There are a lot of primal cats prowling the city these days. This comes as no surprise, as Beastmaster is one of the three souls of the first offensive warrior cookie cutter specialization. For warriors looking to perform maximum damage, Beastmaster is king. Say what you will about the hideous pinkish-purple companion, this sidekick packs a punch. So, put away your one-handers, wave goodbye to the flashy animations of Paragon, and join me after the break for the specialization competing warriors don’t want you to know about…
Disclaimer: There are numerous variations of the Beastmaster, Champion, Paragon setup. Some warriors do not place points in Follow Through, and instead place them in Perfect Timing to increase single target DPS. Other warriors will place 5 talent points in Weapon Master and some will talent into Natural Instincts instead of Survival of the Fittest. This talent point distribution was chosen based on its versatility and simplicity for players of varying degrees of skill.
This specialization currently affords high single target damage. AOE is also very strong, although not as high as a specialization which delves deeper into Paragon. However, because this specialization consistently results in higher single target damage, it is considered by most to be superior.
Pet artificial intelligence is very poor. It is possible to enter an area with a pet on defensive, not be in combat, and have the pet charge at a pack of mobs or a dungeon boss of its own volition. For this reason, it is often better to macro the pet’s attack into a rotation and keep it on passive rather than defensive. Also, using abilities like Bull Rush causes the pet to run back to the warrior’s initial location before running back into a mob and consequently results in damage down time.
Moreover, when the pet dies, the damage from this specialization is very similar to that of other specializations – mediocre. Therefore, in order to maintain consistent, high DPS, it is absolutely essential to monitor the pet’s health bar and to order the pet out of areas where there is AOE. This takes practice. Try not to get discouraged if and when the pet dies. Learning how and when to control the pet is much like tanking, the mechanics of an encounter must be practiced and learned to excel.
Why aren’t there 5 points in Weapon Master?
Weapon Master procures fairly consistently at 2 points. Placing 5 points in Weapon Master means the warrior is often sitting at 3 attack points again before having an opportunity to get back into the normal rotation. This can present problems by making the rotation clunky, resulting in wasted attack points and DPS down time. Warriors are encouraged to test Weapon Master for themselves, and decide whether or not the extra 3 points are justified.
Why aren’t there 5 points in Natural Instincts?
Natural Instincts was not taken because this build prioritizes warrior damage before pet damage. Little reliance was placed on the pet due to its high mortality. (This is the same for Primal Fury.) Secondly, Fierce Strike consistently performs below Power Strike and should not be spammed. This means that in order for Fierce Strike to benefit the warrior, the buff time must be monitored on the target. Given that this ability is only useful on a single target fight and can be hard to keep up when running out for boss abilities, its benefit is minimal at best. The only other talent available at the beginning of the Beastmaster tree is Survival of the Fittest. While hit is prominent on most end-game gear, it is likely to be more helpful and certainly more consistent than Natural Instincts.
Why aren’t there 3 points in Perfect Timing?
Perfecting Timing affects the cooldown of Proper Timing, one of the more powerful cooldowns available in this specialization. There are currently two points in Perfect Timing, making the cooldown of Proper Timing 40 seconds. The third point would make the cooldown 30 seconds. While Proper Timing is a superb ability, much of the time spent in dungeons (especially expert Darkening Deeps) is spent on trash. Therefore, Follow Through (increases the number of targets Mighty Blow and Bladefury hits) was prioritized. Furthermore, the two points allocated into Perfect Timing is quite enough for consistent, high single-target DPS.
The following chart illustrates the buffs that most warriors prioritize for this specialization – the one point of contention being Slayer’s Bearing or Soldier’s Bearing. Like Weapon Master, warriors are encouraged to spend time at a target dummy and parse damage for both buffs. However, most players attest to superior damage with Slayer’s Bearing (including this author).
The “M” Word and Rotations:
Macros, for some players the word is an obscenity, for others it’s just logical. Love them or hate them, macros are here to stay. The following macros are used to perform damage as well as to direct the pet to which target it is attacking. The Single Target macro is to be used on single target fights as the primary source of damage, with the Single Target Finishers macro being used at 3 attack points. Deathblow appears three times in the finisher because the ability can glitch and fail, this is an insurance measure to make sure the ability is used when it is available. There isn’t as dire a need for AOE macros, as warriors should be spamming Mighty Blow to generate attack points and using the finisher Bladefury. However, players can macro the petattack command to these abilities as well, to ensure the pet is with the warrior wherever he/she may go.