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Elendril

Upcoming Hunter Changes

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GC did mention earlier about the devs waiting to see if the other classes could catch up with hunters before swinging the nerf bat. It wouldn't surprise me that THEIR internal testing had showed that it was possible, maybe even expected that the other classes would catch up.

No matter how they defend it. I just can't help but feel that we are being punished for our 5 man supremacy or for other classes not figuring out how to get their rotations going, and that is what leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

I agree completely. To me it looks like people are just going into automode when it comes to heroics. For example, a mage will start building up stacks of scorch and...oh, the boss is dead. I'm sure it's similiar for other classes aswell.

The utility that we get at a Hunter is that not much changes from a short or a long fight. Of course, the price we have to pay for that is our two main abilities (Pet + Steadyshot) are virtually unusable in PvP!

I do think it's a bit premature. At least the way they have gone about it, reducing our scalability etc. We could see Hunters moving quite a bit down the meters come Ulduar.

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I do think it's a bit premature. At least the way they have gone about it, reducing our scalability etc. We could see Hunters moving quite a bit down the meters come Ulduar.

Of course we are, that's the intention, and that's why they have chosen a rather heavyhanded nerf. If this nerf doesn't reduce our 'supremacy', then we are a broken class I'm afraid. However I can't imagine that wouldn't be the case.

I'm just hoping there will be quite a few 'go nuts on DPS' raids on the PTR. However that works out it will give us a feeling at what might be good or bad.

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Looks like they've fixed the double dipping of Aspect of the Beast on the PTR as it correctly gave 10% AP.

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When discussing scaling an important thing is with what power you scale in the relevant part of the scaling curve.

An example: In TBC shadow priests started out very strong but ended up very weak in dps comparison. The reason was that the dominant part of their scaling was linear due to strong spellpower scaling but weak scaling with haste and crit. Destro locks on the other hand scaled cubic with spellpower, crit and haste amplifying each other (strong spellpower scaling helped as well but affliction DoTs scaled very well with spellpower as well and still ended up far behind in the end).

So lets have a look at the damage sources of BM hunters and their gear scaling factors.

BM hunter damage is split up between pet auto and DoTs, pet specials, auto shots, special shots and a DoT.

Pet auto: Strictly linear, only scales with AP.

Pet specials: Depending on the amount of talent points in cobra strikes between linear and quadratic as it scales with AP and crit. The crit part is an uptime scaling though which means every point of crit is worth less for this than the previous.

Auto shots: Cubic scaling with AP, crit and haste.

Special shots: Quadratic scaling with AP and crit. No haste scaling due to being capped right away.

DoT (Serpent Sting): Strictly linear, only scales with AP.

Of course hit and mana scale as well but we tend to be capped or close to capped in both areas with good gear nowadays. At least close enough that those factors are far from dominant in scaling.

Looking at a BM hunter with a cat in a raid, we get about the following splitup:

Strictly linear scaling (Pet auto, Rake, Serpent Sting): 37%

Weakly quadratic (Pet special = Claw): 13%

Quadratic (Specials = Steady Shot): 26%

Cubic (Auto Shot): 24%

That means BM hunter damage is dominated by linear scaling. The problems are quite similar to affliction locks in TBC. It is just not possible to fit the mainly linear scaling curve to the scaling curves of casters which are usually somewhere between quadratic and cubic (Frostfire mages scale well with spellpower, crit and haste which all amplify each other). You end up too powerful at the start and too weak at the end.

That the dominant scaling effect is linear is also shown in those scaling curves I got from the spreadsheet:

http://elitistjerks.com/f74/t30710-wotlk_dps_spreadsheet/p39/#post1015768

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Unlinking auto has been a big issue I think.

I never used to use a macro for that since it felt like cheating, yet I "performed well on the meters".

It was so interesting that everyone had a different "casting window" (due to differing weapon speeds, specs and haste) in which to weave a few shots. And of course you were eying that Kill Command proc.

Extremely fun to do, if really only possible with an AddOnn like Quartz that shows multiple cast bars on top of eachothers. Perhaps a bit of "UI gazing" but not overly so (although a proc could of course also be helped with a sound or a visual change in the game world, like a pet or a weapon flashing for example).

But, that is nostalgia really and I don't see Blizz going back there since it apparently caused so much problems for the casuals out there, who let's face it, pay as much money (more if you add them up) as the more hardcore peeps to enjoy their game. But I can fantasize about it ^^

Anyway, let's see what happens. Blizz is changing so many factors of the hunter dps that no-one can really predict what is going to happen.

Having said that, I'm praying the god of dps on my bare lil' knees that we can still top the meter if we play skillfully...but then in all three specs.

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I am generally quite disappointed with the way Blizzard have handled the Hunter changes from 3.0 onwards. During TBC Hunters were generally the kings of dps (in T6 at least where most of my experience lies), but there was much greater variance between individuals with similar gear levels. It wasn't uncommon for me to average 1.8k in BT yet I'd often come across some Hunters who'd do much more or much less. The gap between the Hunters and other classes wasn't particularly pronounced either, Warlocks and Rogues were generally snapping at our heels or even beating us on some encounters.

With WotLK we are seeing none of this, in our recent Naxx 25 man runs our Hunters have been consistently top of the meters, the last two runs in particular three hunters accounted for 30% of the total raid DPS, each averaging 4-5k on each boss with the other classes miles behind, not even close.

In my opinion it's the simplification of all Hunter mechanics that is partly to blame for this, Hunter dps should be high, but it should also be difficult to achieve. By turning us into another "face roller" class any half wit can hit these big numbers now. Rather than nerfing our abilities Blizzard ought to consider linking auto/steady shot again and perhaps introducing some more situational procs that promote intelligent play as opposed to the current situation we find ourselves in.

[/qq]

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[snip]Rather than nerfing our abilities Blizzard ought to consider linking auto/steady shot again[snip]

You must be kidding. The linking of auto and steady was the worst thing blizzard ever did for the class. It made selecting ranged weapons a nightmare unless you knew that weapon speed was the only important stat. The only thing the linking accomplished was to get 99% of the hunter population to use a macro, since it was the only way to do acceptable dps.

If they need to nerf us, fine, but linking auto and steady again is the worst idea imaginable.

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You must be kidding. The linking of auto and steady was the worst thing blizzard ever did for the class. It made selecting ranged weapons a nightmare unless you knew that weapon speed was the only important stat. The only thing the linking accomplished was to get 99% of the hunter population to use a macro, since it was the only way to do acceptable dps.

If they need to nerf us, fine, but linking auto and steady again is the worst idea imaginable.

We will not ever see the change to Auto Shot reverted. It would be a major undertaking for the Blizz, since it would also affect the way they have incorporated itemization.

Something to consider, since many have been referring back to TBC as a comparison is the way threat is handled in WotLK vs. TBC. In almost every raiding guild the DPS does not get Threat Capped or have to use aggro reducing/dropping abilities (very, very rarely). Tanks not only generate a ton of threat in a short period of time, but they receive an MD for us and the rogues. Once we start our DPS cycles for pretty much any fight it is uninterrupted unless we have to move out of "something", i.e. Deep Breath, Blizzard, Void Zones, Lava Wave, etc... This is why I am not a fan of using Patchwerk as the benchmark for judging DPS. There are virtually no variables in the fight to disrupt DPS. Brutallis was a much better model becuase the fight was twice as long and had some degree of hindrance (Burns) for DPSers, not to mention working Feign Death into our own rotations.

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I think that because Patchwork is purely a stand and shoot fight without any interruptions, that its the most ideal scenario for a benchmark.

Imo, what you want from a benchmark is a situation where you can determine maximum possible dps output. I agree that this fight is not going to be a realistic representation of total dps expected for any fight that does include obstacles. The only thing better than patchwork, would be a fully raid buffed group dpsing a heroic target dummy, but who has the time for that.

While you cannot expect to maintain "patchwork level" dps in other fights, it does give you an indication of how much dps you can do when those few minutes of stand and shoot do occur.

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I think that because Patchwork is purely a stand and shoot fight without any interruptions, that its the most ideal scenario for a benchmark.

Imo, what you want from a benchmark is a situation where you can determine maximum possible dps output. I agree that this fight is not going to be a realistic representation of total dps expected for any fight that does include obstacles. The only thing better than patchwork, would be a fully raid buffed group dpsing a heroic target dummy, but who has the time for that.

While you cannot expect to maintain "patchwork level" dps in other fights, it does give you an indication of how much dps you can do when those few minutes of stand and shoot do occur.

As this is true for an overall snapshot of each classes DPS potential and maybe the way I approached my previous post was not worded appropriately. The current set of nerfs that are hitting hunters on the PTR were determined by testing done and WWS reports shown from Patchwerk. In the case of hunters in their current state, Patchwerk is a poor test model to get a realistic snapshot of hunter DPS. The short fight duration will produce massive DPS numbers considering a Readiness build, stacking buffs (ala CotW) and no interruptions at all from the time Patchwerk is pulled until dead (i.e. no feigns). Also, consider that 2 specific pets were used due their insane scaling from raid buffs. The Patchwerk testing seemingly showed too high of DPS number for hunters resulting in a fairly large nerf "swing."

EDIT: Additional Thought

Thinking about the Patchwerk piece some more. I cannot honestly think of any other boss fight in WotLK currently that is as straight forward of DPS race. I mean even Loatheb requires movement to get to Spores. Think about the previous DPS benchmark bosses from TBC...Gorefiend and then Brutallis. Both of these bosses had a degree of uncertainty as to whether you would be interrupted and both required feign deaths.

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The current set of nerfs that are hitting hunters on the PTR were determined by testing done and WWS reports shown from Patchwerk.

No. They. Weren't. Blizzard uses internal spreadsheets, internal testing done in multiple scenarios, and involves varying gear levels, including gear that we don't even have access to yet.

Patchwerk is what *we* use as a benchmark, and while Blizzard looks at those in part because we ask them too, they don't base their decisions on those alone, and not even it large part because of the various issues with them that they have pointed out.

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No. They. Weren't. Blizzard uses internal spreadsheets, internal testing done in multiple scenarios, and involves varying gear levels, including gear that we don't even have access to yet.

Patchwerk is what *we* use as a benchmark, and while Blizzard looks at those in part because we ask them too, they don't base their decisions on those alone, and not even it large part because of the various issues with them that they have pointed out.

Take a cold shower, cowboy and calm down.

GC has on several occasions posted that they have used Patchwerk results quite frequently for test results, in addition to (as you stated yourself above), to their own internal testing. I find it hard to see the reason to reply in such a ridiculous manner when your only point was to tell us that Patchwerk is not the sole source of Blizz's testing, which I believe we already know.

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No. They. Weren't. Blizzard uses internal spreadsheets, internal testing done in multiple scenarios, and involves varying gear levels, including gear that we don't even have access to yet.

From my personal interactions... I do not believe this for a second. I am incredibly surprised that someone buys their mouthpiece so hook, line, and sinker.

They do not at all understand their own scaling - if they did Hunters wouldn't be so blatantly broken. Hunters scale exponentially worse than any other class. We are seeing incredibly minor DPS increases from 80 blues to maxed out 80 gear while other classes are doubling and tripling their DPS numbers and starting to pass Hunters. Fury Warriors and Unholy DKs especially and the nerfs aren't even in yet. The problem is only going to be magnified in Ulduar.

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Honestly, I think it's a bit silly to try to assume whether Blizzard does internal testing either way. Regardless of whether they do or not, what it comes down to is whether they're messing up, or doing this to us intentionally.

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I extracted some more graphs from the spreadsheet.

This time from naked (-1 in the graph) over Naxx 10 level gear (0 in the graph) to three times the gear level of Naxx 10 (2 in the graph). Used is a BM hunter with a cat pet and full raid buffs in the v80 spreadsheet. Weapon, ammo, quiver and parts of trinkets are not scaled (due to limits to how I can easily influence the spreadsheet at the moment).

Here are the dps curves with gear level on the x axis:

bmscaling1ha5.th.png

Here the scaling curves, meaning the dps gain per 1% of the gear of the Naxx 10 hunter:

bmscaling2ob6.th.png

Quite visible are the pet dps gains on each full hit percent and the point where the pet is no more focus starved (according to the model used in the spreadsheet).

Autoshot dominates the scaling more and more the higher in gear you get. Even at Naxx 10 level autoshot contributes nearly twice the scaling despite that its part of the total dps is considerably lower than the pet at that point (and the rake nerf is not included in this version of the spreadsheet I think).

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No. They. Weren't. Blizzard uses internal spreadsheets, internal testing done in multiple scenarios, and involves varying gear levels, including gear that we don't even have access to yet.

Patchwerk is what *we* use as a benchmark, and while Blizzard looks at those in part because we ask them too, they don't base their decisions on those alone, and not even it large part because of the various issues with them that they have pointed out.

Patchwerk is merely the easiest battle for us to spot the problems. Because of Patchwerk, we knew a nerf would be coming.

Heroics. Nearly all bosses in Naxx (and all of the ones that are easily accessible to most pugs or entry level raiding guilds), Obsidium Sanctum, etc. In all of these dungeons, we were miles higher than other classes that entered raiding. Even Heroic Archavon, as big of a joke as it is, is just as much reason to nerf us. Every time I've pugged a heroic Archavon, all top dpsers were hunters, and usually by 500-1.5k dps.

It's the puggable battles that I think have really turned the tables on us. From heroics to VoA and Obsidium, the fact of the matter is that raid buffs and base mechanics resulted in us stomping every dpser out of the gate. Had the margin been closer, Blizzard might have been able to wait a month or so more, but the margin isn't close, and they have to do something. Really, it wasn't the top end hunter dpsers that was so concerning to the devs, it was the fact that extremely bad hunters were able to top meters over players and classes they shouldn't have. The rotation was too simple, and its effect was too powerful to let it go any longer.

They know we'll stick around, and in one to three months, they'll revisit us - hopefully, because scaling should start showing its ugly head. Hopefully, Ulduar will drop more gear with ap, crit and agi, rather than haste or armor pen heavy gear. That should help us stay competitive as BM and marks. The item level gear of 230 - 250 will likely tell us just how bad this nerf is going to be (not the current 200-226).

@Selmarix

Thanks for the graphs, Selm.

Is that under current live conditions or is that under the proposed nerf? I know you said the rake nerf is not included, but are the BM talent nerfs included?

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@Selmarix

Thanks for the graphs, Selm.

Is that under current live conditions or is that under the proposed nerf? I know you said the rake nerf is not included, but are the BM talent nerfs included?

I used the version 80 of the spreadsheet, which includes some but not all the nerfs.

Best check http://elitistjerks.com/f74/t30710-wotlk_dps_spreadsheet/ for details.

I think one of the 5% pet damage nerfs is missing but the steady shot nerf is in.

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