Archives For How to Play a Hunter

The Hunter’s Guide to 5.0.4

Morynne —  August 21, 2012 — 15 Comments

We get 5.04 in a week.  Seven days, and we have to juggle all new shot rotations, abilities, and talents.

What am I going to have to do when I first log in?

The first hurdle you’ll have to get past is turning off any add-ons that are preventing you from logging in.  I’d recommend starting with all add-ons off, just so you’re able to function.  Make sure everything is as updated as it can get, then slowly start turning them back on.  Add-on Control Panel makes this much easier while you’re logged into the game.  Once you’re logged in, go ahead and sell your melee weapon, and all of the ones in your bank.  It means nothing to you anymore, nor can you use it to Transmogrify.

Also, forget about standing at range, it’s not necessary anymore, and frankly, it’s nice.  Enjoy your new found freedom to stand wherever. Until there’s a stack point for a boss. Then stack. Continue Reading…

MoP Mindset Shift for Hunters

Morynne —  August 7, 2012 — 3 Comments

Cross your arms.

Now cross them the other way.  Did you have to think about it? Was it uncomfortable?

Most likely it did take some thought, and some intentional adjusting to be able to do it.  Brace yourselves, there will be a mindset shift for pretty much everyone come MoP. Continue Reading…

Crazy thought, but no, I’m not perfect.  Never claimed to be.

Everyone has those things they’re not so good at, or lazy about, but what’s important is how we overcome them.  As a Hunter, we have several things that we can be lazy about that many other classes would never think about.

  • Aspects
    • Most other classes never have to think about how their “aura” affects the rest of the raid. (Pallies, if you turn off Crusader, we’ll turn off Pack, ok?) Personally I’m so terrified that I’ll leave Aspect of the Pack on for a boss pull, that I tend to toggle aspects before I even sit down to eat.  Admittedly, I learned this trick back in Burning Crusade when I accidentally left Pack on and we pulled Teron Gorefiend. Never. Again.
  • Understanding those “specific use” shots.
    • Many will never understand why Wing Clip might be valuable or why Widow Venom might be useful in a raid scenario, but being familiar with all these little tools makes the difference between a good hunter and an awesome one. (Wing Clip is helpful in a short range fight where you might need to slow something getting to its target, and you’re not at range.  Widow Venom is helpful if you’re dealing with a boss fight where you might have adds healing the boss.)
  • Understanding the value of bringing the right pet based on group composition.
    • In Cataclysm, Hunters have truly been put in a position where they can fill in gaps in buffs, and make a big difference in the success of the whole of a raid if say… mages and shaman aren’t available.  We can provide a “Heroism” effect. No spell damage increase in the raid? Bring a dragonhawk or a windserpent.  If everything is covered by your group, bring what you like. (WHU has a great write-up for this in particular)
  • Breaking our own traps.
    • There, I said it.  I do it.  Just be careful.  Blizzard even made it easier not to break traps, so stop trying.
  • Not watching threat
    • I’ve been caught.  I’ve pulled threat right off the bat on a boss pull and died.  Recently? No, but it was a lesson that needed to be learned.  This, kids, is why we have Misdirection and Feign Death.  If you’re misdirecting at the beginning of the fight, and using feign death when Omen says you’re too high, you’ll never pull aggro.  Unless FD is resisted, which is an entirely different discussion and peeve.
What are some of your bad habits? What’d you do to get past them?

4.06 Marksman Refresher

Morynne —  February 10, 2011 — 2 Comments

4.06 happily put Marksmanship back on top!

Now that some of us have gone Survival, it’s worth talking about how we’re going to adjust going back to Marksmanship.

Now, your build for raiding should look something like this: 8 / 31 / 2 or 0 / 31 / 10 (if you want to be more trap-friendly)

Now, how do I maximize my DPS?

Shot priority my friends!

In doing a little research last night, I found that the amount of damage that Aimed Shot is doing is nearly worth working it into your standard shot rotation (even without the proc) — which is a little surprising.

When a fight begins, you clearly want to put up Hunter’s Mark and Serpent Sting on your target… beyond that, you should have a rotation similar to the following:

  • Chimera Shot
  • Aimed Shot (with cast timer in the first 20% of the boss fight, procs after that)
  • Arcane Shot
  • Steady Shot (typically done x2)

Notice anything? Kill Shot is missing.  As it stands right now, Kill Shot is doing less damage than Aimed Shot.  Do I think you need to drop it from your rotation entirely? Absolutely not.

Kill Shot needs to remain in your rotation for the last 20% of the boss, and the rest of your abilities are on cooldown.  I would prioritize Chimera Shot and Aimed Shot over Kill Shot for the time being though, until Aimed Shot inevitably gets nerfed.

And remember, in the first 20% of the fight, you’ll likely want to leave Arcane Shot out of your rotation because you’re getting so much more damage out of your Steady Shot and Aimed Shot from your Piercing Shots and Careful Aim talent.

With 4.06, don’t forget that you’re able to Auto Shot on the run now! There should be minimal DPS loss in your rotation now on movement heavy fights, and if you’re focus starved — don’t forget you have Aspect of the Fox that will let you regenerate some focus moving too.

Good luck!

The Tank is Dead, Now What?

Morynne —  January 6, 2011 — 6 Comments

It’s story time!

Over the last couple days I’ve been very sick, so about the only thing I could do was sit at my computer and play WoW, so I’ve been focusing on getting into more heroics.  By the way, the state of PUGging is terrible right now, and I’ll likely have a bigger opinion on that later.

Last night, I ran a Heroic: Shadowfang Keep.  We were having some issues, not from a DPS perspective, certainly not from a healing perspective, but just a “tank staying alive” issue whether it be from cool downs missed or just bad handling of the fight mechanics.  To be honest, we went through three tanks in this one instance, evidently tanks are having a chronic disconnection issue on my battlegroup.  The group was as follows:

  • Survival Hunter (me, and running with my wolf or cat for the instance)
  • Resto Shaman (my husband)
  • Druid Tank
  • Boomkin
  • Rogue

Now why the boomkin never used his battle rez, I’ll never know.  The tank was dying nearly every boss fight with less than 10% to go.  I was bound and determined to finish this instance, so I wanted to see that boss go down.  So what’s a resourceful hunter to do?

In that “OH NO” moment, I somehow managed to think enough to turn on growl, quickly distracting shot, MD to my pet and kite the boss until my pet took aggro.  Then the boomkin died.  Then the rogue died.  Me and the healer. “Heal my pet!” I tell my husband.  He does.  Healing rain is pretty amazing.  We manage to down the boss.  Not just for one fight, but I did it three times in the same heroic.  Before we start analyzing what the tank wasn’t doing (or not doing enough), why the Balance druid didn’t use their battle rez, or the rogue didn’t potion, the point I’m trying to prove is a resourceful hunter should be able to step in and save a boss kill on a 5-man fight.

So in that case where you’re looking at a wipe, or do it yourself, why not just save the day?

Here’s some things you can do to save a boss fight:

  1. If you have enough time (like have a DK or another melee dps that can take a little bit of damage) dismiss your Ferocity pet and grab your Tenacity pet.  The whole process is quick, just have to be able to think on your feet.
  2. Turn on Growl, and quickly Misdirect to your pet.  Glyphing for Misdirection in this situation is a winner, because it lets you chain MD to your pet.
  3. Make sure you tell your healer to heal your pet! A lot of healers downright won’t heal pets.  If they don’t know you’re trying to tank this, they might not, and you’ll still wipe.
  4. Don’t forget the importance of kiting.  If you have to, frost trap and kite until your pet takes threat.
  5. Blow your cooldowns! (Rapid Fire, trinkets, etc.)  If you’ve got the “umph” to do more DPS, now is the time.  Your pet likely won’t stay up very long.

The more you use these tactics, the more you’ll be comfortable to step in and save a fight — keep in mind, there is a point of no return.  There is a point where there’s just no more mana to heal with, no more pots to burn, and no way to rez your pet.  If you do get into that situation, if you try to save the fight, at least you’ll know you gave it everything.

Good luck!

With Cataclysm being a couple weeks behind us, and plenty of people weighing in on what spec is better, I think it really comes down to what you’re working on at the time.

Survival has come up on top of the three Hunter specs — by leaps and bounds.  Survival is better at AOE damage, better at crowd control, and better single-target DPS with less DPS loss during a movement dependent fight — at least for a 329 ilvl rating.  There’s a lot of talk that Marksman and Beastmastery are going to be more gear dependent — which is a good possibility.  We saw that in Wrath with Marksmanship, especially with the focus going to Armor Penetration.  With the gear progression and stats improvement being more linear (and not exponential like ArP was) it’s also a good possibility to continue to see Survival on top of the DPS meters.

That being said, I have spec’d Survival (1/9/31) for heroics and instancing.  Why?

Crowd Control in heroics has become very important.  There are countless pulls that you can no longer just AOE down like we used to in Wrath, and frankly the Survival ability to trap for 20% longer time makes a big difference as you’re taking out the bigger packs.  The trap target no longer has to be the first one downed — it can be closer to the end.

AOE damage has become insane with Survial hunters — so for those occasions when you have to AOE, Multishot (Serpent Spread) now applies Serpent Sting for 6 seconds per target.  It really is crazy.  Be aware when you’re using it, you’re likely to get aggro.  Make sure your healer knows.

The rotation is the easiest of the specs right now, and requires a lot less decision making at certain percentages of the fight.

Basic Survival Shot rotation:

  1. Hunters Mark
  2. Serpent Sting
  3. Explosive Shot
  4. Kill Shot (if available)
  5. Black Arrow
  6. Arcane Shot
  7. Cobra Shot

Lock n’ Load Procs

  1. Explosive Shot
  2. Cobra Shot (or Kill Command depending on focus)
  3. Explosive Shot
  4. Cobra Shot
  5. Explosive Shot

So now you know how Survival is better for instancing and heroics.  Marksmanship still has its merits.  I find it much easier to solo as Marksman.  Why? I’m less likely to pull threat off my pet as I’m soloing.  The hits from my shots aren’t as hard it seems, but the mobs die pretty quick.  I can use a physical DPS pet (like a cat or a tenacity pet) because I don’t see the DPS boost from my wind serpent. (They increase the target’s magic damage taken by 8%, which is most of what Survival damage comes from).  I’ve been using my cat more frequently when soloing because the Agility boost seems to make a difference, but I could see the plus side to using a Fox or a Tallstrider that cause the target to slow attacks, but ultimately pet choice is up to you — we all have our preferences… especially now that everyone isn’t running around with a Wolf just because it gives the best dps gains.

Still want to be a Marksman during raids? I don’t blame you.  I’ll go over Marksman raid information in depth over the next few weeks.

Looking for more Survival information? Warcraft Hunters Union has much more detail!

4.0: How Do I Specialize Now?

Morynne —  October 11, 2010 — 6 Comments

Ok, so you’ve read through what each Marksman talent does in 4.0.

Where should you really spend your points? Remember, in order to get out of your first tree, you have to spend at least 31 points in one of them. Giving you a total of 5 at level 80 to spend in the other talent trees.

3 Beastmastery / 31 Marksman / 2 Survival

The Marksman spec above covers most of your bases, and will be most like the standard 7/57/7 of 3.3.5.  Your rotation will also be very similar to 3.3.5, except you’ll be dropping Silencing Shot for Arcane Shot, and using Steady Shots to regain Focus.

31 Beastmastery / 2 Marksman / 3 Survival

The Beastmastery spec above gives you all the basics to be able to operate with exotic pets and not be unfortunate.  Based on my testing in Beta, you’ll want to replace your Steady Shot with Cobra Shot, but unfortunately until Cataclysm is launched, you will not have this in your tool belt.  Cobra is learned at 81.

3 Beastmastery / 2 Marksman / 31 Survival

I will first of all say that I’m not super familiar with Survival.  The spec above seems to get the job done though, it increases the duration of your traps, and increases the frequency that your Black Arrow and Lock n’ Load will proc.  If some brave soul out there wants to test out this Survival spec and give me some feedback, that would be awesome.

Marksman has been tested at 80 as pushing the best DPS for now, but it’s expected through balancing that Beastmastery may come back into a top DPS spot.  So I’ll run some tests tomorrow when the servers are back up and provide some real numbers.

Good luck!

Marksman Talents in 4.0

Morynne —  October 10, 2010 — 1 Comment

With 4.0 likely to drop next week, it’s important to be prepared, so I’m going to look at each of the talents in the Marksman tree for hunters, and what we should expect. Also keep in mind we will only have 41 talent points to use at level 85, and 31 of that will be used to get to the bottom of your main talent tree.  Once I go over everything in the tree, I’ll talk the new Marksman priority for a rotation in the 4.0 patch.

You’ll find that Aimed Shot is the signature shot of the Marksman tree, which is a bit surprising, and the Mastery ability is Wild Quiver — which does the same thing it did in the 3.0 talent trees, which is free additional shots.

Go for The Throat – 2 Ranks.

  • Your ranged auto-shot critical hits cause your pet to generate 5 Focus.
  • Your ranged auto-shot critical hits cause your pet to generate 10 Focus.

Why’s that important?  As a Marksman hunter, you should expect to crit all the time.  Your pet will be able to utilize their special abilities more often — which makes this talent important for BM hunters as well.

Click here to view the full article. Don’t worry, I’m not truncating my feed, this is just extremely lengthy.

Holy cow! It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to work on this.  Welcome back!  I swear I haven’t forgotten.  Life got in the way, and still is, but I needed a break, so here I write.

Today we’re going to go through the remaining 7 talents that every Marksman hunter in the 7/57/7 build should consider — especially if you’re raiding.  We left off with Improved Barrage, so we’re in the final stretch!

Master Marksman

  • Rank 1 – Increases your critical strike chance by 1%, and reduces the Mana cost of your Steady Shot, Aimed Shot, and Chimera Shot by 5%.
  • Rank 2 – Increases your critical strike chance by 2%, and reduces the Mana cost of your Steady Shot, Aimed Shot, and Chimera Shot by 10%.
  • Rank 3 – Increases your critical strike chance by 3%, and reduces the Mana cost of your Steady Shot, Aimed Shot, and Chimera Shot by 15%.
  • Rank 4 – Increases your critical strike chance by 4%, and reduces the Mana cost of your Steady Shot, Aimed Shot, and Chimera Shot by 20%.
  • Rank 5 – Increases your critical strike chance by 5%, and reduces the Mana cost of your Steady Shot, Aimed Shot, and Chimera Shot by 25%.

So wait, this talent not only increases my crit chance by 5% at max rank, but it also reduces the costs of my most commonly used shots by 25% — Yes please!

Continue Reading…

Come here often?

I’m going to cover the next 5 talents in the Marksman tree you’ll typically find in the 7/57/7 build.

Combat Experience

  • Rank 1 – Increases your total Agility and Intellect by 2%.
  • Rank 2 – Increases your total Agility and Intellect by 4%.

This talent combined with Careful Aim increases your DPS significantly.  Agility, AP, and for now Intellect (in this case) all help your DPS, so this talent makes perfect sense.  Should be maxed out at 2/2.

Ranged Weapon Specialization

  • Rank 1 – Increases the damage you deal with ranged weapons by 1%.
  • Rank 2 – Increases the damage you deal with ranged weapons by 3%.
  • Rank 3 – Increases the damage you deal with ranged weapons by 5%.

Pretty self-explanatory.  This talent directly increases the damage output from your ranged weapon.  If you’re worried about your melee damage, you ought to check your goals as a hunter. ;)

Piercing Shots

  • Rank 1 – Your critical Aimed, Steady and Chimera Shots cause the target to bleed for 10% of the damage dealt over 8 sec.
  • Rank 2 – Your critical Aimed, Steady and Chimera Shots cause the target to bleed for 20% of the damage dealt over 8 sec.
  • Rank 3 – Your critical Aimed, Steady and Chimera Shots cause the target to bleed for 30% of the damage dealt over 8 sec.

This is such an awesome talent.  It is up more than not, which is great — free damage for the win.

Continue Reading…