We’ve discussed the dps difference between BM and MM before. I think we can agree that most of the disagreements were philosophical. I’m of the philosophy that you should contribute as much dps as your class can for your progression raid — I’m all about squeezing out every last drop of dps that you can. Others have the philosophy that as long as you’re doing enough for your part to beat enrage timers, that’s fine — after all, if everyone did that, you’d win. I can see the other point of view, I just don’t share it for a team venture like raiding.
Very few people argued over the facts — data gained from both spreadsheets and thousands of raid parses; however, some people did. The most common argument was that all of the best raiders were MM, so in theory those BM raiders pulling 9.5k dps were subpar, comparatively. Personally I don’t buy this — those top BM parses were from people in crazy good gear, and I suspect they knew how to play BM well, certainly about as well as those MM hunters knew their spec.
However, I’d like to present another argument about the data on behalf of BM hunters.
The parses and data we were looking at represented the absolute best geared hunters out there, both on the BM and MM side. This means that we were looking at hunters who were at, or darned near, the ArP hardcap.
Now both BM and MM like ArP and in a perfect world want to hardcap it. But MM gets a massively, massively better return from hardcapping ArP. Once they get close to the hardcap, MM hunters start seeing almost exponential dps improvements from it. So not only are they leagues above BM hunter, but they also pull far ahead of SV hunters.
So this brought to mind the question: how far behind is BM in more average level raiding gear? Not ArP hardcapped, not softcapped, but the sort of mid-level raiding gear that most raiding hunters are using?
This is a question that’s kinda hard to test via parses. The advantage of just looking at the top chunk of results is you can be pretty confidant that those were all players at very high skill levels, living through the fight, and with all the raid buffs. Once you start looking at the middle of the pack, suddenly you might be comparing a high buffed & geared hunter with a lower geared but better skilled hunter.
When you’re not looking at the top chunk, the raid parses become far less useful in comparing specs.
Fortunately I have access to a 25-man raid team. I’m at that middle-level of gear, with around 550 ArP rating. And there were other good and valid reasons for me to drag an entire 25-man raid team to the target dummies, so that’s what I did.
We hit the Ironforge target dummies with the entire raid team, all raid buffs and debuffs, for two tests. We had heroism for both tests. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to justify spending more time testing, though I’d have liked to. Also, I did not use Kill Shot for either test (MM Kill Shot hits a lot harder, and they’d get an extra one with the 2nd readiness. On the other hand it’s pretty RNGy, since there aren’t enough to really average out the crits. Figure kill shot would have given MM an extra percent or two).
Did the first run as MM and got the recount screenshot the instant we hit the 5 min mark. Then I switched to BM spec and glyphs and used the time spent waiting on heroism cooldown to regem my gear for BM (and damn that was costly — especially the regemming back). Did the test again with BM, and again hit the screenshot the instant we hit the 5 min mark. I used the specs here on the WHU, of course.
Now, I’m not the most skilled hunter in the world, but I do play MM and BM specs a heck of a lot. And I’m pretty confident in my ability to hit the proper rotations when I have nothing else to do but sit in place and stare at my cooldowns. In a perfect world I’d have run the test several times with each spec to even out the RNG, but I really couldn’t keep the whole raid out of ICC that long.
Okay, so what we’re seeing here is identical raid, identical buffs/debuffs, exactly the same amount of time on a single boss target with no moving whatsoever. As close to a controlled in-game boss fight as we can create.
- Marksman: 9,701
- Beast Mastery: 8,255
So at this mid-level gear, we’re seeing BM behind by about 15% (not counting the Kill Shot MM advantage). Figure that the coming BM buffs will probably about balance out the kill shot factor.
Certainly this is closer than the 20% – 30% we saw with ArP hardcapping. And I didn’t need fancy BiS gear to go over 8k dps, well over the Festergut dps check (though possibly not Blood Queen, since your pet doesn’t get bitten).
But that’s still showing BM a long way behind.
I’m sure many people will feel that being within 15% of their potential dps is plenty, just as they felt 20% – 30% behind was fine. As long as they can beat the enrage timers, how far behind doesn’t matter if they can play the spec they love. To some people this 15% gap is “close enough to my max dps.”
I suspect I side with the majority of progression raiders who’d say “Christ! That’s 1,500 dps! That’s a LOT of dps to throw away!”
In the end I don’t think this is going to change anyone’s mind in either direction, but I do think it gives some very good data for both sides to argue their points.