BM Changes Math

Posted: by Frostheim

Update: Now the PTR is showing 3.3.3 buffing steady shot the 9%, but no longer nerfing the arcane shot bonus. So that will mean an overall total of 1.5% dps boost for BM.

I feel like there has been some misunderstanding about the BM dps changes announced in patch 3.3.3. The change is incredibly minor, and does almost nothing for the beleaguered BM spec.

Today I thought it might be nice to walk through some of the math to see exactly how the BM changes affect overall dps. As is my general preference, we’ll be doing some qualitative theorycrafting rather than absolute — the most accurate way to theorycraft (when you can) is to use actual raid results as your base numbers. It’s not always possible, but for changes that are a percentage change to abilities, it’s very easy.

So for BM I’m going to pop over to World of Logs and find the highest dps BM hunter report for Festergut, since I think we can agree this is someone doing it right :) Just to be on the safe side I also took a loot at other high dps reports to verify that the shot breakdowns were consistent, and they look to be pretty spot on.

Our hunter did 8,778 dps on Festergut — impressive!

Let’s take a look at the breakdowns:

Hunter: 5,638 dps (64.2%)
Pet: 3,140 dps (35.8%)
Total: 8,778

Breakdown by Shot

  • Auto Shot : 46.6%
  • Steady Shot: 27.4%
  • Arcane Shot: 13.6%
  • Kill Shot: 4.6%
  • Serpent Sting: 4.1%
  • Multi-Shot: 2.7%
  • Quick Shot: 1.1%

So here we know that Steady Shot is about 27.4% of the hunter dps (about the same as for me as well!). So we know:

27.4% * 5638 = 1544.8  [total steady shot dps]

Further we know that Arcane Shot is about 13.6% of the hunter dps. So we know:

13.6% * 5638 = 766.8  [total arcane shot dps]

The Changes

Now let’s take a look at what’s changing in patch 3.3.3. First we have our Ferocious Inspiration changing to an aura. That could be nice for people far away from us with the 100 yard range, but the way FI works now is it already provides 3% damage buff to raid and party members whenever our pet crits, and lasts for 10 seconds. In other words, it’s basically a 100% uptime as long as our pet is attacking.

So even ignoring that the same buff is provided from other classes, this is not a dps increase for BM hunters. They already have the 3% damage increase from FI. The FI changes expand the range and will stay up if our pet dies, but don’t really change the dps that we get from it. So no change to our dps there.

The big one is that instead of giving us (not other hunters btw, just us) a 9% boost to arcane shot, it will instead give us a 9% boost to steady shot. This is good, since as we’ve seen, we get more damage from our steady shot, because it’s fired more often than arcane.

So, the total changes that we’re seeing is a loss of 9% damage to arcane shot and a gain of 9% damage to steady shot. Well, we’ve already calculated our steady and arcane damage, so let’s see how it changes our overall dps.

1544.8 * 9% = 139  [steady shot dps gain]

766.8 * 9% = 69   [approx. arcane shot dps loss]

139 – 69 = 70  [total dps gain from changes]

The Final Result

Now instead of the hunter doing 5,638 dps, he’s doing 5,708 dps, and of course the pet is still doing 3,140 dps. Thus:

Old dps total: 8,778
New dps total: 8,848

Total dps Increase: 0.8%

In other words, the BM change is netting less than a 1% gain in BM dps.

Of course the easier way to calculate the same thing would just be to take the percentages — hunter percentage * steady shot percentage * 9% steady gain and subtract hunter percentage * arcane shot percentage * 9% arcane loss.

(64.2% * 27.4% * 9%) – (64.2% * 13.6% * 9%)

1.58% – 0.78% = 0.8%

I think we can agree that BM need more to be competitive. Hopefully they’ve got more planned for the patch!

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  1. Anheg says:

    You know I understand your philosophy about how choosing to play a spec that is “gimped’ seems weird. And I subscribe to that as well. I’m just amazed at how far the numbers have scaled in this game that even at over 8k dps at the top skill level a spec is still not “competitive.” All the numbers coming of ICC nowadays are just ridiculous. I’m not sure if these numbers are a part of the rework planned for Cata. I sure hope it is otherwise things are gonna get crazy!

  2. Petrus says:

    Thank you for applying reason and math in the face of blind passion.

  3. Omogon says:

    F#@K me !! 8.8k in BM !! I am way worse at this hunter job than I thought I was. I would love to hit those numbers in MM spec.

    maybe I’ll just go and roll a DK :(

  4. Nella says:

    I think you have a teeny tiny mistake in the math there. It really doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to the final outcome it’s still a net gain to BM of less than 1%… But math is math right :)

    The loss to Arcane shot is not 9% of the current value because what actually ends up happening is that Arcane shot never gets the 9% bonus to lose 9%… Hmm… this isn’t making much sense writing it in words, lets try another way using your numbers above.

    Arcane Shot Including the 9% bonus is 766.8 dps

    so the equation actually is

    ArcaneBaseDPS + 9% = 766.8
    1.09 x ArcaneBaseDPS = 766.8
    ArcaneBaseDPS = 766.8 / 1.09 = 703.5

    So the loss is actually only 63.3 (766.8 – 703.5) and not the 69 you got.

    Plugging this into the other numbers we get a
    Net DPS gain = 139 – 63.3 = 75.7

    Old dps total: 8,778
    New dps total: 8,853.7

    Which is 0.86% instead of 0.8%

    I said I was just being picky but math is math, I’m pretty sure you understand :)

  5. Noah says:

    I think what they need to do to BM is not just buff up the numbers for different. Spells, rather they should try to make the spec more interesting (read: complicated) while also providing more dps.

    I’m not sure exactly how they should do this, but one idea is to give BMs a lot more pet spells than they currently have. As of now, all pets have generic spells to be put, mainly, on autocast, one or two family spells, and spells from talents and such that are usually just solutions for “oh crap” moments. What I’m thinking they should do is couple adding a bunch more family pet spells to the spell table along with the Beast Mastery talent (or a different talent, if they’re reworking that with Cataclysm — for instance, it would grant you 4 more talent points as *well* as 4 more spells out of that pet’s family ability tree). This would then give:

    1. A lot more dps
    2. Many more buttons to push, more strategies to use, a more difficult rotation
    3. Different choices of pets with many different abilities, therefore satisfying the hunters that love their pets, and are annoyed that they can’t get maximum dps out of the pet that pleases them.

    Any thoughts?

  6. Rades says:

    Looks like pretty solid math! The numbers are kind of depressing though – less than 1%? Makes you wonder why they even bothered with the change. =\

  7. Lumberola says:

    @Nella You beat me too it. Yes it’s not a 9% loss, but instead a lack of gain. Wow, it is much harder to explain in words. Good job on the mathyness.

  8. Frostheim says:

    Nella, absolutely correct; however, in this case (and in most cases) the difference is small enough not to matter much. But I surely should have done it right :)

  9. Nella says:

    The thing that makes me laugh is we’re all saying 75 dps… that’s nothing… who cares. But I think in the Black & White TV days of Molten Core I think that was pretty much the dps my pet was doing… and we wanted it… all of it :D

    I actually think the change is a little cleverer than we’re giving credit for, sure it’s only a marginal gain to PvE dps, but it’s also a marginal loss to PvP and I believe Blizz were trying to accomplish that, if it turns out to be too much nerf for PvP the door is open for a flat buff elsewhere to pull PvP dps back up and boost PvE a little more.

    It maybe small but it’s still something, it’s way more than difference between a rare and epic gem and I’m sure most of us wouldn’t even consider using simply rare gems in their best gear.

  10. Grimgold says:

    It’s Interesting that the change is such a small percentage, Given the hazards of any change to talents, It makes me wonder if this is a precursor to a larger change.

    To wildly speculate, I’d guess that the larger change would make the bonus damage to arcane shot irrelevant, or OP. Maybe it’s a lock and load like talent that would let you fire of multiple arcane shots in a row, or maybe an ability like the original kill command that shares a cool down with arcane shot.

  11. Talimin says:

    Frostheim, I am curious if you have been poking your nose in at EJ lately. I understand your approach to this issue but I think you’ve made a fatal Faux Pas in regards to End-Game BM.

    You have assumed you use Arcane Shot at all.

    Some weeks ago I stopped over by EJ and checked out the ever popular Best Possible DPS topic and to my surprise I saw BM did not have AS in their shot priority. The last time I toyed BM was in Ulduar and I was less than enthused with the results. I recall using Arcane Shot at that time, but then again we weren’t exactly going nuts with ArP back then.

    So using this template listed save the race:
    Best BM Template:
    Total DPS: 12627,01
    Hunter DPS: 8879,62
    Pet DPS: 3747,40
    AP: 9961
    Crit: 66,81%
    Hit: 100,14%
    ArP: 1291
    Shot Queue: KS/MS/Sp/SS
    Wait Delay: 0,00s
    Spec: 53/14/4
    Race: Orc
    Pet: Devilsaur

    I pulled some Fairly good numbers on Jaraxxus on our loot farm night for some of our newer raiders who needed to catch up on gear.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am sure I could have pulled Higher numbers as MM, but 8.729k DPS wasn’t shabby at all.

    The fact is, now, Right Now as it stands the +9% AS damage for “End-Game” hunters is a waste because you simply Do Not Use it with the proper gear. +9% Steady Shot damage on the other hand while although not earth-shattering is an increase nonetheless to those of us packing high ArP, as BM Gear pretty much is congruent with MM gear.

    I am no BM fanboy and I have always gone with whatever was the “Best” DPS at the time was because progression is always our #1 goal, but for heavy movement fights where MM can potentially suffer from missed autoshots, BM might be the way to go in 3.3.3.

    As always, much respect to you brother and I love what you guys are doing here and at

    Just throwing in my two cents.

  12. Frostheim says:

    BM only drops arcane shot from the rotation at *crazy* high ArP ratings. MM gets to drop arcane shot radically earlier since they get bonus from piercing shots and imp steady shot. Note that the example you gave was almost hardcapping ArP, something that few MM hunters even manage to do.

    So the vast majority — VAST majority — of BM hunters will keep arcane shot in their rotations.

    But yeah — a BM close to the hardcap without arcane in their rotation will see something like a 1.58% dps boost.

  13. Talimin says:

    Pragmatic and valid points regarding the bulk of the hunter population.

    However, since this is an End-Game patch, I do not think that taking into consideration anything but end-game itemized gear serves much of a purpose. Regardless of of what Most hunters might be rolling with right now, in a few months even the slower guilds will have a decent amount of bosses down in both 10 and 25 man.

    I wonder, do you know how the +9% stacks with other percentage augmenting talents and abilities, additive or multiplicative?

    Percentage wise I would have to agree, I ran the numbers from our WoL report and if I had +9% Steady Shot damage it would have been +0.98% damage, granted there was a decent amount of movement. However, that was the point of trying BM in the first place.

    I am not convinced that this buff is enough to ever justify going BM in general over MM but it is something. I do however fret for the BM hunters in PVP =/ I’ve never much indulged in it myself but this cannot be winning them over.

    As one of those people on the brink of going for the ArP hardcap (I am currently at 823 without gems) I am somewhat worried about the choices in general. Movement heavy fights equate to a loss of Auto Shots which is pretty damning on the meters. I was hoping BM might be a solution but this buff just won’t be enough.

    I will see and try to convince my raid leader to let me go BM for our next Festergut kill and see how I can match up without using AS, I will keep you posted :) We aren’t exactly flirting with the enrage timer so I think it will be okay.

  14. Gabriel says:

    What BM talent distrubution are we using? What pet is being used(and what is that talent tree)? Sorry all this information but im lost because i cant see the talent tree.

  15. Nick says:

    Arcane shot would be dropped, without the bonus from the talent (that got dropped) as well as the buff to steady shot as well as a BM hunter in current raid gear (ignoring current raid gear would be irrelevant so testing with non heroic bis seems to make the most sense). A hunter not trying to attain armor pen at all would still have near 600 at a close to minimum with good gear itemization, and much closer to 800+.

    “So here we know that Steady Shot is about 27.4% of the hunter dps (about the same as for me as well!). So we know:

    27.4% * 5638 = 1544.8 [total steady shot dps]

    Further we know that Arcane Shot is about 13.6% of the hunter dps. So we know:

    13.6% * 5638 = 766.8 [total arcane shot dps]”

    So for bad but still quick napkin math, add the negated 9% dps from arcane shot, with the dps from steady shot, multiply that by the 9% and it seems as if that would make more sense.

    766.8*.91= 697.788
    +1544.8 = 2242.588

    2242.588*1.09= 2444.42092

    Old dps – arcane shot and steady shot +the new steady shot= new dps

    8,778 – 766.8-1544.8+2444.42092 = 8910.8

    Old dps 8778
    New dps 8910.8

    Difference of .985%

    Note that with this change, arp stacking for bm would be just as relevant as it is for MM. Making the change even greater at higher gear levels with higher arp. Atm I’m at 730 arp and plugging in myself on the spreadsheet arp is already my highest aep value. Compared to a hunter thats well geared (1100+ arp) the relative dps change may be rather dramatic. Yet at the same time, if you have the gear to get 1100+ arp, going anything other than MM would be a tremendous self nerf to begin wtih.

  16. Snoggi says:

    Well, at least it’s more than Improved Tracking, which gives 0.01*.7=0.7% additional damage (assuming the pet deals 30% of the total dps).

    But I agree, I’d rather not have this change as it will impact PvP a lot more than it will help in PvE.

  17. Cheesekings says:

    I’m worried about this actually turning out to be a buff in non-Festergut circumstances – AS and SrS are our only movement shots =/

  18. Rix says:

    It’s interesting how those who so strongly defend the position of BM ignore the other benifits the other specs bring, for example, in our 10man raids our rogue depends on my bleed effects to ensure it can use one of its buffs without ruining his rotation as well as being the source of a 10% ap buff.
    In 25man raids I bring the 3/3 imp mark + glyph, supplying 250 extra attack power to the other hunters (usually 2 other) thats far more than your flask of endless rage (which you expect people to be using right?).

    On top of all this a BM hunter can’t complete on quick change of targets, prof-putricide + lady death whisper, your pet can of course stay on the boss to limit dps loss, but that doesn’t really help the raid when a slime can easily cause a wipe.

  19. Gith says:

    Umm….. since no one’s pointed this out yet…

    Thought you should know. :)

  20. Zyrinx says:

    “FI buffs Steady Shot in addition to Arcane Shot. ”

    – Ghostcrawler

  21. Nella says:

    This makes the buff ~1.58% across the board regardless of whether you have AS in a BM rotation or not with no detriment to PvP… buff to PvP in fact as FI is an aura not reliant on pet crit to trigger, so it;s therefore available on initial burst damage too.

    In fact it’s probably closer to 2% as numbers this math is based on do include AS, if that is dropped or reduced then a larger percentage of the overall damage will come from Steady meaning the overall increase is more.

    Seems a lot more attractive now, but still not MM or SV.

  22. Frostheim says:

    Yeah, still just a 1.5% boost, so still very very minor.

  23. Myrdreon says:

    Just in case anybody is still following this, its changed again.

    FI now boosts both attacks by 9% (both steady and arcane that is).

  24. Talimin says:

    Well I got the Thumbs Down on the BM stab for Festergut =/

    It is good to see Ghostcrawler will not be letting AS get nerfed for this patch but as Frostheim mentioned it is still a very small % damage increase.

    After talking with an old guildy of mine who is in a top-end Raiding guild on Runetotem (US) it seems going for the Hardcap for ArP really is Not that great of a benefit in ICC.

    Most fights require at least SOME movement, and losing out on your autoshots as ArP heavy MM hurts your DPS a lot.

    I haven’t personally looked into the math myself but I am inclined to agree to an extent. I ran a few upgrades through the Spreadsheet and then converted to all ArP gems and the increases I saw were minimal.

    I think my solution to movement fights is simply not being an ArP savant instead of looking to another spec for a crutch.

  25. BM Sucks says:

    Youre full of shit. No BM Hunter is going to do 8K+dps in any raid.


  26. Larnen says:

    “On top of all this a BM hunter can’t complete on quick change of targets, prof-putricide + lady death whisper, your pet can of course stay on the boss to limit dps loss, but that doesn’t really help the raid when a slime can easily cause a wipe.”

    Different perspective on this. As the goo never targets pets on Putricide, you can put your pet on it the second it spawns and gain about 5s of dps while it chooses its target. I do this as a matter of course as MM, but as BM the bonus could be more significant. Given that until phase 3 lack of dps on slimes (or poor raid positioning) are about the only things that can wipe you, Ive often wondered how BM would fare on that.

    Ofc phase 3 is a different story and then every point of damage counts so I’ll be staying MM :)

  27. Frostheim says:

    Not really — SV or MM can start dpsing the slimes immediately — but it takes several seconds for their pet to get there. So that travel time is what makes target switching such a loss for bm.

  28. Uljoquin says:

    One thing that confuses me (and I have no ability to test, since my account is currently down so I have time to play through other games xP) is a little quote from Ghostcrawler (source, emphasis added):

    In 3.3.3, Ferocious Inspiration rank 3 says:

    All party and raid members have all damage increased by 3% within 100 yards of your pet. In addition, increases the damage dealt by Arcane Shot and Steady Shot by 9%.

    While I know that in the official patchnotes, there’s no “of your pet” clause, but I’m fairly confident that it also never actually existed in any of the PTR builds. What this makes me wonder is: Is the aura somehow tied to our pet, such that it centers on their location and fades when they die… or is it centered on the Hunter like Trueshot Aura (and if so, is it tied to the pet’s being alive)?

    Mind you, this question is more professional curiosity than anything, since in my experience it’s damn near impossible for a raid encounter to kill the pet of a BM hunter that knows what they’re doing… but it could be a more significant PvP bonus than PvE if it’s centered on the Hunter, as I’ve noticed a lot of enemies are fond of focus-killing the pet, causing FI to fall off. A passive 3% increase in damage is going to be a strong PvP buff compared to a procced buff, since (again, in my experience anyway) that is more often than not NOT up in all PvP situations besides Arena.