The Button Masher…

5 May

incompetenceSometimes your dps just doesn’t deliver.  You have it all – great gear, the best gems and enchants, the flavor of the month damage build – everything….

And your damage still sucks.  There you are at the end of the Construct Wing in Nax.  All the bosses are down and everyone is celebrating.  You check out your recount numbers and WTH – you’re at the bottom of the pack.  Sure you’ve out damaged the healers and the raid leaders 10 year old brother – but not by much!

What happened?  Well – everything being equal – it’s probably you.  Yeah – that’s right – it’s you.

This isn’t Elitist Jerks or even OutDps – so I’m not going to go back over well trod ground about how you can take your damage output from slacker to hacker in just three easy step – they can tell you how to spec – how to gem – and how set up your shot rotations for the absolute best damage potential.

What I can tell you – is that I enjoyed a 400 dps increase on my hunter by following one simple rule.

1) Slow Down…

Yeah – slow down.  You see – I – Windpaw – am a notorious button masher.  I am a horrible, horrible beast that has (for years!) mashed keys and abused game controllers in a parody of true skill and understanding.  We all do it from time to time – but the truly great never really stop 🙂

Well – I had to stop – or I simply wasn’t going to progress any farther in the game.

For a long time I have played a beast master hunter.  A huge chunk of my damage belonged to my pet and the rest was simply a matter of me remembering to weave some serpent stings and multi-shots in with my steady shot spam from time to time.  Life was good.  I cruised through instances and even some initial heroics either at the top of the damage charts or damn close.

But as my gear got better and better – my damage didn’t get better and better.  I was stumped.

Then came the Naxx run I alluded to above.  There I was – a pug invite to a Nax-10 run with a mish-mash of some of the better raid guilds on Moon Guard.  They were out on a lark – helping some newer 80’s get a shot at gear, farming some marks and maybe even eyeballing some new talent.   I had taken Rain’ through downing Sapphiron in Nax-25 with another pug and while my damage had been low – it hadn’t been horrible.  I was mid-pack – and fairly safe from getting dropped by the raid leader.

Not so in the Nax-10 run.

Without a big red laser kitty, Rain’s DPS was tepid at best.  Sure we managed to one shot every boss and virtually none of us died, but my overall damage was horrible and my dps had barely cracked the 1500-1600 range.  I was at the bottom of the recount list – down there with the healers and little Timmy.

That sucked.

Once the group had broken up – I spent some quality time with the heroic training dummy in Thunderbluff.  The results?  Even worse.  Without all the uber raid buffs to push me along my overall damage and dps had gone completely to the toilet.

What was I doing wrong?

trgtdummyWell – after some reading and some careful self analysis I went back to the training dummy and started wailing away.  As I furiously spammed keys and stumbled my way through the survival shot priority – my oldest son wandered by and watched.

“Whateryoudoing dad?”

“Practicing…”  [spam][spam][mash][explosive shot][spam] 

He cocked his head at me after a while.

“You’re too angry – slow down.”

I looked at my recount numbers.  He was right – it was horrible – I was just thrashing away at explosive shot and trying to weave things in.  I was stomping all over shots I needed (kill shot!) with too many steady shots and causing global cool downs to kick in and clip into my bread and butter damage shots.  It was a mess.  My spastic button mashing was buying me a great big bucket of suck.

So – I went back to one of my favorite fonts of wisdom on all things hunterly and read carefully of her suggested survival shot priorities.  Then I went to a place that I hate and after digging through tons of snotty trolls – I learned the very same things.

Well – if I was going to get something out of the survival shot *priority* (vs. rotation) – then I needed to actually pay attention to it and follow it.  Not just mash buttons wildly.

So to work I went.  The first thing I realized was that I absolutely positively neeed more than one action bar.  Hunters have a ton of necessary keybinds – and the bindings you use regularly can be different based on what you’re doing.  Ultimately I created one action bar for grinding and pvp and another specifically for raids and instances.  I organized all the keybinds up with my primary shots:

(Kill Shot) – Black Arrow -> Serpent Sting  ->Explosive Shot ->Multishot/Aimed Shot  -> Steady Shot

Once I was happy that everything was quick and easy to get to, I spent some time just getting the muscle memory in my fingers retrained.

That was hard.

Finally – after a quick workout on a series of mobs – I headed back to the training dummy and got serious.

Hunters Mark – Send Pet…

BANG – first goes black arrow – then BANG – serpent sting – immediately followed up with an explosive shot (they’re so pretty to watch) and an Aimed Shot…hmm – stuffs on cool down – fill with Steady Shot – annnnd repeat!

With black arrow and serpent sting still ticking happily along I mashed (gently) for another explosive shot (stuff is still on cool down) so fill with Steady Shot or multi-shot and OH WOW – power auras says I have lock and load!

and I started mashing again….


Damn it.


Okay – I’d blown it – and I’d blown it right where survival hunters get a truck load of free dps.  See, by getting on the spam-wagon again my lock and load procs weren’t doing much for my overall damage.  Why?  Because I was gimping my explosive shots by firing too fast.    

How?  Well – simply put – explosive shot consists of some initial burst damage followed by two lovely procs that add up into a really tasty damage-berry pie.  When you get lock and load – you essentially get three explosive shots for the price of one.  The catch – is that  you have to let those procs *finish*.  If you fire too quickly your next explosive shot can overwrite your proc damage.  If you’re spam happy like I am – you can essentially fire three explosive shots and only get the proc for *one*.

Not good.

So, I stepped back and did some more reading.  OutDps actually  had a great tip for this and it utilized a tool I was already using – Quartz.

Euripedes suggested creating a macro for your explosive shot – and in it to add a little Quartz based timer:

/qt ESDot 2
/cast explosive shot

Now when I get a lock and load proc – I can mash (gently!) the ES macro key and get a handy little visual queue that lets me know when I can safely send another shot down range.


Sure – I’ve read that some folks actually say things like “One Mississippi – Two Mississippi” as they wait for their ES procs to finish – but I’m a visual guy and the timer works great.

So – the dummy heads back to the heroic dummy.

And things looked so much better.

In my mish mash of heroic blues and purples – self buffed with dragonhawk only – I carefully stroked the keys in my shot priority to a very satisfying 1950-2000 dps.


No – it’s not perfect – but it’s not the brutal fail I was putting out the other night.  With all of my raid id’s reset today – I’m hoping to roll home this evening and to give it another try in an instance.  

I’ll let you know how my less [spam][mash][angry!][spam] self works out!


6 Responses to “The Button Masher…”

  1. Capn John May 6, 2009 at 00:08 #

    I was that Hunter. Most of us probably were. Some of us probably still are, and are blissfully happy. They’d be the folks who don’t Raid but just love slaughtering Beasts by the hundreds each night, filling their Bags with Skins, then hitting the Auction House and logging in the next day to a Mailbox filled with gold. I digress.

    I was one of those Hunters. A fellow Hunter and I used to duo SM in our 40s (not the Bosses though, just Trash) and I was forever stopping to drink while he was rarely low on Mana, and yet he OutDPSd me something fierce, now matter how many buttons I mashed or how fast I smashed them.

    I learned, eventually, about weaving shots, and not spamming the crap out of everything, and not applying Serpent Stings when a Mob had just seconds left to live.

    Before I quit I had folks in my Guild sending all the Newbie Hunters to me, and even those Raiding (my schedule never allowed for Serious Endgame Raiding) would ask my advice. And yet I still thought of my friend and fellow Hunter of yesteryear (he’d quit some time ago) as the better Hunter. He came back briefly, played for a month or two, and he’d frequently kick my butt in Duels. Of course he was spec’d for PvP while I was PvE and probably had PvP Gear to boot, while I had a few Dungeon & Quest Blues. But my losses at his hands drove me to improve my skills even more.

    While waiting for folks to arrive for our Onyxia Raid (I raided, just not every single night 😉 I dueled one of our Priests and Kited her to death.

    Months later, outside Kara, I took on one of our Rogues. I survived his Stunlock and Poisons (Stoneform is a fugging brilliant PvP “Oh, shit!” button 😉 and despite Aggroing one of the ghosts that roam Kara’s entrance area, and there being practically no room to Kite, I still took our Rogue down.

    Cool heads prevail, in both PvP and PvE.

  2. Negathle May 6, 2009 at 00:09 #

    I button mash like crazy in PvP. I find myself just slamming my hand in the general vicinity of my instant shots, then wondering what the hell I was thinking as I wait for the rez at the graveyard…

  3. Lifedeathsoul May 6, 2009 at 00:48 #


    No but seriously, it’s better not to clip your dots 🙂 clipping dots do hamper your dps quite seriously. If you still have 1 clip left, let it finish before applying it again. Same thing applies to Explosive shot. Wait for it to finish, then Shoot another one. You have all the time in the world after all 🙂

    Just some stuff I learnt from playing a warlock 🙂 hope it helps you 🙂

  4. euripidesoutdps May 6, 2009 at 04:07 #

    Thanks for the links, and glad you were able to use my /qt macro 🙂

  5. ithilyn May 7, 2009 at 00:12 #

    Great story, thanks for sharing. I’ll have to check out quartz and /qt.


  1. TLC Thursday: Ran-diddly-dan-dom - Sideshow & Syrana - May 7, 2009

    […] Not pleased with your DPS performance lately? Take it from Windpaw, it’s time to take a deep breath and slow down. […]

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