Editor’s Note: If there’s one thing most hunters will agree with on the Warlords beta, it’s that marksmanship and survival are simply missing “something” in their current state. I thought Jademcian articulated the reason for this better than I ever could, so I asked him to do a guest post for the site. Hopefully this will spark some more discussion and help improve these specs before release. -Bendak
A few days ago I made a four part post on the beta class forums for a discussion regarding Marksmanship. Many of the posters seemed to enjoy Beast Mastery while feeling Marks and Survival were hollow by comparison. In my post I made a few remarks on Marksmanship based on the discussion then went into a comparison between it and Beast Mastery, why I thought one felt more complete than the other and an example of what could be done to make Marksmanship feel the same ‘completeness.’
Bendak asked if I would write about that post here, on his site, and I happily obliged because I think it’s something the hunter community may be able to use to fuel player/developer conversation. The first step is identifying that something feels missing, the second step is figuring out what that thing is, and the third step is in Blizzard’s hands. So, whether you like Beast Mastery or not, or what was axed from Marksmanship, I hope you find my thoughts a useful tool for communicating your own.
The Beast Mastery Benchmark
Something to think about: Beast Mastery’s success comes from its amazing passive synergy. Each part of Beast Mastery works together in a positive feedback loop throughout the rotation, has a simple flow in terms of rotation, yet still leaves a lot of control to the player. Focus Fire gives us a choice: get haste for the hunter and burst focus for the pet, or leave haste on the pet until the swap is needed. Using this after a Cobra Strikes proc to get into the Wild Hunt in the middle of a Bestial Wrath is massive burst and in a lot of cases extreme micro-management for those who are interested in pure min-max. The same is true of Beast Cleave. This same passive synergy can be achieved with Marksmanship.
Something feels missing from Marksmanship and Survival because there literally is. There is at least one major gameplay addition missing in both, and there are several synergizing passives missing in both. We already know they are still planning Survival’s cooldown, so hopefully it plays a role in Survival becoming compatible with itself. Until this is achieved, neither spec will feel as polished as Beast Mastery.
Now, how can this information be used? Let me show you how I expanded on my prior thoughts in order to rebuild Marksmanship.
Basis one: BM is really strong because it synergizes with itself and is well rounded. Everything works in an active positive feedback loop throughout the rotation.
Basis two: The formula for BM’s success is in the form of 1 CD, 5 actives and 5 passives. More than this is button bloat or too complex, less than this by more than 40% (2) causes the gameplay to feel hollow.
Basis three: Avoid similar play, and stick to the individual feel of the specialization. Additional haste buffs are, therefore, sadly out. Aimed and Chimera should synergize more into the entire workflow.
|Beast Mastery is fairly simple but has depth:Cobra to regen, Arcane to dump, Kill Command when up, Focus Fire at 5 stacks. Bestial Wrath modifies this to pooling focus, spamming Arcane Shot, and getting in as many Kill Commands as possible. Behind the scenes, passives work their magic. Focus Fire is used as an additional burst, causing additional damage, haste for the player, and focus for the pet for basic attacks.||Marksmanship in its current iteration:Steady/Focusing Shot to regen, Aimed to dump, Chimera Shot when up (presumably). Rapid Fire modifies this to spamming Aimed Shot throughout Careful Aim, forgoing Chimera Shot and getting focus regen from perks and/or talents. There is nothing outside of this and Careful Aim is the only passive.|
|Mastery: Bolsters all pet damage. Synergizes with every aspect of Beast Mastery besides Arcane and Cobra Shots.||Mastery: Standing still for 3s grants extra damage, range, and crit damage for 6s. Works with Careful Aim passive to bolster Aimed Shot. Extra damage affects all abilities but is neutered to zero net worth if the player requires movement for longer than 3s.|
|AoE: Beast Cleave — Multi-Shot causes the pet melee attacks to hit all targets nearby for 75% damage (100% with perk), synergizes with mastery and thus all aspects of BM via master. AoE serparate from player GCD.||AoE: Bombardment — Multi-Shot crits cause Multi-Shot to cost less focus and do 60% more damage. Weak in all manners in comparison to BM (focus, damage, and GCD).|
Proposed Changes for Marksmanship
- Re-implementing Piercing Shots. Quoted reason for removing it was because it was irrelevant due to Sniper Training. Sniper Training replaced Wild Quiver and would actually synergize WITH Piercing Shots to make critical strike more valuable.
- Re-implementing Improved Piercing Shots. Replace some of Marksmanship’s AoE weaknesses with some of BM’s AoE strengths by adding [focus, damage, GCD] in bleed DoTs. Retweak it as needed.
- A fourth passive synergizing with a fifth button in tandem with Chimera Shot to work Piercing Shots into a controllable burst via Aimed and Chimera. Does not affect focus balancing. Allows player to decide between bleed damage and high intensity single target damage.
*The ????? passive can be removed for 1CD/5active/4passive. It might be nice to consider making it convert pet damage to bleed damage, making Murder of Crows and Dire Beast / pet talents more worthwhile.
The addition of Rapid Killing as an active and Expose Weakness + Piercing Shots as passives makes Marksman as complex, yet simple, and controllable as Beast Mastery. It will flow naturally in its purest form… Steady to regen, Aimed to dump, Chimera when up, Rapid Killing at 3 stacks. Cooldown modifies this to pooling focus and choosing to either pool stacks for burst damage or maintaining stacks for super DoT damage from Rapid Fire + Careful Aim. It brings purpose back to Chimera Shot and synergizes with Sniper Training via Piercing Shots and bleed damage. Understandably, some adjustments to Piercing Shots would have to be done, or the scaling would quickly get out of hand. This might be in the form of a static bleed damage with its own equation, or ensuring it can’t be rolled through Rapid Killing.
I’ve read another example that worked off the axed passive Master Marksman, but I think it’s safe to say that any form of passive that adds more dynamics, stronger player interaction and a more positive feedback loop to marksmanship — whether a revamped Piercing Shots, Master Marksman or something much older — can only make the specialization better.