Aimed Shot Explained

Posted: by Frostheim

Aimed Shot, gained as a talent in the MM tree, has a very poorly worded tooltip. This poor wording has lead to some misunderstanding about how it actually works and what it actually does.

The tooltip for Aimed Shot looks like this:

aimed1It increases ranged damage, and reduces healing done to that target by 50%. Lasts 10 seconds. But wait…

The vague wording has lead some people to believe that Aimed Shot actually increases your ranged damage of all shots for the entire 10 seconds of the debuff. It does not. The only thing that lasts 10 seconds is the healing reduction. The ranged damage increase is just for the shot itself.

Let’s take a look at the debuff. When we shoot a target with Aimed Shot, we see the debuff appear on their debuff bar. We can scroll over it to see the effect, which is this:

aimed2That’s right — nothing but healing reduction. However, having already established that the tooltip is messed up, how do we know which one is wrong? Well, by exhaustive testing, that’s how.

Testing Results

This is simple enough to test, it just takes a lot of time, and a lot of ammo. I went to Ironforge and waited until I had the boss Target Dummy to myself, and then fired 500 auto shots at the target dummy. I recorded the results, and then I did it all over again and averaged the results. (Note: no pet, no buffs, no other shots fired, in Dragonhawk)

Autoshot Only:
Average damage on a hit: 1046
Average damage on a crit: 2157

Then – and this was the painful part – I fired Aimed Shot every 6 seconds, kept it up all the time, until I had racked up 500 Auto Shots. I had to pause (and stop shooting) a few times to get mana back. Then I did it all over again and averaged the results.

Auto Shot with Aimed Shot Active:
Average damage on a hit: 1050
Average damage on a crit: 2117

What we have there is a pretty conclusive result, within the range of probability. Aimed Shot’s debuff clearly does not increase the damage of all of our shots while it’s active. It just increases the damage of itself — which is the logical conclusion anyway.

Aimed Shot is still nice. The healing reduction is essential for any hunter who wants to pvp, and having another instant shot is fantastic for pvp and very useful in raids. However, it is not some crazy uber shot that is required for any build (which would be the case if it really did increase all ranged attacks by 400-odd damage).

Science Speaks

So I say again, with science this time: if you aren’t MM, you don’t need to take Aimed Shot. Using Multi-Shot instead will get you about the same damage.

Note to respond to another comment: multi-shot has a .5 sec cast time, but the global cooldown is 1.5 seconds — meaning you cannot use an ability more often than once every 1.5 seconds. So multi-shot will not delay your rotation.

[Edit: note some comments below pointing out that Sniper Training boosts Aimed Shot damage. I posted a comment with a wee bit of theorycrafting using data I was gathering for glyph theorycrafting to show why that dps increase is so miniscule as to barely register — as the testing results above show]

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  1. Ashamel says:

    Thanks for throwing some science our way. I’m MM, so I use Aimed Shot for the mobility factor. The only reason I prefer AS over MS in most occasions is the predictability factor… I know I’m not going to pull unholy death down on top of the raid. (Oh damn, the pet wasn’t on passive for Kel’Thuzad)… Minus moments like that on very rare occasions, I like to KNOW just which targets I’ll be hitting.

    Granted most of the time, I know exactly what I’m getting with MS too, I’ve seen the game do some weird stuff with MS before…

    Anyway, it’s not a HAVE to have talent for any class, but it’s one of those “This is a fricking nice shot to have” if you prefer instant cast shots.

  2. Tarjett says:

    Isnt Aimed shot better to use then Multi-shot, because of the changes to Sniper Training? it increases the damage from Aimed shot by 6%..

  3. Sorean says:

    You may want add into this note that Aimed shot is affected by Sniper training whereas multi-shot is not and therefore could be added into the survival spec and priority system.

  4. Sorean says:

    Curses! Beaten while replying.

  5. Frostheim says:

    Yes, your sniper training gives your aimed shot a 6% advantage. However, keep in mind that aimed shot is used very seldom in your rotation, only every 6 seconds, and it’s a lower priority than your explosive or black arrow, so occasionally gets pushed back. Overall I’ve found that if I’m using aimed shot it makes up about 6% of my total damage.

    So let’s take a look:

    Let’s say I do around 3,000 dps on boss target dummy. 6% of that is from aimed shot, or 180 dps. Sniper Training will increase that by 6%, from 180dps to 190.8dps, or a 10.8 dps increase. Put another way, that’s an overall 0.36% dps increase. Not even half a percent.

    Is that worth a talent point?

    (Note: personally I *do* use aimed shot, but because of pvp. It’s nice to have another instant shot, but the damage is essentially equivalent when you look at the big picture).

  6. Anomadeus says:

    For me, its not worth having that shot.But i’m not to big into PVP.

  7. quiv says:

    that sniper training point is interesting. i keep sniper training up for the majority of most fights (since i have 9 out of every 15 seconds to move), plus multi shots unpredictability always worries me. im at work so i cant check out mana cost difference. interesting.

  8. Tarjett says:

    Where else would you put that talent then… currently have 2/3 hunting party, would putting 1 point more there increase the dps more than aimed shot?

  9. quiv says:

    i think for sv, if youre following the whu sv talent build, improved aspect of the hawk is used as a dump talent for extra pts.

    concerning hunting party, the whu guide only has 1 pt in there, saying “One point is all you need. The extra 1% agility probably isn’t worth it – there are better places to spend those extra points.”

  10. Garson says:

    Frost…the blog is awesomesauce but I do have a specific question and don’t know if this is the right place but will ask it anyway.

    What is your recommendation for addon for shot countdown? I have surfed the site as their is a lot of discussion about the different add-ons but couldn’t see your specific recommendation which I will go with.

    As a testimonial to your awesomeness you just pushed me past 3000 dps in raids and now everyone in the raid is asking me, “How did you get your dps so high?”. I tell them that as a hunter I only deal in death… You rock Frost!!!!

  11. Frostheim says:

    One of these days I’ll write an addon guide, but probably not super soon.

    The two ways to go are Miks Scrolling Battletext, and Power Auras. Both can be customized to notify you of various things. I just use Mik’s for lock & load procs and keep track of the rest myself — I have a pretty good sense of when things are coming up anyway. But with the new complications that Black Arrow added in, I may be managing that more with addons in the future.

  12. Yorigrim says:

    I really am loving power auras. Took me a little while to figure out how to get it configured. The MSBT stuff disappears too fast, but power auras will keep the icon up until you use it which is pretty nice. Also power auras will show you when you can actually use it (when it lights up) not just when it is ready. MSBT might be able to be configured to do this but I haven’t played around with it at all, so don’t know ;)

  13. Huntelaar says:

    Does Quartz also have cooldown bars? I just got it and haven’t played w/ it too much. But I’m pretty sure Quartz is another one w/ cooldown bars.

  14. quiv says:

    will be checking power aura

  15. Alphius says:

    hey guys and gals. listen up. you can check curse gaming for a hunter mod called kathas’s hunter timers. I have used it b4. its pretty simple to set up and works rather well for tracking all hunter abilities regardless of spec. it also provides a few miscellaneous timers for trinkets and such. hope u find it usefull.

  16. SC/Yume says:

    I really think that aimed shot is being discounted too much as a “pvp shot”. The healing effect is useful for pvp, but lets not forget the old Illhoof encounter in kara. The 50% reduction helped cut back on his healing from sacrifice, and in a boss fight event bit helps. Granted there arent many pve situations where this is useful currently, but I wouldnt put it past Blizzard to add one in at some point.

    Multishot is nice, and comparable in damage, but I find myself unable to use it at times because of spores on Loatheb, crowd control, or any number of similar situations. Those are the times when you sit idle, when you couldve done more damage with an aimed.

    For the record, I dont currently have aimed shot, primarily because my multi target multishot gives me more stacks on my 5flights trinket. Im tempted though, because thisis my first buld without aimed, and you do miss it when its gone.

  17. Templeton says:

    Thank you for atleast showing they are about the same i really missed it and am glad it wont severely effect my dps to have. however im not really sure where you are getting 6 sec for, i may be missing some talent or glyph ,but pretty sure tooltip says 10 sec cd. Also as for mana efficiency i believe aimed shot is less than multi so if you do have a dump talent might be worth putting it in aimed.

  18. Dorianchika says:

    Re: SC/Yume “Discounting Aimed Shot as too much PVP”

    Perhaps Blizz has already put in an encounter as SC/Yume described. Does Aimed Shot reduce the healing done when Gluth eats a Zombie Chow? (I can’t web troll this from work or I’d look it up myself)

  19. Jg says:

    I normally support every thing you do on this site but this one I don’t. I guess maybe it’s just the way that I read the tooltip, but. I thought It was pretty obvious what the shot did and if not this is something people should be able to figure out on their own and let you Frost to get to the more important stuff!

  20. Zeffen says:

    hey Frost… did i read you post correctly? did you say MS is on a 1.5 cooldown?? I thought it was 10 (9 if you have the glyph) I haven’t used aimed shot since I converted from MM to SV about 4 months back (not missing it either)… I have NEVER had any issues using MS in our raids and if i do happen to pull aggro a quick feign followed by MD does the trick nicely

  21. Frostheim says:

    Zeffen: not quite no. The point is that MS has a .5 sec cast, but there’s the 1.5 sec global cooldown, so even after you cast multi, you still gotta wait another second before you can cast a different shot.

    I only tossed the comment in there because some people were worried that the .5 sec cast time would screw up their shot cycle.

  22. uncle says:

    do you really believe in 6 sec AS/MS cd ?

  23. veecee says:

    im a survival hunter that has aimed shot and i personally like it because i can use it on the run

  24. yasumi says:

    so what ur getting at about AS is that it doesnt matter if u use muti or aimed ?

  25. Jerin says:

    ut my new best friend man, ive just been getting into raiding here lately and my DPS was pitiful. every time a damage meter came up i lived in fear that the healer migfht have out DPS’d me. So I just wanted to thank everyone who posted here cuz it was all very useful to me.

  26. Kemono says:

    Frosthiem, you keep saying that you fired an Aimed Shot every 6 seconds. How is that possible. Even with the glyph you can only fire it every 8.

  27. Dreamstalker says:

    I was looking into this and i think its changed… but mine states the following…” Aimed Shot RNK 1/1 605 MANA COST instant cast 5-35 yd Range , 10 second cool down , Requires ranged weapon ” … ” an aimed shot that increases ranged damage by 5-6 and reduces healing done to that target by %50 lasts 10 seconds ” so does it NOW increase all ranged damage by 5-6 ?


  28. Frostheim says:

    No, it does not increase all ranged damage.

    You are looking at Rank 1 of Aimed Shot.

  29. Dreamstalker says:

    i didn’t notice Rank 9 on the posted pic until you said that. I just saw the mana cost was even higher than the one posted so figured thy may have changed something . Sorry for the confusion on my behalf.

    Thanks for the Help

  30. ninja says:

    thanks for info, very useful.
    if measuring something related to damage i personally suggest using 2 bows:

    Screeching Bow

    Ogre Toothpick Shooter

    both have fixed damage output, not like all others: Damage from – to. Same damage every shot(+-1), so its less time/less ammo.
    P.S. first one is easier to get

  31. Tyrik says:

    Multi-shot … in raids? Aren’t we worried about breaking CC? I have always used Aimed Shot while being Surv spec. I would be hesitant to fire off a multishot or even have it in my rotation. So we’re left without another shot?

  32. Frostheim says:

    In wrath raids – heck yeah! There is virtually no CC going on in almost any of Wrath so far. Obviously if CC is out, you don’t use multi-shot — but 97% of the time you’ll be able to.

  33. Tyrik says:

    Fair enough. I was thinking of Ulduar on the trash before Vesax. I guess you’re right, though… very little CC otherwise. I think maybe the PvP portion of 10/25 ToC might be a problem. But then again the PvP portion probably should have Aimed Shot anyway. :) Fair enough. Thanks!

  34. ShadowDreamz says:

    Its hard to argue with the above listings and post. I’d just like to say that I focus my MM hunter mainly around crit% and Aimed Shot is my favorite shot by far. It is the most powerful damage dealer I have. My talents are set with anything dealing with crit and aimed shot and I use the glyph of true aura that increases the crit hit chance of aimed shot by 10%. I’m not a fully geared 80, so till then Aimed Shot is currently my best friend.

  35. h4z3 says:

    I must say this is a very, very, very good article on Aimed Shot and explaining how it really works. I’m SV and before I found this site I was wondering if I should go far enough into the MM tree to pick up AS because before WoLK I was MM and LOVED Aimed Shot, mainly becuase of being able to fire it on the run.

    But after reading this article, I now know that unless you PvP a lot, there’s not much use spending the talent point there as the difference between MS and AS isn’t drastic enough to make it worth it.

  36. Kary says:

    I’ve been doing some research of my own to find out if I should use Aimed or Multi-Shot for my survival build. At first Aimed Shot seemed to be better, but after a while I noticed that Multi-Shot was influenced by crit 60-70% of the time, while Aimed Shot less than 50%, making the first do more damage.
    Maybe this is something worth looking into :)

  37. shaterstar (Darkspear eu) says:

    I persoanly as an ArP stacked MM dont use AS much. I find it useful in ToTC on Faction Champs and on the BoneSpike in ICC for the instant cast havent got time to wait. I dont use Arcance at all. I use two builds one that focuses on aoe wiv points in barrage that I use for rough and ready situations like getting healthy number in ICC trash and in easy kill bosses / hcs etc. Another that has hunters mark maxed and designed to take out bosses with plenty of hp and long drawn out single taret fights. until recently I was spec’d to surv but found my numbers wernt mounting up like i expected as i imp gear – prob hitting diminishing returns wiv a sledgehammer isnt the way forwards. MM rotation on single target is easy as peeeing on an elictric fence. the shock as you see the numbers mount is a hell of a thrill. Rotation is Mark, rapid fire, kc, serpent, md, chimera ss until chim finishes cd chim readyness, rapid fire, chimera ss till rapid fire finshed then fd to avoid pulling boss. back ont eh chim ss simple rotation. My only query is why use as or ms at all in a boss fight except on burst dps requirments which seems to kill my overall dmg alot anyways.

    BTW in my experience surv is nice to gear with but u need mm to own wiv

  38. Frostheim says:

    Um…. Aimed Shot does *way* more damage than steady shot, it also procs Piercing Shots, and for much large piercing shot ticks too. Why would you ever fire a steady shot instead of an aimed shot?

    At extremely high gear levels, aimed shot can even do more damage than Chimera Shot.

  39. Maliz says:

    Also i probably wouldnt pop my rapid fire untill just before i started my SS spam. Just seems to me that you are wasting some of it on the time it takes to cast KC Serpent MD Chimera, could be wrong on that though. I would think that you would be wasting some of the mana regen as well by popping it with a nearly full bar.

  40. Winnson says:

    After reading all of this, I wish I’d gotten aimed shot for my sv build. Multi-shot is great, but as others have said it’s not always a good idea to use it and aimed pops off right away, which would be nice.

    Where would you take the point from to get it with the SV build shown on here for maximum dps? Go for the throat?

    Thank you so much for this site by the way. I’ve gone from an absolute retard to almost halfway competent thanks to WHU and Scattered Shots. Cheers

  41. Ghoku says:

    i have read this entire post and i am still left a bit :) i have recently come back to WOW after having no internet for months – i really just want to clarify on the aimed shot this is a nice shot to have but not actually needed is that right and what is the best thing to do with shot priority as i am also not breaking over 2k dps at all but