Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Can Marksmanship Make a Comeback?

Survival and beast mastery are where it is at right now and marks seems to have become the forgotten sepc.  While there were times in cataclysm when marksman did fantastic it was always second best.  This expansion is all about beastmastery.

If anything hunters have it good in terms of seeing all specs have their moment in the sun.  BM was tops in BC, marks was the way to go in wrath, survival in cataclysm and beastmastery is back on top in mists.  So we get to play it all but it is not really always a good thing.  Never in that time were we able to pick and choose which one we wanted to play.

When looking at things, we are never really given a choice, unless we want to be suboptimal, or are needed for something special the other class was capable of bring.  We have been close, but not close enough for choice of spec to be unnoticed.

This expansion marks was where BM was last expansion, you only played it if you wanted to be bad.  Sure, you could be the best hunter ever but you were never going to get anywhere playing a spec that was not capable of doing well when compared to the others.

But with the new addition of glyph of aimed shot, which allows you to cast aimed shot while moving, perhaps marksman can make a return.  One of the largest drawbacks of marksman was the long cast time of aimed shot and it needing to be channeled if you wanted to hard cast it.  Basically this meant that the hardest hitting spell in the marks arsenal was left to being only something you used rarely.

I am not theory crafter but just thinking that you can fire it while moving making me think that we could see a return to competitiveness of marksmen.  I can't wait to see what numbers they can come up with in theory and more so in practice when we need to keep moving a lot.  I think the biggest problem with marks was the movement as the requirement for the double steady and hard cast aimed over 90% meant you either needed to stand still a lot or watch your DPS fall to crap.

With steady on the move and no loss of the hawk buff come 5.1 as well as the longer double steady buff that was added in 5.0 and now aimed shot being able to be cast while moving with the new glyph it should make the starting 10% much easier for marks to handle and the continued double steady buff easier to navigate.

How all those new abilities will add into the mix however could be the telling factor.  I have not tried marks since the changes and I know it was the tightest rotation as it was, is there room for all that extra clutter they gave us?  I'll have to give it a try and find out.

I, for one, can't wait to see what it can do and I am going to give it a shot when 5.1 comes out.  I always liked marks and I would love to have the ability to use it again and not hinder my raid team doing it by being less than optimal.

Do you think the change to steady and glyph for aimed allowing us to move all the time will change the marks rotation and do you think it will impact the ability of marks to be competitive with the other specs?


  1. Unless they buff Marksmanship damage and make Aimed Shot more attractive to hardcast, patch isn't going to make any difference.

    Still, I think you're overstating the issue, Marksmanship currently WAY better than beastmastery was during Cataclysm.

    In Cata in BIS gear simulations showed top DPS of Surv close to 40-41k, while BM was 33k.

    Now BM is close to 107k, while MM is 100+

    I wouldn't say it's similar to Burning Crusade, where if you were a raiding hunter you were BM.

    1. MM was close to survival in cata, BM was useless then. But survival was almost always #1. I think the only time I was able to use MM was in firelands.

      Right now actually you can argue that you could go BM or SV. I've seen a lot of people saying both can do just fine. I don't see it however. Each has fights they are better on and the shorter fights lean toward BM without a doubt do to starting burst.

      Casting while on the move is a buff. How many fights can you stand 100% still for the first 10%? Try none. Yes, I know what you mean, it would be nice to see it hit a little harder so it would enter the normal rotation past that point, but it is a buff as is being it makes that starting phase a million times easier.

  2. Note that Aimed Shot also resets the auto-shot swing timer, causing you to loose between 1 and 2 autoshots and their Wild Quiver procs (and delaying any other procs that could have fired from those shots).

    I wonder if this glypgh also solves that. If not, this glyph won't make a difference, as its damage is too low compared to its cast time. Casting two arcane's is currently more damage, so whether we can cast Aimed on the move is irrelevant.

    1. I always hated having to watch my swing timer for shots, if they could fix that as well it would really give a great boost to marks but last I heard from GC is that they did not want to do that, they wanted to make it something that people had to choose one or another. As usually I disagree with him.

      I am thinking they will buff aimed a little but I will not hold my breath for that. Like you said, with the reset of the swing timer and the arcane damage it is still not worth using it outside of that 10% range.

      A few more tweaks and it might be a game changer for marks however.

  3. MM's main issue is that it's all over the place. I wish they introduced some sort of armor pen mechanic. Chimera could work like a warriors colossus smash giving you a window where hard casting aimed shots would always be a dps increase. Big aimed shot crits is where the fun of the spec lies. Arcane shot is a boring, weak hitting focus dump, and Chimera is just something you push to do damage. Bottom line is, they failed to give the spec it's own flavor. People played MM in Firelands for the damage in spite of how annoying it was to play, and it saw basically zero changes during the beta.
    Also, this whole casting on the move with zero penalty thing will almost certainly not last.
    I've been playing a hunter for three years and I'm switching to a lock next week. That's how optimistic I am about the class.

    1. The armor pen in wrath and how strong it was for MM is why I think it was removed. Reaching armor pen cap was awesome, but it also confused a lot of people. For me armor pen was the best gem but for others it would kill their DPS. It was a stat that only people that read a lot could figure out and that is why it was removed. To many people could not understand it.

      I actually liked the flavor of keep up the double steadies and the tight rotation, but once it came to moving constantly I noticed I was having major issues. Add to that all those new buttons with no space in the rotation for them and it ruined MM. They are removing the movement factor, which was one issue I had, now for them to fix some of the other garbage they added like all those new buttons.

      I would love to see them change MM to a petless spec, that would be a nice flavor for it. You mentioned a lock, locks now have a petless spec, why can't hunters?

    2. Cheers for removing pets for MM. I play hunter because I like to shoot with powerful shots. And now I'm stuck with my pet doing half of the damage...
      I'm actually waiting 'till I get T14 4-piece, then I'm rolling MM with lots of haste.

      Sadly, I doubt they'll remove MM pets any time soon, if ever.
      Too many hunter mechanics depend on it - Master's Call, various (very important) pet abilities.

      I actually hate whoever thought of Stampede (Frostheim?). This ability is a joke, between Stampede, Dire beast and Murder of Crows I feel like a warlock or death knight, summoning an army to command. Hate that. I want to stand and pew pew :((

    3. I do not mind stampede, dire beast or crows. But they all have a very BM flavor to them and I think they should be shots for the other 2 specs and not additional pets. The other specs should not be pet dependent, only BM should.

      I would like to see less emphasis on pets and more on shots. At least for the two non pet oriented specs.

  4. I'm a long time Marks player (since Vanilla). It's by far my favorite spec. And I for one do not want to lose my pet. You don't have to love BM to love your pet.

    Also, as the one poster already mentioned, I don't feel the new Aimed Glyph is going to help much. I don't cast Aimed outside of CA not because of movement, it's because what I give up to hard cast an Aimed (autoshots, ASx2) is more damage for less focus than the Aimed hit. It's the long cast time of Aimed I don't like. That's why when you're at a certain attack speed, Aimed is worth it. Above that speed, you're better off with other options.

    Maybe making the CA window bigger (remember when it was above 60% health?), having it not reset the shot timer, or increasing Aimed's base crit chance so it's more worth it outside of CA. Maybe increasing not the duration of the Steady Focus buff, but how much attacked speed it provides. Or, maybe decreasing the cast time of Aimed half a second or so. I even like the idea that was mentioned about Chimera giving a short buff to Aimed. I like any of those ideas much more than the Aimed glyph.

    1. I love marks too. Of the three specs it always seemed like the one that took the most skill and in wrath with ArP you got paid off for your skill with highest DPS. I think it was nicely balanced then. The more skill a spec required the more you got out of it. Seemed fair to me. I miss the days of marks being #1, when put in the right hands at least.

      Careful aim is now 80%, they just lowered it. That will help a little and the steady focus has been increased to 20 seconds. Perhaps to allow us to squeeze in all that extra clutter, which should also help marks a lot.

      The one glyph for aimed was the start of what I saw coming, many changes to marks.

      Now with the CA and SF change we are almost there. Two more are needed. No aimed clipping of auto shots and a slight boost, not much, to aimed and chimera.