Monday, January 26, 2009

Nerf bat? Yeah right.

Making lemonade. Today that is what being a hunter is all about. No one enjoys getting bludgeoned to death with the nerf bat, but what seperates the true with the lame-o's is the ability to react, respond, and readjust. BM was the majorty raid viable spec in BC, not to mention very OP in early WOTLK but things are very different now. I truely believe that being a skilled hunter now requires players to learn the class, instead of just mash macro and spec BM. That is not to say that BM is dead by any means. The balance between trees that now exists is something that I welcome and continue to be excited about. Personally I would love to see 3 hunters in each 25 man, one of each spec. Each carries it's own unique raid buff that is borderline essential. If it's Ferocious Inspiration, Replentishment, or Trueshot Aura all three specs bring something to the table that can mean the difference between free epics or cancel christmas. There are great damage dealing and utility opportunities in each tree, but I'm going to focus on one in particular, my current raid spec.

5/15/51 Survival
This is my spec of choice and will remain so until GC once again charges drunkenly into the hunter tent, nerf bats ablaze. I've already explained this spec in the brief above, but I'd like to go into some more detail about each aspect of it here. We'll start on the left in the BM tree. I've actually allocated 5 points in this tree, which seems to surprise people. While survival is a very hard hitting spec, it's also on the slow side. Anything to passively increase haste [while avoiding the need to gem/enchant or gear into haste] simply equals more DPS. With the Glyph of IMP AOT Hawk this talent becomes 21% haste and a HUGE asset. With the crit and ap talents that we'll discuss later, IMP AOT Hawk becomes a talent I would not play without. In the MM tree we have 15 points, these being bread and butter talents. Mainly any spec in any tree will include these, at a bare minimum. They include Lethal Shots, Mortal Shots, Careful Aim, and Go For The Throat. Lethal/Mortal shots are a no brainer, and with the move of Careful Aim lower into the MM tree, it is an invaluable talent. We all INT for our mana pool, having it benefit us by granting AP is a wonderful, joyous thing. Go For The Throat would be our only means of focus regen short of regular passive regen. If your pet has focus available when his abilities are off cooldown, then we do more damage plain and simple. With the increases in critical strike gained from the SURV tree, we can be sure our faithful companion is always focused. The points in these trees are really very basic and not every exciting.

But now we dive into the SURV tree and things get interesting. I'd like to spend some time focusing on what I did not take vs what I did, in hopes that this spec might make more sense that way. Like I said previously, unless the Uldar raid herolds the return of precision crowd control, any talents that direcly effect traps and CC are omitted from this build. These include Entrapment, Resourcefulness, Trap Mastery, and Point of No Escape. Furthurmore, any melee related talents are left out as well, such as Deflection, Counterattack, Savage Strikes, and IMP Wing Clip. These are all great PVP talents, none of which belong in any facet in a raid, at least with the current paradigm. Other talents I consider more PVP in nature are Wyvern Sting, Scatter Shot, and Noxious Stings. Here is where people begin to get uncomfortable with my spec. Why would I neglect two seperate single talent shots in the survival tree? Once again, these are CC shots/stings. Scatter Shot is great for ruining a flag carriers day in WSG, but in a raid there is absolutely no need for it. Wyvern sting may once again be useful but if and only if CC becomes important again in future raids. I've also opted to not take Lock and Load. Why? Well since I'm always at max range, the time wasted getting into range to "trap dance" is better spent just DPSing the boss instead. Also I'm not a huge fan of serpent sting [see my post on pve stings and you] so wasting 3 whole points here for a 10% chance makes zero sense. Something to note here is two talents that have wonderful synergy; Hawk Eye and Sniper Training. Sniper Training will increase your damage output by 6% at any distance greater than 30 yards. With Hawk Eye many of my shots have a range of 40 yards. This gives me a 10 yard "sweet spot" that I'm trying to get into at all times. Without Hawkeye that zone grows smaller, to about 5 yards. The larger the sweet zone, the less you have to actively monitor your positioning for maximum damage. If I'm tracking my target [which I should be] and are positioned in my sweet zone, my damage output is increased by 11%. No brainer. Being a survivalist is all about those symbiotic reactions. Another great relationship is between Master Tactician and Expose Weakness. When I proc MT, it increases the chance to proc Expose, and the two rarely if ever are not up together. 10% more crit and around 350 more AP? The result is devastating. During Heroic Loatheb I had 9000 AP, 105% crit, and zero threat. MT can also aid greatly in the relationship between two of my favorite talents, Hunting Party and Thrill of the Hunt. When I crit a shot, I'm instantly refunded 40% of the mana cost of that shot [?!?!?!?!], and since my rotation is heavy on Steady Shot and Explosive Shot, I'll always have the Replenishment buff from Hunting Party up. What does all this mean? Very simply I never never never go oom. Ever. Period. I did an entire Naxx25 run and multiple Malygos attempts, and never ONCE changed aspects to regen mana. The fact that I can completely avoid that 50% damage penality from AOT Viper is cruicial and astounding. For boss fights, my mana pool never dipped below 90%. During trash, never below 70%. During trash I'm using Volley, Multi Shot and Hunter's Mark more than on a boss fight and this would account for the difference in efficiency. Raid buffed, this spec is out of this world. If you have any questions about my spec or my rotation with this spec, please feel free to post or ask me ingame.

1 comment:

Martin said...

Do you know where to find offical word that that FI stacks with a Ret pally's buff?

Because if they do not stack there is even less point in raiding as BM