Here’s a bit of a long response to an email I got from Sam T., a hunter from the Dawnbringer server. He asked “How the heck am I supposed to follow a set rotation with focus? I always seem to run low. Plus how do you deal with all the demands of having to use traps and stuff and not interrupting that rotation? Oh and can you give me a good MM rotation. Peace and WoW :)”
Back a few posts ago I praised the fact that we are back to the days of the utility hunter. Besides the fact that we now have the ability to bring missing group buffs by our choice of pet but we are also responsible for handling a lot of CC duty. Now in Wrath most of our time was spent static just laying down the dps, and when we had to move we’d stutter step or time our movements so as not to interfere with our sacred rotation. Well that’s not so simple or really the case at all anymore. Our fight strategies and rotations have become situational and a bit more complicated.
( Sit·u·a·tion ) n. The combination of circumstances at a given moment; a state of affairs.)
There are still dps races for us to challenge the meters in Cata but there are also many, many fights that are going to require situational play styles and rotation adjustments. Thankfully we have aspect of the fox to assist us with this but we still have to often times break into our rotations to do some type of CC duty whether it be launching a well timed trap or kiting a mob. What this means for us is that we have gone from being 24/7 slaves to a set rotation, we must now be able to think on the fly and prioritize shots based on focus regen and CC duty as well as dps.
Now back in the day we hunters had to learn (or at least you should have) the fine art of stutter stepping. What this meant was if it was a moving fight you needed to basically shoot and move in certain fights. Get those shots off, run while watching cool downs and then stop to fire off a shot then rinse and repeat. Well with aspect of the Fox this method has become much easier. Notice that I’m not saying that stutter stepping is gone it’s just become obsolete with aspect switching to fox. There may still be fights that require minimal movement and every now and then you can still adjust your position with well-timed shots just before moving. If you can pull that off without switching to fox then all the better, because while aspect of the fox does allow you to fire shots previously not castable while moving, it does decrease your dps from what you would have in hawk. Plus we now have the benefit, as of 4.06 to auto shoot on the move!
Ok so what all this means is, for example, here is my MM rotation:
Apply hunter’s mark and Serpent Sting
Rapid Fire then time Readiness after Chimera Shot to pop Rapid Fire and another Chimera
Aimed Shot - for the first 20% of a boss fight, after that you’ll get a proc
Arcane Shot – after the first 20%, before that steady and aimed are doing more damage because of careful aim and piercing shots
Steady Shot twice
Kill shot at the end when available. Although if they’re available chimera and aimed should get priority for now since they’re doing more damage.
Now if a situation arises that requires me to CC or switch to an add, for example the pesky poison bombs from Toxitron, then you’re going to be breaking your rotation to mix in some concussive shots. Once down you need to quickly assess your focus amount and adjust your rotation on the fly until you can get back into it.
The main take home message that I would like you to have is that it’s a whole new world for us with focus. The mana system made it a whole lot easier to keep a set rotation going. But with focus we need to carefully time our shots to make sure that when chimera or kill command or whatever is off cd, you’ve got the focus to get it off every time. This is basically why you’re hearing that our rotations have become very situational in some fights. Be very mindful of your focus regen and try to memorize how much focus your shots use so you’ll be one step ahead of yourself all the time. Don’t worry you’ll still have the opportunity to stay planted sometimes and destroy the meters with a standard rotation but remember, whether it’s a pug or guild run, you’re part of a team and your personal dps does not outweigh what’s best for the group.
Thanks Sam for your email. I’m always happy to answer any questions so just send them on over to firstname.lastname@example.org