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.
Continue reading The current state of Hunters in Battle of Dazar’alor
Where have I been? Where are the posts? It’s been over four months! Where’s the podcast? The TLDR answer to all this is that I’ve simply lost my passion for WoW. At least its current state. I still have hope it could turn around sometime this year, and that Blizzard will pull their collective heads out of the sand and start listening to their loyal community once again. I long for the day when they stop this pursuit of designing the game around analytics to maximize “monthly active users” rather than trusting their designers to do some good old-fashioned game design. Take some risks! Stop throwing away anything that works and trying to reinvent the wheel. Realize that nothing is more important than class design and its related systems and reward schemes, and then put more resources towards that. It’s the vessel we all experience the game through… so if that falls short, the whole game is affected in a negative manner.
Without having that passion for the game, I don’t really want to write or talk about it much. That’s what it boils down to for me. I think half the reason I’m still playing is to not bail on the guild. The other half is I’ve just been playing this game for so damn long that it’s hard to imagine myself not playing WoW. So here I am, waiting for the new raid and doing my chores: Weekly +10s. Incursions and emissaries that reward Azerite gear (for Titan Residuum). Weekly island cap. The usual stuff. Neither hating it nor enjoying it. Just going through the motions.
Continue reading An update for those still reading
It’s always easy for me to tell how much I enjoyed an expansion just by looking at the percentage of my main character’s time /played spent in it. Vanilla still holds the top spot in terms of raw hours, but Legion has actually moved to second place. Does that mean it’s my favorite expansion? Hmm, not sure. Ask me again in 5 years. One thing is for sure, there was usually a lot of stuff to do, with the exception of the last 6 months or so when my time playing slowly devolved into raiding and a weekly +15 only, then only to raiding, then to nothing… but I suppose that’s normal for any expansion.
Continue reading So-long, Legion
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.
Continue reading BfA Alpha: Changes to Dire Frenzy and Dire Beast, Bestial Wrath goes on the global cooldown
The release of Battle for Azeroth is coming up fast. Quickly enough that I’m getting a bit worried about the state of Beast Mastery. My main concern is the talents as there are a lot of mandatory and just plain dead talents that will never be considered.
Beast Mastery in Legion is in a decent place depending on who you ask (at least compared to its launch state), but only because of artifact traits and a few specific builds that require different tier set, legendary, and trinket combos. In BfA this is all gone and the spec feels remarkably similar to how it was at the start of Legion. To be fair, there are some improvements like having Cobra Shot reduce the Kill Command cooldown. We don’t know to what extent Azerite armor will help with this, but I really think it needs to start with some better fundamentals.
Beast Mastery in Battle for Azeroth has not seen any serious changes since the pre-alpha BlizzCon build back in November, 2017. Since alpha started, there have been minor tweaks here or there, but nothing substantial. So I think it’s safe to say BM is probably not getting the same treatment as MM and SV, and any hope for a re-design is off the table. The main hope for BM is tweaks to baseline abilities and a serious pass at the talents.
So with that in mind, here’s feedback and ideas to improve BM. I did a post similar to this before alpha started, but that was going in blind. Now I know what we have to work with. I’ve already sent a lot of this off to Blizzard via in-game feedback on the alpha but I figured I’d write it out in this form as well.
Disclaimer: This is one Hunter’s opinion. I’m not claiming to speak on behalf of all BM Hunters. I just want the spec to be good in BfA.
Continue reading BfA: Ideas to improve Beast Mastery Hunters in 8.0
I’ve been trying to play all three Hunter specs pretty equally on the alpha, including leveling, dungeons, and island expeditions. This will be the first of hopefully several posts on my current opinion of the state of the class on alpha/beta. I’m also going to keep this bullet point form to make it easy for both of us.
Continue reading BfA Alpha: Opinions and feedback on the three Hunter specs in early April
After playing all 3 specs on the Battle for Azeroth alpha, I’ve come to the conclusion that Survival feels like what Beast Mastery should feel like. I’m not talking about melee combat. I’m talking about the pet and the hunter being an actual duo, playing off each other and reliant on each other.
Beast Mastery Hunters may still have a higher percentage of pet damage, but the pets feel more like a damage delivery mechanism than a team-mate. Survival Hunters rely on their pets to help generate Focus through Kill Command and have several talents that cement the pet-hunter relationship that a lot of Beast Mastery players want.
To be fair, everyone (and Blizzard) has different ideas of what each spec should be like. Maybe BM is supposed to be less about the pet and Hunter relationship and more about the Hunter being an “alpha beast” who bends all beasts to their will, using them merely as tools.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Survival being pet-focused like this (I think it’s great actually), but why can’t the original pet specialization have some more mechanics like this?
Continue reading BfA Alpha: Survival is starting to feel more like Beast Mastery than Beast Mastery
I talked about some of these changes in my original alpha post, but now that people have seen the changes in-game, things have become a little more clear.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: You can no longer change pet specializations. Each pet family is locked to one of the 3 specializations. Mechanicals will always be Cunning, Ravagers will always be Ferocity, and — most peculiar of them all — Spirit Beasts will always be Tenacity. Those are just 3 examples, you can see the full list at Wowhead.
For the most part, the assigned specs of each family make sense, but I have no idea why they are doing this now. We’ve been able to change pet specs for over 5 years. Why take away this customization now? Was there something so terrible about a Hunter wanting to use a Ferocity Turtle?
The response to this has not been pretty, but I do think part of the uproar is because people think Ferocity pets will still do more damage than a Tenacity or Cunning pet. This no longer seems to be the case.
Update: Blizzard has made a post clarifying the new system.
Continue reading These Battle for Azeroth Hunter pet changes aren’t so popular [Updated]
The Battle for Azeroth alpha is up on the test servers, and datamining is in full swing. I’ve poured over every bit of Hunter info I could find. I have some opinions on what I’ve seen, but it’s hard to say anything definitively until I can play myself. Streamers and influencers will probably have access to play this any day now, and then hopefully I’ll find a way in during the next waves.
My initial reaction to BM is pretty disappointing, but I don’t think they’ve put much work into it yet. A lot of it looks the same as it did 3 months ago at BlizzCon, and there’s obviously some placeholder stuff still there (like having Way of the Cobra as a talent when we only have 1 pet now). Nothing jumps out at me as exciting so far, but there are some pet things to discuss.
My initial reaction to the MM changes is pretty positive. Marking Targets RNG is gone, Vulnerable is gone, Steady Shot is back, and the whole talent tree is full of new stuff to explore. Also, it appears that Lone Wolf is a permanent passive now. No pets for MM, period. But I’m hoping Blizzard can come up with a compromise there without locking out a whole talent row for it (as it is today). I have some suggestions there.
Survival looks like it has many more ranged abilities, and to me it feels like it’s becoming disturbingly similar to Beast Mastery. In fact, one could almost argue it has more hunter/pet interplay than BM does at this point. I don’t want to say Survival is “stealing” abilities or talents that would be better suited to BM (or even MM), but I do question this direction. They’re adding so much ranged capability that I wonder if there’s even a point of keeping the spec as “melee” for the sake of appearances.
Continue reading First look at Hunter changes from Battle for Azeroth alpha datamining
Beast Mastery had a rough start in Legion, but I think Blizzard managed to get it in a decent place considering where it started. Giving 2 charges to Dire Beast as baseline was huge. One of my other favorite patch changes was increasing the range of Kill Command and Dire Frenzy to 40 yards, as it almost eliminated BM’s target switching issues. I think gear has a part to play here as well, because the spec isn’t nearly as fun to play with low levels of critical strike for example. In terms of engagement and fun, I thought BM was a 3/10 at the start of Legion, and now it’s more like a 7/10. There’s still room for improvement.
I think Beast Mastery’s weak points are talents (lack of choice, some dead talents) and an overall lack of identity. When I say identity, I don’t mean class fantasy. I mean as in what is BM supposed to be good at? Single target? AoE? Cleave? Dungeons? I’ve always thought we were supposed to be the best at high movement fights, but the evidence says that our freedom of movement hasn’t really done us any favors on those fights. I don’t ever feel like there’s that one boss in a raid that’s “the BM boss.” I think this lack of direction or clarity is at least partially responsible for our current performance.
Anyway, on to the point of this post before I stray too much into balance, which isn’t the point. How can BM improve in Battle for Azeroth? Will Blizzard make any serious changes or are we just getting tweaks? I’m under the impression it will be the latter, so that’s why my proposed ideas don’t change the fundamentals too much. But I do get a little more crazy with the talent suggestions since I think BM needs a lot of improvement there.
Continue reading If I could change Beast Mastery in 8.0, I’d probably do something like this