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Cataclysm brings with it a significant change in the way haste rating works for the level 85 hunter hunter, which has raised questions about how haste rating works, how good haste rating is and about the lvl 85 hunter haste cap for steady shot and cobra shot and how it affects the global cooldown.
This guide will explain exactly how haste works in Cataclysm and what the steady shot and cobra shot haste caps are for the BM, MM, and SV hunter. The really short version is that you should not worry about the haste cap, you should not try to reach it, and you probably cannot reach it even if you tried.
The Basics of Cataclysm Hunter Haste Rating and Haste Cap (level 85)
|128.057 haste rating gives you 1% haste.|
Before we get to the haste cap, let’s start at the beginning: what haste does is increase your base focus regen, speed up your rate of fire, and the speed that you cast spells – which for us means Steady Shot and Cobra Shot (technically Aimed Shot too). It will also transfer 100% to your pet, increasing their attack speed and their base focus regen. Note that haste does not affect our dots like Serpent Sting or Black Arrow.
The Hunter Haste Soft Cap
|Haste rating does not reduce the hunter global cooldown.|
In Cataclysm hunters have an awesomely short global cooldown of just 1 second. Steady Shot and Cobra Shot have a cast time of 2.0 seconds. Haste rating will reduce that cast time, but if you manage to get the cast time below 1 second, you’ll still have to wait the full 1 second for the global cooldown.
This is what we refer to as the soft cap for haste — the point at which your steady and cobra shot cast time is equal to the global cooldown. Fortunately in Cataclysm at level 85 it’s very unlikely that you’ll ever come close to hitting it.
It’s worth noting that even beyond the soft cap, haste continues to benefit you (thus haste has no hard cap for hunters). It will still increase your rate of auto-shot fire, and will still increase your base focus regen.
Soft Cap Numbers by Situation
Exactly what the soft cap is depends on what other haste effects you have up, including Improved Steady Shot, Focus Fire, and the 10% haste raid buff (brought by the SV spec as well as other classes). You also have temporary buffs like Rapid Fire and Heroism — though you should not worry about those. You don’t care if you’re over the Rapid Fire soft cap, because that’s only for 15 seconds — the rest of the time you’re far under the cap.
- 10% raid buff: 81.2% Haste (10,399 haste rating).
- 15% Imp Steady Shot or Focus Fire buff: 73.9% Haste (9,464 haste rating).
- 10% raid buff and the 15% Imp Steady or Focus Fire buff: 58.1% Haste (7,441 haste rating).
- Rapid Fire and the 10% raid buff and Imp Steady or Focus Fire: 12.9% Haste (1,652 haste rating) — and even then you’re only at the cap for the 15 seconds during Rapid Fire.
Note that every hunter should have at least one of these buffs: BM has Focus Fire, MM has Imp Steady, and SV brings the 10% haste raid buff.
You can also find out what your steady/cobra shot cast time will be with various buffs and haste ratings by using Zeherah’s handy little Haste Calculator.
How Important is Reaching the Haste Cap?
Not important at all. In fact, you probably can’t do it anyway. Don’t worry about the haste cap. Don’t worry about trying to reach some specific level. There is no special recommended level of haste. You want as much of every stat as you can get, and when you have a choice you always want to grab the stat that will help your dps the most.
Haste is a much better stat for hunters now than it used to be, but it did not become some magical ultimate stat. Also always keep in mind that haste remains the stat that you’ll always get less benefit from in practice than in theory. Haste is good for long, stationary fights.
If the fight is very short (soloing) you’ll likely see only a tiny fraction of the benefit. If you have to move during the fight you’re very likely to lose some of that haste benefit — the more you move the more likely you are to slightly clip your auto-shots — and remember that haste is only improving their speed by a fraction to begin with.
I’m not saying haste is bad, but take any spreadsheet or simulation results with a grain of salt — it won’t be as good as it looks.
Haste vs Attack Speed vs Ranged Attack Speed
Some things give us haste, and some things give us attack speed increases, and some give us ranged attack speed increases. For the purposes of calculating the soft cap, these are all exactly the same.
Hunter Haste Math
For those who are interested to know how to calculate haste effects for yourselves.
Calculating how much haste rating you need to get to the soft cap is very easy. To figure out your new steady or cobra shot cast time, just take 2 / 1.x where X equals your haste percentage. Thus if you have 24% haste, steady shot’s cast time will be 2 / 1.24 = 1.61 seconds.
Haste stack multiplicatively, not additively. So a 10% haste raid buff and your 24% haste from gear do not add up to 34% haste — in point of fact they are effectively 36.4% — the product of the haste effects (as 1.haste). But the easiest way to calculate this is just to apply each haste buff separately, one at a time.
Note here that something that procs haste rating (like Prestor’s Talisman of Mchination), as opposed to % haste, can just be added to your current haste rating.
An interesting effect of this is it makes calculating the amount of haste needed to cap based on your current steady or cobra cast time very easy. Just take your starting cast time of 2 seconds. Then apply any haste effects from buffs, one at a time. You now have a cast time somewhere in between 1 second and 2 seconds.
The haste percentage needed to reach the haste cap is cast time – 1.
Thus if your steady/cobra cast time is 1.63 seconds, you need 63% haste to reach the cap. If your cast time is 1.23 seconds, you need 23% haste to reach the cap. Simple!