Periodic effects are something that have evolved over the years. I remember the thrill of getting a “super sting” as Marksman in ICC. It was crazy. You needed two pieces of tier 9 which allowed Serpent Sting tics to crit. This is baseline now, but wasn’t back then. You needed to have the Deathbringer’s Will trinket, and you needed to have crit potions.
Like today, Chimera Shot refreshed Serpent Sting, only back then it would refresh the original sting that you had cast, rather than apply a fresh sting. What you would do is wait for Deathbringer’s Will to proc the crit buff, then you would pop the crit potion, then you recast Serpent Sting. Finally, you would do everything in your power keep that sting up on the target as long as possible.
Things have changed quite a bit since then, and DoT management for Hunters is a lot simpler, but there are still things you can do to maximize periodic effect DPS. If you’re looking at how to play Survival and manage your DoTs in today’s climate, you should check out Cloak and Quiver Episode 5, and this post from Thrill of the Wild. If you’re curious on how all of this will change in Warlords of Draenor, I’ll cover that here.
DoT management is going to get a whole lot simpler for Hunters in Warlords. The first reason is that Serpent Sting is getting removed. Marksman and Beast Mastery won’t have it at all, and Survival will have it as a passive ability that is applied via Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot.
Second, DoT snapshotting is going away. Right now when you cast a DoT on a target it’s snapshotted based on your current buffs and procs. If those buffs or procs fall off, the DoT will continue to tic on the target in that buffed state. If the DoT is refreshed it will update based on your current buff/proc status.
In Warlords, DoT tics will updated dynamically. If you cast a DoT on a target, and then your trinket of awesome procs, the DoT will update accordingly. Likewise, if your proc wears off, and the DoT is still on the target, it will update.
Bottom line for Hunters is we’ll likely just carry on with our normal rotations and not worry too much about buffs and procs in relation to our DoTs.