Tag Archives: beast mastery

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!

Building a Better Beast Master Pre-3.1

It may seem a bit silly to be focusing on tweaking my spec and DPS now that we are probably only a few weeks away from 3.1 and the potential spec changes… especially as someone like me who generally takes a rather laidback approach to her own personal theorycrafting.

But I’m going to Naxx tomorrow with my guild for the first time in a while– yes, I’m actually going to be able to go with my guild this time and not have to PuG– and I want to make sure I make a good impression and am pulling my weight!

Which leads us to the spec experimentation that I’m currently in the midst of. I did opt to stay with Beast Mastery. I do want to make clear that I enjoy Marksmanship enough that I have offered, in the past, to gladly respec to it on particularly pet-unfriendly fights, such as a guild Sarth1D run I did the other week, but we’ve always managed to end up eventually clearing it without me having to do so. (Sarth Dancing For Your Pet movie in the future, perhaps?) But Naxx, I know, is pretty pet friendly overall which leans itself towards BM, which works out fine for me!

My experimentation comes from this post over at the WoW_Ladies community on LJ, which referenced this thread on Elitist Jerks, which is devoted to hammering out various max-DPS hunter specs on paper. Their suggested Beast Mastery build? 52/12/7.

Which is kind of, well, a lot different than the 53/18/0 I’ve been running with.

What this spec primarily does is swap out 15% extra damage on your Arcane Shot for 5% extra damage on all your shots– a reasonable trade, I figure– and some of the bonus crit damage for an increased chance to crit with your specials, which should in turn boost the number of Cobra Strikes procs you get. Oh, and you’ve gotta give up the Beast Mastery talent. Which I opted to do for now. Just… don’t let me go into Sholazar until I get it back, because knowing my luck, I will find Loque while not able to tame him and I will cry.

Anyways, I took that suggested spec, made one minor tweak to it (I can’t live without 2/2 Improved Mend Pet… I just can’t. >.>) aaand went and did a couple of heroics and a normal Archavon. Unfortunately I don’t feel like I got very satisfactory Recount results. Heroic Drak’theron does not seem to lend itself well to many tests other than a couple of the bosses, and this Archavon was a rather ragtag group with only one tank rather than the usual two, and as such wasn’t a “typical” battle like I was hoping for. Still, on the occasions where I was able to simply stand and pewpew, the results were promising.

Overall I think that this spec might in fact be able to squeak out a little more DPS than what I was running with before, but I’m still not entirely sure. A DPS test on paper is different than one in the field, taking your own personal gear and buffs and group composition into consideration. And the training dummies aren’t gonna work this time due to the nature of Improved Tracking and the fact that the dummies are mechanical. Anyways, I’m working for most of the rest of the afternoon but I’m hoping I might be able to do at least one more Heroic late tonight before I drag this spec into Naxx tomorrow.

…can ya tell I’m nervous? Yeah, I’m not really sure why, to be honest. >.> Maybe because it’s been a long time since I was in a raid group with people I know are really good and who I really respect. I don’t want to disappoint anyone.

Oh, and one last thing! My WoW Insider profile has caused a large influx of new traffic and, with it, several e-mails. I apologize if it takes me a while to return your e-mail. I sometimes have a hard time telling which ones I’ve replied to yet. *nods*

Beast Mastery Meets Multishot

The Stage: Vault of Archavon, 25-man. I’m one of three hunters in there, the others are Survival.

The Plan: As I’m sure many of you know, this is a fairly straightforward and simplistic fight; yeah you move around a little and you’ve gotta stay away from the big scary falling rocks but other than that it’s a tank’n’spank. Like Patchwerk but a little more mobile. And in a 25-man there’s gonna be a lot of mana regen. Perfect testing grounds for my new shot rotation.

The Spec: 53/17/0

The Rotation: Serpent Sting (kept up); then in order of decreasing priority: Arcane Shot, Multishot, and finally Steady Shot. Pop Rapid Fire, Kill Command, and The Beast Within when available. Keep an eye on Wash to make sure he doesn’t get unsuspectingly caught in something that hurts.

The Verdict:


Was barely edged out by one of the SV hunters. The other was no where to be seen in the top 12, as you can see, showing that spec alone doesn’t automatically make you good– it’s rotation and gear and that kind of thing too. Overall I was quite satisfied. Wash did a smashing job and contributed 48% of my total DPS and had Ferocious Inspiration ticking non-stop. Raptors are indeed lookin’ good, what with the fact that a BM raptor can keep their 10% damage boost up for a good portion of a fight.

Other Notes: Despite all the Replenishment going on, I did run out of mana faster with the usage of Multishot. I had to switch to Aspect of the Viper twice during the fight. However, thanks to all of that said Replenishment, I only had to stay in Viper for 10 seconds or so each time and it would give me enough to keep going for a while. If I’d wanted to I could’ve chugged a mana pot, seeing as I run with an Alchemist’s Stone and it would’ve given me quite a boost, but I opted not to because my mana issues were so close to the end of the fight.

I also think my rotations would have been a lot tighter and the results would have been better had I not been lagging so much. >.>

Lastly I think it is important to mention that I think the SV hunter who edged me out could have been rather higher on the chart. However, she was using a Tenacity pet (not exactly known for their DPS) and her spec was slightly more SV-heavy than the current cookie-cutter one. So I am not trying to suggest that running with this BM spec and rotation that I mentioned here, is necessarily going to have you neck-and-neck with really good SV hunters all the time. But I am trying to say that for most of us everyday WoW folks, if you are doing it right, it will keep you quite competitive. And remember, don’t just compare your performance to the other hunters, compare it to the DPS and group as a whole and see yourself as part of the big picture. (The More You Know! *flashy star*)

Conclusions: Use Multishot when possible and you don’t think you’ll have a big mana issue. It’s worth it for me and I think it might be worth it for you too, so give it a spin and see what you think! Next on the agenda: go all out and try Aimed Shot, perhaps? Or will it be too small of a damage boost for too much mana? Stay tuned!

BM is Raid Worthy.

I did a good portion of 10-man Naxx today. I was overall satisfied with my performance considering my relatively non-spectacular gear level and the fact that I spent approximately 33.3% of the boss fights face down in the dirt because apparently it’s not just Heigan that I completely fail at. (Hey, I actually survived three of those green lava waves this time! Three! That’s… um… that’s good right? Right? Bueller?)

Is BM the ultimate zomg highest DPS hunter spec? No, go Survival.

Is BM gonna do good on pet-unfriendly fights? Not so much. Not only does our flat pet DPS go away but all our pet buffs and benefits go away too.

Is BM as super overpowered as it was before? Oh heck no; my Patchwerk performance has been eviscerated literally by over a thousand DPS (though to be fair, my DPS was always higher on 25man, so it’s a skewed comparison)… but despite that large difference, I was still second place in the meters for that fight.

The point of this post is to answer a Google search that hit my blog the other day. That search term was literally “Is there any hope for BM hunters?”


If you are weaving non-Steadies into your rotation, keeping Serpent Sting up, and you and your pet are decently spec’d and glyphed, there is no reason why you as a Beast Master should ever be shut out of your average everyday raid or heroic. If you’re in Nihilum or Death & Taxes or something then maybe it’s different but for the most part, you as a well-played BM hunter are valuable to a group. You provide a lot of DPS, you provide an excellent buff in the form of Ferocious Inspiration, you provide solid AoE and you have Viper for overly intensive fights.

Oh and you’re just plain fun to play, natch.

So yes, Virginia, there is hope.

And with that said I’m going to go back to sobbing in the corner while Heigan points and laughs. What a meaniehead. Not all of us did Mousercise when we were kids, not all of us are as coordinated as he is. /sob

Remember Who You Are

With all the hype about the exotic pets, I sort of feel the need to post something about choosing the spec that is right for you. There are a lot of Big Red Devilsaurs running around right now and while it is 100% understandable that people want to have fun and try them out in this lull before the expansion, I also worry that some people may wind up Beast Master for the wrong reasons.

Beast Master Hunters are a special breed. We don’t get our kicks from putting up super big numbers or ridiculously high agility scores, or doing really in-depth shot rotations. We are the hunters who love having a strong pet to fight beside us as a partner, not just as an extra DoT. We are the hunters who love when we do something that procs an ability for our pet, or when our pet does something that procs an ability for us. We are the hunters who relish the fact that we’re shooting so fast that sometimes we feel like we’re about to spin out of control. We love watching those Scrolling Combat Text numbers fly by– they may not be big, they may not always be crits– but they are fast and furious. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we love big crits and big agility numbers and shot rotations too– but when it comes down to it, we are all about the frenzied machine-gun mentality. Other hunters may be calculating and precise as they weave their shots with immense care or design a perfect plan of attack and survival. But we Beast Masters throw such precision to the wind and toss ourselves whole-heartedly into the fight, the same way our pet would. We go nuts. We really, truly do unleash the beast within.

If that is how you feel, too, and you accept the fact that that means you will not have a particularly complex shot rotation or put up very big numbers yourself (because your pet will be doing a lot of the work himself)– then welcome to the family.

If that doesn’t sound as appealing to you as you like– if you really like using your other shots besides Steady Shot, if you really like big crits, if you like traps that last forever– then please, spec something else. It’s okay. Sure, you may not get the exotic pet, but there are so many great non-exotic pets out there just waiting to be your companion. Similarly, you don’t have to spec Beast Master just to show that you love your pet– Marksman and Survival hunters love their pets too. And I’m certainly not going to stop appreciating you and your comments here. I am an unabashed Beast Master fangirl, it’s true, but hunters of all specs and stripes are welcome here and there are many, many Marksman and Survival hunter blogs out there that I read and that are written by very talented hunters that I have a lot of respect for.

With the advent of 3.0 and the way that Marksman and Survival have really been brought up to par, now is a great time to take a deep look at your little definition of “hunter” and spec the way you really feel and experiment with different things. Then, read about your class– and spec– learn about it, test it out, and put it into action. As a wise man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The road to hunter enlightenment isn’t always easy and it has already cost Tawyn several gold in respecs and several minutes of relearning, but Auntie Pike promises it will be worth it.

Well, that’ll do it for now. Be sure to tune in to our next episode of Aspect of the Hare: Tawyn’s Talent Tree Tweaking! May or may not include abundant amounts of alliteration. You’ve been warned.

Edit: Reading some of the comments I am getting, I fear my point may have come out the wrong way =/ I’m very sorry if it did. I am not discrediting any reason to spec Beast Master. If you just want to have a devilsaur, that is a perfectly valid reason as well. Toque, I agree 100% with your comment. “Remember Who You Are: A person who is playing a game. Spec how you want for your greatest enjoyment of the game, for whatever reason”, as you commented, is exactly what I was trying to get at. I was also trying to encourage trying out all the specs, so you can decide exactly where that greatest enjoyment of the game will come from, because the answer may surprise you. My deepest apologies if it did not come out correctly. This post was sort of a cut-n-paste from some stuff I had laying around in drafts so it probably wasn’t very smooth. I also want to clarify that when I am talking about “Beast Master Hunters” in this post, I am generally talking about BM Hunters as in those who love the spec, and not as in those who spec it simply for DPS. Once again, apologies for any confusion.

The NEW Leveling Beast Master: A Sneak Peek

I recently had somebody ask in one of my comments what the new “leveling spec” will be for non-max-level Beast Master hunters.

Specs are currently a bit of a tricky question. People are still playing around with them and trying to determine what works best. I’m not even entirely sure on specs yet myself; I was having doubts about the usefulness of Invigoration but re-watching my Onyxia movie (which I am currently uploading to a couple different video hosting services– I have yet to find one that I am happy with, so toss me your suggestions) it actually seems to proc quite a bit so I think it’s staying for the time being anyway.

So for the most part, I am going to tell you to take my “old” preferred leveling spec and tack the new talents onto it. My old leveling spec was “Cookie-cutter 41/20/0” except two major tweaks in the form of Endurance Training and Thick Hide. So the new one is gonna look roughly like this:

Just like the “Old” Leveling Spec, you are foregoing Improved Aspect of the Hawk and Improved Revive Pet for Endurance Training and Thick Hide.

Just like the “Old” Leveling Spec, I’m going to suggest putting five points in Lethal Shots first, though I certainly wouldn’t dock you Pike Points if you jumped straight into BM.

Just like the “Old” Leveling Spec, it is adjustable for your current situation. If you never do instances or battlegrounds ever and are a pure grinding machine then Catlike Reflexes will make your pet a better tank at the cost of Ferocious Inspiraiton. You may also opt for Animal Handler here since your hit rating will be low or nil at lower levels.

This is not a 100%-best-leveling-spec ever, it is just what I would aim for right now as a lowbie hunter. I have already respec’d my level 33 hunter to follow something along these lines. Most important though, is to figure out what works for you. Don’t be afraid to test things!

Expect this post to be revisited in a few weeks or months when all the hunter community theorycrafting comes rolling in. Until then, go ye forth and level!