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.


BM Tier 1-2


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.


Surv Tier 1-2


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.


MM Tier 1-2


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.


MM Tier 3-4


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.


MM Tier 5-6


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.


MM Tier 7-9

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.

MM Tier 9-11

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.

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!!

❤ Nass


~ by Kelly Jennelle on April 15, 2009.

21 Responses to “Initial Specs for 3.1”

  1. In my experience Silencing shot has a very limited utility in raids because of the travel time of the shot itself. Often I stand back far enough that by the time the shot arrives there a good chance that the spell has gone off or someone else has countered an ability of their own.

    I havent been able test the Chimera glyph but I’m interested to see how it’ll affect my rot.

    You make a solid point on Go for the throat. I think another respec is in my future.

  2. More great stuff from Nass.

    I was torn trying to decide if I should drop points to get Aspect Mastery again. After reading this, I’m thinking I should not have. 😦

    Looks like another respec again tonight.

  3. Yeah, I chose to spec into aspect mastery as well. I’ll give it some time to see how it shakes out. Here’s my current spec. I was trying to justify points in imp SS but ultimately chose to go with imp barrage. With that, my 30% crit rating as it stands now, and the TSA glyph, aimed shot now crits over 50% of the time. I Love it.

    Thanks for the post, Nass! keep us updated with your findings. Rock it on.

  4. Re: Brokk & Nass, I did 5 bosses so far in Ulduar 10 man last night, there are a couple interupts that are needed (one example is Iron Council) however since I switched over to my duel specced Survival for the raids Replenishment whore, I couldn’t test Silencing Shot to see if it now works as an interupt and instead they used the rogue/ shammy combo for interupts. However, regardless of it being an interupt mechanic it is now off the GCD so it is a DPS buff now. Fire it off every CD along with your other shots. Finally Rilgon can have some glory in his wierd spec choices.

    @ Eillairus and Rob, keep in mind that Aspect Mastery reduces damage by 5%, with new content it could be helpful to say the least last night. There are some fights that are HEALING INTENSIVE!! and the damage reduction from Aspect Mastery and Survival Instincts should be considered.

    So far I would say Ulduar has been Pet-unfriendly. One boss the pet was useless as pet’s couldn’t attack except for the few adds that spawned.(the giant where you kill his right arm first). And other bosses AOE damage would claim its life. I expect this is because we don’t have actual boss strats yet since we are learning their abilities as we go, and later we will know better where to place our pets during phases, but for now I’d suggest placing more talents on you opposed to your pet. ** however going into Aspect Mastery would give you Impr Revive Pet and THAT would be usefull.

  5. Hey i may have to give MM a chance now with duel spec. Yes im a bm hunter but allways wanted to try MM. Awsome blog, i found you from BRK’s ( i guess daniel now) podcast and have loved reading it ever since. Kepp up the good work and thanks : )

  6. @Lowlander – Thanks! 🙂 Nice to meet you!

    @Perzyx – I’m sure the fights will all be much simpler after a few solid attempts. I’d prefer to spec for damage and overcome the playstyle obstacles by playstyle. We’ll see how it goes, though. I did hear that Silencing Shot is very useful now. I have a feeling I’ll be keeping it.

    Off to celebrate the end of tax season! Cheers!

  7. Nass!

    Just tested out Glyph of Aimed Shot, and I’ve got interesting results.

    When you fire an Aimed Shot, Multi and Aimed both get set to an 8 sec cooldown. HOWEVER! When you fire a Multi-shot, they both get set back to 10 second cooldowns! Strange, huh?

    Not sure if that’s a bug or it’s intended… I’m not really sure how it should work, after all 🙂

  8. You are probably right Nass, but remember Blizz set out to make this instance harder, than lets say Naxx. Think Sarth 3d with Pet management. And that was Ulduar in Normal mode, I’m sure hard modes will make it even harder for your feline friends. And hopefully they fix that Giant Boss where the pet just sat by my side licking his paws. Actually it was a wasp so he was licking his own stinger (jealous). Anyhow point is until you have Ulduar (and its hard modes) on farm, I wouldn’t count out Impr Revive Pet as a useless talent.

  9. Nass,

    I am with you on your setup, except for Wild Quiver and ISS. I hate chance abilities and would rather have my aimed shot have a huge crit chance with Improved Barage and Trueshot Aura glyph for the Bleed damage from Piercing Shots. I also put 3 points into Improved Hunter’s Mark, and 1 point into Mana Effeciency just because I hate the RNG, and it hates me too.

  10. To spec into Impr Hunters Mark instead of Wild Quiver because of RNG is not wise, at all. A 12% chance to do 80% nature damage is not subject to as much RNG you think. While you will have some encounters that will fare better for you than others, it will average out quite well.

    Bad RNG imo is current Survival LnL procs. Since you can’t force LnL procs any longer and control when they happen it is possible to waste LnL’s. Last night on the Deconstructer Robot boss in Ulduar, both LnL’s in that fight went off between phases and wore off before I could use it.

    You should pick up WQ and you should only have Imp HM if you are running with a bare minimum of three other hunters.

    (Keep in mind Impr HM only gets worse as our gear gets better).

  11. Oh, and I wanted to mention TSA, if you are using the TSA Glyph well then its a no-brainer, but if you are not using the Glyph I would suggest leaving that as a optional talent. There are many others in a 25 man raid that bring the same buff, so it is often wasted.

  12. I know the focus is mostly on raiding Ulduar, but I just wanted to mention one minor glyph I actually find usefull (inc. Fein of course). The Frosttrap glyph that gives the area a 2yard boost which can be a lifesaver if you’re kiting i.e zombies on Gluth.
    Who knows…might even prove usefull in Ulduar:) Other then that I feel I’m heading for yet another respecc as my MM-specc. thanks yet again for a good post Nass:)

  13. Whew, get a bit schnonkered one night and wake up to a bunch of well-written comments!

    Here’s the thing with WoW’s “chance”. It WILL happen approximately 15% of the time no matter what, so long as the fight is a decent length. Same with your total crit chance – if your crit chance is 40%, you WILL crit approximately 40% of the time. So you can’t spec ISS and NOT get any procs on an average-length fight. 15% of your steady shots will trigger the effect, some of which will trigger with Aimed, which will be awesome.

    Perz, never meant to imply that Revive was useless – I LOVE having it, in fact. But until I see myself wishing to use revive over and over again and can’t find a way around it, I’ll keep the damage talents.

    I’ll have a chat with our other hunters to see how they’d like to spec. They’re still in the decision-making phase. Don’t want to be double-speccing IHM.

  14. Hey Nass.
    I’m a bit iffy on Glyph of Trueshot Aura…
    Raiding so far, I’ve noticed that my TSA buff disapears and re-apears quite alot and is replaced by either the enhancement shaman or blood death knight buffs that also give the +10% attack power buff.
    So I’m wondering whether or not our TSA buff is actually active 100% of the time, or perhaps it gets overwritten by these other two buffs, and therefore the glyph is rendered temporarily disabled.

  15. @Stormfront –

    Firstly, I’m curious as to what mod you’re using that shows your TSA disappearing. My first reaction is to mistrust the mod. My second reaction would be to double-check your WWS and search for your Buffs. If TSA is there, or is on another hunter’s buff list, then it is “active”. I believe “active” refers to it being on you, not necessarily whether or not is is functioning. I could be wrong, but that’s how I understand it.

    Let me know what you find, and if you still think TSA is being overwritten, I’ll look into it. Thanks for the question. =)

  16. Sweet! Full of good information. I made up my mind to choose MM as my dual-spec and this information helped me out greatly, so thank you. I wasn’t really in the up-and-up on aimed shot (thinking it was much more PvP centric) but the information that you presented here was well thought out. May I ask, being a BM hunter I am not so sure, what your shot rotation may be in 3.1 with the changes and what not?

    Also you said this is a25m raid spec, so if I am not in a 25m raid (or don’t go to often) would you recommend taking Efficiency? I was curious about that one. Thanks!

  17. @Zhire –

    I’m changing my rotation, but I haven’t finalized it yet. I will most likely finalize it by the end of this weekend, but as of now, it’s looking to be Serpent > Aimed > Chimera > Arcane > Steady as the new priority rotation. Still testing it out though, and still deciding on glyphs and minor talent choices.

    I’d suggest getting as much Efficiency as you can for 10-man raids, as Ulduar seems to be very mana-intensive. Just be careful about what you sacrifice for it. You don’t want to lose too much damage. I’m working on a 10-man spec this weekend as well.

    Good luck, and check back for updates.

  18. I will take a trip over to the talent calculator, it seems! Thanks for the tips, I’ll be sure to check back…now, off to fiddle with those talent points! 😀

  19. TSA will always over write the DK/shaman 10%. The only way you will get one of the other two with a Marks hunter in your raid is if the hunter movers out of range. its the same idea with HoW and SoE totem even if you have a full HoW and you pass by a SoE tot it will overwrite HoW.

    Newbie Question time: After seeing a few fights in Uldar(Not as a hunter >.>) I wonder if Range wouldn’t be soo bad. Then again i guess one could just do more DPS by just walking 5y to Attack again.

  20. Any idea how many of the bosses are mechanicals? I’m wondering if it’s worth keeping imp tracking as this is five wasted talent points on the XT-002 fight.

    • I’m not sure – if you’re concerned, try using your secondary spec as a Mechanical encounter backup. However, I wouldn’t justify not speccing into Improved Tracking just because of one or two bosses.

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