A comprehensive guide to Beastmastery Hunting in 4.3, with an emphasis on PvE
A full expansion on from the last This is Beast Mastery, and so many things have changed! Some things haven’t changed though – we’re still considered to be the lowest of the hunter specs. What is the truth of the situation, though? Is BM raid viable? Are Beast Masters statistically the kindest and most handsome of all hunter specs? Will you find the spec, shot priority and other details past the cut? Yes, yes and yes.
For Level 85 PvE (dungeons and raiding) I am currently recommending a 31/7/3 – which is the Elitist Jerks standard – or 32/7/2 for 1/2 Improved Mend Pet.
31/7/3 – EJ Sample Build. Click image for link to talent calculator.
32/7/2 – As above, but with Improved Mend Pet to boost pet survivability. Again, click image for talent calculator.
There’s actually very little room for moving points about in Beast Mastery – less than ever before, at least in my experience. In 32/7/2, I drop a point in Imp. Serpent Sting – which yields only a minor DPS loss – in favour of 1/2 Improved Mend Pet on the grounds that no-one will be cleansing our pets if we don’t. If you have healers who are willing to cleanse your pet of deadly things, 31/7/3 is probably the best pure DPS spec.
I lose about 30 DPS by taking Imp. Mend Pet over 2/2 Imp. Serpent Sting. Considering how vitally important the survival of our pets are to our performance as Beast Masters, I think it’s a reasonable trade-off – if your pet gets flattened, it’s a very much higher DPS loss.
If you wish to fine tune, look at Pathing (1-3% extra haste) and Imp. Serpent Sting (damage on application & extra chance for serpent sting ticks to crit). You may find that 1% extra haste is worth more to you than the extra serpent sting crit, or the other way around. Zeherah’s Hunter DPS Analyser is fully operational for 4.3. It is an absolutely invaluable resource – if you’re thinking of trying something out, run it through the Hunter DPS Analyser first.
There are now three types of glyphs: Prime, Major and Minor. Actually, for the most part only the Prime glyphs matter when considering DPS output, with most of the other slots being entirely your choice. Here’s the recommended set:
- Glyph of Kill Command: Causes your main nuke to cost less focus. This means more Arcane Shots, less frantically regenerating focus and less miscalculating and being unable to blow KC. This is good!
- Glyph of Arcane Shot: 12% boost to Arcane Shot damage. No serpent sting required nowadays, so it’s just a straight DPS increase.
- Glyph of Kill Shot: This is the fun one. If your kill shot does not actually kill the target, you get another one immediately. This means that you get an instant, free double-kill-shot on bosses. You then have to wait for the cooldown as normal, of course, otherwise you’d be able to kill shot raid bosses to death. I would not have a problem with this.
With the exception of the first option, this is personal choice. This is what I have installed:
- Glyph of Bestial Wrath: Reduces BW cooldown by 20 seconds. This is a straight DPS improvement and anyway, why wouldn’t you want more BW? Naturally, this stacks with the BM talent Longevity giving us a Bestial Wrath every 70 seconds. Yup!
- Anything you like.
- Anything you like. Really, there’s lots of things to choose from. Learn several of them and carry vanishing dust, then you can swap around as needed! Oh very well, have some recommendations…
- Trap Launcher: Reduces cost by 10 focus. Great if you want to fling around Explosive Traps for AoE!
- Mending: Causes Mend Pet to heal for 60% more. I recommend this one quite a lot. Dead pets do no DPS, hold no aggro etc.
- Misdirection: Instantly resets misdirection when you cast it on your pet. Misdirection misdirection misdirection misdirection! Infinite pet aggro! This is really excellent if you want to pet tank things, or solo old instances for transmog gear.
- Pretty much everything else: Potentially useful for PvP, but nothing specifically beast-master-y in there.
These are all personal choice!
- Revive Pet: Eliminates pushback when casting revive pet. I recommend this – if you lose your pet, getting through the Rev Pet cast in the quickest time possible is important.
- Anything you like! I have Feign Death and Aspect of the Pack.
- If your pet is too big, you can use Glyph of Lesser Proportion to make them a little smaller. Ahahahahahaaa, ‘pet too big’, haahahahah! Heh, those guys at Blizzard, they crack me up. Where’s ‘Glyph of Full Size Pet’ eh? I want full size core-hound bosses, warp stalkers and dinosaurs!
The days of Beastmasters favouring Ranged Attack Power are over. Partly because our pets now scale with our crit rating making Agility a better option and partly because you can’t easily get RAP any more. There are no AP gems and you can’t reforge for it. Occasionally it will appear on your gear or as a socket bonus, but it’s not really worth pursuing.
Stats! We love stats. Here they are now!
- Agility! It is the best. Each point of agility gives us 2 Attack Powers and some crit. It’s not just the best stat for us, it’s best by a long way!
- Hit, to cap. You need to get 8% hit to avoid missing raid bosses. Every 1% off of the hit cap you are is a 1% loss of DPS for you and your pet. Reforge for this! Hit becomes completely worthless over the cap, so if you’re over reforge hit to other things. You’ll need 961 hit rating to cap this, unless you are blue and from space, in which case it’s 841.
- Crit / Haste / Mastery / Attack Power. Which is better for you? Play with your reforging in the DPS analyser. Elitist Jerks say that plain Attack Power is better point-for-point that crit or mastery, but when I run the numbers crit and haste come out better! Remember that haste improves your focus regeneration as well, and works in ‘bursts’ – 100 might be a big improvement, but another 100 on top of that might yield only a small benefit. The numbers, you must crunch them.
Meta: The meta gem is the Agile Shadowspirit Diamond. It’ll give you 54 Agility and 3% increased crit damage and requires 3 red gems.
Everything else: You should generally gem exclusively for Agility. The agility gem is the Delicate Inferno Ruby, which fortunately is red. Ignore socket bonuses unless the bonus is 20 Agility or more – in that situation stick a correctly coloured “20 Agi + something else” gem in there. Check the DPS calculator for your best secondary stat – it’ll probably be mastery or crit, although you may find that haste works out best due to shots lining up at certain haste-points. If you’re considering going after a socket bonus for straight Attack Power, remember that Agility gives 2 AP per point, so the bonus needs to be in excess of 40 AP for you to break even. Crunch the numbers to make certain!
New-fangled Arcane Reforging
Reforging is a more interesting proposal. If you need to get to the hit cap, reforge for it instead of replacing Agility gems. Crit and haste are both worth less than Agility and Hit (to the cap), so if you reforge those off to get to the hit cap you’ll improve your DPS by a greater amount than swapping a 40 Agility gem out for some hit rating. If you are over the hit-cap, ask the DPS analyser which of the secondary stats to reforge that extra hit into. In 378 or better gear, you will be so far over the hit cap that you’ll probably be able to reforge it all…
Once again: Haste is weird. Point for point, generally mastery or crit is better but adding a little haste can sometimes get an entire extra shot into your rotation by pushing cobra shot cast time down and increasing focus regen a little. It’s hard to calculate accurately and it shifts around in value for different amounts. Additionally, once you have two bits of Tier 13, you’ll probably be wanting to get rid of all your haste as it’s really significantly devalued.
It looks like some of the Wrath era enchantments that give pure Agility are actually better than the newer Cataclysm ones giving Mastery, Haste or Crit. Unfortunately, this means needing Wrath enchanting materials. You’ll need some reputation for the head and shoulder slot.
- Head slot: Easy, Arcanum of the Ramkahen. Requires revered reputation with Ramkahen to purchase. It is BoA, so you can send it to another character on your account without the rep.
- Shoulders: Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal. You’ll need Therazane exalted for this. It binds on pickup, so you’ll need the reputation on all your characters.
- Cloak: Enchant Cloak – Major Agility (Old mats!)
- Chest: Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
- Wrist: Enchant Bracer – Agility (unless you are a leatherworker with Draconic Embossment: Agility)
- Gloves: Enchant Gloves – Major Agility (Old mats again)
- Legs: Dragonscale Leg Armor (made by leatherworkers and can be bought as an item on the auction house)
- Feet: Enchant Boots – Major Agility is best for pure DPS, although Enchant Boots – Assassin’s Step gives you a minor run speed bonus for dancing around enemy players or boss effects.
- Melee Weapon: Enchant 2H Weapon – Mighty Agility.
- Ranged Weapon: Flintlocke’s Woodchucker seems best, although the Gnomish X-Ray Scope comes pretty close for me if you can’t find one. If you’re desperate for hit rating, there’s the R19 Threatfinder too although you should try and reforge for it first. All three come from Engineering and can usually be purchased from the Auction House.
It has never been this easy to gear up. Not even in patch 3.3. Here’s a guide to gearing up in the Hour of Twilight era:
- Run heroics, work on reputation or otherwise acquire gear until your average item level is up to 352.
- Start running the new heroics. They are quite fun, they are not crushingly hard or long and they drop fantastic loot.
- Spend your many Justice and Valor points on upgrades and hope like hell that the ranged weapon, staff and shoulders drop for you.
- Once you’re up to 372 – and you will be very quickly – you can queue up for the raid finder. Complete each boss once per week! The difficulty is lower – it feels like a really large scale heroic – and the loot isn’t as good as ‘proper’ raids, but you’ll cap your valor points and get plenty of upgrades nonetheless. The tier items you gain from the Dragon Soul raid have exactly the same set bonuses as the fully fledged tier items. This will also give you a really good shot at seeing the fall of Deathwing if you’re not in a raiding guild.
- Run full-difficulty raids with your guild for even better items. Also: a sense of accomplishment and progression.
Don’t equip leather gear, let Kitty druids take the staff as it’s a much bigger upgrade for them than it is for you and run Hour of Twilight as many times as you need to get that rifle (or End Time for the bow), as that’s probably the biggest single upgrade for you. Oh yes, you can’t buy the tier items for this patch with points. You must run the Dragon Soul raid to get those items, but that isn’t really a problem any more.
2-Piece Tier 13 causes Cobra Shots to give double focus, so you’ll probably want to reforge off all your haste at that point.
Good luck, and give Deathwing what-for!
A hunter no longer follows a shot rotation – it isn’t really possible any more – but a shot priority. This is the easiest method of breaking down what you should shoot at any given moment. If the shot at the top isn’t available, you move down to the next one. The priority in 4.x is as follows:
- Kill Shot – Should be fired whenever it’s available in preference to all other shots. Activates when the enemy is below 20% health, and you should get 2 at a time. Costs nothing!
- Kill Command – You should reserve enough focus for this so that you can hit it as it comes off cooldown every time. Try and avoid having Kill Command off cooldown but not available due to low focus.
- Serpent Sting – Try to keep this rolling on the target. Don’t fire this at all if serpent sting is still on the target and still rolling. Cobra Shot refreshes this so ideally it shouldn’t fall off.
- Arcane Shot – This is a focus dump. Fire it when you have focus available but the higher priority shots are on cooldown or unavailable. This does more damage than Cobra Shot but eats focus.
- Cobra Shot – This shot regenerates focus. It has no cost, but takes time to fire. Fire this when your focus is low so that you’ll have enough to fire the higher-priority shots. You’ll usually need to fire at least 2 of these to have enough focus for the next Kill Command.
Kill Command is on a 6-second cooldown, so for every 6 second ‘cycle’ you have usually have one Kill Command, 1-2 Arcane Shots and 2-3 Cobra Shots. The tactic is to adjust this cycle depending on how much excess focus you have and what your current casting speed is without ever having insufficient focus to fire Kill Command. If you’re new to BM, spend some time firing into the target dummies until you’ve mastered the 6-second cycle.
On high-movement fights, you can use Aspect of the Fox. Fox sacrifices the hefty AP bonus from Hawk in exchange for allowing you to fire Cobra Shot while moving which lets you maintain your normal cycle.
What About AoE?
Oh, gods. You had to ask. I remember in the good old days, when hunters had proper Area of Effect damage! In those days, you knew where you were. Goblins were all neutral, the bridge in Lakeshire was broken and the dam in Loch Modan wasn’t, and we liked it that way!
Eh. AoE, then.
- Multi Shot. This is better than the old version in that it hits as many targets as you have grouped up in front of you. With really big pulls, it can do absurdly massive DPS! And then you’ll be out of focus and everyone will overtake you because they have a resource system that makes some kind of sense for this type of fight. I get 3 shots before my focus is completely depleted. Effective, but expensive and short-lived. If you blow Bestial Wrath, you will do a bit more damage and get as many as six shots before you have to switch to cobra-shotting on a single target.
- Explosive Trap. You can drop it at your feet for no cost, or use trap launcher to fling it. Can be very effective over the length of its effect, but requires the enemies to remain in one position to keep getting hit by the damage over time. If the enemies won’t stay in one place or the tank (or overaggroing mage) decides to kite them all over the place, not so much use.
Of course, we are Beast Masters, and that means we get our pets to
do all our work for us help us out. Have a look below for some pets that can assist you with extra AoE damage.
We’re not done with pushing buttons quite yet. There’s one most important mechanic we have to consider.
COOLDOWNS / “IWIN BUTTONS” / “RAAWRARRWL!”
As hunters, we focus quite a bit on the ways in which we train and control our pet – how the hunter influences the beast. What many novice Beast Masters fail to appreciate at first are the ways in which the beast influences YOU. The link between a Beast Master and their companion is stronger than it is for other hunters. When you become angry, your pet becomes very angry, you become very, very angry, a red mist drops in front of your vision, your pet becomes incredibly angry and then you wake up ten seconds later and all your enemies (and often some allies) are scattered about the place in small pieces.
It is well known that Beastmastery Hunters and their pets do not feel pity or remorse or fear while in this state and cannot be stopped unless killed.
I’m talking about Bestial Wrath and The Beast Within of course. There are many cooldowns, though! Observe them below, or move to the section titled ‘Execution’ if you just want to know how to use them for best effect.
Bestial Wrath (+Beast Within):
- Only lasts for 10 seconds, but…
- Makes you immune to fear, stuns and movement impairing effects
- Increases pet damage by 20%, increases your damage by 10% and causes all your shots to cost 50% less focus.
- 70 second cooldown (1.17 minutes) if you have the appropriate talents and glyph. Tip: Have the appropriate talents and glyph.
Focus Fire: Is this a cooldown? Kind of, except you don’t just hit it every time it’s available.
- As your pet savages the enemy, frenzy is built up – 1 stack every 3 seconds to a maximum of 5.
- Each stack of Frenzy gives your pet 6% haste (max. 30%).
- At any time, you can hit Focus Fire which obliterates your pet’s frenzy effect but gives you 3% haste for each stack, up to a maximum of 15%.
- The haste buff lasts for 20 seconds, it takes 15 seconds of pet-attacking-time for 5 stacks to build up and Focus Fire is on a 15 second cooldown.
- Bottom line: We will have 15% extra haste most of the time. See ‘Execution’ below.
- Instantly regenerates 50 focus for you and your pet.
- This can happen once every 2 minutes.
- You fire more rapidly. Surprised?
- In technical terms, you gain 40% haste for 15 seconds, meaning your Cobra Shots will be really flying out.
- Five full minutes before you can do it again though.
Ancient Hysteria: No, this isn’t something that you’ve forgotten to put on your action bars!
- A pet ability found only on Core Hounds.
- The reason that it’s important is because it’s basically Heroism/Bloodlust/Timewarp/whatever you’re calling it today.
- If you don’t have a Shaman or Mage in your group, you can pull out your Core Hound and your group will be very happy!
- 30% haste for 40 seconds, 6 minute cooldown. A group can only benefit from a Heroism style effect once every ten minutes, unless you are all killed.
Call of the Wild:
- This is also a pet ability, although its one that’s available to all ferocity pets via a talent.
- It increases attack power by 10% for you and your pet for 20 seconds.
- Its base cooldown is 5 minutes, but it is affected by Longevity which brings it down to 3.5 minutes.
- Many people leave this on auto-cast. Do not do this! Your pet will blow it on the very first trash mob you encounter, and then it won’t be ready when you need it.
- You really want it to go off at the same time as Bestial Wrath so that you can combine their effects. How can this be accomplished? Move your eyes to the next section!
For maximum effect, it is sensible to macro together some of your cooldowns and blow them all at once. Why?
- Because we have enough buttons to press as it is.
- Because blowing multiple cooldowns at once has a multiplicative effect, not an additive one. That is to say that Bestial Wrath + Trinkets + Call of the Wild has a bigger effect on DPS than BW then Trinket 1 then Trinket 2 then Call of the Wild one after the other.
Want a macro to use? SEE BELOOWWW!
Bestial Wrath: You want to blow Bestial Wrath as many times as possible during a fight. You also want Bestial Wrath to be as effective as possible, which means:
- Reserving some focus so that you can get as many Kill Commands and Arcane Shots in as possible during the effect of BW. You don’t want to be using Cobra Shot during BW.
- Delaying using trinkets and other available cooldowns until BW is available.
- Ensuring your pet is actually on the target before activating
- Not using Focus Fire during BW – the haste is worth more to your pet under BW than it is to you.
Massive DPS Phase: Send your pet in, wait for it to get on the target, and mash the big red button!
- Kill Command!
- (If this is right at the start of a fight, you may as well get serpent sting rolling while it’s cheap)
- Arcane shot until Kill Command comes back up.
- Kill Command!
- Repeat until out of focus.
- BW is finished by now, so Cobra Shot to refresh your serpent sting and regenerate focus for the next Kill Command. Alternatively, you may wish to hit Fervor now so you can keep Arcane Shotting and get another Kill Command in before you have to switch to Cobra Shots. Beware – this may cause Serpent Sting to fall off unless you first refresh it with a cobra shot.
When BW is about to come off cooldown, start regenerating some focus in preparation. Repeat MASSIVE DPS phase as above, but without the serpent sting – you should only have to apply it once per fight, ideally.
Fear and Stuns: If you know that a boss uses a fear or stun on a cooldown, it may be worth delaying BW so that it overlaps with the effect – you’re immune to most of these things while enraged. Don’t delay it too long though – every second you have BW available but not used is a loss to your average DPS.
Fervor: Some say to use this before a Bestial Wrath rather than using Cobra Shots to regenerate focus. Some say to use it AFTER a Bestial Wrath to keep your burst damage… bursting. I prefer the latter, but if you suddenly realise that BW is available and you haven’t got any focus it’s a useful emergency button.
Focus Fire: Generally, you want to hit this every time you see the glowy button effect and massive symbol in the middle of your screen which indicates your pet is at LUDICROUS SPEED. This means “Your pet is attacking so fast it’s going to injure itself – better transfer that haste to you instead”. Or something. However, if this appears just before or during BW, don’t use it! The extra haste is worth more DPS in the paws / talons / whichever of your pet when you’re under BW. Wait until after BW has faded, then blow it for extra haste during the cobra shots.
Rapid Fire: Elitist Jerks suggest not using this while under BW as most of the haste effect is wasted (you shouldn’t be Cobra Shotting during BW). The DPS analyser tells me I gain a tiny bit of DPS by using them together. Your mileage may vary! It is good to be able to fire very rapid Cobra Shots which is the main advantage of Rapid Fire, but the 40% haste also increases auto-shot speed and focus regeneration. Point is, you might see more benefit using RF afterwards or a bit before a BW when you’re regenning focus like mad, but if you’re likely to forget to use it separately you can still macro it together with everything else without it being a disaster.
Ancient Hysteria: You should generally use this when the raid leader calls for it. It’s best to agree this in advance – Will the raid need it at the start, at 20% health, in phase 3? You only get it once during the fight, so use it when the raid is likely to need it most. In 5-man dungeons, use it on whatever the hardest boss is – often the end one.
If you’re doing End Time, have it available for Murozond and then blow it every time time is rewound! (Blizzard have been extra-incompetent – Ancient Hysteria does not reset when time is rewound, unlike EVERY OTHER FORM OF HEROISM).
Remember, you must have a Core Hound for this, and if you have a Shaman or Mage, they’ll usually do this thing instead. (And their version resets properly damn it)
Call of the Wild: Permit me to quote myself:
“…macro it together with your hunter cooldowns. Also, don’t leave it on autocast. Have I mentioned that when you first train this, it defaults to autocast? You should turn autocast off.”
I think we’re done here.
Here’s my Fire for Maximum Effect macro. It’ll show you the cooldown for Bestial Wrath on the button, so pretty much hammer it when it comes off cooldown.
#showtooltip Bestial Wrath
/cast [target=pettarget, exists] Call of the Wild
/cast Bestial Wrath
That will activate your trinkets if they have ‘on use’ effects (slot 13 and 14), your glove slot (10) in case you’re an engineer and have Synapse Springs (good for 480 agility every 1 minute) and fire Call of the Wild / BW for you. If you want it to start Rapid Fire as well, just stick /cast Rapid Fire in there somewhere. Rapid Fire won’t activate if there’s a global cooldown in progress, so you may have to mash the button a couple of times to get everything going.
We’re Beastmasters, right? What discussion of Beast Mastery can be complete without also considering our animal companions. I want to write a separate, more detailed post about this, but it doesn’t exist yet. Here’s pets in a nutshell, then.
How do pets work nowadays?
Each pet has a unique ability that usually duplicates something another class can do. As Beastmasters, we can use exotic pets who have two unique abilities!
There are three pet classes – Ferocity, Tenacity and Cunning. Click on the name below for recommended pet spec!
- Ferocity is the main line DPS class, and has talents that focus on improving damage done. They generally have abilities that duplicate raid buffs or debuffs.
- Tenacity pets focus on high survivability, and have a broad mix of abilities – some have raid debuffs, some damage reduction and some disarms, snares or slows.
- Cunning pets are traditionally PvP focused, having talents that do extra damage to targets at low health or when the pet’s health is low. They mostly have stuns, snares and slow effects although some have party buffs or debuffs to enemies that increase damage done. Cunning is a viable choice for raids.
Pets inherit all of our Hit, Crit and Haste, and their damage output scales based on our Attack Power. If you stack Agility, the pet will benefit from both the Crit and AP from that.
What is the best pet for DPS?
Ferocity, Tenacity and Cunning pets do exactly the same base DPS now, so the only difference is in talents. For me, ferocity is still coming out ahead, although the numbers are fairly close – depending on the pet. A lot of Cunning pets have PvP focused abilities that snare or slow enemies down, and these are useless in a raid environment. A Dragonhawk on the other hand duplicates the warlock debuff Curse of the Elements, increasing magical damage done to the target by 8%. If your raid lacks a Warlock, that’s significant.
Tenacity is turning up last still. That is to be expected – the tenacity tree is designed around high-durability pet tanking and soloing.
Sooo… What pet should I bring?
If your raid lacks a certain buff or debuff, bringing along the pet that duplicates that missing ability – even Tenacity – will be a DPS increase for your whole raid, even if it means bringing a pet which does less DPS in absolute terms. If not… pretty much bring whatever pet you like (Ferocity or Cunning, naturally).
Remember: Exotic pets have two abilities, and this usually makes them an excellent choice for Beast Mastery hunters.
You mentioned AoE?
Aaaah, yes! Beastmastery’s personal AoE damage is a bit disappointing, and the Tenacity talent Thunderstomp is pretty pathetic now. Fortunately, there are two pets that have some nice AoE damage abilities and they’re exotic! This means only we can bring them! This also means that our AoE damage is balanced AROUND us having them, so it’s probably a good idea to pick one up.
Worm (Tenacity): Has Burrow Attack. The worm burrows underground and then somehow shakes the ground above. This does an absolute ton of AoE damage to every enemy in the radius over the 8 second channel. It’s on a 30 second cooldown.
Chimaera (Cunning): Has Froststorm Breath. It does about half as much damage as Burrow Attack but has no cooldown, so your pet can keep channelling it as long as it has focus. Less DPS short-term, but more on longer pulls (Burrow Attack lasts for 8 seconds, and then does 0 DPS until it cools down. After 16 seconds of Froststorm Breath, average DPS will be the same and after that point, greater). Remember that as a Cunning pet, the Chimaera will do somewhat higher single-target DPS.
Wait a moment I’m a Beastmaster
Here I am talking about numbers and things! I spent hours researching and minutes finding and taming a Spirit Beast, not because it is the most effective pet, but because it was the most unique and beautiful. Semseye spent weeks finding his many and varied Spirit Beasts. We did this because we are Beastmasters.
Find yourself a pet you really like for your primary companion. If you like, find yourself unique and interesting pets for ALL your stable slots! Hit Petopia for a database of every single pet type, model and skin, and then WoWhead to find where they range, how often and how to go about taming one.
BEAST MASTERS AND BATTLEGROUNDS
Again, I’d really like to write a separate article about this at a later point. Here’s just the high points:
- Bestial Wrath: Breaks fear, stuns and warlocks. Does a ton of burst damage, gets you out of all those crowd control things that people try on you and cycles in 70 seconds. Magnificent. If you have a PvP trinket – and you probably should – remember to remove that trinket slot from your BW macro, or you’ll waste it.
- Intimidation: As if your pet isn’t enough of a pain to enemies. Stuns people and stops them from doing… whatever they were doing. Particularly excellent when used against that rogue who just appeared behind you. BW -> Intimidate -> Hunter’s Mark -> Death.
- Speaking of Hunter’s Mark, don’t forget that it allows you to see and track targets even when invisible.
- Pet damage is very high, and their attack speed is very fast which pushes back cast times. Our pets continue attacking even when we’re stunned.
- Exotic pets: Only Beast Masters can bring two different pet abilities to a fight! A Spirit Beast’s heal or Devilsaur’s Monstrous Bite can be the difference between victory or defeat.
What doesn’t work so well
- Squishy Pets. Despite 50% damage mitigation through armor, our pets are disturbingly vulnerable to player damage. You can of course talent pets for higher durability – at the cost of damage output.
- If we lose our pet, we lose Kill Command and almost all of our cooldowns. Revive Pet has a base cast time of 10 seconds. If our pet dies in the middle of a fight and we don’t have Heart of the Phoenix, it’s basically over.
- Less shots, and less effective shots compared to other hunter specs. No silencing shot or wyvern sting. No black arrow, explosive or chimaera shot.
Mists of Pandaria will bring us a new talent system, and it’s looking pretty interesting. Beast Mastery hunters with Silencing Shot or Wyvern Sting? This is possible. Beastmasters with Readiness?! This can also happen. Hunters – and particularly BM hunters – will be absolute powerhouses of crowd control in MoP, too. Freeze one, transmorph and scare beast another, wyvern sting a third, kite a fourth and pet tank a fifth. Who needs other classes?
I think that the new talent system just might be the best implementation we’ve ever seen. No cookie-cutter specs where 40 out of your 41 points are non-negotiable. No talents that increase the damage from X by Y%. Actual, meaningful choices and options. I can’t wait!
- Zeherah’s Hunter DPS Analyzer
- Petopia – A complete guide to hunter pets
- Wowhead – Database, talent calculators and all round resource
- Nooska’s EJ BM thread, if you want detailed discussion of the numbers
Questions or comments? Corrections or improvements? Commentst thou beloweth!