8.1.5.x/8.2 Marksman Discussion

(Bertimus) #1

The purpose of this thread is to discuss what changes can be made reasonably in 8.1.5 to further address the issues with this spec. Many are unhappy with core design elements of the spec, and I share many of the frustrations. However, as stated in the last Q&A, we’re not going to see sweeping changes to core mechanics of any spec mid-expansion. This is reminiscent of about this point in Legion, when many were heavily suggesting the removal of the vulnerable mechanic. That design wasn’t our favorite either, but they eventually iterated it to a point where it worked and felt better to use than the original implementation. There were also pretty substantial talent and ability changes at that point as well, with the re-introduction of trap and other pvp-oriented adjustments. I say all of that to say: “no major changes” doesn’t mean “no changes”. We should still be giving feedback and suggestions, we just shouldn’t expect things like “copy paste mop hunter” or the removal/replacement of entire mechanics core to the class.

So let me begin by offering my suggestions, and i’ll preface with the acknowledgement of the “audience” that I belong to. I am a primarily pvp-oriented player now, and a former “hardcore” raider. I participate in some light heroic raiding and m+ as well, so I’m not completely ignorant of PvE, but more up-to-date and competitive in PvP, so take that perspective into account.

The trick shots mechanic still feels incredibly frustrating and clunky to use because of the 3-target minimum. I strongly suggest lowering this to 2, and tuning it however the designers deem appropriate with that change in place.
Talents also feel out of place, in terms of which ones you want to use in AoE situations vs ST situations. Most, if not all of the other dps specs have dedicated AoE rows. Careful aim and barrage seem out of place, given this. Barrage is an aoe ability on a row of ST talents, and Careful Aim is a ST ability on an AoE row. IMO, it makes sense to switch them or otherwise reshuffle the talents.

Precise Shots
Precise Shots is still a fairly problematic mechanic. As fellow Hunter patriot Masochism has pointed out, even after the 8.1 adjustment, it makes all of the talents that use focus a DPS loss, and generally feels bad. I will quote him, because he explains it better than i can:

I propose doing either/or/both of two things. Further shift damage out of precise shots into base arcane damage (it was changed from 100% to 75%, with a base buff to arcane to make the damage of precise the same, but base arcane a bit higher), to something like 30% with the equivalent increase to base arcane again. Another way to improve it would be to allow us to store more charges of it, say 5. I think these two changes make the system in place “feel” a lot better. Base arcane shot would be better for situations where you actually need to use it a lot without precise shots (like PvP), yet you would not want to ignore it to do optimal PvE damage, and having more charges may make using talented shots feel like a better choice.

Crowd Control
This is one of the most important discussions for me, as this is pretty critical for viability in rated arenas. Marksman needs a robust control kit to properly play its role in arena. There is no tuning that can be done to a marksman spec this one dimensional that makes it “good” without involving oneshot mechanics (which we have been far away from; left after pre-patch). Last expansion, you had the choice of talented binding or wyvern that did not share a talent row with postehaste, then bursting disorient, and also trap. Wyvern is now completely gone, binding is a root on the same row as postehaste (which is a required choice in all situations for the root break), and bursting shot no longer disorients. This effectively leaves marks with just trap and knocks. It’s also important to note that SV and BM both have an additional CC on top of trap, and marks needs more CC than the other two for its role.

Proposal number one for me is putting scatter shot on disorient DR, and making it baseline. This gives the hunter an opportunity to set up his own CC, while also eating two DR trees. I think there is definitely credit to what Dillon and others have expressed about the ease of getting a trap off with current trap mechanics and a scatter shot on its own dr. The question it raises at this point, is would it actually be reasonable? I personally don’t think that one change, as easy as it may make trapping, would in any way make the spec overpowered, given everything else that exists in the meta with other specs instant cc, and mechanics to set up self-cc (root/harpoon trapping as sv, shimmer poly, spriest and rogue instant cc). It might be a little bit annoying to play against, but I’m not really seeing a reasonable alternative, given what exists in the game and what they are likely or able to do mid-expansion.

Proposal two for me on this is reconfiguring the mobility talent row. Binding shot is never an option with the root break being tied to postehaste on the same row. Born to be wild is also a “dead talent”. Perhaps untie the root break from postehaste so that the other two talents can be used, then replace born to be wild with the MoP talent that gave an aoe root on disengage, and then reduce binding shot cooldown to be competitive with the other two revised talents.

PvP Talents
The last section I want to address is PvP talents. Marks was one of the specs that didn’t have many amazing pvp talents in legion, but there was something marginally useful in each talent row. Also, you did not have to use a pvp talent to get Roar of Sacrifice, which you do now. You benefitted from the fact that you got to choose from dragonscale, survival tactics, or catlike reflexes, then also being able to pick a sting, and then something in the explosive trap/scatter row, etc. You now really have no choice but to use scatter and roar of sacrifice in all situations, which ends in a net reduction in overall useful abilities that you have vs. before. I’ve already proposed making scatter baseline, which frees up another talent. You also still have talents like Ranger’s Finesse that are clearly designed around the last iteration of MM, and don’t really do much of anything now. I propose replacing Ranger’s Finesse with old Readiness, 5m cooldown that resets turtle, exhileration, and aspect of the cheetah.

I think these types of changes are the direction we need to be looking at to fill the gaps and make the spec “feel better” to play. This feedback kind of ignores overall numbers tuning, too. Obviously, that may be necessary as well, I am just not trying to come at this from the perspective of “how much”, rather “how well does it play” if that makes sense.

At this point, just bring back legion MM
Rise of Azshara PTR - Initial Class Changes
Quartermaster's Bounty and Warlord's Trophy

Honestly all other things aside, we need 1 or all of these 3 things to make MM viable both PvE and PvP for this xpac.

  1. Make Aimed shot 2 sec cast time. This allows MMs to get the cast off from time to time even while under pressure so arcane shot spam isnt the only thing we do.
  2. More available CC. This allows us to get aimed shot off and have some counter to pillar huggers. This can be done a few ways. Make scatter shot baseline and change it to a disorient or give MM wyvern sting baseline.
  3. Do something about the “posthaste” tier in the talents. Even if you buff binding shot ridiculously and take away the speed boost portion of posthaste it would still be the better choice because of the root break.

Things I would like to see:

  1. Tranq Shot
  2. No minimum target limit on trick shots
  3. Talents adjusted to be better balance in damage and to make more sense like aoe things in an aoe tier for example.

(Hìraeth) #3

I dont think any amount of changes’ll make MM be / feel any better tbh. On a fundamental lvl it just feels SO terrible lol


Aimed Shot
Patch 6.0.2: No longer interrupts Auto Attacks, and can be cast while moving.

Can we make Aimed Shot castable while moving again? That would be nice in addition to some of the changes listed above.

(Bertimus) #5

I think it can still be made to work. This one and the last one are definitely not my favorite versions of the spec though. I think despite the fundamental flaws, if we get as robust set of changes as happened at this point in legion, it could work and we could at least use it.

(Foctordreeze) #6

It’s a doomed spec for this expansion. Broken and unfun on so many levels, only a rework or revert would fix it. Better luck next expansion.

I switched classes and i’m not looking at MM until 9.0 prepatch

(Bertimus) #7

I’m playing SV primarily until it gets fixed. If you look back to this point in legion, everyone was demanding the removal of vulnerable and saying basically the same things. The spec feels bad to play. Doesn’t work in PvP, etc. They did enough stuff in 7.1.5 to round it out enough so that we could at least use it. I think that’s the best we can hope for and the direction our feedback should be pointed in.


A flat 10% damage buff was given to steady/arcane/aimed since this post was written. Please note that it’s had next to 0 effect on how much the spec is played in arena. The non-damage toolkit (control/defensives/mobility) is too poorly set-up for any realistic amount of damage buff to make this spec worth playing.

(Eddyv) #9

Honestly the current rotation and traits are starting to grow on me.
From raiding and doing arena as MM here’s my thoughts:

  1. Aimedshot moved to 2 sec cast base (haste is already one of our lowest valued stats so you’ll never seen an MM stacking it).
  2. Steady moved to 1.5 sec cast base.
  3. Add competitive talents in the Hunters Mark tier, basically all that’s good is hunters mark and even then it’s dispellable (shouldn’t be dispellable by a healer)
  4. Add a root to bursting shot or give us something similar to disable from monks. This spec needs a way to root targets that doesn’t break on damage (cough harpoon cough) so we can set up traps and/or damage
  5. Clean up bursting shots cone (make it wider) currently it seems the animation is wider than the effect which is annoying. I want it something closer to a cone of cold or dragons breath in terms of effect size

These are all relatively small changes and would immensely make the spec play better.

I am fine with not having the MM of old, because abilities like rapid fire are actually pretty nice now that we can LoS with them and disengage.

(Bertimus) #10

Agreed on bursting shot. A root or even knockdown would make it more of a legitimate stop. And the animation does seem off.

(Masoschism) #11

There is definitely something off on Bursting Shot. I think it’s a PvP latency thing, where Bursting Shot affected area data and opponent character position data is sent to the server and there is a mismatch between that and what is displayed on my screen. I only have a problem with it when it’s both in PvP and I am trying to use it while moving. I think an increase of cone range of 2 yards would be sufficient to solve this issue.

As for a root on Bursting… maybe, but that doesn’t solve the issue of setting up traps, or getting off an Aimed Shot on ranged targets/pillar humpers, which is essential for us to be truly PvP viable.

We really need a baseline root to solve this problem, not one tied to Bursting Shot. The root can break on damage, it just shouldn’t break on any damage, but work like Frost Nova or Entangling Roots, otherwise autoshot/anyone’s dot will make that root meaningless.

(Eddyv) #12

I mean the last thing we need is blizzard thinking we need something like trackers net (which is rarely good for trapping).

MM never complained in legion when bursting/binding was how you set up traps without a stun (even though all our main comps were still stun based set ups). Most of the complaints came from people getting hit with those 12 sec CC chains.

The only other places you can put a potential root is Conc or entrapment. Using one trap you have to land then one too trap isn’t completely viable. So I left that out as an option.

I wouldn’t mind an ability with a 30 sec CD that makes your next conc shot root, but that’s probably something clunky. And the way conc is designed it can’t function like disable that monks have (use slow twice in a row and roots for 3 sec).

Anything outside of editing a current ability or adding a new basic PvP talent (like how warlocks got demon armor) probably won’t happen till next xpac.

Our asks for this xpac need to be QoL, number tuning or basic things to make us functional in X area. Save all the rework ideas for when we get closer to the next xpac and really push for a unified design of MM (too many voices with too many opinions makes it so we can’t get a developers consensus on spec design).

(Masoschism) #13

I also think 12s of unavoidable, ranged, instant cast CC every 30s is too much. It also doesn’t solve the large melee mobility discrepancy.

I refuse to play SV, so I don’t know how it is, but an instant root on a similar CD would solve every PvP kiting and CC problem we have (assuming they fixed Bursting Shot/Explosive Trap to be more reliable).

The root doesn’t have to be long. 3s is sufficient. It just has to have some resistance to damage breaking or it would be useless.

It is exactly this type of thinking that stalls consensus within the community. Don’t presume to know what the devs will or won’t do. State what you believe is necessary. Of all the possible “fixes”, adding one baseline ability that requires barely any more coding than copy/paste couldn’t be more simple.

(Bertimus) #14

Agreed. A lot of times you use it and nothing happens. Wasn’t a problem in legion. Scatter dr or another setup is still critical. I don’t personally think scatter on disorient would be too much, because you’re eating two entire dr trees with it, so the follow up fear or clone is only half. Basically just halfway replacing the function of bursting disorient.

It’s not actually that much longer of a theoretical chain and scatter isn’t 40 yards. The “instant trapping” thing is assuming that you’re standing on top of the trap target, or else there’s as much of a travel time as there used to be arm time. I understand some people’s reluctance to it, and I’m not saying it’s the only way to solve the problem, just the easiest/most straightforward imo.

(Masoschism) #15

By “instant”, I mean instant on the part of the cast; i.e. it can’t be interrupted in any way. Chaining it with Scatter is 12 seconds of uninterruptible, unavoidable CC every 30 seconds. While I agree that would not be the worst thing in the game, its up there.

It also only solves half of the problem, the other half being we do not have the required tools to get off an aimed shot against melee often enough, and against two melee we are simply toast. We must have another tool, and a root (even single target, short duration) fixes all of these problems and yet at the same time is one of the “lighter” CC’s.

(Bertimus) #16

You can ground it, reflect it, reverse it, imp dispel, mass dispel, etc. Classes like druid/monk/mage with high mobility can quickly get to the scatter target to stack and eat it. You can’t kick it, but the travel time does allow for some counterplay, which is why I mention the major caveat of what happens when the hunter is standing in melee. You also have to weigh it against the fact that CC like poly can be spammed, where the trap is on a 30s cooldown, so the punishment/reward (depending on which side of the trap you’re on) is higher for stopping a trap than a poly.

Last expansion your de-facto setup was bursting shot which is a melee only ability, which kind of wound up promoting MM trapping from melee, which overall was just a weird situation. It negated a lot of the potential counterplay while incentivizing the hunter to stand in melee range a lot, which is just inconsistent with the intentions of the spec. I wouldn’t be against trading back travel time for trap arm time, but again that would have to be MM specific and that’s a core change to trapping mechanics, which kind of goes back to the situation we’re in “mid-expansion”. I think it’s the wrong move to put the setup back into bursting shot for that same set of reasons. You shouldn’t want to be sitting in melee range of anything as MM. If that’s your one and only reliable setup, that’s what you’re going to have to use it for most of the time.

I don’t think something like trackers net fixes it. It’s too easy to death/ground/freedom/etc from the range you’re going to want to use it to trap from. As sv, you’re rarely using that for trap as you’ve got harpoon root which is more conducive to melee trapping anyway since you don’t have to deal with the travel time. Imo scatter already existing and having been a past setup is just the most straightforward solution. Maybe even give it a focus cost for some kind of compensation.


I cant tell how easy it is to see or even hear the trap from an enemy hunter coming and just side step. If i get trapped by a hunter its cuz i got too close or my attention to detail was lacking. If you gave the insta trap from any distance but have an arm time it wouldnt fix any thing as you would still need to hold the target in place till it armed.

As far as bursting shot is concerned, i agree with just about everything. It consistantly misses the target. Side stepping and using it makes it much more noticeable more often. I like the idea of some sort of knockdown.

Me too bro. Me too. But as youve said there is room for QoL improvements.

(Frista) #18

They need to make hunters mark baseline and give us back marked shot OR kill shot.

(Bertimus) #19

Its hard to stress how important some improved control is for rated arenas. Make or break. It is going to be hard to balance this existing kit with damage alone.

(Masoschism) #20

This spec, or any spec for that matter, is impossible to “balance” against the meta using damage balancing alone. There are really two separate balances for any DPS spec in PvP: type of damage output (and its amount), and the control/survivability/mobility tool kit to do that damage. There is no crossover between those two balances.