State of DPS in Mists of Pandaria

Posted: by Frostheim

I’ve got the first DPS analysis post of Mists of Pandaria up over at WoW Insider. In the big picture of raid logs hunter dps is looking a little low, but not disastrously low. Enough to need some kind of buff — and I’m a little dubious if the cobra/steady on the move is enough. On the other hand, fire mages really need a nerf, along with affliction locks.

Mists of Pandaria is well under way, and with patch 5.1 on the horizon. We’ve now had enough guilds do enough raid clears that we can begin to take a look at the DPS numbers that the classes are putting out and see just where they stand. It might also shed some insight into buffs and nerfs coming on the PTR.

As always, we draw our data for the analysis from the wonderful, which in turn pulls its data from World of Logs, where raiders upload parses of their actual raids. This gives us the absolute best data source that we have access to. These numbers are exactly what thousands and thousands of real raiders are actually capable of putting out in the actual raids, averaged over all of the bosses available.

If you’ll recall, the DPS spread in Dragon Soul, while not perfect, was actually the closest to balanced we had seen in WoW history. So did Mists of Pandaria improve upon this balance? Or did we end up with boss mechanics and new abilities that widened the gap? The only way to find out is to sort through all the data, and then make pretty graphs out of them. … Read More.

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  1. Jaromor says:

    counting myself into “alarmists” i guess, not sure i will agree with you, but thanks for putting ur effort into this topic :)

    • Jaromor says:

      checking the graphs now i’m realizing when you were talking about “5pct spread” i was thinking of [-2.5pct .. +2.5pct], what i’m seeing in the graphs (not including locks, mages and warriors, who are just way off) i would describe rather as “10pct spread”: DK +4, rogues +5pct, hunters -3pct, monks -6.5pct

  2. Kyllea says:

    What’s it going to look like after the 5.1 nerf? o.O
    We run out of gas on long fights, pure and simple.
    Giving us huge bursts and no sustaining damage for the long distance puts us at a disadvantage for raid fights.
    Being awesome on trash won’t cut it.
    Kinda like the difference between a quarter horse and a thoroughbred racehorse.
    They should make one of our specs do larger sustaining damange over time so we can swap out based on the fight… How about twisting the dials on MM for this given its broke already?

    • Zeherah says:

      What 5.1 nerf are you referring to?

      • Hierakles says:

        Off the top of my head, the (datamined) 29% nerf to Lynx Rush.

      • Zeherah says:

        According to my math, the change to lynx rush to make it a DoT doesn’t substantially change the damage. It reduces the burst, which affects PvP, but in PvE the difference is minimal at best. I just modified my site to use the new formula this weekend and at last check it reduced the damage of Lynx Rush slightly for SV but actually increased it for BM.

        The latest 29% reduction was done because the original Lynx Rush change didn’t take into account that bleeds are not affected by armor- Blizzard’s stated goal was not to change the total damage of Lynx Rush, but only to smooth out the application of the damage over a larger window.

        Even if the change was a nerf to Lynx Rush, there is still Murder of Crows which actually seems to produce higher numbers in my simulations.

        I wouldn’t expect any BM dps decrease as a result of the change.

      • Hierakles says:

        Wait, bleeds aren’t affected by armour? Huh, I guess you learn something new every day.
        Thanks for the clarification!

  3. Jaeger says:

    Seems Blizz really needs to take a look at how to get more people playing:
    MM Hunters – simplify rotation or buff so they are top hunter spec but still hard to play
    Arcane Mages – seems there’s something fundamentally wrong with their rotation but don’t know the details
    Sub Rogues – ugh, rogues…

    And they need to nerf:
    Fire mages – apply excessive amounts of flame retardant please
    Affliction locks – seems they might have oversimplified locks
    Shadow priests (a little bit) – spriests always seem to be a little too OP

    Then take a look at things again.

    One thing for sure is that their internal testing sucks for real world testing. GC always spouting that all classes are within 5% and most are within 2%; maybe on a target dummy in their sims but not according to the parses. Don’t they have actual raiders in their QA staff?!?

  4. Itukaaj says:

    I wonder who plays a Mage …?

  5. Lumberg says:

    Overall, this was rather misleading Frost. All you’ve managed to do is incite the mouth breathers. Instead of calling for nerfs to dotters/cleavers, maybe you could be more vocal about the need for Hunters to have a genuine cleave mechanic of their own. That would fill a gaping hole in the hunter toolkit, certainly more than Stampede ever did. What a completely lackluster and boring ability that turned out to be.
    This could have been a good opportunity to highlight the bigger issue, instead you looked at the graphs and said “buff these guys, nerf these guys”. That’s a disappointingly simplified approach to the topic.

    • Frostheim says:

      I try to stay as impartial and factual as possible on these posts. What is clear from the data is that fire mages and affliction locks appear to be doing too much dps.

      *Why* they’re doing too much is a matter of interpretation. Personally I don’t think cleaving is nearly as big a deal as multi-dotting is at the moment.

  6. Jaeger says:

    Cleavers getting huge bonuses on Garalon was a bug and Blizz hot fixed it. They’re also hotfixing things today so that pets benefit from Weak Points on Garalon. Those should be big nerfs and buffs specifically for that fight.

    Multi-Shot gives us BM Beast Cleave now which really bumps up BM AoE. We can do really high dps on large trash pulls now. However, that doesn’t matter a whole lot since there aren’t bosses with tons of clustered adds where AoE is effective.

    Blizz does not want to make all the classes the same and they shouldn’t. Melee don’t all have to have a cleave and ranged don’t all have to multi-dot. Hunters, especially BM hunters, are half and half but BM has Beast Cleave and SV has Serpent Spread already. The only thing they could do that would keep with the flavor of the class is maybe have Serpent Sting automatically spread to nearby targets without using multi-shot or include a cleave in pet attacks but that’d just make our AoE stronger which is not the problem from what I can see.

    Hunters are also within the bounds of what Blizz would probably consider to be acceptable. They need to address the outliers first and then do another round of balancing. Frost’s charts clearly identify the outliers, so Blizz needs to figure out how bring them inline (the highs and the lows). And unfortunately, buffing BM hunters at this point in the game won’t help with that.

  7. Itukaaj says:

    Maybe buffing hunter weapons would help. There seems to be a correlation between the tier and our performance. Maybe and across the board buff to weapons rather than hunters will fix it this.

    • Brody says:

      This is a good point. I have wondered if our meh numbers this tier are at least partially a result of growing pains on Blizzard getting used to tuning the class with only a ranged weapon, and without the giant stat sticks (and corresponding enchants) we used to have. I know ranged weapons have been reworked to address this, but maybe not enough?

  8. Banard says:

    You highlighted one of my concerns with out saying the concern itself.

    Looking at 10 man and 25 man BM hunter DPS, i think scaling is going to be a huge problem for BM. As more people get more and more gear BM differential will get bigger and bigger.

    • Itukaaj says:

      I think Arcane Shot now has partial weapon scaling so better weapons could help BM. As does Cobra. 2 Level 90 talents are scaled off of weapon damage (It would be nice if they do some improvements to Powershot to make it a better PVP option). So, weapon damage does become vital in looking at any type of hunter performance. Since we are the only ones who now used ranged weapon we can be isolated.

  9. Arth says:

    Unfortunate numbers, but not surprising. What I’ve seen personally matches all of this, with mages and locks crushing it and hunters quite low comparatively, but it’s good to see the numbers corroborate my observations.

  10. Shaun says:

    Hunters are getting replaced left and right on my server lol. So I guess back to my rogue….or maybe my warrior.

  11. Akkahl says:

    I found it interesting that the difference in performance between 25man and Heroic 25man for BM Hunters was practically 0. In fact, from what I can tell, they’re preforming eeeeeever so slightly better in heroic. Not sure what this says, but it’s interesting none the less.

    I also thought it was interesting that on average, it appears as if classes tended closer to the median when you jump from normal to heroic (in both 10man and 25man). This isn’t 100% true (and it’s more true in 25man, it seems), for example warriors in 10man; however, it’s a definite trend.

    The last point seems to say to me that, as we increase “skill level”, we decrease the average difference between the performance of any two specs. This might hint at how Blizzard does their balancing: favoring the “perfect robot” numbers over the “average joe” numbers – which makes intuitive sense, and is a positive in my mind.

    Thinking along those lines, might it be reasonable to conclude that Specs which preform better as difficulty increases (normal -> Heroic) have an inherently higher learning curve than those which don’t?

  12. Wellen says:

    I understand what everyone is saying here but nerfing one class does no one any goo.I do not PvP so its easy to say all I care about is mowing down raid bosses and doing my dailies. With that said I am more concerned about where can I tweak my rotation, make a better macro or if need be wrap aluminum foil around my pets tail to get the best Hunter dps I can. I play SV and average about 50-60k dps on bosses. I have never been in a raid that was taken down by one person only. So I’m glad they put out that damage and yes I want to top the meters too but still I’d rather pull the best dps a hunter can with the given gear than wish another class to be nerfed. I see fellow hunters who pull more dps than me and after I compare gear I ask them about their rotation and other little tweaks I can make. Thats really all we can do. So lets focus on us, if your in a raid or BG just feel good if your higher than another hunter. I’ve never gotten extra loot or honor for topping a dps meter. Sorry not trying to offend those that PvP only.

    • Frostheim says:

      There are two situations in which it affects your ability to get loot: sometimes a class is so low they don’t get invited to raids, and sometimes a class does so well that raids try to stack that class to multiply the advantage.

      The other situation is just that the more dps you can put out, the more likely your raid is to kill the boss.

      • Kyllea says:

        Very accurate. I was chatting with my daughter(college) today. They have a high-end raiding guild. Her raid group see’s no hunters at the top of the charts, currently does not run with a hunter in their group and has decided not to recruit any.
        The buff’s hunters can bring are attractive. The Dps is the deal breaker at the moment.
        I’m happy my raid group doesn’t feel that way just yet.
        I just checked wol today and there are zero in the top 10 dps except for one lone BM on one fight in heart of fear 10-man heroic. :(

      • Jaromor says:

        Sadly it does not get any better in HoF. And (as in MSV) there is decent amount of monks. Given GuildOx shows us that there is *way* more hunters than monks in PvE in my eyes that kinda defies value of the DPS median as the proper indicator of DPS state. If we see that rather rarely played DPS spec pretty much smashes way more often played one, that brings me back to how MM being apparently so low has been explained. I simply think that monks are not played by enough decent players yet, but when that actually does happen they have no issues ranking on WOL.

        Specs in PvE:
        BM on its own is more frequent then all monk specs combined.

        As people are gearing up mages are owning ranks in MSV even more. (So much for some optimists expecting us to catch up as the gear gets better.) And then you see comment under Frost’s article saying that mages should not be nerfed because Frost did forget about the bad RNG they have to deal with. o.O

  13. Ocastra says:

    I’m perfectly fine with hunters not getting any cleave ability. I do good damage on a single target and (as SV) amazing damage to 4+ mobs. I’m fine with doing less damage to 2-3 mobs. I don’t want everything to be the same.
    As usual – if raidleaders throw out players because of their class and not the actual numbers their showing it’s probably best for you not to play under a raid leader like that.

  14. NoMatter says:

    I think a good change to SV spec would be making it a viable multi dot/ cleave spec by removing the cd on Black Arrow and reducing its focus cost ( capping at 3 targets like living bomb) and add something that wouldn’t allow it to influence L&L procs.

  15. bahzob says:

    I have given up raiding this expansion, following the huge disappointment that Cataclysm turned out to be.

    I remain utterly baffled about how tolerant those of you that still raid are of Blizzard and there so called “lead designer”.

    When DPS was all over the place in Cataclysm I pointed out the fundamental cause of this issue, one that still remains.

    Blizzard do not make any clear statement of what their design goals regarding balance are (both within PVE and PVP) and how they can be assessed vs these. Instead it is left for good intentioned folks like Frost to do a piece of work like this and give his conclusions.

    This means ofc that Blizzard can avoid having blame pinned on them when they fail, as they do more often than not.

    But more fundamentally this lack of clear goals means the development process is a mess since the designers/programmers can’t know what they are trying to achieve.

    The game would be very much different and better if the lead designer did his job.

  16. bahzob says:

    Hm, not unrelated to my above post.

    See this twitter thread for a response from someone who apparently doesn’t actually play the game to someone who plays it very very well on the subject of Powershot.

    Retarded logic like this may explain a lot. Did you folks know Powershot was a “skill shot”???

    Seriously if GC was sacked and replaced by a panel of expert players (say Tosan Krip and Krauf representing hunters) the game would be at least 100% better.

    Speaking of bugs, any word on fixing Powershot bug? Such a fun ability but doesn’t work half the time :(
    12 Nov Greg Street Greg Street ‏@Ghostcrawler

    @TosanTribe Keep hearing that but it doesn’t repro easily. Does it ever happen on target dummies who don’t move?
    12 Nov Trey Thompson Trey Thompson ‏@ThugcleavinWoW

    @TosanTribe @Ghostcrawler On Dummies it looks like it hits 100% of the time, but actual players that’s another story.
    Greg Street Greg Street ‏@Ghostcrawler

    @ThugcleavinWoW It is a “skill shot” (like Divine Star) so it can miss targets that move. That may be what players are seeing.

  17. Purcy says:


    “Blizzard do not make any clear statement of what their design goals regarding balance are (both within PVE and PVP) and how they can be assessed vs these. Instead it is left for good intentioned folks like Frost to do a piece of work like this and give his conclusions.”

    I seem to recall reading… oh here:

    A pretty clear statement of design intent in regard to class balance from Blizzard.

    “When DPS was all over the place in Cataclysm I pointed out the fundamental cause of this issue, one that still remains.”

    Online analysis from this website,, and raidbots all agree that DPS in Cataclysm was as close to balanced as the game has ever seen, and not by just a little bit, but by a long margin. My personal experience running and leading raids leave me with the same conclusion.

    I guess I’m wondering what the purpose of your reply here was, since it sets itself up on inaccurate premise…