Marked Shot vs Aimed Shot in Multi-target Scenarios

As we're seeing a lot of large AoE situations in Nighthold, I put together a little comparison of Marked Shot and Aimed Shot (with Trick Shot and Patient Sniper).  both abilities are based on Weapon Damage and scale with MM's Mastery, so we can simply look at the difference in the coefficients to compare, without having to plug in Attack Power and Weapon Damage.

For the below chart, I'm including the artifact damage increase from Windrunner's Guidance at 3/3 and Wind Arrows at 1/1. I'm not including the damage differences from the crit chance and crit damage artifact traits, or from Call of the Hunter and Legacy of the Windrunners (which I'll go over below).

Baseline Weapon Damage Coefficient:

AbilityCoefficient:Artifact BonusTrick Shot STTrickshot MT
Marked Shot5.9410%
Aimed Shot2.9712%15%30%

From there we can put together a little table comparing the abilities with different numbers of targets, as well as including separate lines for Aimed Shot without Vulnerability and Aimed Shot with Vulnerability.

Marked Shot6.53413.06819.60226.13632.670
Aimed Shot3.3263.3263.3263.3263.326
AiS w/ Vuln7.6518.64910.64412.64014.636

Of course here, Aimed Shot doesn't start scaling from multiple targets (due to Trick Shot) until we introduce Vulnerability into the equation.  With Vulnerability, Aimed Shot is the clear winner for single target, though Marked Shot does more damage with 2 or more targets. 

In many AoE situations, we might be using the Explosive Shot talent, in which case this is the end of our little test.  However, on some fights, we may have portions of the fight with high AoE needs, and other portions with high single target or priority target needs. So I wanted to through Patient Sniper into the mix.  In patch 7.1.5 we have a new version of Patient Sniper, which increases the damage bonus of your Vulnerable debuff by 10% each second, stacking.  This in turn applies to trick shot damage.  So every second Vulnerable is up, Aimed Shot does more damage.  If we include 7 seconds of Vulnerable with Patient Sniper, our damage comparisons look like this:

Marked Shot6.53413.06819.60226.13632.670
Aimed Shot3.3263.3263.3263.3263.326
AiS w/ Vuln7.6518.64910.64412.64014.636
AiS w/ V&PS18.4169.51411.70913.90416.100
AiS w/ V&PS29.18110.37812.77315.16817.563
AiS w/ V&PS39.94611.24313.83816.43219.027
AiS w/ V&PS410.71112.10814.90217.69620.491
AiS w/ V&PS511.47612.97315.96718.96021.954
AiS w/ V&PS612.24113.83817.03120.22523.418
AiS w/ V&PS713.00614.70318.09621.48924.881
"w/ V&PS#" here means that vulnerability is up, and it has been # seconds since it began.  

With this new chart, Aimed Shot of course remains the clear winner in single target situations while Vulnerable is up. And Marked Shot is still ahead in most multi-target situations. However, when there are two targets up, during the last few seconds of Vulnerable, Aimed Shot pulls back ahead.  

Even with 3 targets, during the last second of Vulnerable Aimed Shot does very close to as much damage.  Though once we get to 4 or more targets, Marked Shot wins out by a fairly large margin, even at the very end of Patient Sniper/Vulnerability.  

Call of the Hunter and Legacy of the Windrunners

Legacy of the Windrunners is easy enough to calculate.  It has a 15% chance to proc everytime we cast Aimed Shot, and does .4*Weapon Damage,  benefiting from everything that benefits Aimed Shot except for Trick Shots against Multiple Targets (it does inherit the 15% damage buff from single target, though).  The expected value of Legacy of the Windrunner with a 15% chance to proc is the same as adding 15% of that ability's damage to each Aimed Shot. That's a fairly small buff to each Aimed Shot at roughly .414*weapon damage more for single target, scaling with Patient Sniper but not multi-target.  

However, Call of the Hunter presents a couple of problems in that it proc's based on RPPM, and it scales directly with Attack Power, rather than Weapon Damage.  We could plug in Weapon Damage and Attack power in order to add the damage from CotH to Marked Shot, but we still couldn't get a direct comparison without simulating a full rotation, because as an RPPM based ability, it does not affect each Marked Shot similarly; that is to say, you should get the same number of CotH proc's if you cast one Marked Shot every 10 seconds, or one Marked Shot ever 3 seconds.  So in the case of a large multi-target situation where you might want to spam Marked Shot as much as possible, CotH will provide the same amount of damage (on average) as if you're running your typical rotation with the exception that it will scale with the number of targets (that is, the number of targets with Hunter's Mark).  

Most DPS vs. Most Important DPS

The big deciding factor then, would be whether we want to see a lot of damage done to our priority target, and a little damage done to our AoE targets, or a moderate amount of damage done to all of our targets equally.  

For example, against 4 targets, Marked Shot does roughly 20% more damage than an Aimed Shot. However, an Aimed Shot will do nearly twice as much damage to the priority target, while doing about 25% as much damage to each of the additional targets.  

It's important to note, that we're not really talking about the difference between spamming a bunch of Aimed Shots vs spamming a bunch of Marked Shots. In most situations, the decision we're making is while we're in the middle of casting Aimed Shots (or Multi-Shots/Arcane Shots if we're low on Focus) Marking Targets Procs, and we need to decide if we want to cast a Multi-Shot and  a Marked Shot, resetting Vulnerable and thus the Patient Sniper timer, or if we want to use another Aimed Shot or two while at the end of Vulnerable and max Patient Sniper before we restart it all with another Multi-Shot and a Marked Shot.  

The difference between important dps and max dps is, I think, something we have to decide on a situation by situation basis, with a goal in mind of "how can I help my raid team kill the boss as quickly as possible?" There are of course situations where being a bit of a "meters whore" is the right decision, where the most important thing to do is to get down a pack of adds as quickly as possible. And of course, there are other situations where the best thing you can do is sacrifice your rightful place at the top of the meters in order to kill a priority target as quickly as possible, letting your team move on to more bosses and more loot (after all, the quicker you kill bosses, the more loot you get, letting you re-gain your place at the top of the meters).  

I'm curious to hear about how people think this will apply specifically in Nighthold.  Any specific fights in nighthold where you're using Marked Shot as often as possible to clear out packs of adds rather than finishing out your Vulnerability debuff with Aimed Shots?  Any bosses you think it's best to stick to your maximum priority target damage at the expense of overall damage?  Let me know in the comments or on twitter so I can compile a list. 

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