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Rapid Fire Animations

Rapid Fire Animations

This is a lesson I’ve had to learn over the last couple weeks, and it might not be something you think about to start with.  I want to mention that I’m absolutely not perfect at this yet, but the theory is definitely sound.

First, let’s look at the two abilities to trigger this haste buff:

  • Rapid Fire - Increases ranged attack speed by 40% for 15 sec.
  • Readiness – When activated, this ability immediately finishes the cooldown of all Hunter abilities.

So inherently, these abilities are made to work together, the only catch is that Rapid Fire has a 5 minute cooldown (unless talented), which ultimately doesn’t maximize the time you could be blowing things up.  What talent? Why Posthaste of course.  Each rank of this talent reduces the cooldown of Rapid Fire by 1 minute, and increases your movement speed after using Disengage.  Given that you’ll be putting in 2 points, your Rapid Fire and Readiness will be up at approximately the same time.  Coincidence? Naaah.

Logically, you pop Rapid Fire at full Focus, pop Readiness, then start using your abilities that have cast bars as quickly as possible, right?  Close.

Your two abilities you should be using as a Marksman that have a cast bar are Aimed Shot, and Steady Shot.  Aimed is the super heavy hitter, and Steady helps you regain focus.

Each Aimed Shot costs 50 focus, and starts with a 2.4 second cast timer (without haste).  If you’re in raiding gear, you likely have a considerable amount of haste, so you’ll see that cast timer be lower.  With the haste, you’ll also see faster focus regeneration.  If you’re into numbers, here’s a haste to focus post on EJ.  And of course making your shots fire 40% faster will make a big difference in how many you can cast, and what kind of DPS you can push out.

Now, how does this work out?

First off, during a haste phase like Rapid Fire, or using Heroism/Bloodlust, you will get far less DPS for the amount of focus spent if you weave in Chimera Shots and keep Serpent Sting up.  Forget them while RF is going!

Starting at full focus, you hit Rapid Fire. Dump your focus with Aimed Shots (depending on your haste, 2-3), then regen some Focus with Steady Shot (typically 2), then fire off as many Aimed Shots as possible to dump your Focus again, then repeat the 2 Steady Shots.  Repeat this cycle until your Rapid Fire cycle is over. Then pop Readiness.

Resume your normal rotation with Serpent Sting, Chimera Shot, and your Steadies to regain focus to about 80. Pop your second Rapid Fire, and do it all over again.

Ideally you want to be at a point where you will be casting your Aimed Shots and Steady Shots in pairs during Rapid Fire, and on a stand still fight, it’s definitely worth glyphing Rapid Fire to get yourself an extra 10% haste.  This will net you more DPS than the 1 second reduced cooldown on Chimera Shot, so that is the logical replacement.

TL;DR Summary

  • Start with 100 Focus
  • Cast Rapid Fire
  • Aimed Shot until you’re out of Focus
  • Steady Shot until you get to 50 focus (usually 2)
  • Aimed Shot until you’re out of focus, repeat Steady/Aimed cycle until RF is over.
  • Pop Readiness.
  • Regenerate focus to about 80 on normal rotation
  • Rapid Fire and repeat the process.

I’m not a pro theorycrafter (my eyes tend to glaze over at all those numbers), but I have had good results with this.  This cycle will still give you your Fire! procs and keep your Improved Steady Shot up so you continue to benefit from the additional haste there.

Give it a shot, play around on some target dummies and let me know if this helps you as much as it did me.  If you find something better, post it in the comments!

Good luck! (Edit: If you’ve made it this far, awesome.  Keep reading.  There’s some excellent conversation in the comments!)

After having just made a change from raiding as Survival and moving to Marksmanship, there’s a few things I did to really make my life easier.  It can be done in 3 steps, that’s all it takes, really!

  1. Draw parallels between the two specs you’re swapping between.
  2. Set up your UI where it’s pretty close between the two specs and what order you’ll be hitting the buttons.
  3. Practice on a target dummy

First thing’s first, learn the rotations of both specs, and compare the two — how they’re similar, how they’re different.

For MM (mob below 90%)

  • Ensure Serpent Sting is on the target (assuming you have the Marked for Death talent, otherwise make sure HM is up too)
  • Kill Shot (when mob below 20%)
  • Chimera Shot every time it’s up
  • Aimed Shot (every time the Fire! proc happens)
  • Arcane Shot (as a focus dump)
  • Steady Shot

For SV

  • Ensure Hunters Mark and Serpent Sting is on the target
  • Kill Shot (when mob below 20%)
  • Explosive Shot every time it’s up
  • Black Arrow every time it’s up
  • During Lock n’ Load procs, cycle Explosive Shot and Cobra Shot until proc is used.
  • Cobra Shot (refreshing Serpent Sting)

So… similarities.

There’s a button you push constantly to fill in where you can’t push anything else.  In your UI, you’ll likely want that to be the same button between both specs.  In my UI, you’ll see Serpent Sting in the same place, and Cobra Shot and Steady shot interchangeably placed.  So for the most part, regardless of what spec I’m in, I tend to start the same way.

Marksmanship UI

In my MM UI, you’ll see Aimed Shot take the 2 key since it’s going to be something I now use very frequently — and I don’t have to apply Hunter’s Mark.  It’s there, and within reach, but not something I push regularly, so it’s not key bound.  Chimera Shot takes the 3 position with Arcane on the 4 button.   Given that the Grave key (the button to the left of 1 is my push to talk key) I tend to stay on 12345, and use my Naga mouse to fill in the rest. Kill Shot is macro’d into my Steady Shot, as well as Cobra Shot, so I hardly ever have to hit that button – regardless of spec.

Survival UI

In my SV UI, HM is on 2 because otherwise I’ll forget to apply it, putting Explosive Shot on 3, and Black Arrow on 4, but largely the button pushing remained the same as my MM set up.  So realistically, the proc difference between the two specs for what button I push is just one button off (moving from 3, back to 2 to MM)

So continuing to learn how to teach yourself a new spec, it’s all about muscle memory.  That’s where you spend plenty of time refining your shot priorities to make sure your muscles can switch between the two.  I tend to try to push myself on a target dummy to 10-million damage done, and then write down the DPS reported by Recount.  Clearly not the most scientific way, but it works.  Keep running it between the two specs — you’ll get better the more you do it.  Once you’re satisfied with those numbers, the hard part begins.  Create yourself a World of Logs account, and start running combat logs when you’re working on a target dummy.  You’ll want to go through there and analyze the data.  Look at how you did, and find ways you can optimize your shots.  You’ll find areas you messed up your rotations, it happens, just learn from it and move on.

I made a video to show how my specs differ while running on a target dummy, if you need a bit more of a visual demonstration, this is it.

I know everyone has their own little tricks to learning faster.  What are yours?

If you’ve been raiding for awhile, you’ve heard the term pre-potting.  What does it mean?  Well, it means you chug a class-appropriate potion right before the pull, so you can get a second potion during the fight.

Here’s how I do it.  We have a countdown to pull from 5. At 5, I cast Misdirection on the tank. At 2, I chug my Potion. At 1, the boss is engaged, and I hit Rapid Fire as well, getting the most of that potion.  If you’re Marksman, make sure you use Readiness and get your second Rapid Fire in.

In Wrath, the pre-pot of choice for hunters was the Potion of Speed, which still may be useful for some hunters depending on their amount of haste.  The real choice for Cataclysm hunters, regardless of spec, is the Potion of the Tol’vir.

Why that one?

Agility equates to about 2 attack power, and ~325 Agi works out to about 1% crit.  Crit being the awesome stat that it is, is something that is desired by every single hunter spec.  The Hunting Party Podcast recently talked to Ask Mr. Robot and Zaherah about stat weighting and reforging going into more depth.  Sadly that episode was lost, but the notes are available at the above link.

So I should pre-pot for every fight?

No.  Pre-potting should be done where there is nothing preventing you from going all-out at the beginning of the fight.

Past fights where it makes sense:

  • Patchwerk
  • Archimonde
  • High Warlord Naj’entus
  • Marrowgar
  • Deathbringer Saurfang

Current fights where it makes sense:

  • Halfus Wyrmbreaker (for the drakes)
  • Cho’gall
  • Magmaw (only if you’re not kiting parasites)
  • Maloriak (careful, if DPS is too good, this can be problematic)
  • Atramedes
  • Chimaeron (careful, if DPS is too good, this can be problematic)
  • Baleroc
  • Majordomo Staghelm

Current fights where pre-potting makes no sense:

  • Beth’tilac – As soon as you pull, she retreats to the web — wasting your potion. You should be using distracting shot mostly at the beginning anyway.
  • Shannox (optional) – It depends on how you’re doing the fight.  If your raid doesn’t mind a dog going down super fast, do it.  If it’s a more controlled approach, hold off.
  • Lord Rhyolith – his legs don’t need the extra DPS at the beginning.
  • Alsyrazor (optional) – If you’re confident you won’t waste the potion after getting knocked back, do it.  DPS your heart out.

By no means is this law.  There are countless more fights out there that can benefit from pre-potting, and you should use your better judgement.

The questions you need to ask yourself are: 

  • Is there one target I’m going to be killing for the next 25 seconds?
  • Will my extra DPS create risks for the raid?
  • If I pull threat, am I quick with feign death?
  • Is this a control fight or a burn fight? (Burn fights tend to be more pre-pot friendly)
Do you have any other tips for pre-potting?