So, on logging into WoW yesterday, I felt I wanted to do something a bit different. I not only wanted to set up my talent points on a couple of pets, but since I've already used Marks (to a degree anyway) and Survival since the patch, I thought I'd try out Beast Mastery.
I didn't actually go the 51/10/0 path, since the word on the forum was that having so few points to spend in Marks, (particularly in terms of missing Go for the Throat) caused a nasty lack of damage.
This was the spec I used, and I haven't changed back from it yet, either. You will notice that I've taken Hawk Eye as the only talent from Survival. The comparitive lack of range was one of the main things that I used to miss during temporary BM respecs in the past, and the fact that I can now get Hawk Eye without sacrificing (and indeed, marginally improving with 2/3 CA) damage, was a welcome change.
I also got a Ferocity pet for the occasion; a white Ghost Saber from the cat statues in the ruins of northern Darkshore. This pet is, as has been said elsewhere, beautiful and very unique, and I will be keeping it after respeccing back.
To really try this out, I tried two different activities with it; a solo Scholo run, up to and including Rattlegore, and around half a dozen matches in Arathi Basin.
In Scholo, although my damage output seemed decent, the single main thing that stood out was the comparitive lack of mana efficiency. Although despite the patch's changes, I was sticking to the 1:1 rotation to attempt to conserve mana, I have, through long practice, learned to instinctively lean very heavily on trapping. I did here as well, even with this spec, and I definitely noticed the lack of Resourcefulness. For three mob pulls, I was generally having to drink every other pull or so, especially if I was trapping.
Bestial Wrath, however, was also wasted in Scholo; I only used it once, on Rattlegore himself, and that when he was 75% dead anyway. My usual strategy with him has been chain Snake and Immolation trapping.
I am, I will confess, exceptionally slow and methodical when farming, and I think that more than anything else is what has discouraged me from putting up any video footage of me doing so. Aside from the filesize being prohibitively large, even with editing, it would, I fear, be in danger of putting you all to sleep. Even though Beast Mastery still caused me to move slightly more quickly than usual, I tend to think that if anyone native to the tree had been watching, they probably would have commented that they had never seen it being used so slowly.
My primary rationale for this, of course, is to minimise threat, but a secondary priority is mana efficiency. There are few things I dislike more than having to kite mobs if it is avoidable, and as such, I tend to study the threat meter very attentively, and follow the pet's lead with attacking. This isn't necessarily just hollow, obsessive perfectionism, either; there are certain situations (such as multi mob tanking) where keeping mobs focused on the pet is vitally important.
Keeping a careful eye on my per-mob mana consumption is also critical; as I've stated before, with Surv anyway, running out of mana will kill me more often than running out of health will. I almost feel like posting in the Suggestion forum and asking if Blizzard could give Survival an equivalent of Spiritual Attunement, but I suspect the thread would get swamped by people telling me that I'm playing the wrong class. ;-)
Speaking of which, Omen 3.0 was released not long ago. It seems that with the new patch, Blizzard have finally released a native API for threat meters, (a wet dream come true, as far as I'm concerned ;-)) which Omen now uses, so I encourage any of you who still don't have it, to go and get it. Truly reliable, up to the second threat monitoring is a real Godsend.
My early AB games went well, but as time went on I began to notice some serious problems. Although I was able to use Bestial Wrath for some much needed vengeance upon the Priest class, (a Shadow Priest is customarily one of my few truly feared enemies with Survival, believe it or not; primarily due to the dreaded Mana Burn and Silence) I had difficulty against other classes.
For one thing, with Survival, I'm used to being able to kite melee classes to death. I hadn't realised, however, just how much apparent tanking was actually involved in said kiting, because as Beast Mastery, Warriors were killing me in 2-3 shots, whereas with Survival it usually took at least a couple more, even when kiting with a trap and Serpent Sting. I did notice that my health was down by around 1.4k as Beast Mastery; this apparently made a real difference. The Warrior is generally my easiest class to kill with Survival.
Given that I had thought BM was our anti-caster tree, the other thing that surprised me was in one particular match, where I started to get almost constantly slaughtered by Warlocks. My theory on that was again the health issue, since draining health is primarily what Warlocks do.
I'm actually torn on whether to keep trying with BM, or simply to go back to Survival. Even though I'm not planning on using BM permanently, part of me feels that in order to be truly proficient as a Hunter, I ought to be at least passably decent with all three trees. I'm wondering if respeccing for Endurance Training and Thick Hide rather than Imp Hawk and Focused Fire would help much. Thoughts?