Saturday, August 25, 2007

A visit to Beast Mastery

I decided to try something a bit different this morning. I've changed temporarily to 41/17/0, not only to try it out but to also give me the necessary tailwind to get to 70 within a reasonable space of time. As much as I still love Survival, I think one of its' key mottos is, "Slow and steady wins the race." I'm entirely certain that I'm going to be respeccing back probably at 70; however for levelling, it's not entirely appropriate. I think the single main reason why I can't see myself staying BM permanently is because it's what everyone and his grandmother seems to be doing these days; if there's one thing I've discovered I need in life, it's a genuine sense of individuality. Tyler Durden might have said that we're not all beautiful and unique snowflakes; my own answer to that is that if I'm not, there genuinely isn't much point to my being alive.

I also joined a guild this morning which, from what they tell me, wishes to start raiding Karazhan in October. I'm a little worried that some people from the guild might read the above and reconsider the wisdom of having recruited me; however, they can rest assured that I have been in scenarios in game before where I have needed to follow orders, and can and will do so...the only thing which I will admit that I cannot have dictated to me is spec. That however doesn't mean that I'm going to be stupid, either. I'm well aware, for example, that Mortal Shots is entirely necessary in virtually any instance scenario; about the only time when I'd consider forsaking that now, (although I'd still get Lethal) would be for a temporary pvp scenario where I felt I needed the points for Deflection, Deterrence, and Counterattack instead. Once I start getting the daily quests, I'm going to be able to respec more or less daily as well, and I very much expect that I will be doing so. For raiding though once I start, I recognise the importance of uniform 41/20/0 or 0/21/40 builds entirely, and will not hesitate to commit to using such. 41 point Marksmanship has been largely discredited in the forums as a truly competitive raid spec these days, (at least without phenomenal gear, and a deep intimacy with the tree and what it provides) so I doubt that I would be subjected to pressure to respec in that direction anyway.

Probably the single most interesting aspect of the respec though were the entirely passive changes it made to my character sheet. Although my char sheet DPS went from 198 to 220, my Agility went from 488 to 425, my ap went down by about 100, and my crit dropped from 20% to 15%, which is purely the base 10% + Lethal Shots. I'm none too happy about this last point either, I'll admit...but I can live with it for the time being.

The message here seems to be that BM derives its' increased damage almost purely from increased attack speed, rather than from Agility or attack power as such.

This has some rather interesting implications, even for my usual Survival build. I'm thinking I might have to get into the Suggestions forum and ask if Blizzard would be willing to incorporate some 1.7-1.8 speed bows into the 65+ game as well, since I haven't seen any myself either in-game or thru Wowhead past the High Warlord's Recurve. As Survival I've had a lower level bow at that speed which I used for farming low instances, and I didn't have a problem timing shot rotations with it; so bows of that speed with scaled damage for level 65-70 would probably be really good.

To initially test BM out this morning, I decided to try soloing Zul'Farrak. I wasn't able to get through the entire instance before being disconnected, my server being what it is, but for what I was able to do it turned out that ZF was a good choice, since I was able to survive the pyramid battle, but had to use Bestial Wrath twice in order to do so. The Survival method of getting through that alive probably would have revolved around using Deterrence for the +25% dodge/parry for 10 seconds, but then using Readiness again to increase Deterrence for the full 20 sec. I also possibly would have come out of it with more health left via the Deterrence method as well, since with BW, even though I was doing more damage, I was still taking damage as well.

This however is possibly also a good comparitive illustration of the difference in approach with the two specs. Survival is, as the name implies, primarily defensively oriented, whereas Beast Mastery is apparently overwhelmingly offensive in nature. Even though I still plan to stay Survival on a more permanent basis, I suspect that a week or so with BM will still have much to teach me which, when I go back to Surv, can still be used to improve my performance with that spec.


Tom said...

Just my 2 cents here. I did a good PvE Survivor spec for a week, did Kara, and went back to BRK-BM.

What I found is that I was consistently #3 in DPS when I probably should have been 1 or 2 (and it wasn't a close #3). And it wasn't the fault of the spec, rather I think Survivor starts really kicking ass once you can raid-buff to 1k agil.

I got a feeling this means you might be respecing on raid nights for some time to come.

Oh, and if you do BRK-BM, consider spending 5 points in Improved AotH rather than 3 in Thick Hide/2 in Improved Mend Pet. This was ths spec I was before I respeced and I didn't notice that my mentor had that slight change until after I spent the points.

Mirshalak said...

Interesting...I'd heard Surv needs 600 ag...I hadn't heard 1k though.

Thank you for the suggestions, also...I actually didn't get improved mend pet in my BM spec, and had been wondering if I should have. I'm finding Imp Hawk useful; although I'd had that in the past and so knew what to expect.

Tom said...

I was able to buff up to 800 agil, without otherwise really sacrificing much (I would trade raw crit rating for agil since I was in the mid-30s).

I think the way it goes is BM is the easiest good raid spec, until you have some really nice gear. Then you can go Survivor and be better still. Then there's MM which really requires good gear, low latency and lots of knowledge. To be the best, of course :)

Xizang said...

DPS alone don't make the world.
I have respecced from MM to SV just two weeks ago. I would not have done so if there had already been another SV hunter in my raid though.
Due to my equipment having been optimised for RAP beforehand, I do not get the AGI together that I feel neccessary to have. 1k Raidbuffed sounds like a cool number. I am yet to have roughly 650 unbuffed resulting in an exposed weakness something slightly above 160AP. Raidbuffed you can put some 10%+ on top of that. This is a buff the raid wouldn't have without me, and this translates into loads of additional DPS for the entire raid, even if they are not credited to me in the meters.

On top of that I have noticed the decreased mana burn through "Thrill of the Hunt" (2/3). When the battle lasts ten minutes or longer this really means something.

Tom said...

YYMV and all that, but I found Thrill Of the Hunt did help on Prince, but I was still chugging a Mana pot every 2 min, just to keep from having to keep the switch from Hawk to Viper a bit further away.

And every talent tree (if you spend enough points) has a good raid buff. Expose Weakness is good for phys damage, but Ferocious Inspiration is for all dmg (and I have a wolf so the howl goes off every so often for the melee guys too).

Again, I really believe that once you can hit a certain gear-point SV is better for you and the raid, it just takes some work is all. If you can pretty constantly keep +250AP on the target, that certainly beats the 125 from MM and FI from BM.

Hunyann said...

in regards to needing 600 or 800 or 1k agility for Expose Weakness:

I won't be so bold as to declare a Magic Number myself but I will try and explain a bit of the differences. Please correct me if I am in error in these figures.

Trueshot Aura gives 125 AP to the 5-man party you are a part of. if you are in a raid it will only give the bonus to your small subset. the 125 AP does not raise or diminish based on your stats. It affects the members in your party not the creatures they are attacking.

Now Expose Weakness gives 25% of your agility as an AP bonus against a target you strike with a crit by 7%. In this case everyone in the raid, all 25 of em, can take advantage of the effect. To gain the same AP bonus as TSA you would then need an Agility of 500.

So now you have equivilent effect what is the difference? Granted I've already stated but I'm going to again so its side by side.

On one side you've got a always up non dismissable 125AP covering 5 people.

On the other side you've got a frequent, but not always pressent, 125AP vrs. a singular target that everyone takes advantage of.

TSA is great against junk mobs where not everyone may be attacking the same target.

But EW flickers, that is its not always up, hence people set varrying opinions of how much AGI you should have to make it more effective than TSA.

Alright I admit the post wasn't about EW vrs. TSA but something I've been interested in lately so I sort of just ran with it!

Xizang said...

The difference between TSA and FE on one side, and EW on the other is that the first two are group buffs, and the last one is a raid buff.

In a 5-man instance environment, EW with just some 500 Agi is worth less than the TSA. You don't have many people profiting from it after all, and you have to crit to make it happen. Often it won't even come up on trashmobs because the party kills them before you crit, or you just crit-kill them...

Once you are in a 25-man environment, where there are easily 8-10 people taking advantage from EW in encounters where you can keep it up on a single boss for 10 minutes, the survivalist really shines!
Problem is: Several BMs or MMs in a raid can give their buff if you don't put two of the same kind into the same group.
But there should only be one SV in the whole raid, but he again can buff the raid from anywhere, even from a healer-group.
Those 1800+ AP I provided to my raid the other night are not credited to me in the meters, but they were there!