This is a guest post by James, a hunter with a very interesting examination of hunter damage, which is particularly timely after last week’s podcast.

Frostheim’s recent DPS analysis over at WoW Insider prompted me to sit down and have a think about how hunter DPS is doing in the “real WOW world” (or at least my “real WoW world”) of raiding.  I recently braved the forums to post about how I thought Aspects of the Pack and Cheetah could be improved and now I’m thinking about how we deal damage.


Right now, BM is probably the go-to spec for most hunters for most fights in current (T14) content.  BM offers us pretty good single target damage, can provide frighteningly good openers if you’re willing to practice and has cooldowns which synchronise well, complement each other and our mastery.  We can easily turn to SV for AOE, to be less affected by pet downtime or bugs which prevent proper pet interaction with encounter mechanics.  But, I don’t particularly think that our damage is necessarily bad, rather its the way we deal damage that’s holding us back.

A brief recap

T11 saw the addition of “solar cleave” to the WoW lexicon, because multi-dotting was the way to deal damage: Omnitron, Magmaw, Maloriak, Halfus, Valiona, Council and Cho’gall.  T12 was more of the same: Shannox, Beth’tilac, Rhyolith, Alysrazor (kind of) and Raggy.  T13…you got it!  Heroic Morchok, Yor’sahj, Hagara (kind of), Warmaster, Spine and Madness.  All those encounters let multi-dotters run wild.  Overall, hunter DPS was ok in Tiers 11 and 12, started out horribly in T13 and then made a bit of a comeback.  But, was the damage we were dealing “wrong”?

What is “wrong” damage?

When I say our damage was “wrong”, I mean in the context of the encounters we were battling.  Dragon Soul put a premium on two types of damage: multi-dot/cleave and burst. SV was poor at both of those.  I distinctly remember looking through the parse of my guild’s first hc Zon’ozz kill.  I’d played pretty well and by the time we ‘Lusted (the last 40 seconds of the fight) I’d got all my ducks in a row: Orc racial, engineering tinker, second potion and rapid fire were all good to go.  I popped ‘em all, went nuts and hoped it would be enough.  It was – even though we actually killed him after the enrage timer.  But it was a kill, it was fun and I seem to remember a sexy Crossbow dropping.

The logs, however, weren’t fun.  Whilst my overall damage was ok, my damage in the last 40 seconds wasn’t   On that fight, at that time, it was those last 40 seconds or so of hectic “nuke nuke nuke” that would make or break your attempt.  I was so far off the other DPS’ers (a Fire Mage, Ret Pally, Combat Rogue, Warlock and our usual Warrior tank in his fury off-spec).  By “so far off” I mean I was doing half of their burst damage.  During that last 40seconds I was spiking at a little bit over 100,000dps.  The Warlock and Warrior were capping out at ~150k, whilst the Rogue, Pally and Fire Mage were all spiking above 200k.  Ouch!

The rest of Dragon Soul in those early months was painful for hunters.  Damage was both low overall and we weren’t able to capitalize effectively on the mechanics we were faced with, not to mention our survivability was a joke, too!

Same new, same old

Tier 14 is now released and we’ve seen every encounter on at least normal mode.  Once again, multi-DoT/cleave is extremely strong on a lot of the encounters.  From the very first encounter in Mogushan Vaults to the very first encounter in Terrace, multi-dotters have chance after chance to capitalize.

Now, its important to note that I’m not criticising the T14 encounters.   I actually like all the fights in this tier (ok, so heroic Spirit Kings can jump off a cliff – I can’t wait until we beat that fight).  But, what I think is now becoming a trend has shown up again: hunters aren’t dealing damage in the most optimal way for a lot of these encounters.  We have no capacity to cleave and comparing rolling serpent sting on 2 or 3 targets with, for example how a shadow priest operates, is just laughable.

Did Blizzard try and fix this for us?

When the MoP beta first became available, I was rather dismayed with the proposed changes to SV.  By the time Dragon Soul drew to a close, I felt SV was playing almost perfectly – there was a nice element of RNG (Lock ‘n’ Load, Thrill of the Hunt), focus management was important, especially when Explosive Shot and BA were coming off cooldown at the same time, and there was generally a very nice rhythm to the spec.

The first release of the Beta looked like it was going to change all that – Black Arrow had no cooldown, a cast time and would cause collateral type damage to any enemies between you and your primary target.  The overall tone of the feedback was negative.  But, did we shoot ourselves in the foot, paw or hoof?  Was Blizzard actually trying to give us a way to multi-dot?

Equip Tin-Foil Hat

Could the MOP paradigm have been: BM for single target, SV for multi-dotting?  Might SV have been able to roll both Serpent Sting and Black Arrow on multiple targets and benefit from extra Lock ‘n’ Loads to put us in a similar position to, say, a shadow priest (who can boost their single target damage by rolling DoTs on multiple targets)?  I don’t suppose we’ll ever know.  But its an interesting thought given the predicament hunters are in at the moment.

I guess this leads us to a final question:  If the trend of multi-target fights continues on into tiers 15, 16 and beyond, does the way hunters deal damage need to change as well?

In truth, I’ve vacillated on an answer for the past week or so.  On the one hand I’d like to be able to complete with our neighbourhood Warlocks and Shadow Priests on fights such as Will of the Emperor.  But on the other hand, any change that granted hunters genuine multi-dot capability would be a huge sea change to the class and would probably come with a punch to the kidney type nerf to another aspect of our damage dealing in order to compensate.  Would hunters accept a reduction in single target damage in order to be able to effectively multi-dot?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  1. Arth says:

    While thought-provoking, this discussion unfortunately probably only exists as a fanciful theory on forums such as this. Fan communities have influenced design, certainly, but probably never on anything this far-reaching. However, to indulge the article’s points…

    I didn’t mind sacrificing burst to other classes in order to have sustained damage that was as good or better than any. That seems to have been how the hunter has always “played” and the sudden reversal in MoP (with psychotic BM burst and crappy sustained) is jarring and frustrating to me.

    Multi-dotting has always seemed something of a gimmick to me, because while there may be many encounters that utilize it right now, it’s not a universally applicable skill. I wouldn’t want to sacrifice single-target for it; but then, I also dislike being handicapped on many fights in this and other tiers. There’s not an easy solution – limit multi-dotting of other classes which would likely incite anger, or perhaps pushing hunter single target above multi-dot classes (but then we have an unfair edge on other fights).

    I like your idea of the specs acting as different styles – BM for single, SV for multi-dot, for example (my personal love is MM, but I follow the dps). That has the most promise. But I doubt such changes will happen this expansion, so we’ll have to look elsewhere for the time being.

    • Jaromor says:

      You have my respect for keeping fair-play in mind, in situation where 60pct of encounters in MsV and 50pct in HoF are topped by single spec.

    • Iridar says:

      I find multi-dotting gameplay rather boring and uninteresting.
      I would gladly lose all and any ability to cleave or multidot to have higher sustained damage.

      That said, I disagree with “hunters have no cleave” statement.
      Current paradigm for SV is to apply serpent sting with multi shot even to one target. Serpent sting now does more damage than it used to, also seeing as multi shot applies whole 16 second version of Serpent Sting I do believe it’s worth it to keep SrS rolling with multi shot on any amount of targets.

      I actually hate how hunters are being transformed into DOT class with all these murders of crows, lynx rush being fixed into DOT, dire beast also feels like a clunky running DOT, not to mention lengthy black arrow.

  2. Omogon says:

    My fear in James’ approach would be that hunters would lose some more of their individuality as a class. If I wanted to play a SPriest..that’s what I would play. The type of damage needed to kill the boss is set by Bliizzard. If they come out with another Patchwerk style of boss then single target dps will be “where it’s at”

  3. Marty says:

    No I don’t think multi dotting is the way to go because frankly we’re not a caster class. Hunters are a melee range class more so than ever in patch 5.1. We deal physical damage and can now move and dps uninhibited once fox is removed. This makes us the most unique class and adding multi dots would push us more to be like casters and take away our niche

    • Whitefyst says:

      Another concern about multidotting is that hunter DoTs have fixed damage relative to haste while caster DoTs scale with haste. So even if hunters received a better multidot capability, we still shouldn’t be able to compete with the casters since our DoTs do not scale with haste like theirs do.

  4. scorpìon says:

    why not give us a glyph that turns either our KC-ES-CS (or maybe steady-cobra) into a cleave effect. say hitting 2-3 targets for 50% dmg like the frost mage ice lance glyph. to me that would be an easy fix for them to do and would help us on multi target fights. without going in and changing everything about hunters

  5. canardo says:

    I never understood why explosive shot’s explosion didn’t do damage to mobs around my target. It’s an explosion !

  6. miamoto says:

    To tell you the truth, I’ve started MoP very exited with all the new talents and mechanics, but now with some raiding time past, I have to say: IMHO its going to a very wrong direction.
    As Frostheim pointed out, at the end of Cata, I had the same feeling that hunter were a well oiled machine and I am not talking just about DPS, I am talking about the whole mechanic of the hunter playing . At this time I was playing SV for Raid and MM for PVP. I was happy.
    Now we have too much abilities that does no add much to the story. Playing a Hunter got more complicated but not more complex.
    The new abilities add nothing to the play. I kind of like the focus talent tier, but really, glaive toss, aMoC, what are those? Just another button to press when off CD. They add nothing. There are nothing to consider. Its a no brainer.
    There are no new utilities, just more buttons and less skill.
    In my opinion, they should go pretty much back to Cata or add some real utilities to the new talents. I’d rather have a real Sniper Shot, a channeling shot, that gave me a nice burst damage, then a whole bunch o pets that pollutes the tank spot and do nothing special for me.

    • Fairybolt says:

      I actually agree that we simply have to many abilities that spread our dps waaaaay to thin at this point. On top of that, none of the new talents add any sort of synergy to any spec and don’t, generally, impact our abilities. Thrill of the Hunt does, I suppose, but not in an interesting way. In many cases they don’t even fit the flavor of SV or MM. My SV lady would not be throwing pets at people for instance.

      The thing is, there are options. I mean, if we wanted to, say, insert a cleaving ability we could have an ammo tier instead of t75. Maybe one type of ammo allows your signature shot or attack to cleave (or even arcane shot to do so) for a time or on a proc basis, another replaces widow venom, and another is a frost arrow that slows and produces some other debuff (a crit buffing ability like shatter for signature shots would be kinda cool here). Give them spiffy, sparkly colors to your arrows or bullets and balance accordingly via procs and application.

      That’s just off the top of my head, but it seemed we would have been best served by adding in utility into our portfolio instead of adding raw dps abilities. Right now, hunter dps is a lot about what you can string together and how well you watch your cooldowns versus actually understanding the class. Complexity is good, but complication isn’t necessarily the same thing.

      • Pixelbrain says:

        Our dps is indeed “spread waaaay too thin” (in PvE), mostly due to the nerfs needed for PvP, which is such a shame.

        Love the “ammo tier” idea. Able to select for AoE or single target, fight by fight.

      • Iridar says:


        Too many buttons, zero skill. I hate how I can (and have to) just make opener macro which I have to click like 15 times which uses all my abilities like SRS, BW, KC, LR, GT, Readines, repeat (or similar) and this shame gives me whoppin 200k DPS with no effort at all. Horrible design.
        I wonder why they had to introduce so many new abilities all at once.

  7. Ril says:

    First off, the old beta BA design wasn’t really good. Just look at the way gleve toss works, half the time it requires precise positioning (at the expense of DPS) in order to hit as many targets as possible. Or, it outright wouldn’t be possible to spread the DoT properly in certain cases, like when the hunter has to stand in a certain place. SV is pretty good in multi target fights, appearently serpent spread is worthwile as a focus dump in 2+ boss fights. SV hunter also do quite well in single targetting, tough not as good as BM. If Blizz added an old multi shot component (hits up to 3 targets) to BA, SV would be a great spec for both AoE and cleaving.

    Old BM beast cleve was too good, but a great start for BM AoE. Too bad they screwed this one up, yet i understand why it didn’t make it to live in the beta state (well, sort of ^.^). However i’d love to see some improvement of it, since BM’s AoE dmg is quite pathetic. It could be improved in situations where 3 or less targets are up, for example with a stacking DoT effect. It could be enhanced with the 5.1 lynx rush version (along with a cooldown reduction of that now bad spell) in some way.

    In my opinion, our performance is lacking because we lack versatility. Most other classes are good at cleaving, multi dotting or bombing on top of being good in single target fights. BM is sort of bursty but not too much, just look at Elegon. A BM can take care of an orb with ease thanks to KC, Gleve Toss and Blink Strike, but so can almost any other classes. More cleavy effects would fit BMs well, I think that thrashing pets that are hitting everything within the reach of their paws/hooves/claws/beaks,/ecetera would be very fitting with the theme. SV should get a gentle nudge in single target damaging while keeping their good AoE viability.

    • Kheldul says:

      When 5.0 launched before MoP I was a bit concerned with how many “DoTs” SV had. Consider Dire Beast, MoCs, BA, SrS, ExS, and the pet itself. While some of them should be tracked and some are just natural, not many of them are really suitable for multi-dotting. And yes, some boss mechanics do favor them AND no, we’re not good at them.

      Generally speaking, we’re pretty low on damage. Single, but yes especially multi.

      I could see more long duration bleeds (via KC and Chimera), pet cleaves, and ExS explosive effects in our future. We have many suitable tools at our disposal, but the benefits of using them don’t rise to the coefficients or durations we need.

      • Anonymous says:

        well, those “dots” are only applicable on one targets, so no multi dotting is possible, which is the whole points of dot classes. and of course, our “dots” need to run to their targets so they’ve got the inconvenience of melee classes most of the time.

        i’d like to see more dots on SV and of course better cleve on BM too. they really need to tune our abilities to be useful in more fights. right now i’m being destroyed by our mage in both single targete and multi target fights.

  8. Flint says:

    I loved BM during BC, but this does not feel like BM. With Wrath I came to enjoy MM, and was excited to hear BM was back in MoP, but sadly I have been disappointed and reluctantly shelved my Hunters.

    1 on the shelf and another I am not even leveling. For now its Tankadin and S’Priest while I level a Mage.

  9. Taira says:

    I’d not give up single target DPS willingly to gain multi-dot capability, especially considering Whitefyst’s comment regarding the scaling issue that Serpent Sting has.
    I like having good sustained damage. I could understand losing a little bit of that to make our burst more potent, but Blizzard seems to have missed the mark as far as I can see.
    At this particular point in time, Hunters have a half dozen rotational abilities (on-par with everyone else) but also have another half dozen cooldowns to manage. Some of them can be stacked and they synergize well enough, but it’s not compelling gameplay. Worse yet, if we don’t manage them well our DPS goes from median-at-best to abysmal.

    I don’t think that our damage is wrong. I think that Blizzard went the wrong way in trying to add complexity. I wish I could find the quote from Ghostcrawler (re-posted on MMO-Champion) regarding adding complexity to hunters. The dev team somehow got the idea in their head that the community was concerned about Hunters’ ability to macro their DPS into a single button, so they added a bunch of abilities.

  10. Jaromor says:

    While I do agree that we might just be dealing wrong damage, I see this statement as having very little value. What is easier to do? To tune (nerf/buff) classes, or to re-do encounters? We all know it’s the class tuning, that’s why Blizz should go way of nerfing / buffing.

    Would I give up single target DPS for multi-whatever? Yes. But only as much as warlocks and mages are giving up.

    I have to LOL at myself for trusting Blizz when they said their numbers differ significantly from the early simulations.
    Closing their eyes over WOL data is simply dishonest in my eyes.

  11. hillbillyhatfield says:

    I amit I play wrong. I have a keybind full of abilities, and then those for the pet. if im not set, my rotation and everything is off. And its compounded by movement. Half dozen cooldowns to manage, then some of those stack. Then Im CC, and keeping a eye on the healer to misdirect any wonderers back to the tank. I wouldnt mind a few shots being passive.

    Id give away some shots for some dots. But not sustained damage. Id be happy for some burst damage. I know we have stampede but that is a clip every so many minutes. Most fights you get 1. Plus alot of tanks have complained about them taking up space around the target. The bug with it in arena has gimped us when we ask for burst. No one who doesnt have a hunter understand that it was a bug.

    What I would like to see is less shots to manage, some more burst. And if heaven would open a dot unless they take from us. Wish we got stuff like mages or warlocks. They give up little and get big returns.

  12. Shabba says:

    Playing a hunter as only char for 7+ years due to limited gametime i always enjoy it.
    But as a pure dps class its frustrating to see hybrids killing us on the meters.
    Whats this with kill shot, mine in avg gear does 120-140k on crit, while finishing blows of warriors and paladins are so much higher?

  13. Pixelbrain says:

    Great article, and really interesting comments and discussion following.

    My 2cents are that hunters have become a little bit of a button mashing class, with too many CDs to hit, making a streamline rotation difficult to maintain.
    Now, this does make fights less autopilot-able, but I miss the days where my muscle memory could kick-in, and dps really well, even when switching target, moving, etc.

    I would actually love black arrow to go back to a casted multi-dotting like ability, like from the early beta, as this, combined with the upcoming changes to casting whilst moving, will become very fun to play, using our mobility and positioning to rape on DPS where multiple targets are involved.

    I really like the idea of having specs that are better suited to single target or AoE, and the third for hybrid (or bursty).

    In response to other’s points; that if Blizz changed Hunters to be more like DoT’ers, we’d lose our identity. I think thats nothing to worry about. Our dmg will still be pet/trap focused and will never be a full on DoT class, where its about maintaining rather than firing off bullets/arrows into someone’s face whilst our pets eat you from behind.

  14. Cloudbuster says:

    The term “cleave” seems to have evolved way beyond any original meaning I understood for it. Can someone explain it to me?

    Aside from the warrior ability, in arena terms it was first a melee-based dps team. Then when “beast cleave” came along it was a physical dps-based team. Then at some point it seemed to evolve into something like “team that can do a whole bunch of nearly unstoppable damage really fast.” And … I don’t know what the heck it means in the raiding world. “Multi-dotting” would seem to be the opposite of the original cleave because it takes so much ramp-up time.

    What do people mean now when they say “cleave” in the context of raiding?

    • Verg says:

      “Cleave” at the very basic level is the Warrior ability – or BM pets after multishot, or Guardian thrash/swipe. Glaive Toss or Powershot are cleaves.

      My rough definitions:
      Cleave = damage a second target while still attacking the first target
      Multi-dot = put DoT’s up on 2+ targets.
      AoE = Ability focused primarily on attacking multiple targets or everything in an area.

      Currently raiding as SV (tried BM, not used to it & annoying on swap fights). When Readiness is up I can almost multidot… get SS up, burn abilities, BA>Readiness>swap>ES>BA>SS… and while it feels good to execute it right, it mostly feels annoying.

      My focus as a hunter is on killing MY target (especially true if I go back to MM). Unless we pare back the new abilities (filler buttons) or grant piercing/pass-through damage to my regular shots (or local AoE around ES)… why would I want to split my attention further to maintain an additional source of damage (beyond the obvious)?

      If Blizzard implements multidot I’ll manage, but won’t be happy. I’d far rather see something like a glyph to make certain shots hit all targets in my line of fire.

  15. Dettbizzle says:

    I would never trade my single target capability for multi-dots. Ever.

    The last time Hunters were able to maximize their damage in more than one way was WotLK. Yes, I mean Volley.

    To me, damage is subjective. I remember in Cataclysm, just after Firelands being released, I was BM for the sole purpose of having Loque out all the time. Well, as I learned more about my spec, I quickly found out that BM was low-spec on the totem pole for Hunters.

    That being said, it didn’t stop me from out-DPSing other Hunters, in MM or SV, that had better gear and using an optimal rotation. This tells me that damage is subjective to the player. A few times, I even out performed an Arcane Mage.

    The formula here is fairly simple. Half the equation; being the half that dictates our damage POTENTIAL; is entirely up to Blizzard. The other half is creativity. You, the player, decide how and when to use each skill. You are responsible for maximizing your potential.

    Long story short, let’s not get too carried away with wanting more damage. Next thing you know, we will worse off. Single target damage is kind of what Hunters are known for. Let’s just stick to that.

    • Jaromor says:

      This “i outdpsed thisorthat so our dmg is OK” never gets old. Logs or it didn’t happen.
      Last time I read that was cca two weeks ago on official forums. (“even better than it should with my current gear”) I was able to find this guys’ logs. The numbers did not match his confidence by far, to say the least.

      • Dettbizzle says:

        Bottomline, it makes zero difference to my arguement whether you believe me or not. There are no logs to be had as this was back when Firelands was just released. The logs are gone.

        That being said you missed the entire point of my post. Blizzard does in fact determine your damage potential. But the player can mitigate that and go beyond what Blizzard has set for us. I’ve done it. I know what I’ve done, and that’s enough for me. Besides, I have nothing to prove to you.

        Fact of the matter is, most of your damage comes from knowing not your class alone, but primarily from knowing your spec. Getting creative goes a long way in determining how well you perform. Yes, there IS in fact an optimal rotation, figured out by people much more patient and probably more intelligent than myself. This does not mean every hunter is going to use said rotation. My rotation works for me, and has never let me down, so I will continue to use it, more out of comfort than stubbornness.

        Also, the condescending tone of your post is not a good way to earn any respect from other readers. You would’ve been just as well to not even reply if all you were going to do was try to discount something said on the internet. There’s enough people over at 4chan to do that, we don’t need that here.

        Happy Thanksgiving.

      • Jaromor says:

        We were perfectly OK in FL. Then we had DS, we were OK even there. But now MoP is the current content.

        I’m not saying I do everything 100pct right, that’s not the point. Neither your personal (or anyone’s individual) happiness with rotation is the point of what is being dicussed now.
        When you have ambitions to raid with decent group then those fly out of the window. RL won’t take you into raid in MoP based on you being happy with your rotation and outDPSing mage now and then two patches ago. I out-DPS mage now and then even today, but not when I meet a mage who has similar gear + knows his class as much/little as I do + does his stuff similarly well/badly as I do on given boss… then I am screwed by huge margin. And so is every other hunter.

        The point is: Is it bad to expect balance among DPS classes? I vote “no, it is perfectly logical”.

        You are basically telling us we need to l2p. Yes, exactly that. Read your post again. (Putting it into nice words about being creative etc. etc. changes nothing.) …your anecdotal evidence dates back to FL. And *you* are talking about respect? I’m not even sure you are serious.

        I don’t think I gave you reason to feel offended by asking for logs when you were claiming you out-DPS a class that is way ahead of us.

  16. Al says:

    The problem with hunters potentially multi-dotting is that unlike the traditional multi-dot classes, we’re resource-capped at some point. My main is a hunter and I have an spriest alt for raiding, and I can roll 4 VTs and SW:Ps pretty comfortably because spriests can exclude their filler and up their DPS by multi-dotting.

    For us, our filler is required to regen focus. Plus, unless these shots are free or near-free, we’ll zero our focus just by “putting up the DoTs” whereas an spriest has to start healing to even consider running out of mana. For cleaving to work in the hunter design, you need a toggle like Blade Flurry or Sweeping Strikes, or a bomb mechanic (like mages) applied to a singular shot (whereas for mages it’s a separate spell). Personally the idea of explosive shot having a cleave mechanic or Kill Command having a bleeding cleave mechanic sounds awesome.

  17. Kunazai says:

    This is perfect.

    I just offered to sit Heroic Amber-Shaper in Heart of Fear for the new Balance druid app who could do a lot more multi-dot/multi-target damage than me. So I find it Hilarious that I’m reading this article about the exact problem of why I’m currently sitting this fight.

    • Kunazai says:

      Also, I want Explosive Shot to have an AE to it again. Howling Blast does it, why can’t hunters have it back?

  18. Kaitain says:

    I think there are 2 problems with Hunter DPS at the moment: BM has no AoE, and Black Arrow has a cooldown.

    To fix the first is easy. Buff the hell out of beast cleave. Add a skill element to it by making it like this: “After you Multishot your next Kill Command within 3 seconds Hits all nearby targets”. It’s bursty AoE, but hard to sustain as that would eat a huge chunk of your focus bar. In PvP people can counter it by not standing together.

    The second… why does 1 of our 2 DoTs have a cooldown anyways? Are there any other DoTs in the game even with a cooldown? Get rid of the cooldown.

    • Dettbizzle says:

      BA has a cooldown due to LnL more than likely. Letting us tick out a BA anytime we want to get that easy proc would be giving SV hunters free reign to outshine nearly every other ranged DPS there is.

      It’d be like us complaining about Warlocks. Their nerfbat is coming, and coming fast. Give it time. We don’t need that kind of negative attention on our class, you know?

      • Jaeger says:

        I don’t play SV so correct me if I’m wrong but:
        Isn’t LnL triggered by the ticks? With the cooldown and the duration, don’t you get almost constant ticks anyway (20 sec duration, 30 sec CD)? If so, removing the cooldown would just roll the the damage together on one target and fill the gap; it wouldn’t actually tick more frequently. Now, if you could put it on multiple targets, I don’t think it’d matter because LnL has an ICD on it anyway, so tick all you want but it will only trigger once every 10 seconds, right?

        TBH, multi-dotting would just be one more thing to the dozen others that you’d have to keep track of and I’m already overwhelmed with too many CDs.

        IMO, Blizz needs to take away CD buttons and replace them with passive things that buff our multi-target damage (2-4 targets). For 5+, we have AoE abilities that seem to work well but that’s really only applicable for trash… A ‘cleave’ glyph for each spec seems more appropriate but we still have the problem of these new talents that give us extra buttons. So they could change the lvl 75 or 90 talents to be passives that buffs damage of core spec abilities for a choice of: Single target (signature shot bonus), 2-4 targets (signature shot cleave), 5+targets (multi-shot bonus).

        Or just bake the cleave into our signature shots and make the 75 or 90 tier for situational use only (not for rotation).

        Whichever brings us more inline with other classes.

      • Jaromor says:

        About the nerfs…
        I must admit I haven’t checked myself recently. Last time I checked there was a nerf coming for locks, but that has been scratched according to my lock friend. And according to my other mage friend there is no nerf coming for mages.
        I respectfully ask, do you actually know of any nerf?

  19. Purcy says:


    Actually, by definition, you can NOT go beyond our potential. Perhaps you misunderstand what potential means…

    I think the issue taken with your post is that you make some statements that are either assumptions, or are BS, and you don’t have anything to offer up so that others may decide which.
    Example: You state that you out-damaged SV and MM hunters, in better gear AND using an optimal rotation. ALL of the data available contradicts this being possible, including logs from all through Cataclysm.

    Don’t misunderstand me. I agree that a well played BM hunter was perfectly viable as a raid spec in Cataclysm, and that when really well played, could occasionally outperform Survival hunters, but NOT an equally geared Survival hunter that was equally well played. When you say “using and optimal rotation” you stipulate that this toon was well played.

    I play both specs and really enjoy BM, so I’ve worked hard to maximize my DPS in that spec, and while I can raid in the spec (in Cataclysm) when it came raid time, I would switch to SV. Why? Because SV brought the highest potential DPS, as well as, on every fight, the highest actually logged DPS, as well as the highest DPS in my own anecdotal experience.

    As with any community discussion, if you’re going to make statements that are absolutely contradicted by ALL of the available data, then you must present it with more than just an “I say so” or it will obviously be challenged, and largely discounted.

    It’s a place for discussion. You presented your opinion and experience, and the responder did the same. It doesn’t appear as though the intent was to disrespect you, even if he did not respect the information you stated as facts. It happens that I don’t either. I led 2 different ten man raids through Cataclysm, and ran with two others that I did not lead. (Yes, I’m an addict.) Even if we set aside all of the available online data, my own anecdotal experience still says that the statements you make cannot be true. That’s the only reaction I can have without something to back up the statements you made, and my holding (and voicing) that opinion is not disrespectful, nor any sort of attack on you.

    On the actual subject of the thread:
    Explosive shot should be explosive!
    Kill command cleave toggle? I like it! (Even make it cost focus, like the rogue ability)
    As for MM?… well, I’m okay with having one spec that just plain sucks at AE.
    I do feel like all the signature shots could use a small buff. They just don’t stand out as the “big hitters” that they should. Also, Kill Shot could use some love. Why my non-spammable execute phase move should hit for 25% of the warrior’s nearly spammable execute, is difficult to understand. Execute phase burning is one of the places hunters have always been known to shine, and now, unless you’ve saved your cooldowns until then, we really don’t.

    Anyway, as much as I’d like to be doing more damage, I still enjoy my hunter more than all the other classes, and will continue to do so!

    Good hunting, and happy Turkey!

  20. TryJoe says:

    just as a sidenote: a well performed rotation can still suffer from small delays, plus yes, its true BM was more viable than the % of the spec was used by hunters, but in experienc Surv and MM in cata (each in its tier) could bring the same or sometimes higher numbers than the BM with much much less stress, rng and less lost time from the pet movement.

    On the topic: this still winks back on us nowdays, the pet is an npc, a clever one but still. After we switch targets and land a shot on it, the pet realise he is on the wrong target and start running there, than he arrives and bite. Well it is around 3 globals and a bit less if you send it manualy. Thats the big problem imo. Plus Kill Command is nice to have a 25 yard range now, but after target switching the pet still Kill Command the previous target since thats his target. That affects pvp too, not to mention certain procs of certain trinkets. I understand BM needs to be Beasty but because of the pet we shouldnt get disadvantage when other classes with pets dont. I know its the best “petish” class in the game, while demo locks should be the other, the fact that kind-of-smart npc is responsible for 60% of our damage is a bit wrong. I understand in theory the casters/dotters have a ramp up time which can be an equal disadvantage similar to our pet movement, but in reality is not the same. There are some scenarios where a survival hunter can be an efficient multidotter (for example the trash before the pingpong boss, where there were 4 tentacles and if you just put SrS and kept those roll with cobras ended up with massive numbers) but this is not the case, if we pick Will of The Emperor for example you could use a similar tactic but it wouldnt be so effective because SrS costs way too much (I am very awere multshot applies it, thank you – but FYI I am speaking about a situation where 1 multishot wouldnt reach all the targets e.g.: the bosses) and cobra’s refresh is too small to maintain enough dots on more than 2-3 targets, on the other hand we only have one dot in its general meaning so we need much more targets to be viable with only putting and refreshing our dots. In an optimal situation an extra SrS to the other target as a focus dumb could make the day, and ofc some cobra to refresh it or again focus dumping a new SrS, but even for Surv, the headless running from our pet result a loss. Because as soon the SrS or the refresher cobra lands on the 2nd target, the pet start running towards him and ignores the fact you are pumping the original target already. That dmg loss of the pet is significant to even consider switching (and we are talking about a non BM spec). I know using a pet on passive and manualy sending to a target or macroing /petattack into a shot can solve this but for example last boss of MSV is not a place where you would like to have a pet on passive.
    I would really love a ranged pet, like the pets of locks, mages etc. We are not melees but BM had always the disadvantage of the melees, even before blink strike and increased Kill Command range.
    Also a dot spreading mechanic could solve some issues without the fear of being too overpowered and nerfed again back in the next week. My Idea would be a talent which ensures your Exp Shot spread out a small/bigger portion of your BA if the target is affected by BA ofc, or since we have LnL and we all used to the feeling to shot on different targets where is possible to avoid tick loosing a frequent LnL but with loosable Exp Shot ticks could be some solution. I dont think BM can be solved without any kind of pet cleave but since the pet cause a lot of problems in balancing maybe a Kill Command with limited target capacity could solve it. On the MM side I cant see any solution, maybe the best way would be some talent which would proc an effect similar to Trill of the hunt, but it could grant the opportunity to shot 3 multishot rapidly under 1 gcd and ofc it would be also capped in target, MM’s multishot so week it wouldnt be op, and it would cost enough focus to make it unspammable. And by speaking about MM, hope we dont need to wait till late end expansion tier weapons just because the scaling issues of the past to see MM viable. I think some buff to Chim and Aimed would worth a lot, I cant wait to see the glyph although I hope it wont be a standard thing in the future, it was always fun to decide whether I can hardcast it or not because of the possibility of incoming dmg, but right now it doesnt even worth to cast it, maybe the increased Carefull Aim and the increased duration of haste buff from steadies (to have enough space to put some of the new !petabilities! into the rotation) bring some balance between the specs but a small buff into these Signiture abilities’ base dmg would be nice.

    I know our single target damage is acceptable in theory, but most of the fights have more target to damage. Which is not a bad thing, with practice we can be pair with some others, ofc not the devs favorite rogues, mages, dks, warriors but still we can beat a disc priest :) just kidding. But as all the good jokes it has some truth in it ;)
    The main problem with these pure dps vs rolewhores (hybrids) classes, they are not exist! there is caster shammy with 2 offspec to take loot and there are the pure dmg dealers, if a hybrid sucks he wont be asked to go heal or tank, mainly because he will suck there too and because he will be replaced with another dps (pure or hybrid). The problem which effect us is the fact hybrids have some extra utilities we dont have, which can be usefull for the raid like the extra party heal of the spriests (at least it was I am not sure about its state nowdays). Therefore picking a spriest over a hunter wont be an issue for the raid leader of a 10 man team while the spriest has passive party heal and do more dmg even on single target than the hunter, not to mention a figth with 2-3 hostile targets.
    One other thing I wouldnt give up single target damage is the pvp, I know not everybody enjoys it but too much decreasing on single target dmg just to be viable on fights we have never been too good would end in (again) a pvp nerf which we already had because they couldnt tune precisely the new pet abilities, the effect of the BM mastery on them and the well known nerfed, hot fixed but not rebuffed stampede, lynx rush. I know the pvp side is a bit off topic but just on curiousity when they have fixed the imbalanced self heal and avoidance of dks in pvp? Not yet! And how much time it took to solve this pet stuffs (not only the stampade bug, but the lynx rush’s soo big burst)? Wunderbar.

    I have been never a recount whore and always laughed on the e-penis kings, but its obvious something isn’t right, maybe if a dev would try at least the class would solve some issues, like the fact they started to play mages resulted 200% dmg on crit instead of the old 150% dmg in crits for casters. For me the best would be encounters where casters rule by multidots but for example adds need to be kited and a hunter would be the best (not the only) solution for that, just like now you can bring hunters and it wont cause a wipe but for the best optiomal raid performance raid leaders can skip hunters without any bad feeling.

  21. Onslaught says:

    I actually posted a few of my own thoughts on the class, in the Damage Dealing forums in hopes that some blues will at least skim and steal a few ideas. Please check it out and give some feedback!

    I dunno about you all but I still love my class even if Blizzard wont. I terribly miss the ICC ArPen days :/

  22. Tullwinden says:

    Not to change the subject Frost but I was reading the post and I had to stop when you mentioned “I’d got all my ducks in a row: Orc racial, engineering tinker, second potion and rapid fire were all good to go.”

    Did you changed faction and race?

  23. Kyl says:

    @ Tulliwinden

    “Did you changed faction and race? ”

    This was a guest post, not written by our beloved Frost :P

  24. Pepa says:

    Finally some good article on this site. It raises questions and brings theorycrafting. More articles like this please!

  25. Rainfellow says:

    In my opinion, if we can’t get cleave or some way of multi dotting, i think it is good game design that instead of debuffing the enemies with our shots (serpent sting, explosive shot, black arrow), we get buffs that no matter target we are targetting, we are consuming the bonus from those shots.

  26. Dharion says:

    I’m of two minds about this. First, as someone who has always hated the Beast Mastery spec, the “go to” comment doesn’t sit right with me. I’ve never been one to use a “go to” or cookie cutter spec. Yes, I know some will say that makes me a bad hunter. But see, here’s the problem with that. Somehow, despite being a “bad hunter” I manage to do just fine DPS wise. True, I may not always top the chart,but I do hold my own.

    Ok, now that I can climb down from my soapbox….multi-dotting? NO. NO NO NO. if I wanted to multi-dot, I’d be a Warlock, not a Hunter. We shoot things in the face and live to laugh about it.

    Where was I going with this? I have no idea, too early and not enough coffee. Oh yeah, Just Say No To Multi-Dotting. Leave that to the Warlocks.

  27. JonnyB says:

    IMO: I feel like hunters (at least in my case) were at the top of their game in Wrath. Wrath is when I started doing dungeons and raids and learning how to really play a hunter and that is thanks in large part to this website. In Wrath, with my rotation, i was usually in the top 3 for overall damage. Now i’m lucky if i am even top 10. IDK but things are just looking kinda dismal for Hunters sadly