21/04/2011 - Version 1.0 release, updated for patch 4.06
25/04/2011- Version 1.01, fixed part on haste plateaus.
03/05/2011- Added links to loot lists in gear section.
27/05/2011- Added new link to wowreforge, corrected reforging flow chart and added useful addons. Updated status on wild hunt bug and pet talents. Added heroic encounter guide.
14/07/2011- Complete overhaul updated for 4.2
-pet focus bug now fixed
-updated for new gear
-updated encounter guides
-added AoE raiding spec
-updated orc racial ability
-added comments on engineering
-updated shot priority.
28/08/2011- Fixed some tooltips plus added in-depth analysis for 4part t12 bonus management.
07/12/2011- Updated for 4.3
-Dragon Soul encounter guides added
-Notes on buffs to survival spec
25/12/2011 (christmas day update!)
-Dragon soul normal encounter guide finished
-Dragon soul heroic encounter guides started
-Updated notes on haste plateaus
-Updated notes on shot priority with new set bonus.
-Updated for patch 4.3.2
-Updated notes regarding LnL changes
-Updated some stuff on encounter guides
-Corrected parts of rotation and priority section
-updated for 5.04
-updated for MoP release 5.05
-updated for 5.4.2 Siege of Orgrimmar
4.1- What pet?
4.2- Pet Talents
4.3- Handy Pet Tips
4.4- Pet Stances
- 5.0 Afterword, Acknowledgements and Addons
Playing wow again after a long time, seems survival is the preferred spec now, how times have changed! I had a read of the good old noxxic and icy veins guides and wasn't particularly happy with them so I decided to chip in a little again.
A little about me: I've currently participated in 13/14 normal boss kills in my 3 weeks back in raiding and on the brink of heroic modes.
So first and foremost:
Quite simply it's just a very strong spec now, arguably the highest single target dps out of the three and has good aoe (not as good as BM though) and extremely mobile.
What this guide will tell you
From pre-raid gear to detailed stat breakdowns, this guide will provide you all you need to know about raiding as a survival Hunter. As I progress I will also be updating and adding tips and tricks about every encounter.
Doesn't matter if you've just hit 90 or you've been wanting to try out survival for a while, this guide will have all you need to know.
Any information which is not my own I will list the links to in the last post so you can check it out yourselves.
Please feel free to leave comments about how to improve or additions to my encounter tips which I have not experienced yet!
2. Your Hunter
The most important thing when you dps, you have to get your hunter right in every way if you want to squeeze out every last drop of dps and this part will cover the bare bones of your hunter, the things that every hunter has.
Orc:- Command gives 2% pet damage plus their blood fury adds 4514 attack power at level 90 on a 2minute cooldown. Hardiness can also be useful for damage avoidance by being stunned for less time and therefore being able to move out of incoming boss mechanics, no such encounter exists in the Siege of Orgrimmar but this can be a useful passive for pvp if that is within your interests.
Troll:- Trolls gain 1% additional expertise and also have Berserking which is a 20% attack speed buff for 10 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown. Survivability is mildly improved by allowing 10% of your natural health regeneration to continue while in combat and also improves your total health regeneration by 10%. Da voodoo shuffle can also be useful in pre-empting damage by having movement reduction abilities reduced by 15% in duration: not useful in any boss encounters but can be useful in pvp.
Goblin:- Goblins have a 1% bonus to all attack and casting speed combined with the ability to fire a rocket which deals fire damage based on your level, this triggers GCD so not entirely that useful. Currently I do not know what it scales on as various sources have conflicting opinions, anybody who knows a conclusive formula please don't hesitate to post it! The rocket jump also shares CD with the barrage and arguably is more useful as it can save you from death if disengage is on CD.
Blood Elf:- The only racial trait that grants additional DPS is Arcane Torrent which restores 15 focus instantly on a 2 minute CD. Other significant racials include Arcane resistance which means you get 1% reduction in arcane damage, pretty sure no encounter in t16 has any arcane damage however.
Undead:- Touch of the grave is a proc which does around 15k damage with a 20% proc chance and roughly a 20 second ICD which also heals you for the same amount. It seems to be around a 1k dps increase 1% less shadow damage taken which is actually very useful on many encounters in the Siege of Orgrimmar.
Tauren:- 1% reduction in nature damage (Useful for dark shamans) and 5% increased base health (7500 approx. at level 90). War stomp can be good to stun cc-able adds.
Worgen:- Undoubtedly the race with the highest potential DPS. 1% additional crit plus a 40% movement speed buff (for 10 seconds!). They also come with innate nature and shadow resistance, having 85 of each at level 85.
Dwarf:- Second in terms of DPS. Gains an additional 1% expertise. Stoneform can be useful to remove harmful effects, but the majority of the damage is direct so only midly useful. Other racials do not benefit Hunters.
Draenei:- Comes just after Dwarves in terms of DPS. The only thing that adds directly to DPS is their 1% bonus to hit chance. This means you can spend your stat budget on other DPS enhancing stats such as crit/haste/mastery. 1% reduction in shadow damage and they also have a small heal for 20% of their max hp over 15 seconds on a 3minute CD.
Human:- No traits that benefit DPS directly, but every man for himself could potentially break movement and action impairing effects allowing your to either avoid damage or to continue DPS.
Night Elf:- Again no traits that benefit DPS directly, they have 1% nature damage reduction like Taurens and also have a 2% chance increased chance to dodge.
Pandas are currently the highest DPS race for alliance and are 3rd for horde coming behind trolls and orcs respectively. Their racial ability means that any stat food doubles in efficiency, effectively giving them 300 agility. Bouncy which reduces falling damage, is actually useful on the malkorok encounter.
Now with the release of MoP we have our new talent trees given to us. The choices in talents are quite even for pve in most situations but there are a couple which are mandatory for DPS.
A Murder of Crows
This does a lot of damage, the fact that it also has half the cooldown in the execute phase means it will be important in a lot of fights.
Thrill of the Hunt
Are all viable choices for raiding. Thrill of the hunt wins overall for any situation with AoE, with fervor coming fairly close behind. Dire beast should strictly be left for single target situations and potentially is the highest single target DPS talent. Personally I prefer thrill of the hunt since Arcane shot was increased to 30 focus, it helps me manage my focus better and not to delay higher priority shots.
Glaive Toss Is the preferred level 90 talents of choice. There have been arguments for Barrage on heavy sustained AoE fights such as Galakras, however I feel that the tradeoff for strong single target DPS that glaives provide is not worth it to cheese DPS meters and ultimately will end up with an overall loss in DPS.
The rest of the talents are up for speculation. Some fights may require heavy movement and deterrence soaking making Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera superior or there may be adds that need to be rooted making Narrow Escape the talent of choice. Otherwise Posthaste is superior as it allows faster repositioning.
I have found Binding Shot to be extremely useful on almost any encounter with adds. Galakras for example you can bind the bonecrackers and when they charge to do fracture they will automatically stun themselves. Many other adds can be stunned as well such as Immerseus blobs, despair adds on protectors, manifestations on Norushen, reflections on Pride, poison blobs on shamans, adds on Nazgrim, spoils adds, crawler mines on siegecrafter, blood blobs on the paragons and the whirling corruption adds on Garrosh. The only other useful talent in this tier would be Intimidation but I feel it's far inferior to Binding shot.
As for the survivability tier at level 45: Spirit Bond is superior for soloplay. Otherwise raiding and dungeons Aspect of the Iron Hawk will be preferred by healers. There may be some situations where Exhilaration could be useful when you are not guaranteed to be in range of healers for a burst of damage, however the other two are far more widely used.
Glyphs have seen massive change with the introduction of 5.04. There are no longer any required "Prime glyphs", only major and minor with small changes to some of your skills and not many have a direct impact on your DPS. I will list the ones I believe to be useful here
Glyph of Animal Bond
Glyph of Disengage
Glyph of Deterrence
Glyph of Enduring Deceit
The glyphs above are my recommended ones for raiding. Swap out Enduring deceit for disengage as needed.
Glyph of Black Ice Good for positioning if there is a fight where adds can trigger ice trap
Glyph of Tranquilizing Shot If we ever need to purge anything we don't want to be wasting focus on it.
These are the only ones I consider useful for raiding and I currently run with disengage, animal bond and deterrence.
There is only ONE possible glyph that could have an affect on DPS in pve and that is Glyph of Stampede. As far as I am aware all the pets summoned have their skills intact but do 25% of their normal DPS. If this is true and you don't have all 5 pets ferocity specced they will not all have rabid trained. Therefore this glyph ensures all 4 summoned pets have rabid trained and it will be a DPS increase.
The rest of the minors are completely personal preference and have no effect on DPS or raid utility whatsoever.
For convenience I would suggest going Alchemy, Leatherworking or Inscription. This gives you a great advantage when using flasks for raids and cheap and easy upgrades for your leg, wrist and shoulder armour.
For absolute min/maxing, you will want engineering. 1920 agility for 10 seconds every 60 seconds does average out to 320 agility but the burst and the potential stacking with other cooldowns makes engineering the profession with the highest potential DPS gain. You will want to use it on cd most of the time, but if you know that certain adds spawn and they coincide with your synapse strings cd, save it for them or save them for when you know your trinkets are off cd or for when your scope procs.
DO NOTE: synapse springs will put a 10 second cooldown on any on-use trinkets you have so those of you planning to use the pvp trinkets when they come out or are currently using flashing steel talisman must be VERY careful to not use the springs when you're going for a big lynx rush with trinket up.
Remember: HUNTER'S WEAR MAIL.
There is absolutely no excuse to be wearing leather at level 90, none at all.
Our number one stat is agility. No exceptions. Don't take anything with strength or intellect on it, it's just a waste of a slot if it doesn't have agility on it.
Survival stat priority after agility is as follows:
weapon dps>hit/expertise to cap>crit>haste>mastery
Hunter hit and expertise cap is exactly 2550 rating (or 7.5% of each), you want to be as close to this as you can but try not to go under but a little bit higher.
Now how much haste rating do we need then?
Doesn't matter anymore, hunter priority is so random now that haste plateaus are an old forgotten relic of the past.
I heard that haste is better than crit blahblahblahblah
It isn't, crit is our no.1 secondary stat. I have an average ilevel of 549 at the moment and im sitting at just about 43% crit fully buffed in a raid. I expect fully geared ilevel 575+ hunters will be sitting at just about 55% crit fully buffed and to be honest that's still not enough crit to be near any thresholds like at the end of wotlk.
So what about mastery?
It's ok as a stat but doesn't affect all of our DPS like crit. Majority of our damage is elemental but still it is not as good as crit. I would say any mastery is ok, but crit will always be better since they affect the entirety of our damage rather than just a portion.
Removed from all items in Cataclysm+ content, just forget about it.Expertise?
Recently added in the 5.04 patch, get capped, don't have to worry about it again.
Reforge any mastery to meet your hit/expertise caps.
Reforge any mastery to crit
Reforge any haste to crit
If the item has crit and mastery on it and you are hit/expertise capped, reforge mastery to haste.
Hunters can use a variety of gems, but the ones most commonly used are:
Delicate Primordial Ruby
Deadly Vermilion Onyx
Glinting Imperial Amethyst
Again, following stat priorities in section 3.1, you should gem to reach caps if you cannot reforge to meet them.
The ONLY meta-gems that are acceptable are Agile Primal Diamond or Capacitive Primal Diamond
With the addition to expertise Accurate Imperial Amethyst may be used in blue slots to help reach those caps. This should only be used as a last resort, remember you cannot reforge agility so you want as many gem slots with agility in them.
Greater Tiger Claw Inscription
Secret Tiger Claw Inscription if you are a Scribe.
Enchant Chest - Glorious Stats
Enchant Cloak - Superior Critical Strike
Swordguard Embroidery For tailors
Enchant Gloves - Superior Expertise
Enchant Bracer - Greater Agility
Fur Lining - Agility if you are a Leatherworker.
Living Steel Belt Buckle
Shadowleather Leg Armor
Primal Leg Reinforcements for leatherworkers
Enchant Boots - Blurred Speed
Lord Blastington's Scope of Doom
For food you will want to eat:
Sea Mist Rice Noodles as the top tier food or Pandaren Treasure Noodle Soup.
Flask of Spring Blossoms Should be your flask of choice.
Potion that should be used is Virmen's Bite
4.0 Your Pet
No matter what anyone says, your furry/scaly/slimy companion is more than a significant component of your DPS (and your best friend!) and should be looked after properly.
4.1 What Pet?
5.04 changed a lot of the buffs that pets will bring to the table but the principal remains: bring what your raid needs.
I highly suggest looking at THIS page to determine which buff you need to bring. Remember survival cannot use exotic pets.
4.2 Pet Talents
Pets no longer have assignable talents with 5.04, instead you get 3 specialisations: ferocity, tenacity and cunning. Every pet has access to these 3 specs and they can be changed whenever you want to when out of combat.
For the most DPS you will want your pets to be in the ferocity specialisation.
4.3 Handy Pet Tips.
Make sure your Rabid is on autocast, survival hunters don't have any cooldowns you can really line it up with so just make sure it's used as much as possible during a fight.
If you have a pet who can prowl (cat) turn the autocast on it off. Prowling reduces pet movement speed by 50% and can delay your pet getting to the target for a significant amount of time between mobs. This isn't so important for raiding as you will never leave combat for the duration of the encounter but it is very annoying sometimes.
4.4 Pet Stances
In 4.2 they removed aggressive stance and changed defensive stance. I will give a quick overview to our pet's behaviour now:
Assist Stance: Pet will attack the target you are attacking and if you change targets your pet will also change targets after around 2 seconds. Your pet also seems to create an aggro table in this stance so when your current target is dead or not attackable it will run off to attack the next target on it's aggro table regardless of whether you're attacking something or not. Make a petpassive macro to avoid awkward situations.
Defensive stance: Pet will attack any target who is attacking you or your pet, but does not do anything if you attack a target and they are not attacking you. Basically this stance has become completely useless and assist/passive stance will always be better options.
Passive stance: Pet will not automatically perform any attacks unless manually ordered to. Autocast friendly skills such as roar of courage and furious howl will still be used.
5.0 Raid tips
So you got your gear, spec and pet sorted out. Now which buttons do you press and when?
Start of with what any Hunter would do: mark your target then it's time to get into the flow.
Hunter DPS of all specs rely on the fact you use something EVERY GCD. If you are sitting around waiting for shots to come off CD or regaining focus, YOU ARE LOSING DPS.
It isn't uncommon for Hunter's in PvE to be doing 40+ APM (Actions per minute) and only then will you see decent DPS.
So the SV rotation works on a loose priority with a few rules when certain events happen like LnL.
NOTE: as of 5.04 Explosive shot ticks can no longer clip and the best way to use a LnL proc is to fire all 3 back to back.
NOTE: as of 5.4.2 the t16 set bonus means that strings of 5+ explosive shots are not uncommon, you will find your serpent sting dropping off and you will focus cap. DO NOT PANIC. Capping focus does not mean you are losing DPS as long as you are using the highest damage per execute time (DPET) skill available to you. When SrS is about to fall off (less than 3 seconds) manually reapply it or if you have the Thrill of the Hunt talent, use multishot to reapply it.
- Dire Beast (if trained)
- Black Arrow
- Serpent Sting
- Explosive shot
- Kill shot
- Glaive toss
- Arcane shot
- Cobra shot
Now here are the rules to follow:
1. BA and ES have to be shot every CD, not doing so is a DPS loss. The only situation where you would delay ES is if your t16 4set procs many times and you have higher priority shots coming off cooldown.
2. BA has a higher priority than ES, it has higher DPET and procs LnL which is vital for your DPS.
3. Arcane shot should only be used if you will have enough focus for ES when it comes off cd and preferably BA too.
4. When LnL procs you should use 3 ES back to back unless you have other higher priority things coming off cooldown.
5. Kill shot range: Kill shot could do more damage than explosive shot depending on your weapon level, if it does then move it higher in the priority list than explosive shot.
6. Practise is key! Dummies are not there to look pretty, go there and practise until you can master every situation your focus throws at you with your eyes closed.
7. Stampede now with the new Assurance of Consequence
trinket is now a relatively short cd and should be used mainly to coincide with it's agility proc and/or other high damage phases such as bloodlust/heroism and potions.
8. aMoC and stampede update dynamically so don't be afraid of using them off cooldown. Getting them with trinket procs is nice but never delay it to the point where you lose one usage. 3 uses with no proc alignment is still better than 2 uses with procs.
What do I do with Rapid Fire?
Personally this is how I handle RF and it's the way I see i get most benefit out of it:
Rapid fire is a huge haste buff and our only casted shot is CoS, so to benefit as much as we can from RF we want to fire as many CoS in the duration without focus capping. So what i do is I bleed away all my focus by using a ES, AS, Glaive toss and MoC and then CoS with rapid fire up.
5.2 Encounter Guides
We have a t16 tips and tricks guide already, no need for a duplicate here.
I don't care what anyone says, Hunters have way too many keybinds, even in PvE. Macros can make your life a whole lot easier in raids and can allow you to react quicker to boss mechanics without having to micromanage the rest of your Hunter, here are a few I use:
/cast Arcane Shot
/cast Explosive shot
Simple macros I use to have maximum uptime on my glove tinker
/cast Serpent Sting
Pretty straightforward, if im serpent stinging something I generally want my pet to target it also, I take this macro off for anything with many adds I need to multidot so my pet has as much time doing damage as possible and not changing targets.
/cast [nomod] Aspect of the Hawk
/cast [mod:ctrl] Aspect of the Cheetah
All in one common aspect macro. Means I only need one space on my bars for all the aspects I use regularly.
/cast [target=focus,noharm,exists][target=pet] Misdirection
This misdirects your current focus, if no focus it will cast on friendly target, if no friendly target it will cast it on your pet.
/cancelaura Hand of Protection
I macro this to all my important shots like ES/BA/AS/CoS so that if there is a situation where I get immuned and I no longer need it, I don't have to right click the buff or lose DPS by waiting for it to run out.
6.0 Afterword and Acknowledgements and Addons
So there you have it. Everything I know about SV Hunters, it's probably not nearly enough but that's where you guys come in and give me new things to think about and tell me things I don't know .
I'd like people to check out these great sites and pages where I shamelessly gained my experience from:
Zeherah's Hunter DPS Analyser :-
Indispensable hunter simulation tool.
Nikkaszal, from the mmo-champion forums for a better way to handle LnL procs
Asrialol, from mmo-champion forums for confirming orc racial bonus
Rewn, from mmo-champion forums for correcting the shot priority
Vurrin, from mmo-champion forums for bringing up prepotting and clarifying serpent spread.
Judai, from mmo-champion forums for giving some good pet tips.
Dracodraco, our forum moderator for some corrections on rotation and priority
Maeten, for doing the research and uploading logs confirming tick clipping at low latency.
MSBT (Miks scrolling battle text)