After going MM, SV and then MM again, I think I’m going to stay here for a bit. I’ve never been hugely fond of the Survival Tree, and since I mainly tend to do what I like, I elected to go Marksman for my second spec. The SV tree has evolved considerably over the years and has a lot to offer now in the DPS department, but to me “Marksman” is just more “Huntery”.
I’ve never been one to follow a cookie-cutter spec for the sake of maximum DPS. Most of my specs have had PvP as their priority, thus haven’t been the top DPS specs of the day. I instead would just try to maximize my current spec for PvE. On occasion I would respec before a raid if I felt we needed a little extra juice that night, but for the most part I would raid as is.
With that said, I went with the second highest DPS spec for a few reasons. I like the MM tree for PvE. Marksman is essentially the core tree of the Hunter. The other two specs cannot really flourish unless one delves at least into the third tier of the Marksman tree. The BM and SV trees can be largely ignored for various other specs, but almost all specs will take 13 or more points from MM.
Trueshot Aura rocks. If I’m not going to be providing Ferocious Inspiration to the group, it’s nice to be able to bring TSA. Sure SV has Hunting party, but mana regen is not always a problem, where as a 10% boost to attack power is always welcome in any group. Because SV is the flavor of the month right now as far as Hunter specs go, chances are I’ll be able to bring a decent DPS upgrade to any raid by being either BM or MM. It seems pretty typical that If I’m in a 25 man with 3 other Hunters, aside from the random BM, they’re almost always SV.
I finally wrapped my head around a 7/57/7 spec after spending a great deal of time on the Wowhead talent calculator and perusing the intarwebs for info and insight. The spec seems a little mana-hungry for solo play, but that’s what BM’s for anyway. Fot the most part, I really like the spec.
After playing with it for a few minutes I could see that I didn’t need the additional point I put in GfTT. I concur that even without Bestial Discipline, it doesn’t seem necessary for any Hunter to take more than 1 point in that talent. I’m still a BM Hunter at heart, so I elected to take the 2nd point to guard against focus starvation. Even when just grinding random mobs in Northrend, my pet’s focus bar was spilling over with 2 points in the talent. I imagine in a raid this would be a completely worthless point.
At this point, I’m on the fence as to whether I should put that point into Rapid Recuperation for a little PvE mana regen, or into Silencing Shot for some utility. It’s a tough call. I like the idea of having Silencing Shot if I spec MM for PvP on occasion, but then again, this spec is more or less a PvE spec. I’d need to pull the 7 points from BM and dump them into SV for it to really be PvP viable. What do you think? Any suggestions or ideas for that floater point or the spec in general?
Anyway, after deciding on my talents I practiced the MM rotation, or “shot priority” as it were. Compared to BM, it’s only slightly more “complex” if you want to call it that. Chimera is really the only other additional shot, and since it sort of replaces Serpent Sting, it keeps the shot selection pretty simple and straightforward.
Like SV and even BM, MM has a “shot priority” as opposed to a rotation. Essentially, you have to pay attention to your cooldowns and use your shots in the order that they’re available based on their priority. For Marksman, it looks something like this:
- Kill Shot (when available)
- Chimera Shot
- Aimed Shot
- Arcane Shot
- Steady Shot
For my build, I put Aimed ahead of Arcane due to the longer cooldown and the extra points I have that increase Aimed’s damage. These talents are Barrage, Improved Barrage and Piercing Shots. Arcane Shot should take priority over Aimed if the bulk of those talents are not taken.
Now, as far as beginning an encounter, this is how it would look:
- Hunter’s Mark
- Serpent Sting
- Chimera Shot
- Aimed Shot or Multi Shot (if there are multiple mobs without CC)
- Arcane Shot
- Steady Shot when all other shots are on cooldown.
Chimera refreshes Serpent Sting, so Serpent really only needs to be cast once, unless for some reason it wears off of the target and needs to be reapplied. Chimera is the Marksman’s money shot, so it needs to be used each time it’s available. Apart from that, Aimed Shots and Arcanes as they’re ready, then Steady Shots to fill in the gaps.
Right now I’m using Serpent Sting, Steady Shot and Trueshot Aura for my glyphs. Eventually I will likely swap out the TSA glyph for the Chimera one, and possibly the Steady Shot for a Kill Shot one once they are available. I just went with what was cheap for now.
It’s difficult to find a current “Marksman Guide” so to speak. SV has been superior DPS-wise and is what all the cool kids are doing, so not a lot of attention has been placed on Marksman. Plus, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there concerning talent selection and shot priorities.
As I’ve said before, I’m not claiming to be an authority on all things Huntery. I expect you to draw your own conclusions based upon what other Hunters have to say, what you read here, and most importantly what works for you. That’s what I do anyway.
I’ll elaborate more on my experiences with this spec after I take it raiding a few times. As always, if anyone has any contributions, critiques or criticisms of this discussion, please share. I’m eager to hear how other Hunters have chosen to spec MM, and what kind of success they’re having with it so far after the patch.