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  1. #1

    Conando's Survival Hunter Guide (5.3)

    Welcome to the Conando Center for Hunters Who Can't Play Good
    (And wanna learn how to do other stuff, too)

    Introduction

    So here's the deal: currently, IcyVeins has a great SV hunter guide, located here: http://www.icy-veins.com/survival-hu...-pve-dps-guide

    It was recently remade with the help of Blood Legion's Kennyloggins and does a great job of covering the basics of the class. There's really no use restating all of that here, so that's the place to go if you're looking for a basic, comprehensive overview of the class.

    However, there is still a bunch of basic theory crafting stuff that isn't covered by basic guides and keeps coming up in the forums. That's what this is for -- to consolidate a lot of those answers into a single place and provide an advanced supplement on how to be less terrible at hunter.

    Table of Contents:

    I: Gearing
    II: Rotation and Priorities
    III: How To Be Less Bad (Optimization)
    1. World of Logs
    2. Comparebot
    IV: So Should I Ever Delay a Shot To get Explosive Shot/Glaive Toss Right off of Cooldown?
    V: But Conando, I'm Just Not Skilled Enough to Get Everything Right Off Cooldown
    VI: Kill Shot Weaving
    VII: What Happened to Weaving Explosive Shots?
    VIII: Pets
    IX: Which Abilities Update Dynamically?
    X: Conclusion

    I: Gearing

    As mentioned in IcyVeins, the general priority system goes Agi>Hit+Exp to cap>Crit>Haste>Mastery

    The best way to determine everything past that is to just simulate your character. Both the web based FemaleDwarf and the downloadable Simulationcraft program do great jobs of this and are fairly easy to learn. In the end, the answer to every last question you'll ask is, "You should sim it." Unless the question is, "Should I fight this angry Samoan over here?" In that case the answer is always no. Are you crazy? Never mess with a Samoan. Trust me on this.

    With that said, it's important to note that hunters scale mainly off of agility in both single target and AoE situations. This is important for a few reasons:
    • It may mean breaking socket bonuses to get more agility. The best way to determine when to do this is by simulating your character, but generally 1 agility is worth at least 3 of a secondary stat.
    • It usually means that item level is king when determining if something is an upgrade. While other classes may forgo a higher item level item for one with more desirable second stats, it's almost never wise to do this as a hunter.

    A lot of people have been experimenting with Haste>Crit builds, so let me proactively address why I don't believe in these at all:
    • Even if haste held a slight advantage in single target (which no reliable sim shows), crit holds a clear advantage in AoE.
    • People seem to perceive haste's effect on RPPM to be larger than it actually is. In reality, moving from a Crit>Haste to a Haste>Crit build will only increase your proc chance by a relatively small amount. That chance is real and it needs to be taken into account, but the notion of haste builds pushing your proc rates into overdrive is just an exaggeration.


    II: Rotation And Priorities

    There's an important point at the center of everything I'm about to say:

    Perfect DPS would be getting every ability exactly off of cooldown, never focus capping, and being completely GCD capped. That's the (impossible) goal we're aiming for.

    With that in mind, let's talk about the rotation. In terms of Damage per Execute Time (or in layman's terms, which abilities hit the hardest), the order goes:

    Stampede > Murder of Crows > Black Arrow > Kill Shot > Explosive Shot > Arcane Shot > Cobra Shot

    But remember what I said -- the goal is to never miss a cooldown. When we go to build a priority list, we have to balance how hard each ability hits with how likely it is to lose a cooldown if we delay it. So, for example, Stampede hits the hardest, but it's difficult to lose a Stampede use because you delayed it for too long. On the flip side, Explosive Shot does less damage, but the short cooldown gives you a real possibility of missing multiple uses over a normal fight. So, considering that, the generally agreeable priority list goes something like:

    Serpent Sting > Explosive Shot > Kill Shot > Black Arrow > Glaive Toss > Murder of Crows > Stampede > Arcane Shot > Cobra Shot


    Ultimately, the most important thing to take away from that is that Explosive Shots are your top priority, mainly due to Lock N Load procs.

    I'm going to make a somewhat controversial point, though: all of this is less important than you'd think. Here's why:

    Believe it or not, just going by simulations, priorities actually aren't that important. In fact, a hunter performing a perfect rotation will only perform marginally better than a hunter performing a completely backwards one.

    Don't for a second think that I'm telling you not to care -- perfect priorities are still a DPS gain and important if you're serious about min/maxing -- but what I'm telling you is that priorities are absolutely never the reason that you're doing significantly less DPS than you should be.

    So why are you at the bottom of the meters? That leads us to the next section…

    III: How To Be Less Bad (Optimization)

    Like I mentioned earlier, perfection is getting everything as soon as you possibly can after it comes off of cooldown. Are you getting an Explosive Shot off every 6 seconds? Are you using a Glaive Toss every 15? Using every Lock n Load proc immediately after you get it? Problems with these things account for the vast majority of DPS problems.

    Luckily, they are easy to track and evaluate. There are two main ways to do this (both require you to have World of Logs parses):

    Method 1: World of Logs

    A really quick (and not entirely accurate way) of gauging a hunter's play on a single target fight is to look at ability uptimes. Ideally, a hunter should be at close to 100% uptime on Serpent Sting, around 43% uptime on Explosive Shot, and in the ballpark of 78% on black arrow. RNG and fight mechanics can push those numbers either way.

    As I mentioned, that method isn't entirely accurate. The correct (and more tedious) way to do it is simply to divide the total fight time by how many times you used the ability (both hits and crits). Specifically:

    Explosive Shot: Total fight time in seconds divided by: ((hits + crits) - (Lock N Load procs x 2))
    This number should ideally be less then 7. Perfect usage would put it around 6.2 or 6.3. Lock N Load procs can be found in the "Buffs gained" tab.

    Glaive Toss: Just pick one of the two categories and it's just the simple: Total fight time in seconds divided by (hits + crits)
    This number should ideally be under 16.

    Keep in mind that those numbers would be perfect play in a 100% patchwerk fight, and they're numbers that most hunters can't hit. They're simply something you're striving for, so if you're falling a bit short don't freak out.

    Method 2: Comparebot

    Simply go to http://raidbots.com/comparebot/ and enter a parse of yours and a parse from a top ranked hunter. Then compare how often you're using each ability and find which abilities they're using more than you. While this method only shows comparative data (as in, it's still possible that the hunter you're comparing yourself with isn't perfect), the advantage of this method is that it lets you see things like Arcane Shots and Cobra shots -- things that the other method can't really gauge.


    IV: So Should I Ever Delay a Shot To get Explosive Shot/Glaive Toss Right off of Cooldown?

    Generally, no. Delaying very small amounts (under half a second) is a DPS gain, but delaying things more than that (especially more than a global) is a larger DPS loss. Having a 6.0 sec/Explosive Shot means absolutely nothing if it comes at the cost of bleeding Arcane Shots.

    V: But Conando, I'm Just Not Skilled Enough to Get Everything Right Off Cooldown

    Addons. Addons Addons Addons. WoW is really just a game about information. They dump an almost impossible amount of information for you to sort through and if you can accurately react to everything, then your play will be perfect. That's how you improve as a player -- discovering what information you are having trouble reacting to and making it easier for you to manage by changing your UI. There are no epeen points for doing things purposely hard -- never has a top tier hunter criticized for using a UI that makes things too easy.

    Doing it your way is the most important part about this, so I won't tell you which addons to use. Go to www.curse.com and test some out until you find ones that work for you. Or go onto the UI sticky and see what other people have done.

    VI: Kill Shot Weaving

    Because Kill Shot has a flight time and only resets after the first shot hits the target, it's possible that you might not be able to do a straight Kill Shot -> Kill Shot at max range. While you should ideally just not be at max range whenever possible, if you find yourself in that situation it's best to weave an instant cast (Explosive Shot, Glaive Toss, Arcane Shot) between the first and the second.

    VII: What Happened to Weaving Explosive Shots?

    MoP changed the mechanics of Explosive Shot to make it impossible to clip. Even though you still lose ticks from casting several in a row, the damage of those lost ticks is rolled into the remaining ticks.

    VIII: Pets

    The basics of how pets work can be found in the IcyVeins guide and a complete list of all the pets and the buffs/debuffs they bring can be found at http://www.wow-petopia.com/ , so I won't go into that.

    One thing that needs to be mentioned though is that Tallstriders bring AoE sunder armor, which is the only AoE sunder in the game. It's the obvious choice if you don't need to bring another buff. They're also annoying as hell and totally worth it.

    IV: Which Abilities Update Dynamically?


    Stampede, Dire Beast, and A Murder of Crows all update dynamically, so there's no use to wait for procs to use them. Serpent Sting updates with each Cobra Shot, meaning that it updates constantly and there are no haste breakpoints. Black Arrow is really the only ability that snapshots stats and may be worth using in conjunction with procs.


    X: Conclusion


    As with anything, this is no means complete. I'm sure there are a ton of things I missed, so if you'd like to see more sections added just let me know!
    Last edited by Conando; 2013-05-26 at 09:10 PM.

  2. #2
    This thread looks great. The only thing I'd like to add is that the icy veins macro guide seems disappointing, and it even goes so far as to have a macro with /cancelaura deterrence and /cast deterrence in the same macro, which I believe can be harmful. I maintain a list of macros that I use that I can link to other hunters who ask, and hopefully these macros can serve as a better guide than the icy veins one (after they have been peer reviewed of course).

    The aptly named cutsmacro guide can be found here: http://finalcountdownguild.com/forum...ead.php?t=9578

    5.4.8 Update:

    My old guild's website went down for good I think, so I've updated the guide for 5.4.8 and reuploaded to paste bin:

    http://pastebin.com/Teegm3Fr
    Last edited by Cutsman; 2014-08-17 at 10:44 AM. Reason: fixed url

  3. #3
    Blademaster Thebigcheif's Avatar
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    I didn't check through the whole thing since it is quite long and I'm pretty tired but if it's all accurate it's got more info on hunter macros then anything else I've come across, here's your link: http://finalcountdownguild.com/forum...ead.php?t=9578

    Also great guide OP, answered a few small questions I hadn't found the answer to elsewhere like Kill Shot weaving and what updates dynamically. I had been kill shot weaving but wasn't exactly sure if it was a good idea or not, now I know, thanks guy!
    Last edited by Thebigcheif; 2013-05-26 at 05:08 AM.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the shout-out to the Icy Veins guide, I'm glad people appreciate it. As for your guide, I'm glad there is someone out there that knows to emphasize improving overall gameplay rather than focusing on minute details like the perfect opener. Your notes on World of Logs analysis are also spot-on with how I analyze performance, usually of other hunters.


    Not to derail this thread or anything, but I would like to address this post:

    Quote Originally Posted by Cutsman View Post
    This thread looks great. The only thing I'd like to add is that the icy veins macro guide seems disappointing, and it even goes so far as to have a macro with /cancelaura deterrence and /cast deterrence in the same macro, which I believe can be harmful. I maintain a list of macros that I use that I can link to other hunters who ask, and hopefully these macros can serve as a better guide than the icy veins one (after they have been peer reviewed of course).

    The aptly named cutsmacro guide can be found here: finalcountdownguild dot com/forum/showthread.php?t=9578

    It's not letting me post the full URL because I'm a new poster. If a mod sees this and finds the guide acceptable it'd be much appreciated if an unbroken URL was linked.
    Preface: I agree /cancelaura Deterrence/cast Deterrence is a dangerous macro, this slipped past me when I reviewed the guide.

    A lot of your macros are extremely specific. I'm not saying people shouldn't use your macros, I'm just saying you have to keep the scope of the Icy Veins guide in mind. It's not meant to be exhaustive. Since the goal is keeping the subject matter general, I think it's better to say that you shouldn't substitute a macro for another keybind except in specific cases. In general, I advocate only macroing different abilities together if there is a compelling reason to do so. Cooldowns are one of those things, because you can't realistically expect someone to press over 3 different keybinds at the same time without sacrificing performance. At the same time, I still have all my cooldowns keybound separately (I'm not going to imply that you would recommend the opposite). I draw the line somewhere: for example, I don't keybind Frag Belt, I just macro that into Arcane Shot, Multi-shot, and signature shots. I think the macros you listed could be good in some circumstances, but not something I would deem as necessary for maximum performance.
    Last edited by Kennyloggins; 2013-05-26 at 05:21 AM.
    Kennyloggins - im afk

  5. #5
    I looked at your argument that crit would be better than haste due to aoe and I decided that sounded reasonable. So I decided to test that using SimC. On a Patchwerk fight, my crit rating and haste rating are about equal giving me about 2 dps per crit or haste rating. On a HecticAddCleave fight, I found they are the same again, but at higher levels. I would be getting about 2.9 dps per crit or haste.

    At first I thought there must be something wrong with the program (and there still might be), but after thinking about it for a while I came to a different conclusion. Haste adds a lot of dps to aoe fights because of its focus regeneration. Not just passive focus regeneration, but Cobra Shot too. I know when I aoe, I Multi Shot then Cobra Shot then Multi Shot and so on until I need to Cobra Shot twice or three times, then I go back and forth again and throw in a Barrage (which is also effected by haste) once in a while. Therefore haste would allow me to use more Multi Shots.

    Tell me what your guys think.

    Just to be thorough, Mastery when from 1.27 dps per 1 Mastery in Patchwerk fights to 1.43 dps per 1 Mastery in HecticAddCleave.
    Last edited by transphenomenal; 2013-05-26 at 07:59 AM.

  6. #6
    I like to macro Cancel Aura to Kill Shot actually... the main reason being - there is no conflicting ability for 80% of the fight... and even in execute range - if you are keen to kill shot you'll wanna Cancel Auras anyway.

    This habit came from PVP where I utilize a lot of abilities I can't afford to waste, but it works out in raids as well.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Conando View Post
    Stampede, Dire Beast, and A Murder of Crows all update dynamically, so there's no use to wait for procs to use them.
    Thank you! I was just talking with another hunter about whether I should save procs for amoc the other night too.
    Last edited by Beebeey; 2013-05-26 at 03:32 PM.

  8. #8
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    Good post. The Icy-veins guide certainly has its uses, but it's also lacking a lot of the advanced stuff that you brought up here.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kennyloggins View Post
    Thanks for the shout-out to the Icy Veins guide, I'm glad people appreciate it. As for your guide, I'm glad there is someone out there that knows to emphasize improving overall gameplay rather than focusing on minute details like the perfect opener. Your notes on World of Logs analysis are also spot-on with how I analyze performance, usually of other hunters.
    Yeah, I purposely avoided talking about openers and macros because they just seem to attract never ending debate and there isn't really a clear best way to do it. And to be honest, while I have my own set of macros I know and love, I don't know if I'd say that SV really has any mandatory macros (like petattack macros are for BM). Luckily I think those are things that are debated and talked about enough that people can seek them out if they want.

    Quote Originally Posted by transphenomenal View Post
    I looked at your argument that crit would be better than haste due to aoe and I decided that sounded reasonable. So I decided to test that using SimC. On a Patchwerk fight, my crit rating and haste rating are about equal giving me about 2 dps per crit or haste rating. On a HecticAddCleave fight, I found they are the same again, but at higher levels. I would be getting about 2.9 dps per crit or haste.
    For AoE I just change the number of targets to 8 rather than going through their premades. Crit is the clear winner in those sims for me and I think real life scenarios logically push it up farther. If it's a quick AoE burn (like so many of them seem to be, whether it's Heroic Feng last tier or Lei Shen this tier), haste won't have enough time to make a contribution.

    Maybe there are some situations or gear levels where haste keeps up in sims, I honestly don't know, but the important thing is that I haven't seen one where it actually wins.
    Last edited by Conando; 2013-05-26 at 03:12 PM.

  10. #10
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    Me being fairly new to hunters (check my armory in sig if you'd like a laugh ) threads like these are very much welcome.

    Any information about Pet Assist? I've seen a vid today, "Why Pet Assist Can Screw Your DPS", in which the argumentation sounded fair enough. Care to elaborate about this?

    Also, shame they fixed Glyph of Direction. MD doesn't reset any more when used on a player
    Last edited by Maradar; 2013-05-26 at 05:05 PM.
    What? Why? When? Who? Which? How? Wait...
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Maradar View Post
    Me being fairly new to hunters (check my armory in sig if you'd like a laugh ) threads like these are very much welcome.

    Any information about Pet Assist? I've seen a vid today, "Why Pet Assist Can Screw Your DPS", in which the argumentation sounded fair enough. Care to elaborate about this?

    Also, shame they fixed Glyph of Direction. MD doesn't reset any more when used on a player
    I'm quite lazy with my pet control but they way i do things is i have pet on defensive and macro /petattack into serpent sting like this:

    #showtooltip Serpent Sting
    /petdefensive
    /petattack [@focus,exists,nodead,harm]; [@target] petattack
    /cast Serpent Sting
    It's very rare i need more pet control than that, and if you focus a small anima golem you can pet tank it just fine

    (I do also have petattack bound separately)
    Last edited by Dela2k10; 2013-05-26 at 05:32 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jhazrun View Post
    You know how people talk about how you could just make a piece of rock with a billion health and damage and call it "hard"?

    Ra-den is what you get when a designer thinks that's actually a really good idea.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kennyloggins View Post
    Preface: I agree /cancelaura Deterrence/cast Deterrence is a dangerous macro, this slipped past me when I reviewed the guide.

    A lot of your macros are extremely specific. I'm not saying people shouldn't use your macros, I'm just saying you have to keep the scope of the Icy Veins guide in mind. It's not meant to be exhaustive. Since the goal is keeping the subject matter general, I think it's better to say that you shouldn't substitute a macro for another keybind except in specific cases. In general, I advocate only macroing different abilities together if there is a compelling reason to do so. Cooldowns are one of those things, because you can't realistically expect someone to press over 3 different keybinds at the same time without sacrificing performance. At the same time, I still have all my cooldowns keybound separately (I'm not going to imply that you would recommend the opposite). I draw the line somewhere: for example, I don't keybind Frag Belt, I just macro that into Arcane Shot, Multi-shot, and signature shots. I think the macros you listed could be good in some circumstances, but not something I would deem as necessary for maximum performance.
    Thanks Ken. I agree with everything you're saying here. Many of my macros are for convenience, which would not necessarily increase your maximum dps. I'd also like to add something that should have been in my original post: aside from the /cancelaura deterrence macro all the information you provided or reviewed on icy veins looks great, and I'm glad someone from the hunter community is stepping up to contribute their knowledge in a guide form that is updated for the current patch. You too Conando!
    Last edited by Cutsman; 2013-05-26 at 06:12 PM.

  13. #13
    murder over blink strikes?

  14. #14
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    you should still wait for procs for stampede as you'll use it 2 times (most of times) in a fight, the first on the pull (prepotted and one trinket will almost surely proc in the first 2-3 seconds) and the second in the execute phase (you have all the time to cast it when buffs are maxed, rapid fire+trinket)
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  15. #15
    Really good job very good guide well done! )

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Danshot View Post
    murder over blink strikes?
    If I remember right, Crows came out to something like a 1000 DPS gain for me on Simcraft and a bit more on FD.

    Personally I don't really mind using Crows at all so I'll probably still end up taking it for the small gain, but 1000 DPS isn't as much as it used to be and I think Blink Strikes could be very viable on some fights. For example, on H Tortos people might think that not having to waste 60 focus you could be putting on bats would be worth the 1000 DPS sim loss. I think it will probably come down to a case by case basis with a lot of hunters probably just going with BS for everything out of laziness and eating the sim DPS loss.

  17. #17
    1.When people use FemaleDwarf, do you use any general settings to find out what's better/worse?

    2.How long is the fight when you simulate your character?

    3.Do you run few tests to find out what's best at certain fight length?
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  18. #18
    I normally do default on both, but sometimes I'll mess around with times to see if anything changes.

    By the way, I'm thinking of doing a BM guide. The only thing I don't know is how I'm going to format it. Combining it with this might make it too long and unruly, but a separate guide would be 70% the same as this. I dunno.
    Last edited by Conando; 2013-05-27 at 01:06 PM.

  19. #19
    I hope this will get sticked :P

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by khalamo View Post
    I hope this will get sticked :P
    It kind of already is: http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/...elpful-Threads

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