THIS IS A PRE-55 ANALYSIS! 60+ is in lime further down.
Precision: This tree is all about (party) DPS, you have a 5 second mind flaying bullet and 2 defense debuffs, and an attack aura to buff the entire party. Later on its economical with MP regeneration and a fire of will which costs nearly nothing during soul catching. This is the earth tree, and sadly to say, majority of MM earth skills are bad or their main use is not damage. This makes earth mastery training have a slight disadvantage compared to fire where all fire skills are used in PvP. In GvG precisions role is mainly picking off specific targets. Their defense debuffs work wonders in making squishies more squishy and they have the highest DPS of MM so they can get what they need killed fastest. This tree is true to the traditional physical ranged class, worst survivability but great at DPS. 5 second mind flaying bullet is beast, i cannot say this enough, swift soul trap is the best talent in the precision tree. You want to spec attack attack attack! Getting hit usually means game over for you anyways so your best defense is to kill people before they get to you. 2nd gem to socket i would say would be evasion (cheaper) or HP.
1vs1 PvP: **** (** after 50)
3vs3 PvP: **** (** after 50)
6vs6 PvP: *** (* after 50)
Solo PvE: *****
Soul: This tree is the suck. Do not use this before 55+, even then i might stress to wait till you have high attack power and crit rate to make maximum use of Soul's tree. This tree is all about crits. Crit stuns, crit damage increased, and crit rate increased, not only that, this tree boasts the greatest survivability of all marksman. A stronger bullet shield at 60, a heavy accuracy drop along with an extended period with weakening cloud, and a longer fast action, which also removes slow and snare. Soul is heavily dependent on high base attack and crits. By high base damage i'm talking about 2500+ base attack. This is the ultimate 1vs1 tree, in GvG it's not bad, it won't kill as fast as Precision unless your soul discharge and soul snipe are dealing damage equivalent to mind flaying bullet (need super high base attack). But you still boast the best weakening cloud for GvG so for 11 seconds they won't be able to hit your team. One thing to note is that soul will surpass Precision in DPS when equally geared with crit gear, Soul's moves do more damage and crits just make that fact amplified with higher crit damage, its just expensive to reach this point which is why precision is considered the DPS tree for now. Soul just boosts crits much more than precision and Also, this is the most MP expensive tree. You'll want to get crit and crit damage gems. after that is attack and HP.
1vs1 PvP: * (before 55) **** (After 55)
3vs3 PvP: ** (before 55) **** (After 55)
6vs6 PvP: * (before 55) *** (After 55)
Wars: * (yea) *** (yea)
Solo PvE: *
Burst: This tree is the most useful tree and has the most benefits all around. This has lead about 80% of all MMs to be burst while 19% are precision and 1% are the silly soul who trying to prove something this early in the game. In instances this is the MM people want, in war this is guy with the most kills in the rankings, in 1vs1 this is the MM that cries i'm AoE spec not 1vs1 spec. Also has lead to the common belief MM suck in 1vs1 which is entirely untrue, its just burst does the worst compared to soul and precision. To be effective in this tree, usually you must spec HP and defense to reduce your squishiness to be effective in instances or you just end up dying doing your job. its MP expensive in the beginning but once you hit 54 your MP consumption is moderated, with the use of MP regen food you barely have a need for pots in instances. For gems use HP and attack, HP being first so you can take more hits. Afterwards, you can opt for defense for more bulkiness, evasion for pseudo-bulkiness, or other offensive gems (crit rate/damage gems).
1vs1 PvP: **
3vs3 PvP: ***
6vs6 PvP: *** (before 48) **** (after 48)
Wars: **** (before 48) ***** (after 48)
Solo PvE: ** (before 41) *** (41-48) **** (after 48)
Instances: * (before 30) *** (30-46) **** (47+)
Here is a new improved 60+ verison
Pure precision: the absolute worst at killing of all marksman. Instead you are an offensive support role. Like a bard except bards are defensively supportive. You increase party attack, lower defense of 1 target MASSIVELY for 40 seconds, (unconfirmed) can boost crit rate by 3%, and can put someone to sleep for 30 seconds if no one hits the guy. When it comes to dps, you are completely lacking dps moves. Aim shot is utter ****, not enough damage to warrent a 2 second cast. So you're main goal is to hunter's mark the target needed to be killed, then support killing with stuns or MFB. You also restore HP and MP with bullets maybe, so quick reload is a nice 8% heal (should heal at least 900 HP)
However.. The one thing precision gets is a 100% purge rate. You can completely dispell 1 person's buffs with exo bullet. Choose wisely xD but would be great at bypassing that priest shield if that works...
When it comes to PvE, you got everything ya need. MP/HP restore removes the need of pots, saving soul gold immensely. You have the best party DPS effect for single targets with your massive defense drop and attack aura buff, team up with a wind bard for massive damage boosts.
For solo PvE, you have a 2nd knockback move basically making yourself unhittable by 1 mob.
1vs1 rating: *
3vs3 rating: ***
6vs6 rating: *
Wars rating: **
Solo PvE: *****
Final note: its a pve class in the end
Pure Soul: this tree screams don't use till 55. But since we're 60+, this is the tree to be! Especially since wars don't happen anymore so now 40% of all marksman have become soul. Anyways, this tree has the highest burst damage capabilities. Burst of rage is insane with the damage it does. It really shines when you have 2.5k attack cause thats when it starts doing 1.5 times the damage of MFB not factoring in crits, which SHOULD be happening. Burst of rage is amazing at making orbs to get wrath and amazing at killing people when you have wrath. Oh just wait till you get opression to boost its base damage of each hit by 30% Soul discharage is great for bullet it gives you, its gimmick MP drain is a novelty at best, but helps vs protectors and warriars as draining 754 MP is alot to them. (you also drain 12.3% of their current MP but that isn't much unless its full MP). Soul resolution can be stronger if you opt for it. It'll absorb 1k more damage, i'd consider it just a 2.5k HP buff honestly (factoring damage taken) so up to you if you want to take more hits or not. All your attacks deal more damage, you have an innate higher crit rate, and you gain a 6/8 second disarm/silence (dunno if it adds on to a pre-existing amount or not) at your late 60s. This tree has the most versatile pvp gameplay, but you have NOTHING in pve.
Now then, you are a killer, you get wrath, and you kill who needs to be killed. However you are best suited for killing casters and other MM. As they have the least bothersome abilities to counter you in a group atmosphere.
PvE means nothing, but you have nothing to assist you in pve. While its not hard to do instances or bosses, or even quests as Soul, you offer nothing to the party, and its very expensive for you. In short, you're more useless than a water bard.
1vs1 rating: ****
3vs3 rating: ****
6vs6 rating: ****
Wars rating: ***
Solo PvE: *
Pure burst: the fiery passion of burning everything to ashes lives in this tree. This is the aoe tree. This tree boasts the best spammable move a marksman can ever have: rake of fury. This move is amazing! Not only does it deal moderate damage, it has a dot effect, the absolute best dps 2ndary effect to a move ever. Its weird, such a move.. 2 second cooldown, dot effect for 5/8 seconds that stacks (heavily nerfed sadly, btw the ONLY thing nerfed about burst MM too), and 1 second cast... On an aoe move too boot. Soul discharge doesn't overtake its damage until you reach enough base attack to mitigate the bonus damage difference (i think you need 3k attack to reach that point) but anyways enough about that. The last quirk to rof is that you can spam it for 8 seconds with no cooldown. Its pretty amazing at wiping parties. But such amazing power of course comes at the price of having the lowest survival means. Our best means is a +60 evasion buff that lasts for 10 seconds or so. Best to have high evasion naturally to make the best use of it.
Your role is to hide. You hide in the back with cover and people ready to defend you. You are the mvp in wars. However in a smaller group battle, you have to watch yourself most likely, at best 1 person attacking the one after you. You must get a good position to quickly aoe. It puts alot of stress on enemy healer.
With PvE, you don't really offer much for bosses as you are meant for multiple targets, but some bosses have minions like world bosses. Solo PvE is pretty fast for you IF you aoe, but you gotta be able to tank and its a bit pot expensive but its very FAST. For instances, you are the best for just dealing with multiple mobs. Just make sure you can take the hits, there is no such thing as aoe aggro besides the guy who does does the most damage.
1vs1 rating: **
3vs3 rating: ***
6vs6 rating: ****
Wars rating: *****
Solo PvE: ****
Hybrid burst/precison: What's this? Yea, taking single target dps and adding rake of fury to it. The absolute highest dps output lies in this marksman talent spread. With the hunter's mark defense drop and 5 second MFB with rake of fury completely powered up spells a bunch of hurt. Defense drop adds to dps, and mfb now has a short enough cooldown for the epic dps chain:
Rof > mfb > rof > SS > faw > repeat
Of course in pvp, one opts to start with soul snipe where stun matters:
Rof > Ss > faw > rof > mfb > repeat
That is of course a pure dps output, you can opt to do some damage before stunning but that's up to you.
With rake of fury, you can aoe, with precison talents, you have the highest dps. You can fit whatever role you need too in both pvp and pve, the most versatile talent spread for a marksman. This is also the best pve tree i would say.
The main difference between full precision and hybrid, is that full precision isn't MP expensive. With hybrid, you do spend more soul gold, more than soul i would say because of how many more skills you use for DPS but anyways, you do have 3 options for 60-70 talents, go down precision more for better pve, down burst for cheaper MP, or go down soul for some pvp enhancement.
Also what gives hybrid an edge in instances is that you can aoe, which leads to much faster instance runs.
1vs1 ratings: ***
3vs3 ratings: *** and a half * (Soul is clearly better here but definally better than burst)
6vs6 ratings: ****
War ratings: *****
Solo PvE: *****
I hope this update helps you understand the later part of the game.
Cookie cutter builds:
*A note for all precision builds, please put 3 points into weakpoint then 2 points solid shot then 5 points into swift soul trap*
This build is pure PvE, for those who have no plans to ever PvP. your job is basically to debuff and DD as hard as you can
This build focuses on PvP but saves resources with MP regneration.
As much as MP regeneration is nice, it's not helping pvp wise. This build focuses purely on maximizing any PvP potential in the precision tree.
Soul really doesn't have multiple ways to do, just end game PvP. Burst of rage is a soul bullet killer so you will want to have a good way to make soul bullets with quick reloading. This also assumes building 45+ to put 2 points into soul discharge right away. Last thing to note is the next talent to get in this build is up to up, its either the soul detonation to make crits of soul snipe stun 90% of the time, or crack shot mastery to make crits do more damage.
This build focuses on AoE DPS. It does mean you will have better AoE output in wars too. and with red hand that means faster deaths without the use of back up fire. This is the only way to burst. You can drop burst of rage if you never do 1vs1 and get a 3rd point in efficient penetration. No other talents in burst are useful. Soul burn is negligible and flammable's interrupt does not work in PvP~
I find Hybrid builds just gimping yourself in one way or another. Not only do you miss out on your level talents, you are just two low level talents combined. it can work for PvE, combining single target DPS with AoE DD (won't be DPS without being pure burst) but i guess if you want to have part of both worlds go ahead, and try to make it work. but my advice is to stay true to one tree and get all the benefits of late game talents. AoE isn't good until your level 48, single target DPS can be just done with swift soul trap... but you will miss out on MP reduction/regeneration so its very MP expensive.
There are some points you can invest into.. Such as, burst may want to invest into art of reloading for faster back up fire. But I will tell you from experience, in mass pvp, 1 minute and 30 seconds is plenty of time for a cooldown to end. Back up fire should wipe the other team, which means they will regroup, which takes at least a minute. Its only 5 points however you will be 5 levels behind on the tree, you may want to think about it 68+ or so when you've reached the bottom row of burst at least.
Precision may want to get absorption for a stronger MFB, it'll be a great improvement to your DPS.. I'm not too sure about precision's end game talents but you can probably do it at 60+ after you finish the 55 talent row.
I really think investing into other trees will be beneficial end game but while trying to reach the bottom of the tree, i would stay pure until you've reached the last talent in the tree you are in.
This build focuses on DPS and AoE at the same time. Now you might ask, how does this make your DPS really good? Simple to say that rake of fury is the highest DPS move out of Aim Shot, Soul Discharge, and Rake of Fury for it has a 2 second cooldown, a 1 second cast, the 2nd highest bonus damage out of the 3, and its 2ndary effect is MORE significant damage. To further its DPS potential, fire mastery buffs its damage AND 2ndary effect, and we all know MM have better damaging fire skills than earth.
Now this build also aoes, but compared to a pure burst? The only thing a pure burst MM gets is less need for MP pots and a stronger penetration shot by (at my current point) 300-400 damage. Now I will say this now, I am willing to trade 300-400 damage on an aoe i don't even like to spam that much for a much better single target DPS to not only kill bosses faster to even 1vs1 pvp better. And now unlike precision who have no survivability buffs, i have speed of fire >:D
But about about pure precision? Well, pure precision does have more party DPS with a +130-150ish (soul bullets) attack buff and another -100 defense debuff BUT precision does NOT have a good DPS move as aim shot takes too long to cast for the damage it gives, many end up preferring to use SOUL SNIPE. So this is sort of the middle ground for Party DPS and Solo DPS as well as Solo PvE with both good single target and AoE ability!
What about Precision + Soul? I didn't think about this because i want to AoE, but my first thought is that all of soul's end game talents are what define soul, you can't afford to hybrid with Soul unless you don't mind ending at the +3% crit rate in crack shot time.
What's the downfall of all this? Lets just say you need to start carrying 1.5x the amount of MP pots as a pure burst MM needs.
I can also say for further speculation is that extended burning is more pve oriented. While DOT is indeed HANDY TO HAVE! Its handy for killing FAST! not over 10/16 seconds.