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!