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The Improved Improved Hunter’s Mark

Continuing with our series of research topics on talents that were redesigned with Wrath of the Lich King, today we talk about Improved Hunter’s Mark.

During Burning Crusade, Improved Hunter’s Mark was placed in the same talent tier as Efficiency, and the pros and cons of using either one became a topic of discussion. However, the new expansion has changed the placement of Improved Hunter’s Mark into a lower tier talent and redesigned its function from scratch.

Did you ever notice that before Wrath was released, the last time we received an upgrade for Hunter’s Mark was at level 58? I had even missed this fact myself. Burning Crusade did not have a Hunter’s Mark (Rank 5). It came with Wrath. This is a shame because it could mean that the ability was highly underpowered in the first expansion. But would an extra rank of Hunter’s Mark during Burning Crusade have made the original Improved Hunter’s Mark any more attractive?

Causes 20/40/60/80/100% of your Hunter’s Mark ability’s base attack power to apply to melee attack power as well.

That was the description of the original talent. It was a five-point talent that was competing with Efficiency for utility. The mechanics of this incarnation of the talent was discussed in the link I provided earlier.

Hunter’s Mark Hypotheticals

Unfortunately, there was no way that an extra rank of Hunter’s Mark could be added. The ability was first introduced at level 6 and received upgrades at 22, 40, 58, and finally 76. With the exception of the first, every upgrade had an 18-level gap. Let’s say, hypothetically, the last gap was split into two, and there was another Hunter’s Mark at level 67.

Diagram charting RAP bonuses for each rank of Hunters Mark.

If this hypothetical rank of Hunter’s Mark existed in Burning Crusade, we estimate a Ranged Attack Power bonus of 170. If one were to place talent points into the original Improved Hunter’s Mark with this hypothetical rank of Hunter’s Mark available, it would also have provided more bonus melee attack power. It would also have provided an alternative option to the old Trueshot Aura (+125 AP at level 70) because it would provide 45 more attack power to melee classes. The fact that Improved Hunter’s Mark was a lower-tier talent, Beast Mastery hunters could have easily picked it up so that in a raid it could provide a buff that Marksmanship hunters could give with Trueshot Aura.

Table of bonus values for the old Improved Hunters Mark.(click to enlarge)

Although we can’t say whether this would make the talent more attractive due to the attack power buff, it seemed clear that Blizzard had intended to keep with the original schedule of introducing a new Hunter’s Mark every 18 levels. It is also possible that the poor reception to Improved Hunter’s Mark (due to this flaw) prompted Blizzard to revamp the mechanics of the talent.

Hunter’s Mark Redefined

Increases the bonus attack power granted by your Hunter’s Mark ability by 10/20/30%, and reduces the mana cost of your Hunter’s Mark ability by 33/66/100%.

The new Improved Hunter’s Mark is a three-point talent. However, the description of the talent itself is a redefinition of what Hunter’s Mark is meant for. In Wrath of the Lich King, it was clear that Hunter’s Mark was solely meant for buffing ranged attack power. The sole right to buffing melee attack power would go to Trueshot Aura.

In the old Improved Hunter’s Mark, the primary flaw of the design was that it did nothing to the ranged attack power already given to you. Many saw that the five-point requirement was too valuable to be wasted on buffing melee attack power. In the new design, this was resolved because for any number of points you spend in the new talent, it provides bonus for your ranged attack power.

Table of bonus values for the new Improved Hunters Mark.(click to enlarge)

Questions and Further Notes

What was the intention for the original design of Improved Hunter’s Mark? Could it have been meant for PvP rather than PvE to emphasize the concept of “focus fire”? If this was the case, why was the talent redesigned into a seemingly PvE-centric one?

As with any hunter ability we have previously discussed, both Aspect of the Dragonhawk and Trueshot Aura, the attack power bonus of Improved Hunter’s Mark is useless without Hunter’s Mark itself. To really have any effect, the hunter with this talent must always use his Hunter’s Mark. It should also be noted that Improved Hunter’s Mark will not stack, so assign only one hunter to pick up this talent.

It is also worth noting that the Glyph of Hunter’s Mark will add 20% of the base Hunter’s Mark RAP bonus to the total bonus. When this is used in conjunction with Improved Hunter’s Mark (Rank 3), the total RAP bonus from your Hunter’s Mark becomes 450, which is not something to be ignored. Considering Marksmanship hunters already boast some of the highest RAP values out there, a combination like this can provide us with the big crits we are looking for.

You can also find out more about Improved Hunter’s Mark through Nassira’s survey of the DPS value of the talent and Feanoro’s brief overview of what the talent means.


21 responses

  1. Some really good food for thought.

    I’m not so sure if it was ever truly intended PvP or PvE only, but that’s an intriguing theory.

    As for it’s use, Remember it was like TSA, a Party Talent. If anyone in your party had it, no else needed to spec in it.

    So what you typically had was 1 Hunter w/ IHM and the others talented with Efficency. (Well, at least this is how I remember it.)

    27 January 2009 at 09:29

  2. So do you think it’s something Survival hunters could look for as well? That kind of RAP for your shots would make surv a happy camper…

    For the most part, I think people will just be happy with Careful aim. Intellect= AP is really good…

    What I’m trying to say is:
    Is it worth taking over other talents in that tier or near that tier?

    27 January 2009 at 11:29

  3. @Brigwyn — My hypothesis behind Improved Hunter’s Mark as an original PvP talent was that I see the RAP buff towards melee attackers as an encouragement to “nuking” by focus fire from both melee and ranged attackers in PvP. From there, it then evolved into use against a raid boss. Its advantage is marginal when there are multiple targets.

    @Klinderas — It’s almost easy to just say that as long as you have more than 450 Intellect that Careful Aim is more useful than Improved Hunter’s Mark. If you are looking at it that way, you must also consider then that Combat Experience could give CA that extra edge over IHM. The fundamental difference between CA and IHM is the way that RAP value is applied. With CA, that RAP value is immediately visible when you look at your character statistics. On the other hand, IHM’s RAP value is only applied when your mark is placed on the target. It is, therefore, an on-the-spot ability that requires active, rather than passive, use.

    Based on RAP values alone, there is no advantage in using IHM over CA (or CA over IHM, for that matter) if you are marking everything. I may be in the minority with this, but I generally do not put points into Rapid Killing. These are points that I would shift towards IHM so that I can use in conjunction with CA.

    27 January 2009 at 17:37

  4. stupid mage

    Question, if you take points away from Rapid Killing is it because you never use Rapid Recuperation?

    The advantage of using CA over IHM is IHM gives up to 150 AP (the bonus AP over normal HM) and CA gives more.

    27 January 2009 at 18:44

  5. Now the real question, IMO, is this – does the RAP from Hunter’s Mark, improved or not, apply to things like Stings?

    Because if it does, I may have to do some spec-switching, because 150 RAP is pretty big for stings. :)

    27 January 2009 at 18:52

  6. stupid mage

    I suppose we’d have to make some presumptions.

    1) You will always Mark your target.

    2) You will continue to use the same rotation regardless of whether you have IHM or CA

    3) You only have 3 points to spare so must pick between IHM or CA.

    Given these, CA comes out WAY ahead. IHM gives 150AP. My Hunter has a modest 400 Int so CA would give 400AP.

    27 January 2009 at 19:04

  7. trueshotaura

    1) Careful Aim will scale with your gear. IHM will not. Combat Experience makes the scaling even more pronounced.

    2) The purpose of Rapid Killing in PVE is a 3 minute cooldown on Rapid Fire. Since this matches Readiness, a MM hunter gets 4 RFs if the fight is longer than 3-4 minutes: RF, Readiness, RF, 3min CD, RF, Readiness, RF. This should not be underestimated. :)

    28 January 2009 at 02:16

  8. stupid mage

    The huge amount of mana regen shouldn’t be underestimated either =)

    28 January 2009 at 16:34

  9. To the individual IHM is not worth the 3 points. In a raid, if you have enough Hunters to justify it, it could be well worth the 3 points. Let’s say you have 4 Hunters, that’s 360AP provided to Raid DPS. Add the Glyph and now it’s 600AP. In addition, you become the buffing agent in charge of keeping HM up and the only one to apply and refresh Hunter’s Marks. Which means all other Hunters can save one CD every 2 minutes. The only downside is which Hunter do you stick with this duty thus gimping his own personal DPS for greater Raid DPS.

    30 January 2009 at 19:05

  10. stupid mage

    It still isn’t worth it.

    Well maybe on the face of it, it is. But I don’t think so. Arcane Brilliance, Fel Intelligence, Blessing of Kings will all add Int and directly increase your AP.

    Your mana pool will be bigger keeping you out of Viper longer and because it’s bigger, you get more mana back from Replenishment.

    30 January 2009 at 20:59

  11. What isn’t worth it? 360 Raid AP for 3 talent points? Sure it is if you run heavy with other hunters in your raid and only 1 is picking it up. Those three points would be otherwise going into Barrage which is a bigger DPS increase for the individual, but not to the raid *if you run deep with hunters.

    Or did you mean something else isn’t still worth it? and what does AI, FI, and BoK have to do with IHM?

    1 February 2009 at 18:07

  12. stupid mage

    AB, Fel Int, BoK, all add to your Int. If you have 3 points in CA, you get all of your Int as +AP.

    True, if you have 4 Hunters (or more) in your raid, there will be a difference in Raid DPS with IHM +90 AP per additional Hunter. Four Hunters comes out to 360 AP.

    CA with 400 Int is +400 AP. AB and Fel Int is +108 Int, meaning 108 more AP. BoK is 10% on top of that.

    I’m not going to get into Glyphs as then we’d have to discuss which one you’d replace – Glyph of Serpent Sting, Glyph of Steady Shot, Glyph of Improved Aspect of the Hawk.

    2 February 2009 at 14:43

  13. stupid mage

    Oh yeah, I forgot to add that AB Fel Int, and BoK give you about 2300 mana so you can keep up the pewpew and not go Viper as much =)

    2 February 2009 at 14:48

  14. Where I am lost is why you are comparing Careful Aim. All specs take 3/3 in CA so it is not a which one do I choose question. Any hunter picking up 3/3 in IHM would be substituting points they wouldv’e had in Focused Aim, Efficiency, or Barrage. A hit cap’d MM hunter with Replenishment classes in their raid (thereby do not need Efficiency) would put those points into Barrage… so the question is what gives more Raid DPS 3/3 in Barrage or 3/3 in IHM with 4 Hunters in the raid.

    As for your details of how great Careful Aim is, that’s nice for people who do not know how they benefit from it… but any spec Hunter not picking it up is not properly raid spec’d.

    2 February 2009 at 19:06

  15. stupid mage

    Ah OK, we’re a little bit on a disconnect here.

    I was talking 2nd Tier Talents in general, rather than MM in the specific, since the article was about IHM. BM and SV would be limited in the number of points they have to spend in the MM tree so generally have to choose either CA or IHM.

    Even in the case of a MM Hunter, you could probably find something more beneficial than IHM.

    2 February 2009 at 20:24

  16. The problem with your argument is that there is no need to compare 2nd tier talents. When it comes to IHM you would compare it to Barrage as the Hunter that is picking it up would be replacing Barrage for IHM, not Careful Aim.

    http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=ctbMzbZ0eAsRhzMxoxbAox00b is the MM raiding build using IHM.

    Also not true about BM and SV, it does not come down to IHM or CA, and although it makes a little more sense for the MM hunter to be the IHM supplier, a hit capped BM or SV hunter could be the one to pick up IHM without hindering their build by much. I can link SV and BM builds if anyone needs me to.

    You said “Even in the case of a MM Hunter, you could probably find something more beneficial than IHM.”

    That is not true. Providing 360AP x 4 (for four Hunters) plus saving 3 GCDs every 2 min is better than 3 points in Barrage. Now if you are the only Hunter in your raid, then choose Barrage of course.

    3 February 2009 at 18:05

  17. stupid mage

    For BM I’m fairly certain there isn’t much choice. I could be wrong…
    5/5 Lethal Shots
    5/5 Mortal Shots
    3/3 Careful Aim
    It’s Either Go For the Throat or Improved Arcane Shot
    5/5 Improved Tracking

    20 points for a SV Hunter would get you
    5/5 Lethal Shots
    5/5 Mortal Shots
    3/3 Careful Aim
    This is the point where things become more variable. Improved Aspect of the Hawk, Focused Fire, Aimed Shot, Go For the Throat, Improved Stings. There isn’t much room for Improved Hunter’s Mark.

    In the end it’s up to the Hunter to pick how he or she wants to play. I’d even bet that there is a top raiding Hunter out there that has IHM.

    4 February 2009 at 12:42

  18. There is no need to bet, many do. A smart Raid Leader or Hunter Class Leader would look at their group composition to decide how people should spec. The question has always been what has the best Raid DPS. This held true for Survivial hunter’s pre 3.0 when Expose Weakness was a raid debuff. Many top raiding Guilds out there have a group of Hunters, and therefore will have one spec’d into IHM. If the raid only has 1 or 2 Hunters it isn’t worth it, 4 or more definetely is.


    Would be the SV Build, and same holds true for BM except the 51 points is spent in BM instead of SV. In these cases you are comparing 3 points of IHM vs Improved Stings… 360AP and 3 free CDs in 4 Hunter Raid (more AP and more CDs with more Hunters obviously) vs 30% dmg on a single Hunters stings.

    4 February 2009 at 14:37

  19. Just stopping by with the masses. I hope life is treating you well and you come back to blogging at some point! hehe

    If not – may you have only the best of the best…within a 35 yard radius of course. =P

    ~Cait aka One Among Many~

    19 April 2009 at 11:36

  20. Etenaal

    I don’t mean to be a put down and all, but what is the point of Hunter’s Mark if the Hunter is the only one in a raid? Seemingly that the mark only gives ranged attack power, only a hunter would benefit. A lot of the time there are only two to three hunters in a 25man raid because any more than that, hunters will get pissed and leave because there is too many. BM and MM hybrid raid support hunters suffer because their DPS is litterally cut in half and only a Surv. hunter will benefit. Casters don’t even benefit because they use spell power. Why can’t hunter’s mark just increase “Ranged Damage?” I say just get rid of the AP bonus and throw in like a 10% damage increase or something to ranged attackers. For that, more than just a Hunter will benefit.

    I only say this because when I raid, I’m usually the only Hunter in the raid, including 10 and 25man raids. Even when I do a WG or City raid with 40 or more people, I’m the only hunter I see throwing a Hunter’s Mark on anything and everything I can that must be killed. Plus, other talents can give the hunter himself better benefit than the hunter’s mark talent because those other talents build upon what gear you have. The hunter’s mark is consistant. Undergeared hunters would benefit more with improved hunter’s mark than those other talents because that 500 ranged AP bonus or more is alot better than a 100 AP bonus with another talent depending on how high your agility or intellect is at.

    24 June 2009 at 15:07

  21. Pingback: Coming Full Circle « 35 Yards Out

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