Posts Tagged ‘talents’

I never was good with popularity contests, anyway.

May 29, 2009

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. 😀

53/18/0:  Tchann-style

Beast Mastery

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.


Into the Wild, Vol. 1

April 20, 2009

Today, I’m going to highlight a real, honest hunter that I saw out in the wild in game. While I took pictures, I cannot share them here in order to protect the, er, fascinating species in its natural habitat. Instead, I shall review its behaviours and attempt to educate other players to stay far, far away from this dangerous beast.

The 0/37/34 Hunter

At first glance: The first thing I notice about this spec is that it lacks direction. The player seems to have gone towards all the damage utility talents while passing up the, well, damage.

While this hunter is probably fine on mana, it’s a bit much for a 25-man raiding situation with near-constant replenishment going. His pet is focus-starved, having forsaken both focus-generating abilities in order to maximize his own damage.

Upon further inspection: He maxed out two talents that buff Black Arrow/Explosive Shot without going far enough to have either of those two abilities. While Survival spec is not my specialty, even I could tell that he wasn’t dropping traps during the raid, leading those points to be effectively wasted.

The hunter also skipped over Aimed Shot, while having the Glyph of Trueshot Aura active – which gives him extra damage on his Aimed Shot. Also, the effectiveness of Hawk Eye is debatable – some love it, some don’t. I don’t.

Taking a look at him on the Armory reveals a bit more. Half of his socketable gear is without gems. His +hit is as 210, with three points in Focused Aim. This puts him at almost 50 points over hit cap. He could definitely knock off at least one point from Focused Aim and put it somewhere – perhaps, maybe Aimed Shot?

To avoid extinction: Our poor hunter is a bit confused. He thinks he’s gotten the best talents for hunter-only damage, but has skipped over some crucial bits. I am all for specs that go against the grain, but the spec needs to have a bit more focus in its direction to get somewhere viable. Have a goal in mind – either SV dps, or MM.

For SV: You don’t have to grab Explosive Shot, but going for Black Arrow won’t be a bad idea. You can take a point from Focused Aim, a few from Efficiency, and three points from Hawk Eye to get there. Thrill of the Hunt will help your mana regen, but remember that you have Aspect of the Viper! Tossing that on at the same time as Rapid Fire brings your mana back on a silver platter.

For MM: This will take a little bit more tweaking. Once you get more out of the SV tree, some of the support talents become less useful. Take a look at some people who know what they’re talking about, like Nassira of Diaries of a Marksman Hunter. Still, the MM method of operation is to maximize solo dps above all else – the glass canon syndrome. You’ll hit big, and get hit for big.

Personal Advice: Understand your difficulties and don’t be ashamed of confronting them head-on. Don’t be afraid to try something new, as long as it’s a playstyle you’ll enjoy. However, dissing the spec that is currently out-damaging you in the raid is generally frowned upon. Saying BM is useless in raids is pretty silly, especially when you just did less damage than the tanks on Patchwerk.


Yeah, he's not on here.

Dazed and Twittered

March 12, 2009

It started with a twitter.

pikestaff: This may sound crazy but with Steady Shot getting a bonus from dazed targets I wonder if Imp. Concussive would be worth it o__o

Then I had a couple replies. Because I tend to use twitter more as a chat platform than microblogging. I’m a rebel like that.

tchann: @pikestaff Since Steady Shot is no longer our top shot (easily out done by Auto Shot alone) it’s probably not worth the points.

tchann: @pikestaff A random thought along the same lines – do the bonuses to Steady Shot from Serpent Sting and Conc. Shot stack?

And, eventually,

tchann: @pikestaff Y’know, I should be doing work, not theorycrafting Steady Shot. :: dives back into the spreadsheet ::

Certain things needed to be taken into consideration: one, cooldowns. Two, damage. Three, effects and how long they lasted. Other things needed to be made steady for the purposes of calculation: one, a standard duration of time. Two, a set attack power. Three, my sanity. I let the last one go.

What I ended up with is a spreadsheet that lets me plug in my AP, weapon damage and ammo damage, then spits out a dps estimate based on special shots alone (no auto-shot). There are two shot rotations, each going to or close to 100% base mana usage over the course of the rotation, without regeneration.

The first shot rotation uses Improved Concussive Shot, and keeps Concussive Shot up as often as possible to get the Steady Shot bonus. The second shot rotation is the standard Arcane/Steady spamming we’ve come to know and love. If you’re really curious to look at the sheet (published at 3500 AP for the hell of it), you can see it here.

So in the end? My gut reaction was right – Imp Conc Shot isn’t worth it for the damage boost. The ability costs more mana to cast than Steady/Arcane, and the effect is only up for 6 seconds max, with a cooldown of 12 seconds. That’s only a 50% possible uptime for the buff, not to mention, when was the last time we saw a boss that could be dazed with Concussive Shot in the first place?

I didn’t find out if the bonuses actually stack or not – I just assumed they would, and assumed in favor of the Imp Conc Shot rotation. It still lagged behind the regular rotation by 60dps – not a whole ton, but as we all know, every last point counts when it comes to those damage meters. 🙂

All out of bubble gum

February 9, 2009

With my newly-acquired gear equipped, gemmed, and enchanted, I loaded up my quiver and headed out to clean up Naxx25 last night.

I hadn’t gotten around to respeccing yet, as I was away all weekend and my availability Sunday night was up in the air until shortly before raid time. Still, I ran around like a feared squirrel to get myself raid-ready with losing the +hit that I was. We jumped in to demolish the Military quarter first.

Raz went down pretty easily, although the SV hunter bit the dust almost immediately by attacking without waiting for anyone to have aggro on the boss. I bit my lip and praised push-to-talk as he announced over Vent, “Can I get a combat rez?” Yeah, he didn’t get it.

Gothik was a mite touchy and took a wipe to get through. He did, however, drop my pants. I waited for the RL to call for a roll and then typed out the /roll in record time. Then I squeed in delirious joy as the roll resulted in a 100 and a pair of pants in my backpack. It occurred to me briefly that perhaps I should’ve saved my roll for other hunter loot…and then I stopped caring because I wanted those pants, dammit.

The Four Horsemen went down on the first try, but I bit it after the switch to the back two bosses. The switch was underway and then I fell over dead. While I lay dead in a bubbling black void zone, it appears from the WWS that I was actually killed by a single source doing 108,030 holy damage in one blow. Ow.

At least they dropped hunter loot…that no one rolled on! It went to open roll and I came away with a new hat (more on this later). I also started to feel a bit like a loot hog again. ;_;

Then it was time for good ol’ Sapphiron. I suited up in my three-piece frost resist set and snacked on some Worg Tartare for the additional 40 hit. I was a little worried, since even with the food buff my hit was 17 under cap. Seeing the results, though, perhaps I shouldn’t have been concerned at all:

Heroic Sapphiron, 2-8-09

Third! The other three hunters weren’t even in the top five.


We went on to take out Kel’Thuzad after three tries. The first two tries I did fine – the third, I was the first hit with an ice block and received zero heals, dooming me to lay on the floor and watch the rest of the fight. The DK was kind enough to ghoul me so I could thrash at the lich ineffectively before exploding, though!

With Naxx25 thoroughly cleared, we decided to waltz on down to Obsidian Sanctum and see about getting the Less is More achievement on Heroic. Sure enough, things went down pretty smoothly and we happily tucked another accomplishment under our belts last night.

Now, before I move on to talk about other things, here’s the WWS listing for Trash mobs from the two raids:

Trash, Naxx25+OS25, 2-8-09

Eeehehehe. Hehehe. Heeeeee. 😀

Okay, where was I? Oh yes, where things stand now.

With the gear I got last night, that pretty much brings me up to par with the rest of my guild. While I’d been proud of my perfomance in relation to my gear, it’s time that I have to actually step up and excel above the others while rocking similar gear.

Now, with the pants and hat I got last night, I’m at a bit of a crossroads. I’ve gemmed and enchanted both of them, and all that’s left is to make a decision: if I equip the hat, it’ll put me at exactly one point under +hit cap. Buh! I could replace a single gem to give me +hit over the cap,  yes. OR I could respec, throw three points into Focused Aim so that I can ditch a bunch of +hit gems for AP or Intellect gems. OR I could just live at one point under +hit cap, with the bare minimum misses possible.

The downside to respeccing for Focused Aim is that it takes away a point I could be keeping in Efficiency. While at the moment we have  a SV hunter in the raid, which is nice for slowing down my mana drainage, he’s a spec-of-the-day type of guy and is likely to jump specs depending on what puts out the most dps. Depending on him for mana regen would probably not play out well in the long run if all the hunter specs really do get balanced.

Still, lowering my +hit cap would also give me the freedom to throw a pretty AP enchant on my two-handed weapon, instead of the weapon chain that’s currently there. I think I may go out on a limb and do the respec and pray my mana holds out in the big fights – if not, I’ll need to figure something else out.

But until then…check it out! We may not be the best of the best, but among average raiders, this BM hunter is beating out the SV one, hands-down. And we’ve got a buff coming tomorrow, too!

Hunter (Skills List / Talent + Glyph Calc.)

  • Kindred Spirits (Beast Mastery): This talent now grants 20% pet damage at max rank.
  • Serpent’s Swiftness (Beast Mastery): This talent now grants 20% pet attack speed at max rank.

MMO Champion

Should be a good week! 😀

The continuing adventures of a Beast Master

February 5, 2009

For the record: A lot of people play WoW for the epeen. We all know this. If I played for the epeen, then I would’ve specced SV at the first application of the BM nerf and wouldn’t even have looked back. But I play for my own enjoyment of the game, and I enjoy playing BM spec more than anything else. That’s why I refuse to give up on Beast Mastery – I love playing it, and I will do whatever I can to make it viable, instead of jumping ship to the beloved dps-spec-of-the-moment. I’m blessed to be on a server with raiding guilds that embrace this playstyle, and I plan to make the most of it!

Now, with that out of the way, on to business. ^.^

Got to run the Military wing of Naxx10 last night in my guild’s regular pickup run. It was my first time seeing the Four Horsemen go down, and my first time running a 10-man with my new guild. The pickup group ended up consisting of one warrior (tank), one priest (healer), two pallies (tank and healer), two warlocks and four(!!!) hunters. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly optimistic about loot.

And speaking of gear…here are the four hunters in be.imba, at the start of the run:


I’ve gotten better at blurring the names out, at least! Anyway, we had one wipe on Raz (MC tank went down), Gothik went well, and Four Horsemen took about four tries to get down. On Gothik I noticed that my pet was attacking available mobs, despite being defensive and the mobs not having attacked her first (nor had I even targeted them yet). I also ran into this issue earlier in the evening, in Heroic Azjol-Nerub. I’m scared there might be a bug with the defensive AI for pets – I’ll have to look into this more and see what I can find.

On Four Horsemen, Mijikai died during the third switchover, almost every time. I threw her a Mend Pet whenever she was below full health, and made sure she was properly positioned, but she just couldn’t stay up. She always went down next to Rivendare, too – Kor’Thazz’s meteor wasn’t taking her down, it was something about Rivendare (according to WWS, massive shadow damage was what killed her). I need to figure this one out as well.

Remarkably, none of the hunters needed any of the loot that dropped! I managed to walk away with a new belt and a new cape, and the newfound need to regem for +hit. I’m also toying around with respeccing to something along these lines, to try to boost damage, but I’ll need to start stacking more Intellect than I already have been to pull it off. =\

Oh, and finally, the overall WWS stats afterwards:


The hunter on top is SV spec, the rest of us are all Beast Mastery. I honestly feel pretty good based on how far behind my gear is, my pet is inexplicably missing from one of the fights, and the fact that I was running a fever of 101 degrees throughout the raid, with chills so violent I almost fell off my chair. ^.^;

I might get lucky and be in the pickup raid tonight, but if I’m not, I might not be able to raid until after the next reset. At any rate, here’s to hoping the new gear makes a big difference!