Each week we’ll look at the history and utility of some of the greatest abilities in Hunter’s arsenal
This week I’ll cover two shots that are critical to every Hunter’s rotation, and they are Steady Shot and Cobra Shot. The two abilities are not identical, although they basically share the same role and purpose which is to regenerate focus and provide some damage.
Steady Shot is granted at level three for all Hunters, so no matter what spec you choose at level 10, you will be using Steady Shot for most of your leveling. At level 81 Survival and Beast Mastery Hunters gain Cobra Shot, while Marksman stay with Steady Shot. Cobra Shot completely replaces Steady Shot for Survival and BM.
Both shots have a two second cast time that can be reduced by haste effects, and they also generate 14 focus, which is the primary benefit of these abilities. Steady Shot and Cobra Shot can also be fired while moving. This was something that was baked into each ability in patch 5.1. Prior to this Hunters had Aspect of the Fox which allowed them to fire these shots on the move, but at the expense of some DPS.
Although they are similar, there are some key differences with these abilities. Cobra Shot does nature damage which is nice because it bypasses the target’s armor. Steady Shot does physical damage, which does not ignore armor. This is why the damage of these two abilities differs, and you will sometimes see one get buffed while the other does not.
Firing two Steady Shots in a row triggers Steady Focus, which increases ranged attack speed by 15% and generates an additional three focus for 20 seconds. Careful Aim increases the critical strike chance of Steady Shot by 75% on targets who are above 80% health. Finally, Master Marksman has 50% chance grant the Master Marksman effect which lasts 30 seconds and stacks up to three times. Once it reaches three stacks your next Aimed Shot’s cast time and focus cost are reduced by 100% for 10 seconds.
As you can see Cobra and Steady Shot are an integral part of each spec’s rotation. The key is to fire these shot enough so that you properly manage your focus while not over using them at the expense of higher damaging abilities, and that my friends, really is the trick.