Survival PvE, for 4.3!

Hunter
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Hey there hunter community! With Kalilah's survival guide over a year old and slightly outdated I figure it is time for a new guide, updated with all the coolest things from the last two patches!

Here's our fungenda!

I) Why Survival?
II) The Spec/Glyphs
III) Pets
IV) Gems, Enchants, Reforges, and Fun!
V) Professions
VI) The Survival Priority
VII) What to Eat
VIII) Other Awesome Hunter Resources!
IX) Special Thanks


Annnnd here we go, queue the music!

I) Why Survival?

There are three main reasons that survival is awesome in 4.3: simplicity, fluidity, and of course damage.

Simplicity: Survival is perhaps the easiest of the three hunter specializations to play. While Marksmanship needs to deal with keeping the Improved Steady Shot buff up and Beast Mastery requires much pet management, Survival does not have any overly complicated tactics (more will be described in the Survival Priority section!).

Fluidity: Along with being simple, Survival is extremely fluid. The spec is much less punishing towards beginners compared with Marksmanship (the Improved Steady Shot buff can be very clunky). Along with that, its damage on the move is awesome, with the only casted spell being cobra shot.

Damage: Currently, Survival DPS is the highest among the three specializations by a large margin. With the buffs to Explosive Shot and Black Arrow in 4.3 as well as the awesome tier 13 2-set bonus, Survival passed Marksmanship on the awesomeness scale. Also, Survival AoE is the strongest, with Improved Serpent Sting, Serpent Spread, and Explosive Trap being much more powerful than MM or BM's counterparts. Lastly, as stated before Survival's damage on the move is great, as basically all of our spells are instant cast.

II) The Spec

Here is the most common hunter spec in 4.3:
http://www.wowhead.com/talent#ccZfMZfbhcMhrRsk

While there is not much variance, you DO have the choice of moving your two talents from Hunter vs. Wild. Talk about no more cookie cutter specs! The extra stamina is fairly strong as it increases your survivability, but I can see Point of No Escape and Entrapment being situationally useful as well. Personally, I put two points into Survival Tactics because I love Disengage.

Glyphs

Prime: Our Prime Glyphs are fairly rigid. Glyph of Explosive Shot increases the critical strike chance of our main nuke by 6%, and is essential. Glyph of Kill Shot is especially good for Survival due to our talent Sniper Training, which increases our Kill Shot crit chance by a whopping 15%. Our excess focus drainer, Glyph of Arcane Shot fills out the last Prime Glyph slot, as with the tier 13 2-set bonus it is being used more often due to more focus generation.

Major: You have some leeway for these major glyphs, but here are some suggestions:
Glyph of Trap Launcher: Technically our only possible major glyph that could increase DPS, the focus reduction off the launcher can be very useful and possibly very clutch!
Glyph of Raptor Strike: This gives an extra damage reduction cooldown to a class with so few, and should be used during high damage phases where DPS is not a huge issue.

Minor: Nothing to really say here, these are all fun glyphs that you can customize. Once again, who said there was such things as cookie cutter specs!

III) Pets
A hunter's best friend, pets can come in all shapes and sizes, and provide a multitude of different buffs that can fill in for a raid or party. From a DPS standpoint, a ferocity pet is currently the most powerful, with cunning close behind it.
Here is an example pet spec for:
ferocity: http://www.wowhead.com/petcalc#0md00sc00hoob
cunning: http://www.wowhead.com/petcalc#cMd000fh0Mk0b

However, as stated before a hunter pet can often fill in for a raid's deficiency. Here are some must have pets in your spellbook to take out when needed!
Ravager: This pet gives a increased 4% physical damage debuff.
Hyena: This pet increases bleed damage by 30%.
Wind Serpent: This pet provides a debuff that increases magical damage taken by 8%.
Cat: This pet gives the raid a strength and agility buff.
Wolf: This pet gives the raid a 5% increased critical strike chance.
Raptor: This pet gives a debuff that reduces armor by 4%, stacking 5 times up to 20%.
IV: Gems, Enchants, Reforges, and Fun!
Let's start with stat weights. Currently, a hunter will want:
Agility = Hit to 8% > Crit > Haste to soft cap > Mastery > Haste >>>>>>> Hit

What do these stats do?
Agility: Our base stat. If your hunter is hungry for something, it is agility. This increases our attack power and our crit, and we basically value agility twice as much as any other stat (except for hit rating)

Hit: Increases your chance to hit the boss! Note that getting your hit cap is extremely important, as you don't want to miss your big shots. However, after getting 8% (hitting the boss 100% of the time), hit becomes useless because it won't matter if you hit the boss 130% of the time.

Crit: Increases our critical strike chance. When we score a critical hit, we double the damage of our shot. This is our best secondary stat excluding hit rating.

Haste: Decreases cast time for Cobra Shot, increases the Auto Shot rate, and (slightly) increases our focus regeneration. It is important to grab enough haste to make our Cobra Shot cast time (with Hunting Party from talents) 1.66 seconds or less. This is 758 haste, assuming that you selected 3/3 Pathing in the talent tree. However, due to higher ilvl gear and stat inflation, it is very, very hard to hit this low.

Mastery: In a nutshell, increases the damage of all of our shots except for Auto Shot and Kill Shot.

Haste vs. Mastery: While in a single target fight the DPS difference between haste and mastery is negligible, Mastery shines in any AoE situation as we essentially add serpent sting damage to our multishot (via Serpent Spread and Improved Serpent Sting). Thus, it is often common practice to go for mastery after hitting the haste soft cap. But more on this in the reforging section!

Gems
There are a couple basic rules for gemming a Survival hunter:
1) Always gem agility, as in make sure your gems have at least +20 agility on them
2) Only if the stats from following gem colors are good (i.e. +20 agility or +30 of another stat) should you gem non-red gems. If the gem bonus is underwhelming, simply gem straight agility.

These gems are viable for a survival hunter:
Delicate Inferno Ruby Deadly Ember Topaz Glinting Demonseye
Use the delicate to fill any red socket, deadly to fill a yellow socket, and glinting to fill a blue (once again, only if the gem color bonus is good!). Please note that there are now epic gems that provide +50 of stats, and can be used to replace these gems. These epic gems are:
Delicate Queen's Garnet Deadly Lava Coral Glinting Shadow Spinel

For the Meta Gem, Agile Shadowspirit Diamond is really the only viable gem, and it is easy to fill the 3 red gem requirement.

Enchants
Enchants basically add more stats to your gear. There is not much variety between these.
Helm: Arcanum of the Ramkahen, must be revered with the Ramkahen.
Shoulder: Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal, obtained from being exalted by Therazane. There is a weaker enchant at a lower reputation.
Cloak: Enchant Cloak - Greater Critical Strike
Chest: Enchant Chest - Peerless Stats
Bracer: Enchant Bracer - Agility, Formula: Enchant Bracer - Greater Critical Strike if you don't want to spend too much gold.
Gloves: Formula: Enchant Gloves - Greater Mastery, which is slightly better than Enchant Gloves - Major Agility
Belt: Ebonsteel Belt Buckle with a Delicate Inferno Ruby placed in the new socket.
Legs: Dragonscale Leg Armor
Boots: Enchant Boots - Assassin's Step or Enchant Boots - Major Agility
Melee Weapon: Enchant 2H Weapon - Mighty Agility
Bow: Flintlocke's Woodchucker

Reforging
Reforging allows you to optimize your stats. It allows you to hone into the 8% hit threshold, and get close to the haste soft cap. You cannot however reforge into a stat already on the piece of gear, and you cannot reforge to agility. Generally the rules for reforging are:
1) Reforge haste or mastery to hit if not hit capped.
2) Reforge haste or mastery to crit.
3) Reforge mastery to haste, until the soft cap.
4) If you are over the soft cap, reforge haste to mastery.
V) Professions

There are a multitude of professions, and some of their bonuses are good for hunters while others are mediocre. Note that if you want to maximize DPS, do not learn a gathering profession (due to space, I won't discuss them either). Whereas all production professions give an agility bonus, these gathering professions do not.

Blacksmithing: This profession allows you to add 2 prismatic sockets to your gear, one to your bracers and one to your gloves. These should be filled with agility gems to maximize your DPS. Also, with the introduction of epic gems blacksmithing has become one of the better professions because you can potentially grab a +100 agility bonus compared with +80 agility from other professions.
Engineering: Synapse Springs attached to gloves give a 480 agility boost for 10 seconds, with a cooldown of a minute. This is also one of the better professions, since you can activate the springs during burn/hero phases to maximize your DPS.
Leatherworking: A leatherworker gets special bracer enchants (Draconic Embossment - Agility gives +130 agility), which is nice because our optimal bracer enchant (+50 agility) can be quite expensive at times. You are also able to craft mail gear and leg enchants, which can be useful as well.
Alchemy: Not only do you get a reusable potion for +80 agility, Mixology gives an increased duration and effect of flasks (i.e. Instead of 1 hour and 300 agility, an alchemist using Flask of the Winds would get 2 hours and 380 agility).
Enchanting: This profession gives ring enchants, and for hunters you can enchant both your rings with +40 agility.
Inscription: This profession gives powerful shoulder enchants, and for hunters this would be Swiftsteel Inscription, which grants +130 agility, +25 mastery. This is an 80 agility upgrade from the Therazane shoulder enchant.
Tailoring: This profession gives more powerful cloak enchants, and hunters would use Swordguard Embroidery, which gives an attack power proc. This is one of the weaker professions, as it gives pure attack power instead of agility.
Jewelcrafting: Jewelcrafting gives you access to 3 +67 gems that you can socket into your gear. With 4.3 and the introduction of epic gems, this profession has become one of the weakest because when fully epic gemmed you only get a +51 agility bonus in comparison to the +80 of other professions.

VI) The Survival Priority

A basic Survival priority goes something like this:
1) Hunters Mark - Only if unmarked or the previous mark is about to fall off. Not worth using if the mob in question will die extremely fast.
2) Serpent Sting - Should only be applied once to a mob, as Cobra Shot refreshes the duration. However, if it falls off make sure to reapply it since the Noxious Stings talent makes us do 10% more damage when Serpent Sting is on the target!
3) Kill Shot - Should be used twice in succession with the glyph, and can only be used when the target is below 20% health.
4) Explosive Shot - Our main nuke. Just awesome.
5) Black Arrow - A powerful damage over time that also allows us to proc Lock and Load, which will be discussed in further detail.
6) Arcane Shot - Only use Arcane Shot when there is excess focus, as you do not want to miss an Explosive Shot off cooldown because you spent your focus Arcane Shotting.
7) Cobra Shot - Our filler. Refreshes Serpent Sting duration.

For AoE your priority will be much different.
1) Explosive Trap - The Black Arrow of AoE, can proc Lock and Load.
2) Multi-Shot - This is your AoE ability. With Serpent Spread and Improved Serpent Sting, Survival is able to be one of the more competitive AoE classes.
3) Explosive Shot - This spell should be used when you have your Lock and Load procs (read: use when it's free of cost)
4) Cobra Shot - Once again, the filler to regenerate focus for more fun.

What is Lock and Load?
Lock and Load is a powerful proc that Survival hunters get in their talent tree, allowing you to cast 2 free explosive shots. Your Black Arrow and Explosive Trap have a 20% chance per tick to trigger this effect, and your Ice and Frost Traps (though very situational in a raid setting) have an 100% chance to trigger Lock and Load. This is probably the biggest change we've had in the last two patches. Lock and Load in 4.1 and 4.2 actually gave you free Arcane Shots as well, but Blizzard thankfully changed it.

There are many ways to approach this ability, but the following method is the most effective:
Fire two consecutive Explosive Shots off the global cooldown, then depending on how much focus you have, resort to one of two options:
If over 60 focus, cast Arcane Shot then a third Explosive Shot.
If under 60 focus, cast a Cobra Shot then a third Explosive Shot.
VII) What to Eat
During a dungeon or a raid, you can eat food, use flasks, or use potions to help increase your DPS. Here is what a hunter should bring:
Food: Skewered Eel, Fortune Cookie, or Seafood Magnifique Feast. All of these give the best food buff you can get, 90 agility and 90 stamina.
Flask: Flask of the Winds.
Potions: Potion of the Tol'vir. Note that you can only use one per encounter. However, if you use one right before the pull, there will be a cooldown but you will be able to use a second one.

VIII) Other Hunter Resources
There are plenty of awesome hunter resources that are floating around! This post is definitely not original, if it weren't for many websites I would not be able to get this information.

Websites to check out:
Zeherah's DPS Analyzer: http://www.femaledwarf.com/ Awesome for tests to maximize DPS
Elitist Jerks: http://elitistjerks.com/f74/t110723-cataclysm_survival_hunter/
Warcraft Hunters Union: http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/
WoW Reforge: http://www.wowreforge.com/
ReforgeLite: http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/reforgelite
MMO Champion: http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/
Petopia: http://www.wow-petopia.com/ For all our newest hunter pet information.

IX) Special Thanks
As I said before, I could not make this without additional information from other people.
I'd like to thank Esoth for his awesome Elitist Jerks survival guide, and would HIGHLY recommend this if you want to go more in depth with a survival hunter.
I would also like to thank Braves of Voracity for teaching me how to hunter.
Lastly, I would like the thank Kalilah's 4.1 Survival Guide! Although there have been slight changes, much of the information here is the same as 4.1 and is thus also stated in his post! He also goes more in depth with numbers, which I tried to avoid as much as possible!
04/18/2012 12:31 PMPosted by Los
what about spell pen? ahhhhhh the fail

For PvE?
Gloves: (Item not found)

I am guessing this is supposed to be the mastery enchant here? Either way, this part needs an edit.

Thanks for putting the work into updating the guide. Now we can REALLY point fingers at people too lazy to read the guide when they come asking for help on Survival huntering :-)
04/18/2012 12:31 PMPosted by Los
glyph of killshot? ahhhhhh the fail


Kill shot is currently the preferred 3rd glyph. It's proven to be a larger dps contribution than serpent sting, which is the only other viable alternative.
04/18/2012 01:40 PMPosted by Tehstool
3) Kill Shot - Should be used twice in succession with the glyph, and can only be used when the target is below 20% health.


I have a problem with this, it may be just me but whenever i use kill shot i have to wait a little to use it again. And if im not doing anything for that 1 second i feel that im losing dps therefore I put in a filler shot so I don't have any down time. Again, I'm not sure if I'm the only one who sees this. It usually comes off of CD when ES comes up which makes it perfect for the LnL rotation.
ES>ES>KS>ES>KS is what i do with the LnL rotation with kill shot up. Just something to think of whoever is browsing this forum post if they see the delay too.


It's not just you. Glyphed Kill Shot doesn't reset until it hits the boss/mob. So on fights like Madness of Deathwing and Ultraxion to an extent it takes a second or two for the Kill Shot to reach the boss and reset the CD. In fights where you're not standing on the boss I would recommend using some kind of filler in between them, however I am guilty of sitting there just spamming KS until it resets. =P

Mastery: In a nutshell, increases the damage of all of our shots except for Auto Shot and Arcane Shot's physical damage.


Fixed for you, don't forget arcane shot has physical damage too.


Arcane shot is all arcane damage.
Fixed some grammar, some dead links, removed method 2 of LnL, and added an AoE component. Will work on kill shot in a bit.
04/18/2012 02:51 PMPosted by Tehstool
Arcane shot is all arcane damage.


I read it as the (RAP * 0.0483)+289 part only doing the arcane damage. Human error, what can you do...


The wording is definitely odd, but the lack of the comma is what does it.
A basic Survival priority goes something like this:
1) Hunters Mark - Only if unmarked or the previous mark is about to fall off. Not worth using if the mob in question will die extremely fast.
2) Serpent Sting - Should only be applied once to a mob, as Cobra Shot refreshes the duration. However, if it falls off make sure to reapply it since the Noxious Stings talent makes us do 10% more damage when Serpent Sting is on the target!
3) Kill Shot - Should be used twice in succession with the glyph, and can only be used when the target is below 20% health.
4) Explosive Shot - Our main nuke. Just awesome.
5) Black Arrow - A powerful damage over time that also allows us to proc Lock and Load, which will be discussed in further detail.
6) Arcane Shot - Only use Arcane Shot when there is excess focus, as you do not want to miss an Explosive Shot off cooldown because you spent your focus Arcane Shotting.
7) Cobra Shot - Our filler. Refreshes Serpent Sting duration.


Explosive shot is top priority, even over serpent sting. Mathematically you would have to lose ~16% damage from not having serpent sting up for it to take priority. Hunter's Mark is generally applied before combat, so I haven't mathed that out, but it probably trumps even HM. Fairly certain it beats out kill shot too, but that is probably dependent on your raid makeup and mastery levels.

04/18/2012 02:51 PMPosted by Tehstool
An instant shot that causes 100% weapon damage plus (RAP * 0.0483)+289 as Arcane damage.


If it followed math logic, it would be this: An instant shot that causes (100% weapon damage plus (RAP * 0.0483)+289) as Arcane damage.

I also agree that the wording is quite awkward.

04/18/2012 01:59 PMPosted by Braves
In fights where you're not standing on the boss I would recommend using some kind of filler in between them, however I am guilty of sitting there just spamming KS until it resets. =P


Except in the case of explosive shot being available, waiting for it to reset is the proper way to handle it. Unless you can KS>EXPL>KS, waiting the half second for it to reset is better.

Method 1: ES>ES>AS>ES
Takes ~4 seconds to pull off
Method 2: ES>AS>ES>AS>ES
Takes ~6 seconds to pull off

Using method 2 effectively pushes your explosive shot back by ~2 seconds therefore decreasing eplosive shot uptime and thus decreasing dps.


Method 2 is 5 seconds, method one is 4 seconds. Certainly method one is superior, but the difference is one second, not two.
You may want to throw in comment about the epic Agility gems =)


Mastery: In a nutshell, increases the damage of all of our shots except for Auto Shot.



kill shot is also not affected by mastery.
A basic Survival priority goes something like this:
1) Hunters Mark - Only if unmarked or the previous mark is about to fall off. Not worth using if the mob in question will die extremely fast.
2) Serpent Sting - Should only be applied once to a mob, as Cobra Shot refreshes the duration. However, if it falls off make sure to reapply it since the Noxious Stings talent makes us do 10% more damage when Serpent Sting is on the target!
3) Kill Shot - Should be used twice in succession with the glyph, and can only be used when the target is below 20% health.
4) Explosive Shot - Our main nuke. Just awesome.
5) Black Arrow - A powerful damage over time that also allows us to proc Lock and Load, which will be discussed in further detail.
6) Arcane Shot - Only use Arcane Shot when there is excess focus, as you do not want to miss an Explosive Shot off cooldown because you spent your focus Arcane Shotting.
7) Cobra Shot - Our filler. Refreshes Serpent Sting duration.


Explosive shot is top priority, even over serpent sting. Mathematically you would have to lose ~16% damage from not having serpent sting up for it to take priority. Hunter's Mark is generally applied before combat, so I haven't mathed that out, but it probably trumps even HM. Fairly certain it beats out kill shot too, but that is probably dependent on your raid makeup and mastery levels.


Ummm... no. SrS takes priority over everything simple due to Noxious Stings giving a boost of damage. If you don't have SrS up on a target when you ExS, your ExS isn't doing as much damage as it should.

Also, add in the raptor pet as one of the pets you should take. The armor reduction is helpful to other classes when our buffs are already provided.

Also, requested for sticky.
Also, add in the raptor pet as one of the pets you should take. The armor reduction is helpful to other classes when our buffs are already provided.


FD has me doing 360 DPS more when using a raptor instead of a ravager or hyeena, unbuffed. It really depends on gear though, since last week it said ravager was better than raptor.
04/19/2012 01:41 AMPosted by Goldobank
Ummm... no. SrS takes priority over everything simple due to Noxious Stings giving a boost of damage. If you don't have SrS up on a target when you ExS, your ExS isn't doing as much damage as it should.


Umm, yes. Noxious stings is indeed important, but getting Expl shot on cd is more important.

Read what I wrote. Noxious stings would have to be 16 percent instead of 10 percent to make it balance out. Actually more than that, since of course your next spell cast after explosive shot would be serpent sting, meaning only 2 ticks are missing the ten percent.
Ummm... no. SrS takes priority over everything simple due to Noxious Stings giving a boost of damage. If you don't have SrS up on a target when you ExS, your ExS isn't doing as much damage as it should.


Umm, yes. Noxious stings is indeed important, but getting Expl shot on cd is more important.

Read what I wrote. Noxious stings would have to be 16 percent instead of 10 percent to make it balance out. Actually more than that, since of course your next spell cast after explosive shot would be serpent sting, meaning only 2 ticks are missing the ten percent.


^ correct.
Explosive = a Enormous chunk of dps and while like she stated noxious is nice and adds to over all dps. missing one timed or two timed ES can really hamper your dps.

And on the pets its best off if your not rolling a bm spec to have 5 best dps for each buff or debuff. Wolf, Cat, Raptor, etc... makes for the best raid/ dungeon versatility and makes it so that you don't have nothing up for your pet. at least hats what i have set up. And if your farming for mats always have a space open "I have done goofed on many occasions" killed maddax/lava turt and a few other hunter pet rares b/c i had no space and had no idea it was such a pain to get ahold of (also forgive me on my grammar and spelling its never really been my strong suit.)

And nice guide glad to see one up. came back recently with the new t13 set out sitting on pieces and enchant mats till i get them :p

Might want to add some macros too and keybinds to wrap this up more.
like your all in one pop cd, Hunters mark + petattack, MSD on focus, Msd on pet... i could list more. (don't forget about aspect switching too)

also if your engy as a prof the springs equates to about +80 agility and is far cheaper and better off than mastery for gloves. (when gemming unless the bonus equates to positive dps always gem delicate ^.^

Stat Math: (don't know if this is still correct or not)
Ratings
120.109 Hit Rating = 1% Hit
179.29 Crit Rating = 1% Crit
128.057 Haste Rating = 1% Haste
179.28 Mastery Rating = 1 MasteryAttack Power
14 AP (attack power) = 1 dps (auto-shot)
Agility
1 Agility = 2 AP
324.85 Agility = 1% crit
1 Agil = .55 Crit Rating

Btw i was curious to also know if i should be touching mastery at all... Jc I never saw much dps gain with it before 4.3. So i was curious if the T13 1&2 set bonuses + glyph of arcane add to dps. I already do very well with my rotation and what not gotta love seeing arcane act as a nice focus dump.

Note: gotta reglyph and spec had the points in No Escape for when the guild i was with was trying to run H magmaw ages back :/
oh and don't bother me about my enchants until i get all of my valor pieces/ lfr I don't intend on doing much im already poor as it is after setting up my pally :/ (yes i do have the mats I have rather poor luck when it comes to drops X D)

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