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...

1 comment:

  1. I just hate how this tier acts as a whole. Why raptor strike? It REALLY is a meh ability. T19 was fantastic. T20, I can't even use (I legitimately lost DPS putting on my HEROIC t20 vs my heroic t19!!). It's ridiculous. Someday, they'll do a survival tier right (oh and lol @ tagging me).