Saturday, February 19, 2011

What the February 18th hotfix means for hunters

  • Aimed Shot damage has been decreased to approximately 160% weapon damage (at level 80+), down from 200%.
  • Aspect of the Hawk now provides around an additional 2000 attack power at level 85.

I'm slightly bemused by the phrasing of "around an additional 2000 attack power". It's your game, guys. You don't know exactly how much AP you've added to hawk? But whichevs, it's fine.

Anyway, I think this change is certainly going to enforce some change in how we play our class. I'm not updating the guide yet, because not only are the hotfixes not yet live, but the mathy people haven't mathematically mathed out the math yet. They've taken the initial steps, though, and it looks like about an 8-9% nerf to Aimed Shot and a concomittant buff to everything else.

I think the best way to make an educated guess as to how this will change the way we play is to look at our own parses and compare damage numbers and then think about how the hotfix is going to affect those numbers. Unfortunately, the big question is "will we go back to regular use of Arcane Shot?", and for the most part we're not using AS any more and thus don't have useful damage numbers. However! I use AS on the poison bombs in the Omnitron encounter, so hooray! We can compare numbers!

Here are the values for my average, non-critical:

  • Arcane Shot - 7,367
  • Aimed Shot - 28,331

Ok, so there's our starting point. Two arcane shots with the old AotH will be about 15,000 damage: well below a single AiS in damage, which is why the 4.06 changes prompted us to remove it from our priority system, especially when you consider the fact that AiS crits cause a bleed for an additional 30% of the damage done.

If we lop 9% off of that AiS damage, that brings it down to 25,782. That's still well above the damage of two arcanes. Granted, with the buff to AotH, AS is going to be doing more damage, but is it going to be doing 5,000 more damage per arcane? Remembering that AS crits still don't cause the piercing shots bleed? I really just don't see it happening.

However! My average non-critical Chimera Shot was 21,589 on that same encounter, and CS crits do cause piercing shots, and I think this definitely could change our behavior. I think it may turn out to be worthwhile to use CS off cooldown, instead of holding on to it and trying to sneak in another AiS before using CS to refresh the SrS duration. This, in turn, makes MM DPS a little less fragile, since you're not struggling for the focus and haste to refresh SrS before it drops off.

So those are my thoughts! We'll see how everything turns out.

Edit: Zeherah has done some initial in-game testing as well as out of game simulation and the patch notes as posted don't make any sense to her, especially the change to AotH (especially with its vague wording). So again, any predictions made right now are very uncertain and more than a little at the mercy of a very mercurial Blizzard.

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