Improved Hunter’s Mark is an easily reachable talent in the marksmanship tree that everyone’s min/max calculations assume you have. The default “best buffs” button on the DPS calculator has it set to 3/3 talents and glyphed too.
Who should take IHM? How should this be decided? Ideally, the person who is giving up the least for it. Let’s take a look at all the popular builds and see where they can afford to spend points on it:
ArP and Agility builds look something like this, once arcane shot has been taken out of the stand still rotation. The very first thing I’d like to draw your attention to is that in order to progress down to the 6th rank in this tree, you need to spend a point somewhere in the first 5 ranks, and most MM hunters go for focused aim. Ideally you’ll be stacking so much ArP that your hit is beginning to suffer. If, however, you’re not at the point where you need focused aim, your choices are improved mark, arcane shot, or efficiency.
Also, once you’ve picked a place for that point, you’ve still got two points in rapid recuperation you can drop without affecting your DPS (assuming you have judgment of wisdom). Lastly, I only went up to 56 points in MM because the last point is a true floater- you can put it anywhere you want.
Marks hunters who do not need points in FA to remain hit capped can make excellent hunter’s mark candidates. Here’s what that could look like: 7/57/7. If you need a point in FA for your hit, you will lose less DPS in a fully debuffed raid by taking the last point out of rapid recuperation than you will by taking it out of hunter’s mark. Especially if there’s more than one hunter.
Marks hunters who absolutely need 3 points in FA can take one from rapid recuperation and two from improved steady shot to lose the least DPS. That would like like this: 7/57/7
Don’t forget- if you don’t have it from someone else, the improved mark can be a personal DPS increase.
As for the glyphs, for marks, there is only one non-required glyph. The glyph of steady shot and serpent sting are simply too valuable for marks hunters to lose, however that last glyph (usually kill or chimera shot) can be swapped out for the glyph of hunter’s mark. Unlike the points in the talent tree, this is pretty much always going to cost you personal DPS. Kill shot glyph is worth in the realm of 135 spreadsheet DPS to an ArP marks hunter, and the replacement HM glyph will be worth in the realm of 75 per hunter. If you’re in good company and have some other hunters with which to share the wealth, go for it. If you’re the only one, stick with your personal DPS choice.
There are two main flavors of SV hunters. Those with the 2t9 bonus and those without it. Those with it typically spec into a build like 0/18/53, and you’ll notice that there’s literally no point in this build where we can take throwaway points and put them into IHM. MM has mana regen and weak DPS builders they can sacrifice. This flavor of SV has nothing to spare, having already sacrificed the traditional weak points in the SV tree for 3 points in improved stings.
The more popular SV build is 0/15/56, and does not delve deeper into marks to capitalize on stings. From this build, you can take 1 point out of expose weakness (assuming your raid buffed crit can keep that buff active), 1 out of resourcefulness, and 1 one of hunting party for the minimum DPS impact. It’s still more than Marks, but it’s the least harmful way of getting the three points in IHM.
As for the glyph, take a look into the DPS calculator above to see which one will cost you the least DPS to remove. My bet is that if you run with the glyph of explosive shot, that it will be the least DPS. Because this spec is so flexible on glyphs, however, you should choose based on your own projected numbers.
Long story short
Agility marks hunters, and to a lesser extent, ArP hunters are best suited as hunter’s mark wenches. They have the extra points in their build so that, assuming the boss is properly debuffed, they lose the least DPS.
- When one person goes out of their way to get the improved mark, be a good hunter and don’t overwrite it. While Blizzard won’t allow a lesser debuff to overwrite an improved debuff for most every other class, we have to manage this manually.
- Arrange ahead of time who will be marking what. Have the improved marks on the important target, and use regular marks on any secondary targets.
- If 100% of DPS has to switch (like on Putricide’s adds) and the mark will be up for long enough that it’s worth the two GCDs it costs to apply and reapply to the boss, consider switching the improved mark to the new primary target each time.