State of Hunter DPS

Posted: by Frostheim


Now that patch 4.1 and the first tier of raiding is coming to a close, I thought it would be a good time to check up on the state of hunter dps in Cataclysm. We rocked out of the gate with some excellent early gear availability combined with a beefy SV spec, and then were hit by some very large SV nerfs. At least fifteen hunters actual sent me a personalized kick in the balls in the mail for suggesting that SV’s dps did, in fact, need to be brought down. It got to the point that I started wearing a cup when opening my mail.

(Just kidding, I don’t read my mail).

SV seemed to be doing okay on the charts after the nerf however, and held a strong position as the aoe spec and continued to perform particularly well in 10-mans, while MM once again took the lead (though not nearly by as much as they had in Wrath) for the 25-man and well-geared hunters. BM seemed to be lagging a bit behind, but not by a large margin — certainly performing respectably and sometimes putting out impressive numbers.

By now the top hunters are decked out in their heroic gear and know the fights inside and out, and should be putting out close to the best dps they’re capable of. So let’s see what’s happening.

Top Hunter Parses

First we’re going to take a look at the top hunter parses, as compiled from World of Logs data by the delightful State of DPS — someplace I am not allowed to ever visit while at work, or I’ll never leave. I know most of you guys are reading this from work too, so be warned that State of DPS will suck you in with all the lovely ways to look at the data.

Here’s we’re looking at the median dps of the top 200 raid parses for each spec across all boss fights except for Halfus. By taking the top 200 parses we can be pretty certain that we’re seeing players all with a very high level of skill, optimization, gear, and even RNG going in their favor.

10-man Normal

Here we’re seeing MM at the top position, and up there by a pretty good margin too. SV is also high on the comparative charts, with BM coming in a bit below the middle of the pack, a few thousand behind MM — though of course number two position here is over a thousand dps behind MM.

In the past we never paid a whole lot of attention to 10-man numbers, since 25-man raiding was the place to raid. In Cataclysm, however, with the same loot available from both raid sizes we’ve seen a massive shift toward 10-man raiding — enough so that I feel like some eye to balance has to be centered around the 10man situation. But, there’s a lot more than just 10-man, and more than just normal modes.

25-man Normal

When we look at the top parses for 25-man normal modes, we see again that MM is in the top position, though not by as much of a margin, and there are plenty of other classes rubbing elbows with MM. At this point — when we can be assured that every raid buff is present — SV and BM are both behind the median.

10-man Heroic

Once we move over to the heroic side of things, we finally see MM falling from the top position, though still performing admirably, less than 300 dps behind number one. SV is doing quite well too, and BM is still behind the pack.

We’re starting to see a trend with BM here, and we could do a lot of speculation on why BM is behind — because it’s harder to play well in aoe situations, because there are fights like Atramedes that hurt them, or that the perception of MM dominance means they don’t get played by top players — but ultimately the fact is that in the top parses BM is slightly underperforming (I know, I’d like to see them on top too, but we can only really complain when we’re below average).

25-man Heroic

Now we get into 25-man heroic, and we see MM slip further, this time significantly behind the leading dps spec. SV is behind the median, and poor BM is comparatively lower than ever, a good 10k dps behind the leading position. That is the kind of dps gap that is problematic; however, once we’re talking 25-man heroic mode, it begins to get a lot easier to suggest that the top players are less likely to allow the perceived lower dps spec into their raids.

Regardless… it looks from this like BM needs buffage!

But, we’re not done yet. There’s more data we can look at.

Average Hunter DPS

We’ve been looking at the median of the top hunter parses. This is generally the way that we approach game balance — and personally I think it’s the way that dps should be balanced. Don’t get me wrong, you want to keep an eye on the overall average, but to me that should be about difficulty balancing rather than dps balancing. The idea is that if you aren’t at a high skill level you can get much larger dps gain by just learning to play better than you can by having Blizzard adjust your spec.

That said, we have the lovely Raidbots.com (and by the way, what’s with the dps parse parsing sites not using www? Come on guys, you’re failing Jackob’s first law of web user experience), anyhow, Raidbots.com is a site that also pulls World of Logs data, but Raidbots actually can pull all of that data, rather than just the top parses. This means we can see what the true averages are. This is another site that can devour your day, especially when the alternative is to work.

For this quick snapshot I pulled all raid parses from the past month; however, I’m only looking at heroic fights. My thought here is that at least by limiting it to heroic we’re going to still be seeing more highly skilled and geared players, and not have our averages muddled with with some guy facerolling and wiping repeatedly in a PUG with 1.3k dps.

10-man Heroic Average

Whoah! When we take the average of everything in heroics, the picture is radically different! All three hunter specs up on the top cluster, and in exactly the reverse order! BM, SV, MM. Hmm… and what does 25-man heroic averages show us?

25-man Heroic Average

Again we’re seeing all three specs in the top range, and all incredibly close to each other — much closer than the very top parses show. Personally, I find looking at these averages fascinating, as it tells us a lot about how most players see the game, rather than just the best players who also happen to be in great guilds.

For the curious, in the averages of normal modes all three hunter specs are still in the top, and even better than they are in the heroics.

Results of the State of Hunter DPS

We know that there are a handful of hunter changes coming in patch 4.2. MM is getting a significant dps nerf, SV is getting a bit of a buff, but really it mostly just compensates for the fact that they got nicked by the MM nerf as well.

When I look at this data, and some of the more specific fight-by-fight results, I can kind of understand why MM was nerfed. To me it’s not so much how MM compared to other classes, as how MM compared to other hunter specs. We’re a lot more attuned to one spec being even five percent off from other specs than we are with one class being 5% off. Particularly since the dps of classes is far more dependent on fight mechanics and boss encounter construction than the dps of most specs (for example: the way tier 11 favored ranged classes).

It’s also important to keep in mind that other classes are getting 4.2 adjustments as well. I don’t pay a lot of attention to PTR info for the other guys, but I know some of them are enjoying the nerf bat, from the squeals of pain I hear.

What I don’t really get is why we aren’t seeing a buff for BM. Certainly BM is performing admirably and neck in neck with the other specs on average, but once we start pushing the boundaries of what the spec is capable of, they’re not only a chunk behind the other hunter specs, but they’re also below the median. Perhaps Blizzard thinks those averages are more representative of what the spec is capable of, and the top parses are an effect of so many fewer top raiders playing BM (something I’d believe — in a straight-up single target fight BM is quite good indeed).

BM’s representation is incredibly low in raids right now. You only see a 25 – 50% drop in the top parses but if you look at all parses from the last month BM is a tiny fraction of the representation of the other specs. That representation discrepency is just as bad in the normal modes, by the way. Of course, you could argue with representation that incredibly low, it’s darned impressive that BM is as high as it is on the top parses — when you have 1/20th the number of players, you have a lot fewer chances of claiming awesome dps — and very likely fewer of the best players running that spec.

So what do you guys think? Is BM in need of a nice little buff, or do we just need to get a campaign out there to educate ignorant raid leaders that yes, BM is indeed a powerful and dps-topping raid spec in most boss fights?

Or, you know, both?

 

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  1. Kuanita says:

    So I played BM the other night for raid buffs and something happened. I couldn’t use focus fire with my wolf out. Anyone know if it’s a bug? I don’t remember seeing anything about it.

    • Thar says:

      Focus fire seems to be working with some of my pets (my serpent) but not with others (devilsaur and wolf). I searched on the forums briefly last night and saw one post about the problem but no response.

      I am often BM in my raids when we have no Ret or Arcane mage. I hope BM remains a decent option in 4.2!

  2. Sidoen says:

    Heh I just flipped out BM for MM to try it out again. Although I just started MM again and I figure I need a lot more practice at it to get it down right, there are definitely times I think that BM would have been a better choice. The double SS mechanic really messes me up in my rotation, can’t seem to figure out my priority between getting duel SS fired or hitting my chimera and pushing the buff back a second or two.
    So while I will keep at MM for a while for now to see what happens, I’m probably going to pick up BM again, the only question really is do I give up MM or SV for it? SV is the spec I rely on for aoe of course but it’s flow and mechanics are a lot easier to handle than MM and for that reason alone it might be better single target dps for me. We will have to see.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that BM probably doesn’t need a buff as much as it needs more representation. The lack of buffage that Blizzard is giving it (not giving it) might mean they think the same way.
    Alternatively, what about designing a balancing buff that supports certain situations more so than other situations. If BM does less well in one group size but really well in a larger sized group is there a way to enhance it’s play in the smaller size while minimizing the impact of it’s play in the larger group? Or is that TOO nitpicky?

  3. Furrymammoth says:

    I feel like looking at a blanketed view of all* fights (*except for Halfus) doesn’t tell the full story. It really helps to look fight to fight to see how we are doing, and I feel the best fight to look at single target DPS is Chimaeron.

    When I raid, I switch between a BM dps spec and a MM dps with AOE talents. I use the MM spec on fights where AoE is an important part of the fight (Cho’Gall, Magmaw, Maloriak) and on fights where Ranged DPS is extra important (Atramedes for the Air phase, and Nefarian for the Lava phase), but I use BM for the rest, where we are effectively single-target.

    I mentioned Chimaeron because even though there is some movement, the fight is mostly tough on tanks and healers, and the DPS just have to make sure they don’t stand next to others while unloading on the boss. In fights like this, I see MM and BM hunters almost always on the top, and my DPS is usually one of the top two on the meters during this fight (partially because half my DPS doesn’t get gimped my moving while everyone else’s does), and on almost all the others.

    There is no question that BM’s AoE abilities are sub-par compared to the other two, and Survival and Marksmanship both rely on that to make it high on the meters when we look at fights with AoE. BM is amazing at single target, though.

    pro tip: on Chimaeron, be sure you have a pet specced into Heart of the Phoenix so he can get back up instantly once he’s reached on the threat meter at the end.

    -furryworgen

    • Frostheim says:

      I definitely agree about looking deeper into individual fights to see what happening and why it’s happening (important for knowing *how* a buff or nerf should be applied; however, the overall numbers do a pretty good job of telling us how we perform in the content we have.

      The numbers may be skewed by fight mechanics, but then again, those *are* the fight mechanics we have to deal with this tier, and that raid leaders have to take into account when forming their teams.

  4. Ril says:

    BM suffers the most under those pet issues we’re having. take al’akir, the pet is useless in p3 (but very awesome in 1 and 2) because it keeps falling down and disappearing or dyeing in clouds due to the lack of the flying buff. this hurts our dps A LOT. also, looking at the data in a more differentiated way (pet friendly vs pets are totally useless fights) should provide more useful insights, as well as an idea of which aspects of BM needs some tweaks.
    i’m raiding as a bm mostly and i get the impression that this spec never really shines. the AE dmg is mediocre and single target dps is outperformed by MM on static figths. BM is great mostly in new fights where you’ve got to concentrate on all the new stuff happening around you (council 10H p2 anyone?) while your pet just continues nibbling at the boss, with a KC thrown in now and then. once people learned the boss, BM has much lower potential of dps increase. BM’s average damage is great (mostly due to being very forgiving), but it’s potential to awesomely great dps by perfect skill simply is too low compared with the two other specs, and other classes generally.

    so in short, bm needs to have more dps potential, but has to become slightly more difficult too.

    lots of great changes to BM has been suggested in frosts blog post about BM talent tree – a few of them (like the ability of flying pets to follow bosses like atramedes) plus fixing those really nasty bugs would already help a great deal.

  5. I-CEE says:

    I have 3 beast masters in our guild all 3 do very well on short fights in fact one of them can hit 29k on first burst but starts to lose her dps after a couple of minutes . on 25man raids 3 hunters one of each spec is epic the buffs you get from each other plus pets is outstanding so raid leaders take them but in 10 man theres only room for 1 maybe 2 hunters so first choice is MM for the single target and if there is room SV for the AoE poor BM dont get a look in I think BM needs a good buff maybe a boost to kill command just for BM

  6. Hunter123 says:

    Blizz blew it letting BM be such a laughable spec for so long in Wrath. Add to that the bad casual player who defied logic and reason when emotionally defending playing it. Now you hvae a huge perception problem, not just a raid leader problem. They need take a trick from corporate america and change the name of the spec or something.

    BM now with more BC and less Wrath!!!!

  7. Ocastra says:

    I disagree with the view that looking at the top players dps is more important then the average dps numbers. The reason is that for the majority of raiders it doesn’t really matter if e.g. MM has a great damage potential and BM doesn’t. What matters is how they’re doing with a certain spec/class.
    Playing to (or near to) it’s potential is obviously much harder for MM then for BM and SV. If you can do it, grats, more power to you, you earned that extra dps. But that doesn’t necessarily mean MM needs a nerf or BM/SV need a buff, because that extra potential only affects a very small number of players. This is why I believe average heroic is the most important set of data to look at (normal wouldn’t be as good as gear will still make a large difference and would include the “facerollers”).

    The problem is players and raidleaders alike looking just at the top results, thinking “MM is the top raiding spec, I have to play MM / you go respec to MM”, although that might actually lead to lower dps for that player, as they’re just plain better at playing BM oder SV.

    • Ril says:

      the point is, if you’re a great player but playing in 10 mans, you actually need the choice between the specs. in my case, i try to min/max, but am bm due to the lack of a 3% buff otherwise (AND i like the bm playstyle, which also has to be taken into account). not having much more potential than any nonconcerned faceroller is neither fun nor good for the raid.

      similar difficulty levels and similar potential levels still are an important aspect of balancing. i don’t mind if there are certain specs that are easier to play, but the same spec with maybe a few tweaks should make it more difficult and add more potential.
      as an example, take kindred spirit: this talent is great for ppl tending to overcap. those that can keep control of their focus should be able to skip it and put it into something that increases your dps directly.

    • Frostheim says:

      What I was trying to say (and maybe said it poorly) is that you should balance dps around the realistic potential of the spec — and for that you look at the top clusters.

      But you should also look at *average* dps with an eye toward balancing spec difficulty. If one spec rocks out the top meters but sucks on averages, it’s possible that spec is too difficult to play well for the majority of players — and that’s a problem just as much as dps imbalance is a problem (arguably more so, since it also contributes to a perceived dps imbalance).

  8. Nerec says:

    could you provide a better list from raidbots.com with excluding halfus? Cause I see you have the 10 hm halfus log with the 141000 dps in it. Also Cho’gall and Firamges could be excluded. It would give a more honest overview how all dps specs perform.

    greating Nerec

  9. Thryst says:

    BM isn’t bad in itself, it’s just that some mechanics completely screw us over. Apart from things like flying bosses BM really only needs a slight buff.

  10. Dominia says:

    “When we take the average of everything in heroics, the picture is radically different! All three hunter specs up on the top cluster, and in exactly the reverse order! BM, SV, MM.”

    Unless I am reading the chart incorrectly, the spec order for 10-man heroics from Raidbots.com is SV, BM, MM and not BM, SV MM.

  11. sango says:

    I think that we need both a bit of a buff to BM as well as educating hunters out there that it’s a viable raiding spec. BM has gotten a bad reputaion when it comes to raiding, and even though it’s not what it was in Wrath, many players still shy away from it for raiding. To compound things further, you have those hunters that try to play BM as if it were MM or SV, and when they don’t get good results they denounce BM and abandon it. Each spec has it’s strengths, and one has to learn to play to them. For the BM hunter, the strength is the pet.
    Though I’m a casual raider, my main is BM and I manage to hold my own in group with MM and SV. Yes, there’s times I dip just below them in DPS, but there are just as many times that I out do them as well. I’d like to think that part of this is due to not only bringing a pet that supplies a needed buff to the group, but to also researching the fights to bring a pet that is suited to the situation; flying pets such as birds of prey, carrion birds or wasps (these tend to be able to fly higher/more freely than other flying pets) for flying bosses if possible, pets like moths, nether rays or sporebats for interupting heavy magic using bosses, worms, serpents or raptor for taking down heavier armored bosses, tallstriders, chimaeras or crocolisks for helping slow adds in fights…. you get the point, right? Pets aren’t all about the DPS they do, and as a BM hunter one needs to maximize all potential that a pet has, both to the hunter, the group and the fight.

  12. hillbillyhatfield says:

    MM will scale and get a boost from the better gear waiting for us later on. When I run 10 I always run BM. Because I’m mainly the off tank healers/clothes body guard. I pick up any wonderers that slip by. It’s a 3-4k loss but better than letting the healer get a facefull of pain. I can MD to the tank and pull most wonderers back with 2 shots, while letting the pet intimidate(why the ability is great in PVE, you guys are not using it right apparently)1 out of 100 get through to the cloth class. I’m a very important part of our 10 man.

    I don’t know who’s idea it was to make birds unable to attack air targets, needs a slap. That is a mechanic that needs fixed. My dps is good on 1 part and crap the next. Also the positions of some birds. They flap in the ground when standing still. That is very ugly to look at.

  13. Poake says:

    Actually, I don’t think you want to balance primarily around the top potential of a spec, especially if that potential significantly deviates from the median performance. If you have wild variations between how the spec normally performs and how it achieves at the very highest percentile, then you are seeing a spec that either benefits from extremely high skill or really shines when the stars align in terms of RNG, buffs, mechanics, etc.

    Think of it this way: What if BM had an ability that did 250,000 damage but had a very, very low chance of happening? Well, you would see a cluster of extremely high parses that would be far removed from the median. Or, let’s say if someone could play MM with robotic precision and do 40,000 DPS but a single slip-up would dip you down to 25,000. That would indicate that the skill curve for that spec is ridiculously high–great potential but the typical performance would be more mundane.

    Those are, of course, extreme examples. But it’s also illustrative of the kind of problems balancing around the top specs can yield. To me, it makes more sense to primarily balance a spec around the way it’s usually played. After all, that’s going to make the spec attractive to the largest group of people. You want to take into account the highest potential of the spec, as well. You don’t want that to be too high or the results on some fights can get silly. And you don’t want it to be too low so that very good players have little to strive for. Balance first around the median and then take the upper end into account.

    • Ril says:

      in order to perform in high end raids, you need to be able to perform at the maximum of what your spec offers. if this is limited, then you’ve got a problem and need to respec to be viable. if the average player is performing only a little below than the high end player, this means that the spec is too easy and has too little potential. and this is a serious balancing issue.

      so what is needed with bm is an increased damage potential along with increasing difficulty. this way, the average player is still pulling appropriate numbers, while the top-skilled player can pull awesome numbers. just like MM, because really, this spec is much harder; you need to practice for a while to use the full potential. this difference is very well visible in the charts.

      on a bottom note, i’d like all specs to be like MM, that is, hard to learn, hard to master. hunter should only be for the best of the best after all. :P

    • Inune says:

      I disagree entirely. Frost is entirely correct in his distinction between balancing DPS around the potential of the spec and difficulty around the median performance.

      You listed mostly situations where imperfections of player skill or RNG brought a spec’s average performance down as your counter-examples to Frost’s logic, but consider a different example that actually happened: early-cataclysm SV and the gear problem. Granted, now we’re talking a “top cluster” based on gear rather than a “top cluster” based on player ability, but the idea is still valid. As we all know, SV’s top-end single target got neutered because of the average performance in lower gear.

      This is the problem when you balance around the average: you often wind up screwing over the top end. I think one of the reasons this bothers me so much is that taking your problem with balancing around high-end, it’s always in the *player’s* hands to increase their DPS by playing better or getting into a raid that can get them better gear. If you balance around the average and thus bring the top end down, no amount of skill or ability on the player’s part resolves the disparity you’ve created.

      I agree that you shouldn’t do stupid things like give a spec some supreme RNG ability like your theoretical 250,000 DPS BM nuke, but so long as it comes down to the idea that players can resolve the difference between average and top-end by, on a reasonable level, playing better or getting better gear, balance should be performed around a spec’s potential rather than its average.

  14. Dibbler says:

    I maybe wrong but I get the feeling that Bizz is not only trying to balance around PvE but also PvP. An interesting question (and I don’t have the data) would be to see what spec is dominant in PvP. This post focuses heavily (exclusively) on PvE content and as Frost already stated – the numbers are not SIGNIFICANTLY different.

    If Blizz were to buff the BM spec to bring it up how would this impact PvP?

    • Steelhide says:

      If BM received a buff to KC, that would be a shot heard ’round the realms in BG’s. As far as I know, no other class can attack with such force from 70 yards or so away. Or for that matter, without LoS. KC gives great damage for a BM hunter, and the ability to stay way out of range while doing it.

      If it got buffed, it would soon get nerfed with such a big bat afterwards, that it would be hurting bad, for a while.

  15. Shiani says:

    I think it’s an interesting thing to think about when you start comparing “top charts” to “average charts”.
    on a standstill dummy/patchwerk fight SV and MM would have a larger varians from the top charts to the lowest chart, but as BM you have your pet doing half the job, perfectly. So the varians between top BM charts and lowest BM charts would have a smaller gap.

    on an average chart, BM would have an easier time getting higher ranks than the other specs.

    with this is mind, maybe the reason why BM isn’t our top dps spec is because it would just be too easy to get high numbers.

    • Frostheim says:

      While that was far more true in Wrath, it’s not really the case in Cataclysm. Even though a BM’s pet contributes around 40% of their dps (compared to maybe 13% of a MM hunter’s dps), nearly half of that contribution is from Kill Command, which is an ability that the hunter actively controls as a signature shot.

  16. Poake says:

    Top end parses are NOT usually from progression fights, though. You aren’t going to pull 30k in your first H Atramedes kill. Top parses are almost always speed kills from bosses on farm. I am not sure how useful that is in balancing specs other than maybe it contributes to the impression of a class rather than how they will perform when you are trying to progress.

    • Kalven and Hobs says:

      What it does is it takes it to the practical nth degree. These speed kills show the proven maximum potential of a spec in a raid environment.

  17. Smallshot says:

    I’m curious. Why all the attention on balancing the 3 hunter variants, but there seems to be some WIDE differences between other classes.

    • Xplozive says:

      Well this is where we discuss Hunter and Hunter specs and not other classes…. quite obviously^^

  18. Belgerath says:

    Frost, do you have an estimate of how large the nerf to MM will be in 4.2?

    I realize that a hard number is impossible to determine because of the new gear that 4.2 will bring, but I was wondering if the mathematical cogs in that brain of yours has output an estimate yet :P

    Forgive me if I missed it in another posting.

    Dwarf Forever! Hunter Forever! Ale For Breakfast!

    • Frostheim says:

      It’s looking like the nerf for MM will be in the neighborhood of 5%. For theoretical models, this puts MM right in range with the other specs — especially since the black arrow change nets a very small gain to SV (which was lagging in 4.2 gear).

  19. Ragou says:

    My guild is progressing on 10-man heroic modes (8/12) on Aerie Peak and i gotta say I LOVE raiding as BM and i only use MM for a couple fights. Take heroic halfus for example. Explosive trap + bestial wrath + Multishot spam + a aoe pet (preferably a worm) can give you a 80k dps while killing the whelps, then just dismiss your worm and call a spirit beast and you have some really heavy single target dps, i do way more dps as BM than as MM on this fight. Another aoe fight is maloriak, get a Chimera for and save bestial wrath for the aoe on dark and green phases and you’ll see your dps numbers go up like crazy.

    I noticed too that BM is really good for fights that require burst damage due to Bestial Wrath and Fervor, while MM and SV only have rapid fire. This gives you an advantage on Omnitron Defense System for example. Save bestial wrath for the pools that give you a damage bonus and save fervor for when Toxitron calls his adds and kill them with kill command/arcane shot spam.

    At the current raiding tier, the only fights i change to MM are Atramedes (because he…flies), Magmaw (he can kill the pets a little bit before he uses Mangle on the tank) Conclave of wind and Twilight Ascendant Council (constant target swapping).

  20. Poake says:

    So why would you primarily balance around that? People aren’t brought to raids based on that level of production, for the most part.

    • Frostheim says:

      I’d balance dps around the potential of the spec. I’d balance rotation/cooldown management difficulty around the average.

      I think it’s fair to say that most raids bring people based on their skill. That’s the goal anyway — to move away from the BC-era when people were brought based solely on class (bring the player, not the class, in other words).

  21. Femaledwarf says:

    Some comments on the current data:
    – There is currently a pet focus bug that is causing pets to randomly jump to 100 focus. This seems to be related to anytime the pet stats have to be recalculated based on a change in hunter stats (i.e. from trinket procs, buff changes, etc.) and also is triggering from Culling the Herd (based on Adarant’s test data in the WoW forums). This bug is inflating the dps of all hunter specs a bit, but especially BM. So if this bug is fixed BM dps will likely go down.

    – There was also some bug regarding pets with disease cloud for BM hunters which was inflating dps. If you look through the top ranked logs you’ll note some are using this ability. So this again is inflating the BM dps rankings.

    – A big factor in why SV/BM tend to do better in 10 mans vs 25s has to do with MM being more reliant on a full selection of debuffs (particularly bleed, physical damage and armor). In raids without all the buffs/debuffs MM has a much smaller lead over SV. In addition, representation of alternate specs is most likely more common in 10 mans due to the need to providde missing raid buffs. Blizzard still hasn’t quite solved the issue of bring the player not the class in the 10 man world- there are very few 10 mans that have every buff/debuff, but very few 25 mans that don’t.

    • Xyriin says:

      Echoing what was said, BM is bugged a bit higher than actual right now. BM will gain ground on MM due to the nerf but BM could really use some love to be more competitive.

    • Mascaron says:

      I’ve been noticing a bug with aimed shot, but it’s really tough to pinpoint what’s causing it. On occasion aimed shot will cost more than 50 focus, but only momentarily. For example, if I’m capped at 100 focus and hardcast aimed my focus bar will drop to 41-42 but jump back up to 53-54. I do use the Aimed shot glyph, but I haven’t been able to discern whether it only happens when aimed shot crits. This whole thing is rather perplexing.

      • Femaledwarf says:

        Actually I believe there’s a bug where the actual focus you have isn’t correctly represented. So what you describe could be a display bug related to that and not actually a focus cost issue.

      • Ambev - Frostmane says:

        I would concur with femaledwarf. I have noticed frequently that I am unable to use abilities for a second or two even when the client seems to think they should be available.

        This, along with other strange happenings, leads me to believe blizzard hasn’t really implimented some network or communication changes very well on the server side.

  22. Poake says:

    The problem with balancing around potential is that it doesn’t always match reality. MM currently sims higher than any other spec by a fair amount. However, it would be false to then claim “MM is the highest DPS spec” because it simply doesn’t perform that way due to fight mechanics, necessity of certain buffs, RNG, skill curve, etc. It’s fine to take that into account, but DPS balancing should be done around the way the spec actually plays. And the best representation of that is NOT the top 100 parses ever in a game with millions of players and thousands of raids going on every night. That is not a statistically reliable data set, in my opinion.

  23. Hunterfaller says:

    I have recently changed to BM and found my DPS increased greatly in certain fights, I love it. Pretty much any fight that has a phrase were the boss takes more damage for a certain amount of time. (e.g. Chim, Omni, Mag). Especially Chimaeron, I can pop Beastial wrath at start and have it ready for every feud afterwards. No one in my guild can touch me, I usually get around 22-23k with 25% of the damage overall, the nearest dps in my guild to me is usually only gets around 16k-18k.

    (we run 2 tanks, 3 heals and 5dps, 2 tanks combined is usually = to one dps soooooo, there is about 6 dps, everyone should pull about 16.6% of the damage done, so me doing 25% of the dam is about a 9-10% increase in my eyes vs the average.)

  24. Omarion says:

    Hi there, and first of all thanks for all the tips you give to us, you made me become a fair good hunter, imo.
    I’m a Beast Master, always been, since the day I’ve created my account, and it’s over a year now.
    I’m part of a progression 10man team and my Raid Leader, which is a clever person and doesn’t care that much about fotm, lets me raid as BM, even if he pokes me sometimes for the fact that I don’t have an interrupt or my AoE is good (because IT IS, imo), but not as SV one.
    Fact is that I’m ALWAYS on the top of Recount after each fight. I only had to change spec twice, on Magmaw before the Multi-Shot buff and on Cho’gall because our comp lacks the 10% AP buff and since we haven’t farmed the raids we needed to squeeze all the dps we could.
    This Wednesday we went for Nefarian (again, without having farmed any raid). I went as BM and on our best attempt we failed for 484k hp. Yes, FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FOUR THOUSANDS health points. The fight lasted a while, about 8 minutes, and while discussing with my guildies what went wrong something came up my mind. If I went as MM, we could probably have done it. 484k hp is something too small to not let me think at it.
    THIS is what worries me. I know that BM has been a really bad spec in Wrath and now suffers in terms of reputation from that dark period. I still get stupid comments in pugs like “omg a bm noob” from the average paladin when i put out my spirit beast or my core hound. The average palading shuts up at once as he says me dishing 18k DPS, but still I know that those numbers would grow if I specced MM.
    What I’d really want to see is a general balance amoung the specs. We hunters are not like rugues or mages that have a “pvp-oriented” spec, we can do anything in any of ours. Seeing BM on par with SV and MM in terms of DPS potential would be really nice, because it would finally let us choose our favourite spec, without risks of underperforming.
    So, in general, since SV and MM are above BM, MM is getting a nerf and SV a slight buff, a quite consistent buff on BM should be the way, in my opinion.
    Also, I’ve read somewhere that BM doesn’t benefit that much from T12 ste bonuses, any confirms?

    • Hunterfaller says:

      Dude keep up BM for nef!!… I go BM for nef so i can turtle tank P1 and then go dps… I’m still usually #1 or #2 for overall Dam when we down him… its either how you guys do it or just have bad luck with some things…

      • Femaledwarf says:

        You don’t need to be BM for Nef to turtle tank. I use my beetle to pet tank in P1 on Nef just fine in my SV spec and it works fine in MM as well.

      • Dis says:

        It’s true you can pet tank in any spec but it’s easier to keep aggro on all the adds in BM. I usually just gather them all up and then send my pet in on Nef. From there all I need is a few MD’d multi-shots to keep the adds on the turtle while I focus most of my dps on Nef until they drop.

    • 7seti says:

      If you are doing fights that need an interrupt as BM, bring a moth. They are Ferocity, so will do just as much damage as a wolf/spirit beast/corehound etc. It could mean missing out on a pet buff, but sometimes an interrupt is more important.

  25. Brock says:

    Whatever they do I hope it makes pvp better. It is such a joke that they blatantly exclude us from competitive pvp just because we are too difficult for them to balance. They could at least try. Instead we get zero changes, not even an attempt at trying anything, and instead give us 10 new pokemon to collect.

  26. Lifestreem says:

    I was very surprised at the % representation of BM in the Raidbots table. Just like Wrath, the lowest represented specs seem to be BM, Frost mage, and sub rogue, though UH DK joins the ranks.

    But such a small representation brings that massive DPS potential? It’s entirely possible that such a small group is a set of highly skilled players, but I definitely think we just need to advertise the spec.

  27. Poake says:

    Low BM representation is, I believe, because of 3 factors:
    1. It does demonstrably less damage than MM on most fights.
    2. Reputation as a noobish spec. This is leftover from TBC when it was embarrassingly easy and from Wrath where it was bad DPS.
    3. It isn’t as easy as it once was. Some of the people with fond memories of one-button spamming in TBC find that you actually have to work a little to get good damage from BM. It’s not as challenging as MM but less forgiving than SV.

  28. Aiylani says:

    I always love to see what the top guys are doing. Makes me proud to see hunters doing sooo well:). People must remember that even though there is a “top” spec, play what you like. As long as you know how to play your class and spec the numbers will come with you. I let others worry about the glory of realm firsts, I prefer to raid with and down stuff with friends in a casual atmosphere.Ty frostie and all others for your continued help in making sure all have a chance to enjoy the best class in the game:).

    • Hunterfaller says:

      Indeed, though, its always fun beating other hunters in a “inferior” spec.

      • Kalven and Hobs says:

        This has been my experience as well. While SV, I beat MM Hunters on the meters (overall damage, dps, low damage taken) even when up to 9 ilevel points behind. I can get even better numbers out of MM, but not when new to a fight.

  29. Wolfspaw says:

    BM needs buffs. It’s an easy spec to do average damage but a good player has little chance to do competitive DPS.

    • guywithgun says:

      What bout this for buffing?
      Give bk Pet buffing as a BM talent. Maybe at end of tree?

  30. Rolgorf says:

    Plain and simply, I think BM needs some love in PVE. Having said that, I’m personally enjoying very impressive results in PVP. My BM spec is doing quite well in Arena compared to MM and absolutely dominates in BG’s.

    But PVE results are consistently lower in almost all fights. AOE is much more challenging and single target sustained damage is hampered by wacky rotations towards the middle to end of the fights. I think it comes down to too much dependance on cooldowns for burst damage and so often in 10 man the boss is dead before the next round of cooldowns are back up.

    My two cents

  31. guywithgun says:

    can someone explain to me why BM hunters dps goes down form normal 10man to hc 10man? its really weird i thought dps should get higher not lower.

  32. Fugitivelama says:

    Well I have a few opinions……and they are all OPINIONS.
    1. The reason BM compares so well on the averages parse is that while maybe in a fight like Atramedes they get hurt with the air phase, but in many of the fights they have an advantage, at least for the less skilled players. The reason they have an advantage is that when it comes time to move or turn or kite or whatever the lesser skilled players are not jump shotting or aspect dancing so that will hurt both MM and SV a fair amount. while BM Hunters are not doing these things either at that level, but their pet(biggest DPS contribution) is still contstantly attacking the target and thus losing less DPS from the movement. This also helps explain the DPS difference in the top 200 parses , the more skilled players are aspect dancing and jump shotting and thus not losing much DPS during movement.

    2. I think that Blizzard intend’s BM to be more of a flavor/leveling spec then a serious progression raiding spec. I think Hunter’s are a class that are geared towards the beginner, younger, and more casual players even though when played well by a serious gamer they are the best class in the game. Which makes sense because If you have a class that is not as difficult as something like a Feral Druid, the Better players are gonna be able to squeeze every last ounce of DPS out of that class and make very few mistakes, while the same player playing a feral druid is bound to make a mistake or two either in the fight or his “rotation.”

    3. While it is obvious that Blizzard would like to keep the specs within reason of each other, and furthermore should for fair and enjoyable gameplay for all subscriber’s. What most people don’t think about when saying this class needs a buff or this class needs a nerf is that maybe blizzard has no intention or making all spec perfectly equal even if it were a simpler task than it is. If you think about it , every hunter spec has had it’s time in the spotlight for raiding, While I was not playing WoW at the time I hear many stories about the extreme OP of BM spec in Burning Crusade, I mean SO OP that hunters would send pet in to attak , hide in corner and go eat something while their pet was topping the charts for them. Sure maybe MM has had more time in the sun than others, but I believe it should have some more DPS as it is the harder rotation to manage and people who can manage it well should get some benefit from that.

    4. As we all know from Frostheim’s extremely well written articles, Hunter DPS across all specs has never been more balanced than it is now. Can we not be happy with this and accept that one spec will always do slightly more DPS? I mean I do not know very much about the wow coding or table system or even anything of game design but I would think that a Perfect DPS balance would be near impossible to achieve.

    Anyway I have to say that with the exception of the first few weeks of the expansion when it seemed like Blizzard had no idea how to balance Hunter’s DPS and all specs were getting buff after nerf after buff, they really did make things work out quite nice for us for the rest of the tier. I mean you could pick your favorite of the 3 specs and put up acceptable numbers in raids and dungeons. I mean remember 8 months ago, MM w/ArP gems or bust?

    So I’ll end this long extraordinarily long comment now
    Fugitivelama

    • Hunterfaller says:

      “I mean remember 8 months ago, MM w/ArP gems or bust?”

      PFFTT!!!!!!!!!!!!! you mean everyone went MM and then sucked at it. The whole MM w/ArP was meant for TOP geared hunters. Meanwhile, all the lower geared hunter went MM cause elitist jerks told it was the top spec and then wondered why my Surv hunter was roflcoptering all over them by a full 1k. I had to beg to get into raids at the end of wrath cause i was using a “inferior spec”, but once I got into a raid, I was always invited back.

      (Apparently saying If i’m not top of the charts after Lord Marrowgar and Lady Deathwhisper I’ll kick myself, is a good way to get into raids… who knew?)

      There will always be a difference between the Best and the average players. There is a reason why their 13/13 one month after cata as come out and your not, but it doesn’t mean you should be doing what their doing. Remember Frost’s warning about armory stalking? Same thing applies to the now. Hell, I don’t even trust Frost’s information in till I have tested it myself
      ( though the tiny little dwarf always seems to be right…… must be the uncommonly good looks.)

      • Fugitivelama says:

        So you are just assuming that I am not a good player and went MM ArP at a low gear level and could not play it well? I was unable to go ArP untill aquiring several BiS heroic gear pieces(Mainly Heroic DBW) and I play MM spec incredibly well. Just because I am not in a top guild and don’t have the time to raid 30-40 hours a week does not mean I do not know how to play my class or get shit done at raid time. I also do not blindly follow anyone’s advice without testing myself, I went ArP when it suited my gear level and was able to hard cap, not before.

      • Hunterfaller says:

        Sorry, I suppose that did come off a little strong, and you yourself just explained how ArP wasn’t feasible till higher geared. However, your original statement make it sound that MM with ArP was the only thing period at any point of ICC wrath.

      • Fugitivelama says:

        Yeah I guess I was little vague there, oh well sorry for the confusion, Hunters forever!

  33. Nightpath says:

    I wish to contribute with a different point.
    We are not considering the big difference between high-end raids and “average” 10 men running HC mode, that is that in high-end raids everyone is (mostly) doing everything perfectly. In “average” 10 men HC, and i sit in that category at the moment (we are anyway speaking about people that knows how to play), hunters are reacting to the events around them and they have great tools to help the raid, for example:
    – Distracting shot to save the healer from an add on Nefarian that was “lost” from the guy that manages adds
    – Putting a lot of ice traps around in every single fight that has many adds to give people some more time to bring’em down
    – Sometimes tank dies and need to get resurrected, so you do what you can to keep raid alive, Distracting, Disengage, Feign Death, and if you can sacrificing your pet with Growl and/or misdirect
    – Add tanking for some secs with your pet and Mend Pet, if that’s usueful
    – Pet sacrifice on start of Halfus HC with misdirect to pet to gain about 20 secs to shoot down whelps
    And i could continue for a while.
    Hunters are great to “help things keep going”, and in average 10 men HC their rotation is someway messed up with all that stuff.
    MM suffers much more from this fact, since MM rotation is much less forgiving.
    In top high-end raids, people is supposed to do all perfectly, so you can just stand still avoiding some fire here and there, spamming your 2 steady shots and/or your hardcasted aimed shot. In more “usually messy” groups, you have less time to do things. BM rotation is simpler, and forgives something more. SV rotation is more “reactive”, and i feel very comfortable in my SV specs to do something completely different during my rotation, i have no problems laying traps, shooting distracting, and so on, and SV rotation “simply” shifts a bit. MM is instead heavily affected by “unpredictable” things.
    My 2 cents.

  34. Nightpath says:

    I wish to contribute with a different point.
    We are not considering the big difference between high-end raids and “average” 10 men running HC mode, that is that in high-end raids everyone is (mostly) doing everything perfectly. In “average” 10 men HC (we are anyway speaking about people that knows how to play), hunters are reacting to the events around them and they have great tools to help the raid, for example:
    – Distracting shot to save the healer from an add on Nefarian that was “lost” from the guy that manages adds
    – Putting a lot of ice traps around in every single fight that has many adds to give people some more time to bring’em down
    – Sometimes tank dies and need to get resurrected, so you do what you can to keep raid alive: Distracting, Disengage, Feign Death, and if you can sacrificing your pet with Growl and/or misdirect
    – Add tanking for some secs with your pet and Mend Pet, if that’s usueful
    And i could continue for a while.
    Hunters are great to “help things keep going”, and in average 10 men HC their rotation is someway messed up with all that stuff.
    MM suffers much more from this fact, since MM rotation is much less forgiving.
    In top high-end raids, people is supposed to do all perfectly, so you can just stand still avoiding some fire here and there, spamming your 2 steady shots and/or your hardcasted aimed shot. In more messy fights, simpler rotation (BM) or reactive rotation (SV), is much less affected by unpredictable things than the “planned” MM rotation.
    My 2 cents.

    • Nightpath says:

      sorry for 2 posts, but first time it gave me an error on captcha, but post was submitted anyway, dont know why, and i cant delete posts. Anyway, even if conclusion is written differently, the point is the same…

  35. Monnezza says:

    BM has a unique potential as it is the only class/spec combination that has such a wide capability of providing crucial buffs to the entire raid.
    I guess this could be an explanation why Blizzard seems cool with BM falling a little behind on its personal DPS on the toughest scenarios, since its contribution to the raid can be so valuable that it risks becoming the kind of joker card you’d always invite to provide your raid with both an excellent dps and a convenient buff dispenser.
    Since 10 men raids became so popular with Cataclysm there might be the chance that if BM dps was too near MM and SV, many top raiding guilds required their hunters to run BM to provide that buff versatility which could be so valuable to trump the small difference in dps among the specs.

    As for the difference between top200 parses and the whole average i believe the spec mechanics have something to do with it, with MM suffering from its greater complexity in the way that the average player only manages to pull out 75% of its pontential, while for SV and BM it’s easier to reach a higher performance (let’s say 90%) since the occasional mistake in playing the spec costs less dps.

  36. Techwid says:

    Frost, is there a reason that Heroic Nefarian isn’t excluded from the data set like Halfus is? The reason I ask is the top performing DPS for that fight relies heavily on RNG. During Phase 1 & Phase 3 a player gets mind controlled. They start walking towards a portal and if they reach that portal they die. In between, they spam a button to stack a buff which increases their DPS for 16 seconds by up to 750% at 150 stacks (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=80627). The goal is through various slows provided by the raid, you have enough time to stack your buff up and eek out enough damage to beat Nef’s enrage timer.

    I have had attempts where I was selected 3 times in a row. As a result for a good 30~40 seconds I was doing 750% increased damage. Other attempts I wasn’t selected at all. Sometimes I was selected, but was not slowed and thus wasn’t able to fully stack. Sometimes you are just selected at poor times, like when transitioning from Phase 1 -> Phase 2. It can be very sporadic, but also has a huge role in how DPS perform on that fight.

    I don’t spend a lot of time analyzing the logs, not nearly as much as you do. However, a quick glance shows most fights have a top DPS of around ~30k where as Nefarian is around ~50k. The Median and Average damage done also seems higher for Nefarian.

    Shouldn’t the logs from Heroic Nefarian also be excluded in order to determine a more accurate view on the state of DPS?

  37. Lirithiel says:

    I still don’t understand how people say that BM is easier to play than MM and SV. As Frost stated, pets do roughly the same amount of damage regardless of spec but it’s the Kill Command ability that makes BM pets shine. I am one of them die-hard BM’s but have played the other 2 specs a considerable amount of time and made the following observation since Cata.

    BM have way more abilities to track than both MM and SV now. I really noticed this when setting up my Bartender – there were almost no abilities to use for MM and SV save the shots, where I had BW, Fervor and Focus Fire to manage not to mention KC for BM.

    Miss out on using these abilities and your dps will obviously suffer but no matter what spec I used, Arcane Shot was the one shot I seemed to spam more than anything else. It’s why I find playing MM and SV very boring.

    I think BM just needs a reliable interrupt like Silencing Shot for MM and Wyvern Sting for SV (and pls don’t mention Intimidation because the ability is still a joke). It was a nice that Blizz made Scatter Shot attainable to all 3 specs tho :)

    I like the idea of flying pets being able to attack bosses during the air phase – I mean what’s the point of a flying pet if it can’t attack another flying mob.

  38. Tony Mac says:

    This data seems to vindicate my fury towards “hybrid” specs. We were assured that Hybrids would not be able to outdo dedicated DPS classes. There should be absolutely no reason why a shadow priest should be outperforming Hunters, warlocks, & mages in 25-man heroics and definitely no reason why druids & spriests are outdoing hunters in average content.

    To me, this data speaks volumes to the massive FAIL that is Blizz’s “bring the player” strategy. Yeh, bring the player, as long as he’s bringing a hybrid!

    • Kalven and Hobs says:

      When was a hybrid tax assured?

      • Frostheim says:

        Indeed it never was. As I recall, there was a blue post that made a reference to a hybrid tax, throwing out a hypothetical 5% difference. After that were other blue posts saying that the 5% number was pure fabrication on the spot and not an indication of anything they do.

        So Blizz did imply at one point that there was a hybrid tax of some sort, but never assured us that meant that hybrids would do 5% less dps, on average.

  39. Malkavier says:

    To be fair, that S. Priest damage is due entirely to having a maintained Dark Intent buff on them from an Afflock stacking with Haste procs and Powertorret. Quite a few of them I’ve seen are also Engineers using Synapse Springs.

  40. Deerhunt says:

    …. BM… BM…. I think it will never be a dps spec.

    We should try to convince Gostcrawler to reshape BM as a TANK spec.
    Main tank spec.

    We can start sharing Hp with the pet, then… :P you can immagine.

  41. Delta says:

    We all wish that our flying pets could you know…..actually fly, but I think a way to not only buff BM, but also open it up to more players would be to tie our 51-pt Beast Mastery talent to allowing our flying pets to fly. Or better yet, make it it’s own talent, but tier 3 or higher in the BM tree. While flying our pet does a reduced amount of dps and can only fly/aggro to our max range, to keep it balanced with MM and SV, but enough that it brings up BM a bit. This, in my opinion would help to balance out fights where BM falls apart due to an air phase that our MM and SV brethren shine in.

    This is only a rough idea, and it shouldn’t be allowed to use the pet stay function to place the pet midair, because i think that would be wayyyyy too much programming on behalf of blizzard. Also this doesn’t do anything for BM’s AoE problems, only for one specific scenario, but every little bit helps.