Category Archives: shot rotation

Beast Mastery Q&A June 2010

I haven’t raided since February. But I’ve done some heroics and testing/spreadsheeting.

Best Pet?: Elitist Jerks says Raptors (yay!) at very high gear levels. Wolves & Devilsaurs are testing out to be slightly higher for me in my ToC duds. By “slightly higher” I mean “about 20 DPS fully raid buffed”, whether or not that’s worth it for you is up to you.

Shot Rotation? Again, going by very high gear levels, Elitist Jerks says you can drop Arcane Shot. Spreadsheet tells me I can’t yet. Praise the light, I hate dropping shots, it makes me bored out of my mind.

Spec? I am still 53/11/7. I tried playing around with dropping Survival Instincts in favor of more points in Mortal Shots but the difference is minuscule (less than 10 DPS, fully raidbuffed). It might be worth a shot if you are better geared, however.

Is BM “viable” yet? Ah yes, that word with the nebulous definitions that people love to toss around. Ultimately this one comes down to you, what you are doing, and what your personal standards/opinions are, but I can tell you two things for sure:

One, Elitist Jerks says that at high gear levels the difference between BM and SV is now very minimal. Both lag noticeably behind MM, however.

Two, if I can pull this off on a single-target boss fight in a heroic as BM in oldschool ToC gear & freaking blue ammo:

…then anyone who makes fun of you for being BM in a heroic is, quite honestly, out of their looney little mind. And yes, you can tell them I said so.

Hunter Kindergarten: Intro to Steady Shot

So, you’ve reached level 50 with your hunter. Congratulations! One of my hunters just hit level 50 as well! His name is Althalor, and he’s a very deliciously good looking Blood Elf who lives with Tauren. This is him:


See, told you he was cute!

When you are level 50, you learn Steady Shot, and because this is a very important shot to all hunters, we’re giving it its own special post. Hunter Kindergarten is in session!

History Lesson: Steady Shot was introduced in Burning Crusade and originally you got it at level 62. It had a relatively short cast time, and it had to be used at very specific intervals to avoid “clipping” your Auto Shots, which would gimp your DPS. To get around this, many people made a macro which automated this process. As for me, well, that completely defeated one of the biggest reasons I enjoyed hunters so much, so I always hand-wove my Steadies.

With Wrath of the Lich King, Steady Shot was overhauled entirely. It was removed from being linked with Auto Shot so you no longer had to worry about timing, although its cast-time was made slightly longer. Unfortunately this meant all Beast Masters had to do was spam Steady over and over, which was heinously boring to me just as using the macro was in Burning Crusade, and it almost had me switching specs.

Never fear, Blizz came along with a Steady Shot nerf and an Arcane Shot buff and here we are today!

Today’s Steady Shot: Steady Shot, in and of itself, is not a very good shot, damage-wise. In fact, it’s pretty bad. For a lot of hunters, it does less damage than Auto Shot.

I see you raising your hand there, ready to ask why we use it then. Simple: it’s there to use when you can’t use anything else. And remember, even a little extra damage is still extra damage.

Keep in mind that because Steady Shot does have a cast time, it cannot be used while moving, and in my experience, you will rarely use it in PvP.

How And When: In general, Steady Shot is for use when everything else is on cooldown. Beast Master and Survival Hunters in particular will find themselves using it more than a Marksmanship hunter would, because a Marksmanship hunter has a few more shots to use. You don’t want to use it more than is necessary, though, because it typically does not do as much damage as any of your other shots. There are of course exceptions to the rule; for example, I know of Marksmanship hunters with very high amounts of Armor Penetration who are able to drop Arcane Shot from their rotation in favor of more Steadies, since Steadies are positively affected by Armor Penetration. For the most part, though, Steady Shot should be the lowest rung on the ladder. Basically, you always want to be doing some sort of special shot to fill in your Auto Shots, and since Steady has no cooldown, it fits the bill a lot of the time.

Glyph of Steady Shot is a very good glyph that many hunters tend to use, because pretty much all specs are using Serpent Sting now for various reasons and because a 10% boost to a shot that you are using so frequently is definitely not bad. Keep an eye out for it, and snag it when you can!

Warnings!: For a low level hunter who already has mana issues, Steady Shot is really going to exacerbate them. Some leveling hunters opt to forego using Steady Shot very much at these low levels to avoid this issue. Others, like me, JUST HAVE TO USE IT NO MATTER WHAT BECAUSE SHOT ROTATIONS ARE FUN AND SQUEE.


You try it out for yourself and decide. >.>

Conclusion: Steady Shot has come a long way. It was designed to be a “filler shot”, was inadvertently turned into our main shot, and has finally been tuned into actually being a filler shot. Don’t treat him too badly, though; we may have broken up with him but he’s still a decent friend when no one else is around.

…nice guys finish last, don’t they…? *gently pats Steady Shot*

WotLK Hunter Shot Rotation Compendium

With dual-specs upon us, and hunter specs in general looking a lot closer in terms of DPS differences than they have ever been before, a lot of hunters are trying out specs they don’t normally play. Along with that, there are a lot of questions floating around regarding our shot rotations– or perhaps more accurately these days, shot priorities. So, I figured I would create this post as a quick reference guide for what you are supposed to be doing when you spec a certain spec. I plan on keeping this post “active” and coming back to it as needed to reflect any future changes, though I’m getting the feeling that we’re approaching some semblance of permanence for this expansion.

Quickly, what this post is and is not:

This is NOT… going to tell you how to spec, glyph, level, or PvP.

This IS… primarily level 80, PvE-oriented and should give you a quick idea on what to do if you just spec’d for a new spec, and spec’d it relatively well, and are running straight into an instance or raid.

Keep in mind that these are not strict rotations, instead, they are priorities: What that means is you are not going to go down this list and fire every shot, and then go back to the beginning and rinse and repeat. It means that you are going to fire shots which are off cooldown and/or need refreshing in this order. Also please note that these are adaptable for various situations, and that I tended to stick the Stings/DoTs first, as a matter of style and just to organize things, although there may be some situations where you don’t want to fire them first– for example, if Kill Shot is available.

So without further ado…

The WotLK Hunter Shot Rotation Compendium:
Last Updated: April 21, 2009 – Patch 3.1

Beast Mastery:
The Shot Priority: Serpent StingKill ShotArcane ShotMultishot/Aimed Shot (optional– can be a mana hog so works best in conjunction with Replenishment) – Steady Shot
Pike’s Notes: Not just Steady spam anymore, although I see plenty of non-hunters and even hunters running around who still think this is the case. Heck, I saw BM Hunters on the receiving end of mockery regarding this just today in trade chat. They are, I am pleased to report, quite mistaken. Beast Masters may not have quite so many shots and stings to juggle as the other specs, but they still have plenty to do and when you combine this with a Bestial Wrath glyphed and talented almost down to a minute, and your Kill Command which is on a similar cooldown, you’ve got lots to play around with as well.

This rotation depends largely on Glyph of Steady Shot— Steady is still a large chunk of your damage as a Beast Master and because it is so weak you need to do everything you can to pull it up, and yes, that includes keeping Serpent Sting up.

The rotation is adaptable on the fly to account for mobs that are nearly dead (when the cooldown for refreshing a Serpent Sting would not be worth the extra Steady damage), as well as deciding to put off Serpent Sting if Arcane and Multi are off cooldown, for example.

The Shot Priority: Serpent Sting (one time only) – Kill ShotChimera ShotAimed ShotArcane ShotSteady Shot
Pike’s Notes: One of my favorite attributes of the Marksman spec is that you don’t have to worry about refreshing Serpent Sting– Chimera Shot does it for you. It will spoil you rotten, I promise.

Note that Multishot is typically not in your rotation as a Marksman– it shares a cooldown with Aimed, and Aimed will generally pack a larger punch for you in the case of most current Marksman specs. However, if there is more than one target, and the tank has a good hold of them all, swapping in a Multi for Aimed will in fact result in a DPS increase. (This is the case with all three specs).

Use Readiness wisely, it can be used for great effect to get double Kill Shots after a trinket pop, for example

The Shot Priority: Black ArrowSerpent StingKill ShotExplosive ShotMultishot/Aimed Shot (optional) – Steady Shot
Important! When Lock and Load procs: Be sure to squeeze one Steady or Aimed between your two “instant” Explosive Shots– that way you don’t overwrite your own Explosive Shot DoT. (You may also opt to “wait” between Explosives if you don’t have an instant ready– see the comments in this post for details.)
Pike’s Notes: This is me being biased, but with the introduction of Black Arrow and the current encouragement to use Multishot or Aimed, Survival has gotten a lot more fun and interesting for me in 3.1 than it was, well, pre-3.1. The overall “rotation” feels like a weird cross between Beast Mastery and Marksmanship, with a side dish of “random” tossed in, and it might take some getting used to but it’s certainly not boring.

Black Arrow is interesting as it cannot be “refreshed” like Serpent Sting: it has a pretty hefty cooldown even with talents that reduce that cooldown. Still, it’s a not-too-shabby DoT and also a big DPS booster, and also your source of Lock and Load procs, that should be kept up anytime it is available.

Explosive Shot is still your ace in the hole here. You are more encouraged to use Multi/Aimed as Survival than as a Beast Master because you are more mana efficient and can probably afford it. Play around with it and see if it works for you.

…and, that does it! In closing while I can now say I have played all three specs in both instance and raid situations in the past month or two, I still don’t know how much of an “expert” I can be considered especially on Marksmanship and Survival, so please, if you play one of those specs and you have more advice or corrections you would like to throw in, leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do to edit your notes in.

And remember: this type of thing is often subjective. I encourage you to read the comments, read other blogs, and do your own research and testing on this subject. I just wanted to make a quick reference that should work fairly well in most situations. *nods*

Arcane Shot (And Pets) Never Faileth

I would like to present to you some DPS breakdowns that I took a screenshot of after a recent… memorable Heroic UK PuG (if enough people are interested, I’ll post the story about it. Hint: I think I’ll call it “The Fable of the Egotistical Death Knight.”)

Here’s the whole damage report… yes, after the entire run, which means rotations and the like aren’t gonna be super perfect:


And now a breakdown of my shots. I would like to point out that this was a largely Multishot-free run due to lack of Replenishment and some other factors:


“Why are you showing us this, Pike?”

Couple of reasons.

First Reason: Look how much damage your pet is doing. I have consistently found that ever since 3.0.9, my pet will come close to 50% but not quite surpass it. Still, that’s a lot.

Now, this is important for a couple of reasons. Firstly, keep him alive (dur) and secondly, if you have to, kindly (kindly!) remind your resident paladins to give him Might* if they forget. That alone is a huge DPS boost. You shouldn’t have to worry about most other buffs unless said buffers are passing out the K-Mart versions. That includes if your pet died and you had to rez him. In my experience, 95% of people will fail to re-buff your pet after said pet rez (or will do their groupwide buff before you’ve rez’d your pet). I always hate having to point it out to people because it makes me feel like a whiner of some sort, but really, it’s that important to your DPS and thus to the group, so don’t be afraid to ask for those buffs for your pet. While we are on the subject, I always go out of my way to thank people who specifically remember to buff my pet after a rez. ’cause said people are rare. (If you are a buffing class and fall under said rare category, you have my undying affection and love as of… now.)

And yes, I also find it amusing that my pet and I have a different “most attacked” target. =P

Second Reason: Arcane Shot. I fired 186 Steadies and 113 Arcanes throughout the course of the instance, and despite that fairly sizable discrepancy in the number of shots and the fact that I’m using the glyphed Steady (10% more damage), Arcane Shot still was really closing the gap there. What this means is that it’s very important to fire off your Arcane Shot when it’s up; it’s an instant cast and you can use it while moving so it’s basically free damage. In fact, really the only shot that I think should have priority over it is Kill Shot.

Why do I keep pounding this into everyone’s heads, you’re probably wondering by now. Well, it’s because I’ve been running into a few BM hunters in instances who are still doing nothing but Steady. And they could be doing a lot better!

Third Reason: Mostly I just wanted to show what a good shot breakdown will probably look like for you as a Current-gen Beast Master. Gone are the days of having one shot doing as much (or more) damage as Auto Shot. Your Auto Shot is going to be sitting pretty at about 40%ish of your hunter-half’s total damage, because you have other shots to play with now that will be comprising the rest of that damage. And personally, I really, really like this change.

In closing: I am not a theorycrafter, and this is not a theorycrafting blog. I don’t know if I’ve said that before or not, but it bears saying again if I have. Sometimes I get comments or e-mails asking for more in-depth math and here’s the thing: I’m down with some math every now and again but I usually don’t dig into it. Most of my playstyle comes from observation, field testing, and common sense. My “numbers” posts are not meant to blow the Elitist Jerks folks out of the water, rather, they are here to spark inspiration in your head and possibly give you some new ideas to play around with or new things to think about. As always, feel free to take my post and add numbers to it on your own and do your own testing. I would be very flattered if you did that, in fact. But above all, remember that hunters are for fun! ^_^

* I’m pretty okay with Kings too if the warriors really want it, since your pet gets whatever the warriors get. Hey, it’s better than nothin’!

Beast Mastery Meets Multishot

The Stage: Vault of Archavon, 25-man. I’m one of three hunters in there, the others are Survival.

The Plan: As I’m sure many of you know, this is a fairly straightforward and simplistic fight; yeah you move around a little and you’ve gotta stay away from the big scary falling rocks but other than that it’s a tank’n’spank. Like Patchwerk but a little more mobile. And in a 25-man there’s gonna be a lot of mana regen. Perfect testing grounds for my new shot rotation.

The Spec: 53/17/0

The Rotation: Serpent Sting (kept up); then in order of decreasing priority: Arcane Shot, Multishot, and finally Steady Shot. Pop Rapid Fire, Kill Command, and The Beast Within when available. Keep an eye on Wash to make sure he doesn’t get unsuspectingly caught in something that hurts.

The Verdict:


Was barely edged out by one of the SV hunters. The other was no where to be seen in the top 12, as you can see, showing that spec alone doesn’t automatically make you good– it’s rotation and gear and that kind of thing too. Overall I was quite satisfied. Wash did a smashing job and contributed 48% of my total DPS and had Ferocious Inspiration ticking non-stop. Raptors are indeed lookin’ good, what with the fact that a BM raptor can keep their 10% damage boost up for a good portion of a fight.

Other Notes: Despite all the Replenishment going on, I did run out of mana faster with the usage of Multishot. I had to switch to Aspect of the Viper twice during the fight. However, thanks to all of that said Replenishment, I only had to stay in Viper for 10 seconds or so each time and it would give me enough to keep going for a while. If I’d wanted to I could’ve chugged a mana pot, seeing as I run with an Alchemist’s Stone and it would’ve given me quite a boost, but I opted not to because my mana issues were so close to the end of the fight.

I also think my rotations would have been a lot tighter and the results would have been better had I not been lagging so much. >.>

Lastly I think it is important to mention that I think the SV hunter who edged me out could have been rather higher on the chart. However, she was using a Tenacity pet (not exactly known for their DPS) and her spec was slightly more SV-heavy than the current cookie-cutter one. So I am not trying to suggest that running with this BM spec and rotation that I mentioned here, is necessarily going to have you neck-and-neck with really good SV hunters all the time. But I am trying to say that for most of us everyday WoW folks, if you are doing it right, it will keep you quite competitive. And remember, don’t just compare your performance to the other hunters, compare it to the DPS and group as a whole and see yourself as part of the big picture. (The More You Know! *flashy star*)

Conclusions: Use Multishot when possible and you don’t think you’ll have a big mana issue. It’s worth it for me and I think it might be worth it for you too, so give it a spin and see what you think! Next on the agenda: go all out and try Aimed Shot, perhaps? Or will it be too small of a damage boost for too much mana? Stay tuned!

Booster Shots

Cause they boost your damage. Eh? Eh?

Okay, cutting to the chase because I just had this blog post almost finished when Firefox decided to eat it for breakfast so I’m starting from scratch. Let’s take a look at some of the shots available in your Beast Master repertoire:

Steady Shot: Once exulted on high as your best friend, now your filler shot that you press when nothing else is available. You’ll still be using it a lot, though, and you’ll want to boost its damage up from “abysmal” to “mediocre” as much as possible, so keep a Glyph of Steady Shot on you. For great justice. And yes, this means you’ll be keeping Serpent Sting up. Anyways, when you can, you’ll be wanting to stick to Shots That Aren’t Steady Shot™ as much as possible…

Arcane Shot: Your new bestest buddy, you’re going to want to use Arcane Shot as soon as the cooldown is up. Ferocious Inspiration and Improved Arcane Shot are both mandatory talents– as if FI’s super-buff wasn’t awesome before, this talent now also increases your damage with Arcane Shot. Combine that with IAS and get ready to /giggle at your Arcane Shot crits, especially after Mirror of Truth procs.

Multi-Shot: I’ve had good luck with this one on the Training Dummies, it’s a reasonable damage boost that isn’t Steady Shot. This is one of those situational ones, though. You may not want to use it if you’re having mana issues (are solo or in a group without Replenishment); and you don’t want to use it when there’s CC about or there’s a chance you might hit (and aggro) another mob with it. I know CC and aggro and all that is kind of a non-issue right now but I feel that this is a piece of hunter lore that we should remember in case it becomes important in the future. Don’t Multi-Shot CC.

Aimed Shot: Most Beast Masters don’t take this unless they dabble heavily in PvP, and I don’t blame them– the damage increase is small these days and the mana cost is pretty prohibitive. Still, it’s a Shot That Isn’t Steady Shot™, and I find myself wondering if it would be worth it on a DPS dump fight (like Patchwerk) with lotsa mana Replenishment going on. I haven’t tested this one myself but I’d be curious to know if anyone else has and what they think.

Kill Shot: Use it when you can! Now that the cooldown is a lot shorter than it was before, you’ll probably be able to use this more than once on most boss fights. Take advantage of that fact!

And moving on…

What is my Shot Rotation, Pike?: At this point I don’t know if it’s a true shot rotation as much as a shot priority.

1.) Is Serpent Sting up? If yes, go to the next step. If no or it is about to run out, apply Serpent Sting and go to the next step.

2.) Is Arcane Shot’s cooldown up and ready to go? If yes, use Arcane Shot. If no, go to the next step.

3.) Use Steady Shot.

Basically every time you are ready to fire a shot you are going to mentally ask yourself those three questions and go from there. If you’re going to be using Multi-Shot and/or Aimed Shot, insert them appropriately between Arcane Shot and Steady Shot. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it looks– you’ll be watching cooldowns and managing your pet, yes, and it can be a little difficult at times if you stink at multitasking like I do, but you’ll get it. Oh, and when I say mentally asking yourself those three questions– you don’t have to, uh, literally do that. But you get the picture, right?

In closing this might be sorta semi-offtopic but I’ve been seeing a lot of comments left lately on some blogs I read that involve people of various specs talking about how their shot rotation/cooldown-watching/whatever is bigger and as such their spec is “harder” and hence, superior. May or may not be followed by quoting Ghostcrawler. And it all kind of bugs me because it’s twisting the complexity of hunters down into one oversimplification and assumption.

Here’s my own take on this, and you’re free to (respecfully!) disagree if you wish of course, but this is my opinion– shot rotation alone does not equal skill. Pressng more buttons does not make you a better hunter. Having more cooldowns does not make you a better hunter.

Being able to trap indefinitely, kite indefinitely, spec your pet best for whatever job he is doing, not break crowd control, know what shots to use and when, know what gems/enchants/stats you want, know when to bend those gems/enchants/stats rules, popping your “big” cooldowns at the right times, know to listen to the raid leader when he or she says “melee do this” cause you have to apply that to your pet… all of this combined with being able to pull off your shot rotation, regardless of spec, is what defines a skilled hunter to me. You can’t base skill or difficulty level off of one aspect of the class alone, especially when said definition of “difficulty level” is so dependent on opinion and an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

And while we’re on the subject, let me also point out that you don’t have to be a traditionally “skilled” raiding hunter to earn my respect; if you’re having fun with the class you’ve got my respect. Period. Hunters are for fun!

That’s all for today, and remember:


Test everything and come to your own conclusions! Don’t take my word for it (or any other blogger’s)– we’re a guide, not a rulebook. ^_^

(P.S. I promise this ramble wasn’t directed at any blogs that I read. Much <3 to you all)

Can I Has DPS?

Okay, now that I have talked about my “emotional” investment into Beast Mastery in my last post, let us talk about another awesome component of the spec: Dee Pee Ess. Most people know that the Holy Church of Fortyone Twenty was the way to Hunter DPS Heaven in Burning Crusade; but by the looks of things the Reformation is happening in Wrath of the Lich King and we will see a lot more specs running around in raids. This strikes me as a Very Good Thing because I don’t like to see people spec something that they do not like. That was sort of one of the points I was trying to make (and I think I didn’t do a very good job at it, so sorry <3 ) in my last post. I want people to spec the way they enjoy the most. But I know there are at least a few of you crazy nutcases out there who love BM for its playstyle, like I do, who are maybe curious about new shot rotations in the like. Never fear, Pike is here!

Tawyn has spent probably close to a hundred gold on respecs since the patch hit; she started with a very deep BM build and slowly has been drifting to a lighter one, moving to 51/10/0 and now sitting at 48/13/0. The reason for the talent shakeup was threefold: firstly, I wanted to pick up Animal Handler now that it’s going to be useful again in the next patch (I am so down for extra pet expertise). Secondly, Deep BM at 70 was feeling very… top-heavy, for lack of a better term. Too much in BM, too fast. And Invigoration and Cobra Strikes are both kinda “iffy” to me right now in terms of the proc rate and “worth it” value– which saddens me, cause I love their synthesis concept, but sometimes the truth hurts. Thirdly, I have come to the conclusion that Go for the Throat is a Super Vital Talent™ and it is worth it to sacrifice the Exotic Pet and four extra pet talent points to pick it up. You can always go back and pick up the Exotic Pet talent later on once you get closer to 80.

Lunapike is still 46/15/0, which is very similar, but a little different. Points in Focused Aim, for example, because she is not hit-capped, and she is testing Invigoration at the moment whereas Tawyn is testing Cobra Strikes, so those talents are switched.

ANYWAYS, I was getting really curious about the performance of these specs so I downloaded Recount, spent approximately four seconds deciding that I liked it better than SW Stats, and headed off to visit our friends the Training Dummies.

With some 1900 AP and 25.29% crit and unbuffed (Except for stuff like Aspect of the Hawk/Ferocious Inspiration), and having popped all her cooldowns and trinkets over the duration of the test, which lasted until I was out of mana, Tawyn hit about 1180 DPS at her peak and consistently maintained 1050+ DPS using Steady Shot and keeping Serpent Sting refreshed (because Serpent Sting is supposed to be viable now =P). Not too shabby. I’m satisfied. I’d like to make a comparison to pre-patch DPS but I honestly never paid attention to anything beyond where I sat on the chart (does that make me a good or bad hunter?)

This is not an entirely 100% accurate breakdown because I took this screenshot after a Viper cycle to replenish my mana. Still, it can give you a general idea of what the DPS will look like after one full round of DPS and the full round of Viper, and it also gives you an idea of what Locke is doing in terms of damage. And looking back, I’m thinking I was a little slow on the uptake with Serpent Sting once or twice. Derp.

My testing was not finished though, oh no!

Now Lunapike is obviously at a disadvantage here and I wasn’t out to make a real comparison exactly for this reason. She only has roughly 1450 AP (with Aspect of the Hawk) and 22.35% crit. However, I mostly wanted to see the wasp stats, and also see if Invigoration was going to be making a big difference. The verdict? …it procs often enough, but… I dunno, it lets me do what, get maybe three more Steadys in before I switch to Viper? Dunno if it’s worth it for the two points or not. More testing will have to be done.

This screenshot was actually taken right before switching to Aspect of the Viper so I wound up with 884 DPS as an unbuffed hunter in semi-enchanted blues. Again, I am satisfied. Now, let’s discuss the pets; Serenity the wasp and Locke the Kitty are almost identical in terms of the stat breakdown (Roughly 60% regular melee, 30% focus dump, and 10% DoT/special ability.) The big difference I see is that Serenity brings a big whoppin’ armor debuff with him whereas Locke doesn’t. I think that this is gonna be one of the things that makes a difference when it comes to which pets you will see more often in raids. And of course, things will get all the more interesting when we throw Exotic Pets into the picture, with their intended upcoming buff and their extra talent points.

And the moral of the story is: Beast Masters, Steady Shot and Serpent Sting is looking like your rotation for the time being, unless I totally botched up somewhere (in which case, please tell me ^_^). Although I would still call Serpent Sting situational; depending on if Scorpid Sting might be preferred or if there might be emergency trapping in the forseeable future.

The second moral of the story is… next time, remind me to do my testing on Beta where respecs only cost 1 copper. Cause next up I think I wanna do the Go for the Throat vs. Exotic Pet/extra points Showdown. But I’m not willing to throw more gold into it. I’m just a poor Pike from a poor family.

Hunter Kindergarten: Intro to Shot Rotations – The Motion Picture

As promised, here is Pike’s Official Intro to Shot Rotations Movie!

Couple things before I begin:

1.) Kill Command is a move that you can use anytime you crit. You learn it at level 66, not level 68 like I said in the movie… sorry about the oral typo there. /blush

2.) I apologize that my voice sounds somewhat congested, my allergies are pretty terrible this time of year.

3.) My Kill Command is keybound to alt-tilde, hence the sound of a frantic jamming of keys anytime I use it.

4.) I was originally going to have a quiet background music track as well (because honestly you just can’t go wrong with The Safety Dance) but I decided it was too distracting. So hopefully just my voice by its lonesome can hold your interest. =P

Enjoy and hopefully you can learn something from this, I worry that maybe it’s not the clearest video:


Hunter Kindergarten: Gettin' Ready to Rock Steady

So, pre-Level-62 hunter. You’ve heard about this mystical thing called “Steady Shot” and the mysterious term “shot rotation”. You want to get into this shot rotation thing too. Right?

Sadly, there’s not a whole lot you can do pre-Steady Shot to practice this. Most of your pre-Level-62 hunter career will consist of tossing a Serpent Sting on something and Auto-Shotting it down, with a couple Arcane Shots maybe thrown in for good measure. However, there is one little exception that, while it won’t make you an expert on Shot Rotations, will at least give you an idea of what to expect:

Multi-Shot has a hidden cast timer to it; sort of like a mini-Steady Shot except with a cooldown, and with no casting bar. But because it does have a small cast time– 0.5 seconds– you can use it to sort of learn the principle behind a shot rotation.

A quick refresher on shot rotations and why they are important: Your Auto Shot is constantly going and you want to weave your special shots on top of your Auto Shot in such a way that they don’t interfere. Auto Shot has a short space of time right before it fires where you shouldn’t do anything or it will clip your Auto Shot. Learning to get your special shots off so they don’t interfere with that Auto Shot cast time is called learning to use a correct shot rotation.

Many hunter shots, such as Arcane Shot, are instant cast, and as such it really doesn’t matter when you toss them into your rotation. But Multi-Shot has a cast time (like Steady Shot does) and that’s why we’re going to practice with it.

Head out to some place full of mobs that are relatively easy for you to kill but that you aren’t going to one-shot. Myself, I think I was in my 50s and went to Scarlet Monastery Cathedral. Now nab a pull of two or three and get your pull down to just one that you can focus on, perhaps by trapping one and taking out another. (Don’t forget: Multi-Shot will break CC, so if you’re gonna trap, trap him out of the way.)

Now hit Multi-Shot. Try and do it when your character is getting ready to fire off an Auto Shot. Did you notice something “weird” there? Did you see your character sort of do something odd with their weapon? Perhaps your Auto Shot was just delayed?

If so, congrats, you have just observed some of the byproducts of hunter shot weaving.

If not, that’s okay, you still just wove a shot– but Multi-Shot’s cast time is so short that it’s not that easy to really “observe”.

Now the trick here, is to make it so it doesn’t delay your Auto Shot. So go practice on some other mobs and try using it at different times. Be alert. Watch your character very closely. Listen to the sounds that your weapon is making. Try to learn when, visually and aurally, is your best time to use your Multi-Shot.

Now, Multi-Shot can be a little tweaky, and weaving your Multi-Shot has a rather different feel to it than weaving a Steady Shot, thanks to the different cast times. And honestly, Mulit-Shot’s cast time is so short that you do have a lot of room for error so you won’t really get that fast-paced feel of Steady Shot, where your timing has to be much more precise. But the point of this exercise is to learn what it means to weave your shots and get a basic idea of what it takes to do so. Multi-Shot is a great way to sort of introduce yourself to that concept.

And, well, that pretty much does it for today’s lesson. To be honest Shot Rotations really don’t start mattering all that much until level 62. You can experiment with weaving your Multi-Shot but it’s not going to cause any particularly impressive DPS increases, and for solo play, having maximum-possible DPS is certainly not a top priority. Your best Shot Rotation for pre-level-62 is any that allows you to do decent damage while not burning yourself out of too much mana or pulling aggro too quickly. For most people I imagine this would involve a Serpent Sting opener followed by mostly Auto Shots, with an Arcane Shot or two. Once you do hit level 62, and you are a Beast Mastery Hunter, you will find that you pretty much stop using Arcane and Serpent Sting all together… but that is a subject for another post!

A Teacher's Work Never Ends

I think that sometimes we may take what we know about a subject for granted and assume everyone knows it. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been somewhat reluctant to post “hunter kindergarten” guides in the past… because I often fear it’s stuff everybody already knows.

But just now, while playing a lowbie hordie, I heard the following two things said by two different level 70 hunters:

“BM hunters don’t need agility, they need attack power.”


“The best shot rotation for 41/20/0 Beast Mastery uses Aimed Shots and Arcane Shots, and Steady Shot but only against dazed targets because it does more damage against dazed targets.”


Sorry Barrens hunters, but it’s back to school for you guys. Let’s go over some stuff real quick here: and I know I don’t have the math to back it up, but I do have some personal experiences.

Attack Power vs. Agility

Attack power isn’t bad per se, but here’s the thing, if you are gearing for Attack Power over agility, then you are basically giving up crit in favor of a little extra damage per shot.

Whether or not AP helps your “pure DPS” more than crit does is somewhat debatable and is largely dependent on gear, according to Cheeky, a hunter that I have a lot of respect for.

But let’s go beyond “pure DPS” and think about what happens when you crit as a typical Beast Mastery hunter. You get to use Kill Command. More DPS. Your pet has a very good chance of crit’ing with Kill Command. More DPS. This procs Ferocious Inspiration. More DPS. Also when you crit, your pet gets a bunch of focus via Go for the Throat. This lets your pet use his focus dump moves (more DPS), which also have a good shot at crit’ing (more DPS) and procing Frenzy (more DPS) and Ferocious Inspiration (more DPS). Now I haven’t done any math or anything but I’m having a hard time believing that some extra attack power is going to overcome all the benefits of crits. I myself would much rather see a big crit number on my Armory page than a big AP number.

Now the key is balance, you don’t want to stack crit chance and let your AP suffer or vice versa. That’s why agility is so good, because it contributes to both. Not to mention when a paladin gives you Blessing of Kings, it is going to scale based on your agility and not on flat AP or crit increases.

And that is why, in Pike’s opinion, Agility > Attack Power.

Shot Rotations:

My fellow hunters, do not underestimate the importance of using a good shot rotation if you want to do lots of DPS. If you are a Beast Master hunter you do not need to be using Arcane Shots (unless you have a slower weapon and can thread one in there) and you should never be using Aimed Shots. I have done heroics with hunters who have a nice solid spec, are very well-geared, and yet do very little DPS compared to me, and the reason is because they are simply spamming whatever shots they can when the cooldown is up. You need to learn how to time your shots. I know it seems kind of counterintuitive at first to simply not use certain shots when they’re sitting right there in front of you, ready to be fired. But ya gotta trust me on this one. Grab a nice weapon like Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle, start weaving in Steady Shots between your Auto Shots, and hang on and enjoy the ride. The results will amaze you.

My damage meter told me I was hitting over 1100 DPS during my last Kara run; I don’t want to quote that just yet because it seems a little high to me and my damage meter has been sorta glitchy lately anyway. But I know I am doing close to 1000 under optimal circumstances and the reason is because of my shot rotation.

As for Steady Shot: apparently it really does do more damage against dazed targets (I… feel kinda silly for not knowing this before >.> I guess you can learn stuff in Barrens Chat.) but that doesn’t mean you should be saving it and only using it against dazed targets. It is the most mana-efficient special shot that you have and you should make the most of it.

Well, that wraps up today’s little review. In closing, I just want to mention how much I dislike lag. Because it throws off my groove.

This little guide was hastily written up before running to work, so as always, lemme know if I made a mistake or left somethin’ out.