As we'll soon have no choice in gear/stat optimization in PvP, I thought it might be fun to go over some of the min/maxing type choices we have now, and why I use what I use.
Optimized for Burst
In opposition to PvE standards, what I'm looking for in PvP is not how to get the highest DPS over the course of the fight. Instead, I'm looking for the highest burst potential, both reactive and planned.
For SV hunters, this means taking advantage of your procs with your on-use abilities, the biggest, of course, being a Murder of Crows. So I logged a few fights against a healer friend of mine, with him doing nothing but healing himself. Of the times I tried, the best 20 second (the duration of crows) segment I had breaks down like this:
To be clear, my total for these 20 second segments were within the range of 630k and 726k damage, this one certainly had some good RNG, and I timed my trap fairly well for the 2pc set bonus. Also worth noting, this damage included having versatility enchants (which we'll look at later), but no weapon proc, and no trinket buff (proc or on-use).
Determining Weapon Scopes
The first thing I looked at was what the effect would be of lining that up with a Mastery Scope proc, or a MS Scope proc. Because it's hard enough to line up good RNG with my burst when not dealing with any scope/trinket procs, and because I was relying on my friend instead of a training dummy (as a side note, they should really make the PvP training dummies work like hitting a player), I decided to just math the effects of the scope procs.
To do so, we need to see what each proc gives us. Each provides 750 of their stat, for 12 seconds. So the first thing I did was average out my damage sheet for a 12 second duration instead of 20 seconds. The scopes provide the following benefits:
Survival's attunement stat is Multistrike, so we get 5% more of that stat from the proc. So we're looking at 8.11% more mastery, or 11.93% more multistrike. Mastery is pretty simple to apply. We'll take the damage done by an ability, divide it by our current mastery, then multiply that number by our current mastery plus 8.11% (because the mastery from the scope works additively (not multiplicatively) with the mastery you already have, the result would be too high if you just multiply by 1.0811), for the abilities we have that are affected by our Mastery. For example, Explosive Shot did 29,996.25 damage normally, and my mastery is 39.70%, then I would do:
(29,996.25/1.397)*(1.397+.0811) = 31,737.62
For Multistrike, we have a few more variations from how you would normally calculate its value. Instead of looking at the actual damage portion of Multistrike, I'll be working with the expected Value, statistically. In PvP, we only get one chance to Multistrike, instead of the two you get in PvE. Also, because of SV's passive ability, Survivalist, Multistrikes do 20% more damage. So our expected value with Multistrike will be "0.36*MS%". Again, because the Multistrike from the proc adds with the Multistrike you already have, we'll have to take out the EV of the Multistrike from our gear, then multiply it back together, as we did with Mastery. As with all statistical analysis of this sort, this won't be true every time, but with a large enough sample size, our average will tend toward these results. To use Explosive Shot as an example again, with ES averaging 29,996.25 damage per cast, and my MS rating at 18.61%:
(29996.25/(1+0.36*0.1861))*(1+0.36*(0.1861+0.1193)) = 31203.64
As is obvious from just comparing the two scope's effect on Explosive Shots, Mastery gives you about about 1.7% more damage; however, mastery is only applied to some abilities, while MS is applied to all abilities. Comparing the damage from each scope, we get something like this:
|Ability||Base DPC||Casts/12sec||BDmg/12secs||w/ Mast scope||w/ MS scope|
So we actually ended up with the MS scope coming out slightly ahead of the Mastery scope. The reason this happens, is that a Murder of Crows is such a large amount of our burst. So while most of the time, in your normal rotation, you have nearly 80-85% of your damage coming from abilities affected by Mastery, while crows is up is down to 69.5%.
While this is surprising enough to be interesting. I do have some caveats. Even though the MS scope came out slightly ahead, it was very, very slightly: .04% more. If we get just one more Explosive Shot during the duration of the scope's proc, the Mastery scope pulls back into the lead, by about .5% more. Also, when the scope procs while Crows is on CD, then we start seeing the Mastery scope pull ahead by more than a percent.
There's another significant consideration, because the two are so close, we actually start to see armor making a difference in which one is better. The slight edge that the MS scope has is that it works on all of your abilities. However, the extra abilities that it works on (compared to the Mastery scope) are all physical damage, and do reduced damage based on your opponents armor. I did my testing above against a monk (leather armor); if you switch the armor values for a clothe class, you'll see the value of the MS proc go up (not significantly, but a little bit), while the Mastery scope doesn't change. On the other hand, if you put in the values for a mail or plate class, the value of the MS scope goes down.
Of course, we're talking about incredibly small differences here. From playing with my spreadsheet a bit, to me it looks like the Mastery scope is the better choice. This is because with bad RNG, the MS scope is only very, very slightly better, but with good RNG, the Mastery scope can be significantly better than the MS scope.
In the Hunter Discord channel, Dilly asked me to run the same scenario but for Mastery vs Versatility enchants. The math works the same, but just to show what we're working with:
Again we see that we get slightly more percent damage increase from Mastery, but Versatility applies to all of our abilities, whereas again, Mastery only applies to elemental damage. Using the same 12 second burst window to compare, the values look like this:
|Ability||DPC||Casts/12sec||Dmg/12secs||w/ Versa||W/ Mast|
Again, we're not talking about huge differences here, but Versatility enchants do come out slightly ahead, and they have the added benefit of giving you a little over a percent of passive damage reduction.