Patch Notes Update, and more about shot rotations

There are some tasty new changes to the PTR patch notes for 3.0.8 - nothing removed, but three new bullets:
  • Arcane Shot: Mana cost lowered to match the cost of Steady Shot.
  • Explosive Shot: Damage increased substantially, and additional scaling added to compensate Survival Hunters for the decrease in power of Steady Shot. No longer deals damage to secondary targets.
  • Tranquilizing Shot has had its cooldown reduced to 6 seconds, down from 15.
The Arcane Shot change is going to be awesome for me. I've posted my shot macro here already, and Arcane Shot has always been part of my rotation. It hits and crits hard, and I'm talented to buff it. Pulling the mana cost down to the level of Steady Shot justifies its even more.

The Explosive Shot change doesn't affect me since, well, I'm a marksman hunter. The Tranq. Shot cooldown reduction is great, though - Gluth was the first thing that came to mind when I saw that. It'll just make it easier to keep things dispelled so that it doesn't pressure the healers to do it.

Going back to my shot macro, I've been thinking about the math more, and there really isn't much I can do to improve it. The criteria for it (my criteria, anyway) is that it use my 3 hard-hitting instant shots as often as possible, in the priority of Chimera, Aimed, Arcane. I want to be getting to my Chimera Shot in the rotation every time it's available, within the limitations of a 255 character macro, in order to keep my sting up. It's a free sting refresh. (I was not initially sold on Chimera Shot when I originally saw the MM tree, but like Silencing Shot, which I didn't spec into until probably 4 months after hitting 70, it's grown on me.) Manual weaving would actually be the best way for me to utilize those three instant shots, but I've had to admit to myself that my focus is, well, problematic. I get distracted by movement on the screen. (I had to turn off both the in-game screen flashes and the ones from Omen.)

So... the maths. The hunter Global Cooldown (GCD) is 1.5 seconds. That doesn't change. Every shot in your rotation has to budget a minimum of 1.5 seconds before you can do any other shot (besides autoshot, which is now in it's own happy little world of constancy). Steady Shot has a 2 second cast time until you start adding haste. I don't know how the haste numbers work in relation to Steady yet - i.e., how much haste pulls Steady down to a 1.5 second cast. This is my next area of research. But with basic GCD numbers, you can get in 7 shots in 10.5 seconds; you have to wait till 10.5 because otherwise you're sitting at a 9 second rotation, and your Chimera and Aimed aren't ready yet. 10.5 is your number. Three of those shots are dedicated to your instants - Chimera, Aimed, and Arcane. Chimera hits the hardest and refreshes your sting, so you can sacrifice optimizing Arcane for that (or manually weave... I used to be able to...). Those three shots are 4.5 seconds of your rotation, leaving you with 6 seconds to fill with Steady Shots. You're only going to get 3-4. Three with no haste; four with optimal haste.

If you hit optimal haste, though, Rapid Fire, Improved Aspect of the Hawk, and such become mostly unnecessary; you can't get any faster. If you're spec'd into these, it may make more sense to manually throw in an extra steady when you're proc'd into one or more haste effects (OMG Potions of Speed, seriously). Haste doesn't need to be the first stat you stack - your haste-buffing abilities and those of your group (Bloodlust, etc.) will help; you might find out what kind of gap you need to close between those abilities and reaching optimal haste to squeeze in an extra Steady and go for that, though. Haste will always speed up your autoshot, and if you do hit optimal haste, you can move those talent points around (and re-glyph!) to get more bang (or twang) for your buck.

I have considered rewriting the macro with /castrandom, to see if that will solve the rotation problem:
/castrandom [Chimera], [Aimed], [Arcane], [Kill Shot]
/cast [Steady]
I don't know if that will really work, though, or if it'll just pop Steady and ignore the instants that are available. (I didn't sign up to raid tonight, so maybe I'll remember to test it.) I would hope what that macro would do is pop an instant when there's an instant available, and then pop Steady when everything else is on cooldown. I kind of doubt I'm going to be that lucky, though. I don't really care what order the instants go off in most of the time (I don't have the Hunter's Mark related talents... I've been through that story, right?), as long as they're all getting used as often as possible.

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