Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hunters 101 - part IV: Haste and beyond

In previous installments, we've talked about threat, hit, crit and attack power as well as pointing to some threads on pet selection. Today we are going to look at Haste and how to fit all the information in the other sections together.


At its very basic, haste increases attack speed. However, as with most things, it is not nearly as simple as that. There are abilities and talents that increase your attaack speed by a certain percentage and haste rating, found on certain gear, which also increases attack speed.

Abilities like Auto Shot and Rapid Fire and talents such as Improved Aspect of the Hawk and Serpent's Swiftness provide an increase to the speed of your ranged attacks. The precentages provided by these abilities and talents are multiplicative, not additive. For example, a hunter using auto shot has a 15% increase in his ranged attack speed (115%). If he is using rapid fire and has proc'd 5/5 improved aspect of the hawk and has 5/5 in serpent's swiftness, his ranged attack speed is increased by 222.18% (115*140*115*120). This increase applies to the hunter's auto shot but does not modify casting times or the global cooldown at all.

Haste rating stacks additively with itself (i.e. if you have 35 haste rating on a helm, 65 on a weapon, 40 from a food buff and 35 from an elixir you have a total of 175 haste rating) and is then converted to a percentage that stacks multiplicatively with any other haste percentages as I described above. The important thing to remember here is that at level 80:

32.79 haste rating provides a 1% increase in attack speed.

Haste rating has a couple of advantages over flat haste percentages. Firstly, it modifies melee attack speed as well as casting speed by the same percentage, so the cast time on Steady Shot goes down and secondly and most importantly, it progressively decreases the global cooldown from the normal 1.5 seconds to a minimum of 1 second (you would need 1639 haste rating to reduce the global cooldown to 1 second. This is actually unachievable with currently available gear.)

So what does this mean to beastmaster hunters? Unfortunately, not much. While talents that improve haste are very nice and convenient (a full 30-45% of personal BM dps comes from auto shot) haste rating is the least important of all gear modifiers.

When choosing which gear to wear, a beastmaster hunter should look at the following stats in this order:

1. Hit Rating (up to 263 or 8%)

2. Attack Power considering that 2 AP is equivalent to 1 agility

3. Agility

4. Intellect

5.Critical Strike Rating

6. Stamina

7. Armor Penetration Rating and, lastly

8. Haste Rating

In the next installment, we'll be talking about specs, glyphs and shot rotations. Still to come: controlling your pet and more.

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