Hi, I'm 80 and I've been so for weeks. I've been running random heroics for gear and I followed your guides for my pet specs (though I think I messed up on my Tenacity). My DPS barely cracks 1000. As far as I know, as a hunter, there is almost no excuse for this. Please help me.Thanks for writing in, Shippleton. You are wise enough to understand that your DPS is lower than it should be and intelligent enough to ask questions. It seems likely that you are also uncommonly good-looking, a trait shared by most hunters. You are to be applauded for taking the first step down the road to becoming a death dealer, which is the right of every hunter!
Right off the bat 1k DPS seems sufficiently low that I suspect we should be taking a look at your shot rotation as well as your talents and gear. In the interest of science I went ahead and ran Utgarde Pinnacle heroic with some extremely understanding friends while I was completely naked except for my gun, shirt, and tabard. My lack of mana kept me in viper for about 50% of the fights, and I ended up at about 1,100 DPS for the run. So that gives us an absolute bottom DPS benchmark.
We're going to analyze your spec under a few assumptions here: we're assuming that your interest is to perform well in heroics, since that's what you're running, as opposed to raids. Further we'll assume that you prefer to run in Beast Mastery spec, since that's what you have right now. When it comes to heroics, any of the three specs are just fine and more than capable of pulling their weight, though at your low gear level you may find that you do the most damage in a Survival spec.
Now let's take a look at your profile and get pimpin'!
Your build is currently better suited to soloing than running instances. Talents like Endurance Training and Thick Hide are great when your pet is tanking mobs for you, but in an instance you have a tank whose job it is to get repeatedly smashed in the face so your pet doesn't have to. You and your pet should be taking very little damage in the course of normal instance runs. Your job is to do damage, so you want to focus on talents that increase the damage of you and your pet. There are certainly situations in which you and your pet will take damage, but that's what you have a healer for: to heal your pet.
For BM you want to focus on a talent build that looks more like this: BM Low Gear Heroic Build
This talent build looks to maximize the damage done by you and your pet and should ensure that your pet has plenty of focus. As your gear improves, you'll be able to make some adjustments, such as removing a point of Frenzy and Bestial Discipline, and phasing out the points in Focused Aim as your hit rating improves.
While a tenacity pet is often the pet of choice for soloing, particularly against multiple mobs, they just can't put out the same kind of damage that a ferocity pet can. Currently the best DPS pet is the wolf, particularly prized for it's Furious Howl ability to actually increase your DPS as well! However you'll do just fine with a devilsaur, raptor, cat, or even your core hound Jabberwock. If you do decide to get a new ferocity pet, it's generally considered polite to level it up to 80 before you bring it into heroics with you.
Jabberwock comes pretty close to a solid ferocity pet talent build -- your instincts are good here. However once again we want to ignore defensive talents and focus on pet talents that will boost your pet's damage. Here's a good pet build to try: BM Ferocity Pet Talent Build
It's a bit hard to tell how much of your gear was a deliberate choice and what gear was just the best option you had at the time. While leveling it's certainly possible to end up with some odd gear with stats we don't generally need. Just in case, here are a few quick and dirty tips on making gear choices:
- We don't care about strength. At all.
- We don't care about expertise. At all.
- Attack power, agility, hit rating, intellect, and critical strike rating are all great stats.
- Haste and armor penetration rating are also useful stats, but not as good.
- Hit is the most important stat until you reach the hit cap (more on that below).
- It's okay to take leather if it has better stats; however, it's polite not to take it if there's a rogue or feral druid who can use it.
Hit is the stat that will increase your DPS more than any other. Note however that once you reach that hit cap, you will never miss. Any hit beyond that is going to be useless to you.
Gems & Enchants
You must gem and enchant your gear. Nothing will raise more red flags in a group than seeing someone without gems or enchants. It screams "noob!" at them.
Now, you don't need to put the super expensive epic gems in gear that you're hoping to upgrade soon -- certainly not in anything that isn't of epic quality anyway. For that gear you can feel free to use the rare (blue quality) gems. But as you build up to a good set of gear you'll want to use epic quality gems. Here's a quick & dirty gem guide for you. These suggestions all use the epic gem, but you can just look for the rare gem equivalent -- it'll have the same stat, just slightly lower numbers.
- Meta Slot: Relentless Earthsiege Diamond
- Red Slot: Bright Cardinal Ruby
- Yellow Slot: Wicked Ametrine or you can use Rigid King's Amber if you still need more hit rating
- Blue Slot: Nightmare Tear for the first blue slot (you can only have one Nightmare Tear) and then use Bright Cardinal Ruby in any other blue slots and ignore the socket bonus.
How to Shoot
Finally, quick and dirty bit of advice on shot priority. Be sure your pet is attacking your target -- send him in first! Use Multi-Shot when it's available, then Arcane Shot, then Steady Shot. If the targets are staying alive more than a handful of seconds you should lead off with Serpent Sting. If there are 3 or more mobs, go ahead and just use Volley on them. Hunter's Mark should always be put up first for bosses, but for mobs that die really fast, don't bother.
Remember that you can use Viper Sting on most mobs with a mana bar to recover some of your mana without going into Aspect of the Viper. This is very useful since the pace of most PUGs in heroics these days doesn't leave you with time to drink between pulls.
Now You're Pimpin'
With these changes, you should see your DPS in heroics increase dramatically. Try it out for a week or two and then please drop us a line to let us know how it's working out for you!
On a personal note, I find myself deeply in your debt, Shippleton. While doing that naked UP run I mentioned I finally got my Reins of the Blue Proto-Drake. I can only hope that this advice can repay the joy that another rare mount has brought me!
You want to be a Hunter, eh? Well then you came to the right place. You start with science, then you add some Dwarven Stout, and round it off some elf bashing. The end result is massive DPS. Scattered Shots is the WoW.com column dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a Hunter. Each week Scattered Shots will cover topics to help you Fix Your DPS, Choosing the Right Spec, Gear Selection, Macros and Pet Selection, Pet Specs and Management.