instead of stacking all of one and none of the other. The exception may be mastery for heavy movement fights if you're playing MM, but in general, this should hold true through-out the xpac.
If you're interested in more of the math behind this, check out Esoth's post on Versatility: http://www.esoth.com/blog/versatility-and-its-relative-value
In the wake of the news that we'll be losing the Female Dwarf hunter spreadsheets, I thought it might be prudent to start getting adjusted to some of the other amazing hunter tools that are out there. So, today we have a special guest here at the Thrill of the Wild. A dedicated raider and hunter maths extraordinaire, Esoth has been playing his hunter since 2006, raiding since BC, and since Cataclysm been part of the highly esteemed guild, Something Wicked, who, despite a limited 3 days a week schedule, continuously manage to stay competitive on the national and international raiding scene. Esoth has been a main stay of the Hunter forums on Elitist Jerks, and has been creating hunter spreadsheets since before I first logged into EJ.
For Warlords of Draenor, Esoth decided it was time to switch to a web app, and it has quickly become one of the more popular hunter tools on the web right now, so I asked him if he could give a quick overview of the tool, and how to utilize it.
Hello all! Delirium has asked me to give a sort of how-to on using my new hunter web app at http://www.wowhuntertools.com/hunter/ and I’m happy to oblige. First things first, please note that this is intended to match the current state of beta for Warlords of Draenor and will go forward from that. It does not and will not ever work with Mists of Pandaria mechanics. You can check the latest changes on /changelog. As always if something looks incorrect, feel free to tweet at me.
Now that you’ve hit the “Shoot” (my clever, hunter-themed version of “submit”) you can see calculations on other tabs. We start from the beginning – calculating your stats from the raw data you input, or we pulled from armory. There are notes about any buffs, food, flask, racials, etc. applied to each stat. “Spells/Abilities” goes a step further and calculates the values for each spell based on your stats and the particular mechanics of that spell. Hopefully this gives some insight into each of these spells about how to make them stronger.
The “Single Target” and “AoE” pages are probably most of interest to the average user here – it’s where all of these spells are put together to create that single metric everyone cares about the most: DPS. For each of these it gives a total number as well as a breakdown of each ability’s relative contribution. If you are interested in a more advanced diagnostic, click the View Model button to see how the rotation is actually modeled for your settings. Note that some states (like whether Bestial Wrath is active) will result in a damage change while active.
Hunters wanting to look more into their play and how their stats and abilities are working together should make sure you check out his site. Any questions or comments can be sent to Esoth on twitter @Esoth, and you can also check out some great theorycrafting articles at his website/blog, at Esoth.com.
While the numbers tuning is far from complete on the WoD beta, it's looking like there's a chance MM is going to come out on top of the hunter specs, with the most possible DPS. There are certainly still a lot of issues with the way MM is set up rotationally, but at this point, it's seeming less and less likely that Blizzard is going to address those things. So, I suppose it's time to start preparing for for the situation where, to be competitive in top tier raiding, we need to play MM.
Simply for the reason that hunters haven't had to think about movement for the last several patches, I would imagine that dealing with Marksmanship's Mastery is going to be the biggest change for a lot of hunters. This has an added degree of difficulty, even compared to casters who can't cast on the move, because we don't have less powerful spells to time with movement phases. For example, Boomkins can put up their dots while moving, and then when they get to a place they can stop, use their powerful direct spells. For MM hunters, that won't be the case, because we'll have to stay still for 3 seconds before we the buff goes back up.
Another added skill cap we'll need to deal with is "down-time". For all of MoP, no hunter specs have had down time; what I mean by that, is it's currently better to hit the wrong shot, than to delay briefly and hit the right shot. For MM in WoD, that won't be the case. With the various cast times of Steady Shot, Focusing Shot and Aimed Shot, you're going to have times where you've got a GCD or two before Chim Shot comes off CD, but not enough focus to cast and Aimed Shot, and not enough time to cast a Focusing Shot.
The solution to both is somewhat related, which is why I wanted to talk about these problems at the same time.
The thing is, there are inevitably going to be times when you need to move for more than three seconds. What we'll want to do in this situation, however, is make sure we time our shots accordingly. We have six seconds after we start moving while our mastery buff will still be applied. If you can get stopped again in three seconds, then you're good to go, no need to change your rotation. If, however, you can't, you'll want to time your movement so that six seconds after you've started moving, you're going to need to use steady/focusing shot. These are the shots that will be the least effected by not having the mastery buff, so if you can make sure you're using them, when the buff is down, you can avoid the more substantial dps loss that comes from using Aimed Shot or Chim Shot while the buff isn't up.
The other great thing to use while the Sniper Training isn't up is of course, down-time. If you're going to have to skip a GCD anyway, do it while your buff isn't up. That might mean using the empty GCD right after Chim Shot, instead of right before, which will, admittedly, take a great deal of planning and practice.
Other, more minimal uses of the down-time / no Sniper Training time could include Tranq Shot or laying down traps or binding shot, and while not likely in raids, perhaps dismissing, healing or rezzing your pet.
Hunters have been asking for a way to differentiate really good play from average play, and this is definitely a way to do that, even if we aren't super excited about the way the mechanics are looking. This will mean a lot of planning ahead, and very close tracking of your focus and buffs, but if MM ends up the clear DPS spec of WoD, then mastering Sniper Training will be a significant part of top-end huntering.
I've spent a perhaps unreasonable amount of time using the Female Dwarf hunter web app, and will greatly miss everything Zeherah brought to the hunter community. For anyone interested, here's an "interview" I did with Zeherah last spring. Be sure to jump on twitter to let her know how much we've appreciated everything she's done: @Thefemaledwarf.
It's been over 5 years since I started FemaleDwarf.com, and it's been a great experience for me. I've learned a lot from my work on the site, and I've greatly enjoyed being able to contribute to and participate in our wonderful hunter community. It's with a heavy heart that I announce I don't plan to update the site for the Warlords of Draenor expansion. I've greatly enjoyed my experience in WoW over these almost 10 years, but I'm not sure if I'll continue playing in the upcoming expansion, and I just can't make the time investment required to keep this site up to date with it.
When I started this site, hunter options for optimization and theorycrafting were a lot more limited. Simulationcraft is now a much more mature and easier to use tool. Esoth is now working on his own web based theorycraft tool at http://www.wowhuntertools.com/hunter/. Ask Mr Robot is a popular alternative option. I hope the hunter community will continue to be well served by these and any new tools that may come along in the future.
I want to thank all the people who've helped make the site a success over the years: the authors of the original hunter spreadsheets that the site was inspired by and based on, the hunter bloggers that helped get out the word about the site, the many hunter theorycrafters whose work has helped me keep the site up to date and accurate, the devs who've made a real effort in the last few years to engage the theorycrafting community and the player base at large, the volunteer translators that have helped make the site more useful to WoW players in many countries. I also must thank the many wonderful users of the site, some of whom have sent donations over the years, or have shared their stories with me of their experiences with the site, helped make suggestions for improvement or have offered to help in whatever way they could. The hunter community is full of great people that made me proud that I could do my bit to help.
- Zeherah of Stormrage