Finally! Beast Mastery is unlocked on the Legion alpha. The current build has been unstable thus far so it’s difficult to get any serious testing done, but I did manage to complete the Titanstrike artifact quest line and complete a level. Having now played through all three Hunter artifact scenarios, I definitely think the one for Titanstrike is the most fun.
I’m not saying the other artifact scenarios are bad, but they have a disadvantage: They don’t take you back to Ulduar and have you interact with Mimiron and Thorim! That was definitely the coolest part of getting Titanstrike. It’s a mixture of killing things and completing simple environment puzzles (more like avoiding various forms of fire on the ground). Most of the talking is done by Mimiron and a new dwarf character that Mimiron hilariously keeps confusing with Brann Bronzebeard. There is an explanation for why Hati specifically is tied to the gun. Hati is a permanent second pet that you get whenever Titanstrike is equipped. So far it looks like the appearance is limited to the lightning wolf (like Skoll), but the color may change when you change Titanstrike’s color.
We’ll start with BM impressions then talk about other Hunter stuff from this build.
Initial Beast Mastery thoughts and observations
- In its current form, the gameplay for Beast Mastery is very much cooldown based. You still have to watch your Focus, but it has been de-emphasized quite a bit.
- This leads to an overall “whack-a-mole” type feel to the rotation. You’re essentially watching for abilities to finish their cooldown and using them. There are a LOT of cooldowns when you factor in all of BM’s various abilities and talents. BM also has more DPS cooldowns than the other specs.
- Down time is definitely possible in this iteration. You can minimize it by taking the Focus generating talents, but that only makes those talents feel mandatory.
- Dire Beasts spawn beside you but quickly charge into their target. The Dire Beast reset mechanic (Wild Call) doesn’t proc very often, but when it does it feels cool to send in more beasts.
- The Kill Command sound has changed to something quieter (and also seems to be the same or similar to the new Dire Beast sound). I want the old sound back. If they keep it like this, I see an addon in my future to correct this. Bestial Wrath is also not playing a sound so this all might just be a bug. Kill Command also only costs 20 Focus now so you’re rarely dry enough to not be able to cast it on cooldown.
- Cobra Shot, your main Focus dump, currently deals very little damage (only about as much as one of your beast’s auto attacks).
- Many of the talents are unbalanced or not complete since they haven’t had any iteration yet. For example, Stomp! does pretty much no damage right now and doesn’t look as cool as it sounds.
- Talents like Dire Stable and Chimaera Shot feel too mandatory right now.
- If you keep your pet in Ferocity spec for the extra DPS, you pretty much need to keep Mend Pet rolling on them the whole time to keep them alive if they are tanking. You can really up their toughness by going Tenacity. I think the damage loss there is acceptable outside of dungeons and raids. Also Mend Pet now has a 10 second cooldown (still 10 second duration) which is a nice quality of life change. Now you don’t have to worry about monitoring the buff to know when to re-cast it, just reapply when the cooldown is ready.
- This lack of toughness is partly because I am used to playing with a higher item level, and partly because Blizzard is playing with the tuning of world mobs in Legion. They are quite a bit harder to kill than standard world mobs have been in recent expansions. They have more relative health points, and seem to do more damage.
- Spirit Bond is greatly missed. Later in the artifact tree are some more healing options, but this seems to be a recurring theme for all the specs. Maintenance healing is nowhere to be found.
- Chimaera Shot was frequently pulling threat but only temporarily. It’s also nothing Misdirection couldn’t handle. The only downside is no more Misdirection glyph to reset the cooldown when used on your pet. I hope they add this functionality as a baseline for Beast Mastery.
- The first Titanstrike active ability you unlock, Titan’s Thunder, is really cool! It makes all of your pets discharge an electrical arc to their current target. This includes your main pet, Hati, and whatever Dire Beasts you have summoned when you cast it. The more pets, the more damage this cooldown is going to do.
- In addition to Titan’s Thunder (1 min cooldown) you have more short cooldowns to use with Aspect of the Wild, Bestial Wrath, and Stampede. You can frequently stack these to great effect.
- Bestial Wrath no longer reduces Focus costs, but it now provides the full damage benefit to you and your pet. Its cooldown was increased by 30 seconds, but whenever you cast Dire Beast it reduces the cooldown by 15 sec. You will be using Bestial Wrath a lot.
- Stampede is totally different in Legion. It no longer summons your extra pets. Instead, it summons a train of pets from the wild that literally stampede forward, centered on the location of your target when you cast it. This looks pretty cool in action, but it still needs some work. It doesn’t last very long but seems to be intended to do burst damage rather than the longer sustained damage current Stampede does. The biggest change is that the beasts will damage anything in their path, not just the original target.
- It’s too early to form a definitive opinion, but all I can tell you is I am having fun playing it. There are some mechanical issues I have with it which I’ll expand on in the future (and send to Blizzard as feedback), but I’m having fun which is what matters. I’m happy with it as a first iteration.
More details on how Hati behaves
- You have no direct control of Hati, he/she behaves like a guardian pet and will assist you.
- When not fighting, Hati stays behind you, while your primary pet stays to your left. I would prefer if Hati stayed on the right as having pets on either side looks cooler I think.
- Hati can take damage and can die, but this rarely happens in practice. I had to create a situation to force it and see what would happen. When Hati dies, you get a 2 minute debuff called Broken Bond preventing Hati from being active. When this debuff expires, Hati will be summoned again.
- If you dismiss your main pet, Hati will also be dismissed. When you resummon your main pet, Hati comes with it.
- If your main pet dies, Hati remains. It only despawns if you specifically dismiss your pet.
- I have not gotten near enough artifact power to test out the Master of Beasts trait yet, but I am looking forward to checking it out. This makes Hati use Kill Command and Beast Cleave with your main pet.
Other Hunter stuff from this build
The Marksmanship artifact, Thas’dorah, now comes with a matching quiver! Sadly, no matching ammo pouches for Beast Mastery, but that could still change. The quiver appears while the bow is sheathed or in use, but already I noticed some clipping issues with shoulder armor. This is probably unavoidable, and if clipping bothers you then you either change shoulder transmogs or disable shoulder graphics completely.
New bow model
Wowhead is listing this new mechanical, engineering-inspired bow as an alternate look for Thas’dorah, but I’m not so sure. I am just guessing here, but I think this is an alternate look for Titanstrike. Maybe Blizzard heard the cries of all the gun haters and added a bow that would fit the Titanstrike fantasy? We’ll have to wait and see.
Here is a rundown of the datamined Hunter legendary items. There are some more legendary mail items in the database, but we can’t view the equip effects yet to see if they are Hunter pieces or not. We don’t know how they will be acquired.
- Ring, Marksmanship: Your Marked Shot always hits your currently selected target, even if not affected by Hunter’s Mark.
- Boots, Marksmanship: The cooldown of Trueshot is reduced by 1 sec each time you cast a damaging shot.
- Helm: 20% max health heal on Feign Death, plus 20% health per sec while feigning (lol no way this makes it live)
- Belt, Beast Mastery: You and your pet gain 50 Focus when you activate Bestial Wrath.
- Belt, Marksmanship: Each enemy you hit with Multi-Shot increases the damage of your next Aimed Shot by 10%. This effect stacks up to 20 times.
- Bracer: Reduce the cooldown of all aspects by 50%.
- Boots, Beast Mastery: Dire Beast reduces the cooldown of Kill Command by 3 sec.
- Nesingwary’s Trapping Treads: You can place another trap within 3 sec before the trap cooldown is triggered.
New Hunter Glyphs and a Toy
The glyph system is changing in Legion. Major glyphs are gone, but minor ones are staying. Instead of being limited to 3 total glyphs, you will be able to apply as many as you want (max one per spell). This isn’t functional yet, but some Hunter glyphs have been datamined:
Glyph of the Bullseye: Your Hunter’s Mark ability now places a bullseye on your target instead of its usual visual.
Glyph of the Trident: Your Harpoon spell throws a Trident rather than your current weapon.
Glyph of the Hook: Your Harpoon spell throws a Grappling Hook rather than your current weapon.
Glyph of Elune’s Arrow: Your Arcane Shot takes on a blue tint.
Glyph of Sparks: Your Flare ability now drops a ball of sparks at the target location.
Glyph of the Headhunter: You throw a javel instead of a hatchet when you use Hatchet Toss.
Glyph of Freezing Cubes: Your Freezing Trap freezes creatures into a block of ice rather than spikes.
Glyph of Arachnophobia: Your Dire Beast ability calls on spiders more often. Why? Because everyone is afraid of spiders.
Glyph of Nesingwary’s Nemesis’: Your Dire Beast ability often calls for beasts victimized by the famed hunter.
Glyph of the Skullseye: Your Hunter’s Mark ability now places a skull on your target instead of its usual visual.
Glyph of the Firecracker: Your Flare ability now drops a string of firecrackers at the target location.
And the toy…
- Hunter’s Call: Call a random companion to follow you for 15 sec (30 sec cooldown) Tooltip seems incomplete, not sure how this works yet.
These sound pretty cool to me. I especially like being able to customize Dire Beast.
Apparently Blizzard just deployed a small patch to fix all the crashing, so back to more BM for me!