I didn't get much sleep last night. First a 5+ hour naxx raid, then a long session on respeccing, trying out this survival thing. 2/18/51 is the new flavor of the month. I know a lot of hunters don't like the idea of respeccing away from Beast Mastery, but for me.. BM isn't getting it done since the nerf. I don't have best in slot items but my equipment is very good overall. If I can't at least get my DPS up above the off-tanks, my spot in the raid may be in jeopardy.
This may have been done before but I'm going to go over the talents and briefly explain why I think they're good for a raid SV hunter.
Improved Tracking (5/5) - 5% ranged damage on Beasts, Demons, Dragonkin, Elementals, Giants, Humanoids, and Undead as long as I'm tracking any one of them. This seems like a no-brainer to me. Moar Damage!!
Hawk Eye (3/3) - 6 more yards of distance on my shots. Normally I wouldn't think this is a worthwhile talent for PvE. Most of the time I'd just need to get between 5-30 yards and pew pew. With the SV talent Sniper Training, however, I'll need the extra distance as you will see later.
Survival Instincts (2/2) - 4% better chance to crit on Steady Shot and Explosive shot. (SV won't be using Arcane shot since it share's it's cooldown with Explosive)
Survivalist (5/5) - 10% more stamina. You need 5 points here to be able to get Hunter vs Wild.
Hunter vs Wild (3/3) - Increases you and your pet's AP by 30% of your stamina. This is going to help with the Attack Power quite a bit. Plus those leathery rogue type items don't look as bad with all that extra stamina.
T.N.T. (3/3) - Ignoring the pvp/stun part of this, Explosive shot gains another 9% chance to crit. Hmm this crit is really starting to stack up.
Lock 'n Load (3/3) - I'll just copy the tool-tip text: "You have a 100% chance when you trap a target and a 10% chance when you deal periodic damage with your Serpent Sting to cause your next 2 Arcane Shot or Explosive Shot spells to trigger no cooldown, cost no mana and consume no ammo. 30 second cooldown." I haven't done the trap-dancing thing yet, but even Serpent Sting seems to make this proc often. This is just an awesome talent and vital to any SV build.
Killer Instinct (3/3) - Increases crit chance of all attacks by 3%. As Lienna pointed out, this bonus applies to any damage you do that can crit. (Ranged, Melee, Immo trap) Again, more crit is where it's at!
Lightning Reflexes (5/5) - Agility increased by 15%. As we know, AGI = AP and CRIT% (and other junk like Dodge, armor rating etc). Must-have talent as we'll soon see.
Expose Weakness (2/3) - 66% chance on ranged crits to increase AGI by 25% for 7 seconds. Because of the 7 second duration, 2 points in this talent are plenty to keep this going.
Thrill of the Hunt (3/3) - 100% of your ranged crits will return 40% mana. Again, another skill tying into boosting crit really high. This will really help keep me out of viper.
Wyvern Shot (1/1) - This will be not used at all for boss fights, but it does open up the next skill, which is great.
Noxious Stings (3/3) - "...increases all damage done by you on targets afflicted by your Serpent Sting by 3%". Serpent Sting will be up on my targets all the time, so pew pew some more!
Master Tactician (4/5) - With 4/5 points here, it increases my crit chance by 8% for 10 seconds 10% of the time (for 8 seconds). I guess I could put 5/5 points in here to increase the crit bonus to 10% but I'm going to use that talent point elsewhere.
Sniper Training (3/3) - Increases damage by Steady, Aimed, and explosive shots by 6% when standing beyond 30 yards from the target. Also increases Kill Shot crit by 15%. If the boss isn't going to stand still for trap dancing, I'll be working at getting in the 30-36 yard range. WTB: good range-finder mod!
Hunting Party (2/5) - This gives a 40% chance per Steady/Explosive crit to buff up to 10 party members with mana-regen equal to 0.25% of their max. mana per second for 15 seconds. What? only 2 points here? Yep, it's a great skill but it last 15 seconds and I'm going to be critting like a madman. 40% chance to proc will be plenty to keep this going.
Explosive Shot (1/1) - Here's a 51-point talent that's going to be the most used shot for a SV hunter. It recently got a buff and it's damage is quite good now. You can follow the link for more details but it basically does damage 3 times, 1 second apart. Each of these damages can crit, and they all count towards refilling your mana when Aspect of the Viper is on. Bind this key wisely! =)
Lethal Shots (5/5) - Gives 5% better chance to crit on ranged attacks. If you have read this far then you know how important it is to get your crit as high as possible.
Mortal Shots (5/5) - Gives 30% more damage to the crit portion of ranged attacks (including Explosive shot). Big. Huge. Crits.
Careful Aim (3/3) - Increases ranged attack power by 100% of my intellect. This is an AP boost of nearly 400 with my current gear.
Go for the Throat (1/2) - Ranged crits give my pet 25 instant focus. I'll be critting a lot. 1 point is fine.
Aimed Shot (1/1) - This is the skill that had me standing in front of the trainer for far too long. There are several choices to make at this point. Aimed shot is good for shooting on the run (insta-cast), besides that I'm still trying to figure out why I'm taking this over a point in Rapid Killing. In any case, I want the next skill.. so I had to choose one of them to advance down the tree.
Improved Stings (3/3) - It does other stuff but mainly I'm interested in the 30% extra damage to Serpent Sting. Since this sting will be up all the time, I want to make it work a bit harder. In the near future I may have to experiment to see if these points could be better spent elsewhere.
BEAST MASTERY TREE
Improved Aspect of the Hawk (2/5) - Normal ranged attacks will proc this, increasing my ranged attack speed by 6% for 12 seconds. I'd put more than 2 points here but.. there are no more talent points to spend.
And that's the build. I'm anxious to see what my DPS looks like in the next raid. The numbers on the paper-doll look amazing. (Nearly 4700 AP/35% crit unbuffed)
Episode 289 – Much Ado About Nothing
1 week ago