How To BM: PvE Talent Spec

At long last, the wait is over: I finally got in the adequate testing, the flourishes, and the blasted, loot be damned spec to go with it.

So sit tight, and gaze upon the core talent any BM hunter should be following in order to PvE like… well, me!

BM Hunter CORE PvE Talent spec.

That’s a lot of info in one little square of pixels, no?

Although one would normally go through a detailed, exhaustive, and altogether boring look into what they took points wise, that would be silly. Why? Because the way talent trees are now make it very, very easy to make a good talent spec, even by accident.

It’s actually a lot quicker and easier to explain why I didn’t take certain talents. Since you need a minimum of 31 points to be able to expand into other trees. Here’s how:

Why Klin didn’t take some talents:
Pathfinding: This is a horrible idea for a talent in a PvE setting, and for a simple reason: it doesn’t help us at all!

Pathfinding simply increases the movement speed increase we get out of Aspect of the Cheetah and of the Pack (a.k.a Aspect of the Dazed. I’ve got stories folks, and they are not pretty) which is not something we care about in a PvE environment. There are enough reasons not to use Aspect of the Dazed in PvE that I could (and probably will) write a whole article on it. Suffice to say it’s been the culprit of countless deaths, guild splits, mass murdering sprees, and even a small house fire that consumed orphans.

Oh, and the increase to mount speed? Whoop dee doo! It’s not like we can fight while mounted on our super awesome Cenarion WAR Hippogryphs, so who cares. This is, in it’s purest form, a leveling talent and nothing more.


Improved Mend Pet: Improved mend pet doen’t seem that bad at first glance, does it? I mean, why the fuss? It gets rid of innumerable afflictions, you know, afflicting your pet; but to the experienced hunter, this is obviously a trap.

See, PvE has become incredibly nice to hunters of the past couple of years: where once our pets got destroyed by AoE spells and curses that normally ran rampant in the PvE universe, our pets can now gleefully shred away at a boss (i.e Squeaky toy) while the strange looking people around it run screaming from the giant clouds of death and destruction.

Why is it always the Orphans?!

What does this mean? Well, it means your pet very rarely (and I mean so rare that it’s not even an issue) receives a debuff in a PvE environment. So why bother putting two points into something you don’t even need, am I right? They’re better placed into Spirit Bond, so that you don’t die from the aforementioned  clouds of death and destruction and so that your healers don’t hate you.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera: Not only does this reference a movie that I found incredibly confusing and strange (I was anywhere between 10 and 12 years old when I saw it, so go figure), but the talent itself serves no purpose in a PvE setting.

Yes, it can reduce the cooldown of your Disengage. Yes, it can reduce the cooldown of your Deterrence; but it comes at a really, really high cost.

One of the key things to being a Hunter, or any ranged DPS class for that matter, is that we don’t get shot/smacked/mauled/torn apart/wrathed/terror’d/fired/____ (<- insert death inducing predicament here)

Suffice to say that we don’t want to get hurt. In order to receive the benefit of this talent, we have to get hurt.

Imagine this: you’re the Hulk. So what’s the only way to save people? To get mad. So you ask someone to punch you in the face so you can be stronger; except instead of  getting stronger, you get dead, and instead of saving people, the people call you a noob and /spit on your corpse. The Hulk doesn’t sound so cool now does he?

So, lesson learned: in a PvE setting, where you can avoid a lot of damage, you avoid it. So if you can avoid being punched in the face by _____(<- insert face smashing bad guy here) you probably should, which renders this talent useless. Take the 2 points and put them someplace else is what I say, and it’s what I did!

So that’s the BM tree
The thing is, with the way the new talents work, just stuff the talent points everywhere else and bam, 31 points. No questions asked, you just completed the tree. It’s really that much easier to make a talent spec by looking at it and asking yourself “what talents in here are worthless” and then filling out the rest.

So, with that out of the way, I now get to explain the outside parts of the spec.

Holy fandango, it’s the MM tree!
That’s right everyone, we’re out of the BM tree and making waves in the Marksmanship and Survival trees; however, before you start pouring your points into Rapid Killing (please don’t waste points there…) I’d like to give you one more section of Core points:

The Core in the MM tree
Believe it or not, some of the talents in this tree feel like they were designed for us BM hunters, and I’m not complaining. Let’s dive right in:

Go for the Throat:
Now that we get autoshots while we move, this talent has gotten infinitely better. So long as you’re facing your opponent, you should be shooting him in the face. Every time one of those shots crits, your pet gets focus. The more focus it has, the more it can abuse Wild Hunt; and like I’ve explained before, Wild Hunt is ridiculous.

My good friend Gradii/Aifel put it this way: you can gear for a lot of things, but focus isn’t one of them. So take talents in it.

I full heartedly support that message.

Efficiency: If there’s one thing I like more than gathering more resources, it’s saving them. Efficiency does exactly that: instead of spending 25 focus on an Arcane Shot, I spend 22. This little difference actually matters: with the way we prioritize attacks and shots, it’s difficult to get more than 1 arcane shot between Kill Commands (actually, I found it difficult to get more than 1 Arcane Shot every 2 Kill Commands!) which is not a good thing. With the 3 ranks in efficiency, I could shoot 1-2 Arcane Shots without any real distress.

Why is this important? Because Arcane Shot is a huge source of damage for us. If we can’t shoot it, then we can’t make use of the damage potential it has, not to mention the other endearing qualities it brings to the table. For instance…

Sic ’em!: This talent is a direct follow up to Go for the Throat, except instead of autoshot  giving your pet hugs, it’s Arcane shot. And what kind of hugs? The kind that give it a free basic attack when you crit with Arcane shot.

The implications of this are fairly large. While testing this talent, I could only look up to the hunter gods and thanks them for this talent; basically, it allows me to abuse Wild Hunt more, and I love abusing Wild Hunt. Anytime this procs, chances are your pet will either a) use Wild Hunt without expending any of the cost or b) be able to use wild hunt in a few seconds since their last attack cost nothing.

It pretty much is fabulous for everything I want my pet to do, which is damage. I can pretty much guarantee that Sic ‘Em! is a gimme.

Hokay, but I still have 3 talent points left! What do I do?
Well, this is where it gets tricky. See, we’ve already passed our core: the key stuff is taken care of.

However, as the most astute of you (and the people that can read!) have noticed, we still have three points left before our spec is finished.

As I see it, there are three reasonable sounding options, of which two I think are the best. Let’s take a look at what we’ve got:

Careful Aim: This talent is… odd. I mean, sure, our Cobra shots get an amazing chance to crit for the first 20% of a fight. I don’t mean to sound bored with this but… yeah, actually, I do. It’s boring. It’s not even that useful!

Allow me to tell exactly what cobra shot does: it keeps Serpent Sting on the target (which is important, but that’s not the focus of this article) and gives us focus. Otherwise, it does low damage.

Unlike Arcane Shot, Cobra Shot crits don’t do much for me. They do very little, to be frank. So, I think this talent sucks; but if you think it sounds awesome, then you’re entitled to that. I respect that.

Although I certainly do not agree.

Pathing: Ah, haste. A little history: BM hunters used to never need haste. We used to have a talent that automatically gave us 20% haste, and same for our pet. I miss those days.

Suffice to say that we don’t have that anymore, and that Pathing provides a small amount of haste that we can use. Which brings up the question: why do we need it?

In order for BM hunters to use Kill Command on every cooldown, while still using our focus for Arcane shots, we need the focus we get off of 2-3 cobra shots first. Once we have that focus, we’re good to go for another Kill Command and a couple Arcane shots, and the process starts again.

The thing is, Cobra shot has an inordinately long cast time. It’s not Pyroblast/Aimed shot/______(<- stupid mage ability I don’t care about goes here) but it’s still long for us, especially since we have to move around a lot in fights. Happily, haste brings that cast time down, and with some help from other abilities (Focus Fire, Rapid Fire) we can bring the cast time to about 1 second. That’s awesome, but those abilities don’t have a 100% uptime: that’s where pathing helps.

Having 3% increased haste isn’t a big shoveltusk, but it’s big enough that I would consider it if you feel your cobra shots are too clunky.

Improved Serpent Sting: Serpent sting is a powerful shot: unfortunately, not only is the name of this talent about as stale as most pop talent these days, Serpent Sting is not a shot I want to be re-applying all the time. As a result, I wouldn’t be able to take full advantage of the first half of the ability (to be fair, no hunter does: Survivalists use Cobra shot to keep it up, and Marksmen use Chimera shot to do the same).

The thing is, the increased crit chance does do a decent amount of damage, and I can guarantee that you will need to re-apply Serpent Sting on occasion:  there have been more than a few times where I’ve used Bestial Wrath, and upon exiting my murderous rampage I noticed that Serpent Sting fell off the boss. Woops!

It does help with DPS, more than I can say Careful Aim ever will. I’d take it.

So that was “precise” Klin. Thanks. Like, I feel all reassured.
Oh, don’t be so cynical. The reason why the last bunch are vague is for one very important reason: they’re to taste. I find I’ve got enough Haste on my gear that I don’t need many points in Pathing, and I don’t really like Careful Aim.  I put my points in like this:

Klin's all purpose, super fabulous PvE Spec!

It’s all purpose and super fabulous!

It’s also what I find works for me. So what does this mean for you? Well, dear reader, it means that you’re actually going to have to respec a bunch to find out what you like best.

Screw you!
Why thank you. Suffice to say, at least the build can be tailored to the player for a small amount of it. So get out there and try things out! Experiment! Learn to know what your hunter feels like.

Too bad, go get cookies somewhere else. I’m not going to tell you how to copy me; however flattering it is, it’s also kinda creepy, and I’d appreciate it if you made your own style instead being the creepy groupie who just wants to see me naked.

So is that the guide you’ve spent 3 weeks writing?
More or less. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I hope it helps you out.

This shouldn’t have taken three weeks!
Being fabulous has no time limit.





  1. Hah, you quoted me. Your credibility is down the shitter. 😀

    So why the points in Imp. Serpent Sting when, ideally, you never have to reapply SrS and the initial damage is very low? Why not 3/3 Pathing?

  2. @Alex
    The thing is, it’s what feels right.

    Because I hate Careful Aim, and the other two are my only options, I tested to see how much haste I wanted.

    For me, 3/3 Pathing put me in the uncomfortable position where I would have almostenough time to shoot another cobra shot, but almost didn’t cut it: I’d have to be ~1 second late or wait for ~1 second for Kill Command’s cooldown to come back up.

    That’s with my gear though: that’s why it’s supposed to be open ended. It’s up to preference: if I had a ton of haste, I would have no problem getting off 3 cobra shots; but I don’t, so I can’t, so I won’t.

  3. @Loronar
    I figure that the Glyphs are for another article: it’s another one of those things where there’s a lot of debate, and I need time to formulate my ideas.

  4. Well done, and you’re right, the last few points can be experimented with and are going to come down to play style. Testing is key.

  5. Great article i will be looking into it my Hunter is 84 and i struggle with her i am BM now that u’ve shown us your talent tree what Glyphs do u use and what glyphs are better for BM whats your rotation or macro’s cause i’ve tried everything and i dont get it right my dps is 2-3k and thats bad i really want to stay BM i wanna use BM in raids i hate MM and SV so if u can help me there i would appreciate it alot.

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