Aimed Shot Testing – Results vs. Arcane Shot

Most people who voted for tests said they wanted to know about Aimed Shot and whether or not it’s useful in standard rotation with the addition of Barrage. In doing a few tests lats night, I discovered that not only was my rotation poorly constructed, but that I was overlooking the better option : Arcane Shot. Before you get up in arms, let me explain.

Aimed Shot, while dealing a bit more damage than Auto Shot, has a significant cooldown – 10 seconds. This is the same length as Chimera, a shot that does huge amounts of damage. So why is an inferior shot sporting the same CD? Because of the accompanying debuff. Aimed Shot has been modified to the point where it is nice for PvP – an instant shot that does a bit of damage and hinders target heals – but it is not intended to be used often like Steady Shot. We can use it in rotation whenever it’s available for a little boost in DPS, but there is a better, higher-damaging solution.

Arcane Shot costs a bit less mana than Aimed Shot and has a 6 second cooldown. Why does Arcane have that cooldown instead of 10 seconds like Aimed? Because it’s instant spell damage (though watch out for resist), and does a decent amount of said damage, yet it has no accompanying advantage. It is simply damage. It is meant to be used, and used frequently at the expense of a bit more mana than Steady.

Because of its 4-second difference from Aimed, Arcane is more beneficial in the long run. It does a tiny bit less damage than Aimed Shot might do, but having it available four seconds faster means the numbers add up, and over time, you do more damage faster = higher DPS. And tacking on extra damage from Improved Arcane Shot actually pushes the damage a bit above Aimed Shot damage with Barrage. This was a surprise to me.

What about Barrage vs. Improved Arcane? You don’t have to choose one or the other, for if you don’t have Barrage, your Volley damage will decrease considerably, and we all know how fantastic Volley has been for us lately. And without Improved Arcane, you’re missing a nice chunk of pure damage. So where do we get all the points?

Improved Tracking, while it sounds amazing, in reality does not improve your damage by an advantageous amount. Not to mention how many GCD’s you miss just switching back and forth between tracking types during quick damage fights…this all adds up. Especially if you have a mod do it for you – uncontrollable tracking is a terrible waste of time. Instead, you could have five extra points elsewhere, increasing your damage output a bit more in areas that don’t hinder your performance to keep up. After testing my old spec against the new, I will not be returning to the old one. The beauty of the new spec is this – everything ties into everything else. And the scaling is magnificent.

Where am I coming from with all of this? I ran a series of tests tonight, ranging from no-proc- auto-and-one-special-shot-only to all-out-crazy-everyshot-madness. I also hit Naxx with the guildies and saw an increase in my DPS by about 300, even with the non-DPSing responsibilities I was given. But the most conclusive tests I ran were the bits that follow. Each picture is compiled information on one test. The first is a Serpent-Chimera-Aimed-Steady rotation (Aimed and Chimera as soon as available, Steady as filler), the second is a Serpent-Chimera-Arcane-Steady rotation (again, when available), and the third is a combo – All of the mentioned shots together in one massive button-mashing crazy session. The results are VERY interesting. Each session is from full mana to no mana left. Note the length of fights, as well as the number of each shot fired to get a feel for comparison.

Full rotation, Aimed Shot only.  Full rotation, Arcane Shot only. Full rotation, both Aimed and Arcane

I did not include Serpent/Chimera damage on the first two simply because it’s not relevant to the debate (Chimera will always be fired in priority to any other shot), but I included it in the third simply so you could get a feel of how it all went down (averages of each shot, crits, etc.).

As you can see, DPS is highest with the Arcane Shot Only rotation. Aimed is about 200 DPS lower, and the combination test is even worse due to its massive mana consumption. Also note that while Aimed Shot costs only 1% more mana than Arcane, the end result of the length of fight was only a few seconds’ difference. Why is this? I can’t be certain with these tests. I could make all the assumptions in the world, but that wouldn’t help much. I’ll think more on it later. I’m up WAY too late.

For reference, here is my gear, proof of talent points at the time of test, and stats. I removed the trinket that procs for 1000 RAP to keep the tests more accurate on a shorter testing time.


Gear/Stats and Spec

Questions, comments, similar information, corrections – WHATEVER! I want to hear it all from you. I also ran those generic tests I was talking about earlier, so if enough of you would like to see the results of those as well, let me know and I’ll post them later.

Happy hunting,

❤ Nass


~ by Kelly Jennelle on December 10, 2008.

23 Responses to “Aimed Shot Testing – Results vs. Arcane Shot”

  1. Arg, worst time for me to read this ever.. Must. Study. For. Finals!

  2. Thanks for coparison – I always considered arcane shot as useful – since it ignores armor.
    I just wonder why you used some talents in BM tree in favor of piercing shots in your new spec? Is aspect mastery talent really worth it?
    Additionally it’s always good if you publish the other results from your “generic tests”.

  3. I would love to know the results of this 3 tests but throwing both these glyphs to the mix:
    Glyph of Aimed Shot and Glyph of Arcane Shot

    Your thoughts Nass?

  4. @ Neggles – It’ll still be here later. GO STUDY!

    @ Yahim – Yes, the ignore armor is good, but it is arcane and can be resisted. It still has bad points, but it can increase your damage significantly. As for Aspect Mastery over Piercing Shots – armor penetration as of Wrath is much MUCH less effective (set percent insteady of number amount), not to mention it won’t help out your Serpent Sting, which in turn won’t tip the damage scales with Chimera like a handful of extra RAP would do. Again, it’s a matter of what increases EVERYTHING, not slightly higher increases to some things. As I can tell so far, Aspect Mastery helps in two ways – overall higher RAP increasing damage to everything, including Arcane/Serpent, and higher damage during Viper phases. Sorry about not posting the other tests right away – I was up way too late. I’ll try to get them up tonight. They basically show the difference between normal Arcane, Improved Arcane, and Barrage Aimed.

    @ VuLtuR3 – This is a good idea. Pending more time and gold, I’ll run these tests as well. My current glyphs are these – Glyph of Aspect of the Viper, Glyph of IAotH, Glyph of Steady Shot. Glyph of Steady Shot is a must-have, and Glyph of Aspect of the Viper keeps me in D’Hawk longer. However, Glyph of IAotH may be swapped. I’ll look more into it (and earn some gold to get there). Thanks for the comments, everyone.

  5. Hmmm @ VuLtuR3 again – Glyph of Trueshot Aura may be the better choice for Aimed Shot improvement. If you’ll notice, Arcane crit much more often than Aimed. I’ll look into that as well.

  6. The reason that Arcane crit “much more” than Aimed is the shortness of the test.

    What you really need to do is re-create this test, but maintain the rotations for 10 minutes, at least, so some real data can be parsed from it.

    I stick with the 7/57/7 because 60+ hours in Beta went into crafting it and I haven’t found anything better.

  7. Yep, the test was very short. I’ll be doing longer tests with the inclusion of Viper later. However, even if Aimed were to crit the same % as Arcane, Arcane would still net more damage due to the fact that you fire more of them and that with Improved Arcane, Arcane does more damage than Aimed. If you’ll compare only the numbers (lowest Arcane to lowest Aimed, highest to highest) you’ll see it. The main purpose of the test was to see how effective Arcane shot could be in comparison to Aimed, not to test specs. That will come later. For now, all I’m stating is that you will do more damage using Arcane in place of Aimed, regardless of whether or not you select Improved Arcane, but even if you have Barrage. If you DON’T have Barrage, Arcane without IMP Arcane is still superior.

    I locked myself out of my apartment last night….so yeah, no computer. I’ll post the other more stable tests tonight or tomorrow, and hopefully run some more lengthy ones by the end of this weekend. However, I do believe you’ll see more damage if you use Arcane whenever it’s available instead of Aimed.

    • Also, mana efficiency is a big factor – seeing that I can use Arcane more frequently than Aimed and still have even a similar mana consumption is huge. Now I need to test how best to regain mana while in Viper.

  8. Rapid Fire + Aspect of the Viper should regen mana quickly.
    Rapid Recuperation reduces your Steady shot to 75? mana while giving back 580 or so.

    Viper Sting + Chimaera Shot should also give you back a bunch of mana if you are in Dragonhawk.

  9. I think you should give Improved Tracking another look.
    Auto tracking macro makes it easy – I use Serpent Sting instead of Steady Shot.
    When the patch comes out, you’ll gain the bonus as long as you’re tracking any kind of mob, no more switching.
    The biggest hickup to testing Improved Tracking is that mechanicals (target dummies) can’t be tracked so you don’t get the bonus.

  10. Hmmm… I don’t want to be mean because Nassira you sound cute. But I need to let you know that you are missing some very fundemantal facts in your argument about arcane vs aimed. You see in your chart you only showed Aimed and Arcane compared to one another based on their individual CD’s. You did not bother to show the Steadies that are are firing off in between and the Chimera being used every CD. The argument of Aimed vs Arcane in your rotation is NOT based solely on those 2 shots and on their individual CD’s, since they are both instant casts that share the GCD. One should look at which shot does the higher damage per mana or just strict damage if mana is not a concern. Your chart/comparison should show all shots being fired in your rotation… one being serpent, chimera, aimed, and steadies… using chimera and aimed every CD, and one using serpent, chimera, arcane, and steadies … using chimera and arcane every CD. Then make an argument based on that and not just the 2 shots by themselves.

    After the patch this all may change however most theorycrafting as rendered arcane a loss in overall dps.

    Also your points about Barrage and boasting Volley dmg… a hunter seeking the highest trash dps instead of single target boss dps is a hunter with his head up his pet’s ass. Trash kills do not yield progression and only serves to boast the ego’s of the ignorant and Recount Meter whores. Picking up Barrage however because you used Aimed in your rotation and/or use Aimed in high movement fights is doing it for the right reason.

    Your picture shows 60 pts in Marks… Ummm…. really? Any hunter who is wise on his/ her class would not come up with a build such as that. Someone replied with:

    I stick with the 7/57/7 because 60+ hours in Beta went into crafting it and I haven’t found anything better.

    Yes there is better…. try 13/51/7. Aspect Mastery is worth it. This gives all the talents you need and avoids the ones that are lackluster (impr arcane, piercing shots, rapid recup, etc).

    I think it’s great that you maintain a blog. I think it’s great that you sound cute and have cute pic’s of you on your Bronze Drake. But for your reading community’s best interest, I hope you spend more time learning how to ALWAYS top the DPS meters (yes even against BM hunters) in competent 25 man groups ranging through Malygos and then use THAT knowledge to spread to the online community.

    Unfortunately atm you lack a lot of the experience and the knowledge to be educating other hunter’s on their class… especially the already criticised Marks hunters.

    But you do sound cute.

    • I’m glad you think I’m cute. However, you didn’t bother to look at all of my information if you chose only to see the information regarding Aimed and Arcane – if you look at the tests, you’ll see I included all of the information, including all Steady/Chimera stats. Maybe you stopped looking at any given moment? Regardless, your first paragraph is null. Please see all information before passing judgement, as you’ll keep yourself from looking silly.

      Secondly, points in Barrage are important not for trash, but for those myriad bosses who include additional mobs throughout. Whelps on the drakes in OS? Dead in three seconds. Why? Because my volley hits hard. Your argument on this, and your insulting comments, show that you don’t seem to see the big picture here, and that you have some kind of superiority comlpex in which you find it O.K. to insinuate that I am a “Recount Meter Whore”.

      Yes. I have 60 points in Marks. I also have Aspect Mastery. When the patch comes out, my points will shift, but until then, I will keep Barrage and maintain my mana regeneration. I will also keep Silencing Shot and Aimed Shot, while most folks have avoided them. Why? Because I’m currently running heroics in which it’s nice to have both available. Until such time as we have dual spec, I will keep those shots and make myself a little more useful. A question for you : Why do you have two useless points in Survival Instincts when you could increase your overall damage in several other ways? There is a reason that talent is so easy to obtain in the tree. You can huff and puff over the details of my spec all you want, but it is my performance alone which matters. I invite you to visit me on Shandris and see how I perform.

      Thank you for your opinions about (strangely enough) myself, and my little blog. As for my “reading community’s best interest”, I’ll kindly ask you to allow them to decide for themselves what they wish to read. Did I tell any of my readers that my testing was 100% accurate and the best information they’d get anywhere? No. If they want to learn about the highest possible numbers they can get from a spreadsheet, I urge them to look elsewhere. I simply shared the information I learned while running a few tests. They know there’s better information out there – Elitist Jerks is a great resource, though if you’ll notice, they behave themselves and refrain from insult and judgement which is why it’s such a great way to converse about WoW.

      “I hope you spend more time learning how to ALWAYS top the DPS meters (yes even against BM hunters) in competent 25 man groups ranging through Malygos and then use THAT knowledge to spread to the online community” —– Not only is this going against what you said in a derrogatory manner against “Recount Meter Whores”, but it shows your supreme arrogance in general and your ignorance of the things the majority of players wish to read about in an online community. Very few unlearned or inexperienced hunters will be hitting Malygos now or any time soon, and even fewer hunters can find a guild dedicated enough to that kind of fast-paced raiding. I am in a good guild with excellent players and great conduct, but we are human (and adults with lives) and we can only spend so much time playing games. If you’re saying that because I’m not to that level of play yet that I should not and cannot give advice or share knowledge, you, my dear sweet boy, are an idiot.

      Thanks for your comment, and as always, have fun playing WoW.

  11. Aspect Mastery is worth it.

    Then prove it. With the changes coming next patch, Improved Arcane is anything but lackluster, Rapid Recuperation turns Rapid Fire + Viper into a mana-regenerating machine, and the penalty in Viper/the 150 RAP from DHawk doesn’t seem to be enough of a boon to be worth it. 150 RAP is 11 DPS.

  12. Next patch is next patch. Next patch doesn’t help you kill bosses now. When Blizz releases the patch and the changes come into effect then we can chit chat about it then.

    It’s cool that you have logs on a test dummy showing why you are 100% certain that your theories are precise, however those isolated environments without 24 other toons to provide buffs and debuffs on the boss. Aimed is going to under-perform on a test dummy without Sunder Armor and Sting/ Faerie Fire.

    Like I said Barrage is great for 3 pts and I choose it as well. I just don’t choose it to boast my trash dps, but for Aimed Shot.

    And I did read your posts completely. Like I said, you sound cute. You should post a pic of you on your site, I imagine you are cute IRL as well. Anyways, don’t feel insulted by anything I said.. it’s just my writing style. I didn’t call you a Meter Whore… but there are many people who play that way… doing everything to boast their dps for the charts without care of the overall goal in the fight.

    But yes, your spreadsheet of the Arcane vs Aimed with the charts and all that…. made no sense to me. It was just a comparison of the shots individually and isolated from your regular rotation.

    Let’s see a SWStats of a 25 man Patchwerk kill… 1 using aimed with a proper talent build and 1 using Arcane with the same build but swapping out Impr Arcane for barrage. If you see improved dps with Arcane in that test… I will bow down to you, kiss your lovely feet, maybe suckle on those toes, and forever use Arcane in my rotation.

  13. Increased DPS on a Patchwerk kill would require constants. You are familiar with science, yes? There must be as few variables as possible. To see a more exact change in damage, you must control your constants as strictly as possible and have only the one variable – the talent or shot you are testing. To have such a variabled test as two completely separate Patchwerk fights is to completely fuck up your experiment, making it extremely unstable.

    I have done multiple Aimed vs. Arcane tests, all of which included standard rotation. You can view those on my site in various posts.

    If you would like to see my latest DPS on Patchwerk, as imperfect as it may be, you can view it here. This is, of course, before I received Arrowsong.

    All you have to do in order to deserve kissing my toes is to test the damn thing for yourself, not in a multi-variable crazy-world test, but in a controlled environment – because the point of the test is to find the specific and detailed difference between the use of one shot compared to another.

    And please stop mentioning your attraction to my writing – this is a WoW blog, not a dating site.

  14. We usually raid with the same crew, so it would be the same buffs/ debuffs. Since most buff’s are raid wide and don’t stack if we are missing on guy/ gal that night we should most likely still have the same buff. Or… maybe I can convince the guild to purposely wipe at 1% 2 times in a row so we can test it back to back… doubt they will like that much. Well it would be worth it for the toe love. Btw… people say I look like Keanu Reeve’s meets John Lequizamo. Who do people say you look like?

  15. Perzyx, I dont think you understand the concept of controlled environment testing and the whole premise behind Nassira’s tests. Even with the same raid members for Patchwerk, there are still to many variables that could ruin the test. Besides a chance of missing a buff, or having a buff you didn’t have prior, there is also the chance that the fight doesnt last as long in the second test than it did in the first test. All these factors change your results. The way Nassira is doing the tests is absolute data.

  16. *sigh*

    Now I KNOW you’re a troll, Perz. Trolling won’t get into my pants, in case that was your brilliant strategy. Kor has the right of it – please visit to learn what you should’ve learned in 8th grade.

    Although no WoW tests are going to be perfectly controlled, you can at the very least limit the variabled environment to get a better feel for the results.

    The major flaw in your idea of testing against an actual boss is that you cannot control how your peers perform. Even if you could get everything you do to run perfectly, there is no way to be sure everyone is doing as they did before. Understand? If you want to see how Faerie Fire and Sunder Armor affect your Aimed Shot, I’d suggest testing regular Aimed and then inviting a Druid and a Warrior into your party asking them to only use those abilities while you continue Aimed. Then find the average Aimed damage, and do the subtraction to find the difference between the two. From there, you can do more math to find out how it would increase damage in a normal rotation. If they’re really your friends, they’ll stick around while you play with it some more.
    😉 My kickass GL let me beat on him repeatedly to test Improved Tracking (but I realized that with all the variables involved against another player, the results were invalid).

  17. OK Kor. Then use the dummies for tests but ask 25 people to provide you all the needed buffs/ debuffs to have an accurate projection of how your talents/ rotations apply in the real world.

    Yes I understand controlled testing. Although I missed a lot in 8th grade because I was too busy trying to look up girls skirts I did get a pretty good edumacation.

    However all the tests you conduct individually are never going to provide you a decent representation of how you would perform in a raid environment. Especially when you are dealing with Arcane Shot and Aimed Shot since one ignore’s armor and the other doesn’t. Your tests may conclude that one is better than the other when not in a raid however while in an actual boss fight will underperform. That is why most theorycrafters use actual live numbers with SWStats from actual boss kills. And yes there will be fluctuations in a particular fight such as quantities of proc’s and length of fight, but still much more usable data than on a target dummy..

    – Kor wrote
    “Besides a chance of missing a buff, or having a buff you didn’t have prior, there is also the chance that the fight doesnt last as long in the second test than it did in the first test.”

    If your raid isn’t consistently bringing classes to provide you with every major/minor buff then there is something for you to fix. I know this isn’t Sunwell and Naxx is blindfold easy but the only time I am missing a buff is when someone in the raid dies and their buff fades. There is no “I was missing Kings this fight, I was missing MotW that fight”. And yes fights will vary in length and will affect the fight… Patchwerk might die in 2 minutes one night and in 2 minutes 10 seonds the next week… but unfortunately that is better collected data than what any target dummy can provide…… unless you have 24 other people in your raid while you bang away at that poor target dummy.

    So Nassira, how about we meet for a glass of wine and chit chat more on theorycrafting?

  18. Please read my post titled Enlightenment to learn why I have this blog to begin with, and why I play WoW. I will not G-Quit simply because we don’t have the perfect makeup of classes and specs. And you’re forgetting that I did, in fact, compare my performance with Aimed to Arcane in Naxx for my own benefit. I did about 250-300 DPS more with Arcane, same gear. Could’ve been situational, as I’ve said, so it means little, but if I see that large of an increase, I will continue to use that strategy until I find better. All your claims of armor penetration don’t matter – here’s why – no matter how much LESS armor your target has, your Aimed will do no more damage than mathematically stated. That’s why I did the original math to begin with. 5 arcane to 3 aimed nets more damage, which only continues to add more damage the longer the fight continues. Do you see? Or are you going to claim that greater armor pen % will actually make Aimed do more damage than its tooltip states?

    And I have a feeling that if I sat down for wine with you, you’d give me that half-empty shit we collect for dailies. I don’t date scrubs.

  19. I concede. I sometimes simply argue for arguments sake and when I catch myself for doing that I have to tell myself to stop. I, however, have read a lot of bad info in different forums and blog-sites and being a perfectionist who prides myself in everything I do, I often get frustrated when I see misleading crap. And there is a lot of crap out there, but you are not one of them. So I apologize.

    Many of my points are still valid however. People take for granted all the buffs a fully equipped raid will provide. Many guilds run without a certain class or spec and gimp themselves by doing so. But I understand, a guilds gotta do what they gotta do.

    Unfortunately I have the same Wow-addiction that you have and spent the last year reading/ playing/ testing wow agendas over my own business and personal life, so I come might come across a little cynical at times…. but I wouldn’t talk about half empty dailies with you, in fact I’d probably hate myself for having a glass of wine with a pretty girl and talking about wow. How do you like Asian guys? I’m half Chinese and half Scottish.

    Oh btw, I respecc’d into Impr Arcane last night. I’ll let you know how it holds up in tonight’s raid however I’ve gotten a couple upgrades so I probably need to respec back into my old build again before I can tell the difference.

    • Thanks for your kindness. It’s so much nicer discussing WoW with someone when pride isn’t a factor. If I hadn’t gone through all the trouble of testing during and not during raid, I wouldn’t have stuck by what I said so fervently, but like I said, I did all the testing I could think of in all different senarios, because I simply strive to do my best and whatever gets the job done is what I’ll do. After using Aimed since WotLK release and finding significant improvement with Arcane, through my own experience I realized the advantage and have been using it since. I won’t blame anyone or hate on them for using Aimed, but I do think they should try Arcane…why not? What reason is there not to attempt something new? Pride is the only one I can think of.

      I’m not answering your question about attraction to Asian guys…I feel like I could get flamed to hell for stating my opinions on that. lol

      Let me know how your Arcane experience goes, and make sure you perfect your rotation with as few gaps as possible before reading into the results. Doing something new takes some getting used to, I’ve learned that a thousand times over. Especially when toying with BM… >.>

      Good luck and have fun. I’m off to restart Naxx.

  20. I guess she was right, he never came back to respond…

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