In Which Pike Needs To Learn to Play

So I am both pleased and somewhat befuddled to report that any Beast Master worth their salt could destroy me in DPS right now. Seriously, today, spec’d cookie-cutter Survival and using a cookie-cutter wolf, in both a 10man and a 25man VoA… I wound up a good 300-400 DPS short of what I’d do as Beast Master.

…heck, I do more DPS as a Beast Master in 10man Naxx than I did as a Survivalist in 25man VoA today. And I had a kitty druid and a bazillion other yummy things in VoA that I normally don’t have in Naxx.

Before you ask, yes I’ve read the Elitist Jerks threads, yes I’m using a glyph/spec/rotation setup I got from them, and yes, I am being very careful not to overwrite my Explosive Shot DoTs when Lock n’ Load procs.

My only theories are a.) the massive slowdown my computer likes to throw at me in 25mans (though that still doesn’t explain the performance I wasn’t exactly proud of in the 10man today), b.) my AP gems are coming back to haunt me (Edit: Now that I think about it, I think I have mostly +hit gems… so never mind >.>), c.) it takes more than a few days to figure out the nuances of this spec, or d.) I hacked the gibson and bent the rules of the game to my will so BM simply does more DPS when I play it.

*shifty eyes*

I’m glad I’ve set the rule on myself that I must stay my test specs for a full week though, or I woulda given up and respec’d by now. I will figure out these Survivalist Shenanigans if it’s the last thing I do.

In druid news, I healed ZA. Well, part of it. Eagle Boss can go die. x_x

(P.S. Just to clarify, you don’t have to worry about me turning into a superhardcore min/max style hunter. I am going pure cookie-cutter right now merely out of curiosity to see if I can figure out what the hype is about, so to speak. Once my curiosity is sated I can go back to things like, well, using my raptor <3)

28 thoughts on “In Which Pike Needs To Learn to Play”

  1. Yeah, those AP gems probably are haunting you – given that survival has a few nice agi-boosting talents, and quite a few that boost damage with crits, if I recall correctly (which the agi would help slightly).

    I was BM until the great nerf of 3.1 (or whenever it was), and I’ve been survival since, because I figure as a pugging-alt I need to put out the best dps I can to ensure my position – and I was certainly doing better dps as survival. My BM spec is for tanking though, so I can’t easily do a comparison like you – that and I don’t play hunter enough at the moment 🙁

    Still – I am very glad to see you make this experiment – looking forward to your marks week too, as that is a spec I haven’t touched (well, past the first 18 talents or so), but recall being fond of back when I played a rogue in Molten Core (who wouldn’t like +100 ap in an aura?!)

    Thanks again for the awesome blog <3

  2. I’d say a combination of A & B. BM is more forgiving of lag, due to the fact that your pet is doing most of the the work. As survival, your pet is only doing ~20% of your damage, and the rest is you balancing the shots, including reacting to procs of LnL. If you have too much lag, you’re probably not firing off as many shots as you need for maximising your dps.

  3. Hi Pike !

    So many hit gems ! I feel for you ! Hit is scarce before Naxx25 and Ulduar on our gear… I was struggling myself these days with that. Maybe you should put a point in Focused Aim to get a gem slot for some Agility… (I suggest you take it in Master Tacticien) or you could use Keristraza’s trinket (heroic Nexus) which is a very good trinket with loads of hit.

    I don’t like SV rotation either. It drives me crazy. But I’m SV because I do more dps with this spec now that my gear is optimized for it. And I agree with you, BM is for moving, SV is for Patchwerk-like fights… I did Hodir (10-man) the other day. It’s a very moving intensive fight. In SV I did crap, I switched to BM and made wonders. Woot ! BM rules !

    I think that your not so good numbers on VoA in 25-man come from the fact that you are not used to the SV rotation yet. You will need pratice. This rotation is just ugly. It feels like playing music without following the rythm, or like having 3-time bar, then 2-time bar, then four-time bar, all randomly. I’m a very musical person, used to play violin in an orchestra for ten years and I beat the time, aka the gcd, when playing Wow (on my druid too, yeah for instant casted hots !). BM is just wonderful : 4/4 bar time. SV is like playing modern music without bars…
    (Sorry if my vocabulary in musical terms is not exact, they’re quite technical words and I’m not sure they are the right words… English isn’t my first language).

    Find a way to improve your cd tracking if you can. I do much better dps when I can focus on my cooldowns. I use OmniCC at the moment but I think I will try ForteXorcist too.
    And always put Black Arrow top priority on a boss, it increase damages done. All damages.

    And for soloing, I love to quest in SV as much as in BM actually. When I’m in a rush, I take BM, the pet do everything, its quick and I can just autoshot and skin the corpses. But when I want to have some fun, I quest in SV, kiting mobs around. I practice my kiting abilities, jump shot, wing clip etc… And you can use traps to tringer Lock and Load instead of using the crapy Black Arrow, so useless when soloing.

    Good luck

  4. I switch between BM and SV so my gems are all what they were as BM, I still often top the damage charts. I really doubt that’s the root of the issue.

    Lag will hurt you badly, it does for me. But what takes a HUGE chunk of my damage: track. If I forget to change my track to the type of mobs we’re fighting for each quarter in Nax I see a couple hundred DPS drop off my meter. So double check that when you feel like you aren’t doing enough damage.

    Other than that I htink it just takes some practice. My SV damage went up slowly as I got more used to the rotation and more natural with it. It’s a bit more fiddly than BM so give it some time.

  5. @ Kataron – the pool on the roof must have a leak!

    @ Morhain – I definitely had my tracking up. And I wasn’t lagging– the slowdown was more of an FPS decrease. So as long as I stood in one spot… I don’t think it effected me too badly. Hopefully anyway. >.>

  6. Hey Pike. Gems will give you a rather large boost, 300-400 dps, in dps (go with Religon’s method of shoving agility in every gem slot you can but don’t forget to keep yourself hit capped).

    Lag and frame rates are a huge concern with SV/MM tree so try to keep an eye on those. I usually do my best DPS when I am less than 300ms and above 30fps.

    The biggest thing I must insist on, and a lot of people don’t seem to get this, is that the cookie cutter specs are optimized for a specific set of gear. My main hunter gets higher dps (even in the EJ spreadsheet) by not using the cookie cutter EJ spec. I actually lose dps when using the EJ spec because of not being in the spec’s gear (I’m still stuck in 10 man gear).

    Keep working on it. You’ll figure it out 🙂

  7. Yeah, it’s probably a linux issue.

    Ohhh, no I didn’t just say that!!!

    Just kidding. But the point about BM and SV being different based on any delay you have in getting your shots off is a big one. Whether its’ FPS, latency, or lag, the timing is going to hurt you some. I’m not sure how you prove that to yourself though. It’s almost a “well if my SV dps goes up, then it’s not latency, and if my SV dps doesn’t go up, it is latency. Except if it goes up, maybe I’m just getting better at it, and if it doesn’t go up…. Oh heck, screw it, I’m going back to BM now.”

    Anyway, keep it up. I’m very exctied to see how this plays out for you. While I haven’t played BM since 3.08 and am basically a min-max raider playing SV and MM now, I enjoy most aspects of your blog. I’ll be curious to see a perspective piece at the end of this 2 week experiment.

  8. I find my damage from one run one to the next, from one fight to the next, is affected primarily by the following:

    1) Having to move.

    Sniper training, obviously, is affected by this, but I also find that any movement fight affects my cd management: it’s simply harder to hit cds when you’re having to move. I generally drop 500-1000 dps on movement fights.

    2) Other duties.

    Taking down webs on Maexxna, kiting skellies, MDing VoA adds to the OT…whatever it is, it’ll drop your dps. Usually I drop 1000-1500 dps, depending on the amount of time the other duties take.

    3) Group/self buffs.

    We happened to run Naxx with 8 druids a couple of weeks ago, at the expense of some of our usual pallies, DKs, etc., and I noticed a significant drop off. In VoA pugs this can be particularaly noticeable, as pugs might not have class balance, and buffers might not be conscientious about it. Dropoff can be anything from a 100 or so to 500+.

    I’ve been keeping some rough numbers from different bosses; I don’t compare my dps to others’ dps, rather, I compare it to my own previous numbers, on the same fights, with similar duties and raid composition, and those 3 above seem to be the major influences.

  9. @ Myte – nearly all my gems are hit gems, so regemming isn’t much of an option =/

    @ WB – Yeah, I’m sure that hurt me in the 25man. I am still at a loss to how I’m not really seeing an increase on the training dummies though. My FPS/latency is always stellar.

  10. Hmm.
    Part of it’s probably getting used to the rotation, and part of it is just that it’s a very different way of playing. Good luck!

    PS-> Can’t wait to see what happens when you get to MM. Expect mana issues. Loads. Efficiency and rapid recup become your bestest friends.

  11. I don’t see you say much about traps. I thought trap dancing was a bit part of SV hunters dps. Am I wrong there? Or is that what you’re missing?

  12. Survival is a lot different than BM, it’s more like playing a shadow priest or an affliction lock in the number of things you have to juggle. If you let things like black arrow lapse or serpent sting run off, your doing at least 3% less dps. I had the same issue with being “wow survival is meh dps” when switching from BM. After i got power auras setup i gave it another shot and i was easily pushing 4-600 dps more as survival, with my wolf. I’m not sure if this is the standard cookie cutter spec but – – is what i use. You may also want to consider something like xforte or watcher to have a nice visual bar of when your shots come off cool down. I’ve found that a lot of the time you just are not pressing enough buttons as survival, and remember steady shot is your filler button, tap it when ever everything else is on cool down.

  13. @jdjdjd – no more trap dancing, black arrow eats your trap cd. How ever on trash packs it is advisable to throw down an explosive trap in lieu of black arrow to instantly proc lock and load and get some extra aoe damage too.

  14. @ Kedearian – Ayep, that is the spec my wolf is using. And the spec you posted for yourself is the exact spec I am using.

    I installed Quartz this morning to see if it helps any. Not much of an improvement on the training dummies so far but I do like it so I’m glad I installed it.

  15. I suggest you run Heroic Nexus daily, as part of your experiment, with the same group if possible. It’s not quite a “control”, but you should get a fair idea of how you’re improving against the same bosses, with a few different mechanics. It’s hard to do that in raids with week-long lockout periods.

    Second, with a bit of luck, the Sphere of Red Dragon’s Blood will drop, which has 55 Hit (as well as a nice activation AP bonus), and would let you pick some better gems.

  16. Hi! I really enjoyed reading your blog, it’s really readable and I love the cute graphics. ^_^ Anyway my main is a huntress that’s been rolling kinda the same way that you have: BM levelling and messing around 80 heroics for a while, getting convinced that SV is the hot spec to go for PVE, then getting convinced that MM is the way for high-end raiding gear.

    I remember that when I first switched into SV my dps was so horrible that I was tempted to switch back to BM and let my kitty do the work. It was easy! And I was doing more dps! After a while I noticed that every other hunter with an SV spec did way more dps than I did in Naxx25, so I stuck with it. It takes a while to get used to because it has more shot rotations than BM, and most importantly (!), don’t get discouraged because your dps scales exponentially with gear. Once you get into more Naxx25 gear your dps is going to shoot up and you’ll be happier in SV than BM. Plus once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty fun.

    I just switched to a raiding MM spec a few days ago and am still getting used to it. It’s worse than SV – I was so overwhelmed with the number of buttons to push. But it does provide the best dps in high ilvl gear, and it’s getting more fun, so I’m sticking to MM now. If you are interested you should take a glance at my armory profile: Good luck, your talents/glyphs are solid and it’s only a matter of time til you find your rhythm!

  17. I can see that you’ve taken some points in the replenishment area (as have I, all of them, in fact) so I will go out on a limb here and say that if you put every point into squeezing out the DPS talents, youre SV DPS might improve…but as many other (and prolly more knowledgeable!) people have put in the comments, movement and several other factors (FPS, Latency, type of fight) might be effecting your DPS. Just food for thought!

  18. The FPS decrease you experience is a huge factor for dps loss. #3 made a good point I haven’t thought about before, in that BM is more forgiving to lag because the pet does a larger proportion of your dps.

    Now, the term “lag” is used very liberally here. A tight shot rotation is achieved by executing a shot on every single GCD. Internet latency will effectively increase your shot cooldowns (arcane/explosive) by your ping, but shouldn’t affect your steady shot if you compensate by precasting. Low FPS causes UI lag, which will effectively increase your GCD to more than 1.5 seconds. This is where most people are hurting on dps without realizing the cause of it.

    You can try using the OmniCC addon to track your cooldowns and see if you have these issues. In the 3 GCDs between your explosive shots, if you don’t see your cooldown count down to 1 (assuming haste cap or IAotH active), you’re losing dps to lag (or your shot rotation is not tight enough).

  19. TL;DR

    Gems/Enchants/Spec tweaks gives you fractions of a percent in dps boost, while lag can easily cause 10% dps loss.

  20. Just a silly thought (I’ve been known to have those), but isn’t it possible that you do more DPS as BM simply because you’re passionate about the spec?

    Something I’ve found in swapping specs after Wrath came out and leveling my paladin is that you do better in a spec you love. Sure, I got a net 100 DPS increase when I swapped from BM, but only because I also switched from a cat to a wolf. On dummies I was pulling the same or lower DPS as Surv if I used the kitty.

    One thing that can’t be theorycrafted is the player, and I think that’s what’s happening here. Reflexes and innate knowledge will beat out highest theorycrafted DPS just about every time, so unless/until you get Surv to the same point where BM is right now, on a personal level, I think you’ll see more DPS as BM. That said, it’s neat seeing you make such an effort towards learning the Surv spec. Keep at it! 🙂

    /sits back and waits for the theorycrafting flames

  21. @Eric totally agree with you man. SV is fun to try out and I hope to someday try out MM but BM is where I’m at and where I’m staying. If I don’t get into raids because “BM is fail at raiding” then so be it. Suprisingly enough I do about 100-300 more dps as SV (usually) but like you said, I don’t feel the same connection as I do with BM. When I do run SV I find it hard to forget my BM tendencies.

  22. Yeah, I’ll agree with others posting here and say it’s probably gear/stat setup. Survival values Agility and Haste, which BM doesn’t (Haste especially). I don’t think it’d be your FPS particularly.

    And…. don’t underestimate familiarity with specs. Until dual spec I’d never played any other spec besides BM, and it’s almost like playing a different character, since the major shots are all different. Maybe by the end of the week it will feel more natural to you 🙂

  23. Don’t worry, Pike. It is a little bit like learning to write with your left hand if you’ve been using your right hand all your life—the brain knows how to do it but all it really takes is practice.

    Keep at it! I’m currently experimenting with a Surv PvP spec but after 2 more weeks of getting used to it, my experimentation goes to BM PvP.

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