Thoughts on Survival in Lich King

July 24, 2008 at 4:32 pm (Beast Mastery, General Hunter Knowledge, Lich King, Survival)

Okay, I’m skipping that other stuff, but I WILL post about Survival in Lich King.

Survival, as it stands currently, is an odd hodgepodge. The talents are good, but the problem lies in the fact that they don’t do enough to compensate for overall loss of DPS until you get the gear.

The tricks are cool, though. You cannot knock the sheer fun value of Wyvern Stinging somebody, dropping an Aimed shot on them, popping Readiness, Wyvern Stinging again, and going for another Aimed Shot. Especially if it crits.

But you don’t go Survival to do serious DPS. You go to be useful. You pick it so you can keep Exposed Weakness on big raid bosses. You pick it so you have longer-lasting, harder to resist traps. You pick it so you can do longer-range pulls.

In Lich King, things will be changing. Chances are if Agility is your primary concern, you’ll be stocking up on leather, but mail is definitely worth it now, with more emphasis on Intellect. With talents like Careful Aim now giving up to 100% of your Intellect as AP, you get even more boom for your points.

With more Agility (have you seen some of the blues? SHEESH!) on each item, you’ll have more to contribute. I’m thinking items will be capping out around 80 Agility, with or without sockets, for level 80 items, and possibly even more from the raids… which will easily put you over 1k agility before Lightning Reflexes, at level 80, and after LR, almost 1200.

300 extra AP. 33% crit without any +crit items, talents, or passive bonuses. 45% crit pre-buffing is definitely possible. That’s right… with raid buffs, you’re passing the previous ceiling of 50% crit, and edging up on 60% crit. Before, say, Master Tactician procs. 70%.

A 70% chance to crit, eh? Not bad. You’re really gonna need Improved Feign Death and Readiness then.

And with talents like Hunting Party, at a 70% crit rating, you’ve just made yourself the new best friend of every raider and their mother, providing 2% of necessary stats back every 8 seconds.

One correspondent of mine has long held that, at a certain point, Survival will surpass the other trees in terms of raw DPS. As long as you can out-crit % them, which should be incredibly easy for a Survival Hunter in Lich King, he might be right.

You may not be popular now; you may be shunned because people don’t have foresight, or think BM is the be-all end-all of specs. If you don’t have a friendly guild, you may be the equivalent of the cute, nerdy girl in every makeover movie.

All I can say is, going Survival in Lich King is going to rock your world in ways you’ve never known. Hell, people will be fighting over the right to take you to prom.

(well, prom in Naxxramas.)

Another thing – and this is entirely dependant on the damage of Serpent Sting in Lich King – with certain talenting, including Potent Venom, it may become more ideal to drop the standard 5 points in Improved Aspect of the Hawk and pick up 5/5 in Improved Stings as well. Costing 30% less and dealing 30% more damage? Having a Serpent Sting rotation may not be so noobish at this point, after all…

I’m looking forward to messing with all three trees. They’ve got plenty of candy to go around. Take your time, don’t get sick.


P.S. Yes, back to BM, blah blah blah. If BRK went Survival, would you chew him out, or praise him for having an open mind? (Consider, again, that he WAS Survival back pre-BC.)



  1. Ray said,

    Hey, I just found the blog and really love it. I was thinking about going survival, especially with all the new goodies WotLK gives us. I was just wondering if it was worth the drop in DPS from BM to SV for heroics. Hunting Party, for example, doesn’t help as many people in a 5 man as a 25 man, (obviously.) Thoughts?

  2. survivalhuntersanonymous said,

    Hey Ray!

    Glad you dig the site.

    If I understand what you’re saying about wanting to check out Survival, and you plan on doing a ton of heroics, then the switch is worth it. The trapping alone will pay dividends, having Readiness around makes you an amazing asset, along with the “Panic Button” , Wyvern Sting.

    Your DPS takes a major hit, but when you can grab a rogue mob and stop a wipe in its tracks, it’s worth the hit. It will be roughly 20% less than what you’re currently putting out, in line with the 20% speed increase from Serpent’s Swiftness.

    Hunting Party only works for the immediate party, not the raid. You join the ranks of what Project X has come to refer to as the “Manah-Manah’s” (see, but you also provide rage, rune power, and focus, thus making you more useful. 🙂


  3. Ray said,

    Wow, very helpful. Thank you! Bookmarked the blog. 🙂

  4. Ray said,

    Ooh! I have another question. I’ve read that you should really only switch if you have 600 agility before, (unbuffed.) Agility comes from gear, and I can’t find a lot of pre-tier 4 loot that has enough. Can you get that much agility from heroic/BG/quest gear alone? I just don’t have enough time for raids, or the skill for arena. 🙂

  5. survivalhuntersanonymous said,

    Hey Ray!

    That’s a misnomer. You can switch beforehand, but it’s at the 600 mark where Survival starts making a difference compared to Marks, in terms of direct comparison of Trueshot Aura and Expose Weakness. (at 600, it returns the exact same amount of AP as Trueshot Aura gives; having 600 unbuffed agility means you get even more out of it.)

    If you want a point of reference gear-wise for loads of agility before t4, check out Mirsh :

    You can get all of his gear outside of t4 content (You have to pay handsomely for the belt, though.). You can’t get the Gladiator’s stuff anymore unless you trade off a t4 token for it, but you can get Merciless in BG’s.

    He has somewhere around 700 agility unbuffed, and a killer survival blog, found at

    Hope that helps!


  6. Narumi said,

    Hello. I’ve played as a Survival Hunter all of TBC and I can say that I’m able to do more DPS then the MM and BM hunters in our guild, usually I’m on top 3-4 together with the locks and rogues. So I’m staying Survival all of LK aswell, time to figure out a new specc. Haha

  7. Chainer said,

    dont forget that EW no longer affects raid members its for the hunter only which ruin its raid value however this is compensated by hunting party. i would also like to point out that with the scaling of stats at 80 it will be doubtfull that any one will be pushing 70% crit rate. it will be interesting to see first hand what benefits and problems happen in wrath.

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