I’d hit a point last week where I was feeling pretty doubtful about my own potential as a raider and about the glass ceiling on Beast Mastery. I think it spawned mostly from an Ulduar 10 run with a bunch of people who I didn’t know. See, the first day of that run, there were people there that I knew and liked from earlier raids, but most of them didn’t show up on the second day, and they were replaced by people who were SuperBig raiders who had been doing Hard Modes since forever and who were reminiscing about the good ol’ days of Black Temple and Sunwell. I started to feel extremely self-conscious knowing that I was the Oddball, the Beast Master Hunter who had never done these fights before and kept dying to things that everyone else seemed to be dodging effortlessly. I didn’t feel very good about myself at that point; I was afraid I was nothing but a hindrance to my raid group.
So then yesterday it was guild raid time; I was back on familiar ground and dealing with fight mechanics that I knew (for the most part). We started out in 25man ToC, which was going nicely until Faction Champions decided to glitch out like you would not believe– The Amazing Disappearing, Reappearing Faction Champions, Only On Pay-Per-View!– so because it was unplayable, we headed off to get a head start on tonight’s Ulduar. I was checking Recount after each fight, largely for numbers to report back here regarding things like the Bestial Wrath change.
4999 DPS on Northrend Beasts.
4553 on Jaraxxus (this is a fight I am still shaky on because I haven’t done it very much).
5082 on Ignis.
5297 on XT.
And these are all long, sustained fights– not just a few seconds of burst. I had to dip into Viper at least once on every single one of these. Now I have no idea if this is good or not compared to other hunters, but, I can now safely say that I am certainly NOT being a hindrance to my own raid group by spec’ing Beast Mastery, and that my issues from that last raid were simply my own unfamiliarity with the fights. Class/spec viability does not exist in a vacuum in most cases. So, I felt a lot better about that.
So let’s talk about numbers!
Stuff I’ve observed while “in the field”:
- Wash is still doing a good chunk of my damage. 45%ish or so. The fact that this means he’s doing close to 2500 DPS by himself makes me giddy.
- I actually am starting to really like the reduced time on Bestial Wrath. The reason is that it can now be safely used in places where I might not have used it before. Before, it was like “Okay, if I am going to have 18 seconds of uninterrupted DPS time, let’s use it.” But in fights where, say, there’s a lot of running around going on, or target-switching, or the boss burrows, etc., you may not always have 18 seconds of uninterrupted DPS time. 10 seconds, however, is considerably more feasible.
Stuff I’ve observed by doing “math” and messing around with spreadsheets (note: these calculations were all performed with my own gear/spec. Your mileage may vary!):
- Wolves have surpassed Devilsaurs in the Beast Mastery DPS department, presumably due to how Beast Mastery DPS has skewed more in favor of the hunter in this latest patch. The DPS difference is very pronounced in fights where you have less buffs (a la Heroics), and considerably softened in larger fights with more buffs (a la 25mans). For me specifically, performing several tests, I was actually getting Raptors as being ahead of Devilsaurs as well, but I know not everyone who was retesting my results got that answer. The Wolves > Devilsaurs thing, however, appears to be legit as far as I know and has been confirmed on the training dummies by the lovely Tchann of Crowd Control.
- For me personally, with my gear, 53/11/7 is still pretty much the best spec. I know Elitist Jerks has this whole 54/12/5 thing going on, but honestly that was a relatively large decrease for me with no buffs, and only a very slight increase (like, 10 DPS) with all the best buffs. I also tried a few spec variations that involved putting more points in Mortal Shots, my assumption being that more hunter damage would favor that talent, but again, any DPS increase was incredibly slight and didn’t scale well to heroics and 10mans.
- I then went through and enabled all the best raid buffs and tested pretty much every Ferocity pet I could. The DPS differences between pets are, in fact, much smaller than I was expecting; the majority of Ferocity pets, when fully raid-buffed and attached to a Beast Mastery hunter, fall somewhere within a spectrum of about 100 DPS. That may seem like a large number “in theory”, but honestly, if you’re talking about 5400 DPS vs. 5500 DPS, unless you’re in one of The Bestest Most Hardcore Guilds Ever, it’s not a huge deal. It’d be like if you got a 95% on your math test and your friend got a 97%. You’re both still getting an A. It made me happy to see this because I have this tendency to be drawn to the unconventional pets on my hunters; Lunapike is really starting to favor her Wasp, and I have a hard time doing anything with Althalor without his Moth. (Hmm, I appear to have a thing for flying pets as well, it would seem.)
As for Tawyn, well, she’s not going anywhere without Wash. First of all, I have a really hard time getting into wolves as hunter pets. Like… I’ve been trying since before wolves were cool. I’ve been trying since Burning freakin’ Crusade. I’ve lost count of the number of wolves I’ve tamed, tried out, and then released. I dunno, it just feels too much like I’m sending in a cute little puppy to attack, instead of a big ferocious killing machine.
Secondly, I just really like my raptor, and isn’t that one of the reasons to play a hunter– to use a pet you are fond of and attached to and that you adventured with?
This amazing picture was made by Van over at Art of the Hunt. It’s one of the best things ever and makes me happy. <3 Speaking of which, if you have ever done a fan-art of one of my characters, send it my way, I'm going to be putting a fan-art section up on the site shortly! (And I may be contacting you for permission to post yours, if you've sent me fan-art in the past!) =D