Hi everyone

A version(made by me) of this post can also be found on the European Battle.net Hunter Forum, but nowadays, sadly very few goes on there so wanted to bring this up on MMO as well.

As we are still in a very early stage of the upcoming expansion and it already looks like BM will undergo a fair amount of changes(justified in my opinion, despite everything that came with Legion).

Don't get me wrong, I have played as BM throughout Legion and for the most part enjoyed it, there have ofc. been moments when you have thought to yourself, OK this takes us in the right direction, but what will happen when we no longer have this/these abilities(tied to our Artifact weapon), what will we get to keep and what will be cut?

First I like to talk about Hati, to remove that second "pet" from the BM spec now would be a mistake if you ask me, especially now when it seems like Blizzard is taking a few steps up with the Advanced AI-thing, that kinda tells me that fixing the pet AI shouldn't be that much of an issue to deal with, given time.

Second, when it comes to actual "class fantasy" or more like "spec fantasy" BM still leaves some things to desire.

As it has been stated in several posts/threads on various forums, the actual interaction between the hunter and the pets, what they can do/you can tell them to do, can still be improved upon. What type of pets/pet families you have chosen SHOULD matter, compared to now when that's mostly cosmetic.

Before getting into it, I'm not talking PvP here, how any theoretical changes here could work in PvP, that's a whole other discussion.

Breaking it down a bit, I'd like to think that the core of playing as BM can/should be divided into three different styles in the beginning chosen within the new Heart of Azeroth-neck, how you play and what you want to work with can be separated into secondary stats such as Mastery, Haste and Critical strike(these are ofc not the actual names that should be used but rather to clarify how they would work/what to focus on).

Mastery - being the slightly slower, more easy-to-understand option with a steady stream of strong hits with your pool of abilities, to make this work, you very much gotta know when to use your long-term CDs as here, they empower you quite a lot when active, but also they cannot be activated as often(Bestial Wrath, Aspect of the Wild(perhaps even Stampede?)).

Clarification: certain key-abilities/talents can here be empowered, here you can have a built-in version to the talent Bestial Fury and now BW by default increases all damage by lets say (55%(70% with BF talent)) and BW lasts for (25?) seconds instead of 15. Aspect of the Wild now adds (15%?) crit and (15?) additional focus per second instead of 10 for the duration.

Haste - ofc being the reliant fast paced choice where all that really matters is how you manage your focus together with how to best time it with your "main pet-empowerments", you've probably guessed by now that I'm talking about Dire Frenzy amongst other things.

Now, both these options one might suggest there should be ways in which your main pet can cause some serious harm, either from strong hitting/fast ticking bleeds or if you talk Beast Cleave(also stronger/faster hits).

Here I would not mind if the current talent Aspect of the Beast could be altered and instead, Kill Command by default adds a bleed to the target, AND when it comes to the Focus Fire-styled ability(described in a section further down in this post) instead of increasing all critical strike damage passively it causes the bleed to tick (35%?) faster and now applies to all targets within ( )yards of the main target(The base damage of Kill Command will not hit all targets but upon using Kill Command the bleed will be applied to all targets within that area).
Inspiration for the spread bleed came from the interaction you had between multi-shot and serpent sting as a survival hunter back in Cataclysm

Critical Strike - a term many might have heard throughout Legion and that comes to mind is, the "Zoo-build" or the "Crit/stomp-build", which has so far also been my favorite choice. Here you gotta rely more on the concept of RNG for example talking about Dire Beast/Wild Call-resets which gives more uptime on Bestial Wrath. This option should have the most uptime on BW, talking maybe around 80% uptime(each Dire Beast cast should reduce the CD on BW by (20-25? seconds by default), here it might not empower you as much as with other choices however having it up a lot makes up for it.

A suggestion here would also be that instead of having the talent Way of the Cobra(10% more damage on Cobra Shot for each pet/guardian you have active), rework it and make it so that each Dire Beast you have active, instead empowers other beasts as well as your main pet(s), make them do more damage**.
One can even toy with the idea of this being the choice for those that wants a second main pet to play with(Hati), otherwise they don't have it but only one, stronger beast.

**Talking about a version of the current equip effect coming from legendary shoulders, Mantle of Command in Legion

Clarification: due to the fact that we ofc cannot change a talent in the same tier as where you can find the talent Dire Beast and make them work together, this effect needs to come from somewhere else, AND should have the option to stack, the more beasts active, the more damage will come from main pets and previously called out Dire Beasts.

For the actual part of what pet(s) you choose
Here is where the new artifact-style neck, Heart of Azeroth comes in.
And if this work out well, who knows, perhaps it can later become a baseline thing as well.

Recent pictures released displays the neck to have several tiers of circles containing different traits you can choose between, exactly what these will do for us playing as BM, or well, for most classes/specs really, have yet to be discovered/worked out.
I would like one of the earlier tiers to have the option to choose between the previously mentioned playstyles written in this post

All of us are a part of Azeroth, even the various beasts and companions we choose to bring with us, while having each single pet family bring their own little bonuses might not be the best thing, why not make it so that:

One group of families if chosen brings a short-term buff, for example, as long as you have Dire Frenzy active on your main pet or for as long as there are Dire Beasts active, you(and possibly your group/raid members as well) gain a bonus to Mastery
Another group of families makes that buff give Haste/Critical strike instead, you get my point here...
Also depending on pet family type, if matched with the right path in your neck certain talents could be slightly empowered(not by alot, but just enough to show what to focus on). Talent choices would still be up to you ofc, but for anyone wanting to get the most out of the spec, following this path might be a good idea.

As you work on collecting the new "AP" Azerite, the deeper you get into the "Heart of Azeroth", the more bonuses are unlocked, the more you benefit from these buffs, it gives a higher percentage or perhaps it can give a bonus to more than 1 type of secondary stat.
Additionally, with the new neck, getting a trait which makes any basic ability cast by a main pet during BW(Bite, Claw, Smack, depending on what pet you use), that has a chance of reseting the CD on Kill Command and make it cost no Focus(only 1 use ofc, if you want more free KC's, you gotta get more procs).

One more thing I would not mind seeing is a medium-term CD which works with your pets in the style of what Focus Fire used to do, though not in the exact same way all the time, but more like: and this is also only an example of how it could work

Whenever your main pet(s) take damage, directly or indirectly they gain a stacking buff/enrage making them do more damage, this buff can stack maybe up to 15 times(make them do 15% more damage), if they were to take NO damage/don't attack at all for 15 seconds, it falls off.
To the Focus Fire part: once your pet gets enraged up to maximum stacks/or after 1 minute have passed, you have a 1 minute CD ability that upon use consumes those stacks, instead empowering everything you and your pets do for the next 25 seconds(If used with no stacks, default duration on the buff given is 10 seconds and each stack gives you 1 second more).
It can be faster Focus-generation, higher damage, haste you name it...

This ability/buff should have an internal CD for gaining stacks from taking at about 3-4s/stack AND, during combat, whenever your pet is attacking a target, it should passively gain 1 stack every 4th second which equals 15 stacks per minute so if your pet would happen to go for a full minute without taking damage at all, you will still get the full benefit upon activation of the on-use ability.
Reason for this: makes this particular ability more interesting as it means, sometimes you get to activate it again after maybe 36 seconds have passed since last and sometimes, you get to full stacks at closer to the 50 second mark.

A personal favorite here would be that upon consuming these enrage stacks, for the duration of the buff given, you generate focus 25% faster and your main pets generates focus 50% faster as well as all critical strikes made by the pets during this buff will hit ...(35?)% harder.
Reason for why I would want this particular effect to occur is mostly due to the fact that so far it seems without the legendary waist from Legion, the artifact weapon traits that lowers the cost of focus spending abilities like cobra shot, we ARE going to feel it quite a bit
Reservation for what might be done by developers when it comes to ability costs before we even see anything on alpha/beta

My point is, there are so many ways in which a BM hunter can specialize in what style he/she wants to go with and how it relates to Azeroth and all the creatures we depend on. One must only know how too...

I know quite the number of fellow hunters out there still wants abilities like Chimera Shot made baseline and so on.

If you ask me, this WOULD be a mistake as you after all are playing as a Beastmaster, if you want more ranged shots, there IS another specialization that focuses specifically on that.
But then again, we have 1 Hunter class, 3 specs to choose from and only so many options within. With still such a vast number of players out there focusing on hunters, it will not be perfect for everyone. My hope now is that with the new artifact-style neck, there can be choices in there/traits that will allow you to focus a bit more on specific playstyles within your actual specialization.

Clarification on talent ideas/changes
From the choice you make with your Heart of Azeroth-neck, it would have an impact on certain talents, empowering them slightly. To be clear, not talking a 50% massive increase to these specific talents, but just enough to highlight to the player the intentions with the path chosen. While this might not be as "free-for-all" as the talent-system was intended to be throughout Legion, where you could throw in a little of everything, it did not really work out in the end anyway. Some talents were always the best from a pure damage perspective.

If you were to pick the "Mastery"-route, preferred talents would be, in tier:

(15)Big Game Hunter - reworked and would instead grant an increased critical strike chance on all attacks as well as increasing critical strike damage done by 25% on targets below 35% health

(30)Chimaera Shot - damage output modified for it to be worthwhile, personally I would want this to be reworked into an ability doing the same amount of damage but instead come from your main pet.

(60)Bestial Fury - same as before just would provide a 20% damage bonus instead of 15%

(90)Stampede - reworked so that each new wave of beasts would come from the player and not a stationary location from where you first used the ability, or perhaps the beasts could go rampage within a certain area around the target first used upon for a certain amount of time, instead of a frontal cone-/wave-style

(100)Aspect of the Beast - should in my opinion be changed to giving some other effect, perhaps even altered in whole to instead lower the base cooldown of Bestial Wrath and/or Aspect of the Wild, adding the effect of the legendary bracers from Legion(Call of the Wild)
I would go as far as to say, whenever your pet is in the Tenacity specialization and you activate Bestial Wrath, the effect given to Tenacity pets by Aspect of the Beast should be baseline, or at least a version of it for as long as BW is active.


(15)Way of the Cobra - can essentially stay the same, just an additional effect added granting you a set percentage of haste for a short period of time after using Cobra Shot(This buff/haste, cannot stack, just a set number for a set period, duration will be refreshed if Cobra Shot is cast again while the buff is still active)

(30)Dire Stable - perhaps a new name for the talent is needed here/or not...but here, picking this talent would cause Kill Command to add a bleed to the target as discussed earlier in this thread, in case this is not something wanted baseline.

(60)Venomous Bite - should if picked make Cobra Shot reduce the remaining CD on Bestial Wrath by 1.5-2s instead of the current 1s.(again, numbers just theoretical)

(90)Barrage - needs a new name. While some hunters still like this ability, most hunters do not. I would like this to be the talent that, if picked, makes Kill Command hit multiple targets(for a reduced amount of damage) whenever Beast Cleave is active.

(100)Killer Cobra - again, would like to test this in it's new state before coming to any conclusion about it.

"Critical strike"-route

(15)Dire Beast - same as is now, just slightly more powerful.

(30)One with the pack - maybe increase the chance by 35-40% instead of 30%.

(60)Thrill of the Hunt - assuming this applies to both DF and DB, increase the buff duration by some additional time(8 seconds default). Not by a lot as that could cause the buff to be active at all times depending on your haste/procs but slightly to make it fall off less.

(90)Stomp - could essentially stay the same, maybe slightly modified damage.

(100)A Murder of Crows - same as before, slightly lower CD.

Any talents/tiers not mentioned above would stay the same as is. Again, these suggestions would only apply to the various talents if the path have been chosen within the neck Heart of Azeroth

--Any thoughts on this, other ways to improve the spec are ofc welcome.--