World of Warcraft - The Survival Haste Plateau Myth

By Cal Henderson, January 12th 2012.

In my old work on Rawr and my ongoing work on hunterloot I sometimes get asked about better modeling for the "haste plateau" for Survival hunters. For example:

Is it possible to include a feature to handle haste better in the calculations? For example: For Survival hunters it is important to be able to fit in 3 Cobra Shots in the 5 seconds available between Explosive Shots without pushing back the more damaging shot. This means reducing the cast time of Cobra Shot to 1.66 seconds = 6.325% haste = 810 haste rating. Using the stat weight calculator at femaledwarf.com, my toon has a haste rating weight of 1.385 below and 0.226 above this haste soft cap of 810.

This seems to make sense - more than any other stat, haste should be sensitive to small changes as it affects the priority rotation. The gating factor for Survival hunters is Explosive Shot - what can we fit in between ES shots, always using it when it's off (or nearly off) cooldown. The situation is of course a little more complicated - there's stings to put up, Black Arrow or traps every 24-30s and Kill Shots to weave for a 5th of most fights - but the majority of your shots are a balance between Explosive and Cobra.


So there are certain haste values at which you get a huge increase in DPS, while the rest are fairly flat, right? It turns out that it's not nearly as simple as this. To get some real numbers, I gathered data about different haste values and stuck them in a spreadsheet:

Google docs: Haste Scaling for Survival Hunters

I gathered this data by feeding 200 different haste values into femaledwarf for my Survival setup - 0-2,000 in increments of 20 and 0-10,000 in increments of 100. The code to do this can be found on github. It works by using the 'custom gear stats' function of femaledwarf which lets you add additional stats to any model. I took my own basic model, then added or removed haste rating (it lets you enter negative numbers to take away stats too) and calculated the DPS.

Femaledwarf, just like the old hunter spreadsheet, calculates a 'DPS per stat' score which is used to rank gear upgrades. This works by calculating the basic model, then adding 10 of a stat (such as haste), running the model again, taking the difference in DPS and dividing it by 10. This gives a rough idea of DPS-per-point, assuming that a 100 point haste increase will give to about 10 times the DPS boost as a 10 point increase. It's this assumption that is questioned.

After gathering the data, I made a few graphs. The most simple is DPS vs Haste:

10k version

You can see that there are three 'dip' points where an increase in haste rating seems to actually hurt you (640-660, 940-960 & 1720-1740) with 60-100 DPS drops, but DPS generally increases linearly with increased haste rating.

Looking at a graph of DPS-per-haste-point will tell us how linear the benefit is, since it's essentially a derivative of the first graph.

10k version

You can see that there's no real plateau, but 5 big spikes, 10 minor spikes and about another 10 very small spikes. It becomes very predictable after about 5600 haste rating, which is where Cobra Shot starts to near the Global Cooldown, but that's an unreachable rating anyway.

With most Tier 12 setups, you tend to hit about 2500 haste, while at Tier 13 it drops to around 1500. Taking one of the highest DPSing hunters at the moment, Dexter from Blood Legion, you can see that high end hunters are in the region of 1300 haste rating. Taking a look at any of the top hunters will show you similar numbers. At this point in the DPS graph, there are no dips - more haste means more DPS.


So the Survival hunter haste plateau is a myth. If you want to squeeze out every last DPS point, model the exact setups you're considering between. Or even better, try it out on a dummy for 10 minutes per setup (ideally with full raid debuffs on it too, but that's a little difficult to arrange). But if you're not so bothered about the last 50 DPS (0.1% on a 35k setup) then just keep stacking that tasty tasty haste.


If you spot any glaring mistakes or omissions, drop me an email and teach me: cal [at] iamcal.com

The source code for gathering the stats can be found here.

I play a Night Elf Hunter called Bees, who currently has a collection of 184 vanity pets. I am the creator of Hunter Loot, wrote and maintained the Hunter module for Rawr during BC and helped rewrite WarcraftPets.

Copyright © 2012 Cal Henderson.

The text of this article is all rights reserved. No part of these publications shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise - without written permission from the publisher, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review or academic work.

All source code in this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. That means you can copy it and use it (even commerically), but you can't sell it and you must use attribution.

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