Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Teacher's Work Never Ends

I think that sometimes we may take what we know about a subject for granted and assume everyone knows it. That's one of the reasons why I've been somewhat reluctant to post "hunter kindergarten" guides in the past... because I often fear it's stuff everybody already knows.

But just now, while playing a lowbie hordie, I heard the following two things said by two different level 70 hunters:

"BM hunters don't need agility, they need attack power."


"The best shot rotation for 41/20/0 Beast Mastery uses Aimed Shots and Arcane Shots, and Steady Shot but only against dazed targets because it does more damage against dazed targets."



Sorry Barrens hunters, but it's back to school for you guys. Let's go over some stuff real quick here: and I know I don't have the math to back it up, but I do have some personal experiences.

Attack Power vs. Agility

Attack power isn't bad per se, but here's the thing, if you are gearing for Attack Power over agility, then you are basically giving up crit in favor of a little extra damage per shot.

Whether or not AP helps your "pure DPS" more than crit does is somewhat debatable and is largely dependent on gear, according to Cheeky, a hunter that I have a lot of respect for.

But let's go beyond "pure DPS" and think about what happens when you crit as a typical Beast Mastery hunter. You get to use Kill Command. More DPS. Your pet has a very good chance of crit'ing with Kill Command. More DPS. This procs Ferocious Inspiration. More DPS. Also when you crit, your pet gets a bunch of focus via Go for the Throat. This lets your pet use his focus dump moves (more DPS), which also have a good shot at crit'ing (more DPS) and procing Frenzy (more DPS) and Ferocious Inspiration (more DPS). Now I haven't done any math or anything but I'm having a hard time believing that some extra attack power is going to overcome all the benefits of crits. I myself would much rather see a big crit number on my Armory page than a big AP number.

Now the key is balance, you don't want to stack crit chance and let your AP suffer or vice versa. That's why agility is so good, because it contributes to both. Not to mention when a paladin gives you Blessing of Kings, it is going to scale based on your agility and not on flat AP or crit increases.

And that is why, in Pike's opinion, Agility > Attack Power.

Shot Rotations:

My fellow hunters, do not underestimate the importance of using a good shot rotation if you want to do lots of DPS. If you are a Beast Master hunter you do not need to be using Arcane Shots (unless you have a slower weapon and can thread one in there) and you should never be using Aimed Shots. I have done heroics with hunters who have a nice solid spec, are very well-geared, and yet do very little DPS compared to me, and the reason is because they are simply spamming whatever shots they can when the cooldown is up. You need to learn how to time your shots. I know it seems kind of counterintuitive at first to simply not use certain shots when they're sitting right there in front of you, ready to be fired. But ya gotta trust me on this one. Grab a nice weapon like Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle, start weaving in Steady Shots between your Auto Shots, and hang on and enjoy the ride. The results will amaze you.

My damage meter told me I was hitting over 1100 DPS during my last Kara run; I don't want to quote that just yet because it seems a little high to me and my damage meter has been sorta glitchy lately anyway. But I know I am doing close to 1000 under optimal circumstances and the reason is because of my shot rotation.

As for Steady Shot: apparently it really does do more damage against dazed targets (I... feel kinda silly for not knowing this before >.> I guess you can learn stuff in Barrens Chat.) but that doesn't mean you should be saving it and only using it against dazed targets. It is the most mana-efficient special shot that you have and you should make the most of it.

Well, that wraps up today's little review. In closing, I just want to mention how much I dislike lag. Because it throws off my groove.

This little guide was hastily written up before running to work, so as always, lemme know if I made a mistake or left somethin' out.


Althoran said...

You are a really and i quote from ENG "great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great (are you done?) great, great" end of quote hunter.
Thanks for another good class.

Awlbiste said...

Okay so. I am finally levelling a hunter alt. I think I'm pretty informed about things at 70 thanks to you, Lassirra, BRK, Mania etc etc.

But I need some kindergarten when it comes to pre-62 leveling. BM-only til 50. I've pretty much just been jamming arcane shot when I can, but I'm sure there's a better method even for lowbies.

sonvar said...

If one really wanted you could cast concussion shot and then do a steady to get the extra damage but overall not really worth it. Even though that nugget of good info was in there Barrens chat for the most part is normally only good for inane chatter.

Really there are only two things you can do which is a multi shot and keeping up a serpent sting. If you want more to do over the course of the fight you can place a trap at the mob's feet. If you let the pet grab some good aggro and if you have it you could do an aimed shot to open up with.

Kestrel said...

Another terrific post, Pike. :)

@ Awlbiste: Just to tag on to what Sonvar said, an Aimed Shot opening isn't a bad thing at all, but (a) be sure your pet has a good amount of aggro--maybe a couple Growls (it's never too early to use a threat meter, IMO--helps you learn the hunter-pet synergy faster); and (b) be ready to follow with Concussive if the Aimed crits and grabs aggro.

Anonymous said...

mm, I forgot about the rhythm part.

That's really the big key to getting the most out of it.

It's sad that people don't know better when it comes to shot rotations. I'm still trying to figure out how I can squeeze more out of mine, I was first the other night with around 478 DPS in an Old Hills run by myself (not including pet), with my old gun. I'm supposed to average 220 DPS with that, so double DPS for me is pretty damn solid.

Can't wait to see how the new bow does. :D

Faeldray said...

You learn something new every day :)

I have to admit that while I do know some things about hunters (especially pets...but not as much as Mania), hunter stats are foreign to me. If I may make a request, it would be great if you could put together a list of what stats do what for a hunter and include leveling, raiding, PvP, whatever. That would certainly help me out a lot.

Ideale said...

I'm a WOW newbie, and your blog and The Hunter's Mark have helped me IMMENSELY with a lot of WOW basics; one of the first characters I rolled was a hunter and I ditched her for a long time until I found your blog. Now she's my main and just hit 40 today, and hunter is definitely my favorite class.

And I've found some of your PVP tips so completely necessary for battleground survival. Feign death wins. (I am shocked by the number of non-hunters and even hunters who stop attacking me and run off when I hit this. And by the number of hunters who forget to put their pet back on me after I pop back up, or who don't use it themselves.)

So I mostly wanted to thank you for blogging and inspiring me to give hunters another go.

That said, I would love a hunter kindergarten entry on playing a BM hunter pre-Steady Shot, if you have time. Or on hunter roles in lower-level instances — I don't see much about that out there, either.

Anonymous said...

You read my mind before I had the chance to ask! =O

I've been meaning to ask about gemming. I asked Drotara from Less QQ, More Pew Pew a few days ago 'cos it seemed like he would know more about what MM hunters should look for on agi v. AP. Overall, I think there's a consensus that Agi is better than AP. I guess I'll have to rethink my gemming in the future. I've been hoarding AP lately...

Anonymous said...

Just one thing. I did not see this mentioned. And it is something that I had forgotten about (like the extra damage vs dazed) until one DPS died while we were fighting Heroic Warp Splinter (sp?). We were low on DPS and he was getting heals.....Until this forgetful hunter remembered the one true reason for a BM to use Aimed Shot. Remember that it debuffs an inhibit healing. Other than that, I fully agree that Aimed Shot should generally be avoided by BM hunters.
-Gunsnbutter Excelsior/Uther