So on logging in earlier, I spent my first respec in an admittedly silly manner.
The point of this was purely to try out Explosive Shot, with Lock and Load along with it.
After using this for probably half a dozen matches, (probably around four hours) I rapidly reached the conclusion that for Arathi Basin at least, comparitively speaking anyway, Explosive Shot is more or less entirely worthless, as is Lock and Load; especially given the way the latter procs. Given that, it's extremely unlikely that I will be putting points in either of those two talents for any purpose any time soon. ~300 damage + 8% RAP is frankly terrible for a burst shot.
I can't see ES replacing Arcane Shot for raiding either. The two main 10 man possibilities for Surv that come to mind, would either be a Serpent Sting build, (http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=cZcxVbRhzhxRZjf0io0chxu0h Imp Stings + Noxious, for +33% total to Serpent) or ToTH/Hunting Party. (http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=cZcgVbohZjf0io0cheuhhox)
Although my current live build is a little uneven, for AB I'm likely to stick with something like http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=cZceVbohzhxsZjf0io0ch
for the time being. Nothing flashy, but 3/3 Careful Aim, 4/5 Imp Tracking, 3/3 Hunter Vs. Wild, 3/3 Imp Stings, both Barrages, and 5/5 RWS for some solid DPS. For levelling to 80 and endgame farming once I get there, my own preference is likely to be something along the lines of the Serpent build linked above.
Apparently Kill Shot is the new Aimed, and considering that I can't get that until 71, I'm likely to struggle in AB until then, as well.
Staples for me now are likely to be:-
- Hunter Vs. Wild. As far as damage is concerned, IMHO this talent is the single major improvement Survival will see from the release of WoTLK. We badly needed more base RAP, and because it's a buff to RAP rather than %crit, it doesn't interfere as much when I'm trying to keep my threat low when soloing as well.
- Surefooted. Blizz might have moved the 3% hit to Marks, but 30% resist to movement impairing effects is nothing to sneeze at, and in PvP, without BW it's our only saving grace.
- Focused Aim. Blizz obviously moved the 3% hit here because they wanted BM people to be able to get it as well, and although not quite as good, the pushback reduction only sweetens the deal. There's no real reason not to get this.
- Go For The Throat. Given that Survival doesn't get any other buff to pet Focus regen, for us it's essential, but my temporary BM respecs will most likely include this as well.
- Imp Stings. +30% extra damage to Serpent Sting, which means more damage over time. This means more gradual, threat-managed damage for solo PvE, and more help/chance of overcoming Resilience while kiting in PvP. What's not to love? If you're going Surv, get it.
- Readiness. Considering how weird our shot cooldowns are now, Readiness is likely to see a lot more use by me than it used to, mainly so that I can use Aimed and Multi Shot in rapid succession. Of course, that was something I could do pre-WoTLK anywayz without needing Readiness, but come on now...have we ever expected rationality from Blizzard? ;-)
- Trueshot Aura. The age of EW is over, sadly.
Things I consider junk:-
- Lock and Load. The proc triggers are silly, I'd only use it for Arcane anyway, and then only in PvP.
- T.N.T. Another stun, with less duration and a lower proc rate than Entrapment, but more talent points required. +9% crit to ES might be good if you're getting it, but you're unlikely to crit with ES for more than 800 or so anywayz. The dev team can have a free tarring and feathering each from me for this one. ;-)
- Sniper Training. PvP only, since the only shot that would use it for me outside PvP would be Steady.
- Point of No Escape. The only place I can see this being used is the Arena. In battlegrounds I generally use Immolation Trap for kiting before Frost, and in solo PvE, more crit is not something I want, due to threat issues. This talent is also in a bad position on the tree, for what it does.
- Expose Weakness. TSA + both Barrages + 5/5 RWS is nearly always going to do more damage than the self-buffing EW, and that goes double for anyone below 600 base Agility. Rest in peace, EW. It was great fun while it lasted.
- Explosive Shot. As mentioned above, this shot's damage is simply terrible, and it being a 51 pointer just makes it worse. Buff this shot's damage, Blizz, and I might consider using it...but before then, no thanks. This was a real disappointment as well, since I was looking forward to destroying people in AB with ES.
EDIT:- I've been reading some numbers on the forum which are causing me to think that with better gear, ES is likely to be a lot better than it is now; especially at 80.