Hunter Trees for Dum…I mean, Night Elves

December 18, 2007 at 1:50 am (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Marksmanship, Survival)

If you’re one of the hojillion Marksmanship hunters or their BM kindred, you no doubt are asking yourself a simple question right now.

“What in Sam Hill convinced you to pick Survival, much less blog about it? Don’t you like massive amounts of AP? Do you have no love for turning your pet into a furry killing machine whilst you make a target into a pincushion (Or Alterac Swiss, if you’re a gun nut like me)? Survival’s not for me. There’s no I-Win button! I DEMAND BUTTONS!”

Poppycock! Survival is simply the apex of what it means to be a hunter. You rely on your pet less than a BM hunter would to provide damage, much like a MM hunter does; but if your target breaks away because you decided to roll in guns-a-blazin’, your Survival talents give you more flexibility than either of the previous classes.

(If you manage your aggro properly, though, you won’t have to worry about that….)

But let’s break the advantages of each tree down to its most essential elements, shall we?

Relative Advantages of The Beastmastery Tree

Improved Revive Pet, Improved Mend Pet. You get more mana-efficient heals, it cleanses some nasty stuff from your pet’s debuff bar, and it gives your healers one less target to worry about. (Pets are your responsibility, and nobody else’s.)

Focused Fire. 2% damage overall’s nice enough. But 10% extra crit chance with Kill Command? Turning this down is saying, “Heavens no, I loathe the idea of playing my class the way I should! I don’t want your free damage handouts!”

Intimidation. – Handy for building aggro, stealing aggro, stunning, disrupting… a must-have for all BM Hunters, no matter what or whom you contend with. But you already knew that.

Unleashed Fury, Ferocity, Frenzy, Ferocious Inspiration, Cobra Reflexes. – If there’s a pillar that the BM tree is built upon, it’s these five talents. More pet damage, more pet crit, faster pet attack speed ON crit, more damage on pet crit, and faster attack speed for the both of you. Win freakin’ win, baby.

Summary : You hit faster, and so does your little buddy. You two practically feed off of each other.

You’re like Timmy and Lassie… if Lassie grew five feet and turned fire engine red every time Timmy got in trouble.

But if your BFF gets taken out of the fight, you’re just a schmuck with a gun and some traps. Played wisely, you are deadly. Played poorly… you probably should’ve picked MM, ’cause you clearly don’t think a pet’s important to you.

Relative Advantages of The Marksmanship TreeLethal Shots. 5% crit. Why do you even need to ask? Who cares about more damage when you can have a 5% greater chance to DOUBLE your damage?

Improved Hunter’s Mark. Free AP for your favorite melee maniacs. AND your pet.

Rapid Killing. Good for the free damage on opening shots when you’re grinding, even better for the reduced cooldown on Rapid Fire.

Mortal Shots. …seriously, you’d turn down MORE damage for your crits? Shame on you! Bad Hunter! BAD HUNTER!

Combat Experience, Careful Aim, Ranged Weapon Specialization, Master Marksman.Much like the Five talents o’ Bestial goodness in BM we discussed earlier, these picks supplement your raw damage. Combat Experience increases your AP and Crit through 2% more Agility, but also gives you more Intelligence; Careful Aim takes said Intelligence and turns 45% of it into AP. Master Marksman gives you 10% more AP, and RWS gives you 5% more overall damage.

This is why you pick MM; so you can dee pee ess with the bee eee esst.

Silencing Shot, Scatter Shot. PVP talents galore. Shut that nasty priest up! Keep Jimmy from a-chargin’ his Pyroblast! Hell, put a sock in that warlock before they mash their heads on the keyboard and kill you that way! Confuzzle that silly flag-carrier, shock that annoying rogue, and when all else fails, use it to pick off that hunter before he sends HarryPlopper charging your way.

Summary : So you decided you like guns and bows more than you like Fluffy. That’s cool. You’re pretty balanced, and you can handle yourself. Provided you know what you’re doing, you’re pretty damn deadly. You’ve even dabbled with skills I didn’t bring up. That’s cool too.

Just make sure you get a nice shot rotation going, though, and pace yourself. It’s tempting to shoot off everything you’ve got in a salvo of massive DPS… just make sure that when the smoke clears, your target’s on the ground, instead of chewing on your head.

And finally…Relative Advantages of The Survival Tree

Improved Wing Clip – As my guild leader once said, “Survival = Hax… on the sole basis of Imp. Wing Clip.” You use it enough to clip down pesky running targets, or slow down others to get some distance on ’em… why not have a 1 in 5 chance of them being rendered totally immobile?

Deterrence – As my guild leader also said, “Deterrence = Hax.” Can’t argue with the increased +dodge you get with more agility; why not hit the Panic Button, Aspect of the Monkey, and let your Orc go MC Hammer on his prey?

Entrapment, Clever Traps, Trap Mastery – You really, really, have no choice in the matter. You pick-a Survival? You take-a the traps. You like-a the juice? We like-a the juice.

Survival Instincts, Killer Reflexes, Killer Instinct, Expose Weakness, Thrill of the Hunt – ZOMG, another five-pack of good talents. I thought good things come in threes? Nevermind; These are another terrificly top-notch talents worth your investment, if you go Survival. +Crit, +damage %, and +15% total agility? Count me in. Getting mana back when you crit on your special shots, AND getting an AP boost when it happens on any crit, on top of that other stuff?

Damn, it feels good to be a gangster.

Wyvern Sting – Opinions differ on this; but putting somebody out of the fight for any amount of time in PVP is incredibly useful. For PVE specs, sleepy mobs give you time to kill other mobs. Raiding, I wouldn’t expect to use it as much; but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, so chalk it up as a good thing. Again, Flexibility = Key.

Summary: It relies a decent amount on chance for damage, but the strengths of better trapping abilities, increased agility for dodging / crit / AP, superb crit-tied abilities, AND a free crowd control spell.

Weaknesses? It’s gear-based, meaning that it shines as an end-game spec, rather than an early or mid-game spec. There are no killer damage talents early on, like in the other trees.By all means, if you want to level as Survival, I commend you. I didn’t go Survival until I hit 65, I was MM until 30 and BM from there through Outland.

So, there you have it. The meat and potatoes of each tree, laid right out for you.

My advice? Find the tree that suits your playing style. I leveled as all three, so, having tried each and consulted experienced players for advice on Survival, I found one that suits my needs and strengths.

Until next time, -Track



  1. Sellia said,

    Thanks for the summary. =)

  2. survivalhuntersanonymous said,

    You’re welcome. 🙂

  3. JSOL said,

    Finally the survival hunter gets recognition!

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