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.