The Future of Beast Mastery

Lots of rumblings in the Hunter community over the past week due to the blue posts in the Official WoW Hunter Forum. Last week Ghostcrawler responded to a host of questions concerning plans for Hunters in 3.2 and beyond.

As expected, a lot of the answers were fairly vague and non-committal, which is what we usually expect from Blizzard. However, a few of the changes that Ghostcrawler hinted at did sound promising indeed, even if there were no immediate plans to introduce them.

Among the many topics addressed was the need to buff Beast Mastery either by a signature shot, buffing Arcane Shot, or by giving them a non-shot based special ability. While BM shouldn’t necessarily be the top DPS spec as it was in TBC, it shouldn’t be so far behind MM and SV like it is now.

It’s hard to tell exactly where Beast Mastery will fall in the next patch. I haven’t raided as BM on the PTR, nor do I intend to (not enough hours in the day). I did some target dummy testing with both my current Marksman spec and the assumed top BM DPS spec in 3.2. Marksman came out ahead by a considerable margin, but the tests were largely inconclusive due to a couple of things…

First off, my gear is gemmed and enchanted mostly for Agility which obviously benefits MM a lot more than it does BM. Secondly, my MM build possesses TSA, where as the 3.2 BM DPS spec goes without Ferocious Inspiration. With the advent of the Kill Command cooldown reduction on Catlike Reflexes, it looks like most BM Hunters are dropping Ferocious Inspiration for it due to the Sanctified Retribution overwrite.

The BM DPS build I used for testing on the Patch 3.2 PTR looked like this: BM Raiding Build in 3.2. The pet I used was of course my Devilsaur. Although I had some scary burst on the target dummy to the tune of about 4K, after five minutes of sustained damage my BM spec dropped to the 2.8K-3K range. Also, keep in mind that my gear is all ilvl 200-213, with the 2pc Valorous bonus.

My highest DPS attained as BM (3054), was 190DPS shy of my lowest score as MM (3244DPS). I was able to hit about 3.6K-3.8K pretty easily as MM, using a wolf for a pet. Again… this type of testing is pretty crude as it doesn’t take into account any buffs, along with my gemming being more ideal for MM, but it still seemed pretty imbalanced. Imbalanced enough to make me think that MM and SV will still have  a pretty good edge on BM in the coming patch.

So… I’m of the belief that BM will still need a little more love in order to make it competitive with the other two specs. The question is… how to do it?

As I’d mentioned at the top of this post, Blizzard has hinted at three possible choices to buffing BM. One idea is to give BM a signature shot, just as the other two trees have. One one hand, I like this idea a lot because let’s face it… BM is pretty goddamn boring to play, at least in raids anyway. For me to say that counts for a lot, considering I’m a die-hard Beast Mastery guy. But on the other hand, it could make BM overpowered, plus it would also make the tree feel similar to the others. BM is a pet based damage tree, not a ranged one.

Another option is to buff Arcane Shot deep within the Beast Mastery tree. To me, this seems like the obvious choice. A very simple fix would be to buff Ferocious Inspiration and make it a worthwhile talent for BM. They could bump up the damage on Arcane Shot to say 5/10/15% (as opposed to 3/6/9) and also rework the raid-wide damage buff so that it doesn’t get overwritten by the Ret Pally buff – maybe make the buff specific to physical damage. Hunters are ranged physical damage dealers, so why not make FI like TSA, thus only affecting physical classes. The physical damage boost would help BM Hunters a lot, considering white damage and pet damage is the majority of their DPS.

Lastly, it was brought up that BM could be buffed in other ways. This is a challenging approach since there aren’t a lot of options for buffing BM that won’t put the pet above the Hunter as far as damage goes. As it stands, BM pets account for roughly around 40%-45% of the Hunter’s overall DPS. I do agree that the Hunter should always be dealing more damage than the pet, so aside from buffing ranged attacks, what change(s) could be made to improve BM Hunter DPS?

That’s an interesting one to ponder for sure. What do you guys think? In what way(s) could BM be improved that would buff the overall DPS without the pet becoming too powerful? One idea that just came to mind could be to reduce the Hunter’s GCD while TBW is active. This would provide a nice synergy between Steadies and Cobra Strike procs while enraged. I’m not sure if that change is plausible, but it would be quite nice for both PvE and PvP.

Another place to look would be reworking Aspect of the Beast, as it is largely unused at this point for a DPS boost. Perhaps Aspect of the Beast could be changed in a away so that it benefits Beast Mastery Hunters, without too much of the damage boost going to the pet.

I could go on about this for days, but I think I’ll stop now and just wait for some comments. 😉 I’m anxious to see how you guys weigh in on this subject.

11 thoughts on “The Future of Beast Mastery”

  1. You can’t really compare your BM DPS numbers against your SV or MM numbers wearing the same gear and gems.

    My BM dps is lower than my SV or MM dps, while wearing my MM or SV gemmed and enchanted gear.

    Attack Power, all over the place brings it a lot closer.

    • It’s kind of a moot point, but that was stated in the post. This post is nearly a year old, so a lot’s changed since then.

      However, due to the changes that were made to BW, with more damage shifting in the hunter direction, agility isn’t that far behind attack power for BM hunters. Attack power is still the preferred stat for min/maxers, but agility is not far behind.

  2. i’m geared mostly 226/232 with a few 219/213 in there and i pull 4k dps in mm, 4.2k dps in sv and 3.3k dps in bm, that is an unacceptable difference, but i still raid sometimes in bm for this reason, “buff my pet to the eyeballs” bok bom etc on me and my pet is awesome and i can pull 5k dps in raids easy without trying, maybe coz im a bm hunter at heart im good at that spec or suttin but bm is not as bad as every1 thinks, try ot the large adds in ony10 with ur pet, its easy, or round up the zombies in naxx wen ur fighting that undead dog boss (4get the name lol)u can even get those damn snobolds off peoples heads in toc-10/25 by puttin jus ur pet on em (with a few lock dots)saving more of the raids ranged dps for the boss.

    the fact that all hunters in my realm use the 7/57/7 mm build helps even more, tsa is a lovely buff for a bm hunter! at the end of the day all specs are viable for raiding in the right circumstances. as for pvp bm rules, period. they r too busy trying to catch u in bg/arenas to notice that ur pet is laying the smack down on em and if they target the pet all the better for you coz then u can pump some dps into em and watch while ur pet heals (bloodthirsty/mend pet) bm is also a killer spec to use on other hunters esp mm and sv as they get chased permanently by ur pet and r too busy trying to stun/freeze it to hit u giving u a few secs to kill em easy.

    a dps boost is definately needed but not a big 1 maybe something along the lines of a personal buff like tsa/sniper that will affect u an ur pet? well i suppose that would be wishful thinking as look how long it took for blizz to put more mail in the game (toc).

  3. just an idea, i hear things like non-combat pet buffs, and having 2 pets out at once: probably not gonna happen because that would mean alot more work for blizz, so how to boost BM? Easy, have BM remave all pet CDs (except for global CD) while BW is active! imagine a constant froststorm debuf for 18 seconds or so, or web traps. Now you might go ‘well blizz would say thats too op or something, blizz would never go for it. well that’s what pet focus is for, plus with all these skills that pets have nowadays, they would run outa focus pretty fast. i doubt that the pet would out dps the hunter in the long run, but it would be perfect for pvp and pve boss fights.

  4. I have an idea for blizz, instead of exotic pets as the 51th point, make that last point somthing that lets you controll an additional pet. but recucing all damage cause by both pets by 25-50% or somthing. Or the last point could be exotic pet and extra pet talents like it is now, but give us a spell similar to a DK’s army of the undead. Forests fury? Summon bunnies and bears to maul your opponent. Or, just keep buffing the pets damage. have the pet do as much or more damage then the hunter, making the pet somthing to fear in PvP and somthing to want for PvE.
    All just sugestions. I’ll let blizz try and balance it ouy.

  5. I really think that buffing the 51pt Exotic pets is an interesting idea. They’re supposed to represent a signature part of the BM tree, and as they are currently implemented, the 51pt BM pets are just sorta “enh” better than some other pet choices.

    I’m curious, though – why do you think the pet shouldn’t be doing more damage than the Hunter? Is it a purely stylistic preference?

    I think buffing Arcane Shot or giving us a BM-shot (“raccoon shot” lawl) is kinda lame and reductive.

    As a hardcore BM hunter, I’d much rather have a huge impact from my pets.

    Perhaps all pet families, when led by a BM Hunter, could have an additional neato ability. Or flat-out more DPS…

  6. Warsong- Hunter as druid. Yeah it would be cool, but its not a hunter. I dont want to be a devilsaur. I’m a hunter man! I control beasts like crocodile dundee.
    |-| |-|
    | | | |
    | |___| | /\ —–> The Dundee finger thingy. 😀
    | / /
    | /
    I’m honestly kind of scared for BM. I really dont think they should have a “signature shot” because that isnt the style of it. Marks has a particular feel to it as does survival and bm. I think just adding a fancy shmancy shot would make bm just like everything else. Give us some variety blizz. Throw us a complete curveball of design. IT IS OKAY TO KNOCK SOMETHING OUT OF THE BALLPARK!! Arcane buff would be nice, just as long as it doesnt make it the “BM shot.” How about leave marks and survival’s pet control where it is, but bring a placement and stance management system to the bm tree. I think it would be neat for bm to have the ability to point and click where they want their pet to go as well as choose whether they want them to stay ranged dpsing or melee. I know you can macro it, but I think the point and click thing would be awful nifty (for pvp if not pve). Give BM a utility that is unlike any other class or spec.

    And I had a WHA?! moment while reading that Q&A too the other day. They said they dont want hunters to be able to steadily move while fighting for pvp. Why not? Pallies can. They said they dont want the strafing and such. Maybe its just the fps guy in me, but fast-paced in motion combat in pvp would be freaking awesome to me. I just have this imagination of a pally running around trying to catch me while i’m strafing in circle around him watching that beautiful little health bar go down and down. 😀

  7. I forgot too…… give us more, more, more, more slots at Stable too…. 5k for each, remove 30 min CD from Call Stable, or let the Hunter to summon his companion like a Mount, remove any CD from this Summon to 51 BM Hunters… we need to manage our pet to each encounter…. fight a Mage is different to fight a Pally

  8. I forgot…. make 51 Points BM tree to make Exotic Pets to give us Buffs from his Especial Attack. Ex:

    from Chimeras, 50% stun and Slow resistance and Frost Damage Buff;

    from Worms, some AmP reduce and AmP Bonus

    from, Spirit Beast, Arcane resistance and Arcane Bonus

    something like a commune, an integration from the Hunter and his companion ….. Take Eyes of the beast and forget control your pet…. change this and make a 51 BM Hunter when use this skill to become the Beast, to share stats, skills at the cost to heavly consume of mana….. Be a turtle with damage reduction, be a Devilsaur with huge attack power, be a Spirit beast with Arcane Shot buffs or 1 seg CD, be an Warp Stalker and Blink too…. make the 51 BM be his Companion with Eyes of the Beast till heavy mana drain……

  9. Well… maybe a skill to remove DOTs at the Hunter too.

    Remove some skills from GCD… will help a lot to macro shot rotation.

    Or use non-combat pets to give BM some buffs like: Health regen, Mana Regen, Attack Power Bonus, Agility Bonus, (Nature, Fire, Shadow, Poison) dmg Bonus….. like Paly Aureas, just to 51 BM Hunters,

    50% white damage when moving (Just auto shot)

    Make Deterrence remove Stun, movements impairing effects

    Put the new trap types with at separate CD

    Make Snake Trap to entrap too

    Bring the fuc***ng Fauna to help us to kill DK’s, Paly’s, Warrior’s and Rogues…..


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