Tag Archives: beast mastery

Beast Mastery in 3.2.2: Less QQ, More PewPew

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?

My guild really likes Wash. I do too. <3 tawyn1

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

One Step Backward, Two Cautious Steps Forward – About The Beast Within "Nerf"

I originally wasn’t going to write this post; I don’t typically do speculations-types of posts and I’ve got another post which I consider much more interesting in the works at the moment. However, this could potentially be Very Big News, and because I seem to be biggest Beast Master Hunter blogger at this point (for better or for worse)– I figured I’d bring this up.

*pulls down screen and turns on overhead projector*

Could someone get the lights…?


MMO-Champion says thusly:

* The Beast Within now lasts 10 sec (Down from 18 sec) but now also increases all damage you deal by 10% at all time.
* Bestial Wrath now lasts 10 sec. (Down from 18 sec)

Now, I can envision the reaction some of you may have had there. Lemme sum it up: you read the first seven words of the quote, your heartrate and blood pressure skyrocket, you leap out of your chair and scream something incoherent… and then you read the rest, your heartrate goes down a bit, and you slooooowly sit back down while scratching your head.

If you did that, don’t be ashamed, because I did the exact same thing.

Because of that, I want everyone to take a few deep breaths. Inhale… exhale… inhale… exhale…



Let’s talk a bit.

Right now, in my humble experience, Beast Masters in endgame PvE are particularly good at two things: a.) fights where you’re doing a lot of running around and/or are out of commission and yet your pet can just sit there and om nom to his heart’s content, and b.) burst damage.

As an example for that first thing there, I point you towards something like the final boss in Drak’Theron Keep. Your pet does his normal thing the whole time, while you turn into a skeleton and whack things with your staff. You lose a lot of “hunter DPS” in that fight. Your pet picks up the slack. Another example would be Giant Popup Book Guy, aka Kologarn, in Ulduar. I have noticed in my few jaunts in there that that is a fight where I tend to do very well in comparison to many other classes or hunter specs. I think it’s because while I’m running around like a hamster on caffeine, trying to avoid the eye lasers, my pet is calmly munching on the boss. Once again, your pet “picks up the slack”.

Now, the burstyness. If you’re anything like me you’ve had at least one moment where you– all nice and raidbuffed in your 25man– got a devious little grin on your face, pulled out Recount, and popped EVERYTHING on some random trash mob just for kicks. Bestial Wrath, Call of the Wild, Rapid Fire, trinkets, you name it. During this, you watched Recount very closely and giggled at where you’d peak right after a string of crits. We’re talking in the range of 7000+ DPS, for me anyway… single-target! It’s ungodly. For that blissful fifteen seconds or so, we are extremely hard to catch.

The downside, of course, is that we fall below average inbetween those burst moments.

What the Bestial Wrath change says to me is that Blizzard is trying to iron out the peaks a little and while I have no hard data or testing, my inkling is that it is going to be a slight net gain overall.

At this point, depending on the fight and on buffs and other things like that, my pet’s DPS makes up somewhere around 40% of my total DPS. Sometimes it’s a little less, and sometimes it’s a little more. Let’s take a look at Bestial Wrath, replacing “you” and “your pet” with some percentages (in brackets, so it’s a little easier to follow):

OLD BESTIAL WRATH: Every 1.17 minutes, you increase [60% of your DPS] by 10% and [40% of your DPS] by 50% for 18 seconds. This cannot be used if your pet is dead or unavailable.

NEW BESTIAL WRATH: Every 1.17 minutes, you increase [60% of your DPS] by 10% and [40% of your DPS] by 50% for 10 seconds. In addition, [60% of your DPS] does 10% more damage at all times from now on, even if your pet is dead or unavailable.

…there, see, that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? In fact, it kinda sounds like an overall buff, doesn’t it? Maybe not a big buff, but a buff nonetheless. And hopefully it will pave the way for better things in the future.

See, Blizzard is actually taking this in a direction where I have kind of been hoping they would go. I’ve felt recently that pet damage is creeping too far upwards and while I love having a ridiculously scary pet, I also don’t like the fact that I am screwed on pet-unfriendly fights or other weird gimmicky fights where they don’t let you use your pet, or your pet doesn’t get some major buff, or what-have-you. This is ultimately a pet nerf but a hunter buff, and while I’ll certainly miss my favorite 18-second juggernaut, I am glad to see the pendulum swing a little more in the “hunter” direction.

Besideswhich, last I checked, Blizzard is still promising full ArmorPen/Haste/Crit/etc. scaling from master to pet in the near future, and if it does happen soon that’s going to be HUGE.

Keep your chins up, Beast Masters!

…okay, recess! *flips off overhead projector*

Closing Note: I had to make a few assumptions here, namely, the assumption that The Beast Within will still boost your damage by 10% during its duration in addition to its overall 10% damage boost. I also didn’t dig into any potential slight DPS loss caused by not having the reduced mana cost on shots for 18 seconds anymore. But hey, this isn’t supposed to be a mathy post anyway…

Also, I acknowledge that I could very well be wrong about all of this. Here, I present to you several grains of salt! *hands out free salt shakers*

Second Closing Note: I suppose in the end what I’m really trying to say here is… I HATE SAUERKRAUT *cough* anyways, what I’m trying to say is that I’m staying optimistic about this. We’re hunters, we’ll survive. To quote one of my favorite books of all time… “All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand Enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.”



“Okay, Dragonbots… roll out.”


Raidbuffed. I basically pulled my character screen up and promptly made a O_O face.


Wash, raidbuffed. 4458 Attack Power.

My jaw. It was on the floor.


Caster? What’s a caster?

This was on trash, so nothing important, but as far as I am aware this is the highest single-target (aka, none o’ that silly Volley spam) DPS I have ever attained. I was very happy to do this well as a Beast Master. ^_^ I giggled like a maniac when I took this screenshot. This also means Wash was doing somewhere in the area of 2500 DPS by himself. You probably won’t want to curse his sudden but inevitable betrayal anytime soon. *sage nod*

Since last week, I have replaced four pieces of gear; since two weeks ago, I have replaced five. They have all been pretty substantial upgrades, and it’s really showing in my DPS. Last week, I was feeling kind of sheepish, putting along somewhere in the middle of Recount– this time, whenever I remembered to check anyway, I was somewhere near the top. I am so glad to be able to contribute to my guild and raid group via Massive Quantities of Sustained Ranged PewPew. *nods*

I had a lot of fun today, I didn’t even see many new bosses (well, I saw a few), but I had so much fun! We did some messing around in the new 25man as well. You know, the one with the infamous Two Jormungars. We had some issues that prevented us from nailing Northrend Beasts but we got pretty close a couple times. I was doing about 4500ish DPS all told on those bosses, from what I saw. It is really weird to think that just a few months ago, 3800 was my high score on Patchwerk. But yes, I am glad to report to you all that Beast Mastery seems to be back in business for the most part ^_^

Just for fun, and because I stink at remembering the names of bosses, I present to you:

Pike Names The Ulduar Bosses She Has Seen So Far:
(Can you figure out who is who? =P)

Vehicle Fight
Dragon Thing
Fire Guy
Elmo Bot
Doctor Octopus/Falcon Punch/That Group of Three Annoying Guys
Giant Popup Book Guy
Cat Chick
Hodir (Oh hey, I remembered someone’s name!)
Fight That Involves Running To Walls and Millions of Adds Because It Is Kel’Thuzad Redux In The Mountains

…hmm. That’s all I’ve seen so far. >.> The list shall be expanded at a later date.

WoW is so fun lately, between raidstuff on Tawyn, gearing up Lunapike, and dinking around on my lowbies, I’m having a blast <3

Straight for the Jugular! Go for the Throat and Company

The discerning blog reader who has clicked around on my links and Armory profiles lately may have noticed something interesting; namely, my two level eighty hunters, while both Beast Masters, are currently sporting (slightly) different specs:



Tawyn is using a 53/11/7 build, and Lunapike a 52/12/7. It may look like a difference of one talent point on the surface, but it’s actually three. Let’s dig deeper and take a look.

Tawyn has: 3/3 Cobra Strikes, 1/2 Go for the Throat, and 0/2 Invigoration.

Lunapike has: 2/2 Invigoration, 2/2 Go for the Throat, and 0/3 Cobra Strikes.

First, we’ll take a look at Invigoration vs. Cobra Strikes.

Why the difference?

Short answer
: Lunapike just hit 80, while Tawyn has been 80 for a while and has thus amassed a relatively decent set of gear.

Long answer: Cobra Strikes is a solid DPS boost. However, Invigoration should theoretically keep you out of Viper for longer and thus could also be construed as a DPS boost. Which one you want to take is situational.

Lunapike just hit 80, as I mentioned. At the moment she is mostly doing dailies, and five-mans and heroics where Replenishment may or may not happen. She also is still mostly in leveling duds and thus has a very small mana pool.

Tawyn has a larger mana pool and is mostly in raids these days, where there’s often a lot of mana regen being thrown around.

Guess who is going to want Invigoration, and guess who’s going to want Cobra Strikes?

Both are, in my mind, acceptable, though in general, I feel a level 80 hunter is going to eventually migrate from Invigoration to Cobra Strikes. Your mileage may vary, as always, so play around with it… but I sorta think this is a common sense one. /nod

Now, let’s move on to Go for the Throat, that lovely, lovely talent that all hunters everywhere of every spec should have at least one point in, because it’s such a DPS boost.

Lunapike has this talent maxed out. Tawyn only has one point in there… the “other” point is going to max out Cobra Strikes.

Why the difference?

Short answer: Lunapike just hit 80, while Tawyn has been 80 for a while and has thus amassed a relatively decent set of gear. (Why yes, I did just copy paste this from above.)

Long answer: Go for the Throat works off of critical strikes. The more you crit, the more focus you feed to your pet. Let’s compare the critical strike chance of our two examples, unbuffed:

Here’s Tawyn:


And here’s Lunapike:


Big difference in stats, huh? Especially in crit rating! Tawyn crits almost twice as much as Lunapike!

This, my friends, is why Tawyn can get away with only one point in Go for the Throat. Because she crits enough that she only needs one point in there. Actually, even Tawyn is barely squeaking by. The online hunter spreadsheet tells me that unbuffed, I could use another point in GftT, if I had one to spare. Fully raid-buffed, though, I’m good to go, so I feel fine with not having the extra point… it’s hard enough to find places to pull talent points from as it is; there are so many goodies out there for us to nab.

But can you imagine if Lunapike, with her mere 17% crit, only had one point in Go for the Throat? If the online hunter spreadsheet could have a stroke, it would. Of this I have no doubt. All the hunter theorycrafters of yesteryear would collectively roll in their virtual graves. It’d be a disaster, I tell ya!

Conclusion? Well, when it comes to Beast Mastery, there really is no set-in-stone spec. 41/20/0 and its rigidness has been nailed tightly in its coffin for some time now and in its place we have a little bit of flexibility. Having mana issues? Invigoration is the way to go. Not so much? Go for Cobra Strikes and scoop up the extra pet crits. Below about 30%ish crit? Two points in Go for the Throat. Otherwise, you can get away with just one.

But above all, remember to try things out, and see what gets you the best results. Heck, you may have the best results by dropping some of the points in Survival all together and distributing them among the talents we talked about today. Research: it does a hunter good.

And with that… hunterbots, roll out!

Hellooooooo Beast Mastery

So I’ve done a bunch of heroics so far today. One of them was Heroic Violet Hold, which I’ve done a lot and frequently use as a sort of DPS test strip.

Ya know what I was getting when everything (Bestial Wrath, Call of the Wild, etc.) was popped, and with otherwise no outside buffs? 3800 dps. Ya know what I normally get on ten-man Patchwerk when fully raid-buffed? 3800 dps. All and all I was consistently seeing between a 400 and 500 dps increase simply from the buffs to Animal Handler and Wild Hunt. (I don’t think the new Catlike Reflexes will be worth dropping points from other things to put points into… but I’ll probably test it and/or spreadsheet it at some point.)

Eeeeeeee I can’t wait to see what I’d get on ol’ Patchy now O_O

In other news, have you ever seen your pet crit for well over 1000? Multiple times in a row? You’re about to.

It feels so good to be a Beast Master again and not feel like I’m dragging everyone down. No more having to spec Marksman– as much as I did enjoy it, it wasn’t the same– in the name of the raid. We’re Big, We’re Red, We’re Back.

*happy Pike*

Of course, the big question is whether we still lag behind the other two specs in a raid situation. My initial inkling is that we do, however, I don’t think we will as substantially as before. It all remains to be seen, though. I was invited to a guild 25man Ulduar on Friday, but I work that night, so I’ll be unable to go test. All’s well, though, I’m probably way undergeared anyway… best get my feet wet in a ten-man first. *nod*

Preemptive Edit: Because I have a feeling people are going to ask, here’s my spec.

WTB Raccoon Shot, PST

raccoon1This was originally going to be a commentary on the recent Blizzard Hunter Q&A, however two things occurred to me: 1.) I’m going to work in 25 minutes, which clearly isn’t time for an adequate post on the subject, and 2.) MMO-Champion has since updated with some interesting Beast Master tidbits from Blizzard. So I’m going to write about that latter thing instead (I’m still intending on writing a Q&A commentary, though, since I feel like I’ve got some unique things to say about it– look for it this weekend or on Monday.)

Anyway, let’s take a look at this latest news:

Arcane Shot and Beast Mastery
Yeah that was my point. The solutions are:

1) Give BM a signature shot and try to give Arcane a situational use.
2) Buff Arcane so deep in BM that nobody else will get that talent.
3) Accept that BM needs to be buffed in ways other than shots.

There are good points and bad points to each tree having a signature shot. A bad point is that it makes e.g. set bonuses hard because you can’t boost things like Explosive Shot easily. A good point is the trees feel a little more different rather than just swapping Explosive Shot for Raccoon Shot if you were BM.

Arcane Shot and Beast Mastery (#2)
If we buff the holy heck out of Arcane, then every Survival hunter just shoots Arcane and won’t take Explosive Shot. Since a lot of the Survival tree is designed to prop up Explosive Shot, we think this would a bad thing. Hence, we have to be very careful about how much we buff Arcane. If we do it in a very deep BM talent, then it’s probably safe. If we do it baseline or through a glyph or an upper talent, then we might get into problems. By contrast, buffing Explosive or Chimera is pretty safe because no other hunter can ever use those shots. BM doesn’t have a “this is BM only” attack to buff, unless it applies to the pet.


As I have said a couple of times now, a very deep BM talent to buff Arcane Shot might work. Otherwise, most of the BM damage is tied up in the pet or at least the pet being alive. Perhaps BM could benefit from a totally new mechanic, even it wasn’t a signature shot, so that we would have more knobs to turn when we needed to buff BM (and only BM).

What it means: Blizzard is aware of Beast Mastery needing a buff, preferably through more buttons to press. I know they are being wary on this though; one thing they mentioned in the Q&A is that one of the reasons Beast Mastery has a more simplified rotation is to allow you to have more leeway to focus on pet control on difficult fights. They were quite wary about Beast Masters having to juggle both a complex rotation, and having to keep your pet alive on Sarth or something.

My thoughts? We can easily fit another shot in there without getting “too complex”.

Honestly my mind is literally stuffed full with ideas on ways they could do this or otherwise buff Beast Mastery deep in the tree, but since I don’t work for Blizzard, we’ll just have to see how things go. My thoughts on a potential “Raccoon Shot” (we’ll play along here) though?

I think it’s fair to say we want to differentiate it from Explosive Shot and Chimera Shot, because we like the different talent trees being unique. My initial thought is to attach a Black Arrow-like effect to it: you toss up your “Raccoon Shot” which does some damage on hit, and also has an effect for a short period of time afterwards; damage increase, extra armor penetration, increases the critical strike damage bonus from all attacks you make on the target– that kind of thing. If we really wanted to get snazzy we could make it affect the pet as well. You could name the ability after a Poison Dart Frog or something. That’s pretty Beast Master-y, right?

My only concern on that is that it becomes too similar to Black Arrow which, again, sort of nullifies some of the uniqueness between trees. Black Arrow is a pretty signature Survival move, there is really nothing that feels like it in any of the other trees right now. But, it seems like a viable idea to me.


Blizzard’s other idea was just to drop the idea of a “Raccoon Shot” all together (which somewhat saddens me *pets the Fuzzy Theoretical Raccoon*) and simply really buff Arcane Shot deep in the Beast Mastery tree. They have already sort of done this via the new Ferocious Inspiration, but it’s clearly not enough of a buff. If they were to go this route, I think we’d have to forego a flat damage increase and go with something more interesting. Reducing the cooldown actually seems fairly reasonable to me. Perhaps we could attach it to Longevity. Or maybe all your Arcane Shots are guaranteed to be critical hits while under the effect of the Beast Within (That would get you three guaranteed Arcane Shot crits right there.) I dunno, these are all just general ideas I’m tossing out, but you get the picture!

The most exciting part, though, was the mention that “Perhaps BM could benefit from a totally new mechanic, even it wasn’t a signature shot, so that we would have more knobs to turn when we needed to buff BM (and only BM).” I am having trouble envisioning a new interesting hunter mechanic that isn’t pets, shots, and traps, but I would love to hear some ideas on this, because it could potentially be very cool. Dontcha think?

Overall I’m excited to see what the future may hold for Beast Mastery, though I’m trying not to get my hopes up about getting all these neat changes before the next expansion. Better to be pleasently surprised than disappointed I say! Beast Masters really are in a good position at the moment; through the course of World of Warcraft’s history we have gone from being pretty useless to being pretty awesome (albeit via Steady Shot spam), to being sort of middle-of-the-road but with some stuff to do. All they need now is to give us a little more stuff to do, to boost us into what I see as an ideal position for us.

I’m not in any rush right now; I’ve been playing a lot of my babyhunters while Tawyn takes a vacation in Stormwind and makes millions of flasks and potions to sell every few days. Time to sit back and see what happens.

And let’s hope Blizz throws in a free raccoon, cause they’re cute.


So You Want to Raid as a Beast Master Hunter

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.


Good news everyone!

goodnews At some point between the last time I seriously PvP’d (’bout a year ago) and now, Bloodlust Alliance figured out how to win Alterac Valley!


…okay, so, while that is good news, it’s probably not the good news you came here to read. Fortunately, I have other good news. The latest rumblings on the PTR are the impending change to Animal Handler. This talent has changed much through the years. Initially it gave your pet some extra Hit, which was rendered obsolete with hit scaling. Then it gave your pet expertise, and that, too, is about to be made obsolete. So now what’s it gonna do? Increase your pet’s Attack Power by 5%/10%.

For the record, that is awesome. And though I have no hard numbers, if Blizz delivers that plus expands on pet scaling like they said they wanted to in time for 3.2, combined with the impending weird Kill Command reduction on Catlike Reflexes and the Wild Hunt buff… I’m guessing that Beast Mastery is pretty much “fixed”.

Gotta say I am a bit worried, though. Remember why Blizz nerfed us last time? A lot of it was because pets were doing over 50% of our damage and they said that was too much. To which I actually agree– I love having a pet doing, oh… 35, 40% of my damage, but anything over 50% makes me too uncomfortable. Anyways, Blizz nerfed the pets, while forgetting to, well, really buff the hunter to counterbalance it.

Anyways, with all these new changes I don’t see any way that a Beast Master pet won’t be back up to 50% or more of a Beast Master hunter’s total DPS, and I worry that Blizz will have their nerfbat at the ready again. But who can say, really? It’s one of those things where we’ll just have to wait and see. At least the Blues know we could use some love, and that’s always a good sign.

Improved Mend Pet vs. Spirit Bond

If you are a Beast Mastery hunter, chances are good you have at least one or two talent points floating around in one of these two talents. In fact, if you are doing a fairly common 53/x/x build, then you really only have one point to spare.

So, where do you put that one point? Some people choose Endurance Training, but for me, I prefer to keep the choice between our good friends Spirit Bond and Improved Mend Pet. Let’s take a look at what they do:

1/2 Improved Mend Pet: “Reduces the mana cost of your Mend Pet spell by 10% and gives the Mend Pet spell a 25% chance of cleansing 1 Curse, Disease, Magic or Poison effect from the pet each tick.”

The mana cost reduction is relatively minute (though I suppose it would add up if you were using it a lot), so the big benefit here is mostly the shot IMP has at cleansing things off of your pet. This can be handy when solo’ing/questing to get rid of those nasty debuffs things will occasionally chuck onto your pet, and it can also be handy in a select few raid encounters. *coughHeigancough* Final verdict: Only has a very situational use, but very helpful in said situations.

1/2 Spirit Bond: “While your pet is active, you and your pet will regenerate 1% of total health every 10 sec., and increases healing done to you and your pet by 5%.”

I’ve had people debate me on this before, but I see the regeneration part of this talent as being, well… lackluster and ignorable. =P What we like this talent for is the flat increase on healing done to you and your pet. This could help a little on pet unfriendly fights, and also on player-unfriendly fights. May or may not be enough of a healing boost to save your/your pet’s life when crap hits the fan, though. Final verdict: Goes to waste on stuff like Patchwerk, but may make the life of your healers a tiny tad easier on stuff where there’s lots of AoE damage going around. Also makes your life a tiny tad easier on pet unfriendly fights.

And the Oscar goes to… Look at your situation and decide which one you’d rather have. Currently I am using Improved Mend Pet because I find it to be invaluable on Heigan; I am in Naxx more than most other raids combined at the moment and I pride myself on being able to keep my pet alive through the encounter. If I ever move on from Naxx I may very well move the point over to Spirit Bond. Both talents have their uses and I wouldn’t knock you for using either.

Bonus History Lesson:

Check out the final Beast Mastery talent back in World of Warcraft Beta:


Survival’s final talent back then…? We shall not speak of it… >.>

Go Forth, Young Beast Master, And Level

I get a lot of Google hits from people looking for a good Beast Master leveling spec. Probably because it’s a topic I’ve written about a lot. The reason I’ve written about it so much? Because for the past six months or so, every time a new patch has come out, I’ve had to come up with a new leveling spec. Yeah. (Oh, and let’s not forget the part where I’m leveling a million hunters. /cough)

I’m relatively certain things are at least… decently set in place now though, and it’s not like leveling specs are a super big deal anyways, so here‘s what I currently recommend:


Now remember, the best leveling spec is the one that works best for you. This isn’t really something that you min/max. Also, this spec isn’t designed to make your pet a supercrazy tank. If you’re looking for that, then I heartily recommend checking out Big Red Rhino!

However, when I level my hunters, I like to take a basic Beast Master DPS spec and tweak it a bit to add some extra pet survivability and talents that decrease downtime, while still maintaining enough DPS talents to allow me to perform reasonably well in an instance situation. When I level a hunter, I usually do a lot of solo quests and then sprinkle some instances into the mix… so my leveling spec is designed for that. We focus on pet survivability: Endurance Training, Thick Hide, 2/2 Improved Mend Pet– I have recently discovered that my pet can survive on Heigan with 1/2 Imp Mend Pet, but I’d still go 2/2 for leveling– and Spirit Bond at the cost of some DPS-oriented talents that we can do without while solo’ing. I have also opted for Invigoration over Cobra Strikes: I figure you won’t be critting all that much when you’re still leveling, but your pet will because his crit is based off of talents instead of gear, so Invigoration will help to decrease your overall downtime. (Not like we have a whole lot of downtime with Aspect of the Viper, but hey. Low-level hunters are the biggest mana hogs I’ve ever seen. x_x) Oh, and 2/2 Go for the Throat rather than 1/2. While 1/2 may be more than enough in an end-game situation (especially combined with Bestial Discipline), but as previously mentioned your crit probably isn’t all that hot while leveling, so go for 2/2.

Remember: You can level pretty much however you want to. I say this as someone who has leveled a druid to 70 as pure-resto. >.> Hunters obviously have it a little easier than that. When I leveled Tawyn from 70 to 80, I stayed with a purely DPS-oriented spec because I was in instances a lot (and because I’m a stubborn huntard) and I did just fine when I was out solo’ing. But I almost always give my lowbie hunters some variation of the above “leveling spec” and it’s worked out well.

So go ye forth and level!