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Huntering as Survival: Impressions

Monday, December 20th, 2010

It was a rough start, but after nearly a week, I think I’ve decided to stick with Survival.  Not only are the DPS numbers much sexier, but to be honest, the rotation just feels smoother. Which is a little funny because why I didn’t enjoy Survival over MM (back in the mana days) was because it felt clunky.

But of course, there are things I certainly miss!  Marked for Death was great for a lazy hunter like me.  Readiness is something I used incredibly often – and not just so I can Rapid Fire twice in a fight.  Trap didn’t take or broke early?  Readiness, re-trap!  Interrupt heavy fight?  Readiness makes sure I’ll have Silencing Shot when I need it!  And, most importantly… a second feign death has saved me many a repair bill!

But Wyvern Sting is extremely useful – being able to shoot a trap and sleep a mob at the start of a fight really takes a lot of strain off the group.  And since almost everything can be trapped or slept, there’s no need to worry about what to do if they aren’t humanoid/undead/elemental/demons.  Protip: Wyvern Sting also works as an interrupt on mobs that are sleepable!

I’ve found that the rotation of MM and SV are almost the same – MM you should always use 2 back-to-back Steadies, and in SV I find I almost always use 2 back-to-back Cobras.  But the significantly shorter cooldown on Explosive Shot (6 sec) compared to Chimera Shot (10, 9 with glyph) is what makes the difference to me.  10 seconds is a really long time, especially if some add just popped up that needs to be burned… you may not even be able to use your “big” shot before it goes down.

So for now, I will be keeping MM as my back up mainly for when we’re short on interrupts, and I’ll be sticking with Survival for my main spec.  As always, I recommend giving all the specs a shot once in a while rather than declaring yourself a “Marksman only!” or whatever.  Things change, and you never know which you really prefer until you’ve tried!

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Giving Survival Another Shot

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Ever since I switched from Beast Mastery to Marksmanship mid-Wrath, I have never looked back.  I enjoyed the complexity of the shot priority and it seemed to all flow very well.  But Cataclysm has changed things.

It’s not that I’m not enjoying MM anymore, but overall I think I’m still trying to get used to the whole focus-management aspect of things.  My timing is often off by a bit, or I get distracted and forget to use Chimera, and it’s having a pretty adverse affect on my dps and my sanity.

So tonight I’m going to give Survival a try.  I tried it once way back, and I did not enjoy it nearly as much as MM… but I feel like there’s no better time to try it than when I’m having issues with my rotation as it is!

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Misdirection: Ten Do’s and Don’t's

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Disclaimer: This post was accurate as of patch 3.1.3.

Misdirection.

Every hunter gets this ability at level 70, but even by level 80 some have yet to master the skill. It’s not just another shot to be thrown into a rotation, it’s situational. I would say “There isn’t a right or a wrong way to Misdirect”, but that would be lying.  So here’s some advice!

DO use a focus macro.

The default functionality of Misdirect works like this: Target who you want to Misdirect to, cast the spell, then target the mob you want to Misdirect. For initial pulls, this isn’t so bad. But what if you need to misdirect in a hurry? That’s where a focus macro comes in. With this, you can Misdirect without changing targets.

I have found the easiest way to set your focus is to have a mouseover macro. This way you can even change your focus mid-fight without changing actual targets. It looks like this:

/focus [target=mouseover]

I have it bound to Ctrl+F. This way I can just mouseover the target frame, raid frame or the actual character themselves and press Ctrl+F to set my focus.

Then, to Misdirect, you can use a macro like this:

/cast [target=focus,exists,nodead][target=pet,exists,nodead] Misdirection

This will cast on your focus if they are alive, or your pet if you don’t have a focus or your target is dead.

DON’T Misdirect to the wrong person.

This may sound simple, but it happens more often than you’d think. Always check who your focus is before you Misdirect. Is it a Bear who is temporarily in Kitty form? Don’t MD to her! Is your focus dead, meaning your MD will default to your pet? Don’t MD to him! Pay attention to tanking assignments, they aren’t just for healers and tanks!

DO use your heavy hitting abilities when Misdirecting.

The amount of threat generated by your Misdirection is dependent on how much damage you do. So do as much damage in 3 shots as you can! Use it right when you pop your trinkets/cooldowns. Or, use Multi-Shot/Volley to pull entire groups.

DON’T use Distracting Shot when Misdirecting.

Distracting Shot changed when 3.0 came out. It used to “cause a large amount of threat”, and was generally used in coordination with Misdirection. But now, it acts as a Taunt. This means that even if you have Misdirect up, Distracting Shot will pull the target to YOU, not THEM! I learned this the hard way!

DO use Misdirect during fights.

Misdirection isn’t just for pulls! It’s good to use during boss fights. There are some fights where it’s especially hard for tanks to build enough threat, be it from not having enough rage generation, or the DPS getting outrageous buffs, or high mobility/target switching fight. Every little bit helps! And remember, your Misdirect not only gives the tank more threat, but it pauses your threat gain for the next 3 shots. This means you can wait just a bit longer before you have to Feign Death.

DON’T use Misdirect all the time.

Take a look at your threat meter of choice before you Misdirect. Does the tank have a decent threat margin? Is the off-tank sitting in second place? Yes? Then don’t Misdirect. Use that GCD for something more productive. Don’t just blindly use Misdirect every time it’s off of cooldown, save if for emergencies if it’s not needed.

DO use Misdirect to help with tricky ranged pulls.

Hunters ranged shots having a huge range on them, especially if you happen to have Hawk Eye. It’s much larger than most tanks pulling abilities. So if there is a pull that is particularly difficult, whether it be because there are adds patrolling the area or the mob needs to be pulled back somewhere, volunteer your Misdirection services.

DON’T think you get to decide when pulls happen.

Just because your Misdirect means you can put the mobs to the tank does not give you permission to start pulls when you see fit. You need to wait until everyone, especially the tank, is ready and expecting the mobs, even if it means waiting for that patrol to make another cycle. Now that Misdirection has the same cooldown as it’s duration, you can keep it up and ready to go indefinitely.

DO Misdirect to your pet when soloing.

Sometimes, Growl just isn’t enough. If you’re not a Beast Master, chances are your pet doesn’t do a very good job of holding aggro off of you. Sure, most things are dead by the time they get to you… but popping MD right before you start shooting can give you a little extra time.

DON’T use DoTs when Misdirecting.

Most Hunter priority lists start with a DoT, Serpent Sting, to be precise. Well, make sure you modify your rotation a bit when using Misdirect! Serpent Sting ticks will use up a charge of Misdirect, but won’t do much threat/damage.  Don’t start with it, even if it goes against what you’re used to!  This also applies to Explosive Shot, it has a strange behaviour when it comes to Misdirect, so don’t use it.

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Highlights from the Blogosphere (4/24-4/30)

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Raiding as Fire/Frostfire @ CriticalQQ
As Alouette closes in on 80, she’s beginning to set her eye on raiding… but seeing as I have never run a real instance on her, I need serious help learning what’s important to a raiding Fire mage.  Euripedes has some great information for a little spark like me.

Don’t Let Dailies Grind YOU! @ LadyJess
One amazing tip here.  I love that doing the Champion and Valiant dailies nets me credit for two quests at once.  Well, you can do more than just that!

Kiting Boot-camp! @ OutDPS!
Euripides (the Hunter one, not the Mage one) has a nice little guide for a skill that every hunter should have, although it’s become almost a lost art!  This is a great guide for those who never had to do much kiting ‘back in the day’!

iPhone Apps for WoW Players @ Catryalini’s WoW Blog
I bought an iPhone this week!  In fact, the same day I bought mine she wrote this post, so it gave me a good place to start on my path to iPhone App addiction.  Unfortunately, it seems Blizzard has also sent out Cease and Desist orders to several of these apps… so pick them up while they’re still around!

Death By Chocolate @ Sideshow & Syrana
Syrana’s posted a nice little summary of both the good and bad sides of the Noblegarden festival, as well as a short guide.  I know the event is almost over, but it’s a good read anyway!


highlightsHighlights from the Blogosphere is my weekly Friday post to share some of the interesting, funny or informative blog posts I’ve read over the past week.

You can check out all the blogs I read on my list of Other Peoples’ Blogs!

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Getting a Feel for MM Shots and Specs

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Well, so much for a free respec.

I ended up respecing again last night to test some things out.  I wanted to compare my DPS with two different rotations and specs.  Unfortunately I don’t have any solid numbers from my attempts… they ended up all being almost the same (all had attempts varying from 2400-2700), and I didn’t take my trinkets off first so that also didn’t help.  So instead of numbers, I’m going to talk about feel.  Because if I didn’t care how my play felt, I’d just spec Survival! ;)

The following combinations are all quite viable from what I can see, and it’s mostly just a matter of playstyle preference.

I tested a combination of 2 different priorities, 2 different specs and 2 different Glyph setups.

(I also switched one point from Imp Barrage to Silencing Shot between spec #1 and spec #2… but it doesn’t really change much for the following.)

Chimera/Aimed/Arcane/Steady with spec #1 (imp Arcane) and Aimed/Trueshot/Serpent glyphs.

This is what I was set up to run initially, and the rotation I’ve been using since I switched to Marks except with a shorter cooldown on Aimed Shot.  The problem with it is that Arcane does not proc Piercing Shots, so it’s not quite as useful, and I was wondering if maybe it was best left out so I could get more Steady Shot Piercing Shots.  So I decided to respec and leave Arcane out of the picture.

Chimera/Aimed/Steady with spec #2 (imp Steady) and Aimed/Trueshot/Serpent glyphs.

This ended up being a much simpler priority, with only 2 cooldowns to watch instead of 3.  But it just did not feel right.  Since I had the Aimed Glyph, my Chimera was on a 10 sec cooldown and my Aimed was on an 8 second cooldown.  Since I cast Chimera first, then 1.5 seconds later cast Aimed… they would always seem to come off of cooldown around the same time.  This cause me to push back my second Aimed by an extra second or so, reducing the usefulness of the glyph.

Chimera/Aimed/Steady with spec #2 (imp Steady) and Steady/Trueshot/Serpent glyphs.

So, I got rid of the Aimed glyph.  This actually felt pretty nice, because it basically became a shot rotation insteady of a shot priority, and I could see someone who misses the old shot rotations actually enjoying this.  My Chimera had a 10 sec cooldown and my Aimed had a 10 second cooldown, so with lag/reaction factored in, became pretty much Chimera>Aimed>Steadyx3 (repeat).  It was kind of neat to get back into a rotation… but it felt too easy, and it actually was doing a bit less DPS.  I’m used to watching for cooldowns and not hitting buttons in a particular order.  It’s just not for me.

Chimera/Aimed/Arcane/Steady with spec #2 (imp Steady) and Steady/Trueshot/Serpent glyphs.

This is where I’ve settled for now.  I get the extra damage from the Steady glyph and while improved Steady doesn’t proc as much because I use Steady a lot less with Arcane in the mix, I’m still doing more damage by having Arcane in there.  Additionally, I have more instant casts at my disposal, which is really important for mobile fights.  This is the priority and cooldowns I’m used to, which also helps as I will want to focus on learning new fights rather than learning a new spec.

As I gain more hit gear, I think I’ll move the points into Improved Arcane Shot so I can get the best of both worlds!

I also might pick up the Glyph of Chimera Shot to replace the Glyph of Steady Shot once when they are available, but I haven’t completely decided yet.  I do tend to shoot a lot more Steady Shots than Chimera Shots, but I’ll do some further tests on this later!