Beast Mastery Changes: Acceptance and Ponderings

Rather than continue my diatribe against the probable upcoming changes to the Beast Mastery tree, I’ve decided to shift my focus towards finding ways to adapt to the new mechanics.

First, let’s rewind a bit and recap this week’s announcement(s) and the ripple effect it had at…

On Wednesday, MMO Champion posted news of a change to the Beast Mastery tree that was data mined from the Patch 3.2.2 PTR patch notes.

  • The Beast Within now lasts 10 sec (Down from 18 sec) but now also increases all damage you deal by 10% at all times.
  • Bestial Wrath now lasts 10 sec. (Down from 18 sec)

My initial opinion of this change was somewhat favorable. Although the shortened duration for The Beast Within and Bestial Wrath left me a little sad, the 10% passive damage bonus seemed like a fair trade-off. From a PvPer’s standpoint, it wasn’t the change I’d hoped to see, but I was OK with it. I liked the idea of upping the spec’s damage as a whole by 10%, even if it did mean losing some time in god-mode.

Then, the other shoe eventually dropped…

Not long after this announcement came out, it had the PvP Hunter community in an uproar over the 8 second reduced duration nerf to TBW. This prompted GC to make a formal post in the Damage Dealing forum detailing the change.

In my opinion, the news was not so good…

I love data-mined patch note day.

It should be no surprise to anyone who has been on these boards for long that we’re trying to chill out abilities that convey offensive and defensive bonuses with the same button press. At the same time, BM damage was a little low and too dependent on the pet. With this change, hopefully, Bestial Wrath becomes more of a defensive ability while taking Beast Within will boost hunter (and just the hunter) damage at all times.

I call it more of a defensive cooldown because it now breaks all CC like a PvP trinket.

[…] “Send your pet into a rage causing 50% additional damage for 10 sec (down from 18). While enraged, the beast does not feel pity or remorse or fear and it cannot be stopped unless killed.”

The tooltip doesn’t say this, but it now breaks all forms of CC that a PvP trinket would break (including Cyclone, Sap, etc.).

“Increases all damage you deal by 10% and while your pet is under the effects of Bestial Wrath, you also go into a rage causing 10% additional damage and reducing mana costs of all spells by 20% for 10 sec (down from 18). While enraged, you do not feel pity or remorse or fear and you cannot be stopped unless killed.”

So the changes are:

  • Duration lowered.
  • Passive hunter damage buff added.
  • Now breaks all forms of CC (whatever a PvP trinket breaks, including Sap and Cyclone).

These are the things that bothered me about this explanation…

  • Since when does a pure damage-dealing class need a 41 point defensive ability..?! Especially one that is currently bringing up the rear as far as DPS and burst damage is concerned. Sure, BM has the highest burst within its 18 second window, provided the pet is active, but overall it’s lacking.
  • “…taking Beast Within will boost hunter (and just the hunter) damage at all times.” Ouch. 10% passive damage doesn’t sound so hot anymore does it..? 😕

Once I realized that the damage bonus was exclusive to the Hunter, this change left me reeling. Considering the factors involved, I quickly deduced that the PvE buff would only be realized in the form of a 2%-3% boost to DPS, but the collateral damage to BM PvP would be catastrophic.

Many players seemed to be so mesmerized by the addition of a 10% boost to Hunter DPS, that they weren’t seeing the big picture. Sure… this is a buff for PvE, albeit a small one (unless of course it’s a pet-unfriendly encounter), but the PvP aspect of TBW is getting the cold shoulder.

Shortly after my criticism of this new change to The Beast Within and Bestial Wrath, Ghostcrawler posted yet again. This time it was in response to the mana efficiency problem that this new mechanic would create…

It wasn’t our intent to push BM hunters into Viper more often with this change so we are discussing buffing the mana cost portion of the talent from 20% to perhaps as high as 50%.

This idea sounds promising. Putting aside my PvP concerns, I like what this will do for Beast Mastery.

Alright… so onto the future of Beast Mastery, provided this change hits live servers in a few weeks.

Like I said, instead of banging my head against the wall in opposition to BM’s foreseeable future, I’ve decided to try and wrap my head around this new dynamic. In fact, I’m starting to like it.

When life, or in this case, the Blizzard developers hand you lemons, what do you do..? Why… you make lemonade! No, no you don’t. You make new BM talent builds and speculate on glyph and pet choices.

So I’ve been thinking, why not fully embrace the 10% added Hunter DPS and make the most out of it..? It makes perfect sense, since this change is essentially buffing the Hunter, while simultaneously nerfing our pets.

Here are a few of my ponderings…

Will wolves become the new BM raiding pet of choice?

With pets putting out less damage than before, due to the shortened duration of Bestial Wrath, will wolves become the new raiding pet for BM Hunters? I think it’s a possibility.

Furious Howl buffs both the Hunter and pet. With pets losing a decent chunk of their DPS, along with Hunters receiving a generous 10% bonus to themselves, it seems like Furious Howl may be the ticket.

On one hand, I’m hoping I’m right on this, because it may cause the devs to see a fatal flaw in this change. I believe the wolf is currently only 3rd in the runnings for top DPS BM pet, and still ahead of Spirit Beasts. This proposed change would shrink that gap, and may even possibly dethrone the Devilsaur, therefore eliminating the need for exotics beyond vanity and PvP. How ridiculous would that be..?

Ya know what’d be nice… a 10% passive damage bonus for Exotic Pets to go along with this change. 😀

What will the third major glyph be?

I’m foreseeing Glyph of Hunter’s Mark making a strong case here. Glyph of the Hawk is currently the 3rd best glyph for raiding BM Hunters, but I’m thinking that may change. I’m liking the sound of 100 additional RAP as it pertains to the 10% Hunter damage increase. Combined with a wolf, this setup would provide you with an average bonus of 328RAP (at just over 71% uptime, Furious Howl provides an average of 228AP).

What about Improved Hunter’s Mark?

With Hunters being buffed and pets getting nerfed, will points in Improved Hunter’s Mark be more beneficial than Survival Instincts? The primary reason BM Hunters grab Survival Instincts is for the increased chance of proccing Cobra Strikes. However, I’m sort of wondering if the added attack power from IHM will be a more viable option in future.

Again, pet damage is being lessened, so why not transfer the points so that they take advantage of the 10% Hunter damage bonus? This would also provide yet another equalizer for damage control during pet unfriendly encounters.

As I always say, don’t necessarily take everything I post here as the gospel. While I’m usually right most of the time 😉 , sometimes I just like to think out loud. I can’t really arrive at any conclusions just yet, especially since this change may still see some revisions before it hits live servers, but this setup seems sexy to me…

This 53/13/5 build, along with a wolf, seems pretty intriguing.

Over the best possible Beast Mastery DPS spec you’d be losing:

  • 6% crit damage bonus for specials
  • 4% added crit chance for Steady Shot and Arcane Shot
  • A slightly reduced chance to proc Cobra Strikes. Not sure on the maths here, but you’d be losing a 4% chance to proc a 60% chance ability.
  • 6% added haste to Improved Hunter’s Mark

Seems like a lot to give up, but here’s what you’d gain:

  • 478RAP which would boost the damage of every single one of the Hunter’s shots, both specials and white damage.

Hmmm… I may be off in my assumption that this could be a viable build, but it seems like it’s worth a look. Beast Masters have most of their personal DPS come in the form of Auto Shots, so it seems to me that a 478RAP boost would be a nice buff when combined with the upcoming 10% damage boost.

Anyway, something to think about as far as PvE is concerned.

Now… as far as PvP goes…

I’ll just have to wait and see. I’m sure this is going to add some insult to injury when it comes to the uphill battle that is competitive arena as it pertains to the BM Hunter, but it may not be so bad in BGs. I dunno… I’m just going to be patient and make the most out of it I suppose. 😉

I like the fact that TBW will now break CC, but I feel like that should have been the case all along. Not a fair trade-off for the lost 8 seconds, but I’ll take it nonetheless. 😕

I’m sure I have more to add on this subject, but I’ll save it for the comments.

I’m sleepy, it’s late, and NFL is on tomorrow morning!!! I need to be up early and fresh for pregame. 😉

Night everyone!

7 thoughts on “Beast Mastery Changes: Acceptance and Ponderings”

  1. by the way, isnt there anyone out there that could just make a mod to at least show the times that someone tamed a rare pet such as skoll so some of us that love taming rare pets dont get there to camp JUST AFTER someone else just left with it? Cause if i can see that someone tamed the pet 35 minutes b4 i got there i would know that i have time to have other fun like bgs or raids. just wondering

  2. Hi, I just have a few comments to make. I am one of them hunters that like hiding behind my pets, meaning I like my pet doing most of the damage and keeping threat off me while I “esp in pvp” try to just keep myself alive but from what im hearing with this new BM change, im getting kinda scared that im going to have problems with taking the agro too easily off my pet with the 10% extra damage. All though I do usually wait till my pet has suf aggro before I start my attacks, but at times it all ready cuts it close. Also, they need to lower the spawn timers on these rare exotic pets, I been camping 3 days for “Skoll” just to make a round to another spawn point to see another hunter “that prob just got there” taming it. 3 wasted days of my life for nothing. Anyway I wont qq about it now. BM FTW 😀

    • I wouldn’t concern yourself too much with added threat generation as a result of this BM change. A properly specced pet with growl on and cower off should still be able to maintain aggro. Your build is important too of course. Make sure you’re specced so that your pet receives all of the necessary DPS boosts.

      Overall, I think this change sucks. For PvE it’ll be a slight boost, but PvP will be paying the price. I’m going to try it out first-hand this week and see how it goes.

      Btw, 3 days is not a long time to camp for a rare pet. I spent nearly 2 weeks seeking Loque’nahak. Your best bet is to give up the “Hunt” when you start getting frustrated, and then just begin to look casually. If you start to view it as a waste, then it becomes no fun.

  3. I like the idea of buffing Arcane Shot deep within the BM tree, but I’d still like to see Bear Trap at some point. It would have to be like Snake Trap though, but instead it would release bears… about 6 of them. SV Hunters could get say… 9 bears with Improved Traps. 😉

  4. Well, it seems like people were happy with the Arcane shot idea. I’ve explained to a poster a few times that we can’t wager more of our damage on our pet let alone give it more abilities to make it an even bigger threat in PvP without buffing the hunter first since even more people would target them and we’d be in the same boat of being alive for a few seconds before being dead next to our dead pet.

    Nobody else has posted on my post in regards to Arcane shot yet. Things have lingered a bit off-topic although not all is lost for that thread if it gets some more attention. I’m not sure that many more people will contribute to it.

    The first link is to a bit more promising thread that Ghostcrawler has already renamed and might still be monitoring so I think that would be the best to post on if we’d like to have a better chance of having our ideas conveyed to him and the other developers. Without a buff to Arcane or something similar I can’t say I’m happy at all about what they’ve done. It was a sliver o a buff to PvE, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing many BM hunters in arenas, even less so than we already have. They literally cut our survivability and the DPS we had during those eighteen seconds out of the picture. Rogues could disarm us for a good portion of Bestial Wrath as it was. You take our success that was seen in the tournament and consider what would happen if our burst itself was cut in two. I bet the priest would have lived and for the longest time RMP would have remained unchallenged.


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