WARNING: IF YOU ARE A HARDCORE RAIDER AND NOT BRAND NEW TO THE CONCEPT OF SHOT PRIORITY, THEN YOU PROBABLY KNOW ALL THIS.
This new term has taken to flying around ever since patch 3.0, the Wrath of the Litch King patch. A great many people already understand what it means, and use it to their advantage. Others might not quite understand it.
Why is this term so new? Well, there was one fundamental change that happened in patch 3.0 that changed the way a Hunter does damage: the un-linking of Autoshot. Simply put, you will keep shooting normal attacks while you’re casting. This was a huge change because Hunters needed to weave their shots.
You tried your hardest to get your autoshot to shoot, then your steady shot, then your autoshot… by needling,threading, or weaving your shots like this, you caused a much larger amount of damage than someone who did not weave.
Those were the days of a shot rotation, and those days are now long gone.
Thanks to our new ability to shoot while casting, hunters no longer have to weave their shots. Hunters can shoot whatever shots they want to. However, this doesn’t mean you can go shooting all willy-nilly.
No sir, you have to prioritize. You have to come up with a Shot Priority. Simply put, it’s a list of attacks in order of importance. This Shot Priority differs between the three types of hunters, and the priorities can change mid battle depending on certain abilities(like Lock and Load for survivalists).
I am going to talk about the Beast Master shot priority quickly.
Kill shot can only be used once your opponent is at less than(or equal to) 20% hp. It is, however, the most damaging shot we have, and should be used as often as possible.
Serpent sting is the second most important shot, but you can’t spam it. When you apply a serpent sting, you have to let the poison on your opponent wear off before shooting this again. You use serpent stings because of 2 things: 1, it does a decent amount of damage. 2, thanks to Glyph of Steady Shot, your serpent sting gives your Steady Shot a 10% bonus to damage. That is a hefty amount of extra damage for this shot alone.
Arcane shot has been the recipient of the most buffs ever. Thanks to a few talents, this shot can have up to a 24% increase to damage done for beastmasters. That’s huge! In addition, the mana cost is the same as Steady Shot’s mana cost, and Arcane Shot does more damage. Whenever you don’t need to apply a Serpent Sting, Arcane Shot should be the next thing you’re shooting.
Lastly, Steady Shot. This used to be our bread and butter ability, but now it’s just filler. It does damage, don’t get me wrong. However, it doesn’t do as much as it used to. The reason we are going to be using as much as we will be, however, is because it has a very short cooldown. If you have nothing else to shoot, and you can’t reapply serpent sting, then shoot Steady Shot.
See how it works? It’s a heriachy. It’s more dynamic, and it’s certainly a lot easier weaving your shots, take my word for it. The trick is timing your shots so you don’t let Serpent Sting fall off by accident, or to remember to use Arcane Shot and Kill Shot whenever you can.
Shot Priority is different for Marksmen and Survivalists, however. I am not qualified to really tell you what the Marksman or Survivalist Shot Priority is. For that, I suggest reading some other blogs, or checking out Raider 101, a wiki created by the author of Blessing of Kings. If you’re new to raiding, that wiki has some good information to start you off.