UPDATE! This is now out of date. Please go here for the current 4.3 Spec and much more!
UPDATED (Twice, actually): After playing around on Live with the new hunter, I’ve settled on a recommended spec.
I’ve been playing around with Wowhead’s Cata Beta talent calculator. Assuming that it’s basically the same as what we’ll have when 4.0.1 hits tomorrow, I thought this would be a good time to put together a possible 4.0 Beastmaster spec. At level 80, we have enough points to put 31 into the BM tree and 5 elsewhere. I’ve gone for 31/2/3 build – I’ll probably want Sic ’em for Level 81+ but since I can’t get that right now the Tier-1 Survival talents are more attractive than Efficiency. Click on the image to be taken to the build at Wowhead. Justification below…
Looking for the spec for Cataclysm patch 4.3?
Improved Kill Command: 10% more Kill Command crits. Well, yes.
One with Nature: A 30% boost to AP contribution from Aspect of the Hawk and +3 focus per tick in Fox? This is as close to mandatory as it gets in the top tier.
Bestial Discipline: +30% pet focus regen. It may not seem terribly inspiring, but at this stage I’m heaping on pet focus regen so that I can benefit from redesigned Wild Hunt (improved Basic Attack damage while your pet has more than 50% focus)
Frenzy: Good on its own merits, and allows us to pick up Focus Fire.
Spirit Bond and Imp. Mend Pet: I pick a point each here. In Cataclysm we will inherit a lot more of the responsibility for keeping ourselves alive. Think it’s hard to get healers to heal your pet today? It’ll be the next best thing to impossible in the future. I consider pet survivability too important now that we have a ten-second Revive Pet cast. I want to keep at least one point in Imp. Mend (as opposed to going 2/2 Spirit Bond) because it’s not as if anyone else will be cleansing our pets.
Cobra Strikes: The proc chance is small, but the proc is pretty decent. Some experimentation will be required to see how valuable it is in practice.
Fervor: You expect me to turn down a +50 focus button on a 2 minute cooldown? Unlikely. While it’s not a straight DPS cooldown, I can see it being a valuable part of any emergency button.
Focus Fire: This gives us a pretty significant amount of haste for 15 seconds, although it deprives our pet of Frenzy stacks (in exchange for a whopping 4 focus. Yes). The uptime on this is pretty good, too.
Longevity: Of course.
Killing Streak: The crit rate on Kill Command appears to be quite respectable, and I get regular procs from this. It might be more valuable point-for-point than Cobra Strikes, and is certainly worth taking with crit rates as they are currently. Unfortunately I had to sacrifice a point from Spirit Bond which I didn’t really want to do. There’s not enough room to spend points on survivability talents at the moment I think.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera: The excellent name aside, I haven’t specced into this but I could see myself doing so for a PvP. Where would the points come from, though?
Bestial Wrath: … You want a justification for me choosing this?
Ferocious Inspiration: Unless you have another class in your raids that can provide this.
Kindred Spirits: Larger focus pools for hunter and pet.
Beast Within: Please see Bestial Wrath. I still hate the fact that this no longer breaks stuns, fears and movement impairing effects and I fully intend to complain about this at great length later. Doesn’t make me want to not spec into it though, this is massive burst power.
Invigoration: More focus for me, yes!
Beast Mastery: I am a Beast Master.
Go for the Throat: Again, I’m aiming to keep my pet’s focus above 50% as much as possible to benefit from Wild Hunt. Testing reveals that the extra regen from GftT is pretty necessary at this point.
Efficiency: This isn’t particularly inspiring, but I’ll probably want Sic ‘Em at level 81 come Cataclysm-proper and I need enough points in MM to get to the second tier. Since we can’t even reach the second tier till Cataclysm though…
Hunter vs Wild: Up to 10% extra stamina. A dead DPSer does no DPS, and our chances of being put in the dead-book are a fair bit higher in Cataclysm, what with healers potentially only having enough mana to heal the tank. Unfortunately, Blizzard haven’t really allocated us enough talent points at 80 to pick up many survivability talents.
Pathing: More haste! I thought BM was the machine-gun tree. Haste is definately an improved stat in Cataclysm, but you need absolute tons of it to make a significant distance. 3% is not very much, sadly. 1% is even less, but it’s still better than a point in Efficiency. I’m wondering actually if I could reallocate the point here into Spirit Bond or something, I don’t think the DPS loss would even be noticable at the moment.
Imp. Serpent Sting: Serpent Sting now does (up to) 30% of its periodic damage instantly. This is a nice little bonus, as we’ll be reapplying Serpent Sting a lot.
This is my recommended spec after some time playing around with the 4.0.1 Beastmastery Hunter both at the target dummies and in 5-man encounters. I intend to have a “This is Beast Mastery in 4.0” up within a month, although I need to get quite a bit of testing, PvP, 5-mans and raids in before I can start to work on that.
As always, I encourage you to experiment for yourself! Take nothing for granted, if there was ever a time to blow some gold on respecs and mess about with your talent tree, this is it. Don’t let anyone tell you that your spec is wrong – there’s a very good chance that whoever is telling you this doesn’t have any idea what they’re talking about.
There are some things I’m not looking forward to, but on the whole… this should be fun!