Alright, I know some of you don’t give a crap about class fantasy. That’s fine, but this post probably doesn’t concern you. This post concerns the Hunters like me who camp rare pets for days on end and agonize over the naming of their pets. I’m not going to be talking about mechanics or numbers here, I’m going to talk about what I think is wrong with Beast Mastery on a more aesthetic level.
I like the gameplay direction Beast Mastery is headed from a fantasy perspective. Summoning pets as a rotational ability? Awesome. Permanent second pet? Double awesome. Here’s the problem: Summoning pets alone is not why I like playing this type of Hunter. I like summoning my own pets, the ones I spent hours, days, weeks, months, or even years acquiring. Not just random beasts from the wild.
Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since patch 6.1 dropped and I can say I haven’t once specced out of Beast Mastery the entire time, and I’m loving it. I don’t know what it is, but I just have more fun playing it. Survival is still strong but it was becoming stale for me. What I like about BM is all of the opportunities to stack cooldowns and trinkets. Focus Fire has turned into its own little mini-game, with a ton of variables to take into account rather than the old method of simply using it when the button flashed.
I feel like having so much DPS potential built into Focus Fire has added an entire new dimension to the spec that rewards you for proper decision making. There is a downside with the RNG component, but that probably helps keep it balanced. If gaining Frenzy stacks was more predictable, it’s possible that Focus Fire wouldn’t be able to have the same power level. And to be honest, the awesome feeling I get when I have a pull with good Frenzy stacks outweighs the pulls where I have bad luck. I actually grin when I get good RNG as I play Beast Mastery. I never did that with survival.
In the first paragraph I said I don’t know what it is, but I guess I just answered my own question.
I originally did these simulations for my own amusement, but I thought I’d share them with you guys. Again, like most sims I post on this site they are done with whatever gear I’m wearing at the time (ilvl 672). Whenever you see “official” comparisons between specs on the actual Simulation Craft page, or on some other sites and guides, these are almost always done with best-in-slot gear. That’s all fine and dandy, but I don’t have anywhere close to BiS so I don’t really care about those sims. I’d rather see how things look in my own gear. Keep this in mind as you read this, and always remember your results will be slightly different.
The first thing I did was compare the DPS differences between live servers and the 6.1 PTR. I went through all the talent permutations and found the highest simulated talents and used those, so each spec was represented as best as possible. I also swapped gems and enchants for each spec (mastery for BM, crit for MM, and multistrike for SV).
Simulated DPS never tells you the whole story, but I think it’s a good tool for seeing what the impact is from buffs or nerfs. Instead of using screenshots from Simulation Craft, I’m testing out some fancy HTML5 charts. Mousing over (or tapping) each bar should give the actual DPS numbers.
New Post: More information about Beast Mastery in 6.1.
Update Feb 19: Numbers updated again to reflect changes in simulation craft. The pet summoned by BM T17 4-piece does more damage. Also, survival pets inherit multistrike damage bonuses. Both of these changes are now reflected.
Update Feb 15: These numbers are now updated with the latest MM and BM buffs from the patch notes (from Feb 13): Focus Fire now grants 8% attack power per stack, Chimaera Shot damage increased by 30.4%, and Sniper Training effectiveness increased by 25%.
If you’ve been following the patch 6.1 news, I’m sure you saw the change to Stampede: It now lasts 40 seconds, up from 20 seconds. A Murder of Crows was so good that they needed to literally double it to make it competitive. From my initial testing, it seems they were successful.
However, there was a possibly unintended side effect because of an interesting relationship between Stampede and Lone Wolf. Whenever you have your standard pet out and use Stampede, it calls the remaining 4 pets. However, when you’re using Lone Wolf it calls out all 5 pets. One would think it should only be calling out 4 pets so that the talent has the same value regardless of your chosen level 100 talent, but this is not the case for marksmanship and survival. I’d like to think this is a bug or an oversight, but who knows for sure? It’s been around for a while, so maybe it is intended. I don’t understand why. Also see the bottom of this post for an important note on another Lone Wolf/Stampede bug.
Anyway, let’s take a look at the Stampede buff’s effect on all 3 specs.
Blizzard finally put out the official 6.1 notes and we got some buffs in the talent department. Check these out.
Originally Posted by BlizzardTalent Balance
Developer Commentary: A primary focus for class changes in Patch 6.1 is improving overall talent balance. Not every talent needs to be useful in every situation; and in fact it’s often better if they have strengths and weaknesses. But we do try to have each talent be useful in some situations, and make them close enough in value that if you really enjoy the gameplay of a talent you don’t feel like you’re dragging your group down by using it.
For these changes we focused primarily on tuning (tweaking numbers), and nearly all changes are buffs to underperforming talents. The goal is to reach more variety of viable builds, without bringing down the existing popular choices.
- Barrage damage has been increased by 21%.
- Exhilaration now instantly heals for 30% of max health (up from 22%).
- Glaive Toss damage has been increased by 25%.
- Powershot damage has been increased by 62%.
- Stampede now lasts 40 seconds (up from 20 seconds).
Here is the main thing I take away from this: Blizzard desperately wants us to use Powershot. 😆 If it’s as good as it sounds, Powershot may become the new single target DPS talent of choice because it’s not like it was that far behind before this. This is all good news though, because in some cases (like with Survival) there was almost no benefit from using a level 90 talent for single target damage. This will obviously change now, and Barrage just got 21% more awesome for AoE if that was even possible.
The more shocking one is that Stampede now lasts for 40 seconds (whoa!). Yes, A Murder of Crows was that good to justify this. I feel like this could push Stampede to be the best on many single target fights, especially when the cooldowns line up nicely with fight duration (i.e. Stampede would kill it on a 6 minute fight). AMoC still has the benefit of being able to reset the cooldown if used smartly on multi-target fights. I love the sound of it as a BM hunter, so I’m hoping it’s as good as it sounds and that there’s no strings attached (like reduced damage on the Stampede pets).
The Exhilaration buff was desperately needed. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.
None of these changes except the Barrage buff appear to be live on the PTR yet so I can’t test much. I’m sure Simulation Craft will be updated within the next day or two and then I can start playing around with that at least.
I’m still holding out hope for a Kill Command buff to give a small kick to BM single target DPS.
Hunters are losing a dozen or so abilities in Warlords of Draenor. Depending on what hunter you ask, you’ll get a different answer to this question. I understand the reasoning behind most of these decisions, but there’s just some abilities I’m really going to miss.
Abilities I’ll miss
1. Distracting Shot
I’ll admit this is not a button I used on a regular basis, but the number of awesome plays I’ve pulled off thanks to Distracting Shot will make me miss its utility. It could be as simple as saving a healer in a dungeon, or it could be something like taunting a Warshaman who got too close to General Nazgrim during the final burn, or preventing a Minion of Y’Shaarj from exploding inside a pack of other minions.
The Glyph of Distracting Shot let you do pretty interesting things as well, like positioning your pet far away so you could ping-pong a difficult enemy back and forth, avoiding a lot of damage.
Distracting Shot will be missed, but I’ll get over it.