Category Archives: Opinion

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.

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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.¬† ūüėõ

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.

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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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BM Update: The Aspect of the Beast build, more legendary talk, a need for buffs, and 7.3 set bonuses

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.

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Patch 7.2.5 Beast Mastery: Stomp vs. Dire Frenzy [UPDATED]

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.

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Paying the Price: Patch 7.2.5 tuning to compensate for the extra Dire Beast charge (updated)

Yes, we’re all excited about the changes coming next patch… but you didn’t think it would come without a price, did you? The first round of tuning is in, and Blizzard maybe overestimated how much 2 Dire Beast charges is worth in terms of DPS. They also nerfed the T20 bonuses to the point where you’ll want to wear T19 instead.

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The Mantle of Command: Unlocking the 4th Hunter spec

Legendaries have probably been the most contentious issue in all of Legion. It sucks to have meaningful gaps in player power, or completely transformative and quality of life effects gated behind pure luck. In my opinion, legendaries would have been better if they all had utility¬†or defensive bonuses and their DPS power came from raw stats. Even if Blizzard agrees with this in hindsight, it’s kind of too late for Legion. Instead they’ve upped the drop rates and removed diminishing returns on bad luck protection so that eventually you can get all of them for your spec if you want.

This brings us to The Mantle of Command. The legendary every Hunter hopes to get. I was lucky enough to receive it as my fifth legendary. This is on top of the Roar of the Seven Lions which I received as my second legendary. Don’t hate me. Even though I’ve been lucky here, I know the system is broken. The only solace I can offer is that you will get the shoulders at some point now that it doesn’t get harder to get each subsequent legendary (after your 3rd). Let’s just hope it’s a matter of days rather than a matter of months because every BM Hunter deserves these.


Patch 7.2 Update – April 1, 2017

New traits (and an update to Dire Frenzy) have lessened the relative value of the Crit build discussed below. It’s not that the Crit build has gotten worse, it’s that the Dire Frenzy build has gotten better. The Dire Frenzy build switches priorities back to Agi > Mastery = Haste > Crit > Vers (roughly).

The changeover happens once you get the Thunderslash trait, plus Convergence of Fates and/or Call of the Wild. At this point, the Haste/Mastery Dire Frenzy build becomes about 5% more powerful than the Crit build in single target. This is the same single target build discussed in my BM FAQ post.

In short, the One With The Pack crit build is still totally viable (and extremely fun), but min-maxers will probably want to stick to the Dire Frenzy build. Oh, and the shoulders are still totally amazing with this build because it gives you so much control over those Dire Frenzy stacks.

For all I know, this could revert again once Tomb of Sargeras comes out and we get the new set T20 set bonuses. Part of the reason this build is so strong is the T19 2pc for Dire Frenzy, and once we lose T19 4pc, the OWTP Crit build’s increased Bestial Wrath uptime could be crucial for those new T20 bonuses. But for TODAY, the best possible DPS is had by going Dire Frenzy.

Second Update: April 12, 2017 – Thunderslash nerf

With the Thunderslash nerf, the original Crit build discussed below is still a viable option. The Dire Frenzy build still has more DPS, but the gap is much much smaller. If you have more fun doing the Crit/OWTP build, I would encourage you to play it. The gap is only a few percent at most.


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Don’t worry, I’m still Huntering

Despite my absence from this blog (and Twitter, etc.) I want you to know I’m still around. I’m still playing WoW when I get the time and I’m still raiding. My absence from the community is hard to explain without getting too personal. It boils down to some heavy stuff happening IRL and not having the time (or desire) to do any of this right now. It started as a¬†world-turned-upside-down kind of thing that now maybe isn’t quite as bad as originally feared. A rough road ahead. So I’m sorry to say, but right now there’s no energy for this stuff. WoW is still a happy distraction that I wouldn’t give up though.

I’m still enjoying Legion quite a bit, still loyally playing BM spec for everything, and still doing quite well in any content I tackle. Now that I finally have all 3 golden traits I am much less motivated to grind out the Artifact Power. I used to not leave a scrap of it on the table, but now I’ll quite happily let some of those world quests expire. Grinding hard for Titan’s Thunder felt worthwhile, but grinding hard to get an extra 0.2% DPS a couple of days earlier than I would have (if I didn’t grind) isn’t¬†very appealing at this point.

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Hunter spec disparity in Emerald Nightmare

Alright, I knew Survival would be the unpopular¬†Hunter spec going into Legion, but I didn’t think¬†the disparity would be quite this severe. After a week¬†of Emerald Nightmare, the numbers are in¬†and it’s not pretty for Survival. As I write this, there are ~48,000 Hunter parses in Heroic¬†Emerald Nightmare on Warcraft Logs thus¬†far. Only ~660 of those are from Survival Hunters, along with ~36,000 Marksmanship and ~11,000 Beast Mastery. Those Survival numbers are pretty appalling.

First of all, yes, not all guilds upload their combat logs (or even keep any) but I think in the first week the vast majority of them doing Heroic content will be doing so, and these numbers should be fairly representative of what’s going on.¬†When you add anecdotal evidence about seemingly never seeing Survival Hunters in the wild, it becomes pretty clear: Hardly anyone seems to be playing Survival.

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The first 10 days of Legion

That went by fast. I started by leveling to 110 in essentially “one sitting” which was exhausting but fun. Everything since then has been a blur of world quests and dungeon runs. Oh, and profession quests. Endless. Ceaseless. Profession quests. I’m still on that new expansion high so I’m not ready to say anything definitive yet (I seem to remember enjoying Warlords for the first week), but I think Legion has the potential to be my favorite expansion, or at least second favorite. If Hunters were in a better state, it would probably¬†already have the title.

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