Where the view is always better.

Allow Me to Clarify

When making a performance comparison between Marksmanship and Beast Mastery hunters in a raid, be critical in how you compare the two.

In a Karazhan run for his hunter, Big Bear Butt compared the performance of his young Beast Mastery hunter to a Marksmanship hunter in partial epic gear. BBB boasted a solid 664 DPS, while the Marksmanship hunter put out only 514 DPS. While I’m sure his learning of hunter play from BRK contributed to this performance, sometimes a gut instinct is also correct. BBB considered two possibilites how this performance gap could have happened:

  1. Something is wrong with the player, or
  2. Something is wrong with the spec (0/41/20).

From the looks of it, Rannan, the Marksmanship hunter, seems to know what he’s doing for PvP when looking at his gear and enchants. He has a 3-set of Gladiator armor, as well as several PvP reward items. Stamina enchants and a Mongoose enchant are commonly seen in characters geared towards this type of play.

Let’s compare the basic hunter stats. Rannan has 1689 RAP when Aspect of the Hawk and Trueshot Aura are active, compared to BBB’s 1313 RAP with only Aspect of the Hawk. However, Rannan also has 303 Agility, while BBB has 413. It was noted that Rannan survived the fight against Prince Malchezaar, but BBB did not. This is evident in that Rannan has nearly twice BBB’s Stamina. A PvE Marksmanship hunter of Rannan’s level should probably have at least mid 300s Stamina instead of 500s.

Finally, take a look at Rannan’s spec. This 0/41/20 build is far from being a PvE build. For one, there are no points in Ranged Weapon Specialization, which is essential in PvE. Improved Stings is definitely a PvP talent, as well as Deflection.

Bottom line is: If Rannan were a PvE hunter with PvE gear and the equivalent PvE enchants, I don’t doubt that he would have been able to out-DPS BBB in that Karazhan run.

However, DPS is not necessarily indicative of a Marksmanship hunter’s performance. Case in point, myself in Magtheridon yesterday. During the attempt where Magtheridon went down, the final damage meter indicated that I was about 5th in DPS (approximately 760), but I stil did the second highest damage, not far behind a Beast Mastery hunter who put out ~820 DPS. The reason? My cat died at the beginning of Phase 2, so I took the time to resurrect and heal her before sending her into the fight (because I need her for Focused Fire to achieve its bonus). So for almost 2 minutes, I did not do any damage to Magtheridon. But yet, I was still able to climb through the damage meters and still contribute a large amount to the raid. This is what Marksmanship hunters can do.

If you take nothing else away from this post, remember that it’s not only about the DPS and damage meters. There are other factors that differentiate a Marksmanship and a Beast Mastery hunter. You’re not comparing two things that are similar. Hunter talent trees aren’t like brothers. They’re more cousins of each other.

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4 responses

  1. Very, very true.

    As I said, I knew going in my gear was very poor… which was why I was astonished to have the top DPS over the other hunter.

    Sadly, I forgot that just because you focus on PvP does not mean that your friends won’t drag your butt into a raid to help them out.

    14 July 2008 at 15:39

  2. Many MM hunters (myself included) spec points in Survival in order to perform better at a secondary function: crowd control.

    Trapping a lot has a huge impact on DPS, especially when your trapping macros aren’t very advanced (I’m working on one that uses focus, and hope to publish it on my page if it works).

    Simply put, any trapping hunter will know that freezing traps have a nasty tendency to either be resisted (leading to pain, a Scatter Shot, FD – which may also be resisted – and sometimes a race to see whether you can get to the tank before the mob clobbers you to death) or to proc before the mob actually stands right on top of it, forcing you to stop firing, but still watch the mob in case the trap is resisted.

    Often enough, you also have so fire a few times to lure a mob who is already rather angry at the tank into your trap, especially if you have a tank who tends to use AoE in order to maintain aggro.

    Because we have Silencing Shot, MM hunters are also often asked to trap casters – another game of placing a trap, shooting, backing away and then firing Silencing Shot when the caster is close enough to the trap that he will run onto it in the 3 seconds of his silence.

    All of that contributes to lost damage-dealing time – and hence lost DPS – which does not mean that the lower-damage but more versatile MM hunter’s raid contribution is any less meaningful than that of the BM hunter’s.

    I find it most useful to measure comparative DPS during fairly simple “tank and spank” boss fights – and there I have found, of late, that even mages and warlocks often take second place to a thoughtfully PvE geared and specced MM hunter.

    14 July 2008 at 15:45

  3. I like to think that hunters as a class are all versatile regardless of spec. In my eyes versatility and skill comes down to how well you utilise the abilities available to you rather than a specific talent build.

    15 July 2008 at 06:31

  4. @BBB: With the attack speed increase from the BM tree, a BM hunter’s shot rotation is pretty simple, 1:1 Steady / Auto… rinse and repeat your way to the top of the dps meter. There is very little dead time in between a BM hunter’s shots. MM Hunters have a much slower attack speed, which leads to alot more dead time between shots. A MM hunter trying to use a 1:1 rotation will lose a ton of DPS. To even start to compare to a BM hunter’s DPS, the MM hunter needs to have a firm grasp on their 1:1.5 shot rotation. If your hunter counterpart does more PvP than PVE, there is a good chance they don’t have their shot rotion down. Also, PvP gear does not have stats that lend themselves to PVE encounters… lower Int, lower AP.

    @Mithrilina: Couldn’t agree more. I absolutly dread running Heroics that I need to CC in when I dont have the improved trap talents from the Surv tree. I can do it as BM, but go in expecting my resisted/’broken early’ traps to cause a wipe or two.

    @Loronar: As MM, our pets don’t do near the damage as BM nor do they give any group buffs (FI). I would think that you would have ended up with more damage had you left the pet dead and continued to dps through those two minutes. IMO, the two minutes worth of damage to Mag’s and mana not used on rez pet would far outweigh the damage you gained from your pet for the rest of the fight: 2% extra damage from Focused Fire and Kill Commands.

    15 July 2008 at 16:01

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