Tier 18 Marksmanship Set Bonuses

Hunter tier 18 gear

Since the PTR seems to be down for the afternoon and I can't do any more testing, I figure it's time to start compiling data. Fortunately, while looking through some MM logs of mine, I started to notice a few interesting trends, and thought I'd add them in with some of my opinions on the tier 18 set bonuses.

2 Piece Set Bonus (Marksmanship): When you critically hit with Chimera Shot, you have a 40% chance to gain Rapid Fire for 4 sec.

This one caught me off guard a bit.  At first glance, it seems like a really cool ability.   I really like the idea of it, because it requires some planning and skill to take advantage of. I was imagining that so long as you were at fairly high focus before each Chim Shot, if you happened to proc one of these 4 second Rapid Fires, then you could just pound out a few Aimed Shots to take advantage of a little burst of Careful Aim.  If, on the other hand, you weren't conservative enough with your focus, you'd spend your extra Rapid Fire/Careful Aim time just casting Cobra Shots or Focusing Shots. That's something I really like to see in a set bonus: a skill requirement to really get the most damage out of it.

However, while all of the above remains true, the ability happens so seldom that it's not going to make enough of an impact on your DPS to really even bother thinking about it.  Were I to have thought about the wording a bit more carefully, it might have noticed this before testing, but as it was I was appalled to see how few proc'ed when I was going over my logs, and didn't until then think about the consequence of the the two independent events.

To clarify, you have a 40% chance to proc Rapid Fire for 4 seconds, but only every time your Chim Shot crits.  If you are at the crit soft cap, 53% (which is not possible to reach in current gear, but may be possible as we get mythic tier 18 gear), that means you only have a 20% chance of proc'ing the 2p each time you cast a Chim Shot.  Furthermore, as Chim Shot has a 9 second CD, that means even if you play your rotation perfect, hitting Chim Shot exactly every 9 seconds, you'll only see, on average, a little over five seconds of Rapid Fire per minute (not including your normal Rapid Fire).

To convert that to DPS terms, that will average out to 3 extra Aimed Shots (without the 4 piece set bonus) with guaranteed crits.  Since half of those Aimed Shots would have crit anyway, we're talking about an extra 45-60k damage per minute, That's 750-1000  dps, or about a percent and a half of extra damage (assuming you manage your focus and perform your rotation perfectly).

For those under the crit soft cap, the 2 piece bonus will become even less valuable.  At 37.5% crit or less, you start averaging less than one proc per minute, and of course, your Rapid Fire / Careful Aim may suffer as well, as you won't have guaranteed Aimed Shot crits.

However, the lackluster 2 piece set bonus leads way to an incredibly fun 4 piece set bonus:

4 Piece Set Bonus (Marksmanship): The cast time of your Aimed Shot is reduced by 100% (Aimed Shot becomes instant).

I can't get over how much I love this set bonus. The trouble with Marksmanship's rotation since 6.0 has been that it feels like you're playing a caster class.  Lots of sitting around, waiting for casts to finish.  Well, not anymore.  Even though in my head, I realize that this bonus basically just gives MM a really powerful Arcane Shot, having played with the long casts of Aimed Shots for a while now, it feels really fun to fire off instant Aimed Shots. 

It's still fairly unclear whether Lone Wolf or Focusing Shot will be the preferable talent with this ability, though I found playing with Focusing Shot much easier (and therefor did better dps).  Thrill of the Hunt, however, is clearly going to be king. 

Though some of this may change before patch 6.2 goes live, as it is now, while Thrill is proc'ed and you're during Rapid Fire, Aimed Shot becomes even way more efficient of an ability than Chim Shot
surpassing Chim Shot in our Priority (at least in single target fights).  During Rapid Fire without Thrill, or vice versa, things stay a bit more calm, but Aimed Shot still remains a very efficient ability. 

An added benefit to this bonus is it nearly doubles the value of the 2 piece set bonus.  Where as before we could only squeeze 3 Aimed Shots into the extra Rapid Fire time, we'll now be able to get at least 5 Aimed Shots during that time.

Marksmanship in 6.2

I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of theorycrafting with this set bonus in the coming months, and perhaps we'll even see some changes to it, as blizzard refines and tunes things, but for now, MM is looking like it will be the clear choice for single any single target fights, or fights where our priority target is more important than cleaving.  

The best part, for me at least, is not only does MM look like it's going to do some fairly solid numbers, but also I was having fun playing it.  Perhaps some of that will wear off as the joy of all instant Aimed Shots fades, but for now, this is easily my favorite set bonus of the tier, and I'm really looking forward to playing some Marks in 6.2.  


  1. Keep an eye on the 2P Rapid Fire - it currently does not activate Careful Aim. Which, if it goes in as it is, means no guaranteed Aimed Shots during the 4s proc. So, probably a bug.

    1. ... And since I can't edit, so far simC agrees with Focusing Shot :)

    2. Well... I definitely did not even think to look. My AiS crits during the 2pc rapid fire buff are siting bellow 50%. :-/

      Hopefully it was just overlooked because they're different spellIDs, and the new ID needs to be added to the Careful Aim effects list. But, who knows if it'll be fixed before live.

      I might jump in the SimC irc this evening and bug you about some 6.2 questions, if you're in there. I haven't looked at 6.2 sims at all yet (I just last night finished entering the new hunter gear into my spreadsheet, 'cause been lazy), glad y'all have already started.