With the September 23 hotfixes, all three hunter specs have been brought up to relevance. In simulations, they are all within a couple percent of each other, but the real question is how do they perform for you in a real world setting? After an expansion of beast mastery and survival (which play very similarly), the jump to marksmanship will be tough for some hunters.
This week, for my very first hunter column, we're going to look at how you can maximize your damage and survivability in the first two wings of Siege of Orgrimmar. Keep in mind that a lot of these are simply suggestions and that your mileage may vary. What works for me may not work for you, but this will give you an idea of how our abilities can be utilized on the first eight bosses. Stock up on some Tomes of the Clear Mind and let's get started.
- Level 60 Talent: Fervor or Thrill of the Hunt for more focus on demand to kill as many Sha Puddles as possible during the split phases.
- Level 75 Talent: Blink Strikes. His normal phase is usually dead before A Murder of Crows or Lynx Rush will be able to fully tick all its damage.
- Level 90 Talent: Barrage. Aim yourself so the cone hits as many Sha Puddles as possible. Glaive Toss is also viable.
The Fallen Protectors
- Level 60 Talent: Thrill of the Hunt will allow more Multi-Shots which means more cleaving. Dire Beast is still strong for BM here because everything tends to stay close together.
- Level 75 Talent: Blink Strikes is the clear winner here since your pet will be moving around a lot. A Murder of Crows is viable but careful not to use it on a boss who is about to enter a Desperate Measures phase.
- Level 90 Talent: Barrage. There is always at least 3 targets up, and in some phases there can be many more. Glaive Toss is good if you position yourself so the glaives fly through multiple targets.
- Level 60 Talent: Thrill of the Hunt or Dire Beast. ToTH can help with rapidly switching between the smaller adds by giving you more Arcane Shots.
- Level 75 Talent: Blink Strikes. Your pet needs to get around quick and this will help. A Murder of Crows could only be used on the boss, which would be wasted when you have high corruption.
- Level 90 Talent: Barrage. There are almost always some adds up so you want to cleave as much damage as you can.
Sha of Pride
- Level 60 Talent: Personal choice. I like Dire Beast for BM and Thrill of the Hunt for SV/MM.
- Level 75 Talent: Blink Strikes if you are BM because of the Beast Cleave burst damage on Reflection adds. A Murder of Crows is fine for SV/MM since you can always keep it on the boss.
- Level 90 Talent: Glaive Toss is useful on the boss and the Manifestation of Pride. It can also be used in between Multi-Shots on the smaller adds. Barrage is great here too.
- Level 60 Talent: Thrill of the Hunt for sustained AoE. It will allow you to throw in Multi-Shots even when you are focusing down a single add. Fervor is good if you prefer on-demand focus.
- Level 75 Talent: Blink Strikes for BM because of its synergy with Beast Cleave, and for SV/MM because it's an add fight and 30 second DoTs are not ideal here.
- Level 90 Talent: Barrage for the scores of adds. If you are on tower duty, Glaive Toss will also fare well because there are less targets.
- Level 60 Talent: Personal choice. I like Dire Beast for BM and Thrill of the Hunt for SV.
- Level 75 Talent: Blink Strikes or A Murder of Crows. This is a single target fight so either is viable.
- Level 90 Talent: Glaive Toss is still the best talent for single target damage, but Barrage can overtake it once you have a heroic ilvl566 weapon.
Kor'kron Dark Shaman
- Level 60 Talent: I like Thrill of the Hunt to help with killing the Foul Slimes. Dire Beast is still fine for BM here since the majority of time is spent on boss.
- Level 75 Talent: Blink Strikes for BM because Beast Cleave is fantastic on the Foul Slimes. A Murder of Crows is good for Survival as you can keep it on a boss full time.
- Level 90 Talent: Barrage lines up almost perfectly with the Foul Slimes. Hold off on using it for a few seconds if the adds aren't spawned yet.
- Level 60 Talent: Thrill of the Hunt. Since Dire Beast cannot be controlled, it will likely spend too much time running between targets and not doing damage.
- Level 75 Talent: Blink Strikes is the best choice. The adds die too fast to make it worthwhile casting A Murder of Crows on them, and you can't use it on Nazgrim during his Defensive Stance anyway.
- Level 90 Talent: Glaive Toss and Barrage are both viable here. If you use Barrage, be careful not to be facing Nazgrim during Defensive Stance, as I'm unsure if that will contribute to his rage.
Stay tuned for part two in the coming weeks where I'll discuss hunter tips and tricks for the third and fourth wing of Siege of Orgrimmar.
[Thanks to the posters over at the MMO-Champion forums for being hunter guinea pigs and sharing their results.]
Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. From leveling your hunter and taming rare pets to learning the DPS value of skill, we've got you covered. If you're stuck in one of the nine support classes, why not move up to the big league and play a hunter?