Tag Archives: speculation

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.”

Aspect of the Hunter Q&A! (Wall of Text Inc)

So I’ve had a lot of people on Twitter or even on my last post (which wasn’t even Q&A related!) ask me for my thoughts on the recent Hunter Q&A. Though at first I was sort of reluctant to do so, out of fear that maybe everybody and their grandma would have already blogged about it, I decided to go ahead and do it anyway. At the very least, you get to hear the thoughts of a casual raiding hunter who currently isn’t raiding and thus has to resort to playing her level 46 and level 76 hunters respectively, in the meantime. /cough

For the sake of length, I’m only going to be mentioning the aspects of the Q&A that interested me and/or I felt warranted some commentary from me. I apologize if your favorite part wasn’t mentioned. If you leave a comment asking for my thoughts on a certain thing, I would be glad to let you know my thoughts either in the comments, or in a future post. ^_^

We want to clean up some of the clunkiness that still exists around pet control (both the UI itself and what the pet does on the battlefield).

This is interesting, though to be honest what I am mostly looking forward to at this point is a revamp of the pet stats window that is a part of your character screen. I’d love to see my pet’s crit, haste, etc. Wouldn’t you?

We still want to make ammo more of a gear choice than a consumable. We’re not sure if this would be as simple as getting the 125 dps arrows to upgrade your 120 dps arrows, or if you would do things like swap between your fire and poison arrows… but that kind of thing is definitely on the table.

WTB Fire and Poison arrows. Like that’s not even me being reasonable and/or logical, that’s just an “OMGWANT.” Guys, have you ever played Ocarina of Time? Seriously!!

The problem with upgrading hunter ammo currently is how we work the progression. We don’t want to drop ammo on bosses for what I hope are obvious reasons so long as they are consumed. We need to have ammo improve as other gear improves, however, or the hunter overall starts to fall behind. Therefore there has to be some barrier that stops freshly leveled hunters from getting the best ammo while letting cutting-edge hunters procure it. In Burning Crusade, we handled this through a reputation grind, but it still wasn’t a very satisfying answer. In Wrath of the Lich King, we went with Engineer-crafted ammo and more recently changed the way ranged weapons scaled so that they would keep improving even if the ammo did not.

For 3.2 we lowered the cost of the ammo quite a bit — only 4 gold for a stack to manufacture. If you were paying 50 gold a night, that should drop to say 16 gold a night. Long-term this won’t be a problem because arrows won’t be consumed.

My ammo bag (Yes I still use my ammo bag *huggles it*) contains about two rows worth of the 1000-stacks of cheapie vendor bullets, and the rest is all Mammoth Cutters. I have an engineer friend that will send me free boxes of them on occasion, otherwise I’ll literally buy out the Auction House. Yeah, it’s pricey, but at least they last forever. I only use the Mammoth Cutters for raids or when I’m in a heroic with another good hunter (I get sooooo competitive around good hunters. I dunno if that’s good or bad.)

I’ll add that the melee attack issue for hunters themselves is something we keep discussing. While we are unlikely to go back to a melee-focused build for hunters, we might consider a model where hunters don’t run away most of the time but switch to melee attacks – perhaps even a single punishing attack on a cooldown before the hunter Disengaged or whatever. This would be one of those things that helped hunters feel more different than actual magic casters, and might make them care about melee weapons as more than stat sticks. Additional feedback from the community on this sort of thing would be appreciated.

I don’t really see what is wrong with us having a stat stick even for a physical-damage class. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but rogues and warriors have a “Stat-bow” or “stat-gun” right? Though, I sorta like the idea of having one hard-hitting melee attack pre-disengage. That sounds fun.

Q: Would we consider allowing auto-shoot to work while moving? If there aren’t plans for that specific change, is there anything in the works that will assist hunter dps in fights where a great deal of movement becomes necessary?

A: Moving should feel like a penalty. We don’t want ranged attackers constantly circle strafing FPS-style because it confers a defensive advantage without giving up an offensive one. Moving is supposed to be bad and how you handle it is a test of your skill.

Repressing my urge to run around is a difficult thing for me to do and is one of the reasons I love instant-casts and instant-cast-based classes (hai, resto druid) so much. But on the other hand, I do agree with the reasoning here, especially from a PvP standpoint. So yeah.

Q: Are there any long term plans to possibly removing the need for hunters to rely on a different resource system then mana?

A: I hate to do this to you, but this is a great BlizzCon question. For these Q&As, we’d like to keep the focus on each class’s current status and short-term plans, but at BlizzCon we’ll be happy to go into some more detail on our long-term vision for them.

What I’m about to say is going to cause a mass exodus from my blog, but ohwells:

I actually like hunters having mana right now, in endgame at least. (Leveling I will touch on in a moment.)

See, you know why I could never get into playing anything that relies on rage or energy or runic power? Because the whole experience is just my character saying “NOT ENOUGH ENERGY! I NEED MORE RAGE!!” over and over and over and me being frustrated because the button I want to click is grayed out. Sure, you have the comfort of knowing you’ll never “run out of mana”, but it’s not a big enough tradeoff for my extreme impatience.

I was one of the few people who liked the new Aspect of the Viper when they announced it in WotLK beta. I was one of the few people that defended it on the forums, and I got a lot of flak for it which is one of the reasons why I quit hanging out on the beta forums. It works nicely for me when you have a decent amount of mana replenishment going on, and I like it. /shrug


There are downsides. One downside is that if you lack outside mana replenishment, you feel like you are in Viper a lot, and it gets annoying. But to me, the biggest problem hunters have with mana right now BY FAR is leveling. Good luck finding old-world hunter gear with intellect on it, and good luck not being in AotV 75% of the time. My leveling hunters tote around stacks of mp5 food and mana oil and spec for ultimate mana efficiency at the cost of better talents and I’m still in Viper most of my time. Sure, we have no downtime, because we can still keep killing stuff while OOM or close to it. But you’re supposed to learn to enjoy your hunter partially because of those big numbers popping up on your screen. If you’re in Viper most of the time, it becomes silly. Not to mention stuff takes forever to kill.

My proposition: Either somehow make Viper work better with leveling, or for the love of the Earthmother, give us more intellect. Seriously.


Now for hunters specifically, we think the class is just too cooldown limited, which creates problems with haste. We’ve driven in that direction in order to give hunters a more interesting rotation, and to be fair, we feel like we’ve done that. But being cooldown limited isn’t necessarily a fun way for the class to play and we think it’s one of those things that makes hunters feel more like casters than like ranged-weapon users. (Hunters are casters in the sense that they’re ranged dps, but we still want the emphasis to be on the gun or bow.) More on this at BlizzCon, too.

The class feels too global cooldown limited to me at times; by the time I can dig into my rotation it often feels like your average mob is half dead already. That’d be cool if haste lowered the global cooldown for us. I dunno if that would be OP or not. That’s for Blizz to figure out, not me. (Can you tell I know nothing about theorycrafting? XD)


(breaking up the wall of text with a non-sequitur picture!)

Q: Beast Mastery falls behind Marksmanship and Survival in regards to DPS, especially when the pet dies, due to how much damage comes from the pet when specialized in the Beast Mastery talent tree. Do we have plans to bring the potential damage the Beast Mastery tree offers to be more on par with what’s currently possible with Survival and Marksmanship?

A: Ideally, we want Beast Mastery to be able to do competitive damage with Survival and Marksmanship. Realistically with dps classes, it’s a math problem, and one tree nearly always edges out the other ones in most situations. That doesn’t mean we stop trying, but it also means we have to be realistic about what it will take to really get the specs to within 1% dps of each other, which is sometimes the point I fear we’d need to hit.

The buffs to Catlike Reflexes and Wild Hunt were intended to boost Beast Mastery a little without causing every hunter in the game to swing back to Beast Mastery the way they all swung to Survival a few patches ago. We don’t necessarily like buffing Beast Mastery through the pet all the time. However, Beast Mastery also doesn’t have a signature attack like Chimera or Explosive Shot. At the same time, we don’t necessarily want to give them one because then Arcane Shot risks just vanishing from the hunter rotation. But, we can’t just buff Arcane Shot (unless it is very deep in Beast Mastery) because Survival and Marks use that too. See the problem? Ultimately the tree is supposed to be about pets, so we would rather make the pet easier to control and give the hunter ways to get the pet out of trouble so that they don’t face the profound dps loss of pet death. And even then, having a pet that is 50% or more of your dps is always going to have design problems, so we can’t go overboard. Beast Mastery and Demonology (and even the Unholy death knight) are going to be at a greater loss when their pet dies. That’s just the cost of having a more powerful pet.

I know not everyone here agrees with me, but it made me extremely happy to see that little phrase “We don’t necessarily like buffing Beast Mastery through the pet all the time.” Now don’t get me wrong, I love having my pet be 35%, 40% or so of my damage. I love when there is synergy between hunter and pet and we proc things that make one another stronger. But lately it feels like Blizz has just been buffing the pet and buffing the pet even more and hey guess what, we’re buffing the pet again!… and pretty soon we’re going to get up to that uncomfortable point where we were at the beginning of WotLK where my pet was doing 55% of our total DPS on Patchwerk and it just felt so very, very… “Well, I may as well sit here and read a book while my pet does the work.” Ya know? I want to see the Beast Master hunter get some love too. I want to see more things that the pet does give the hunter some sort of beneficial effect. That’s why I fell in love with the tree in the first place and I haven’t been seeing it lately and it’s left me a somewhat unsatisfied Beast Master.

It does also make me happy to see that Blizz is aware of BM needing a buff. That’s really all the reassurance I need. Yeah, it may take ’em a while to get around to it, but I’m in no rush.

We’d rather not have to come up with additional mechanics needed to heal pets or keep them alive. We’d rather just the pet didn’t die in situations where a player that can make intelligent choices wouldn’t have died.

Awesome idea, thanks Blizz <3 I would also like to add, I've been thinking lately it may not be a bad idea to just take Improved Revive Pet and Improved Mend Pet and make the effects of those baseline for all hunters and replace them with DPS talents in the BM tree. In my mind, every hunter of every spec should be making an equal amount of effort to keep their pet alive anyway. (Which is why I never use the “Beast Master is difficult to play because we have to have pet control” argument on this blog– I think all hunters have to have pet control. But maybe that’s just me.)

Hunters in the online community tend to focus a lot on overall PvE dps or overall PvP survival and not get too much into pet comparisons. Someone theorycrafts the best pet and then hunters just go and get it instead of discussing what the other pets would need to be more competitive. To be fair, there is some of that discussion, but it’s not always easy to find, and I have looked. It’s not super high priority given some of the other hunter design issues we’re looking at, but we do want pets to be a choice.

Translation: HAY GUYS LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS. No, I’m serious. Though it sorta surprises me that Ghostcrawler is having trouble finding this stuff online, I see people talk about it all the time. Perhaps our ol’ crab buddy is looking in all the wrong places.

Q: Due to the number of abilities available to hunters, many level 80 players have expressed concerns in regards to placing all necessary abilities on their action bars. Are there any improvements coming that will assist hunters with this particular issue?

A: We recognize this as a problem. We need to get more buttons off of the bar. We made some progress with streamlining say tracking and aspects, but we’re not there yet.

An aspects bar, maybe up by our pet bar, would be cool.

Q: Additionally, do we plan to expand upon the number of pet action bar slots? Due to the current number of slots available for pets, hunters frequently have to swap pet abilities in and out of their spell/ability book.

A: Yes, we definitely want to do this. The whole pet bar needs a little work. There are still some bugs relating to which abilities can be moved on or off the bar and whether they default to autocast or not. We want the bar to work much more like character action bars.

Sounds good to me.

Q: Do we have plans to increase the number of stable slots available to hunters?

A: Obviously we increased it a lot in Wrath of the Lich King. We want to try and keep the pet as some kind of decision — they aren’t supposed to be like mounts or titles where you just collect as many as you want. We expanded the size so that players could have say a Tenacity pet for soloing and a Ferocity pet for raiding, but we don’t want every hunter to have every family available here. Now one potential problem are the Spirit Beasts, which are collected by hunters and not trivial to replace. We have also discussed expanding the Spirit Beast concept to have rare skins of other pet families (that otherwise don’t convey a combat bonus). If we do that, we’d probably have to expand the stable slots.

We’ve also considered a model where the hunter doesn’t even need a stable and can work more like a warlock where they can just summon their pets whenever they want — with the remote stable ability from the dual-spec feature, we’re pretty close to that already. If we went this route then maybe the stable could just become pet storage in the same way your bank has all those Invader’s Scourgestones and Zul’Gurub bijous that you don’t use often but can’t bear to part with.

I am on two minds with this. On the one hand, I like the general idea of having a limited number of stable slots. That way, not every hunter has every pet in the game. On the other hand… well, lemme put it this way. You know how many hunters I have? You know how many times I STILL agonize about my lack of stable space across all my hunters? Yeah.

My own little suggestion and solution for this would be to make it so you still have your five stable slots, but then you could re-obtain any pet you had previously released via the Stable Master. Hey, they say they help you find lost pets and companions, right? =P You would have to release one of your current pets to make room in your stable for it, but then you would get your previously-released pet back at whatever level it was when you released it. I’d give this service some sort of slowly-increasing fee akin to talent point re-spec’ing just so it doesn’t become an extended stable slot and you’d still have to put some thought into it. And you couldn’t access any of said released pets mid-raid via Call Stabled Pet. So you’d have your five pets “at the ready” and then any of your past pets you could get from the Stable Master for a cost. That way, the hunters who spent forever taming Loque only to never use him in a raid, would feel better about releasing him, knowing they could get him again without having to do the camping thing again.

I dunno, it seems fair to me.

And that’s that! Like I said, these are just my thoughts on the matter. No doubt most people disagree with at least one or two things I said, and that’s fine. I’m in somewhat of a unique position right now, and on top of that, we all have our own differing thoughts on the state of the game, and it’s good to have those differing opinions.

And with that Wall of Text, Pike is out!

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.