As a marksman hunter, one of the shots you are going to have on your target at all times is Serpent Sting.
Useful Glyphs With Serpent Sting (all are self explanatory for the most part):
- Glyph of Arcane Shot – Your Arcane Shot refunds 20% of its mana cost if the target has one of your Stings active on it. (useful if you have mana problems)
- Glyph of Serpent Sting – Increases the duration of your Serpent Sting by 6 sec (adds two ticks of the normal damage of your SS. It does not decrease the amount per tick to accommodate the extra 6 seconds, damage is applied using the 15 sec rate, but for 21 seconds).
- Glyph of Steady Shot – Increases the damage dealt by Steady Shot by 10% when your target is afflicted with Serpent Sting. (increasing steady shot damage is always good)
In a marks build I recommend Glyph of Serpent Sting, and Glyph of Steady Shot, with your third major being Glyph of the Hawk.
Serpent sting is one of two ranged damage over time (DOT) abilities we have and has many things going for it:
- It scales with ranged attack power (RAP). Regardless of how you increase your RAP, you will increase the damage of your Serpent Sting.
- It does nature damage, which ignores armor so you will get the full damage specified in the tooltip. Of course if the target has enough nature resist, it will resist some of the serpent sting damage.
- As a marksman hunter, as long as you keep Chimera Shot going, you only have to pay mana for it once.
- Serpent sting is not limited to a single target, so you can have it up on multiple targets which is great for packs of elites in heroics or raids.
- It is a core ability and doesn’t require any specific talents or builds (see Wyvern Sting); it can be used in any hunter talent spec.
Some things that need to be known about Serpent Sting:
- Serpent Sting is not affected by ranged haste or weapon speed. You can change from a 2.0 speed weapon to a 3.0 speed weapon and the damage on Serpent Sting will not change.
- Serpent sting is not affected by the target’s armor. All the armor penetration in the world will not affect the damage on Serpent Sting.
- Serpent Sting remembers damage modifiers of the initial application; it remembers RAP of the current application; both can be modified on further applications via recasting Serpent Sting or from Chimera Shot (more on this in a minute). There is a difference which I will hopefully clear up.
- Hunter’s Mark increases Serpent Sting damage.
- Anything that increases your attack power, whether permanent (gear) or temporary (buff or item proc), affects Serpent Sting but only on for the current application. Increasing attack power after applying Serpent Sting will not increase ticks of your current Serpent Sting application.
Serpent Sting and Aspect of the Viper
I will start by saying, DO NOT apply Serpent Sting on your target while using Aspect of the Viper. This does not include reapplying using Chimera Shot, only the actual ability Serpent Sting as described in the initial post. As I said before, Serpent Sting remembers the 50% damage reduction while in Aspect of the Viper. This means that if you cast Serpent Sting on your target while in AotV, your ticks will do half damage until Serpent Sting ends or is dispelled. This includes reapplying using Chimera Shot.
If you already have Serpent Sting on and are using Aspect of the Dragonhawk, then switch to AotV for mana regen and use Chimera Shot, when the Serpent Sting reapplies it will remember the damage modifier that was used on the initial application. It will however notice that you have less attack power and the ticks of the reapplication will be slightly less, even if you switch back to AoTD until Serpent Sting is reapplied.
My normal ticks for Serpent Sting are 619. This is using Trueshot Aura and AotD only. Each tick will tick for 619. If I let the SS run its course, or if I reapply it using Chimera Shot or the regular ability it will continue to tick for 619 if there is no change to my RAP. If I have on AoTV, my normal ticks are 300. This includes the 50% damage reduction from AoTV as well as the loss of RAP from not using AoTD.
Now, say that I apply Serpent Sting while in AoTV. SS will tick for 300, and during SS I switch back to AoTD. Even though I no longer suffer the RAP and damage penalty, my SS will still tick for 300 because it remembers the initial damage modifier. If I then cast Chimera Shot, my SS will reapply; it will remember what the damage modifier was when I first applied SS, but it will also notice that I have more attack power. After the Chimera Shot, my SS now ticks for 309. So it kept the damage modifier of the original application, but it now ticks at the new RAP. The only way to get rid of the damage modifier is to reapply SS using the actual ability, and not Chimera Shot.
That was long but I hope it emphasized why it is important to not use SS while in AoTV.
Serpent Sting and Chimera Shot
Chimera Shot damage is based on the damage your Serpent Sting does, not how much it has already done. This means that if you cast Chimera Shot right after you use SS, or if you wait until right before the final tick, Chimera Shot damage will still be the same. The reapplication of SS from Chimera Shot will…
a) remember any damage modifier already on the SS, and…
b) recheck RAP and recalculate damage based on the RAP at the time of casting Chimera Shot.
All ticks of the new application will be based on the RAP at the time of casting Chimera, even if your RAP drops after casting Chimera Shot.
It would be beneficial to save Chimera Shot for when any RAP boosting abilities proc, but for the sake of DPS it’s best just to use it when it is up and should always be on cool-down. The best way to nerf your own DPS is to cast SS while in AoTV. I discovered this while farming one day, and was curious as to why my SS was ticking so low. Now I know, and hopefully… so do you. This applies mostly to raiding, as halving your SS on a 6-7 minute boss fight is a tremendous DPS loss.
If you got nothing else out of this, just remember… don’t cast Serpent Sting while in AoTV and you’ll be fine. Micromanaging SS to maximize its DPS could result in a loss of overall DPS as you wouldn’t constantly be keeping your abilities on cool-down. Now get out there and DPS!