It’s been a few weeks since I seriously sat down and played one of my hunters. But I’ve seen a few Beast Mastery related topics sort of floating around the blogosphere/Twittersphere/MMOChampion-sphere so I figured I’d toss a couple of my thoughts out there.

“Beast Mastery is as competitive as Marksmanship and Survival” … really it depends on what you mean by this, since “competitive” can be used in several different ways. What seems to be at odds here is this idea vs. “A good Beast Master can beat a bad MM/SV, but a good Beast Master cannot beat a good MM/SV.”

In this case, I tend to fall more toward the latter camp, based on both math and experience, but I’m pretty lenient with it.

In fact, I’d probably tend to say “A great Beast Master can beat a bad MM/SV and can also beat a good MM/SV.”

A lot of very good Beast Masters say that they beat MM/SV hunters all the time. I think that this is because most of the MM/SV players you will meet in an average PuG or maybe even some of the ones in their guild are so-so, or maybe good, but not great. But were an equally-skilled and equally-geared BM and MM/SV hunter to meet I’d probably put odds on the MM/SV.

Of course, there are a lot of factors at play here, for example: is the fight pet-friendly? Does the fight involve a lot of running around on the hunter’s part while the pet can just sit there and nom the boss? Or does the fight toss around buffs that benefit the hunter and not the pet? (Twin Valks, I’m lookin’ at you.) All of these things will make a difference. DPS doesn’t exist in a vacuum except maybe on Patchwerk.

Now, a question like “is BM raid viable”, though, depends on your guild and on your personal expectations. For my guild, BM is raid viable. For yours, maybe it’s not. It all depends!

Why hasn’t Blizzard buffed Beast Mastery yet? I see this question a lot. I do have a theory. Over the months there have been a lot of blue posts that seem to insinuate that Beast Mastery is still very popular. Now, I’ve no doubt that this is because a lot of hunters run with one BM build for solo’ing/dailies/playing with exotics/what have you. But Blizzard also seems to have insinuated that Beast Mastery is still a popular raid build, contrary to what many people expect, and that it is only getting more popular as time goes on.

Now combine this with blog comments I’ve seen or even PuGs I’ve encountered in game, where you’ll see four or five hunters at a pop all collectively pining for the days of Beast Mastery, and my own personal theory is that Blizzard is sort of afraid of Beast Mastery’s longstanding popularity. In other words, if they really stick it up there on equal footing with MM/SV, they worry that the pendulum will still swing heavily towards BM, just because it’s that popular.

Now, I don’t have the numbers on this, only Blizzard does. And I don’t know the thoughts of all the millions of hunters that play this game. It’s my theory, though.

Should I use Kill Command and Bestial Wrath at the same time?: I do. It’s one of the big reasons why I’m keeping the Bestial Wrath glyph, even if the Hawk glyph is better.

Should I gem for AP as a Beast Master?: The DPS increase between gemming for AP and gemming for Agi is minimal enough that I gem for Agi, myself. But neither is a bad choice as BM.

Should I use Aspect of the Beast during Bestial Wrath?: I’ve played with this before. The overall consensus from my own testing and from the spreadsheet says that it’s a small DPS increase. Small enough that it won’t kill you if you choose not to do it. But if it’s a relatively easy fight and there’s not much going on and you want more to do… sure, have at it! Just remember to switch back to Hawk when you’re done.

Should I use Multishot in my Beast Mastery rotation?: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

But what about Multishot breaking CC and…: I miss the days of CC as much as the next person but the truth is that in today’s WoW, it’s really not something you have to worry about anymore. I can count the number of times I’ve caused a problem with Multishot on one finger. And that finger goes to those pain-in-the-butt pulls in Ulduar leading up to Iron Council/Kologarn. Something was sheeped and I shot it. After that I simply banned Multishot from my rotation in that hallway, but continued to use it elsewhere.

Just use your common sense (don’t use it if you do see something being CC’d,) and you’ll be fine. ^_^

/ramble-mode off

24 Responses to “Musings of the BM Kind”
  1. Tchann says:

    Last night was my first time raiding in over a month. We blew through CC, and through the ships in IC (my first time in there). I’m way behind the rest of my guild in gear (main tank already has full Trophy gear, I’ve only gotten one Trophy ever). I didn’t know what the hell I was doing for all of the IC stuff because I hadn’t gotten the chance to study it.

    And I came out 5th on the damage meters, two slots above the MM hunter who’s been raiding the whole time I’ve been gone. >.>

  2. Euripides says:

    A BM hunter in decent gear can easily do more DPS than an equivalently geared MM or SV hunter if they do the little things. Little things like cooldown stacking, multi-shot on adds, and rolling serpent stings on all allowed targets. Assuming the other hunter isn’t doing these things too :P

  3. Darthregis says:

    Anyone who says BM isn’t raid viable is off their rocker, in my opinion. I wouldn’t go in there expecting them to top the charts necessarily, but they won’t be on the bottom, either.

    If anything fits the “bring the player” philosophy that Bliz flaunts, I’d say Hunters fit it mighty well.

  4. [...] by Ambrosine on January 11, 2010 Pike has a lovely, rambling post here.  And while I’m at here, here’s some random thoughts on my [...]

  5. Fremskritt says:

    I think the fact that I rarely ever seen any posts about hunters on MMO-champ’s blue tracker should tell everything about how Blizzard views hunters: where they want us. Not finished, but they’re satisfied with how the class works.

    Personally I didn’t really look back when I went Marks after being FoTM Surv for a few months (before that I was FoTM BM). Somehow I find Marks to be the spec that fits my playstyle the most, even when just doing dailies. In my gear I just nuke down stuff succesfully before it reaches me, which makes it actually go a little faster than if I went BM.

    But again, this is a personal choice, and I’m glad there is no obvious “best” or “worst” talent tree. I hate telling my fellow hunters to play a spec they don’t really like.

  6. Windpaw says:

    I keep BM around for those times when I want to solo an elite or head into Zul’Gurub and farm for rep and the incidental Tiger Mount. I’m fairly confident that as BM I could get my damage at least competitive with that of my normal raid spec (marksman).

    The problem I see isn’t whether it’s “viable” or not – but whether it’s fun. The current “rotation” just isn’t fun anymore. If blizzard plans on keeping dps focused around a changing queue of “priorities” for our abilities – then BM needs something new to throw in the pot.

    Beast Mastery (to me) says that these abilities shouldn’t be new “shots” – but should instead be more pet based abilities. We need more than the infinitely macroable Kill Command to add some spice to our damage dealing. They need to be abilities we can add on our action bar and not on the pet bar. They need to be things that we – the *masters* tell the pet to do.

    That could be really cool. It could be fun. Without it – BM just seems a bit too stale.

  7. Kit says:

    Well, I don’t raid or even pug, but I play BM because it seems to me to be what huntering is meant to be about, it’s the spec that feels right for a hunter. Does that make sense?

  8. Lesuen says:

    I raid with a multitude of other hunters in both 10 and 25man raids. In 10man, we actually sometimes run with three hunters, each of a different spec. I play Survival because I’m competitive on the charts and I top the charts 90% of the time. I levelled with BM and still keep it as my offspec because I love exotic pets, but raiding wise, I haven’t been able to reach the same numbers as Survival.

    In ToC25, I run with a MM hunter at my side; we’re both in the top 3 on every fight, with a rogue up there with us. We both have very similar gear and skill as well as knowing the fights upside down and backwards, and we’re within 200 dps of each other, either way. Why can’t BM be within this magical margin that MM and Surv seem to be? Why is my Loque a massive 600 dps below my wolf just on target dummies?! I love BM – the simplicity of the rotation, the big red pet at my command, and the unique talents to buff the pet – but if I get a huge dps boost going to the other specs, I’m more useful to my guild.

    So yes, BM is the most popular spec, if only so we can play Pokemon with exotics (QQ no more stable slots), level efficiently, or solo the world while we have MM or Surv as an offspec.

  9. Ardprest says:

    I’m a very inexperienced fighter in WoW and frankly I don’t seem to be getting any better. I’ve spec’d BM because it simply works best for me. On the few raids I’ve PUG’d I’ve kinda held my own but I’ll never top the stats. The current trend towards gearchecking and “stats/achievements are everything” is going to exclude me from a lot of the situations where I might actually learn anything so I guess I carry on grinding my way through the game for now.

  10. For me, I loved BM in BC and i dont really get the mm/surv rotations. They feel too complex and finneky.
    BM is simple and effective. With mostly 232 gear im doing a good 4k dps in 10mans, 3.5 to 5.5k in heroics – depending on bosses.
    And with that sort of dps im beating 90%+ of other dps in random pugs.
    Its only geared raiders or exceptionally skilled people that beat me.

  11. In other words, if they really stick it up there on equal footing with MM/SV, they worry that the pendulum will still swing heavily towards BM, just because it’s that popular.

    Which… I don’t get why anyone would see this as a bad thing. People get to play what they want, for whatever reasons they want.

    I mean shit, I may hate BM and find it boring and shallow, but that doesn’t mean that I think it should be inferior. There’s absolutely no valid reason why, aside from Blizzard’s inability to either make it overpowered or near-worthless.

  12. Greymalkin says:

    I was actually trying out BM in ICC25 this past friday. For fights like Marrowgar and Deathwhisper where you’re stuck moving around and having range problems (CURSE YOU MARROWGAR) it was actually really efficient, I was still sticking around the same dps as the rest of the hunter batallion (you know what I’m talking about). Then there’s the gunship. I am never trying that as BM again. Especially not as the boarding party. Ever.

    You need to play Taw and come to 10 mans! *shakes fist*

  13. Pookii says:

    So I’ve been gone from WoW for a month due to traveling in another coutry so I’m not sure anymore what’s what but… what if you use Aimed Shot, instead of Multishot, in your rotation as BM? I haven’t used it yet, but I WAS wondering, since they share the same cooldown and another website (WHU) says there isn’t really a difference in the damage they do… Or has that changed?

  14. Saffron says:

    /pokes head in

    My highest level hunter is level 15, so I;m sure I’m not qualified to respond, but I’ve always loved the relationship I have with my pet as BM spec. Just as I choose to play a frost mage in PVE, even if it is less optimal I would rather play what I enjoy than something numerically superior but not as fun.

  15. Pike says:

    @ Pookii – Aimed Shot isn’t worth it for two reasons. First of all, you have to take points out of Survival (which are worth more DPS) and put them into Marksmanship to get it. Secondly, Multishot has the potential to hit more than one target, which also means more DPS.

  16. Brigwyn says:

    Heya Pike!
    Great post!

    You brought up an interesting point about Blizzard being “afraid” of the popularity of BM. Though I’m not too sure that’s the real reason they don’t buff it. I do think it’s something that might be caused them to put it off until Cataclysm.

    Why work with an old system and try to balance using it when you can patch it here or there and get it passable.

    Also, in regards to the “Competitiveness” of BM vs MM or SV, this is something that seems to grow louder as we reach the end of an expansion. Vanilla saw cries for making BM stronger, BC saw cries for MM and SV, and now we’re seeing the community cry out for BM again.

    However, during all this time, one thing remained true and you prove all the time. BM is viable. It may not be optimum, but it most certainly is viable.

    Again, awesome post and thanks for sharing.

  17. ihlos says:

    i think blizzard just knows that cataclysm is bring some major changes to hunters, and the huge one is the mana to ‘focus’ change. They know that buffing bm now is not worth their time.

  18. Dragonrose says:

    In my personal opinion, BM is the most fu Hunter spec to play for mainly one reason: You are viable in ANY setting. Sure, you won’t be pulling off top-of-the-charts DPS (mostly…I have often XD) but you can hold your own and changing scenarios is as simple as having multiple pets and using call stabled pet at 80.

    For example, for raids and instances, I call my devilsaur. To solo, I call my rhino OR plainstrider XD dependig on what is required. For pvp I could easily have a scorpion or what have you…I’m really not a pvp player. All of this keeping my current spec.

    Of course, I could be peaky and choose different BM specs for each case too! But I don’t have to.

    Bottomline though, I think everyone plays better if they’re having fun and are ethusiastic about what they are playing enough to be well informed and skilled. A player who has fun playig BM will kick the ass of a player playing MM/SV just because it’s the FotM or cookie cutter spec.

  19. Omogon says:

    Pike….if you haven’t seen this already..please go and look at Frostheim’s WHU comic

    http://www.warcrafthuntersunion.com/2010/01/frostheim-goggles-tact/

    It would be awesome if you and he could have a chat :D

  20. Ordinaryhero says:

    Wow i belive this would be the first post i’ve seen that is pro BM. I just assumed BM was like Fury warr.

    Cool in theory.

    Everything i’ve seen is that if you want to comepete you go survial til you get the gear then marks when your on the top end of gear. I’ve been leveling BM and just went Surv to learn it so i wouldn’t be a tard at 80 but i enjoyed muh devilsaur lol. I do agree with the bring the player mind set, but good luck finding a guild leader that has a progressing guild that thinks the same : (.

    I do have a question though, what are your thoughts on the inc focus system to replace mana?? Do you think it’s going be a buff as we won’t have to swap to viper so much or a decrease as the focus regen will be lower than of energy and we may be starved for it the whole time.

  21. Shagrat says:

    I actually specced Emeralde (the draenei formerly known as the tauren Lavacadora formerly known as the night elf Cairlinn) Beast Mastery. I still enjoy the spec immensely and would still rather spec that than Survival. There is just something about Survival I do not like.

  22. Guntitan says:

    Pike. I GOT MY FIRST TROPHY- 25 man TOC pug. Is it okay to test a spec on a pug? I use BM on heroics and do fine.

  23. [...] week, Pike has written an excellent blog post about how to play as a Beast Mastery hunter. I particularly like [...]

  24. [...] has some musings of the BM kind – I kinda miss BM, but hate devilsaurs and don’t have the patience to find a spirit [...]

  25.  
World of Warcraft™ and Blizzard Entertainment® are all trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment in the United States and/or other countries. These terms and all related materials, logos, and images are copyright © Blizzard Entertainment. This site is in no way associated with Blizzard Entertainment®