Welcome to Scattered Shots, written by Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union and the Hunting Party Podcast. Each week, Frostheim uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of Dwarven Stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Got hunter questions? Feel free to email Frostheim.
As hunters, our main job in a raid or a dungeon run is to do as much eyebrow-searing DPS as we can, and do it without pulling aggro or standing in void zones. This is the primary difference between hunters and healers -- healers don't worry about any of these things. One of the secrets of end-game hunter DPS is to stack our cooldowns together, and to time those cooldowns with trinket procs. Over the course of a boss fight, this stacking can yield very real DPS gains. While every hunter spec benefits from this stacking, marksman benefits the most, being able to use our big cooldown, Rapid Fire, four times in a typical four- to five-minute fight. The key here is to stack abilities that combine multiplicatively, rather than additively.
One of the interesting benefits of the DPS gain of stacking cooldowns is that you could actually do more DPS than spreadsheets would indicate. Spreadsheets use averaging of all abilities over the course of a fight, rather than assuming that you're combining them intelligently. Join me after the cut as we take a look at how it works, when you should stack and when you should not.