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[MoP] Marksmanship Guide


...and up to 75% less totem-redrop!

Welcome shamans and shawomans,

this is the first post of the new Mists Of Pandaria Enhancement Guide. Here you will find the actual guide, containing recommendations, stat priority, rotation and so on. If you only want to know what to do and what is new, this is all you need.
The second post will be filled with mostly (lengthy) explanations and maybe some math as well as references and links to other sites. You may stick around a bit, if you like to know why you should or might do things the way they are written here.
The third and last post will contain a changelog and patchnotes. This is interesting for you, if you like...well...changelogs.

Before we get started:
Credit where credit is due!
I want to thank:
  • Purge from Dread, Korgath and Totemspot - Guide
  • Platform from TM, Zul'jin
  • Saz aka SerenitySaz from Evil Deeds Inc, Aggramar and World of Saz
for their great work and effort. They are the main contributors for any information gathered here (and of course at their sites). Make sure to check them out, they do a lot of great stuff.

Another big thanks goes to Binkenstein, who gathered most of us together and gave us the opportunity to work together and create these guides at Totem Spot. His Elemantal guide is mirrored here at Elitist Jerks or can be found over at Totem Spot (Elemental Guide).

And a special thanks goes out to you out there, fellow readers, who will surely find some mistakes and improvements to our all work.

Also make sure that your question has not been answered anywhere before you post it. ElitistJerks search function is great, so use it! Theres no penalty to that.


 

Contents

Abbreviations


Abbreviation Meaning
AC Ascendance
AG Ancestral Guidance
Agi Agility
AE Area Effect
AP Attack Power
AsS Astral Shift
AS Ancestral Swiftness
1H 1-Hander/Handed
BiS Best in slot
CL Chain Lightning
Cond Conductivity
DoT Damage over Time
DPS Damage Per Second
DW Dual-Wield
EB Elemantal Blast
ED Elemental Devastation
Echo Echo of the Elements
EM Elemental Mastery
ES Earth Shock
FE Fire Elemental
FN Fire Nova
FrS Frost Shock
FS_UEF Flame Shock when Unleash Flame buff is active
FS Flame Shock
FT Flametongue
GCD Global Cooldown
GW Ghost Wolf
HTT Healing Tide Totem
ICD Internal Cooldown
Int Intellect
LB Lightning Bolt
LL Lava Lash
LS Lightning Shield
LvB Lava Burst
MH Main Hand
MQ Mental Quickness
MSW Maelstrom Weapon
MT Magma Totem
MW5_CL Maelstrom Weapon x 5 stacks - Chain Lightning
MW5_LB Maelstrom Weapon x 5 stacks - Lightning Bolt
OH Off Hand
PE Primal Elementalist
SBT Stone Bulwark Totem
SP Spell Power
SR Shamanistic Rage
SS Stormstrike
Str Strength
SW Spirit Wolves
UE Unleash Elements
UEF Unleash Flame
UF Unleashed Fury
UW Unleash Wind
WF Windfury
WWT Windwalk Totem

Starting as an Enhancer and whats new


Short Basics

  • Gear for Agility and Mail-Armor.
  • Gear for the hit- and expertise-cap.
  • Use slow one-handed weapons with high damage, which would be an axe, a fistweapon or a mace, no swords as we can't use them, no daggers as they are fast and no two-handed weapons.
  • Put Windfury on your MH and Flametongue in your OH.
  • Always keep Lightning Shield up.

Skills


Once you reached level 10, you may choose one specialisation. Since you are reading this thread, I am assuming you took/want to take Enhancement.
As soon as you do this, you will be granted 3 abilites:Besides that you will gain additional skills as you level up, that may not be accessible to either Elemental or Restoration or even both.
Those are:
Level Skill
20 Flurry
26 Stormstrike
30 Windfury Weapon
34 Searing Flames
40 Static Shock
44 Fire Nova
50 Maelstrom Weapon
55 Unleashed Rage
60 Feral Spirit
60 Spirit Walk
65 Shamanistic Rage
80 Mastery: Enhanced Elements

Talents


Also you will now have the ability to skill up to 6 talents from you talent tree. You will get access to one tier every 15 levels. You may only pick one talent per tier.
This is what realy has changed, because now every Spec can choose any talent and is no longer bound to an indivdual talent tree.
Furthermore these tiers are thematically ordered, like tier 5 is filled with healing CDs and tier 1 gives you a survival talent.
Level Talent 1 Talent 2 Talent 3
15 Nature's Guardian Stone Bulwark Totem Astral Shift
30 Frozen Power Earthgrab Totem Windwalk Totem
45 Call of the Elements Totemic Restoration Totemic Projection
60 Elemental Mastery Ancestral Swiftness Echo of the Elements
75 Healing Tide Totem Ancestral Guidance Conductivity
90 Unleashed Fury Primal Elementalist Elemental Blast

Caster Weapons


Even though this is not completely new, I will again say it:
After the latest changes regarding this topic, it is no longer in any way viable to use caster-weapons. You want to stick to your slow but smashing weapon.

Stats


There are several changes to what secondary stats we like and how Hit and Expertise work. Take a look at the Stat section!



New and altered Abilities


Generally we lost a lot of totems, mostly the static ones that granted passive buffs like Windfury. The only totem we will have up 100% of the time is our fire totem, which will mostly be the Searing Totem.
I'm not going over the new talents at this point. They will be discussed later on.

Level 18 – Cleanse Spirit


Cleanse Spirit has been changed to dispelling all curses from a friendly target, but having a 8 second CD. Sadly enough Purge hasn't had a similiar change...

Level 20 – Flurry


Flurry is not new, I know that, but it has changed. Additional to the old effect, it grants bonus haste based on our haste rating. Note that this does not affect %-haste like Ancestral Swiftness!

Level 30 – Healing Stream


Healing Stream on a side note has changed as well. Lasts only 15 seconds now with a 30 seconds CD and heals only the most injured party or raid member (smart heal).

Level 34 – Searing Flames


Searing Flames isn't a stacking debuff anymore. It has finally become a buff stacked on ourself, which now buffs the damage from Flametongue Weapon. Also SF will now stack every time our Fire Ele autoattacks.

Level 40 – Burning Wrath


Now any Shaman grants 10% spellpower for the party. Which....doesn't affect us in anyway, since we do not scale with SP-buffs.

Level 60 - Feral Spirit


Feral Spirit used to be a pet-like summon. But that has changed, since they are no longer controllable! Now they act like a totem and count as guardians. But they got Spirit Bite which gives a little bit extra damage versus armored target, since it is nature damage.

Level 60 – Spirit Walk


Spirit Walk is a fine sprint. This ability was linked to our Spirit Wolves before, but from now on we don't have to call them just to have a sprint!

Level 63 – Capacitor Totem


The Capacitor Totem will be mostly relevant for PvP. Its only use in PvE might be a situation like Ragnaros or Nefarian, when mass stuns can be planned and used on adds. Anyway it wont hurt (us).

Level 78 – Stormlash Totem


Stormlash Totem is a raidwide DPS CD! Now we have one more besides Hero/BL. Raidspot is secured for every shaman!
Well....right now it seems to be realy strong, and lining it up with CDs or other Stormlash Totems for burst phases might be great.
Note: They do not stack, if they are placed in the same time. Only one procc can occur!

Level 80 – Grace of Air


Grace of Air is another raidwide buff, this time a new one for mastery. We do like that.

Level 87 - Ascendance


Ascendance will be our new great cooldown. First of all it adds 30y range to our autoattacks as well as Stormstrike and makes them deal nature damage, which will be affected by mastery!
Replaces Stormstrike with Stormblast.

5.2 Changes


buffed: Elemental Mastery, Ancestral Swiftness, Elemental Blast, Primal Elementalist, Stone Bulwark Totem, Nature's Guardian, Conductivity
nerfed: Unleashed Fury
Chain Lightning no longer looses damage when it jumps to the next target.
Spirit Walk cooldown halfed.

Talent Choices


6 Tiers want to be assigned, each has 3 talents. But you may only choose one from each tier. Thats a rather interesting choice, because each tier has a theme and there is no optimal build. It will vary a lot on your playstyle and on what your going to do. I'm also sure you will be swapping talents for boss encounters more often than in the past.
So, what are those tiers? I already posted and linked them above, so here are the themes:
Tier Theme
1 Survival for ourself
2 Movement Imparing Effects
3 Totem Flexibility
4 DPS/HPS
5 Raid- or Grouphealing
6 Final Talent – DPS/HPS

What to skill - the short version


Right now there are pretty much three ways to go:
UF/EB with mastery, still good with mostly T14 gear
PE/AS with haste reforges, might be slighty better (for me it gives around 300 more dps with iLvL500 gear)
PE/EM with haste reforges, slightly worse than PE/AS, but better suited for burst-fights.

As 5.2 goes on, PE/AS and PE/EM will start to gain a greater advantage over UF/EB because of trinkets and meta-gem favoring haste.

I will keep on updating this part as Sims go on and even the last changes are implemented. I will then also give links to those sims.

Tier 1


Nature's Guardian


Nature's Guardian
This one I recommend if you don't 'plan' on taking damage. If your playing an encounter which has mostly random and unpredictable damage incoming, this can save your life. Remember though that this effect only occurs after you took damage, so it will neither protect you from it nor make it easier for your healers. If you drop directly to 0% life NG won't do anything. It just helps surviving any hit that might come in right afterwards.

Stone Bulwark Totem


Stone Bulwark Totem
SBT shines, when there is a lot of constant damage coming in. The problem with SBT has: it collides with other earth totems, especially the Earth Elemental, which will be even more of a concern, as you might skill into Primal Elementalist.

Astral Shift


Astral Shift
My personal favorite. While we already have one damage reduction CD (Shamanistic Rage, 30%) another 40% reduction is quite nice. Especially since it does not trigger the GCD and has only 2min CD. Also imagine stacking this with Shamanistic Rage...


Tier 2


Frozen Power


Frozen Power
Rooting an enemy? With a shock? I can imagine more useful things as an Enhancer. Sacrificing our shock cooldown doesn't seem worth it in PvE.

Earthgrab Totem


Earthgrab Totem
Better use this if you need a rooting skill. It's AoE, it lasts as long and slows afterwards. Most PvE situations that require a root are when a lot of adds need to be rooted. Remeber Nefarian or Beth'Tilac? Also notice, its an earth totem! Might screw up your EE or SBT.

Windwalk Totem


Windwalk Totem
This is what I find most interesting in this tier. Even though there are not may boss fights that slow your raid, it is more often than those that require rooting enemies. Would have been useful at Hagara or maybe Spine, if it worked against the slow when standing in those wounds.

Tier 3


Call of the Elements


Call of the Elements has been nerfed trough the beta. Originally it had a 8min cooldown and reset every totem with a lower cooldown, which would be FE, EE, MTT, HTT, Stormlash and many more minor ones. Right now it just helps out with more roots or shields that you may have picked up above and some healing from Healing Stream Totem.

Totemic Restoration


´
Totemic Restoration
Has a very niche field of use. Imagine a fight with a lot of very short bursts, you have the possibilty to drop and cancel your FE and maybe Stormlash Totem to have them up for the next burst. Now also apllays to canceled and destroyed totems.

Totemic Projection


Totemic Projection
This spell could be useful on a lot of fights that involve a lot of moving. Even on nearly every pull! Just drop your Searing Totem and while running to your target project it there, so you don't have to set it up when you would rather hit something like SS or LL. Has also a minor use if you need to plant any other totem somewhere else, like Earthgrab or Windwalk.


Tier 4


Elemental Mastery


Elemental Mastery
Elementals Cooldown? Not exclusive any more! Everytime you need a load of burst damage, like Spine or Hagara, this is what you want. Combine it with Primal Elementalists FE and Feral Spirit and Ascendance and you will top charts for one or 2 minutes!
Use that if the encounter needs burst damage at lower gear levels, otherwise stick to EotE and UF.
At higher gear levels, this will sim higher combined with PE, especially as you attain more and more RPPM gear, like trinkets and/or legendary gem.

Ancestral Swiftness


Ancestral Swiftness
Well, that used to be in the resto tree, now added with a passive effect. Since it has a higher passive effect for an Enhancement Shaman, this talent pulls equal with EM an EotE.
This comes out very slightly ahead in Patckwerk scenarios.

Echo of the Elements


Echo of the Elements
The worst thing I can say about that: it is completely passive. But it is realy strong anyway. Combined with Unleashed Fury which also buffs those doubled Lbs even more!
One a sidenote, it is able to proc on LB, CL, LvB, Healing Surge, Chain Heal with a 30% chance and Elemental Blast with 6%. Those numbers are true for Enh, not for Ele or Resto!
Use that for fights with a lot of AE.



Tier 5


Healing Tide Totem


Healing Tide Totem
While this is a standard raid healing cooldown, it is weaker than Ancestral Guidance, as you can see in the second post. Reason is, that we don't increase any healing done and it only scales with half our AP in comparsion to AG, which scales with our whole damage.

Ancestral Guidance


Ancestral Guidance
This is a pretty big chunk of healing and has a lower CD than HTT. The next advantage is the 40y range it seems to have. If you can time that with AoE damage or cooldowns or special boss mechanics, its going to be a beast! Especially now that it seems to be comfirmed, that the damage is multiplied by 0.4 and then copied to up to three targets, it is as much healing as 120% of the damage you did within those 10 seconds.
A good way to increase healing with AG by a lot is to use the Healing Storm Glyph and put down a MW5_Healing_Rain before/while activating AG on as many people as possible. Seeing ticks around 50k isn't unusual, multiplying that by up to 5 people and then again by 1.8 (it is healing and thus 60% is copied) will top off your raid in notime!
Works even better with CDs like EM and so on.

Conductivity


Conductivity
While this can be realy strong for Elemental, it is quite weak as Enhancement. First of all you need to sacrifice up to 5 MSW stacks to cast Healing Rain and after that SS, Earth Shock and LB won't do that much damage in a 10 second time-window. Also notice that you might oom if you use if frequently and without MSW stacks.


Tier 6


Unleashed Fury


Unleashed Fury
Uf got nerfed with 5.2 and thus is not the top talent anymore. If you still use it - and that might be the case as you have worse gear - use UE as your top priority!

Primal Elementalist


Primal Elementalist
This makes your Elementals kick ass (Am I allowed to say that?). Both of them will get new abilities and a pet bar.
This talent is realy strong, especially combined with Elemental Mastery. You will gain a huge burst out of that. Use that for fights with high burst requirement. It also combines well with different additional CDs, like trinkets, tinkering, Lifeblood or racial bonuses to get a HUGE burst damage.
Currently sims out to be the best talent in the long run.

Your PFE will be able to channel the damage increasing buff Empower on you, even though you won't use that, as itself does way more damage. It also gains Immolate.
Your PEE will be able to channel the damage reducing buff Reinforce onto you, which can be usefull if you need that. It also gains Harden Skin and Pulverize.


Elemental Blast


Elemental Blast is a realy interesting design idea but sims out as the weakest talent in this tier right now. It is indeed affected by Maelstromstacks, but is another spell you want to use as soon as the cooldown finishes and following the SimCraft priority for now, you are even going to nearly hardcast this as top priority, which can make your complete priority clunkier than it already is.

Glyphs


The Glyphsystem has – again – changed. There are only few glyphs that have any impact on our DPS at all.
There seems to be not a single glyph that increases our damage in most occassions. We thought that [Glyph of Flame Shock] would do that, but right now it seems we were wrong. In fact, this glyph might be a DPS loss regarding to SimCraft (in BiS gear as well as in normal T14 gear). The DPS difference is somewhere in the range of 200 DPS, so for most of you it will be a question of which priority/rotation you like more. But for those who want to have that extra damage: don't glyph FS!
Note that the priority list therefore has changed a bit.

Any other glyph choice is up to you preferences, but here are some recommendations:
[Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem] for burst speccs. This glyph currently is a DPS upgrade for many encounters, especially those that favor many shorter bursts. Also this glyph lets you line up ALL your CDs perfectly: FE (3min), Asc (3min), EM (90sec, so every second EM), Engineering Gloves (1min, every third), Lifeblood (Herbalism, 2min, but might delay it), Racial Boni (Troll, Orc)
[Glyph of Flame Shock] for a little bit of passive selfheal
[Glyph of Chain Lightning] for AoE
[Glyph of Fire Nova] for AoE
[Glyph of Lava] for more sprints
[Glyph of Feral Spirit] for more selfheal
[Glyph of Totem of Wrath] for selfcleanse
[Glyph of Water Breathing] for raidsupport. (HR with 5 MW stacks is quite strong)


Of greater importance may also be [Glyph of Lava Lash] for those cases when spreading FS will kill you (or your raid). This is a MINOR glyph!




Priority


Single Target


Priority Abbreviation Meaning
0 ST_0 Searing Totem with 0 ticks remaining
1 EB_MW>1 Elemental Blast if specced into it with >1 MW stacks
2 UE_EF Unleash Elements if spec into Unleashed Fury
3 MW5_LB Maelstrom Weapon x5 stacks + Lightning Bolt
4 SS Stormstrike//Stormblast
5 LL Lava Lash with 5 Searing Flame stacks
6 LB_MW>4_ifT15_2pc Maelstrom Weapon x 4 + LB if you have the T15-2piece equipt
7 UE Unleash Elements
8 MW>3_LB_UF Maelstrom Weapon >3 stacks + Lightning Bolt and UF debuff up
9a FS_UEF Flame Shock if the Unleash Flame buff is present and FS is about to drop (glyphed FS)
9b FS_UEF Flame Shock if the Unleash Flame buff is present, even though there might be seconds left (unglyphed FS)
10 ES Earth Shock
11 SW Spirit Wolves//Feral Spirit
12 EE Earth Elemental
13 MW>1_LB Maelstrom Weapon >1 stacks + Lightning Bolt
14 ST Searing Totem (with x ticks remaining, set in sim)


As you can see you'll want to use either UE or EB as top priority if you specced into it in the last tier of talents.
Regarding EB, remember that it will consume the Unleashed Fire Buff. That gives you the opportunity to use the Unleashed Fire Buff that doesn't go into your Flameshock. But always use the buff for FS, because its damage gain is greater than that of an buffed EB.
Since Flameshock's duration got increased to 30 seconds, you have 1 free Unleash_Flame buff in between, which can be used for EB.

For an even more deatailed list, I will post the SimCraft priority in its raw form in the next post.

CDs


CDs are one of the strengths Enhancement has to offer right now. We have a lot of them and with T15 gear, you will most certainly specc into EM and PE, giving you incredible burst potential. Combine them with any other short time buffs like Synapse Springs, Lifeblood, Racials and so on for even higher results. You might even want to glyph your Fire Elemental Totem to have your CDs line up all the time.
You will – as you may already know from classes and specs which had DPS-Cooldowns long before we had – want to stack your DPS-CDs, that affect each other.
Meaning: Before you pull out your (Primal) Fire Elemental, Feral Spirit and/or Ascendance form, you might want to consider using any trinkets or Elemental Mastery, because more haste means also more dmg from FE and SW, while having the same bonus for yourself. Same goes for Ascendance as more haste means more autoattacks which means more bonus damage from mastery-buffed autoattacks in the same time.

Explanations


For any of you who's asking "Why do we prioritise SS over LL?": It's because of the CDs. If we'd use LL before SS, they will become ready nearly at the same time, wasting a GCD of either one before we can use it again, effectively increasing their CD.
But that may change due to the fact that we will take way more haste than we did in the past, which reduces the GCD and can solve this CD problem.

AOE


Together with Dragonsoul came changes to Enhancements AOE-arsenal.
In MoP Lava Lash will spread Flameshock from the attacked target (if not glyphed to have this effect removed) to up to 5 nearby enemies with the exact same FS as on the first target, meaning that those Flame Shocks will last as long as the 'main'-FS did at second LL hit as well as being buffed by UE.

Fire Nova will then spread from any target that is affected by FS, hitting every enemy around but not itself. (Meaning: 4 Mobs with FS => FN => Each mob takes 3 hits)
Depending on how many enemies are around, you might want to buff FN with UE instead of the initial Flame Shock.

In between you will want to stick to your normal priority but change LB for CL.



Stats and Gearing


Stats LvL 90


Hit and Expertise - NEW


340 rating (either Hit or Expertise) = 1%
The mechanics of Hit and Expertise have been changed for MoP.
  • Hit and Expertise now cap at 7.5%, meaing that styles are hitcapped with 7.5% Hit and you will no longer be parried as you have 7.5% Expertise
  • Expertise now counts toward the Spellhitcap
  • Spellhitcap will remain at 15%, but can be reached with expertise
This means, that we will aim for 7.5% Hit and 7.5% Expertise and by that gain our Spellhitcap "for free". As far as I know, dualwield-white-cap will remain at 27%.

Ratings are:
Cap Rating
Melee Special Hit 2550 rating
Expertise 2550 rating
Expertise (Dwarf/Orc) 2210 rating
Melee Special Hit (Draenei) 2210 rating
Spell Hit 5100 rating

Agility


Agility is still our best stat available. It converts to Crit and AP, which again converts at 50% into SP. Aim for that when socketing and choosing gear.

Mastery


302 rating = 1 point
Mastery has been our best stat up to 5.1 but will be out-classsed by haste as you gear up in 5.2 and obtain more and more RPPM-items, like trinkets and the legendary meta gem.
Mastery also greatly favors UF and EotE as talent choices.

Haste


423 rating = 1%
Haste will be our best stat in 5.2 because it so much affects RPPM-effects. It will become so strong, that you will even swap to haste gems. But always watch out for your exact statweights to get the perfect balance between mastery, haste and agility

Crit


600 rating = 1%
Crit is as always crit, but hasn't have any major changes since cata and will be our worst stat for now. It is okay if you need to pick it up to gain a higher iLvL, but never gem for it.

Spellpower


We will no longer be affected by any spellpower as a stat or buff. We will only gain SP by AP.



In short


Hit/Exp cap > Agi > Haste > Mastery > Crit

This will do it if you are the "good enough" type. But if your purpose is min/maxing, you should notice that there are points at which haste is stronger than mastery and the other way around. As you may know, simming yourself will give you the needed information.
Following that link to Totemspot, you will find a good explanation to why that is.

Level 85


You may ask "Well, MoP isn't here yet, I don't have any LvL 90 talents, so what?".
I myself will stick to Echo and Haste > Mastery > Crit. That's what SimCraft tells me right now, for my own gear and also for BiS_T13.
Apart from that, there is only one real recommendation I can give to you: SIM IT!. But even though, most of the stat-priorities seem to work right, as SimCraft tells me that haste > master > crit nearly equaly crit > mastery > haste.
Sim it and see if what fits your gear and gameplay best.

At level 85 it should be 769 hit rating and 769 expertise rating or 666 if you have hit or expertise racial bonus. With both ratings we should be also spell hit capped.

Gear and BiS


Set Bonuses


PvP-2-Set-Bonus
Increased chance for Maelstrom Weapon
This will net you about 1.5-1.6% DPS and might be considered for pre-raid-gear, as gloves and pauldrons from the PvP-Set have a PvE socket bonus which makes them equally good or better than gear from heroic instances.

T14-2-Set-Bonus
Increased Lava Lash Damage
This will net you about 1.6-1.7% DPS gain.

T14-4-Set-Bonus
Increased Critical Chance from Stormstrike
This will net you abount 2.0-3.5% DPS gain. This depends on your talent choices. As the SS buff increases the critical strike chance of your Lightning Bolt, Earth Shock and Lightning Shield, this bonus synergizes well with Unleashed Fury and partly with Echo of the Elements. It is neutral for Primal Elementalist and slightly anti-synergetic to Elemental Blast, since that talent forces us to cast lesser LBs.

T15-2-Set-Bonus
Each succesful Stormstike grants you 2 Maelstrom Charges
This will grant you a dps increase in the range of 1-1.5% in T15_nh_BiS and around 1% in heroic BiS setup. (both using EM/PE)

T15-4-Set-Bonus
Each time Windfury is triggered, Feral Spirit's CD is reduced by 8 seconds
This bonus will give you a steady 2-2.5% dps increase in normal BiS as well as in heroic BiS setup. (both using EM/PE)

LFR Tier-Bonus or higher iLvL gear?

How to get the answer (as an example)

I'm guessing, for math's sake, you would exchange chest and head for the tier-parts, assuming a loss of maybe 300 agility and 400 secondary rating. Which makes up for about 2% of your total agility and secondary rating (comparing to my own gear at around iLvL 492), thus assuming a loss of 2% dps. Following Purge's results, which indicates a win of 2-3.5% DPS gaining the bonus, you can only win. (I also read somewhere, the bonus might give something about 4% or even more, but I didn't confirm that yet or see anyone do that)

Thats for the long and 'maybe incorrect', but lazy answer.

For the short and correct answer:
Sim it! (I love to say that)


I won't list up any gear or BiS setup at this point. Instead I encourage you to follow this link to the T15 BiS Discussion over at Totemspot.

Socketing


In Mists of Pandaria, gems will grant you double the amount of offstats compared to the primary stat. For e.g.
[Delicate Primordial Ruby] and [Quick Sun's Radiance].
In the start of 5.2, agility gems will still be better.
BUT as you gear up towards the potential BiS gear, haste becomes stronger and stronger and there will be a point, when you will want to swap to haste gems. This is mostly indicated by aquiring the legendary meta and better trinkets. Always sim your character, to see exactly how much haste gems you will want to wear.

Enchanting


Slot Enchant Explanation
Shoulder [Greater Tiger Claw Inscription]
Cloak [Enchant Cloak - Accuracy] or [Enchant Cloak - Superior Critical Strike] You can reforge out of hit somewhere else to a better stat than crit
Cheast [Enchant Chest - Glorious Stats]
Wrists [Enchant Bracer - Greater Agility]
Gloves [Enchant Gloves - Superior Mastery] or [Enchant Gloves - Greater Haste] or [Enchant Gloves - Superior Expertise] or [Enchant Gloves - Super Strength] Use Exp to reforge into something other or reach the cap. Strength might be good as well => Sim it!
Waist [Living Steel Belt Buckle]
Legs [Shadowleather Leg Armor]
Feet [Enchant Boots - Blurred Speed]
Weapon [Enchant Weapon - Dancing Steel] or [Enchant Weapon - Windsong] or [Enchant Weapon - Elemental Force] Dancing Steel will be best for raiding, even though weaker in the offhand. Windsong may overcome that in later tiers. On low gear lvls, Elemental Force is better than Windsong

Noteworthy Things


Encounters


Elegon


Originally Posted by Ryethe View Post
Word of warning for fellow enhancers:
For Elegon HM your ST will not target Elegon while in the bubble. The best you can do is use FE for 2/3 P1s and magma the rest of P1. For P2 your totem will correctly target the pillars. This means that you will have ~3 minutes out of a 9 minute fight where you are not generating SF stacks.

If anyone wants to tag along, I've made a bug post here:
Searing Totem will not target Elegon on HM - Forums - World of Warcraft
Thanks for that!

•Shaman Searing Totems will no longer break on Heroic Elegon due to the line of sight restrictions while the energy vortex is active. (source)



51 Comments

I would like to challenge your recommendation for Murder of Crows and also note that the currently linked tooltip for Lynx Rush and Blink Strike are incorrect based on the current live data.

Lynx Rush is 9 attacks at 200% pet damage with a 1.5 minute CD.
Blink Strike is 1 attack at 600% pet damage on a 20 second CD.
Murder of Crows has a 2 minute CD.

Based on current live data Blink Strike is by far the best choice as long as your pet has a path to the boss. The very short cooldown and massive damage boost of Blink Strike puts it far ahead of the other two options even when accounting for the number of GCDs it costs to cast it off CD. Of course, during non-nerfed progression content Murder of Crows may pull ahead as long as the sub 20% phase is long enough to cast at least two within it but that remains to be seen.

I would like to challenge your recommendation for Murder of Crows and also note that the currently linked tooltip for Lynx Rush and Blink Strike are incorrect based on the current live data.

Lynx Rush is 9 attacks at 200% pet damage with a 1.5 minute CD.
Blink Strike is 1 attack at 600% pet damage on a 20 second CD.
Murder of Crows has a 2 minute CD.

Based on current live data Blink Strike is by far the best choice as long as your pet has a path to the boss. The very short cooldown and massive damage boost of Blink Strike puts it far ahead of the other two options even when accounting for the number of GCDs it costs to cast it off CD. Of course, during non-nerfed progression content Murder of Crows may pull ahead as long as the sub 20% phase is long enough to cast at least two within it but that remains to be seen.


As I stated previously, the recommendations are based on information and knowledge available at any time and are subject to change. Also, the recommendations are also affected by playstyle and preferrences.

From my understanding of the current state of simulations and live testing, BS is indeed better than MoC, but Lynx Rush is even better, especially if you align it with Rabid procs. So LR is currently the best option for MM but to mention that BS is a good option as well. However, I am not bothering to explicitly update the complete guide for this change yet since we are likely to gain even more knowledge and encounter additional changes. I probably will not do a complete update until after MoP is released.

The next question is how does this change affect the analysis and other recommendations. The previous recommendation MoC cost 40 focus every 2 mins relative to the AS replaced or 0.33 FPS. This is roughly the cost of an AS every 1 min. BS and LR are both also instant cast replacements of AS and are both focus free. Thus, they save the cost of an AS every cast.

Since LR has a 1.5s CD and saves 20 focus per cast, its worth 0.22 FPS for a total of 0.55 FPS gained over MoC or about 5 focus per CS cycle. Since the focus swing for replacing an AS with a SS is 20 (AS cost) + 17 (SS gain) = 37 focus, this means that we can replace a SS with an AS in the rotations roughly every 1 min and 7 sec or about every 7th or 8th CS cycle. This definitely has a positive impact to the rotations but does not change them significantly.

Since BS has a 20s CD and saves 20 focus per cast, its worth 1 FPS for a total of 1.33 FPS gained over MoC or about 12 focus per CS cycle. With BS you can replace a SS with an AS in the rotations roughly 3rd CS cycle. This definitely has a positive impact to the rotations as well but does not change them significantly.

Another item to note is that since LR and BS are focus free as compared to the big 60 focus of MoC, using them does make your cycles much more consistent as oppossed to the big hit when MoC occurs.
Also in regards to Blink Strike and Lynx Rush are the number of GCD used.

Lynx Rush uses 2 GCD every 3 mins.
Blink Strike uses 9 GCD every 3 mins.

That is a difference of 7 addition GCD a hunter could use for other dps boosting abilities.

Also in regards to Blink Strike and Lynx Rush are the number of GCD used.

Lynx Rush uses 2 GCD every 3 mins.
Blink Strike uses 9 GCD every 3 mins.

That is a difference of 7 addition GCD a hunter could use for other dps boosting abilities.


Well, its not really the fact that you "save" GCDs that matters but the fact of the overall DPS benefits of using those GCDs for these abilities over using AS.

Using data from FD at level 90 (since that is what I am more concerned about):

MoC: 381615
BS: 81338
LR: 234863
AS: 43235
SS: 16495 (with including PS)

The direct DPS benefit of using each instead of AS is the following with not including the benefits from Readiness:

MoC: (381615 - 43235) / 120 = +2820 DPS
BS: (81338 - 43235) / 20 = +1905 DPS
LR: (234863 - 43235) / 90 = +2130 DPS

On this factor alone - MoC is clearly the leader now.

Add on top of this the benefit of Readiness. Over a 5 mins fight, you can use Readiness once for an extra use of each ability:

MoC: (381615 - 43235) / 300 = +1128 DPS
BS: (81338 - 43235) / 300 = +127 DPS
LR: (234863 - 43235) / 300 = +639 DPS

Over a 6 mins fight, you can use Readiness twice. With assuming that these 2 uses result in two more uses of each of these abilities:

MoC: (381615 - 43235) * 2 / 360 = +1880 DPS
BS: (81338 - 43235) * 2 / 360 = +212 DPS
LR: (234863 - 43235) * 2 / 360 = +1065 DPS

As can be expected, Readiness uses favor the high damage long CD abilities much more than the lower damage lower CD abilities.

The final factor is the possible DPS gain from the additional focus costs or savings:

MoC: Each use costs 40 focus over an AS. Over a 6 min fight with Readiness, you can do 5 MoCs. This costs an additional 200 focus that has to be made up by doing extra SSs instead of ASs. Since each use of SS instead of AS is about a 20 + 17 = 37 + 1 (for the regen over the extra cast time) = 38, this requires 5.26 more SSs over the fight. However, these SS casts lose about 1.75 GCDs costing 2 ASs at worst. I will assume that only 1 AS is actually lost due to the extra SS casts, meaning that the real extra focus costs is 180, requiring 4.74 extra SS for AS replacements in addition to the 1 lost AS.

((16495 - 43235) * 4.74 - 43235) / 360 = -472 DPS

BS: Each use saves 20 focus over an AS. With a 20s CD, you can do 18 BSs over a 6 min fight, so 20 with Readiness. This is a total focus savings of 400 focus over the fight, allowing us to cast about 10.53 ASs instead of SSs. These replacements save about 3.5 GCDs for normal SS cast time. With accounting for RF and BL for some of these SS, lets say that 2 GCDs are earned. This is 2 more ASs and 40 more focus costs, meaning that we can really only replace about 9.47 SSs with ASs:

((43235 - 16495) * 9.47 + 43235 * 2) / 360 = +944 DPS

LR: Each use saves 20 focus over an AS. With a 1.5 min CD, you can do 6 over a 6 min fight with Readiness. This is a total focus savings of 120 focus over the fight, allowing us to cast about 3.16 ASs instead of SSs. These replacements save about 1 GCD, costing an extra 20 focus and allowing only 2.63 AS for SS replacements.

((43235 - 16495) * 2.63 + 43235) / 360 = +194 DPS

So with including the direct damage benefits of each ability over using an AS with factoring in Readiness and the AS for SS (or vice versa) swaps and extra GCDs and ASs that are gained or lost, the rough DPS benefit of using each is:

MoC: 2820 + 1880 - 472 = +4228 DPS
BS: 1905 + 212 + 944 = +3061 DPS
LR: 2130 + 1065 + 194 = +3389 DPS

So from this "quick" napkin math, MoC is clearly the favorite currently, with LR next and BS last. The large damage of MoC and LR are greatly favored by Readiness while BS benefits from its focus savings requiring less SSs to be cast.

FD seems to roughly agree with this with showing MoC as the best with LR -1100 DPS behind and BS -2600 DPS behind.

Anyway, its a good thing that I did not update the complete post for LR being better since the Rabid nerf (which is already included in the FD data in this post) puts MoC back on top for MMs.
One correction over previous statements that I have made is that it does now result in maximum MM DPS to overlap BL and RF effects, preferrably during the CA phase. The reason for this is the low maximum speed to cast AI. While in Cata where AIs during BL were well below the cutoff point of 1.8s resulting in a huge DPS gain, AIs during BL in MoP are currently too slow to be worthwhile casting AI. However, the increased speed to AI during the CA phase where due to AIs always critting and the cutoff point being much higher, it is a huge DPS gain currently to have faster AIs and to cast more of them. The MoP version of FD was showing this from the start, but I just did not believe that that could be the case until I had theorycrafted it more.

So until AI damage gets buffed relative to other shots, feel free to cast RF if its available while BL is already up instead of waiting to use RF until BL is done.

Defintely if you raid is using BL at the start of the fight still use RF since the more AIs during the CA phase the better.

Outside the CA pase, it is a small benefit to overlap RF and BL; however, the benefit is small enough that it affects your DPS very little if your guild decides to use BL during a period where RF is fully on CD. Thus, do not sweat stacking them, but on a preferrential basis stack them if you can.

What also effects the situation is that we do a lot less SSs too. Hence, we haste a lot less SSs than we used to by chaining BL and RF instead of stacking them and causing SS casts to be below the GCD.
MoP Stat Priorities

Now that I have had the time to research MoP stat priorities more, it appears that in T14 gear that haste will be preferred over crit and mastery. Reasons for this include:

- Crit is devalued for MM relative to its value in Cataclysm because:
-- We are using less attacks affected by PS. Although with a 9s CS CD we are generally doing a few more CSs, we are doing a lot less SSs since less are needed to maintain our haste buff and focus levels and a lot less AIs since we do not have as many RFs with Readiness on a 5 min CD and since BL does not provide sufficient haste to make casting AI beneficial during it. We are also doing less SSs due to DB gain focus for us. We are also doing less AIs due to GCDs being spent to cast Stampede, MoC, and DB during periods where we would be hardcasting AIs.
-- We no longer have some of the DPS talents that resulted from crit, such as Go For the Throat (GftT) (now BM only) and Sic'Em.
-- CA providing 75% increased crit for SS and AI devalues crit amounts over about 25% a little while in Cataclysm this situation was not in effect until about 40% crit.

Despite the fact that we are casting less shots that are affected by haste (SS and AI), haste is valued higher in MoP for the following reasons:
- With less SSs per CS cycle, it requires larger haste amounts to achieve a full GCD savings in SS cast times to achieve tight CS cycles.
- It requires are much lower AI cast time to make hardcasting AI worthwhile.
- Without Sic'Em and GftT, our pet has a lot less focus with which to work, resulting in not only a very low WH uptime, but with also being focus starved a lot and having to wait longer than the 3s CD between some basic attacks. For example, your pet's basic attack costs 25 focus, when your pet bottoms out in focus it takes 25 focus / 5.6465 FPS (the pet focus regen at 12.93% haste) = 4.43 seconds for it to regen enough focus for its next basic attack. Outside of BL, RF, haste trinket effects, and other items that affect melee haste, once our pet hits 0 focus, it is in a constant state of waiting for enough focus to recast its basic. Even during a RF with 7.9051 pet regen, it still takes the pet 3.16s to regen enough focus to cast its basic attack. Hence, unlike in Cata where our pet was almost never focus starved, our pets are now almost always focus starved. Hence, ever bit of haste we have increases our pet's focus regen and decreases its time between basic attacks.
- Haste still affects our pet's melee attack rate and our autoshot rate. Increased autoshot rate increases WQ damage too.

I am sure that there are other reasons too, but these are the primary ones of which I can think at the moment.

EDIT: While doing an anlysis of pet basic attacks, I realized that our haste rating has a bigger impact on out pet basic attacks than I had anticipated since out pets are focus starved about 75% of the time with about a large 1.1s delay in pet basic attacks and almost never seeing WH after the start of the fight. Even while under the affects of BL and at the recommended 12.93% haste from gear, our pets are still slightly focus starved and will have their basic attacks delayed by 0.1s. Thus, additional haste above the recommended 12.93% can be beneficial at certain points where it allows an additional pet basic attack. This values haste for MMs even more.
A comment I wanted to do about A Murder of Crows is that unlike Dire Beast you can't have double Murder of Crows with Readiness. You will have to wait full 30 sec till you use the second. Lynx Rush on the other hand you can use the second after 4 seconds, inside the first agility potion timer. I know it probably doesn't affect much the outcome since it is mostly dependant on the time range of a boss kill (and I assume is already included on the gain from spreadsheet) but I felt like it could be of some importance.

I haven't tested if crows continue when their target dies and attack a different target. That would be worthnoting in a fight with adds to take advantage of the reduced cooldown timer in a boss fight.

A comment I wanted to do about A Murder of Crows is that unlike Dire Beast you can't have double Murder of Crows with Readiness. You will have to wait full 30 sec till you use the second. Lynx Rush on the other hand you can use the second after 4 seconds, inside the first agility potion timer. I know it probably doesn't affect much the outcome since it is mostly dependant on the time range of a boss kill (and I assume is already included on the gain from spreadsheet) but I felt like it could be of some importance.


Good point. I mean to put something in about how MoC works, and that is how I have been playing it and modeling it, but it appears that I did not. I will put better explanations now that we know its behavior better once the 5.1 version comes out.

Note that FD does model this behavior correctly and will not use the 2nd MoC until 30s after the first. And although its true that you can have double MoC with Readiness and have it be worth while, Readiness still gives you the second MoC 90s earlier than without Readiness and is still a large DPS boost.
Not to be a nitpicker, but 5.1 will most likely be the first content patch. When MoP ships, they will most likely patch the live game to version 5.0.5 or thereabouts.

I haven't tested if crows continue when their target dies and attack a different target. That would be worthnoting in a fight with adds to take advantage of the reduced cooldown timer in a boss fight.


MoC is currently implemented as a DoT. Thus, like SrS and PS, it does not switch targets if the current target dies with time left on the ability.
Since it does not show up as being updated on the main hunter page, I figured that I should write a post to indicate that the MM guide has mostly been updated for MoP release. I have updated the Quick Reference post and have updated the Detailed post up to section 8. I plan to hopefully finish the updates tonight, but if I do not, then they will be complete by the end of the week.

I am not too concerned with the remaining updates since they should not be affected much. I just want to fine tune the data with T14H gear numbers. The only major change that I know that is outstanding is that Sporebats now provide spell haste, but everyone should be aware of that already if they have been paying attention.
I have completed updating the rest of the guide for current game play.
Is there any info on the priority of pet buffs for personal dps? Obviously it's usually better to go with the one that benefits the raid the most, but it would be nice to know which buffs should be brought if they're missing, and in what order.

Is there any info on the priority of pet buffs for personal dps? Obviously it's usually better to go with the one that benefits the raid the most, but it would be nice to know which buffs should be brought if they're missing, and in what order.


You can determine this yourself easily enough in tools like FD and SimC by using the MM Max DPS set up and with all other buffs and debuffs present, removing one at a time to see the impact. Also this information has been previously provided in the MoP all spec threads for earlier set ups.

However, so that the information is available for all MMs with the current MM Max DPS case in FD at the time of this thread, I am providing the information below. I am also including the exoctic pets. Although MMs cannot provide exotic pets, if you have another hunter in the raid that is BM, they are applicable to MMs still.

As reference, the MM Max DPS case in FD provides 104660 DPS.

[table]Buff/Debuff|DPS Loss|% DPS Loss|Pets That Provide It
10% Attack Speed|4805|4.59%|Hyena, Serpent
5% Crit|4139|3.95%|Hydra, Wolf, Devilsaur*, Quillen*, Waterstrider*
5% Stat|3729|3.56%|Shale Spider*
12% Armor Reduction|3342|3.19%|Raptor, Tallstrider
4% Physical Vulnerability|3067|2.93%|Boar, Ravager, Rhino*, Worm*
5 Mastery|3052|2.92%|Cat, Spirit Beast*
Bloodlust|2055|1.96%|Corehound
5% Spell Vulnerability|1187|1.13%|Dragonhawk, Wind Serpent
10% Stamina|0|0%|Silithid*
Spell Power|0|0%|Waterstrider*
Spell Haste|0|0%|Sporebat
Weakened Blows|0|0%|Bear, Carrion Bird
Slow Casting|0|0%|Corehound*, Fox, Goat, Sporebat
Mortal Wounds|0|0%|Devilsaur* - also hunters Widow Venom
10% Attack Power|N/A|N/A|All hunters provide and pets do not
[/table]* Exotic pet provided by BM hunters only.

As you can see, by far the most important buff for MM hunters in this case is the 10% attack speed buff. The reasons for this include the fact that the ideal haste amounts depend on having this buff to reduce SS and AI cast times, and not having it costs shots in the CS cycle and/or delays the CS cycle. It also affects autoshot rate. Furthermore, it affects pet melee frequency including the number of attacks done by Dire Beast. Finally, less specials performed include less chances to proc other abilities like Wild Quiver. Piercing Shots, MMM AIs, etc.

5% crit is a distant second. Crit is important not only due to the slightly over double damage with crits (and the meta gem) but also due to the increased chance to proc PS.
There are many MOP places that require long and steady period of AOE. For the MM hunter I've a rotation of MS that usually trigger Bombardment for 5 sec. that is followed by additional MS until the focus is around 30-40. Then I hit Fervor that provide additional focus for additional 4-5 MS shots. My problem begins at this point, there are still a lot of adds around, Fervor buff is gone, my focus is under 20.
What I'm doing to maintain the Bombardment at this point is single SS and a single MS. I wonder if this is the best option to maintain long term AOE or I should change anything?
I also see that some recommend start the entire rotation with creating the Steady Focus buff. Does it worth the time for the 2 SS when I can do 2 MS at that time?

There are many MOP places that require long and steady period of AOE. For the MM hunter I've a rotation of MS that usually trigger Bombardment for 5 sec. that is followed by additional MS until the focus is around 30-40. Then I hit Fervor that provide additional focus for additional 4-5 MS shots. My problem begins at this point, there are still a lot of adds around, Fervor buff is gone, my focus is under 20.
What I'm doing to maintain the Bombardment at this point is single SS and a single MS. I wonder if this is the best option to maintain long term AOE or I should change anything?
I also see that some recommend start the entire rotation with creating the Steady Focus buff. Does it worth the time for the 2 SS when I can do 2 MS at that time?


I do similar set up to you except that I use Dire Beast in my spec instead of Fervor, but I agree that if you are speccing for Max AoE damage that Fervor or TotH is better than DB.

For short AoE periods, I do not worry about SF and just generate enough focus to cast a new MS. The reasons are:
- As you stated, you can be doing much more damage with using those GCD+s on 2 to 3 MSs instead
- SF provides very little benefit in short AoE situations.
-- The haste only affects your single target damage in autoshots and the SSs to regen focus. With the T14 4P, it does save you about 0.33s per SS cast and about 0.21s per SS cast without it at the minimum recommended 9.09% haste level. You only need to cast 3 SSs in the first 20s of AoE, so SF only saves you a GCD but has not made up for the 2 to 3 spent to get SF to start. It is not until about 35 to 40s that you have done enough SSs to make up for the GCDs spent to get SF to begin with and maintain it.
-- The focus gained from SS at the start is purely wasted.
-- The haste does not affect focus regen, although the SF buff does regen an extra 3 focus per cast. With having to do 7 SF SSs to get enough extra focus to be able to cast an extra Bombardment affected MS, you are looking at needing about a 30s of AoE time.
- The haste does not affect pet attacks

Obviously though, situations do occur where you may need to cast 2 SSs just to be able to cast the next MS, in which case getting the SF bonus for free is a nice benefit.

With that said, SF is beneficial for AoE situations lasting longer than about 30 to 40s. The reasons for this is that you are now doing enough SSs to regen focus that:
- The shorter SS cast times have crossed the threshold where you are actually gaining GCDs instead of losing them.
- You have also crossed the threshold where the the extra focus regened from the SF affected SSs provide enough for extra MSs

Even for long AoE situations in which maintaing SF is beneficial, I still do not suggest starting the AoE with two SSs since all of that focus generated is lost and you are recieving enough focus from DB anyway. I would not bother getting the SF focus buff until you have depleted all of your focus and must cast SSs to gain focus. At that point is where I would cast the first 2 SSs to get SF and then start maintaining it. The only benefit of the getting the SF buff to start is the slightly increased autoshot rate on one target, which is not worth it.

To check this out and provide evidence, I did a single target analysis with AoE priority in FD. In both cases, the priortity was the same with DB, GT, ET, Readiness, MS, SS. To focus more on the AoE aspect, I did not include MoC or Stampede, although you would still want to them on long AoE situations. I also did not include RF or Bloodlust. Note that having either of these during the AoE situation does reduce the benefit of having SF some since you are saving less time per SS cast and since you need to cast less SSs for focus. I also set up the run for 3 mins.

The only difference between the two cases is that in one I had the setting to maintain SF and in the other I did not force for SF to be maintained.

The result is that the SF AoE case did over 2600 more DPS on a single target. So even on the single target it does more DPS. This is because the SS case did +4 SSs and +8 autoshots with +6 WQ procs.

However, we are really concerned about the AoE situation. DB, GT, and ET had the same number of casts between the cases. The SF case had +3 MS. So it is definitely better AoE DPS. However, the AoE benefit is not huge since that is on average only an extra MS every minute.

One major item to note in favor of SF case more is that the non-forced SF case still naturally achieved the SF buff on several occassions since it did do 9 SS pairs for an estimated 45% SF uptime since a few of the periods overlapped.

Summary:

- Do not bother with SF on short AoE situations (less than 30 to 40s), although cases that force you to cast 2 SSs to gain focus and get the buff is a bonus.
- Maintaining SF on long AoE situations (longer than 30 to 40s) can be a DPS boost, but I do not recommend casting the first SS pair until you have fully depleted your focus from the intial MS onslaught.
I have finally had the chance to address the recent 10/12/12 hot fix to how AI damage is calculated.

Aimed Shot now deals 320% weapon damage (up from 280%), but the base damage component has been reduced by 65%. The damage that this ability does at level 90 should remain relatively unchanged.


The effect in the T14 gear range is not that big. With the Max MM DPS case, AI damage when including PS effect went up by about 4500 on average outside the CA phase and by about 7900 during the CA phase for a net increase in DPS by about 589. This is about a 4.2% increase in damage from what AI was doing previously in T14H gear.

With less than T14H ranged weapons, the DPS gain will be smaller and can possibly be negative if you have a poor enough ranged weapon, although no one should be raiding with that low of an ilevel ranged weapon.

The good news is that AI should do a lot more damage and DPS in future tiers as weapon damage increases with each tier of gear. However, concerning the T14 tier of raiding, the change is a nice DPS boost but does not really change how AI is used in the MM rotations. AI DPS is still too low to use AI in most cases.

At the current recommended haste amount of just over 9.09% haste from gear with the T14 4P, an AI rotation when unhasted still underperforms an AS rotation by about 28K damage per AI cast (down from about 32.5K), and the deficit is much worse without the T14 4P. The amount of overall haste from gear to make AI worthwhile to cast when not under dynamic haste effects outside the CA phase did decrease from 62.05% to 51.75%. From my calculations, this means that AI should be beneficial to cast outside the CA phase when hasted to be below a 1.39 cast time, which occurs at about 8.4% haste from gear with RF. So potentially, with the recommended 9.09% haste from gear, AI can possibly be a small DPS gain to cast during RF outside the CA phase. However, I am not recommending this since it will not be much of a benefit unless you have significantly more haste from gear and any pushback or interruption will be a large loss in DPS. Plus, FD shows casting it as a 235 DPS loss even at a 1.378 cast time. This is due to taking into account the increased focus cost of using AI over ASs.

During the CA phase when unhasted, it is still worthwhile to use SrS and CS. My calculations show using a CS instead of AI being about a 42K damage benefit per cast. Even during RF, it is still about a 22K DPS gain to cast CS. FD confirms this by it being about a 390 DPS loss when disabling SrS and CS during the CA phase.

The only change to the MM priority I see as a resultant of the AI change is that now it is no longer beneficial to cast GT during the CA phase, unless there are other targets to hit besides the main target. GT does similar damage as CS (within about 1K) but does not have the additional SrS damage to help buff it. My calculations show using GT during the CA phase when under the affects of RF being a 18K damage loss. FD confirms this with disabling GT during the CA phase being a 602 DPS gain. I will update the guide to reflect this change.

Summary:

The change to how AI damage is calculated increases AI damage in T14 normal and heroic gear. Thus, it increases MM DPS. The only change to the MM priority that I recommend is no longer casting GT during the CA phase, unless there are multiple targets to be hit by GT.
A new MM glyph seems planned for 5.1. Its is:

Glyph of Aimed Shot: This glyph allows Aimed Shot to be used while moving.

This glyph is potentially a nice quality of life glyph for MMs; however, it is not too useful in T14 content. This is because most MMs should only be using AI during the CA phase. Getting a glyph that applies to only 10% of the fight and only if on the move during that period is probably not worth replacing the current survivability glyphs. Although there may be some fights where it is worth taking. In future raid tiers, I hope that the improved AI scaling and the additional haste on gear will make AI more viable outside the CA phase when in high dynamic haste situations, which will increase the benefit of this glyph.

However, being able to cast AI on the run still does not prevent pushbacks, interruptions, target going out of LOS, or possible being turned the wrong way resulting in cast delays or incompletions. It also removes the ability to cancel a cast (if desired to do so) by moving or jumping.

Hence, for now, I would not recommend generally using the glyph for PvE.

However, if we ever get back to the general AI focus dump case like MMs had at the later part of Cataclysm, this glyph would be a must have.
Steady Focus Duration Change from 10s to 20s on PTR

Concerning the change to SF proposed for 5.1, I will not complain about having the buff duration extended since it does provide MMs a little more flexibility in shot choices since we are not required to do as many SS pairs as previously; however, to be honest, I really do not see this change as much of a benefit, at least not currently.

Here are my thoughts on this change:

1) First, on average to balance focus, MMs still need to do at least 2 SSs per CS cycle. In the best case scenario during the Standard phase of an AS focus-dump cycle during a RF with doing only 2 SSs at 12.93% haste from gear without the T14 4P and 9.09% haste from gear with the T14 4P (which very few hunters if any can achieve currently), here is the focus cost in different scenarios:

[table]Scenario|Focus Cost w/o T14 4P|Focus Cost w/ T14 4P
CS-SSx2-ASx6|-38|-40
CS-SSx2-ASx5-GT|-33|-35
CS-SSx2-ASx5-MMM AI|-18|-20
CS-SSx2-ASx5-DB*|-8|-10
CS-SSx2-ASx4-MMM AI-GT|-13|-15
CS-SSx2-ASx4-GT-DB|-3|-5
CS-SSx2-ASx4-MMM AI-DB*|+12|+10
CS-SSx2-ASx3-MMM AI-GT-DB*|+17|+15[/table]

*Note that at this haste level that DB should perform 10 attacks. Hence, it provides 50 focus over 15s. You can expect for about 6 of the DB attacks at most on a CS cycle if the DB was cast during the cycle. This is a benefit of 30 focus.

So even in this best case scenario (with not assuming that other haste effects are stacked on RF), most of the cases are still focus negative and require 2 SSs. The rare cases that do generate a positive amount of focus do not generate enough focus where an SS could be replaced with another AS, which requires 23.32 (amount of focus gained over a SS cast) + 20 (AS focus cost) - 43.32 focus. The best case of 17 focus gained when a MMM AI proc occurs and both GT and DB are available is less than 40% of the focus needed to do that substitition.

Furthermore, the focus gained on these cycles are needed to help balance the focus loss of other cycles, which it does not fully do requiring an extra SS about every third cycle.

Even with considering the case with additional haste on top of RF, 2 SSs are still required. Since the SS casts are already at the 1s GCD with RF, all BL does on top of RF is increase focus regen by 1.9 FPS. Thus, over a 9s CS cycle, another 17.1 focus is generated making the best case generate 34.1 focus, which is still too small to allow an AS for SS replacement since it is only 79% of the cost. Furthermore, this situation is moot anyway, since if you are stacking haste buffs on top of RF, you will want to be using AI as the focus dump instead of AS anyway, which requires a lot more than 2 SSs per CS cycle ( 4 to 5 actually) to counteract the larger AI focus cost.

So from the average CS cycle focus balancing point of view, the change has little impact for most of the fight. This applies to the CA phase too in which we use AI and need extra SSs to balance focus.

2) The is one on average situation though where these extended duration can possibly help currently - during the KS phase. Below is an updated version of the table with including cycles with 2 KSs (since you would normally shoot a pair). Note that at beast 2 KSs every 11s that some CS cycles would have no KSs and revert to those in 1).

[table]Scenario|Focus Cost w/o T14 4P|Focus Cost w/ T14 4P
CS-SSx2-ASx4-KSx2|+2|0
CS-SSx2-ASx3-GT-KSx2|+7|+5
CS-SSx2-ASx3-MMM AI-KSx2|+22|+20
CS-SSx2-ASx3-DB*-KSx2|+32|+30
CS-SSx2-ASx2-MMM AI-GT-KSx2|+27|+25
CS-SSx2-ASx2-GT-DB-KSx2|+37|+35
CS-SSx2-ASx2-MMM AI-DB*-KSx2|+52|+50
CS-SSx2-AS-MMM AI-GT-DB*-KSx2|+57|+55[/table]

As can be seen, every one of these CS cycles is at least focus neutral, with most being way focus positive. In fact, the last 2 cycles are sufficiently focus positive where an SS can be replaced by another AS. Thus, the extension of the SF buff could possible allow for one to perform only 1 SS on some CS cycles during the KS phase when under the effects of RF and make up the focus loss on the cycles with the 2 SSs to maintain SF. In fact, it is even possible to perform no SSs on 1 of the cycles during a RF pair and make up for the focus loss on other cycles.

There are a few rubs to this though:
- You do not always have RF available during the KS phase.
- If RF is available during the KS phase, it only covers about 1.5 to 3 CS cycle depending on whether you have a single or RF pair available.
- As gear scales, AI should become increasingly better as a focus dump choice during RF (as opposed to the option choice with the T14 4P), making this situation moot.

3) The next consideration is whether this flexibility has any real benefits to shot order in the CS cycle.

For an AS focus dump cycle, where ASs are instant and only cost 20 focus each, it is not difficult at all to cast an SS pair and avoid focus capping in most situations. An SS pair gains about 46.64 focus over the cast for most cycles. Even with starting at 100 focus, casting a CS and an AS clears enough focus for an SS pair without overcapping in most situations. During a RF, an SS pair could cause a little overcapping if starting at 100 focus, but its not a concern if you are not near 100 focus and can be avoided by casting CS and 2 ASs before the SS pair.

The thing that complicates the situation and where the flexibility helps is the impacts to the rotation due to MMM AI procs and when abilties like DB, GT, and Readiness (which allows an extra DB and GT) come off CD. In the rare situation where many of these are available during a CS cycle, its nice to have the flexibility to shift where the SS pair occurs in the CS cycle or to even skip the SS pair one cycle every so often if trying to burn down a low health target (like the energy cores on Elegon).

For an AI focus dump cycle, the situation is a little different since AI costs 50 focus. With factoring in the regens over the cast time, an SS pair regens a little more than the focus cost of an AI. However, during a RF, which is when we usually cast AIs, the extra focus from RR results in AIs cost being less than 8 focus more than the focus regened from a single SS. If a single DB is active too, then an SS cast actually regens more focus than the cost of the AI cast where casting a single SS for each AI is sustainable during the DB.

4) The next consideration is how the increased flexibility can potentially help us reduce or prevent focus overcapping in real game play and let us use that focus instead to cast more ASs instead of SSs. There is definitely a possible DPS gain here; however, it is not much if at all. First, if doing things properly, you should ideally be wasting little to no focus. But then again, no one is perfect.

But with considering that an AS for SS substitution requires 43.32 focus, it requres a significant amount of overcapping having to previously been done to see any DPS improvements. With assuming that the increased flexibility does allow enough focus overcapping prevention to power an extra AS, the damage difference gained using the Max MM T14H DPS case is about 27K. Over a 5 min fight, this is only an 89 DPS improvement, which is only about a 0.08% DPS improvement.

5) The final consideration is how this change affects your ability to maintain the SF buff. For most players in most situations, maintaing the SF buff should not have been a problem. I know it usually was not for me since once I found the "rhythm" of the MM CS cycles, it was not hard to maintain usually.

However, if you are not paying enough attention, moving a lot, stunned/CCed at the wrong time, or trying to burn a target, it is easy to have the buff fall off, resulting in a DPS loss.

This change makes it a little easier to maintain the SF buff in game play situations.

However, it is a two-edged sword. This flexibility also reduces the "consistency" and rhythm in the MM CS cycles (since you are not required to perform a SS pair every CS cycle) where it is possible to actually end up losing the buff more often now if one is not careful.

6) Small possiblity for more MMM AI procs. The extended SF duration allows us to more often insert a MMM AI proc between SSs instead of waiting until after the SS pair. This results in additional SSs that can apply to a new MMM AI proc instead of being cast when MMM AI is already fully stacked.

Similarly, abilities coming off of short CDs, like KS, GT, and DB, no longer have to wait for an SS pair to complete every cycle. If there is still plenty of time on SF, we can insert one of these shots between SSs if they have come off CD. In rare cases, this lack of delay could possibly result in an extra one of these shots, but it is doubtful.

Summary:

The extension of SF duration from 10s to 20s is a quality of life change and not an overall DPS change. Over the course of the fight, we still have to cast the same number of SSs to provide the focus gains to power our focus costing abilities. The main benefit of the extended duration is a little more flexibility in our shot selection. We can better adjust our shot order to accomodate boss strategies, such as having a short burn stage with limited SSs. Another quality of life benefit is that it makes maintaining the SF buff in real game play easier to do. The only potential DPS benefit of the change is the shifting of shots may prevent a little focus overcapping for potentially a very minor DPS improvement.

FD Analysis:

Since the FD "Enable Public Test Realm Changes" Setting incorporates the extended duration of the SF buff, we are able to simulate the effect to the MM rotation. I did a before and after simulation using the MM Max DPS case for the T14H gear.

FD actually simulated the extended SF buff case as a 171 DPS loss. This DPS loss is due to shot shifting in the case.

Looking more closely at the shot numbers, here are the differences:
- CS -1
- AS +3
- SS -3
- Auto -3
- WQ -1

The loss of the CS is due to shot shifting due to focus levels at the time of the CS cast requiring an SS to get enough focus. This resulted in more focus later for more ASs instead of SSs. If the CS was not lost due to shot shifting, 2 of the 3 AS for SS replacements would not have occurred, leaving only the one AS for SS substitution.

Looking at the extended SF case, of the 45 CSs, 27 (60%) of the CSs had an SS pair to refresh SF before it and 18 (40%) of the CSs did not. The situations in which the SS pair was skipped include:
- Inserting an instant that has come off CD.
- Performng the MMM AI proc immediately after proc on the first SS instead of waiting until after the pair.
- Better focus balancing
- Use of Readiness resulted in a lot of instant cast abilities to be available.
- A RF supporting a lot of ASs

These results basically verify my analysis that the change is a quality of life improvement but not really a DPS improvement.
I agree that the change of doubling the SF duration is quality of life improvement from the theoretically POV, but the hunters that still plays MM (we are so few based on raidbots) wonder if this change will make MM a valid spec once again, the reason why MM is so lame is that with all the extra focus changes, MM biggest issue is over-focus. The duration it takes to generate SF every 10 sec cause us to waste signature shots/new toys for 2 X SS is various non-optimal situations (and more when we will have T14 4pcs).
With this change the cases where you have 80% focus and SF is down will be less frequent and raidbot will show after 5.1 the MM as a valid spec once again
I had not thought of that perspective.

My analysis was with assuming that you were choosing to keep 100% SF uptime currently. If you were, then the SF duration change would not affect you too much but would provide more flexibility.

However, if you are currently choosing to (or being forced to) have the SF buff drop off in certain situations, then I can see how the extended duration would be a DPS gain since you will now have greater SF uptime while still making the same choices.

Having the longer SF duration will indeed help make it easier for MMs to better perform closer to their maximum DPS potential. However, it will not increase their maximum DPS potential by much, which means that MMs will still be well behind BMs.
On the PTR, it looks like they are looking to return Careful Aim back to is applicability to boss health > 80%, which basically doubles the duration of this huge beneficial period.

Although this is a buff for MM hunters, it is not that big of a buff. Using the Max MM DPS case in FD and increasing the duration of the CA period from 10% to 20%, it is only a 1134 DPS increase or about a 1.07% increase for a 7.5 min fight. Part of the problem is that a lot of the CA period was unhasted. For a shorter fight where more of the CA period is unhasted the benefit would be larger. For a 5 min fight, the increase was 1511 DPS or 1.4%.

My initial reaction was to state that MMs would get further benefit to make sure that the whole CA is under dynamic haste effects if possible. For instance for the 5 min fight, with starting BL at 20s so that it will cover the last 40s of the 1 min CA period (with RF covering the first 30s with some overlap), I thought there would be further benefits. But I was wrong. FD showed that doing this is a 928 DPS decrease due to the still relative weakness of AI and with it still requiring too low of a cast time to make it most benefical.
I'm toying with the option that 5.1 will make the Glyph of Aimed Shot a valid selection for a major Glyph. We will be using the AI for a longer period in 5.1 with the extended CA phase, Bloodlust, Rapid Fire, trinket haste buff and raid specific haste scenarios. Our of the 7 minutes of a raid, we use the AI as the main focus dump for (CA ~ 84 sec , Bloodlust - 30 sec, , Rapid Fire 2 X 15 sec) 2:40 mins. There is no way to theoretically say how many AI will we miss due to movement and therocrafters would claim that with proper movement planning no AI should be interrupted.
The current alternatives for Major Glyph are not very attractive and focus of survivability over damage, MfD is a must for multi target fights, Animal Bond is life saver, but I think that the AI Glyph can replace in 5.1 the Deterrence Glyph unless until you are a Zen master hunter that can plan his moves and avoid any AI interrupt

I'm toying with the option that 5.1 will make the Glyph of Aimed Shot a valid selection for a major Glyph. We will be using the AI for a longer period in 5.1 with the extended CA phase, Bloodlust, Rapid Fire and raid specific haste scenarios. Our of the 7 minutes of a raid, we use the AI as the main focus dump for (CA ~ 84 sec , Bloodlust - 30 sec, , Rapid Fire 2 X 15 sec) 2:40 mins. There is no way to theoretically say how many AI will we miss due to movement and therocrafters would claim that with proper movement planning no AI should be interrupted.
The current alternatives for Major Glyph are not very attractive and focus of survivability over damage, MfD is a must for multi target fights, Animal Bond is life saver, but I think that the AI Glyph can replace in 5.1 the Deterrence Glyph unless until you are a Zen master hunter that can plan his moves and avoid any AI interrupt


It's a dps loss to cast Aimed <80% with BL or RF. It takes <1.4s Aimed cast time just to break even and that requires double stacking haste cooldowns. The glyph will be situational and only be worth taking if movement is possible in the CA phase.