Jan 14: This article has received some updates due to hotfixes. Updates are in red.
Multistrike is good. Really good. You should probably enchant all of your gear and gem with nothing but multistrike for the time being. The one exception would be if you exclusively play Marksmanship. In that case, I’d probably still stick with crit — at least until your buffed crit is above 40%. After 40% (43% technically) its value starts to diminish because the extra crit is wasted during Careful Aim.
Anyway, back to multistrike. Even if one of your specs is MM, I’d still enchant with multistrike if you equally play another spec along with it because multistrike is no slouch for MM either.
For Beast Mastery, it’s not light years above the other stats. However, it’s usually at the top, or at least tied for the top (will vary slightly based on your gear). Update 1/14: With the recent hotfix to the value of BM Mastery, the Mastery stat is now the top stat for BM. However, Multistrike is still good and not too far behind. As someone who plays both BM and SV, I won’t be switching my enchants away from Multistrike at this time. Multistrike’s true value is unleashed with Survival. With my gear currently, 1 point of multistrike has nearly the same value as 3 points of haste. Wait… what?
Just why is haste so bad for Survival? Well, Survival is a DoT class whose DoTs do not scale with Haste. Survival also have very low pet damage, so any haste benefits to the pet aren’t very significant. Aside from more pet damage, you’re looking at more auto shots, faster Cobra Shots, and higher focus regen. All of these are relatively low DPS increases compared to the bulk of Survival’s damage which has no benefit from haste. Update 1/14: With the recent hotfix to haste’s value (making it 11% better), it’s not quite as bad for survival, but it’s still at the bottom.
The Survivalist and Lightning Reflexes passives are part of the reason multistrike does so well. Having your multistrikes do 36% instead of 30% damage is kind of a big deal. The chart above may make something like crit look as if it’s a bad stat, but it’s actually not. Multistrike just makes it look bad.
Using lower item level gear with multistrike for Survival?
Multistrike is so good for Survival that I discovered a pair of ilvl 645 shoulders with crit/multistrike + socket that ended up giving me a greater DPS benefit than ilvl 665 shoulders with crit/mastery. Yep, not even the extra agility from a 20 ilvl bump could make up for the sheer value of multistrike.
Now, if these shoulders were not socketed there would be no point in using them, and even with the socket the difference wasn’t massive. But it still remains a good illustrative point as just how valuable multistrike is for Survival (and how valuable sockets can be in general). This specific example does not apply to BM or MM — the 665 would be the clear upgrade.
I’m not saying you should ignore higher ilvl gear without multistrike as Survival, but you should at least compare it to other gear you already have for that slot which does have multistrike.
Stat priorities by spec
- For Survival, an item with multistrike 5-10 ilvls below an item without multistrike is probably better for DPS. You should still simulate it yourself if you want to be 100% sure. Focus all enchants/gems on multistrike.
- For Beast Mastery, stat values are close enough that item level nearly always trumps the stats. There may be exceptions if the piece of gear has ideal stats, but again you’d have to simulate to be sure. Focus all enchants/gems on multistrike but if you play BM exclusively, you can enchant with Mastery.
- For Marksmanship, items with crit/multistrike may trump a few item levels, but for the most part item level is going to be the deciding factor. Focus all enchants/gems on crit, unless you play another spec along with it (in that case just stick with multistrike).
- Focus on your top 1 or 2 stats rather than worrying too much about what stat is 4th or 5th place. That being said, here are the current generally accepted stat priorities since people like to see them:
- Marksmanship: Crit >= Multistrike > Haste > Versatility > Mastery
- Survival: Multistrike >> Crit = Versatility > Mastery > Haste
- Beast Mastery: Mastery > Multistrike > Haste > Crit > Versatility (Note: BM stats are really close in value)
A word of caution about stat priorities and stat weights
There can be value at looking at a guide to get priorities. It can help you make decisions at a glance, like if you should use a bonus roll or what enchants you should use. However, you should be cautious about using someone else’s stat weight numbers since these can change quite a bit based on your current gear and your talent selections. Usually these numbers assume BiS gear which no one has right now. In 90% of cases, simply getting more item level is going to be your goal. You don’t really need to agonize over this stuff too much. Playing well is much more important.
Delirium had a good post on the subject you should check out.