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
I recently commented to someone that I wished people would stop pointing new players to Noxxic because their guides are not very good. I was asked:
Can you point me to a glaring error at Noxxic? Something that a new player would look at, and be completely incorrect to follow?
This was my reply:
The only class I feel like I have any authority to comment on is hunter, so I’ll only look at their hunter guide. I recall the last time I looked at this site (in 4.2) I was startled at how out of date and wrong some of the info is… hopefully it will be better now. (As you can see from this laundry list of errors, it isn’t.)
- Their stat priority choice is not explained and is not entirely correct. They don’t explain why or when Mastery becomes more valuable than Haste.
- Gems listed leave something to be desired, as they appear to be encouraging matching EVERY socket, something no one should be doing for the most part. It is not explained when a socket bonus is worth taking. (And it’s not hard to explain. A single sentence would suffice: “Only match socket colors if the socket bonus is +20 Agility or MORE, otherwise just use a pure red gem in the socket.”)
- Engineering profession perks leave out several tinkers, do not mention parachute cloak at all.
- Core build 1 places 2 points in Improved Serpent Sting and only 1 in Pathing. WTF? BM spec is essentially impossible to fuck up and they somehow manage to give bad advice here. Core build 2 takes a point out of an important DPS talent in the MM tree (Sic Em!) and moves it to Pathing, leaving 2 points in Improved Serpent Sting. Again, WTF? This talent is ONLY good for SV. No BM or MM hunter should be taking it.
- Glyph suggestions are questionable, no alternatives are listed.
- Rotation is wrong. Shot priority is incorrect, major cooldown (Focus Fire) is not even mentioned in the single target rotation, AOE rotation or as an effective dps cooldown. No pet CDs are mentioned.
- Stat priority lists Crit ≥ Haste ≥ Mastery. At no point in time in any spec for any reason will ANY stat ever be even remotely considered equal to crit. This is a MASSIVE error.
- Same problems with gems/professions as BM. Missing info.
- Core build 1 is ehhh, though the suggestion of Trueshot Aura for a raiding hunter is likely a redundant buff and this point could be better spent elsewhere. Traditional 7/31/3 build places 3 points in Pathing and 2 points in Frenzy. Ranged haste >>>>>>>>> faster pet attack speed. ESPECIALLY for MM where haste is so important. Core build 2 is also meh, has the proper 7/31/3 point distribution but still puts points in TSA and 2 points in Termination which would leave you eternally focus capped in T13 gear. Bad choice.
- Aimed Shot is listed as a preferential Prime Glyph. This glyph is never, ever good. Bestial Wrath glyph is listed as a preferred Major Glyph. This is an ability that can only be used by a BM hunter. MAJOR ERROR.
- MM rotation is incredibly intricate and changes three times based on boss health, they don’t explain this at all. The shot priority listed is a complete mess. They tell you to “Always keep close to 50 Focus so that you can cast Chimera Shot whenever it comes up.” This is terrible focus management advice. Call of the Wild is listed as an effective DPS cooldown but it’s not mentioned for BM. Why? You get to use it almost twice as often as BM. It’s also not explained that this is a pet ability that you have to spec in to and therefore will not automatically find it in your spellbook.
- Stat priority is weird. This is the only spec where a specific haste value is mentioned, which is odd because haste plateaus are waaaaay more important for MM. Page says haste is ” generally the most effective secondary stat (after 8% hit cap) for maximizing DPS” which makes me do the “are you fucking kidding me” face because crit is always and forever our #1 secondary stat above anything and everything in every single spec.
- Again, same problem with gem/profession info.
- Core build is bizarre. Point of no Escape is listed as a core talent, this isn’t good for any encounter except maybe Cho’gall or Beth, and even then it’s a suboptimal choice. They also list a build which puts 5 unnecessary points in the BM tree to get Frenzy. They don’t explain when Hunter vs. Wild would be a valuable choice and gloss over Survival Tactics.
- Their suggestion of when/why to use Serpent Sting glyph is odd. Unless you’re doing a fight with nonstop adds (say, H Bethtilac 25m AT CONTENT—note: SV was the suboptimal spec for this fight, MM is superior for lots of AOE), Arcane Shot glyph will increase your damage substantially more.
- Shot priority is essentially correct. Slightly nitpicky problem, they say AOE is for 4+ mobs, you can effectively AOE 3+ mobs. This is a very, very, very, very minor thing, I’ll let it slide. They list Call of the Wild again, but fail to mention it is a pet ability, etc etc.
In no place do they mention or explain anything about your pet, which is a massive part of your role. Pet DPS cooldowns aren’t explained, nor are pet buffs mentioned. I cannot tell you how many times I talk to a hunter who has NO CLUE their pet provides them with a buff. For the BM guide, not mentioning pets is like not bothering to mention seals and judgement to a paladin. BM is “the pet spec”.
Comprehensive all-in-one guides are never as accurate as dedicated specific gudes run by people who play that class. I’d rather noxxic be a portal to better information than something that is “for the most part” correct.
Now, I’m sure the Noxxic guides are good enough to get you started, but I would rather teach people how to do things correctly from the beginning rather than teach them the wrong thing, then RE-teach them later. It’s easier to learn something new and maintain correct information than to unlearn wrong info and try to get it right.
This is ESPECIALLY true for hunters. We have an amazing community of very knowledgable bloggers with an INSANE amount of information out there for new players. Your best bet is always a guide written for your class by someone who is experienced at playing your class, rather than an overview written by someone who may or may not understand the current theorycrafting information.
If you’re looking for hunter info, pick one of the blogs in my sidebar.
Don’t use a reader’s digest website that isn’t written by someone who plays the class. ESPECIALLY as a hunter. Our community is so big and full of information, Noxxic should NEVER come up as a suggestion.
WHO IS WRITING YOUR HUNTER GUIDES? THEY’RE OBVIOUSLY NOT A HUNTER. PLEASE FIX YOUR GUIDES.
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!)
Something I am often asked is “What is your rotation for SV/MM/BM?”
The long and the short of it is… there is no rotation for any of these specs. It’s all about shot priority. For SV and BM, you’re going to be managing cooldowns and with MM it’s all about being ready for your next Chimera.
As of patch 4.3 Survival is the top DPS spec for most fights in Dragon Soul, so I’ll start there and go in order of “best” to “worst” spec DPS-wise.
This is part one of a three-part guide.
Please keep in mind each fight is different and there may be situations in which you would intentionally delay the use of a specific shot or cooldown to wait for a more optimal time in the fight to use it. A good example of this would be a BM hunter on Spine of Deathwing saving Bestial Wrath for the tendon burn phase, rather than popping BW on cooldown.
Survival Shot Priority
- Kill Shot
- Explosive Shot
- Black Arrow / Explosive Trap for melee range or AOE
- Arcane Shot
- Serpent Sting
- Cobra Shot
Now that the excitement of Blizzcon has died down, let’s take a look at the new proposed “talent trees” Blizzard has come up with for Hunters in the next expansion.
Going through all the other classes, Hunters seem to have one of the best “trees” of all the classes. Each tier has a theme, each shot has a clear purpose/use, and even though some tiers might have a couple options that look really great, there’s not a single place where I can’t decide which one I’d pick for any given situation. Looking at the Druid “tree”, which is a complete mess, we can be thankful at how straightforward and clean ours turned out!
Ghostcrawler stated these aren’t set in stone, but here’s the initial proposed new Hunter talents for Mists of Pandaria.