SV Conversations

Posted: by Frostheim

Yesterday’s post about SV’s dps generated a lot of conversation, and let me say up front how pleased I am that so little of it devolved into name-calling. We hunters truly have a fantastic community that we can discuss and disagree with logic and questioning and discussion of data validity rather than insults (though I was called a panda bleeper in an email from what I suspect is actually a DK).

For the purpose of summation, here’s the short version of the post: Dawn told us that the top guilds are actually hunter (and warlock) stacking because their dps is so good. This matched what I was seeing from SV dps in-game and from browsing raid parses. I suggested that a nerf was increasingly likely, and that I’d go with a gentle downward push of 5% or so, as well as a gentle upward push of perhaps a bit more to BM and MM to make them line up.

Many people agreed, and many people disagreed, and the split was fairly even, leaning a bit in the disagreement column.

I love you agreers dearly, but this post is dedicated to the dissenters, who made some good points that deserve to be addressed.

In the disagreement camp we had several different arguments, some of them anecdotal, some of them quite valid. I’m going to address a few of those, but first I’d like to relate the story of my absolute favorite dissenter. This should be a Frostheim story corner, really, but I’ll try to shorten it since this is probably going to be a long post without it:

I logged in to grind through my dailies. I was told by a guildie that someone named Mealy (not his real name) was looking for me. I had no idea who this was, but I was soon to learn. That he hunted down and pestered my guildies was probably the first sign of bad things to come.

So Mealy logs on and sends me a tell, starting with something like “I have a problem with you. Why are you saying SV is OP? It’s not!”

He then proceeded to tell me over the next half hour various stories of how he was outdpsed by this class and that class and this other class, and that even far worse-geared players of various classes were doing nearly the same dps as he was. I think he realized how this sounded, and then pointed out that these were in heroic runs where he didn’t make a single mistake in rotation, movement, anything. He was playing as good as you can in his gear, and, incidentally,  so were the other classes he grouped with.

I finished off my cooking daily (forgot about that one and only just started them) and headed out to Deepholm, continuing to answer his tells between killing and questing.

I pointed out that anecdotal evidence isn’t conclusive in these things, and that you’d need vast quantities of that kind of info before you could come to a conclusion, and that heroics are a pretty poor metric anyway. He quickly retorted that he would send me three screenshots of damage meters to prove it.

I explained again how this was anecdotal — not that I didn’t believe he was out-dpsed — and he informed me that he was a biology student and he knew all about data. He then rounded things out by complaining about my bad-talking Camouflage and then telling me how awesome of an ability camo was.

Later that night I got an email from him with his screenshots. I replied, again pointing out that this was anecdotal evidence and failed to prove anything. He told me it was scientific data, that I spelled a word wrong and that I pronounce melee wrong on the podcast (I often do, it’s true) and then made the aforementioned reference to my carnal knowledge of the majestic and sexy panda.

In another world — or perhaps in another mood — this guy would have been annoying or even creepy, but I found it to be one of the most entertaining complaints I’ve ever had, and it lightened my heart. Euripides scolded me for not getting screenshots, which would have been gold, truly.

At any rate, back to the business at hand.

SV does not need a nerf

There were a lot of different arguments for why SV is not overpowered and certainly doesn’t need any kind of nerf, and I’m going to address a bunch of them. If you made a particularly salient point in the comments or an email that I’m not bringing up, it’s not because I’m deliberately dismissing you, but just because it’s not standing out in my memory at 3am.

You can’t base calls for nerf on a healer’s perspective:
Firstly, be nice. We can ignore the fact that Dawn’s a healer here — what she is for this discussion is a progression raider who keeps track of what the very top raid guilds are doing. Much, much closer track than I do. Further she has friends in some top guilds. So much like many of you believe me when I report hunter news, likewise I believe Dawn when she reports news from the very top tier of raiding.

While what the top raid guilds do isn’t conclusive in itself — after all they could be doing the wrong thing — we often see the next rung of raid guilds (the server-first rather than world firsts) emulating them in the following weeks. This snowballs on down through the competitive raid guilds until it becomes “common knowledge” on the forums and the QQ machine shifts into overdrive and flips the nitro switch. This is why I say top guild class stacking is one of the first signs of imminent nerfs.

And for reference, there is no certain number of a class that fits the definition of class stacking. It’s stacking when the guild pushes to get as many of that class as possible, having anyone with a raid-viable alt in that class play it.

SV is not OP, it’s just a scaling issue:
There were a variety of scaling comments and emails. There are two theories: the first is that hunters are just high dps at low gear levels, and once we get raid gear the other classes will catch up. The other is that MM scales better with gear than other specs and will be one top just from gear upgrades in a tier or two.

I can’t say for certain if this is true or not — after all, I don’t know how other classes scale with their gear, so I can’t compare.

However, I’m very skeptical of this argument because I suspect it’s a mis-application of history. Back in Wrath when the giant BM nerf hit many of us immediately felt it was a massive over-nerf (and it was) and that part of the picture was skewed because of hunter scaling. The key part was that hunter pets did not scale linearly with our gear — attack power was the only dps stat they inherited from us. So as our gear improved, the pet portion of our dps didn’t scale linearly with the gear.

This is no longer the case. Our pets now scale with all of our dps stats. In theory with insane crit levels our pet scaling could drop off when they get basic attack capped, but I don’t think we’ll ever have crit levels that high.

On the MM scaling end, it’s also worth mentioning that the crazy non-linear MM scaling was mostly because of armor penetration, which is gone, and somewhat from base weapon scaling, which has been greatly reduced with base weapon damage changes. Sure, MM might get more dps from mastery and SV might get more dps from agility, but the amount more scales linearly, not exponentially, so the spec scaling should be mostly linear.

It’s certainly possible that there might be some subtler non-linear scaling things going on that I haven’t noticed or thought of, but I haven’t seen anyone suggest any.

It’s too soon to say:
This may be. It’s entirely possible that for whatever reason hunters are out-dpsing most classes on most fights right now, but in three weeks the other classes will pull up even with SV. I can only say what I’m seeing right now.

You didn’t show any data:
Here is my favorite argument, and the one that I personally think is certainly the most pithy. Gets right to the core of it. Arguments based on data! I love you guys!  Some people even linked to a raid parse or two to show that hunters weren’t on top.

It’s absolutely true that I did not show data. In point of fact, I almost never do here on the site, mostly because it would triple the length of every post and make them horribly unreadable. No one want to see sausage being made (and I’ve seen that, by the way. It was nasty.)

But generally if you disagree and show valid opposing data, I’ll dig up my info and we can talk. If you just shout “no that’s wrong” we aren’t going to have much of a conversation.

Like all good science, my thought process on SV started with observation, from which I formed a hypothesis and then went out to collect data to prove or disprove that hypothesis. In this case the observation was that I could out-dps anyone similarly geared (or better geared), and do so even while making a good number of mistakes (unlike our bud Mealy, who didn’t make any mistakes at all in his runs).

After pondering that for a bit and watching it happen more and more, I popped over to World of Logs and poked around. There I saw that hunters were going pretty crazy on the dps of the top parses. Survival hunters, every one, of course. While I love to see my peeps owning the charts, the representation was clearly too high.

Now, this wasn’t a hard numbers thing. It was more like looking at a panda and knowing it weighs more than me. I don’t know how much it actually weighs in pounds or kilograms, but it’s obvious that it’s a lot more than I weigh. It was also clear that warlocks and DKs were pretty skewed as well.

But, I did not gather concrete disprovable data, so I set out tonight to do just that so you can see what I’m talking about.

SV comparative dps data

When it comes to determining how much dps a class or spec is capable of actually doing, the best source of information we have is thousands of raid parses. Where any one or five or fifteen are meaningless, if we can get a large enough sample all those parses suddenly become statistically significant and the single best data source we can possibly have.

There are a lot of ways at looking at this kind of data. This past spring I poured through hundreds of thousands of lines of tens of thousands of raid parses kindly provided by a friendly contact at World of Logs to determine the actual average dps each spec was doing in ICC. It took nearly 10 hours to parse through the raw data, and even if I was willing to do that again that wouldn’t really show what we’re looking for here.

What we really want to know is what the class is capable of when played with great skill, compared to what other classes are capable of when played with great skill. One of the best ways to look at this is just to look at the top dps reports over at World of Logs, and happily the site will show this to you without hours of slogging through raw numbers.

Now every fight is different, and some boss fights favor melee, or ranged, or one class or another. So what I did was look at the top 40 dps results for every boss fight in the entire first tier of raid content. I looked at both the 10-man and 25-man normal-mode raids, and then made an entry in a spreadsheet of how many of those top 40 dps results were hunters.

As a note I did some looking at wider and narrower ranges than the top 40 in a few samples, and the proportional representation stayed about the same on average. 40 was an easy number just because that’s what WoL displays per page.

Graphs are pretty!

Let’s say, hypothetically, that I took all this information and told excel to make a pie chart out of it (I did). Now let’s say hypothetically that this is the pie chart (it’s not – this is mostly made-up):

Top raid parse representation by class FAKE pie chart for example only.

Imagine for a moment that this is actually what the top dps spread was for each class. It’s not, but seriously imagine it. Rogues and warlocks combine to hold over 50% of all of the top dps spots, as clearly the best dps classes for the first tier of raiding.

Sure it’s possible that more players play those classes, that pure dps classes have greater representation — it’s possible, we don’t know for certain. But what we do know is that is a huge difference in rogue and warlock representation compared to all the classes — clearly a larger difference than class representation alone.

Now let’s be honest with each other — if this chart was real both you and I would be calling for ‘lock and rogue nerfs. They clearly seem to be overpowered based on what all the top players are doing in raids right now.

Of course this chart is not accurate — I did not collect the exact representation of every single class (though I did spot check them, but mostly eyeballed ‘em). In actuality death knights also had a very high representation, so there were three classes eating up most of the chart (and a larger chunk of it) rather than just the two.

But here’s the thing: The yellow slice is precisely accurate, only it’s not rogues, it’s hunters.

Hunters hold about one third of all the top dps benchmarks in currently available raids (32% when I checked), more than any other class, and of course they’re all survival hunters. Hunters and warlocks combine to own over half of all of the top dps results in raids. Add in DKs and that’s over 75% of all the parses — the other seven classes get to split up the remaining 25%.

It’s certainly possible that things will change with gear, but what I’m observing in game, what I’m seeing in top raid parses, and what I’m hearing from top raid guilds all suggests the same thing: right now classes are not balanced, and SV hunters are up in the top end of the imbalance.

I emphatically don’t think we need a big nerf. I don’t think we need anything like the great BM nerf (which we didn’t need then either). But right now it looks like we need our SV output lowered a little bit, and the other specs raised a bit.

And if by tier 2 things change, then we should rebalance for that. The game is constantly changing, and we want our PVE balanced for the current raid content.

If any of you guys have data compiled that contradicts this, please share it. I’d love it if the SV dps was right where it should be and it was just BM and MM that needed buffs all the way up to that level.

I would love that dearly, but I can’t find any way to produce data to support that stance.

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  1. Fuggli says:

    Appreciate the lengthy response for us non-believers or “too soon to tell”‘ers. Non of this really made me change my mind or stance on this though.

    It’s probably mostly the fact that top dps raid parses means absolutely nothing to me, and never has. These are guys that use odd mechanics, buff-stacking I could never dream of and encounter-specific talents to max their dps the fullest. Sure, this might appeal to many, but for me this doesn’t show anything about how hunters are doing compared to others in a “normal” environment.

    I’ll refer to my reply in your other thread for my points, but most were covered above. I understand where you’re coming from and I agree that right now, in general, SV seems to be the higher hunter dps spec for the encounters I’ve been a part of. This in itself is a valid point – but how we compare to others, or how it will look once more data is available (not “top dps” for my part though), is another story.

    I just don’t think this potential slight imbalance has justified such spotlight. It’s starting to feel like a crusade :) “the higher the screams are, the harder the hammer will fall”

  2. Jaeger says:

    It’s common that after Blizz changes a lot of mechanics that classes need to be rebalanced. They made some changes in Beta but I don’t think they had sufficient data since people weren’t raiding much in Beta. Now that we’re getting some raid data, Blizz will look at the balancing and start to break out the nerf/buff bat. Many people will be unhappy when their favorite class/spec gets nerfed but it will make a much larger group of people who play other classes/specs very happy. That’s just the nature of the game. Blizz wants a good distribution of classes/specs which means they need to be balanced.

    I think Frost’s main point is that SV hunters and locks and DKs shouldn’t be suprised if they get bonked by the nerf bat. I just hope that Blizz balances the classes/specs well because I like playing my class/spec and don’t want to feel the need to switch to a different one just to get better dps. I think that regardless of our dps class/spec we should be able to excel if we have sufficient skill and gear, which is what Blizz wants as well.

    Thanks for the data analysis Frost.

  3. Gigah says:

    I have to agree that current claims for nerfing Survival DPS is still not valid. Many screenshots from guild kills are not showing hunters raping the charts and we also have to remember that Parse data is slightly inaccurate due to the fact that you have to a) rely on a balanced raid, similar tactic and the same skill level of players to be playing to get accurate parse ratings. Quite a few high end guilds don’t even bother parsing data on these public sites as they have no need to.

    Perhaps the best port of call to justify your argument on the survival nerf is get a top teir raiding hunter onto your show after christmas? Ask them what they think of the current survival dps compared to other classes over various fights as they are the ones in the driving sit currently playing alongside other top end players as that is your benchmark, not the average player or the poor player, but the best players.

    • Frostheim says:

      Actually, the analysis of the best of all classes from thousands of results on the same bosses is about as good as you can get — far better than any one persons opinion without data. The data that I’m looking at above is a factual representation of the benchmarks of the very top players of every class.

      I’m sure there are many screenshots that show hunters not on top — in fact 66% from the data hunters are not on top 67% of the time. But they are still doing better than the majority of all other classes the vast majority of the time. That’s not balanced.

      • Dungy says:

        There will always be a top dps class I don’t think we need nerfed because of it look at what Fury warriors have been doing since ToC and Fire Mages did all of ICC Every Tier there is gonna be 1 class that you can’t put your left temple on 1 and roll your head to the backspace bar and pull top deeps. If it’s our turn on top leave it as such until the next tier comes out.

  4. Kuanita says:

    Just went on our first raid last night and I and our 2 other SV hunters did over 1/2 the damage on the boss. We went into Blackwing Decent and OMG aspect of the fox on the council was ownage. All of us were similar geared give or take a piece here and there, but yeah me and my fellow hunters in the guild did the top damage. Even if we get hit by the nerf bug, doesn’t mean we will suck. If u can be aware during raids, move out of fire, and do your job, the dps will be fine and the boss will still die.

  5. Bloodbane says:

    Bravo Frost. Nicely said. By the way, I always pegged you for a polar bear kind of guy being from Minnesota and all. A Panda seems to exotic for you.

    Back to the post, the results were the same yesterday. I ran a heroic yesterday with a tank and healer from the guild and two DPS from the LFG. It got down right silly how much the other dps were fawning over my dps. A dirty rogue and a warlock of all classes. I actually tried to call my shot on the last boss in SFK and said I would get 20K dps but fell a little short (like 19.2K). The healer actually took screenshots of most of the conversations and is going to post them on my guild’s site at some point. Good times.

    Anywho, Camo does pretty much suck. Don’t get me wrong, it looks sweet but really, there are no uses for it. If you need camo to get off your trap even with the launcher, well, that is your issue.

  6. Bloodbane says:

    Also, Frost, get GC on the Bat-phone and just tell him to be gentle. Reduce our Into the Wilderness passive to 10% and I would say take down cobra shot a little but that would affect BM so I guess the nerf has to be to Explosive shot.

  7. Gavendo says:

    I’m sorry, but complaining that the world of log parses are inaccurate and skewed to SV hunters advantage specifically makes no sense. These parses gather the dps done by each class in the same way and everyone is represented fairly since they’re represented in the same way. There is no way for one class to cheat ahead of another class in these parses.
    Sure, the data could be skewed towards better guilds where everyone has better gear (causing the encounter to be shorter and thus causing general dps to go up) but this will benefit all classes and not just hunters.

    Nice write-up Frostheim!

    • Wylde says:

      Thats wrong, there are situations (mages and the dragonblight steal/buff) for example where u can “cheat” your dps into oblivion and that is one reason why world of logs isnt the whole truth…

      • Frostheim says:

        Yup, that’s why it’s important to look at the logs over *all* boss fights, rather than just the results of one boss fight that may favor one class or another. That is what I did.

    • Fuggli says:

      Yeh, they would be represented fairly if you looked at all .. not just “top dps”. Maybe I’m misunderstanding but when Frost, and others, write “top of the dps lists” I’m assuming they are checking how many times hunters actually appear as 1st (well, top) on a “top dps” list.

      If so, that gives us nothing.

  8. Burnometer says:

    Just a little thing about data. My senior research involved analyzing the effects of El Nino and La Nina on Nebraska winter precipitation. Forty-five sites, 112 years of data for December, January, and February. Trust me, nobody wants to see all those numbers.

  9. Painbow says:

    I’m Painbow, the guy he was talking about. I’d love to get on Ventrilo, Skype, or even the phone and discuss this with somebody else. As bad as humans are at predicting the future, I’m predicting that time is going to show that Hunters were not overpowered in terms of damage at this point in the game. We are pretty overpowered in our utility, though. We can already solo some bosses in normal Stonecore as I show in a video I put up yesterday:

    Notice how I’m not a DK? Thanks for the post, Frostheim. I’m also in Minnesota, and I can’t believe you butchered the pronunciation of melee up. Oh boy, that stings.

  10. Gigah says:

    Let us look at a real scenario instead of playing around with parse data and peoples 5 man experiences. Paragon just released the video of their Omnitron HC kill and that contains DPS meters. Now this fight has movement, AOE and single target dps, the full works. Check it out and tell me where the a) Hunter stacking is and b) Where our DPS is at compared to other classes.

    • Frostheim says:

      So rather than the top results of the best players from thousands of raid results worth of data — you think it’s better to look at one raid fighting one non-hunter friendly fight? I mean, do you really think that is going to give a better picture than all the data of all the best players over all the raid bosses?

  11. Tokiko says:

    Hey Frost,

    truly hilarious story above there ;)
    What i keep diskussion over german forums is:
    SV really doesn’t need a nerf, it just needs tweaking. Just yesterday i ran with a hunter, doing equivalent dps to mine with less gear and way, i mean WAY less Explosive Shot DoTs… Clearly there’s some tweaking needed in between Explosive, Arcane and Cobra Shot.
    MM and BM need to be further adjusted, bringing them a little bit higher. SVs DPS could go down by 1k or so, not more though…

    Warlocks would have to be the same as us and ALL OTHER CLASSES should come up quite a bit. At least what i see from raid-parses these days is, that “normal” raiders from other classes are just way behind. They really need a buff.

    In my raid, we lack DPS (and we’re running two hunter and one warlock). Part of that is player skill, but it’s not only that. And raids are adjusted so awesome, i really like it. Everything’s doable, you just need to be perfect…

    I pretty much think adjustements will be done, quite soon most likely, but fewest of them will be on our end (at least that’s what i hope for)

  12. Shorts says:

    I think looking purely at damage per player is becoming less relevant in cataclysm than it was in wrath, specifically for hunters.
    Back in the day, the only buff we gave anyone else was Trueshot Aura, and even then, if we had a DK floating around, then it would not matter.
    Now that we are providing group/raid wide buffs/debuffs, we have moved from being a selfish damage only class, and can provide benefit to others.
    Certainly, damage per player has some importance, but if a shaman is doing less damage, that’s ok, because they will bring Heroism, which benefits us all. It is the same with other buffs/debuffs in other classes. If a particular class provides a benefit to the entire party, this is not generally reflected in damage charts. A warrior’s Sunder Armor debuff increases our damage, but this increase in damage counts to our damage, not the warriors.

    Say, for example, in one fight, a hunter does 1000 damage to the boss in the entire fight (numbers are unimportant here, the principle is). But during that fight, heroism was activated, and because of that, the hunter was able to do 100 more damage than they would have without it. I would argue that the hunter should only count as having done 900 damage, and that extra 100 go to the shaman. The same applies to all buffs and debuffs. If one player causes another to do more damage, then that should be counted towards the player providing the buff/debuff. Does this complicate things? Of course it does! Will anyone ever take this into account? Doubtful. But my point here is that analysing data based purely on damage per player can be very misleading. With this expansion we have moved on and are now buff bringers, similarly, our mindset should move on, and away from this “mine is bigger than yours”, since we should be taking into account that “mine is bigger than yours, because you let me borrow your pump”

  13. fengoluga says:

    As much as I hate to admit it, I’m pretty sure you’re right.

    Anecdotally: I’ve always been an MM Hunter. I felt like I had my rotation down and was doing okay DPS. But I was still averaging around 3rd place in Wrath Heroic dungeons, even at lvl-82. I heard you talking about SV being a higher spec, so I switched. My first Cataclysm dungeon as an SV was filled with mistakes. I still topped the chart. By a long shot.

    I’m 84 now and I’ve topped DPS in every dungeon since making the switch, often over 30% of DPS. I’m pretty sure the nerf is coming.

    • Painbow says:

      I’ve got a tank friend that is constantly nipping at my heels despite being similarly geared and me knowing what I’m doing. He’s just really good. Have you seen a tank in Cataclysm nipping at your heels in dps yet? If not, you’re in for a rude awakening when you see it, and when you see good DKs, mages, and warlocks right next to you in the charts as well.

    • Lilcheeks says:

      This discussion isn’t really aimed at people leveling though. Blizzard told us when 4.0 came out that we were balanced around 85. In dungeons while leveling there’s going to be a huge variance in dps because of people at different levels and vastly different ilvls of gear and probably choosing optimal or sub-optimal gear. There are other factors that come in to play as well.

  14. Autumn says:

    I seldom comment, but just to throw my 2 cents in here; I agree SV is OP. My personal and purely anecdotal experience fits with the trend of facerolling SV doing significantly more DPS than other classes at similar levels of player expertise.

    I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

  15. Blackmoor says:

    Whatever changes may come, just do the best you are able to with the gear and spec that you have now, and you’ll be doing things right.

  16. Kathoran says:

    I have always been a marksman hunter since i started to play this game. After reading all the debate of survival needing a nerf I decided to switch my secondary spec to SV to see what exactly was happening.

    Let me start by saying that I tested on both the target dummies and in dungeons; both heroic and non-heroic mode. With only my inherit buffs all I can see is that I am able to out-dps my marksman build by maybe 2k – 2.5k. Now that is a considerable difference, don’t get me wrong… but not nerf worthy.

    The problem is when i start to blow my cooldowns. Using the Blood-Soaked Ale Mug and popping rapid fire, I can clear my marksman dps (even with readiness to have a second rapid fire ) by 4k – 5k damage. This is the same in dungeons or on target dummies; standing ideal or having to move.

    I guess what I am saying is this: The survival’s Into the Wilderness 15% increase to our agility is too powerful at the moment when combined with trinkets that increase agility. When the nerf comes, from what i can tell, expect the agility modifier to be drastically reduced.

  17. Trifeckta says:

    As much as I hate to admit it I have the sneaky suspicion that hunters ARE going to get the much hated and dreaded “Nerf Bat” yet again. Especially with all the other pure dps classes that are QQ’ing all over the forums about us. That being said I don’t necessarily think that it will be a nerf so much as a balancing. I’m a lvl 85 SV hunter and, don’t get me wrong I love the dps that I put out right now but it is OP to say the least. In heroic and regular dungeons I am usually 1st on the chart, if not 2nd and I often find that I’m doing 30-40% of the dps and 35-45% of the damage. I’ve always been a stong hunter and usually near or at the top of the charts in raids/dungeons but never by so much.

    But heres where I smell the nerf bat coming; SV hunters are out dpsing almost everything!!!!!!!! My GM is a lock with far better gear than what I have and he struggles to keep up with me even when I don’t pop cd’s and he does. SV hunters are almost like mages now with only a few spells to rotate through. So our dps is easy to get up, keep up and maintain. That being said it is more dependant on the player. I have seen other SV hunters with similar or better gear than what I have and only do half the dps. On the other hand it could just be because they bought their account and don’t know a damn thing.

    Here is something to take into consideration though; through every expac and patch hunters have changed specs. In BC most hunters were SV or BM, then along came Wrath and Uldar and with that it was about a 50-50 split between SV and MM hunters then came ICC and it was pretty much all MM hunters with very few SV hunters. The only people that play BM are pretty much people that were leveling thanks to Blizzard and their endless fun with messing with hunters. Now all the hunters I come across in raids and dungeons are SV.

    It’s all about knowing how to balance your spec and rotating through spells and cd’s. If, or when for that matter, the nerf bat comes heres what everyone is going to do:
    1) QQ on the forums about how its not fair
    2) Respec and learn how to play again
    3) Carry on and wait for the next nerf or hope for the next buff
    4) Repeat step 2
    Either way if you play right and do RESEARCH on your class hunters are still going to be at the top of the charts.

  18. Wylde says:

    Hm, would love to see actual parses of this hunter stacking as i ve not seen it so far in the paragon / ensidia / (some russian guild) / exodus parses – so curious to see that actually happen :3

    There was a point in mastery for mm at ~40 mastery where it showed a massive boost over a ~39% mastery and MM dominated SV by A LOT in the endstages of wotlk (without arp) – i dont see why you dont realise that as part of scaling thou :3

    The real issue within a Hunter should be that BM is mechanically screwed and mastery sucks for bm plus the fact that a specc which is just as easy as BM is outdpsing MM so that every serious raider who’s doing progress does it as SV and that shouldn’t be something that blizzard wants.

    • Dmok says:

      Keep in mind that at the end of WotLK SV and BM didn’t have access to Cobra Shot – this is a factor completely outside of scaling that greatly changed the potential dps output for those specs.

      • Wylde says:

        just test it on a dummy with and without cobrashot, the dmg u produce with sv using steady shot isnt a 5000dps gap which was the case on icc hm content in the end of wotlk for mm > sv

  19. Shadda says:

    If top raid guilds are padding their groups with hunters and other hard core raid groups are following suit, wouldn’t that result in an artificially high number of hunters doing top DPS? I could be oversimplifying, but it seems like the larger the number of hunters who are clearing top-tier content, the greater the representation we should have in the top ten rankings.

    • IcedInferno says:

      My concern is slightly different, but along the same lines.

      These, uh, these top end raiding guilds. They’re supposed to be the best, right? So, they’re stacking warlocks, dks and hunters because they do the most DPS. Furthermore, they say that as they gear up from these encounters, they’ll be able to gradually work in more of the other DPS classes back to normal. So, these people who are supposedly the ‘best of the best’ have themselves professed two ways to beat these encounters:

      1. You need gear for the enounters FROM the encounters you need to beat.
      2. Stack high, ‘overpowered’ DPS classes.

      So, what does nerfing hunters (and warlocks and dks a little bit) do? It takes away that solution number 2. So now, the solution for beating encounters that you’re left with, is to already have the gear from the encounters themselves. This is a self-defeating solution that causes more problems than it solves. And keep in mind, we’re talking about TOP-END guilds! How about the average raiding guild?

      Have we considered, perhaps, that maybe the other DPS classes need to be brought up a bit to be more in line with the top three? At the very least, there should be a ‘meeting in the middle’ where the underpowered classes are brought up almost to the level of the locks/hunters/dks, and then the latter three maybe brought down by 1-2% DPS. At least, that’s a more reasonable solution less likely to cause negative backlash and more likely to actually ADDRESS the problem (encounters are too hard without the DPS from the high-end classes). I dunno.

      Also, Frost, re: linear vs. non-linear scaling from gear. I get what you’re saying, but isn’t it possible that the linear scaling for an MM spec is ‘steeper’ than for an SV spec? And at some point, MM spec could overcome SV without having to be a non-linear scaling model. I’m not saying that’s definitely how it -is-, just that it could be.

    • Kalven and Hobs says:

      That was my first thought, looking at the pie chart. We can’t say SV Hunters are OP based on that arrangement of data. What Hunter stacking does is provide an observation from which we form our hypothesis. So, Hunter stacking and ‘overall dps attributed to one class’ prove nothing. However, if the Hunter’s average dps is consistently and significantly greater than other classes when each player is ranked separately, then you can form the theory that SV Hunters are OP. This seems to be the case.

      As an aside, I won’t lament too much if MM comes out on top again. Interrupts are a powerful thing.

      Even more tangential, when someone in my first heroic SFK whined about there not being enough interrupts, I offered to switch to MM for the fight. Then that very same player derided me for wasting a talent point on Silencing Shot. WTF?

  20. Lackies says:

    *Someone* has to be at the top of the DPS charts, and those someones will generally get stacked. It may as well be us and its not like no one can compete at all. Hunter’s have a bit of an advantage over say Fury Warriors in ICC25 in that we’re ranged DPS ( and ranged DPS is generally “easier” on many encounters) and have the ability to provide literally a dozen different buffs/debuffs. Still if the margin of victory is fairly small i.e. if we’re less than 5-8% above the DKs, the Locks, and less than 10-12% above everyone else blizzard will probably let it slide. Honestly with DKs, Locks, SPs all doing fairly competitive dmg ( i.e. the sort of dmg that could flop one way of the other based on gear and encounters) I’m inclined to believe the problem likes with the other classes scaling too slowly at the start of raiding. If rogues, warriors, and mages are having trouble doing 12k when Hunters locks and DKs are doing 15k

    My only evidence is anecdotal but doing the TB boss I was less than 500 DPS above a Demo lock and less than 1.5k DPS above an Enhancement shaman and DK. And on a slightly more lopsided Omnitron council attempts I was regularly 1k above the Demo lock, and 2k above a boomkin and 5k above the rest ( doing 15-17k dps). Since I don’t play with the best players ( and I consider myself fairly good relative to the people I play with) I’m inclined to believe the rogues eking out 10k are just bad or struggling with mechanics, while I pop cooldowns when bosses are taking 50-100% more dmg.

    One final thing that can skew results is limited use buffs like Tricks and Dark intent. I know I’m a preferred Target for a Dark Intent from my guild’s warlock since we don’t run a SP. The 3% haste and 9% dmg extra dmg on 40-50% of my dmg is close to 1000 extra dps that can skew meters and exacerbate any potential differences. Tricks of the trade, hysteria etc can all have similar effect on dps. Since they are cast on the “best” DPS whether he’s ahead by 100 or 2000 after those buffs are applied he will definitely be ahead an additionalr 1k-2k dps. Top WoL parses are particularly guilty of this. Its true content is new enough that people probably are not deliberately stacking dmg on one player unless it increases the chance of victory ( as opposed to epeen preening) but if a Surv hunter or DK is even 500 DPS ahead of his peers it makes sense for him to get tricks and hysteria etc. Ex. on omnitron council if the boss is in poison + I’m in a+ 50% dmg circle, and we pop heroism rapid fire, and I get tricks, and DI… even though that state may only last for 15 seconds I’m so effectively stacking cooldowns that my encounter DPS is going to jump dramatically. Especially when classes like rogues and DKs may not be able to be in that circle ( as opposed to say magmaw where everyone deals 100% dmg)

    Anyway long story short. We’re top DPS, but its not like there is no competition and as long as there is competition blizzard probably won’t act harshly or quickly ( as evidenced by the fact no major nerfs have come down after two weeks).

  21. Bernard says:

    I’m a member of the ‘wait and see camp’.
    Thus far, it seems that Blizzard might be too.

    The problem with calling for nerfs is that have no control over what gets nerfed and by how much. I would have preferred a post that explored how Cobra Shot is overpowered. Perhaps a comparison with MM and BM damage to justify buffs for these specs to counterbalance the nerf sting.

    I don’t deny the numbers – SV hunters are shining in top guilds. Or more specifically, ***hunters are in the top dps spot for the most number of raid fights for top guilds in current content and current gear***.

    How is the raiding hunter doing? Is the reality that this tier of content is well-suited to us? Do other DPS specs need a small buff?
    How is the HC dungeon farming hunter doing?
    How is the PvP hunter doing?

    I think there would be no harm in taking some time to find answers to these questions.
    Wowmeters has never told the whole story and the arguments seem to pit anecdotal evidence vs anecdotal evidence.

    TL;DR: Be careful what you wish for…

    • Frostheim says:

      To be clear, I *don’t* want a SV nerf; I’m just saying it looks like it’s coming, and to be fair it looks like it’s probably needed (that or 7 other classes need buffs). Check out yesterday’s post though — where I did talk about how I’d soften up SV’s dps by about 5%, and boost the MM and BM dps by about 5-8%.

  22. Painbow says:

    Don’t you think that range in WoW generally have an advantage anyway? They don’t lose much dps while moving and don’t have to avoid cleaves and crap. I’m seeing melee generally sucking in Cataclysm for this very reason.

  23. Shadda says:

    Taking a peek at the top ten rankings, the DPS advantage actually seems to vary from fight to fight. Surv hunters are definitely overrepresented in 10man Baradin Hold, for example, but only 2 hunters made it into the top ten slots of any of the four 10 man Bastion of Twilight bosses. Mages and rogues seem to have a few spots to shine as well, though overall hunters, locks, and DKS seem the most prevalent. It seems like hybrids are the farthest behind right now: very few druids/priests/shaman on the charts, and I don’t think I saw a single ret pally.

  24. Rolgorf says:

    I think it’s a great testament to the power of the hunter community that we can debate this openly without resorting to petty name calling – other than perhaps the odd reference to uncommonly harry arms or polar bear like attributes, semi-colon however comma, (LOL) I DON’T doubt that the best hunters in the game are capable of dominating the top positions in the charts, however, I’m a little concerned about throwing out the non-ranged classes for purposes of your analysis. If we are comparing DPS to DPS, it doesn’t matter whether it’s ranged or melee. I have also looked at the raid parses and culled through mountains of data and while it’s true that top hunters are well represented in the top DPS slots, top DK’s and top Locks are equally well represented. In fact, while they don’t appear to be even, they are statistically “margin of error” close. I guess my point is, hunters deserve to be up there after all. From my perspective melee classes are “over-represented” in the top dps spots – with approximately 32% of the top dps parses I studied occupied by two melee classes (DK and Lock) and only 27% occupied by the top two ranged. So, If hunters have a disproportionate number of those spots, then the other top ranged class should be buffed to get it up there along with the others. I think the most important thing we’ve proven here is NOT that SV needs a nerf or other classes need a buff, it’s that there may still be some balancing work to be done and it should not focus on the SV class but rather on fairness to all specs and classes. Having said that, as content evolves and raid compositions develop, I’m convinced that the nature of the fights and roles required of players will balance out the overall DPS in game without Blizz lifting a finger on the nerf bat.

    Incidentally, on two successive dungeon runs last night I was out DPS’ed by a dirty feral druid by a huge margin – he also ninja’d a clear hunter trink away from me! So take everything I say with a grain of salt. And Frost, don’t spend your holidays pouring through raid data – take a well deserved rest from us and we’ll see you in the new year!

    • Frostheim says:

      Um, I looked at the top 40 dpsers for every boss, on 10 and 25 man. Hunters (ranged) had about 32% of all of the top positions. Warlocks (ranged) and DKs (melee) were overrepresented as well with a bit under 30% each.

      I agree that we should look at all dpsers, melee and ranged, and I did.

    • Rolgorf says:

      Just a correction to above…. the other melee class was Rogue… not Lock as per brackets above. Strange how my numbers differ but I was only looking at 10 man which may be interesting to explore.

      And I’ll say it again…. enjoy your holidays! And don’t fret about us children questioning your numbers. We’re in a good place!

  25. Poake says:

    I think on tank and spank fights right now, it is very hard for other classes to beat SV dps. Here is a link from our Argolath kill last night:

    That’s me at the top. My 17.6k was good enough to rank me 173rd on WoL for SV hunters. Respectable, I suppose. Our Arms warrior, on the other hand, was 6th on that fight with 14k-ish but that got him the #4 spot for all Arms warriors. One might argue that it’s not a melee-friendly encounter, but the DKs seemed to do fine.

    From what I have seen so far, there definitely are some balance issues but I am not wild about people, some of whom are prominent in the WoW community, calling for nerfs in the first couple weeks of raiding. Blizzard hasn’t shown themselves to be super-adept at fine-tuning buffs/nerfs or particularly nimble when it comes to correcting those kinds of mistakes. There are a lot of variable in play right now and I, for one, would prefer EVERYONE get some more data and experience before calling for any changes.

    If it ends up that hunters are the best single target DPS but aren’t quite as strong on the fights with a lot of adds or target switching, why is that something we feel needs to change? That is a good “specialty” niche for hunters if we have to have one. If we shine in one area and are decent in others, that should be ok. There is too much homogenizing of classes as it is.

  26. Mandya says:


    Have you emailed GC at all asking for his thoughts on what you’re writing about?

    Less than one month ago Hunters in general were ready to call it quits because of the lack of DPS. WOW forums, MMO forums has numerous threads calling for buffs.

    What’s change since Dec 7th, look at all the hotfixes, did any of those get increases at all?

    Remember the whole “Hunters are balanced at 85,wait till 85″. We’ll we’re at 85 now and if Blizz has balanced us around this then why ask for a nerf to something they wanted us at.

    Perhaps we’re the class Blizz wanted us to be blanced around finally instead of being the class nurfed and balanced around others.

    • Frostheim says:

      Nothing has changed since then. We still have all the bugs that we had then. The only difference is that we got to level 85.

      At the end of the beta I did report the relative position of hunter dps at level 85 and suggested that BM and MM needed their dps to increase — but at the time I didn’t have a good measure of how we compared to other classes, so didn’t say anything about hunters vs others. Just that MM and BM needed more! (They didn’t get it — they’re the same now as they were then).

  27. I-CEE says:

    I got to say Thats some post Frost stired a few people up I belive we need a few tweaks on all 3 specs I love my MM but have switched to SV for the DPS I hope we get them tweaks and then I can go back to playing my MM lol thats just me .
    I see all these numbers and arguments fling around but have as anyone considered that as Hunters we research our class learn to play our class and ultimatlly love our class more then other classes , so we really do play our class to the best of our abillity ( well most of us there are some naughty hunters out there ) this is something we carnt factor in I think lol but as I look around the net I never come across any of this theroy for other classes well not in depth as this discussion ( got to get loads of links now for other classes )
    and the Hunters I know on my server all share and help each other out we even take younger hunters under our wing some times. My point is that Hunters seem to work damn hard at been the best thats why most of the time we end up on the top of the dps charts and if and when we get a nerf we will find away to get back up there no ifs or buts about it .

  28. tonyp51 says:

    Are we doing TWICE the damage of the next higher class? 20% more? 2% more?

    If we are not totally obliterating the next highest classes, and I don’t believe we are, then what difference does it make? SOME class is going to consistently be at the top of the DPS charts. Blizzard has repeatedly failed over the years adequately to balance DPS classes, leaving one class that is consistently at the top of the charts. So why NOT Hunters?

    If they nerf Hunters, as many of you would like, then the top guilds will simply drop us like hot rocks and start stacking Warlocks, or whatever other class gives them an advantage and allows them to stroke their e-peen to their staisfaction. Last thing I want to see is Hunters sucking at PvP and then being mediocre in PvE too.

    • Frostheim says:

      I think the minimum goal is to get all dps classes within 10% of each other (this happened in ICC, by the way, for everyone but shadow priests).

      The real goal should be to get all dps classes within 5% of each other — at that point there is no stacking or favoritism. Right now we’re seeing differences of up to 20%. Some classes and specs need buffs. Some classes and specs need *gentle* nerfs. Let’s meet in the middle.

  29. Kalven and Hobs says:

    @Bernard I am also in the wait and see camp, and thanks for pointing out PVP. The rock-paper-scissors of PVP is included in the judgment of nerfs. If I remember correctly, one of the reasons BM wasn’t buffed up in Wrath was to prevent it from being OP in PVP.

    The philosophy of making every class spec viable in raids is a good one, but making them equal is unachievable. There will always be a best spec; however, we should not be penalized with much lower dps for utilizing another spec. For example, I may switch to MM for an interrupt, another may switch to bring a core hound. These other specs don’t need to be equal, just viable.

    Before 4.0.1 hit, I was a MM Hunter, along with every other serious raiding Hunter. The personal dps gained from an ArPen talent build and rotation was greater than the group dps gained from bringing additional buffs, i.e. Replenishment or 3% damage. This showed that at that level of content, only one spec was viable. Balancing the dps class specs to within a certain percentage of each other will allow buff stacking and flexibility in ability utilization.

    • tonyp51 says:

      By the way, the ability to stack ArPen last expansion was basically a mistake by Blizzard.

      They never intended for us to have the ability to drastically increase out DPS by doing so – it was an oversight on their part. An oversight they corrected this expansion.

      • Kalven and Hobs says:

        I did not know it was a mistake, just thought it was a failed venture. I did not raid in BC, and only started raiding again last summer, so it felt like I had rerolled.

        Just a nitpick, but I did not stack ArPen, I stacked agility. I needed more passive ArPen to gem it, and just about when I got there, 4.0.1 hit.

  30. browning2 says:

    Thanks for the post Frost, great info but I am going to wait a bit to decide about SV OP. I agree heroic DPS is insane, but this isn’t about heroics like Frost said. It’s about Tier level content. If you try to use the heroic argument, think back to BC and Wrath. If you weren’t doing 30% of the party DPS then you failed. But let’s focus on what is really important right now.
    1). SV DPS is the most similiar to what we used in Wrath. In fact, Cobra made our priority even easier. It is the BC BM spec. There is room to make mistakes and still own on DPS. The other specs have more complex mechanics. Are there leople trying to push the envelope on our other specs? With the performance of SV right now, I’d say no.
    2). Cross spec shots are complicating things. Explosive may be scaled a little high still, and Aimed was nerfed too much, but the real problems that I see are Cobra and KC. (and granted the serpent spread talent for AoE). To not have a more unique signature ability for BM is hard to balance. To allow SV to have Cobra that refreshes our DoT and play into our mastery is a problem. To have your signature ability only usable when your pet is in range was a mistake. Maybe Cobra shoud have been a BM top talent tree Shot.
    3). I’m all for easy mechanics, but maybe we need to relook at SV. Blizzard made a big deal about challenging Tanks and healers with their abilities, why is SV so watered down? Having a non-complex system allows for easier stacking of CD and procs. One thing that blizzard should do is maybe re-examine the agility procs of trinkets and such and goto RAP instead.
    TL;DR. SV maybe #1,but mechanics are easy. Before I would like to see a nerf bat I would rather see them alter our priorities and look at what the gutted from the other 2 specs.

  31. Binjhamon says:

    A tip of the hat to the best troll ever. I mean, if you’re gonna do it, do it right. Post inflammatory rhetoric on your own site to hundreds of your loyal disciples, err, readers then justify with multiple follow up posts, all the while trying to tone down rabid response with a cociliatory tone of “But I don’t want SV nerfed” -BRILLIANT! Because if you’re not sitting back enjoying a twisted dwaven chuckle, then all these posts could be linked under Petition To The Great Spirit Crab To Reinstate MM Hunter Superiority…

    • Frostheim says:

      Inflammatory rhetoric? Examples please?

      I posted that it looks like SV will need a *small* nerf, with examples of how small. Then when half the comments disagreed and asked for data — and fair enough there — I answered the questions with data.

      This is what I do — I talk about hunter issues and what’s going on in the game for hunters. I absolutely advocate on behalf of the hunter class, and I daresay more than almost any other hunter, but I do it in a reasoned way. I want a balanced game – and besides which, if I started skewing things in a pitch to get overpowered hunter dps, my words would carry a lot less weight.

      Also, I’m pretty sure GC doesn’t read this blog : )

  32. Meegan says:

    I just took a look a World of Logs, (not a raider).

    But from a causal glance, Damn a lot of the top DPS is SV hunters, not all, and not in all dungeons, but it does kind of stand out at you. I’m looking at you Atramedes. But even so, the SV hunter maybe tops, but it’s not insanely over the rest. It could be that the SV hunters in question are purveyors of WHU and are that much better because of it? (maybe?)
    But I think overall we’ll be seeing less of the “Louisville Slugger” nerf bat and more of the of the actual “Nerf” nerf bat. They made the changes to the talent trees and classes to allow for more fine-tuning then they used to be able to do. I think (and hope) that the great BM nerf is a thing of the past.

    And I wouldn’t be surprised if GC did read this Blog, he seems like an average guy who likes his job and tries to get the best out of it, visiting sites like this he can see what the bourgeoisie are saying. They’re less drama here then the WoW forums, and actual discussion. That why I read it. I learn a lot.


  33. Xyriin says:

    I took the time to compile some actual numbers from World of Logs for this post. All of this data was pulled from 25 man parses to eliminate the likelihood of buff errors in 10 man raids. The listings after each boss are the number of that particular class that made a top 40 dps ranking.

    Magmaw (23 DK, 6 Warlock, 5 Hunter, 3 Paladin, Druid, Warrior, Mage)
    Omnitron (10 Mage, 9 Hunter, 8 DK, 6 Warlock, 4 Druid, Priest, Shaman, Rogue)
    Chimaeron (19 Hunter, 8 Rogue, 6 DK, 2 Mage, 2 Warlock, 2 Druid, Shaman)
    Artramedes (34 Hunter, 6 Warlock)
    Maloriak (36 Warlock, 2 DK, Mage, Rogue)
    Nefarian (14 Hunter, 13 Warlock, 6 Priest, 5 DK, Rogue, Druid)
    Wyrmbreaker (17 Mage, 6 Warlock, 4 Shaman, 3 Rogue, 9 DK, Warrior)
    Valiona & Theralion (3 Hunter, 20 Warlock, 5 Druid, 8 Priest, 4 DK)
    Council (3 Hunter, 27 Warlock, 5 DK, 4 Druid, Shaman)
    Cho’gall (4 Hunter, 17 DK, 10 Warlock, 4 Rogue, 2 Priest, 3 Druid)
    Conclave (20 Hunter, 5 DK, 8 Warlock, 3 Rogue, 2 Priest, Druid, Mage)
    Al’Akir (3 Hunter, 18 Rogue, 5 Druid, 6 DK, 2 Warlock, 3 Warrior, 3 Shaman)

    So what so all these numbers translate to?
    Well for the 12 raid bosses analyzed there are 40 rankings apiece so a potential of 480 dps rankings within this set. This gives us the following breakdown…
    142 Warlocks at 29.6%
    114 Hunters at 23.8%
    90 DKs at 18.8%
    39 Rogues at 8.1%
    32 Mages at 6.7%
    26 Druids at 5.4%
    19 Priests at 4.0%
    10 Shaman at 2.1%
    5 Warriors at 1.0%
    3 Paladins at 0.6%

    So first glance one could say nerf Warlocks, Hunters, and DKs! But there is a major flaw with this data. First off one class being good at a particular fight due to mechanics greatly skews the numbers. I mean why would Hunters dominate Atramedes but fail to appear on Wyrmbreaker? Let me present this method in another way. Lets say we have 10,000 individuals parsed for a fight. Of those 10,000 there are 1,000 of each class. We’ll say this is a tank and spank fight and Hunters have the best potential dps on the fight doing 20,150 max dps. Warlocks are second with 20,000 max dps. Now those two max values are almost identical and I think everyone would say well within balance criteria. But if you have at least 40 hunters who are playing at the peak potential they will net the top 40 spots and it will appear is if hunters are very OP and destroying every other class.

    So what do we do? We throw out the flawed method of data analysis above and use something much more accurate.

    Instead of looking at the generic top 40, look at the top 40 for each spec. Throw out any extremely high or low numbers and take the average of the top 40 dps for that spec. This will allow more accurate analysis of what each spec is doing for a particular boss. It will trend in general with the generic top for but you’ll find the extreme variance seen in the generic top 40 is very much smoothed out when looking at more accurate data.

    Likewise is it really accurate to use an overall analysis when you have fights like Atramedes which have an air phase? Eliminating this one fight for example would drop a hunter’s generic representation to 18.2%. Similarly for the Conclave fight there is a boss that is range tanked which means the lucky ranged dps with this duty don’t have to platform switch (massive dps gain over all the other dps which have to regularly switch platforms). So toss out another biased fight and hunters are now down to 15.0% representation.

    In summary there is a slight possibility that survival hunters may be a bit high on damage but more than likely they are where a pure dps class should be. Preaching nerf with literally only ONE week of solid raid data to look at is certainly not responsible from a mathematical standpoint unless of course we want what happened to BM early in WotLK to happen to SV.

    • Frostheim says:

      I totally agree that going through WoL and getting the top dps results for each spec for every boss fight is better — though I’d just take the median of the top 50 rather than averaging. That will give the best info, but just takes more time than I have right now.

      However, that will not necessarily give you different info — until we do it we don’t know if that data will contradict or support this existing data. The other advantage of doing it that way it it also shows the *amount* over or under median each spec is.

      I do disagree with some of your language “preaching a nerf” and not responsible — we’re talking about over ten thousand dps reports. I agree that the numbers will change over time, but it’s not like we’ve got a tiny sample — and the sampling that we have now is generally the best raid teams out there.

      • Xyriin says:

        As an example there are only 778 entries world wide on Nefarion 25 normal. You’re only getting about 45 parses there. Drop further down in progression to Maloriak and you’re still only looking at about 259 parses…definitely not thousands yet. I haven’t bothered with spec data analysis yet simply because for a lot of bosses there aren’t even 40 top parses for certain specs. In another week or two there should be enough data and I’ll definitely be sifting through it at that point, but I’m going to need more parses to get accurate and trending data.

  34. Myrdreon says:

    Actually, frost, SV is especially NON-liniair. Its a scaling fact – anything that has cumulative percentages by definition has NON-liniair scaling in absolute values (and dps is absolute, not a percentage value).

    Since SV has certain very efficient scaling types that are % based (17% agi, 10% all damage serpent sting talent, nearly all damage affected by mastery) the total of said scaling is also very out-of-bounds.

    If this scaling is not adressed, we’ll act as warriors later in this expansion. With the difference that the scaling is so insane it already shows at these levels.

    Remember the beta-dk talent tree’s, where if specced very exactly you could get about 15%-20% strength increase and you would be scaling to good? Hunters are 17% on agi AND get some more from other sources.

  35. Ozolin says:

    Firstly, try and say “linearly” three times fast, it’s fun,lol.

    Secondly, and more on topic, I still top pretty much every Heroic I’ve been in as SV, and frankly come darn close as BM, altely anyway. And to be honest, I could probably handle my rotations better in both specs. I’m not the uber elite hunter player. That said, one of the few guildies who consistantly beats me on the meters (I personally put very little concern in them during my runs because I’m loving the added utility I bring to CC) is a Balance Moonkin.

  36. battleworn says:

    So I’ve been sticking with MM just cause I’ve gotten the feel of the rotation and now only occasionally hesitate at the “should I fire off that extra arcane shot or hold focus for the next chimera shot” hiccup. But my question is this? What is the actual DPS difference between a perfectly executed MM rotation vs. a perfectly executed SV rotation, provided that all circumstances are equal?

    • Xyriin says:

      About 3k dps at the top end in a fully buffed raid setting.

  37. tknoodle says:

    This is stupid. Back then before cataly out, world of logs show mages to be top dps. No hunter maybe one were at the first page. I don’t hear anyone crying mages needs nerf this and that. Hunter always get hated on? When they can actually play reach the first page on world of log and not even top on all raid fights ppl complain about hunter. Personally mm was straight out the top dps back then and others look down on sv as the spec for weaker leveling players. I hate all this qqing and so on. People adapt and took it as it is then. I had to change to mm just to get into raid pug group when I love playing sv. I had to work my butt off and never even saw one darn hunter on the front page of world of logs but mainly mages. Stop hating on hunters and learn to adapt to the changes just like how we all had to prior catal.

    • Frostheim says:

      I’m not sure when you’re talking about here. After 4.0.1 mages were crazy high, and the QQ was crazy loud with complaints, and they got nerfed. Before 4.0.1 mages weren’t that great — it was the rogues owning the meters in ICC.

  38. Bahzob says:

    Frost love your site but please please I think you need to take a wider than PVE view.

    There is more to hunting than raiding. Many hunters like to PVP in at least equal measure. Right now hunters are far from topping anything in PVP whatever they may be doing in the first few raids. If anything its quite the opposite.

    Hopefully Bliz will take a more balanced view if/when they do anything nerf or otherwise.

    • Factoid says:

      That is a good point. I consider myself a player with average skill level and I dabble in PVP when the mood strikes or a pesky hordie decides I look like an easy target (PVP server after all). Anecdotal evidence suggests that hunters are preforming very VERY well in PVE situations and fairly poorly in the PVP ones.

      I will be curious to see how Blizz addresses this apparently drastic imbalance between the two different play styles. Because if hunters get the nerf bat due to their PVE performance they will suffer significantly in PVP which I am sure Blizz wants to avoid just as much as a full hunter raid downing current content.

  39. Frostheim says:

    Okay, I’ve spent a bunch more time pulling info from world of logs to get some data in a different format. I went through the 25-man normal modes and looked at the top dps for each spec, for each boss fight.

    I recorded the median of the top 20 dps results for every spec. This should get rid of the crazy high outliers, but still represent around the best that the spec can do from the best raiders executing well in current gear (which is on the low side for the first raiders, of course).

    I did not record the Nefarian encounter because there were far too few people who have done him. I also skipped Halfus Wyrmbreaker since it’s a big gimmick fight causing people to do 60-80k dps — clearly not a good representation. Every other boss is included, however.

    Then I took only the most popular dps spec for each class (which was always the highest dps, by the way). The poor-performers were of course grossly underrepresented. So while SV would usually have over 200 parses for any given boss, BM might have just 10, and MM just 5. Those very low numbers are not at all helpful.

    Taking the average of all of the fights, hunters come in at number one, around 12% above the median for all top dps specs. destro locks and unholy DKs were close behind at 9 and 10% over the median. Nothing else was more than 4% over the median. The mean and median were nearly the same, by the way.

    The results of this info match up perfectly with the info I posted above, just looking at top parse representation. I don’t think the actual numbers are that important — it’s the qualitative position that really matters — how far ahead. But for those interested, the median of the top dpsers for raid bosses was just about 18k dps. SV hunters averaged over 20.2k dps. Ret pallies brought in the rear with 15.7k dps.

    So from the early info we’re seeing in raids, SV is a bit over 2k dps ahead of the pack, with locks and DKs around 1.5k ahead of the pack.

    Certainly these numbers will firm up over the next several weeks as we get more and more raid parses logged. My prediction — if no buffs or nerfs happen — is that the relative positions will stay around the same. Overall the dps results will go up significantly as people grow familiar with the fights and their gear improves. But the three on top will stay on top, though they may flip-flop positions. The mass in the middle will stay in the middle, and the guys at the bottom will stay on the bottom.

    It’s unlikely we’ll see a major change where suddenly Boomkins (the median) are averaging on the top and hunters lose their big lead over the median — unless mechanical balance changes are made, those percentages won’t change by more than a few spots.

    Interestingly, we can predict from this info that MM and BM are actually below the median dps, since we know about how far behind SV they are. They are, however, still looking to be part of the pack and better than ret pallies or elemental shamans at least : )

  40. Rzzr says:

    There will always be one class at the top of the dps tree. Nerfing SV will just promote another class and the argument will roll on. Personally I think SV is about right. We do not cover every utility, for instance we have limited interrupts, we can’t decurse etc so you will never see a raid full of hunters. If SV is nerfed hunters will just stop getting raid slots and the new perceived OP class will take our place.

    • Frostheim says:

      I agree — nerfing is only needed when the class at the top is at the top by a large margin — which seems to be what we’re seeing right now.

  41. Batsheba says:

    What Rzzr said. I don’t undertand why a hunter would want to see another hunter’s spec nerfed. I wonder if there is a similar competition between Unholy 2H, Frost 2H and Frost DW DKs. I suppose if you really think SV spec needs significant nerfing, maybe there could be a hotfix to prevent SV hunters from consuming agi/crit food before raids. Also, we could petition Blizz to remove all tank and spank fights from dungeons and raids.

  42. Venetar says:

    I still disagree with nerf calling but I don’t disagree some tuning is needed. It’s common sense to me that since AGI became the all powerful stat then the spec that made significant buffs to it would be quite powerful. A percent multiplier on the huge AGI numbers we can acquire? Yea it’s gonna be damn powerful. So (1) that should be toned down along with our other specs getting a talent with similar benefits and (2) SV Mastery toned up tp make it worthwhile and usable as a ‘knob to turn’.

    Makes me extremely nervous since historically Blizzard will do (1) i.e. NERF and not due the balancing move of (2) BALANCE.

    In addition … hiding in the back in a BG and blowing things to kingdom come as SV (until I’m spotted targetted and blown to kingdom come myself) is the only thing that makes Hunter BG PvP viable/bearable … so please please please for the love of god I hope any nerfing comes with balancing and some fixing for all our PvP issues.

  43. Vjaxelf says:

    DPS is all well and good, hell we are a pure dps class and if played well we should be able to be at or near the top of the meters. What I think has been lost for hunters since 4.0 is fun. My hunter has always been fun, middle of the meters, top of the meters didn’t make a damn bit of difference it was always my favorite class as it was so much damn fun to play. Weaving together shot rotation, MD’ing mobs back to the tank from the healer, grab the tanks target for 5 sec so the undergeared healer can catch up then FD. The class was a shit ton of fun. Today, i don’t care which spec or what the dps numbers are, hunters are just overtly boring. Fire three, click a button, watch the damn bar complete, miss x shot waiting for enough focus for y shot which is stronger, go get a drink, watch the bar. ITS JUST SO BORING. Nerf’s come and go, they have since vanilla and will continue to for as long as the game lasts, but where the hell did the fun go. Wow i get to watch a monkey throw poo, hey that fox can do a 360. Ummm, just not fun.

    I was in Vortex Pinacle Heroic last night and found a sweet spot on the dragon boss that does the wind change. For 3 minutes I had a great time playing my hunter, i didn’t wait for anything, 2 steady shots at a time only slowed down by the GCD, arcane up whenever I wanted it, chimera available everytime it came off cool down with no need to ignore another shot to make sure my ‘focus’ was where it needed to be.

    It was fun, which is the first time I think I can honestly say it was so since 4.0 landed. There are great things in our tool box, we have great abilities that can help any group, but you know what, if it’s not fun to play, if its so bogged down by the mechanics of the class then…whats the point.

    • Dmok says:

      Being a hunter is obviously not for everyone, but in my opinion the hunter class feels far more like a hunter than ever before.

      A full arsenal of pets, able to swap out on the fly.
      Tossing traps around to CC/AoE/Kite on a whim
      Even building up focus through steady/cobra shot just to unleash hell through a burst-chain of arcane shots.

      I feel like a ranged machine again, and I’m loving every minute of it.

      • Kalven and Hobs says:

        Amen. For so many years I felt like I had to excuse myself as a mana class. Now we have been further reinforced (and itemized!) as a ranged class with super cool pets that bring super cool buffs. Our traps are better, our toolbox more universal (Scatter Shot, Widow Venom), and being a top DPS class is gravy. How long that gravy train lasts is not certain, but I for one am riding it.

  44. SlayrAbraxas says:

    I probably can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said to the argument at hand.

    But, I did spec SV for a Stonecore run last night, just to see what the hubbub was all about. My DPS jumped way higher than I felt it should have been doing the dungeon for the first time. But that’s not what mattered to me. The big deal there, was that I was having a metric shit-ton of fun in there. I haven’t played SV since before I had full t9 gear. I forgot how much I like SV. It just works. The way the cooldowns line up makes it easier for me to play than BM, and Lock & Load procs are easier to deal with than I expected. I love BM, but I’m much more comfortable playing as SV right now. BM will stay my preferred PvP spec, though.

  45. Dorianchika says:

    I have to remind myself to be patient in this back and forth discussion of how worried we should be of the highly likely “Nerf-bat”. Thanks for all the work on the WoL, its the real conversation after all since similar data will determine our fates in the end.

    I’d like to take this time to add in a point of Blizz history. Every Xpac comes with racial and class changes of a large scale. Ironically, the first class shift from Vanilla to BC was hunter agility to attack power conversion (and that really burned). From BC to WotLK we got Death Knights – and wow was their OP nature tolerated for a long long time (and they’re still being brought into line). Come this fall we’ve had the Pre-Cata message… hunters are getting a massive conversion change again. “Welcome to Focus hunters please tolerate it till Cata releases since its balanced for 85″ .

    I’m thinking that as the recipients of a massive class change we’ll be tolerated at “uber” levels to draw players back to hunter since so many people went EMO when we lost mana. They’ll most likely treat us with the same gloves as DK’s got when Wrath started… or so I hope.

  46. Droopy says:

    As a Tauren who respec’d to SV directly due to reports by Frost about the huge dps improvement over the other specs, I feel that BM and MM are vastly UNDER powered compared to other classes. Also, having started a new goblin shammie that is only in the 30 range, but is totally spanking the PUG charts, I think that there are several game mechanics in play here and that there may be numerous spec combos for all classes that appear to be OP when put up against other specs.

    I can say it does feel very good to be near the top or at the top of the dps charts again after the huge 4.0 nerf on hunters; however, it is very strange to be only hitting three keys to kill mobs and bosses after playing MM for so long with a very complicated rotation that is very easy to screw up. My best post 80 dps in MM was barely 3k by really working the rotation, after respec’ing to SV, my LOWEST dps was around 3k with my best dps pushing 5-6k in green 260+ iLVL gear. When you are in a PUG with guys who are pushing 10k dps, it’s very embarrassing to have 2.5k dps if your gear isn’t the absolute best of the best in-slot gear for every slot.

  47. Bahzob says:

    I repeat. PVE is not all that WOW is about. PVP is at least as important. Any discussion of balance needs to take account of both.

    In this context any nerf to hunters without corresponding to abilities of other classes in PVP is not justified. The more so because hunters languished at the bottom of PVP rankings (measured by class breakdown of arena ranking) in most recent seasons and nothing substantial has been done to correct this imbalance in Cat.

    • Kalven and Hobs says:

      Keep in mind that as soon as a “Best Combo” of class/specs is identified in arena, that is what is rolled the most. As only one out of 10 classes, and a pure DPS one with range limitations at that, I am not surprised that Hunters have yet to own at PvP.

      Still, I agree that class balancing is way beyond simple raid boss DPS equalization.

      • Bahzob says:

        Its not a question of hunters owning at PVP. I just want to see them being represented roughly equally with other classes.

        Right now given you have a choice of DPS why would anyone choose to team up with hunter? This was already an issue last season and looks like being even more so now.

    • Frostheim says:

      We’re talking about pve here. Pve and pvp are balanced differently — right now it’s not like pvp hunters have a dps throughput problem — our problems are much more fundamental. A tiny descrease in throughput of one spec is likely not going to be even noticed in pvp. Realize that in pvp (without all raid buffs) we’re talking about an overall 2% decrease in sustained dps or so.

      I agree that hunter pvp needs to be fixed, but to do that we need to fix our pvp problems (focus regen in melee, minimum range, escape vs close balance), which are not at all related to pve. Note however that hunters are great in bgs, just not in dueling situations.

      • Bahzob says:

        Y iI know theres different balance in PVP and reason hunters have issues is not just DPS. Thread here covers some.

        However its a question of priorities and balance. I lack your confidence, given their record to date, that Bliz can fine tune things so that PVE is balanced and only affect PVP dps in a marginal way.

        They are far more likely to reduce damage by more than “2%”. Then take an age to get the balance back again.

        So I reiterate its about balance. Any adjustments to DPS should be matched by fixes to some of the PVP issues which you mention

      • Kalven and Hobs says:

        Point taken. I wasn’t thinking of how raid buffs, food, flasks, dps oriented stats on gear, gems and enchants and a lot less movement can magnify slight baseline differences.

    • Frostheim says:

      This is a common attitude about both buffs and nerfs in the game that I’ve never understood. The core of it seems to be a philosophy that you shouldn’t fix one problem unless you’re fixing all problems at the same time.

      The pvp problem with hunters is not raw dps throughput (since ours is higher than almost everyones) so a 5% decrease to throughput on 5 min fights with all raid buffs — or a 2% dps loss to pvp, is not going to be noticeable. I agree that pvp changes need to happen, but these are two unrelated issues, and I’m fine with them fixing one first — I don’t need them to wait until they can fix everything all at once.

  48. Batsheba says:

    Agreed. I felt in Wrath that MM rotation was easier than SV, Chimera Shot spam, etc. The changes in MM and BM rotation are drastic compared to SV. Maybe the adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” applies to SV more than the other specs. It does suck to have MM and BM rotations screwed up. I have to say I am having more fun than ever playing SV. In 25man pugs in Wrath on my realm, we always had more than enough hunters. I do feel that MM and BM are underpowered for raids and heroics, but BM is my preferred spec for leveling and PVP. So maybe SV is meant to be Blizz’s preferred raiding spec, just as Destro is usually top Lock dps spec, and I have never seen a Subtlety rogue in a raid. It’s pretty cool that hunters can make better use of their talents in Cata and be more a more rounded class. I didn’t start raiding until Wrath, so I don’t have much experience with our CC abilities, so it’s been a lot of fun doing more than just dps. I also can see how having high dps hunters would be a great help to casual raiding guilds who don’t get to see endgame content because of the level of difficulty. It’s rare to see openings in raiding guilds for hunters on my realm. Now, maybe hunters will have more of an opportunity to compete for a spot in a top raiding guild. Elitists might think it’s unfair that SV is dominating hunter specs, but I think it’s a real treat to have a popular class be a little OP in pugs, so that casual players and guilds can have some fun too. It’s the one thing about theorycrafting sites that I can’t stand. They don’t consider how casual players and raiders experience the game. I see theorycrafting sites as a resource for those of us who don’t have the time or ability to crunch the numbers, and greatly appreciate the effort they do to help us understand our class mechanics. So, I think it’s a shame to see a site like this discuss the merits of having one of our specs nerfed. If anything, we should be complaining more about BM and MM being underpowered, than pointing out the flaws of SV spec, which I see as more of a welcome advantage. I’m sorry to be a bit repetitive, but reading all this discussion about nerfing one of our specs is defeating and just overall represents a lack of respect. Near the end of Wrath, most raiding hunters were MM spec, but not once did I read a discussion in this site about nerfing MM.

  49. Blackjelly says:

    As an SV hunter in a good 10 man guild, i’d like to add that i’ve never been out dps’d on any boss fight, and only in 50+ heroic runs, maybe once or twice on a boss have i been marginally out damaged. SV definitately needs a nerf, because at the moment, its simply to easy to beat everyone.

  50. Iwenna says:

    “But here’s the thing: The yellow slice is precisely accurate, only it’s not rogues, it’s hunters.”

    So? Someone has to be on top.

    • Frostheim says:

      It’s not a matter of being on top — it’s a matter of being on top by how much. If class balance was perfect, every class would have near a 10% representation. Perfection isn’t possible, so we’d expect to see some ahead and some behind. But one class eating 1/3 of the positions is a pretty gross imbalance – and this is reinforced by the actual dps numbers that we’re seeing right now.

  51. Terendol says:

    Warlocks, Mages, Rogues, and Us (hunters) SHOULD BE ON TOP. So, fix the other lacking classes (Mages, Rogues) a tiny bit (they really don’t need that much) to be competitive with us.

    What I will NOT stand for is hybrids doing as much damage as pure classes. That’s just crap. It shouldn’t be that way for a variety of reasons, the least of which is dungeon and raid spots. How fair is it for Warriors, Druids, Paladins to be top dps and then turn around and hog up queues and raid spots with heal and tank specs?

    Pure DPS NEEDS to be the best at what we do for the sake of game balance. NOT JUST DPS BALANCE. Look at the big picture here.

  52. Randomluck says:

    I would tend to believe hunter stacking is due to the unbelievable raid buffing utility that hunters have been give, we were give the ability to bring any of the possible raid buff.

    EX. A raid is short one raid buff. So do they take class 1 which is already in the group, leaving the raid short that one buff or do they take another hunter which can bring that missing buff? Most of the time the hunter that can provide that missing buff will be taken (I know can be more complex than that)

    So with this type of situation hunters have more chances at raid spots and therefore have a greater chance of taking the top dps spots.

    • Frostheim says:

      But that doesn’t explain why hunters are doing more dps than any other class (see my long comment about mining WoL for actual dps numbers for every class. We’re far ahead of the pack (farther than the line where the nerfhammer usually drops).

  53. Aitun says:

    Don’t know if this is common knowledge, but just this by ghostcrawler from

    We’re happy with damage overall. We have very few traditional tank and spank fights (even Argaloth likes to parry melee) so it’s hard to get consistent numbers without very large data sets. Still, we see Survival hunters and Unholy DKs on top of a lot of single target fights. Arcane, Marksman, and Beastmaster damage is too low. Retribution, Shadow, and Fire and Frost mage damage might be too low, but we’re still watching them. We aren’t seeing a lot of Subtlety rogues in PvE yet, so that sample size is still small. On fights where there is a lot of area damage, Demonology warlocks, Frost DKs and possibly Survival hunters are all too high. Shadow priest AE, mostly due to a weak Mind Sear, feels too low.

    • Aitun says:

      This sounds like to me that there is even a small chance survival might even be left untouched with the next patch but I doubt it. Looks pretty certain MM and BM will be bumped though.