Ghostcrawler had a post talking about PvP today and in that post (and a tweet) he mentioned that when they were investigating BM hunter burst being too high in arenas, they discovered that Stampede was doing four times as much damage as it should!

Here’s what he said:

We have just discovered a bug in which the debuff that makes Stampede pets weaker than normal pets was not being applied in Arenas. This helps explain why hunters could cause so much damage in Arenas but not in (say) the outdoor world or a dungeon environment.

If you’ll recall, Stampede was originally far, far better burst than it is now. But players wanted a longer duration, a shorter cooldown, and the ability to use it in arenas.

Blizzard gave hunters what they wanted and cut the cooldown in half and doubled the duration — but then dropped the actual dps of Stampede to just 25% of what is was to compensate: thus over the long haul the total damage is better, but in the short run it’s far less bursty.

Somehow the 75% reduced damage didn’t make it into Stampede when you were in an arena, but of course the longer duration and shorter cooldown did. Yikes! Now I really understand why people are complaining about BM hunter burst in pvp.

BM Too Much Burst

Many hunters will argue that BM does not have too much pvp burst, or that they need it to be competitive. They are wrong.

Ultimately the danger here is that a BM hunter has too many cooldowns that can be burned all at once to butcher almost any one opponent. The hunter pops Stampede, Bestial Wrath, A Murder of Crows, and Rapid Fire and then unloads, and almost anyone dies. If it’s a healer toss in a Silencing Shot and if they aren’t a pally they’re probably in trouble.

Really, the only possible defense against this is to have some kind of cooldown that eliminates taking damage for a while (or something like vanish). I mean, I’m not great at PvP these days, but when I can pop everything I can almost always kill my target doing nothing but firing arcane shot.

Blizzard says they don’t think it’s good design to be able to hit all your cooldowns and usually be able to kill your target, regardless of skill. I agree.

But — there’s a but.

My big concern here is that Blizzard is going to nerf BM based on being too bursty in addition to fixing the Stampede bug (which they have). So what we could end up with is another overnerf to BM. I hope not — and to be fair Blizzard has been getting better about not nerfing quite so heavily — but the danger is there.

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  1. Borromhunter says:

    Your conclusion is indeed my fear too Frost.

    They announced adjusting Lynx rush to a bleed ability, chaning rapid from a +25% AP power to something else, all to counter BM Burst but now they found a bug which most likely if fixed will resolve most of the issues anyway. However we might still be hit by both the “adjustments” plus the hotfix getting a double whammy… I hope they will be sensible about dealing with this issue…

  2. Carnage says:

    Blizzard might as well remove exotics and spirit beasts from the game if they only intend for BM to be viable for 3 weeks every 3 expansions. Yes burst is too high but with THEIR bug fixed and then to nerf BW, RF, LR I am certain we are looking at an over nerf… again. I wouldn’t be so irritated by this if there was at least some news about making MM viable for pvp again since I’ve never cared for SV (hope for a proc spec)…

  3. sheppo says:

    Generally, the way this bug has been found after so many nerfs and proposed mechanic changes for 5.1 is really rather depressing.

    I don’t really do PvP, but ever since the inclusion of incentives to PvP (honor, battlegrounds, etc) that were introduced in vanilla it has irked me that the PvE aspect of the game can be affected by PvP balancing, and by so much.

    As a raider, when those PvP-centric nerfs affect my effectiveness in a raid it hits a little more close to home. I know that things are never 100% balanced at the start of an expansion, as people get to grips with the new mechanics, and slowly gear up. That said, I expected some semblance of balance of the DPS specs as we began raiding.. +/- 5% would be a good spread, but what we’re actually seeing from World of Logs parses collated on really doesn’t match that expectation. Not even close.

    On practically every fight SV and BM are coming in the bottom half of all DPS class/specs, usually way over 10% less. That makes me a sad panda, especially when trying to progress on Garalon, and seeing hunters are way bottom, doing around half damage of other ranged classes, and a around a third compared to the top spec.

    Will the removal of AotF in 5.1 resolve PvE balancing/effectiveness? On one or two bosses it might move us slightly higher, but it doesn’t feel like it’s the fix blizzard is making it out to be, especially for encounters where there’s little movement, in my eyes.

    But then, what would fix our effectiveness? Rolling back some of the unnecessary PvP-centric BM-burts nerfs we’ve had recently would be a starter.

    • Tovo says:

      Murder of Crows? You mean Lynx Rush.

    • Semris says:

      I don’t really do PvP, but ever since the inclusion of incentives to PvP (honor, battlegrounds, etc) that were introduced in vanilla it has irked me that the PvE aspect of the game can be affected by PvP balancing, and by so much.


      I don’t really do PvE, but the opposite is true as well and in much bigger margin… :-)

  4. bahzob says:

    Read my earlier posts:
    – When discussing Stampede (damage and the length of its cooldown) I said that for PVP we did not want overpowered massive abilities on long cooldowns because, regardless of class/spec, they lead to PVP issues as you just need to stack and blow. I said then that Stampede would cause issues.

    – I also warned that PVP in MOP risked having issues as the wholescale changes meant some classes and class combinations would be OP. This has happened. I know 2v2 is not meant to be balanced but its ridiculous atm. Games are over in around 5s. 3s is more balanced but triple DPS is more viable than ever. Hunters are worst, triple BM has got us a terrible name as morons who can get to gladiator with one button. However hunters are not the only OP class. Other classes can also stack cds and do ridiculous burst, warrrior probably being the most extreme example and they are far harder to control and/or kill.

    – Wrt to this specific topic. The biggest issue with Stampede was its novelty. Now people are getting used to it they are developing counters (combination of big defensive cooldowns, pillar hugging and aoe cc). The change already in the pipeline to stop BW making pets cc imune will make this even easier.

    – Hunters are one trick ponies atm. They remain fun to play in BGs but in arena are very frustrating as so much depends on pet behaviour over which you have little control . If./when they are nerfed more and classes learn to counter their one big ability they risk heading back to the bottom of the pile again.

    – I said Ghostcrawler is a total fail when it comes to understanding game design and balance wrt PVE vs PVP. Events are just proving me more and more right. I could do a better job than him. For example I provided a solution to this and most other PVP/PVE balance issues that could have been included as part of MOP. It is simple:
    >> DPS and healing abilities work the same way as CC works now. They have a different co-efficient if applied to players vs NPCs. So, say, Stampede does 300% damage in PVE and 100% in PVP. This is a simple coding change to make especially if done as part of an expansion (easy in comparision with introducing a new stat like PVP power for example). It would have meant that abilities can be fine tuned without disrupting overall balance. But no, GC fails again.

    • bahzob says:

      Just to be clear. The coefficient would vary by ability. So say it could be something like this (numbers just for illustration) to reflect the differences between the two environments.

      Stampede PVE 300% damage PVP 150%
      Lynx Ruse PVE 300% PVP 200%
      Arcane shot PVE 100% PVP 100%
      Kill Command PVE 100% PVP 120%
      Cobra Shot PVE 100% PVP 150%

      Then if one ability is failing it can easily be turned up/down without affecting everything else.

      I code for living so I know, while this may seem a bit complicated, it is in practice very easy to implement and maintain.

      • bahzob says:

        Final word.

        If above was in place then GC would be able to say something like

        “We see Stampede is overpowered in arena. So we have reduced its PVP damage, while leaving it unchanged for PVE where it’s burst does not have balance issues and gives options for players to use it situationally in some encounters.

        At the same time we will increase the damage on Kill Command and while BW is active in PVP encounters (not PVE). This will leave overall hunter PVP DPS around the same and give them more utility outside of their big cd windows.”

        I think most everyone, even me, would be happy if something like this was an option. Its ridiculous, given history of this subject, that it isn’t.

  5. bahzob says:

    Final final word I promise. More evidence of how Ghostcrawler just does not understand the game he is meant to be responsible for comes in his statement in the context of a topic about PVP.

    “Hunters are receiving a buff in that they will no longer need to swap between Aspect of the Hawk and Aspect of the Fox”.

    This is just stupid. The set bonus of the PVP armour coupled with Thrill of the Hunt together with fact you need to use GCDs for non focus abilities means you are rarely focus starved. The net impact of this “buff” will be next to zero for BM.

    It may have some utility for MM but this spec needs a whole lot more to fix it.

    • Kithellia says:

      Not to mention that it’s not like the same effect can’t be gotten now by using macros to switch between Hawk for your main shots, and Fox for your Cobra/Steady Shots… hell, the only reason I haven’t done that is because I didn’t want to have to deal with the noise issue.

      As for GC in general, I’ve long thought that he’s been spectacularly terrible at his job, yes… the issues leading up to Mists being released, and now what’s going on now don’t exactly change my opinion.

  6. Ril says:

    our bursty nature can be useful in pve as well, in fights where adds have to die quickly like elegon for example. however i wouldn’t mind losing a little bit of this and getting actually viable cleave instead. since beast cleve has been nerfed, we don’t have anything useful against 2-3 targets and get obliterated by almost all other classes dmg wise.

  7. Omogon says:

    I agree that the arena Stampede ‘bug’ should be fixed but overall we don’t need any other reductions in damage. Having a bagillion buttons to push all in the correct priority is a small price to pay for our dps being decent.

    It was nice while it lasted….I smell the nerf bat…..just like early Wrath…I expect it will be BAD :(

  8. Kormai says:

    I think Ghostcrawler is going to make me cry…I’ve been saying BM was too good to be true! I’m definitely worried they are going to nerf us, even asked him on twitter about the interaction between pve and pvp, especially with the change to movement coming as well…I’d say we are probably going to get hit with the nerf bat. I will be one very sad panda. :(

  9. Dontdazemebro says:

    RBGs last night were spectacularly depressing. The best BM hunter (our team or theirs) was lucky to do half the damage of the best DK, lock, and/or mage. And I waste 2 GCDs to scatter-trap someone (which gets dispelled immediately and put on a 30 sec CD), yet the druid is already re-casting Cyclone on me *while I’m still stuck in his previous Cyclone*, and when that’s not happening I’m feared into oblivion. We won most of our RBGs last night, but I feel like I’m barely contributing at all anymore.

    The stampede bug compensated (admittedly overcompensated) for a massive imbalance in PvP, and now that it’s gone, hunter DPS and utility are both lackluster. People are going to start to take notice, and I don’t think hunters will be considered viable in RBG or serious arena comps much longer.

  10. OhTheIrony says:

    Kinda getting sick of all the imbalance–the incompetence of the development team, both in design and implementation. It took them this long to recognize the stampede bug?

    How’s GW2 looking for PvP? Is it any better? Can it get any worse?

  11. Iridar says:

    I hope they nerf BM to the ground so I can play another spec w/o loss of DPS…

    • Iridar says:

      BTW, I cannot believe that it took blizz FOUR WEEKS to recognize stampede arena bug. I think there is some shadow play there, behind the scenes. For example, leading programmer is a hunter and wanted 3k rating in firs weeks to become glad at end of the seaseon. After he got 3k rating nerf stampede =)
      (i imagined that)

    • Kithellia says:

      So the people who enjoy playing Beast Mastery have to be forced to play a spec they don’t enjoy in return? How is that even remotely fair?

      Honestly, I’ve seen a few people mention this, and I’ve yet to make any sense of it. Why not just want all specs to be equal so people can play what they enjoy?

      • Rayne says:

        It really isn’t a question of want. Blizzard has stated in the past that the goal is to make every spec and class viable to play (aka balanced). The problem is that they have massively failed at this and continue to do so.

        I question whether it is even possible with the current design of the game. Let’s ask the question, what good did month’s worth of large scale PTR time and testing accomplish for balance? Answer: None! MM been on the hurting end for Raiding and PvP since the beginning of the expansion and they knew that well in advance. How do they respond to the QQ’s of other classes regarding BM burst… nerf. There are videos on youtube which clearly show BM hunters were NOT privileged with the most burst yet I don’t hear about the classes getting shafted.

        Blizzard builds in imbalance, even in the coveted Raiding environment. All you have to do is look at the Garalon fight on WorldofLog (10 man)… all rogues. Check out the Wind Lord fight… all hybrid classes and the top parses are all Monks. I didn’t see a single pure DPS class solidly represented on the list.

        If you enjoy a certain spec, play it to your hearts content… just don’t expect Blizzard to do anything about the imbalances of the game because they won’t. They might fix something for some, but rest assured it will mess it up for others.

      • Rayne says:

        … and I should mention that there is a fix for a lot of it. They need to add a global modifier to each class and spec; one for PvP and one for PvE. This single modifier would be applied as a multiplier to every ability so it would be extremely easy to move the dps of a spec up or down and this could even be tied to gear score so that they can make adjustments that take gear scaling into account. If they need to increase a class/spec dps, they increase every ability by that amount. So now they can work on the same things they work on now (making sure the feel of a class and spec is right but ensuring that signature abilities are the ones being used) without having to worry about whether or not its going to screw up the overall picture.

        PvP is more complicated especially in Arena because it does have a lot to do with burst (and burst control) but the ability to move the dps evenly up or down as needed to bring things closer to ‘balance’ has to be better than the mess they’ve done up to now.

      • Frostheim says:

        From a PvE perspective: it’s not that simple. A single modifier would not fix the issue. In point of fact our simulations show that dps is very balanced between specs — as do Blizzards.

        The problem is that different specs behave differently in different fight mechanics (aoe, movement, multi-dotting, target switching, etc) so balance has to adjust specific mechanics, rather than overall dps, to account for the boss mechanics we’re facing. On top of that you also have issues with different spec complexities — for example one likely contributor to MM’s poor showing is that they are more difficult to play optimally.

        DPS balance in raids requires tinkering with lots of different moving pieces.

      • Iridar says:

        Beacuse it’s impossible. Only way specs are going to be balanced is if they were all the same.

        Besides, I don’t understand at all how one can like BM, playing this spec is more annoying than anything and with all that stampedes and dire beasts feels more like demonology warlock than shooter.

      • Rayne says:

        @Iradar: Your comments are irrelevant. Just because you don’t care to play BM doesn’t mean you should advocate the spec’s nerf. Kithellia’s point is very well at the heart of the matter. If you don’t like BM, don’t play it… simple. If anything you should be supporting the position because it is the same one you are in. We all suffer when the game or encounters are designed in a way to significantly favor or shun spec’s and/or classes all together. My pref. is SV for raiding and MM for PvP, they just feel right to me in those roles, but I can’t play either right now the way things are. But I’m not going to say BM should be shafted in the process because I know many Hunters love the play style of BM.

        @Frost: There is no doubt that on paper (or more accurately, a target dummy) the dps for spec’s and classes may appear very close… but as you have stated, Boss encounters are not designed around target dummy mechanics. If Blizzard balances dps around the target dummy model, then what is the point? (I already know your argument here… how else are they going to do it?… you’ve talked about it before several times) Since the fights will not give everyone equal opportunity to be represented, the end result is the same. I can understand why some fights may ‘slightly’ favor one group or another and that is to be expected, but any fight that encourages class/spec stacking or removal due to the mechanics needs to be viewed as seriously flawed. Every class and spec should be competitive enough in a raiding environment to not have to worry about the raid leader asking them to change spec. My raid leader has asked me to raid BM instead of SV and asked our 2 warlocks to change as well… all it takes is a quick look at RaidBots to see who is doing what and the picture is very, very clear.

        Perhaps my modifier suggestion is not the simple answer I believe it to be, but something could and should be done to finally address the long standing issue of pure dps classes not being able to play they way they want to solely for the purpose of being allowed to enjoy raids. Blizzards continuing nerf/buff cycle is very reactionary based and is just getting old.

      • Frostheim says:

        I think spec dps should be balanced around target dummies, but also aoe, moving, and multi-target. They don’t need to be balanced for every single boss fight — that’s simply not possible without making all specs mechanically identical (after all — 2 targets vs 3 targets can make a big difference).

        However, I also think the most important thing is that every *class* has a competitively balanced spec. I think balancing all specs is a good goal, but having one spec competitively balanced is a necessity.

  12. Kodiakbrujah says:

    No blizz plays a hunter, that’s been thoroughly established by how badly our class has been handled. I am afraid of a BM overnerf…..ala lich king. I’d prolly quit wow at that point as I’m tired of things being handled that way. Its a great game but once we get this point…where they are balancing us….they always shit on us and i’m about done with that. I used to be die hard SV…..but i like the current incarnation of bm. It needs to be a viable spec, hell this is the first time in 5 years its been viable for 5 mans.

  13. cabudeanie says:

    BM- well it was good why it lasted, “now get back in the box” will see you in a few expansions time.
    What I don’t understand everyone not a hunter has been shouting how stampede is OP in arenas. So they get there nerf bat out and start slashing away without looking at the ability itself to see if it was working correctly.
    What are the chances of them undoing the nerf that they did before they found the bug?
    Looking through the world of logs and our DPS is not mirroring what GC saying it should be and we are still being nerfed
    Shooting our focus regen on the move is more a quality of life issue than a DPS buff (unless the encounter requires high movement which hurts the support classes more than us anyway).
    None of this seems to make any sense.

  14. Itukaaj says:

    There will be an overnerf. The result will be this—- if you arena Ghostcrawler will have you Arcane Shotting people to death. That is an impossibility. No one will die. Your partners will leave you. You will on your knees so you can get points partners every week.

    Beastial Wrath (at the Very Least) and Lynx Rush need to be reverted in the interim. Now I know some PVE people see some possible benefit change in the new Lynx Rush. So I dont want to go to the bathroom at your pool party. Arena players can and will be switching to Blink Strike if they haven’t already.

    Essentially burst is king in arena only because of how healing works in arena. Sustained damage is less relevant. It’s just the mechanics of how Arena works. This is why it is more important for PVP players than PVE players.

    Revert Rabid back to AP and not to haste Now. The AP in a bugged Stampede of course is gonna be bad. If Stampede is fixed it will now scale properly and the problems with Rabid are fixed as a consequence. that is a lever that no longer needs to be pulled.

    Alternative issues to help PVP burst the level 90 talent Powershot needs a lot of love:

    If BW could be left alone and Powershot set up so that the cast is a little shorter, that it actually works every time (there seems to be a bug probably based on the knockback coding—and really the knockback can be removed it hurts PVE and PVP… maybe some different effect like a stun a la the old explosive shot effect in WotLK) and to have Powershot just have a pushback instead of a cancellation and loss of use for a full minute.

    Another word about Powershot. I think/suspect because of the knockback coding if the target moves during the cast the can actually walk out of the way of a Powershot. this is not based on Dodge numbers this is physically running away from a shot like it was a barrel in Donkey Kong.

    If they fix Powershot as I have suggested the burst tool could be in place. This would help BM and I suspect SV for arena. MM has other issues right now and needs utility (I argue higher damage on Chimera but top end hunters like Tosan don’t agree on that ). Powershot could be a burts tool and end the hatred of hunters since it would be considered “skill” the other complaint by hunter haters is they don’t like being killed by AI things in arenas. Making Powershot a reliable burst ability would change this misconception. Powershot would also need to have a 40-45 second cooldown. A minute is too high.

    In short I would prefer not to wait for the developers to realize that after finding a bug and combining it with nerfs they have gone too far. I urge PVE and PVP hunters to send a message that there needs to be caution in the nerfs or they need to be held off it the true culprit was a bug that has now been fixed for arena problems.

    Let us not throw the baby out with the bath water.

    • Kodiakbrujah says:

      I agree with the previous poster 100% . Lynx and rabid should be reverted in the interim until the full effect of the stampede bug is measured. And MM does need some love, its currently a completely unviable spec.

      And i’ve personally had it with people complaining about our pets…we have to control them and us. If you are facing a hunter you are also facing his pet. Shutting down the pet is the easiest way to get a kill on a BM hunter. They need to practice more about managing the threat of the pet…and less about whining.

  15. Whiro says:

    It’s all over. From last night to this afternoon what a diffrence. Instead of a Hunter Im a target now.

  16. Pengalor says:

    And now they nerfed Lynx Rush. But hey, MM mastery got a 20% buff! It’s now about aligned with the other two specs so at least it’s viable (insofar as being a spec of one of the current worst DPS classes in the game is ‘viable’).