It’s Tuesday morning, the servers are down and some of you even have extended maintenance. Whether you’re at work or at home, there’s a good chance you’re bored. Never fear, Pike is here! To answer a few huntery questions I’ve been getting relatively frequently in comments/e-mails/Google searches/postcards. Except without the postcards. All I get in the mail are bills. /sob
But don’t take it from me. See for yourself what tragedy lies ahead when the paths of star-crossed lovers meet. And now: On with the show!
How much Attack Power does Agility give you as a hunter?: This is a flat 1:1 ratio. One Agility is one attack power. If you heard differently somewhere, you heard one of two things: either that Agility actually is worth more as Survival (which it is) so in a roundabout way, you do get more AP for it– or somebody who used to play a hunter a long time ago and then probably rerolled shaman/paladin in BC informed you that Agility gives you two attack power. Important: This stopped being the case with Burning Crusade. It’s 1 Agi = 1 AP now. A surprising number of people out there still aren’t aware of this. Don’t worry if you were led astray! Totally not your fault. *nods*
As a Beast Master hunter, should I be focusing on Agi gems or AP gems? Your “Stats for a Hunter” guide says Agi, is that still true?: That particular guide was written during the era of Burning Crusade and as such, while the basics of it are still correct, not all of it entirely is anymore. This is one of those points that has changed. At this time last year Agility was sort of the stat du jour for gems and enchants; AP and crit were still both very good, but “real hunters picked Agi”, so to speak.
These days, with your pet doing a bigger percentage of your damage (probably about 45-50% of your total DPS on a Patchwerk-style fight, as opposed to 30-35% of your total DPS in Burning Crusade) and Kill Command no longer having anything to do with your crits (and Cobra Strikes in general not proc’ing enough to justify stacking tons of crit), Attack Power is worth a lot more to you as a Beast Master than it was before, because it does, in fact, affect your pet’s Attack Power. Combine that with the fact that, for example, there have been no upgrades to Agility-based two-handed weapon enchants but some yummy AP ones, and you can see why AP is coming out the winner for Beast Masters these days.
Now remember, none of this means that agility or crit is bad. We still love them both. Just that AP gems are going to get you a bigger bang for your buck. Oh, and if you are dual-spec’d BM/Survival, I’ll say figure out which one you play more and gem for that. (Agi for Survival, and AP for BM).
So which pet really is the top DPS pet for Beast Masters?: There is some confusion here and I think it comes from the fact that there are some discrepancies on the list between “top DPS pets alone” or “top DPS pets when combined with the hunter”. Here’s the deal:
Devilsaurs are the current top DPS pet for Beast Master hunters.
Fortunately, for those of us who don’t like the large size/wonky hitbox/etc. of the devilsaur, we have some options.
Wolves do not do particularly high amounts of DPS alone, but in conjunction with Furious Howl applying to the hunter they are the second best DPS pet– yes, even for Beast Masters– last I checked the theorycrafting sites. Remember, combined with Longevity, that buff is gonna be up some 66% of the time for us. That’s pretty good.
However, they are only a smidge ahead of Raptors, the third best choice. Raptors on their own do rather more DPS than wolves do, but they lack the buff so the combined hunter-pet DPS theorycrafts out to be a little lower. They are still a top-notch pet especially for Beast Masters: Savage Rend crits a lot which self-buffs the Raptor and I have personally found it makes a big difference. I have both a wolf and a raptor at level 80 and I usually bring the raptor to raids. I find, in my situation, that I tend to perform slightly better with him (aside from the fact that I am more attached to him >.>). So remember, the theorycrafting numbers aren’t always everything, you have to see what works for you.
“But Pike, I love my Spirit Beast/Cat/etc.”! Good! Please keep using the pet you love. Cats and Spirit Beasts are still quite viable, they just aren’t in the current “top three” on paper. But “on paper” is just that, on paper, and in my humble opinion it’s not as important as raiding with a pet you have had since level 10, or took forever to find, or just love dearly.
Well, hopefully all of that cleared up some confusion. As always, this site would not be complete without the comments, so feel free to leave ‘em!