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.

My own personal example is pretty telling: I recently stopped using my old Tier 19 2-piece bonus and swapped to 2p T21 + 4p T20. This switch over caused my character to gain close to 10 equipped ilevel, which is a substantial DPS gain for nearly any class no matter what you’re putting on, right? My DPS didn’t go up one bit, it was a complete sidegrade. I went from like 943 to 952 equipped and gained 0 DPS (actually, I lost some AoE DPS), but I did gain a lot of health which is why I bothered to do it.

Another benefit to improving the BM set bonuses would be a reduction in global warming. BM Hunters have the highest carbon footprint of any spec in the game because of how much energy we expend to find our tiny little upgrades. Seriously though, things would be so much easier if an obvious upgrade was actually an upgrade, and not something that required a 600,000 iteration simulation of our bag gear. Beast Mastery? More like Sim Mastery.

Wish #1: Finally address the Tier 21 set bonuses

There are two ways to do this, one is the direct approach which is to simply add more numbers. Bumping the 4-piece to 4-5 seconds of cooldown reduction is a decent band-aid, for example. It’s still a weak bonus, but at least we don’t have to question equipping it even when the new pieces are 25 ilevels above our old set.

The second solution is to buff Aspect of the Wild which would indirectly make the bonus stronger. Back in early Nighthold, the Thunderslash trait was briefly amazing (I think it lasted maybe 2 weeks) then it received a double nerf. Nerf #1 reduced its scaling from 100% attack power per hit to 50% per hit, and nerf #2 reduced its damage by another 35% when using Dire Frenzy. If nerf #1 was reverted, suddenly the tier bonus becomes slightly more valuable, and we get a slight bump to our AoE damage. This trait currently does like ~1.5% damage on a single target fight, so doubling it like this doesn’t really make us OP or anything.

Wish #2: Give us some AoE help, for the love of Khadgar

Alright, we get it, you don’t want BM to be an AoE class. That’s fine. But how about making it so we’re not completely useless on these fights? A BM Hunter who parses 95th percentile on Antoran High Command is going to get beaten by a Warlock who parses in the 60s. That ain’t right.

Again, the obvious things are simple number increases (like buffing Multi-Shot, Beast Cleave, Surge of the Stormgod), but another solution is taking a look at our AoE talents.

Wish #3: Address unusable talents

Barrage is in a sad state for BM. It’s practically a trap for new players, since it sounds cool but it has a detrimental effect on your DPS in all situations.

For example, if I were to take this talent and integrate it in my single target rotation, I would lose almost 100k DPS over using no talent in that tier at all. Yikes. In AoE it doesn’t do anything either, as it’s always a downgrade to A Murder of Crows or Volley no matter how many targets there are.

Why is this? The opportunity cost for this talent is simply too high. My napkin math says if Blizzard were to buff Barrage by about 125% it would become a decent AoE talent for us. At that level, it would be close to single target neutral (no gain or loss) and would give us a solid option for spread cleave.

Stampede is another one that needs some love — about 75% more love. If it were substantially buffed it could find some use on these Antorus AoE fights. Alternatively to a damage buff, reducing the cooldown to 1.5-2 minutes would make the talent a lot more versatile.

I’m hesitant to use specific numbers like this, but I’m just trying to illustrate the state of these talents. Maybe they need a little more or less — I’m not a class designer — but the point us they need massive buffs in their current mechanical states to be useful options for us.

Wish #4: The backup wish

If the other wishes can’t be fulfilled, then I’m not above taking table scraps in the form of a small aura buff like we received with the release of the Netherlight Crucible. Anything at this point. 😐

New Year’s Update:

No gifts from Greatfather Winter. I guess we’ve all been bad Hunters. Things have not changed in Antorus, if anything BM has slipped a little further towards the bottom. We’re not even solidly middle on any fights anymore.

Now that Blizzard is back from their holiday break, maybe they’ll take a look at the current state of balance in Antorus and give us something…. anything. Sigh.

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29 thoughts on “Winter Veil wish list for Beast Mastery”

  1. If only Greatfather Winter would take your advice. Right now I fear all we BM hunters are getting for Christmas is a big lump of coal. I hope I am wrong. On a side note, love all your posts and appreciate all your hard work.

  2. It’s clear at this point that Blizz hates us. Heck, they even took about the only BM hero we had (Rexxar) and made him survival. I don’t mind at all if our DPS is lower than the other specs a bit… but dang Blizz, throw us a bone!

    (Although I do love my wolfhawks… so ty for that one, Blizz)

  3. These are very reasonable suggestions, backed up by some anecdotal numbers — which I suspect would be borne out by most BM hunters. Unfortunately, Blizz’s treatment of BM hunters at this point is beginning to bear a troubling similarity to their treatment of SV hunters about midway through WoD: that is, the spec was in a provably bad place and Blizz ignored all entreaties for reasonable changes. At that time, unknown to players, they had written off SV as a viable spec and knew they were going to drastically change (some might be destroy) it in the next expansion, so there was no reason to devote any resources to it until that time.

    Honestly, at this point I would settle for not having to resort to “Sim Mastery” for every new piece of gear or every minor numbers tweak. I almost dread getting new gear every week, because I know it will require lengthy sessions with simperput and Raidbots. And heaven forbid I should change a talent, because doing so basically requires a significant number of gear changes.

    Last week, after literally weeks of new gear or different legendary combos not making any difference (other than a net DPS loss) in my equipment setup, I just got fed up and as an experiment switched back to Killer Cobra from AotB. I run the zoo build and do not have exceptionally high Mastery — having concentrated for a while on crit and haste — and this one talent change was so drastic that it required 5 pieces of gear to change and resulted in approximately a 20k DPS increase in single target Patchwerk sims.

    Point is, this kind of wild swing is counterintuitive — absent banks of high powered simulation computers, I would never have guessed the new configuration would be so significant (at least theoretically). Even with such computational power being available, it still took me over an hour just to figure out the right combos. And REFORGING was “too much math” for us to deal with??? My one hope for BfA is that we can go back to knowing if we get a gear upgrade it actually is an upgrade, without the supercomputers.

    Let us hope you have been a very good boy and that Greatfather Winter will bring you everything you wished for. 😉

    1. Well, thankfully I don’t think Blizzard is going to pull another Survival here. I know the spec has a small base of dedicated supporters, so I hope they don’t take this the wrong way, but the whole melee hunter thing was an abject failure in my eyes. But what’s done is done, all they can do now is refine it and make it better for the melee Hunter fans out there. Just make the spec coherent. It feels like you have to put in way more than you get out of Survival.

      I cringe every time I see a forum or reddit post where someone says that BM should be made melee instead. I just feel like telling them to shut up before they put any ideas in Blizzard’s head. Though… melee BM is one way to cancel a 13 year subscription… FREE ME FROM THIS, BLIZZARD! 😉

      BM started out rough this expansion but it’s made a lot of improvements. At least in these current gear levels, it feels smooth to play. There’s a rhythm that wasn’t there at the start of Legion. I just wish Blizzard wasn’t so dedicated to keeping us at the bottom. The “DPS while moving tax” argument only makes sense for theoretical DPS. The problem is we have plenty of real world data that shows freedom of movement is doing us no favors.

      1. The most mind boggling bit about “you can move while DPSing” tax is that not only do we have other ranged classes with formidable mobility but we also have the numbers, as you rightly mentioned AND the history behind the “hybrid tax” and how it made hybrids virtually not viable in anything other than a healing spec until things were finally addressed. It’s also especially silly if we add to the pile of examples the WoD marks hunter, which had no movement restrictions, excellent damage, and no drawbacks whatsoever. I honestly find that the class overhaul brought many an issue with it, and the neutering of BM’s utility, completely non existent spread cleave and subpar stacked cleave with basically nothing compensating for that, is the spec’s downfall, much to my dismay.

        Not that I like Survival plate spinning with its disconnect between the melee ability stacks and the odd habit of placing explosives under our feet along with the other traps, or even the remarkably turret-like pattern imposed on MM, but it does hurt that my fave spec has finally been made more active and fun without any numbers to show for it.

      2. Here it is almost 2018 and this line i read “Free me from this, blizzard” rings more true then anything else. Over the years i played this game a lot (29,000+ ach points a lot) and never before have i felt this down about WoW.

        Yes, i took breaks from the game before …and i might be taking one again.

        but the more i think about it the more i realise…i don’t play wow because it is fun…i play wow because i been doing it for 11 years. Legion is by far the worst time i have at playing this game.

  4. I love BM and hate its on bottom, but someone always has to be. From the link you put at the end, the top dps (spriest) is approx 15% higher than the lowest (BM). What would be an acceptable (and realistically achievable) percentage between top and bottom? I’ve often wondered that.

    1. It’s less about a specific percentage and more about being on the bottom of almost every single fight. There’s nowhere for the spec to shine. Can’t there be at least 1 fight per raid that a given spec can shine at?

      But on some fights the disparity is definitely too large, and that’s mostly due to our AoE capability. Buffing our AoE at least makes us feel useful on those fights, even though there’s no hope of even being great at them simply because of our mechanics.

  5. Probably not a popular topic but….do we all agree MM is currently harder to play than BM ? If so then there should be a reward for that right ?
    Is that why Blizz keeps BM below MM on the numbers ?
    If they make BM “average” then MM would have to top the charts and they don’t want to buff MM.

    Dunno, just another theory to throw in the mix of figuring out Blizz logic.

    #1 on my wish list -> Give back ranged SV !!

    1. Yes, Blizzard not wanting to buff MM may be a factor, but I was never really comparing to MM directly. I don’t see it as a competition between the Hunter specs, but I can understand some would.

      Like I said, I think our single target is in an passable place for the most part. The TLDR of this post is: I’d like our AoE to be buffed from “useless” to “mediocre.” And I’d like to acquire actual upgrades in a new raid. 😛

      1. Meh. I’ve played MM for about half of this expansion, and still use it for some content. It’s not hard, unless you’re bad at managing movement- and that’s a self-imposed level of difficulty. The RNG elements *are* extremely annoying, because of the huge reliance on late-vuln second-cast crits to prop up your damage. A late-vuln second-cast aimed shot can crit twice as hard as a first-cast early-vuln aimed shot. If it *doesn’t* crit, you basically just wasted 3 seconds. That’s terrible design. (And don’t get me started on what happens if you don’t get a marking targets proc during a burst AoE phase. Taking the entirety of your AoE damage out of your hands is ALSO terrible design.)

        I categorically reject the myth of a skill tax on BM. Blizz clearly doesn’t design that way (see: arms warrior being super-good at various points in the expansion. (and oh by the way, arms handles the colossus smash mechanic WAY better than MM handles the marking targets/vulnerability mechanic… uneven quality in design, there)) BM is just flat undertuned, as evidenced by its poor performance at median levels of play. It’s not just bad at the high end, which is what you’d expect if it were really a “skill ceiling” issue. Also, the inability to move into t21 because it’s *so damn bad* is criminal. I’m in 4t20 and 2 titanforged off-pieces… and I’m probably in the gear set I’ll end Antorus in. That’s just stupid.

    2. There are lots of specs that are easy to play. Arcane mage, Aff lock (with the right talent set up), Fury Warrior, Havoc DH, etc) all have only a small number of buttons they use. They have fairly decent mobility and don’t seem to have the same movement “penalty” a BM hunter has.

  6. I was wondering few weeks ago when are we going to have haste become better than crit for zoo build. My time has apparently come! My current crit is 43.73% and haste 27.51%.

    Just did a stats weight sim on raidbots and its giving me values for haste = 53.23 and crit = 42.70. I think its probably going for soft cap of 32% and most likely will get back to crit once I reach that.

      1. Oh weird. My stuff is lower than yours, but I only have 22% haste and it’s showing Mastery highest for me (but all 3 are close).

        Currently have 44% crit, 22% haste, 64% mastery.

        Do you think it’s better to just try to stack some haste anyway? (Have some gems/chants I can switch over)

  7. First at all, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!!!!!!!

    Well, I agree with Waz: haste, nowadays, is more useful with zoo than crit. I use to wear chest and waist leggos as my best combo with similar haste 36% and critic 32% (sim with simulationcraft y raidbots).

    I need to express my congratulations to Blizzard because hunters are on the top for first time since I play WoW. Ok, on the top of less dps, but, on the top. Great job Blizzard!!!!!!!!!! XDDDD

    One thing: I’ll leave the game before leave my main BM hunter. XXXX XXX Blizzard!!!!!!

    Bendak, congratulations and tky for your time, job with this blog.

    1. Welcome to the t19 party… 890 + 905 is better than any new gear. I can’t wait for the end of tier set talents / buffs…

      As for the haste comments… 32% haste seems fairly important to hit – I never drop below that (often times a little higher), then 43-46% crit and 62-70% mastery (depending on what boss / gear set up combo I am using). I basically have 12 gear sims that are within a 0.2% DPS difference, so I can swap out gear as I need stats to move around.

  8. You, christian bm hunters tried your chance on christmas 🙂 now its our turn, muslim bm hunters wish time 🙂 give us at least flat 5%

  9. I’m super frustrated with Antorus. My raid is on to the high 950’s in ilvl, and I’m still in the mid 940’s… because there is literally no combination of t21 I can equip that does better than 4t20 and parcels. I had my best loot the day I walked into the instance, and that’s *depressing*. The whole point of wow is the cycle of improve, do more content, improve. If I can’t improve… why am I raiding?

    1. I understand how you feel. Tell Blizzard (politely) how you feel. I think that sort of feedback matters to them more than proposing specific numbers and mechanics. This is the real fallout of their failed set bonus design and I am feeling it too. Weeks and weeks can go by without any sort of character improvement. Use the @WarcraftDevs twitter if you’re on there.

  10. I have similar problems. I’m 954 equipped, I can be 967. My best sims and best performance are still 4 x 20 – and now 2 pieces of 21. This locks so many of my slots, when I get my weekly M+15 chest the shiny 960+ loot is relegated to a “high ilevel/low performance” set that I will wear on higher M+ where I need to the health to survive, but lose over 100k dps while gaining 13 or 14 ilevels overall. Equipping tier 21 and my higher ilevel gear is the same thing, lower overall dps for a less of a health gain.

    The other BM hunter in my guild still gets his best sims with two pieces of tier 19 – he was lucky and has some nice mythic titanforges – and four pieces of higher ilevel tier 21. It varies for each of us depending on which TF we have, but it’s crazy that we should be dependent on tier 20, never mind 19.

    Others are getting more and better gear as the weeks go by from raiding and the weekly M+ cache and while I am doing okay on some fights, others are abysmal. Single target Antorus is okay, but the AoE heavy fights make me sad.

    I feel that I have to pug mythic tomb in order to try for better tier 20 but very few want to do that. There are some druids that benefit from tier 20, and I think a few others but the difference isn’t as marked and the issue is less critical for them.

    I’d be happy to tell Blizzard how I feel – politely – but I don’t use twitter.

    I love BM hunter but this is getting really frustrating.

  11. Looking at the ptr builds, which are now flagged as release candidate, what do you think of those changes to cobra? will they help at all?

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