Tamarlane, Night Elf Hunter

Hey there, I’m Tamarlane of the guild Omen, from the Lightninghoof server, and I’m going to be writing the occasional article on end game raiding, with a specific focus on hunter DPS optimization. While not all of my articles will focus on this specific topic, this is my general area of interest within the game, and thus, what I’ll predominantly …

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Profiting From Survival

As I’d mentioned earlier, I decided to go Survival once I ditched Beast Mastery as my PvP spec. Oddly enough, at this same time I also elected to go Survival for raiding as well. This may sound strange to those of you who follow the site, because I’d stated a few times in the past that Survival had been my …

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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 HuntsmansLodge.com…

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.

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Thinking Out Loud: Catlike Reflexes

Let me begin by saying that I absolutely love some of the Hunter changes introduced in 3.2, especially from a Beast Master’s standpoint. The reworked Animal Handler has been a godsend. While the auto-capping of expertise for pets has indirectly buffed all Hunters, BM really made out when Blizzard decided to replace the now-unnecessary expertise bonus with raw attack power.

The change to Wild Hunt is nice too, even if it is still a bit buggy. I noticed right away that the stats still weren’t carrying over when I specced into Wild Hunt after the patch went live. I’ve been making sure I dismiss and resummon each time I swap out pets just to be on the safe side.

Anyway, these two welcome changes were well deserved, as BM has needed some love here for quite some time. To review, 10% additional attack power for the pet from Animal Handler, plus 10% increased AP inheritance from the Hunter… good stuff. I like this a lot. I currently PvP with a Beast Mastery spec so this is just gravy for me.

Catlike ReflexesHowever, the third change affecting Beast Mastery is what I really want to discuss. This is of course, Catlike Reflexes.

It seems as if there’s a lot of confusion concerning this talent choice. That, or some Hunters are just assuming it’s a huge buff and are jumping all over it. The addition of the decreased cooldown on Kill Command has Hunters confuddled, scrambling for places to steal points away so that they can get the 30 second cooldown on Kill Command.


I didn’t pick it up. Here’s why…

From a PvP standpoint this talent looks pretty good. I know, I know… BM PvP is quite the oxymoron. I’ve been doing this for a long time and it’s just how I roll. 😉 I love the hardiness of BM and I relish the last-man-standing style of warfare.

Anyway… the problem is, which talent(s) do you borrow from to pick up Catlike Reflexes. I’ll tell you… none of them.

First of all, this talent is worthless in my opinion without 3 points invested. A properly talented and glyphed BM Hunter will have a 1 minute, 4 second cooldown on Bestial Wrath. The cooldown on KIll Command is 1 min, which is absolutely perfect. Any BM Hunter worth their salt knows to macro Kill Command with Bestial Wrath, and if you don’t, then feel free to visit my macro page to copy and paste. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it on the down low. No one will have to know. 😉

So anyway, in order to make Catlike Reflexes a logical choice, you’d have to invest the full three points to get it down to 30 seconds so as to not be off cycle with the Bestial Wrath cooldown. Again, here in lies the problem… What would be a worthwhile sacrifice for this talent?

For example, this is what my PvP build looks like…

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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, …

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