I designed and performed an experiment last night to show how Hunters and Champions DPS differently, because it appears to me that even extremely experienced, well-informed LotRO Raiders are remarkably uninformed when it comes to the fundamental differences regarding how the two most potent DPS classes in the game work.
The chief, most widely spread, misunderstanding in particular is this: Many assume that the easily noticeable “burst” DPS edge that Hunters possess automatically means that they have a higher “sustained” DPS as well relative to Champions. Yet while this may indeed be true post-Update 9 due to the superior DPS gear available to Hunters relative to Champions, it was emphatically not so from RoI up to Update 9. During that period, Champions had a clear edge in sustained DPS over Hunters (conceded by the two best-parsing Hunters I have seen on the official LotRO forum, Farasilion from my server and Gabredil from Sirannon); and it may still not be the case. Simply put, my thesis is this: A Hunter’s burst DPS is so disproportionately and misleadingly huge that it obscures how they perform in non-burst situations.
I hope my thread will then at least begin the conversation that is needed to serve several necessary functions: Deflate the unwarrantedly large ego of some Hunters, guide the decision-making process of would-be Raid leaders in selecting appropriate DPS line-ups for particular encounters, and, finally, help groups—in particular Hunters and tanks—recognize and thereby prepare to manage or prevent the aggro generated by Hunters who prefer to “front load” their damage.
Before I describe the experiment itself, let me explain what got me thinking about this issue even more of late, as well as the mechanics explanation of why the Hunter initial burst DPS is so huge.
A few days ago, I was running Fornost Earth wing for the Champion class gold drop, and the two Hunters in the group kept repeatedly grabbing aggro on the last boss when my opening 10-second Challenge ran out. This prompted one of the Hunters to say that, among other things, Hunters “always do more DPS” than Champions and thus that a Hunter should always have Blade Brother over a Champion. I was initially rather annoyed (as much worse things were said about my supposedly low DPS and other things in that conversation), but I came to the realization that I ought not berate that particular Hunter’s ignorance so much as both claims advanced by the Hunter represent conventional wisdom among the less informed.
But a 10 second, opening DPS snapshot does not represent the whole picture, as the Hunter’s initial burst DPS is so stupendous—and frankly outrageous. Consider the skills employed by a Hunter who prefers to open with a big burst at the start of a fight from a pure “theory-crafting” perspective. A typical Raid Hunter can easily possess extra 25 percent Critical Chance, 50 percent Critical Multiplier, and 50 percent Damage for 5 seconds (Improved Focus, Traited and Legacied Burn Hot, supplemented by the Erebor set) and a further 25 percent Critical Multiplier and 50 percent Damage for 20 seconds—which can be increased further by non-level equipment! In contrast, the only viable “burst” class buff that a Champion possesses Controlled Burn—which is a paltry 5 percent Attack Duration and 5 percent Damage.
(All this is simply unbalanced, though that is a different issue altogether.)
As a result, even a below average Raiding Hunter should be able to easily out-DPS even the best Champions for 10 second bursts in theory—which my experiment demonstrates.
Now, here is the particular of the experiment. I wanted to compare the burst and (semi-) sustained DPS of my Champion (the top parsing DPS Champion on the server) and my rarely played Hunter (average Raid Hunter at best). Of course, given that my Champion is far better experienced and equipped than my Hunter, this is not a fair test of whether a Champion or a Hunter does more sustained DPS. But instead I wanted to show the burst DPS edge that even my unexceptional Hunter holds over my very exceptional Champion. And the burst gap was even larger than I expected!
So without further ado, let me report the details. I performed 5 60 second and 10 second parses each on both my Champion and Hunter on the Stangard 75 dummy to measure burst and (semi-sustained) DPS. I chose 5 parses each, because 5 is enough to get at least 1 decent parse and not so many that I’d get a “once-in-a-lifetime” outlier parse.
Stats-wise, Champion unbuffed is 2957 Might, 40.6k Physical Mastery, and 10k flat Critical Rating; Hunter is 3021 Agility, 37.3k Physical Mastery, and 11.5k Critical Rating. Champion has all class golds except the Fornost axe and Baingrist; Hunter has no class gold nor Baingrist.
Results-wise: Champion’s best 60 second parse was 4900 and best 10 second parse was 4800; Hunter’s best 60 second parse was 3100 and 10 second parse was a mind-boggling 7k (as I said, I am not that good of a Hunter, though the 60 second parse was low by even my standards and largely due to the lag I experienced at the time; but the point again was not to see how much DPS my Hunter can do but how much more burst DPS my Hunter can do over my far superior Champion).
In short, my Champion does well over 50 percent more (semi-) sustained DPS than my Hunter, but almost does 50 percent less burst DPS than my Hunter. In fact, a Champion has no “burst” to speak of at all, whereas a Hunter burst is easily more than twice his sustained DPS.
--Screenshots and other concluding thoughts to be followed as I had to run--