A couple of Beast Mastery hotfixes dropped this week, but they’re both pretty minor. I’ve had a lot of people ask about them and how it affects gearing, so here’s a quick post on them.
Hotfix 1: Increases all damage by 2.5%
This applies to every main ability and active talent, it doesn’t increase things such as pet auto attack damage (as far as I know). Beast Mastery is still going to be near the bottom on Warcraft Logs, but now we should no longer be in our own sad little tier at the bottom. That’s the most positive way I can spin this. I was hoping for more targeted changes, i.e. buffs to Beast Cleave, Thunderslash, and AoE talents. But a buff is a buff and this makes our single target a little better.
Hotfix 2: The Serpentstalker Guide (tier 21) 4-piece bonus now reduces the cooldown of Aspect of the Wild by 3.0 sec per Kill Command cast (up from 2.5 sec)
This does not magically make tier 21 an auto-equip. It’s a very small change, but it will increase the likelihood that equipping tier 21 isn’t a downgrade from your tier 20. Like everything BM, you will have to get to simming to know for sure.
You really need to be running the Killer Cobra talent to make anything useful happen out of this bonus, so if you’re running AOTB you’re not going to get much out of it at all.
You’ll still want to stack Aspect of the Wild with Bestial Wrath. It’s OK to activate Aspect of the Wild if Bestial Wrath is already half-over, but no less. Other than that, it’s worth holding onto Aspect of the Wild until Bestial Wrath is ready. You just have to hope for the two to line up as much as possible.
The one thing this change did open up is a “new” build that is based around Aspect of the Wild cooldown reduction. I used new in quotations because it’s not new, it’s just more popular since this change helped it to sim a little higher than traditional builds for some people.
The Aspect of the Wild build
The goal of this build is to have Aspect of the Wild available for nearly every Bestial Wrath. You need all of the below things for this to work though.
What you need:
- Call of the Wild
- Tier 21 4-piece bonus
- Convergence of Fates (the ilevel doesn’t really matter in most cases)
- Key talents: Dire Frenzy, Bestial Fury, Killer Cobra
Convergence of Fates? Yeah. It’s necessary for the timing to line up. Even though it has been nerfed several times, it still works for this setup. For BM, it has a PPM (procs per min) of 8.4, so on average you reduce the cooldown of Aspect of the Wild by an extra 25 seconds every minute. Not bad once you combine it with a 1.3 min baseline cooldown (from the wrists) along with the 4-piece bonus.
This build is currently my highest simming option, beating out my next highest by about 50k!
How it works:
- Because of no One With The Pack, procs will be rare which should give enough time for Aspect of the Wild to come off cooldown.
- Things are fairly boring between each Bestial Wrath, but you get to go full ham during Bestial Wrath every time.
- Aspect of the Wild and Bestial Wrath do not always perfectly line up, but you can still pop Aspect of the Wild if Bestial Wrath has 5 sec or more remaining (any less, and you may as well hang onto Aspect of the Wild for a fresh Bestial Wrath). This keeps them in sync as much as possible. Never delay Bestial Wrath for Aspect of the Wild — it will come off cooldown faster than you think with all the various reductions.
- You can afford to be a little more liberal with Focus usage outside of Bestial Wrath since you will have Aspect of the Wild regeneration during each one. Just don’t go into Bestial Wrath with anything below 80 Focus or so.
- This build loves Haste. It’s highly recommended to get to the 30% mark if you can. This makes a lot easier to keep Dire Frenzy stacks up. I’d consider 20% to be a minimum.
- It loves Mastery otherwise, and you will be surprised to see Crit about as valuable as Vers with this build.
- If you’re not used to playing Dire Frenzy, it will take some getting used to. You’ll have to learn to hold off on Dire Frenzy charges in order to extend the buff on your pet. You have to do the same sort of management with Parsel’s Tongue.
Why Dire Frenzy all of a sudden?
Actually, it’s not so sudden. It’s just that it hasn’t been very popular up until now. It was always close to Stomp (how close would depend on your gear). You can try out other Dire Frenzy builds as well, such as using the Soul of the Huntmaster along with One with the Pack. This makes it very easy to keep the Dire Frenzy stacks at 3 all the time. Just experiment with different setups in Raidbots.
Tracking Dire Frenzy
I found this weakaura very helpful for monitoring Dire Frenzy. Not only that, but it can teach you how to use it properly.
Your goal is to not use Dire Frenzy unless the buff on your pet is about to expire, or you are at/near 2 charges. The exception is during Bestial Wrath, which is when you should cast it if there is no Dire Frenzy buff active.
This weakaura bar turns purple when it won’t be possible to extend the buff based on the cooldown left. If you find your bar is purple most of the time, you aren’t using Dire Frenzy properly. You need to be more conservative with it.
Can I still play Stomp?
Yes. In fact, there’s a good chance it will still sim the best for your gear. It’s also easier to maximize than Dire Frenzy, so in the real world the difference could be minimal.
Battle for Azeroth alpha has started
No, I’m not in yet. These early waves seem to be mostly reserved for streamers/youtubers/high profile fan sites only (along with some people who are on a friends and family list at Blizzard). Bloggers are not really on Blizzard’s radar in that way.
There is hardly anything to actually test now anyway, but I hope to get in sometime soon. Once I do, I will share what I think about Hunters. Hopefully they’ve done something with BM by that point!