No, I don’t mean Survival Hunter spec, I mean surviving in general. Your survival greatly depends on the raid healers’ love for you and what you bring to a raid. I highly recommend not shying away from critical raid tasks (outside of awesome DPS) as you’ll be more important to the raid success, thus a higher priority for healers. Failing that, convince them that you’re the best DPS in the raid so you should be prioritized above the other DPS. Humor helps, if they like you and find you funny they’ll want to keep you around longer. It also helps if you suck up to them or name your favorite pet after one of the healers.
Truthfully, picking up extra and critical tasks will help gain healer focus and as a Hunter, you want that and you’re capable of doing extra tasks. Our self heal capabilities really don’t help us much in a raid setting where mass amounts of damage is flying around, sometimes unavoidable – you need your healers when raiding.
Positioning and awareness are more critical than most of our abilities. You need to be aware of what’s around you, what openings are available, if ‘bad’ is placed near or on you and where the edges of the battlefield are (nothing is more embarrassing than Disengaging off the platform during the Lich King fight – not that I’d know). Keep an eye open for where your healers are to make sure you don’t end up out of their range.
You, the player, are the key component in the survival rate of the Hunter you play.
As for tools available to help you survive? Well, we have several generally available max-level Hunter abilities; Deterrence, Disengage, Feign Death, Ice Trap, Misdirection, Scatter Shot, Master’s Call and your pet. Possibly Camouflage.
For talent spec related abilities, there are several abilities or talents per spec; Intimidation (BM), Bestial Wrath (BM), Silencing Shot (MM), Concussive Barrage (MM), Readiness (MM), Wyvern Sting (SV), Survival Tactics (SV), Entrapment (SV) and Trap Mastery (SV). BM spec might have Tenacity pets with Intervene (thanks to extra points available) or any Hunter may have a pet with a snare or root ability.
You also have some racial abilities that could help out.
And finally you may have some profession related items that help out.
Not all of these are ideal or have a decent return on investment because the cost is often damage output. Some might have more value depending on what you’re doing; Entrapment, for example, is decent to have for PVP but not so much for PVE, at least not over Trap Mastery.
How does this all fit together?
I’ll cover that off in some follow up posts.