More details on Black Arrow and Lock and Load in Warlords

Updated: The below post is now irrelevant as Celestalon tweeted there’s going to be another change to Lock and Load. Every time one of Black Arrow’s ticks multistrikes, it adds a stack of Lock and Load.

One of the changes coming in Warlords of Draenor for survival hunters is that every Black Arrow will guarantee at least one Lock and Load proc. Traps can no longer proc Lock and Load, which is why LnL itself has been removed and it’s now just a built-in component of Black Arrow.

Some hunters were wondering exactly how this guaranteed proc was going to work. Did it just mean that the final tick was always guaranteed to be a proc, or what? Turns out, that the guaranteed proc is randomly placed on one of the ticks, and it does this by determining how many procs you get on cast and then randomly placing them among the ticks.

If I’m understanding this right, it’ll work like this:

  • Cast Black Arrow
  • Proc count is 1 (guaranteed)
  • It does a random roll which has a 20% chance of adding a proc to the count.
  • If the first roll succeeds, Proc count is now 2, and it does another roll. If that roll also succeeds, there are now 3 procs, etc. It will keep doing a new roll for each available tick until it fails.
  • If the first roll fails, you’re just going to get the one proc. If any subsequent rolls fail, it’ll stop rolling and use the current proc count.
  • Once it determines how many procs you are going to get, it randomly places each proc on one of the 10 available ticks.

This is different from how Black Arrow currently works:

  • Cast Black Arrow
  • Each tick has a 20% chance to proc Lock and Load
  • If you get a proc, LnL goes on a 10 second internal cooldown which means if your Black Arrow has already ticked more than 5 times, you are only going to get one LnL that cast.

With the current LnL, you’re only going to really see 1-2 procs per cast, whereas with the new version you could definitely see more than 2 procs if you’re lucky enough. Of course, the one downside is no longer being able to get a guaranteed LnL from an Ice Trap.

The one thing that could complicate this new system is Readiness (cooldown reduction stat).

Assurance of Consequence can currently reduce the cooldown of Black Arrow to less than its duration. Right now, it’s not very advantageous to re-cast Black Arrow until the duration remaining is <2 seconds, and it would definitely remain this way in Warlords. You wouldn’t want to overwrite any ticks at all. Multidotting is a different story and it could actually be strong there with Readiness (assuming each Black Arrow would operate independently).


You’re going to consistently get more Lock and Load procs from Black Arrow, but lose the ability to proc them from traps. If the RNG gods are on your side, you will get Lock and Load procs more frequently than you do today. Survival is no stranger to RNG when you consider the T16 4-piece.

I’m one of the few people who enjoy the T16 4-piece, mainly because of how awesome it feels when you get a 10-streak Explosive Shot. It’s like Christmas morning every time. Many others hate the RNG aspect of it, and they probably won’t like this new Lock and Load stuff any better.

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8 thoughts on “More details on Black Arrow and Lock and Load in Warlords”

  1. Removing LnL from ice trap is probably a good thing, regardless of the changes to Black Arrow. Having on demand burst DPS from ice trap meant that LnL and/or Explosive Shot could never hit too hard for PvP reasons.

    With Bear Trap we get essentially the same functionality as Ice Trap + LnL, but it allows Blizzard to tune it independently from LnL and Explosive Shot.

    1. I really won’t miss the trap functionality all that much. And yeah, the Ice Trap thing may have been even more of a PvP concern in Warlords since Explosive Shots get an extra tick from the leveling perk.

  2. shouldn’t be better to guarantee the proc on the first hit or on apply? that way it would work like with ice trap and not hurt if your cd is lower you want to apply earlier?

    1. I think they probably want to keep the RNG aspect of the spec. It does make it a pretty poor candidate for Readiness (once you get it below 20 seconds CD anyway). Right now with the trinket, it’s not too bad because you still benefit from Stampede and Rapid Fire, but both of those are gone in Warlords (I doubt Readiness will affect talents, but it’s possible). If I had to guess, I’d say Bear Trap might be a better candidate for a Readiness-affected DPS button.

      1. I thought all DoTs were going to be “rollable” for lack of a better word in WoD. Either adding remaining ticks to the new cast, increasing per-tick damage (like Piercing Shots), extending duration on the new cast (like many DoTs today), or some combination thereof (add up to 30% duration, additional ticks beyond that increase per-tick damage).

        Though I can’t remember where I read this, so it may have been a rumor or I misunderstood.

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