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The Bombardment Mess

On Tuesday, Blizzard reverted one change that had snuck into patch 4.3 without much notice from the hunter community.

Reverted a bug fix that caused Bombardment to be consumed by the next Multi-Shot. Fixing this bug proved to be a significant dps loss, so Bombardment once again lasts for its full 6 second duration regardless of the number of Multi-Shot casts. The tooltip will be updated in a future patch to reflect that this change is intended.

Why did this happen? Last Thursday, some time after the official patch, Blizzard snuck this addition onto the patch notes.

Bombardment now only affects the next Multi-shot cast.

If you don’t remember, Bombardment is a fourth-tier Marksmanship talent that reduces the focus cost of the next Multi-Shot by 50 percent when you critically hit with Multi-Shot. It sounds pretty straightforward right? Well, not quite.

Judging by the wording on the initial change in the 4.3 patch notes, the developers had not foreseen the current usage of Bombardment, where Marksmanship hunters would blow all their focus with sequential Multi-Shots, regenerate it with Steady Shot, and then repeat the process.

If one were to logically read the tooltip for Bombardment, it would be assumed that every Multi-Shot has a chance to proc the Bombardment effect. This meant that if it were to proc consecutively, one could fit in four Multi-Shots before depleting all 100 focus.

Multi-Shot (original, 40 focus)
Multi-Shot (Bombardment proc, 20 focus)
Multi-Shot (Bombardment proc, 20 focus)
Multi-Shot (Bombardment proc, 20 focus)

Apparently this was not Blizzard’s intention. They did not intend on allowing the reduced-focus Multi-Shot to proc Bombardment, meaning one could only fit in three Multi-Shots at maximum.

Multi-Shot (original, 40 focus)
Multi-Shot (Bombardment proc, 20 focus)
Multi-Shot (original reset, 40 focus)

Upon initial inspection, one would think this reduces DPS. Well, it did, so the change was reverted.

But the confusion doesn’t end there. Why mention a six-second duration? There was no indication whatsoever that Bombardment has such a duration. Although I don’t have a definite answer since I have been unable to test this, I have one speculation.

Under extreme haste conditions, one may be able to fit in as many as five Multi-Shots in a row because by the time you consume 100 focus for the initial four shots, you will have regained another 20 while under haste. Bombardment procs when Multi-Shot hits its targets, which is typically at the end of the first global cooldown. Spamming four more Multi-Shots that are all affected by Bombardment uses four 1.5-second global cooldowns, which total up to six seconds. This is the maximum duration of Bombardment because you would have to regain focus again after it is depleted by using Steady Shot.

Bombardment remains one of the least studied abilities of Marksmanship hunters, and there isn’t much data available on it at the moment. However, I don’t think this will be the last time we see its effect come into discussion because the ability will also feature as a Marksmanship passive ability in Mists of Pandaria as well.

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4 responses

  1. I never really thought of MM Hunters as using MS much in their rotations, even in multi-mob fights. Was this giving them better/worse AoE DPS and so prevalent that it was causing problems for MM Hunters? Seems like MM has remained significantly ahead of the other specs in DPS for some time now, I’m a little surprised this was such an issue. I rarely use my MM os though, and certainly not in AoE situations (I’m SV) so I suppose I might not have noticed a problem.

    8 December 2011 at 09:30

    • This was pretty much the closest thing Marksmanship has to an AoE. I remember back in Blackwing Descent my raid leader would always tell me to pop Rapid Fire and Multi-Shots to help kill Aberrations faster during Maloriak. Under normal circumstances, Bombardment and Multi-Shot isn’t really worth the focus, but for 4 or more targets, it’s worth using.

      8 December 2011 at 17:33

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  3. Verg

    Pre-4.3 Bombardment lasted a solid 4 seconds after initial proc – I had added it to Serenity to keep track of still having reduced focus cost. However, you could proc Bombardment again with a subsequent cast, refreshing duration to 4 sec.

    Sounds like they buffed it with 4.3 to 6 second duration, but decided that was too powerful and tried to consume the proc. This resulted in huge randomness in AoE rotation (whether or not it procced each time), and Blizzard found it better to revert.

    So we now have a 50% duration buff (4 sec to 6 sec) with no downside (though if it becomes OP may get nerfed later).

    10 December 2011 at 11:13

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