Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Byte: I am the Beast Master!

None of my other characters even got a look-in last night. I was too busy playing with Yonn and his Devilsaur. I haven't gotten around to naming him yet, since I'm struggling to come up with an appropriate name. Damien or (Dan) Quayle are the obvious choices (recall that Bill Hicks always used to say that Dan Quayle was the Devil), but I'm reluctant to use them, because Damien is a) a bit too obvious and b) the name of my lady's Dad, so that might not go down too well, and Quayle... I wouldn't want people to think I was a Republican, since the irony might not be immediately apparent to some people. I could name him after *my* Dad, since that would be appropriate for a big, lumbering dinosaur, and having a Devilsaur called Brian would just be too funny. I don't get the players who call their Hunter pets Killaraptorx or something similarly stupid. I'd go for something utterly banal, incongruous or ironic every time. It's like calling a tortoise Fluffy - the cognitive dissonance makes it interesting.

Anyway, I levelled my net from 59 to 62 during the course of the evening and put on three-quarters of a level on Yonn (64-65) in the space of a few hours, which I thought was pretty impressive. It's the pet that does most of the DPS now, rather than the super-duper damage shots you get with the Marksmanship spec, so you burn through a lot more ammo as a Beast Master, but there are certain advantages. If you stick on Aspect of the Viper, you recover mana as you fight, meaning that as long as you use Mend Pet to top up the health of your pet, you can handle crowds of three or four mobs with no problem at all (Aspect of the Viper means that you never generate more threat than your pet, since the mana recovery is offset by a damage penalty) and taking down Elites (possible, but a struggle with a Marksmanship spec) is absolute child's play, since your pet generates all the threat, takes all the aggro and using Mend Pet means that he can stay there pretty much all day. Even better, Devilsaurs have a Heart of the Phoenix talent, which gives them an instant 100% health resurrection should you be negligent enough to let them be killed. Never mind crowd control, these things could do riot control.

Compared to a Marksmanship spec, playing Beast Master is almost like a different class, since you don't have to worry so much about your threat management. You just send in the pet, point and shoot. Using Aspect of the Viper means that you never run out of mana, meaning your pet never runs out of health, so you can literally keep going until you run out of ammo (or time to play, whichever comes first), so if anything it's a better levelling spec than Marksmanship.

I should get Yonn up to level 65 tonight, plus another level or two for my pet. With a bit of luck, he might make level 70 before Lich King comes out, but I'm not going to hold my breath on that. Still, this seems like a vindication for having stuck with a Hunter for so long. I've always enjoyed playing with one, but the additions for the class in this patch really give Hunters a cool factor they've been missing compared to some other classes.
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