WoD Beta: The Lock and Load Question

There have been some interesting conversations going on around the Lock and Load mechanics in the WoD Beta, and since I don't have my new WoD Beta: Beast Mastery article ready, I thought I'd go ahead and talk about some of the theory crafting going on regarding Survival Huntering.

If I haven't mentioned how Black Arrow and Lock and Load work recently, it's like this:

Each tic of black arrow has two chances to multistrike (with each, the percent chance to succeed is equal to your multistrike percentage). Every time a tic of Black Arrow multistrikes, you get one stack of Lock and Load, up to a total of five stacks.

When you have one or more stacks of Lock and Load, the next time your Explosive Shot is off cool-down, casting explosive shot will consume a stack of Lock and Load, which will cost the same and produce the same effects, but will not put Explosive Shot on cooldown, so you can cast up to n+1 Explosive Shots in a row, where n is the number of Lock and Load stacks you have.

When I first heard about this I was really excited, because it meant there was the possibility of saving stacks of LnL to use with trinket procs, and any time you have a decision like that, you have a way for skilled hunters to differentiate themselves from the crowds.  

However, there's a function of this that isn't exactly clear in any tooltips.  Without LnL procs, you can compare how many Explosive Shots possible you could have done by looking at the duration of the fight in seconds divided by six.   Every six seconds your ES comes off CD, if you use it immediately, then your total ES should equal fight length/6.   

In the new model, however, if you don't use your LnL procs immediately, then you get a lower total number of Explosive Shots.   That is to say, your maximum possible number of Explosive Shots will not equal (fight length/6) + LnL stacks.   Instead, it will equal (assume fight length (in seconds) L, LnL procs N, and total explosive shots ):   
T = ((L - N) / 6 ) +1

The problem, then, with saving Explosive Shots is that you don't continue to get your "every 6 seconds" Explosive Shot.  In order for it to be worth saving Explosive Shots (ie. a DPS gain) is if:

((Seconds delayed / 6) * ES Damage) < ((%increased ES damage) * (total ES in trinket proc)

The problem is, the Explosive Shot formula would have to have a very high AP modifier to make the trinket proc affect it enough that it was worth casting less total.  It could be that blizzard decides to go that way,  but judging by the history of hunter builds, it doesn't seem likely. 

TL;DR Looks like come Warlords, we'll still be spamming those Explosive Shots as soon as you can.  


  1. My concern was the decision making that goes into stacking or using as you get them would be too complex to make it worthwhile.

    I suppose there could be situation where burst is more important that overall numbers though.

    1. As someone we get a final iteration of what Explosive Shot's formula will be, I imagine we should be able to come up with a simple rule, a la "If you have five stacks and your ICD trinket is off CD then you can save them for up to X seconds without losing DPS". it'd still come down to RNG, but not too bad where it wouldn't be worth the risk. (If it's not that simple, then someone will make an addon that tells you whether or not you should use your ES, which blizz won't like so they'll change the mechanic.)

      But everything's too unfinished to start working on the maths. Though I saw the SimC IRC is starting to buzz with talk of 6.01, so maybe it's about to time start mathing.

      Have you been keeping any logs? I'd love to see what other people's look like...

    2. I haven't done any logging on beta yet, but let me see what I can do.

  2. Has anyone thought or mentioned this functionally for how LnL interacts with the normal ES cooldown? (Because I have heard a lot of complaints about how having to hold off on normal ES rotation to build up stacks of LnL for burst):

    Have LnL no reset the cooldown of ES like now. However, only trigger a use of a LnL stack when ES is on CD. If it is off CD, simply put ES on cd like normal without using any of the LnL. Then, change it so you can use LnL stacks while ES is on CD.

    This essentially disconnects the normal ES use from the choice of how many stacks of LnL maintain in case of burst (or to just use them as you get them).

    1. I've been working on something to post in the beta forums, but a lot of people have already posted about the new LnL mechanic in there. I'm really curious if any of the devs will take the time to explain the reasoning behind the mechanic being how it is.