Shot of the Week: Steady/Cobra Shot


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.

Cobra Shot refreshes Serpent Sting if it has been applied to the target. Steady Shot does not, as this is  handled by Chimera Shot. Steady Shot does impact the Marksman rotation in other ways though.

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.

Good Hunting!

Always on the Move

Patch 5.1 testing continues and Blizzard is now starting to release some of the class balance changes that are inevitable once players migrate into end-game raiding and PvP. Hunters are getting a huge buff to their mobility in patch 5.1. According to MMO-C, Steady Shot, Cobra Shot and Barrage will be useable while moving. I’ll say it again, Steady Shot, Cobra Shot and Barrage will be useable WHILE MOVING.

There’s no mention of Aspect of the Fox in the patch notes, but one would assume that it will be redesigned or removed all together. I suspect the the latter myself.

If this is indeed the direction that Blizzard is going with these abilities then it’s a very nice change. The benefit for PvP is that Hunters can now be in Aspect of the Hawk 100% of the time, rather than Fox 100%. For PvE this means no more aspect dancing. Ultimately Hunters gain more from this change in PvP than PvE, but it’s fantastic for both.

It was pretty well known that Blizzard wasn’t happy with Aspect Dancing. During the MoP beta they tried to address it by putting Aspects on the GCD, but this was unpopular and they reverted it.

In Episode 141 of the Hunting Party Podcast we talked to Zumio who had a pretty negative opinion on Hunter aspects in general. He even went so far to suggest that Blizzard change Steady and Cobra to fire on the move. It appears that Blizzard agrees with that assessment – for now.