Unleashed Fury vs. Improved Tracking – a closer look


In my podcast with BRK, I didn’t get much of a chance to discuss Improved Tracking and Unleashed Fury (because podcasts can only be so long!).

Here is a sheet done using my statistics from a recent Patchwerk fight. To make things simple, I’ve used the average amounts for each shot/hit, so these totals are simply average totals, but it still shows the difference between the two talents. Assuming that Improved Tracking doesn’t work for Serpent Sting but it DOES work for Chimera and Arcane (which I’m very unsure about considering Arcane is Arcane damage and Chimera is Nature damage), this is the spreadsheet to better understand why Unleashed Fury will net you more overall damage in fights where your pet can continue its DPS.

This, of course and as always, is NOT A PERFECT REPRESENTATION of what a real fight will be like. It is simply an example to show the difference between 20% of a smaller number that hits more frequently and 5% of a larger number that hits less frequently. As stated, these numbers were taken from a WWS of mine on a Patchwerk fight. See it here.

Click Here to see the spreadsheet.

To summarize, due to the fact that your pet hits so frequently and that ALL pet damage is increased by 20%, his steady beating will actually give you a HUGE chunk of extra damage, whereas the shots you fire fewer of hit harder with Improved Tracking – we suddenly see ourselves in the same conundrum that Aimed Shot vs. Arcane Shot put us into. At first glance, you think “my pet doesn’t do nearly as much damage as me, therefore if my damage is increased by 5%, it will be better than 20% of my pet’s damage”. This is the wrong way to look at it. “DAMAGE” as a term does NOT mean “total DPS”. To simply increase your total DPS by 5% would be an AMAZING improvement. This, sadly, is not what Improved Tracking does. It increases your shots’ base damage. This, of course, is just what Unleashed Fury will do – it will increase your pet’s base damage by 20%. Knowing these things, all it took was a bit of math in a standard situation to see that if your pet can do his thing, Unleashed Fury will net you almost double the amount that Improved Tracking will. Hard to believe, but quite true. As I’ve said, and as I’ll continue to say, NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE MARKSMAN HUNTER’S PET!

I hope this helps a bit, and as always, if you have any questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to share.

❤ Nass


~ by Kelly Jennelle on January 19, 2009.

48 Responses to “Unleashed Fury vs. Improved Tracking – a closer look”

  1. Even if 20% for pets is more damage there are factors to consider when pets die and certain fights where keeping your pet up is purely not ideal for a MM/SV hunter since that would hurt your damage even more.
    Even if it is more damage done, base or not. Attempting to keep a pet up for fights such as: Heigen, or Sapp. Would be wrong and i would say stupid since a MM/SV damage is off the player not the pet.
    I do agree it is nice to see more damage but it isnt for all fights.

    • By your own logic, you should never spec BM, because your pet can’t possibly be active and fighting 100% of the time and investing so much damage in such a variable is a waste. The point is to focus more on pet control, to improve a MM hunter’s abilities in this area so that you CAN do more damage. Will you always? No. But again, by your logic, because it can’t happen 100% of the time, you also shouldn’t take Focused Fire, because it’s dependant on how well you can manage your pet. Focused Fire is and has always been a fantastic damage increase for MM hunters. All of the time? No. But mostly, and that’s what it’s all about. Potential. What is your potential? Let’s raise the bar.

  2. Turn it around; In other fights, the pet will have higher dps uptime than you do. On Heigan, our healers have nothing better to do, so I leave it in melee on the platform and they toss it some HoT’s. And I can’t see why you have any problems keeping your pet up on Heigan and Sapph – properly specced and controlled your pet shouldn’t die much, really.

    • Exactly. The thing about this game is that it’s based on chance. You have a chance to crit, a chance to proc, a chance to come across a boss you can’t use your spells on….shit happens. That’s the motto. All you can do is max out your potential and do the best you can with the abilities you have given yourself.

  3. Can you look at Improved Tracking vs Unleashed Fury in isolation thought? 5/5 Improved Tracking gets you access to Survival Instincts which is a direct crit boost whereas Unleashed Fury will get you to Ferocity which, of course, provides increased crit chance to your pet.

    • @ Scary – I was thinking this earlier – I’ll be doing the math for Survival Tactics in a later post to see how much we’ll benefit from the extra 4% crit and where two points could be better placed, if anywhere.

  4. All im saying is that, you correct and it has the best potential but im just saying you shouldnt put it down and drown it because its not more ideal of a skill. Thats all im saying, is that its not the best skill but its not the worse.

  5. My pet does, at her best, 500 DPS.
    I do, at my best, 2600 DPS, when I strip out my Serpent Sting DPS.

    100 DPS from UF, or 130 DPS from IT, and that’s not counting next patch, when UF gets nerfed and IT gets buffed.

    Plus the fact that I don’t have to go so deep into BM lets me get Survival Tactics (more Steady/Arcane crits), more points in Rapid Recup, and more.

    Again, I say it, because again I feel it to be true – 7/57/7 > all, baby. 😉

  6. That was a part of my point, Rilgon – it doesn’t count toward total DPS, it counts on a more basic level, and you’ll see less out of it.

    Next patch, things will change, and I’ll change with them. Until then, I’ve found through experience in raids that UF nets more damage on average than IT. However, I’ve not yet tried Survival Tactics – I’ll be doing the math on this next.

    I really do think that, no matter what you decide to swap for it, Aspect Mastery will net you more damage. Have you played around with it yet? It really is quite nice for the mana regen phases, and of course, boosts your DPS just a tad from the improved Hawk (although the Viper thing is the seller). During one Patchwerk 25-man, how many Viper phases do you go through? I generally go through 2 or 3 depending on our group makeup.

    Perhaps if we leave Barrage out, you can still have Survival Tactics and grab Aspect Mastery as well. Doesn’t Neggles have a build like that? And I know she has better gear than us, but her DPS is pretty damn good. After doing some calculations on Survival Tactics, I might play with that spec.

  7. I haven’t done any 25-mans, but on Patchwerk 10-man, I only go through one, and that assumes I don’t pop my potion for a Haste potion or something.

  8. @ Rilgon

    Something like this perhaps?


    Best of both worlds.

  9. Also, I don’t see why IT wouldn’t work on Chim or Arcane. I definitely notice it when I don’t have a tracking on in Naxxramas.

    And no, I don’t care for that spec. Too much given up to get UF.

  10. I put those two in UF as filler – those two could go anywhere. I was suggesting a Survival Tactics/Aspect Mastery spec.

  11. In fact, taking that spec on the Hunter spreadsheet shows about a 9 DPS downgrade.

    Now, maybe if you’re running with a Cat, which is broken to fuck (and needs to get nerfed), then I guess, but Hunters with non-overpowered pets will see more from a 7/57/7 or a 11/53/7 that doesn’t neglect Efficiency.

    Losing Efficiency alone is nearly a 100 DPS drop.

  12. How do you calculate that exactly?

  13. Lack of Efficiency would only be a DPS drop if you ran out of mana in raid. Since you haven’t hit the 25-mans yet, your mana probably drops much more significantly during fights, and Efficiency is good for you. But in most fights in our raid group (two ret pallies, three shaman, and a shadow priest), mana becomes a non-issue. Even then, I still end up hitting Viper at least once on the long drawn out fights, or fights that require you to go “all out”. I raided with Efficiency and without and have not noticed a difference in the need to switch to Viper, nor have I noticed anything but an increase in my DPS.

  14. How do you calculate that exactly?

    Throwing it into the DPS spreadsheet, assuming my normal raid’s buffs.

    Unfortunately I don’t have perfect buffs like you do. *shrug*

  15. That DPS spreadsheet doesn’t know everything. You still didn’t say whether or not you actually tried Aspect Mastery though. You said you ran some tests in Beta – do you have any you could share with me?

  16. Also, furthermore, testing that I did on the fly shows that Arcane is most definitely affected by Improved Tracking, and does get 5% right on top, not on the “base damage” as you put it.

    Arcanes on level 7 beasts in Dun Morogh with a fixed-damage weapon: 1367
    Arcanes on the same beast with Track Beasts up: 1435
    1367 * 1.05 = 1435.35

    I have no reason to believe it functions any differently for Chimera, Steady, or Auto, either, since all of those abilities are X + (AP * Y) or X + [(AP / 14) * Z] abilities, just like Arcane.

  17. Oh, about that – As I said, I was doubtful, but I did include that in my equations as being affected. If you could FRAPS that for me, it’d be really helpful, and I’ll run some tests myself.

    Also – the equations I have posted ARE off the top, sorry if it was confusing for me to say “base” when meaning “damage” and not “DPS”. Many people are simply adding 5% of their DPS and assuming that’s what it does, when that, as you’ve just shown, is not what it does.

  18. Yeah, your equations also include a pet that is a statistical outlier.

    Get a balanced pet and do a fair test.

  19. Hehe…it is a fair test. It is a test of my personal DPS, and part of that DPS is my pet cat. If Rake is your concern, then remove all instances of it. I think you’ll see that even without his “OP” special ability, the damage is still superior in UF.

  20. Yup. UF still nets 2874.2 more points of damage than IT. And that’s completely eliminating Rake and not adding in a secondary damaging pet ability that is not overpowered.

  21. I’m really glad you did this testing. Just for the fact that you did it and I may require the results later. As of this point I’m still BM with both UF and IT.

  22. ❤ you Mage. I hope it’s useful. Make sure you double-check it.

    And as I believe I’ve said like fifty million times to thousands of people today, I’m still playing with my MM tree. I’ll be looking into other stuff soon. If only I’d had more talk time on the podcast to keep the flame at bay.

    First he said he was 10-man Naxx with crap gear. Then he didn’t take Focused Aim. Then we moved on like we were lightning…being interviewed by BRK is harder than you think.

  23. As far as I know, Wild Quiver provides a higher DPS gain per point than Imp. Steady Shot. And just as a general FYI to people choosing efficiency, 2/2 Rapid Recuperation provides higher mana returns than 5/5 efficiency, especially with 2/2 Rapid Killing.

  24. Yeah, BRK definitely has his Serpent Swiftness maxed as he just keeps going and going at a fast pace! 😉 And I haven’t even had the chance to listen to the podcast yet.

    I’m just glad you put our tree higher up in the Hunter public view for a few days. Don’t worry about all the flames, it’s partially due to what I find is exciting about our class right now, and it’s something you’ve emphasized MANY times in the last few days. That is, that there is no cookie cutter, go BM and spam steady spec anymore. Each tree can put out the DPS and there are even variations within trees. I like that different specs work differently for different people. Again, my thanks to you for representing all of us Marksmanship Hunters!

  25. Your patchwerk WWS has expired, so I can’t see your numbers there, but based on your spreadsheet it looks like your pet did almost half the damage you did? i.e. if you were doing 2k dps, your pet was doing 1k dps? Is that accurate?

    • Hi Trinsian –

      No. My pet did about 800 DPS and I did about 2600 (I think?). Sorry about the expire, it was working when I posted it. The only thing I used that for was to see general average hits of certain shots. This, as I’ve said, is not what it would look like throughout a fight. This is simply to show what the percentages will do.

  26. You can’t be saying shit like that. Nobody will believe you and will continue to spite you to the tune of 5 Talent Points.

  27. Hi Nassira
    I was wondering, with the changes to Arcane Shot cost, do you think that Aimed shot might find its way back into MM shot rotations?
    Maybe in 25’s where mana isn’t quite as big an issue?
    Or will the decrease time in viper be more beneficial

  28. Hi there Nassira,

    Just wanted to say I really enjoyed your MM run down on BRK & I think your blog is awesome! It’s direct & to the point as well as informative. It’s great to see a blog from an MM hunter who isn’t using pure numbers to defend the spec, you make clean points and leave it to the player.

    I’ve been a BM since vanilla wow, mainly from a personal point of view as I like the pet/hunter symbiosis, however I have recently been considering a 2nd spec [when Blizzard bring in dual spec] and I can see MM being the way to go.

    Keep up the good work.

  29. Oh it hurts. My brain is pained. Oh yeah, hi Nassira! Just listening to your podcast with BRK and, as a BM hunter, am really starting to consider my options post 3.0.8.

    I’ve been a BM since I started playing WoW (and my Hunter is my main) as it’s the spec I got on with most. I briefly tried SV and didn’t particularly warm to it but MM was the one spec I didn’t try. Now now, before you sign and roll your eyes at me, I was (at the time) playing a lot with a MM hunter, which made me think having two MM hunters was a bit of a waste.

    However, with the impending doom of 3.0.8 for BM Hunters (slight over-exaggeration, I know) I’m starting to weigh up the talent specs. Your BRK Podcast (which is very good, btw) is making me consider MM a lot more than SV. Although, I’m sure if I re-listened to Lienna’s Podcast, SV might sound good too…ow my brain.

    It’s 3:30am here in the UK as I type this so I shall be getting a proper idea of the patch in the morning when I’ve woken up. But to risk a stupid question (it’s 3:30am, surely I’m allowed one stupid question? lol) in your (unbiased?) opinion, from what you know of the patch, do I stay BM or go MM or SV? Are you changing?

    Apologies for the long comment, I was not anticipating typing that much >.<


  30. I like how all of rilgon’s arguments center around voluntarily handicapping yourself with gimpy pets, his limited experiences in 10 man content, and a complete unwillingness to admit that hunters that do more damage than he can employ strategies different than his. keep up the good work nassira.

  31. To be fair, Rilgon has maximized his ability in the raids he has access to. Not everyone gets a chance to experience real 25-mans with a good guild. He’s a big fish in a small pond, one of those ones that can grow to match the size of his environment – if we transported him into a bigger bowl, he’d grow there, too.

  32. Well in defense of both Rilgon and Nass, there is not a one pet fits all in this game. There are several raid viable pets. And to top it off some pets are better for some specs than others. Some examples: a Raptor would be top dps for BM atm but not so for Survival due to less Savage Rend crits, with a Mangle debuff Cats are going to do the most dps for MM and SV, and Wasps while doing less damage are going to provide more raid dps through its sting unless someone is already providing Faerie Fire and you want only one wasp per raid.

    So Rilgon is correct in stating that Unleashed Fury will provide different mileage with different pets and I don’t think Nass ever disagreed with that. And Nass is correct in stating that picking up Aspect Mastery and UF is better than using those points in the filler MM talents.

    However I suggest only going 2 points into UF and putting the last 7 points in your build into IT and SI thus with a 13/51/7 build for raiding, which is: http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=ctbMzbZ0eVsohzGxRxbAox00b . This build is for 25 man raids with Replenishment. Depending on the length of fights for you may or may not want to swap 2 points into improved barrage for Rapid Killing, and if you lack +hit then substitute barrage/RK points for FA.

  33. Perzyx –

    You’ll actually see more damage out of finishing Go for the Throat than you will with 1 point in GFT and 2 points in UF. I tested it a few weeks ago, and was surprised at the results, but it does make sense. 25 Focus is a LOT! However, the rest of the spec is agreeable – I’m currently running with something similar, and just recently dropped Aspect Mastery to test a few ideas – http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/classes/hunter/talents.html?tal=502000000000000000000000000053352312320122501052202515000002000000000000000000000
    And I’m getting very good results, however I do need to go back into Aspect Mastery and make a real comparison now that my gear is pretty static, as well as my internet connection….

  34. It’s a good point you brought up… I often assume fully raid buffed with geared players in which case 1 point in Gftt is more than enough to keep your pet focus fed. It won’t be able to spend its focus fast enough even with 1 point so that 2nd point is wasted. I’ve tested this simply by picking up 2 points one night and watching my pets focus bar. This is also confirmed from other posters on Elitistjerks.com.

    As for the RR and Effic talents you selected it is entirely up to your group composition, and IHM if you have enough Hunters in your group to justify one sacrificing points for it. If you pick up the Glyph of Hunters Mark keep in mind that it is additive to the talent and not Multiplicative (sp?) thus netting you an additional 150AP to your Hunter’s Mark (90 from the talent and 60 from the Glyph).

    It’s nice that you are testing these different variations of builds… as we’ve discussed many things are Situational so every fight, every group, every pet, and every toon changes the outcome of what combination works best.

  35. Yeah, it really is situational. But while watching my pet’s Focus, I do notice when it drops, and how long it takes to pick back up again, and even with GFT I notice him without Focus for a few seconds. My crit is still low, though (see, I’m paranoid!).

    Yeah, IHM was a trade for after I got hit-capped (well, 1 point away…I’m waiting on that necklace). We have three hunters, so it’s pretty beneficial. Those points might do better elsewhere, but I’d have to look more into it, and there’s so much to look at right now already.

    But this is the fun stuff….

  36. What I suggest to fix your crit/ pet focus issue is to equip a http://www.wowhead.com/?item=2907 and tell one of your Resto Druids he better go Feral. Or pick up a DPS warrior with high crit. Bottom line is 5% crit is a huge Buff you don’t want to be missing in your raid.

    Unless you have a few other Hunter’s in your raid perhaps try taking the 3 points from IHM and 1 point from Efficiency and use them to pick up Aspect Mastery?

  37. Yeah, I had it previously and swapped to test a few things. We do usually have a feral druid, which is what bumps my crit to 45%.

    But like I said, we do have two other hunters, so IHM is kinda nice…I’m swapping back to Aspect Mastery next week to get a feel for the differences.

    Still can’t decide on Aimed or not.

  38. Take Aimed. It does more damage than Steady so it is a large DPS increase for 1 single talent point. It is also very useful in mobile fights like Grobbulus, Chow kiting, Sartherion, etc. I know the mana consumption is higher, but w Replenishment you should be fine.

  39. Oh I always take Aimed, whether or not I use it regularly is the question.

  40. Sorry it took me a bit to get back to this, but the reason I was curious about the WWS is because on the spreadsheet I assumed around 200s fight time from the 19 chimera shots.

    A 200s fight time would put your DPS from the given shots (without IT) at 1648, and your pet’s DPS(without UF) at 803.

    Needless to say those numbers look a bit off, and drastically swing your results towards UF. Of course all that data is kind of a moot point now anyway since lots of other things have been changed.

  41. =) Trinsian –

    If you read the whole post, you’ll see that I didn’t use those numbers for any reason other than to get a basic idea of ratio and damage of shots. The rest is theoretical. It has nothing to do with the WWS – that was to show you the average damage of each hit/frequency of each hit.

    But you’re right – this thread is dead, as the theorycrafting was done before the patch, which changed all of this. I no longer recommend putting points in UF. =)

  42. The main issue I had with it was that it compared the total damage done with the shots + IT against the total damage done by the pet + UF and the only way that’s a valid comparison is if they were over the same time interval, and the extrapolated DPS numbers just didn’t seem to add up =)

    In any case, keep up the good blogging! Blizzard has their eye on you MM hunters as being our target damage, so the rest of us could possibly be joining you soon =)

  43. Before the nerf, Eidan was hitting 800dps, and this was lagged during the Great Laggramas Debaucle and before I got a few solid pieces of gear. Now he’s down to 600-650. That really was the ratio – 800 dps from Eidan. My dps, however, was larger – remember that Serpent Sting doesn’t get changed by IT – all that damage, which was a considerable chunk, was not put into this spreadsheet, as it was not effected by IT.

  44. And thanks, I’m really hoping they will equalize us soon so I dont’ feel guilty being MM…again… lol

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