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Beast Mastery DPS

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Beast Mastery DPS “sucking horribly” is a myth.

Now, I’m not going to say that Beast Mastery is not theoretically lower than Marksman/Survival; I agree that it is. I’m not going to say that it isn’t possible to do better in those specs, especially in certain fights — it certainly is, especially where the mechanics favor fire damage.

However, at low gear levels, BM scales unusually well with a mix of low level gear, the play style makes it possible to do things that aren’t possible with any of the other play styles, and any theoretical difference between BM DPS and other specs is far outweighed by player skill. (The theoretical differences, based on the spreadsheet, for my current gear, is something like 12%.)

Last night, I joined a guild run of Ulduar-25. This is actually my first significant experience in Ulduar-25, but since most of the fights are the same, I wasn’t worried. I was the last DPS added to the group; everyone else was a guild player, I believe.

We start pulling the trash before Thorim, which is what I got pulled in on. Note that I’m not flasked, no food buff, etc. My gear is good, but not crazily so; I’ve gotten one Ulduar-10 drop, but I have bought everything that I can with Conquest badges, and a ring with Triumph badges. (GearScore, for what little that’s worth, is sitting right around 4500.)

So we pull the trash, and the raid leader (another hunter; specced Marksman for this fight, I believe) is like “Man, stop making us look bad, Tetron.” I generally run with recount hidden unless I’m raid leading VoA or something, so I had no idea what was up — and I pulled up recount, and found that I was top DPS on the trash pull, by a good amount, pulling 5200 DPS.

I said “Yeah, sorry, I’ll stop being so awesome. BM for the win, I guess.” The raid leader says “There’s no way you’re BM: BM can’t put out 5200 DPS!”

Yes. Yes it can.

Now, part of this is that BM burst is insane — The Bestial Wrath is an awesome talent, and it shows in any short pull, because there’s more TBW uptime. But that’s not all of it.

In fact, I am regularly putting out 5k plus in VoA 25 runs. I am regularly pushing 3k in heroics, and hitting 4k in a ‘stand still and shoot’ style fight is no longer a surprise to me. My top on a non-gimmicky boss fight is 5700, which I got on Koloarn in a VoA 25 PUG.

Am I ruling the world? No. But since I have no gear drops higher than Ulduar-25 level, why does it matter? I’m not supposed to.

Most of the world is going to be raiding a tier behind. There are relatively few guilds succeeding in Heroic Trial of the Champion. It’s *possible* that at that gear level, you do get something out of switching specs, if you’re already a pretty brilliant player. Even at that level, if I could trade a player who does 1000 more DPS for one who needed one or two fewer ticks of healing from standing in the fire, doesn’t get flash frozen and knows how to pick up the toasty fire buff, or misdirect pulls the last miniboss down Thorim’s hall so that we get out of their faster, I’d do it in an instant. In the end, there’s a lot of things that matter more than DPS. If you do them all right, you can compete favorably with a lot of other players, no matter their spec, and there is no reason to be embarrassed by being a BM-specced hunter.

In the end, I topped DPS on every attempt at Thorim. I got mobs down faster than anyone else I was with in the hallway group, and when I went down at one point, suddenly the hallway group progress almost stopped progress. In the end, in four attempts at Thorim, we got nowhere — but as a BM hunter, I was pushing the group faster and farther than anyone else we were playing with. There isn’t any major failure here, it’s just evidence that BM is a reasonable raiding spec. Of course, this is nothing new: Pike knows it, Level 80 hunters know it, but some people still think that BM is not really competitive.

Maybe it’s true that when you’ve got iLevel 245 gear, BM DPS isn’t competitive; I don’t have much iLevel 245 gear, and I won’t for a long time. But right now, I’m competing — and in some cases, beating — better geared hunters running the same content in ‘better’ specs. That theoretical ‘10%’ difference seems to all but disappear when we actually go to pull, and although I trust the theorycrafters, I’m starting to wonder if there’s not something to be said for BM’s style of damage through the pet actually making being a hunter easier to do well at — even in top-end raids.


Written by wowthoughts

September 22, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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