The Survival Hunter in 3.3
I've taken the 3.1 SV thread and tried to update it for 3.3. I checked with the original author and he's no longer playing so I thought it was best to start a new thread (thanks to Cilithan for the original thread).
Should I Spec Survival?
Survival is recommended as the best starter spec for raiding. It will dominate other hunter specs at lower gear levels and remains competitive with Marksmanship specs until very high gear levels (and should outdamage BM at all gear levels if played properly). It is a strong spec for fights with target switching and a lot of movement.
If you have a lot of ArPen or a high end weapon, you may want to consider whether it's time to look at Marksmanship for higher dps as it scales better at the high end. You can consult a spreadsheet to get a rough idea of how close the specs are in your gear although there is a fairly large margin of error when comparing two extremely different specs. When choosing a spec also keep in mind whether your raid may need the replenishment you can provide.
1.0 Spec – Talents
There are several viable Survival builds out there. Most of the talents are pretty static but there are a few options to choose from based on your needs, your raid environment, gear level, etc.
1.1 Sample Specs:
0-15-56 - this build is suitable to all gear levels for a raid that requires replenishment. It does not include imp stings so hunters with 2pc T9 might find an imp stings spec preferable
0-18-53 - this build is designed for someone wearing the 2pc T9 bonus who wants to provide replenishment to their raid. Note that this build only has 1 point in expose weakness and if your crit is low you may be better off moving a point from imp stings or hunting party for a 2nd point in EW
6-14-51 - this build is an option for a raid that doesn't require replenishment and where mana regen options in the raid are strong enough that you can afford to skimp on thrill of the hunt. Some variant of this build may be best once you've moved to 4pc T10 and are no longer using the 2pc T9 bonus
2-18-51 - this build is also for a raid that doesn't require replenishment but tends to be a stronger spec for someone wearing the 2pc T9 bonus since it includes imp stings
1.2 Required Talents:
Every viable survival spec should have the following talents:
- 5/5 Lethal Shots
- 5/5 Mortal Shots
- 3/3 Careful Aim
- 1/2 Go for the Throat (1 pt is worth considerable dps, a 2nd point is only really useful if you have low crit)
- 5/5 Improved Tracking (it is not required that your tracking type match the mob anymore, just that it be one of the supported mob types)
- 3/3 Trap Mastery (note this is a fairly low dps talent, so if you have a need for extra range you can choose to move these 3 points to Hawk Eye)
- 2/2 Survival Instincts
- 5/5 Survivalist
- 3/3 T.N.T.
- 3/3 Lock and Load
- 3/3 Hunter vs. Wild
- 3/3 Killer Instinct
- 5/5 Lightning Reflexes
- 1-3/3 Resourcefulness (the 2nd and 3rd points of this talent contribute extra dps, but at a lower rate than the first point, so it's a suitable scavenge point for other talents)
- 1-2/3 Expose Weakness (the 2nd point is recommended unless you have high crit and the 2pc T9 bonus, the 3rd point isn't useful unless your crit is very low)
- 1/1 Wyvern Sting (this contributes no dps but is required to pick up Noxious Stings)
- 1-3/3 Thrill of the Hunt (more points in this talent can be valuable for mana regen, but higher dps builds that don't require replenishment often drop them to free up points for other talents, be sure your raid has good mana regen options if you drop any points in this talent)
- 5/5 Master Tactician
- 3/3 Noxious Stings (this talent is often misread, it provides a damage bonus to all attacks when serpent sting is on your target so it's a high damage talent)
- 1/1 Black Arrow
- 3/3 Sniper Training (if you stand still for 6 seconds it will refresh the benefit from this talent for a full 15 seconds so proper management can keep high uptime even through many movement fights)
- 1/1 Explosive Shot
1.3 Optional Talents:
There are several optional talents that can be taken depending on your needs.
- 1-5/5 Improved Aspect of the Hawk - although haste is not generally high value to hunters, it contributes some dps gain and if there are talents to spare it can be a reasonable option. It's more attractive with the 2pc T10 bonus since it should increase your uptime slightly
- 1/2 Focused Fire - it's possible to get 1 point in this talent with a survival spec that doesn't include replenishment, however to get this talent you have to invest 5 points in imp hawk which isn't one of the strongest dps talents. It's not possible to get 2 points in this talent without giving up on a talent which is worth significantly more dps
- 1-3/3 Focused Aim - if you are significantly low on hit (especially for new 80s gearing up), this talent can be an option to make up some lost hit. It's not recommended you spec into this talent unless you need at least a full % of hit and be sure to check that speccing into it will gain you more dps than taking other talents and gemming/enchanting for more hit
- 1/1 Aimed Shot - highly recommended and is generally in all SV specs that aren't going for focused fire or having to scavenge points for Focused Aim. If you don't have aimed shot you can use multi-shot but you won't get the additional damage that sniper training provides aimed and multi consumes more mana. Additionally aimed shot can be used while moving whereas multi requires you stop long enough to fire it. There are also a few fights where the healing debuff can be useful
- 1-3/3 Improved Stings - a popular option for hunters with 2pc T9. Not recommended without the 2pc T9 bonus
- 1-3/3 Hawk Eye - not generally recommended unless you are running into situations where the extra range is a huge help, in which case points should be taken from Trap Mastery to pick it up and not any other talent
- 1-3/3 Hunting Party - this is required when providing replenishment to the raid. The talent itself also provides an agility bonus so it can become a decent dps talent if your gear level is high enough, but it requires investing 3 points in Thrill of the Hunt to pick up, so many hunters who don't require replenishment invest the points in other places. 2 points in Hunting Party should provide high replenishment uptime at all gear levels, 1 should be enough at high gear levels
You should use 3 of the following 4 major glyphs:
Generally the first 3 are recommended, however if you have high ArPen you may find that steady shot will potentially outweigh one of the others. Kill shot's value also varies significantly depending on fight type and at very high crit levels explosive shot may not be worth glyphing for.
It is generally not recommended to use Glyph of the Hawk because the other glyphs will usually provide a more consisstent damage benefit. Glyph of Hunter's Mark will not provide as much of a dps gain as the recommended glyphs and if a raid needs a hunter to provide it, it should be an MM hunter who can pick it up more easily with the improved hunter's mark talent.
None of the minor glyphs provide any real damage benefit, but these are the potentially useful ones:
3.0 Shot Priority
SV hunters use a shot priority, not a rotation. This means that you don't use your shots in a consistent order, but rather you always use the highest priority shot that is currently available (or in the case of serpent sting about to expire).
Below is the recommended priority:
Note: If you are using the 2pc T9 bonus, it's typically recommended to move serpent sting above black arrow in priority.
The reason you don't use black arrow and serpent sting before explosive shot even though they apply buffs to other shots is that explosive shot is worth such a large proportion of damage compared to other shots that delaying it even one GCD to get a small damage bonus on it turns out to be a net damage loss.
Make sure to also include Kill Command macroed into your shots so you use it whenever it's up. It is not on the GCD.
Generally it's recommended to delay your lower damage shots (especially steady) for explosive shot or kill shot. How much is the ideal time to delay may depend on gear but in some cases .8-1 second can be a dps gain versus using a steady shot.
When you get a lock and load proc there are two ways to handle it:
The dps difference between these two methods is not significant and which one will provide optimal dps may be gear dependent. You should do whatever you're most comfortable with. It is not recommended that you use a steady shot to intersperse as the damage per cast time is lower so you get less value from pushing back your explosive shot.
Tip: if you are moving and none of your instant shots are up, it may sometimes make sense to refresh serpent sting early to save yourself a GCD later (although this will be an extra drain on your mana).
You should allways check Shandara's spreadsheet or the Hunter DPS Analyzer to judge the relative importance of a given stat for a hunter with your gear and spec. The following gives a general idea of the value of stats for the SV spec:
Hit capping is highly recommended however hit above the cap gives you no benefit. The hit cap for a hunter is 8% (263 hit rating), minus any talents you may have invested in Focused Aim, and you can subtract another 1% from heroic presence if you are regularly in a party with a Draenei. Note that pets do not get the full expertise value from focused aim and get none from heroic presence, but generally this shouldn't impact your decision as to how to achieve your hit cap. Generally if you are significantly below the hit cap (more than 1%) it is more efficient to use focused aim than to gem for it, but if you are not that far from the cap you're better off gemming it (usually via hit/agil gems in yellow sockets). Pet hit will also round down, so being just slightly below the cap is usually worse than being slightly above.4.2 Agility
Agility is by far the most important stat for SV once hit capped. This is due primarily to the multiplier talents in the SV tree (Lightning Reflexes and Hunting Party). Don't sacrifice an overly large amount of stats for agility but do make it a priority for gemming.4.3 Crit
Crit is generally the most popular stat for SV after agility. In addition to the damage gains from crit, talents like expose weakness, go for the throat and thrill of the hunt all scale with crit well. Generally you don't need to be concerned about capping out on crit (you need 104.8% crit before you max out on a boss), but as your crit gets very high you can spare points in expose weakness, hunting party and thrill of the hunt and still maintain good uptimes, and at very high crit levels it may make sense to drop the explosive shot glyph.4.4 Attack Power
Very solid stat for SV but not valued more highly than agility. You should get enough of this from gear and should never need to gem for it.4.5 Armor Penetration
A large percentage of the damage in an SV spec is not affected by ArPen (only kill shot, autoshot, aimed/multishot and steady shot are). That being said, the more ArPen you have, the better it gets, so it scales extremely well as a stat when you have a lot of it. At low gear levels it isn't a very attractive stat, but given it's a stronger stat than haste and most gear you want will have it on there, you will quickly get to a point where it becomes close to as valuable to crit and may possibly surpass it.4.6 Haste
Haste is considered to be a poor stat for all hunter specs. The only shots affected by haste are autoshot and steady shot. Steady shot is worth very little dps compared to other shots (and is a small proportion of the SV damage breakdown) so stacking haste to get it down to the GCD is not recommended when you can get more bang for your stat buck with agility, crit, ArPen and AP.4.7 Intellect
It is not recommended that you gem intellect, however you do get 1 AP for intellect with the Careful Aim talent, so generally gear with int will be more attractive than gear without, although occasionally there are leather items well enough itemized to make them worth wearing over mail.4.8 Stamina
It is not recommended that you go out of your way to get additional stamina on your gear or gem for it. However with the Hunter vs. Wild talent you will gain 30% of your stamina as additional AP, so it does contribute a small amount of dps and can potentially be a deciding factor in comparing similar items. It is not enough of a gain to make it worth using more than the one blue gem required to activate your meta.4.9 Ranged Weapon DPS
Explosive shot does not scale with weapon dps, which means that although SV does value the dps on a weapon, it doesn't play as large a factor in your damage as it will with an MM spec. When comparing ranged weapons with different damage be sure to consult a spreadsheet as the stats on the item may sometimes outweigh the damage gap. Weapon speed is generally not significant.5.0 Pet
The wolf is the recommended raid pet for SV hunters due to the solid dps and the Furious Howl buff which scales very well with gear.
If you are in a raid without a reliable source of faerie fire you may want to consider a wasp as an alternative as they provide the same buff.
Recommended Ferocity Pet Spec (note that the point in dash and bloodthirsty can be moved as needed, the other points are all recommended dps talents).
You can consult a spreadsheet to estimate the actual dps gain from any profession by testing out the profession benefits provided. Note that since agility is extremely strong for SV the professions which allow you to choose it over AP or other stats give you the best benefit.
10.0 Cooldown Management
SV hunters generally only have 2 cooldowns, both with 5 minute timers- Rapid Fire and Call of the Wild (some hunters may also have activated trinkets or racial bonuses, it isn't recommended to spec for rapid killing). It is recommended you use these cooldowns stacked together. Whenever possible they should also be stacked with other cooldowns such as trinket or set bonus procs or heroism/bloodlust for maximum effect.
Since they have long timers you should try to use them early in the fight when possible to allow a second use of them on longer fights. You will also generally get slightly more benefit from stacking haste bonuses than by separating them because they have a multiplicative effect and generally you gain more from the additional autoshots than you lose by having a longer period of time with steady shot at or below the GCD.
You can also use a dps potion in conjunction with your other cooldowns for an additional dps boost. If you use a potion immediately before entering combat (known as pre-potting) you can gain the benefit from it and still have another available during the fight when the cooldown expires.
11.0 Useful Mods
I have been using ForteXorcist for timers and am impressed.
About the glyphs:
I couldnt find it on these forums anymore, but isnt the exchange of SS vs ES glyph rather a matter of the absurd ammounts of crit decently geard hunters have, than because of ArP ?
It might be that I have misread the topic back then, but the spreadsheet shows SS above ES Glyph even in ArP starved gear with "only" high crit chances.
Therefore, i would communicate the glyph choice with Crit rather than ArP to avoid confusion.
About the specs:
I havent tested 6/14/51 with 4xt10 yet, but i cant see the point why a spec with this high gearlvl should include the ES Glyph at all.
Sidenote:Please be gentle with my spelling. Im only tryin to build a constructive discussion here, with english not beeing my mothers tongue. However i have read the forum rules and i know i cant hope for any special treatment.
Chuck it's a good question and I did some testing on it in my site to see. What I found was that the by comparing an increase in equal amounts of crit versus ArPen, I found that increasing ArPen brought the steady glyph gain up by a slightly larger amount than crit, but in all the testing I did the gaps weren't all that far apart. I found that the higher the stats were in general, the larger a gain steady saw versus the explosive glyph, but that ArPen consistently gave a bit more benefit to it than crit (which makes sense as crit should affect both shots and ArPen only steady). I also tested higher dps weapons and I found that they also gave a slightly larger lead to steady over explosive (not surprising since explosive doesn't scale with weapon damage).
The reason I mention extremely high amounts of crit in relation to the explosive shot glyph is that at extremely high gear levels it's possible to crit cap on kill shot with everything procced, and it may be possible to be at that point or very near it for explosive as well (although I haven't sat down to figure out whether the gear exists in the game to make this happen). So if you are at that level obviously glyphing explosive shot is probably not as attractive as another glyph (and although some people think dropping points in MT is wise, I don't see SV hunters getting high enough on crit to make something that affects all shot crit worth significantly less).
ArPen will obviously increase the value of the steady shot glyph, as steady is one of the few shots SV has which is affected by ArPen. I suppose it would also increase the value of the kill shot glyph. But in general the threshold for glyph choice would depend a lot on the combination of all your stats as well as your raid makeup and fight type. Steady obviously is a weaker choice for high movement fights, KS is really good for Anub/Yogg, serpent is good for any fight with extra sting targets, explosive is stronger for movement fights as a larger portion of your damage will be made of them- especially when force proccing LnL is an option. So in the end it's something people will have to spreadsheet and then make judgement calls based on what fights look like (which is why I'm still using the explosive glyph even though steady comes out higher in the spreadsheet, I use my SV spec more on movement fights and MM spec on more stationary fights).
I can fully second your spec choice. Therefore I might consider going back to the es glyph as you have a very valid point there.Then again, I can even less understand why you mention the 3.1 cookie cutter spec without Aimed Shot as a considerable choice at high gearlevels(got time to test it now and its a massive dps downgrade even on nonmovement fights).
Gear:My current gear with hands and chest upgraded to t10.2
Sheet:femaledwarf(i know that people tend to use shandara here, but i for myself like your webbased version)
Buffs:Fully raidbuffed, rest standard settings appart from hitfood over Agi food (6dps difference)
With 4xT10 and 6/14/51
With my current spec and 4xT10.2
Thus, you can see a nearly 100dps downgrade while upgrading my gear.
Furthermore, i would like to point you towards another addon called classtimer.
Its super lightweight, easy to configure and it perfectly tracks everything you need to know.
I would not say TellMeWhen and NeedToKnow are very helpful Mods. Using Quartz for Targetdebuffs and a good configuarated Buffbar with procs and cooldowns in it (I'm using Elkanos) is much more helpfull than NeedToKnow, with more various options and, if you want, even the same style.
I would also recomment a mod for internal Cooldowns of your trinkets and, especially as SV, your LnL procs. (I'm personally using Sexycooldowns)
Chuck, are you sure you switched aimed to multi shot in the shot priority when you compared the two?
I took my gear, converted in to 4xT10.2, switched the boots and pants to the crafted. I got 10996.02dps with the 0/15/56 spec (which was about 9dps above the 0/18/53 spec which isn't surprising since without 2pc T9 imp stings loses it's bite) and 11048.50 dps with the 6/14/51 spec. So the 6/14/51 spec came out as 52.48dps above the others. Whether that translates into a real game dps benefit obviously will vary by fight given how variable haste is, but that's how the numbers lay out for me.
Additionally 6/14/51 is the spec used in the BIS in Shandara's sheet, so it would be remiss not to include it in sample specs. I don't see myself speccing it anytime soon but for hunters that don't need replenishment and aren't using 2pc T9 I can see why some would go that route.
I was sure I did, but still went back to the sheet to recheck. Apperantly I didnt, so the new results are following:
I am of course aware that 18/53 will never be viable once you lose the 2xt9 bonus for obvious reasons, wich is why I was considering to go 15/56 with 4xT10 for the elaborated conditions I use my SV spec for (movement intense fights). Seeing as Hit is going to be some sort of a rare stat in BiS-gear, it might be interesting to go 16/55 or simmilar, since you can easily switch points from Hunting Party to Careful Aim to compensate for all the lost Hit.
However, i feel kinda embarassed about the Aimed Shot fail, so I shall crawl back to my cave now and pity myself.
Thanks for the the suggestion
You might want to track your Sniper Training up-time (on a fight by fight basis) and plug that into the Analyzer.
Basically until you reach 86.8% crit buffed you will get at least some benefit from the ES glyph with MT procced. Below that level you may still sometimes cap out from procs (DBW is the most likely to push your crit high enough to cap) but unless you spend a significant amount of time capped with MT procced, you should get close to full value from the ES glyph. The spreadsheet can't really accurately handle proc based caps, but you can disable averaging of abilities and turn off the Master Tactician talents to get a more base crit to work with, then manually add the amount of crit you're getting from procs and MT under custom stats to see how close you come to capping.
ArPen/crit gear should still be the best combo for SV even once you start getting seriously high on crit unless you are actually capping for ES without the glyph, which is pretty unlikely. But at those gear levels you'd probably be better off going MM anyhow, which has far less risk of capping and will make better use of your ArPen.
How large is the margin of error for haste in the spreadsheet/website? I know there's been talks that the spreadsheet/website is 'generous' when it comes to haste due to the fact that it assumes we're always in a tank n spank fight for 6mins straight. I've been playing around with a 4p T10 spec and I've come down to either 0/15/56 or 3/15/53.
The 3/15/53 spec is essentially the 'Imp Stings' spec except instead of 3 points into Imp Stings, it's 3 points into Imp Hawk while still providing replenishment to the raid. That being said, I don't know if taking the 3 points from Imp Hawk and putting it into Resourcefulness, EW, and Hunting Party(0/15/56) is better, because the 0/18/53 spec never had those talents anyway.
Plugging the specs into femaledwarf shows 3/15/53 with slight advantage over 0/15/56 by about +62dps, for my gear at least. I'm not sure if anyone would consider +62dps a significant increase but it's an increase nonetheless. So how large is the margin of error regarding haste on the website? Could the movement during fights negate all of the '+62dps'? Or would movement only cut that number down by half?
For arguments sake, let's assume that the movement during fights will negate all of the +62dps. Making the DPS equivalent for both specs. If this is the case, wouldn't 3/15/53 be 'better' due to the time we do get to stand still and just DPS? Is this assumption incorrect? I'd really like to know how much DPS can be lost during movement heavy fights and how 'off' the website is regarding haste.
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