Black Arrow and the nerfed Explosive Shot

In the latest rounds of PTR patching Explosive Shot took a pretty heavy nerf to the face. And the addition of Black Arrow and the removal of Serpent Sting from the Lock and Load talent has people seeing very few and far between procs.

The bonus of Black Arrow however is the 6% increased damage when it is active. However the duration is only 15 seconds with a 30 second cooldown allowing us to only maintain a 50% up-time. So in reality it is more along the lines of a 3% DPS increase, similar to Noxious Stings. On top of that, Black Arrow shares the cooldown with our traps so Immolation Trap isn’t an option.

First, let’s compare Explosive Shot numbers to see what kind of damage we are looking at. In its current form we have numbers like this:

[ 16% of RAP + 428 ] – [ 16% of RAP + 516 ] = 1148 – 1236

This is unbuffed assuming 4500 attack power. The new formula gives us numbers like this:

[ 14% of RAP + 386 ] – [ 14% of RAP + 464 ] = 1016 – 1094

So we are seeing a 11.5% damage reduction on our Explosive Shots. Since Explosive Shot was compromising roughly 40% of the average Survival Hunter’s DPS it will be a noticeable reduction in their overall output. Very rough calculations put it at a 4.6% overall DPS reduction. This isn’t exactly accurate, assuming talents like T.N.T and what not, but it is a rough idea.

Black Arrow damage calculations looks like this:

[RAP * 0.1 + 2765] = 3215

That’s 3215 damage over 15 seconds, or 214.3 DPS for 15 seconds. Averaging out that number you actually get a total contribution of 107.16 DPS when you figure out how much DPS you get over the course of 30 seconds until you can cast it again.

But here is a very important note. Currently on the PTR there is only a single rank of Black Arrow, not 6 as we are seeing on Wowhead and MMO-Champion. And if this is the case, my Rank 1 Black Arrow is only doing 1218 damage over 15 seconds. Which is only 81.2 DPS over 15 seconds, or 40.6 DPS over 30 seconds until it can be refreshed again.

Let’s compare that with Immolation Trap in terms of pure DPS:

[RAP * 0.1 + 1885] = 2335

So if there are suppose to be 6 ranks, Black Arrow is point-for-point better than Immolation Trap. However if there is only one rank of Black Arrow, Immolation Trap provides 37.2 DPS more than Black Arrow (Rank 1) over 30 seconds, or a total of 77.83 DPS. So what the question ends up being is 6% increased damage 50% of the time better than using Immolation Trap?

The answer is most likely yes. Assuming you were doing 4000 DPS (not counting your pet), Black Arrow would net you a 120 DPS gain. 5000 DPS would net you a 150 DPS gain. 2000 DPS would only net 60 DPS.

You can also add in the 40.6 DPS Black Arrow actually contributes as well. Which makes 2000 DPS actually gain 100.6 DPS (60 DPS from the Black Arrow effect and 40.6 from the DoT). So as long as you are able to personally put out more than 1400 DPS or so, Black Arrow is the better choice.

An interesting observation would be if we choose to glyph for Immolation Trap, which would increase my personal Immolation Trap damage to 4670, or 155.7 DPS over 30 seconds. If we add the 40.6 DPS that Black Arrow contributes, that would mean that at the 4000 personal DPS level, using Black Arrow over a glyphed Immolation Trap is only a gain of 5 DPS.

Of course, this is all moot if we end up seeing 5 more ranks like MMO and Wowhead are suggesting. Remember some of these numbers are dependent on your ranged attack power (such as Black Arrow, Explosive Shot, and Immolation Trap damage) and how much personal DPS your are able to output.

Thoughts, opinions, concerns, and mathematical corrections are always welcome! Post ‘em here!

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.