BfA Alpha: Changes to Dire Frenzy and Dire Beast, Bestial Wrath goes on the global cooldown

There is no longer a choice between Dire Frenzy or Dire Beast, all BM Hunters will now be using Dire Frenzy for their Focus generator/Bestial Wrath reset. Well, now it’s actually called Barbed Shot instead of Dire Frenzy, and it behaves totally like a shot (in that it requires a ranged weapon, and uses a standard shot animation).

Barbed Shot seems like it’s not fully implemented at this point, but I think I can gather where it’s going to be when it’s finished. The shot you fire will now be the damage component as it applies an 8-second bleed, and this bleed is what sends your pet into the frenzy (right now it’s an instant attack and not a bleed, but I’m sure that will change). Currently on alpha, the pet still does its regular dire frenzy attacks in addition to the shot damage, but since this isn’t mentioned in the tooltip I suspect it will be removed. Your pet will still charge to your Barbed Shot target, so it still functions as a target swapping mechanic similar to Kill Command’s charge (which is nice).

Frenzy stacks on your pet are still a thing, so maintaining these stacks will remain a core mechanic. It’s too early to say how crucial it will be to maintain 3 stacks since no numbers are balanced. But if Blizzard decides to make pets do more damage again (in contrast to Legion where their auto attack damage is quite low), then a lot more emphasis could be put on those frenzy stacks.

Dire Beast

Dire Beast is still a level 15 talent, but it no longer replaces Dire Frenzy when you take it.  Instead it just summons a beast for 8 seconds on a 15 second cooldown. It costs 35 Focus to cast.

So it’s really quite simple: You use this on cooldown every 15 seconds. There’s no other interactions to consider. I don’t mind an ability like this, but my problem is it becomes a GCD and Focus hog (especially if you’re using the Killer Cobra talent). Since Dire Beast is not buffed by Bestial Wrath, and it no longer reduces the cooldown of Bestial Wrath, it feels like it gets in the way of maximizing Kill Commands and Cobra Shots. As I’ll discuss below, GCDs are now more precious than ever and Dire Beast does not fit in very well with Beast Mastery’s frequent cooldown windows.

My suggestions to improve this talent would be to do one of the following:

  • Increase its cooldown to 30 seconds (and duration to 16 seconds) — It will still be used frequently but will feel less intrusive (i.e. you can hold onto it for a bit during Bestial Wrath and not worry about wasting a whole cast over the course of a fight).
  • Let Dire Beasts be buffed by Bestial Wrath — Then you’ll actually want to use these during BW.
  • Give Dire Beasts a secondary benefit (i.e. their presence buffs your main pet when active, or maybe each beast gives you a random buff (crit/haste/mast/vers) for their 8s duration).

It just feels like too much of a nuisance at the moment. Maybe some people will like it, but I can already tell you that I’d want to be using one of the other options if nothing changes.

A note about Stomp

Right now, Stomp is still working on Dire Beasts (at a reduced damage) AND Barbed Shot at the same time. I am not sure if this is intended, but if it is, then it could give Dire Beast the extra kick that I think it needs. But don’t get your hopes up, since that would likely all but lock you into Stomp if you took Dire Beast (not that the other two AoE options in that row are useful right now, because they’re really not).

I also wouldn’t be shocked to see Stomp changed into something that causes Barbed Shot to cleave instead. We’ll have to wait and see.

Bestial Wrath is now on the GCD

Up until the most recent alpha build, BM Hunters had partially escaped the great GCD Apocalypse of 2018. But here it is.

The BM opener is slow. Consider that you’re casting Aspect of the Wild, Bestial Wrath, and optionally a Murder of Crows and/or Dire Beast all at the start, and you may have as much as 5 seconds of waiting on GCDs before you can settle into your rotation. It feels so s-l-o-w compared to current BM.

Imagine having up to 1/3 of your Bestial Wrath over before you can start really benefiting from it, and that’s BFA GCD changes in a nutshell. I noticed with other classes they had increased the duration of buffs to compensate for this new snails pace of combat, but Bestial Wrath still lasts only 15 seconds.

I feel like this hurts BM a little more than other specs because its cooldown windows are pretty frequent (sometimes as much as every 30-45 seconds with good procs), whereas the other Hunter specs have cooldown windows every 2-3 minutes, so you feel the impact a lot less.

Also, as I’ve discussed previously, the changes to Cobra Shot (now that it reduces the Kill Command cooldown by 1 sec) coupled with Bestial Wrath being on the GCD, means that the fan favorite Killer Cobra talent has lost a ton of its value. I had suggested previously (multiple times actually) that this talent really needs something else. My suggestion was to have it increase the Bestial Wrath duration by 1 sec in addition to the Kill Command reset. Then the talent is suddenly good again (as it should be, since it’s the only one that really changes up the gameplay on the level 100 row).

I’m sure I’ll get used to the GCD changes eventually, and that Blizzard will tune around Bestial Wrath losing a lot of its offensive value, but I still don’t like it. The whole GCD debacle happening in BFA is kind of infuriating (even Disengage is on the GCD which feels frakin’ terrible).

It just makes me grumpy.

p.s. yes that is a Dark Iron Dwarf in the picture, and they’re awesome.

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15 thoughts on “BfA Alpha: Changes to Dire Frenzy and Dire Beast, Bestial Wrath goes on the global cooldown”

  1. Hey Bendak,

    it’s a shame how the current alpha changes are affecting us. I very much hope they’re making some adjustments.
    Thank you for your summary! Keep it up!

    Kind regards from Northern Germany.

  2. oh dear…

    This is making me grumpy, too ;( GCD has got to be the most un-fun, teeth-grinding “feature” at any time, on any spell, but to place it on so many spells (not just hunters) is hair-pulling out madness.

    With all the GCD’s… plus stuns in the game (unless they’ve cooled their jets on stuns, as in..PVP stun-fests), can you imagine how horrible gameplay will be in BfA, if they don’t ease up on GCD’s?

    Well, I am praying that things will change for the better, still, for us hunters… especially my beloved BM spec. Thank you, Bendak, for another excellent post.

    P.S. “GCD Apocalypse of 2018″…. that was perfect description in your post lol 🙂

  3. Time to learn a new spec :(. Also, I love how you suggest on how to improve things to give blizzard an idea on how to fix it. Rather than others who just complain about it but don’t suggest improvements!

  4. I just concern about Barbed shot applying a bleed to the target, what happens if the target removes the bleed with a dispel? We don’t get focus regen and/or pet don’t get stack of frenzy?

  5. Typical Blizz. Didn’t they remove GCD on almost all major CDs few xpacs back because it was causing “not fun very slow paced” gameplay to begin with?

    Just like everything else, they will remove GCD again after couple of xpacs for the sake of “new” changes.

  6. Thanks for the write up! I always struggle with these changes as I pretty much always Main BM hunter ( even when they are bad ). Hope things work out well for us. I have been playing BM all expansion and luckily we run a pretty casual raid team or I would have to sit myself XD

  7. Levelled up my first hunter in Alpha as BM, though did it before we got the actual “major” changes to the spec with Dire Beast becoming a simple stand-alone, press-when-ready short CD and before Dire Frenzy became Barbed Shot(still not working correctly but all in due time I guess). Will level up a new hunter once we get to copy over live characters, hopefully our abilities/talents will function as intended by then.

    So far I’m quite positive to the changes we have gotten, despite no longer being able to go full Zoo-build. A few talent choices still feels off though:

    Sorry for the lengthy reply but, got a few suggestions of my own

    #First tier
    Killer Instinct – I get how people want an execute, sadly if you ask me, the talented kind is not something I would hope for. Especially not something as bland as an X% damage increase to Kill Commands. Adding something like a chance for KC to reset on use when this talent becomes active and you get to use it again without a focus cost, a change as simple as this would make the talent much more fun.

    #Tier two
    Dire Stable – considering changes made so far, this is not something I would ever pick. Even though OwtP has been nerfed by 10% it’s still much better(feels like the spec do not function without it) than any of the other two options on this row.
    Perhaps if the focus return from this could be set at a value of +6 and we get the additional effect of picking this talent will make your 2nd pet(Animal Companion) benefit more from Bestial Wrath, same goes for Dire Beasts summoned if this talent is chosen instead.

    Chimera Shot – if like you say they replace Multi-Shot with this, and it does proper damage to a few targets(2-3?) and activates Beast Cleave, I’m all for it. But if not, I just want this talent to be gone. Part from the name, it does not fit in with the BM spec.
    A 3rd, Passive talent on this tier that gives us the 15% reduced ability focus cost during BW + the pet’s Basic attacks would return some focus to the hunter, sounds more interesting(also lets us stick with a full talent row with talents giving us focus back).

    #Tier four
    Venomous Bite – like you’ve said before, this feels VERY lackluster. Not really noticeable at all, with good RNG on wild call procs + especially with AotW active so you get to use Cobra Shot a lot, you might reduce the remaining CD by an amount equal to 1 additional use of Barbed Shot.
    If this talent could affect Cobra Shot to apply cobra venom to the target(stacking DoT) where the first stack being the most important(meaning with multiple targets, it’s better to put 1 stack on each target than to focus on one single enemy).

    #Tier six
    Barrage – cannot say this loud enough, BE GONE PEST! Give us a talent that makes Kill Command benefit from Beast Cleave and I’m good.

    Stampede – have written this earlier in my own forum threads. Stampede needs to be the baseline replacement for Aspect of the Wild. Giving us a proper long-term CD. Maybe giving us the old version where using it summons 4 stabled pets might be a bit to much, but I would certainly not say no to this letting 2 of our stabled pets join us in combat for 30 seconds or so. And like Bendak said, they should benefit from Bestial Wrath, Beast Cleave and perhaps even Kill Commands.

    #Tier seven
    Aspect of the Beast – A fun idea, needs to increase pet basic attack damage by more though(something similar to Blink Strikes).

    Killer Cobra – While not as valuable as in Legion, I still like this talent, makes the BW windows feel varied/more fun. I have suggested for this talent to become baseline during Bestial Wraths(meaning Cobra Shot would normally reduce the CD of KC’s, and while BW is active, Cobra Shot would reset the CD of KC).
    In it’s place I would not mind a talent that improves the Dire Frenzy effect on your pet(s). Basically, when the pet gets 3 stacks of DF, the hunter gets an fair increase to haste for a short duration(perhaps around a 20% increase for 8 seconds).

    Spitting Cobra – to make this talent more fun/valuable, I would not mind it if the cobra over time attacks faster and faster. And any enemy hit by the hunter’s Cobra Shots while the Spitting Cobra is active, would also be hit by the Cobra’s own attacks.

    1. Forgot to write this in there:

      Tier six
      Barrage – something I thought of regarding Bendak’s suggestions to give us Lynx Rush back. Could this be an option to do so?
      What I mean is, if this talent is picked and if your pet is under the effect of Beast Cleave, any Kill Commands done would basically make your pet do a Lynx rush, performing a series of fast attacks split amongst all enemies within something like 25 yards of the original target?

      Just a thought…

  8. Apologies for posting this here. I’m not sure of the best place to ask a question. With the changes to threat in BFA, will or how will it affect Misdirection?

    1. Too my knowledge only tank threat generation has been changed. It should not really affect us beyond the fact that it will matter more whether we use it on the tank(s) or not.

      We still have the case of the only threat we actually direct towards the misdirected target comes from direct attacks made by us(the hunter) and not from pet/companion damage.
      = BM hunters using MDs will still matter less compared to a MM hunter.

  9. Finally got access to the Beta. OMG it’s SO SLOW. It’s like when Legion first popped. Such a feeling of disappointment. I’ve been using the stomp/zoo build and it had such good synergy and speed. And now we are back to being focus starved.

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