There have been so many changes since the time that I temporarily left WoW. Mists of Pandaria has presented me with an extreme challenge to re-evaluate my play style, and to understand my class in an entirely new way. After a great deal of research, theory-crafting, and actual combat testing, which is a never-ending learning process, I wanted to share with you my recommendations for maximizing your DPS and damage potential. I do hope that you find something useful here, and I welcome any helpful comments for improving these suggestions even further.
To begin with, as a point of reference, here is the link to my character sheet on Battle.Net:
My current average iLevel is 438. Most of my gear is unenchanted at present, since I am hoping to obtain better gear in MoP heroics, and eventually be able to raid again. I have no socketed gear right now, so I focused on re-forging every possible piece of gear I had so that I could reach the cap for both hit and expertise (I am nearly capped in both stats).
As per usual, agility remains our primary stat, since it improves both our ranged attack power (RAP), and our crit at the same time. Generally speaking, it seems to me that expertise is the new priority stat that we hunters need to focus on. The less chance that a mob or boss will dodge our shots, the greater our DPS will be.
Haste has been deprecated to a degree, and mastery seems to serve no useful benefit in achieving our maximum damage potential (though perhaps a decent pet damage boost). What has not changed is that, other than agility, hit is still the single most important and crucial stat for us to cap, with expertise running a close second now. I would recommend the following stat priority:
4) Haste (less significant)
5) Mastery (this should always be re-forged into a more useful stat)
I have realized a significant DPS increase after equipping Lord Blastington’s Scope of Doom on my bow. The chance of increasing agility by 1,800 for 10 seconds is notably one of the best buffs that I have seen for a ranged weapon. Combat testing on a normal training dummy has proved to me conclusively that this buff does proc regularly, and often. That being said, I do miss Flintlock’s Woodchucker to a degree.
My main action bar and shot rotation have undergone a serious overhaul over this last weekend. While they do present a fair amount of complexity, I am confident that once I memorize the rotation and cooldowns, they will have the potential for providing impressive DPS results. A good example of this was my latest testing on a normal training dummy tonight in Stormwind. I managed nearly 50k DPS burst damage initially, while maintaining 30.5k DPS sustained damage. Granted, these are optimal conditions, however, I am certain that I will be able to produce similar results out in the field in actual combat.
I would like to share with you the specifics of my main action bar assignments, and my overall primary shot rotation. I do employ the use of a few macros. I will break down the descriptions of each of these by the keybinds on my main bar. Please note that I am specced in Beast Mastery, and all my pets are specced in Ferocity:
1) My Start Macro goes here:
#showtooltip Bestial Wrath
/cast Rapid Fire
/cast Bestial Wrath
This accomplishes 3 initial goals: rapid fire is cast for the speed buff, bestial wrath is cast for the pet damage buff, and petattack is cast to send in the pet to attack the mob. Since my pet attacks first, it establishes agro on the mob, enhancing my personal threat mitigation. Also, since growl is now a functional taunt, I leave it on when soloing, and off when in an instance. I also leave cower on for the pet damage mitigation, despite the fact it slows my pet’s movement speed temporarily.
2) Serpent Sting
3) Kill Command (big improvement here in MoP)
4) Arcane Shot
5) Cobra Shot (I put this right next to Arcane shot for easy focus regen)
6) Kill Shot
11) Focus Fire
12) My Lynx Rush Macro goes here:
@showtooltip Lynx Rush
/cast Lynx Rush
I bound this macro to my middle mouse button, so that I can cast it at the start of my attack rotation. I usually try to weave it in after I activate my Start Macro and my Kill Command, and just before my first Arcane Shot. The burst damage is quite good, I have found.
For talents I chose the following:
1) Posthaste (I don’t use Disengage very often, however)
2) Binding Shot (I liked the idea of the snare effect here)
3) Sprit Bond (the health regen of 2% over 2 seconds really helps here)
4) Thrill of the Hunt (the focus regen really helps here)
5) Lynx Rush (major pet damage bonus here)
6) Barrage (this looks to me to be the best damage potential in this tier)
For glyphs I chose the following:
1) Major: Animal Bond (the 10% healing buff, combined with Sprit bond, keeps myself
and my pet very healthy throughout sustained fights and multiple mobs)
2) Major: Marked For Death (much easier to have Hunter’s Mark auto-applied here)
3) Major: Endless Wrath (another useful glyph to keep my pet alive longer)
4) Minor: Revive Pet
5) Stampede (I took this because there existed a chance that some of my stabled pets
would be specced as Tenacity (tanks), and if Stampede pulled them out during a fight
in an instance, they would pull off the main tank)
6) Fetch (very handy to have your pet loot mobs)
As for my primary pet choice, I have found the Water Strider to be the best DPS pet, particularly when specced Ferocity (all pets should be specced Ferocity if you are a BM hunter, in my humble opinion). The Water Strider has a special ability known as “Still Water,” which buffs spell power by 10 percent, and critical strike chance by 5 percent. I have found that this affords me a significant DPS boost. The shale spider’s “Embrace of the Shale Spider” special ability (5 percent agility buff party wide), has proven lackluster in comparison when tested on the normal training dummy.
I am seriously considering switching back to the Aspect of the Ironhawk talent, especially considering its RAP buff and damage mitigation. While I do enjoy the healing potential of Sprit Bond, it might perhaps indeed be wise to take Aspect Of The Ironhawk for both of the aforementioned benefits. I will update you with the results after I apply this change and test it.
So, that is basically what I have done to increase my DPS in a nutshell. Again, I welcome your helpful comments and suggestions. I do hope that I have helped you in some meaningful way. Thank you for reading, and I look forward to your replies. Take care, and best of luck in Pandaria!