Updated: These simulations and some of this information is now outdated after we’ve received more hotfixes in the weeks since this was posted. The overall point of the article still stands, but you should know the following:
- Survival has the highest single target DPS potential (especially with Focusing Shot, but also Lone Wolf in many cases). Its AoE is also very strong.
- Marksmanship remains strong single target, but has weak AoE.
- Beast Mastery has the weakest single target (just a smidge below MM), but it’s AoE is very good.
- Specs are within 5-10% of each other for single target DPS (varies depending on your gear).
- Updated simulations for patch 6.1
Original post follows.
A post I made a little over a week ago about spec inequality and bad attitudes towards players who choose not to play the “best” spec ended up generating a lot of discussion in the community. At the time, marksmanship was simply doing more single target damage. I argued it wasn’t such a gap that you should feel guilty for playing something else, but some people have a hard time just saying “no” to extra damage.
Well, we don’t have to worry about this stuff anymore. The specs are now relatively balanced after a couple of rounds of hotfixes. Here is the gist of what was changed:
- Aimed Shot and Kill Shot damage was nerfed by 10%
- Serpent Sting damage was buffed by 60%
- Focus Fire now grants 25% bonus attack power when used at 5 stacks (up from 10%) via the Draenor perk
These changes were enough to get the specs so close together that I feel comfortable in saying you can play anything you want, even in a competitive/progression group. Let’s take a look at each spec’s strengths.