Beastmaster in 3.0.8 – nerfed too hard?

Before I get into my experience of Beastmaster in 3.0.8, I want to comment on a couple of Blue posts by Ghostcrawler.


MM and BM hunter DPS in 3.0.8
From my [point of view] it was more like some smart theorycrafters (possibly even on EJ) came up with some numbers and then a lot of people adopted those as fact and started echoing that MM and BM would be uncompetitive. I don’t feel that the community has really had enough time with the changes to figure out the nuances of specs that many people had abandoned for a long time. I still see discussions about whether raptors or wasps (or moths!?) provide the most dps.

From what we can tell, SV and MM are pretty close. SV may be slightly higher, but not by hundreds of dps. Affliction and Destro aren’t at the same exact number but you still see both in raids (for the time being). MM also brings a really nice group buff (Trueshot Aura) while SV provides Replenishment, and we take those into consideration. (source)

>>  Obviously, what Blizzard were aiming for is for MM and Survival to be pretty close for raiding.  Ghostcrawler is trying to convince us that they think that they have achieved that.  In an earlier post he was asking for concrete evidence from the poster who claimed that MM and BM were broken.

BM is an easier spec to play. We tend to reward specs that are a little tougher to play if played very well with higher dps. Affliction and Mutilate are good examples, though we went overboard with Mutilate’s dominance over other specs. If BM was simpler and provided the same or higher dps, then you would see 95% BM hunters (which, no suprise, is exactly what we had). Some players will try SV or MM, decide it’s not for them and go back to BM. If they couldn’t make SV work, then their dps may be just fine as BM (or else the drop will be so low that they don’t care). At issue is how much lower BM can be than MM and SV before it isn’t worth spec’ing into. Combat for rogues is too far below Assassination so that you take too big a hit if you choose to opt out of the more demanding Mutilate play style. Make sense? (same source as above)

>>  So it seems BM was deliberately hit hard to force hunters to respec away from the spec that was seen as easier to play, if they wanted to achieve higher DPS.  BM has been punished with lower DPS for being easier to play, and because too many people were choosing it.  While Surv and MM supposedly both have higher DPS as they are harder to play.

>>  Further down the thread he back peddles a little…

Okay, I think this is the disconnect. This is exactly what we want – 3 viable specs. We don’t want BM to be the noob spec that serious players don’t use. We also don’t want it to be the spec that every hunter uses, which I agree is where it has been for some time. 

My comment was that BM can’t be both easier to play and do more dps. We can debate whether or not BM is actually easier to play, but that is a slightly different discussion. Perhaps it is more fair to say that even though skilled BMs can squeeze even more dps out of their attacks, a BM player who did nothing but Steady Shot and use the pet could still do very high dps, which is not what we want. 

If BM becomes too unpopular with these changes, if it becomes no longer viable in PvE or PvP, then we will fix it. The problem was that for a long time BM was the only PvE spec and it had increasingly become the leveling and PvP spec too. 

I think some of my Ulduar comments have been taken out of context or misunderstood. We are making some changes to hunters. Some of them are pretty cool. We will have to rebalance many of the attacks at that time. For example, we are likely to add additional pet talents that increase dps so that the 4 bonus points from BM 51 will inflate player dps overall. 

>>  Further down again, someone clarifies some of Ghostcrawlers comments, and points out the nerfs might have been easier to swallow if the line of thinking about how easy mode BM could still produce high DPS and that seemed unfair had been explained, instead of just saying you are all too high (even those of you who have worked hard on your hunters) and we are squashing you all down.


Q u o t e:
For those saying that BM is the more complicated spec and “you actually have to worry about managing your pet”- I just don’t understand the argument. All hunters need to manage their pets, whether it’s doing 15% or 50% of their dps. It doesn’t suddenly become easier to keep your pet out of the flames on Sarth just because it’s doing less damage. 

What I DO know about BM is that I dinged 80, did Sarth in dungeon blues withing 30 minutes and topped the damage charts. BM was easy to hit great damage with crappy gear- maybe SV isn’t quite like that. If that’s the case, I can certainly understand the change. Maybe it isn’t so much about shot rotations but about that hunter in crappy gear out damaging everyone in Vault 25 the day he dings 80. /shrug- who knows? I’m just throwing stuff out there. 

I really do wish BM wasn’t nerfed so hard. It’s really frustrating a lot of the hunters in my guild who I taught to play the spec and worked hard to gear for it. I’m sure they’ll live- but they sure aren’t having fun right now. 

Personally, I’m looking forward to SV- it’s certainly been fun in BGs. I can’t wait to try arena, and tomorrow will be my first Naxx with the spec. Should be a good time. 

My real complaint here is that per-nerf we were told that hunter damage was too high, so that was the reason for the changes. Now we are hearing that BM is too easy, and that is why it was changed. My guess is that the reasons were more nuanced than were expressed in GCs earlier posts, but I think a lot of heartache and frustration could have been alleviated by a statement like “we believe BM is too easy to get great damage with, so we want to tone it down”. At least we’d have understood why we were seeing the numbers we were in the spreadsheets and PTR and GC was saying they were fine.

Elwynnia said just about everything I was trying to say, probably more eloquently. 

Saying “BM is too easy to get great damage with” may be a good way to explain it. I don’t honestly believe every BM hunter raided while eating a sandwich. But the problem was you could do that, and while better BM hunters might be out dpsing you, you were still doing really high dps. Put another way, BM played badly could beat out a lot of other classes practically with SS and the pet alone. 

We appreciate the data and other feedback. We do want to give the community a little more time to really try to max their dps with various specs and rotations and for us to make sure all the major bugs shake out. As many of you pointed out, the hunter class does have a lot going on and we don’t think everyone is going to be operating near their max potential with all ofthe changes after less than a week of raiding and Arenas turned off half the time. If after that time BM continues to lag behind, we’ll buff it. We just don’t want to do it in such a way that sends every hunter stampeding back to that spec. If that happens, I will have no problem admitting we over-nerfed BM. 

>>  In the last part of that statement Ghostcrawler seems to admit that BM is lagging behind, but puts it down to ‘people not operating at their max potential with all of the changes.”  This seems a weak argument to make, if you tell me that previously 95% of hunters were BM.  BM was nerfed not drastically changed.  The optimum talent spec is not much different.  The shot rotation now includes arcane shot too, but that is not hard to thread or macro.  It should take people longer to learn how to get more DPS out of the harder to play specs they have switched to and are unfamiliar with, than a few changed to play in BM, right?  It seems to me that all of Ghostcrawlers statements point to BM being nerfed to the point that it does have lower DPS than the other specs, and he knows it.

>>  So the question is, was BM over-nerf, and were they right to do so?

I have always said that a hunter is one of the easiest classes to play (especially if you spec BM), and one of the harder to master (and I’ve tried out most classes to a reasonable level).

Yes, if it were the case that a poorly played BM hunter could use a pet and spam steady shot, while eating a sandwich, and still top the DPS and damage charts, then BM was over-powered and deserved to be nerfed.

In my experience (my guild is not one of the highest end raiding guilds) thru Kara in BC, this was not the case at all.  I almost always topped the damage chart (although not always the DPS chart – sustained damage over time), but I was followed by warlocks and mages, the other BM hunters in the guild did not do quite so well.  In Wrath, BM was buffed up some more.  Now, I was hugely out DPSing and damaging those same locks and mages that I had been out damaging but not out DPSing before, and the damage margin was much greater.  I did need to be reigned back a bit, I have no problem with that.   But now, in 3.0.8 they do seem to have over-nerfed BM imo.  I cannot out damage and DPS those same mages that I have always topped on charts ever since I raided and grouped with them (the lock switch to his discipline priest as a main).  My gear is as good, my ability to play my class at least as good, I think, but my DPS is lagging around 400DPS below their’s in heroics.  So yes, BM has been over-nerfed imo.

Is it deliberate to over-nerf BM?

I suspect it is.  Blizzard wants to drive us to try the other specs.  They don’t want 95% of hunters as BM.  They want some of us to try other specs and stick with them.  Later they may buff BM up a bit again, and hopefully will have a more even spread of hunters over the three specs.  If they hadn’t done this, and if I had seen my DPS and damage drop in line with my mage friends, but not significantly below, I would have sighed and said, ‘oh well, I was overpowered post-Wrath, I just need to work on BM and get back to my BC position of just above the mages on Recount.’  It is starting to look like I can’t do that with BM from my experiments.  So I will have to switch in order to get back to where I want to be.

And yes, a Mage is a pure DPS class too, and should be putting out high damage.  But a mage arguably brings a lot more utility to the party than a hunter:  there’s strudel, the intellect buff, and better and easier cc in most situations.  Hunter raid buffs have also been nerfed (expose weakness and Call of the Wild).  Why would anyone pick me over a mage, if my DPS is much lower and they don’t know me?  We get back to the situation we had in the old days when hunters could not get into group, and when guilds recruitment adverts stated ‘no hunters need apply.’

My experience of BM post 3.0.8 – ‘to the ground, baby’

My DPS was way off what it had been – 1,800 instead of 2,400 on a target dummy.  1,700 instead of over 2,000 in a heroic.  Not topping the DPS and damage charts any more.  It was sad and depressing.  I don’t have an exotic pet, my poor kitty has been bruised by the nerf bat even more than I have, so instead of staying with a spec that is just plain depressing, I am moving on.  I have re-specced (again!) back to a slightly different Marksman build from the one I liked so much in testing, and am giving this a try.  You may think I should stick with my old spec and try and make it work, or try harder at Survival to learn how to play it.  But I liked MM, I was fun and suited me.  I pays me money, and makes me choice.  Now I am off to learn how to play like a Marksman!


9 responses to “Beastmaster in 3.0.8 – nerfed too hard?

  1. Pingback: Beastmaster 3.0.8 - nerfed too hard? Err, yes it was - see here. « steady shot

  2. And why did i switch to my discipline priest? Because locks are broken 🙂 I like how GC says that the more difficult specs get higher damage. Affliction is about as difficult as any (including other classes) spec comes. Does it have the highest damage? No. Why? Because the fights don’t last long enough to outweigh a shadowbolt/incinerate spam build. Obviously I haven’t raided with Affliction where it might be completely different, but the trash would still be a problem.

  3. Excellent post. =)

  4. The blue comment along the lines of ‘this talent tree is easy to play, so shouldn’t be so high DPS’ really grates. IMHO Blizzard should be jumping through hoops to make sure that every talent tree is viable for levelling, PvP and PvE. Yes – that is hard to do. But that’s what we pay our subscriptions for. The design should be such that skilled players can outclass the sandwich-eaters and face-rollers through learning and using the nuances of the talent trees, rotations and gear to get the best out of their class.

    The effect this has had on Hunters (and Warlocks) is just another data point to show that (for whetever reason) Blizzard pushed out 3.0.8 too soon.

  5. Thanks all – and thanks for the encouragement Nassira. I will be reading your blog regularly to learn how to play MM – you started me on the path with your BRK podcast 🙂

  6. I feel much the same. I was a BM hunter, and a good one, so always topped the meters. Post-3.0.8, I’ve gone survival, to try something new to me (I was MM in vanilla), and am enjoying it. But if they do go ahead with GC’s mentioned buffs to BM pre-uldaur, and it becomes viable again, I will likely go back. I miss my spirit beast, and I miss my pet mattering.

  7. i hope they do take a little ease off of bm but still keep it to were the harder specs output more damage than bm but that with gear and experience a bm hunter can still top the damage charts if they are good, and great blog took me about 15min to read it its so long

  8. all the comments i have read with regaurds to the nurf and the dps output of different specs are all very valid, but what i dont understand is the importance that everyone is putting on topping the damage meters 😦
    yes it is nice to see your name at the top of the meters but that is not the be all and end all of raiding. there are meany things hunters bring to a raid group besides massive damage eg MD,tranq shot and true shot aura which no other classes can give 🙂 they may on the surface seem pretty insignificant but they definatly play a big part in the bigger picture.
    although i do aggree that the nurf on exposed weakness was a bad thing as it was one of the best abilities a hunter could bring to a raid provided that his stats suited to get the maximum effect from it (crit% i am refuring to ofc)
    in short i think that the nurf on BM hunters is not a bad thing at all realy and it has nothing to do with wether or not BM is an easy way to get loads of dps or not, the fact is that all three of the different specs bring different things to the raid group as a whole and having a more level playing field between the specs as far as dps gose means that there will be a greater mix out there of different hunters, i think it is alittle selfish of a player to only think of were he is on the damage meters, i would rather sacrifice a few hundred dps through my spec if it means the RAID GROUP gains a few thousand dps from the buffs that my hunter gives them, this was always true pre WotLK with surv hunters who may have been losing 500-600 dps but the raid gaining several thousand.
    im sure that not all hunters or eny other class for that matter will aggree with this view but as i have said losing a few hundred dps and not being top of the damage meter is far less important than playing your part and getting the boss down as fast as possable, raiding is a team game after all, well in my opinion it is enyway 😀

  9. The pressure on hunter to be the “top of the pops” in damage meters is the solo reason to take a hunter into a raid. MD is totally useless nowadays (besides maybe grobulus or so) and “buffs” like replenish or TS aura are so puny they mater only as an excuse for the presence of a hunter in party. I love to play my hunter based on pets (and yeah im 32 so the kid with a kitten pet wont glue), spent countless hours camping rare pets, loved the way the BM tree was heavily pet based and now i come to a place i can do any raid or boss encounter without pet managing (or with my dead…) and still do huge dps. What i dont get is why they made this game so easy raid wise, they simplified lots of stuff about other classes/builds and now all of the sudden blizz come up with a jihad against the BM hunters that can only be understood by the “costumer whining” policy they implemented after being sold. The AoE was way over the top ill give u that, but nerf every single as aspect of BM dmg base is simply retarded. Tbh i don’t give a rat, i hate to play SV, and its nothing to do with being hard or easy since u can track everything happening in game such as procs or stings with a couple of addons and still raid mashing 3 keys, but im alting until i see my BM build being viable again in raids. I refuse to go into a fight like tadius were im already nerfed since my pet gets no buff and now doing even less cose my SS do nothing as dmg goes…

    Sorry for the wall of QQ but blizz will not make hunters go into another build tree, they will make the same they did with rogues and relegate us to the bottom of the LFG lines since most guilds only raid now, 5 man pugs will be impossible to do unless u can type in your notes “SV hunter 5K+ Rap, 40%+crit, hit capped”…