Checking in from Blizzcon

Hunting Party Podcast Crew does Blizzcon

Hey y'all.  Been partying hard here at Blizzcon, and I've really enjoyed seeing all the hunters come out. Mostly just wanted to post this picture here, of the some of the Hunting Party Podcast Crew at Con Before the Storm.  From left to right that's Darkbrew, RogerBrown and myself.  It was a lot of fun to talk in person about the podcast, coming up with some fun ideas for the future. 

So far, I've mostly just watched the WoW arena tournament; in fact, I'm watching Method EU vs Method NA as I type this.  The announcements at the opening ceremony didn't have much going on, it sounded like. I am excited about trying out Sombra in the Overwatch area, but she wasn't exactly a surprise to anyone. 

I briefly ran into Kripparian, who was one of the hunters (along with Frostheim) who really inspired me to start actually putting some work into playing my hunter, and really started me on the path toward theorycrafting, so that was a lot of fun.  I can't actually remember if I'd met him before at previous Blizzcons or not. 

Looking forward to getting into the new content (trials and all) when we get home, Tuesday. But, I'm having lots of fun not doing dailies until then.  

Thrill of the Spreadsheet: Proc'ing Marking Targets

I've been playing with haste values and Marking Targets recently, just making sure I've got a good grasp on what's actually going on. I've had a few misconceptions in my head that I hadn't really thought out before, so I figured I may as well post some of it up here, for anyone's mathy pleasure.

Proc'ing Marking Targets 

As it currently exists, Marking Targets has 5 RPPM (affected by haste).  What makes it different (at least a little bit) from other RPPM abilities is it only procs from our Auto-Shots, which are cast at fixed intervals.  

Before taking Bad Luck Streak Protection into account, each Autoshot has a 25% chance to proc Marking Targets.  The formula for this is: 

5(rppm) * (1+haste) * (3/(1+haste)) / 60 [sec per min] = .25

The haste effects cancel each other out, so the 25% chance to proc per Auto-Shot is regardless of your haste rating, though of course the higher your haste, the more often you Auto-Shot. 

Bad Luck Streak Protection gives you an increased chance to proc Marking Targets when you've gone more than 1.5 times the normal expected interval.  With 0% haste, 5 RPPM is once every 12 seconds.  So at 18 seconds, you start getting an increased chance to proc.  This creates a coefficient that looks like:

MAX(1, 1+((TimeSinceLastSuccessfulProc/AverageProcInterval)-1.5)*3)

Because hast affects Marking Target's procs per minute at the same rate it affects how often we cast Auto-Shot, we'll always have the same number of Autoshots before Bad Luck Streak Prevention (which I'm now going to call BLSP because I'm tired of typing it out) kicks in.  That is to say, if we have 0% haste, Marking Targets has 5 RPPM, meaning 12 seconds is the "AverageProcInterval", meaning BLSP kicks in at 18 seconds while Auto-Shots cast ever 3 seconds, meaning the first 6 aren't affected by BLSP, but the 7th or beyond, assuming marking targets hasn't proc'ed, will be; similarly, if you have 20% haste, Marking Targets has 6 RPPM (5*1.2=6), meaning the "AverageProcInterval" is 10 seconds and BLSP kicks in at 15 seconds, while Auto-Shots cast every 2.5 seconds (3/1.2=2.5), so just like before, the first six Auto-Shots after a successful proc won't benefit from BLSP, but the seventh and beyond will.  

The chances to proc then look like this:

Auto ShotSuccessfully proc's Marking Targets
Auto Shot25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
Auto Shot25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
Auto Shot25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
Auto Shot25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
Auto Shot25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
Auto Shot25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
Auto Shot43.75% chance to proc' Marking Targets
Auto Shot62.5% chance to proc' Marking Targets
Auto Shot81.25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
Auto Shot100% chance to proc' Marking Targets

The only thing that changes is when those Auto-Shots happen.  With a few haste options, those look like:

10% haste15% haste20% haste25% haste
0.00 sec0.00 sec0.00 sec0.00 sec0th Auto ShotSuccessfully proc's Marking Targets
2.73 sec2.61 sec2.50 sec2.40 sec1st Auto Shot25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
5.45 sec5.22 sec5.00 sec4.80 sec2nd Auto Shot25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
8.18 sec7.83 sec7.50 sec7.20 sec3rd Auto Shot25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
10.91 sec10.43 sec10.00 sec9.60 sec4th Auto Shot25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
13.64 sec13.04 sec12.50 sec12.00 sec5th Auto Shot25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
16.36 sec15.65 sec15.00 sec14.40 sec6th Auto Shot25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
19.09 sec18.26 sec17.50 sec16.80 sec7th Auto Shot43.75% chance to proc' Marking Targets
21.82 sec20.87 sec20.00 sec19.20 sec8th Auto Shot62.5% chance to proc' Marking Targets
24.55 sec23.48 sec22.50 sec21.60 sec9th Auto Shot81.25% chance to proc' Marking Targets
27.27 sec26.09 sec25.00 sec24.00 sec10th Auto Shot100% chance to proc' Marking Targets

Anyhow, the 10th Auto-shot after successfully proc'ing Marking Targets will always guarantee a new Marking Targets proc; though, if you make it all the way to 10 Auto-Shots without getting a proc, your DPS on that pull is going to be in really bad shape regardless.

My friend Mal made me a custom weakaura that shows roughly (there's a slight issue in that A. your auto-shots don't actually happen at exact intervals; and B. combatlog records when an autoshot hits, but Marking Targets is applied when you "cast" your auto-shot) what percent chance your next Auto-Shot has to proc Marking Targets.  Most of the time, this won't be useful at all, but on some occasions, you might be on an unlucky streak, and want to hold off on casting Sidewinders naked if your percent is getting high.  

Marksmanship Rotational Analysis

As Raiding begins tomorrow, I felt like going over the marksmanship rotation once more, make sure I wasn't missing anything huge.

The following represent the damage done by major Marks abilities with Lone Wolf, Lock and Load, Patient Sniper, Barrage and Sidewinders talents, and report single target damage only.

HitCritPer cast average:Focus CostCast time or GCDDam/SecDam/Focus
Aimed LotW123721.5501.7670329.502474.43
Aimed Vuln248149.5576045.0395702.5501.76224937.077914.05
Aimed Vln LotW406745.3501.76231214.398134.91
Marked CotH202645.2301.32153591.586754.84
Marked Vuln284324.4675349.4340185.1301.32257837.6211339.50
MS Vuln CotH416219.0301.32315466.2213873.97

Tests were run in 850 item level gear.  Stats in such gear were:

Weapon Damage8744.5

Listed damage is without any buffs up and assume a completed artifact weapon (I don't have a completed artifact weapon, of course, but I adjusted the two damage abilities which I don't have filled out yet appropriately).  Aimed Shot and Marked Shot are shown with and without the Vulnerable debuff up, and with and without their respective Golden Trait buffs, which are shown as an average increase per cast.  

Priority Rankings

When sorted by Damage Per Second, the abilities rank (in descending order):
  • Barrage
  • Marked Shot with Vulnerable
  • Aimed Shot with Vulnerable
  • Windburst
  • Marked Shot without Vulnerable*
  • Sidewinders
  • Aimed Shot without Vulnerable
When sorted by efficiency (Damage Per Focus), the abilities rank (in descending order):
  • Barrage
  • Marked Shot with Vulnerable
  • Windburst
  • Aimed Shot with Vulnerable
  • Marked Shot without Vulnerable*
  • Aimed Shot without Vulnerable
Both of these lists are assuming you have Call of the Hunter and Legacy of the Windrunners unlocked. However, the only change in ranking is the placement of Marked Shot with the Vulnerable debuff in the efficiency ranking. Without Call of the Hunter, Windburst is slightly more efficient than Marked Shot (with Vulnerable). Though because of the long cast time and our abundance of focus, this won't have any affect on our actual rotation. 

It's also worth noting here that because of the huge increase in passive focus regeneration and the nature of MM's mechanics focusing around the Vulnerable debuff, the efficiency of an ability has a much lower effect on our rotation than it did in past expansions.  

*I wanted to include Marked Shot without the Vulnerable debuff, just to see where it would be; however, there is no reason you should ever not get off your Marked Shot cast while Vulnerable is still up, barring inopportune raid mechanics that incapacitate you.  

Windburst Vs. Vulnerable Aimed Shot

Windburst is about 41% more efficient than Vulnerable Aimed Shot, but only does about 75% as much damage per second.  Because it's rare to be low on focus while Vulnerable is up, this normally isn't an issue, but it's worth digging into.  

To make the simplest comparison, let's imagine Windburst comes off CD right after you cast sidewinders.  Using Marked Shot immediately would cause you to lose one buffed Aimed Shot (let's say we instead cast the Aimed Shot unbuffed, because we now have nothing else to do while waiting for another marking target). The difference between a buffed and unbuffed Aimed Shot, on average, is 283023.8 damage. 

If instead you continue with the normal pattern (SW; AiS; MS; AiS; AiS), you'll delay Windburst by 6.6 seconds.  If that were to happen several times during an encounter, you would lose out on one Windburst for ever 3.03 times it happened.  So we can say we're losing out on the average damage of Windburst divided by 3.03, which is 75844.6 damage. Compared to our 283023.8 damage difference between a buffed and unbuffed Aimed Shot, we'll be much better off delaying Windburst.  

Alternatively, if we got lucky with our Marking Targets proc, we might not ever have to cast that unbuffed Aimed Shot, in which case we'll just be comparing the Damage per Second of a buffed Aimed Shot and a Windburst, which we've already covered.  

TL;DR - Windburst, despite its incredible efficiency, is never worth using while vulnerability is up. It's primary use is filling the space between the end of vulnerability and the next Marking Targets proc. It can, on occasion, be used if Barrage is about to come off CD, and you're delaying using Sidewinders until after Barrage.  

Barrage during Vulnerable

In a bizzarre twist, Barrage is both our highest damaging ability and our most efficient. Since it's inception in patch 5.0, Barrage has always been a fairly high damaging ability, but has normally been fairly inefficient.  In Legion, however, it's damage is so high that we can essentially ignore it's high focus cost when comparing abilities.  

The question still often comes up, however, as to whether or not we use Barrage during the Vulnerable debuff. We can look at a lot of the same comparison methods we did with Windburst. Delaying Barrage ends up being fairly costly, however.

If again we imagine that barrage comes off CD immediately after casting Sidewinders (perhaps Windburst is on CD, and you wouldn't have had enough focus to cast Barrage had you not used Sidewinders).  If you delay Barrage the 6.6 seconds it takes to cast AiS; MS; AiS; AiS; then you'll, on average, be missing out on .33 * the average Barrage damage, which is 263198.1 damage.  If instead of delaying Barrage you used it right after sidewinders, you would then have to immediately use Marked Shot to get the Vulnerable debuff damage, and then your following two Aimed Shots to finish off the duration of Vulnerable (to do this, you need to start with greater than 35 focus, before using sidewinders, otherwise you won't have enough focus to finish the Aimed Shots). In this case, you're losing out on the entire damage of a buffed Aimed Shot, which averaged out to 395702.5. That is considerably higher than the damage you lose from pushing back Barrage 6.6 seconds.  

Of course, Barrage does about 30% more damage per second than a buffed Aimed Shot does, and is a more focus efficient shot, so you're better off if you can use Barrage before beginning another round of Vulnerable debuffs.   

AoE and Major Cooldowns.

While our priority is fairly well defined (that is, without much ambiguity) for single target, it gets even simpler in AoE situations.
Marked Shot and Sidewinders together do more damage in the same amount of time when you get to three or more targets. Using that combination is of course reliant on having Marking Targets proc'ed, or using your Trueshot cooldown.  Both Barrage and Sidewinders/Marked Shot are what you would be using anyway, if you were only focusing on one priority target, so we get the added benefit of doing our full AoE burst while doing max possible single target damage.
There is an odd benefit from using Barrage in AoE situations if you have the Bullseye Golden Trait unlocked (which everyone should at this point), in that it very quickly stacks up your crit buff. This is true whether in AoE or not, but in AoE situations, especially packs of mobs, using Barrage when more than one mob is below 20% health immediately get you to the max 30 stacks of Bullseye.   It of course doesn't last very long, but does provide a small buff that can give you some extra damage to your priority target.  

Patch 7.1 The First Hunter Updates

Yesterday we got our first glimpse of some changes coming in patch 7.1.  There are a lot of cosmetic and quality of life changes; for instance, there are little green arrows on a piece of gear in your bags if it's higher ilvl than what you're wearing. But of course, that's not what I'm hear to talk about.  There were two significant hunter changes.

Aspect of the Cheetah:

The first change is the return of Aspect of the Cheetah, sort of...
  • Trailblazer: Your movement speed is increased by 25% anytime you have not attacked for 3 seconds.
This talent will replace the currently very underused, if ever used, talent Dash, which adds an additional 3 seconds to the duration of Aspect of the Cheetah. Instead, now, we'll have a buff that's similar to the old Aspect of the Cheetah, giving us a run speed buff whenever we're not in combat.  

It's very hard to imagine taking this over Posthaste, for me, but I'm still excited about this change. For hunters, especially Marks hunters, we have almost no choices in our talents.  The disparity between talents is fairly extreme, even in very different situations: high mobility vs low mobility, single target vs multi-target, etc. The only time I change talents at all is if I want a pet tank, which really isn't often, and is never in group content. 

However, this change shows, to some extent at least, that the devs are willing to rework some of more ridiculous talents we have.  Hopefully we'll see a lot more changes like this one, and there might be some slight variety in the talents we're choosing, and we'll see at least slightly different answers to the different problems the game presents us.

Marksmanship Core Mechanic Overhaul:

The other hunter change is fairly huge for Marksmanship hunters.  They are overhauling the core mechanic of the spec, to make it more like the Patient Sniper talent.  Most likely, someone at Blizzard noticed that 99% of hunters were taking Patient Sniper.  Good on them for actually noticing, I guess.
  • Vulnerable now increases damage by 50% (was 25%), stacking up to 2 times (was 3 times).
This brings the base mechanic to a simpler place, and puts it closer in line with patient sniper in damage. It also might make the other talents in the tier viable (I'm assuming they'll be changing at least Sentinels to fit better with the new mechanic). 

Without changes to the other two talents in this tier, my prediction is Patient Sniper will remain the talent of choice for the vast majority of hunters.  The problem they still have is the time inbetween Vulnerable debuffs, is easily filled with Barrage and Windburst, which are generally more desirable than casting more Aimed Shots anyway.  So your choice is between trying to keep up a weaker version of Vulnerable indefinitely while weaving in Barrage and Windburst, or having the stronger version of Vulnerable that you don't have to bother trying to keep up indefinitely, and using Barrage and Windburst while Vulnerable isn't up. 

Especially given the extreme burst AoE power of Sidewinders/Marked Shot with Patient Sniper, it seems Patient Sniper will still come out the winner here.  Still, this seems like a definite step in the right direction, and has me much more excited to see how else they plan to fix the spec.

2 Weeks of Legion

Sylvanas should be the Marksmanship Hunter fantasy

Tonight marks the second reset of Legion, and I can so far say I'm really enjoying the expansion. Yesterday, on the Hunting Party Podcast, we were talking about how we might have felt at this point in previous expansions; so just in case I'm looking for this info in the future, I thought I'd jot down some notes on how the expansion has been so far.  For anyone who might stop by this site on occasion for theorycrafting, you may want to skip this post.


As of last night, I'm sitting at an item level of 847 equipped, with 848 in my bags. Four of my pieces of gear are crafted, with full 7/7 obliterum upgrades to make them 850 ilvl.  I only have one titanforged mythic piece of gear that is currently 850 ilvl, but, if I understand correctly, will jump up to a higher ilvl after raids open next week. I have several Mythic warforged pieces, and one titanforged heroic piece, which are all at 850 ilvl and will remain so.  Both of my rings are regular mythic, 840 ilvl, and my cloak and one trinket are heroic warforged, but just the boring kind, with the trinket at 830 ilvl and the cloak at 835.  As of writing this, I still have two 825 ilvl relics, and one 840 ilvl relic, which all combine to give me a 862 ilvl artifact weapon.  

Gearing has been relatively easy, so far. Because my main is a leatherworker, I had a much easier time getting into random heroics than what I've heard most people did.  I haven't gotten tons of drops, and have gone through quite a lot of dungeons without getting any drops, but there's been enough, and now with two full clears of all of the Mythic dungeons (except Arcway and Court of Stars, which I only unlocked a few days ago) I'm sitting at a fairly good place, to where if raiding started tomorrow, I could handle it.  That has the fortunate side effect of giving me a week to focus a bit more on alts and professions.  

I got my 19th artifact trait last night, which, if people on internet message boards are to be believed, is actually a little bit behind compared to the more hardcore folk.  It's gotten very slow, even as the artifact knowledge starts to stack up, but I suppose that was to be expected.  

I'm not sure how I'll feel about it later in the expansion, but so far, I really like being able to use crafted gear to fill in for any slot, and being able to have as much as I want.  It also gives me a lot of opportunity to really customize my stats to my liking, and not have to try to find that one piece out of 11 dungeons that has the stat priority I want.  


I've enjoyed a lot of the dungeons so far in legion. Most of what I've enjoyed is the artwork, but a few of the bosses have interesting mechanics.  They still aren't on the level of the 4.1, or 5.0 dungeons, all of which I really enjoyed.  I think these are fairly similar in quality to 4.3. (I hope I'm remembering my patches correctly, 4.3 was dragon soul, right?)

I'm not sure if I missed something, but I hadn't realized they were shifting the difficulty levels of dungeons similarly to how the shifted raid difficulties.  Mythic dungeons feel similar in difficulty to heroic dungeons from MoP or prior.  Really, they might be even easier.  I've only done one mythic dungeon with a random pug, and it was everyone's in the group first time doing that dungeon. I think we wiped to trash once, but otherwise it was fairly uneventful.  A few deaths, but nothing major.  Most likely, folks who were doing mythic dungeons on the first reset are probably the type of player who puts a lot of effort into the game, so it might not be all that comparable to using the dungeon finder in MoP, but I recall wiping a lot to some of those heroic dungeons in the early days.  Same goes for 4.3.  And 4.1 was significantly harder.  

I imagine that's about what they were going for, though.  Heroic dungeons are similar to the old max level normal dungeons, and mythics are the new heroics.  Hopefully the Mythic+ levels will be similar in difficulty to the mythic dungeons from WoD, but with more interesting mechanics, and the higher level mythic+ dungeons will be more similar to the MoP Challenge Mode dungeons.  

World Quests

I'm having trouble imagining World Quests are really going to stay relevant for very long.  I'm already at the point where the vast majority of those I get are repeats, and they're getting quite easy. The only way to keep them difficult for people in mythic dungeon gear or higher, will be to add a lot more group quests, so low ilvl folks can do those with a tank and a healer, and geared folk can do them solo.  Actually, that might be a good idea regardless, as it sounds like healers are not having much fun trying to do the world quests, as killing is really slow for them.  

My favorites so far have all been up on that small island northeast of Stormheim.  There were a few where I had to be very careful with planning out my kiting route, as if I pulled a second mob, I would die fairly quickly.  

This isn't actually a world quest, but I couldn't think of a section to put this bit in.  I've really had a lot of fun trying to farm at the Eye of Azshara.  To be clear, I'm referring to the island south of Dalaran, not inside the dungeon instance.  The mobs there hit really hard, and are fairly packed in, so there are (at this gear level, at least), some pretty tricky fights. Also, pet taunts don't seem to work there. So the black arrow pet does absolutely no good. As BM, your pets can take enough aggro to hold a mob, but for me, with my BM artifact fairly neglected, I just can't put out enough damage as BM to make having a pet tank worth it.  So I'm stuck with MM, and kiting forever, which is always lots of fun, for me.  I haven't gotten any of the rank 3 leatherworking patterns that I'm really looking for to drop, but I have gotten a few enchanting and alchemy rank 3 recipes, which I've been happy to be able to hand over to some guildies.  

Professions and Gold

I'm finding it difficult to tell if I'm doing well with gold making, or if inflation is just going up a lot. So far, I've been making some pretty decent cash from leatherworking. The wrists that are required for the obliterum quest have been selling really well, even though the Leather and Mail versions go for a quarter of what the plate version goes for, but it's still pretty decent stream of gold coming in. And of course, Obliterum is a sold seller at the moment. I keep expecting the price of it to go down, as more people buy up my wrists for the obliterum quest, I keep thinking the market will soon flood with obliterum, but it seems to be at a fairly stable price for the last week or so.  

The biggest money makers for me so far, however, have been BoE drops. For some reason, I've gotten tons of plate BoE drops, including an 850 plate helm, and 845 plate legs, as well as a seemingly endless supply of 825 and 830 BoEs. I had actually been planning on giving the helm to a guildie of mine who hasn't had a lot of time to gear up yet, but I thought I'd try a ridiculous price on the AH, just to see what would happen. There was a similar plate helm up that was only 840 ilvl, and it was listed at 85,000g, so I figured I'd use that as a starting point, and sure enough, a few hours later it had sold.  I have no idea why anyone would pay that much for a helm, when they could have bought 7 obliterum for 35,000g less and upgraded a crafted piece, but I'm not gonna complain about it.  

Unfortunately, on my fairly small server, I haven't been able to find much to spend the gold on.  I'm really hoping I can buy a good trinket, assuming I don't get anything else in mythics this week, but so far there's been nothing on the AH.


I love Suramar.  I have no idea how long it will remain relevant, but I've had a lot of fun exploring the city, with both regular quests and world quests. This is by far the best city they've ever created in WoW; I'm not sure if it's the largest or not, but its scope and detail leaves me very impressed. I like that I can either move around very carefully, avoiding the people who pop you out of your disguise, or you can just go through like a wrecking ball. I'm not sure what they've technically done with aggro in Suramar, but it seems like they've greatly reduced the aggro radius, which allows them to have a city that feels like a city, but without making it impossible to play in; though that does require a bit of suspension of disbelief, as I murder people just a few yards away from a guard who doesn't seem to mind. 

Hunter Thoughts

Everyone has been talking about the Barrage change, which I found fairly confusing myself.  From my perspective, Sidewinders is a much bigger problem than Barrage, though they're both fairly harsh in Legion dungeons.  They're both, however, a fairly huge part of doing good DPS, especially in dungeons where AoE is so important. 

Darkbrew made some pretty good points about the "fantasy" of marks hunters. With the current spec, there is no semblance of the precise, long range sniper with deadly accuracy, shooting from the shadows.  Instead we get a Spray and Pray spec.  If any of you haven't seen it yet, either finish your Stormheim story-line quests, or google "Sylvanas and greymane cutscene".  Sylvanas shows the perfect example of what the Marks Hunter fantasy should be: agile and precise. 

While I really loved that cutscene, and the entire Sylvanas story in Stormheim, I would like to point out that they made her shoot backwards, with her bow in the wrong hand, so that they could show her face while she was upside down.  Really should have had her flip to the other side of greymane, but oh well.  Perhaps we can pretend that she's just so good of an archer that she can shoot well with either hand, and neither eye is more dominant than the other.

Legion: the Leveling Experience

Legion is upon us. Most folks are now 110, or at least getting close, and now it's time to spend the weekend gearing for raids, and hoping the RNGods smile upon you with a legendary drop. As such, I thought I'd start up the old blog and you know, rant for a bit.

Adjusting Expectations

So far, my enjoyment of the game seems to be based on how much I can lower my expectations. If I think about how much fun hunters used to be to play, then legion is simply miserable.  If instead I compare it to some other MMO's out there, then I can start to feel like it's a pretty good game. Unfortunately, the way world quests are set up, and the focus on a Hunter class hall, there's a lot that keeps my mind focused on how much we've lost, and how great this expansion would have been if they hadn't destroyed the hunter specs.


Once again, they've really stepped up their game and made some of the most beautiful zones in the game.  I did very little leveling on the alpha/beta, so I hadn't had a chance to really experience the zones like I am now.  They feel much more expansive than Warlords of Draenor did, and the work they've done to make phasing between small areas in the zones more seamless has created a much more dynamic world. It feels pretty cool to be able to have world quests pop up in an area that's normally a quest hub or faction headquarters.


Though the general story of Legion fits into the world of WoW much better than Warlords of Draenor did, the smaller, zone-wide stories aren't as compelling as they were in WoD.  I didn't feel like I had a good impression of the personality of the citizens of each zone by the time I was finished leveling there.  Some of that might be because leveling was very, very fast in Legion, but some of it was surely because the storytelling just wasn't quite as good as it has been in the last couple of expansions.

There were, however, some moments that were highlights. I had fun getting to know the moose Tauren of Highmountain.  The Horde questline in Stormheim was a lot of fun, though the Alliance version is fairly lacking.  Suramar, also, has so far had some fairly fun quests.  I enjoyed exploring the area and getting to know the people there, learning the story of the city and the Legion.

Solo Combat 

In Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard starting adding more interesting mechanics to mobs out in the world. It was generally fairly basic things, like a telegraphed AoE cone, or void zones that appear.  In WoD, however, they didn't really expand on those. In Legion, however, they have. Similar to how you sometimes will see trash mobs in a raid doing mini versions of a mechanic the raid boss is going to do, now we have that out in the world. These aren't difficult mechanics by any means, and I haven't come across any that I think would 1-shot you if you messed it up, but they tend to hit pretty hard, and encourage you to pay attention while playing.  

Unfortunately, most anything interesting in combat mostly just makes me wish I could play a pre-Legion version of a hunter. Perhaps this is just my jaded reaction, to old of a dog to learn new tricks, but there have been several times where I've thought something looked cool, maybe a mechanic that's really hard if you have lots of mobs or something, and I had ideas for how to handle it, only to realize that wasn't something hunters could do anymore. So instead I just turn on netflix on my other monitor, and go back to the boring grind of playing the new hunter specs. 


I did absolutely nothing with professions on the Alpha/Beta, so that part was all new to me. I had heard they were adding a lot to them, though I didn't really have many expectations for what that would be.  

After leveling a couple of professions now, I have some mixed feelings. There were parts of them that were a lot of fun.  But I also think there are parts where the devs fell into the old trap of thinking travel time is the same thing as content.  There were a few moments where I was surprised to run into an interesting NPC with a fun quests to gather recipes (Nomi is all grown up!).


Overall, I think we've got a fairly good product.  While the game was a bit glitchy at times, and there was that huge "error 132" issue, things were much smoother than the WoD release.  And if I can convince myself to stop thinking about how great hunters used to be, then I catch myself having a lot of fun.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of my gearing experience goes, and how the raids turn out.

Thrill of the Wild in Legion

So, here we are; the Legion pre-patch likely less than a week away, and hunters are still in a fairly terrible place, from my perspective. All three specs received complete overhauls (now having only the names in common with the previous three hunter specs), and all three ended up significantly less fun than they have been for the last two expansions.

To be clear, I'm not talking about the specs in relationship to other classes.  Overall, "tuning" is something that I care about, but it's not make or break for a class.  It's important for determining what spec you want to play in high-end raiding.  It is not, however, something that makes you love a class. For the last 6 or 7 years, I have loved playing hunters, and at this point, I think they're just ok.

Having fun playing the class, for me, is the basis of the entire game.  If I don't like the playstyle of a character, none of the dailies or dungeons or raids will be fun, regardless of how compelling their stories are.  And on the other hand, when everyone else hated the grind of 5.0 dailies, I was still having fun, because I just loved playing my hunters back then.

This is, unfortunately, no longer the case. While I'd like to think that in general I'm appreciative of the developers trying new things, experimenting and trying to make the game better.  In the case of all three hunter specs, they've ended up with results that are significantly worse than what they had when they started. And really, that wouldn't be a problem either, except, as far as I can tell, the developers who are in charge seem to legitimately think that they've made a good class, despite months and months and months of feedback from hundreds of different hunters in the beta expressing dissatisfaction with every single hunter spec.

Thrill of the Wild Going Forward

For any of you who follow this site regularly, you probably noticed I took an extended break from posting alpha/beta updates. I had actually taken a break from playing WoW too, for the most part. I've officially stepped back from raiding in the more "hardcore" team I was on.  And am planning on only raiding on a 6 hour per week weekend team in legion.

As such, I don't know how much "cutting edge" theorycrafting I'll be doing.  In the past, anything I've posted on this site happened because I was having fun, got excited about whatever I was working on, and then decided to write it down.  When I was covering "news", it was because I was excited to hear about whatever changes were coming, and wanted a venue to express that excitement.

For the time being, I'm planning on starting to blog on here again, at least once legion drops, but really, it depends if I can find something to be excited about: a reason to love playing hunters.  I don't want this to turn into a blog where I just complain the current game, and talk about how much better the good ol' days were.

I'll be out of town next week, taking a group of kids from my work on a camping trip, and will miss the actual release of the pre-patch (most likely). Part of me is holding on to hope that perhaps we've all been playing the specs wrong so far, and once they're released into the game, someone who wasn't on the beta or ptr will find a way to make them fun again. Even if that does happen, I want to try to give these new specs as much of a chance as I can stand to.  I plan on finishing updating my DPS spreadsheet before the end of August, and I'll try to post any fun spreadsheets or theorycrafting I come up with while trying to optimize my hunters.

Legion Alpha: Beast Mastery DPS Overview

After spending a perhaps unreasonable amount of time at the training dummies over the weekend, and pestering some friends about deciphering the data, I've finally got a completed spreadsheet for the current iteration of each hunter spec. So I thought I'd put together an overview of each spec as it currently stands, as if it were being released today.

All the typical disclaimers of course apply, most obviously, that it is not being released today, and there's a pretty good chance some of this will change before I even finish writing this.  I will not be giving any spoilers to the story of Legion; this is strictly about the mechanics of the hunter class.

Rotational Overview

The basic, un-nuanced version of the BM rotation revolves around using Kill Command as often as possible, which does significantly more damage than in WoD, with the addition of Hati and Jaws of Thunder (which we'll go over below).  

Instead of Cobra Shots and Arcane Shots to build and dump focus, we now primarily rely on passive focus regen, which has been increased to 15 focus per GCD, and Cobra Shot is now our focus dump. In addition to the baseline passive focus regen, we have a slightly improved Dire Beast, which provides a relatively minuscule amount of focus. This means we need to be a bit more proactive with focus management, as it will take a lot longer to make up for mistakes because we can't spam our focus regen. 

Outside of those three abilities, we of course have a lot of other abilities and talents to try to fit in, which we'll cover below.  

Core DPS Abilities

Cobra Shot - A quick shot dealing 125% weapon damage as physical damage.  

This ability fills the roll that Arcane Shot filled in the WoD version of BM: an instant focus dump that doesn't do much damage: perhaps better known as "filler".  While the WoD version of Cobra Shot deals nature damage, and the ability this is replacing dealt magic damage, the new Cobra Shot deals physical damage (as noted in the tooltip), making the shot significantly weaker in raiding environments. 

Just like with WoD BM's Arcane Shot, this ability can get you into a bit of trouble if you get spam happy with it.  There will be a lot of times when an untrained hunter will see they have enough focus for a Cobra Shot while everything else is on cooldown, then use it only find they don't have enough focus for the abilities they really want to use. This is accentuated more because as BM no longer has any active focus regen, but instead is relying heavily on RNG procs for more Dire Beasts. As Bendak, of Eyes of the Beast, recently mentioned to me "weird to think that using Cobra Shot too much results in way less DPS than not using it at all".

Dire Beast - Summons a beast which attacks your current target, and regens 12 focus over 8 seconds. 

Dire Beast was presented to us (in Blizzard's Legion spec preview blog) as a replacement for Cobra Shot / Steady Shot in BM's rotation. This has turned out not to be the case.  With only 12 focus generated over the course of an 8 second duration, the focus gained is barely noticeable compared to the 15 per GCD you regen passively.  Even when talented for Dire Stable, the 20 focus per Dire Beast is only barely noticeable.

Primarily, Dire Beasts purpose is just DPS.  Over its duration, the Dire Beast will do roughly twice the damage (depending on your ratio of weapon damage to attack power, and how much haste you have) of a Cobra Shot, and it gives you something to do for a GCD that won't cost any focus.

Kill Command - Your pet deals 1.632*1.5*Attack Power as physical damage.

Kill Command remains largely unchanged from previous expansions.  However, with the artifact weapon we'll eventually see Hati joining in on the Kill Command fun (for two thirds as much damage as our primary pet: 1.632*1.15*Attack Power), and also an extra bonus from Jaws of Thunder (which I'll go over in the artifact weapon section).  

One major change for KC is it now has a hasted CD.  Because our GCD is also affected by haste, Kill Command will always be available to use every 5th GCD, but as we gain more haste, that will be more and more often.  

This ability creates what will likely be an unobtainable soft cap for haste.  At 50% haste, our GCD will have reached its cap of 1 second, and Kill command will be at 5 seconds.  After that we won't see significant benefit from more haste in lowering CDs. We will still see increase from additional haste in focus, autoshots and pet melees, though. Any statement about stat values at this point is primarily guesswork, but if haste does end up being better than mastery, it's very unlikely it would remain more valuable above 50%. 

Wild Call - Autoshot Crits have a 20% chance to reset the cooldown of Dire Beast.  

The tooltip to this ability was recently changed to reflect that it only works on Autoshot Crits. Before, we had hope that that was a bug, and it would eventually apply to at least all of the hunter's shots. Instead, we now have an ability that sounds kind of cool, but procs very, very rarely.  

If you're interested in how seldom it procs, this article gets into some of the calculations. As I mentioned, at the time I thought the autoshot-only thing was a bug, so I talk about some other possibilities there that are no longer in the picture.


BM hunters keep their two baseline AoE abilities the same in Legion: Multi-shot and Beast Cleave. Multi-shot remains a fairly weak ability, but that's ok, as it procs an even better Beast Cleave, which does the damage of a full melee to each target, and, with the artifact trait, increases that damage to 130% a normal melee, and adds on the damage of Hati's melees, which already happen to do roughly 27.777% more damage your main pet's melees.  

The addition of Hati and the improved damage transfer nearly triples the damage of Beast Cleave to each target hit compared to in WoD. The reasoning for this relative increase may be the removal of active focus regen.  With low Haste levels, you won't have enough focus to keep up Beast Cleave 100% of the time, in addition to using Kill Command on CD.  Once you try to add in your burst AoE options, like Barrage or possibly Volley (if they ever improve its damage), deciding where to spend your focus becomes fairly difficult. 

DPS Cooldowns

Aspect of the Wild - Grants you and your pet 10 focus per second, and 10% increased Crit chance for 10 seconds.  

AotW is a new, baseline, damage cooldown for BM hunters, essentially doubling your passive focus regen to as much as 30 focus per GCD.   This isn't enough on its own to let you spam your focus spenders, but assuming  you also have a dire beast or two up, and you're weaving in Chimaera Shot, you'll be swimming in focus for the duration of this cooldown. 

While the focus regen is the more significant portion of this CD, the additional 10% chance to Crit of course gives you an 7-8.5% damage increase.  In addition, that 10% Crit chance translates to a measly extra 2% chance to proc Wild Call during each of your Autoshots, which, well, isn't much. To give some context, if you have 40% haste, you'll have an additional 12.12% chance of getting one additional Wild Call proc over the duration of each Aspect of the Wild (you'll still have your normal chances of proc'ing WC, I'm referring here only to the added benefit of AotW).  

Bestial Wrath - Increases all damage you or your pet deal by 20% for 10 sec.

Bestial Wrath remains the most iconic BM cooldown, but with a bit of a makeover.  Instead of a big red pet, we now have a kind of orange glowing pet.  In addition, with an upgraded Artifact weapon, Hati, our primary pet, and our hunter all gain 20% increased damage. However, the Focus Cost modifier is now gone (though may be returning in set bonuses or legendary items), as is Focus Fire, the 40% Attack Power buff we're used to stacking with Bestial Wrath.  

An interesting addition to BW is while the cooldown has been increased to 90 seconds, a new mechanic has been added which reduces the CD by 15 seconds every time you cast a Dire Beast. That means that even with no haste at all, and no Wild Call procs, as long as you use Dire Beast on CD, the longest CD of Bestial Wrath you'll have is about 36 seconds. With haste and Wild Call procs we'll be looking at CDs well under 30 seconds.  


Tier 15 - 

  • Big Game Hunter - Increases the Crit chance of Autoshots and Cobra Shots by 50% against targets above 80% health.

    This talent will be very situational, at best.  Because Cobra Shot is such a weak ability, Crit'ing 50% more often for double the damage, still isn't very much damage.  The Careful Aim buff for MM currently (which increases the Crit chance of Aimed Shot by 50%) is so incredibly valuable because Aimed Shot is actually a fairly powerful shot, which also benefits from regen'ing 20 focus any time it Crits.  This made spamming them against priority adds a great method for progression raiding.  Cobra Shots just aren't powerful enough to really help with this sort of priority target.

    The only time I can imagine this maybe being useful, is if you're trying to burn through the first phase of a boss, and stacking this with Bestial Wrath and Aspect of the Wild is enough to push your team past the phase quickly.  Even then, its biggest benefit is perhaps that the other two talents in this tier just aren't that great either.
  • Way of the Cobra - Cobra Shot deals 5% increased damage for every pet or guardian you have active

    I suspect that this talent is kind of just left over from earlier iterations of BM hunters, where they had a lot more Dire Beasts at a time.  As it is, this suffers a lot from the same problem as what we have above, even if you can manage to get 5 pets out (your main pet, Hati and three Dire Beasts), you're still only looking at 25% increased damage to an ability that does very little damage to begin with, at a large focus cost.

    Perhaps there will be some trinkets, or set bonuses that will make this talent more appealing. In the past, we've had set bonuses that could give us up to 5 pets/guardians at once (I'm thinking of the wind serpent from ToES/HoF, specifically), which, in addition to our regular pets and dire beasts may be enough to boost Cobra Shot into a decent damage range.
  • Dire Stable - Dire Beast generates 8 additional Focus over its duration.

    This brings the total up to 20 focus every time you use Dire Beast.  As I mentioned above, the focus regen is almost noticeable with this talent, though you still have to be paying pretty close attention to your focus bar to catch it.

    At the moment, this seems like the most likely choice from the level 15 tier.  That extra focus translates into roughly one Barrage every 2 minutes, which, if timed well, may turn out to be a considerable gain.

    The danger of this ability is if you spend the extra focus on a Cobra Shot, which is so inefficient (when measuring damage/focus) you won't be able to do enough extra Cobra Shots to increase your DPS significantly, likely making one of the other two talents which directly increase CS's damage better choices.

    To put it in terms of actual in game damage: with the PvP gear we get at 110, not including any Crits or trinket procs, my Cobra Shot does 17,352 damage (against a level 113 raid boss). That's 433.8 damage per focus. That means the 8 focus per Dire Beast translates into about 3470.4 damage.  Alternately, in the same situation, one Barrage does 171,614 damage (to its primary target), that's 2,145.18 damage per focus.  So if I use the extra Dire Beast focus on casting extra Barrages, rather than extra Cobra Shots, this talent's 8 focus per DB translates into 17,161.47 damage per dire beast.  A much more reasonable sum.  Of course, in game it's much more complicated than that. If you had made a mistake, and otherwise wouldn't have had enough focus to cast a Kill Command, but this talent saved you and gave you the focus, then you're talking about an ability that does 2605.9 damage per focus, and getting even more out of it.

    The point of this all is to say, while this looks like the best talent choice (at the moment), depending on how well you manage focus and execute your rotation, this can be significantly worse than the other options.

Tier 30 - 

  • Stomp - Each Dire Beast will do an additional 200% Attack Power each time it is summoned.

    This talent essentially doubles the damage done by Dire Beasts in single target, which isn't insubstantial, and only gets better if you can hit multiple targets.

    To clarify, it does 200% of the Dire Beast's AP, which is 115% of the hunter's AP, and it still benefits from BM's Mastery.   For some context, a Dire Beast Melee (of which the DB does 4 each time it's summoned), does 2*AP/3.5 damage, which is to say, it does 65.7%  of the hunter's AP as physical damage.  Each stomp does 2.3 times the hunter's AP to each target it hits.
  • Dire Frenzy - Replaces Dire Beast; causes your pet instantly to do 5 attacks on your target, gaining 30% increased Attack Speed for 6 seconds, and generating 15 focus.

    This talent was presented as an alternative to Zoo-master hunter that BM is turning into.  Instead of summoning random Dire Beasts from the wild, you imbue your pet with some of that Dire spirit.  It works with pretty much everything that would affect Dire Beast, including Dire Stable and Wild Call.

    The increased attack speed makes this a particularly tempting talent for burst AoE situations, as the attack speed buff could bring you up to 3 or 4 melees within the duration of one Beast Cleave, instead of the normal 2.  As we discussed above, Beast Cleave is a bit more powerful than it was in WoD, so in situations similar to the imps on Mannoroth, this could be a very important talent.

    Outside of the attack speed buff, this talent also lends itself well to any fight with significant pathing issues.  It's likely you won't want to play BM on that sort of fight anyway, but there may be times when a pet can follow the boss if it's on them the whole time, but not if it's running from you to the boss every 12 seconds or so.

    Otherwise, the 5 hits of your pet are very similar in damage to the 4 hits of a dire beast, the slightly longer CD and the slightly higher focus gain of Dire Frenzy compared to Dire Beast basically negate each other.  So primarily, the benefit of this talent is in the Attack Speed bonus, and just in personal preference, if you don't like Dire Beasts.
  • Chimaera Shot - Deals 660% AP as nature or frost damage to your target and up to 1 other target within 8 yards.  Generates 10 Focus for every target hit.

    For most people who've tried BM, this seems to be the go to talent.  It's an incredibly powerful shot (does nearly double the damage of Kill Command against only one target, even after including Hati), and instead of costing you focus it generates focus. In a spec with more downtime that anyone wants, Chim Shot is a bright shining beacon of hope.

    I don't have anything negative to say about this ability, so I'll only say, it should be baseline. Having it in this tier makes me fairly uninterested in learning the other two talents.  Even if there's a way to make Stomp or Dire Frenzy better than Chim Shot, it will take lots of careful practice and meticulous play, whereas Chim Shot you can have to put very little thought into, just use it on CD and watch your DPS increase.

Tier 60 -

  • One with the Pack - Wild Call has a 10% increased chance to reset the CD on Dire Beast.

    There's not a lot to this one that I didn't already say in the section above specifically about Wild Call. It increases the number of Dire Beasts you get.  Not by a lot (haste has much more affect on your total number of DBs).

    Especially when paired with other talents that can benefit from more Dire Beasts, this talent can feel pretty useful, and just having more Dire Beast casts to spend your GCDs on is nice.
  • Bestial Fury - Increase the damage bonus of Bestial Wrath to 40%

    Bestial Fury doubles the base value of Bestial Wrath.  If you include the artifact ability which increases the buff by 6%, you're now adding a 1.46 multiplier to every ability.  BM right now is more about lots of small hits, than just a few big hits, but we've still got Chim Shot, which with the 46% increase from BW, produces some fairly amazing Crits.

    The biggest benefit of this talent while raiding will be for taking down priority targets. Because we have the new variable CD on BW, we may have a little bit more leeway on when we use Bestial Wrath.  Saving this for priority targets could help BM get out of the rut it's been in of just being generic AoE and do all the mechanics, to instead actually doing important DPS, when it matters, to priority targets.
  • Blink Strikes - Your pet's Basic Attack (Bite/Claw/Smack) deals 50% increased damage, and can be used from 30 yards away, teleporting your pet behind its target.

    Blink Strikes is back, unchanged from the WoD iteration of the talent.  It's still not the most exciting talent out there, but does provide a solid damage buff, along with some target swapping utility from the teleport.

    While I doubt there is anyone who's willing to read through 5000 words on a spec likely isn't very close to being finished, and also isn't interested in min-maxing their character.  But, just in case you're a raid leader, who may be lending advice to newer raiders, or you're the hunter in your guild that other hunters look to for advice: Blink Strikes, even when tuned slightly below the other talents in DPS, is still a great talent for anyone just getting started, or who doesn't do the best at stacking CDs or quickly reacting to procs.  This is essentially free DPS, which takes virtually no management to keep up (outside of not having your pet on passive).

Tier 90 - 

  • A Murder of Crows - Summons a flock of Crows that attack your target for 975% AP over 15 seconds.

    A Murder of Crows is also returning as a BM talent, doing tons of damage, especially considering it's still benefiting from BM's mastery.

    This talent remains a good choice for single target fights, but where it really shines, is on priority adds. The largest benefit here, is unlike Barrage (which does more damage, even single target, until you get around 40-50% mastery), you don't have to spend 15-20 seconds before an add comes up, trying to save your focus while still using Kill Commands, hoping you'll get an extra Dire Beast proc.  For only 30 focus, you can use aMoC, and the target dies within your 15 second window, your CD is reset, as a little bonus.
  • Barrage -  Channels a spray of shots for 3 seconds, dealing 13.6*Weapon Damage to your target, and 6.8*Weapon Damage to any other targets roughly 43 yards in front of you, in a 75 degree cone.

    Barrage returns in Legion as well, also unchanged from its WoD counterpart.  The primary difference here will be in play style.  Without any sort of active focus regen, fitting barrage into our rotation is much harder.  This difficulty is mostly going to show off who has been casting too many Cobra Shots and who's been managing their focus well, as I mentioned above.

    Other than the obvious focus drain, Barrage remains a great talent for bursting priority targets, and providing solid AoE.
  • Volley - Launches a volley of shots at the targeted area, dealing 3.0888*Attack Power as Physical Damage over 6 seconds.

    This is something hunters have been complaining about ever since the ability was removed, and Blizzard has answered your cries.

    Unfortunately, as it's currently tuned, there is no situation where Volley will be a better DPS choice than Barrage.  The only possible exception to that from a non-DPS point of view, is if there you're in a situation where there are adds completely surrounding you, just out of range of pulling them, but close enough where barrage would hit them.  Which does bring up a side benefit of Volley: if  you struggle to position yourself well in dungeons, using Volley instead of Barrage will keep the other party members in your group from getting upset with you.

Tier 100 - 

  • Stampede - Summon a herd of stampeding animals from the wilds around you that collectively do 27*Attack Power as physical damage over 12 seconds.

    Not only does stampede do 27*Attack Power, per target.  It also is buffed by BM's Mastery, and by Bestial Wrath.  With the Bestial Fury and a full artifact weapon, and only 26.8% mastery, we're up to 5000% of Attack Power, per target.  That's a pretty decent deal.

    The down side is, this version of stampede doesn't summon new pets, but instead sends waves of randomly spawned pets in the direction you're facing when you cast it.  If you're turned 90 degrees to run somewhere, your stampede is completely wasted. Or worse, if your tank decides to reposition the boss after you've cast Stampede, you'll lose out on a million or more damage.
  • Killer Cobra - While Bestial Wrath is active, Cobra Shot has a 25% chance to reset the CD on Kill Command.

    Because we have such a high up-time on Bestial Wrath, this talent does have some potential. If, somewhere down the line, we have enough haste, and to some extent, enough Crit (for Wild Call procs), then there may be some situations where this talent becomes worthwhile. But as things are, we only really can afford to spam Cobra Shots during Aspect of the Wild, and that's only if we're not using other high cost talents. Which brings up the primary trouble with this talent: there are too many other important abilities that we need to be spending our focus on during BW.  At only 25% chance, there's just not enough focus available to be gambling on a Kill Command CD reset that you'll likely only see once every 120 focus.
  • Aspect of the Beast - Kill Command causes the target to bleed for ~120% of Attack Power as physical damage over 6 seconds.

    There are more effects of this talent, but I'm going to focus on the DPS version.  The tooltip for this talent isn't currently matching with what's happening in game, so it's a bit unclear what the intention for the bleed effect's damage is, but right now it's around 120% AP over 6 seconds, or 3 ticks for about 40% AP each.

    This is a flat damage bonus, which serves to increase the value of your Kill Command significantly.  As it currently exists, this talent only seems to affect your primary pet's Kill Commands (not Hati), and it cannot Crit. Both of these things diminish the value of this talent.

    The primary benefit of this ability is having a buff which is up 100% of the time.  If there's a fight that needs consistent DPS, instead of bursty CDs, AotB might be the right talent for it. Mostly, however, I think we'll only being seeing this talent a lot on high movement fights, when the tanks can't keep the boss still long enough to use stampede.

Titanstrike Artifact DPS Abilities

There are no real choices as to which of the Artifact abilities you'll get, as the goal will be to unlock all of them by the start of raiding.  Since there's no decision to make, I won't spend as much time on each of these, but just quickly go over what each of the DPS abilities.
  • Hati's Bond - Introduces Hati as a second pet who always fights beside you.  AP is 115% of hunter's AP.  Does not benefit from Combat Experience. 
  • Focus of the Titans - Increases damage of Multi-Shot by 15%.
  • Furious Swipes - Increases damage dealt by Beast Cleave by 30%.
  • Beast Master - Increases attack speed bonus of Dire Frenzy by 15%.  Increases damage dealt by Dire Beasts by 10% (not currently working). 
  • Jaws of Thunder - Every time you Kill Command, there's a 15% chance you'll deal an additional 50% of the Kill Command's Damage as Nature Damage.  Applies to both your pet and Hati (with Master of Beasts). 
  • Master of Beasts - Hati benefits from Bestial Wrath and Beast Cleave, and responds to Kill Command. When leveling your artifact weapon, this is easily the ability that makes the single most impact on how the spec feels. 
  • Pack Leader - Increases the damage done by Kill Command by 15%. Currently, this does not affect Hati's Kill Commands. 
  • Spitting Cobras - Increases damage dealt by Cobra Shot by 10%.
  • Surge of the Stormgod - When you use Multi-Shot, Titanstrike has a chance to discharge an electric current at your pets' locations, causing an explosion of electricity that deals 200% Ranged Attack Power as nature damage to all nearby enemies.
  • Titan's Thunder - Discharge a massive jolt of electricity from Titanstrike into all your pets and Dire Beasts, causing them to deal 400% Attack Power as nature damage over 8 seconds. Also causes your next Dire Frenzy to deal 200% Attack Power as additional Nature damage on each of the 5 Dire Frenzy attacks.
  • Unleash the Beast - Bestial Wrath increases damage you and your pet deal by an additional 6%.
  • Wilderness Expert - Increases the duration of Aspect of the Wild by 3 sec.

BM Ability Formulae

AbilityFormulaFocus CostPhys.MastH. CD
A Murder of Crows9.75*AP; 1.17*AP [per hit]30xx
Barrage13.6*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5); .85*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)60x
Beast Cleave Pet 0/32*.6*AP/3.5n/axx
Beast Cleave Hati 0/32*1.15*AP/3.5n/axx
Chimaera Shot6.6*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)-10x
Cobra Shot 0/31.25*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)40x
Dire Beast Melee 0/32*1.15*AP/3.5n/axxx
Jaws of Thunder pet.5*1.5*1.632*APn/axx
Jaws of Thunder Hati.5*1.15*1.5*1.632*APn/axx
Kill Command Pet 0/31.5*1.632*AP30xxx
Kill Command Hati 0/31.632*1.15*APn/axxx
Pet Basic Attack1.1*1.5*.333*AP (+-18%)25xx
Melee Attack Pet1.5*2*0.6*AP/3.5n/axxx
Melee Attack Hati2*1.15*AP/3.5n/axxx
Stampede27*AP; 1.5*AP [per hit]0xx
Titan's Thunder pet0.5*1.5*0.6*APn/ax
Titan's Thunder Hati/DB.5*1.15*APn/ax
Volley3.0888*AP; .5148*AP [per hit]80x

Notes on ability formulas table:
  • "AP" - Attack Power; equal to total agility in Legion.
  • "WD" - Weapon Damage; use the average of the max and min weapon damage shown on artifact tooltip.
  • "Phys." - Physical Damage; these abilities are affected by the targets armor. Calculate damage reduction as "Attacker K/(Attacker K + Target Armor)".  For 110 targets hitting raid bosses (level 113), that is "7390/(7390+3474) = .680228"
  • "Mast." - Mastery; these abilities are affected by BM's Mastery.
  • "H. CD" - Hasted CD; the cooldowns of these abilities are affected by haste.  Calculate CD as "Original CD / (1+haste)".
  • All BM abilities can Crit, except for two: Bestial Ferocity, which as far as I can tell just seems to be bugged (there's no double dipping possible that would indicate this is intentional) and Jaws of Thunder, which takes half the damage of a Kill Command, already benefiting from the Crit of a Kill Command, if one occurred.
  • All BM abilities are affected by Versatility.
  • The damage of Bestial Ferocity (applied when you have a Ferocity Pet with the talent Aspect of the Beast) is still unconfirmed, and thus does not appear on this list.  It currently does roughly .397*AP per tick, which does not match spell data available.