Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Survival specs for 3.0.

I'm going to list some specs which I'm either commonly using, or are in testing, for the three purposes of farming, five man instances, and battleground PvP, respectively. Although I do raid occasionally, it is infrequent, and I also do not generally play in the Arena at all. Hence, any advice on raiding specs will be tentative, and based on what I have found to generate the highest DPS in Heroics, primarily.

These specs are also subject to change as I do more testing of various stay tuned. ;-)

The New TSA vs. EW

Assuming people want to put points in Survival at all, said people are possibly going to be wondering whether or not to get Expose Weakness, or to only go as far into Survival as 3/3 Killer Instinct, (or 3/5 Lightning Reflexes, rather than Imp. Barrage) and put the rest of their points in Marks, in order to get Trueshot Aura.

As far as a group damage buff is concerned, the answer is fairly clear; TSA, since EW no longer buffs group damage at all, and TSA is now potentially raid wide. However, for personal DPS, it gets a little more murky.

At 1500 base RAP, TSA generates the same amount of bonus RAP as EW at 600 Agility; 150. However, TSA also needs another 500 RAP, (2000) to generate a 200 RAP bonus, whereas Expose Weakness only needs another 200 Agility for the same bonus, which is a difference that is well within the reach of consumables and raid buffs. (800 Agility total) This gap will also, of course, continue to scale up with higher numbers.

Pets are also an issue. The pet of a Hunter with TSA up will receive the +10% AP bonus directly, whereas a pet whose owner has Expose Weakness, will only receive 15% (Hunter to pet AP scaling) of what the Hunter gets. So for a Hunter with 600 Agility, that means 15% of 150 = 22.5 AP, which is pretty dismal, at just over 1.5 DPS. (14 AP = 1 DPS)

My conclusion is, thus, that Expose Weakness is better used in a group scenario (rather than soloing) where it has been taken anyway, as a prerequisite for Hunting Party. The good news here is that as demonstrated above, EW scales more efficiently than TSA for personal damage output. For solo farming, however, Trueshot Aura would be better, since it can add to pet threat generation, however since I also tend to want Noxious Stings, Resourcefulness and Trap Mastery for farming, I would probably end up having Expose Weakness in that scenario as well.

For battleground PvP, I will want TSA, since testing suggests that TSA with 5/5 Ranged Weapon Specialization is a better way to go, unless your Agility is greater than 800-850.

Farming spec. Get a Tenacity pet for this as well ideally, if you don't already have one. The Gorilla is what all the cool kids are doing, but I still love my Boar. ;-)

As I've said before, my own farming specs are usually based around Trap Mastery, and Imp/Noxious Stings. Blizzard have forced us to choose between Trap Mastery and Readiness at the moment; a scenario which I consider highly unsatisfactory, especially for instance farming. However, as long as you chain trap, that probably won't be too much of a problem, depending of course on what you're doing.

Five man/Heroic utility spec. The point of this spec is both crowd control, (Scatter Shot, Wyvern Sting, Clever Traps, and Resourcefulness for chain trapping) and Hunting Party.

Although its' raw damage output is substantially lower than the hybrid spec below, its' personal and group mana efficiency is exceptional, and 5/5 Improved Tracking, 2/3 Noxious Stings, 3/3 Hunter Vs Wild, and 3/3 Expose Weakness all mean that, providing that the base levels of Agility and Stamina are reasonable, personal damage output won't be truly attrocious, either.

Five man DPS spec. This spec is based on Alumatine's hybrid raid spec from TBC, and includes talents from both Marksmanship and Survival that add to your AP and crit chance, for high per-hit burst damage.

spec. Very similar, but with some PvP-specific adjustments; primarily Surefooted and Scatter Shot.

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