Despite the technical glitches that plagued Azeroth last night, my guild was able to organize two groups and begin our assault on Highmaul. Both attempted the normal mode difficulty. Group one defeated Kargath and the Butcher, and group two defeated Kargath and then got the Butcher within 10% on multiple attempts.
Kargath is a fun fight. I love that we get to fight a warlord right from the start. I’m not going to get into too many encounter specifics here, but if you’re not part of the group that gets thrown up into the stands then this becomes a very low movement fight for Hunters, and you get to watch the awesome animation of Kargath hurling you compadres to and fro.
The second fight, the Butcher, is touted as a “Patchwerk” style fight, but my role had me running around quite a bit. For comparison, I had 99% uptime on Sniper Training for Kargath versus 70-85% percent uptime on the Butcher. Yes, I ran as Marksmanship with Lone Wolf.
When you start an encounter and you’re trinkets have popped, you’re potion is cooking, and you’ve got Rapid Fire and Heroism you’ll forget everything bad you ever thought about Celestalon, Watcherdev or anyone at Blizzard. The guy that still owes you $20.00? You’ll wish you had lent him $40.00.
LIFE IS GOOD!
Nothing lasts forever though, and even the Hulk has to go back to being Bruce Banner at some point. As potions wear off, Focus becomes low, and cast times long, you begin to feel naked and alone as you struggle to keep your oversized purple pants from dropping to your ankles.
This is where the hard part begins, and where skill comes into play. Marksmanship is all about managing your Focus so you can hit key abilities on cooldown while fitting in as many Aimed Shots as you can. It’s also about standing still and keeping Sniper Training active as long as possible.
It’s a hard hitting spec, and can feel very rewarding, but by the same token it can feel punishing if you move around too much or find yourself Focus starved; all of which can happen if you’re not careful.
I’m using a pretty standard Marksmanship setup with,
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimaera
- Binding Shot
- Iron Hawk
- Thrill of the Hunt
- A Murder of Crows
- Glaive Toss
- Lone Wolf
I carry a full stable of pets with a combat rez, heroism and buffs that I think the group might be lacking. This allows me to take Focusing Shot, or even switch to Beast Mastery.
For my opener I’m following what Azortharion recommends in his guide on MMO-C. Effectively its,
- Precast Glaive Toss
- On-uses + Chimaera Shot
- RF + Aimed Shot
The only difference is I’m not pre-casting Glaive Toss because our tanks are new and not always fast on the pull. Once we establish a better rapport I’ll do that.
After that it’s all about hitting Chimaera, Crows and Glaive Toss on cooldown while overcoming the temptation to fire Aimed Shot just because I have enough Focus to do so.
Trust me I’ve tried that, and found myself delaying those other shots by quite a large margin, because I was Focus starved. It’s a big balancing act. As you learn to play Marksmanship, you’re better off erring on the side of caution and tossing in more Steady Shots so you have the Focus for the others when you need it.
For the most part I find that I have the most trouble fitting in Glaive Toss. It’s Focus cost is low, which is nice, but it feels like a second thumb on your hand. It’s something extra that I wish I didn’t have to account for, and I feel like the rotation would be a lot smoother if it were gone; not like my pet though, which I wish wasn’t gone.
I’m learning to like Marksmanship, it’s long cast times and hard hitting shots. No matter how much DPS it does, I’ll never like playing without a pet though. I don’t feel like a complete Hunter without the pet. As I get more comfortable with the spec, I may sacrifice a little DPS in favor of Focusing Shot. I like that ability, and it can help make up for Focus mistakes that you make. On the surface it looks like it’s made to go hand in hand with Steady Focus. I’ve tried that and it works well most of the time but not always.
With Thrill of the Hunt there’s a good chance it will proc during the opener which means more Aimed Shots in that critical period. If you have Steady Focus, you’re almost guaranteed to have to toss in Focusing Shot while under Rapid Fire, which is not ideal.
If you’re like me and love having a pet, I encourage you to at least give Focusing Shot a try and see how you fare.
All in all High Marks for Highmaul, and I can wait to go further.