Serpent Sting Buffed

Posted: by Frostheim

More lovely news on the hunter balancing front — Serpent Sting has just been buffed by having its damage doubled and its focus cost reduced!

  • Serpent Sting damage has been increased by 100%, and its cost has been reduced to 15 Focus (down from 25).
  • Improved Serpent Sting now deals 15% of its total damage instantly (down from 30%).

It’s worth stressing that the Imp Sting change isn’t a nerf — it’s just a reaction to Serpent Sting buff to make sure the instant damage of applying Serpent Sting doesn’t change.

This is a flat DPS boost to all hunters, but it also seems like it might be a buff with an eye to making hunters a bit more effective at multi-dotting. It certainly makes it more attractive to try to maintain Serpent Sting on 2-target fights, regardless of your spec.

Even if it turns out not to be a viable multi-dot solution, it’s still great news for hunters.

  1. Sam says:

    Looking at the Best Possible DPS with thread, it seems that that 1 SrS does at least comparable damage to 1 AS for all specs, but does cost 5 more focus.
    If SrS does 100% more damage now and costs less than AS, I think multidotting will be advisable for all specs (replace 1 AS focus dump with 1 SrS on targets where it’s not already up).
    I’m wondering if SV should apply them manually, though, or just use their MS spread. Probably the later, especially when there are more than two targets clumped together.

    • Pathemeous says:

      On your last statement, from my napkin logics:
      MS should be better. Assuming 2 targets, it will cost 10 more focus, but will save you one CD and also do multi-Shot damage on top of the instant ISrS and SrS ticks. Seems logical to be better. Don’t pin me down on it though


  2. deadface says:


  3. pete says:

    So what exactly did they change?

    The baseline dmg of serpent sting or the whole tick damage? The first one would be a minor buff the later one a (deserved) big buff.

  4. Zeherah says:

    The entire damage of serpent sting has been doubled essentially. I did some testing and verified that. However I noticed there seems to be a bug in the change to improved serpent sting, it’s only doing half as much damage as it should (seems they forgot to apply the doubling but did apply the halving). I reported the issue.

  5. Tatianah says:

    Looks like the gap between our fire mage’s and my DPS just got a little bit smaller.

  6. Iridar says:

    Wow, that’s unexpected.
    It seems that they’re looking to buff overall hunter dps without giving us too much burst in pvp.
    Perhaps, now SRS will be worth using in PVP.

  7. Oxix says:

    I don’t know how, but thanks to this buff my SV hunter got way ahead before our Fire Mage on some fights, and I’m starting to feel proud about playing this class again, like in Cata times. Thanks Blizzard, glad you are helping.

    This leaves us with only one problem in SV. T14 2pc. It was pretty riddiculous even before, but now it gets even higher. Now in recount my Explosive Shot deals 15-20% of my damage, being nealy pushed down by Serpent Sting. And since Kill Command and Chimera Shot do similiar percentage of total DPS (around 15%), why is it that SV hunters have only 5% buff, and other specs have 15%? Hope it gets fixed soon.

    • Sam says:

      Because Explosive Shot has three ticks.

      • Iridar says:

        It’s total damage is still meh.
        I hated SV during 4.1 – 4.2 patches cuz Exp Shot was overnerfed and didn’t do any damage.
        They finally got it to acceptable level only in 4.3
        Now it’s shit again.
        Also I don’t understand how is it that EXPLOSIVE shot and EXPLOSIVE trap are DoTs?!
        I mean, really, haven’t they ever seen what an explosion looks like?

    • Arth says:

      What Sam said is true. Explosive’s 3 ticks means that 5% is applied to each of them, making the total percentage increase equal to the other specs.

      This Serpent Sting buff likely helps SV the most, though, especially depending on how it works with SV’s AoE. So if anything, SV comes out better from this piece of news, likely getting a buff to what is already our best AoE and multi-target spec.

  8. bahzob says:

    This is nice news. However it doesn’t make up for the fact for the failure of Blizzard to sort out one of our top tier talents.

    “Powershot Bugs
    Just wanted to keep you guys updated, we’re aware of this issue (when targeting a stationary target), it’s already being worked on but unfortunately it’s the kind of bug that will probably only be fixed with a client-side patch, probably with 5.2 (please note that this is a very early estimation of when it’s going to get fixed, don’t take it for granted as it might change at any time) (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)”

    5.2!! So for the majority of the expansion we effectively only have 2 useful top level talents. If this happened for mages would it take so long to fix? It’s very reminiscent of the bug with trap resists that lasted so long before Blizzard got round to sorting it out. (the one they claimed was impossible to fix while reality being they simply didn’t care about fixing).

    • Iridar says:

      Glaives are the only way to go in PvE anyway.
      As for PvP, Glaives are also bugged.
      It appears that if target moves away from you Glaives don’t reach it.

      • Tuxxs says:

        I wouldn’t say Glaives is the only way to go in PvE. I’ve been finding Barrage > Glaive.

      • Iridar says:

        Using Barrage over Glaive Toss is a DPS loss of 1.6k in BiS gear according to in BM spec.
        Glaives are easily incorporated in rotation, as they just exchange arcane shot when not on CD.

        I agree, however, that for purposes of AOE barrage may be a better choice.

      • bahzob says:

        There is more to the game than PVE. And even for PVE, RogerBrown pointed out that one issues hunters have is massive on demand burst. Powershot should be the talent you call on when this is needed.

        It is simply wrong that one of our top talents is bugged for so long. What is worse is that first Ghostcrawler denied there was even a problem which meant that any chance of a fix for 5.1 was missed.

        So fine give credit to Blizzard for making an easy to apply change that buffs hunters a little.

        But by same token give them some grief for failing to sort out a talent that should have worked since the start of MoP.

      • Iridar says:

        I am in no way making excuses for Blizz, hunters alwayws were the pinnacle of bugginess.
        I’m just saying that we can’t even choose between GT and Barrage in PVP cuz GT is also bugged.

        I was horrified that it took blizz a whole month to find and fix bug with Stampede on arena, bug which shouldn’t even made it to the beta test, much less release.

        I’ve been rolling with Powershot in PVP and it deals quite nice damage when it actually hits the target.

  9. Will says:

    I have noticed that even with MD my multi shot as SV is eventually pulling aggro from the tank in raids after this change.

  10. Bramman says:

    I noticed an issue with Lynx Rush. If you hit readiness while Lynx Rush is stacking, then hit Lynx Rush again, it stops the initial Lynx Rush from stacking and doesn’t activate another Lynx Rush. Of course we shouldn’t be using readiness this way (for Lynx Rush or Murder of Crows) since they both require their full duration run out before you can get maximum benefit of activating them again. So Blink Strike is the only thing that plays nicely with readiness, but it’s damage output and 6 global uses in the same period of Murder of Crows seems to put MoC way out in front.

    So, on first engaging the boss when all our globals/pre-pots etc are lined up should we even use readiness? Or should we wait 30 seconds and get an extra MoC in? I’m guessing BM should still use readiness to take advantage of Bestial Wrath, but what about other specs?

    • Kithellia says:

      Aye, the fact that Lynx Rush is a bleed that only stacks up to 9, and therefore is a big DPS loss to use it again after using Readiness, is a pretty big annoyance compared to before… it was one advantage it had over MoC in my opinion, but since we had to fix it to (theoretically, maybe, probably not) ‘fix’ Hunter burst in PVP, there you go. :p

      Seriously, why they didn’t just set it up so it didn’t have a stack-limit is completely beyond me. Are they worried we’d somehow stack it to infinity somehow?

      • bahzob says:

        Just to correct matters. The issue with hunter “burst” in PVP was due to a stampede bug coupled with the fact that it was new mechanic and people took a while to get used to dealing with it (and BM hunters in general for that matter. Don’t forget how useless they have been. Last 2 expansions you have been able to pretty much ignore pets in terms of dps. People were surprised when they suddenly started being killed by them)

        Teams have adapted now and are used to using CC to peel pets during stampede and lynx rush. The change to BW that removing their CC immunity would, by itself, been enough to make most PVPers swap to Blink Strike anyway (many top ones already used it). It is far more reliable in terms of DPS and hitting the intended target and allows cced pets to quickly get back on target.

        I play a hunter in PVP and understand this. Blizzard don’t. In a typically arrogant comment Ghostcrawler recently said

        “We don’t let players, even expert ones, balance the game for us. We appreciate their feedback, as we do all feedback. ”

        This attitude is what makes the game suck.

      • bahzob says:

        I should also have mentioned, as anyone who plays PVP knows, that in terms of burst hunters are pretty much exactly where Frost thinks they should be and would have been post 5.1 without the Lynx Rush nerf.

        We are mid table. Warriors and Mages are better than us and most other classes can burst at least as well. Boomkins are the only ones noticeabley worse.

        Indeed most are better placed. They have a longer stun or equivalent lock down and use procs for burst. When some of these line up you can get hit for 100K+ in PVP gear and go from full health to dead in the space of one cc.

        This sort of burst is far harder to counter than a 5 minute cooldown.

        (which is why the Powershot bug is so frustrating.)

      • Frostheim says:

        Ghostcrawler’s comment isn’t arrogance, it’s true. An expert in the game is not necessarily an expert at game design.

        Back in the day I used to work in the tabletop game industry, and a very well known designer once said, “We don’t make the games people want; we make the games that people will buy.”

        As a general rule, if you made a game out of everything the players — even expert players — wanted, no one liked the game. Because game design is not easy, and even game balance is not easy.

        On a related note that shows just one bit of their reasoning, Ghostcrawler also had a quote that they’ve had more players leave the game due to too many changes than to their class not being strong enough.

      • Shannon Spencer Fox says:


        Heheh. As it happens, I don’t PVP myself much at all, but I have read quite a bit from people who do on the forums, so I tend to trust their judgement. That said, I understand exactly what you’re saying about how the change to Lynx Rush wasn’t actually needed; it was actually why I added in the ‘(theoretically, maybe, probably not)’ phrase to my post. I’d also like to say this is the first time that Blizzard has overreacted with its nerfs to a class, but… yeah. That’d be at total lie.


        I’ll go more into this sentiment in Purcy’s post, which has the same sentiment, but I’ll just add, ‘And just because you’re the head of game development doesn’t make you an expert at that either’.

  11. Fradin says:

    I only use readiness once I have blown all my cooldowns and rapid fire drops off then I just hold Murder of crows until the 1st one drops to get the advantage of both and to keep rapid fire up for as long as possible and use my 2nd pot during hero.

  12. bahzob says:

    Oh and just to add insult to injury.

    Since 5.1 Roar of Sacrifice, which is meant to make you crit immune, now damages the target!!

    Imagine the equivalent in PVE where MD suddenly post a patch meant all tank threat was directed to the hunter or hunters mark meant that tank took much more damage…..

    Then wonder just how inept Blizzard are and don’t be surprised if we tell it like it is.

  13. Purcy says:


    It may be that GC possesses some small degree of arrogance. He’s the lead game designer on the biggest game in the history of the world, by a mile. *shrug* It comes with the territory.

    However, his statement about not letting players balance the game isn’t arrogance, it’s a simple statement of sound policy.
    The fact is that while many players have a great and deep understanding of their class and game mechanics, and maybe even of many classes, very very few of them are truly knowledgeable about game design and coding, especially on this level.

    The simple fact is that they actually DO know more about how the game works (on the inside) than any of us. It hurts, but we’re hunters, and we CAN handle the truth!

    I don’t want players coding my game like I don’t want Rush Limbaugh running my country. :)

    Happy hunting!

    • Shannon Spencer Fox says:

      Actually, I would like to respectfully disagree with the concept of the developers (and Ghostcrawler, of course) ‘knowing more about how the game works’… even though you’d think that’d be the case, there’s been several times where the community and the number-crunchers in it say one thing, the devs claimed otherwise, and it turned out the former was right.

      Let’s go with an example that I remember quite vividly, since it affected me personally: the 3.0.8 patch back in Wrath. Lots of people probably know where I’m going with this, but apparently it needs to be said.

      Now, the leadup to this was, back in Wrath, the talent-trees were designed in such a way that BM Hunters could skip the last talent in the tree (Beast Mastery, which arguably wasn’t all that useful in terms of the exotic pets you could get at the time), and instead go into Marksmanship far enough to get Readiness, which means you could have two Bestial Wraths in a row… and this was back when Bestial Wrath did more damage, lasted longer, and also meant that both the Hunter and their pet were immune to CC, and this was causing a big stir in the realm of PVP.

      (This should, of course, sound familiar with what happened with Lynx Rush, Stampede, and so forth.)

      Anyway, so there were some changes upcoming in the 3.0.8 patch, with Readiness not affecting Bestial Wrath… and a number of other numbers-based changes to the BM tree itself, which would end up pretty much destroying its DPS. People took to the forums and pointed this out in multiple posts, including very detailed math, but Ghostcrawler said that they would, essentially, see how the changes were and fix them if necessary.

      And what happened? BM was pretty much destroyed for the rest of the expansion, and arguably for the next, until Mists came out. And there wasn’t any significant attempt to fix things back, aside from Ghostcrawler’s really weak mea culpa at the end of Wrath, mentioning that four specs, including BM, were not up to expectations. As if that wasn’t pointed out on MULTIPLE occasions before that.

      I could go into other examples… Survival during Cata getting the nerfbat, Hunter PVP in general from Cata on (since apparently the idea of having a class’ entire resource system be based around having to cast shots for half of their uptime wasn’t considered a very bad idea in the hectic area of competitive PVP), Ret paladins during Wrath, as I understand it… or, heck, even look at Fire Mages and the hotfix that went out a few days ago, that apparently nobody considered applying during the whole ‘test-realm’ thing.

      But you get the idea. This has simply happened way too often for me to have a lot of faith in the developers, and specifically Ghostcrawler. And it’s not based on personal opinion, but also a review of history.

      • Purcy says:

        I appreciate, and do not dispute the points you make above.

        However, you seem to be making an argument that players understand the entirety of the game better than designers, developer, coders, but to back up that position, you point to specific mechanics of single specs of single class, presented in a vaccuum.

        I understand that we, as players, often can see the actuality of what’s going on in real situations, better than those behind the scenes. However, our understanding of the why is limited by our knowledge of how the underlying mechanics are put together, and how they interact with the game in it’s entirety.

        My statement that GC and his team have a better understanding of the whole than ANY player is one I stand by. In fact, it’s seems too incredibly obvious to need stating.

        Your argument is basically saying that they don’t understand math because they’re gotten some test questions wrong over the years. It simply doesn’t follow.

        Remember; I’m not calling anyone perfect or anything, I’m just pointing out that these people ARE the experts. By definition. That’s not a matter of opinion. That’s the fact. Ghostcrawler may not be the world’s foremost leading expert, but he is absolutely an expert in the field, and I am not. Frostheim is not. You, most likely, are not.

        Also, I’d like to remind everyone who points to the PTR when condemning the dev team, as in

        “that apparently nobody considered applying during the whole ‘test-realm’ thing.”

        PTR testing is not a comprehensive data set. It’s a small sampling (tiny relative to the 10 million people on live servers, really) and it’s a pretty specific subset of the player population. Very few casual players, many players there to see the new content, not trying to properly test the game, etc.
        You can’t fine tune a car’s design based entirely on what you can test on the track behind the factory. Well, you can, but the product is going to be flawed when presented for mass consumption, in the real world, and so design continues to be refined. A small, artificial testing environment will never be the same as real world data, and that’s part of the reality of design, whether it’s games, cars, sport-drinks, music, whatever.

        All we can really do is to try and continue to provide as much factual information as we can to assist the experts in achieving their stated goals for the game. “You guys suck at this” is for when you’re having a few beers with them after the show, and not really that helpful to discuss in a place like this.

        Just my opinion, obviously.

  14. Armin says:

    Is it just me, or did 5.1 bring also 5 new bugs?

    1) My gun is transmog’ed into a bow, and also upgraded. To my surprise one (1) of the animations (visual and sound) is still a gun, where it was fine before 5.1. So basicly my hunter is doing its bow thing, and suddenly it is holding the bow as if it is a stick (horizontal vs vertical) and it makes a gun sound!? Only one animation seems affected. I don’t know if it is the transmog or the upgrade that did it, but I did see a real bow did not have this issue

    2) My hyena is having an identity crisis since 5.1 and is making wolf howls when executing its 10% haste buf. My wolf seems to be still fine.

    3) The option to not show all raid debufs on bosses, but only those ‘deemed relelevant’ is broken. When used, it ‘deems’ hunters mark not relevant to my hunter … Also the serpent sting seems to fall off but I have less hard evvidence on that. And just to be clear, just the icon falls off, not the actual thing. Checking teh show all bugs fixes it.

    4) when reforging and upgraded item, the upgraded part gets lost. Simpel example: you have 100 of stat A and reforge. You’ll get 60 of A and 40 of B. Upgrade and you’ll have 110 A available. Reforge and you keep 66 A but still only get 40 B. You lose 4 … Could be perhaps hitting only some items, but I did try a few items but of course do not have unlimited upgrades done yet. I did restore and reforge again after the upgrade to rule that out. Doesn’t matter. It doesn’t seem like just a tooltip error, as e.g. when reforging hit, teh actual hit-points and % also where matching the loss.

    5) Kill shot glyph (which is now a free ability) is still broken. No change from cata that is. At that moment PvP players reported it not firing while on bosses it was fine. I noticed heavy feailure in 5 mans as well and abandon’ed the glyph as well. Now we get it for free, it seem it is still broken: bosses fine and 5 mans give failures on occasion. Perhaps latency related? (Not really a 5.1 bug as 5.0 already had it though.)

    • Iridar says:

      Kill Shot *glyph* is still broken, yes.

      It succesfully procs in PVP WHEN AND ONLY WHEN first Kill shot HITS the target, deals damage and AFTER THIS HIT target is not dead and has HP still <20%.

      If first Kill Shot misses or gets dodged, you can't cast second.
      If target is healed while first Kill Shot is mid-air, you can't cast second.
      Frustrating as hell. Maybe getting PVP gun next week will help me just one shot people with Kill Shot, as it has imbalanced high damage =|
      sad panda

      • Armin says:

        No, it is more basic than that. Even if the target is not healed, not missed/dodged etc it can still not trigger. (Personally I would that in those healed/missed/dodge/etc situations it is actually by design.) At least in 5 mans I see this happening a lot, that it just not triggers even though there is still health on the target and kill shot did hit.

        My guess it is latency, as it is known that the effect takes a roundtrip to the server to become available. Other players probably already have shots off, making he target dead on the server, but not yet on my client, or so? But from a client point of view it looks like a bug.

        On the reforge vs stats lost, I can now confirm it is only with certain gears. I upgraded my T14 hands now for the second time and all was fine, but I rechecked, tripple checked my (still) blue bracers and the stats were cut of after reforging.

        Interesting enough the bug is already visible before reforging. So when placing the reforged item in the upgrade UI shows already if it is going to bug, or reverse putting an upgraded item in the reforge UI shows wheher the stats will be cut of or you will get the full effect.

  15. Ds53 says:

    Seems the ISS bug was fixed Zehera mentioned before.

    Greg Street ‏@Ghostcrawler
    Hunters: Tweeted before that we nerfed ISS for SV when we buffed SS. The nerf was accidentally too large and the fix to the fix is now live.

  16. Gummybear says:

    After doing RF last night I’m a bit worried that hunters are the new mages when it comes to dps. I guess time and proper math will give better evidence to that.