Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide

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This Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide contains everything a beginner needs to achieve basic competence at raid DPS, as well more detailed discussion for people more interested in understanding the theory or more advanced play.

Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide

Table of Contents

  1. Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Talents, Glyphs, and Race
    1. The Spec
      1. Marksmanship Talents Details
      2. Beast Mastery Talent Details
      3. Survival Talents Details
    2. Glyphs
      1. Prime Glyphs
      2. Major Glyphs
      3. Minor Glyphs
    3. Race
  2. Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Stats
    1. Range DPS
    2. Agility
    3. Hit Chance and Rating
    4. Attack Power (AP)
    5. Critical Strike Chance and Rating
    6. Mastery and Mastery rating
    7. Haste and Haste Rating
      1. Haste and Autoshot
      2. Haste and Steady Shot
      3. Haste and Aimed Shot
      4. Haste and Focus Regen
      5. Haste Calculations
  3. Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Gear and Raid Preparation
    1. Gems
    2. Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Set Bonuses
      1. T11 Set Bonuses
      2. T12 Set Bonuses
      3. T13 Set Bonuses
    3. Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Consumables
    4. Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Enchants
    5. Optimizing Gear/Gems/Enchants/Reforges
  4. Professions
  5. Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Shots and Shot Priority/Rotation
    1. Standard Shots and Abilities
    2. Shot Comparisons
      1. Steady Shot versus Cobra Shot
      2. Aimed Shot versus Arcane Shot As Focus Dump
      3. Aimed Shot versus Chimera Shot Priority
      4. Steady Shot Spamming vs. Arcane Shot outside the CA Phase
      5. Kill Command or Arcane Shot for T12 4-Set Procs
    3. Maximizing DPS
      1. Use of Kill Shot with T13 2P
      2. Ability Queuing
      3. Latency
    4. Shot Rotation/Priority
      1. Single Target Shot Priority
      2. Multiple Target Shot Priority
    5. Shot Phases and Rotations
      1. Standard Phase
      2. Careful Aim Phase
      3. Termination Phase
      4. Kill Shot Phase
      5. Kill Shot Phase with Termination
      6. Kill Shot Phase with Termination Summary and Recommendations
  6. Other Information
    1. Movement
    2. Pets
    3. Addons, Tools, and References
      1. Addons
      2. Tools
      3. References/Guides
  7. Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Conclusion

This guide is designed to provide information for raiding (PvE). It is not meant to be a complete or accurate source for PvP, soloing, or dungeons.

Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Talents, Glyphs, and Race

The Spec

This is one example of a maximum DPS Marksmanship spec, including the core talents that all MM hunters should include, the situational talents that currently work best for me, and my preferential placement of the optional talents. Many other viable options exist beyond that shown, and the information that follows is meant to help guide you in making your own choices for how to spend your talent points given your situation and play style.

Any PvE Marksmanship spec should include the following talents in the Marksmanship (MM) tree, accounting for 24 of the 31 required talent points in the tree to open up the other hunter trees:
Go for the Throat (GftT), Efficiency (Eff), Sic’Em (SE), Improved Steady Shot (ISS), Careful Aim (CA), Piercing Shots (PS), Rapid Recuperation (RR), Master Marksman (MMM), Readiness, Posthaste (PH), and Chimera Shot (CS).

That leaves 7 points in the Marksmanship tree. Options for these talents have mostly utility or situational DPS benefits. At least 5 of the 7 points must be in any of the following talents in order to open up the fifth tier: Rapid Killing (RK), Silencing Shot (SilS), Concussive Barrage (CB), Bombardment (Bomb), Trueshot Aura (TSA), Termination (Term), and Resistance is Futile (RiF).

The last two points can be in either of the above talents or Marked for Death (MfD).

For these last 7 points in the MM tree, there’s no generally best choice for these, although there are some worst choices. Which is best depends on your raid situation, play style, and personal preferences.

For the final 10 talent points, it is recommended that they are spent outside the MM tree. With our stats at 85, the optimal DPS use of our final 10 talent points is to spend 7 to 8 in the Beast Mastery (BM) tree, mostly to increase our pet DPS and the AP from Aspect of the Hawk. The remaining two to three points should usually be placed in Pathing providing the best DPS results from the SV tree.

Note my preferential choices on some talents:

Here is an example of an AoE/adds control spec for certain fights that may require it (such as Magmaw or Bethilac if on adds): MM AoE Spec.

The main difference between this spec and the maximum DPS spec is that it primarily gives up pet damage to increase AoE damage and add control. However, it still maintains most of your non-pet talents so that hunter DPS is mostly unaffected for parts of the fight when you may not be AoEing. The pet talents sacrificed include Frenzy, Bestial Discipline, and 1 or more points in Sic’Em. In this example spec, the point in Termination is removed as well since when AoEing you will be doing less SSs in general and especially when adds are dyeing and focus is being returned via the RK and RR synergy. The main goal of these changes is to pick up Entrapment in the Survival tree to help control adds. The other major change is to pick up Concussive Barrage to also help with add control. Furthermore, the major glyphs of Trap Launcher (to save focus when launching traps for AoE), Ice Trap (to increase its radius to help with add control), and Scatter Shot (decent focus free AoE attack that can possibly provide add control as well when low on focus).

The following helps to explain each talent to describe why it is either a mandatory or optional talent as well as its benefits for PvE.

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Marksmanship Talents Details

Go for the Throat (GftT): Provides 5/10 focus for your pet each time your autoshot crits. This talent helps to maintain pet focus so it can attack at its maximum rate. Providing sufficient focus for your pet is even more important with the Wild Hunt (WH) pet talent design that buffs its DPS when at higher focus levels. With current crit rates, we are not able to maintain enough pet focus with 2/2 WH to support 100% uptime. Hence, we need every possible pet focus regen talent available to increase our pet (and our) DPS. Assuming an average 2s autoshot frequency and a 40% crit rate, this talent provides your pet with 10 focus every 5s or 2 focus per second (fps), which is equivalent to about the focus regen for your pet from 50% haste when otherwise unhasted. The benefit of this talent is reduced in non-ideal fight situations where you are not autoshotting constantly or when autoshot is locked out by Aimed Shot (AI) hardcasts.

Efficiency (Eff): Reduces the cost of our CS by 6 (down to 44) and our Arcane Shot (AS) by 3 (to 22). This talent saves focus for two of our three main focus costing shots to allow more of them to be performed. Assuming a 10s CS rotation with 3 AS within it, this talent saves 15 focus over that 10s or 1.5 fps. This is the equivalent to the focus regen from 37.5% haste when under no other haste effects. For those with the CS glyph doing 2 ASs every 9s CS cycle, this talent saved 12 focus over 10s or 1.2 fps, equivalent to the focus regen from 30% haste when under no other haste effects. Cycles with a Master Marksman AI proc replacing an AS, reduces the benefit of this talent some. For a CS cycle with AI as the focus dump, this talent is a little less beneficial since only 6 focus is saved per cycle. With an AI focus dump cycle lasting anywhere between 10 and 15s, this equates to about 0.4 to 0.6 fps, equivalent to the focus regen from 10 to 15% haste when under no other haste effects.

Rapid Killing (RK): This optional talent provides two effects whenever you get a killing blow – 10/20% bonus damage to your next Steady Shot (SS) or Aimed Shot (AI) and 25/50 focus depending on how many points you have in Rapid Recuperation (RR). Although the bonus damage is nice, the main reason for this talent is the instant focus to allow more higher damage shots. This talent is optional since it requires a killing blow to get any benefit. Many bosses are the only target throughout the duration of the fight, resulting in no opportunities for a killing blow. Even if there are opportunities for killing blows, you may not get it since another DPS in the raid may get the killing blow instead. Hence, the talent has more potential in 10-man raids over 25-man raids where there is less competition for the killing blow. Regardless, there are still plenty of situations on boss fights where a single point in this talent has a nice DPS potential with ways to increase your chances to get the killing blow. This talent is very useful when performing AoE since you have a much larger chance of getting a killing blow and doing so empowers more Multishots (MS) without having to regen focus via SS, which increases your AoE output. This talent is also very useful while fighting trash mobs between bosses. Since you only need 1 point in RK to get the full 50 focus benefit from RR when you get a killing blow, only 1 point in this talent is recommended.

Sic’Em (SE): Allows your pet to take a focus free basic attack after you crit with AS or AI. Note that the savings is always the base 25 focus and not the actual full cost due to WH. Hence, with 2/2 WH, Sic’Em reduces the focus cost from 50 to 25 focus. This is another talent like GftT that is needed to maximize your pet’s DPS. It is difficult to quantify the benefit of this talent since it depends not only on how frequently you are using AS and AI and their crit rates but also on when these procs occur relative to your pet’s focus levels. Assuming at least one AS or AI crit every 10s CS cycle, this talent saves 2.5 pet fps, which is roughly equivalent to the focus regen from 62% haste. Note that with the roughly 100% crit rate of AI during the Careful Aim phase, this talent saves a lot of your pet’s focus during that phase allowing it to have high WH uptimes in that phase. One item to note with this talent is possible Sic’Em overwrites. Since your pet’s basic attack occurs every 3 seconds, it is possible to get a second Sic’Em proc before your pet has been able to utilize the first, in which case the first Sic’Em procs provides not benefit. Because of this fact when you have flexibility in the order of your shots, it is recommended not to perform too many ASs or hasted AIs consecutively to reduce the chance of Sic’Em overwrites.

Improved Steady Shot (ISS): Provides a 15% haste buff after you perform consecutive SSs. Just like any other haste buff, the benefits from this is reduced SS cast time, reduced AI cast time, and higher autoshot frequency. Note that this haste does not affect focus regen for you or your pet (although the more frequent autoshots does result in more GftT procs, increasing pet focus). This talent has an impact on how we perform our shot priority, which is discussed later.

Careful Aim (CA): Increases your crit rate for SS and AI by 30/60% on targets above 90% health. Although this talent only applies to 10% of the health of a target, it is still very beneficial, and there are no better DPS talents to take to help open up the fifth tier of the MM tree. 2 points in this talent is recommended. This 30/60% increased crit rate on SS and AI is also beneficial since these shots also get the bonus crit damage from Piercing Shots (PS). This talent can have an impact on the maximum DPS shot priority over the first 10% of boss health and is discussed later.

Silencing Shot (SilS): Focus free instant shot with no GCD that interrupts the target and silences it for 3s. Since SilS no longer does damage, it is no longer the DPS benefit that it was during Wrath. Furthermore, there are also plenty of other sources of interrupts and silences out there that we do not necessarily need this shot. Hence, I list it as an optional talent; however, I recommend it depending on your raid’s availability for alternative interrupts. It is just a single point for a nice ranged silence/interrupt that can be a useful utility shot for several boss strategies. Even if not part of a boss strategy, timely use of this shot can prevent casts by caster targets, increasing the survivability of the raid and conserving healer mana. In addition, since it costs no focus or GCD, you can also macro or modifier key it into your other shots to randomly provide the raid survivability benefit if you are not needed to specifically interrupt a target. One word of warning if you do macro SilS into your other shots, is that your SilS interrupts can possibly through the timing off for planned interrupts for those responsible for doing so. Hence, on fights with interrupt timing that you are not involved in, be prepared to comment out (#) the SilS lines in your shot macros or use some other method to prevent its casts. There are many dungeon boss fights where the use of SilS can make the fight much easier to survive if your group does not have alternative interrupters.

Concussive Barrage (CB): Your CS and MS daze the target for 4s. Although this may be a beneficial talent situationally for PvE, it is more a PvP and soloing talent. Dazing targets generally provides no DPS benefits. In addition, it can inhibit the tanks ability to move a mob around. It can be beneficial in situations where you still want to do damage but also want to slow targets or when kiting. This talent is not generally recommended for most PvE situations since if you really want to daze single-targets, you can use Concussive Shot (albeit with no damage done) instead. This talent can be useful on fights where AoE add control is helpful, such as the parasites in the Magmaw encounter.

Piercing Shots (PS): SS, AI, and CS crits apply a bleed on the target for 30% of the damage done. This is essentially an additional 30% damage bonus to your crits. The benefit is actually 39% for targets that have the 30% extra bleed damage debuff (such as Mangle) on them. Considering that you should normally be doing 5-6 of the shots affected by PS every 10s CS rotation, assuming a 40% crit rate, that is over two PS procs on average every 10s. For single-target fights, PS should be accounting for at least 10 to 12% of your DPS. On fights with a lot of AoE, the benefit of PS is reduced, but it is still significant. For those unfamiliar with how PS works, this is how it works with assuming for simplicity that all shots that proc PS do 10K damage and that the target does not have the bleed debuff on it. When the first PS procs, 3K damage is set up to tick off every second for 8s at 375 (=3K/ 8) damage per tick. If no other PS proc occurs within that 8s, the PS bleed will fall off the target at the end of the 8s. If a second PS proc occurs before the first PS proc expires, the PS effect is recalculated using the full amount for the current proc and the remaining amount of the existing proc. Hence, if the first proc had ticked 4 times, it still had 1500 damage to go. The amount of the new tick is calculated by adding the new and remaining damage together and dividing by 8. Thus, in this scenario, the new tick would be (3000 + 1500) / 8 = 562. Hence, you will only see changes in your PS amount when either a proc occurs (causing a step change in the amount of the ticks) or the tick falls off. The step change when a proc occurs can either be a step up or down in damage depending on the relative damage of the new proc to previous procs and the number of ticks remaining.

Bombardment (Bomb): The focus cost of your next MS is reduced by 25/50% when your MS crits. Since you should only be using MS usually in AoE situations where there are at least 3 targets, you should usually proc this with every MS done, allowing you to do more MSs before needing to do a SS to regain focus. This talent is listed as optional since it is only beneficial in AoE situations. I chose this talent since when we do need to do AoE, it makes a huge difference, and since the current raiding tier has several boss fights with critical AoE portions (e.g, Magmaw, Maloriak, Halfus, Cho’gall, Conclave of the Four Winds).

Trueshot Aura (TSA): Provides a 10% AP buff to the raid. This is a huge benefit to the raid. How much of a benefit depends on how much of your raid does physical damage and how much damage they do, but regardless, the benefit is considerable. This talent is optional although it has such a tremendous DPS benefit to you and the raid since there are many other sources for this buff. The most common source is a paladin’s Blessing of Might, which they are now more likely to buff since the druid’s Mark of the Wild is equivalent to Blessing of Kings. The benefit is also provided by Blood DKs, Enh Shamans, and the Shale Spider pet. Because of this situation, many hunters decide to skip this talent to put the point into additional utility. Although I do have an alternate source of the buff in my raids, I still take TSA since it only costs 1 point for a huge benefit, to provide a little raid redundancy on this important buff, and so that I will have the buff while soloing or doing dungeons.

Termination (Term): Allows your SS shot to regain 3/6 additional focus on target below 25% health. If doing 4 SSs per 10s CS cycle, that is 24 focus every 10s or 2.4 fps, which is equivalent to the focus regen from about 60% haste. At first glance, this may seem like a very beneficial talent. Although it is indeed very beneficial in some cases, it can actually provide no benefit in others, which is why I list it as an optional talent. The problem with this talent is that roughly 80% of its duration applies to targets being below 20% health, at which point Kill Shot (KS) gets added into our shot priority. Since KS is a focus free shot and normally takes the place of a focus dump in the rotation (which saves us 22-100 focus depending on whether you have the KS glyph or not and whether you are using AS or AI as the focus dump), we often already have more focus than we can use when the target is below 20% health if we are maintaining ISS. Hence, in those situations, Term provides no or little benefit since that extra focus is just often wasted. The primary situation where Term becomes beneficial is if you are hasted during its effects. The recommended rotations when we are hasted are not tight CS cycles that are GCD limited and often have spare SSs beyond the 4 required to maintain ISS such that we can take advantage of the extra focus from Termination to add in additional focus dumps or replace extra SSs with them. Thus, if you are under dynamic haste effects for a significant portion of the last 25% of the boss fight, Termination can have significant DPS benefits. Termination can also be beneficial when unhasted if you are willing to not maintain ISS at 100% uptime over the last 20% of boss health. If you are willing to replace the last 2 SSs used to maintain 100% ISS uptime with ASs, then you can take advantage of that extra focus while still maintaining ISS uptime at roughly 80 or 88%, depending on whether you have the CS glyph. The problems with this situation is that you lose some autoshot frequency (and resulting pet focus) with the lost ISS uptime and with only doing 2 SSs per cycle, Term is now only providing 12 focus every 10s or 1.2 fps, equivalent to the focus regen from 30% haste. Furthermore, this 2 SS/Term rotation is only sustainable for 1 to 2 cycles, meaning that you will have to alternate it with the 4 SS cycle in which Term provides no or little benefits if the last 20% lasts longer than 15-20s. This ISS downtime approach with Term works best with the CS glyph since your ISS downtime will be shorter with only 2 SSs per rotation and since you only have 1 focus free KS every 10s instead 2 every 11s meaning that you are doing more ASs that will benefit from the extra focus from Term. Thus, Term can be a significant DPS gain in some situations (primarily when hasted) and can be only a small DPS gain in others.

Resistance is Futile (RiF): Provides a 4/8% chance for a focus free Kill Command (KC) on our marked target. This is listed as an optional talent due to its situational benefit and since it is more of a PvP and soloing talent. It provides us no benefit on targets that either do not move, or which the strategy is not to move them. On targets that do move, RiF can provide a DPS benefit since KC does more damage than AS and since it is focus free and does not cost the expensive 40 focus that it normally does and saves the 22 focus we would have spent on AS. However, whenever KC replaces AS, we do lose the opportunity to get benefits from Sic’Em. Other problems with this ability is that it requires your pet to be on a target to benefit from the KC and that it can proc out of combat on moving targets pre-marked and trigger its ICD. Similar to MMM, when RiF procs, you get 3 UI cues, a floating combat message (believe it’s “Resitance is Futile”), an aura, and your KC button is highlighted.

Rapid Recuperation (RR): Provides 6/12 focus every 3 seconds while under the effect of Rapid Fire (RF). This is equivalent to 2/4 fps or the focus regen from about 50/100% haste. This benefit is on top of the additional focus regen from the haste of RF. RR empowers you with plenty of focus to shoot AIs while under the effect of RF. When under RF, you should be close to or below a 1s SS cast time, meaning that you can do about 1 to 2 more GCDs per CS cycle. With those GCDs being an AI for maximum DPS, that is an additional 50 focus cost per cycle, which the 4 fps from RR alone almost makes up. The additional focus regen from the haste of RF, makes up the additional focus needed to power the extra AI.
Master Marksman (MMM): Each SS has a 60% chance to gain the MMM effect. When MM stacks up to 5, we get a focus free, instant cast AI. We readily know when we have the free AI since we get several cues in the form of a “Fire!” message, a crossed-arrows graphic aura, and our AI button becoming highlighted. On average, it should take about 8 to 9 SSs to get the free AI. With doing at least 4 SSs per cycle to maintain ISS, we should get a free AI roughly at least every other CS cycle or at least every 20s (18s with CS glyph). With how much damage AI does, with how much focus it normally costs, and with how long its cast time can be with a base cast time of 2.9s, having an instant cast, focus free version is a huge benefit.

Readiness: Resets all of our hunter abilities’ CDs. It does not reset the CDs on any gear or items. The DPS benefit of this talent is allowing the hunter to do back to back RFs, CSs (if have sufficient focus), and KSs (if available). It also has other utility benefits of resetting our FD, MD, Deterrence, Disengage, etc. CDs.

Posthaste (PH): The main benefit of this talent is the reduction of the RF CD to 3 mins. Besides allowing a more frequent RF, the key benefit of the CD reduction is to line up the RF CD with the Readiness CD so that every time we use Readiness we can do back to back RFs too. The additional benefit is the 15% movement speed buff for 4s after every use of Disengage. Since we only use Disengage when we need to move, the extra movement speed helps us either to survive or get back into combat quicker.

Marked for Death (MfD): Allows your CS and AS to automatically apply a Hunter’s Mark (HM) equivalent effect on the target. The MfD has the same AP benefits as HM and can be applied to multiple targets. The benefit of this talent is that you do not have to spend a GCD to mark a target with HM when you change targets in combat. It removes the decision on how long the target is going to live to know whether it is worth casting HM. Previously, we either used a GCD to apply HM or went without the additional and significant AP benefits of HM. With MfD, the decision is removed, and we get the DPS benefit of HM while spending the GCD to take high damage attacks. The reason that this talent is listed as optional is because it only provides a benefit on fights where you switch targets or where it lasts over 5 mins. On single target fights of less than 5 mins in duration, the talent is useless since you would apply HM before combat. However, on non-single target fights, which most trash fights and plenty of boss fights are, or on fights lasting more than 5-mins that would require a HM refresh, this talent has DPS benefits for you and other hunters in the raid on your target.

Chimera Shot (CS): Besides being our second highest damaging shot (especially when adding in the 30% crit damage bonus from PS), CS provides two additional benefits. First, it refreshes the Serpent Sting (SrS) duration on the target. The current implementation of the refresh of SrS does not reset when ticks occur. For instance, if CS refreshes SrS when it has 5s left on its 15s duration, the SrS duration is set to 17s, which includes the two remaining seconds to the next tick. Hence, the next tick will be 2s later instead of 3s. Thus, while SrS is on the target, it will tick every 3s regardless of where in the 3s tick cycle CS is cast such that ticks are not lost. The second effect is healing you for 5% of your total health, which is a nice survival benefit. On some fights, the number 1 heal on me is my own CS self-heals.

Beast Mastery Talent Details

Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide

Improved Kill Command (IKC): Increases the crit chance of KC by 5/10%. Since regular KCs (ones that cost focus) are not a part of the standard MM shot priority, this talent is only beneficial if you also talent RiF for the focus free KCs or utilize KC instead of AS on T12 4-set procs. Even then, this talent is not that useful since its just 10% crit on an ability that you use infrequently.

One with Nature (OwN): OwN has two effects. The first increases the AP bonus of Aspect of the Hawk (AotH) by 10/20/30%. Since AotH now provides 2000 AP, OwN provides 220/440/660 AP including the 10% AP bonus, which is a nice DPS benefit, making this a required talent for the maximum DPS build. The second increases the amount of focus restored by melee attacks against you by 1/2/3 while in Aspect of the Fox (AotF). The latter benefit is more of a PvP benefit.

Bestial Discipline (BD): Increases pet’s focus regen by 10/20/30%. BD is important in early Cataclysm to help maintain pet focus and WH uptime. With 3/3 OwN being preferred to get to the next BM tier, 2/3 BD is highly recommended.

Pathfinding: Provides speed benefits in various situations that we normally would not be using in PvE combat. Thus, this talent is not recommended.

Spirit Bond: While your pet is active, provides 1/2% healing per 10s to you and your pet and increases heals on you both by 10%. Although not a DPS talent, it is a great survival talent, and you can only DPS is you are alive. I have not chosen this talent since survival in fights is usually not a problem for most hunters. However, if survival starts to be a problem in Cataclysm raids, then this talent will be a good option. However, considering that MMs already have a better self heal (5% instead of 2% every 10s) from CS, I doubt that this talent will be needed.

Frenzy: Increases pet attack speed by 2/4/6% after it makes a basic attack. This talent provides a nice increase to pet DPS. However, it is only beneficial in fights where your pet is able to attack regularly. . If you are an orc, then the racial Command makes this talent more desirable.

Improved Mend Pet: Allows your Mend Pet the chance to remove a status ailment from your pet. This is a nice utility ability, especially since it saves others in your raid from having to spend resources to remove status effects from your pet. However, it is not worth it in most cases.

Survival Talents Details

Hunter vs. Wild (HvW): Increases stamina by 4/7/10%. This is a nice survival boost; however, it has no DPS benefit if you are surviving fine already. Hence, it is not recommended unless you are having trouble surviving; however, in most of those cases, it still doesn’t help you if you do not move out of the fire.

Pathing: Provides 1/2/3% ranged haste. This talent generally provides a significant DPS boost since it saves you at least the equivalent of 1% haste on gear when acquiring the recommended haste amounts for specific rotations. Note that the benefit of this talent increases with the amount of haste rating that you have on gear since this talent is multiplicative with your haste on gear. Conversely, since having more points in this talent results in you needing less haste from gear to achieve a haste recommendation, having more points in this talent indirectly reduces the benefit of each point in the talent if your haste rating from gear is reduced because of it. The haste from Pathing does increase our focus regen amount.

Improved Serpent Sting (ISrS): ISrS has two effects. The first is to apply a 15/30% bonus instant damage to your SrS casts. This effect is very weak for MMs since it only applies to the cast of SrS and not the refreshes by CS. Thus, in most boss fights where we have 100% SrS uptime with only a single SrS cast, we would only get the 30% bonus damage (about 4 to 5K damage currently) once over the full duration of the fight (which results in only about a 13 to 17 DPS gain for a 5 min fight). The second benefit is the 5/10% extra chance for SrS ticks to crit. This part of the talent is more beneficial for MM hunters, but still less beneficial than other alternatives.

Survival Tactics (ST): This talent has two utility benefits, neither that are necessary for most PvE situations. The first is a 2/4% reduced chance that your traps will be resisted. This has little to no benefit in most situations in PvE. The second is a 2/4s reduction in the Disengage CD. Thus, this talent is not recommended.

Trap Mastery (TM): This talent increases the duration of your water based control traps (Ice and Freezing) by 10/20%, your fire based damage traps (Immolation and Explosive) by 10/20%, and the number of snakes in a snake trap by 2/4. With how seldom we normally use traps in raid situations, how unlikely the increased duration of control traps is necessary, and with how small the damage increase to the fire traps is compared to our overall DPS, this talent is not recommended, although it may be beneficial on certain fights for certain strategies. However, normally any benefits that this talent can provide are outweighed by the losses in the talent(s) sacrificed to get this one.

Entrapment: Entraps all affected targets for 2/4s when Ice Trap or Snake Trap is triggered. With how seldom we use traps in PvE and how seldom entrapping them is necessary, this talent is not recommended in a maximum DPS build. However, there may be some fights where the additional AoE control that can be provided by this talent (such as on the parasites on the Magmaw encounter) may be more beneficial for that particular encounter over the DPS loss for acquiring this talent.

Point of No Escape (PoNE): Increases your critical strike chance on all targets affected by your Ice or Freezing Traps by 3/6%. Once again, with how seldom we use these traps in PvE, this talent is not recommended.

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Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

The prime glyphs in order of rough DPS benefit from my analysis using a 397 gear set are provided below. Note that the suggestions here are based on the preference of having AS as your primary focus dump outside the CA phase and when not under dynamic haste effects. This is modeled in FD using the a T13 normal gear set. If you prefer to use AI as your primary focus dump at all times, then the value of the AS glyph decreases dramatically where you probably do not want to take it, while the value of the AI glyph increases where it may be a good option depending on whether you need the additional focus savings. In addition, if you go with a low haste from gear build, the value of the CS glyph is reduced, while the value of the RF glyph is increased. Finally, if you use AI as your focus dump more often, then the value of the CS glyph is generally reduced since it is harder to have a tight 9s CS cycle when casting AI at cast times that vary with different dynamic haste levels.

Steady Shot: +10% damage on SS, our by far most used special with at least 4 every 9 to 10s. Female Dwarf shows it as worth about a 550 DPS. This glyph is a must have for MMs. Note though that with the T13 2P requiring less SS to be cast to maintain focus that the value of the glyph has decreased a little.

The next several glyphs are all good options for MM for the final two glyph spots depending on your situation and preferrences. These are listed in no particular order.

Aimed Shot: 5 focus returned on a AI crit. This glyph is obviously only beneficial when we are hardcasting AI, which is during the CA phase and when under dynamic haste conditions or almost always for those that prefer it for the standstill focus dump. It provides no benefit to MMM AI procs since they are focus free. For a 5 min fight, we are under dynamic haste effects (not including any trinket procs) for 1:40 min if there is no overlap of RF and BL. You can also get 3 T13 4P procs for an additional 1 min of haste time if there is no overlap with RF and BL, for 2:40 mins total, assuming that you do not have a haste trinket. A haste trinket can increase the hasted uptime more, but is also likely to overlap with other haste effects some as well. Since a haste trinket is not in the two best trinkets, I do not include a haste trinket in the analysis. Hence, about 47% of the fight is unhasted, during which we are not hardcasting AI and during which this glyph has no benefit. This glyph has its biggest benefit during the CA phase where every AI hardcast is a crit and benefits from this glyph. During this period, we should be under the effects of RF, which allows more AI hardcasts to benefit from the glyph due to both the shorter cast times and the higher focus regen from the additional RF haste and the effects of RR. However, this glyph may not provide much benefit during that period. Considering that the glyph saves 5 focus per crit, we need to cast 10 AIs before we save enough focus for an additional one during the CA phase. In the best case scenario of the RF glyph and not casting CS/SrS during the CA phase, at most about 11 or 12 AIs can be cast. Thus, the glyph can empower at most about 1 extra AI over this phase. Without the RF glyph, you can only perform about 10 or 11 AIs over that period, empowering an extra AI. If you also use CS/SrS over the RF period, you can only cast at most 7 AIs. During 30s of RF outside the CA phase, we can hardcast a maximum of 7 AIs. During 100s of BL and T13 4P procs, we can also hardcast a maximum of 14 AIs. That is a total of 21 AIs outside the CA phase (all other AIs are MMM procs), which with assuming a 40% crit rate, would have on average 8.4 crits and save 42 focus. The benefit of the glyph over the whole fight is basically about 2 additional AI hardcasts at most replacing alternative shots. At the lower haste amounts or without the haste trinkets, the benefit of the glyph is lower since we are performing less AIs during this period since their cast times are longer and we have less dynamic haste periods. Other factors that adversely affect this glyph are when we replace AI hardcasts with ASs while moving or when concerned the cast could be interrupted/pushbacked or when T12 4-set procs result in a focus free AI hardcast, removing the opportunity for the glyph to provide any benefit on that cast. For my set up, FD shows the AI glyph as a +152 DPS over having no glyph and -180 DPS less than the AS glyph. In a model with casting AI as the focus dump all of the time, the AI glyph only provides a +236 DPS benefit. This value is reduced by any of the several items previously mentioned such as lower haste amounts, having to use more ASs for any of several reasons, and not having haste trinkets. Hence, I do not recommend this glyph unless you are using hardcast AI as your focus dump always or a very large percentage of the fight, in which case this glyph could replace the AS glyph.

Arcane Shot: +12% damage on AS. With using AS as our primary focus dump outside the CA phase and when unhasted, FD shows this glyph worth about 332 DPS in this case with doing 52 AS over the 5 mins (about 1 every 5.8s). The value of this glyph is even higher when you account for using ASs while moving or when possibly being interrupted during periods where you would normally be using AI as the focus dump, if you have less dynamic haste effects (i.e., under effects of BL debuff) resulting in using AS more often, or if you prefer to use AS more often. If you prefer AI as your focus dump and only rarely use AS, then this glyph is a poor option. Also note that the benefit of this glyph is slightly reduced if you also have the CS glyph since the CS glyph cycles perform slightly fewer ASs. Note that the benefit of this glyph is increased in T13 content with being able to cast more ASs per CS cycle since need to cast less SS to maintain focus.

Chimera Shot: Reduces CS CD by 1s. With how much more damage that CS does than our other shots (besides AI) and its additional benefits, reducing its CD to allow more CSs has the potential for a lot of benefit, but depending on your gear and shot selection. Female Dwarf shows a wide range of benefits from this glyph depending on your situation with the benefit being anywhere from 0 to several hundred DPS if you can somewhat consistently maintain a tight 9s CS cycle. With the gear set used in my analysis, FD shows the CS glyph as about a 371 DPS gain (when used with SS and AS glyphs) over no glyph but a 72 DPS loss when compared to the RF glyph. If instead the case uses the SS and RF glyphs, the CS glyph replacing the AS glyph loses about 100 DPS with the T13 gear set , when it used to be a gain over the AS glyph in some cases. The main reason for this change is that prior to the T13 2P, the 3 AS 10s CS cycle, was focus negative with shortening the cycle to 9s helping with focus management. However, with the extra focus from the T13 2P, we now not only have enough focus to cast the 3 AS, but also have enough in most situations to make it worthwhile to delay our CS casts to cast a 4th AS. Another reason I do not recommend the CS glyph with the T13 gear is that it is almost impossible to have a consistently tight 9s CS cycle without wasting a lot of focus or having significant deadtime in the CS cycle to be able to cast CS immediately off CD. It has the further complication of the fact that we have so many various haste effects, where you have to decide for what situation to ideally design the 9s CS cycle and possibly take a hit in other haste situations. The largest consistent shot rotation part of the fight is when you are unhasted. If using AS as your focus dump unhasted, there are two haste cases for a tight CS cycle. These are at 5.4% haste from gear and Pathing (which is impossible to achieve in T13 gear and results in a lot of wasted focus) and 26.48% haste from gear and Pathing (which requires sacrificing a lot of other stats to achieve). Either case is not ideal for T13 gear and the haste levels that are easily achieveable. With these haste levels, you will usually either have significant delay in your CS cast eating into the benefit of the CS glyph or have significant deadtime and focus wasting that could be used to cast more shots for more DPS. If using AI as you focus dump unhasted, then a tight, fairly focus balanced 10s CS cycle is achieveable at about a reasonable 21.2% haste from gear and Pathing. However, with the CS glyph, there are no clean CS cycles. At about 7.8% haste from gear and Pathing, you can have a 1 AI CS cycle, but it has a several problems, including a slow 2.13s cast time, wasting about 40 focus per cycle, and 1.13s of deadtime on MMM AI proc cycles. The haste level for a tight 9s CS cycle with 2 AIs in it, requires an impossibly high 36.4% haste from gear and Pathing, and although it is focus balanced, still has 0.7s deadtime on MMM AI proc cycles. The deadtime on the AI MM proc cycles is balanced with a delay in the CS cycle at about 30.2% haste from gear and Pathing, which is too high as well. Another option would be to design the haste level for AI rotations when under the effect of BL and T13 4P procs, but even then, you still have the problem of the impact of MMM AI procs on about every other cycle or more. Thus, I still recommend not using the CS glyph for most players and situations. To fully benefit from the CS glyph, you have to design your rotation around it with aiming for the ideal amounts of static haste to maximize the glyph, with is made difficult with various and numerous dynamic haste levels and the MMM AI procs.

Rapid Fire: Increases haste from RF by 10%. This glyph is a better option at the lower haste recommendation of 5.4% haste from gear and Pathing, since it lowers your SS casts during RFs to about the 1s GCD. As you gain static haste from 5.4% to 12.93%, the benefit of the glyph to SS casts is reduced until it is eliminated at 12.93% haste from gear and Pathing. However, even above the 12.93% haste recommendation or at higher haste levels, the glyph still has benefits since during RFs it still increases your autoshots and all DPS effects derived from them and reduces your AI cast time, possibly allowing an extra AI to be cast on some CS cycles. With the gear set used for this analysis (which is much higher than 12.93% haste where the glyph does not benefit SS casts) and having the SS and AS glyphs chosen as well, the RF glyph has about a 445 DPS benefit, making it the second highest DPS glyph. Hence, I recommend this glyph with the T13 gear set. Not that the value of this glyph is reduced if not able to casts the maximum number of AIs during it; thus, to maximize the benefit of this glyph, it is important to cast RF outside the CA phase in periods where it is safe to cast AIs.

Kill Shot: Resets your KS CD if KS does not kill the target with a 6s CD on the reset. This theoretically allows 2 KS every 11s. However, since KS is only available during the last 20% of boss health, this glyph has a limited benefit. Whether the KS glyph is a good option for the third glyph or not used to not be straightforward decision; however, it is more of a straightfoward decision with T13 gear, with that decision being to generally avoid this glyph. This is because the KS glyph has two potential benefits with its use. These are the focus savings and the damage done as compared to the shot it replaces. With the T13 gear set, the focus savings from KS is not needed as much. In fact, in some cases the focus savings from the KS without the KS glyph is not needed at all, although it still helps in other cases. Hence, the focus savings from the 2nd KS due to the glyph is pretty much never needed anymore and results in overcapping. The damage of KS is still more than AS, so replacing an AS with a KS is still a good situation; however, if you are using AI as the focus dump, then replacing a hasted AI with a KS is a poor decision. Furthermore, in many situations, the benefit of the glyph can be minimal and lesser than the other options. Additional factors include:

The following glyphs are not too useful for MMs in most situations:

Major Glyphs

There is not much DPS benefit with any of the major glyphs for the standard actions that MMs take, so I will not go into as much analysis as for the Prime glyphs. The ones with DPS potential are:

Silencing Shot: Provides 10 focus whenever you silence an enemy’s cast. The benefit of the glyph is 0 focus gained on non-caster targets or when no silences to optimally 3 silences and 30 focus a minute with the 20s CD. That is a little more than enough to empower an extra AS, putting it a little ahead of the prime glyphs Serpent Sting and Dazzled Prey, but only if you are successfully silencing a target every 20s, which is not likely to happen.

Trap Launcher: Reduces the focus cost of launching traps in combat for damage or CC by 10 focus. Obviously, it has no benefit if not launching traps in combat. However, if you are launching traps in combat, it reduces its focus cost in half to 10 focus.

Immolation Trap: Reduces duration by 6s but increases damage per tick by 100%. Female Dwarf shows it as a 18 DPS increase over not having the glyph if doing Immolation Trap (IT) at the lowest priority. This is because IT does so little damage, only 6000. The glyph only increases damage by about 700, which with a 30s CD is only 23 DPS if using IT off CD. Additionally, in most PvE situations where our targets stay mostly in place, we would never use IT since Explosive Trap actually does more damage on a single target as long as it stays inside the trap effect.

Snake Trap: Reduces AoE damage to your snakes by 90%. Obviously, if your snakes live longer they do more damage and more interrupting. However, this is more of a PvP glyph since I believe that snakes already take less AoE damage from Cataclysm mobs. Anyway, we do not usually use Snake Trap (ST).

All of the remaining glyphs are utility glyphs. A few of note are:

Misdirection: Resets your MD when cast on your pet. The benefits of this glyph are obvious when soloing since you should never be able to pull mobs off your pet. It can also be beneficial in raids to manage threat when FD is on CD.

Disengage: Reduces the CD by 5s. This is great for those hunters that like to Disengage everywhere and has synergy with the haste buff after Disengages from Posthaste.

Raptor Strike: Reduces damage by 20% for 5s after using Raptor Strike. This glyph is useful during high damage parts of some fights to increase your survivability and to reduce the stress on healers a little.

Mending: Increases the amount of healing done by Mend Pet by 60%. This essentially increases the healing done by Mend Pet from 25% of the pet’s health to 40%. The glyph is very useful when having to do pet tanking. I personally use it in my 10-man group since we only have 2 tanks. My turtle tanked a drake during the Halfus fight.

In summary, there are no consistently great DPS or utility benefits from Major glyphs. So pick the ones that meet your raid strategies and personal preference.

Minor Glyphs

None of the minor glyphs provide any direct DPS benefit, so pick whichever ones your prefer. However, I would strongly suggest the Feign Death (FD) glyph since the 5s CD reduction can be a life saver. Furthermore, if you ever need to rez your pet n combat, the Revive Pet one can make it happen sooner in some instances. The Aspect of the Pack glyph can be useful in some situations, especially with getting the raid group to move long distances between combat.

Race

I have reperformed this analysis for T13 normal gear. Since the analysis uses an Orc, the result for an Orc is the basis for which all other races are compared. When doing the comparison, I used the same ranged weapon throughout and adjusted crit rating appropriately for assuming the weapon was the kind favored (or not) by that race. Hence, it does not take into account the stats on the currently available best ranged weapon of each type. Analysis was done using Female Dwarf. Note that Female Dwarf averages the benefit of abilities like Blood Fury (Berserking is now explicitly handled though); hence, in game use of the abilities at the correct time with stacking upon other abilities can result in better DPS than shown below. The difference in DPS between the races with no DPS racial is their base stats at 85.

Note that part of the benefit of a Troll over other races has been decreased some with this setup having a more balanced set of stats over the high haste case from the previous analysis.

Troll w/ Bow: Bow Specialization for 1% crit, Berserking for haste, Da Voodoo Shuffle for snare resistance, and Regeneration. The increased value of haste for hunters along with the best ranged weapon in T13 content being a bow have made Trolls currently the best race. FD’s improved modeling of Berserking helps as well. A Troll with a bow is about 319 DPS better than an Orc.

Orc: Blood Fury for increased AP, Command for increased pet damage, and Hardiness for recovering from stuns/snares faster. Although maybe no longer the best race, Orcs are still competitive, especially on fights where your pet is attacking 100% of the time and the hunter is moving a lot and not taking advantage as much from haste effects. FD shows Orcs as 42407 DPS in the T13 gear chosen for this analysis and serves as a basis for which all other race’s DPS is compared. Note that the Orc’s DPS is slightly devalued in FD due to the averaging of Blood Fury instead of stacking it at key times for maximum DPS, which should close the gap with Trolls with a bow some and definitely put them ahead of Troll without a bow. Blood Fury during the CA phase with RF and haste trinket procs is a very powerful boost.

Trolls w/o Bow: Berserking for haste, Da Voodoo Shuffle for snare resistance, and Regeneration. With the increase value of haste for MM hunters, even without a bow, a troll does good DPS. FD shows it as +5 DPS over an Orc, but due FD averaging the benefit of Blood Fury, Orcs are actually better.

Worgen: Viciousness for 1% crit. Darkflight for increased movement speed and Aberration for decreased curse durations. FD shows it as -101 DPS when compared to an Orc, so -420 when compared to a Troll with a bow.

Dwarf w/ Gun: Gun Specialization for 1% crit, Frost Resistance, and Stoneform to remove some status ailments. -126 DPS compared to an Orc, and -445 when compared to a Troll. Note that since the best ranged weapon currently is not a gun, maximum Dwarf DPS relative to a Troll is actually the Dwarf w/o Gun case below.

Goblins: Time is Money for 1% attack speed. Rocket Jump for short burst movements and Rocket Barrage for some damage. -243 DPS relative to an Orc, and -562 DPS relative to a Troll with a bow.

Draenei: Heroic Presence for 1% hit, Shadow Resistance, and Gift of the Naaru for a heal. Also -243 DPS relative to an Orc, and -562 DPS relative to a Troll with a bow.

Night Elf: Shadowmeld, Nature Resistance, Quickness to avoid damage. -454 DPS relative to an Orc, and -773 DPS relative to a Troll with a bow.

Human: Every Man for Himself to shake off speed reduction and traps. -474 DPS relative to an Orc, and -793 DPS relative to a Troll with a bow.

Blood Elf: Arcane Torrent for silencing nearby enemies and 15 focus every 2 mins and resistance to magic. -480 DPS relative to an Orc, and -799 DPS relative to a Troll with a bow.

Forsaken: Will of the Forsaken to remove certain status effects and Shadow Resistance. -481 DPS relative to an Orc, and -800 DPS relative to a Troll with a bow.

Taurens: War Stomp for a stun, Nature Resistance, and Endurance for extra health. -490 DPS relative to an Orc, and -809 DPS relative to a Troll with a bow.

Dwarf w/o Gun: Frost Resistance, and Stoneform to remove some status ailments. Also -490 DPS relative to an Orc, so – 809 DPS relative to a Troll.

Gnome: Cannot be a hunter.

From this information above, it appears that Troll hunter with a bow still currently does the most damage. Part of this is the expected gains that Berserking would have as gear scales. Note though that the DPS difference for the races is a little smaller for the hardcast AI all the time case. The reason for this is that Beserking no longer provides the advantage for the Troll where it now casts AI while the other races would still be using AS. In this case, everyone is always casting AI with Trolls just casting faster when Beserking is in effect.

One question I often receive is why Dreanei are rated lower than Worgen when crit is a lower rated stat than hit. The reason is that the stat ranks are per point of a stat not per percentage. Since different stats can require dissimilar rating total per percentage, stat percentage priority may not match single stat rating priorities. That is the case here and in other similar situations. 1 hit rating (up to the cap) is generally better than 1 crit rating. However, since it takes only about 120 hit rating for 1% hit but about 179 crit rating for 1% crit, the difference in the two racials is actually 179 crit rating versus 120 hit rating. This requires hit rating to be 1.5 times better than crit rating over that whole range of stat ratings, which it is usually not. Furthermore, when adding in the benefit of reforging and assuming you can reforge the full benefit of the racials, 179 reforge points is worth more than 120.

Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Stats

Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide

Below is a summary of the precedence in hunter stats currently depending on the situation. Note that the order of our secondary stats (crit, mastery, and haste) may change depending on your current gear, shot selection, and reforging situation putting you past a tipping point where changes in stats can cause a reordering of their precedence. However, I believe that the ordering below is generally true for each case, and it is agreed upon by other sources.

AS focus dump:

Range DPS >> agi > hit = 2 AP > crit > haste > mastery >> stamina

Crit is the best secondary stat. Haste allows the extra AS to be cast per cycle with less delay in the CS cast. Mastery is close but behind the other stats. Note that if you are doing a larger number of AIs than ASs that the AI focus dump case may be better.

AI focus dump:

Range DPS >> agi > hit = 2 AP > haste > crit > mastery >> stamina

Haste is the most important stat since it allows faster and more frequent AIs in addition to a faster autoshot frequency. Crit is still important for all of our abilities that depend on it.

AoE:

Range DPS >> agi > hit = 2 AP > mastery > crit > haste >> stamina

For AoE, mastery is the best stat. This is because every attack produced by a single MS has a chance to proc WQ. Crit is the next best stat due to the extra damage generated over all the attacks. Haste is the lowest stat since it only affects our base focus regen and our autoshots and SSs, which are only performed on a single target.

Here is a more detailed discussion of each stat:

Range DPS

This stat only applies to ranged weapons. Of all pieces of hunter gear, our ranged weapon is by far the highest contributor to our DPS, and the reason is the amount of DPS done by the weapon. An increase in Range DPS is much greater than an increase in other stats. Because of this, a higher item level ranged weapon will generally provide more DPS than a lower item level range weapon regardless of the stats on both (although some exceptions may exist).

Note that I did not include weapon speed in the list of hunter stats since the renormalization of hunter shots reduced the large dependency of weapon speed that we had after 4.01 was released. With that said, if two weapons do the same range DPS and have the same stats, the slower range weapon will do slightly more damage for a MM hunter.

Agility

Of the stats generally on all pieces of gear, agility provides the largest DPS benefit and is the primary stat that MM hunters want to stack. It affects both how hard each shot hits and how often a shot crits. Without any buffs:

1 agility =

2 AP and

1/324.85 = 0.0031% crit or 0.552 crit rating

With including the 5% stat buff and the 5% agility buff from wearing all mail and the 10% AP buff:

1 agility -> 1.1 agility (stat buff and mail bonus) =
2.2 AP -> 2.42 AP (AP buff) and
1.1/324.85 = 0.0034% crit or 0.607 crit rating

Agility is not a reforgeable stat, so we generally want to acquire as much of it as possible from gear, gems, and enchants without sacrificing too much in other stats where it results in a DPS loss.

There is no cap on the amount of agility that benefits a hunter.

Hit Chance and Rating

Hit rating affects the chance that our shots will hit or miss the target. A missed shot does no damage. Hence, it is important never to miss our targets.

120.109 hit rating = 1% hit

Everyone knows that hit rating is the most important stat for hunters. Well, this maxim is no longer true in all situations. Agility can be a better stat than hit rating due to it worth as discussed in 3.2. Compared to Wrath, the benefit of agility went up when it became worth 2 AP instead of 1 AP. With factoring in the crit benefit of agility, the weighting of agility increased by a factor somewhere between 1.5 and 2. While it is still true that the benefit of 1% hit continues to increase as our DPS increases, it now takes 120.109 hit to make 1% hit when it used to only take 35.79, meaning that in Cataclysm, hit rating is roughly worth 3.5 times less than what it was. Of course, as our DPS increases throughout Cataclysm, the value of hit rating will increase where it could eventually overcome agility as the number one common gear stat again.

Hit rating is capped at 100% hit chance. Any hit rating above that needed to get 100% hit has no DPS benefit. However, since hit usually comes in chunks of rating, it is very difficult to get exactly the cap. Going over the cap by less than 5 hit rating is preferred. For level 88 bosses, it requires 8% hit from gear, gems, enchants, food, potions/elixers, and abilities to be able to have a 100% hit chance.

100% hit requires 961 hit rating (or 841 if you are Draenei)

Hit rating is reforgeable, so you do not have to sacrifice better DPS pieces of gear (including gems and enchants) to get hit rating from gear. Instead, you can reforge the worst of your secondary stats to make up any deficiencies.

Note that even with 100% hit chance, bosses can still block your ranged attacks if you are attacking from the front. Blocks result in a shot doing only partial damage. Since a target cannot block attacks from behind, it is best to attack a target from within the 180 degree cone centered directly behind the target.

Attack Power (AP)

AP is a stat that you will generally not see on gear anymore, with a few exceptions. Generally, it will appear only on enchants, trinkets, and other items as proc effects. 2 AP equals 1 point of itemization. Thus, you need to half the amount of AP when comparing it to other stats.

2 AP is essentially the same benefit as agility but without the gains from the stat buff and mail bonus and without the small benefit to crit. Hence, 2 AP is roughly 0.75 agility.

Critical Strike Chance and Rating

179.28 crit rating = 1% crit

Critical strike rating is a very important stat for MM hunters. MM hunters depend on crits for the following reasons:

Mastery and Mastery rating

The MM mastery is Wild Quiver (WQ). It gives our ranged attacks a chance to proc an additional shot similar to an autoshot. WQ can proc from autoshot and any of our special attacks. It also has a chance to proc from each shot that our MS does, making it very valuable in AoE situations.

179.28 mastery rating adds a 2.1% to proc WQ on each range attack.

Note that WQ does not proc from attacks that are not shots, such as Kill Command.

Haste and Haste Rating

Haste is a fickle. Depending on the situation, it can either be the most important or the least important of our secondary stats. There are a several critical haste points and numerous minor haste points that affect the current value of additional haste.

128.057 haste rating = 1% haste

The benefits of haste to MM hunters are numerous, resulting in haste being difficult to easily quantify, and include:

Haste does not affect how often our DoTs (SrS and PS bleeds) tick for damage. These are both classified as physical attacks and are therefore unaffected by haste.

Another factor impacting haste is latency (see 6.3.2) and human reaction times. Any haste amounts quoted in this guide are for the ideal case assuming no latency and perfect reaction time. Each player will need to adjust the listed haste amounts to account for their latency and reaction times in order to get the full benefits of that listed haste.

As mentioned previously, several break points exist for haste. To understand these and haste better, let’s explore how haste effects the different aspects of MM performance.

Haste and Autoshot

There is no break point where additional haste has a reduction of benefit to our autoshots. The more haste we have, the higher the frequency of our autoshots. If all other stats are constant, our autoshot DPS scales linearly with the amount of haste we have and at a slope dependent on our weapon damage, crit rate, and AP. So if our autoshot scales linearly with haste, we should stack haste then, right? Not exactly, haste is never free and comes at the cost of other stats. Thus, at some point, although we are taking more frequent autoshots, they are hitting for so much less per shot that the DPS has decreased. Where this point is gear dependent and not really anything to design your shot selection around.

Haste and Steady Shot

Similar to autoshot, SS DPS generally increases with haste since the cast time is reduced. However, unlike autoshot, SS has several soft and hard haste amounts where the benefit of additional haste is reduced or even eliminated in regards to SS. These all revolve around the 1s GCD.

As a baseline, the default raid cast time for SS when under the effects of the 10% raid buff and the 15% haste from ISS is 1.58s with 0% haste from gear and 0/3 Pathing. If you notice your SS casts taking longer than this number, then you are missing one of the critical haste buffs. With 3/3 Pathing as well, the SS cast time is 1.53s.

The hard cap where additional static haste will no longer provide you any benefit to SS is the amount that brings your SS cast time to the GCD of 1s. This static haste from gear hard cap is at 58.1% without Pathing and 53.5% with Pathing. With T12 heroic gear, these amounts of static haste are not obtainable from gear.

What are obtainable are the various soft caps where your SS cast becomes temporarily below the 1s GCD due to dynamic haste effects. Below is a list of the amount of haste from gear and Pathing combined required to reach the soft cap under various dynamic haste effects. This list is not exhaustive since it does not include a lot of proc haste effects (such as from some trinkets) but a similar concept applies for these as well. Since the haste procs from trinket are usually well below the haste amount from BL and since that haste amount is not easily achievable, the soft cap for just a trinket proc is not achievable either and not necessary to discuss. The list only shows the dynamic haste effects that all MM hunters should/can experience in raids.

Glyphed RF: 5.4%
Unglyphed RF: 12.93%
Bloodlust: 21.6%

Any static haste (from gear and Pathing) above the amounts listed for each dynamic haste effect has reduced benefit to your SS casts since they have no benefit when that dynamic haste effect is present.

The other major effect of haste on SS casts is reducing the cast time to allow additional shots into the CS cycle or during the course of the fight. With how much more damage that CS does over our other shots (with the exception of AI), we normally want to cast CS off CD. This helps to make the haste values required to gain additional shots per cycle more quantifiable. See section 3.7.2.1 Haste and Steady Shot with AS as Focus Dump for more details.

The final item to note in regards to SS and haste, is that during an SS cast, an MM hunter always theoretically gains around 15.32 focus (18.32/21.32 when under the effects of 1/2 Termination) regardless of the cast time as shown in the table below. In addition to the constant 9 (12/15 with Term) focus received with each SS cast, the amount of focus regeneration that occurs during the cast is roughly constant since the effect of haste on reducing the cast length increases the focus per second regen rate by an inverse amount minus the lack of regen benefits from ISS and the raid buff. If ISS and the raid buff affected regen, the SS would return a constant 17 focus per cast.

*** Note that with the additional 9 focus per SS cast with the T13 2P that the actual focus gain for SS casts above the GCD is 9 higher at 24.32. The table below is not updated to reflect this, but just add 9 to all values like you would add 3/6 for ranks in Termination. ***

Haste*..Base^BL^…RF^…RF’^…Base$BL$…RF$…RF’$…RF&…RF’&…Base&..BL&…RF&-…RF’&-…
0.0%4.005.209.6010.001.581.221.131.0519.8419.5415.3215.3215.3215.32
1.0%4.045.259.6610.061.571.201.121.0419.8019.5015.3215.3215.3215.32
2.0%4.085.309.7110.121.551.191.111.0319.7519.4615.3215.3215.3215.32
3.0%4.125.369.7710.181.531.181.101.0219.7119.4215.3215.3215.3215.32
4.0%4.165.419.8210.241.521.171.091.0119.6719.3815.3215.3215.3215.32
5.0%4.205.469.8810.301.511.161.081.0019.6319.3415.3215.3215.3215.32
6.0%4.245.519.9410.361.491.151.071.0019.5919.3615.3215.3215.3215.36
7.0%4.285.569.9910.421.481.141.061.0019.5519.4215.3215.3215.3215.42
8.0%4.325.6210.0510.481.461.131.051.0019.5119.4815.3215.3215.3215.48
9.0%4.365.6710.1010.541.451.121.041.0019.4719.5415.3215.3215.3215.54
10.0%4.405.7210.1610.601.441.111.031.0019.4319.6015.3215.3215.3215.60
11.0%4.445.7710.2210.661.421.101.021.0019.3919.6615.3215.3215.3215.66
12.0%4.485.8210.2710.721.411.091.011.0019.3619.7215.3215.3215.3215.72
13.0%4.525.8810.3310.781.401.081.001.0019.3219.7815.3215.3215.3215.78
14.0%4.565.9310.3810.841.391.071.001.0019.3819.8415.3215.3215.3815.84
15.0%4.605.9810.4410.901.371.061.001.0019.4419.9015.3215.3215.4415.90

* From both gear and Pathing combined
^ Focus Regen
‘ RF glyphed
$ SS cast Time
& Total focus gain during the SS cast
– No RR

As can be seen at all haste amounts, the focus regen from an SS cast is a constant 15.32 focus regardless of the SS cast time, after removing the benefit of RR from RF numbers, up until the SS cast is GCD capped during which case the focus regen is slightly higher due to the duration of the base focus regen between the GCD and where the SS cast stops.

The effect of the T13 2-set bonus on this information is that each SS cast now gains 18 instead of 9 focus. This increases the number in the tables by 9, such that the constant amount of focus that a SS cast gains when not GCD limited is 24.32 instead of 15.32.

Haste and Steady Shot with AS as Focus Dump

The majority of every boss fight is spent in what is referred to as the Standard phase unhasted. This is the phase of the fight where we are not in either CA phase or KS phase and when we are not under dynamic haste effects. With assuming proportional fight phase durations to boss health, the non-CA or KS phases of the fights are about 70%, which is about 3.5 mins of a 5 min fight. With assuming that one RF pair is performed in the CA phase and Bloodlust during the KS phase, that leaves only one RF pair during this phase, making the unhasted portion about 3 mins along or 60% of the fight if you do not have any haste trinkets. Since this phase is the longest most consistent portion of the fight and the major part of the fight where we are constrained to want to have a tight CS cycle (as discussed later), it makes sense to design your haste amounts around those required for this phase, which we now do.

Here is the information on the breakpoints where reduction in SS cast time gains additional GCDs during a CS cycle. Note that whether you have the CS glyph or not does not affect the amount of haste needed to save a GCD. All it does is reduce the number of GCDs available in the cycle. All cases assume that the base rotation includes at least two SS pairs to maintain ISS uptime. Other limitations on the analysis is that the SS cast time is constrained between the 1s GCD and the 1.58s cast time with zero haste from gear and Pathing when fully raid buffed, the maximum of 8 (with the CS glyph) and 9 GCDs available per cycle minus the GCD for CS, and the desire for the total SS cast time to be a multiple of a GCD so that we have a tight CD cycle. The possibilities that meet these limitations is shown in the table below:

#SSsGCDs UsedGCDs LeftGCDs Left CSCast TimeHaste Needed
46321.505.40%
45431.2526.48%
44541.0058.10%
57211.4012.93%
56321.2031.75%
55431.0058.10%
68101.3318.58%
67211.1735.52%
66321.0058.10%
790-11.2922.97%
78101.1438.34%
77211.0058.10%
890-11.1340.54%
88101.0058.10%
990-11.0058.10%

#SSs is the number of SS to cast each CS cycle
GCDs Used is the GCDs used by the SSs
GCDs Left is the GCDs remaining in the CS cycle minus the GCD for the CS
GCDs Left CS is the GCDs remaining in the glyphed CS cycle minus the GCD for the CS
Cast Time is the required cast time to perform the indicated number of SSs in the number of GCDs. The value is limited between 1s and 1.58s, the base SS cast time when raid buffed
Haste Needed is the haste requirement from gear and Pathing combined to achieve the SS cast time.

Of the possibilities in the table, I originally struck out all haste amounts over 25% as not really being feasible. That left only 4 options. Two of those 4 options left had at most 1 or 0 GCDs to use for focus dumps and are eliminated as non useful options. This left only two cases of doing 4 SSs in 6s and 5 SSs in 7s, which require 5.4% and 12.93% haste from gear and Pathing combined as the only feasible options for a tight CS cycle. Hence, these are the only two major haste points that are evaluated in this guide. Note that to optimize some shot scenarios that it may be necessary to slightly modify these haste amounts for particular cases, which is discussed in more detail for those cases.

With the addition of T13 gear, an additional third option is actually feasible. This is the case of 4 SSs in 5s, which requires 26.48% haste from gear and Pathing. At this haste level our AI cast times are fast enough (1.813s) where AI should be used as the focus dump instead of AS when it can be safely cast. Since AI cast time is not a GCD at this haste level and since casting CS off CD when using AI as the focus dump is not as critical, the corresponding analysis for this haste point is not meaningful.

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Haste and Aimed Shot

The effect of haste on AI is similar to that for SS, except that with the longer base cast time, it takes more haste to reach the hard and soft caps.

As a baseline, the default raid cast time for AI when under the effects of the 10% raid buff and the 15% haste from ISS is 2.292 with 0% haste from gear and 0/3 Pathing. If you notice your AI casts taking longer than this number, then you are probably missing one of the critical haste buffs. With 3/3 Pathing as well, the AI cast time is 2.226s.

The hard cap where additional static haste will no longer provide you any benefit to AI is the amount that brings your cast time to the GCD of 1s. This static haste from gear hard cap is at 129.3% without Pathing and 122.6% with Pathing. These amounts of static haste are not obtainable, so do not worry about the AI haste hard cap.

What can be obtainable but usually are not (except when stacking multiple dynamic haste effects) are the various soft caps where your AI cast becomes temporarily below the 1s GCD due to dynamic haste effects. Below is a list of the amount of haste from gear and Pathing combined required to reach the soft cap under various dynamic haste effects. This list is not exhaustive since it does not include a lot of proc haste effects (such as from some trinkets) but a similar concept applies for these as well.

Glyphed RF and BL: 17.6%
Glyphed RF: 52.8%
Unglyphed RF: 63.8%
Bloodlust or T13 4P: 76.4%

For all practical intents and purposes, unless you are stacking multiple dynamic haste effects, which is not recommended except in regards to proc effects, your AI will almost never be at any hard or soft haste cap with current gear.

The other major effect of haste on AI casts is reducing the cast time to allow additional shots into the CS cycle or during the course of the fight similar to as discussed in the SS section.

The portions of the fight during which we hardcast AI are relatively small at lower gear levels where less haste on gear is available and haste trinkets are not necessarily the best trinket options. With 2 RF pairs (one during the CA phase) and a BL during a 5 min fight, you will only be hardcasting AI at most for about 1:40 mins of a 5 mins fight or for 33%.

The portions of the fight during which we hardcast AI are much larger at higher gear levels where more haste on gear is available and haste trinkets are options. Furthermore, the T13 4P provides periodic Bloodlust levels of haste. In these cases, even when still using AS as the focus dump when unhasted, you can easily be under dynamic haste effects for over 53% of the fight and casting AIs over those periods. However, with enough static haste on gear, you can get your unhasted AI cast time to below 1.9s, where its cast is fast enough to be preferentially used at the focus dump at all times (except when moving or in threat of cast interruptions).

As discussed later, since AI has higher priority for casting than CS, we are not constrained to a tight CS cycle over these periods. Furthermore, the ratio of AIs to SSs and the duration of the CS cycle will vary depending on the type of dynamic haste effect, whether we need to perform an extra SS on a particular cycle or not to balance focus, and whether we have a MMM AI proc. Because of the variation in cycles and less restrictions when casting AI as our focus dump and the possibility that we may cast ASs instead of AIs when cannot or should not safely cast AIs, it does not make sense to design your haste amounts around these cycles.

Haste and Focus Regen

Base focus hunter regen is 4 fps. This is modified by your current total haste effects. The exception are that the 10% attack speed raid buff and the ISS attack speed buff do not currently effect focus regen. For instance, with ISS, 3/3 Pathing, the raid buff, and 10% haste from gear, your total haste is 43.32%, but only 13.30% of it affects your focus regen. Your focus regen at the haste is 4 * 1.1330 = 4.532. When using RF on top of that, your haste is 100.65% (only 58.62% of that affects focus) with focus regen of 6.345. When using glyphed RF, your haste is 115% (only 70% of that affects focus) with focus regen of 6.798.

If you have Rapid Recuperation, your RF provides the equivalent of an additional 4 fps during its duration. Thus, the real focus regen during the RF in the above case is 10.345 fps unglyphed and 10.798 glyphed.

Your SS casts statically and during all dynamic haste effects regen a constant 15.32 (24.32 with the T13 2-set) focus per cast up to the point where you SS cast is GCD capped. At this point, the focus per cast amount increases since you have the 15.32 focus per actual cast plus the additional focus regen from the time that the cast actually ended at that haste to the GCD boundary. See 3.7.2 Haste and Steady Shot for a table illustrating this situation.

Additional haste critical points are those that provide sufficient amount of focus regen where you can replace additional SSs beyond the 4 required to maintain ISS uptime needed periodically to maintain focus with an AI or AS. These points are much more complex to quantify since they depend on shot priority, attack speed, and other factors that are beyond the scope of what I want to discuss here. However, I do want to make you aware of that these points exist since you will probably periodically cross their thresholds when evaluating different gear and reforging options that may produce unexpected results in simulations or testing.

Haste Calculations

For those unfamiliar with haste and how haste is calculated, here is a brief discussion. There are two types of haste effects. Those that provide haste ratings and those that are haste/speed percents.

Effects that provide haste rating are additive with each other. You add all of the haste rating together before dividing by 128.057 to get the haste percent from them. This includes haste rating from gear, gems, enchants, potions/elixers, and some procs, including those from haste trinkets. For instance if you have 1000 haste rating from gear, gems, and enchants, are using a Potion of Speed (500 haste rating), and have proced an ability that provides 300 haste rating, you are currently operating at 1800 haste rating or about 14% haste.

Effects that provide haste percents are multiplicative. This includes Bloodlust, RF, the resulting haste from all of your haste rating, Pathing, ISS, the raid buff, and some procs. For instance, the total haste from the haste rating above (14%), ISS (15%), and the raid buff (10%) is 1.14 * 1.15 * 1.1 = 1.4421, which means you are experiencing 44.21% haste (although they add up to only 39%).

To calculate your SS cast time, just divide the base cast time of 2s (1.8s with the T11 4-set) by the haste amount. Hence, 2s / 1.4421 = 1.39s.

Your AI cast time can be calculated similarly by dividing its base cast time of 2.9s by the haste amount. Hence, 2.9 / 1.4421 = 2.01s.

Your autoshot speed can be calculated similarly by taking the weapon speed divided by the haste amount.

Finally, if it can be avoided, you do not want to stack dynamic haste buffs (RF and Bloodlust) since much of the haste will be well above the SS soft cap. You are better off staggering these effects so that you can be closer to the 1s GCD on SS more often since it gains you 2 shots per 10s CS rotation. Staggering the large dynamic haste effects also increases the periods over which casting AI is ideal.

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Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Gear and Raid Preparation

I’m not going to provide a full best-in-slot list here, for a few different reasons. The Best Possible DPS thread and other tools are a good source of suggested best-in-slot gear. But here’s some overall advice to help provide some guidance.

In general, for non-trinket slots, hunters want to choose gear with higher item level. The reason for this is that both range weapon DPS and agility, our two primary stats on gear, generally increase with item level. However, just do not blindly use a piece because it has higher item level since the secondary stats can still make a difference.

Hunter epics have Agility, Stamina, and possibly AP in the case of weapons, and 2 out of the 4 secondary stats: crit rating, hit rating, haste rating, or mastery rating. Keep in mind a few rules of thumb, which are enough to get a quick estimate of the value of any piece:

Since the 5% Agility from Mail Specialization is a strong bonus, you should ignore leather gear.

To compare items more precisely and check for upgrades, I recommend using an addon that compares stats for you or a simulation tool, such as Female Dwarf or Simulation Craft.

Gems

Concerning meta gems for your head slot, the best Cataclysm meta gem is the Agile Shadowspirit Diamond (+54 agility and +3% crit damage). Since it just requires 3 red gems to activate, it enables us to gem for agility as much as we can. We no longer need a yellow and a blue shaded gem in the piece with the best socket bonuses to activate the meta. We can gem all agility gems if desired; however, that is probably not the best option since there are many pieces with good agi socket bonuses with a yellow or blue gem slot.

For all other sockets, our default gem to use is the Delicate Inferno Ruby (+40 agi) since we want to stack agility.

To get good socket bonuses, then the recommended gems are:

If you have epic gems available to you with 50 stats on them, then you will definitely want to use the corresponding epic gem over the rare gem. The epic to rare gem mappings are:

ColorRareEpic
Red for Red socketsInferno RubyQueen’s Garnet
Orange for Yellow SocketsEmber TopazLava Coral
Purple for Blue SocketsDemonseyeShadow Spinel


Another item to note is that until you are able to replace all Inferno Rubies with Queen’s Garnets in blue and yellow sockets in which you previously broke the set bonuses, then you maybe be better off replacing the Inferno Rubies with Lava Coral or Shadow Spinel depending on the socket and socket bonus. For instance, if you previously had an item with a red and yellow socket with a 20 crit bonus, the trade off was 20 agi for breaking the socket bonus versus 40 crit for keeping the socket bonus. With an epic orange gem versus a rare red gem, the trade off is now 15 agi versus 45 crit. This is 3 crit per adi instead of 2 crit per agility and now makes the orange epic gem the better option over the red rare.

Hence, use the epic red gems in red sockets first so that you can get some use out of orange and purple epic gems in yellow and blue sockets, respectively, for DPS gains until you have enough epic gems to replace those as well.

If you are short of hit on gear, note that you generally do not want to put Glinting Demonseyes/Shadow Spinels into your blue sockets that grant poor socket bonuses or Rigid Ocean Sapphires/Deepholm Iolite (40/50 hit) into any socket. This is because you are sacrificing your #1 stat agility to get more of your #2 stat hit. This is not only a direct DPS loss but even a greater DPS loss over other available options. You are better off stacking the agility and then reforging the worse of your secondary stats to get the hit. An exception are cases where you are less than around 20/25 hit from cap and do not have any small hit reforge options. Adding a glinting gem in a blue socket with a good agility bonus and barely getting over the hit cap can be better than reforging a piece for hit and ending up well over the hit cap with more wasted stat points.

Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Set Bonuses

T11 Set Bonuses

The Tier 11 hunter set is called Lightning-Charged.

The 2-set bonus is +5% crit on SrS ticks. This is pretty weak for MM hunters. It is equivalent to the secondary effect of one point in the talent ISrS, which we do not take since it is a bad talent for MM. It is worth about 19.9 DPS in T11 heroic gear (up from 18.6 DPS in T11 normal gear). This is the difference between a SrS tick normal and crit damage (1195) * 0.05 then divided by the 3 second tick duration. Female Dwarf confirms my hand numbers. This bonus is poor for BM as well, but it is a little better for them due to their bonus AP. This bonus is best for SV since their talents provide a 100% damage bonus on SrS crits instead of the 50% we get and since their mastery increases the nature damage.

The 4-set bonus was improved in 4.0.6 to reduce the base cast time of SS by 0.2s. This reduction is applied prior to the application of any haste; hence, the new SS casts times are not 0.2s faster with the 4-set. They are 0.2s / current haste amounter shorter. Thus, with only haste from the raid buffs and none from gear or Pathing, the reduction in your SS cast time is 0.2s / (1.15 * 1.1) = 0.158s, which is still significant. How much DPS the 4-set bonus provides is significant but difficult to quantify since it depends on many factors, including your average ilevel, shot selection, and haste amount. For the T11 heroic gear set up I used in some analyses, dropping one piece in the T11 4-set was a 584 DPS loss (well above any DPS differences between the 2 372 ilevel pieces).

T12 Set Bonuses

The Tier 12 hunter set is called Flamewalker’s.

The 2-set bonus is that SS casts have a 10% chance to trigger a Flaming Arrow (FA), doing 80% of weapon damage as a fire damage. This is a very beneficial 2-set bonus since we get the benefit naturally by casting SSs and considering all of the SSs that we perform. With doing 4 to 5 SSs per 10s, on average this results in a FA about every 20 to 25s. In the FD simulation at the 12.93% haste level in 378 gear, a FA occurred about every 21.5s and accounted for about 400 DPS. Fully raid buffed, the each FA did about 96% of autoshot damage due to the buffing of magic damage on targets.

The 4-set bonus is that autoshots have a 10% chance to cause our next shot or Kill Command to cost not focus. Note that this proc is only consumed by abilities that cost focus; hence, it will never be wasted on a SS, KS, MMM AI proc, or other non-focus costing shots. This can also be a very beneficial bonus since it provides additional focus to possibly use to perform more damage. Note though that the benefit from this ability does have some limitations. If your rotation over a certain fight phase already has the minimum 4 SSs and is focus balanced, then the additional focus generated by this proc could just be wasted focus. Luckily, we are not always in such situations if we ever are. Anytime your normal rotation is focus negative, this proc can help make it focus positive or at least less focus negative. Furthermore, if your rotation has extra SSs required to balance focus, this proc will help reduce or eliminate the number of those additional SSs needed. When under dynamic haste effects with casting AIs and not performing a tight CS rotation, these procs will usually power additional AI casts for more DPS.

T13 Set Bonuses

The Tier 13 hunter set is called Wyrmstalker’s.

The 2-set bonus is that SS casts provide double the focus base gain. This effects the normal 9 focus that SS generates but does not affect additional SS focus generation from Termination. Hence, each SS generates 18 focus instead of 9 focus. With 1/2 Termination, each SS generates 21/24 focus instead of 12/15 focus. This bonus is very powerful.

For AS focus dump cycles, the minimum 4 SSs per CS cycle now generate 72 focus instead of 36. Without the CS glyph, a typical AS focus dump cycle performs a CS and 3 ASs, costing 110 focus, resulting in a net focus from shots of -38 focus, which is more than made up for by our base focus regen, which recovers about 45 focus per CS cycle at about 13% haste from gear and Pathing. Add in the focus savings from MMM AI procs replacing an AS, and the AS focus dump cycle is always way focus positive. This means that the AS focus dump cycle with this tier bonus never has to perform an extra SS to balance. In fact, with standard haste amounts, each CS cycle can waste upwards of 16 focus per cycle.

For an AI focus dump cycles, roughly every 5 to 6 SSs generate enough extra focus to cast an additional AI than what was possible previously. The result will be casting more AIs with requiring less SSs to do so.

The T13 4-set bonus provides a 30% haste proc on AS casts for 15s. This is basically a mini-Bloodlust and is also very powerful since that much haste will result in additional AIs. The current understanding of the proc is that each AS has a 40% chance to proc it and that the proc has a 105s ICD. Using a binomial estimation, a 40% proc rate means that on average a proc should occur after 2 ASs (64% chance) and that we should almost be guaranteed a proc after 5 ASs (92% chance).

The trouble with this powerful bonus is that it is actually counter to the focus dump choice trend as gear scales. As gear scales and we have more and more static haste and sources for dynamic haste effects, we tend to want to cast a larger percentage of our focus dumps as AIs, with casting AI all of the time as our focus dump being the ultimate goal (except when moving or in jeopardy of interruptions). The huge benefit of this 4-set bonus will now require us to cast ASs periodically in order to gain the buff. When the buff is active, then we will want to utilize that haste to cast AIs. Once the buff is worn off but the ability is on ICD still, then we should use our focus dump of preference (AI for most of us). Once the proc comes off CD, then generally we will want to cast ASs again to proc it. That will be the general case with this T13 4-set bonus; however, there are some situations in which we probably will want to delay casting ASs to get the proc.

These situations include:

Thus, generally, we are only going to want to cast the ASs to get the haste buff when we are outside the CA phase and not under other large dynamic haste effects. This situation can be gamed a little by trying to fit in RFs and BL periods in the deadtime after the haste proc has expired and while the proc is still on ICD.

The actual ideal strategy for utilizing the T13 4-set haste buff will ultimately depend on your specific situation and preferences as well as the actual final implementation of the proc, so the information above is still subject to change.

Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Consumables

Use Flask of the Wind (300 agi) or a Cauldron of Battle.

Similarly use a 90 agi food, such as Skewered Eel, a Fortune Cookie, or a Seafood Magnifique Feast.

The best DPS potion is Potion of Tol’Vir (1200 agi for 25s). You want to use it during Rapid Fire or Bloodlust when you have more shots being performed. Prepotting works out nice since the benefit exists during the CA phase when SSs and AIs are hasted from RFs and almost guaranteed to crit.

Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Enchants

Excluding profession bonuses, the best MM hunter enchants are:

Optimizing Gear/Gems/Enchants/Reforges

Given all of the options we have for shuffling stats around now, it can be confusing to find the optimal way to select gear and gem/reforge it while remaining at the hit cap. Computational optimizers like Female Dwarf can assist with this, but knowing the basic guidelines can save you a lot of time when going over your options.

This is a basic way to approach reforging that covers most situations:

1) In each slot, put on your best individual DPS item, ignoring the hit cap. This will generally be your highest item level mail item, preferring hit/crit over mastery/haste.

2) Gem in the way described earlier.

If you are under the hit cap of 961:

3A) Start reforging mastery to hit. If you still need more hit, then reforge crit or haste, if have more than you ideally need, to hit.

4A) If you still don’t reach the hit cap, don’t worry about it. It’s generally not worth giving up agility (via gems or using lower item level gear) to get more hit rating but if you have a reasonable socket bonus you can gain by using a Glinting, then you may want to do so.

If you were over the hit cap of 961:

3B) Start reforging hit to crit on pieces with haste and no crit and to haste on items without haste if you could use more.

4B) Then start reforging hit to mastery on any items without mastery

5) Once you are at hit cap, if any of your items are hit/mastery and unreforged, you can reforge the mastery to crit or haste as long as you stay in a good haste range

6) There’s some possible further optimization by reforging haste/mastery to hit on some items and reforging the hit back to crit on others, but worrying about that is for the hardcore optimizers.

Note that the reforging suggestions above are those that play exclusively as MM. If you are a hunter than switches between MM and SV a lot, you are probably better off reforging for mastery instead of haste. Doing so is a relatively small DPS loss for your MM spec (a couple hundred DPS at most) but a large gain for your SV spec due to how much more important mastery is for SV over haste.

Professions

The following professions are all roughly equal and good options for MM hunters:

The remaining professions are weaker:

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Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Shots and Shot Priority/Rotation

There are a few general concepts that should be understood concerning hunter rotations and abilities. These include:

Passive Attacks: Attacks that are generally continuously performed by you while in combat and after initiating attacks. These include autoshot/autoattack and standard pet attacks. Once you have initiated attacking a target, your autoshots are performed continuously at the current hasted speed of your ranged weapon as long as you maintain LoS to the target. Furthermore, if you get too close to a target, you may automatically take a melee attack instead of an autoshot. Once your pet has been sent to attack a target, it continues to do so until the target dies or you recall it. Your pet continuously performs its basic attack, its melee attack, and any of its special attacks that are enabled as they come off CD. Any ability where you have to hit a button to cause a single instance of it to be performed is not a passive attack.

Passive Procs: A random attack or ability performed by you without having to take any specific direct action to cause them. These include our mastery bonus Wild Quiver, which randomly does bonus damage off our ranged attacks. Passive Procs also include the T12 2-set bonus (Flaming Arrow), pet focus gains from GftT and Sic’Em, and extra damage from Piercing Shots. Passive Procs also include the procs from trinkets and other equipment, such as a scope.

Single-Use Attacks/Abilities: Attacks or abilities in which only a single instance of it is performed per each initiation of the attack or ability. This includes most of our attacks and abilities listed in 6.1, such as Chimera Shot, Raptor Strike, Kill Command, Hunter’s Mark, and Readiness. I classify these into five groups: Primary CDs, Focus Dumps, Focus Gains, Active Procs, and Utilities.

Primary CD: An attack or ability that has a CD and whose impact is significant enough that our rotations are designed around maximizing their number of uses. These abilities do not necessary have to be used immediately off CD, but it is generally best to utilize them shortly off CD. The Primary CD for MMs is Chimera Shot, with the goal to fit in as many other shots as we can between its uses. Another Primary CD, but of longer duration for MMs, is our Rapid Fire and Readiness combination. Kill Shot is also a Primary CD when it is available, but Chimera Shot has priority over it. For AoE situations, Explosive Trap is the Primary CD ability.

Focus Dumps: A high damage ability that costs focus but does not have a CD so that we can use it as often as we want to utilize our focus. For MMs, the two focus dump choices for single target combat are Aimed Shot (AI) and Arcane Shot (AS). Although attacks like Chimera Shot (CS) and Kill Command (KC) do large damage and cost focus, they also have CDs, meaning that they are not focus dumps (although in special cases MMs may periodically use Kill Command like a focus dump). For AoE situations, Multishot is the focus dump.

Focus Gains: A damage attack that has no CD and also causes us to gain focus as a result of the attack. For MMs, the Focus Gain is Steady Shot, which provides 9 focus per cast.

Active Procs: A proc is a single-use ability that can only be performed if random conditions have occurred. For MMs, the primary active procs are our instant, focus free Aimed Shots from Master Masksman procs and our focus free Kill Commands from Resistance is Futile.

Utilities: All other attacks or abilities, regardless of whether they have a CD or cost focus. These are only used infrequently as a response to a certain situation and are not a part of the standard rotation. For instance, we normally do not use Tranquilizing Shot, but if there is an enraged target that needs to be calmed down, we can cast it on them.

Standard Shots and Abilities

The following is a list of the shots or abilities (in alphabetical order) that a MM hunter should normally be using on a standard boss fight:

Aimed Shot (AI): AI is a physical attack. The standard AI costs 50 focus and takes 2.9s to cast. It is also our hardest hitting shot, especially during the CA phase when it has 60% bonus crit. Hence, we want to use it as our primary focus dump during the CA phase. Outside the CA phase, due to its slow base cast time, we only want to use it as the focus dump when not moving or not in threat of being interrupted or having cast pushback and when sufficiently hasted such that its cast time is fast enough to make it worthwhile using (see 6.2.2 Aimed Shot versus Arcane Shot). The general guideline is to utilize AI as the focus dump when its cast time is less than 1.8s, with its use being preferential at cast times between 1.8 and 2s; otherwise, Arcane Shot should be used as the focus dump. Note that the AI hardcast locks out and resets your autoshot casts during its cast. A second version of AI is the focus-free, instant cast version from MMM procs. We want to use this version everytime it procs since it is giving us our hardest hitting shot for no focus cost and with minimum cast time. These procs should normally take the place of a focus dump (either AS or AI) or any extra SS beyond the 2 pairs to maintain ISS. Other benefits of AI include generating pet focus on crits due to Sic’Em, 60% crit bonus over the first 10% of target health due to CA, extra crit damage due to PS, and bonus damage due to RK. If you have the Aimed Shot glyph, 5 focus is refunded on crits.

Arcane Shot (AS): AS is a magical attack. It costs 25 focus, with the cost reduced to 22 focus with Efficiency. When moving, in threat of cast interruptions or pushback, or when at low haste levels, AS should be your primary focus dump. The exception is during the CA phase when AI should be used as the focus dump instead due to 60% crit buff on it in that phase. Even during the CA phase, you still may want to use AS as the focus dump when moving or when experiencing a lot of interruptions/pushback where you cannot effectively cast AI. Additional benefits of AS include its crits generate pet focus due to Sic’Em and it also applying the MfD effect on targets. The AS glyph increases its damage by 12%.
• Chimera Shot (CS): CS is our second highest damaging shot (especially when adding in the 30% crit damage bonus from PS) just behind AI during non-CA phases, refreshes our SrS, and heals us for 5% of our health pool. CS is a magical attack with a bas e10s CD. If you have MfD talented, then CS also applies the MfD HM-like effect to your targets. Since CS is almost our hardest hitting shot, you generally want to use CS off CD or shortly thereafter. At a minimum, CS should be cast soon enough to refresh SrS before its duration falls off. When using AS as the focus dump, you want to cast CS as soon off CD as possible since it does so much more damage than AS. When using AI as your focus dump, CS only needs to be cast soon enough to refresh SrS since AI does comparable damage. CS costs 50 focus, with the cost reduced to 44 focus due to Efficiency. You need to make sure to conserve enough focus to be able to cast CS off CD and to extend your SrS. On new targets, you will prefer to open with CS if it is off CD to mark the target with MfD if in combat. The CS glyph reduces its CD by 1s to 9s.

Explosive Trap (ET): ET is the trap that we will primarily use for damage since it does AoE damage and since if the target stays in the effect the entire time, it actually does more damage on a single target than Immolation Trap. It is often used with Trap Launcher (TL) with preferably being able to use TL before the pull to save the button pushing out of combat and to allow the TL focus cost to regen some prior to combat. Then in combat it is just the matter of placing where the trap should land and then starting attacks. The Trap Mastery talent in the SV tree increases its damage by 10/20/30%.

Feign Death (FD): As always, FD is the main method for a hunter to manage its threat and should be used when necessary to drop all threat from a target. FD can also be used to cancel some enemy casts that are targeting you while they are being cast.

Hunter’s Mark (HM): HM applies a debuff to the target that allows you and your pet’s attacks (as well as those for other hunters) against that target to do extra damage due to additional AP. HM is instant cast and costs no focus, but it does cost a GCD. As such, HM should generally only be used out of combat to mark a target pre-pull. HM should not be used in combat to mark a target since MMs get free HMs on every target we attack with CS or AS due to MfD. MfD allows us to use the GCD that we may have used to HM the target to do damage instead while still getting the HM benefit.

Kill Command (KC): KC is a physical attack that costs 40 focus. If you do not have RiF, then you generally do not want to be using KC since it does only a little more damage than AS at a lot higher focus cost and without the additional MM benefits that AS provides. The exceptions are if your pet is on the target but the target is out of your LoS where you cannot shoot it or if you have a T12 4-set proc and prefer to consume the proc with KC, if available, instead of AS. If you have RiF, then you want to use focus-free KC when RiF procs as discussed previously. The KC glyph reduces its focus cost by 3.

Kill Shot (KS): KS is a physical attack that is instant cast and costs no focus and has a 10s CD. It is currently our third hardest hitting shot well below CS and AI. Hence, KS is not much of a Kill Shot anymore. Its main benefit is that it is a focus free higher damage additional shot during the last 20% of target health. The Kill Shot glyph resets the KS CD (with a 6s ICD) whenever your KS does not kill the target.

Misdirection (MD): MD is an ability that when applied to a friendly target (preferably a tank or your pet) transfers the first 4s of your threat production temporarily to the target. The threat transfer in Cataclysm goes away after 30s. MD should normally be used at the start of combat or during combat when new targets spawn to help get the targets to the tanks. Other than that, there generally is not a need to use MD during combat, with the main exception being to help get mobs off healers who have drawn healer aggro and who cannot run to the tank to have them pulled off. The Misdirection glyph resets the CD on MD whenever it is cast on your pet; however, you are unable to recast it on your pet until the current 4s MS effect wears off it.

Multishot (MS): Multishot is the main AoE focus dump. Multishot hits all targets within a cone relative to the main target. In addition, our Mastery, WQ, has a chance to proc off of each of the shots of the MS, providing additional damage potential. MS benefits from the talent Bombardment as discussed previously. Currently, MS on a single target does about 76% of the damage of AS and 22% of the damage of AI, when also factoring in the average WQ benefit. Thus, when using AS as your focus dump, MS does more damage (including the benefit from possible Sic’Em procs from AS) if there are two or more targets and costs about the same focus when Bombardament is in effect. Thus, when there are at least 2 targets, it is better to use MS instead AS as your focus dump. When using a full hasted AI as your focus dump, 5 targets are required to make MS the better choice as a focus dump since it does a little more damage (making up for Sic’Em procs) and costs less focus. When AI casts are slower, less targets (3 or 4 depending on the cast time) are needed to make using MS the better choice of a focus dump than AI.

Rapid Fire (RF): RF costs no focus and is instant cast. It provides a 40% haste buff (50% if glyphed) for 15s. This haste provides both increased SS, AI, and autoshot frequency and higher focus regen. In addition, with RR, you gain an additional 4 fps during RF. Thus, during RF, you generally have a lot of focus to dump and your SS to regain focus are much faster allowing more focus dumps per CS cycle. RF has a 5 min CD that is reduced to 3 min with Posthaste. As discussed previously, this makes the RF CD coincide with the Readiness CD so that you can ideally use Readiness to refresh your RF CD for back to back RFs. You generally want to use RF at the start of combat so that you will have a better chance to use more RFs during that combat later and to shorten the AI cast times during the CA phase. An exception to this rule is if the raid is using Bloodlust at the start. Since it is not ideal to stack the large dynamic haste effects, you may want to delay the use of RF until after Bloodlust as long as it doesn’t result in less RFs during the fight.

Readiness: As discussed earlier, Readiness refreshes the CDs on all hunter specific abilities, such as CS, KS, RF, Disengage, etc. It does not refresh the CDs (or ICDs) on gear-related or other CDs, like those from trinkets or tier sets. For maximum DPS, Readiness should be used to reset the CDs of RF and CS. Readiness can also be used if necessary for survival to reset MD, FD, Disengage, and Deterrence.

Serpent Sting (SrS): SrS is an instant cast shot that costs 25 focus and applies a DoT to the target that ticks every 3s for 15s total (hence, 5 ticks). SrS does not do any immediate damage on cast (unless you are talented into ISrS). As discussed earlier, CS, which should usually be cast off its CD, refreshes the full duration of SrS on the target in such a way that ticks continue to occur every 3 seconds from when the original SrS was cast. SrS should only be cast once on a target with CS refreshing its duration. It should only be recast if it falls of the target. Since SrS only does a little more damage than an AS for about the same focus cost, SrS should only be cast on targets that are going to live long enough to experience at least 4 to 5 ticks. Thus, if the target is going to die in less than 12 to 15s, it is not worth casting SrS on it. The SrS glyph increases the crit chance of its ticks by 6%.

Silencing Shot (SilS): SilS was discussed previously. SilS is an instant cast, focus-free shot that does no damage but also does not cost a GCD. Its benefit is to interrupt casts and silence targets. There may be specific fights where you actually need to use SilS to interrupt or silence as part of the strategy, but generally you do not and can instead use it to silence caster targets and save the raid from the impacts of whatever the target was casting. Note though that on fights where you are not on interrupt duty and others are, that you want to make sure not to use SilS since you can throw off their interrupt timing. The SilS glyph returns 10 focus on SilS casts that interrupts the targets cast.

Steady Shot (SS): SS is a physical attack. It is our focus gain shot that not only costs no focus but also generates 9 focus per cast (up to 15 focus per cast on targets with < 25% health if talented for Term). Note that with the T13 2P that the 9 focus per cast is increased to 18 focus per cast. Its main use is to generate the focus that our focus costing shots require. However, it has many additional benefits for MM hunters. The largest of these is the 15% haste buff from ISS, which was discussed previously. To maintain this at 100% uptime, we generally want to fire at a minimum 2 SS pairs (4 total) per CS cycle. SS casts also have a chance to proc MMM as discussed previously for focus-free, instant cast AI periodically and to proc FA for free fire damage. With at least 4 SSs per CS cycle, you can expect a MMM proc on average about every other cycle and a FA proc a little more than every other cycle. SS also benefits from PS doing extra damage when it crits. SS also receives a 60% crit bonus during the first 10% of the targets health from CA as discussed earlier. Finally, SS benefits from RK and gets the damage bonus, although it is preferred to use it on CS or AI if available. SS is our most used special. The SS glyph increases its damage by 10%.

In addition to the above listed shots and abilities, hunters have many more shots and abilities that are not generally used on standard fights and are only used in specific situations or as preferred by an individual playstyle or raid strategy. These include Concussive Shot, Disengage, Distracting Shot, Deterrence, Master’s Call, Mend Pet, Revive, Scare Beast, Scatter Shot, Tranquilizing Shot, Widow Venom, the various Aspects, and other traps. This results in a large list of abilities and with hunters having one of the busiest sets of ability bars.

Shot Comparisons

This section address some questions that have been asked over time concerning which shots to use. The summary is:

For more detailed information for each case, refer to the pertinent subsection.

Note that most of the analysis below was performed using T12 heroic gear and is not updated for T13 gear since I do not anticipate that the gear increase will change the decision in any of the cases below.

Steady Shot versus Cobra Shot

One of the most frequent questions or debates early in Cataclysm is whether we should be using Cobra Shot (CoS) as our focus gain shot since it does more damage with better scaling. Although CoS is the definitely the filler shot that BM and SV should use, it is definitely not for MM.

Despite the lower damage, SS is the focus gain shot for MM for the following reasons (using the 391 gear set in FD):

In this 391 gear analysis in Female Dwarf, a MM rotation using SS instead of CoS as its filler shot does about +5000 DPS because of all of the factors listed above. That number does not include replacing the SS glyph with another glyph, but a glyph change to the 4th best MM option is not going to increase DPS by more than a couple hundred.

Aimed Shot versus Arcane Shot As Focus Dump

Another debate is which shot should be used as our focus dump, Aimed Shot or Arcane Shot. From the analysis below using FD data for a 391 gear set and from in game observations, it is not 100% clear to me which should be used as the general focus dump all of the time since both have merits in different situations, but I believe that it should usually follow the general decision process below depending on your AI cast time.

When AI cast time is > 2s, use AS
When AI cast time is < 1.8s use AI
When AI cast time is between 1.8s and 2s, the choice of focus dump is preferential (I usually switch around 1.9s)

Additional items that affect the decision on which focus dump to use include:

Here is the analysis using a 391 gear set in FD. From my FD analysis using the Best Possible DPS thread cases for both the AI only and AS when unhasted focus dump cases, using AI as the focus dump always seems to be theoretically the better choice by about 500 DPS (stats in both these cases are close enough for direct comparison). However, this is an idealized simulation for BIS gear and does not account for several factors that may affect players in general, including:

Note that due to the AI hardcast lockout and reset of autoshot that it is important to include an estimate of the lost autoshot DPS. In addition, the on average WQ and FA proc damage from the shots in the comparison need to be accounted as well. Note that this analysis does not include the additional T12 4-set procs to save focus due to not having autoshots locked out.

Here is the pertinent shot data from FD with including PS effects:

AI 56427 91896 (CA phase)
CS 53383
AS 14487 16226 (with AS glyph)
Auto 10006
WQ 9567 * 24.44% chance = 2338 WQ dmg per shot
FA 9706 * 1/7^ chance = 1387 per SS
SS 12468 20305 (CA phase) = 13854 21692 (CA phase) with including FA damage
SrS 16527 total, 3305 per tick, 11018 over 10s, 14323 over 13s
Crit 40.19% 100.19% (CA crit)

With applying a binomial probability on the 10% FA chance per SS, a FA should occur about every 7th SS on average.

Assuming that the AI cast lasts as long as 2 AS casts when under no dynamic haste effects (AI hardcast is 2s at about 11.29% haste from gear alone assuming 3/3 Pathing), then for the scenario of losing about 1.25 autoshots per AI:

AI + 1 * WQ vs. 2 * AS + 1.25 * auto + 3.25 * WQ
58765 > 52559

Note that the tipping point in this estimate is where about 1.75 autoshots is lost per AI cast. With lower gear, the tipping point is lower. It was 1.675 with 378 gear.

As mentioned, the above looks like AI is better as the default focus dump over AS; however, the numbers do not include the increased pet DPS from improved WH uptime due to twice the chance for Sic’Em procs (2 ASs vs 1 AI) and the additional chances for GftT procs from the additional autoshots. The AS case performed 40 more autoshots, with an expected 161 pet focus gained and 3 more focus dumps for an estimated 1.2 more Sic’Ems, resulting in a 2.2% difference in WH uptime and in slightly higher pet DPS (about 30 DPS). It also does not include any benefits from the additional chance for T12 4-set procs to save focus. Using a binomial probably estimate, the 40 extra autoshots in the AS case would result in about 6 more T12 4-set procs. The above numbers also do not include the adverse impacts to the AI case from moving and interruptions and pushback. The above also does not include the difference in focus costs. The AS case costs anywhere from 4 to 6 focus less. With the standard CS CD, that is from 0.4 to 0.6 fps, the equivalent of focus regen from 10% to 15% haste. The focus savings either requires less haste to support the rotation or allows more shots to be taken. Thus, it is believed that AS is the preferred default focus dump at AI cast times greater than 2s However, under ideal conditions and the proper set up, it is possible that AI can theoretically still be the better focus dump.

For more experienced players who want to maximize their DPS a little bit, one can choose to cast an AI as the focus dump instead of AS in situations where you are confident that you will be able to stand still long enough to cast AI without any interruptions or pushback.

During the CA phase where the average AI damage increases by about 35K and when we are usually under dynamic haste effects reducing its cast time, AI is clearly the superior choice as the focus dump.

During RFs and BL and any other sufficiently large dynamic haste effects, the AI cast time is reduced. This reduces the number of ASs (and Sic’Em procs) and associated WQs to compare it to (although the number of autoshots and its WQ chances should remain about constant due to the similar frequency/cast time) and pushes AI clearly ahead as the focus dump choice.

Aimed Shot versus Chimera Shot Priority

Another common MM debate is the priority of CS and AI. Is CS higher priority than AI and should be fired as soon off of CD as possible? Or is AI the priority with only needing to fire CS soon enough to extend SrS? During the CA phase is AI enough of a priority where we no longer want to cast CS and SrS during that phase? These questions are answered here.

In summary, AI damage outside the CA phase to just above CS, along with AIs longer cast time and autoshot lockout, the recommendations are:

Note that if you are analyzing the second case in FD that you need to properly account for latency and that FD can currently skew the result in favor of the AI only case in the CA phase due to the current modeling of saving focus for CS.

Assuming that the AI cast lasts about 2s when under no dynamic haste effects (AI hardcast is 2s at about 11.29% haste from gear alone assuming 3/3 Pathing), then CS and a partial SS can be cast during this time. At this haste, standard SS cast time is about 1.38s so about 72.5% of a SS can be cast in the remaining AI cast time after the CS. This analysis is done with assuming 1.25 autoshots are lost during the AI.

Outside the CA phase:

AI + 1 * WQ vs. CS + 0.725 * SS + 1.25 * auto + 2.975 * WQ
58765 << 81885

This clearly shows that when not in the CA phase or under dynamic haste effects that CS definitely has the priority by a large amount and should be cast off CD.

Now let us look at dynamic haste situations with using the best case scenario of a glyphed RF. At this additional haste, the AI cast time is 1.33, and the SS cast time is 1s. Thus, 0.33s of an SS can be cast during the extra AI cast time. The result is:

AI + 1 * WQ vs. CS + 0.33 * SS + 1.25 * auto + 2.58 * WQ
58765 << 76037

Thus, during dynamic haste effects outside the CA phase, you still want to cast CS off CD when possible. Note though that is some situations where there is a lot of extra focus in the rotation with firing CS just off CD that it can be beneficial to extend the CS cycle a bit to fire an additional AI (and maybe a focus balancing SS) to utilize that extra focus.

During the CA phase, both the AI and SS damage is higher. The result when unhasted is:

AI + 1 * WQ vs. CS + 0.725 * SS + 1.25 * auto + 2.975 * WQ
94234 > 87567
94234 < 101891 (with 13s of SrS)

This indicates that during the CA phase, even unhasted, AI has a much higher priority and that it is okay to delay CS cast; however, when also adding in the SrS damage, it is clear that you still want to cast both SrS and CS. Although the result is close, you get extra benefits from the CS and additional autoshots.

Hasted during the CA phase, the question is whether it is still worth casting SrS and CS. The result for the best case scenario of a glyphed RF is:

AI + 1 * WQ vs. CS + 0.35 * SS + 1.25 * auto + 1.6 * WQ + SrS
94234 > 78623
94234 < 92947 (with 13s of SrS)

Showing that forgoing CS and SrS may be slighltly better when ignoring the additional benefits of the CS and additional autoshots. Furthermore, as the haste amount is decreased, the difference between the two becomes smaller until the inflexion point.

Hence, although as a preference one could forgo CS/SrS in the CA phase, especially when hasted by glyphed RF, it may not actually be better to do so unless you have a larger amount of haste on gear than used in this analysis (11.29% or 1446 haste rating) or have additional dynamic haste effects above the RF, such as trinket procs. This is the case for the current end game hunters and the Best Possible DPS cases, such that it is safe to forgo CS and SrS during the initial part of the CA phase. Once either the dynamic haste effects wear off or the CA phase is complete, then SrS should be cast and CS used. For players with lower static haste amounts and no haste trinkets, it is better to still use CS and SrS in the CA phase.

Steady Shot Spamming vs. Arcane Shot outside the CA Phase

Another case that has been proposed is to only spam SSs between CS casts when not in the CA phase instead of using AS as the focus dump. This is not recommended.

It is possible that doing only SSs between CSs instead of using AS as the focus dump may be an increase in hunter only DPS. This is because although SS does less damage than AS, doing just SSs results in more MMM AI and FA procs, which may make up for the lost damage of using SSs instead of ASs. However, several factors make the SS spam situation inferior to using AS to dump focus.

1) When not using AS, you lose a lot of Sic’Em procs, resulting in lower pet WH uptime and DPS. The loss of pet DPS is greater than the gain in hunter only DPS resulting in an overall loss of DPS. If your pet is dead though, it may be better to spam SSs between CSs since Sic’Em does not matter then.

2) Although SS damage is not much less than AS damage, SS casts usually takes much longer than the AS GCD, actually making the cost of substitution higher. At the 5.4% haste level, SS casts are 1.5s, resulting in 3 AS casts only being able to be substituted by 2 SS casts. At the 12.93% level, SS casts are 1.4s, meaning that 3 AS casts can be substituted by only 2.14 SS casts. At the little over 20% static haste for the Best Possible DPS case. SS casts are about 1.28s, meaning that 3 AS casts can be substituted by 2.35 SS casts.

3) The comparison also needs to factor in that dynamic haste effects will favor the SS spam case over the using AS case since the dynamic haste effects reduce the SS cast time (up to the GCD) but not the AS cast time. However, since the recommendation is to use hardcasted AI while under large dynamic haste effects, this benefit for the SS spam case does not really exist since both cases should be doing the same shots while under large dynamic haste effects.

Hence, this trade off only really applies when not under dynamic haste effects and not in the CA phase. It also has less application during the KS phase where the addition of KSs results in less ASs to be substituted by SSs. Thus, the main phase to analyze is the Standard phase unhasted.

With using the tight CS-ASx3-SSx4 rotation at the 5.4% haste level to illustrate the change in hunter DPS, the trade off is the average damage of the 3 ASs plus their average WQ damage versus the damage of the 2 SSs that can substitute for the ASs plus 2/8ths of a AI plus 2/7ths of a FA plus the average WQ damage per shot for the two shots as shown below. Note that the 2/8ths of an AI is derived from it taking at best 8 SSs on average to proc an MMM AI with 2 additional SS chances to do so. The MMM AI proc actually takes the place of a SS with a 0.5s deadtime in the cycle that it occurs. Hence, the chance for the MMM AI proc actually reduces the number of SSs to a little below 2, but for simplicity and since the result is not close, I do not account for the reduction of the number of SS, which would reduce its number a little bit. The 2/7ths of a FA is derived from the 10% chance for a FA proc using a binomial probability requiring 7 SSs to proc and 2 additional SSs to proc them.

3 * AS + 3 * WQ vs. 2 * SS + 0.25 * AI + 2/7 * FA + 2 * WQ
56751 > 46492

Thus, despite that taking extra SSs beyond those needed for ISS and focus balancing in place of ASs results in more MMM AI and FA procs, it is a loss in hunter damage due to the slightly higher damage of AS over SS and the fact that you can perform more ASs than SSs in a set amount of time. Add on top of this the additional pet damage of the AS case due to more Sic’Em procs, using AS to dump focus instead of spamming SS is better. Using AI as the focus dump when sufficiently hasted is even better.

Note that faster SS casts close the damage difference between these two cases; however, the haste at which the two cases meet is around the point where you want to be using AI as your focus dump anyway since you are sufficiently hasted to do so.

Kill Command or Arcane Shot for T12 4-Set Procs

Another case that has been proposed is to utilize KC instead of AS for T12 4-set procs when it would be consumed by an AS. In these cases, using KC instead of AS is clearly better DPS when looking solely at the direct ability damage since KC does about 1.17 to 1.37 times as much damage (18983/19943 depending on whether an Orc vs. 14487/16226 depending on whether using AS glyph) and both are instant cast and cost no focus in this situation. The negatives of using KC instead of AS include:

Hence, I do not generally recommend replacing ASs with KCs for T12 4-set procs since there is very little overall DPS benefit gained, if any, at additional complexity in the shot selections with additional opportunities for human reaction inefficiencies. However, the difference is close enough where if you can perform the KS for AS substitution without adversely impacting your shot timing, then the choice is preferential. If you are an Orc with Command buffing pet damage, then the choice to perform the KC for AS substitution on T12 4-set procs is a little better but still not enough to warrant recommending the substitution. To corroborate this, FD shows only a 32 DPS gain with the substitution for an Orc who does not use the AS glyph (which is you are doing a decent number of ASs as this case assumes, you should use the glyph). For a Troll with the AS glyph, the substitution is a 20 DPS loss. Thus, the change is small either way, even with the sims perfect implementation of the substitution. With imperfect implementation, the substitution is probably a DPS loss even for an Orc without the AS glyph.

Since the substitution is not recommended and since when you can do replace the AS is variable, I consider the extra damage bonus damage and not anything that can be reliably counted upon. Thus, the rotation analyses will not explicitly account for the KC replacements.

Another question is whether with the T12 4-set procs possibly providing a lot of wasted focus whether it is better to use KC as our focus dump instead of AS all of the time. The answer here is that it is definitely not. As shown previously, even a sporadic KS for AS substitution for T12 4 set procs is about a wash depending on your race and glyphs. Using KC all of the time makes the situation worse since you lose even more Sic’Em procs, reducing pet WH uptime and DPS, and even more WQ damage. On top of that, KC has a 6s CD, meaning that it cannot replace every AS cast that you would want to make anyway. Furthermore, AS is a more efficient shot, with only costing 22 focus compared to 40 for KC. Hence, it does 676 damage per focus compared to 519 for KC. To make just one KC for AS replacement be acceptable from a focus balancing standpoint, your average CS cycle has to be wasting 18 focus per cycle. With KC having a 6s CD, you can possibly perform 3 KCs every 2 CS cycles or 1.5 KCs on average per cycle. For focus balancing, your CS cycle must be wasting 27 focus per cycle.

FD shows the case of using KC off CD but using AS otherwise when unhasted is a DPS loss. Just adding in the KC replacements is a 397 DPS loss. Then replacing the KC glyph for the AS glyph is another 380 DPS loss. Finally, moving points from BD into IKC is another 146 DPS loss.

FD shows the case of using KC as your focus dump all the time when unhasted as a DPS loss as well. Adding in KC and removing AS is a 646 DPS loss. Then replacing the AS glyph with the KC glyph is another 163 DPS. The DPS loss here occurred despite the fact that we went from a glyph with no DPS benefit to one with a DPS benefit. This is because the additional focus savings actually allowed more KCs to be performed while unhasted and took focus away from casting AIs while hasted resulting in less AI casts. Moving points from BD into IKC resulted in another 109 DPS loss.

Maximizing DPS

The first rule of DPS is not to talk about DPS. Actually, the first rule is to always be attacking (or waiting out a GCD after an instant). Anytime an attack ends, you should already have queued your next one (see below). Don’t delay a cast to make a decision or react to a proc, train yourself to start another attack regardless of what’s going on, and change the subsequent attack if necessary after you’ve had another second to think.

Use of Kill Shot with T13 2P

With the T13 2P resulting in our CS cycles to be better focused balanced that the focus savings benefit of casting KS is no longer much of a benefit. The only practical benefit of KS now is the damage it relative to the shot that it is replacing.

When using AS as the focus dump, it is always beneficial to replace an AS with a KS since KS does about twice the damage.

When using AI as the focus dump, it is almost never beneficial to replace an AI with a KS. Due to the damage ratio between the shots being about 1.75 and that we do not normally not cast AI unless its cast time is below 1.75s, an AI (unless cast with a long cast time) always does more DPS than KS. However, since KS does more DPS than the average DPS of an AI focus dump cycle (with factoring in the CS and SSs), it is still beneficial to use KS and to just add it into the rotation with delaying the CS cast 1 GCD.

Ability Queuing

First, recall that the client processes events when you release the key. Keep that in mind for learning your timing. Some mods have options to change this if you like (e.g. Clique).

Cataclysm introduced a new ability queuing system, similar to the single-spell queue in Wrath but more consistent and more customizable.

When you send an attack command to the server, if your character is unable to attack immediately (typically because it’s still casting or GCD-locked from your last attack), the server will see if you become ready to cast within a certain short window. If you do, it will begin the cast immediately. You can set the length of this window with an interface option called “Custom Latency Tolerance.” You want to set this value to a high enough amount that you can always press the next spell key comfortably before the current spell finishes, and never have a gap between casts. But you don’t want to set it too high, because you can’t change your mind after you queue a spell, so your reaction time is effectively slower if you “lock in” each spell a long time before it begins casting. Experiment and find something you’re comfortable with.

Latency

Even with ability queuing, some shots cannot have latency reduced or eliminated for them. These are instant cast abilities. Note that this also used to apply to any cast time shots whose cast time is reduced by haste effects to below the 1s GCD, but that at some point a change was made to allow us to start queuing the next cast once the previous cast ends even if the GCD has not expired yet. Thus, latency still has an impact on your rotations, especially with the number of instant cast attacks that MMs use.

Since latency levels vary from player to player, this guide does not attempt to take into account latency. All haste values quoted in this guide are with assuming a 0 latency situation. Depending on the typical latency that a player experiences and the number of shots impacted by it per CS cycle, a player will require additional haste amounts to counteract it and have the tight rotations specified.

For example, in a CS-ASx2-SSx5 cycle, three of the shots (CS and the 2 ASs) are affected by latency. If your latency is 100 ms. This is 300 ms or 0.3s lost per CS cycle. To reduce the value back to a 10s cycle, 3% haste is needed. To reduce it back to the 9s for a glyphed CS cycle, 3.3% haste is required. Note though that there is always a tradeoff in acquiring additional haste, it may be better for you to eat the latency and keep the delay in your CS cycle than to tradeoff other stats for additional haste. Whether acquiring more haste or not to account for the latency is an improvement or not depends on your situation.

Also note that FD by default incorporates 150ms of latency. To get results more consistent with the recommendations in this guide, you will either need to set the latency in FD to 0 or apply additional amounts of haste to make up for the amount of latency that you set in FD.

Shot Rotation/Priority

MM hunters do not have a set rotation. This is because what we need to cast differs under various haste effects and where we are on our focus bar. MM hunters use a priority system instead that defines which shot to take. In this guide, when I use the word rotation, I do not mean a fixed shot order, I mean a set of shots whose order is somewhat interchangeable and which is fluid under various conditions. When I list a specific rotation, that rotation is just an example rotation that could occur under the applicable haste and focus maintenance conditions.

The MM priority currently has a few high-level driving principals. These are

Single Target Shot Priority

  1. The general MM shot/ability priority is as follows for single targets:
  2. Shortly before combat starts apply HM to the target
  3. Shortly before combat starts cast MD on the target’s tank
  4. SrS (only if the target will live longer than 12s)
  5. CS if new target that is not marked to apply MfD or to refresh SrS
  6. AI MMM proc
  7. SS pair if no ISS buff
  8. KS
  9. RF
  10. Readiness (RD)
  11. AS (or KC with T12 4-set proc)/AI hardcast
  12. SS pair (if less than 3 to 4s on the ISS buff)
  13. KC (if have a RiF or pet is on the target and target is out of LoS)
  14. SS

At the start of fights on premarked targets, if you can start precasting an AI during the pull, then do so. Otherwise, I suggest starting with: SrS->RF->AI hardcast->SS pair to get the ISS buff to reduce AI cast times->AI hardcast-> AI hardcast-> Readiness->SS pair->continuing with the standard priority

I prefer to always start with SrS so I do not have to remember to apply it later and will have it on the target the whole time. It also uses up some focus that will regen during the first AI hardcast. I follow the SrS with RF to speed up the subsequent AI hardcasts and increase focus generation. I prefer to cast the first SS pair to start the ISS buff until after the first AI hardcast since that way I can take advantage of at least some of the focus generated by the SS pair. After the SS pair, I am usually at 100% focus and can follow them with an AI pair, which leaves me low in focus requiring another SS pair to generated enough focus to continue with the normal shot priority.

When switching targets, I suggest opening with CS if it is off CD to apply the MfD effect to mark the target. If CS is on CD for a while, you can optionally use an AS instead to mark the target.

Multiple Target Shot Priority

  1. The general MM shot/ability priority is as follows for multiple targets:
  2. Shortly before combat starts apply HM to the prime target (can be skipped if not enough time)
  3. Shortly before combat starts cast MD on the main tank for the targets
  4. Shortly before combat starts cast Trap Launcher and then ET
  5. At the start of combat, place ET where the tank will tank the targets (recast off CD if targets not close to dead yet)
  6. MS (plus the WQ procs)
  7. MMM AI (especially if your current target is about to die for chance of killing blow and 50 focus)
  8. KS (especially if your current target is about to die for chance of killing blow and 50 focus)
  9. SS (to regen focus for more MSs – can do a pair for the ISS buff and better focus regen)

It usually is not worth it to use RF and Readiness on AoE packs since those are usually trash and you want to make sure to have both ready for boss fights or they are usually adds and you instead prefer to utilize the RFs to improve your single target DPS. However, if it is a really difficult AoE pack of long enough duration, it may be beneficial to use RF and Readiness for the additional focus regen from RF and the faster SS cast times to power more MSs.

It is also usually not worthwhile to use CS on most multi-target situations. This is because its focus cost (44) is twice that of MS (20) if talented for Bombardment and it is in effect. Furthermore, as shown in the table below, at a little over 4 targets, the MS damage overcomes the CS damage. Considering the extra focus cost of CS, it really is not worth using in AoE situations until you have two or three targets.

# TargetsCS+WQMS+WQAS+WQ
1516961209917442
2516962419717442
3516963629617442
4516964839417442
5516966049317442
6516967259217442
7516968469017442
8516969678917442
95169610888717442
105169612098617442

Note that it is currently worthwhile to use the AoE rotation on packs of at least 3 targets. Single target DPS is generally better on packs of size 2, especially when under dynamic haste effects. However, on dual targets while unhasted, it can possibly be better to utilize the multitarget rotation as long as you are talented for Bombardment. This is because when Bombardment is in effect, your MSs casts actually cost less focus (20) than AS (22) and does more damage, especially when factoring in the additional WQ procs, as shown in the table above. The only thing lost by using MS instead of AS is the chance for Sic’Em procs, but the additional hunter damage outweighs the additional pet damage. The one concern with using MS on dual-targets is maintaining the Bombardment buff for the reduced cast cost while also still using CS, MMM AI procs, and cast SS pairs for regen focus. If you are able to maintain the Bombardment buff and still use your high single-target attacks, then using MS instead of AS is worthwhile; otherwise, it is not.

Also note that the DPS you do on the primary target is considerably higher than the DPS on the other targets due to the autoshots, SSs, MMM AIs, KSs, and extra WQs. Over a long duration AoE battle, the DPS on the primary target can still be more DPS than that on up to another 5 to 6 secondary targets as shown in the table below. On shorter AoE battles where most of the attacks are MSs, the percentage of the damage on the primary target is still higher than the secondary targets but a lot closer.

# Targets\DPSSingle-TargetMulti-targetOverall
121116513226248
2211161026431380
3211161539536512
4211162052741643
5211162565946775
6211163079151907
7211163592357039
8211164105462171
9211164618667302
10211165131872434

Shot Phases and Rotations

Now that we have discussed the general shot priorities, we can now discuss how they apply to actually playing your MM hunter. Depending on how you have spent your talents, there are up to four different phases of a boss fight. These are:

1) The CA phase. This phase only applies if you have at least 1 point in CA, which all MM hunters should. It applies over the first 10% of boss health.

2) Standard phase: This is the phase where the standard shot priority applies. It is in effect from boss health of 90% to 25% or 20% depending if Termination is talented.

3) Termination phase: This is the phase where the extra focus regain of SS applies if you are talented into Termination. It uniquely applies over boss health of 25% to 20% but also applies over the Kill Shot phase.

4) Kill Shot phase: This is the phase where KS become available. It applies from boss health of 20% to 0%.

In addition to the phases, your current SS and AI cast times affect how many shots you can take in a CS cycle and whether to cast CS off CD or just soon enough to refresh SrS. Your focus regeneration rate affects your shot selection as well. Since both your cast times and focus regeneration rate are a function of haste, what shots you can perform in a CS cycle is dependent on your amount of haste. Furthermore, whether you have the CS glyph of not also dictates how many shots you can take per CS cycle and the ideal amounts of haste to do so.

The basic overall premise of the MM rotation is to cast as many CSs and focus dumps (AIs or ASs depending on the fight phase or haste effects) as possible while maintaining sufficient focus. To help accomplish this, you need to consistently maintain the ISS buff to both reduce AI and SS cast time.

Although in some additional cases than previously listed AI may be the better focus dump for some people, this guide does not currently provide full support for any rotations beyond the recommended situations.

The following phase discussion will only focus on in combat shots. They will not discuss pre-combat preparations since they do not apply generically. Also, the use of RF and Readiness will not be explicitly mentioned since their casts are done only when available; however, the effects of being under RF are discussed. The rotation discussions will also not mention RiF procs since they do not occur predictably and since it is not part of the standard build. If you are talented for RiF, squeeze them into the rotation in a similar manner as MMM AI procs are.

Due to needing to focus balance your shots, your general shot selection should generally be 1 to 3 focus costing specials (CS, AI, or AS) followed by sufficient SSs to regen focus and refresh the ISS buff. If you do not care too much about maximizing DPS, then this general guideline should provide sufficient DPS at all times.

In the sections below, I provide suggested rotations for each phase, useful Prime glyph possibilities (CS, KS, RF, and AI), the two pertinent haste points (5.4% and 12.93% combined from gear and Pathing) for the base generic MM rotation without any set bonuses. These rotations are the shot selections that fall out of the shot priority for a given situation. These ideal rotations will need to be adjusted as dynamic events occur throughout the course of the fight, especially when under various dynamic haste effects.

Also since there are a large variation of possible shot selections to use, to limit the analysis, I am confining it to the current shot recommendations of:

Also note that when I list shot rotations, I am basically just listing the shots and not necessarily a specific ordering of the shots. The key is the shot selection with a player able to change the order of the shots within the limitations of maintaining ISS and the focus constraints. Thus, ignore anywhere in my shot tables where the focus goes over 100 or under 0 since the tables are just meant to determine the net results. Furthermore, although the rotation information may show where a MMM AI proc occurs, where it actually is used in the cycle is flexible as well.

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Standard Phase

Although the Standard Phase does not occur first in a boss fight, we will discuss the Standard Phase first since it is, well, the standard that occurs over the largest part of the fight, from 90% boss health to 25 or 20% depending on whether talented for Termination.

As discussed previously, the goals during this phase are:

Standard Phase Summary and Recommendations

For the 5.4% haste from gear and Pathing case:
– When unhasted:
— With the AI, KS, or RF glyphs, perform the following base cycle with MMM AI procs replacing an AS or the extra SS at about a 3 to 1 ratio in order to balance focus consumption. Note that on average this cycle has some small delay in CS cycle time that some additional haste can reduce.
CS-ASx2-SSx5
– With the CS glyph, perform the following base cycle with MMM AI procs always replacing an AS and an AS being replaced by a 5th SS roughly every 10th cycle to balance focus consumption.
CS-ASx2-SSx4
– During RFs:
— With the CS or KS glyph perform the following base cycle with MMM AI procs replacing an AI hardcast. For max DPS during RF pair but about a net 30 focus loss, perform this cycle. To balance focus, an extra SS is needed about half the time.
CS-AIx3-SSx5
— With the AI glyph, the same base cycle as for the KS glyph can be performed with only losing about 18 focus over the whole RF pair. If you want to balance focus, then it is suggested to cast an extra SS on non-MMM AI cycles.
— With the RF glyph, the same base cycle as for the KS glyph is performed with taking 0.74s less per cycle and with losing about 37 focus over the RF pair. Since the cycle will bottom out on focus, I suggest using one extra SS on a MMM AI proc cycle. If you want focus balance, then perform an extra SS on all MMM AI proc cycles.
– During BLss:
— With all glyphs perform the following base cycle with MMM AI procs replacing an AI hardcast and adding an extra SS on cycles with a MMM AI proc to eliminate the resultant deadtime in the cycle, increase DPS, and balance focus.
CS-AIx2-SSx5

For the 12.93% haste from gear and Pathing case:
– When unhasted:
— With the AI, KS, or RF glyphs, perform the following base cycle with MMM AI procs replacing the extra SS on every 3 of 4 procs and an AS on the other procs.
CS-ASx2-SSx5
– With the CS glyph, perform the following base cycle with MMM AI procs always replacing an AS and an AS being replaced by a 5th SS roughly every 10th cycle to balance focus consumption.
CS-ASx2-SSx4
– During RFs:
— With the CS or KS glyph perform the following base cycle with MMM AI procs replacing an AI hardcast. For max DPS during the RF pair about a net 37 focus is lost, perform this cycle. Since the cycle will bottom out on focus, I suggest using one extra SS on a MMM AI proc cycle. If you want focus balance, then perform an extra SS on all MMM AI proc cycles.
CS-AIx3-SSx5
— With the AI glyph, the same base cycle as for the KS glyph can be performed with only losing about 25 focus over the whole RF pair. If you want to balance focus, then it is suggested to cast an extra SS on non-MMM AI cycles.
— With the RF glyph, an additional AI and SS can be performed to increase DPS with the base cycle listed below with MMM AI procs replacing an AI hardcast. This cycle cannot actually be performed every cycle since it is focus negative and hits focus limitations. To fix this, an extra SS cast is required on all cycles with a MMM AI proc.
CS-AIx4-SSx6
– During BLss:
— With all glyphs perform the following base cycle with MMM AI procs replacing an AI hardcast. It is focus positive.
CS-AIx2-SSx6

Careful Aim Phase

Over the first 10% of boss health, the Careful Aim (CA) talent provides 60% additional crit to our SSs and AIs. This is especially nice since both shots get extra crit damage bonuses from PS. The increased average AI crit damage results in it being prioritized over CS during this phase (see 6.2.3 AI vs CS), especially since you should be operating during this phase with dynamic haste effects over as much of this phase as possible to maximize AI DPS. We generally still want to use SrS and CS during this phase; however, since CS is lower priority, you do not need to use it off CD. You only need to use it soon enough to refresh CS. Optionally, you may choose to forgo SrS and CS.

For those of you with the CS glyph, it is useless for the most part in this phase since we are delaying our CS casts.

The general rules over this phase are:

Careful Aim Phase Summary and Recommendations
For the 5.4% haste from gear and Pathing case:

For the 12.93% haste from gear and Pathing case:

Termination Phase

The goals for this phase are the same as those for the Standard phase. If you are not talented for Termination, then this phase is the same as the Standard phase.

If you are talented for Termination, in lieu of more detailed information for this phase, assume that you are still performing the Standard rotation with focus being less of a concern with possibly being able to drop extra SSs from your cycle to replace with focus dumps.

Looking at the benefits of talenting Termination to this short phase, Termination is a DPS increase in all cases (both haste levels and both unhasted and under dynamic haste effects) since it allows you to be able to drop extra SS casts.

In many cases, the Term cycle is the same as the same as the cycle during the Standard phase except that focus levels are higher and extra SSs can be dropped. Hence, shot cycle information is not repeated unless it is different with referencing the cycles from the Standard phase.

Note that the effects of Termination during the Kill Shot phase are provided in section 6.5.5.

Termination Phase Summary and Recommendations

For the 5.4% haste from gear and Pathing case:

CS-ASx3-SSx4

For the 12.93% haste from gear and Pathing case:

CS-ASx3-SSx4

CS-AIx4-SSx5

CS-AIx3-SSx6

CS-AIx3-SSx5

As can be seen, an effect of Termination is that it not only increases DPS as compared to the Standard phase but that it also simplifies the cycles.

Kill Shot Phase

The Kill Shot phase applies over the last 20% of target health, at which point KS is available to use.

The Kill Shot glyph in theory allows you to cast back to back KSs on a 11s cycle.

If you are not talented for Termination, then the Kill Shot phase is very similar to the Standard phase with the exception that you have an additional instant cast, focus-free shot, KS, that you can perform up to every 10s without the KS glyph and more frequently with the KS glyph.

In general, adding KSs into the rotation is similar to adding in MMM AI procs. Both are instant cast, focus-free shots that do considerably more damage than AS or SS. The desire here is for KS casts to replace extra SS casts not needed for focus regen or AS casts.

Section 6.5.5 covers the case of the Kill Shot Phase when talented for Termination.

Kill Shot Phase Summary and Recommendations

For the 5.4% haste from gear and Pathing case:

CS-KS-ASx2-SSx4

CS-KS-AS-SSx4

CS-ASx2-SSx4

CS-KSx2-AS-SSx4

CS-KS-ASx2-SSx4

CS-KS-AIx3-SSx5

CS-KSx2-AIx3-SSx5

CS-KS-AIx2-SSx5

CS-KS-AI-SSx5

CS-KSx2-AIx3-SSx5

For the 12.93% haste from gear and Pathing case:

CS-KS-ASx2-SSx4

CS-KSx2-AS-SSx4

CS-KS-ASx2-SSx4

CS-KS-AIx3-SSx5

CS-KSx2-AIx3-SSx5

CS-KS-AIx2-SSx5

CS-KS-AI-SSx5

CS-KSx2-AIx2-SSx5.

Kill Shot Phase with Termination

This section investigates the benefit of Termination during the KS phase. Refer to 6.5.3 for general information in Termination and 6.5.4 on the standard rotation during the KS phase.

Kill Shot Phase with Termination Summary and Recommendations

ISS downtime cycles are not beneficial during hasted phases as discussed in the Termination section.

For the 5.4% haste from gear and Pathing case:

CS-KS-AIx3-SSx4

CS-KSx2-AIx3-SSx4

CS-KS-AIx3-SSx5 with MMM AI procs replacing an AI and a 6th SS on MMM AI proc cycles

CS-KSx2-AIx2-SSx4

For the 12.93% haste from gear and Pathing case:

CS-KS-AIx3-SSx4

CS-KSx2-AIx3-SSx4

CS-KS-AIx3-SSx5

CS-KS-AIx2-SSx4

CS-KSx2-AIx2-SSx4

Other Information

Movement

Movement will always be a negative situation for a MM hunter compared to a standstill fight; however, we have many tools to limit the adverse effects of moving. These include:

One tool that we no longer need to employ is stutter stepping since starting in 4.0.6, our autoshots still cast while we are moving.

It is important to understand all the tools that you have available as a hunter and how they can be utilized in various scenarios.

Pets

If all buffs that your pets can provide are already present in the raid, then the pet choice comes down to what type (Ferocity or Cunning) provides you with the most personal DPS. The answer depends on your gear, but generally a Ferocity pet is better DPS due to the benefits of Call of the Wild, which buffs both you and your pet’s AP. At currently available gear levels, the DPS difference between a Ferocity and Cunning pet is at most several hundred DPS.

Even if a Cunning pet and a Ferocity pet provide you with the exact same DPS, there are still choices to make. The Cunning pet does more of the overall DPS while the hunter does with a Ferocity pet. Thus, if its a fight with high hunter DPS uptime and lower pet attack uptime, a Ferocity pet choice will be better. Conversely, if the fight has high pet attack uptime but low hunter DPS uptime, the Cunning pet is better, especially since it relies less on its focus regen from the hunter who is doing less attacks to regen its focus.

If your raid is missing one or more buffs, then the pet choice should be the pet that provides the buff that has the largest raid benefit. Which buff that is depends on which are missing, your raid composition, and the relative DPS of each member. Consult your raid on which buff they want you to provide if there are multiple choices. Choosing a pet that buffs the raid, even if it is a personal DPS loss over other pet choices increases overall raid DPS. One final note is that if the chosen buff is provided by both Cunning and Ferocity pets, pick the pet type that is the best DPS for you.

Addons, Tools, and References

Addons

Tools

References/Guides

Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE Guide: Conclusion

With this Cataclysm Classic Marksmanship Hunter PvE guide as your compass, you’re equipped to navigate the challenges of Cata Classic PvE with precision and efficiency. Whether you’re fine-tuning your rotation or perfecting your gear setup, remember that practice and adaptation are key to becoming a formidable force in any PvE encounter. Embrace the thrill of the hunt, and let your skills as a Marksmanship Hunter shine as you embark on epic adventures in Azeroth.

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