Special thanks to Kazador for helping me with a title for this post. Not only have I rewritten this post like 5 times, but I’d cycled through at least ten different titles in the meantime. Today’s just been one of those days where I can’t seem to focus. When I saw your comment, I thought oh… The Verdict… that’s perfect!
Last week I surprised some of you by announcing that I’d respecced to Beast Mastery for PvP. In fact, this move surprised even myself. After all, it had been just three short weeks earlier that I had completely discredited Beast Mastery as a PvP spec. I was so frustrated over what Patch 3.2.2 did to my beloved spec, that I abandoned both of my exotic PvP pets, went and tamed a crab, then immediately switched to Survival.
As I’d mentioned in last week’s post, my 3v3 team comprised of an Unholy Death Knight, Prot Pally and myself, started hitting a proverbial wall in our second week of play. Although we started our team with “fun” being the main concept, I’m not the type of guy who enjoys losing all that much. I don’t care how much you like your teammates… if you’re getting your ass kicked match after match, it starts to get old real quick.
It pretty much got to the point where I’d about had it, but instead of giving up, I decided to give Beast Mastery a shot. I was becoming increasingly frustrated with my healer’s inability to keep me up, so I thought that maybe with me as Beast Mastery, I wouldn’t have to worry about things as much. When I say “things”, I mean BoP, HoF, dispels, and of course… heals. Our healer is a solid player, but he’s definitely a PvE guy with very little experience in arena.
So if we couldn’t cut it with me playing either of the two top Hunter PvP specs, what made me think that the recently nerfed Beast Mastery tree would be the answer..? Well… I thought that Beast Mastery would provide me with some additional mobility and survivability. I figured that if I could stay up long enough to keep Aimed Shot up on our focus fire target and just generally be a pest, we could probably win some games. Between the 10 seconds of Master’s Call, 3 second pet stun, increased movement speed, plus the 10 seconds of CC immunity, I felt Beast Mastery would provide me with enough “defensive” abilities to stay up long enough to eek out some wins.
Was I right? Sort of. I was right about Beast Mastery providing me with more survivability and mobility. The part I underestimated was my damage output. Once I respecced to Beast Mastery I started out-damaging our Death Knight in nearly every single match.
Now don’t think that me speccing Beast Mastery set our team on a tear to 2250. We still suck, it’s just that now we don’t suck quite as bad. 😉 More importantly, we started having fun in arena again.
In addition to my 3v3 team, I also have a casual 2v2 with a Ret Pally friend in my guild. We queued for the first time last week and stunk it up bad, winning only 35% of our matches. Since my respec, we went to a 63% win percentage and boosted our rating by 760 points. 🙂 Now that’s what I call a noticeable improvement.
In addition to arena, I’ve also rediscovered the joys of being a Beast Mastery Hunter in BGs. Oddly enough, I feel just as powerful as I did before the nerf.
At this point you’re probably dying to know the trade secrets I’ve uncovered which have allowed me to enjoy success as a Beast Master once again. Apart from a couple of minor tweaks to my spec and play style, the only other thing that’s changed is gear. When I say “gear”, I’m mainly talking about Talonstrike. If I didn’t have such a high DPS weapon, I really don’t think the spec would be working out so hot.
Without at least a 187 DPS weapon, I don’t think Beast Mastery has what it takes to apply enough pressure. That was made evident to me when I first tried a few BGs after the patch. At that time, I was still sporting a 141 DPS crossbow and having extreme difficulty finishing off moderately geared players.
Now that I have a 212 DPS weapon with nearly 700 top-end damage, I’m nuking players. With the high damage weapon, I feel the 10% passive damage increase for the Hunter starts to become more of a factor. As a Beast Master, I’m delivering Kill Shots that are critting in the 10-12K range. 🙂
I’ve also adapted to the shorter duration of big red and have adopted a somewhat more calculated play style. I’m less apt to use The Beast Within for defensive purposes now, and instead I try to pop it strictly for offensive pressure. Unless we get a good strategic advantage right off the bat in arena, I’ll usually wait as long as I need to before popping TBW, and instead utilize many or all of my defensive cooldowns in order to stay alive.
Before, I would be a lot more apt to use TBW to escape CC, knowing that I had a full 18 seconds of enrage. With only 10 a second duration, I find it’s too valuable to waste as a defensive cooldown. This is ironic considering Ghostcrawler referred to it as such. Sure it breaks all CC just like a PvP trinket, but if you have to use it like a trinket while your kill target is bubbled, ice blocked or LoSing you, then it’s going to be an uphill struggle.
One thing that is nice about the new dynamic of TBW is that we actually do more damage for that 10 seconds of the enrage, due to Hunter’s 20% damage increase as opposed to the 10% that it was before. I get some nice kill burst going when I’m able to get a target out in the open, then pop Bestial Wrath, Rapid Fire and Intimidation. This works especially well with a Chimaera, because my target will still be slowed by 50% even after the stun wears off. If I get at least a 5-6 second window of pure burst, it usually means good night for my target.
All in all, I’m back to Beast Mastery and loving it. So far it’s worked out well for me both in arena and BGs. Although I credited my ranged weapon with most of the success I’ve had, the other factor has to be my comfort with the spec.
In my case, you can spec the Hunter out of Beast Mastery, but you can’t spec the Beast Mastery out of the Hunter. I love the spec – always have and probably always will. Furthermore, my story is a testament to playing the spec you enjoy, not the one that is supposedly the best. Unless your goal is to achieve a Gladiator title, play the spec you’re most comfortable with and you’ll probably not only be more effective, but also have more fun while doing it.
If you’re surrounded by pro players and are an ace yourself, then by all means go with the spec that offers the best advantage. For more casual players such as myself and those around me, I find it’s better to play to your strengths. If you feel more confident and able playing one spec over another, then go with it. I’m a firm believer in testing things for yourself before you make a judgment call. I’ve retested Beast Mastery and have concluded that it’s what I do best, and what works best for those around me.
I plan on posting my talent spec, pet choice and spec, along with a couple other miscellaneous tidbits of info later on today.
By the way… I’m really looking forward to Patch 3.3 now in case you hadn’t already guessed. 😉