Initial Specs for 3.1
Well, it’s that time again; it’s time to rework all our old theory to incorporate the new mechanics!
This is my favorite time.
I got to play for all of like, 30 minutes last night, so no testing on dummies or playing with specs. There’s still time for that. However, I have been poring over talent choices for hours deciding how I’d like to arrange my first test spec. Finally, I came up with these:
This first spec will be my 25-man raiding spec:
Let’s go over the tree tier by tier. First we’ll discuss my choices in Beast Mastery.
Just like last patch, we’re going to want to keep Improved Aspect of the Hawk for that extra haste bonus and stick with the 2% total damage increase from Focused Fire. However, I won’t be taking Aspect Mastery, because it requires 3 relatively wasteful points to acquire, and it won’t be worth it this time since there’s so much more damage to be had from the later tiers of Marks. I’m fairly certain that diving into Aspect Mastery will net a DPS loss.
Now let’s go over my choices in Survival.
Of course, I’m picking up Improved Tracking for a steady damage increase on the majority of our shots. Then I’m grabbing Survival Instincts for that extra crit chance with Steady Shot. This is important because your Steady Shot crits will trigger the bleed effect from Piercing Shots, which we’ll go over in a bit. Going further into the Survival tree will, under most circumstances, be a DPS loss.
Finally, we begin our choices in Marksmanship.
This will stay the same for me as it was pre-patch, with all five points in Lethal Shots and Mortal Shots, and all three points in Careful Aim. You can’t go wrong with these talents. I’m not picking up Focused Aim because I’m currently hit-capped. If you’re not hit capped, I highly suggest getting that way, either through gear selection or Focused Aim, which now applies to Pet hit as well.
Next up is one point in Go for the Throat. I am only taking one point in GftT here because I know that my buffed raiding crit chance is currently high enough to sustain my pet’s focus with only 25 regen per crit. If your crit is below 35% while raiding, I’d suggest getting both points so that your pet can remain active.
Then we have Improved Arcane Shot. These three points are, at the moment, controversial for me. Arcane damage is not changing at all and will still be a large part of your overall DPS – however, Aimed Shot is now more useful, has a more decent cooldown, and has the ability to have a very high crit chance. I’ve arranged my points in such a way that I can have my usual Arcane damage and still have a relatively high Aimed Shot crit chance. These points may shift after a few raids.
You absolutely MUST get Aimed shot now, 10-man or 25-man, as it’s going to be an integral part of our damage. Then of course, I took both points in Rapid Killing, and all three points in Improved Serpent Sting just like I did pre-patch.
Next up is Readiness, followed by Barrage. All three points in Barrage are necessary due to what I stated above about Aimed Shot. I’ve taken both points in Combat Experience for the increase in my Attack Power by a significant amount, and it will also increase my crit slightly, which is currently the most desired stat (and by desired I mean in demand, not necessarily the most important). Don’t forget that we recieve AP from Intellect now, so increasing Intellect is just like increasing raw AP. Last but not least is Ranged Weapon Specialization, now a lovely 3 points instead of 5.
Now we have our new and improved Piercing Shots – finally it’s useful! Every MM tree should have all three points in Piercing Shots now. Then of course, I grabbed Trueshot Aura. No-brainer there. The next bit is the controversial bit – increasing the crit chance of Aimed shot with Improved Barrage. What I’ve done here (please refer to the glyphs on the above link) is selected a glyph that gives Aimed shot an extra 10% crit chance, then tacked on 4% more with Improved Barrage, instead of spending an expensive 3 points on a crit chance that is already going to be above 50% during raids. By doing this, I’m sacrificing a 1second shave from the Chimera cooldown via Glyph of Chimera Shot. I will now have to decide which is more effective, and this will require many a raid boss.
Then I take all five in Master Marksman, and for boost mana regen purposes, both points in Rapid Recuperation, which has been improved slightly. For now, this is my only real mana talent choice until I actually experience what my regen will be like in raids.
And finally we have our last bits. All three points in Wild Quiver, as it has also been reworked and improved, then Silencing Shot. The reason I’ve decided to pick up Silencing Shot again is because I’m still very unfamiliar with Ulduar, and I want to have that extra utility in case my guild finds a need for it during progression. It’s always good to come prepared. If I find later that it’s definitely not needed, I’ll be putting that extra point into Improved Barrage most likely.
3/3 for Improved Steady Shot is going to be very nice to have, especially with the changes to Aimed shot and the bleed damage it will trigger. I was debating using only 2 points for the 10% chance, but figured 15% chance was better to have for a shot fired so infrequently. I want it to be as effective as possible.
Marked for Death is a no-brainer, as is Chimera shot.
Now that I’ve gone over my choices for talents, let’s go over my Glyph choices.
First up in Major is Glyph of Aimed Shot. This reduces your Aimed shot cooldown by 2 seconds, effectively an 8 second cooldown instead of 10 seconds. I have not tested yet to see how Multi-shot behaves with this glyph. If anyone has, please leave a comment.
Second is Glyph of Trueshot Aura. This increases your Aimed shot crit chance by 10% while TSA is active (so all the time pretty much). I’ve chosen to use this instead of spending 3 talent points on Improved Barrage so I can maintain my Arcane shot damage. The other choice here would be Glyph of Chimera Shot, which reduces your Chimera cooldown by 1 second. I believe that the benefit of having more damaging Arcane shots will outweigh the benefit of 1 second’s difference on Chimera, especially in shorter fights.
Third is Glyph of Serpent Sting, just like pre-patch. This increases the length of your Serpent Sting, therefore increasing the damage you do with Chimera while Serpent Sting is active.
As for minor glyphs, the only one I see as being important is Feign Death, which reduces the FD cooldown by a nice 5 seconds. Mend Pet is nice, but unnecessary, and I generally won’t be reviving my pet during a battle, so those are really just personal preference. I think it’s safe to say you can use whatever you’d like and not be missing out.
I can’t wait to start testing things.
As it usually is with me, this spec is temporary, and I’ll most likely be shifting frequently to get a feel for what different talent choices will change. Many spreadsheets, videos, podcasts, and recounts to come! I’m so excited!!