Marksmanship: The Homecoming

Morynne —  August 12, 2011 — 10 Comments

Returning to Marksmanship after an 8 month stint as Survival felt like coming home.

Since Cataclysm came out 9 months ago, I’d been raiding as Survival.  Why? Well for the majority of that time, the guild I was in needed it.  In that 10-man environment, I was topping meters — as SV hunters tended to do through tier 11 content.

Then the last straw had been dropped, and I needed a change.  Guild changed, server changed, raid format changed, and Firelands dropped — all within a 1-week period.  The first raid night with the new guild was our first night in Firelands too — so the encounters were all new to everyone.  I was terrified.  I had no idea what to expect from the raid, the new guild, and I was suffering from a huge bout of performance anxiety.  Muscle memory dictated that I stay Survival, despite the 2-3k deficit in DPS between MM and SV (all gear being considered equal).

That was about 6 weeks ago.  Since then I’ve seen considerable gear upgrades, gotten far more familiar with the Firelands bosses, and read a ton of information about the Cataclysm Marksmanship rotation/priorities/gear choices, etc.  Did I feel comfortable after my once through? Heck no.

So what did I do to get myself back up to speed? Honestly, I spent no less than probably 5 hours over the course of three weeks on a target dummy, running combat logs, and nit-picking my shot choices and figuring out how I could better optimize what I was doing.

Was I still unsure? Absolutely. I tried running a few troll heroics to get a better handle on what I was doing, but that seemed like a moot point.  Things died far too quickly to be able to gauge if what I was doing was the right thing.

Last night I bit the bullet. I switched to Marksmanship after one attempt on Alysrazor.  If you haven’t seen that fight yet, just know it is pretty chaotic, and probably not where you want to test a new spec.  I, on the other hand, decided that the only way I was going to get back into the Marksmanship saddle, was to bite the bullet, and pick probably one of the most chaotic fights and just do it.  Admittedly, my rotation and method to running MM for now are probably a little off, but that’s okay.  I was keeping up with another Marksman hunter that always tops meters. Embarrassingly enough, when I looked at Recount after just my first attempt as Marksmanship and saw what I was doing, I nearly cried.

I proved to myself I could do it.

Going back and glancing at logs from last night, it’s pretty clear where I messed up my rotation last night.  From a cursory glance though, it seems like it was only a couple times – which is even more encouraging to me.  Needless to say I’ll be optimizing my gear back to Marksman primarily, and save Survival for fights that need stupid amounts of AOE (Beth’tilac, Rhyolith, and trash).

The moral of this rambling tale is this: Don’t give up.  Just because you’re not so hot at one of the specs out there, it doesn’t mean you’ll always be that way.  Spend the time, do the research, practice, practice, practice.  Then challenge yourself outside your comfort zone.  Your hard work might just pay off.


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Morynne is an avid hunter, and prefers Marksmanship. She has co-hosted the Hunting Party Podcast, and appeared on the Twisted Nether Blogcast. For more information, click here.

10 responses to Marksmanship: The Homecoming

  1. Yay! o/

    Welcome back to MM! :D

    Whenever I play SV (which is not frequently), I find myself always Cobra Shotting in pairs. I only wonder how tough it must be to get used to Steady Shotting in pairs if you haven't been practicing that for a while.

    Good luck! (We're all counting on you.)

    • Knowing that I'm pretty public about my huntering shenannigans (oh yeah, that just happened), I wanted to make sure I was truly prepared for the transition back.

      Swapping between SV and MM isn't as rough as it looks… the biggest change is knowing which button to hit when it lights up on a proc. MM is FAR more predictable for the Fire! proc (for that free Aimed Shot) than a Lock n' Load proc. Otherwise, you're still just spamming steady or cobra, and instead of hitting Chimera, you're hitting Black Arrow. That gives me a good blog post idea… hmmm… "reducing your spec swap learning curve" ;)

  2. After 4.2 dropped, I decided to shed my leveling spec and learn MM. When I say leveling spec, I mean SV. I have been SV since level 10, and it was a hard choice to drop my beloved spec for MM. But, I did the same thing you did, Morynne. I just went into Shannox and said "Alright Tahk. Have you really paid your dues or are you just a huntard?" Turns out, MM wasn't the big scary monster I always thought it was. It's all about the jumping in head first and swimming.

    • That's great! Good for you!

      In fairness, I've always been a huge advocate of Marksmanship — even when it sucked in Burning Crusade. I was just so ridiculously out of practice, and I knew it.

  3. That's the nice thing about our class these days – you can play the spec you like best without loosing too much dps, if any (as being more comfortable with a certain spec will probably at least make up for any theoretical difference in damage).
    Morynne, you mentioned SV for Beth'tilac. Have you ever tried doing the spiderlings with MM including Concussive Barrage, Rapid Killing and Rapid Recuperation? If not, you may want to try it out – it's very good and a lot of fun. The spiderlings will trigger rapid killing, which means you'll never run out of focus and can multishot all the time.

    • I haven't, but we tend to run with plenty of other slows, so not really necessary in my situation. I can understand why it would be awesome though.

      • Yes, it's quite awesome. With the spec that he mentioned (and Bombardment ofc) a hunter can solo the spiderlings. Just target one, spam multi shot and steadys to regen focus, as soon as one of the adds dies you get 50 focus back. After that you can usually spam multi-shot nonstop due to the Rapid Recuperation focus regen and still end the pack at 100 focus

  4. I also recently swapped back to MM from SV. I raided all of wrath in MM and began cataclysm as MM but switched to SV when it was raping meters. I sort of felt the same way about switching back , I was so accustomed to SV I was not sure how well I would handle going back to MM. When I got the heroic Crossbow from rhyolith and heroic legs from shannox I figured my gear was high enough that MM would be far enough ahead to warrant the switch, especially with the scaling on the Weapon. I have sort of made a slow switch, started on Baleroc since I am just a DPS and dont need to soak any of the crystals or whatever it is pretty much like shooting on a target dummy. My damage for sure was increased and I feel I handle the rotation pretty well again, once you try it a few times especially if you have played it before it is very easy to pick up again. If you are thinking of going MM from some other spec some things you should def do to help you manage the rotation is setup a power aura for your ISS buff to make sure your not letting it drop off. Also try to reach on the haste levels that will make the rotation smooth , you can find them on or While this is not mandatory to achieve good DPS/Damage it def helps with the ease of the rotation. You also will want to be aspect switching so power auras for which aspect your in can help too if you loose track easily in the mayhem.

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