Tag Archives: talents

Real Talk. Beast Mastery in 6.2…

…is basically the same as it was before.  Let’s take a closer look.

hunter notesAspect of the Fox is gone.  I used it on occasion but usually forgot it existed.  So /shrug

Tranquilizing Shot is now on a cooldown, unless you are glyphed.  Whether you prefer to use the glyph or not probably comes down to your own personal preference and the encounter.

And that’s it!  That’s it for Beast Mastery, unless you PvP, in which case you will notice that A Murder of Crows and Barrage now do less damage to player characters.  Not very fun, no, but whatcha gonna do.  We’re hunters, so we’re just gonna keep moseying along.

Now remember, things haven’t changed for us, really, but things may have changed for other classes and specs.  Marksmanship got a buff to Aimed Shot and a lot of the other classes were tweaked, so Beast Masters may not see themselves in the same spot on Recount.  We’ll just have to see how things shuffle out.

AS AN ASIDE, I’m seeing a few theorycrafting places report that Steady Focus is now preferable over Dire Beast.  I may have to test this and then report back.  Either way it should be close, so personally I wouldn’t fault you for using either talent.

**EDIT**: I have been informed in the comments that Focus Fire appears to be bugged.  My own quick testing seems to be confirming that it’s not acting right.  So stay tuned for that and be aware!

Shaking the Ol’ Talent Tree

Hey guys, let’s go back.

wotlk talents

Let’s go back even further:

tbc talents]Let’s go waaaaaay the heck back:

vanilla talentsAhh, remember these?  Love ’em or hate ’em, the old talent trees were a true part of our Warcraft experience if you’ve been playing for any substantial length of time.

I got thinking of these thanks to a conversation I was having on Twitter.  There are a lot of memories that come with these old talent trees – both good and bad.  I remember how excited I was to make myself or my pet just that much more powerful every level.  I remember devising specific leveling specs, PvP specs, and raiding specs.

I also remember how innately “tied” to your spec these really made you feel.  One of my earlier blog posts to make a real splash in the community, written a whopping seven and a half years ago, details how the symbiotic hunter/pet nature of the BM talents was why it was my favorite spec.

These days, though, I’m BM not because I like the talents so much as because, hey, I’ve been playing it for years and years and I know how to play it, and I do pretty well with it, so why switch?  It’s not the most inspiring reason in the world, I know.

I dunno, I’m not exactly pining for the old talents or anything.  But it is kind of a fun thing to look back on.

Wanna go back in time and play around?  Have fun!

Wot I Think: The New Talent Tree

So I’m gonna steal a page from the wonderful RockPaperShotgun‘s book here and tell you, well… what I think about a certain something.  Today’s topic?  The New Talent Tree which everyone loves to hate!

You are staring into the abyss-like eyes of the worst thing to happen to videogaming since Pac-Man on the Atari 2600.

Okay, okay, let’s cut the theatrics.  I’m going to tell you what Blizz was going for with this.  What they were going for was as follows: “Oh hey, EVERYBODY who uses this spec takes this talent.  So since EVERYBODY takes it, we’ll just give it to that spec by default.”  That’s really it.  They didn’t sit around and have an evil laugh and make nefarious plans about how to homogenize the specs.  The specs are still intact; you just get the stuff you were going to get anyway without having to click on it.  That’s all.

That said, there is certainly something to be said for, well… the excitement of getting a new talent point at every level and getting to click on it.  Heck, there’s even something to be said for those old talents from back in the day that increased your crit chance by 1/2/3/4/5%.  Blizzard cut that stuff out because they thought it was boring, but those incremental number changes were exciting to me and to a lot of other people.  They made you feel like you were progressing.  Why do you think people get all excited for gear that stands a mere incremental number change above other gear?

The Long and Short of It (That’s What She Said): I miss the old talent trees but I’m certainly not sitting around crying as though someone just shot my dog.  And it’s definitely not the end of the world.  Also, A Murder of Crows is smurfing awesome. Do you remember the movie “We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story”, and how at the end a bunch of crows came and landed on the bad guy and then he disappeared? Yeah. That is this. Awesome.

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!

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… >.>