Have you been enjoying the hunter spec equality we have now? I sure am. With more people playing BM and SV again, I thought it warranted a closer look at a couple of the less popular talents.
Focus Fire, aka RNG Fire
The recent buff to Improved Focus Fire (5% per stack instead of 2%) has put a great deal more importance on the Focus Fire ability. Every basic attack has a 40% chance to add a stack of Frenzy. I’ve never paid much attention to stack generation before this, but now my eye is on it constantly, and I’ve discovered just how RNG-dependent BM DPS can be now.
Sometimes my stack generation will be so high that I’ll have generated 5 stacks before my current Focus Fire buff has even expired. It feels fantastic when this happens. Other times, I’ve had my Frenzy stuck at a single stack for an entire 30 seconds. Ouch.
This RNG got me thinking about the Steady Focus talent. Delirium had done some testing in beta which discovered it also increased pet focus regeneration, but it still seemed like an inferior talent to the guaranteed damage of Dire Beast.
Enter Steady Focus
With extra pet focus regeneration, that means more pet basic attacks. More pet basic attacks means more chances at proccing stacks of Frenzy to use Focus Fire more often. So I opened up Simulation Craft and ran some quick numbers. Dire Beast was pretty well ahead (over 1k DPS), but then I checked out the focus details and noticed the same number of basic attacks were cast in both simulations. That can’t be right.
Turns out SimC was bugged and not taking the pet focus regen into account. They fixed the bug and things changed substantially.
Steady Focus gives your pet approximately 10% more basic attacks over the course of a fight, which leads to about 5% more uptime on Focus Fire. Together this will even out to roughly the same benefit as the raw passive damage of Dire Beast. In AoE or cleave situations, the difference is much greater thanks to more Beast Cleave damage.
In practice, Steady Focus was a bit problematic for me. I ended up being so overly concerned about keeping it up all the time that it started to affect my DPS in other ways. The weakauras I set up ended up being more of a distraction than anything. I think the key to Steady Focus is to not let it change your shot priority, even if it means less than 100% uptime. It’s also worth noting that the Steady Focus uptime was only about 80% in the above simulations.
Another nice benefit is that Kill Command does not interrupt the Steady Focus chain, so you can cast Cobra Shot -> Kill Command -> Cobra Shot and it will give you Steady Focus. This is unique to Kill Command.
Whether or not you like the talent, it’s just nice to know that it’s a good option now. It’s not Dire Beast or bust.
Focusing Shot with Survival
There’s a lot of excitement over survival right now, which I find kind of amusing considering how much everyone (including yours truly) was ragging on it through beta and up until this hotfix. Really, not much has changed. It still doesn’t have an execute. It still doesn’t have a baseline cooldown. Yet people are flipping out over it.
For me, the appeal of survival right now is how incredibly reliable the damage output is. I know exactly what kind of damage I’m going to do as survival. It matches up almost perfectly with my simulated result and RNG has little bearing on it (at least compared to bad RNG on Focus Fire for BM, or Thrill of the Hunt for MM).
The good news for pet lovers who want to play Survival is that there is an option that can do the same (or even more) DPS than Lone Wolf. Focusing Shot works surprisingly well for the spec despite the smaller focus pool. In the real world, it was about the same as Lone Wolf on single target.
My favorite talent (though the least optimal) for Survival is Exotic Munitions. In any kind of AoE or cleave, it can do pretty well. It’s simply just going to lag behind in pure single target. I wish they’d give a very slight buff to Poisoned Ammo to help with this.
I know a lot of folks hate the movement restriction, but if you can pull it off you will be rewarded.
- For BM, Steady Focus is competitive with Dire Beast in single target. It is better than Dire Beast in multi-target.
- For SV, Focusing Shot has the highest DPS potential in all situations — assuming you can master its use.
- Fire Steady Focusing Shot — Is anyone else confused by all these similar sounding spell names?