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Marksman: 3 fantastic specs! - A guideFollow

#1 Apr 15 2011 at 3:18 PM Rating: Decent
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For my sake: after you have read this guide, please give me some sort of feedback. Feel free to troll, I'm pretty good at sorting out useless comments :)

First of all, I would like to say that I am not playing this game myself (yet, I'm going to start this weekend), and that everything you will read in my guide are purely made out of theorycrafting and mathmatics, not imgame experiences.

This guide focuses around the Marksman soul setup, and we will be looking at three different soul specs.

The first (of 3 setups)is (51/15/0), respectively Marksman/Ranger/Assassin.

What you have in your ********

Buffs:

-A pet (Dire Wolf/Razorbeast)
-Predatory Instincts (46 attack power)
-Sniper's Pedestal (30% ranged dmg while standing @ the pedestal)
-Virulent Poison

Damage Cooldowns:

-Fire and Forget
-Controlled Fire
-Quick Reload
-Bull's Eye
-Hit and Run
-Close Quarters Combat (for tight situations, will not be on your priority list during a/most bosses.
-Strafe (also combo generating)

Combo generating abilities (that we will use):

-Swift Shot
-Empowered Shot
-Barbed Shot (in certain situations, normally not in the rotation)
-Quick Shot
-Splinter Shot
-Shadow Fire

Combo spending abilities:

-Deadeye Shot
-Rapid Fire Shot
-Head Shot

Explanation on each ability you will be using in your rotation/priority:

COMBO GENERATING

Quick Shot:
30 energy, instant cast, generates 1 combo point. No cooldown
Deals less instant damage than Swift Shot (Swift Shot gets a 15% dmg buff), but when you hit with Quick Shot the target will bleed for 30% of the dmg over 6 sec. This makes Quick Shot a better choice when your target has less than 3 seconds left of the bleed debuff. As long as your target has a bleed effect on it, your pet deals 15% more dmg. This means if your pet attacks a target with Quick Shot bleed effect, the next 10 sec it will deal 15% more dmg regardless of attacking a bleeding target. This further means that if your pet attacks the second your target gets the buff, and then again the splitsecond before the bleed wears off, your pet will deal 15% more dmg for 16 sec.

Swift Shot
30 energy, instant cast, generates 1 combo point. No cooldown
This ability deals as much damage as Quick Shot untalented, but you gain a 15% dmg boost from your first tier of talents. This means the instant damage will be higher, but because of Quick Shot's bleed effect, Swift Shot will only be a filler when it is not worth using Quick Shot.

Empowered Shot
45 energy, 1.5 sec cast, generates 2 combo points. 10 sec cooldown
Deals much more damage than Swift Shot or Quick Shot+Bleed, but has a casttime. It is also more energy efficient as it generates 2 combo points at the cost of 45 energy (1 combo point per 22.5 energy compared to Quick/Swift Shot at 30 energy). Should generally be used whenever the cooldown is up and you have less than 4 combo points.

Splinter Shot
45 energy, 1.5 sec cast, generates 2 combo points. 10 sec cooldown
Ranger's version of Empowered Shot. The thing about this shot is that it deals more damage than Empowered Shot, but over 10 sec. Empowered Shot does in fact deal a little more damage than Splinter Shot because of a 15% crit bonus it gets through talents, but it is still worth using Splinter Shot as it is still a better combo point generator than Quick/Swift Shot. This bleed effect will also ensure you that your pet stays enraged (15% dmg bonus) through the whole fight.

Barbed Shot
30 energy, instant cast, generates 1 combo point. No cooldown
This ability deals less damage than any of your other shots, but it applies a debuff to the target that deals damage when the target moves. Generally this will not be useful, but if you see a moment where your target is moving a lot, this could potentionally deal more damage than Quick/Swift Shot.

Shadow Fire
50 Energy, 2 sec cast, generates 2 combo points. 20 sec cooldown
Shadow Fire deals less dps than Empowered Shot and Splinter Shot (total dmg/cast time+cooldown=dps), but it hastens your auto attacks by 20% for 15 seconds, which makes this your most important shot of all these, even though it is not as Energy efficient compared to Empowered/Splinter Shot.

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COMBO SPENDING


Rapid Fire Shot
40 energy, instant. No cooldown
Deals weapon damage + x amount of damage, and increases your ranged haste by 30% for 1 minute with 5 combo points. That 30% haste buff is the most powerful finishing move you have around, so make sure to use this ability 1 time every minute. Do not clip your buff too much (clip=refreshing the buff before you actually had to). It is better to use Deadeye Shot and then have 5 seconds downtime with Rapid Fire Shot than it is to use Rapid Fire Shot when there is still, say 30 sec left of the buff.

Head Shot
40 energy, instant cast. No cooldown

EDIT: numbers between Head Shot and Deadeye Shot have been corrected, as I was expecting crits to do 2x dmg, but it's only 1.5x.
Deals weapon damage + 371 damage. This is less bonus damage than Deadeye Shot, but because it is much cheaper it will become more energy efficient (total damage/energy) than Deadeye Shot. The exact number are as follows:
-avg auto attack @ 158>/= damage you will use Deadeye Shot
-avg auto attack @ 158< damage you will use Head Shot
the avg auto attack damage is considered attacking a target with 0 armor.
Even if you do less than 158 avg damage with your ranged attacks, you still want to use Head Shot once a minute to increase your pets damage by 5%.

Deadeye Shot
60 energy, 1.5 sec cast. No cooldown
Has higher bonus damage than Head Shot, but has a cast time and higher energy cost. When to use this ability is explained in the Head Shot description.

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COOLDOWNS


Generally, make sure you recast Sniper's Pedestal whenever you need to move to a new location, and keep your pet out. If you pet is taking too much damage, you can heal it with Rejuvenate. If you deal too much damage, you can throw 50% of your threat over to your pet for the next 10 sec with Divert Rage, but it has 60 sec cooldown.



Fire and Forget

25 energy, 2 minutes cooldown
It's good if you're energy starving, but still want to throw out some hefty dps. Normally not worth using unless you have Shadow Fire and Rapid Fire Shot buff up (you will get a much higher combo point per minute generation with those 2 haste buffs).

Controlled Fire
25 energy, 2 minutes cooldown
Another good ability when you energy starve, or when you want to throw out some insane burst coupled with other cooldowns. Should not be used with Fire and Forget, as you will just get too many combo points, and it's not worth spamming Swift Shot for 15 energy.

Quick Reload
Free, 3 minutes cooldown
Only use it when all your Marksman abilities you use are on cooldown. Empowered Shot is an exception, as that would ***** your Empowered -> Splinter Shot combo up.

Bull's Eye
Free, 2 minutes cooldown
Use it with a 5 combo point Deadeye Shot while under Sniper's Pedestal buff, otherwise it's a waste of a guaranteed crit.

Hit and Run
25 energy, 2 minutes cooldown
Use when you are on the move, and always couple it up with Controlled Fire, as it will allow you to spam 3x Empowering Shot -> combo move for 15 seconds. While under this effect you should not be using Splinter Shot, and it is best to use it right after a Shadow Fire to prevent having to cast that during your Empowering Shot spam.

Strafe
60 energy, 1 minute cooldown
Use when you have 0 combo points on the target, and it is best to use it while waiting for Empowering Shot/Splinter Shot to get ready. Deals a fair amount of damage and generates 4 combo points at a low cost (15 energy per combo point).

NOTE: Hit and Run, Controlled Fire and Fire and Forget have their cooldowns reduced by 30% through talents, which take them down to 84 sec cooldown instead of 120 (36 sec less cooldown for those who wonder).


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ROTATION/PRIORITY LIST

I am not taking cooldowns into account in this priority, as I have already stated when to use them. All finishing moves in the priority list is when used with 5 combo points.

Priority List:
1. Rapid Fire Shot buff kept up.
2. Bestial Fury buff kept up (Head Shot)
3. Deadeye Shot (until your auto attacks hit for 500+ dmg, then move Deadeye Shot out of your priority list)
4. Shadow Fire (if you have 3 or less combo points)
5. Splinter Shot (if you have 3 or less combo points, and your target does not have the Splinter Shot debuff)
6. Empowering Shot (if you have 3 or less combo points)
7. Barbed Shot (if your target is constantly moving)
8. Quick Shot (if your target has less than 3 seconds left of Improved Quick Shot bleed debuff)
9. Swift Shot

Rotation:
As I am unaware of the exact energy/sec regen, I cannot say exactly how this will look like, all I know (from videos) is that Rogues usually don't run out of energy. If we say you would never run out of energy, and a global cooldown is 1.5 sec, the rotation would look like this:

Splinter Shot -> Empowering Shot -> Quick Shot -> Rapid Fire Shot -> Shadow Fire -> Swift Shot -> Quick Shot -> Swift Shot -> Head Shot -> Splinter Shot -> Empowering Shot -> Quick Shot -> Deadeye Shot -> Swift Shot -> Swift Shot -> Quick Shot -> *** -> Shadow Fire -> Deadeye Shot -> ^^^

*** At this point your Splinter Shot will be ready in 1 sec, but we don't want to use it as we will not have the combo points capacity of also using Empowering Shot, Instead we will wait 2 sec and move on to next step.

^^^ At this point your Rapid Fire Shot have been lasting for 25.5 sec, meaning we are roughly halfway through the first set if Shots before we go back to the Rapid Fire Shot+Head Shot part. At this point you should start to see the priority list comming into use. You should be able to find out which abilities you should you at this point.

Remember, this "rotation" is based on 1.5 sec global cooldown and infinite energy. The real rotation may very well look different, but the prio list is still the same.
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The second spec is the more common one, which is Marksman/Ranger/Assassin (51/8/7). This spec is alot easier, and is therefore also much more popular. As to if you will do more dps, I do not know.

Pros:
5% additional crit
4% physical damage

Cons:
30% less dmg on Quick Strike (making it useless and we'll have Swift Shot replace it completely)
~21% less pet dmg (We will also replace Head Shot with Deadeye Shot, completely as well)
No Shadow Fire ability (avg 10.23% haste lost right there and a cheap combo generator)
No Call: Dire Wolf. We still have our Razorbeast though.

Conclussion:
Since your pet is capable of dying, the 21% dmg buff will maybe not aid you through the whole fight (read: maybe), and having to switch between Quick Strike and Swift Strike can be a pain, so with this setup it will make our rotation noticably easier. The easier rotation unfortunately also means no more Shadow Fire, which is a huge haste lose, and we will also lose our dear Dire Wolf. On top of an easier rotation we then get 4% more flat damage with physical attacks, and 5% crit to all our attacks/shots.

Maybe this change is not so bad after all, it is at least alot easier to control.

Buffs

You will have the same ones, except those listed in the pros/cons above.

Damage Cooldowns:

You will have the same as the other soul setup.

Combo generating abilities (that we will use):

-Empowering Shot
-Swift Shot
-Splinter Shot

Combo spending abilities:

-Deadeye Shot
-Rapid Fire Shot

As you can see, this is alot easier. Use Empowering Shot+Splinter Shot whenever they are up and you can use them together (or even seperated, it is not that important with this setup), and use Swift Shot as a filler. Then make sure Rapid Fire Shot buff is up, and dump the rest of your combo points into Deadeye Shot. There is not much of a prioritize list, but it would look something like this:

1. Rapid Fire Shot buff kept up
2. Deadeye Shot
3. Empowering Shot (if you have 3 or less combo points)
4. Splinter Shot (if you have 3 or less combo points)
5. Barbed Shot (if your target moves alot)
6. Swift Shot

All finishing moves should be used with 5 combo points, never less.

As for the rotation, you can use the priority list to find out what you would need to use at any given time. Got 3 combo points? Use Empowering Shot. Got Rapid Fire Shot buff up and running with atleast 10 sec left? Then use Deadeye Shot. It is that easy :)

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The last spec is Marksman/Assassin/Nightblade, respectively 51/0/15.

Pros:
15% bonus damage for combo point generators and finishers
15% less Fire&Death damage taken
3% overall damage bonus
Hellfire Blades (20% on attack to deal 54 fire dmg)
5% dmg bonus for 10 sec when we hit with Hellfire Blades
Virulent Poison (20% on attack to deal 54 water dmg)

Cons:
No pet whatsoever
No 5% flat crit boost
No 4% flat physical dmg boost
-A pet (Dire Wolf/Razorbeast)
-Predatory Instincts (46 attack power)
-Sniper's Pedestal (30% ranged dmg while standing @ the pedestal)
-Virulent Poison

Damage Cooldowns:

-Fire and Forget
-Controlled Fire
-Quick Reload
-Bull's Eye
-Hit and Run
-Close Quarters Combat (for tight situations, will not be on your priority list during a/most bosses.
-Strafe (also combo generating)

Combo generating abilities (that we will use):

-Swift Shot
-Empowered Shot

Combo spending abilities:

-Deadeye Shot
-Rapid Fire Shot

This rotation is the same as the 51/8/7 Marksman/Ranger/Assassin, and the priority list is also the same.
You want to use Virulent Poison on one of your weapons, and Hellfire Blades on the other to keep up your 5% damage bonus from Melted Skin


Edited, Apr 17th 2011 10:40am by Pikseh
#2 Apr 18 2011 at 12:06 PM Rating: Decent
Scholar
21 posts
Some things I noticed:

First is your link to the first build is wrong, it has no ranger in it, but i can guess where the points are going to be.

Second, for your theory crafting, Pets become worthless if you don't stay in that tree. At level 42 with only few points in the tree my pet is only level 26 or so. You pet stops leveling up. So all the increase to pet damage you have in your write up becomes useless (ie:Blood Rage and Bestial Fury). At this point my pet cant hit or hold aggro and is not doing damage worth counting.

Third, I'm fairly sure that the 0 points in Assassin for the poison blades don't proc or work on range attacks. So having 0 points in Assassin is worthless. 0 points in RightStalker for the teleport or 0 points in Bladedancer for the defensive dodge CD are much better choices.

Rest of it seems correct. But from just the feel of it, I dont see how any other build will top the 2nd one (51 Marksman, 8 Ranger, 7 Assassin). Key points would be 4% increase Physical dmg (all of your combo builders, auto attack, and finishers are physical) and 4% increase dmg to ALL your attacks. Also the 10% increase to Crit is huge. With 8 ranger you get an aggro dump on your pet which at upper levels, I just have sit next to me. Also, can CC with stealth if needed. But I couldn't honestly say if it does more than the Marksman/Nightblade build.
#3 Apr 18 2011 at 6:59 PM Rating: Decent
7 posts
Thanks for your respond! As I (for obvious reasons) didn't know how much damage your pet would count, I thought it would do a good chunk of damage. I was wrong. In that case the first build is likely not worth it, as it focuses around Ranger abilities increasing your (weak) pets damage.

As for the poisons proccing on ranged attacks, I've seen 1 or 2 videos of marksmen having both Virulent Poison and Hellfire Blades proc on ranged attacks, so that why I thought it would be worth it.

The main difference between Marksman/ranger8/assassin7 and Marksman/Assa0/Nightblade15 is:

ranger/assa:
5% crit
4% physical dmg (which is honestly the same as 4% total dmg increase)
1 slow ability
5% crit
4% avg dmg increase

Nightblade:
15% dmg on combo generating abilities
15% dmg on finishers
3% overall dmg + death/fire resist
5% dmg proc which has 100% uptime.

what you would prefer between those two is up to you completely, but as I see it, nightblade15 is stronger than ranger8/assa7, also because Nightblade provides you with a 45sec CC that can help out alot in tight situations.
#4 Apr 19 2011 at 6:55 AM Rating: Decent
Scholar
21 posts
Pikseh wrote:
As for the poisons proccing on ranged attacks, I've seen 1 or 2 videos of marksmen having both Virulent Poison and Hellfire Blades proc on ranged attacks, so that why I thought it would be worth it.


It might proc, I haven't tested it. I did buy the collectors edition and you get an item that you can give a weapon enchant (just like you start with those ugly two-headed turtle mounts) This weapon enchant only works on melee attacks do I thought it would work the same.

The dmg difference is too close to be able to tell without using combat logs or a parser. I think whatever way you want to spec shouldnt make too much of a difference. Also, with 7 points in Assassin you also get the CC. So thats a wash.


EDIT:

Did some fast napkin math making a lot of assumptions. So take it with a grain of salt. Here are the assumptions:

1)Combo builders, Finishing moves, and Auto attacks all account for 33% of your dmg.

2)"Hellfire Blades" proc works on range attacks

3)"Fire and Death Attunement" works on all sources of dmg and has 100% up time

4)Over long periods of time % increase to Crit = % increase to dmg

This allows for easy math making increase to combos, finishers, and auto all valued the same. They wont be but it shouldn't be that far off. The 31pt talent Strafe will be included into this grp. Also "Fire and Death Attunement" reads 3% dmg increase to your attacks. Similar to the 3rd tier paladin talent of "Grace under Pressure", some ppl think this doesn't apply to abilities cause in other places it specifically says abilities or will just say increase in +hit or +dmg. We are going to say it does count. This leaves:

The M/R/A build with: 18% increase to all 3 categories
The M/NB/A build with: 23% combo, 23% Finishers, 8% auto attack

With all 3 Categories being equal then all the dmg will be a wash.

I know this isnt perfect but it should show that the dmg will be close enough that whatever playstyle you like is the one you should go with. Also being you can change 0pt trees on the fly the Marksman/nightblade would have little more diversity.




Edited, Apr 19th 2011 9:23am by dhae
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