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.
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.
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 Dec 4, 2017: Small buff to T21 4p. Set bonus section updated. Not much has changed since this is an inconsequential buff in the grand scheme of things.
Updated Dec 5,2017: Updated trinkets section because of hotfix buffs to them. Antorus trinkets are more useful now.
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).
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.
With this week’s maintenance, Beast Mastery is getting a “6%” buff. Cool, right? Well, don’t get too excited. For one, it’s not a true 6% buff since it leaves out some important things like Beast Cleave or any pet auto attacks — it just buffs primary abilities and most of the talents. Secondly, all this buff does is let us keep the status quo. Everyone is getting 15 ilevels on their weapon this week from the Netherlight Crucible, and Beast Mastery scales like crap with weapon damage while other classes and specs get tons of value from the weapon increase.
So this buff really just puts us back where we were, with maybe a tiny 1-2% extra. On top of that, we’re going to fall even more behind in AoE/cleave since that isn’t getting any benefit at all from the Crucible or this buff (except for Stomp, which is included in the buff). We need more than 1-2% relative to other classes!
Anyway, let’s get to the Netherlight Crucible. I updated my Wowhead guide with basic information on how to use the Crucible and determine upgrades and what traits to take. I’ll reproduce some of that here.
Updated Jan 2, 2018:
Modified values of the traits. The damage proc traits from Crucible tier 2 lose some value as our ilevel goes up in Antorus, so they are now more in line with the stat traits. I also removed the Dire Frenzy specific trait list since it’s proven to be an unpopular build, and the trait values are almost identical.
If your overall ilevel is still low (below 940), it’s likely that the damage proc traits are still highest on your list. But if your ilevel is high (approaching 960 equipped), you may find that traits are valued even lower than what’s listed here. As always with BM, you really need to sim yourself.
The general trend is moving towards getting the tier 2 stat traits (they’re all pretty good) instead of the damage proc traits, if you have that option. They’re just more useful at higher ilevels, and they also blow away the damage procs in any kind of multi-target scenario.
Patch 7.3 is almost here so it’s time to take a look at what’s going on for Hunters. The answer is… not much. We’ve got some pretty cool new pets available to tame on Argus, but still no new stable slots to make room for them. I don’t know about you, but I’m at the point where every pet I replace isn’t such an easy decision. Either it’s a rare I wouldn’t want to have to hunt for again, or a pet I’ve had for a long time and just don’t want to get rid of. There are a few new pets on Argus that may be worth swapping out for, though.
I’ve had a couple people ask me about this “new build” going around so I thought I’d touch on it. Since it was buffed a while back, Aspect of the Beast has always been pretty close to Killer Cobra when using the Stomp build, but up until now it was always enough of a gap to ignore (for me, anyway). Now, as people get upgrades (especially to their weapon ilevel), Aspect of the Beast is emerging as a competitive talent for the Stomp build.
The rest of the talents are the same — Way of the Cobra, Stomp, One with the Pack, AMOC — but Killer Cobra is changed to Aspect of the Beast. A lot of your Kill Command damage gets replaced by Cobra Shot damage, which is viable because of the higher weapon ilevel (Cobra Shot is based on weapon damage). Where this changeover happens depends on your gear, but to me it looks like around 930-940 ilevel for Titanstrike is where Aspect of the Beast can start to pull ahead — barely. It will vary from person to person.
I promised to do one of these, so here it is. This post will take a look at T20 set bonuses (and how they compare to T19, when to break the old bonus, etc.), trinkets, and other gear to try to get your hands on. Previously we took a look at the Stomp vs. Dire Frenzy builds for BM in this tier (and at how some of the best legendaries ranked).
About a month ago I made a “patch 7.2.5 preview” post for Beast Mastery where I predicted that the Crit/Stomp build would be making a return in some form, and also took a look at the new legendaries. The Stomp part panned out, but the legendary sims were not clear. They were only single legendary sims, so it was easy to take them out of context. In hindsight I would’ve done legendary combos instead. I did slather the post in disclaimers but apparently it wasn’t enough to prevent some misinformation. Also the blog format isn’t the best for this info, I guess. Not everyone looks at the date of the post, and the info kinda just sits there forever, even when it’s no longer relevant. So I decided to remove that post since it’s pre-patch info and was being taken out of context repeatedly.
Now, the patch is here and a lot of people are jumping on the Stomp train, but the question is how long is it going to last? Well, it’s going to fall off a bit in Tomb of Sargeras with T20 gear. However, with the right gear and legendaries, one should be able to keep Stomp
fairly competitive with the Dire Frenzy build. It comes down to how much you value DPS gains over play style. For some people, any gain — even less than 1% — is worth switching for.
Updated on July 6, 2017: Recently there was a bug fixed in Simulation Craft which slightly changes the results posted here originally. I’ve updated the simulations below. We’ve also seen on the live game how Stomp is doing slightly better than expected (compared to Dire Frenzy).
The bug was keeping the base Bestial Wrath cooldown reset at 15 seconds instead of 12 seconds. So we lost a bit of DPS in the sims, and the gap between Dire Frenzy and Stomp shrank to basically nothing (even in T20 gear). I’ve put red text on any sections below that were updated.
Update TLDR: The small gap between Stomp and Dire Frenzy in T20 is gone. They’re basically equal now.