I’ve had a few days to play around with Beast Mastery in 4.0.1. Turns out that actually hitting the right buttons at the right time makes a pretty significant contribution to your DPS! I finally feel satisfied that if I jump into a 5-man now I won’t be catastrophically incompetent. Here’s what I’ve got so far.
- 4.0 Hunting bears very little resemblance to pre-Cata hunting. Unlearn what you have learned. We still have traps and pets, but in terms of the actual pushing of the buttons involved in a fight, it’s… like someone’s stuck the action bars from another class in there.
- The crit rate on Kill Command is well up into 80% plus for me which makes Killing Streak far more valuable than I previously predicted. This means we have to strike one point each from Imp. Mend Pet and Spirit Bond. The point from Imp. Mend pet I don’t mind so much, but it’s a pity about Spirit Bond. That leads me onto…
- There’s not enough points in the Beast Mastery tree to spend on “Non-DPS” talents. Anything that improves our DPS more than a tiny, tiny amount is pretty much mandatory for DPS classes. I don’t think that the developers’ vision of giving us choice and opportunity to spend talents on things we want (Crouching Tiger, Spirit Bond) rather than straight DPS talents has been realised in the current version of the tree.
- I really really hoped that they’d fold Improved Revive Pet into our spec bonuses since there’s no talent for it now. But no. Ten second revive pet cast. Did it not occur to them that our pets are 40% of our DPS and almost ALL of our PvP utility and we can’t afford to stand still for 10 seconds to revive them?! Actual sheer idiocy. Gods. Oh, it costs focus too. So now pet survivability is more important than ever before, but we have to also be concentrating on our shots and procs and constantly looking at a focus bar.
- It costs 52 Gold to unlearn talents now! Wha?!
- I also appear to have 50G worth of repair costs… for some reason. Did I take 50% durability damage on everything then forget to repair?
- Why have blizzard basically destroyed our ability to AoE properly? What will we do now when all the other classes are casting their flashy AoE effects when we’re standing about waiting to start something?
- Pet focus regeneration’s not over the top right now. I think the two points in Go for the Throat are quite necessary.
The shot priority (as far as I can tell at this stage):
- Kill Shot. Still Kill Shot. If it’s available, shoot it! It costs no focus now, and if you have it glyphed (tip: Get it glyphed) you can fire it twice without a cooldown as soon as it’s available.
- Kill Command. This is a massive contribution to your Pet’s DPS and therefore yours. Try to hit this on every cooldown.
- Refresh Serpent Sting – try to keep this rolling all the time. It’s a bit of a pain since we don’t have Cobra Shot, the Glyph no longer extends it and it takes up focus we could’ve used on an Arcane Shot.
- -Arcane Shot (focus dump) – use this to burn up excess focus, but avoid having insufficient focus to blow KC or refresh SpS. Arcane shot is also a significant contribution to DPS, but it’s not as important as hitting Kill Command when available.
-Steady Shot (to regain focus) – Use this to regenerate enough focus to do all of the above, particularly to hit KC on cooldown.
- Bestial Wrath: Every time it’s available. Macro together with other cooldowns (Rapid Fire, trinkets). Don’t use with Focus Fire – current thinking is that it’s more valuable for your pet to have the haste under Bestial Wrath than for you to have it. Currently I have this macroed with Fervor, but I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or not – I’ve clipped my focus off the top once or twice I’m pretty sure this is a bad idea, actually – see below. I’d suggest keeping it separate and using it when going into BW if your focus is low. Once under Beast Within, you should be hitting only Kill Command and Arcane Shot ideally, not Steady Shot. If focus is low, anticipate your next BW and use Steady Shot to build enough focus to make best use of it. How much focus do you need? I… don’t know for certain yet, but I’d suggest somewhere upwards of 60 is a good bet.
- Focus Fire: You should generally be activating this every time your pet builds 5 stacks of Frenzy. The icon will glow on your actionbars when it’s time. If you are in or about to go into Bestial Wrath then do not use Focus Fire until BW is over.
- Fervor: At the moment, I’m using this when going into BW with low focus. I’m sure other uses for this will become apparent over time. EDIT: Pike’s recommending blowing this after BW (assuming you use BW right at the start of a boss fight which makes sense if you want to get the maximum number of BWs per encounter). That makes sense as your focus will be pretty depleted by the time you come out of your pet-symbiosis-induced-rage. With that said, if BW becomes available, you’re low on focus and Fervor is available, certainly blow this as you go into Wrath.
Hit Kill Command on cooldown, Arcane Shot when Kill Command’s not available and you have focus (Arcane Shot has no cooldown now), and then use Steady Shot to regenerate focus. Keep Serpent Sting rolling on the target – once you’ve got the KC/AS/SS trio sorted at the target dummy, work this in. Use Focus Fire to increase your ranged haste (and therefore shorten steady shot time) every time the action button starts glowing except when going into Bestial Wrath. Blow cooldowns when they come up. Enjoy your double-kill-shot at 20% health. Blow the top off of the DPS Meters!
Random Strangeness / In other news:
- Yay! Hallow’s End! I love Hallow’s End.
- It is somewhat broken this year, though. There are widespread reports of crashing and catastrophic memory leaks when people click on the pumpkin to summon the Headless Horseman boss.
- Semseye said that something seemed different about Stormwind. Now I look at the place myself, I think he’s right.
- Drakes now glide ALL the time. How odd. Make no mistake, my Netherwing Drake looks damned cool when he’s gliding, but I’m not sure he should do it all the time…
- The bug that caused flying machine sounds to fade out and fade back in completely every time they changed (for example, steering, going from hover to forward flight) was fixed. It doesn’t seem to randomly stall any more though. Perhaps all flying mount ‘in flight’ random animations have been accidentally disabled? Or in the drake’s case, have replaced the normal flying animations. It plays random ‘ground’ animations (although the air-ground transition animation is no longer present). Wierd!
- The character selection screen always places my hunter in the Guild Tabard, even though I’m not wearing one. Sometimes it does this to my druid too, but not all the time. Wha?
- Logging into my druid revealed that my Green Brewfest Stein was at 0/20 durability. I’ve not been into combat with my druid during or since Brewfest. So…