Beast Mastery pet dual wielding to return in Battle for Azeroth

If you were worried about losing Hati, worry no more. In today’s alpha build a new talent has appeared called Animal Companion:

“Your Call Pet additionally summons the first pet from your stable. This pet will obey your Kill Command, but cannot use pet family abilities.”

It replaces Way of the Cobra. It doesn’t seem quite as fully featured as Hati since it doesn’t mention Bestial Wrath or Beast Cleave, but it at least casts Kill Command. I suspect if they added all 3 it would be too powerful for a level 15 talent. As long as it still uses Dash with the main pet and they make a bit of an effort to improve the AI (simply forcing the /petattack command without having to macro it fixes 90% of issues).

This does mean it competes with Dire Beast, though. However, the wording on some talents and abilities has changed to imply Dire Beast is becoming baseline again, but that did not happen in this build. So I’m not sure what’s going on.

This makes the pet spec locking sting a little less since you’ll always be able to have at least 1 pet that’s purely a cosmetic choice. Also in this build, Kill Command’s range has been buffed from 40 to 50 yards which is pretty nice.

I’m still not in the alpha so I can’t test things out for myself. If I find any more details I’ll update the post.

These Battle for Azeroth Hunter pet changes aren’t so popular [Updated]

I talked about some of these changes in my original alpha post, but now that people have seen the changes in-game, things have become a little more clear.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: You can no longer change pet specializations. Each pet family is locked to one of the 3 specializations. Mechanicals will always be Cunning, Ravagers will always be Ferocity, and — most peculiar of them all — Spirit Beasts will always be Tenacity. Those are just 3 examples, you can see the full list at Wowhead.

For the most part, the assigned specs of each family make sense, but I have no idea why they are doing this now. We’ve been able to change pet specs for over 5 years. Why take away this customization now? Was there something so terrible about a Hunter wanting to use a Ferocity Turtle?

The response to this has not been pretty, but I do think part of the uproar is because people think Ferocity pets will still do more damage than a Tenacity or Cunning pet. This no longer seems to be the case.

Update: Blizzard has made a post clarifying the new system.

Continue reading These Battle for Azeroth Hunter pet changes aren’t so popular [Updated]

Beast Mastery tier 21 hotfix buffs, the Aspect of the Wild build, and the start of BfA Alpha

A couple of Beast Mastery hotfixes dropped this week, but they’re both pretty minor. I’ve had a lot of people ask about them and how it affects gearing, so here’s a quick post on them.

Hotfix 1: Increases all damage by 2.5%

This applies to every main ability and active talent, it doesn’t increase things such as pet auto attack damage (as far as I know). Beast Mastery is still going to be near the bottom on Warcraft Logs, but now we should no longer be in our own sad little tier at the bottom. That’s the most positive way I can spin this. I was hoping for more targeted changes, i.e. buffs to Beast Cleave, Thunderslash, and AoE talents. But a buff is a buff and this makes our single target a little better.

Continue reading Beast Mastery tier 21 hotfix buffs, the Aspect of the Wild build, and the start of BfA Alpha

First look at Hunter changes from Battle for Azeroth alpha datamining

The Battle for Azeroth alpha is up on the test servers, and datamining is in full swing. I’ve poured over every bit of Hunter info I could find. I have some opinions on what I’ve seen, but it’s hard to say anything definitively until I can play myself. Streamers and influencers will probably have access to play this any day now, and then hopefully I’ll find a way in during the next waves.

My initial reaction to BM is pretty disappointing, but I don’t think they’ve put much work into it yet. A lot of it looks the same as it did 3 months ago at BlizzCon, and there’s obviously some placeholder stuff still there (like having Way of the Cobra as a talent when we only have 1 pet now). Nothing jumps out at me as exciting so far, but there are some pet things to discuss.

My initial reaction to the MM changes is pretty positive. Marking Targets RNG is gone, Vulnerable is gone, Steady Shot is back, and the whole talent tree is full of new stuff to explore. Also, it appears that Lone Wolf is a permanent passive now. No pets for MM, period. But I’m hoping Blizzard can come up with a compromise there without locking out a whole talent row for it (as it is today). I have some suggestions there.

Survival looks like it has many more ranged abilities, and to me it feels like it’s becoming disturbingly similar to Beast Mastery. In fact, one could almost argue it has more hunter/pet interplay than BM does at this point. I don’t want to say Survival is “stealing” abilities or talents that would be better suited to BM (or even MM), but I do question this direction. They’re adding so much ranged capability that I wonder if there’s even a point of keeping the spec as “melee” for the sake of appearances.

Continue reading First look at Hunter changes from Battle for Azeroth alpha datamining

If I could change Beast Mastery in 8.0, I’d probably do something like this

Beast Mastery had a rough start in Legion, but I think Blizzard managed to get it in a decent place considering where it started. Giving 2 charges to Dire Beast as baseline was huge. One of my other favorite patch changes was increasing the range of Kill Command and Dire Frenzy to 40 yards, as it almost eliminated BM’s target switching issues. I think gear has a part to play here as well, because the spec isn’t nearly as fun to play with low levels of critical strike for example. In terms of engagement and fun, I thought BM was a 3/10 at the start of Legion, and now it’s more like a 7/10. There’s still room for improvement.

I think Beast Mastery’s weak points are talents (lack of choice, some dead talents) and an overall lack of identity. When I say identity, I don’t mean class fantasy. I mean as in what is BM supposed to be good at? Single target? AoE? Cleave? Dungeons? I’ve always thought we were supposed to be the best at high movement fights, but the evidence says that our freedom of movement hasn’t really done us any favors on those fights. I don’t ever feel like there’s that one boss in a raid that’s “the BM boss.” I think this lack of direction or clarity is at least partially responsible for our current performance.

Anyway, on to the point of this post before I stray too much into balance, which isn’t the point. How can BM improve in Battle for Azeroth? Will Blizzard make any serious changes or are we just getting tweaks? I’m under the impression it will be the latter, so that’s why my proposed ideas don’t change the fundamentals too much. But I do get a little more crazy with the talent suggestions since I think BM needs a lot of improvement there.

Continue reading If I could change Beast Mastery in 8.0, I’d probably do something like this

Winter Veil wish list for Beast Mastery

Dear Greatfather Winter (Blizzard),

I think there’s a lot that can be done to improve Beast Mastery in Battle for Azeroth, but that’s a post and discussion for another time. We’ve still got another 8+ months of Legion and Beast Mastery is simply not in the best state right now. I honestly thought there would have been some more tuning at this point after seeing how poorly BM is doing (especially in Mythic). To be fair, overall rankings are kind of misleading since BM is so weak on any kind of multi-target fight (Antoran High Command is the most heinous example) which does plummet our overall rank. In single target, we are pretty close to the middle, which is hard to complain about.

The problem for me is that we have no true strengths. We have decent single target, and what is essentially the worst AoE in the game. Some of this boils down to BM’s lack of upgrades in Antorus. While other classes are seeing their DPS shoot up, BM is only seeing small incremental upgrades because we still have to juggle old tier sets.

Continue reading Winter Veil wish list for Beast Mastery

First night in Antorus

I enjoyed Antorus quite a bit. It reminded me a lot of Ulduar — not any specific bosses, but just the big epic areas and general style. It was just normal mode so most of it was one-shotted (including Argus), but we were overgeared so I wouldn’t read too much into that. Though from what I hear, Heroic is also a little easier than ToS Heroic was (I won’t be doing that til later in the week). Hopefully that translates into Mythic as well, because I did feel like ToS (especially Mythic) was too hard in general. I thought Nighthold was a lot better in terms of overall difficulty.

My favorite boss was definitely Argus — it’s a visual feast and has really cool mechanics. One of my favorites ever. Plus it felt cool that I was briefly rank 1 of all Hunters on that fight (I had to screenshot such an occasion). Ah, the perks of raiding on day one before the EU and Koreans get in there.  😛

My least favorite boss was Varimathras. The entire fight seems like it’s on the tanks, and everyone else is doing patchwerk. I actually like having a patchwerk fight once per raid, but this one just wasn’t fun. A fun patchwerk fight to me is something like Krosus from Nighthold.

The dumbest boss was the Portal Keeper because hunter pets are completely bugged on it. Here’s a tip: Don’t take the portals to the platform because Blizzard forgot to implement pet pathing up there. It’s a complete mess. Tell your raid leader you need to stay down.

Another thing worth mentioning is that several bosses have an emphasis on CC, which is pretty cool. Tar Trap, Freezing Trap, and Binding Shot will all get a lot of use in this raid.

Continue reading First night in Antorus

Antorus gear for Beast Mastery: Trinkets, set bonuses, and more

If you haven’t heard, tier sets are going away in Battle for Azeroth. So Antorus (Tier 21) will be the very last tier where we get class set bonuses. It’s also the final tier of the expansion, so that must mean Blizzard is going to give the system a nice send off and give us some truly cool bonuses to enjoy while we wait for BfA, right?

Oh, sweet summer child. No.

Updated Feb 6, 2018: Updated set bonus section for small hotfix buff to T21 4pc. It now reduces the cooldown by 3.0 sec. See the Set Bonus FAQ for discussion on this.

Continue reading Antorus gear for Beast Mastery: Trinkets, set bonuses, and more

BlizzCon 2017: Hunter changes, Battle for Azeroth and WoW Classic thoughts

I kinda had a feeling after seeing the BlizzCon mounts that this expansion would go back to the faction war. My initial impressions of Battle for Azeroth are basically, “cool!” I’m not going out of my mind over this. It looks like more WoW. More WoW is good. Thus far nothing has stood out to me as an expansion defining feature on the same level as Legion’s artifacts and the class orders. I’m not sure if the island scenarios and warfronts are the same sort of thing. The Heart of Azeroth is basically a variant of the Netherlight Crucible except on armor pieces instead of relics. Cool, but not mind-blowing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the faction war. What I’ve seen so far has gotten me pretty pumped up to fight for my faction. Burning down Teldrassil? As a long time Alliance player, that genuinely pisses me off and I’ll gladly slay Horde by the thousands for that. I liked how the cinematic gave cool moments for both factions, but Sylvanas screaming “for the horde” is the only part that gave me goosebumps (even though I don’t really play Horde).

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Update: If you’re looking for more recent Battle for Azeroth info, go here. This post is from BlizzCon 2017

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Continue reading BlizzCon 2017: Hunter changes, Battle for Azeroth and WoW Classic thoughts

On this day, 7 years ago, Eyes of the Beast was removed from the game

Patch 4.0.1 was released 7 years ago today, on October 12, 2010. That was the day that Eyes of the Beast was taken from us. Eyes of the Beast was a damn cool ability that let you take control of your pet independently and play through its eyes. It was so cool I named this site after it!

No, it wasn’t used in actual raid combat or anything like that. It was mostly a flavor ability, but it did have some actual uses like pulling Baron Geddon in Molten Core. I enjoyed it mostly for the shenanigans you could get up to, like flagging unsuspecting players for PvP combat, or just going on a PvP server and sending your pet into towns like Gadgetzan to wreak havoc. You could also use it for scouting dangerous areas, or just having some fun while you’re in a battleground queue.

In Wrath, they actually added the Glyph of Possessed Strength which increased your pet’s damage by 50% during Eyes of the Beast, which was even more fun in world PvP. So, why did they remove it? Well, I’ll let Ghostcrawler explain.

Continue reading On this day, 7 years ago, Eyes of the Beast was removed from the game