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.
- 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!)