The Gotwarcraft Beast Mastery Hunter Guide for Cataclysm

Human Hunter in Tier 13 gearThis page is updated for Cataclysm 4.34, with Mists of Pandaria gems and enchants.

Beast Mastery is the “traditional” Hunter build. You and your pet work in synergy to become an unstoppable killing machine. All of your talents work towards making the pair of you into that perfect machine.

The Buff/Nerf Situation

One day, Hunter Joe was a god. He and his pet, a giant miniature space hamster, devoured everything. The next week the Bliz team uploaded a hotfix which just happened to target the exploits that Hunter Joe was using to rack up his awesome numbers. It also happened to tweak a few talents, made small adjustments to some abilitites, and even made a sublte color change to his beard.

So Joe ragequit and went back to playing Ultima Online.

Other hunters LoLed and rode with the changed, knowing that in a few days, or a couple of weeks, more changes would be coming. And they did, and Beastmastery Hunters were back at or near the top.

Until the next set of fixes…  Expect the same with any new expansion or big patch.

The point is that the “flavor of the month” sometimes changes and we’re not going to play that game on this page. What you’ll find here are solid Beastmastery builds and info that looks like it will be solid for more than a few days.

Contents

Beastmastery Hunter

  1. Introduction
  2. Race
  3. Professions
  4. Beast Mastery Talents
    1. Leveling
    2. PvP
    3. DPS
  5. Pets
  6. Skills & Stats
  7. Gems and enchants
  8. Level 80 gear
  9. Level 70 gear
  10. 1-85 Hunter Leveling Guide
Other Hunter Guides

Which Race?

This section just focuses on those racial abilities which help you to do more damage or to live longer in PvP, or which might otherwise be interesting or complimentary.

Pandaren

  • Can be either Horde or Alliance, you pick when you leave the starting area.
  • Melee range stun
  • Bigger buffs from food buffs
  • Longer lasting rest XP
  • Take less falling damage
  • Good with Cooking.

Horde

  • Blood Elves
    • No DPS increasing abilities. They have an A of E silence in Arcane Torrent, which is of trivial use to ranged characters, such as yourself.
    • Good with Enchanting.
  • Goblins
    • Rocket leap acts as a great “get out of melee range” key, once every couple of minutes.
    • 1% increased Haste is a decent racial for any Hunter.
    • Goblins also have an increased Alchemy skill if you choose to take that profession.
  • Orcs
    • Increased damage by pets makes Orcs one of the best hunters.
    • Increased attack power with “Enrage.”
    • Resistance to stuns is occasionally useful in PvE and very useful in PvP.
  • Tauren
    • War Stomp has its uses in PvP, if you find yourself in melee with a Warrior or other melee class.
    • Greater max health is generally useful, but doesn’t scale well at very high levels.
    • Good with Herbalism.
  • Trolls
    • Increased crit chance with bows increases DPS in any environment.
    • Increased damage Vs beasts is nice while leveling, occasionally useful in PvE, and since Worgen don’t count as beasts it’s of little PvP use.
    • Reduced duration of movement impairing effects is generally useful, especially in PvP.
  • Undead
    • Will of the Forsaken, which washes away fears, charms, and sleeps is a generally useful ability, but more so in PvP.
    • In Mists of Pandaria the Undead will be able to drain life.

Alliance

  • Draenei
    • Chance to hit is increased by 1%, which is generally useful.
    • A small self-heal is very welcome in any class which can’t heal, even if it doesn’t increase dps.
    • Good with Jewelcrafting.
  • Dwarves
    • Stoneform is a nice PvP defensive ability, which removes bleeds and such. It also increasesd armor, but with the 4.06 patch will reduce damage by 10%.
    • Increased crit chance with guns is nice.
  • Gnomes – They’re too short to be hunters.
  • Humans
    • Their escape ability is very nice for PvP and occasionally useful at other times.
    • If you’re grinding Reputation then the 10% Human bonus is useful.
  • Night Elves
    • Being “(slightly) more difficult to hit” has some use. In PvE you shouldn’t be getting it anyway, but PvP is a different story.
    • Shadowmeld is a nice way to hide if you’re in a PvP zone and it might lend itself to ambushing the opposition. It can break spells if your timing is very good. In PvE it can drop aggro.
  • Worgen
    • Increased crit chance is generally useful.
    • The ability Move Quickly is generally useful
    • Worgen are good with Skinning

 

Tradeskills

My recommendation for tradeskills/professions is to pick any two of skinning, herbalism, or mining, allowing you to make decent amounts of cash. See our gold guide for more info.

Generally, crafting skills should be avoided unless you have that excess cash, since they are very expensive to level. If you have the cash and/or you want to do it anyway, then go for it.

  • Leatherworking – for the gear , but it’s expensive to level.
  • Skinning – to make money and support your leatherworking skill. Skinning also adds to your crit rating.
  • Mining and Herbalism are great cash grinding skills. Mining will add to your Stamina and Herbalism will give you a small heal and a haste buff.
  • Inscription used to be a great skill to make money, but has too much competition now. You can still make some money with it, but it takes some work. If you just want your glyphs then, on most servers, it’s way cheaper to buy them than to level this profession.
  • First aid is essential. Keep it maxed at all times.
  • Cooking is useful as many of the foods you create will have interesting buffs, as well as allowing you to regain health and mana.

For those who have the cash, and/or want to level a prof while leveling, each of the professions has at least one interesting item. Leatherworking is clearly the best for Hunters, and jewelcrafting or inscription might be next.

For the min-maxxers:

Every crafting profession provides a self-only bonus of some sort. These bonuses will be much greater in Mists of Pandaria.

  • Leatherworking provides an improved bracer enchant for 130 Agility (and 500 in M of P.)  This lets you replace an enchant that would otherwise be haste or crit with pure agility.
  • Jewelcrafting can provide three self-only gems that are better than other gems.
  • Blacksmithing can provide two extra self-only gem slots for the best gems you can find.
  • Engineering has a number of engie toys that are quite useful, especially in PvP. Synapse Springs adds 480 Agility for 10 seconds in Cataclsym and 2940 in M of P.
  • Alchemy allows you to receive greater benefit from your own potions than the other guys’ potions.
  • Enchanting provides +40 Agility enchants to your own rings for a potential 80 Ag gain, 320 total in M of P.
  • Inscription: A self-only shoulder enchant for an 80 Agi gain over anything found from the rep vendors. In M of P it provides 520 Agility and 100 Crit rating.
  • Tailoring: swordguard embroidery cloak enchant procs for 1000 AP for 15 sec, 8000 in M of P.
  • Herbalism: The lifeblood heal, mentioned above, has a 2 minute cooldown and gives you 240 (480 in M of P) haste rating for 20 sec.
  • Skinning provides 80 crit rating (320 in M of P) at max skill
  • Mining: 120 stamina at max skill (320 in M of P)

Beast MasteryTalents

In general beast mastery follows a very easy path talent wise, certain things bring massive increases and thus are necessary choices, others are fairly negligeble in a raiding environment and are ignored.

All in all a very easy template to run with, attack rotation is fairly simple as well.

Your special abilities as a Beastmastery Hunter are:

  1. Inimidation – Stuns your opponent and greatly increases threat. A very nice tanking ability.
  2. Animal Handler – Attack power is increased by 15%
  3. Mastery: Master of Beasts (trainable at 80) increases the damage of your pet. Each point of additional Mastery rating increases it further.

Notes on builds

The perfect build is the one that works best for your game, not mine or hers. Your skills, the exact encounter, the make-up of your group (if you have one,) the buffs on the target, the level of your gear, the current state of the buff/nerf situation… all of these have some effect on the exact value of many talents, glyphs, and abilities.

The exact value of the talents listed will also change with future patches and hotfixes. So take the builds below as a starting point and go from there.

See below for pet info

 

Leveling

You can see a Beastmastery leveling build, plus tips and lots of other info, in our Hunter leveling guide. If you just need to get to 85 ASAP then check out Zygor’s guide, which just happens to have a built-in talent advisor. Zygor’s is also always quickly updated for all of the latest patches and expansions.

 

Level 85 Beastmastery Hunter DPS Build (31/5/5)

This build is intended to maximize damage done. If you’re getting hit then you may want to either get more Stam, hold back your attacks a bit (so the tank can keep aggro,) or take a couple of survival talents which will help take some load off the healers.

(view this build)

Beast Mastery (31 Points)

  1. Improved Kill Command – Rank 2/2 – Increases the critical strike chance of your Kill Command by 10%.
  2. One with Nature – Rank 3/3 – Increases the attack power bonus of your Aspect of the Hawk by 30%, and increases the amount of focus restored by your Aspect of the Fox by 3.
  3. Bestial Discipline – Rank 3/3 – Increases the Focus regeneration of your pets by 30%.
  4. Spirit Bond – Rank 2/2 – While your pet is active, you and your pet will regenerate 2% of total health every 10 sec., and increases healing done to you and your pet by 10%.
  5. Frenzy – Rank 3/3 – Your pet gains 6% attack speed after attacking with a Basic Attack, lasting for 10 sec and stacking up to 5 times.
  6. Cobra Strikes – Rank 3/3 – You have a 15% chance when you hit with Arcane Shot to cause your pet’s next 2 Basic Attacks to critically hit.
  7. Fervor – Rank 1/1 – Instantly restores 50 Focus to you and your pet.
  8. Focus Fire – Rank 1/1 – Consumes your Pets Frenzy effect, restoring 4 Focus to your pet and increasing your ranged haste by 3% for each Frenzy stack consumed. Lasts for 15 sec.
  9. Longevity – Rank 3/3 – Reduces the cooldown of your Bestial Wrath, Intimidation and Pet Special Abilities by 30%.
  10. Killing Streak – Rank 2/2 – When you score two Kill Command critical hits in a row, your third will deal 20% more damage and have its cost reduced by 10 focus.
  11. Bestial Wrath – Rank 1/1 – Send your pet into a rage causing 20% additional damage for 10 sec. The beast does not feel pity or remorse or fear and it cannot be stopped unless killed.
  12. Ferocious Inspiration – Rank 1/1 – All party and raid members have all damage increased by 3% within 100 yards of your pet.
  13. Kindred Spirits – Rank 2/2 – Increases you and your pets maximum focus by 10.
  14. The Beast Within – Rank 1/1 – While your pet is under the effects of Bestial Wrath, you also go into a rage causing 10% additional damage and reducing the focus cost of all shots and abilities by 50% for 10 sec.
  15. Invigoration – Rank 2/2 – When your pet scores a critical hit with a Basic Attack, you instantly regenerate 6 focus.
  16. Beast Mastery – Rank 1/1 – You master the art of Beast training, teaching you the ability to tame Exotic pets and increasing your total amount of Pet Skill Points by 4.

Marksmanship (5 Points)

  1. Go for the Throat – Rank 2/2 – Your ranged auto-shot critical hits cause your pet to generate 10 Focus.
  2. Efficiency – Rank 3/3 – Reduces the focus cost of your Arcane Shot by 3, and your Explosive Shot and Chimera Shot by 6.

Survival (5 Points)

  1. Pathing – Rank 3/3 – Increases ranged haste by 3%.
  2. Improved Serpent Sting – Rank 2/2 – Your Serpent Sting also does instant damage equal to 30% of its total periodic effect. Also increases the periodic critical strike chance of your Serpent Sting by 10%.

Glyphs

  1. Glyph of Kill Command (Prime Glyph) – Reduces the Focus cost of your Kill Command by 3.
  2. Glyph of Kill Shot (Prime Glyph) – If the damage from your Kill Shot fails to kill a target at or below 20% health, your Kill Shot’s cooldown is instantly reset. This effect has a 6 sec cooldown.
  3. Glyph of Serpent Sting (Prime Glyph) – Increases the periodic critical strike chance of your Serpent Sting by 6%.
  4. Glyph of Bestial Wrath (Major Glyph) – Decreases the cooldown of Bestial Wrath by 20 sec.
  5. Glyph of Mending (Major Glyph) – Increases the total amount of healing done by your Mend Pet ability by 60%.
  6. Glyph of Misdirection (Major Glyph) – When you use Misdirection to your pet, the cooldown on your Misdirection is reset.
  7. Glyph of Mend Pet (Minor Glyph) – Your Mend Pet spell increases your pet’s happiness slightly.
  8. Glyph of Revive Pet (Minor Glyph) – Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Revive Pet by 100%.
  9. Glyph of Feign Death (Minor Glyph) – Reduces the cooldown of your Feign Death spell by 5 sec.

 

Beast Mastery Hunter Build for PvP

(view this build)

Beast Mastery (31 Points)

  1. Improved Kill Command – Rank 2/2 – Increases the critical strike chance of your Kill Command by 10%.
  2. One with Nature – Rank 3/3 – Increases the attack power bonus of your Aspect of the Hawk by 30%, and increases the amount of focus restored by your Aspect of the Fox by 3.
  3. Bestial Discipline – Rank 3/3 – Increases the Focus regeneration of your pets by 30%.
  4. Spirit Bond – Rank 2/2 – While your pet is active, you and your pet will regenerate 2% of total health every 10 sec., and increases healing done to you and your pet by 10%.
  5. Frenzy – Rank 3/3 – Your pet gains 6% attack speed after attacking with a Basic Attack, lasting for 10 sec and stacking up to 5 times.
  6. Cobra Strikes – Rank 3/3 – You have a 15% chance when you hit with Arcane Shot to cause your pet’s next 2 Basic Attacks to critically hit.
  7. Fervor – Rank 1/1 – Instantly restores 50 Focus to you and your pet.
  8. Focus Fire – Rank 1/1 – Consumes your Pets Frenzy effect, restoring 4 Focus to your pet and increasing your ranged haste by 3% for each Frenzy stack consumed. Lasts for 15 sec.
  9. Longevity – Rank 3/3 – Reduces the cooldown of your Bestial Wrath, Intimidation and Pet Special Abilities by 30%.
  10. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera – Rank 2/2 – Whenever you are hit by a melee attack, the cooldown of your Disengage is instantly reduced by 4 sec. Whenever you are hit by a ranged attack or spell, the cooldown of your Deterrence is instantly reduced by 8 sec.
    These effects have a 2 sec cooldown.
  11. Bestial Wrath – Rank 1/1 – Send your pet into a rage causing 20% additional damage for 10 sec. The beast does not feel pity or remorse or fear and it cannot be stopped unless killed.
  12. Ferocious Inspiration – Rank 1/1
    All party and raid members have all damage increased by 3% within 100 yards of your pet.
  13. Kindred Spirits – Rank 2/2 – Increases you and your pets maximum focus by 10.
  14. The Beast Within – Rank 1/1 – While your pet is under the effects of Bestial Wrath, you also go into a rage causing 10% additional damage and reducing the focus cost of all shots and abilities by 50% for 10 sec.
  15. Invigoration – Rank 2/2 – When your pet scores a critical hit with a Basic Attack, you instantly regenerate 6 focus.
  16. Beast Mastery – Rank 1/1 – You master the art of Beast training, teaching you the ability to tame Exotic pets and increasing your total amount of Pet Skill Points by 4.

Marksmanship (7 Points)

  1. Go for the Throat – Rank 2/2 – Your ranged auto-shot critical hits cause your pet to generate 10 Focus.
  2. Efficiency – Rank 3/3 – Reduces the focus cost of your Arcane Shot by 3, and your Explosive Shot and Chimera Shot by 6.
  3. Sic ‘Em! – Rank 2/2 – When you critically hit with your Arcane Shot, Aimed Shot or Explosive Shot the focus cost of your Pet’s next basic attack is reduced by 100% for 12 sec.

Survival (3 Points)

  1. Hunter vs. Wild – Rank 3/3 – Increases your total Stamina by 10%.

Glyphs

  1. Glyph of Kill Command (Prime Glyph) – Reduces the Focus cost of your Kill Command by 3.
  2. Glyph of Kill Shot (Prime Glyph) – If the damage from your Kill Shot fails to kill a target at or below 20% health, your Kill Shot’s cooldown is instantly reset. This effect has a 6 sec cooldown.
  3. Glyph of Rapid Fire (Prime Glyph) – Increases the haste from Rapid Fire by an additional 10%.
  4. Glyph of Raptor Strike (Major Glyph) – Reduces damage taken by 20% for 5 sec after using Raptor Strike.
  5. Glyph of Master’s Call (Major Glyph) – Increases the duration of your Master’s Call by 4 sec.
  6. Glyph of Bestial Wrath (Major Glyph) – Decreases the cooldown of Bestial Wrath by 20 sec.
  7. Glyph of Feign Death (Minor Glyph) – Reduces the cooldown of your Feign Death spell by 5 sec.
  8. Glyph of Scare Beast (Minor Glyph) – Reduces the pushback suffered from damaging attacks while casting Scare Beast by 75%.
  9. Glyph of Mend Pet (Minor Glyph)

 

Pets

Pets are devided into three classes (Ferocity, Tenacity and Cunning) and each class has a number of pet families. Each family has severa members, all with common abilities and special attacks. Click the links below for a list of available pet families, their food requirements, and their specials.

  • Ferocity is for DPS pets. Cats and dogs and raptors and wolves, and so on. They can tank a couple of mobs just fine, but their main job is damage. Generally, in raids, your pet will be Ferocity. Past level 60 or so they don’t hold aggro as well as they do at earlier levels.
  • Tenacity is the build that your tanking pets (bears, rhinos, turtles, etc.) will have. These pets will keep the attentions of several mobs, and survive, while you burn them down. Some Hunters even tank dungeons with these pets and then make the boss into a pet, such as with King Dred. Generally, the Tenacity pets don’t bring enough in damage or buffs to make them interesting for raids, but that depends on your exact group and duffs/debuffs that will be available.If you do use your Tenacity pet in a dungeon or raid, and you’re not the tank, make sure you have all of its threat generating abilities turned off.
  • Cunning pets have certain special abilities that are useful in particular situations, such as the Monkey’s Bad Manners ability for PvP. Some cunning pets may have specials that are particularly useful in certain raids or encounters.
  • For PvP – Interesting specials are the webs that Spiders cast, the Monkey’s “Bad Manners,” the Owl’s “Disarm,” and so on. Crowd control abilities have more PvP utility than straight up damage.

Pet notes:

  • Pets inherit 100% of the Hunter’s hit, haste, and crit, and scale considerably from AP. All 3 pet types inherit the same AP scaling, so differences in DPS come from the pet’s basic abilities and their talents.
  • Pets inherit nothing from your Strength
  • Pet consumables are no longer available.
  • If you’re Draenei your pet will inherit your hit racial.

Skills and Stats

  • Agility – This is the Hunter’s number#1 stat, by far. With Animal Handler and various buffs Agility provides more than 2 AP per point, as well as some crit.
  • Strength – useless
  • Int – useless
  • Spirit – useless
  • Stamina – It depends… Very important for PvP, but not much value for PvE.
  • Hit Rating – Attacks that miss don’t do damage, so this is an important stat. The cap is 8%, afterwhich it has little or no value.
  • Attack Power Animal Handler increases your AP by 15% and your pet gets some of that. AP only rarely appears on gear, but is available with various enchants.
  • Critical Rating – This is the most important of the “other” secondary stats.
  • Mastery – affects all damage done by our pet and each point of mastery increases pet damage.
  • Haste – Speeds up everything, including focus regen, but you’ll need a lot to see much effect, so the other secondaries are probably better.
  • Weapon Expertise – fairly useless since ranges attacks aren’t parried or dodged.
  • Resilience – very important for PvP, essential for high end PvP, useless outside of PvP.

Stats Priorities

  • Primary:  Agility (and Reslience if PvP)
  • Secondary: 8% Ranged Hit  (5% in PvP) > Critical
  • Weaker stats: Mastery > Haste > excess hit and expertise

Reforging:  Get your Hit rating (5 or 8%) and then everything else is reforged into Crit.

In Mists of Pandaria your shots can be dodged, so Expertise will have some use. For now, it has none and shouldn’t be on your gear.
Critical rating also gives you the improved usage of the wind serpent pet as your shots recharge it’s focus well enough to make it more viable than the other possible pet choices such as cats or raptors.

Notes for better DPS

  • Practice your rotations on a practice dummy, using a DPS meter like Recount. Make sure you maintain your routine for at least a few minutes on the dummy. This averages out the high and low spikes in your damage and gives you a better number.
  • If you’re PvPing then you should mix in any abilities that might help in PvP even though they don’t increase damage, such as Concussive shot.
  • If you’re clicking your buttons, rather than using hotkeys, you’re at a disadvantage. Check out Impulse for better keybinds and macros.

 

Gems for the Beast Mastery Hunter

Note that Mists of Pandaria (MoP) gems will have much higher values than those from Cataclysm. Replace your Cata gems with comparable MoP gems as soon as you are able to do so. If you can afford to buy the best gems then dropping down one level is not a huge issue.

MoP = Mists of Pandaria

 

Enchants for the Beast Mastery Hunter

MoP = Mists of Pandaria.

MoP enchants require item level 372 or better and you’ll notice that they are somewhat better than their Cataclysm counterparts. New enchants (and gems) are always very expensive when the appear, and sometimes afterwards. If you need more cash to be able to buy these things then check our Tycoon review.

Note: Landslide procs from separate weapons do stack with each other. Back to back procs from the same weapon do not stack.

The Fastest Hunter Leveling Guide

Fang and his Hunter petFor years Joana’s Horde Guide and Brian’s Alliance guide were the standards for Hunter leveling, simply because Hunters were the class of choice for both those guides. Other classes had to make due as best they could. I argue that Zygor’s in-game Guide is better than anything that’s gone before since all the looking up has been done away with and Zygor’s is designed to work well with any class, even if you had the good taste to roll a Hunter.

No more switching from game to guide, no more manually setting waypoints, no more browsing Thottbot for tips. It’s all contained within Zygor’s guide and it’s all automated. You’ll never again have to wonder about where to go or what to do and you’ll probably never have to look at your quest log again, much less browse other sites for quest info. Complete a quest and the guide automatically updates. Gain a few leveling in PvP or the Dungeons and the guide will catch up with you when you go back to questing.

If you’re brand new to the World of Warcraft or are decked head to toe in heirlooms, Zygor has your back.

Grab your copy here, on Zygor’s home page, and level faster than ever before.  or read our review, here.

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