WoD Beta: BM and the Tale of Tier Bonuses

On Wednesday evening, blizzard released the next tier's gear for testing.  Hunters now have the Rylakstalker set, with a few pretty decent bonuses.

For BM (I'll get into SV and MM's bonuses another time), the bonus reads:

(2) Set: Kill Command has a chance to reset the cooldown of Bestial Wrath.
(4) Set: While Bestial Wrath is active, one additional pet is summoned to fight with you. 

After a few thousand Kill Commands, it looks like the "chance" to reset is somewhere close to 20%, or about one in every 5 Kill Commands will reset Bestial Wrath.  I ended up averaging 1 Bestial Wrath every 31.8 seconds, which is a pretty nice little bonus.

Lining-up Multiple Resets:
When I say I averaged a BW every 32 seconds, that could be a bit misleading.  Sometimes I would go through the entire cd of BW, and it would reset the old fashioned way, and sometimes it would reset on the first Kill Command I cast after popping BW.  Unfortunately, this is going to make Beast Mastery just about as reliant on RNG as Survival has been in 5.4.  however, there are a few things we can do to manage some of those quick resets, and make sure we're prepared to get the most DPS out of them.

The first question that was brought up to me, is should we use the second BW immediately, before the first is over.  I imagine the line of thinking here is something like: if we wait until the end of of BW, then we might miss a reset, because BW will be off cd already.  So let's take a look at how that would compare.

If our goal is to always have BW on cd when we hit KC, we can accomplish that by simply macroing it into KC.  That way, if it resets on one KC, we'll use it fractions of a second before the next KC, allowing it to be on cd again, before the next KC.  So it would look like this:

0 sec - Cast Bestial Wrath
0 sec - Kill Command - resets BW
6 sec - Cast Bestial Wrath
6 sec - Kill Command - doesn't reset BW
12 sec - Kill Command - doesn't reset BW
16 sec - Bestial wrath ends.

So in this situation, where we received one BW reset right after casting BW, we would have been better off waiting until the end of BW to cast the second, since that would have given us 20 seconds worth of BW, and here we only got 16 seconds.  What about if it resets twice in a row? That would look like this:

0 sec - Cast Bestial Wrath
0 sec - Kill Command - resets BW
6 sec - Bestial Wrath
6 sec - Kill Command - resets BW
12 sec - Cast Bestial Wrath
12 sec - Kill Command - doesn't reset BW
18 sec - Kill Command - doesn't reset BW
22 sec - Bestial Wrath ends

Here we actually did get an extra 2 seconds (we would have only had 20 seconds, again, had we waited until BW were finished to re-cast it).   If we continue to play this little game, and look at all the various options on which KCs reset BW, you'll find most of the time, you're going to get 4 or 8 extra seconds of BW by holding off on casting it until the BW that's currently up is over.  But, there certainly are some situations where that's not the case, and you'll gain 2 or 4 seconds of BW by always assuring BW is on CD before casting a KC.

I'm having trouble getting Warcraft Logs to work reliably with Beta information, at the moment, so this next bit is perhaps more speculation than fact.  You've been warned.

So, when you do get multiple Bestial Wraths in a row, we have a new set of problems.  The traditional advice for dealing with BW, is you should pool focus leading up to when BW comes off cd, so when you cast BW, all you have to do is hit KC and AS (and Kill Shot, if it's that time in the fight).   This is still just as true in WoD as it's been in MoP (with exceptions for barrage and Glaive Toss).  Using BW while you're low on focus, means you're buffing cobra shot (or focusing shot, if you swing that way), which just, well, isn't what you want to use your buff for.

What I found produced the best results, was holding my second BW even longer, hitting a couple of Cobra Shots (and, if applicable, focus fire, but we'll get to that later), then popping my second Bestial Wrath.  This allowed me to really get the most out of the Bestial Wraths.  Furthermore, if you hit BW a second time right after the first one ends (and you started the first one right before hitting a Kill Command), you'll only just barely have time to get a second Kill Command into the second BW.  If you end up running low on focus, and need to use Cobra Shot, you may push the second Kill Command out of the BW buff.  The benefit of using a couple Cobra Shots before reapplying BW, is you will then be reapplying it right before your Kill Command, insuring you'll most definitely get two into both Bestial Wraths.

Once I have access to less bugged logs, I'll try to actually run the numbers and some probabilities, to see if I can verify this, but for now, I feel pretty confident about it.

2-Piece w/ Barrage
This also plays pretty well with barrage.  Because Barrage has that super high focus cost, it can be a bit difficult to use without delaying your Kill Command, however, if you use it while in Bestial Wrath,  What I've found gets the most out of my BWs, is hitting my normal Kill Command and Arcane spam, and then on the very last GCD of BW, use barrage.  This gives you the half focus price, without having to use a big long channel in the middle of BW.

Though as I mentioned above, I'm not completely trusting my logs at the moment, it does appear that Barrage is not snapshotting damage.  So if you cast Barrage on the last GCD of BW, you'll only have one second of buffed Barrage hits,  not the full 2.X.  So if you do end up with a string of multiple Bestial Wraths in a row, I don't think it would be wrong to cast Barrage on CD (instead of waiting until the end, so long as you can insure that you aren't delaying Kill Command.

Focus Fire Glory
I am loving the new Focus Fire.  While in the past, Focus Fire has been more of a Focus Regen kind of cd, that you really just use during the dull points when you're going to cast a few Cobra Shots; now it has become a monster DPS cd.  I don't have enough numbers to say so definitively, but it's looking like the AP bonus to FF is going to be enough to make stacking it with BW more valuable than having five stacks of frenzy on your pet during BW.  The real reason I love it so much, is after testing a lot of Marksmanship, I'm just so bored with cast times.  Cutting down the cast time of CS 66% of the time is just awesome.

Without the 2-piece bonus, the best way I've found to use Focus Fire, is make sure you want to hold your frenzy stacks so you have five, 10 seconds before BW comes off cd.  If you can use it 10 seconds before BW, then you'll have 10 seconds of increased focus regen, and 10 seconds for your pet to build back up a few stacks of frenzy, in addition to having the AP buff all the way through Bestial Wrath.  Then I can generally use it again after BW, so long as I have at least around 35 seconds left on my BW cd timer.

I did once, while testing, have the problem where frenzy ran out of time before building another stack, so I lost my four stacks.  Because of this, I'd say it's still worth while to have a decent Weak Aura or Tell Me When set up, so if it's within about a second of falling off, you can use up whatever amount of stacks you have. Even if it's for a smaller AP/Haste buff, it's better than nothing.

With the 2 piece set bonus, there's really no way to plan out your Focus Fire uses, since you, for the most part, have no idea when you're going to be getting your next Bestial Wrath.  It's not too bad though.  For one thing, having 5 stacks of frenzy is still a pretty decent buff during Bestial Wrath, so as on live, you'll still never want to cast focus fire while in BW, as it's a very wasted GCD, and you're already getting some benefit from having the frenzy. If I do get a couple of Bestial Wraths in a row, I will use FF right after the first one, then hit a Cobra Shot, before reapplying BW.


There's really not much going on with your 4-piece.  It doesn't affect your rotation really.  One consideration might be that because it will lose up-time when it bugs out, you'll want to switch targets before casting BW, but that's something we all should have been doing anyway.  Bendak over at Eyes of the Beast found the summoned pet wasn't doing any basic attacks, it was only doing melees.  Which means we don't get a lot of DPS from it.  Basically, a lack-luster bonus, even if it is cool to see a second pet up there.   With the huge rotational change in the 2-piece bonus, I think we'll be ok without getting much out of the 4-piece.

Closing Remarks
I am getting more excited about having to play BM for another xpac. The Focus Fire buff is interesting and fun.  That two piece set bonus, even if I'd prefer a lot less RNG, it's pretty cool.  I was loving seeing constant bit red pets smashing the boss's face in.  I haven't tested the SV or MM changes, but they're looking fairly interesting also.  I'll try to post my thoughts on those set bonuses early next week.

For anyone who made it all the way through this fairly long post, tomorrow is my birthday.  I'll most likely be off line for a bit this weekend.  While I do love beta testing, and especially testing hunter abilities, it's not exactly what I think of as a fun birthday activity.


  1. Happy birthday tomorrow.

    Looks like the tier bonus will be a huge PITA for BM because you basically have to play the guessing game. When I read it I was thinking the same thing you are trying to answer here. Should I hit it right away so it has a chance to reset or wait until the end of BW. With no math what so ever, just a gut feeling, I came to the conclusion it might be better to wait until just before the first one finishes, perhaps even to have a 4 second over lap. Not sure why but it just feels like that is the right answer. Maybe because I am expecting it to proc at 20 seconds, even if random is random.

    1. Yeah, I wish I would have come up with a clear cut answer, a la "it's always better to do this", but the RNGods don't want this one to have an easy answer. Of course, since I don't know the actual formula they're using, it could be I'm totally wrong. :-P

  2. Hey Delirum, nice read as usual. Grats on the article.

    I was just wondering if we still have the "Invigoration" passive on WoD. Haven't login in beta for ages now, so I didn't test it out. Maybe if we get lucky procs from invigoration in between two BW (the 2nd one being the 2p reset thing), we prolly won't need to pool that much focus, thus we'll be able to cast BW from back to back (maybe filling 1 cobra shot between those). Anyways, feeling super happy about BM synergy, and hope we all can adapt to MM play style as well.

    1. I'm actually having a guest blogger who's working on a comprehensive guide to focus in warlords. Invigoration is still there, and has been combined with Go for the Throat.

    2. Oh also, Thanks! I'm still kind of amazed that anyone actually reads this site. I really appreciate the kind words.

  3. Love this site. Always worth reading.

    In my own thinking, I'd planned to wait until BW finished before starting another. It has felt correct to me, but of course "feeling math" can be a fool's game!

    Personally, I'm hoping that I can find some kind hunter's guide for Weak Auras and/or Tell Me When for WoD. I'm horrible at sketching out my own. :-/

    It is looking like it will be an expansion of BM for me. I'd hoped that SV would improve to be an off-spec for me, but that doesn't seem to be looking good now. MM just isn't for me regardless of its numbers.

    Thanks again for the effort.