6.2 Patch Notes Follow-up

It was pointed out to me, that my rant yesterday didn't include as much math as I normally would, so I thought I'd dig into the changes a bit deeper.  To do so, I'm going to use the same single target fight I looked at yesterday, since we've already done some of the work with it.

As was shown, we'd be looking at doing a total of 84 ticks of serpent sting under the new mechanic, as opposed to the 235 ticks on live.  But there are some other things that will curb that loss. Mainly, the mastery buff.

If I go through all of the shots that are affected by SV's mastery, I can fairly easily readjust how much damage would have been done with the increased mastery. (On a mostly separate topic, I often forget about how amazing the commutative and associative properties of multiplication are.  I mean, I'll even question whether they're still true or not, as though perhaps math has changed since the last spreadsheet I got.  Fortunately, they still work.  Thank the math gods).  The individual abilities would look like this:

Ability w/ 0 Mastery Old Mast New Mast
Serpent Sting 8295.7 10374.1 10768.95
Arcane Shot 13107.2 16391.2 17015.07
Black Arrow 8209.5 10266.3 10657.05
Explosive Shot 6164.4 7708.8 *6958.44

*Note that I also included the 15% nerf to Explosive Shot.

After looking at by how much each ability is affected, we can use the same percent to affect the totals, giving us a new total damage, and therefor a new DPS.  What we get for the log pictured above, is about a 3.8% increase in damage to Serpent Sting, Arcane Shot and Black Arrow, and a 10.8% nerf to Explosive Shot (the reason ES looks funny, is when blizzard says "15% less", they mean the damage done divided by 1.15, not the damage done multiplied by 1 minus .15).  It's worth mentioning, I suppose, that these numbers are particular to the individual hunter in these logs.  As many hunters will have different amounts of mastery, the increase in mastery's effectiveness will affect them differently.

The changes to total damage done by these abilities will then look like this:

Ability  Old  New
Serpent Sting 2440k 904k
Arcane Shot 1460k 1516k
Black Arrow 1030k 1069k
Explosive Shot 1710k 1544k

The total of 9.88 million damage has gone down to about 8.27 million, a total loss of 6,354 DPS, which is, for those not wanting to do the math in their heads, a 19.4% nerf overall.  

Of course, this doesn't mean we're getting a (almost) 20% nerf to our damage.  Our stat priorities will change, and our rotation will change, so that we can better utilize the new mechanics.  However, adjusting playstyle will no come anywhere close to making up for the huge nerf.  

As I mentioned yesterday, this is still very early in the testing process, hopefully Blizzard either didn't realize how huge the serpent sting change was, or even better, they have a plan for something even more awesome that they just haven't added yet, which will bring SV hunters back up to their rightful place as glorious Damage Dealers. 


  1. Kind of demoralizing that as a survival hunter I spent the first couple of months of this xpac trying to get decent at Beastmastery because SV was so awful. Then went back to SV when Blizz came to their senses, and have been scrabbling and scrounging like crazy to build up my Multistrike, often at the expense of Mastery. And now apparently Mastery becomes important to SV??? *sigh* Stay tuned, I guess . . .

    1. Yup. It's definitely a hard hit to totally re-align our gearing priorities... If you're a mythic raider who's been done with BrF for a month now, there won't be any problem having enough gear for optimizing all three specs, but for the rest of us, this is rough. :-(

  2. I'm with Fiannor in the "kind of demoralizing" feeling. I wish blizzard could leave well enough alone sometimes. I would like, more than anything else, to be able to play one spec for an entire expansion and not have to change and get all new gear every time some developer gets a bug up their ass and wants to change everything. I've been MM, SV, BM, SV, MM, SV, BM, SV and now it seems like I might be going back to MM and BM. Just let me play the game blizzard. No reason to change stuff for the sake of change.

    And a 20% nerf. Ouch. It is not like SV was that powerful to begin with. It was in a good place numbers wise but it was not ruling the world. It did not deserve a nerf and more so a nerf that huge.

    1. Yeah. It was pointed out to me that, as Arcane Shots will plummet in value, Focusing Shot will most certainly not be an option for SV hunters, and Lone Wolf will most likely pull clear into the lead for single target. So a little more DPS from BA and ES should make Mastery a little bit more valuable than I've displayed above. No where near enough to cover the nerf, but maybe a percent or two better than what I showed.

      Not that I suppose an 18% nerf is really much better than a 20% nerf...

  3. Call me an optimist, but maybe the SV set bonus is that good..

  4. Slight tangent: seems we've come full circle with the MM KS/AS nerf, where now AS hits harder than it did pre-nerf so the damage gets shifted more towards the pre-35% execute range. MM should be the single target kings of hunters and it looks like it's going to get that throne back.

    Re: SV, I'm not terribly surprised by the Arcane Shot-Serpent Sting mechanic change. The mechanic itself seemed like something was off. The initial hit plus its 30% damage multistrikes proc a full, 100% damage tick of serpent sting? If that didn't scream "scaling issues!" I don't know what does.

    That said, I wonder if a possible solution would have been to continue to allow arcane shot to proc serpent sting as it does now, but the serpent sting proc would scale based on whether it was the 100% arcane shot hit or 30% multistrike.

    So for example, an arcane shot hits, multistrikes twice for a total of 160% arcane shot damage, the hits proc serpent sting for 160% serpent sting damage. I'm not a programmer so I have no idea how feasible it would be to implement it (or if that idea is even on the table at the moment).

    1. Yeah, you know the more I think about it, the more I doubt they made a game mechanics mistake, but instead just made a PR mistake. They should have announced how they were going to balance it at the same time they announced they were taking away the mechanic; that was their real mistake. I'm fine with removing the mechanic. I mean, not fine, it was really interesting mathematically, but it wasn't crucial to the fun of the spec.

      As to your last question, it sounds like they have no idea how to program around multistrike. If they could find a solution like you suggested, I'm sure they would have. Multistrike is really buggy for lots of specs. For example, as BM, if your pet's basic attack multistrikes while you have a stack of cobra strikes, then the multistrike will consume the stack, giving you a crit of the multistrike, which is quite a waste compared to a guaranteed crit of your next basic attack. I don't know any of the other classes too well, but it sounds like there's a lot of trouble with multistrike.

  5. Hrm, some further thoughts on specs:

    MM becomes the single and two target cleave king (and stays that way), brings 2m bursts with a 35% execute. BM does respectable single target with bursts every 1m and a 20% execute, good cleave damage. SV (should be) okay single target, steady damage throughout a boss fight with cleave via dots on targets that will live a long time (a la IM, BF, BH balcony, etc). Both BM and SV offer far more damage while mobile over MM due to mastery loss (looking at you SV/BM hunters that jump back and forth while doing 100% DPS next to a stationary Mage/Warlock).

    Each spec ends up with its own particular niche that has it's uses depending on the boss fight and raid composition.