A while back I tooted by Survival Hunter horn loudly and proudly and soon thereafter I started hearing noise that Marksmanship was the new specialization of choice. For hunters (in ICC gear) MM was doing slightly higher damage than SV and I wanted to see for myself if it would make any difference as someone who is geared in mainly badge gear. So I switched and here are some of my observations.
First off, things I miss about Survival:
EVERYTHING. No Lock and Load, no Explosive Shot, no Master Tactician, no Replenishment, no Sniper Training. How can I do continuous, deadly damage without these buffs and procs?
Things I like about Marksman:
· I don’t have to worry about any of the above. MM is a pretty easy spec to play. Press any button as soon as it becomes available. There is a shot priority but once you apply your sting and refresh with chimera shot as it comes off cool down, you can choose from a variety of shots.
· There is a nice silencing shot that will surely come in handy for PvP and will be rendered useless against most bosses.
· There is a Refresh All Abilities now button which is very nice to have on fights to give you an extra Rapid Fire and/or Kill Shot.
· Arcane shot is back! I missed it! Plus, Chimera Shot does a lot of interesting things AND has a pink icon so I notice it more than others.
· I can…run around? Not having to stand still for Sniper Training makes me feel liberated to move freely. Unfortunately I have an almost uncanny ability to run in the opposite direction of any healer around me – so perhaps staying put is still a good idea.
· It’s easy…wait did I already say that?
What remained the same? Oh my pet is dead/not summoned? Sorry, didn’t notice.
So far I’ve only done a few heroic dungeons and the results are reasonable. In Forge of Souls I was doing roughly 3200-3400 dps with this spec while in SV I think I was doing something in the range of 3700-3900. Still, these are just numbers and the point is to have fun, get some badges and possibly achievements, not to beat out other hunters or (shudder) those pesky arcane mages.
I can’t speak for a MM hunter in end game gear but I found it does just as good if only slightly lower dps than SV in high-end heroic dungeons. While the guild is not concerned about damage metres, I have mixed feelings about taking this spec into a Raid when I know SV will yield higher dps and, more importantly, I’m more comfortable with the shots and flow of that spec. I tend to panic easily – even when my only job is to stand there and shoot. However, it is good to step out of those comfort zones once in a while and what better way to learn how to play than in a high-pressure situation? For now it's something new, easy to manage and looks like it will be a lot of fun for PvP.