After my unsuccessful turn at the wheel in MM spec, I elected to return to the spec of my heart, Beastmaster. The first thing I wanted to do after that was to review my pet options. The world-renowned Big Red Kitty has stayed with BM and has deployed a Spirit Beast kitty named – of course – Hobbes, and the two of them pwn the charts righteously.

He proves an important point, without preaching it, that expertise and execution trump spec and gear. So, yeah, I’m in trouble here. :)

In my research (and much plinking at the target dummies) I found that my kitty was in fact my best non-exotic DPS option, and that my ghost kitty was my best exotic DPS option.  I was a bit surprised at this. Back in the Wrath days, be complained to Blizz that the Spirit Beast was low in DPS – far lower than the difficult in attaining would indicate. Blizz responded that they didn’t intend the spirit beasts to be serious raid pets. More of a mark of Hunter – and BM – pride.  We didn’t like the answer but at least we had a straight answer1.

So this puts my surprise in context. Cat is best – not wolf, not stompasaurus, but kitties. And since pets were turned into portable buff machines in 4.0.3, spirit beasts attained more or less the same damage profile as kitties.

As surprises go, this one is one of the more pleasant.

I also ran this lot through Female Dwarf and got confirmation of the concept, if not the raw numbers.

Thus armed, we set foot in the front half of Firelands last night2. The first three are fights I am well acquainted with, so inexperience is less a factor, and I have a comfortable set of reference runs to help me gauge my performance.

So, in the straight DPS fights, I did better than I expected. Even got off the bottom rung of DPS on a few occasions, a pleasant change. On Beth and Rhyolith, though, I think I need to change to SV, and that means bringing something besides just exotic creatures. Getting the right mix in the port-a-stable will be a challenge.

On Beth especially, I felt useless on the spiderlings because my trap cooldowns were much longer than they would be on SV. On SV I could lay down traps at every spawn, with BM I needed to meter out my traps more carefully. Focus regen was also a problem, even with the BM abilities that give you focus gifts.  Poor Alas had her hands full, I’m afraid. We one-shot Beth anyway, but I felt pretty bad about the spiderlings.  Well, next time we’ll do better. Lesson learned.

Rhyolith was a different thing. I was also involved in add control there, but hit no hard failures. However, I think I would have been able to perform better in SV for the multi-target buffs I get. So we’ll give that a try next time.

Overall, however, I’m happy with BM.  I did as well or better on most fights that I did as MM. Which highlights that theory is a fine thing, but execution is equally important. Oh, I may not be able to execute BM as well as BRK, but I do a better job of it than I do at MM. Rather than blame gear or spec or talents, I’ll just go with what I’m better at.


  1. FOR ONCE. []
  2. Note: my first serious BM experience in Firelands was the weekend before, on the back half of the raid. Since I had never seen those fights before, I can’t draw much in the way of conclusions, other than HOW IS IT THAT I CANNOT AVOID THOSE WAVES. []
2 Responses to “Back to Beastmastery, and hard-learned lessons”
  1. Caligan says:

    Have you thought of bringing a tanking pet for those add control tasks?

    Cali

    • Grimmtooth says:

      I have a turtle for such things, but other than Nef there hasn’t been a lot of call for them. In the case of the spiderlings, they don’t respond to aggro mechanics, so AoE damage trumps aggro generation. For Rhyo, we have a designated tank. I always have a tenacity pet of some sort handy for emergencies, though.

  2.  
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