Tag Archives: dps testing

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

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.

In Which Pike Needs To Learn to Play

So I am both pleased and somewhat befuddled to report that any Beast Master worth their salt could destroy me in DPS right now. Seriously, today, spec’d cookie-cutter Survival and using a cookie-cutter wolf, in both a 10man and a 25man VoA… I wound up a good 300-400 DPS short of what I’d do as Beast Master.

…heck, I do more DPS as a Beast Master in 10man Naxx than I did as a Survivalist in 25man VoA today. And I had a kitty druid and a bazillion other yummy things in VoA that I normally don’t have in Naxx.

Before you ask, yes I’ve read the Elitist Jerks threads, yes I’m using a glyph/spec/rotation setup I got from them, and yes, I am being very careful not to overwrite my Explosive Shot DoTs when Lock n’ Load procs.

My only theories are a.) the massive slowdown my computer likes to throw at me in 25mans (though that still doesn’t explain the performance I wasn’t exactly proud of in the 10man today), b.) my AP gems are coming back to haunt me (Edit: Now that I think about it, I think I have mostly +hit gems… so never mind >.>), c.) it takes more than a few days to figure out the nuances of this spec, or d.) I hacked the gibson and bent the rules of the game to my will so BM simply does more DPS when I play it.

*shifty eyes*

I’m glad I’ve set the rule on myself that I must stay my test specs for a full week though, or I woulda given up and respec’d by now. I will figure out these Survivalist Shenanigans if it’s the last thing I do.

In druid news, I healed ZA. Well, part of it. Eagle Boss can go die. x_x

(P.S. Just to clarify, you don’t have to worry about me turning into a superhardcore min/max style hunter. I am going pure cookie-cutter right now merely out of curiosity to see if I can figure out what the hype is about, so to speak. Once my curiosity is sated I can go back to things like, well, using my raptor <3)

More 3.1 Beast Mastery Dee Pee Ess Musings

I have really been trying to get in a lot of “DPS testing” so I can get a feel for how Beast Mastery is doing these days. The training dummies and I have become good friends, and I’ve even sometimes just sic’d Wash on the training dummies and sat there for minutes at a time watching him go (this is actually what inspired me to take a point out of Improved Mend Pet and stick it in Frenzy, pushing me back up to 4/5. It just wasn’t proc’ing enough to satisfy me as 3/5. Granted, that doesn’t take raid buffs and Cobra Strikes and the like into account, but it was bothering me.)

PuG’d a 10man VoA; the other hunter was a Marksman hunter who seemed to know what he was doing, and had a wolf (the hot new pet in town!) I am pleased to report that we were one-two on the meters, neck-and-neck, both of us doing somewhere in the ballpark of 3800 DPS on the new boss. On the trash pulls Wash and I were consistently well over 4000. In mostly Naxx10/heroics/rep gear. This rather satisfied my own curiosity regarding the viability of 3.1 Beast Master in your average raid situation.

Then something interesting happened. I was invited to a late night Naxx10 which I chose to attend (yes I know, this was my “break week”… yeeeah). There was another hunter there who was better geared than I and clearly knew what he was doing, and ya know what?

He was spec’d 53/11/7.

That’s right. I was in raid with another Beast Master. An Elitist Jerks approved spec, too, and one that I’d tried before but didn’t really like.

I might have to try it again, however, since he and his wolf roflstomped me on the meters… okay, mostly only on Loatheb. Oh my goodness did he roflstomp me on Loatheb. I blame his 3/3 Cobra Strikes when he had the spore buff, while I’m currently sitting at 1/3. We were pretty close on the other bosses though, and I was ahead a time or two. We didn’t hit Patchwerk, unfortunately (too many people decided to mysteriously disconnect about halfway through the raid)… I would have been curious to see those numbers.

Oh, another interesting thing about that hunter, he didn’t use Multishot. At all. Whereas I weave it into my rotation whenever it’s up. It might be a mana conservation thing because I’ve always had good luck with using Multishot, and I like using it because it gives us more to do. Still, I may have to look into that.

It’s still “Wash and me” by the way, although I’ve tamed a wolf to try it out, but since the wolf lacks a focus dump move I wonder if the new Furious Howl would be worth it for us Beast Masters. Reports in the aforementioned Elitist Jerks thread (which is a very good thread by the way) are putting wolves second to Devilsaurs, with raptors in third. So, we’ll have to see. I still maintain that you should strike a balance between finding a pet that is good to use in your situation, and finding a pet that you like and are attached to. In my humble opinion, that is just a part of reaching the Grand Pinnacle of Hunteriness.

Okay! I apologize for potentially boring my lovely non-raiding readers with babbles about numbers. However, there is a lot of curiosity for this type of thing right now if my site’s Google hits are to be believed, so I figured I’d share my musings with the hungry masses. You will be redirected shortly to typical Pike stories and guides. For now, for lack of anything else to say, have a picture I made for my guild a year or so back:

Medieval Curator

If you guess what it is without looking at the alt text, you get a cookie =P

(Thank you, Historic Tale Construction Kit!)

Beast Mastery in Patch 3.1

…hasn’t changed a lot in terms of a spec. I am currently spec’d 51/15/5 because I maintain that the value from Improved Tracking is worth tossing five points in SV. After much experimentation I finally decided to give up two points in Cobra Strikes for it (along with the three points I gave up in Improved Arcane Shot) and it seems to be working out okay.

To be honest I haven’t done anything since 3.1 that would really test my DPS, outside of an attempt at the new VoA boss that lasted about ten seconds before we all wiped and then the instance reset– but things are looking good on the training dummies. I sort of think it might be because everyone is using the training dummies right now so I’m getting the benefit of all the debuffs on the target and I get to use Kill Shots… but seriously, I used to get 2100-2200 on the training dummy and now I’m getting 2600-2800, using the aforementioned spec, the typical shot priority of Serpent Sting > Kill Shot > Arcane Shot > Multishot > Steady Shot, and a raptor pet. And keep in mind that the training dummies don’t count towards your 5% extra Improved Tracking damage.

Hopefully I can get into a heroic at some point soon (Ulduar I’m not going to see for a while, and I’ve opted out of my typical Naxx run this week because I wanted a break), and I can get a good look at how the patch has effected us Beast Masters.

No I haven’t bought dual-spec yet. It’s pricey and to be honest I think I’d rather have it on my druid first, although on the other hand I don’t know what I’d dual spec her to, anyway.

And yes, a post on pet specs regarding the new talents is coming.

The boyfriend has a post up at his blog about his background with the game and guilds, and I rather enjoyed it because, well, for the most part, it’s my background too. Check it out if you’re looking for something else to read and are curious in a brief guild history de Pike.

It Took A Few Weeks But…


I’ve finally cleared Naxx! Much thanks to my guild for making room for me to squeeze in to their weekly run when I actually requested time off of work for this (I’m a dork.)

I have to admit, I was getting antsy about my lack of having done it when it felt like everyone else had. Partially because it felt like I was missing out, but also partially because I’ve been really wanting to make a “Hunter’s Guide to Naxxramas” as a sort of a spiritual sequel to my “Hunter’s Guide to Karazhan” that I made a while back. Now that I have done all the bosses at least once (and most of them, many more times than once), I feel qualified to do so. Look for that in the near future. ^_^

As for the new spec I tried out that I detailed in the last post: overall I think it worked well. I was definitely consistently somewhere near the top of DPS on the occasions where I remembered to pull out Recount (I forgot a lot >.>), and I ended Patchwerk with 3548, which beats my previous 10man Patchwerk high score of 3300ish, and is in fact a perfect tie of what I got pre-BM Nerf as a blue-clad fresh 80… yeeeah, we probably needed the nerf. /cough

I’ve been pretty solidly sold on the virtues of Improved Tracking over Improved Arcane Shot at this point; I’m a little iffy on Survival Instincts though. I think I’ll probably end up moving those two points back into Mortal Shots, or one into Mortal Shots and one into Beast Mastery cause I feel naked without that talent. >.>

And now it’s onward to countless Malygos wipes with the guild as we try to do it for the first time… oh, and trying to PuG my way through 25man Naxx. Yeah that last one’s gonna be… interesting. x_x

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*

Can I Has DPS?

Okay, now that I have talked about my “emotional” investment into Beast Mastery in my last post, let us talk about another awesome component of the spec: Dee Pee Ess. Most people know that the Holy Church of Fortyone Twenty was the way to Hunter DPS Heaven in Burning Crusade; but by the looks of things the Reformation is happening in Wrath of the Lich King and we will see a lot more specs running around in raids. This strikes me as a Very Good Thing because I don’t like to see people spec something that they do not like. That was sort of one of the points I was trying to make (and I think I didn’t do a very good job at it, so sorry <3 ) in my last post. I want people to spec the way they enjoy the most. But I know there are at least a few of you crazy nutcases out there who love BM for its playstyle, like I do, who are maybe curious about new shot rotations in the like. Never fear, Pike is here!

Tawyn has spent probably close to a hundred gold on respecs since the patch hit; she started with a very deep BM build and slowly has been drifting to a lighter one, moving to 51/10/0 and now sitting at 48/13/0. The reason for the talent shakeup was threefold: firstly, I wanted to pick up Animal Handler now that it’s going to be useful again in the next patch (I am so down for extra pet expertise). Secondly, Deep BM at 70 was feeling very… top-heavy, for lack of a better term. Too much in BM, too fast. And Invigoration and Cobra Strikes are both kinda “iffy” to me right now in terms of the proc rate and “worth it” value– which saddens me, cause I love their synthesis concept, but sometimes the truth hurts. Thirdly, I have come to the conclusion that Go for the Throat is a Super Vital Talent™ and it is worth it to sacrifice the Exotic Pet and four extra pet talent points to pick it up. You can always go back and pick up the Exotic Pet talent later on once you get closer to 80.

Lunapike is still 46/15/0, which is very similar, but a little different. Points in Focused Aim, for example, because she is not hit-capped, and she is testing Invigoration at the moment whereas Tawyn is testing Cobra Strikes, so those talents are switched.

ANYWAYS, I was getting really curious about the performance of these specs so I downloaded Recount, spent approximately four seconds deciding that I liked it better than SW Stats, and headed off to visit our friends the Training Dummies.

With some 1900 AP and 25.29% crit and unbuffed (Except for stuff like Aspect of the Hawk/Ferocious Inspiration), and having popped all her cooldowns and trinkets over the duration of the test, which lasted until I was out of mana, Tawyn hit about 1180 DPS at her peak and consistently maintained 1050+ DPS using Steady Shot and keeping Serpent Sting refreshed (because Serpent Sting is supposed to be viable now =P). Not too shabby. I’m satisfied. I’d like to make a comparison to pre-patch DPS but I honestly never paid attention to anything beyond where I sat on the chart (does that make me a good or bad hunter?)

This is not an entirely 100% accurate breakdown because I took this screenshot after a Viper cycle to replenish my mana. Still, it can give you a general idea of what the DPS will look like after one full round of DPS and the full round of Viper, and it also gives you an idea of what Locke is doing in terms of damage. And looking back, I’m thinking I was a little slow on the uptake with Serpent Sting once or twice. Derp.

My testing was not finished though, oh no!

Now Lunapike is obviously at a disadvantage here and I wasn’t out to make a real comparison exactly for this reason. She only has roughly 1450 AP (with Aspect of the Hawk) and 22.35% crit. However, I mostly wanted to see the wasp stats, and also see if Invigoration was going to be making a big difference. The verdict? …it procs often enough, but… I dunno, it lets me do what, get maybe three more Steadys in before I switch to Viper? Dunno if it’s worth it for the two points or not. More testing will have to be done.

This screenshot was actually taken right before switching to Aspect of the Viper so I wound up with 884 DPS as an unbuffed hunter in semi-enchanted blues. Again, I am satisfied. Now, let’s discuss the pets; Serenity the wasp and Locke the Kitty are almost identical in terms of the stat breakdown (Roughly 60% regular melee, 30% focus dump, and 10% DoT/special ability.) The big difference I see is that Serenity brings a big whoppin’ armor debuff with him whereas Locke doesn’t. I think that this is gonna be one of the things that makes a difference when it comes to which pets you will see more often in raids. And of course, things will get all the more interesting when we throw Exotic Pets into the picture, with their intended upcoming buff and their extra talent points.

And the moral of the story is: Beast Masters, Steady Shot and Serpent Sting is looking like your rotation for the time being, unless I totally botched up somewhere (in which case, please tell me ^_^). Although I would still call Serpent Sting situational; depending on if Scorpid Sting might be preferred or if there might be emergency trapping in the forseeable future.

The second moral of the story is… next time, remind me to do my testing on Beta where respecs only cost 1 copper. Cause next up I think I wanna do the Go for the Throat vs. Exotic Pet/extra points Showdown. But I’m not willing to throw more gold into it. I’m just a poor Pike from a poor family.