Beta: Testing the brand new Aspect of the Viper

Let’s say we weren’t exactly thrilled last night when we found the new changes to Hunters in the latest beta patch. Quite a few changes we were not excited to see, including the nerf to Aspect of the Viper.

Keeping Aspect of the Viper viable is extremely important with the Potion Sickness being kept in the game. Without the ability to chug potions, our other sources of mana regeneration need to compensate for the hole being left open. So what kind of numbers are we looking at? These are the numbers I put together last night while testing with a target dummy. Make note I was specced into Marksmanship at the time.

9701 mana – Efficiency and Combat Experience

Aspect of the Viper 291 mana – 3% mana returned if my math is right, before factoring in shot cost

  • Chimera Shot – Cost: 801 mana – Lose 510 mana
  • Arcane Shot – Cost: 317 mana – Lose 26 mana
  • Multi-Shot – Cost: 362 mana – Lose 71 mana against a single target (potential to gain 582 total mana versus 3 targets)
  • Steady Shot – Cost: 180 mana – Gain 111 mana – Returns 1.1% of my mana after factoring in shot cost
  • Serpent Sting – Cost: 408 mana – Gain 1047 mana over 15 seconds (69.8 every second)
  • Immolation Trap – Cost: 454 mana – Gain 1001 mana over 15 seconds (66.7 every second)
  • Explosive Trap – Cost: 958 mana – 1952 mana gained over 20 seconds (97.6 mana per second) (potential for more if lots of opposing players/mobs just sit in the trap effect)

That is if my math is right of course. So here we have a video of myself testing Aspect of the Viper on a target dummy to try and determine what amount of time we are going to spend in Aspect of the Viper. What is important to note is that this is without any outside regeneration. In a raid I would have Blessing of Wisdom, some other class with the Replenishment effect, yadda yadda.

Make note that these numbers assume you would still be using the exact same rotation regardless of which Aspect you were in. We know this isn’t true since some shots would have to removed since they provide no gain. But for the sake of numbers…

So averaging out those numbers, I spent very close to 45% of my time in Aspect of the Viper regenerating mana.In this video we initially can DPS for 50 seconds before the mana is nearly depleted, in which we then switch to aspect of the Viper. In the video I still use Chimera Shot to refresh Serpent Sting, even if it technically is still a loss of 510 mana. An alternative would be to hard cast Serpent Sting to reduce the amount of mana being consumed during the Aspect of the Viper phase. I am able to switch back to Aspect of the Hawk after 41 seconds of being in Aspect of the Viper. I then repeat this cycle one more time. The second Hawk cycle only lasts 45 seconds and the second Viper phase lasting 37 seconds. So averaging out those numbers, I spent very close to 45% of my time in Aspect of the Viper regenerating mana.

So barring out the fact we cannot use Multi-Shot on a single target without losing mana and stopping your DPS to run to a boss and place down a trap might cause a larger loss in DPS than it’s worth. So we know that we will be running at *roughly* 50% of our effectiveness for 45% of the time depending on external regeneration.

So given that ([Time in Viper]*[50% DPS Effectiveness])+([Time in Hawk]*[100% DPS Effectiveness]) = Total DPS Efficiency we can figure that:

(50% * 45%) + (100% * 55%) = 77.5%

So unless my math is going crazy, which it might be, we are looking at 22% DPS nerf, on average, with the amount of time we will spend in Aspect of the Viper. Once again, this is before factoring in any external mana regeneration buffs that might reduce the time we spend in Aspect of the Viper.

Here we have the same test using a Survival spec:

Survival fared a bit better due to Aspect of the Viper being triggered on every Explosive Shot tick, helping eliminate time spent in Viper. My first round of Hawk DPS lasted for 1 minute and 9 seconds before I switched to Aspect of the Viper. I then spent 19 seconds in Aspect of the Viper to refill my mana. That means that roughly 78% of my DPS time is in Hawk, while 22% of my DPS is done while in Viper. Using the calculation above we can figure that:

(50% * 22%) + (100% * 78%) = 89%

So here we are looking at a 11% reduction in our total DPS due to the use of Aspect of the Viper. Survival is getting the better end of this deal due to things like Explosive Shot, as anything that “ticks” is providing the largest mana return. And my Marksmanship build even had 5/5 Efficiency, which goes a long way in describing MM mana issues.

I did manage to get to 76 last night and trained the most unexciting skills ever for an even-numbered level. Distracting Shot and Disengage.To be fair, a few things can be done to help improve mana regeneration. You could use the Arcane Shot glyph to get an additional 20% mana return if your target is affected by a sting. With 5/5 Efficiency Arcane Shot was costing 317 mana, providing no gain in mana. With the glyph you at least negate the penalty of using Arcane Shot during Viper to provide you with a gain of 37 mana. During my MM tests I could have forgone using Chimera Shot and recast Serpent Sting myself.

Once again barring out glaring math mistakes, I would need a mana pool of 26700 before I would break even on casting Chimera Shot while using Aspect of the Viper. That being figured that if 801 mana was 3% of my mana pool.

What’s really important to note here is the complete lack of viability in a competitive PvP environment. How many of the aforementioned abilities are not feasible to be used in a PvP environment? Standing still and using Auto Shot is not a viable option with the dynamic nature of Arena and the constant movement that is taking place. Multi-Shot could provide a return if you hit both targets but you still have to deal with the cooldown and not break any present crowd control. And Arcane Shot is also a loss in mana. What instant attacks does this leave a Hunter in order to regain mana?

None.

Well, let’s wrap this up. Hopefully my math is right otherwise I am going to look ridiculous. Sorry about the no BM love yet. It was late when the server finally came up and this is what I had time to test. Thoughts, comments, questions. Post ‘em!

UPDATE: And the math and work paid off a bit. At least it was noticed.

Thanks. Our intent was not really to reduce it’s power, but make it equally powerful for the guy in green gear vs the guy in epics. We’ll do some more tuning on it.

About Drotara

Drotara (or BehemothDan) considers himself a geek on many levels. A web developer and programmer by trade, he has no shortage of geeky hobbies. When not fulfilling husband and daddy duties, he enjoys WoW, the WoW TCG, Magic: The Gathering, and great board games with friends and family.