WoW Hunter Talent Builds for 3.3 - Survival
The Survival spec has been the spec-du-jour for PvP and for raiding at various points in WoW’s long history. It’s still a great spec for those Hunters who may be in the process of gearing and need to compensate for low hit or crit ratings.
The Spec - WoW Hunter Survival Talents 3.3
The Hunter talent build detailed at http://www.wowhead.com/talent#cZZx0ci0cIhxdAhsk provides the most beneficial talents, selected especially for the unique and fluid playstyle of the Survival Hunter. Both Survival Instincts and Survivalist contribute to your personal sturdiness by adding Stamina and deflecting incoming damage. Lock and Lock, TNT, and Wyvern Sting provide the signature abilities for this talent build supplemented by Black Arrow and Explosive Shot at the bottom of the Survival tree.
The remaining points can be distributed into either the Beast Mastery tree or into the Marksmanship tree. Generally, the opening talents in BM will contribute to your and your pet's hardiness, while the first few tiers in MM provide additional dps.
The Cunning pet works well with the Survival Hunter talent build, allowing your companion to provide some utility and support while leaving the burden of high dps to your traps and shots. Roar of Recovery and Roar of Sacrifice can really help you out in a pinch, and also complement the Survival spec well in PvP situations.
If you prefer raiding, you will probably want to choose a Ferocity pet instead of the Cunning pet, purely from a dps-generating standpoint.
The ability rotation for the Survival Hunter is markedly different than either Beast Mastery or Marksmanship, mainly for the use of the many additional abilities available. Freezing Trap and Wyvern Sting can each take a mob out of the fight briefly, allowing the Hunter and his pet time to recover from a bad pull or patrol. Serpent Sting should be applied at the beginning of the fight to the marked target, followed by Kill Shot, Explosive Shot, and Black Arrow. Cooldowns can be filled in with Steady Shots, or even with Aimed Shots, if that talent in the MM was selected.
When Lock and Load procs, the Hunter will immediately abandon his rotation and apply three successive Explosive Shots. This strategy, when combined with Kill Command and Rapid Fire, will provide the most optimal utility for the Survival Hunter.
Depending upon the situation, the Survival Hunter can also make great use of traps. Frost trap to slow the movement of several mobs, Explosive trap for AoE damage, and Snake Trap and Immolation Trap for PvP situations are all very useful - and under-utilized - abilities for the Hunter.
Glyphing Explosive Shot should be your first priority. This glyph will increase Explosive Shot's critical chance by 4%, a significant increase in damage. Glyph of Serpent Sting increases the duration which means you have to refresh the DoT less frequently, and Glyph of Kill Shot reduces a cooldown, allowing that ability to be available to you more often.
As with all Hunter specs, there are no minor glyphs that provide higher damage. Instead, you are free to choose the minor glyphs that will best supplement your own particular playstyle.