Is Animal Handler Worth It?

Animal Handler
Is Animal Handler a good talent? You betcha.

This is something I’d been on the fence about some weeks ago, then I ultimately decided it was nearly useless. However, after doing some research on the subject I find that it does have its place. I was unaware that bosses were able to dodge attacks from behind. With this new wealth of information, it seems that 2/2 in this skill for a BM Hunter is pretty essential for raiding.

Each point into Animal Handler gives your pet 5 expertise, which translates into a 1.25% reduced chance for mobs to parry or dodge attacks from your pet. While bosses cannot parry attacks from behind, they are able to dodge. This I did not know. Then again… there’s a lot I don’t know about this game, but thank goodness for the intarwebs.

Apparently bosses have a dodge rate of approximately 6.25%-6.5%. 2 points into Animal Handler reduces the dodge rate to 3.75%-4.0% for your pet. That translates into a pretty decent DPS buff over the course of a long boss fight.

Since ranged attacks cannot be dodged or parried and expertise only applies to melee attacks, it is a useless item stat for Hunters. Expertise on equipped items will not carry over to the pet either. The only way to increase pet expertise is through this skill.

I tried Animal Handler for a bit thinking it would be good for PvP, but I ended up feeling the points could be better spent elsewhere. I rarely used Master’s Call due to TBW and my PvP trinket (although I should probably play around with it some more) and the 10 pet expertise didn’t seem too crucial during short, bursty fights.

Now that I have a better understanding of things, I think I’m going to pick it up. Since I will be raiding a bit, I will shift some points around so I can pick this up. It’ll also be a necessary skill if I’m ever called upon to Tank or OT an instance with my gorilla. That’s when this skill really shines, because it will negate some of the parry chance as well while the pet is in front of the mob tanking.

BRK has a good post on this topic, which is what set me on this quest for truth and enlightenment in the first place. At first I disagreed with his recommendation of this talent, but then eventually saw the error in my judgment. How dare I doubt the master.

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