This FAQ is now updated for 5.4. Most information in this FAQ is targetted for level 90 players.
This FAQ is not meant to cover everything covered in the existing threads but rather to cut down on the amount of repetitive (and infraction inducing) posts that keep popping up. Please also consult the more detailed threads if your question is not covered here before posting. If you have any suggestions to be added to this FAQ please PM them to me to keep the clutter low.
Q) What changes in 5.4 might I need to know about?
A) I won't attempt to cover all changes here, but these are some of the more common ones people may not be aware of:
- All hunter specs now have Counter Shot
- Readiness is no longer available
- Deterrence now has 2 charges with a 2 minute cooldown for each
- Disengage now has a 20 sec. cooldown
- Arcane Shot now does more damage but costs 30 focus
Q) What changes in 5.0 might I need to know about?
A) I won't attempt to cover all changes here, but these are some of the more common ones people may not be aware of:
- Ranged weapons are now equipped in our melee slot (and stats bumped up accordingly), there is no longer a need for hunters to have a melee weapon (except for fashion)
- Hunter shots can now be dodged, which means we will want to cap expertise as well as hit. The hit and expertise caps have also changed.
- Most spec specific abilities are now given via our specialization and we can also select specialization independent talents. Changing talents or specialization requires a consumable
- Pets no longer have a talent tree, but just a specialization which comes with a standard set of bonuses. All pets can use any specialization (there is no cost to switch but you must be out of combat)
- Rapid Fire now has a 3 min CD
- Prime glyphs have been removed. Most glyphs now are situational and do not provide a direct damage increase
- Pet growl is now a true taunt and no longer just increased threat
- Helm enchants are no longer available
- Trap launcher now functions as a toggle between thrown and dropped traps and no longer costs focus
Q) Which spec does the most dps?
A) Currently BM seems to be running highest for single target and SV is strongest for multi-target. MM may not be far behind but is not currently preferred for any encounters. Keep in mind that raid performance may not match simulations, certain fights may favor different specs, and that tweaks are still occurring which may change the relative value of specs.
Q) What do I get from my stats?
A) 1 agil gives 2 AP and approximately .000794% crit. This is prior to including any multipliers such as Mail Armor Specialization (5% agil) and Kings/Wild (5% agil). Below is a list of rating conversions for hunter stats.
Note that mastery, once converted via rating, is converted again to a percentage gain based on specialization:
Q) What is the hit/expertise cap?
A) The hit and expertise caps for a hunter are 7.5% each (2550 rating at level 90 and 769 at level 85). If you are a draenei you will only need 2210 hit rating and for trolls/dwarves you will only need 2210 expertise rating due to the racial bonuses. Pets do inherit the racial bonuses to hit and expertise.
Q) Do I need to attack from behind in order to avoid reduced damage?
A) No. Hunter shots can be dodged but not parried, which means that the chance of having them miss or be dodged is the same from both the front and back of the target. Hunter shots can also no longer be blocked as of 5.0.
Q) What stats do my pets inherit?
A) Pets inherit 100% of the hunter RAP, crit and melee haste (they don't benefit from ranged specific haste modifiers). They receive 100% of the hunter hit and expertise as well (technically they receive 50% of your hit and expertise for both their hit and expertise, which means if you are capped in both your pet will be as well).
Q) Should I wear leather with good stats?
A) No, because if you have all 8 armor slots filled with mail, you will receive the 5% agility bonus from Mail Armor Specialization.
Q) What stats should be my priority? How can I compare gear? How should I gem?
A) Agility is worth significantly more than other stats. Generally you should gem agility, but since agility gems in MoP give half as much agility as they do secondary stats, the threshold for activating socket bonuses will be lower than in Cataclysm. Which stat is preferable for yellow sockets with good socket bonuses will vary by spec. Keep in mind that haste's value has sweet spots based on how it allows your shots to flow and keeps your focus in balance- see the relevant spec threads for haste plateaus. Use the Agile Primal Diamond for your meta. You can use Zeherah's Hunter DPS Analyzer to compare gear and gems for level 90.
Q) What are the best talents/glyphs for my spec?
A) The first 3 talent tiers provide no dps benefits and you should choose whichever one best fits the fight. For the level 60 talents, Dire Beast or Fervor will be preferable, depending on the fight type (fights with multiple targets or other mechanics which don't favor guardian pets tend to favor Fervor). For the level 75 talents, Blink Strike is preferable for BM. For SV/MM A Murder of Crows is better for many fights, but there are circumstances where Blink Strike can be competitive. For level 90 talents, Glaive Toss tends to be best for single target fights and Barrage is preferred for fights with AoE burst periods or cleave. You should consult the spec specific guides for more detailed recommendations.
No glyphs provide explicit dps benefits. They are all survivability or utility related and will be situational, so you should choose what best fits the fight. For most fights Glyph of Liberation and Glyph of Deterrence will be valuable.
Q) What pet should I use for raid dps?
A) Currently all pets should do the same dps using the same spec. Ferocity is the best pet spec for dps. In most cases you will want to choose a pet based on what raid buffs may be needed by your raid, as many pets provide full buff or debuff replacements. There are some buffs which can only be covered by an exotic pet, which requires BM spec. For a list of which pets cover which buffs/debuffs, see World of Lae: Pet Utility Table. For a list of which raid buffs/debuffs are covered by all specs/classes, see Wowhead: Mists of Pandaria Buffs and Debuffs. If all raid buffs are covered, you should consider using a tallstrider for the AoE weaken armor debuff on any fight where multiple targets are involved.
Q) How important are my set bonuses?
A) Both T16 bonuses provide substantial dps bonus to all specs (although the 4pc benefit to MM is dependent on your use of Aimed Shot). When to drop T15 and replace it with T16 or offset gear is situational depending on the ilevel of the pieces involved (and best deteremined with a dps calculator) but your end goal should be to get 4pc T16 and you likely will not want to break your T15 bonuses to replace only one piece of gear.
Q) Does mastery round down?
A) No. Although the tooltip in game makes it look like mastery gets rounded down to whole points, testing indicates that you do get the full value of the mastery, so 16.99 mastery is definitely better than 16.01 mastery for instance.
Q) How does hunter/pet focus regeneration work?
A) Base hunter focus regen is 4 fps (focus per second). 1% haste increases your focus regeneration by 1%, so 10% haste for instance would increase your base regen to 4.4 fps. It is intended that any buff labeled as haste gives focus regen and attack speed does not, but there are some exceptions- heroism/bloodlust does give focus regen and so does rapid fire. Pets have 5 fps regen by default, and inherit the focus regen multipliers from the hunter (which means that they will end up with 25% more passive focus regen than the hunter since their base is 25% higher). Pets do not inherit static focus gains applied to the hunter (such as rapid recuperation).
Q) What do haste and attack speed do for me?
A) Haste and attack speed both are treated similarly and both increase your autoshot and steady/cobra shot attack speed by the percentage listed (or in the case of rating the percentage it converts to). The effect of multiple haste buffs is multiplicative, except in the case of rating based buffs, which get added to your other rating before being converted to a percentage. To calculate your steady/cobra shot attack speed with various haste/speed buffs you can use the haste calculator. Focus regeneration is also increased by the percentage of haste as described above. Hunter DoT tick speed/ticks are not increased by haste or attack speed, and neither is the global cooldown, which is 1 second. Pet attack speed is increased by all haste or attack speed buffs that are not specifically labeled as ranged only. Some RPPM based proc rates are also scaled directly with haste, but not attack speed, but this is primarily ones which proc damage and not stat bonuses.
Q) Does weapon speed matter?
A) Special shots are now mostly normalized for weapon damage contribution. The base weapon damage still plays a small part in the shot damage (which gives a slight edge to slower weapons), but not a large enough amount for it to greatly impact weapon choice as the bulk of the damage comes from the AP contribution which is equal for all weapons. Weapon dps and stats will be a much larger factor in your damage. For all hunter specs, given the choice between two different speed weapons of the same dps, the slower one will usually be preferable.
Q) Does it matter which pets I use for stampede?
A) Stampede pets no longer use any abilities other than auto-attack. The only factor that matters now when using stampede is whether the pets are all ferocity specced for maximum damage. If you carry any pets that are not specced ferocity, you will want to glyph stampede. Note that a glyphed stampede will merge all the pet damage together in your logs.
Q) Do I need to wait between casts of explosive shot to avoid clipping?
A) No, as of 5.0 explosive shot no longer clips. When you apply a new explosive shot, it rolls whatever damage is left on the previous one into the new DoT ticks (similar to piercing shots).
Q) Does improved serpent sting do damage when refreshing serpent sting?
A) No, using cobra shot to refresh serpent sting will not trigger improved serpent sting's damage. The only time it will apply is when casting serpent sting manually on the target or via multi-shot (due to serpent spread). If you apply a serpent sting to a target that already has one up however, it will still do damage in addition to updating the duration of your current serpent sting.
Q) How do RPPM (real proc per minute) items work?
A) Items which use the RPPM system for the proc rate are designed to proc at a consistent rate regardless of the frequency of attacks which proc it. For example, if an item has a a proc with an RPPM of 2, that means it should proc rougly twice a minute, regardless of how often the ability used to proc it is used, as long as you use an ability that can proc it at least once every 10 seconds (this is the cap used by the formula). The proc rate automatically fluctuates based on how long it has been since the last chance it had to proc. For some items, this proc rate also scales directly with haste (but not buffs which only affect attack speed and not haste). Generally items with RPPM procs which provide stats do not scale with haste, but ones which provide damage do. So if you have an item which does scale with haste with an RPPM of 2 and 10% haste, the RPPM is treated as 2.2. Also note that haste bonuses to RPPM rates are based off the highest of your 3 types of haste- ranged, melee and spell. When your ranged haste specific cooldowns (focus fire and rapid fire) are not active, your spell haste will typically be highest due to the spell haste raid buff (the physical version is attack speed only). In addition, RPPM based items also have bad luck protection which kicks in if the proc does not come within 50% past the average expected time. So if the proc is expected on average every 30 seconds, the bad luck protection would kick in at 45 seconds without a proc, then would keep increasing the proc rate until a proc occurs. Note that proc rates for most RPPM items are typically the same regardless of item level- the exception is for procs which do not change based on the item level of the item, such as Rune of Reorganization.
Q) Why does my dps suck?
A) This can be caused by a number of factors. Here are some things to look at:
- You may not be speccing and gearing optimally- threads on this forum and elsewhere can help you with this
- You may not be following the correct shot priority
- You may not be managing your focus well. Make sure that you anticipate your focus needs as your high damage shots are coming close to off cooldown so you don't tap yourself out before they're available
- You may not be properly utilizing the bonuses from your spec, such as Steady Focus or Master Marksman for MM, Focus Fire for BM and Lock and Load for SV
- You may not be effectively utilizing and timing your cooldowns so that the buffs provided by them are stacked for more damage
- You may not be dpsing well on the move. Make sure that when you're moving you're still using your abilities as well as possible and taking advantage of tools such as disengage to be efficient. Remember that every hunter ability can be used while moving
- You may be clicking- generally clicking abilities that are heavily used in combat instead of using hotkeys will lead to lower dps
- You may not have an interface setup to track everything you need to track effectively. There's a UI thread which may give you some ideas about how to improve your setup.
- You may have high latency, this will lower your potential dps
- You may be missing key raid buffs- this will lower your damage but should also have a proportionate effect on others in your raid.
Q) What do all the acronyms mean?
- BM = beast mastery
- MM = marksmanship
- SV = survival
- SS = ambiguous but generally means steady shot
- SrS/SpS = serpent sting
- ES = explosive shot
- KS = kill shot
- CS = chimera shot
- CoS = cobra shot
- AS = ambiguous, could mean arcane shot or aimed shot depending on context
- AiS = aimed shot
- MS = multi shot
- KC = kill command
- BW = bestial wrath
- DB = dire beast
- AMoC/MoC = a murder of crows
- LR = lynx rush
- BS = blink strike
- GT = glaive toss
- PS = powershot
- ISS = ambiguous, could mean improved serpent sting, or improved steady shot (which is now called steady focus)
- WH = wild hunt (the original talent name for when a pet's basic attack does double damage due to being high focus)
- RPPM = real proc per minute (a type of ability/trinket proc rate)
- ICD = internal cooldown (used typically in the context of trinket procs)
Q) What professions will benefit me most as a hunter?
A) The best professions from a pure dps perspective are:
- Engineering: 1920 agil glove tinker buff for 10 sec on a 1 min cooldown (320 agil avg gain) as well as various toys which aren't damage related and the option to craft an ilevel 476 helm
- Blacksmithing: 2 additional gem sockets for a potential 320 agil gain (or the stat of your choice)
- Jewelcrafting: 2 improved gems for a potential 320 agil gain (or the stat of your choice)
- Leatherworking: improved bracer enchant for 500 agil for a 320 agil gain
- Alchemy: 320 agil bonus to flasks, crafted blue trinket (ilevel 450)
- Enchanting: 2 160 agil enchants to ring for a potential 320 agil gain
- Inscription: improved shoulder enchant for an 320 agil gain
Other professions which provide lower dps benefits but are still provide a decent dps benefit for a hunter are:
- Herbalism: lifeblood 2 minute cooldown gives 2880 haste rating for 20 sec (480 haste rating avg gain)
- Skinning: 480 crit rating
- Tailoring: swordguard embroidery cloak enchant procs for 4000 AP for 15 sec (not sure about the uptime on this, so can't give an average value)
Professions which provide little to no dps benefit are:
- Mining: 480 stamina
Q) What race will give me the highest dps benefit as a hunter?
A) Here are rough rankings based on simulation data for T14N. In all cases the horde racial benefits outrank the alliance ones. Note that effective use of cooldown timing will shift the value of the Orc and Troll racials, and Draenei/Dwarf/Troll racial benefits from the hit/expertise will vary depending on the secondary stat you reforge it into (these ranks assume reforge into crit).
Q) What other hunter resources may be useful to me?
A) There are many excellent hunter resources available, here are a few that may be of use:
- Hunter DPS Analyzer (estimates how various changes can affect your dps)
- Warcraft Hunters Union (hunter advice blog with a bunch of guides)
- WoW Hunters Hall (compiles hunter stories and information from a multitude of sources)
- Official Blizzard Hunter Forum
- Petopia (pet gallery and resources)
- Simulationcraft (not hunter specific but can be used to simulate fights and analyze damage results)
- Esoth's Hunter Spreadsheet (Excel spreadsheet to simulate dps)
- WoW Reforge (not hunter specific, useful for reforging to meet caps)
- WoW Upgrade (not hunter specific, useful for comparing the dps value of item level upgrades)
Q) What formulas are used for various hunter/pet abilities at level 90?
A) In some cases the in-game tooltips (and wowhead) give formulas which don't seem to match actual testing. These are the estimated formulas I've established from testing (mostly updated for 5.4). If you have updated formulas or notice an error please send me a PM with details.
Note: Weapon damage is typically calculated as: avg dmg of the weapon + RAP * .2
- Aimed Shot: (avg weapon dmg + RAP * .2) * 4.5 + 12339 (suppresses autoshot and resets the timer) - updated for 5.4
- Arcane Shot: (avg weapon dmg + RAP * .2) * 1.25 + 2882 - updated for 5.4
- Barrage: (avg weapon dmg + RAP * .2) * 6.4 (total damage to the primary target over 16 ticks, suppresses autoshot but does not reset the timer, 1/6 normal chance to proc wild quiver)
- Black Arrow: RAP * 1.26 + 1570 (total damage, split over 10 ticks) - updated for 5.2
- Chimera Shot: (avg weapon dmg + RAP * .2) * 3.975 + 6193.5 - updated for hotfix on 2013-09-24
- Cobra Shot: (avg weapon dmg + RAP * .2) * .77 - updated for 5.4
- Explosive Shot: RAP * .4301 + 536.8 (per tick, there are 3 ticks) - updated for hotfix on 2013-09-24
- Explosive Trap: RAP * .0382 + 124 (initial damage), RAP * .0382 + 27 (per tick, there are 10 ticks) - updated for 5.4
- Glaive Toss: (RAP * .2 + 872) * 4 (to the primary target, 2 will hit)
- Improved Serpent Sting: serpent sting formula * .75 (does benefit from the 50% damage bonus) - updated for 5.1
- Kill Shot: (avg weapon dmg + RAP * .2) * 4.2
- Multi-Shot: (avg weapon dmg + RAP * .2) * .6
- Powershot: (avg weapon dmg + RAP * .2) * 6 (damage to the primary target, does not suppress autoshot) - updated 2013-04-11
- Serpent Sting: RAP * .16 + 3240.38 (per tick, ticks every 3 sec) - updated for 5.1
- Steady Shot: (avg weapon dmg + RAP * .2) * .66 + 1737 - updated for 5.4
- Wild Quiver: (avg weapon dmg + RAP * .2) * .80
Pet: (all pet attacks include the standard 1.5 pet damage multiplier and BM mastery)
- Bite/Claw/Smack: RAP * .168 + 142
- Lynx Rush: RAP * .038 + 86 (per stack of the bleed per tick, not reduced by armor) - updated for 5.4
- Kill Command: RAP * .938 + 935.333 - updated for 5.4
- Melee: RAP / 14 * 2 + 311.575
- Thunderstomp (Tenacity): RAP * .0245 + 144
- Burrow Attack (Worm): RAP * .096 + 92 (per tick, 8 ticks over 8 sec, suppresses all other pet attacks except kill command)
- Froststorm Breath (Chimaera): RAP * .144 + 275 (per tick, 4 ticks over 8 sec, scales with physical haste, suppresses all other pet attacks- casting kill command interrupts it)
- Dire Beast: RAP * .2857 + 1246.3 per hit (attacks every 2 sec for 15 sec, attack speed scales with melee haste) - scales with BM mastery (this can stack)
- A Murder of Crows: RAP * .2884 + 785.1676 per hit (30 attacks) - scales with BM mastery as well as hunter damage multipliers (this does not stack)
- Snake Trap: summons 4 vipers which do RAP * .00465 + 38.962 per hit (attacking roughly every 2.3 sec) and 4 venomous snakes which do RAP * .00305 + 38.962 per hit (attacking roughly every 1.6 sec). The venomous snakes also apply deadly poison which stacks to 5 (pretty much immediately) and does RAP * 0.005 + 185 per tick at 5 stacks (you get 12 ticks of it before it expires from one snake trap). The snakes scale with hunter haste and crit but do not benefit from BM mastery