This post was published long before the Mists of Pandara Expansion.
The tips and techniques explained here may be outdated.

Speccing by Shotgun

So I play a lot of toons. I’m getting a feel for them as I play them.

I’ve dug deeply into the Paladin and Warlock spec trees. I completely -get- the Holy and Protection Paladin trees. I’ve compared the different talents and come up with my favorite Holy and Protection specs. I’ve read all the talents and understand their tradeoffs. I leveled my Paladin before the buff to the Retribution tree and I’ve never gotten a chance to play her as full Retribution so I’ve never dug very deeply into that branch to figure out a good full Retribution Spec. I’m ok with that. (Fiancee is currently leveling as Retribution and I feel bad that I can’t offer him better advice.)

I’m fairly knowledgeable about the Warlock trees. I -get- Affliction and have a vague understanding of Destruction and Demonology.. but not enough to talk knowledgeably about which are the best talents for a good Destruction or Demonology spec. Still.. I kinda get it.

I realized this weekend I totally don’t get the Hunter trees (or the Druid trees for that matter).

I understand the different roles of the different specs but I don’t know which are the crucial talents in each tree versus the trivial vs the skip-this-it-sucks talents. I’m utterly clueless and if you look at Nocc’s spec, I think it shows.

I have this vague understanding that Beast Master is good (massive quantities of sustained, ranged DPS and a terrifyingly destructive pet) but I have little clue which talents I should acquire to attain this. I suppose this will require more research. Until then Nocc vaguely sucks.

Also.. for all you hunters, how do you spec your pets? I have a ravager, Bug.. she’s a not-at-all-cuddly glass cannon. When I’m getting talents for Bug, should I focus on things to bring up her DPS or should I get her more armor and health? Same thing, Prosciutto the piggie has great armor/health but crappy DPS. Should I talent her for more DPS or focus on bulking up her health/armor? This hasn’t been a real issue yet since I have enough points to get both.. but I think eventually I’ll have to make that choice. Is it better to have one pure DPS pet (Bug with only DPS talents) and one pure tanking pet (Prosciutto with only armor/health/resistance talents) or should I instead normalize them (Bug with good dps/ok armor/health and Prosciutto with good armor/health/resistance and ok dps)?

I suspect a lot of people spec this way. Until you really really understand the spec trees.. and the effect of the talents in those trees you’re just throwing point around. Even reading BRK and getting his wisdom about specing doesn’t change the problem.. it just puts off the research. Having BRK say “choose talent X” is nice.. and makes it so I don’t have to think about it.. but what *gasp* what if BRK is wrong. If I blindly follow his recommendations I’ll never figure that out.

I guess I’m saying that having altitis is fine.. but eventually you need to dig into the toon and -really- figure it out instead of just winging it.

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4 comments to Speccing by Shotgun

  • Hey, saw the Bugged Onyxia movie and realized that this is definitely a blog I want to keep tabs on – and since I do have a large amount of experience with the Hunter class, here’s my two bits.

    As far as your pets are concerned, here’s what you do. You WILL have enough points to get all the talents they need to do DPS and get resistances / armor, trust me.

    In the case of Bug, grab your DPS talents and worry the most about extra stamina. In the case of Prosciutto, get extra armor, some stamina, and the DPS talents.

    Resists aren’t as much of a worry in early and mid-game as they are towards the end, but Avoidance always helps, and staying current with your pet’s abilities definitely makes a difference.

    Now, about the BM spec. BRK isn’t *wrong*, but there are some talents that just aren’t worth the effort if you’re leveling, and all you have to do is look at them closely. Take, for example, improved Aspect of the Cheetah and Improved Aspect of the Monkey.

    While the former is useful early on in terms of getting to places, and you could technically get your levels almost 10% faster for picking it, it won’t do you a lot of good, because a) you get a mount at 40, and b) if you get hit by a mob running someplace, you’re still dazed.

    Aspect of the Monkey is only useful in PVP, so just avoid that entirely.

    In terms of damage talents (+ to pet crit %, + to pet damage %, + to pet attack speed %), you want those regardless. They will increase the DPS Bug puts out and the threat Prosciutto generates. You also want Bestial Discipline, as more Focus = more abilities = more goodness all around.

    Animal Handler, though I’ve shunned it in the past, would actually be the most helpful in terms of leveling for indirect contribution.

    You’ll be able to hit more often, which is ALWAYS good, and it’ll increase your travel speed while mounted, which, combined with the Carrot on a Stick, will significantly increase your leveling. You may have to give up a point somewhere else, but trust me, it’d be worth it.

    If I were you, I’d just go with BRK’s suggestions. For the most part, they’re pretty rock solid in regards to the Beastmastery tree.

    But if you ever want to go Survival or Marksman, go to the forums and track down the guys there. (or just send me an e-mail!)

    -Track

  • tkc

    When it comes to pets, as with any character you play, you spec them out for what you want them to do. When I go to Kara I take my scorpid, Scratchy, because he has 14k of armor and can pet-tank if needed. I would not take this pet to a battleground because he is too slow and does not do enough damage. For PvP I have a snow leopard, Hobbes. Yes, I still have my first pet and he gets the job done. He has Dash-3 and can get on a player fast. Pop intimidate to slow a runner down. I bumped up his stamina to make him that much harder to kill. Cobra Reflexes makes him a caster’s nightmare. Hobbes makes a great farming pet too because he can kill quickly.

    I would suggest a trip to Petopia and look through the pet skills. Find the ones you think you’ll want and get the pet than train them.

  • Nibuca

    Good ideas. I think it’s just the combination of being low level.. and having a lot of mutually exclusive (because of point availability) talents available. Hopefully it will all become clear in time.

  • Pablo

    Pet training:
    Bug: Maximum Growl, maximum Dash, maximum Gore. Then I follow BRK’s example and max out Stamina, Avoidance, Cobra Reflexes. If you have any points left, then look at resistances, preffering frost and nature to avoid ice and vines.

    Prosciuto: Max Growl, max Charge, max Gore. The rest as above.

    As far as talent trees go, my head swims just thinking about thinking about that stuff. BRK seems a good egg, so I follow his example, lol.