This post has been on the backburner for quite a while now, I figured it’s time I got it out there. I want to use this to give a few tips to other Hunters, whether they’re just starting out, struggling a little, or not. Hopefully this is going to help a few people. You’ll be able to find most of this information on my Hunter Guide pages, but I’ve condensed the information into one post for ease. Disclaimer: I am not claiming to be the best Hunter out there, or that I know everything. This guide is aimed at those who can get something out of it.
To start, you’ll want to decide which spec you want to play with. It’s important to note that in high end gear, MM will come out on top.
I’m currently rocking a Marksman spec more like this, because I have quite a lot of hit on my gear. I also like using Trueshot Aura as I’ve often found myself to be the only one in a raid with the 10% attack power increase, if you raid regularly with somebody else who has this buff then you don’t need it in your spec. Focused Aim is an awesome talent which you should use, not only does it give you the chance to grab items with little to no hit, but it reduces the pushback received from damaging attacks for Steady Shot, I remember this being nice on phase 3 Anub’erak. When I can, I will probably drop 1 point in Rapid Recuperation and 1 in Improved Barrage to gain more in Focused Aim. If you’re just starting out and don’t have much ArmorPen, then you’ll want to be using Arcane Shot and as a result, your spec will look more like this one.
Survival is a great spec to start with and can be pretty decent at later gear levels too, although it doesn’t scale as well with ArmorPen as MM does. This is the Survival spec I was using before I specced into MM. If you’re using the 2pc Tier9 bonus, then you can remove 2 points from Resourcefulness, and 1 from Exposed Weakness to max out Improved Stings. If your raid doesn’t need you to take replenishment and you’re using the 2pc Tier9, then you could switch to something more like this, switching Improved Stings for Improved Aspect of the Hawk if you’re not using the 2pc Tier9 bonus.
Beast Mastery is a spec which has come under much scrutiny, however, if you play it right it can be a viable raid spec. In fact, according to Elitist Jerks, at high gear levels, it’s about on par with Survival. I haven’t played as a BM Hunter since the Naxx days, but some people have stuck by the spec quite loyally.
It’s safe to say that Glyph of Serpent Sting is a required glyph for every spec, though the rest depends on your spec, gear, and situation, i.e. are you raiding or heroicing? Glyph of Kill Shot can be a decent glyph for all raiding Hunters too, though this depends how long the boss is alive. If the boss is at 20% health or below for long enough for this glyph to be affective, then it may be a worthwhile glyph, otherwise don’t even bother.
If you’re just starting out, then take a look at my Pre Raid Gear List. I’ve done my best to list every item available to you before raids, including craftables and Frost Emblem gear, and marking which pieces have hit. To check how much hit you need, have a look at the Hit Calculator.
The ArmorPen cap is 1400, so with a trinket with an ArmorPen proc you will need roughly 700 armor pen from your gear if you’re Marksman. If you’re not, don’t aim for it, but it will be on a lot of your gear anyway, that’s unavoidable. Haste keeps Steady Shot at roughly a 1.5 second cast time, without haste, it’s a 2 second cast time, and 523 haste rating is the soft cap needed to lower Steady Shot down to the 1.5 second cast time. Also remember that there is no crit cap for hunters.
Note from EJ, posted by Echo:
“Haste is considered to be a poor stat for all hunter specs. The only shots affected by haste are autoshot and steady shot, and as MM you take Improved Aspect of the Hawk which means your Steady Shot speed will be capped whenever it procs. Additionally since all the shots affected by haste are adversely affected by movement, the value of haste will be decreased beyond what is predicted by the spreadsheet. Some haste on gear doesn’t hurt but don’t value it highly compared to other stats and never gem it.”
When choosing a ranged weapon, you should look primarily at its dps, and the high end damage. If there isn’t a huge difference, you’ll be looking for a slower weapon, with decent stats for your spec or an awesome proc like the one on Zod’s Repeating Longbow.
When you start thinking about set bonuses, first of all, don’t bother with the 4pc tier9 if you’re Marksman, it’s a bit crap. I don’t really know how good it is for Survival and BM, I assume not very, but have a look for yourself. Do get the 2pc bonus, ideally you’ll be looking at getting the legs and helm, though I’ve known people to go for the shoulders and grab the Helm of the Brooding Dragon instead of the tier helm if they needed a bit of extra hit. The 4pc tier10 is quite nice, but keep the tier9 2pc bonus until you have 4 parts of Sanctified (tier 10 + tokens) and the Leggings of Northern Lights from Lady Deathwhisper preferably. That’s the rule if you’re MM, at least.
In trade chat, I have seen new Hunters asking, “What should a Marksman Hunter gem?” And trade replied, “ArmorPen.” The fact is that this isn’t always the case. If you’re just started out, you won’t have good enough gear for ArmorPen gemming to really be all that beneficial, and if you’re using an ArmorPen proc trinket, Grim Toll, Mjolnir Runestone, Scorpion, then you won’t need to gem for ArmorPen anyway, although bear in mind that the Scorpion has terrible uptime because it’s based on your ranged crits, not attacks like the other 2. It cant be decent if you have about 700 on your gear and no trinket to fill the gap to capped. If you’re Survival, don’t even consider gemming ArmorPen.
If gemming Agility, you should use Deadly gems (agi/crit) in yellow sockets with a high agility bonus, 4 or more. Ignore blue slots for the most part, however you should use a Nightmare Tear to activate your Relentless Earthsiege Diamond meta. This Tear should go in a blue socket with a decent bonus, preferably your highest agility bonus, the same as the yellow slots. It doesn’t have to go in a ‘prismatic socket’ (aka, the belt buckle), as I have seen many people do, in fact I’d outright avoid doing that, as I would with a red socket with a decent socket bonus too. This would be a waste.
Another thing I will advise you to avoid is using any gems aside from the ones I have mentioned and perhaps hit if desperate, though preferably agi/hit if you feel you have to. I’ve seen a lot of Hunters gemming for pure haste/crit/stam. Please, please avoid doing this, you will gain dps by gemming agility instead, or ArmorPen if you choose to. My last word, if you’re a Jewelcrafter, only use your Dragon’s Eyes for your main red gem choice (agi/arp/attack power).
Enchanting your gear would be more or less what you expect, if it has agility or attack power it’s probably the best one to use. Of course, there are exceptions of sorts. If you have profession only enchants, such as wrist enchants for Leatherworkers, cloak and glove enchants for Engineers, shoulder enchants for Inscriptors, use them. Boot enchants are often overlooked, so I’ll be very clear: Use run speed on boots unless you’re an Engineer with rocket boots. The best boot enchant is Cat’s Swiftness, but as this is a rare drop TBC enchant it can be expensive and difficult to find an enchanter who can do it. In this case, Tuskarr’s Vitality will be your boot enchant.
It is best to save your trinket cooldowns for Bloodlust (Heroism /sigh), however, it may be best to use haste cooldowns outside of Bloodlust to avoid having too much haste simultaneously. I usually use Rapid Fire at the beginning of the fight, and use Readiness when it is finished and my shots are all on cooldown to reuse it again before Bloodlust is popped. I tend to use a haste potion after the second Rapid Fire, or after Bloodlust. If BM, personally, I’d keep using Bestial Wrath throughout the fight, especially if you’re using the glyph.
Rotations and Macros
See my Rotations & Macros page.
Using Female Dwarf
Everything I’ve said is situational, and I urge you to use this excellent tool, the online dps analyzer, to check that you have made the best choices for you personally. First of all, register your account so that you’re able to save things and come back to them later. Second of all, import your armory settings and fiddle with options such as raid buffs that an armory import would miss, update dps and save your character. Now you’re able to change things such as items, gems, enchants, to see what is better or worse for your specific character, update dps and see how big a gain or loss it would potentially be. Check Rilgon’s post on this, he says it much better than I can.