Second Wind Of Survival

He's a maaaaaan tracker...

He's a maaaaaan tracker...

Well, I’ve gone ahead and tried my second favourite spec out of the 3 trees, the survival tree(I played with this talent and glyph spec: 0/14/57).

Pre-3.1, I can’t say I was this impressed.  The shot rotation wasn’t as much fun back then.

Post 3.1, survival has come back with a vengeance in terms of fun factor.  I’ve been running plenty of heroics and raids in an attempt to understand how the shot priority system for survival works.  It’s a lot more interactive than the Beastmastery shot priority, and I have yet to test the Marksman shot priority, so I don’t know about that.

The survival tree might be more fun for a number of reasons, but I think one of the big reasons I’m enjoying as much I have is because of my Power Auras addon.  It’s the addon which helps me keep track of everything in a quick, simple, and easily visible manner without looking all over the screen.  It’s entirely possible to take your entire User Interface and present all the important info around your character.  Yes, this is me selling myself out, but this addon works.  Plus, it looks incredibly cool, and it’s entirely customizable and easy to work with once you tinker with it for 30 minutes.

Allow me to show you:
screenshot_042209_120850Please please PLEASE don’t look at that recount.  Please.  I’ll give you all cookies.

This is my current display(with the exception of Xpearl.  For some reason I can’t make a focus target with XPearl or PitBull at the moment which kills my poor Misdirection Macro.  If anyone knows why, please send me an e-mail!) and as you can see, there are some funny looking symbols on top of my character.  I used the red one to represent when I need to use Hunter’s Mark, and it will disappear if anyone casts it on my target.  The green one shows that I still need to use Serpent Sting, and will only disappear if I cast a Serpent Sting on the target.  Since this was back when I was playing around with Beastmastery, there are a number of symbols you aren’t seeing.
screenshot_042509_012900Like the Beastmastery pictures, green means I need to apply Serpent Sting and the Red symbols on the sides show I need to apply a Hunter’s Mark.  The purple ring means I need to cast a Black Arrow, and the red fire things on the inside show I can fire Explosive shot.  This shows me what I need to fire still, and it’s up to me to put them in the right order.  I tell you this much: I would not be able to keep track of all this information otherwise.  I could play looking at my character rather than at my action bars, which is fabulous.

Oh, and a bonus, you can add noises.  When I can use Kill Shot, I have the word “BAM” pop up on top of my character with a ding noise, and I crack myself up every damn time.  It’s great!


This post isn’t supposed to be about “how to Power Aura”, though I might do that as a future post if people think it’s necessary.  I was detailing how you can take all the information you need from around the screen, and put it in a convenient place so that you can properly execute your shot priority as a survivalist.

The shot priority is as such:
1.  Hunter’s Mark.  This should be the first thing you cast every time you attack a target.  The increase in attack power is substantial and should not be passed over.

2.  Black Arrow.  6% increase to all damage.  Black Arrow also deals it’s own fair share of damage and causes Lock and Load to activate.  All of this makes for a happy survivalist.

3.  Serpent Sting.  Thanks to Noxious Stings, Serpent Sting increases all damage done by 3%.  Not as much as black arrow, but it’s constant where Black Arrow is up half the time Serpent Sting is.  Technically, Serpent Sting increases damage by teh same amount, seeing as it lasts double the amount of time Black Arrow does.  But that’s mathcraft, and I’m not here to talk mathcraft quite yet.

4.  Kill Shot.  Whenever you can use Kill Shot, you should.  I am seriously undergeared despite my recent luck, and I still can crit for roughly 9 000 damage.  So use it!

5.  Explosive Shot.  This is the Bread and Butter of the shot rotation.  Despite the fact that you can only use it once every 6 seconds, Explosive Shot makes up for more of your DPS than any other shot, hands down.  It also procs Hunting Party, so it’s a must.

6.  Multi-Shot/Aimed Shot.  If you have Aimed Shot talented, then you should be using it right after Explosive shot.  If you’re looking for Multi-target damage, then you should shoot multi-shot.

7.  Steady Shot.  At long last, the bottom of the Priority list.  It’s a quick filler shot, and doesn’t do as much damage as the rest of your shots.  Nonetheless, it does enough to make us happy, and you’ll be using Steady Shot a lot.  It also re-applies Replenishment with Explosive shot.

Obviously, if your opponent has next to no HP left, you don’t really need to bother with applying all of the stuff at the beginning.  If it’s going to be a longer fight, it will be necessary to do so to keep your DPS high and mighty at the top of the meters.

All told, this is a lot of abilities to keep under check all at once.  But it needs to be done: your DPS depends on it.  Hence why I got Power Auras, and it works.  Works for Colemand too, since he has a lot of proc based abilities I can’t keep track of.  I highly recommend getting this addon or a similar one in order to help organize your shots.

So that, in a nutshell, is the Survivalist shot priority System.  SSPS.  It’s a cool acronym, if I do say so myself.


Now, back to why this is fun: It’s different than being a Beastmaster in oh so many ways.  Being a Beastmaster required a lot more knowledge of what was going on since I had to keep track of both myself and my pet.  As a survivalist it’s a nice skill to have, but I only need to worry about myself.  On the other hand, the shot rotation requires a great deal of concentration to pull off accurately and a great deal of practice too.  Once you’ve got the shot system down though, it flows like a breeze.  I can consistently pull 2 600 DPS on a boss fight, and I am undergeared compared to most people pulling that kind of DPS.  It’s certainly a little bit more than I was doing as a beastmaster.

But you know what? I think I’ll keep it as a secondary spec, at best.  I’m still a beastmaster at heart and always will be, but Survival is a fun alternative because it’s so completely different.

Also, mana flows through me like water.

Large, flowing rivers of water that carry fish and other fruits of nature, enough to feed a whole godammed village.  It’s crazy! I’ve never seen so much mana.  I could run a car in real life with the amount of mana I had.



  1. *sighs* I have yet to figure out PowerAuras.
    I need some TLC time with this addon because it’s really cool looking and amazingly useful! 😀

  2. Hello

    Maybe I can solve your trouble with setting a focus target.

    When you use an addon to replace the default unitframes you can no longer set a target as your focus by the blizz menu.
    Instead target your desired focus target and type /focus

    Let me know if it works (it normally should).

  3. I have had your post booked marked for a while now, stopping by every now and then to see what was up. I probably came here one of two ways, by way of old BRK(/sad) or aspect of the hare.
    Anyway getting back on subject – great post. I would love to see more written about power auras. I use them a bit and love them but would like to understand them more.
    I am a BM but have recently duel speced in SV (but haven’t used SV).
    Keep up the great work – this just moved you toward the top of the blogs that I read.

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