Training Wheels

Training WheelsJust as the old saying goes, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”. In keeping with this belief, I offer you my version of how I’m adapting to the new hunter mechanics in 4.0.1…

Playing a hunter feels a lot more “frenzied” right now, as far as I’m concerned. Without a predictable resource system, we’re having to constantly make split-second decisions on which abilities to use and when. I imagine in time a natural rhythm will start to develop, but until then, we need to re-learn appropriate usage and prioritization of our abilities.

Since I’m a BM hunter at heart, I’ve elected to set out and make it the first spec I’ve decided to conquer. The following image is a demonstration of what I’ve done to help myself adjust to the new BM priority and hunter resource mechanics.

Hunter Power Auras for Patch 4.0.1 BM priority

Power Auras to the rescue

While I’m sure there are plenty of ways to assist one in adapting to a new shot priority, I am a huge proponent of Power Auras. Anyone who’s followed this site for any length of time will know this. The reason I like Power Auras so much is because it’s extremely customizable, but more importantly, it puts the important informations right where you need them – where the action is.

What I’ve done is create a set of skill icons, which notify me of certain things. I’ve arranged them just below my character in a manner that makes sense to me. Here is what they tell me…

The icon at top-left is Kill Command. I placed it top-left because it is our highest priority ability as Beast Masters. It displays when KC is available. As soon as I activate it, it then disappears for 6 seconds, reappearing when KC is off cooldown.

To the right of it is Serpent Sting. This icon pops up when Serpent Sting has fallen off my target. It goes away once Serpent Sting has been applied.

The center icon is Arcane Shot, e.g., the hunter focus-dump. As long as KC and SerpS are not lit up, I can spam this as long as it appears. Once it’s gone, I know I’m getting low on focus and it’s time to bust off some Steadies.

Just to the right of Arcane Shot is Bestial Wrath, and to the right of it – Fervor. Both of these icons display once they are available for use, then disappear when they’re on cooldown.

Now this setup is just something quick ‘n’ dirty that I came up with last night. I may alter it or abandon it once I get more comfy with things, but for now, it works smashingly I’ve found. 🙂

The one thing I would like to add is a handy low-focus notification via Power Auras, but I’ve yet to be able to configure that. If someone else has managed this, then I’d love to see your PA string for it. If I come up with one, I’ll be sure to post it.

In the meantime, I’ve gone ahead and brought my unit frames in a bit tighter and increased the size of the resource bar for easier monitoring. You can’t solely rely upon the spell alerts, as monitoring your available focus is still very important, which is why I’ve positioned my unit frames in such a way. Some hunters are swearing by a focus bar addon, which can be positioned anywhere. If someone has experience with this, or can post a link, I’d appreciate it. 🙂

Anyway… this system has helped me out quite a bit in adapting to the new hunter changes in 4.0.1. This example is of course geared for BM hunters, but I’m sure the principle can be applied for MM and SV as well.

Here are the strings if you’d like to try these auras out…

Of course, you’ll need to download and install Power Auras first if you do not have it. Info on importing these strings can be found here, or you can simply follow these steps:

  1. Open up your Power Auras config menu by typing in /powa.
  2. Copy the Power Aura string that you wish to import.
  3. Click on the Import button in the Power Auras config menu.
  4. Hit ctrl-v to paste them into the import field.
  5. Click Accept
  6. Repeat these steps for any and all that you wish to import.
  7. Profit

Kill Commmand

Version:4.4; icon:Ability_Hunter_KillCommand; buffname:Kill Command; x:-70; bufftype:7; alpha:1; owntex:true; isResting:0; exact:true; spec2:false; spec1:false; combat:true; size:0.1; y:-120; texmode:2

Serpent Sting

Version:4.4; target:true; icon:Ability_Hunter_Quickshot; buffname:Serpent Sting; x:-35; bufftype:2; alpha:1; owntex:true; isResting:0; mine:true; exact:true; spec2:false; spec1:false; combat:true; size:0.1; y:-125; texmode:2; inverse:true

Arcane Shot

Version:4.4; icon:Ability_ImpalingBolt; buffname:Arcane Shot; bufftype:7; alpha:1; owntex:true; isResting:0; spec2:false; spec1:false; combat:true; size:0.1; y:-130; texmode:2

Bestial Wrath

Version:4.4; icon:Ability_Druid_FerociousBite; buffname:Bestial Wrath; x:35; bufftype:7; alpha:1; owntex:true; isResting:0; spec2:false; spec1:false; combat:true; size:0.1; y:-125; texmode:2


Version:4.4; icon:Ability_Hunter_AspectoftheViper; buffname:Fervor; x:70; bufftype:7; alpha:1; owntex:true; isResting:0; spec2:false; spec1:false; combat:true; size:0.1; y:-120; texmode:2

BM Shot Priority and fight Mechanics in 4.0.1

These findings are subject to change as more testing has yet to be done, in addition to the pending updates and balancing that Blizz will be performing. However, this info may be of some use to those of you who are struggling with Beast Mastery at the moment…

4.0.1 BM Shot Priority:

  1. Kill Shot
  2. Kill Command
  3. Serpent Sting
  4. Arcane Shot
  5. Steady Shot

The basic mechanics of a single-mob boss fight are as follows:

  1. Apply Hunter’s Mark
  2. Cast Misdirection on Tank
  3. Serpent Sting
  4. KC when pet gets to mob
  5. Arcane Shot when KC is on cooldown
  6. Steadies to regen focus as needed

I also try to make sure I have an ample supply of focus just before I hit Bestial Wrath. During the enrage, we can spam Arcane Shot pretty much non-stop, replenishing our Focus with Fervor during this time.

For AoE on trash, I’ve been using a combination of launching an Explosive Trap pre-pull, then following up with Multi-Shots, Steadies to replenish, more Multis, etc… Big red, if you have it, can allow for some good multi-target damage during these pulls, as it allows you to cram in double the amount of Mulit-Shots.

BM Focus Fire macro

In the post just prior to this one, I made mention of a new macro I’m using. In case you missed it, here ’tis…

#showtooltip Arcane Shot
/cast !Auto Shot
/cast Focus Fire
/cast Arcane Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

I’ve been using a macro like this one for: Kill Command, Serpent Sting, Arcane Shot and Steady Shot.

The breakdown of the macro is as follows:

  1. It ensures that an auto shot is never delayed. Auto Shots are not on the GCD, which means they can be fired at any time. However, the game will always queue an auto-shot if a special ability is activated. This simple line in the macro just makes sure that the auto shot is never delayed. Also, it does not delay the special in case you were wondering.
  2. Focus Fire is not on the GCD, which means it’s sort of the new version of Kill Command. It becomes active every fifteen seconds, provided your pet has a Frenzy effect. Being that it takes pets approximately 8-12 seconds to attain 5 full stacks of Frenzy, activating this ability every cooldown ensures that we’ll always have a steady +15% hast buff. Rather than micro-manage it, I just decided to macro it in with my shots.
  3. The fourth line in the macro is where you stick your ability. In this case, the example shows Arcane Shot. You can create multiple instances of this macro, substituting your other shots as I have done. Having Focus Fire tied to multiple shots allows for instant activation of the ability once it’s ready.
  4. The last line is just there to eliminate interface spam. If you’re mashing the button, your UI will throw back “Spell not ready” errors. This line will prevent that.

As I’d mentioned in my prior post, manual activation of this ability would be ideal, but to me it’s unnecessarily cumbersome at this point. Try the macro and see if it helps your DPS. If so, great. 😀

Well those are just a few bits of advice I can think of right now. I’m still learning the ropes with the rest of you, so I don’t intend to get too authoritative until I’m confident I know exactly what the hell I’m doing.

As always, I hope this information proves useful to some of you. If you have any additional comments or advice, please share… We’re all in this together, so the more heads, the better. 😀

43 thoughts on “Training Wheels”

  1. Ok after further testing heh I’ve managed to figure this out

    These aura’s work fine, however with PA 4.4 you have to ensure Spec 1 / 2 are checked depending obviously.

    I don’t have a dual spec yet, and this was buggering up the Power Auras.

  2. These don’t seem to be working for me with PA 4.4 – I’ve got the strings in and they test all/hide all fine.
    I’ve done multiple reloads and logins / exits (reloadui as well)

    I’m just trying beast since returning to the game after over a year absence and this would help with the “training wheels”.

    My paladin poweraura’s work fine, but were created from scratch. This is the first time i’ve done the import 🙁

  3. Hei Garwulf, first time around here. Got directed from another hunter blogger ( Anyway, have you had a look at Watcher ( I have used that addon for about a year now. The author is very active now with 4.0.1. It started as a hunter addon and due to its flexibility it grew to include most dps clases. Still, the author is a hunter and we have the most attention here 🙂 Watcher lets you do a shot priority on a much better way than power auras. It has all functionality you’ll ever want for 4.0.1. Tracks Serpent Sting, HM (yours or any hunter), takes care of L&L (as in, it will wait to tell you when its best to hit ES again to maximise DPS), and all sort of things. You can also set a minimum focus limit for arcane (or any other shot like you have done in power auras, I think) and if you want, a maximum for steady (as in, do not cast steady if I’m over 80 focus or smthing). Although as I’m survival I have never known what having too much focus feels during combat, so I do not have this setting on.

  4. Gar … Can you (or have you) posted your updated POWA aura’s as an uploadable set? I use the ones from your UI, and would like to just import the entire new 4.0.1 set and replace my existing ones if possible.

    Thanks for all the help setting things up! – Keith

    • I’ll post them as soon as I get settled on a new configuration. I haven’t been on enough to get things completely sorted out, but when I do, I’ll be sure to make a post.

      It’s near the top of my list, so hopefully I’ll have something this week.

  5. *Sorry in advanced if this question has already been addressed…I don’t think it has, I went through posts and comments and didn’t find what I was looking for.*

    Anywho! I know that pets have been through a bit of balancing, but I was wondering if anyone knew if there were still a “best” pet for PVE DPS. I haven’t gotten to fully leveling my herd of pets, so I’m unable to properly test them out. I’m in love with my spirit beasts, so I just rotate them when I do raids or heroics. Chandni, Baloo, LaBamba, and Sampaguita appreciate all the action they’ve been seeing. :]

    • The “best” pets for BM are going to be Ferocity pets who provide a DPS buff. The buff will depend upon what your raid is missing. Spirit Beasts are great because of the Roar of Courage, but it really depends upon which buff you don’t have. All of the special attacks have been normalized, so it now really just comes down to Ferocity and the needed buff.

    • The 15% haste buff is best, provided you watch for the buff and always activate it when needed. The macro is intended for use as “training wheels” as I’d mentioned. Many folks are still trying to wrap their head around what is going on – – this macro helps to alleviate some of that burden by making things a bit easier.

      In my tests, during a 3 minute fight in which we see approximately 12 uses of Focus Fire, I get on average about 8 uses at the full 15%. The first one will always activate at 3%, then depending upon RNG, you’re apt to have a few procs (2-4) at 12% when using this macro.

      If you’re watching for the 5 stacks and not delaying the effect, then that’s the best way to go. But… if you’re neglecting this ability altogether, then you’ll be better off incorporating the macro.

      Also note that proper use of this macro assumes that you’re using a properly specced Ferocity Pet (3/3 Spider’s Bite) and ideal BM rotation. The pet’s crit, along with Cobra Strikes is usually enough to provide for 5 full Frenzy stacks within the 15 second cooldown of the effect. Once in awhile this doesn’t happen, but it’s up to you how to best use this ability.

      I for one intend to manually activate it, but the macro has no doubt helped me out in this first week of 4.0.1.

      The best case scenario would be if there were some way to insert some logic into the macro that wouldn’t activate the buff unless there were 5 full Frenzy stacks applied. I don’t know if this is possible though.

  6. New reader here, great stuff– you’re blog is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

    I have a question regarding your macro, and I’m here at work so I can’t test it out myself. But if you were to attach /cast Focus Fire to your shot macros, as seen in your post, wouldn’t you be casting it prematurely?

    Or is Focus Fire only castable once your Pet’s 5th Frenzy stack?

    • Sometimes it would be cast prematurely, but most of the time your pet will have 5 full Frenzy stacks within the 15 seconds that it will take to get them. Unfortunately, the first effect will always go off at 3%, but after that, you should see mainly full 15% buffs.

      The idea here is, if you can properly manage the spell, then great – go that route. If you can’t, or forget to use it entirely, then use the macro(s).

  7. OK, thanks for the jump-start on Power Auras! As a thank you, here’s the answer to Arcane Shot at a threshold.

    1) Create a New Power Aura with the following String:
    Version:4.1; thresholdinvert:true; icon:Ability_ImpalingBolt; bufftype:10; alpha:0.1; threshold:35; PowerType:2; customtex:true; texmode:2
    2) Hover over the new icon in PA interface and note the # in the []’s
    3) Edit your Arcane Aura. In the Activation Tab, in the “blank” below the the “Arcane Shot” text to the right of “Exact Name”, type in the # from step 2.

    This will then have Arcane Perform a double check against the newly created Focus threshold of 35%. If that % is too high or low, just go ahead and alter the % in the new Aura,

    Hope that helps!

  8. Thanks for this post Gar. I’ve been running around as BM most of the time and this will help a lot. I agree that things do feel frenzied but I have a feeling a lot of it is comes from a new shot rotation/priority we all have to relearn.

  9. You shouldn’t make focus fire into your arcane shot like that for max DPS. The reason is that you want the 30% pet attack speed during bestial wrath instead of stripping it off your pet.

    • I had thought about that, but with pets only doing 20% more damage it seemed like maybe the 15% increased attack speed would be better used by me & my 10% increased damage + 50% reduced focus. Good point though.

  10. Low focus warning. I just converted my mana one. It didn’t work until POWA was updated.

    Version:4.1; b:0; anim1:5; g:0.2157; icon:Spell_fire_meteorstorm; r:0.5961; groupany:false; unitn:Only for raid/group.; bufftype:10; texture:4; alpha:0.8; sound:22; stacksOperator:=; threshold:20; PowerType:2; combat:true; size:0.74; y:-11

    Flashes an aura when focus <%20.


  11. LOL One more comment. The 40 point warning is based on BM with 110 focus so the aura is actually 37% (which is like 39.6 focus lol) so if you are not BM you might need to mess with this a bit.

  12. Here is a string for Power Auras hunter Focus. It has 6 auras total…20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 98% (for some reason 100% does not work) focus. And a warning for when you are below 40 actual points (not %) focus. You will need to use the import set feature.

    Hope this works

    Set=Global 2@
    Aura[145]=Version:4.0; b:0.1255; g:0.1373; thresholdinvert:true; icon:Spell_fire_meteorstorm; r:0.9922; x:-80; bufftype:10; texture:73; alpha:1; multiids:27; threshold:20; PowerType:3; size:0.15; y:-105; texmode:2@
    Aura[146]=Version:4.0; b:0.0902; g:0.3765; thresholdinvert:true; icon:Spell_fire_meteorstorm; r:0.9922; x:-40; bufftype:10; texture:73; alpha:1; multiids:27; threshold:40; PowerType:3; size:0.15; y:-105; texmode:2@
    Aura[147]=Version:4.0; b:0.1098; g:0.4941; thresholdinvert:true; icon:Spell_fire_meteorstorm; r:0.9922; bufftype:10; texture:73; alpha:1; multiids:27; threshold:60; PowerType:3; size:0.15; y:-105; texmode:2@
    Aura[148]=Version:4.0; b:0.1098; g:0.8745; thresholdinvert:true; icon:Spell_fire_meteorstorm; r:0.9922; x:80; bufftype:10; texture:73; alpha:1; multiids:27; threshold:98; PowerType:3; size:0.15; y:-105; texmode:2@
    Aura[149]=Version:4.0; b:0.0902; g:0.6824; thresholdinvert:true; icon:Spell_fire_meteorstorm; r:0.9922; x:40; bufftype:10; texture:73; alpha:1; multiids:27; threshold:80; PowerType:3; size:0.15; y:-105; texmode:2@

    • Oh yeah I dont have it set to hide when out of combat because I like to see it all the time when solo so you can change that. Also the only one with sound set is the below 40 points warning so you might want to change that to one that you like or none at all.

  13. That was an outstandingly helpful post, so thank you very much for it. Let it be known that the amount of effort you’ve put into this site is very appreciated.

    Any other neat Power Aura things like that would be teh awesome. 😀

  14. Just wanted to ask you Gar,
    How did you go about getting your kg panels to show?I tried various ways to bring them back but having no luck.I get the outlines but don’t get the nice shade for the backdrop.Any insite?My buff bars do not show up either as I see yours do.Satrina that is.Unless you opt for another lightweight buff mod/addon.My addons are up to date but fail to set them up again like your UI.The UI has grown on me and I’d hate to see half of it work when I need it all to work.hehe.
    Anyways a awsome site as always to keep up on my huntery needs.
    Take Care fellow Hunters.

    • I had to go into KGPanels > Active Panels, then select each panel’s Texture Options.

      Next, I changed the Background of each one from “none” to “Solid”.

      For some reason, 4.0.1 removed all of the background texture settings.

      SatrinaBuffFrame was updated and is working, so if you’re still experiencing issues, look to make sure you’re running the most recent update. I suggest going to or They typically have updates posted much quicker than Curse.

  15. Nice Site Guys!! Appreciate the effort it takes to put into such informative sights..

    Question: In the screen shot posted above, what is the texture used for the yellow arrows on either side of the body?
    Could u post the script here please?
    It is one of the best textures Ive seen however cannot seem to find it.

    Thanks in advance..
    Once again good job….

  16. Thanks a lot dude. Looking up power aura exports for hunters is how i found this site. Unfortunately i didn’t think to look into exactly what power auras brought to the table earlier. I heard of it but just didnt think anything of it. Untill i saw a video where the guy had his set to make an icon next to his hunter when his target got BoPed with a timer counting down. Fell in love with it imemdiately for pvp. Arenas it helps because you cant notice as fast on gladius or looking at their buff bars when someone receives, for example, pain sup or evasion, as you can if you have a big symbol pop on your screen. And in BGs its very good to have bc i never look at enemies buff bars but rarely bc i’m always looking at everything that my vision allows at once. and i zoom so far back (in game max distance plus carbonite (a must have for BGs because of the on screen mini map it provides vs the default shift M one) which allows for you to zoom out even further.) that i cant notice a lot of important buffs on enemies. or sometimes i’ll be kiting and shoooting my target while looking upfield or elsewhere and if its a paly he might cast freedom and i end up thrwoing a net in the freedom and just totally wasteing it. lol

    I just wish that when i got it, that i knew if your combat log was bugging out, that the auras you make wont work. i spent prob 2-3 hours getting palys to duel to help me test enemy BoP power aura when it didnt show up bc combat log was bugged at the moment.

    if you want i can post what i’ve made.
    right now i have : Pain Sup, Deterrence, Deterrence for myself also (so that i have a big countdown above my hunters head so i know exactly when its over incase i need to follow with another spell asap without having to stare at the top right of screen.) Evasion, BoP (gogo lucky tranq shot =P), freedom , freedom on myself (incase paly doenst call it out and i’m not looking at my player bc i’m looking elsewhere.), Glyph of Raptor strike buff on myself (sadly this is a useful glyph now), bloodlust/heroism(usually obvious but why not)

  17. To watch focus there is a great mod called Stay Focused. I put it just above my head and when it hits 40% hit Steady Shot and it works great. Also works for mana.

  18. Who less then you gar could make a great guide or help lke this, tbh i am still crying about that focus sucks and that blizz nerfed us i did this night around 7kdps in icc 10m in bm and sv that sux man :'(

    but i hope it will get better we all just hafe to get used to focus for now

  19. Like you, the first thing I turned to when wondering how I was going to get used to these new abilities was Power Auras. Also like you, I wasn’t able to figure out how to setup Power Auras to track focus properly. I like to have different color dots at my feet indicating my mana (now focus), with green for above 50, yellow for 25-49, and red for under 25, that disappear/replace each other as my mana/focus changes.

    I’ve heard that for the time being, Hunters are using Hunter Focus Bar or Energy Watch (which also works for Rogues). It’s a simple 100/100 bar that you can move around and it works alright…but I’m still hoping someone figures out what’s wrong with PA so we can go back to our lovely auras!

    • Amen. I was going to do exactly the same thing – kind of a horizontal stoplight approach. I’ll keep my eyes peeled – if I find anything out I’ll be sure to update this post.


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