If you're like me, you spend most of your time without replenishment. Whether it's soloing quests for cash (and pet leveling), running 5 mans, or raiding, mana management as MM is a challenge. Especially when your tanks are go go go and the healers lose mana slower than you.
So, in my quest to improve dps this week, I discovered a few things and figured I'd share with you.
1. Viper Sting. Remember that one, the one that drains mana and only seems to get used in pvp (unless you're me and didn't even remember you had it till you were reminded)? Well, guess what, it works just as well on bosses with mana and if you keep it rolling on a boss, you will not run oom. Me, I switch between viper and serpent (serpent, chimera, viper, rest of shot rotation, serpent as chimera's about to come off cooldown, chimera, viper....) It means I don't lose the nice chunk of damage chimera+serpent gives me.
2. If you are not actively shooting something, you should be in aspect of the viper unless your mana pool is full. This includes the running around bits of a fight.
3. Rapid recuperation. It's not quite as nice as it used to be (grumble, Blizzard fixed bug, grumble) but it's still nice. In any boss fight, wait a bit till you hit Rapid Fire (I wait till I'm at about 70% mana). Enjoy. Then hit Readiness and repeat. If the fight is going quickly, wait till kill shot is available. Then you get two kill shots and two rapid fires. Nifty.
4. Aspect of the viper. Eventually you're going to have to. First, always always always switch to hawk/dragonhawk to sting and to use Chimera. You don't want to gimp your number 1 damaging shot. Second, you can either just steady shot your heart out or keep to your rotation. It'll depend on the fight, but you want to keep shooting. Autoshot alone's going to take quite a while to refill your pool.
The standard build atm for marksmen is 7/57/7. It does not include efficiency because, well, it's not a huge damage talent, is it? But for me, efficiency is a must. I am not a mage, I should not have to sit and drink after every pull. So, I removed go for the throat and improved steady shot, and used those 5 points to max efficiency. And here's the the build and please ignore the glyph of rapid fire. I haven't been able to get my hands on a kill shot glyph.