I’m really wavering on what spec I want to go to with my hunters for the remaining month that we are level 70. I’m actually pretty certain that both will be different specs– both Beast Mastery, of course, but different talent point placement. Whether they will be largely different or only slightly different remains to be seen.
I’ve been playing around with the WoWHead talent calculator and I’ve narrowed down my choices to a few options. Before I present them, I’d like to get a couple things out of the way:
Lack of Animal Handler: This was a must-have talent for 2.0 Beast Masters because pet hit did not scale with hunter hit, but now it DOES scale, so I don’t really see a need for this talent at this point so long as you are hit-capped. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, though, so I am certainly going to be keeping the possibility in mind of keeping this talent around, but for now, it’s out.
One-point in Spirit Bond: A filler talent to allow me to progress to the higher tiers of talents. I don’t really care about the health regen so much as the added +heal to pet and the subsequent boost it will give Mend Pet which may help out in tough encounters. If it turns out to not make much of a difference I will probably toss that filler point in Endurance Training instead.
Lack of the 51-point BM talent in a few cases: As much fun as the exotic pets and four extra talent points are, I… really like my current pets, a lot. Plus, I don’t know if the DPS increase from that last talent will be worth it when you can put the points elsewhere. So while it may sound like Beast Master Blasphemy, I’m actually really torn on this talent. I’m sure it will be theorycrafted out before long but until then, I’m not too sure.
Focused Aim vs. Go for the Throat: Considering that the level 80 gear I have seen seems to have a disturbing lack of Hit Rating on it, Focused Aim is sort of looking like a mandatory talent. But in many deep-BM talent builds that would mean forgoing Go for the Throat, and in my experience and testing on the Beta server, Go for the Throat is just… ridiculously better than Bestial Discipline in terms of pet focus regen. I figure for now I will probably opt for GftT on Tawyn (who is hit-capped) and Focused Aim on Lunapike (who is far from hit-capped. The stat just seems to avoid her. It’s depressing.) We will have to see how things go at 80.
Okay, now on to the specs! Remember, these are all designed for level 70 (not 80) and general Burning Crusade PvE.
Full-on Deep Beast Master: 55/6/0. This is pretty straightforward and nabs you all the deep Beast Master goodies including the Exotic Pets and then starts you down the Marksman path. Its biggest perk is being able to go right out and get your devilsaur or core hound today, but its drawbacks include the fact that honestly I don’t know if you’d be better off DPS-wise with the Marksman talents first. Which leads me to…
Getting Your MM Talents Out of the Way First: 45/16/0. Gets you all that lovely stuff in Marksman including Go for the Throat, at the cost of the top-tier BM talents. Once WotLK hits and you start leveling you will have just enough points to snag all the deep-BM talents and you will eventually end up with 55/16/0 as you would above… you’re just doing it in a different order. I would also be up for variations on this theme (46/15/0, to nab 2/2 Invigoration, perhaps).
Double the Fun: 40/21/0. This was my latest test build on Beta and you guys, The Readiness/Bestial Wrath kung-pow-combo is pretty hard to top in the Fun Department. The way I see it, with this build, you’d have two options once Wrath arrives: you can either get The Beast Within for even MORE epicness and then continue down the BM tree (sans the Beast Mastery talent, though), or you can continue down MM and wind up with Trueshot. No idea, without doing the testing, if either of these builds would be considered truly-top-level viable at 80, but they are fun to think about. The biggest downside of this build is that you are missing the fun new BM stuff. But… double Big Red Tux!
Well, those are my ponderings this morning. Just to provide some interesting comparison (and also cause I can’t make up my mind) I think Tawyn will pick something similar to one of those specs, and Lunapike something similar to another one of those specs. When was the last time I mentioned that I love having two 70 hunters, again? /grin
My work shift today happens to be all evening (/sob!), so I can’t guarantee any updates tonight, but the rest of this week is looking pretty open for me (yay managers randomly encouraging me to use up my vacation hours!) so I will be there bringin’ you all the news and stories as they come. Your own thoughts on Beast Master specs? Want to (gently) point out any big errors I made or make some suggestions or sway me one way or the other? Lemme know!