No Tier Set Bonuses in B4A.. BfA... Battle... the New Expansion

As of yesterday, Blizzard let us know there would no longer be set bonuses in whatever the next expansion is going to be called.  I have fairly mixed feelings about it.

A lot of my most popular articles on here, over the years have been dissecting new set bonuses, whether mathematically looking into how they work, or giving suggestions on how to optimize your play to take advantage of them.  And that's certainly something I look forward to doing every tier, as otherwise theorycrafting in general can get a bit stale, as I really have no interest in looking into endlessly optimizing BiS lists...

However, it does seem like the old formulas for set bonuses have gotten quite stale.  It's proven too hard to balance interesting tier sets, so we end up with somewhat vanilla, meaningless bonuses in a lot of occasions (such as a buff to Raptor Strike for SV Hunters...) or the same buff that we had just a couple tiers ago (signature ability is buffed, or signature ability provides a buff).

Ghostcrawler used to swear that they did not balance classes around their tier bonuses; that all classes should be viable without the tier bonuses, and then they should again be balanced with the tier bonuses, but that simply hasn't been the case, pretty much ever, aside from possibly a couple of tiers in MoP.  So we often end up in an occasion where a spec is quite dull without it's current set bonus, which means we keep onto that bonus even when the gear is drastically lower than the rest of our gear, which I suppose is the primary thing Blizzard is trying to combat with this system.

Because Blizz is committed to the Titanforged idea, tier sets just don't make sense.  If you can get randomly really high ilvl gear from the previous tiers with a better set bonus, then it takes away too much of the enjoyment of getting new gear in a new raid.

So in the end, I'm fine with the removal of the set bonuses. Put those same changes into a the new artifact mechanic (whatever slots they're in) and hopefully they can keep the specs interesting that way.


The Con Crud and Hiking Pictures

I'm currently alternating between drinking nyquil, drinking coffee to deal with the effects of the nyquil, and watching the BfA cinematic over and over and over. 

I still don't get how there can be people who don't love Sylvanas.  She's so amazing.  Look at that Banshee smile... Though, I suppose I've always been partial to her type of character. When I was a little kid,every year at christmas time, when the family would gather around to watch the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, I'd hope and pray that finally, this year, he'll finally stop christmas from coming; only to have my heart broken again and again when those damn Whos ruin everything.

Going Back to Hating Legos in Antorus

I was discussing with one of my Hunter buddies at Blizzcon that the legendaries from legion aren't actually all that bad, so long as you have all of them, and you have all 6 of your set pieces so you have room to swap things around.  I got fairly lucky with my coins this tier for set pieces, and we do our Mythic progression quite slowly anyway, so there's always plenty of time to experiment, and I was enjoying trying out various different legos.  Especially with something like MK2 gloves, where if you plan your movement perfectly, they shouldn't be any increase in DPS at all, so it was fun to see when I could swap them out for a higher stat budgeted lego and just make up for the movement losses through play. 

Anyhow, the point of that is, I'm not looking forward to being stuck into particular legendaries because of what set pieces I have, again.  I suppose in the long run it doesn't matter too much, it's only a week or two of not having choices while trying to farm up the new gear.  But it's still frustrating to go back.  I guess that's ultimately the problem with a system that is essentially a small talent tree that's connected to your gear.  

Random Pictures from my Trip

I didn't really have much to blog about today, just wanted an excuse to post some pictures from my trip to blizzcon.  

Our Blizzcon house came with a tequilime tree.  Quite convenient.

Home from Blizzcon

I've returned from Blizzcon with a new expansion announcement in tow.  When it first sunk in what the expansion was going to be about, I was a bit disappointed.  Hoard vs. Alliance is just not meaningful anymore. We've spent too many expansions half fighting eachother then banding together to kill the big bad for me to get excited over the Horde and Alliance fighting yet again.  However, as I've had a bit of time to think about it (on a 30 hour drive to get home), I do think there are a few things to be hopeful about, even if they could have gone in much more interesting directions than just Horde vs Alliance.

The Hopefuls

A Return To Thinking About Leveling

I don't at all care about leveling in WoW.  I still haven't used the free boosts that came with the last expansions, and so don't see any need to level a character any time in the future, with the game as it currently exists. So I'm happy to see they're adding in the incentive to level with the new allied races, along with the adjustments to leveling, like being able to actually finish a story before moving on, or being able to skip entire xpacs in favor of leveling all the way through one xpac's story.  This fairly simple change (now that they have the technology for it) shows that they're actually thinking about the quality of the game from start to finish, and it will hopefully go a long way to bringing in some new players, instead of only relying on old-timers to keep their subscriptions going.

The other part I really like about this, is I like having an unimportant grind to do.  We need stuff to do during down time, and having six new sub-races that I'll want to fully level to get that special xmog is a perfect example of what I'm looking for.  It's not in the slightest bit important to the game, but, especially with the changes to leveling zones, it shouldn't get old too quickly, and it just gives us something to log in and do when there are content lulls. 

I'm also quite looking forward to the possibility of Dark Iron WHU events.  If I understand correctly, we'll start at level 20.  We could do a weekly (or bi-weekly) level cap, and then do one "raid" per zone, or something to that extent.  I'll check in with some of the folks running the WHU guild on Icecrown and see if we've got enough interest after the actual expansion drops.  I'm sure Frostheim would let us resurect at least part of the WHU website to keep track of everything.  

Warchief, Banshee Queen, and My Dark Lady, Sylvanas Windrunner

I can't believe how continuously awesome they make Sylvanas.  That intro cinematic is just... oh my... I don't care what you think about the new expansion, we can surely all agree that the cinematic was amazing. I can't express how much I hope they'll continue to give Marks Hunters Sylvanas-type skills (everyone saw her shooting Black Arrows, right?).  What if we had a talent row that was all modifications to True Aim, and one option would be a big giant CD that let us do that Banshee thing she did? It could have a target cast thing, like the Demon Hunter's big CD, where you target it and then it does crazy flash thingy where we turn into a banshee temporarily in the air and jump to wherever was targeted, and then on top of the haste buff, it could add shadow damage, or some sort of flavor damage.  Perhaps it could have an execute mechanic if we're losing our artifact weapon's execute ability.  I don't really know what would be the best option, just let me be Sylvanas from that cinematic, please... 

I really have no idea what they're going to do with Sylvanas's story in BfA, and I'm still incredibly excited.  I'd be happy to see an all-out evil Sylvanas, who is just out for progressing her own agenda regardless of the cost. Or, I'd be happy to see a slightly softened Sylvanas; perhaps the pressure of being Warchief and having so many people rely on her has gotten to her, and she really is showing some allegiance to the Horde (not just using them).  

And there's so much great lore to explore with her sisters. I imagine we'll see Vereesa somewhere in the middle (as she was softening toward Sylvanas in the War Crimes novel), with Alleria and Sylvanas both on opposite ends of the spectrum.  With the introduction of Void Elves to the alliance, it sort of puts too many limits on what they can do with Alleria.  I would have thought that she'd, upon seeing how evil the Alliance is, would have realized that this wasn't the same Horde she'd fought in the past, and might have rejoined with the other high elves as part of the Horde.  Though it doesn't seem like that can happen, if they're creating a sub-race based on her being with the alliance. Oh well... 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6

While I realize not everyone agrees with me on this, I've always though season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was by far the best.  Each season's arc had gotten bigger and bigger, with a more ridiculously overpowered big-bad, until finally in season 5 she was fighting a god.  While there was a lot of fun in those seasons, I thought toning it down in season 6, where "the trio" were presented as the "big bad" of the season, well, I just thought that was brilliant.  And that in the end it wasn't even Buffy who was fighting the actual big bad.  From a writing perspective, that was just a great idea for reinventing the show.  

So part of me hopes that's what's going on with WoW in BfA.  Let's get back to basics.  We've now taken on the Legion, the biggest big bad in Warcraft history, we've even gone to Argus to do it.  Now it's time to get back to basics.  While we've been off in an alternate time version of Draenor, and on Argus/in the twisting nether, what's been happening to the regular people, in our normal homeworld? 

One Final Battle

The most hopeful possibilities about this expansion, is perhaps this is Blizzard's way of ending the Horde/Alliance battle.  This is of course not what I expect to happen, but just maybe, if I'm trying to be hopeful.  

If perhaps Blizzard is working toward a WoW II, or something like that, then this would be a good way to move forward.  Give the conflict one final push, then put it to bed.  Perhaps Manduin and Jaina disagree on how to move the alliance forward and some factions want to follow Jaina instead.  Perhaps Sylvanas is deeply evil, and the more naively noble horde races can't follow her anymore.  

Perhaps we're entering a world where factions aren't purely decided based on what race you are, but instead, individuals choose the faction they want to be a part of (like every race is the pandaran). And we can no longer tell who is on our side simply by what they look like.  

The Future of the Hunters

From a non-lore perspective, I left Blizzcon a little bit worried about the future of Hunters, as a community.  We've lost a lot of fairly huge members of the community over the last several expansions, and it doesn't seem like we've really had people step up and fill in those spots.  

One of the major differences that has developed since WoD, is there's now one primary guide writer for Hunters, and pretty much everyone who uses a guide rely's on Icy-veins. However, guides only really account for a very small portion of the content that could be coming out about Hunters.  My favorite Hunter blog was the Grumpy Elf.  He very rarely talked about how to play; though he did have a few useful "guides", most of his content was just talking about what he was doing in game, what he liked and didn't, and various things he wanted to see. 

Frostheim wrote a helpful series of blogs on how to start a hunter blog, which have been migrated to the WHU, and can still be found here.  Some things have changed since he wrote that, but a lot of it still applies.  I would add that google's service, blogger, has improved immensely, and now that you can even purchase a custom URL within blogger, it's very easy to set up a decent looking blog for very little money.  For this blog, for example, I spend $24 every 2 years to register my domain name, and that's it.  I believe Darkbrew and Bendak are both using Wordpress, which has some fancy features as well, and can be done for not too much money, either.  

Of course, there's always also room for other media.  Hunters are well represented on youtube (fatboss, Bellular, Kelani and Evitel, to name just a few), but most of them are doing general WoW content, not hunter specific content.  As I personally know from the Hunting Party Podcast, it can be difficult to fill an entire show with just Hunter content, but I know some of you out there who could just talk for an hour about anything and it'd be interesting.  PS. If any of you happen to know Evitel from Taliesin & Evitel, or Kelani from Signs Of Kelani, I'd like to get one or both of them on the HPP sometime.  I'd like to have more non-raid content, and just think they'd be fun to talk to.  

The Future of the Thrill of the Wild

I suppose I've been slacking on this front as well, not putting out much content.  I didn't realize when I first started this blog, how much I was relying on other bloggers and such for content ideas.  That is, I would see something someone else wrote that made me think of this other thing I wanted to discuss.  But as the community has shrunk, that opportunity for playing off of eachother has diminished as well. 

Another big change has been that I'm not really using my own DPS spreadsheet anymore.  It's possible I was the last theorycrafter that hadn't swapped to primarily using SimC, but I have now made the swap.  Between AMR's simulations, and a lot of the improvements to SimC (and even raidbots.com) it just didn't seem necessary to do all the work of keeping up my own DPS spreadsheet.  And as such, I don't have to get into the nitty-gritty of how a lot of mechanics work.  Though I am still a fairly naturally curious person, so hopefully I'll still have a few really number-crunchy articles every once in a while.  

I do have some fun ideas for the future here. I'm still hoping to find someone to collaborate with on some videos. I've been working on an album (or just a collection, I suppose) of Hunter drinking songs.  I've got a few that are about ready to record. It would be a lot of fun to have some basic machinima along with them. Even if it's just a bunch of dwarf hunters drinking in a dwarf pub, or something like that. 

Roadtrip to Blizzcon

With a handful of extra un-used vacation days this year, I decided to take a roadtrip to Blizzcon, rather than flying.  I'm currently planning on leave this coming Friday, and meandering through Colorado and southern Utah, doing some camping and hiking along my route to the con.

Major stops should include: Arches National Park, Capitol Reef, and Zion National Park. Also going to crash with some old friends in Denver one night.

Upon arriving at the con, one of my guilds is doing our normal house rental bit.  This year we got a couple of houses about a mile's walk from the con center (actually only like, a third of a mile to the edge of the con center, but over a mile to get to the front door where we can get in).  I'm not very excited about the houses, but one plus is this year we've got a pool and a hot tub in one of the houses.  So if anyone is looking to do some relaxing after a long day on your feet at the con, hit me up. Solar even said he'd lifeguard for us.

Blizzcon Predictions

  • New expansion announced - 99%
    • New Expansion includes crowd-pleasers like playable Naga - 90% (naga specific - 30%)
    • New race's starting zone's will be playable at Blizzcon - 50%
    • Jaina Proudmoore for days - 90%
      • I'll get to meet Laura Bailey (voice actress for JP) and we'll be best friends by the end of the week - 2% 
    • Tinkerers will not be a new class.
    • The new Garrison/Class Hall feature will be guild-centric
  • Hearthstone will announce a new expansion set of cards and I won't care at all - 90%
  • Despite not playing the game at all, Hearthstone will continue to be the most interesting e-sports event to watch live at blizzcon.
  • A new FPS based on the starcraft IP will be announced - 40%
  • Overwatch League will dominate the e-sports announcements, despite Starcraft continuing to draw the biggest crowds.  
  • New hero in Overwatch -70%
  • I'll forget that Diablo is a Blizzard game, and won't be reminded of it at all at Blizzcon - 65%

FYTY: Tier 21 Set Bonuses - Pt 3 - Marksmanship

Tier 21 - Nagastalker

All week I've been going over my proposed solutions to the problems with the recently datamined Tier 21 set bonuses.  Beast Mastery turned out to be relatively simple to fix, though required a strong buff to the 2 piece and a slight re-work of the 4-piece (while keeping the same basic mechanic/concept) to make them viable. Survival was a bit more weird to do, as both of the tier bonuses could substantially change the spec's rotation, though we ended up in a fairly good place that would provide an opportunity for the best hunters to really shine, while mildly screwing over the average Hunter who will need to learn a very complicated rotation.  All that's left is Marksmanship.

Marksmanship Set Bonuses:

  • 2 Pc Bonus - Marked Shot Sometimes Shoots Twice - Marked Shot has a 15% chance to fire at the target an additional time.
  • 4 Pc Bonus - Marked Shot Buffs Focus Builders - When Marked Shot deals damage, the damage of your next Arcane Shot is increased by 20% or Multi-Shot damage by 20% and your next Arcane Shot will generate an additional 5 Focus (7 with Sidewinders) or your next Multi-shot will generate an additional 1 Focus.
The theme for Marksmanship's set bonuses in Tier 21 seems to be "give Marked Shot more to do?". We've seen Marked Shot go from an incredibly powerful ability in the early days of legion to a fairly meh ability lately whose sole purpose is to start Vulnerable cycles.  Let's see if these bonuses will be enough to make it worth while.  

The 2 Piece - Marked Shot Sometimes Shoots Twice

For anyone who has been playing Marksmanship this expansion, you'll of course be familiar with this affect, because it's remarkably similar to the supposedly legendary ability for Zevrim's Hunter.  The legendary ring started the expansion very strong, especially in AoE situations, but when Marked Shot was nerfed to not benefit from Vulnerable, the ring's strength was greatly diminished, to the point of even being a DPS loss in many single target situations.  

Fortunately, the new 2 piece set bonus doesn't require you to actually cast Marked Shot twice, wasting precious focus and an even more precious GCD all the while delaying getting your Vulnerable + Patient Sniper buff higher by resetting the timer. 

Essentially, we're just talking about a chance to double the damage from Marked Shot.  Even if that's not the most exiting of effects, it's fine for a 2-piece bonus, and has the potential to be a decent passive buff, that will make MM even more ridiculous on AoE fights.

Since there's not that much to look at here, I'm going to take a few types of fights for our examples. I'll start with a pure single target, Goroth, then try a mix of single target and 2-target, then try a more AoE-friendly fight with Mistress Sassz'ine, and finally, just a garbage AoE fight in which parses are even more meaningless, The Desolate Host. 

Goroth - Pure Single-Target

The Goroth top parses are a bit ridiculous right now, with the 4-pc tier 20 and 2-pc tier 19 combo, plus a crit heavy build, we're seeing upwards of 70% of a Marks Hunter's damage coming from Aimed Shot alone, and 75% of that Aimed Shot damage being from Critical Strikes.  Still, we'll still have this 4 pc when we're getting our tier 21 2 pc, so it may not be all that different then.  

On the parse I'm looking at, which is actually the second from the top parse at the time of my writing this (mostly because the top parse seemed to have a bit too favorable of RNG, and I didn't want to use it as an example, though it didn't actually affect the results too much), Marked Shot made up 13.42% of the Hunter's damage, at 45.08 million damage out of a total of 335.9 million damage in a 243 second fight.  

If we just look at the expected value of a 15% chance at getting double Marked Shot damage, that puts us at 51.84 million damage from Marked Shot, for an overall gain of 2.01%.   Not exactly much to get excited about, eh?  Let's look at AoE before jumping to any conclusions.

Mistress Sassz'ine - AoE and Single-target Mix with some Garbage AoE

Here we see Marked Shot raising up in value quite a bit.  In the top MM parse (at the time of my writing this), Marked Shot (or in this case, "Im Visier", as I suppose this Hunter whose parse I'm looking at is German) made up 31.34% of the overall damage, at 302.7 million damage out of 966 million damage total, in a 463 second fight. This Hunter cast Marked Shot 72 times, for a total of 257 hits, putting their average at 2.8 targets per Marked Shot.  

Again, if we just look at the expected value of Marked Shot going off twice, 15% of the time, that brings our total Marked Shot damage up to 348.12 million damage, for an overall DPS increase of 4.7%.

The Desolate Host - Garbage AoE

Let's be real here, at some point on these AoE fights, getting a high parse is about getting lucky with your Marking Targets procs, more than it's about playing particularly well.  There is still obviously some amount of skill involved, and a lot of hardwork to get the gear necessary, but a lot of it is just about getting lots of Marking Target procs, and getting them at the right time, and having the rest of your team not do too much damage.  My point is: take these numbers with a grain of salt.  

In this case, the top Parse for The Desolate Host did 41.72% of their damage with Marked Shot, overcoming even their Aimed Shot damage.  In a 406 second fight, this hunter cast 77 Marked Shots, which hit 441 times (averaging 5.73 targets per cast) for 368.15 million damage out of their overall total of 882.38 million damage.  

Even in this case, at only a 15% chance to proc, we don't see the 2 set bonus going too far out of hand, increasing their Marked Shot damage's expected value by 55.22 million, which makes for a 6.26% overall increase to damage.   Still, 2% is far too low.  

My Proposal

Of all the Hunter set bonuses in tier 21, Marksmanship Hunters are the only with the potential to really increase their AoE damage.  As such, it makes some amount of sense that we'd see this set bonus having a little bit lower affect on Single Target than the average set bonus.  Still, a 2% increase to single target is a bit ridiculous.  We'll see that relative percent rise slightly when we lose our current tier 20 set bonuses, as the value of Aimed Shot will go down, and we'll likely go back to stacking Mastery instead of Crit.  But, it won't affect it enough to make it worthwhile in single target. 

At a 25% chance to add a second Marked Shot, we see a 3.36% increase to overall damage on the single-target parse,  and a 7.83% increase to overal damage on the Mistriss Sassz'ine parse.  That might be getting too high for the mixed AoE fight, but it's still fairly low for single target.  It's also important to note that on the Misstress Sassz'ine fight, a lot of that AoE is from "garbage-time". If you've done the fight, you'll have noticed that toward the end, a lot of adds come out, and you're essentially racing to kill the boss in time, but instead of prioritizing the boss, you could just spam your AoE to get a higher parse.  That's what I mean by "garbage time".  It's meaningless damage.  It may make you feel fancy when you look at your overall numbers, and there may be a fun meta-game in trying to get as much of that cheese as possible, but it doesn't actually affect whether or not your team can kill bosses.  This is even more so true on The Desolate Host. So I'm not worried about seeing a slightly high number like a 7.83% increase for Sassz'ine.  

If we try raising it up to 30% chance on the 2-piece, we see a much more reasonable 4.03% increase to single target damage,  but on Sassz'ine it jumps up to a 9.4% increase, which is starting to get to be a bit much, even when you take into account a lot of that DPS being inconsequential.  So it's likely, if the Blizzard Devs are married to this Marked Shot Buff concept, then a 25% chance is the most we'll be able to see, and we'll have to hope it isn't too hard to keep up a Beast Mastery set of gear for any Single Target fights. 

Proposal Option A:
2 Pc Bonus - Marked Shot Sometimes Shoots Twice - Marked Shot has a 25% chance to fire at the target an additional time.

As an alternative, Blizzard could give MM a single-target only buff that it will desperately need when it loses the tier 20 set bonuses, and have a more substantial chance to shoot a second time, but it will only hit your current target.  I particularly like this solution because MM doesn't really need more AoE spam damage, and I like the idea of doing important damage more than I like doing more overal damage, but that doesn't really help me get kills.  

Proposal Option B:
2 Pc Bonus - Marked Shot Sometimes Shoots Twice - Marked Shot has a 35% chance to fire at your current target an additional time.


The 4 Piece - Marked Shot Buffs Focus Builders

Even though there was a bit of weirdness in looking at the AoE vs Single Target for the 2 piece set bonus, it doesn't compare to the idea of buffing the damage of our Focus Builders. Buffing the amount of focus we get back is great; I can get behind that idea, but having the damage buff on there also is just a bit strange.  Anyhow, let's take a look at the currently datamined effect.

Starting with just the straight damage percentage increase, we get an extra 20% from the next Arcane Shot every time Marked Shot deals damage.  There's no sign yet as to whether or not this will stack, which would give the 4-piece set bonus a bit of synergy with the 2-piece bonus (and Zevrim's, to some extent), so for now I'm going to assume it doesn't stack.

Goroth - Pure Single-Target

For the Goroth parse I was looking at before, we had 30 Marked Shots, which would have provided the buff for 30 of the 57 Arcane Shots.  Arcane Shots averaged about 315 thousand damage, 20% of which is 62,980.  If we add that damage to 30 of the Arcane Shots, that raises our damage by 1.89 million, which is a .56% increase from our total damage of 335.87 million.

In addition we get an extra 5 focus for each of those Arcane Shots.  That gives us 150 extra focus across the course of the fight.  That's enough extra focus for 3 whole Aimed Shots.  At 2.5 million damage each, and assuming no down-time so we'd be replacing 4 unbuffed Arcane Shots with the cast time of 3 Aimed Shots, so we'll subtract that damage, we're looking at potentially an extra 6.27 million damage, significantly more than we got from the 20% damage buff to Arcane Shot.

All together, that's a 2.43% overall increase to single target damage.

Mistress Sassz'ine - AoE and Single-target Mix with some Garbage AoE

Going back to the same parse from Mistress Sassz'ine, we have a mix of Arcane Shots and Multi-shots (or Arkaner Schuss and Mehrfachschuss, if you're into that sort of thing). Because of the increased AoE value of Marked Shot, we also had a lot more Marked Shots to proc the 4-pc buff, with 72 casts.  

A Bit of a Tangent About Min-Max'ing the 4-pc

First, just for fun, I wanted to compare the value of using Arcane Shot instead of Multi-shot, in multi-target situations when Marking Targets is not proc'ed (that is to say, when the only benefit you get is from your direct damage and your focus, not from the benefit of Marked Shot).  This is just in case the higher focus gain at low targets (2-3) might give you enough extra Aimed shots to make up for the lost damage from casting Arcane Shot instead of Multi-shot.

In the actual parse, the average damage was:

CastsHitsAvg tar/castdmg/castdmg/hit
Multi Shot1194083.43694,400.21202,132.35
Arcane Shot30301.00335,666.67335,670.17

With 2 targets, we're only getting 8 focus from Multi-shot which is five less than we would have got from the Arcane Shot.  At 202k damage per target, we'll see more damage from the Multi-shot, buffed by 20% that comes up to 485.1k damage, compared to only 402.8k damage from Arcane Shot.  However, if that extra 5 focus helps us to cast more Aimed Shots.  If we take the extra focus divided by 50, and multiply that result by the average damage of an Aimed Shot (based on the number of targets), we should be able to compare the focus gain from each.  In the case of the parse I'm looking at, that hunter averaged 2.67 million damage from Aimed Shot to the main target, and 814.7 thousand damage to each additional target (from Trick Shot).  The results are as follows for 2, 3 or 4 targets:

Arcane Shot focusArcane Shot DamageMulti-shot FocusMulti-Shot Damage% of AiS LostAS damage + AiS Lost - Multi Dmg
2 targets13402804.28485,117.65348,470.00266,156.55
3 targets13402804.212727,676.4785,988.00-238,884.27
4 targets13402804.216970,235.29-306,846.00
The last column, if that's a bit unclear, is the difference between the sum of the Arcane Shot damage and the percent of the Aimed Shot damage we were assigning based on the extra focus, and the Multi-shot damage.  In the case of 2 targets, we actually come out ahead with using Arcane Shot instead of Multi-shot. Once we get up to 3 or more targets, the difference in focus is too little, and the damage increase from Multi-shot over Arcane Shot is too great. 

However, as I stated above, this is only in the occasion that you do not have a Marking Targets proc, in which case, the damage from casting another Marked Shot greatly outweighs any of these other consideration.  

Ok Back to Mistress Sassz'ine - AoE and Single-target Mix

Because the majority of the time, you'll be basing whether or not you use Multi-shot or Arcane Shot on maximizing the damage from Marked Shot and Trick Shot, for the rest of this, I'm going to assume that we'll have little-to-no control over whether or not we're buffing Multi-shot or Arcane Shot. Because we cast significantly more Marked Shots during the multi-target part of the fight, we need to give different weight to the buff being used on Multi-shot vs Arcane Shot.  In the case of this particular parse, we had 20 Marked Shots that only hit 1 target, and 52 that were cast at 2 or more targets.  So we'll use that as our ratio of buffed Arcane Shots to buffed Multi-Shots.  

For Arcane Shots, we're looking at an extra 67,134 damage per cast; with 20 buffed Arcane Shots, that's an extra 1.34 million damage, along with an extra 100 focus.  

For Multi-shots, we're looking at an average of an excess 40,426.5 damage per target hit. Since we averaged 3.43 targets per cast, we can call that 138,880 damage per cast, which, with 52 buffs, works out to about 7.22 million extra damage across the fight, along with an extra 178 focus.  

If, like in the single target section, we assume that extra focus is not wasted sitting at the focus cap, and that it is applied to more Aimed Shots (I'm assuming Aimed Shots even during AoE time, as generally we've already cast the max number of Marked Shots during AoE fights, as they're limited by Marking Target procs more than they are by focus).  That would mean we're averaging getting to cast an extra 5.567 Aimed Shots, instead of 7.423 filler Arcane Shots,  which works out to an extra 12.37 million damage.  

Add that all up, and we're looking at 20.94 million damage across the fight, which comes up to an increase of... 2.1%.  

Fixing the 4 pc

When it comes down to it, we're talking about a bonus that buffs a miniscule percent of our damage, and provides at most a few extra Aimed Shots.  It's a nice enough idea to have Marked Shot buffing our focus builders, but it just doesn't matter enough.  

On the Sassz'ine parse, if you increased that buff to 50%.  That is, it gives us a 50% damage buff on the next Arcane Shot or Multi-Shot after casting a Marked Shot, that would only raise it up to about a 3.5% buff.  Similarly on the Single-target parse, that would only raise the overall buff to 3.27%. So we need to add to the Focus return, also.  

If we up the Focus return on Arcane Shot to +7, then that brings our single target overall buff up to a reasonable amount, 4.2%.  +8 focus would be 4.6%, which isn't unreasonable either.  Once we get up to +9 focus (remember, this is with the damage already buffed by 50%, also), then we start to top 5%. 

On the Sassz'ine parse, raising the Arcane Shot focus return to 8 without touching the Multi-shot focus return only brings our overall buff up to 3.8%.  With Multi-shot, it has the potential to scale very quickly.  At an additional 2 focus per Multi-shot hit, along with the 50% damage buff and a raising the Arcane Shot focus return to +8, we get up to a 4.6% overall buff from the 4 pc.  Which I think is a pretty good place for this fight. 

It's worth noting that there is a fairly decent skill cap on any benefit from the focus return.  If you're the type of player who, when they don't have any Marking Targets procs, just sits there and spams Multi-shot or Arcane Shot, you're not really going to benefit too much from extra focus return mechanics.  If, on the other hand, you pay close attention and mange your focus, always staying under the cap, you can get a fair bit of return off it this type of mechanic.  

My Proposal

So I feel like that puts us in a fairly decent place in general.  It wouldn't hurt if our 4 pc was tuned a bit higher, but at some point, the skill cap is going to make the increases benefit the most skilled players too much more than your average player, so I wouldn't want to push it too much, especially in the focus mechanics.  


4 Pc Bonus - Marked Shot Buffs Focus Builders - When Marked Shot deals damage, the damage of your next Arcane Shot or Multi-shot is increased by 50% and your next Arcane Shot will generate an additional 8 Focus (10 with Sidewinders) or your next Multi-shot will generate an additional 2 Focus.

TL;DR: Fixed That For You, Blizzard

Here are my Delirium-Approved Marksmanship Tier 21 set bonuses:

  • 2 Pc Bonus* - Marked Shot Sometimes Shoots Twice - Marked Shot has a 35% chance to fire at your current target an additional time.
  • 4 Pc Bonus* - Marked Shot Buffs Focus Builders - When Marked Shot deals damage, the damage of your next Arcane Shot or Multi-shot is increased by 50% and your next Arcane Shot will generate an additional 8 Focus (10 with Sidewinders) or your next Multi-shot will generate an additional 2 Focus.
*Note - anyone reading this who just googled "Survival Hunter Tier 21 set bonuses", these are my proposed fixes, not the actual bonuses. Maybe try searching on wowhead...

FTFY: Tier 21 Set Bonuses - Pt 2 - Survival

Tier 21 - Nagastalker

On Tuesday, we went over some possible fixes for Beast Mastery's 2 piece and 4 piece set bonuses, to bring them in line with a more typical damage increase from a set bonus.  We ended up in a decent place numerically, but with a set bonus that somewhat required the use of two talents, One with the Pack and Killer Cobra.

Today I'm going to delve into the Survival set bonuses, to see if I can make sense of what the devs were going for with the design concept, and how to fix them numerically.

Survival Set Bonuses:

  • 2P Set Bonus - Flanking Strikes Buff Raptor Strike Crit - Flanking Strike has a 10% chance to increase the critical strike chance of your next Raptor Strike by 100%.
  • 4P Set Bonus - Mongoose Bite Buffs Raptor Strike Damage - Each cast of Mongoose Bite increases the damage of your next Raptor Strike by 0%10%. Stacks up to 06 times.
To start off, these are both fairly odd set bonuses.  With BM, we saw both set bonuses focusing on the spec's signature ability, Kill Command.  For Survival, however, we have both set bonuses based around a fairly weak ability, that's considered filler, at best.  

One of the problems is, Raptor Strike is primarily used for the Way of the Mok'nathal talent.  This is, technically, for its tier, the highest potential damage output talent in essentially all situations.  However, using it takes an already fairly complicated rotation, and turns it into the most complicated rotation in the game.  It's worthwhile for the top SV hunters who are trying to squeeze every bit of DPS out of their rotation, but for your average SV hunter, Animal Instincts just makes the spec much more manageable, without sacrificing much DPS, especially in AoE situations.

Still, it's not unheard of for set bonuses to drastically change a spec's rotation and priorities, so I'll try to work with these bonuses, and see what we can come up with.  

The 2 Piece - Flanking Strikes Buff Raptor Strike Crit

For Tier 21 Survival, the 2 piece will be, I suspect, the more difficult of the two to make matter. At least part of the problem is, Crits won't really do much for a Raptor Strike until we get the 4 piece set bonus to buff Raptor Strike's damage.  After the 4 piece, we'll be able to build up to our 6 stacks of Raptor Strike buff, while casting Flanking Strikes to try to re-gain charges of Mongoose Bite, and hoping to get the auto-crit proc.  That's likely going to be the only way to make the current 2-piece matter.  

In the past, we've seen several occasions where the datamining had the 2 piece and 4 piece set bonuses reversed, so I strongly wonder which if that's what's happened here.  Otherwise, the 2 piece is nearly worthless until you have the 4 piece.  Still, before we give up on it completely, let's delve into the math.  For this, I'm going to be looking at the top Mythic Goroth SV parse.  

48 of the top 50 Mythic parses are using Way of the Mok'nathal, but fortunately there's a high ranking parse (4th at the time of my writing this) that used Animal Instincts, so I'll reference that parse on occasion also.  To be clear however, we're not looking at much difference from Raptor Strike damage in the two parses.  In both cases, they're very low percentages of the overall damage. On the parse with WotM, Raptor Strike was 4.6% of the overall damage, on the parse with AI, it was 1.96%.  In the AI parse, however, that hunter was sitting a little under 40% crit baseline, but averaged around 52% overall, with Raptor Strikes crit'ing at a rate of 38.9%; having this high of crit already will further devalue the 2 piece set bonus a bit, unfortunately.   The hunter playing WotM had a little over 24% crit baseline, and averaged around 36% overall, with Raptor Strike crit'ing at a rate of 28.2%, which will give that hunter a little bit more value out of the auto-crit from the 2 piece. 

Way of the Mok'nathal

For the WotM parse, that hunter did about 349.34 million damage over 286 seconds.  In that time, they cast Raptor Strike 39 times, to get an up-time of 99.18% on WotM (the actually let it fall off very briefly at one point, which is just about as good as can be expected considering the movement needs of the fight).

Aiming for the same 5% damage increase, this means we'd want to get 17.47 million extra damage from this buff.  For the parse I'm looking at, Raptor Strike hits averaged 314,503.3 damage, and crits averaged 659,732.6 damage (some of this is being obscured a bit by the tier 19 set bonuses, particularly the Mongoose Power buff, but we should be close enough to get the data we want). If we were only casting additional Raptor Strikes any time the buff came up, we'd need an excess 26.48 Raptor Strikes with 100% crit chance, without costing us any other abilities, in order to make up the entire 5% damage increase.  Obviously we're not going to have enough free GCDs to do that; let alone enough excess focus to prioritize those over other abilities (especially considering that we need to cast Flanking Strike to proc the bonus).

If, on the other hand, we used the procs on the Raptor Strikes we'd already be casting (in this case, there were 39 of them).  This is where any crit we already have will make the set bonus less valuable. If we were some able to increase the proc chance on each flanking strike to where we cast 100% of those Raptor Strikes with +100% crit chance, then we'd only raise the damage of all of our Raptor Strikes from 16.06 million to 25.73 million, for a total gain of about 9.67 million damage, which would be a 2.8% overall increase.

To get this gain, we would need, at the very least, an 83% proc chance on each Flanking Strike cast. If we increased that to a 100% proc chance, and in addition were able to squeeze in an extra 8 Raptor Strikes to take advantage of all of the procs, then we'd be looking at an extra 5.3 million damage from those 8 Raptor Strikes, which together is with the increased crit damage on the other raptor strikes would bring us to an extra 14.95 million damage; a much more reasonable 4.28% overall DPS buff (with near-perfect play, and zero downtime).

With Animal Instincts

The core problem with using this Talent with the tier 21 2-piece set bonus mechanic, is it wouldn't reward good play.  You'd never want to use Raptor Strike during Mongoose Fury, because it won't have the increased proc chance for Hunting Companion or the chance to reduce the CD on Mongoose Bite, both of which Flanking Strike has (not to mention, it will do less damage, even at 100% crit, than Flanking Strike does on average, and will do way less damage than a fully buffed Mongoose Bite).

So we're stuck still using Raptor Strike in between Mongoose Fury buffs, which would be ok, we use a lot of abilities only outside of Mongoose Fury buffs, except that most of our Flanking Strikes still fall inside Mongoose Fury, so we're now risking losing a lot of procs of the 2-piece set bonus.  Even if we don't lose out on procs, we can't cast extra Raptor Strikes between Mongoose Fury buffs, because again, even at 100% crit chance, it will do less damage than any of our other abilities, so there's nothing that can be replaced, and delaying restarting our next round of Mongoose Fury will further lower our overall DPS.  So the absolute best we can do is cast the same number of filler Raptor Strikes.

If we could somehow line those up with the appropriate amount of procs from Flanking Strike to where we got all of our Raptor Strikes to have the +100% crit chance, we'd still only see an extra 2.6 million damage across the fight, for about a 0.76% increase.

So essentially, there's no hope at all for the 2-piece if you only use Animal Instincts, even if the proc chance on Flanking Strike is 100%.

My Proposal

Really, we just need a completely different set bonus here. However, it's not completely unheard of to have a set bonus that makes one talent significantly better than another.  So if the devs are married to this concept, then they've just got to forget the percent chance to proc on Flanking Strike casts.  


2P Set Bonus - Casting Flanking Strike increased the critical strike chance of your next Raptor Strike by 100%.

The 4 Piece - Mongoose Bite Buffs Raptor Strike Damage

To work with this set bonus, I'm going to go ahead and assume, even if we don't get a reasonable 2-pc set bonus, that we'll at least get something that increases the crit chance of Raptor Strike occasionally, so that we can have each Raptor Strike that's buffed by the 4-pc also be an auto-crit.  

As it stands, the datamining shows this as a 10% damage buff, stacking up to six times. At a high enough damage increase per stack, we'd want to use Raptor Strike then any time it got to 6 stacks, regardless of where that fell in our Mongoose Fury/Bite cycle.  With a low amount like 10% per stack, you're likely not losing much if you miss out on a stack or two anyway, so there will be some times when you want to use it before casting any more Mongoose Bites, and sometimes when you'd be better off continuing to cast Mongoose Bites and waiting until you have no charges left before casting your buffed Raptor Strike.  

Because the 2-pc bonus really only benefits from the WotM build, I'm going to go back to just looking at the top WotM parse, and set aside the AI parse for a moment. 

The Benefit at 10% per Stack

With Way of the Mok'nathal, you can't get a full 6 Mongoose Bites per Raptor Strike.  If you just think through the rotation you'll see why, as you'll need to keep up one Raptor Strike at least every 10 seconds.  

In the parse I've been looking at, the hunter averaged 2.74 Mongoose Bites per Raptor Strike, with a maximum of 6 between Raptor Strike casts, and a minimum of zero.  Assuming you still cast the same number of both Mongoose Bites and Raptor Strikes, because there's no extra benefit to getting to the full 6 stacks, as long as you don't ever go over 6 stacks, without taking the 2-piece into account, there won't be any benefit to getting off one Raptor Strike with the full 6 stacks and then getting the next Raptor Strike with no stacks, or if you get 3 stacks every time.  

If, however, we don't have the 2 piece set bonus's increased crit chance on every Raptor Stike, then it will become very important how many stacks we have when we use Raptor Strike, and you'll need to have a full 6 stacks when that proc is up.   Further trouble here comes if you get a proc on a Flanking Strike you use while you have no stacks, but you still need to cast Raptor Strike to maintain your WotM buff.  

Regardless of the rotational implications, if we were to say we don't adjust our rotation (just for now, so we can get started looking at the actual values), we can just use our average Mongoose Bites per Raptor Strike to see the effect.  At 2.667 MB per RS, we see an average increase of 113,008.5 damage per Raptor Strike.  For an extra 4.4 million damage over the course of the fight, which works out to be a 1.3% overall increase to DPS.  If, as in our "best case scenario" from above, we can get auto-crits on all of those from the 2 piece, and cast an additional 8 Raptor Strikes,  we'd actually see less Mongoose Bites per Raptor Strike, so get less stacks on average, but would see a little bit more damage from those stacks, which would bring us up to a total gain of 5.9 million, for a 1.7% increase to DPS.  

Searching for a Reasonable Buff

So how much of an increase per stack would we need to make this buff reach our expected 5% overall DPS increase?  Before we take the 2-piece into account, we'd need to come up with (for the parse I'm looking at) 18.21 million damage spread across the buffs from 107 Mongoose Bites.  That's 163,243 damage per stack, which is about 40% of each Raptor Strike, which as you might recall (if I wrote it down anywhere above) were averaging 411,900 damage each.  

However, I'd have no problem with an over-powered set bonus for SV, I don't actually imagine we'd ever get one, as the Devs seem to think it will break the hearts of all the "never-SV" hunters out there. The problem with having even a 40% per stack increase in damage for Raptor Strike is at that rate, it would be worthwhile to let Way of the Mok'nathal drop so you could get full 6 stack auto-crits, which would give you significantly more than a 5% damage boost.  

If we were getting all crits, and raising it up in our priority so we were casting it a bit more, as I described above because of the 2 piece, then that same 40% per stack would look more like an increase of 28.24 million damage increase over the course of the fight, on average, or a 7.8% overall increase to DPS.  I don't think that would be completely unreasonable, because it would require good play, a little help from the RNG, and a fair amount of planning ahead / awareness of what's going on, so it seems like a worthwhile reward.  Still, it doesn't seem like something Blizzard would to give to a spec like Survival, the "step-child" of specs.  

My Proposal

I'm hesitant to say this, as it would be terrible if Blizzard didn't fix the 2 set and went with 4 set numbers like this, but, in a world where I got what I wanted with the 2 piece set bonus, I think a 25% increase to Raptor Strike per stack is a reasonable compromise.  At that point, we'd see about a 4.84% overall increase to DPS with near-optimal play.  Without the benefit from the 2 piece, it would only be about a 3.15% increase, which is a bit anemic, but not unheard of for a set bonus.  And even on the high end, there would be a little bit of room for improvement if you played with your priority list. 

4 Piece Proposal: 
4 Pc Set Bonus - Each cast of Mongoose Bite increases the damage of your next Raptor Strike by 25%. Stacks up to 6 times.

Other Notes: Both of these bonuses have a lot more variables in them than either of the BM sets did.  I tried to look at a lot of different options in my spreadsheet, even if I didn't show that all here. Though I'm not conscious of any error or intentional misrepresentation here, I imagine it's likely that I may have missed some aspects of SV play that will be affected, for the better or worse, by these proposals.  Nevertheless, I do genuinely think these are option presented here would be both fair, and reasonable, compared to other tier sets in the game.  

TL;DR: Fixed That For You, Blizzard

Here are my Delirium-Approved Survival Tier 21 set bonuses:

  • 2P Set Bonus - Casting Flanking Strike increased the critical strike chance of your next Raptor Strike by 100%.

  • 4 Pc Set Bonus* - Each cast of Mongoose Bite increases the damage of your next Raptor Strike by 25%. Stacks up to 6 times.

*Note - anyone reading this who just googled "Survival Hunter Tier 21 set bonuses", these are my proposed fixes, not the actual bonuses. Maybe try searching on wowhead...

FTFY: Tier 21 Set Bonuses - Pt 1 - Beast Mastery

Tier 21 - Nagastalker

Last week, when Blizzard released Argus onto the PTR, we got our first glimpse of what might, possible (ok, probably won't) be our tier bonuses in the next raid, Antorus.  Being as though we are very, very early in the development cycle, they were very incomplete, and listed zeros where all the numbers will go (if the mechanics even stay the same).  I wrote this big long article predicting what they would replace the zeros with, and then Tuesday afternoon, a new PTR build pops up with numbers replacing the zeros...  

Fortunately, however, the numbers are still fairly silly.  I'm guessing they're just going to plug in random numbers, and see how that affects the QA team. I, however, thought maybe we could do some mathing to skip ahead to the right answer; as it seems perhaps the developers at Blizzard are too busy working on new spell animations to do the math (no, I don't really think that's true, but come on, just go with it, for the sake of the narrative of this piece). Being the ever gracious logician I am, I figured I'd take a stab at them in this new series (which I just made up and decided will be a series) called: Fixed That For You, Blizzard

Beast Mastery Set Bonuses

I thought I'd start off with Beast Mastery, because BM players rarely get much love here on my site. Here are the Set Bonuses as they exist now on the PTR:

  • 2P Set Bonus - Kill Command damage increased by 10%.
  • 4P Set Bonus - When Wild Call resets the cooldown of Dire Beast, the cooldown of Kill Command is reduced by 1 second.

The 2 Piece; AKA, Let's see if I remember how to do middle-school Algebra

The 2 piece should be the simplest to figure out values for.  In this case, I'm going to assume that the expected value for each.set bonus is 4-5% increase in single target.

For this little analysis, I took the top Mythic Goroth BM Parse (or at least what was the top parse at the time of my writing this), and pretended I was making adjustments there.  

In this case, the Hunter did a total of 320.21 million damage in about 254 seconds.  Of that, 105.67 million damage came from Kill Command, which is to say 33% of the total damage. That was split between main pet, Hati and Jaws of Thunder (though all of them should be affected equally by a generic KC increased damage buff), across 65 casts of Kill Command. 

Seeing as though Kill Command is already the largest portion of a BM Hunter's damage, it's safe to assume that its usage is already being optimized, and having a damage buff to it won't really affect the number of KCs used in a fight.  

If we want to increase the total damage by 5%, we need to do an additional 16.01 million damage. Split across 65 Kill Commands, that's an additional .2463 million damage per Kill Command.  Kill Command was averaging 1.63 million damage per cast in this parse, so that extra .2463 million is 15.15%, which we can call an even 15% as generally we see some set bonuses that are a bit lower than a 5% overall buff, and some that are a bit higher, and people seem to like more rounded numbers like a multiple of 5.  

Another way to solve the problem would be to take that 16.01 million, and divide that by the total of the Kill Command damage, which as we said above was 105.67 million.  This also gives us .1515, or 15.15%.  

I feel fairly safe from this saying that we have a good answer there, and will fill in the 2 pc set bonus to match:

2P Set Bonus - Kill Command damage increased by 15%.

Other Notes:
The current top BM parse on Mythic Goroth that didn't take the Killer Cobra talent only used 46 Kill Commands, in a 5 minute fight.  That's one every 6.52 seconds, compared to the top overall parse (with Killer Cobra) that averaged using Kill Command once every 3.91 seconds. For the AotB BM Hunter, they would need a 30.5% buff to Kill Command to get a 5% overall buff to their damage from the 2 pc.  Basically, that's not going to happen, so get ready to play with Killer Cobra.

One reason I like this approach to a 2-pc set bonus, which should be fairly simple, is that it rewards you most for playing the spec well.  If you're not managing your focus, you'll cast fewer Kill Commands, and will thus benefit less from the bonus.  In the example I'm using here, we're looking at nearly perfect play, so a hunter playing on this level will see the full benefit, increasing their single target damage about 5%.  Every step down from the ideal rotation, however, will 'cause you to see less benefit from the 2-piece set bonus.  

Another thing I tend to like about this design is that it plays into BM's strengths, which are already Single Target.  It still can be useful in AoE fights, because most of the time you still have a priority-target, but you won't see nearly as much benefit.  However, this may improve BM's single target enough that we'll see occasions where ranged hunters will want to play BM for single-target fights, and MM for AoE.  That will, of course, depend greatly on the other tuning the devs have in store for the specs.  

The 4 Piece

This one gets a bit more complicated, and I'll have to double check that I remember all of the weird mechanics BM has right now.  The biggest trouble comes from the over-use of the Killer Cobra talent, which resets the cooldown of Kill Command during Bestial Wrath when you cast Cobra Shot. This means, essentially, the set bonus will be worthless during Bestial Wrath when taking the Killer Cobra Talent.  

The other problem here is in reducing the CD of Kill Command.  In this case, I'm going to assume that means your current CD, not the CD of your next cast.  That means, if you are using KC immediately any time it's available, you've got a good chance of reducing the CD when it's about to come off CD anyway.  

The Basic Mechanics:

For the numbers portion here, I'm going to look at the same parse as above.  We need that Hunter's haste and crit, and some other info, which I'll paste here:

Avg Crit30.3%
Base Haste14.95%
Avg Haste20.48%
Fight Length254 seconds
Auto Shots102
AShots Interval2.49 seconds
KC CD6.23 seconds
Avg KC CD3.91 seconds
KC Casts65
Dmg/KC Cast1.87 Million

To clarify, base Haste is from the stats on the hunter's gear, where as "Avg Haste" is what I calculated from the base Haste and the time spent in Bloodlust and any other buffs.  "KC CD" is the actual cooldown of Kill Command, and "Avg KC CD" is just the total number of Kill Command's cast divided by the length of the fight, which should account for any CD Reset mechanics, like Killer Cobra, which I mentioned above.  

Wild Call has a 20% chance to proc each time an Auto Shot crits.  With 30.32% Crit and the One With the Pack talent (which will become even more mandatory with this tier bonus), each Auto Shot will have a 15.16% chance to proc Wild Call. Given that this hunter averaged an autoshot every 2.49 seconds, that means Wild Call should proc, on average, once every 16.4 seconds.  Over a 254 second fight, that means this hunter would average around 15.5 procs.  

The Damage Portion:

Now we've got a pretty good idea of how we'll get the damage, let's see what kind of damage we need. To get an additional 5% of our new total damage (which was 320.21 million damage, for those who weren't following along doing the math), we'll need to do an additional 16.81 million damage.  

Since our new Kill Command (after the buff from the 2 pc set bonus) averages 1.87 million damage per cast, that means we'll need 9 additional casts.  

The Hard Part (for me at least):

Basically, we need a way for 15.5 procs of Wild Call to reduce the CD of Kill Command enough to give us 74 total Kill Command casts, up from our original 65 casts. 

And, as we discussed above, we'll further muddy the problem because we're just as likely to proc Wild Call at the end of a Kill Command CD as we are at the beginning of the CD (which I'm going to call the "Short CD Reduction Problem"), and during Bestial Wrath, most Kill Command CDs will only last one or two GCDs anyway, with just enough time to cast a Cobra Shot, or a Cobra Shot and a Dire Beast, between casts of Kill Command (which I'm going to call the "One With the Pack Problem").  

The One With The Pack problem should be the easiest to solve, so I want to start there.  I also suspect that it's going to solve the other problem for us, but we'll get to that later.  

Though anyone who's made it this far in a post like this will likely innately understand this, it's still worth noting that above when I said "Wild Call should proc about every 16.4 seconds", that isn't to say that it's at all on a 16.4 second timer.  That's only an expected value.  In reality you're just as likely to get 2 that are 2.5 seconds apart as you are to get 2 that are 33 seconds apart.  So we can't use any sort of knowledge of timers to plan out Bestial Wrath. 

Instead, let's just take the Bestial Wrath up-time, and assume we'll get an even distribution of Wild Call procs.  In the case of the parse I've been using for this, that hunter had a 53.04% Bestial Wrath up-time. Our best bet then is to assume that 53.04 of our Wild Call procs will fall within Bestial Wrath, on average.  That leaves us with only 7.28 Wild Call procs during not-Bestial Wrath, and 8.22 procs during Bestial Wrath. 

There is some value to getting procs during Bestial Wrath, so it's not all wasted.  Mostly this is because Cobra Shot costs focus, so the fewer Cobra Shots needed to reset the CD, the more focus you have for casting Kill Commands (if you have enough to cast anyway).  

In this particular parse, the hunter averaged 6.4 seconds between Kill Command casts while not in Bestial Wrath, and averaged 2.7 seconds between Kill Command casts during Bestial Wrath.  That means there is a bit of room to improve when you get a wild call proc during Bestial Wrath. 

There is fairly little value to getting these procs during Bestial Wrath when taking One With the Pack, because it resets so quickly anyhow. But, it won't be nothing, so let's work through it.

During Bestial Wrath, if we we're lucky enough to get the proc immediately after casting Kill Command, and we had enough focus to continue casting Kill Commands (and the CD reduction is more than 2.7 seconds, which we haven't actually decided yet), then instead of casting 6.07 Kill Commands in that window, we could cast 6.24. Of course, if it happened at the end of the Kill Command proc, then we wouldn't get any extra procs.  So we can call that an average of 6.16, or an extra .09 Kill Commands per Wild Call proc. 

If we're expecting to get 8.22 Wild Call procs during Bestial Wrath at a rate of .09 Kill Commands each, that will only take us to .74 extra Kill commands, only 8.24% of what we need (again, assuming that our CD reduction from the set bonus is greater than the interval of Kill Command casts during Bestial Wrath, which is to say, it resets the CD).

Outside of Bestial Wrath, we can calculate the value with the same method.  If we expect to get a Wild Call proc every 16.4 seconds, on average, in that same amount of time we will have cast 2.56 Kill Commands on average. The same rules for the "Short CD Reduction Problem" apply above, in that we're just as likely to get the proc at the very end of the CD (which provides no benefit) as we are at the very beginning of it (which would at best provide an extra 0.796 KCs per Wild Call proc). So then on average (again, if the set bonus removed the entire duration of KC's CD) , we're looking at an extra 0.398 Kill Commands per Wild Call proc outside of Bestial Wrath.

Because we're expecting (in the parse being used as an example here) 7.28 Wild Call procs outside of Bestial Wrath, we can expect that to get us about 2.9 extra Kill Commands, for a grand total of about 3 extra Kill Commands across the fight...  Far short of the 8.98 we need to get our 5% damage buff from the set bonus.  

1 Second CD reduction?

That's not the worst of it, though. If the bonus provides less than the entire CD reduction, then it will lose value significantly. For example, if it reduces the CD by only 1 second, as Tuesday's datamining suggests, then we'd be looking at only a 0.057 extra Kill Commands per Wild Call proc during Bestial Wrath, and 0.078 extra KCs per Wild Call proc outside of Bestial Wrath, for a grand total of 1.03 extra Kill Commands across the entire fight.

A Better Solution

The trouble that we're continuing to run into is what I above labeled the "Short CD Reduction Problem": you're as likely to get no value from the proc as full value.  One way to get around that issue altogether is instead of reducing or resetting the current CD, have the proc affect your next CD. Which brings us to my proposal:

4P Set Bonus - When Wild Call resets the cooldown of Dire Beast, the next Kill Command you cast will not incur a cooldown.

The results here would be slightly better.  Using the same process as above, only without having to average our CD reduction based on when the Wild Call proc occurs means we get almost an entire extra Kill Command per Wild Call Proc.  I say almost only because we still have a GCD to worry about.  Essentially, we'd average an extra .18 Kill Commands per Wild Call proc during Bestial Wrath (this number remains fairly low because the GCD is a large portion of your CD when you're casting KCs on average every 2.7 seconds), and an extra .8 Kill Commands per Wild Call proc when we're not in in Bestial Wrath, for a total of 7.24 extra Kill Commands in the Parse we're analyzing.  

That still falls short of our 5% goal, which was to hit 8.98 extra Kill Commands, but is much, much closer than using the CD reduction or reset method, but it gives us about a 4.23% damage increase, on average, which is well within the range of normal set bonuses.  

One With The Pack and Killer Cobra

Right now, with still using the 2 piece set bonus from tier 19, for single target the vast majority of top parses are using a crit heavy build, with Stomp!, One With the Pack, and Killer Cobra.  Without that tier 19 2-piece, you have the option of playing a that Stomp build, or using the Bestial Fury build which emphasizes mastery, and doesn't take Killer cobra or One With the Pack.  

It's hard at this point to predict whether or not that build will remain viable if you need to drop One With the Pack, given the tier 21 2-piece will benefit so much from the extra Kill Commands.  But if it is dropped, then the loss of extra Wild Call procs from not having One with the Pack should balance out with the extra Kill Commands you'll get all the time, as BW won't have that much, much higher rate of usage for Kill Command without Killer Cobra.  

How this works out is, assuming our friend from the parse i've been using was wearing the same gear, instead of getting a Wild Call proc every 16.4 seconds (on average), they would only get one every 40ish seconds.  However, each of those procs (assuming they go with the method I'm proposing) would get you an extra .8 Kill Commands.  Instead of half of them (those happening during Bestial Wrath with OWTP) only getting you an extra .18 Kill Commands.  

TL;DR: Fixed That For You, Blizzard

Here are my Delirium approved Beast Mastery Tier 21 set bonuses:

  • 2P Set Bonus* - Kill Command damage increased by 15%.
  • 4P Set Bonus* - When Wild Call resets the cooldown of Dire Beast, the next Kill Command you cast will not incur a cooldown.

*Note, anyone reading this who just googled "Beast Mastery Tier 21 set bonuses", these are my proposed fixes, not the actual bonuses.  Maybe try searching on wowhead...