I’ve attended a few raids now on my Hunter. My Druid is distracted by shinies, gathering non-combat pets and studying Archaeology on far-off planets, so my Hunter is getting all the raid face time.
I hope to improve my Druid to be raid ready someday, but it’s hard to prioritize when you’ve got one character already set and ready to go. I acquired epics while raiding with my guild, so I should put them to use in progression when they ask, isn’t that how it works?
What I want to talk about comes from who I am, and where this blog comes from.
I spend my free time doing what I find enjoyable. Playing World of Warcraft is a big part of my free time, and an integral part of my enjoyment in WoW is playing how I like to play.
My blog is called the Big Bear Butt, and it began with my adventures as a feral Druid, because feral Druids weren’t cool so there was some stuff to talk about. Blizzard didn’t approve of us for serious things. Old ground, won’t go over it again, if you’re not sure what I mean, check out the Tier itemization for Druids in Molten Core. Those feral pieces are pretty awesome… oh wait, there weren’t any. Druids were supposed to stand back, shut up, and heal.
I didn’t play a feral Druid to be cool or fill a niche, or to be a rebel. Nobody wanted me and there was no support for me. What I did was in spite of the mechanics, not because of them. I played feral because I loved it. I loved transforming from a person to a sleek panther to chew the faces off my adversaries, I liked transforming into a massive bear to maul all those that would challenge my authority.
I especially liked figuring out ways to use what WAS implemented in the game, the gear and the mechanics, to work out how to come as close as possible to being a ‘real’ tank. I loved being a furry bear tank, plain and simple. It wasn’t pixelicious, it was a big old furry bear butt filling my screen, and it was great. The day when furry Bear tanks stormed Karazhan successfully was a wonderful day for me.
I thought that I could write a blog sharing some of the stuff I’d done so others with the same wacky mindset could have the same fun bear tanking and loving it. That’s all. I also like to rant and ramble a bit.
Blizzard has long since taken bear tanking mainstream, it’s a recognized aspect of the class, and they work hard at balancing the class function with other tanks. How well they succeed or not isn’t the point; the point is, bear tanks have gone mainstream, but even if Blizzard announced they really were serious about the Druids only allowed to heal thing, I’d still be a feral Druid. Nerf ’em to the ground, I’d be unhappy, but I’m not going to change my preference. I have played tree healing and like it, but that’s not why I roll or HOW I roll. It’s just a fun bonus.
All of this is a long winded way of saying that I play my Hunter as a Beastmaster because I love the concept of the Beastmaster. That concept was what drew me to the class, and it is my concept of the class, the things about it that excites my imagination, that are the reasons I keep loving it.
The core of my love for Beastmaster is that it is the spec that fulfills the dream I had at the beginning; you and your pet, together against the world, fighting side by side, each a valued team member.
Over the years, Beastmaster has undergone a lot of changes. Sometimes it has been weak, other times strong, most often right in the middle. During most of Wrath, it was pretty weak in raids in comparison to the other two specs.
A lot of people dutifully followed the DPS, looking for maximized raid performance. There were a lot of arguments back and forth, and valid points were made. Do you go on a raid with what is known to be a spec that does not perform as well as, or does not have the same potential as, another spec? If you do, regardless of how you are performing, if there is potential that is lost, aren’t you screwing the rest of the raid?
It’s a big discussion.
With my Hunter, I’m the same as with my Druid. If my blog wasn’t Big Bear Butt, it could have been “From BM with Love”. I am a Beastmaster. I’ve always been a Beastmaster, and I imagine I always will be.
I am also someone that likes to do the best I can with what I have when in groups with other people.
What that means is, if I have chosen to play as a Beastmaster to satisfy my own need for fun, and if I choose to bring the pet that I want to bring for my own fun, then that leaves me responsible to do everything else I can to drag the most performance out of Beastmaster when I’m grouped.
With that in mind, I read the wonderful BM Hunter thread at Elitist Jerks, where I was delighted as always to see that there are other freaks like me that love Beastmaster and are sticking with it. I used Zeherah’s Hunter DPS Analyzer (the online updated version of Shandara’s DPS Spreadsheet), I spent LOTS of time on Ask Mr. Robot disagreeing with optimizing results but studying the gear recommendations, and in general delved into all that study we love so much.
World of Warcraft. For some, a game. For others, a replacement for our doctoral thesis. You ever hear the joke, God invented whiskey to keep the Irish from ruling the world? Yeah, the modern version should read God created MMOs to keep geeks from ruling the world.
Oh, what was my bone of contention with Ask Mr. Robot? Mr. Robot seems to think that Mastery as a stat comes far below everything else. Everything. I tried some tests, and I swear if there was Mastery on something, it wanted it gone. On the other hand, Elitist Jerks seemed to think that Mastery was somewhat on par with Haste, and a little below Crit. I’ve always been a fan of a teeny bit of balance, so having any gear with Mastery on it thrown out the ranking window felt, to me, to be twisting the recommendations a bit. Then again, I modified things my own way and I’m happy with it, and isn’t that JUST what we love to do? Read everything everybody else recommends, study up, analyze, and then in the end do our own damn thing regardless?
At least that’s better than MaxDPS.com, who still hasn’t bothered to update their BM or Marksman settings for Cataclysm. If I was a newly 85 Hunter and went by that, I’d assume Survival was the only possible way to go.
Well, so here I am. Raiding on a Beastmaster Hunter.
Beastmaster Hunters got shit on a lot in Wrath of the Lich King, in terms of raid performance and reputation. It seemed like every other tweak, Survival got top, then Marksman, then Survival again, but no matter which was the chosen one, BM got a rock.
The trade off, I think, was the Exotic pets. It was like Blizzard was saying, if you get to have the Exotic pets, then you can’t expect to do good DPS too, otherwise why would anyone play anything else?
My answer to that, of course, is why design things so the only reason you play a spec is because that’s the one with the biggest numbers, or because you bribe them with pretty toys? You should play a spec because you like the playstyle or core concept first and foremost, not because you’re a numbers whore.
But fine, if that was the tradeoff, I took it quite happily. Spirit Beast Bears, and Devilsaurs, and Core Hounds, oh my.
I’ve done a few randoms with my pet Devilsaur in heroics in Cataclysm. You know what reception I get?
I’ve had more than a few BMlolz, Huntard lrn2MM, Moron, and, I’ll admit, a few “lol love the pet name” for AnnCoulter.
I don’t play for accolades from the pug group, but I’m quite happy that my DPS is consistently in the 16k range now, plus I’ve got my CC trapping and my Misdirection. It tends to shut up the “BMlolz” crap. Very few people continue to talk shit when their DPS is less than yours. There are still some, though, there are still some.
I’ve been to guild raids, and I don’t feel that my DPS is holding anyone back. My IGNORANCE may be holding the guild back, but not my DPS.
The most telling thing for me, though, is how often I hear the following after a run, both after guild raids and from random heroic pugs.
“Wow, I’m amazed at the DPS you can get out of BM, that’s amazing.”
It’s a nice thing to hear as a player, but I hate what it continues to say about Beastmaster.
Thanks to Wrath of the Lich King, a large portion of the player base has the assumption that BM damage inherently sucks, and even this late into Cataclysm, over 6 months now, the characterization is still going strong.
Most people do not want to bring a sub-optimal spec to raids, of course. If the perception is that BM is bad, then people won’t bother trying it. They’ll wait for Frostheim to tell them what his results are, and that will be that. Or read up about it on Elitist Jerks, of course.
Until something comes along to challenge the assumptions, the legacy of Wrath of the Lich King is going to linger like a bad cheese. If you don’t suck, people will be surprised. If you have a fancy pet, people will assume you don’t raid, or are on your off spec.
That’s pretty sad.
Me, I’m happy exactly where I am. Maybe my DPS would be higher if I was Marksman or Survival, but then again I probably wouldn’t handle the flow right and my DPS would drop. My own preconceptions would get in the way.
Maybe I’m screwing my buddies every time I zone into a raid as BM, and deny them an extra potential 500 DPS.
But I’m doing all right, and when the Firelands hit, I know that while everyone else is polishing their guns and bows, I’m gonna be hunting those 8 new exotic BM only pets, hunting them down and taming them, and having a wild old time.
Whatever assumptions other people make about BM, whatever impression people have of our DPS potential, whatever attitude people want to have about BMlolz, when it comes to awesome exotic pet fun, this expansion is OURS!
The time of the Beastmaster is come, and woe unto those that love cool pets that forsake it!