Today I’m going to talk cookie cutter glyphs and specs for marksmanship hunters. That’s right, specs plural. There are a myriad of viable builds for marks, and I was rather overwhelmed when I made the switch.
First up, we’ll talk about specs. The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you are going to try to make an armor penetration build work, or whether you’ll be gemming agility like the rest of us mere mortals who have to run out of fires and void zones. If you choose to go with the standard agility based itemization, you’ll want the following talents as a base: 7/53/7. This allows you 4 points to spend as you see fit. We’ll talk about those soon.
If you are going to try for the armor pen build, you need something more like this: 7/55/7. This forgoes improved arcane shot, which you won’t be firing while you’re standing still and can fire steady shots or aimed shots. There’s one point in focused aim because it’s needed to get to the 4th tier, but you might need to use your last two points in there to remain hit capped if you’re using all your gems on armor penetration.
Now, you need to decide where to spend your remaining points. First thing you’ll notice is that rapid recuperation has some nice synergy with rapid killing. It’s a core mana effectiveness talent that allows us to get the most bang for our buck with rapid fire, and scales with fights that have adds (which is to say a lot of Ulduar). The second most likely place to look at is improved steady shot. This is both a DPS increase and a mana saver, but requires you to be standing still a lot and firing a lot of steady shots.
TLDR: Assuming you’re not in need of these points for something else, the best personal DPS can be had from this spec: 7/57/7.
I’m gonna keep going even though I just used my TLDR. What else could we possibly spend out talent points on? Well, firstly, improved hunter’s mark. Only one hunter needs it, but we all benefit from it. To the tune of 80 DPS each (for my raid at the time I made my calculations). Secondly, if you don’t run with a DK or shammie who can provide 10% AP, you can take trueshot aura.
Now that we’ve chosen our spec, we need glyphs. The only non-optional glyph we have is the glyph of serpent sting. It’s not optional because it adds so much DPS. The reason it works is that by increasing the duration of the serpent sting DoT, it increases the “total damage” done by serpent sting, which is a factor in the damage we do with chimera shot.
The last two majors you can choose from:
- Glyph of kill shot- good for progression fights near the enrage timer, trash, adds. My personal favorite.
- Glyph of chimera shot- shows lower DPS than it should on the DPS spreadsheet because the latency defaults to 150. Change this to 100 and you’ll see it more accurately. Changes your shot rotation, less steady shots.
- Glyph of steady shot- more than either of the first, but this is not a shot you can cast while moving. **Note- this is currently bugged, and you get the effect of this glyph if you take marked for death. This bug will be fixed on the next patch, it seems.
- Glyph of aimed shot- this reduces your cooldown on aimed shot and allows for a much smoother rotation, however it’s hard to model how much of an increase that gives you. It’s an option.
- Glyph of the hawk- last on my list because I’m haste capped and haste only affects auto-shots for me now, but it’s close to the first three either way.
- Glyph of hunter’s mark- if you picked the short straw and are talenting hunter’s mark, take this too. For one person DPS numbers, it’s low, but considering other hunters, it’s more than worth it.
Honestly, there is no right answer. Choose the ones you feel would benefit your play-style most. More importantly, aside from the obviously bad ones, here’s a list of glyphs to not take:
These are all much much worse than they sound.
That’s marks in a nutshell. Go ahead and remind me what I’ve forgotten in the comments. Extra points for arms warrior jokes.