It’s not your pappy’s Beastmaster

As we’ve been exhorted to improve our DPS in order to more properly pwn the faces of one Mister Cho, I’ve been exploring a number of things that might help, excluding the obvious of HUNDARD HARDERER, because, Light, I am huntarding as harderer as I can.

The plan was a two-pronged attack.  Step one was to get on the sims and optimize my gear. Mission accomplished, and our farm night did seem to show some improvements.  So: big red gems, a couple of easy upgrades, and reforginating righterer all contributed.

Prong #2: not so easy. Let me essplain.

Completely against my better judgement, I started out with this guild as Survival because the dummies showed that it had a 1-2K edge over other specs. I now realize that the main reason is probably because I was less confused with its rotation, but that’s for later.  The upshot is that I, despite past statements to the contrary, have become used to – comfy with, even – the Survival spec.

Last night some random hunter in Stormwind complimented my gear.   And all I could think was "then how does Yngwe mop the floor with me every time?" Yngwe being our other raiding hunter, and quite the beast.

Well, part of the answer is that he is master of the Marksman spec, and on single-target fights, MM has some amazing procs and abilities.  True enough, evaluation of past logs shows that Survival (me) fares much better on add-heavy fights than MM (he) does.

There is a fly in the ointment, though.  The problem is that MM is like looking at a whole different class when compared to Survival.  The rotation is almost backwards of Survival’s, it’s heavy on the nose, in driving terms, the steering wheel’s on the wrong side, and so’s the stick shift.

But anyone that’s a real gearhead watches Top Gear, and knows that real gearheads like them learn how to drive both sides of the road with proficiency. Likewise, a good hunter masters at least two specs, no matter how different they are.

So, prong number two. Learn another spec for single-target bosses.

My initial intention was to load up MM and start playing it exclusively until I was used to it and could do my rotation without staring at my keybinds.  And MM was already in slot number 2.  But then I realized my spec was all screwed up, so I needed to wipe it.  And after I did that, this small, still voice in the back of my head whispered to me.

Hey, buddy. What about Beastmaster?

You have to respec anyway. Why not go home again?

You know you want it.

And we got it.

And, I thought to myself; well, why not?

So here I am, with my Beastmaster on, and my wolf, Rowlf, at my side (I didn’t want to muddle things up too much at first, so keeping the same pet seemed best).  And my first reaction to my shiny new spec was kinda like this.

I mean, seriously. BM was previously the faceroller spec. You had very little to do outside of weaving a couple of shots together, and it generated BIG DEEPS, yarrr. But this shiny new BM spec is just scary.

  • Focus fire – use it at all the times that it is up, but only all the times that your pet has five frenzy stacks (the UI is helpful and makes it twinkle when that happens).
  • Serpent sting – get it up, keep it up. Cobra shot will do that for you.
  • Cobra shot – when you’re low on focus, or about to lose Serpent Sting, unload one of these.
  • Kill Command – Hello, nuke.  Use it at all the times that it is up.
  • Arcane Shot – Use it whenever your focus gets high. Use it or lose it. Sometimes I string four or five of these suckers together.
  • Kill Shot – Use whenever it’s up.  If you have it glyphed, use it twice when it’s up.
  • Bestial Wrath – Big Red Hunter Pet – yes, please, on every time it is up.
  • Fervor – when ever it’s up, and you’re below 50 focus, this caps you right back up by 50.

Oh, my stars and garters.

So, I took some time to get it down.  On a dummy, you don’t get Kill Shot, so that’s not part of the rotation. Also, since I didn’t take Careful Aim ((Its effectiveness is far reduced in 4.2.)), I don’t have to worry about the top 20% of heath skewing things. So basically, I open with Serpent Sting (and the pet goes in), follow with Bestial Wrath and Kill command, then settle into a dance between Cobra, Focus Fire, Kill Command, and Arcane Shot. When any of the cooldowns pop, I trigger them.  And that’s that.  I generally follow each Kill Command with two Arcanes, to keep the focus down, and try to stay away from any awkward pauses.

Last thing to talk about is gear.

My first passes were not great, but after reforging I saw an improvement to nearly-if-not-equal with Survival performance. Unfortunately, WHU and Mr Robot disagree strongly on gemming. The upshot is that I am going to have to go in and tweak reforges by hand until I am happy with it, and then retweak until I have something that works equally well for both BM and Survival. I’m not regemming. I’m not sure how viable that will be, but, long-term, there is no easy route to take.

The good news is that I can bring out my fave pet – my Stompasaurus – and not lose the buff that my wolf brings to the game.  In fact, he brings *two* buffs to the game. Yay!

The coming weeks will be interesting.


Posted on June 23, 2011, in Hunter. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Awesome news Grimm, and thanks for the compliment!

    I have been lucky for the most part in that my favorite, most comfortable spec has also been the top boss dps spec (for the most part) since the ToC days. I am a little concerned about the incoming nerfs in 4.2, but I am also a bit of a dps whore. If I have to look someplace else for my numbers, I will.

    While I have been primarily MM for most of Cata, I do switch to Surv frequently for add-heavy fights, like Magmaw, Maloriak, and some of the trash in BoT. I understand that BM aoe is very tricky, so you might find yourself spec-swapping for some fights.

    Finally, you have been a big part of the reason that I have been able to pull the dps that I pull. That 10% physical haste buff is so awesome, that I definitely noticed it missing the last raid I was in without you. If you end up going BM full time on bosses, I may experiment a little more with Survival, to bring that buff to the raid (I specced out of Trueshot Aura in MM, since we never need it). You should notice a nice bump to your dps with that buff. I know that I sure do.


    • @Yngwe – Def keeping the SV spec for add-heavy stuff, assuming I can pull off the balancing act between SV and BM reforging, enchanting, and gemming. So there’s still that.

      I’ll look around exotic pet buffs; exotics generally bring TWO buffs to the party, and some that you don’t get with regular pets. Might be able to help out. I hear magma spiders are da bomb. I’ve actually got an addon that can help me sort that out, I’ll give it a look when I log in this evening.


      • BM formula for incredible AoE = Bring out your worm (even if you have to hotswap), send in, Burrow attack, Bestial Wrath, unload 6-7+ buffed Multishots, revel in your ridiculous numbers. Throw in Misdirect to get rid of threat issues (the Worm’s burrow attack does zero threat) and turn on Thunderstomp for extra AoE, and you’re laughing. 😀


    • Remember Yngwe, that shamans can also bring the physical haste buff! Granted, we have to choose between the spell haste buff and the physical haste buff, and if the raid comp isn’t right we normally have to look out for ourselves first, but don’t hesitate to ask! There are going to be fights where we can spare it, and a couple other classes bring spell haste too.


  2. Yessss EMBRACE THE BM. Grimm, I’m not amazingly in-touch with all the BM math but I do play it and get pretty good results, so we can totally go over options and gems and basically just gush freely about being able to use Devilsaurs on the Eff forums if you want! 😀


    • Hehe, BM was my first best love back in the day, back when BRK roamed the halls leaving a raspberry-scented trail in his wake. I just wish it seemed less foreign now.


      • To be fair though, back in BC, BM was pretty much just spam Steady Shot with the occasional Kill Command when it proc’ed. Crazy that it was our highest dps spec. Of course, we did have to worry about auto-shot clipping back in the day,


  3. I am SOOOOO excited to read about this! I can’t wait to hear more about it!


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