This post has been long in coming.
Every class blogger, at some point, has done the typical ‘my spec’ post. I’ve tried to mix it up a bit, by focusing more on the changes I’m making than the spec itself, as a way of taking a closer look at what exactly each talent is capable of doing. But someone last night posted a link to a site that listed specs by popularity, and I was a little surprised to see my spec, well…missing.
So now I’m going to take the time to explain exactly why I put points where I did, in a step-by-step description of my spec. Grab a sandwich and a comfy chair, this is going to take a bit.
Improved Aspect of the Hawk 5/5: This is one of those talents that has no debate. You want this, you want it maxed out, end of story. Increased ranged attack speed is fantastic.
Endurance Training 4/5: The ‘popular’ specs only put one point in here, opting to spend some of the rest on things like Imp Revive Pet. Thing is, this talent helps both me and my pet by improving survivability. If something kills my pet while raiding that isn’t rectified by popping Heart of the Phoenix, then either I’m doing something wrong or the healers are.
Focused Fire 2/2: Another no-contest talent. Improves the damage for you and your pet, hands down, as long as you both shall live.
Aspect Mastery 1/1: All worth it for Aspect of the Dragonhawk. AP buff with dodge attached? Yes please!
Unleashed Fury 5/5: If you’re beast mastery, max this out. ‘Nuff said.
Improved Mend Pet 1/2: I operate under the belief that if I am raiding, then my pet should be getting heals. I know, however, that Mijikai is not the healers’ first priority, so whatever I can do to help will be appreciated. With this, I can spam it to get a debuff off her while helping to keep my pet alive, without wasting too many points on a talent that doesn’t direct affect damage.
Ferocity 5/5: More pet crit equals more damage equals happy raiding hunter.
Bestial Discipline 2/2: Increased focus regeneration means my pet can do more during combat. It’s not for everyone – take a look at your pet’s focus generation and see what combination of talents will work best for you and your spec.
Intimidation 1/1: Prerequisite for Bestial Wrath. Also helpful in a pinch, like when a mob aggros on the healer.
Spirit Bond 2/2: This talent has some controversy. I find it to be ultimately helpful, since it increases the healing me and my pet receive, plus it’s a constant HoT. Unfortunately, it also means things that only have proximity aggro on the tank will turn and start hitting me because of constant healing aggro. It’s a tradeoff.
Frenzy 3/5: Again, this depends on how things are actually working in combat for each individual hunter. I find that the 9-8-7 theory applies to me, though, so only three points get slapped into this talent.
Ferocious Inspiration 3/3: Not only does this buff you, but it buffs your whole raid. Get it.
Bestial Wrath 1/1: Prerequisite for Beast Within, but also boosts your pet’s damage and immunities once every 90 seconds (at best). Mandatory. Use it as often as possible.
Serpent’s Swiftness 5/5: Boosting attack speed boosts damage. Done deal.
Cobra Strikes 3/3: This talent ensures that nearly every crit you make causes your pet to crit at least twice as much, essentially allowing you to transfer your crit rating to your pet. I went a long time with only one point in this before I was able to swap points around to get all three.
Longevity 3/3: Normally Bestial Wrath is only usable once every two minutes. Combining three points in this talent with the glyph, however, brings it down to a time frame that lets you use it at least once every trash pull. It also allows your pet to use its special abilities more often, boosting its damage automatically.
Beast Within 1/1: Boosts your damage, immunities, and mana efficiency whenever you pop Bestial Wrath. Incredibly useful and looks plain awesome.
Kindred Spirits 5/5: Straight 20% boost to pet damage. Also adds movement speed buff, which isn’t all that great, but hey, I’ll take it.
Beast Mastery 1/1: Those four extra pet talent points are invaluable! It greatly increases your flexibility in pet speccing, plus the exotic pets are definitely cool.
Focused Aim 1/3: The points you put in this talent will fluctuate more than any other. As you get new gear with different stats, you’ll find your +hit will vary immensely. Whenever you find yourself caught underneath the +hit cap, you can throw a point in here to bring you back up. Right now my hit is 231, so one point is all I need to sit comfortably at the cap.
Lethal Shots 5/5: On top of simply providing more damage through crits, increasing your crit rating means that your Cobra Strikes and Go for the Throat proc more often as well.
Mortal Shots 5/5: Few things in hunter raiding are more delicious than a 5-digit Kill Shot crit. This helps that happen.
Careful Aim 3/3: We’re stacking Int to a point for our mana stores anyway, so why not get something extra out of it? With this talent maxed out, 37 Int on a piece of gear also means an additionl 37 AP. Very delicious.
Go for the Throat 1/2: Another talent for aiding focus regeneration. Be careful, though – if your crit is too high, you could be wasting focus. Keep an eye on your pet’s focus usage to make sure it’s being spent wisely.
Improved Arcane Shot 3/3: Now that Arcane Shot costs the same to cast as Steady Shot, maxing out this talent ensures that you get the most damage out of your mana by using Arcane Shot whenever possible.
So that’s my spec. It’s not the popular spec, of this I am now aware. But it works for me, and for my playstyle, so I’m happy with it.
Next up: shot rotation vs. shot priority, and how sometimes things change.