Survival SPECulation: Day Two

So my second day of full Survival was not particularly exciting, although I was pleased to wake up and find all sorts of helpful hints and the like left in comments on my blog (and really has me wanting to make a “What hunter spec are you?” poll, just for curiosity’s sake, since it seems a good deal of you actually are not BM!)

I did enough dailies to learn that my pet can hold aggro just fine if I let him chew on the mob for five seconds or so before I open up. I’m just so used to BM where I can basically start shooting the second I send my pet in. (Now to be fair, I do usually have to be in Aspect of the Beast even as BM or else I’ll pull, but hey.) Once I figured this out, solo’ing became much better than it was yesterday especially because I never dipped below about 80% mana. Ever. My inner mana-starved Beast Master kinda wanted to cry about it, I’ll admit.

I got into a quick Heroic Azjol’Nerub, and then a Heroic Violet Hold later on. I kept Recount open and set to “Show Current Fight” for each. My reaction to the resulting numbers was extremely variable, bouncing anywhere between “Gosh, this isn’t nearly as good as my BM numbers” to “Why am I getting Patchwerk numbers in a five-man?” The vast majority of my reactions were firmly in the middle, though– the “I am doing about the same amount of DPS” camp. All it took, though, was a good solid string of crits to push me back closer to 10man Patchwerk territory.

I have discovered that where Beast Master is all about mobility with things like Kindred Spirits, Survival and Sniper Training lean much more towards stillness. It’s sort of a new style of playing that I’m still trying to get used to. See, I love running around while fighting. It’s especially bad on my druid because all I ever cast are HoTs so I’ll run circles around the boss, jumping frantically up and down and twirling around while I toss Lifeblooms and Wild Growths around. While I’m not quite to that point with my hunter (thanks to the whole you-gotta-stand-still-to-shoot-anyway thing), I still enjoy mobility and I strafe around a lot, so learning to suppress that has been kinda difficult.

The day ended with pounding away on training dummies. Again, the numbers I wound up with were extremely varied. At best, I was getting about 400 DPS more than I do as BM, and at worst, about 100 less. The majority of my experiments placed me about 150ish DPS more than BM with no outside buffs. Honestly I don’t know if that’s good or not; I have no idea how much this Fabled Big Survival DPS Increase is supposed to be. ANYWAYS, as far as I am aware, I am using the correct glyphs, spec, and shot priority– juggling my two DoTs (Black Arrow and Serpent Sting) and then Kill Shot -> Explosive Shot -> Aimed Shot -> Steady Shot, as well as having to shake things up with the occasional Lock & Load procs. The Survival rotation is rather complex, but I’m pretty sure I had it down. It really does feel like a Boomkin on Speed (I am allowed to say this because nobody wants Trees in Violet Hold, they all want Priests for some reason which I’ve yet to ascertain. So I’ve spent a lot of time in the chicken suit lately when I play my druid.)

Honestly the biggest thing I noticed from my tests was that I can do 180,000 damage before running out of mana as Beast Master, and 260,000 before running out of mana as Survival. Similar DPS, but huge difference in overall net damage done.

Regardless, I am only two days into the Grand Experiment, so we’ll see how things continue to go…

9 thoughts on “Survival SPECulation: Day Two”

  1. I generally feel based my experience as a hunter in Wrath that Survival DPS increases better then linearly with buffs. That is to say, classes and players I beat in 25s will be even with me in 10s and ahead of me in 5s. I have to assume this is because of the range of buffs I get in a 25-man raid, i.e. all of them, and that I get a bigger bump that other classes from them.

    Presumably, this is an agility and crit response from buffs and a feral druid. Expose weakness stays up more and I get a larger feedback from my large agility pool. I admit that I stack agility like a “lady of the night,” possibly at the expense of a slightly better choice of buffs, so this might be part of it. I feel that this rational makes sense.

    If you apply it to the SV v. BM comparison, pets do not currently get the full benefit of buffs (i.e. scaling issues.) So a BM and SV hunter will do similar DPS solo, but the SV hunter pulls away as the buffs become larger. At least, that’s my theory.

    Note, this may be why Blizz is finally talking about changing pet scaling, after all the years of ignoring that route – it’s one of the best ways to bring BM hunter DPS up to SV/MM levels that won’t affect the other two specs.

    Other comments in a random assortment:
    -yeah mana problems are never an issue.
    -while you’re standing there waiting for the cat to get a couple hits in, misdirect another mob (or two) to the pet. With a three shot MD on one mob and the pet having 5-8 seconds on the other, you’ll be able to keep yourself occupied without having to worry about aggor issues.
    -I haven’t looked at your gear, but I’m curious as to whether you have favored agility, or if you have more AP on your gear from your BM days? You may have mentioned it in the blog, but I honestly don’t remember. Obviously, SV dps is dominated by Agi, so this may also affect your dps output. I’m not recommending you reenchant and regem everything, but it’s just a thought.

  2. Interesting to notice the mana problems, BM seems to have. My hunter is finally getting close to the point where she’s going to be about the same at 80 (with obviously, raiding gear and whatnot, but HP and Mana is going to stay roughly the same… Including the problems associated.) Yet, I’ve been noticing the problems BM seems to having with my mana going down the drain in a few shots with any other aspect on.

    Also, WB’s observation about the buffing seems spot-on to me. I even notice it on my Feral Druid, who, obviously ends up stacking up Agility like mad… Even with more people in 25 man versus 10 mans or 5 mans, I seem to do better with the more buffs I get. This is clearly how it’s supposed to work, but it helps me maintain a ground that I would lose in the 25 man without the buffs. I’m not EXACTLY sure how this would scale to Hunters, as I’m working on that still, but I notice it in my druid, so at least some of it has some benefit.

  3. Glad to hear you are learning the spec 🙂

    Your really going to start learning quick now. About the aggro, keep in mind you are now the dps machine instead of your pet. Are you going to pull aggro even with MD? yep. The good news about that is by the time a mob gets to you its dead 🙂 (dont forget about disengage)

    I’m not sure how well Elitist Jerks links are taken by the other readers here, or yourself, but here is a link that compares the absolute best numbers of each spec. It’s updated a lot. Granted this probably wont help you much in figuring out how much more dps your specific build should be doing vs your BM build. Gear/spec/gems/glyphs will all be different.

    I know you cant use the spreadsheet from Elitist Jerk since you are on Linux (in all its awesomeness!) If you’d like I’d be more than happy to setup a spreadsheet for your specific build and post it as a PDF or something for your reference. (yes…sadly I game on windows)

    Keep up the hard work 🙂


  4. If you are having issues with threat with your pet for solo work, consider changing your petattack button to a macro that misdirects to your pet. It can eat up mana but it speeds things up considerably.

  5. Your shot priority seems a *little* off.

    There’s some disagreement on the exact priority order, but what I’ve got is:

    Kill Shot > Explosive Shot > Black Arrow > Aimed/Multi (Depending on spec) > Serpent Sting > Steady Shot

    You should be getting 3 specials in between each Explosive Shot, or 2 if you’re low on haste.

    Lock-and-Load is a big factor, especially on long boss fights. I use an addon to yell at me whenever it goes off so I never miss a proc. Just make sure you don’t fire your no-cooldown explosive shots too fast, or you’ll overwrite the explosive shot DOT – if you have one available, fire an instant-cast special shot between explosive shots during LnL.

    In general, expect to see your dps climb by at least another few hundred points as you tighten up your shooting and get used to the spec.

  6. Ok now it is time fro me to give you something to try, single mob solo fight. Put your pet on passive, Hunters mark the mob, then hit him with a Freezing arrow.
    POP goes your LnL and Fire off your Exp shots (Remember MAX range) mob should be dead in 2 hits and you should not take any damage (well minor damage from instant casts)
    between cooldowns on Frezzing arrow I send my pet in to aggro the mob. Role play it a little, I like to think about being a real sniper slow and steady.

  7. So today my guild is planning on doing a Naxx10 raid. The other hunter who is geared enough for it said “honestly I dont think I’ll invite you unless you’re SV or MM.” I got so mad. We got into an argument about the two specs. He kept saying “SV > BM, yada yada” and the thing is I AGREE with him. SV out DPSes BM usually. And he kept trying to make me change my spec. But I wasn’t going to pull out a spec I don’t want to use. I love BM to death and I dont know if other raiders realize this but basically 3% of their overall damage is due to my Ferocious Inspiration procs. Luckily my guild leader logged on at the time of the argument. I’ve been running heroics and raids with my guild leader since late February so he attested to my DPS as a BM hunter. My guild leader and even said he talked to a SV hunter who thought about switching over to BM after running something with me! I don’t know why the other Hunter was talking trash against BM hunters because my DPS is about equal to his and he has better gear than me.

  8. @Clra2 – It’s a sad thing when people in a raid go by what the prevailing “internet wisdom” is on class spec rather than actual in-game results. Practically speaking, SV and MM are pretty much on par and any variances are due more to play style, gear, latency and the RNG than actual spec choices.
    And as you have illustrated along with Pike, well-played BM is very much “competitive” with it’s DPS. There’s this assumption that BM is easy and I very much disagree with that (BM generally being seen as lower DPS means more under skilled BM players), I think it’s the hardest Hunter spec to play as you not only have to manage your own shots and abilities but you need to manage and position a pet who’s off buried under a sea of spell effects, wings, tentacles, whirling weapons, crap-that-should-not-be-stood-in and so forth. And bad pet management means a bad BM Hunter and in my experience pet management is the hardest part of playing a Hunter.
    So the fact that you can bring excellent DPS as BM should be a sign to that other Hunter that you’re very skilled and he should definitely take you along every time as you Know What You’re Doing.

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