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 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.