Category Archives: stats

Tuesday Chat: Agility, Attack Power and Pets

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!

A Teacher's Work Never Ends

I think that sometimes we may take what we know about a subject for granted and assume everyone knows it. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been somewhat reluctant to post “hunter kindergarten” guides in the past… because I often fear it’s stuff everybody already knows.

But just now, while playing a lowbie hordie, I heard the following two things said by two different level 70 hunters:

“BM hunters don’t need agility, they need attack power.”


“The best shot rotation for 41/20/0 Beast Mastery uses Aimed Shots and Arcane Shots, and Steady Shot but only against dazed targets because it does more damage against dazed targets.”


Sorry Barrens hunters, but it’s back to school for you guys. Let’s go over some stuff real quick here: and I know I don’t have the math to back it up, but I do have some personal experiences.

Attack Power vs. Agility

Attack power isn’t bad per se, but here’s the thing, if you are gearing for Attack Power over agility, then you are basically giving up crit in favor of a little extra damage per shot.

Whether or not AP helps your “pure DPS” more than crit does is somewhat debatable and is largely dependent on gear, according to Cheeky, a hunter that I have a lot of respect for.

But let’s go beyond “pure DPS” and think about what happens when you crit as a typical Beast Mastery hunter. You get to use Kill Command. More DPS. Your pet has a very good chance of crit’ing with Kill Command. More DPS. This procs Ferocious Inspiration. More DPS. Also when you crit, your pet gets a bunch of focus via Go for the Throat. This lets your pet use his focus dump moves (more DPS), which also have a good shot at crit’ing (more DPS) and procing Frenzy (more DPS) and Ferocious Inspiration (more DPS). Now I haven’t done any math or anything but I’m having a hard time believing that some extra attack power is going to overcome all the benefits of crits. I myself would much rather see a big crit number on my Armory page than a big AP number.

Now the key is balance, you don’t want to stack crit chance and let your AP suffer or vice versa. That’s why agility is so good, because it contributes to both. Not to mention when a paladin gives you Blessing of Kings, it is going to scale based on your agility and not on flat AP or crit increases.

And that is why, in Pike’s opinion, Agility > Attack Power.

Shot Rotations:

My fellow hunters, do not underestimate the importance of using a good shot rotation if you want to do lots of DPS. If you are a Beast Master hunter you do not need to be using Arcane Shots (unless you have a slower weapon and can thread one in there) and you should never be using Aimed Shots. I have done heroics with hunters who have a nice solid spec, are very well-geared, and yet do very little DPS compared to me, and the reason is because they are simply spamming whatever shots they can when the cooldown is up. You need to learn how to time your shots. I know it seems kind of counterintuitive at first to simply not use certain shots when they’re sitting right there in front of you, ready to be fired. But ya gotta trust me on this one. Grab a nice weapon like Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle, start weaving in Steady Shots between your Auto Shots, and hang on and enjoy the ride. The results will amaze you.

My damage meter told me I was hitting over 1100 DPS during my last Kara run; I don’t want to quote that just yet because it seems a little high to me and my damage meter has been sorta glitchy lately anyway. But I know I am doing close to 1000 under optimal circumstances and the reason is because of my shot rotation.

As for Steady Shot: apparently it really does do more damage against dazed targets (I… feel kinda silly for not knowing this before >.> I guess you can learn stuff in Barrens Chat.) but that doesn’t mean you should be saving it and only using it against dazed targets. It is the most mana-efficient special shot that you have and you should make the most of it.

Well, that wraps up today’s little review. In closing, I just want to mention how much I dislike lag. Because it throws off my groove.

This little guide was hastily written up before running to work, so as always, lemme know if I made a mistake or left somethin’ out.