WoW Thoughts

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Beast Mastery vs. Marksman on XT-002

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A common thread among hunters is that Beast Mastery provides lower DPS than other hunter specs. Recently, I’ve been trying to test this, by way of using Marks on some ‘stand still and do nothing but shoot’ style fights, to test whether there is a chance that I am missing DPS that I could be taking advantage of.

Although I find Marks to be a big win on Onyxia (phase 2 is a BM hunter’s worst nightmare), Twin Valkyr (pets don’t get the damage buff), and Koralon (two rapid fires to start, plus it coming off cooldown again right in the 20% range, is a big win), I find that Marks DPS is something that can only really be optimized with specific fight lengths that stack up with rapid fire and readiness cooldowns. If a fight mechanic — like the heart on XT — doesn’t line up well with your cooldowns, you lose a lot of DPS. For example, last night on Ulduar 25, I got to use rapid fire four times, on the first and third heart phase. However, on the middle heart phase, I had no cooldowns to burn.

Beast Mastery, on the other hand, with a 1.17 minute cooldown on TBW/Bestial Wrath, always has a cooldown to burn. On XT, I combine Rapid Fire + Bestial Wrath on the first heart phase, and usually get it back up in time to use on the second and third heart phases (depending on raid DPS).

On a recent Ulduar 10, I was able to put out 7800 dps on XT as BM. (This number is obviously inflated as a physical DPS class: My damage is mostly physical, and generally mitigated by armor, which XT’s heart doesn’t have, or so I’m told.)

Last night, in Ulduar 25, I was able to put out only 6900 dps as MM, with three rapid fires used.

I’ll be the first to admit that this could be better, but the biggest issue I had on this fight was the feeling that my cooldowns did not line up with heart phases well.

I’ll be the first to admit that my gear is not ideal for Marks — I’m not a high-armor pen build, and I don’t have an armor pen trinket. (I only picked up a new ranged weapon last week, after killing 35 different raid bosses that drop ranged weapons and never seeing one drop.) However, I spreadsheet at 900 DPS higher in Marks than my BM build (7000->7900 fully raid buffed), so there is no reason that I can think of to expect that the gear difference is the real reason that I’m having problems.

I’ve doubted for a long time that Beast Mastery DPS is as poor as people seem to think it is for many fights: the mechanics of the fight, lining up of cooldowns, and other factors in a fight *far* outweigh the theoretical benefits that a default spreadsheet build will be able to compensate for. A great Marksman hunter may be able to handle these differences, perhaps, but for me, I’m going to continue sticking to BM for most fights, with the exception of ones that are rigged against pet damage like Onyxia and Twins.

Just keep in mind that spreadsheets aren’t everything. There are a lot of factors in a fight, and you may find that for you, Beast Mastery can be a great DPS boost, rather than a DPS loss.

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Written by wowthoughts

November 9, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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