I recently had a comment left asking a question similar to “Is Beast Mastery viable in a casual ten-man Naxx raid?”
The answer is yes, yes, and very yes.
Because I did it once a week for a good few months, and heck, this was before pets had Wild Hunt and Shark Attack available– good ol’ post-nerfs but pre-3.1 Beast Mastery. (Then my Naxx group disintegrated and scientists are still baffled about it. True story.)
Anyways, I would hit 3800 or so on Patchwerk and slightly less on other bosses (Loatheb being the exception of course). Occasionally some rogue would pop out of nowhere and get 4000 and snag “First Place on Recount” from me but I can’t recall ever being worse than second.
If that isn’t viable enough for a “causal ten-man Naxx”, then I dunno what is!
Of course, Beast Mastery is kinda touchy. Because it does the lowest DPS currently of all three hunter specs, it can be difficult to coax DPS out of it. Here is my advice to you:
Have a viable spec. By viable I don’t mean “zomg most top DPS evar, no exceptions!” so much as a spec that isn’t just darts thrown at your talent tree. Back when I first began doing weekly Naxx runs, I was 53/18/0 and I did very well. I respec’d to 53/11/7 and did better, and I’m currently running with 54/12/5 which does the highest spreadsheet DPS in a 25man at the cost of slightly lower DPS in five-mans, as compared to 53/11/7. Both would get you roughly similar numbers in a ten-man. All of these three specs are good, as are specs that are very similar. See which one works best for you.
These go hand in hand together especially for us Beast Masters. You want at least Glyph of Bestial Wrath and Glyph of Steady Shot. Once you have these, your rotation is Bestial Wrath (when available) -> Kill Shot (when available) -> Arcane Shot -> Multishot -> Serpent Sting (when it needs to be refreshed) -> Steady Shot. Use Kill Command and Rapid Fire when they are up, as well. Kill Command works especially nicely in conjunction with Bestial Wrath.
A quick word on Multishot: I used to tell people to only use it when you have mana replenishment, however, I’ve been playing around with Zeherah’s Hunter DPS Analyzer (I am in love with it) and discovered that you should always use Multishot when you can.
I also used aforementioned website to try talenting into Aimed Shot, snagging the Glyph of Aimed Shot, and using that in place of Multishot. While the resulting numbers weren’t bad per se, they were still a fairly moderate DPS loss as opposed to spec’ing something like 53/11/7 and just using Multishot. So, that is that!
You will notice that I haven’t mentioned a must-have third glyph; you have a couple options here. Kill Shot, Hawk, and Serpent Sting are all viable ones. I get the best results with Serpent Sting myself: less having to refresh Serpent Sting, more time to do other shots!
I still say you should use what you love when it comes to pets ^_^ however, Devilsaurs are the proven top DPS pet for Beast Masters at the moment. Raptors and Wolves are fairly close behind; I think Raptors edge ahead of Wolves a bit. Cats, Moths, Spirit Beasts, etc. aren’t bad options either, although they aren’t in the “Top Three”.
The important thing when it comes to pets is to have them spec’d for pewpew!
Following these simple steps will have you more than ready to conquer Naxx10 with a Big Red Pet. How viable is it for other, bigger raids, you may ask? Well, I’ve done OS25, VoA25, and a good portion of Naxx25 as BM and performed rather nicely. You may not be #1 on damage but you will be pulling your weight. As for Ulduar, well, I’ve no idea how you’d do in there, although there are some Beast Master hunters on my blogroll who are in Ulduar and are doing very well. There’s also a thread on Mania’s Forums dedicated to studying Beast Master DPS in Ulduar.
Oh, and did I mention this screenshot of the EU first kill of Yogg-Saron with no keepers? Notice the devilsaur in the picture and the little Ferocious Inspiration icon in the corner? It made me very happy to see that. To be fair, from what I understand, it’s largely because the mechanics of the fight favor DoTs, and your pet is essentially a very large DoT. Still, it’s proof that there is a time and place for Beast Mastery even among the best of the best.
In closing: If you wanna be a Beast Master, be a Beast Master. Most of us aren’t in the hardest of the hardcore raiding guilds and we can get away with it quite nicely! Bestial Wrath away, my friends.