I am pretty jealous of Warlocks right now. Imagine playing a pure DPS class where all 3 of your specs are not only competitive, but chart topping in the current raid. Imagine having that kind of choice. Hunters are sort of the opposite.
Beast Mastery is far and away the worst spec (from a DPS perspective) in the BoD raid. Someone has to be at the bottom, but geez, do they don’t have to be in their own tier at the bottom like BM is currently? Survival can deal good damage on some fights, but melee spots are pretty competitive in Mythic raiding, and people who enjoy melee simply have better options. Survival brings nothing to the table other than its DPS. They don’t have the 9 lives of a rogue or the utility of other melee specs. Hell, even a windwalker monk or retribution paladin bring more. Then we have Marksmanship — the damage is pretty good (middle tier on the majority of bosses), but it is somewhat required to have the right traits to take it to the top level. Not a huge deal because you at least have something to strive for, and there are 2 really good class traits. But I really hate the “1 target or 3-6 clumped targets” damage profile and the loss of utility from Lone Wolf.
Update: Blizzard has announced some small BM buffs for 8.1.5.
“You can move and DPS, so you should do less damage”
I hate this argument against BM. I do agree it should do less theoretical top end damage, but I’m not looking at sims here. I’m looking at real world damage. Even with the advantage of full movement, BM still does trash DPS. The penalty is way too high.
On a fight with high movement like Rastakhan, BM should be on fire. That should be our moment to shine. Instead, it’s just one of the few times where we’re not literally last place.
If you were to buff BM’s total damage by even 10-15% (!), it still would not be top on its best fights like Rastakhan. We’d still be behind the Warlocks and Shadow Priests.
The Opulence problem
If you’ve ever taken a look at the Warcraft Logs statistics for Opulence (Heroic is shown above), you’ll see how bad BM is doing. This is definitely our worst fight, and part the reason is pretty silly.
The damage increasing buffs from the Opal and Emerald gems do not apply to our pets. The same goes for the “Tailwinds” damage buff that healers apply to us with their gems. This brings down the overall damage for the spec in statistics like this, since we can only really use the topaz or ruby, and the buff from healers does hardly anything. I’m fine with doing the “team player” topaz and ruby jobs, but it would be cool to be able to use the other gems and pop off some weeks.
Buffs like this not increasing pet damage is not a new thing in WoW. A good portion of the bugs I report in this game are to fix damage buffs not applying to pets. It took me literally years of bug reports to finally get Blizzard to make the Dwarf and Tauren racials apply to pets.
I just wish Blizzard would add pet damage to the generic aura they use on all of these buffs, so every time a designer forgets to check the “pet damage” box when they make a new spell, we don’t have to go through this over and over. Because that is exactly what has happened here.
Will they fix Opulence? Who knows. I’ve submitted bugs on the forums and in-game, that’s all I can do.
Edit: Blizzard has fixed the emerald and opal gems on Opulence via a hotfix, but they still haven’t fixed the Tailwinds buff. I updated the above image to show the gap has shrunk slightly.
Beast Mastery scaling
Scaling is mostly to blame here. At the start of Uldir, Blizzard was quick to give Beast Mastery a 5% nerf. As the weeks wore on and everyone got gear, Beast Mastery slowly sunk down the charts. The 5% nerf was premature.
There were improvements made to BM scaling in BFA like having pets benefit from increased weapon damage, but there are other factors. Marksmanship simply scales better with weapon upgrades (and in turn, with the Mastery stat on top of it). Weapon damage is worth nearly twice as much for Marksmanship, and secondary stats are also worth more on average (especially Mastery). This is where the scaling issue occurs.
However, the biggest issue may be Azerite Traits. The reason most classes and specs are outscaling BM is because they have more powerful traits, and with all these extra class traits on gear, it just widens the gap that was already there in Uldir.
Marksmanship has two class traits (Unerring Vision and In the Rhythm) that perform and stack extremely well. BM has Primal Instincts, which is good, but not on that level. No other BM class traits are in the same league as Primal Instincts either. See the image above to see what I mean.
When you combine the following:
- Early 5% Uldir nerf
- Reduced weapon damage scaling (about half of MM and melee specs)
- Lack of powerful class traits
- Opulence problems
Then you have the recipe for BM’s current state.
The thing I can’t figure out is why Blizzard refuses to do anything about it.
What each spec needs (IMO)
- 5% total damage buff. This reverts the premature Uldir nerf and would put BM in the middle of some fights, but still lower-bottom tier overall — nowhere close to the top on any fight. It’s a completely reasonable number when looking at the current data. In fact it should probably be more like 8-10%, but I must be at the “bargaining” stage. 😕
- Alternatively, focus on single target spells only. Something like a 20-25% buff to Kill Command alone would be a nice surgical change since it doesn’t affect BM in Mythic+ all that much but would have a nice effect on raid performance. BM is pretty decent in M+ (especially great for dealing with Reaping waves thanks to Rapid Reload + Primal Instincts) so it makes sense to focus on single target only.
- More buffs to Azerite traits:
- Actually implement the originally announced 40% hotfix buff to Serrated Jaws (it never went live, see Jan 29 hotfixes) so that pieces with this trait as the only option on a ring aren’t completely dead.
- Small 10-20% buffs to Haze of Rage, Dire Consequences, Dance of Death, and Feeding Frenzy (yes, I’m aware some of these were just buffed — they’re still low compared to traits for many other classes, and this would help BM’s scaling.
- Fix the Opulence pet damage (update — this has been partially fixed)
- Allow Trick Shots to activate on 2 targets, and/or increase the 6 target cap
- Fix Steady Aim so it’s not a dead trait
- Maybe a little something extra from Lone Wolf (5% health?)
- Some sort of useful group utility. A reason to say “Hmm, it would be really cool to have a survival hunter here.” Right now, there is no reason.
- I’m sure SV hunters have other things they want, this is just what I see from an outside perspective.
What I expect
Nothing, sadly. 🙁
It’s been a while since they’ve done any tuning hotfixes, they seem happy with the current balance. I think Blizzard is on some kind of mission to get people to stop playing Beast Mastery. I just wish they’d come out and say it, like they did for demo locks a while back. Then we’d at least know their intentions.
Also, I just wanted to say one last thing because usually at least a couple of people comment “I’m BM and I do great damage in my raid, I’m usually on top.” That’s because the rest of your raiders aren’t very good, no offense. That’s a normal occurrence in many normal/heroic guilds, but also in some Mythic guilds.
Take a fight like Grong for example. A 60th percentile Warlock will do more damage than a 95th percentile Beast Mastery Hunter. The Warlock is an average player, and the Hunter is playing pretty close to the top of their game in that case. I could cherry pick much worse results if I wanted… that is one of the tamer comparisons.
Just because Method used a BM hunter for world first Jaina doesn’t mean the class is in a good spot either. Gingi said himself he didn’t practice MM at all, and it’s likely he didn’t have the best Azerite for MM at the time either. Gingi is also a great player who squeezes everything out of a class and had some important jobs. The rest of his raid could make up for any lost DPS. You cannot solely judge a spec based on how someone from the best guild in the world plays it. Besides all that, he switched to MM for raiding afterwards anyway.
Hunters in BoD definitely don’t improve my feelings about the game (see my previous post). I guess I’m slowly just starting to care less and less about anything WoW. I had to force myself to write this thing and almost stopped a couple of times because honestly, why does it matter? Is this really a big deal? I guess when the game is in the dumps, your class being in the dumps doesn’t mean much.
Oh well, maybe I’ll make another post in a few months. 😆
On a positive note, the return of Hati in 8.1.5 looks really cool. We can even mount him! Be sure to check out Petopia’s guide.