Possible Specs after the Changes

First, don’t forget to leave a comment on THIS POST to enter the One-Year Blog Anniversary contest.

Some people might think that it is too early to start deciding on new specs and talent builds. But it seems with recent posts Blizzard doesn’t like the idea of our shot rotations consisting of Serpent Sting and Steady Shot, which you can read right here. Regardless of what some people think, these changes are big. Especially if this is the design philosophy Blizzard wants to implement. If Ghostcrawler is being truthful in his statements, they want to end the days of single ability shot rotations. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the most common complaint heard about Beast Mastery was it monotony. The concern, which Levidia said so well:

That’s fine. So can we expect a damage transition out of steady and into instants? (steady -dmg, Instants +dmg) Or are we just going to get to the point where steady is just worse than instants forcing us to use instants resulting in lower total damage and worse mana efficiency?

So with that said, we know the 50/21 build is being broken. I don’t see Blizzard going back on this change. They obviously didn’t like it being the most popular spec, and I am willing to bet that some designer somewhere is upset most of the raiders did not want to use their exotic pets. So spending a little one-on-one time with a talent calculator inevitably comes up with some fun builds. What other changes Blizzard rolls out remains to be seen. But let’s speculate a little.

0/53/18 – Lock and Load with Arcane Shot

I’ve accidentally clicked this build in a few times when playing with the calculator. I get down to Lock and Load and go “Oh yeah, I would have to use Arcane Shot with this.” Most of the time I then reset the tree and move on. But it’s there in the back of my mind, wondering how good it would do.

The first thing to figure out is how much damage Arcane Shot is going to do. The formula for Arcane Shot is [RAP * 0.15 + 492. In-game I have 3855 Attack Power (The Armory doesn't show buffs anymore). So we can figure my Arcane Shot will do:

3855*.15+492 = 1070 Arcane Damage

Factoring in the talent for 15% more damage and we get 1070+15% = 1230 Arcane damage. So now we need to compare it to what Steady Shot would do in terms of damage. Looking at the numbers I used in my other post, post-nerf Steady Shot will max out at 1211 damage without any external buffs before damage reduction. So we know Arcane Shot will do more damage than Steady Shot if we are only using the numbers of my unbuffed self.

The idea behind the build would be your general PvE shot rotation of applying Serpent Sting, maintaining with Chimera Shot, and filling with Steady Shot. The difference would be firing off two Arcane Shots once Lock and Load procs. Now a completely off-the-wall alternative to that would be some kind of 41/30 build. A little crazy, but you give up Chimera Shot, Marked for Death, and a few more talents to pick-up Hunter versus Wild, Lightning Reflexes and 2/3 Killer Instinct. Coupled with Combat Experience and you are going to have literal boat-loads of AP. Or get even more crazy and get all the way down to Expose Weakness *and* get Trueshot Aura. Oh the humanity!

But I must admit, the little voice in my head says it wants to be Survival. It keeps saying "Hey, let's see who we can out-DPS while using the current inferior spec."

5/15/51 - Hawked Survival

Aspect of the Hawk is great talent in so many builds. That's why it easy to see many builds dropping 5-7 points into BM for IAotH and Focused Fire. Popular MM builds (11/53/7) do it too, but go far enough to get Aspect Mastery. That's why I am interested in trying this build. With the Survival talents, the critical strike chance of Explosive Shot goes up a lot. And while I didn't opt for it in beta, I did choose to drop the points into Sniper Training this time around.

There is some great synergy with these talents as well. The Steady Shot glyph is a must for pretty much any PvE build. But it gets even better when you combine it with Noxious Stings for another 3% damage increase. And given how high your crit chance is going to be along with the extra crit for Explosive Shot, it will power Go for the Throat quite nicely to make sure your pet still has some staying power.

The drawback to this build is that Explosive Shot is already inherently weak and the Steady Shot nerf hurts the build too. The formula for Explosive Shot is [RAP * 0.08 + 238]-[RAP * 0.08 + 286] with the AoE portion doing [(RAP * 0.08 + 238) / 4]-[(RAP * 0.08 + 286) / 4].

With my current stats (which would obviously change with the build, but for numbers sake) Explosive Shot damage would look like this:

546.4 = 3855*0.08+238
594.4 = 3855*0.08+286

We get three total “ticks” from Explosive Shot, so we would be looking at 1639-1783 damage for my Explosive Shot. It costs 7% of our base mana, up from the 5% we spend on Steady Shot. At face value you think to yourself “Hey, that damage is looking pretty good!” But we have to remember that the loss of 20% haste a BM Hunter gets. Serpent’s Swiftness is the reason BM pulls the best DPS. Sure, BW/Readiness is rocking and gets autograph requests and what not, but Serpent’s Swiftness is the real star, slightly pulling way more than its own weight without recognition.

So those are some things I want to try, in conjunction with the normal 11/53/7 stuff, or maybe even an exotic pet. But probably not, unless it ends up being the best DPS spec I can provide to the raid. As it stands, I feel a bit more comfortable testing out specs in the current raid environment until Blizzard puts something in that’s harder. As it stands, I am sure I can still out-DPS some of our terribles with a bad spec and only a mouse. After all what kind of scrubs can’t break 3500 DPS on Patchwerk? (That’s for you Lunchmoneyy!).

Our guild leader, Lunchmoneyy, says the best way to get lots of viewers is to cause drama, call people out, and post bat-s***t insane things. He had just found out a run a blog a few days ago. Not sure who told him. :) So that last comment was for him.

I’ve really wanted to respond to some of the great things you guys have been saying in the Contest post. But I’ve had to refrain because I don’t want to mess up comment numbering. But thanks for some of the awesome words you’ve had for me and the blog. But I’ll save all that for tomorrow’s one-year post.

About Drotara

Drotara (or BehemothDan) considers himself a geek on many levels. A web developer and programmer by trade, he has no shortage of geeky hobbies. When not fulfilling husband and daddy duties, he enjoys WoW, the WoW TCG, Magic: The Gathering, and great board games with friends and family.