The Return of Aimed Shot
Once the hallmark of the Marksmanship shot rotation in the pre-expansion era, Aimed Shot makes a grand return in Cataclysm with the new patch thanks to this change:
- Aimed Shot weapon damage has been increased to 200%, up from 150%. In addition, the base cast time has been reduced to 2.4 seconds, down from 3.
Blizzard has done a fine job in giving the ability a grand return as the signature shot of Marksmanship hunters. What this update has done is replace all uses of Arcane Shot in the Marksmanship rotation with Aimed Shot. Hard casting the ability now creates a very viable rotation since implementing the 0.6-second reduction of its cast time.
Assuming 10,000 ranged attack power and 1,500 average ranged weapon damage, this is the base damage of Aimed Shot in its current state:
Aimed Shot in this new patch replaces the dual firing of Arcane Shot in the Marksmanship shot rotation. The current base damage of two Arcane Shots is:
Though you can see that Aimed Shot can easily outshine two Arcane Shots, you might wonder why it was not used before. The reason is the long cast time. Now that the cast time has been reduced, it marginally spends the same amount of time as firing two global cooldowns with the instant Arcane Shots. The new shot rotation priority for 4.0.6, therefore, is:
Serpent Sting » [ Kill Shot » Chimera Shot » 2 Steady Shots » Aimed Shot ]
Of course, if Master Marksman triggers, always fire that extra Aimed Shot.
Finally, with this change in shot priority, Marksmanship hunters will especially benefit from the Careful Aim (Rank 2) talent because both Steady Shot and Aimed Shot are affected by it. This talent provides a significant critical strike boost to your shots. When fighting a boss, simply fire 2 Steady Shots and an Aimed Shot as your rotation for the first 20% of the fight. There is no need, however, to do this with normal and trash mobs because 20% often goes by quickly.
As an example, this is the result of my recent fight against Lord Godfrey in Heroic Shadowfang Keep, where I pulled 17,000 DPS: