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A Guide to Hybrid Marksmen

xryleexrylee Posts: 1 Arc User
edited August 2012 in Marksman Discussion

This is NOT a full 1-80 build. Please do not comment below saying "Y U NO INCLUDE 80" because you will get insulted so hard, your great-grandmother will be shaking her head at you for the next five centuries.
Also, please note that I am NOT an expert on this class nor FW in general. I've barely graduated noob-ness (I've been playing FW for roughly 45 days now, this toon for only 35), but I wanted to share my advice and experiences on Marksmen with the people who need it most.

Although I am providing a "cookie-cutter" build, classes are in FW are not always meant to be played this way. Please read the talent tree and place points into the skills *you* use most often.

My Experience:
I am currently on a semi-hiatus from the game (Lionheart Server) and thought I'd share what I've learned before I take a long break and forget it all. Right now, I am level 73 with 6/12 on all gears, and *very* few gems (I do have two Ragefire IIs and one Solarflare II). No cash-shopping for me, thank you.

Being on a PvE server, I was naturally inclined to pick a class with lots of PvE capabilities, and I first started out as a Pure Burst Marksman, following Axym's build (which can be found here). It was incredibly difficult pre-55, especially in instances where often I'd mob up too many trash monsters and die trying to pathetically AoE them all to death. Not only that, it was very mana-intensive, and I'd waste stacks of potions spamming AoE skills. At the same time, I wasn't very happy with my solo PvE damage, as the best I had was a Mind Flaying Bullet with 10-second cooldown, and my Hunter's Mark wasn't debuffing bosses very well.

Around level 60, I ran across IMBALANZE's "4th tree" (which can be found here), and decided to give that a go. I was instantly hooked on both the great AoE damage as well as the evasion and defense debuffs on single targets, but decided to make a few changes based on how I played my character.

Currently, after upgrading to the latest early-70s gear and fortifying/gemming them to half-assed levels, I have around 14k HP unbuffed, and about 2k maximum damage, which means I can survive in FP (70+ instance) and AoE trash mobs pretty effectively in all instances. I've pulled aggro from mages and other marksmen quite frequently (to my dismay), and can quickly solo mentor God's Trial, spending roughly 2:45 on each tower. I'm still a bit disappointed with my solo damage, but that should improve once I get better gear and hit 80 (not to mention I'll have better survivability too).

I've included my opinions on relevant Marksmen skills and talents below, as well as a "cookie-cutter" build for those who are truly lost and confused in this game, like I was.


This build is meant to be a suggestion, not an answer, and is not always the correct way to play the game.
Please read the talent tree and place points into the skills *you* use most often.

Once again, I'd like to thank both Axym and IMBALANZE for giving me some guidance early on. Hopefully this guide helps those who don't quite know where to begin, or for those who just want to try something new. :)


I am STRONGLY recommending new players to start off as Precision Marksmen, due to the fact that, at lower levels, Burst Marksmen just don't have enough survivability to AoE effectively, and end up either dying or running around screaming like an idiot.


(Precision - Solid Shot Lv. 0-5)
Fire at Will is one of the most-used skills for any Marksman, and this neat little damage boost gives it some extra killing power early on, as well as . The other alternative, Weakpoint Tag, doesn't really do much besides make bosses slightly easier to take down, which isn't too much condolence during your early 20s, which mostly consists of questing and killing standard mobs.

(Precision - Swift Soul Trap Lv. 0-5)
Definitely one of my favorite talents out of the entire Precision tree. It takes Mind Flaying Bullet, which normally has a 10-second cooldown, and reduces it to 5 seconds (when maxed). With only a 1-second cast time and ridiculous bonus damage, MFB will be one of your most-used single-target skills, especially later on, and the extra damage boost provided by this talent isn't too shabby either. Not only this, but using MFB more often allows you to activate Soul Catching more often, generating those precious Soul Bullets for even more damage down the line.

(Precision - Aimed Shot Lv. 0-1)
Going Precision tree for now means that you need to max out your single-target PvE capabilities. Aimed Shot provides a second, foolproof way to knockback an enemy (don't forget Soul Snipe, which is only effective on enemies with 40% health or more), making it extremely difficult for it to close in on you. Solo PvE gets MUCH easier with this skill. With its 2-second cast time though, it's not really any good for boss battles or instances. Don't spam this skill just for the bleed effect either, the damage is really quite pathetic.

(Precision - Soul Preservation Lv. 0-4)
By level 35, you should be able to easily spam Fire at Will without worrying too much about your mana, and during Soul Catching, it will cost you nearly zero mana, while also generating a Soul Bullet AND increasing Crit Chance by 10%. Unless Fire at Will is on cooldown, normal attacks are pretty outdated from this point on. The other option, Earth Infusion, doesn't provide a great damage boost at this level, and I recommend skipping that talent for now.

(Precision - Weakpoint Tag Lv. 0-4) OR (Precision - Precise Aiming Lv. 0-4)
Here, you have two options. Weakpoint Tag will be helpful not only to you, but also to your party in taking down bosses or pesky single targets, as it decreases defense by quite a bit. If you prefer going toe-to-toe with standard mobs, though, putting points in Precise Aiming will come in handy when you're out of Soul Bullets and can't rely on its 100% knockback rate during Crack Shot Time. The bonus Crit Chance is decent, but the 2-second cast time really hampers the skill's spammability in most situations. The other option, Iron Mind, is simply a sinkhole for your talent points and is pretty much useless in most situations.
My personal preference here is to go Weakpoint Tag 4.

(Precision - Weakpoint Tag Lv. 4-5)
The best use of your point here.

(Precision - Target Practice Lv. 0-4)
Upgrading Fire at Will even further, this grants a 10-second debuff that reduces the target's defense by 100 (when maxed), which is helpful in both solo and team situations. Note that as your level increases, and mobs have more defense, this debuff becomes less and less effective, but it's still an incredibly helpful add-on to a skill that you should be using almost constantly.

(Precision - Full Analysis Lv. 0-1)
Lots of options here (I'm not even going to list them all), but my best recommendation would be Full Analysis. Even more helpful than Weakpoint Tag (as it decreases ALL resistances), the -20 drop equals roughly a 0.2% damage increase for your entire party, which doesn't sound like much, but for those big bad bosses, it could shave a few seconds off at the end.

Choking Cloud seems like a good talent, and Weakening Cloud seems like a good skill. However, it has a ridiculous cooldown (300 seconds), which means it's rather ineffective in PvE and only marginally effective in 1v1 and 3v3. Only in GvG does it truly shine, but once people are killed, respawn, and go back to fighting in tight clusters, your cooldown probably wouldn't have even elapsed halfway. Choking Cloud, therefore, is made pretty useless, as 30 seconds is a substantial amount of time, but not effective enough to make Weakening Cloud a worthy skill to be wasting points. If you think otherwise, then feel free to substitute points into Choking Cloud for now (remember that we'll be using a Talent Compass around level 60, resetting most of these points).

I find the primary purpose of using Aimed Shot to be its knockback effect (especially during Crack Shot Time). Upgrading it to Lv. 2, 3, or 4 will not increase its knockback amount or its proc chance, only its damage, which is barely comparable to Mind Flaying Bullet. Also, it doesn't work on almost all bosses, making it a waste of a 2-second cast while keeping mana costs low for solo PvE.

(Precision - Soulforce Return Lv. 0-3)
Seeing as you generate Soul Bullets pretty often with the reduced cooldown on Mind Flaying Bullet and the increased effectiveness of Fire at Will, recovering some mana wouldn't hurt!

A talent that many people overlook is (Soul - Art of Reloading). This reduces the cooldown of Quick Reloading by 15 seconds when maxed (down from 90 seconds to 75 seconds), and when combined with Soulforce Return and Relaxation, allows you to heal up pretty easily even in the middle of battle, saving lots of potions. I'm not including it in this tree, but it is included in my Hybrid Burst/Precision tree.

(Precision - Pulse Precision Lv. 0-2)
Pulse Shot is one of the few Marksman CCs, but the only downside of it is its minimum range. This talent allows you to cast it point-blank, while you either Fast Action away from a closing PvP enemy or move to a safer location. In addition, it increases its maximum range, allowing you to hold enemies in place from a longer distance. (Note that it doesn't increase the maximum range of your other skills, though.)

(Precision - Burst Fire Lv. 0-3)
Did I mention that Fire at Will now has a chance to reset all of your Earth skills' cooldowns? Even more reason to spam this skill like crazy!

(Precision - Contact Lv. 0-2) OR (Precision - Earth Infusion Lv. 0-2) OR (Precision - Full Analysis Lv. 1-3)
All three of these talents provide a small damage boost, but in different situations: Full Analysis for solo PvE and bosses, Earth Infusion for spamming Earth skills, and Contact for all attacks.
I personally would go Full Analysis here, as I enjoy boss fights, and the resistance decrease is more than helpful for your entire party.

(Precision - Encourage Lv. 0-1)
Marksmen naturally have tons of accuracy, so this skill provides a must-have damage boost to your party. Be careful though--combined with your skills, it does have a tendency to sap mana pretty quickly if you aren't careful on potions and Soul Bullet regeneration.

(Precision - Contact Lv. 0-3) OR (Precision - Relaxation Lv. 0-3) OR (Soul - Art of Reloading Lv. 0-3)
Again, your choice of talents for your favorite situations. Relaxation for HP regeneration, Art of Reloading for faster mana regeneration, and Contact for all other attacking scenarios.

We're right around the point where you can either decide to go Pure Precision or switch over to Hybrid Burst/Precision. You also have quite a multitude of talents to pick from--so many that I'm not going to list them all. This is where my Precision build stops, and my Hybrid build begins. :)
Post edited by xrylee on


  • ICerise - LionheartICerise - Lionheart Posts: 3 Arc User
    edited August 2012
    (Note to Mods:
    Grr, I can't seem to edit my first post while I've got my avatar changed..)

    HYBRID BUILD (at level 60):

    At this point, if you're planning on re-specing as Hybrid, you should use your Talent Compass at your Job Tutor in FH or in Nightfall. (Hopefully by level 60, you have a good idea of where to get one of these.) The reason for not building Hybrid from the beginning is:

    (*) It's just too damned expensive on potions. Your skills can and will burn potions very quickly.
    (*) You die too easily in instances trying to mob everything up.
    (*) You'll have to waste a lot of points in useless Burst talents which can be bypassed at later levels. The main reason we wait until level 60 is for Rake of Fury to be upgraded to Level 3.
    (*) Precision provides a much easier way to PvE without you raging all over the keyboard.

    Lo and behold, here is the long-awaited Hybrid build (in order from Precision to Soul then to Burst, and then from top to bottom):

    In tree form here

    (Precision - Weakpoint Tag Lv. 0-5)
    The first stepping stone in upgrading your Hunter's Mark to be somewhat effective in solo PvE and bossing. A defense debuff greatly helps your normal attacks punch through whatever heavy armor stands in your way, and complements your party pretty nicely.

    (Precision - Swift Soul Trap Lv. 0-5)
    There really should be absolutely NO reason to pass on this talent, unless you plan to never solo PvE or boss again in your entire life. The damage for a 1-second cast time skill is absolutely incredible, and lowering the cooldown means a greater potential to generate Soul Bullets with Soul Catching. As quoted by Tsukiyo,
    tsukiyo wrote:
    5 second mind flaying bullet is beast, i cannot say this enough, swift soul trap is the best talent in the precision tree.

    (Precision - Full Analysis Lv. 0-3)
    The nail on the bosses' coffins. You know, the ones that aren't already dead.. At max level, your party gets a nice 6% damage increase against single targets. You'll really notice when your Hunter's Mark has expired as your entire party's damage will suffer a bit without the skill active.

    (Soul - Art of Reloading Lv. 0-5)
    You'll see why this talent is ridiculously helpful. Combined with a Burst talent, and while this skill is active, it allows both of your main AoE skills to have zero (yes, zero) cooldown, meaning you can use 7 AoE skills in 7 seconds. Reducing Quick Reloading's cooldown means more incineration, more destruction, and more dead mobs at your feet. The restoring mana bit isn't really helpful with more than 10k mana--for me, Quick Reloading doesn't even recover 10% of my maximum mana (which is burned off by my spamming of AoEs).

    (Burst - Lava Burst Lv. 0-5)
    One of the best talents for Penetrating Shot. This talent allows it to reduce the Fire and Earth resistances of all enemies it hits by 50 for 10 seconds (when maxed), which translates into a short 10-second spike in damage, or a prolonged boost even if you only use it once every 10 seconds.

    I've seen a few guides include Heat Bullet in their builds, and frankly, I don't quite see the purpose of Soul Snipe. Although it does provide a short stun and knockback, that's about it--its damage isn't very good, and the miniscule boost in damage isn't really worth the 5 talent points for maxing Heat Bullet. It's other purpose is to unlock Soul Burn, which I also find pretty useless as well. (See Soul Burn later.)

    (Burst - Swift Penetration Lv. 0-4)
    Swift Penetration is a wonderful skill to have. One huge downside is that it just takes too long to cast for big AoEs. Reducing its cooldown to 2 seconds (when maxed) allows nearly uninterrupted casting for this skill and Rake of Fury (the other Marksman AoE).

    Discrete is clearly a waste of points, and is only used to unlock the talent further down the tree, Flammable. At this point, Weakening Cloud's cooldown is a staggering 300 seconds, which has very limited uses in PvE, especially since mobs tend to have ridiculously high accuracy anyways (I really can't remember the last time I used it in PvE).

    (Burst - Flame Mastery Lv. 0-5)
    Although you only have one Fire AoE in the Burst tree, many of your main skills are Fire-based, and adding Mastery increases damage, and this talent also increases the burn DoT effect (I'm pretty sure that's what it means). Since 10 Mastery is roughly equal to a 1% increase in damage, 50 Mastery translates to 5% more damage with your flames. More burning = More good.

    (Burst - Rake of Fury Lv. 0-3)
    As it takes a LONG time to get to level 75, I'm much more content with putting off the switch to Hybrid until level 60 (when Rake of Fury Level 3 is unlocked). This saves you from having to waste a point into some useless talent just to unlock the next tier. Rake of Fury is your bread and butter AoE skill. With a pretty hefty range, a 90-degree arc, unlimited mobs hit, AND a DoT burn effect, this skill really has it all. Upgrade it at any and all opportunities, as you'll be spamming this button from now until the end of time.

    Like I've mentioned before with Heat Bullet, I've seen some guides out there mention Soul Burn as a great talent to have. I just simply don't see it. At Level 2, the burn damage is barely noticeable at high levels, and boosting Mastery only provides limited return (10% of Mastery). In addition, Soul Snipe doesn't deal that much damage to begin with, and substituting the 5 points required to lower Mind Flaying Bullet's cooldown to 5 seconds is much better than 5 points into Heat Bullet and Soul Bullet (which requires Heat Bullet as a prerequisite). In addition, the 5 points in the Precision tree are required to get Full Analysis. There are much better places to put points further down the Burst tree than in Heat Bullet and Soul Bullet.

    Speed of Fire is a decent skill for PvP, but since we're focusing mostly on PvE, it's rather useless in this regard. As mentioned before, mobs have high accuracy, making the evasion buff rather useless, and I would much rather have higher damage output than a slightly faster escape speed. A 20% increase (when maxed) is not much when Fast Action only lasts for roughly 10 seconds.

    (Burst - Scorching Heat Lv. 0-3)
    Upgrading your bread and butter. Mmm.. bread. (For those of you who like Soul Burn, note that this talent doesn't increase that skill's DoT damage.)

    Besides being a waste of points into a skill rarely used, the effect of Flammable is rather disappointing. Only 1000 plus 500 per level of Weakening Cloud? Heck, Rake of Fury at Level 2 did more damage against mobs than Weakening Cloud does when maxed. Draining several thousand mana from your PvP enemies is good, but isn't killing an enemy a more effective way of draining his mana? Even though Axym does endorse this skill as her "escape route", I personally don't see any good in wasting points down this part of the tree--the Accuracy reduction should be good enough in PvP situations and Soul Resolution (bubble) should be effective as a last resort in PvE situations. What's worse is that the cooldown is still massive..

    (Burst - Backup Fire Lv. 0-2)
    Combined with Quick Reloading, this talent allows for up to 7 AoEs in 7 seconds, shredding those mobs to pieces. Reducing the cooldown of Quick Reloading via (Soul - Art of Reloading) allows for even more shredding. Yay for shredding!

    At this point, you should have used up all of your talent points saved until Level 60, with distributions of 13 Precision / 5 Soul / 22 Burst.

    (Burst - Scorching Blood Lv. 0-3)
    We're at an impasse with our talent points, so to unlock the next tier of talents, there really is no better place to put them than in this. Note that at Level 75, you can reset your talents so that one point in Scorching Blood is moved over to Rake of Fury (Level 4 is unlocked then), which allows for one extra point to be placed further down the tree. If we had reset our talents before Level 60, we'd have to waste our points into some other talent. Of course, if you find Resistance to be incredibly useless, you're welcome to spend these points anywhere else in the Burst Tree.

    (Burst - Bullet Screen Lv. 0-4)
    Finally! This talent reduces the cooldown of Rake of Fury to 2 seconds, which, combined with Penetrating Shot, allows for almost constant spamming of AoEs in any situation. In addition, both Rake of Fury and Penetrating Shot's range is increased by 20%, which ultimately hits more mobs, dealing more damage. Your AoE damage will be close to its best around this point, and it will only get better as your gear is fortified and gemmed.

    (Burst - Efficient Penetration Lv. 0-1)
    We spend a point simply to unlock the next tier of talents. Penetrating Shot shouldn't be your main AoE skill (Rake of Fire should be), so it's isn't too urgent that we spend points to upgrade it.

    (Burst - Flame Profession Lv. 0-5)
    This is the talent we've been waiting for. Maxing this allows Rake of Fury to be spammed with a smaller hit to your mana pool, while still increasing its overall damage.

    This is the point where I have to stop, since I haven't leveled any further than this, and haven't tested the talents out yet. Some suggested places to spend the rest of your talent points:

    (Burst - Efficient Penetration Lv. 1-3) AND (Burst - Shrapnel Lv. 0-3)
    These talents provide greater bonuses to Penetrating Shot if you enjoy its debuff, slow effect, and relatively low mana cost. The only downside to Penetrating Shot is that it only fires in a straight line, which can miss many mobs, leaving you to spend more time, health, and mana to clean up the rest.

    (Burst - Burning Rage Lv. 0-2)
    Use this skill for high spike damage while under attack, as you'll almost instantly acquire the hit necessary to cause your next 3 attacks to have a +10% Crit Chance. Note that upgrading this talent to Level 2 does not increase the Crit Chance, and only adds 5% damage to 3 hits, which is rather disappointing.

    (Burst - Motivate Lv. 0-3)
    Similar to Precision's Contact, this talent instead boosts your Crit Damage. 6% is not very much, but when combined with several +Crit Chance % gears and gems, it can really start to shine. In addition, God's Trial Mentors enjoy this boost (as they get a +60% Crit Chance while mentoring).

    First off, Burning Rage only lasts for 3 attacks within 15 seconds. With any luck, you'll be able to perform all three of those attacks in less than 5 seconds. Tacking on more time to this effect is absolutely no good. Its other effect, which increases the chance of getting into the Anger state, is also no good with Burning Rage's 2-second cast time.
  • ICerise - LionheartICerise - Lionheart Posts: 3 Arc User
    edited August 2012
    Reserved just in case.
  • asd29asd29 Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited August 2012
    My biggest problems with your build is

    -scorching Blood- resists useless for pve, Have a look at look at combat logs and how many mobs hit you with fire damage, none or barely any.
    -art of reloading-5 points for 15secs not worth it at all
    -No motivate just makes me want to punch a baby
    As a level 80MM my advice for anyone wanting to be a MM - fun class to play. But it's not a button mash class. Be prepared for some frustration
  • ICerise - LionheartICerise - Lionheart Posts: 3 Arc User
    edited August 2012
    asd29 wrote: »
    My biggest problems with your build is

    -scorching Blood- resists useless for pve, Have a look at look at combat logs and how many mobs hit you with fire damage, none or barely any.
    -art of reloading-5 points for 15secs not worth it at all
    -No motivate just makes me want to punch a baby

    Ooh yes, you're right about Scorching Blood. Personally, I don't like any of the other talents available at that point, which is why I opted for a PvP shield. (Inferno vamps, Fire mages, and other Burst marksmen like to stack heavy fire damage.) I'll add in the note that those points are more PvP-oriented.

    Art of Reloading for Burst.. it can be argued that 5 points is a bit much to invest for a 17% cooldown reduction. But I enjoy roasting mobs to death with Rake of Fury, and stacking the DoT with 7 straight uses provides some nice spike damage in both PvE and PvP situations. I tried Quick Reloading with its usual 90-second cooldown, and felt that it wasn't allowing me to get that strong spike damage as often as I'd been looking for in a Burst Marksman, which is why I agree with IMBALANZE in putting 5 points into this talent. (Although, having Extended Burning would be very helpful as well..)

    However, for my Precision build, the 2% HP and mana heal per Soul Bullet is invaluable, and 15 seconds less on Quick Reloading saves potions and also recovers some Soul Bullets more often.

    I had only posted my build up to Level 73 :p So yes, there aren't enough points for Motivate, but it definitely is the best talent out of what's available at that time.

    EDIT: Sadly, I agree with your sig ): I've rolled both a mage and a vamp and am considering retiring my marksman..
  • Isock - EyrdaIsock - Eyrda Posts: 589 Arc User
    edited August 2012
    Currently, after upgrading to the latest early-70s gear and fortifying/gemming them to half-assed levels, I have around 14k HP unbuffed, and about 2k maximum damage, which means I can survive in FP
    q_q wow, i was asked for 15k+hp to go there, not fair:D
    (Precision - Burst Fire Lv. 0-3)
    Did I mention that Fire at Will now has a chance to reset all of your Earth skills' cooldowns? Even more reason to spam this skill like crazy!
    o hell no, the most useless talents points in prec, its a 8% chance to reset skills, and only reset aimed shot,pulse shot and extreme sniping
    First off, Burning Rage only lasts for 3 attacks within 15 seconds. With any luck, you'll be able to perform all three of those attacks in less than 5 seconds. Tacking on more time to this effect is absolutely no good. Its other effect, which increases the chance of getting into the Anger state, is also no good with Burning Rage's 2-second cast time.
    altough burning rage i think when full upgraded it last like 30 sec (was lasting that for me)
    so upgrading it can be used whit crackshot time+double shot(and if in arena wrath) for single targets attack(altough a little slow for having to caste all)
  • asd29asd29 Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited August 2012
    actually that's really poor hp TBH. you should be 18-20khp easily with all the frebies you get. I was eva build all the way to 75 and I had 24khp on +9boots waist and shoulders. That was on top of 356 eva. Even my Priest alt on purely freebies from Shyllia market is on 18khp.

    Honestly for PVE I strongly suggest Eva spec for burst and burst hybrids which means investing in Speed of Fire talent. 300-330 eva is plenty for pve.

    This is my alternative for burst/hybrids at 80 that are evasion spec

    -You now have a second stdps skill with increased crit chance -Aimed shot with huge crit chance giving you 2 skills with +crit chance the othe being Exo bullet
    -MFB is much more spammable as such more opportunities to go into soul catching mode and is still your best spike dmg STDPS skill
    -Hunters mark is much nastier-huge def and resist debuff
    -Speed of fire-if you pull too many mobs and get in trouble you can pop Fast Action every 90 secs. Making you unhittable for 15 secs if you have decent eva. If you need more survivability you drop smoke to amplify your evasion as it debuffs acc by -180. If you have any decent mastery the mobs will be dead by the time the effect is over

    Why no backup fire? Honestly to clear out mobs as aoe your rotation is penetrating shot(dmg+earth and fire resist debuff) followed by rake and continously cycling between those 2. I have never ever run into a situation where i needed to use quick reloading to reduce the cd of rake-remeber it's only a 2 sec cd and a 1 sec cast. and penetrating shot is down to a 1 sec cd too so you can contanlty keep them debuffed.

    Why no burning rage-Stangely enough it didn't activate as often as it should in my experience
    As a level 80MM my advice for anyone wanting to be a MM - fun class to play. But it's not a button mash class. Be prepared for some frustration
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