One of the most frequently asked questions from new hunters is:
What is the best pet for the DPS?
You see, my little hunters, there is no one “right” answer for this. There are many pets in our hunter arsenal that are the best pet for the situation. The best pet for your DPS is dependent upon what you’re doing. I wouldn’t use the same pet for raiding that I would use in a battleground. My arena pet might be different from my battleground pet. The pet I use for questing isn’t the same as the pet I use to run 5 man dungeons, and I certainly do not use that pet when I hunter tank or do some extreme soloing. Hunter pets are one of the biggest utilities we have to offer and the sign of a truly good hunter is one who knows which pet to use in what situation and why. Blizzard has blessed us with an overflowing stable in Cataclysm… we have TWENTY FIVE pet slots now! This is a fantastic opportunity, use those slots well.
Guest post by Dargonslayer, rabid PvP enthusiast. Dargonslayer is a Marksman (now Beast Mastery) hunter who specializes in the murder of Alliance scum in WPVP. She has an off spec of OPPAN GANGNAM STYLE for PVE when she feels the need to make herself cry or that things are a little too happy in her life. She mains a dapper Forsaken gentleman by the name of Strelok on Emerald Dream US. She is an extremely kawaii GIRL GAMERRRRR DON’T HIT ON ME SILLY BOYS.
So as you should know, Patch 5.0.4 hit live realms Tuesday morning. And by Tuesday morning, I of course mean Tuesday afternoon. And by that, I of course mean a little closer to “early evening.” I think we can all take solace in the fact that while World of Warcraft handles its classes like a game of Hungry Hungry Hippo in which the class that eats the most of Ghostcrawler’s attention orbs gets all the buffs and the losing classes are all nerfed into “Cataclysm Holy Priest PvP” status, Blizzard Time remains the same.
Anyways! The new patch brings one or two minor changes to everyone; those minor changes being less minor and more “dear God NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS ANYMORE.”
The pre-MOP patch is dropping tomorrow and a LOT of things are changing. It isn’t as big of a change as it was from Wrath to Cata, so you’re not literally re-learning how to play your class from the ground up, but there are some pretty substantial changes that will take some getting used to, especially if you haven’t been tooling around on the beta. Thinking back to how big of a change 4.0 was, this new 5.0 patch should be a cake walk in comparison. When you think about it, we don’t really have THAT much that’s changing… but the stuff that did change will be changing in a pretty big way.
What to do before you log in:
Update your computer’s operating system and run a software update. Your game will be more stable if your system is up to date.
Turn off all your addons until you know they are for sure going to work. Some addons cause fatal errors with the game, Recount is often a culprit for this. If your game is broken, turn off Recount. It’s always Recount. Addons to update first: Deadly Boss Mods,
Serenity JS Hunter Bar.
Alright. You’re logged on. The game isn’t crashing. GREAT. What’s next?
You only need 7.5% hit now, but you also need 7.5% expertise. Your gear is going to need some changing since you can be dodged now if you’re not EXP capped. It’s also worth noting that your pet can be parried while tanking. This doesn’t effect normal PVE gameplay, but it’s going to matter when you solo.
Your talents will be wiped and the trees are completely different anyway. BM has been showing as the top spec in the most recent beta builds with SV pretty close behind. MM is still faring poorly. I suggest BM, but SV will be a good choice, too, if you’re afraid to try something new.
Which talents should you take?
- Level 15: The Disengage tier.
No DPS benefit here, pick which one you like best. I’m going with Posthaste, as this was one of my favorite things about playing MM. Narrow Escape will be great for PvP, replacing the Wing Clip + Disengage macro since we no longer have melee weapons. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera will be amazing for PvP as well as fights where you find yourself using Deterrence a lot.
- Level 30: The CC tier.
No DPS benefit here, pick the style of CC you want. Silencing Shot still kind of sucks since the CD is so long, I liked Wyvern Sting in 5 mans, but I have had fun with Binding Shot‘s AOE CC on the beta. Hard choice here… very situational.
- Level 45: The healing tier.
Still no DPS benefit, pick the style of healing you want. Do you want targeted burst heals with Exhilaration, constant damage reduction for unavoidable damage with Aspect of the Iron Hawk, or constant heals with the old BM standard of Spirit Bond? I recommend the Sprit Bond talent unless you know for sure one of the others will benefit you more. Exhilaration is likely more of a benefit to PvP, but I am considering taking this since I’ve already got Gift of the Naaru keybound. Combine this with the heal from a spirit beast and you’ve got a pretty beefy self heal going! Could be quite a game changer on some fights and your healers will thank you.
- Level 60: The focus tier.
How do you want to regenerate focus? Fervor works like it always has, restoring focus instantly, but it also restores another 50 focus over 10 seconds. This is some insane focus regen, at level 85 you likely won’t EVER find yourself focus starved enough to need this talent. At 85, there’s really no reason to pick anything other than Dire Beast, which gives focus back while giving you a slight boost to your DPS. Thrill of the Hunt has a chance to reduce your next shot’s cost. I don’t like talents that have a chance to help you, I prefer to choose when something happens, so I’ll likely never take this and stick with Fervor and Dire Beast.
- Level 75: The crazy pet damage tier.
A Murder of Crows is my recommendation for the standard choice for SV and MM. Also because it’s a pretty ridiculous talent and I recommend yelling CAW CAW CAW!!! whenever you pop this cooldown. I’m pretty sure that’s what the devs wanted us to do. Lynx Rush will be great for BM, especially in AOE situations. Blink Strike is a great choice for single-target burst damage.
You’re going to want to keep a stack of Dust with you at all times, especially while you try out the new talent system and find out which talents work best for you.
Your rotations will change since we’ve got new cooldowns which means more buttons to push. Something to keep in mind is you NEVER want to push back your main rotation for a cooldown. Don’t delay Kill Command, Explosive Shot, or Chimera Shot for anything, ever. Ever, ever, ever. This is a rule that does not change with the new talent system. Use Dire Beast/Lynx Rush/Murder of Crows on cooldown, but only if it doesn’t delay your normal rotation. Zeherah’s beta build has recommended shot priorities for each spec, you might want to double check with her site, if for no other reason than to make sure you REMEMBER all the new stuff you’ve got in your toolbox now: http://beta.femaledwarf.com/
Other stuff to keep in mind:
- Kill Command now has a 25 yd range and will cause your pet to charge the target. Lock and Load no longer clips dots, so spam away. No more graceful shot weaving for you SV hunters.
- Reminders of the standard rotations: Beast Mastery, Survival, Marksmanship.
And don’t forget… no more minimum range!
Glyphs to make sure you have:
Really, you want to have all the glyphs since, like the new talent system, glyphs are highly situational now. But these are the ones I can see being the most useful in PVE.
You can use any pet for anything now. Tenacity cat? You got it. Ferocity turtle? You bet. Unless you’re specifically tanking or soloing, you should probably just stick to Ferocity. You can respec your pet at any time while out of combat, should you ever need to.
Please, for the love of god. Turn off Growl. It’s becoming a true taunt. Turn it off. Just… turn it off. I should honestly put this as the first thing you do when you log in. Growl should already be turned off, but if you’ve got it on, just turn it off. Keybind it, macro it, use it to intentionally taunt, but do not let your pet auto-taunt.
Other stuff that’s changing
Trueshot Aura and Readiness are now class abilities and not tied to a spec.
Trap Launcher is now a toggle. It’s either on or off.
No more helm enchants. No more forced rep grinds for your alts! Yay!
No more spell pen! This only matters if you PvP, but… yay for those of us who do!
Simcraft has us bringing up the bottom. Don’t expect to top charts tomorrow.
These numbers are accurate as of Mon Aug 27 15:27:48 2012. Ouch. Just, really…. ouch. Be prepared to be doing shit damage. There’s really nothing else to say here. Just mentally prepare yourself to be at the bottom.
5.0.4 cheat sheet for those of you who just want a list of what to do:
Spec: Beast Mastery
Talents: Posthaste, Wyvern Sting, Spirit Bond, Dire Beast, Lynx Rush
Glyphs: Marked for Death, Animal Bond, Mending, Aspects, Direction, Stampede
Hit cap: 7.5% (769 rating, 666 for draenei)
Exp cap: 7.5% (769 rating, 666 for dwarf/troll)
TURN OFF GROWL.
Your lazy aspect macros don’t work anymore, learn to use the abilities properly! Ha ha ha!!!
Trap Launcher = toggle.
I have just added Hunter POV videos for every fight to my Hunting Heroic Dragon Soul guide! These videos should help clarify any questions regarding fight mechanics or positioning and give you a good idea of what your role in the fight will be if you’re new to the fight as a hunter. Enjoy!
To directly view the videos on my YouTube, you can jump directly to the playlist here: Dragon Soul Playlist
The expansion is rapidly coming to a close and Tier 13 is ending. With the 20% nerf coming out, even more people will be progressing through Dragon Soul. Hunters were all over the place this tier. We started out okay then quickly got nerfed into the ground. They finally fixed us a couple patches in to 4.3 and with good gear and great knowledge of the fights, we are able to go head to head with some of the classes who spend a bit too much time sitting at the top of the meters.
This guide assumes you already have previous knowledge of the fights and focuses mainly on hunter-specific mechanics and tricks you need to know to maximize your effectiveness in the encounters. I have also included videos of the fights from a hunter POV so you can get an idea of what your role in the fight will look like. (Language in videos may be considered NSFW, you have been warned!)
note: i am currently in the process of updating this post for 4.3, some links may be broken or not there yet.
please be patient if you have come across this post before it’s finished!
- Change Log
- Related posts
- Armor (Head / Neck / Shoulder / Back / Chest / Wrist / Hands / Waist / Legs / Feet / Finger / Trinket)
- Weapons (Melee / Ranged)
General PvE builds
Generic questing/leveling build (9/31/1) — This is a fairly standard MM build with points placed in Spirit Bond and Hunter vs. Wild for survivability purposes while maintaining personal DPS talents like Trueshot Aura.
5-man dungeon/10-man raid build (7/31/3) — This build focuses less on surviving on your own and more on damage output. It also assumes you’ll be needing to provide yourself and your group with the 10% attack power buff… if your 10-man group has two Paladins or a Pally and a Druid, you can check out the 25-man build.
25-man raid build (7/31/3) — This build is very similar to the small group build, but it assumes you no longer need to provide the attack power buff and grabs the second point in Marked for Death. Some people argue MFD is useless, I find it to be a great talent… especially when target switching a lot, that’s one less global you have to waste. It also moves the points from Termination into Concussive Barrage. This change is based on personal preference, I find that I’m more likely to be focus-capped in a 25-man due to having all raid buffs. If you feel focus-starved in the last portion of a fight, keep those points in Termination!
Encounter-Specific AOE PvE builds
The “Beth’tilac Adds” build (3/31/7) — This build focuses on AOE and controlling a group of adds by yourself. Taking points in Rapid Killing, Rapid Recouperation, Concussive Barrage and Entrapment are the main reasons why this spec is so strong… you essentially have infinite focus to spam Multi-Shot once those adds start to die. You will not be topping charts with this build, but when your job on this fight is controlling the adds, your DPS does not matter so long as those spiderlings never reach the drones.
For fights like Cho’gall where you need maximum AOE but will probably not be alone in handling the adds, this slightly modified (7/31/3) AOE spec will work better since your DPS on the boss WILL matter.
On a fight like Heroic Rhyolith where you want maximum AOE but you DO NOT want to slow the adds, go for this spec.
Standard PvP build (1/31/9) — This build maximizes survival while not completely gimping damage output. Points in Survival Tactics and Entrapment maximize utility and keeping one point in One With Nature gives you a boost on your damage when you are able to stay in Aspect of the Hawk and turret in to something. Good for arenas and battlegrounds.
Alternate PvP build (3/31/7) — This build provides a little more damage and is good for offensive assaults in BGs and screwing over a flag runner.
Hunter Tank build
EXTREEEEM build (8/31/2) — Maximum survivability and healing while still putting out solid DPS. Best when used with 2pc T5 for the 15% healing bonus to your pet!
I was asked by a couple of people to make another post specifically about the nuts and bolts of my UI, so here’s a more detailed post about the how and why of my setup.
Please check out my Hunter 101 post for info about getting started with your UI and a general overview of why I’ve got things organized the way I do. If you’ve never set up a UI before or are looking for help to make your UI more efficient to maximize your performance, definitely read that post!
As always, my UI pics link to full-size versions.
UI screen shot taken 5 Aug 2011.