After doing some thinking, this is what I would tentatively use as a farming spec with the current trees (if they stay as-is) for WoTLK. My earlier pessimism aside, at 80 this would actually be a fairly major improvement over the existing usual 0/21/40 Surv build.
Although I haven't gone into that here, it'd also be possible to put together a very nice burst PvP spec with Sniper Training/Explosive Trap, as well, and HvW would be even more of a boon for us there than it will be for PvE.
- For one thing, the damage is going to be substantially higher. 3/3 Careful Aim, 3/3 Hunter vs. Wild, 3/3 Imp Stings, 3/3 Noxious Stings, (+33% to Serpent total) 3/3 Barrage, 3/5 RWS. Sacrificing Barrage and RWS would be necessary for a Hunting Party build, however I'd generally only be using HP in groups; however, considering that it has been nerfed into the ground, I'm not sure I'd bother with it even then at this point.
- Hunter vs. Wild is also probably the single most impressive addition to the tree that we've got. +30% of Stamina as AP means we finally have a real incentive to stack Stamina. Contrary to what some were claiming, 10% Stamina rather than Health from Survivalist is also a buff, not a nerf, because it synergises with this.
- For another thing, for me anyway, Scatter and Readiness are both now standard, rather than being optional extras which I formerly needed to sacrifice something else important in order to get. Double Scatter traps, double Wyvern Sting.
- In a rare flash of common sense, one of the retarded chimpanzees among the current dev team apparently decided to re-add the 30% duration buff to Freezing Trap, in Trap Mastery, hence removing one of my major sources of depression where WoTLK was concerned. I would be grateful, and I suppose I should be because at least it means I haven't lost it permanently, but I'm still somewhat angry about the fact that it was ever even temporarily removed in the first place.
Now, the downsides:-
- Lock and Load. Hmmm...an extra burst threat generator. Appealing...NOT! This talent is an aggro generating abomination which should not be in the Survival tree at all. For groups it might be fine, assuming the tank has already got good threat of course, but for soloing it's beyond bad. Blizzard, put this talent in Marksmanship where it belongs, or better yet, delete it entirely. Even with Marks, poor Rilgon still needs to pay some attention to his threat. ;-)
- TNT. Nice idea, but at 9%, the proc rate is somewhere between the proverbial infinitesimal and, "forget it." Entrapment is still at 25%, so it gets the points.
- Surefooted's hit reduction has been removed. You really do love letting the nerf bat swing, don't you, Blizzard?
- With Trap Mastery at 41 points, pre-60 levelling with Survival is officially dead. Dumb move, Blizzard. Trap Mastery is needed far more during levelling than it is at end game. You should make it a 5 point talent, not 41 point.
- Point of No Escape; No thanks. Another aggro generator which sounds good in theory, but isn't. When I'm frost kiting groups on my own, I need to keep burst threat at an absolute bare minimum.
- Explosive Shot; Nerfed to hell, but I still don't want that for soloing. I might get it for a 5 man, but even there, with Survival's customary level of base crit, keeping my threat below the tank's is generally hard enough as it is.