### Archives For hunter

To grandma’s house we go?

I think I’m nearly out of the work cave of stress I’ve been in for the last few months, so hopefully I can get back to writing more.  My attention just has been needed elsewhere, and I haven’t been able to keep up with writing.  Something had to give, and unfortunately it was this blog.

I’ve still been raiding, and Conquest is currently 4/8 Heroic Dragon Soul, 25-man.  We’re currently working on heroic Zon’ozz.  I’ll admit, I’m in the pre-expansion-bored-with-current-content funk.

So, in an interest of keeping things interesting, let’s talk about what content you’d like to see up until MoP comes out.  By now, I’m sure most of you have already gone through Dragon Soul, at least on Raid Finder.  Part of me feels like running through the remainder of strategy might be a waste.  You tell me!  What do you want to see until MoP comes out?

What do you want to see while we're waiting for MoP?

• MoP Information ALL THE THINGS! (38%, 9 Votes)
• Spotlight on Pet Battles (once they're implemented) (13%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

Now, this by no means is a comprehensive list of things I’m willing to cover.  If you have some brilliant idea you want to see me talk about, drop it in the comments.

Hopefully this means I’ll be able to get back to blogging more regularly.  I miss you guys!

What with this being a big Star  Wars Beta weekend, Blizzard had to do something, so they gave us the MoP talent calculator! (This is far later than I expected, mostly because I was playing on my Imperial Agent and having a great time.)

You can find it linked off of the main WoW site here, and it’s worth noting that this is a snapshot in time, and these things may change as we get closer to MoP coming out.

### The MoP Talent Tree for Hunters

I’m not going to go through the whole talent tree, just talk about what talents I feel will be used for what circumstance.

For Level 15, I can see Venom Tipped Arrows be the common use for raiding and instancing just because of the additional damage being put out.  For extreme soloing I’d expect Frozen Arrows because it will slow targets down, and Arcane Arrows for leveling, but that’s largely dependent on play style.

For Level 30, I expect BM hunters and extreme solers to pick up Intimidation, where Silencing Shot will be chosen for raiding, and Wyvern Sting for PvP.

For Level 45, I expect Exhilaration to be used by extreme solers, and the other two will be selected situationally.  Both have their values for raiding and other scenarios.

At level 60, these are all defensive.  I’d expect this to be a wildcard talent selection.

For level 75, if you’re raiding, Readiness is a winner, but Thrill of the Hunt has a chance as well.  Getting free shots periodically will certainly make it appealing during a really long boss fight.

At level 90, all of these are CC abilities, and will be used situationally — meaning you’ll change things around based on the encounter you’re going through.

### Now let’s talk about the specializations…

#### Beastmastery

• Frenzy – Your pet gains 6% attack speed after attacking with a basic attack, lasting for 10 seconds and stacks up to 5 times.
• Focus Fire – Consumes your pet’s Frenzy Effect stacks, restoring 4 focus to your pet and increasing your ranged haste by 3% for each Frenzy Effect stack consumed. Lasts for 20 seconds.
• Bestial Wrath – Send your pet into a rage causing 20% additional damage for 10 seconds. The beast does not feel pity or remorse and cannot be stopped unless killed.
• Cobra Strikes – You have a 15% chance when you hit with Arcane Shot to cause your pet’s next 2 basic attacks to critically hit.
• The Beast Within – When your pet is under the effect of Bestial Wrath, you also go into a rage causing 10% additional damage and reducing all focus costs by 50% for 10 seconds.
• Kindred Spirits – Increases you and your pet’s maximum focus by 10.
• Invigoration – When your pet critically hits with a basic attack, you gain 6 focus.
• Beast Mastery – Ability to tame exotic pets and increases pet talent points by 4.
• Mastery: Master of Beasts – Increases the damage done by your pets by 13%.  Each point of mastery increases pet damage by an additional 1.87.

Now here’s my take on things.  I think, based on what I’m reading here, that BM may make a resurgence — but I also think that without data we’ll have no idea.  I’ll also say that on paper, all three specs are pretty evenly balanced.

#### Marksmanship

• Aimed Shot – A powerful shot dealing 164% of ranged weapon damage plus 1410.
• Careful Aim – Increases critical strike of your Aimed Shot and Steady Shot abilities by 60% for targets over 90% health.
• Concussive Barrage – Your Chimera Shot and Multi-Shot abilities have a 100% chance to daze the target for 4 seconds.
• Trueshot Aura – Increases melee attack power by 20% and ranged attack power by 10% for party members within 100 yards.
• Marked for Death – Your Arcane Shot and Chimera Shot automatically apply the Marked for Death effect. Marked for Death is the same as Hunter’s mark, is undispellable, but does not grant unerring sight of the target.
• Bombardment – When you critically hit with your Multi-Shot ability, your next Multi-Shot has its focus cost reduced by 50%.
• Master Marksman – You have a 60% chance when you Steady Shot to gain Master Marksman effect, lasting 30 seconds. After reaching 5 stacks, your next Aimed Shot has it’s casting time and focus cost reduced by 100% for 10 sec.
• Chimera Shot – An instant shot that causes ranged weapon Nature damage plus 1795, refreshing the duration of your Serpent Sting, and healing you for 5% of your total health.
• Mastery: Wild Quiver – Grants a 16.8% chance for your ranged attacks to also instantly fire an additional ranged shot. Each point of mastery increases the chance by an additional 2.1%.

There is only one thing that irritates me about the Marksman tree. I cannot stand Concussive Barrage.  There is no reason to incorporate a daze with Multi or Chimera Shot.  I don’t know many tanks or raid leaders that appreciate the target being dazed all the time.  This is one thing I want to see changed before launch.

#### Survival

• Explosive Shot – You fire an explosive charge into the enemy target, dealing 497 Fire damage. The charge will blast the target every second for an additional 2 seconds.
• Black Arrow – Fires a Black Arrow at the target dealing 3565 Shadow damage over 15 seconds. Black Arrow shares a cool down with other Fire Trap spells.
• Entrapment – When your Ice Trap or Snake Trap are triggered, you entrap all afflicted targets preventing them from moving for 4 seconds.
• Lock and Load – You have a 100% chance when you trap a target with Freeze Trap or Ice Trap to cause your 2 next Arcane Shot or Explosive Shot abilities to cost no focus and trigger no cool down. Effect lasts for 12 seconds.
• Trap Mastery – Ice Trap and Freezing Trap duration increased by 30%. Immolation Trap, Explosive Trap, and Black Arrow’s periodic damage increased by 30%. Snake Trap – Increases the number of snakes summoned by 6.
• Serpent Spread – Targets hit by your Multi-Shot are also affected by your Serpent Sting equivalent to 9 seconds of its total duration.
• Hunting Party – Increases the melee and ranged attack speed of all party or raid members by 10%.
• T.N.T. – When you deal periodic damage with your Immolation Trap, Explosive Trap, or Black Arrow you have a 12% chance to trigger Lock and Load.
• Mastery: Essence of the Viper – Increases all magical damage you deal by 8%. Each point of mastery you earn increases that damage by 1%.

Survival seems largely unchanged, but it does force you into using Entrapment — which if you’re looking to do a lot of AOE damage, it’s a good thing to not have those mobs move all over the place.

##### What do you like/dislike/want to see changed before MOP launches?

I just want to say that I love Blizzard commercials.  I think they’re fun and bring some attention to a massive game many love to play.

Mr. T and the Night Elf Mohawk

Chuck Norris’ melee hunter? What?

Now I’d like to first say that I realize it’s marketing, and should be taken with a grain of salt, but part of me wants to be offended.

Here’s why:

In Mists of Panderia, hunters are losing melee abilities.

Go ahead, go back and watch the video.  I’ll wait.

You see Chuck Norris, hunter, roundhouse kick things, and punch gnomes.

Funny, yes. Accurate, no.

I just don’t want a bunch of people to start the game thinking they’re going to play a hunter that kicks things, and end up with a Hunter that is worthless in melee range.  Just seems… wrong.  I don’t know, if I join the game just to play a hunter that kicks things, I’d be pretty disappointed with the commercial.

Here’s what I do like about the commerical:

Blizzard did a good job showing that a hunter’s pet is a constant companion and protector.  While they may have missed the range vs melee situation, they certainly did hit the nail on the head for the other defining characteristic of the class.

What did you think about the commercial?

Hunters! Here’s your gear list for 4.3 and Dragon Soul!  With the patch being just around the corner, figured it was about time to do the roundup of gear you should be on the look-out for.

### Disclaimers

1. I’m going to discuss each slot’s itemization assuming a Marksmanship Hunter, and looking at the stats alone — not necessarily how the gear will work together.  That is always dependent on your gear, and should be prioritized as such.  What’s good for you, might not fit another Hunter’s play style.
2. This is still based on PTR data.  There is no guarantee that it will remain the way it is as it is when this post is written.
3. I am not covering loot that can be obtained in the 3 new heroics.  It’s not really an upgrade from Firelands gear.

### Helm

Tier for the helm has better itemization for a hunter, but Zeherah’s crown has plenty of hit.  If you’re having difficulty reaching hit cap, Zehera’s helm is the right one for you.  Just always shoot for your Tier 4-piece bonus!

### Neck

No real choices here as of yet.  If I see new items brought in, I’ll update.

### Shoulders

No real choices here as of yet.  If I see new items brought in, I’ll update.

### Chest

As always, you’ll want to go for your 4-piece tier bonuses, you’ll want to take the tier piece here.  I would be careful if you choose to take Zehera’s crown and using this tier piece — it might satisfy all of your hit needs. Just balance it out, but I’d recommend tier in this case.

### Back

No real choices here as of yet.  If I see new items brought in, I’ll update.

### Bracers

Start with the Leatherworking bracers, they’re ultimately the best itemized for a MM hunter, but the other two are perfectly viable options.

### Gloves

The choice for me is either for the tier gloves, or the Sporebeard Gauntlets just because of the additional socket to be used.

### Belt

The Beloved Companion and the Dragoncarver Belt are my choices here.  When faced with the choices of crit/haste, haste/mastery or crit/mastery, it’s important to weigh out the rest of your gear for the haste levels you’re comfortable with — and make your decision from there.

### Legs

Either. Just remember to shoot for your 4-piece.

### Boots

Treads of Dormant Dreams are better itemized for MM hunters, so just keep that in mind.  If you’re just in need of boots, there’s nothing wrong with the valor.

### Rings

You have 2 ring slots.  You do the math.

### Trinkets

This is a bit more complicated.  Without going through and testing these trinkets, it’s going to be a tough call.  I’m never a fan of “on-use” trinkets, just because without it being macro’d into an ability, you do tend to lose some of the benefits.  Purely speculation, but I’m going to bet that the Starcatcher and the Wrath of Unchaining end up being the BiS pairing for hunters.  And as a side note, I’ll make new Power Auras for these once I get my hands on them.

### Stat Stick

Either, but I really want to be a giant worgen.

### Ranged Weapon

If you’re not a dwarf, that gun isn’t the best thing you can be using.  Go for the crossbow until that smexy bow drops. Do it.
##### Did I miss anything from the Dragon Soul raid? Thoughts on what trinkets will be best? Leave it in the comments!

Just got an update for Tier 13 hunter bonus…

• 2P — Steady Shot and Cobra Shot generate double the amount of focus.
• 4P — Your Arcane Shot ability has a chance to grant 30% haste to you and your pet for 10 sec.

Even more haste!

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 5% more haste than originally quoted.  As always, this is PTR stuff, and it can change 1000 times before implemented live.

(source)

A few days ago, Blizzard put out a request for feedback about all the classes, and there’s been a huge outcry from the community in every class, but as tightly knit as the Hunters are, there’s a lot of the same feedback being pushed back to Blizzard.  Frostheim did a great summary of that.

What type of content do you focus on? PvE primarily, and very rarely PvP

If PvE, what type of PvE? Current end-game content (at the moment, Firelands), and the occasional heroic.

If PvP, what type of PvP? BGs

What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? 2 current issues I see are both pet-related. The issues where upon summoning a pet, they do not have all their health for 5-10 seconds. The second issue being the bug where if you zone into an area on a mount (or get summoned in) and then dismount, you do not have pet control buttons. This happens on a modded UI and a standard one. To correct, pets have to be dismissed and re-summoned.

What makes playing your class more fun? DPSing on the move is a big part of why I enjoy playing a hunter, and being able to add so much versatility to a group. Everything from interrupts (albeit with a really long cooldown), filling in buffs, to crowd control, to “kite this thing.”

What makes playing your class less fun?

Lack of viability in world PVP scenarios. The way all classes ultimately beat a hunter is to stand on top of them. Minimum range must be achieved for any significant damage, and requiring those shots to regain Focus creates a challenge, not only in PvP, but also in PvE where there are a number of fights that require the entire raid group to group up on the boss to receive AOE heals or mitigate damage, putting the hunters in the group to a disadvantage because there are no very short range shots, or usable melee abilities to maintain DPS.

Haste has created a very complicated rotation for Marksman hunters, and less so to Survival and Beastmastery hunters. It seems to overly complicate optimizing gear and causes problems in adjusting shot priorities as gear changes and upgrades. It’s almost like having to re-learn how to play the spec somewhat every time you replace a piece of gear and change the amount of haste you have. For an average player who might not be playing in Firelands yet, or only has a couple hours to play — I’m sure it’s really daunting to understand how it works.

Aspect dancing is junky, just as it was when we used to jump between Monkey and Hawk back in the day. IIRC, that’s the whole reason we ended up with Dragonhawk to begin with, so why did we bring back the need to swap around again? I get that it’s to allow for focus regeneration and channeled casts during movement, but it sucks when many of the fights in current raiding content require heavy movement, and the notion of maintaining high DPS.

How do you feel about your “rotation”? (Rotation is the accepted order in which abilities are used to maximum efficiency.)

For Marksmanship – the way it’s currently designed, there is 0 room for error, which is a little frightening by itself. If you let Improved Steady Shot drop, your rotation goes bust, and it takes you a bit to recover. Making this last a little longer, or have other ways to refresh it may take some of the pressure off. Just to understand exactly how the MM rotation works, I can personally say I’ve spent no less than probably 15 hours over a 3-4 week period to get it right — and that’s standing still. Boss fights are hardly ever that simple. Most people would not be willing to make that time commitment, and should likely be considered when looking to review this spec.

For Survival – This one is reasonably easy to play, but difficult to do well. It is far more forgiving than Marksmanship for movement heavy fights, and doesn’t take nearly as long to recover from a flub in the rotation. Burst damage on this spec is lacking; however, and may benefit from either a refresh on Rapid Fire or a new DPS cooldown all together.

I would love to see Survival scale better with gear — since that spec is designed to do magic damage, make the stats that scale for physical output convert to improve the SV magic damage output.

I’d love to see the minimum range go away, or give hunters something that can be used in close range to regenerate focus, and do some kind of real damage. Disengage, while the easy answer to regain range, doesn’t solve the problem when boss fights require a “stack on the boss” mechanic.

Make each spec feel more different in play-style. I’ve heard this elsewhere, but giving Beastmasters the ability to call several pets to battle during DPS cooldown phases, giving Marksman the ability to dual weild (provided crossbows or guns), and survival a self-heal and something they can use as a better burst damage phase.

What spells do you use the least?

Counterattack, Widow’s Venom, Immolation Trap, Eagle Eye, and Camouflage is only really valuable during PVP, or for flavor, but does not really have any viable PvE use. Raptor Strike is only used because of the glyph.

If you’ve got feedback for Blizzard about any class right now, it’s important that you go do it.  The way these surveys were structured makes me feel like they’re listening.  They might not implement any of it, but speaking from experience, it feels good to get all those little nagging frustrations and brilliant ideas into a forum they will actually read.

I’ve received a few questions over the last couple weeks — and this one made me think that a bunch of people might have similar questions…

Cassz wrote:

Hi Morynne.

First off, thank you for a wonderful site. When I first started playing WoW, about 6 months ago, I heard of WHU.com and read it religously. Now, I find myself checking your site daily!

I just had a quick question. I’ve asked guildies and looked upon websites and have gotten many crooked answers. I have ENG & JC. JC because of the large Agility numbers from Chimera Gems and ENG because the gloves, which add 480 Agility for 10 seconds, with a 60 second CD ( so a 50 sec
CD).

Is LW more of a boost with the bracer enchants at 130 Agility (+80)?

There’s really not a clear-cut answer.

Epic gems are on the horizon in 4.3 (if implemented at all), and if history repeats itself, the profession bonuses will be buffed to come with it — so keep in mind this is as of 4.2 that we’re comparing the two professions.

First off, you’ve made a great choice by choosing Jewelcrafting — it nets the highest amount of agility bonused of all the crafting professions (81 vs 80 — only one, but I know there are some nit-pickers out there).

The choice between Synapse Springs or Draconic Emobssment – Agility is really a question of how you’ll be using it.  Synapse Springs gives 480 Agility over a 10 second period, whereas Draconic Embossment – Agility gives +130 Agility total, 80 more than the normal enchantment to bracers.

Agility is one of those stats that it’s always better to have more of — it boosts our Attack Power, and makes our shots hit harder — so neither one clearly outweighs the other.

So let’s do some math:

If you were to average out the impact of the agility for Synapse Springs over a full minute, you’d end up with this:

$480/6=80$

That’s 480, averaged out across the 6-10 second increments in a minute.  So if you use Synapse Springs every time it’s up, you’ll effectively have an additional 80 Agi all the time — exactly the same as Draconic Embossment.

Here’s the kicker — you control when you use Synapse Springs.  If you use it in conjunction with Heroism, or Rapid Fire, you’re likely to get even more gain out of it than just the 80 Agi over a minute because you’ll be shooting faster, and ultimately resulting in higher DPS — especially if you’re running Marksman and pounding out those Aimed Shots.

I also run JC/Eng, but not because of the utility of the burst damage.  I like the other toys Engineering gives me, so I tend to macro Synapse Springs into my Steady Shot and Cobra Shot – depending on what spec I’m playing.  It gets used every time it’s off cooldown, and I net my average of 80 Agi during combat.  If I’m lucky enough to have it go off during a hasted phase, my DPS jumps a little higher than it normally would, but I don’t consciously worry about it.  It’s one less button I have to push.

Really what it comes down to is 1. what your play style is like, 2. what you’re looking for in a bonus, and 3. do you enjoy the rest of the profession.

If it were me, I’d keep engineering and revel in the fact that I have my own mailbox, portal to Northrend, personal butler, and a sweet helicopter, on top of saving the gold to level leatherworking.

Good luck!

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?

Morynne’s note: This is a guest post from Quori.  He writes at Surviving WoW with Quori, sharing his thoughts on various subjects related to huntering — everything from guild management to raid progression. You should check him out, seriously. I’m going to keep looking for guest posters, so if you’re interested, please shoot me an email. morynne@gmail.com

The name is Quori. Orc Hunter on Madoran, formerly Night Elf Hunter on Azjol Nerub and Senjin. I started playing World of Warcraft upon its launch in 2004. My wife bought me a copy for Christmas and gave it to me early. I read the owner’s manual over and over again trying to determine what class to roll first. I was instantly drawn to a Hunter, but found myself enticed by other classes like Warrior, Druid, and Shaman. In the end, I went with my instinct of Hunter…and never looked back. I have leveled 2 Hunters to end game on 2 different servers. I have done end game PvP, PvE, and sat around doing nothing. So as not to bore you with all the gory and mundane details of all of my personal travels….I am going to give a simple snapshot of where we started, and were we are today, mostly ignoring all the meat in between.

How did we begin…ranged damage dealing with a multitude of movement restricting spells and a fully functional combat pet. Were we a utility class or a pure dps class? We provided sustained top end damage in any spec with additional utility for kiting, pet-tanking (i.e. off-tanking), and some party buffs like Trueshot Aura. In the end, opinions vary based on perspective and how you were utilized. Personally, I was a utility class. My value was always to see the open field of combat and provide directions and feedback as to what was going on around us. My PvP days of 2005 forged this and my switch to PvE in 2006 only solidified it deeper in me. Its what I am best at…vision. So I admittedly feel Hunters should be best at this too.

We were never a liability to the raid, and provided solid performance and group compliments. Ranged damage that could mitigate threat, assist with pulls (during Vanilla it was always Hunter base pulls for us – Jantara, Xylina, and I!!!), off tank in a pinch (Hunter tanking on certain adds was hysterical), and requiring minimal healing attention.

So, where are we now? Disregarding everything that came in between; you would think nothing has changed. In other words folks…UTILITY. Yes, we are still a utility class. Not the “I can heal and tank and then damage with my moonfire, pew pew!” kind of utility. We are now pure damage dealing utility, bringing three different types of damage to the table.

Most damage dealers fall into one type or another…its either physical melee (i.e. Rogues, feral druids, enhancement shaman, warriors) or it is ranged magical (i.e. mages, warlocks, shadow priests).

We have 3 times the death-dealing charm:

• Beastmaster: physical dps split between melee and ranged
• Marksman: physical dps from range
• Survival: magical damage from range

This is important stuff people! VERY important!!! It gives us the flexibility to provide variable dps based on the encounter. Have a boss susceptible to magic…go SV. Heavy movement fight…bring the BM Hunter for sustained pet damage. Need the dps to stand still and PEW PEW…Marksmanship is your homerun hitter. Other classes cannot adjust nearly as well as we can. Oh, and btw….we can still kite, tank (Baradin Hold pet tanking FTW!!!), and provide some semi-helpful raid wide buffs (that’s sarcasm folks…we are awesome at providing missing buffs to 10 mans especially). We are in a good place with 3 relatively equal specs all capable of bringing value-add to a raid.

My 25 man ran with 5 Hunters last week…FIVE. It was quite an awesome thing. Revel in these very good times my hairy wristed friends, it certainly may not last. Let’s enjoy it while we can.

Q