Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hunter Kindergarten: Gettin' Ready to Rock Steady

So, pre-Level-62 hunter. You've heard about this mystical thing called "Steady Shot" and the mysterious term "shot rotation". You want to get into this shot rotation thing too. Right?

Sadly, there's not a whole lot you can do pre-Steady Shot to practice this. Most of your pre-Level-62 hunter career will consist of tossing a Serpent Sting on something and Auto-Shotting it down, with a couple Arcane Shots maybe thrown in for good measure. However, there is one little exception that, while it won't make you an expert on Shot Rotations, will at least give you an idea of what to expect:

Multi-Shot has a hidden cast timer to it; sort of like a mini-Steady Shot except with a cooldown, and with no casting bar. But because it does have a small cast time-- 0.5 seconds-- you can use it to sort of learn the principle behind a shot rotation.

A quick refresher on shot rotations and why they are important: Your Auto Shot is constantly going and you want to weave your special shots on top of your Auto Shot in such a way that they don't interfere. Auto Shot has a short space of time right before it fires where you shouldn't do anything or it will clip your Auto Shot. Learning to get your special shots off so they don't interfere with that Auto Shot cast time is called learning to use a correct shot rotation.

Many hunter shots, such as Arcane Shot, are instant cast, and as such it really doesn't matter when you toss them into your rotation. But Multi-Shot has a cast time (like Steady Shot does) and that's why we're going to practice with it.

Head out to some place full of mobs that are relatively easy for you to kill but that you aren't going to one-shot. Myself, I think I was in my 50s and went to Scarlet Monastery Cathedral. Now nab a pull of two or three and get your pull down to just one that you can focus on, perhaps by trapping one and taking out another. (Don't forget: Multi-Shot will break CC, so if you're gonna trap, trap him out of the way.)

Now hit Multi-Shot. Try and do it when your character is getting ready to fire off an Auto Shot. Did you notice something "weird" there? Did you see your character sort of do something odd with their weapon? Perhaps your Auto Shot was just delayed?

If so, congrats, you have just observed some of the byproducts of hunter shot weaving.

If not, that's okay, you still just wove a shot-- but Multi-Shot's cast time is so short that it's not that easy to really "observe".

Now the trick here, is to make it so it doesn't delay your Auto Shot. So go practice on some other mobs and try using it at different times. Be alert. Watch your character very closely. Listen to the sounds that your weapon is making. Try to learn when, visually and aurally, is your best time to use your Multi-Shot.

Now, Multi-Shot can be a little tweaky, and weaving your Multi-Shot has a rather different feel to it than weaving a Steady Shot, thanks to the different cast times. And honestly, Mulit-Shot's cast time is so short that you do have a lot of room for error so you won't really get that fast-paced feel of Steady Shot, where your timing has to be much more precise. But the point of this exercise is to learn what it means to weave your shots and get a basic idea of what it takes to do so. Multi-Shot is a great way to sort of introduce yourself to that concept.

And, well, that pretty much does it for today's lesson. To be honest Shot Rotations really don't start mattering all that much until level 62. You can experiment with weaving your Multi-Shot but it's not going to cause any particularly impressive DPS increases, and for solo play, having maximum-possible DPS is certainly not a top priority. Your best Shot Rotation for pre-level-62 is any that allows you to do decent damage while not burning yourself out of too much mana or pulling aggro too quickly. For most people I imagine this would involve a Serpent Sting opener followed by mostly Auto Shots, with an Arcane Shot or two. Once you do hit level 62, and you are a Beast Mastery Hunter, you will find that you pretty much stop using Arcane and Serpent Sting all together... but that is a subject for another post!


sonvar said...

I know I used Aimed shot for a while up into level 58 or so. Which is ok to use but you need to make sure your pet has some good aggro and that using aimed shot resets your auto shots. Which means there is no good way to weave in aimed shots into a shot rotation. Though when I switched to BM at that level due to brk/seeing other BM hunters Aimed shot wasn't an option anymore and it made me realize overall its a worthless shot outside of pvp really. Thus as Pike has said your shot rotation as any kind of hunter leveling really is going to be auto shots, serpent sting, and an arcane shot once in a while. Unless you really don't like using your pet for some odd reason.

Pike said...

Indeed... I typically use Aimed Shot on paladins (and occasionally other classes) in PvP, and I will use Aimed Shot as a Misdirect-pull opener (nothin' like an Aimed Shot Crit misdirect)... but that's really about it.

And trying to weave Aimed Shot into a raid/instancing rotation is just not a good idea at all.

sonvar said...

Yeah I've used Aimed Shot for misdirect pulls also. Though typically I'll do Distracting shot, Aimed Shot, and then Arcane shot.