As predicted, the Can Beast Mastery Raid column on wow.com yesterday drew tons of controversy and comments.
What I didn’t expect was the sheer volume of rabid BM irrational rage (and some rational rage as well). I knew there’d be some, but honestly I didn’t expect as much. For those of you who missed it, the column looked at actual data for BM dps as well as spreadsheets, and made the following points:
- BM is raid viable, and can do any normal mode ICC content.
- BM dps is 20% – 30% behind MM.
- I philosophically disagree with choosing to do up to 30% less dps than you could, even if you’re hitting dps minimums.
- I compared BM hunters to a raider choosing to raid in green quality gems, refusing to flask, eat buff food, or wear any kinds of pants. I called him Bob. Both Bob and the BM hunter are doing what is most fun for them, only Bob isn’t hurting his dps as much as the BM hunter is.
There were several main themes among the dissenting comments (and certainly lots of comments agreeing as well). These were:
- Damn you for saying that BM is not raid viable! Yes we are!
- People like you are why raids are not fun, you’re an elitist jerk. I should be able to raid whatever is most fun for me. Melee huntering and Bob don’t count, ’cause that’s different.
- Saying we have to switch specs for a 30% dps boost is the same as saying we should level a brand new character from scratch every time a new class is any better dps.
- You’re posting this just to deliberately offend people so you can win the hunter bet.
- If I do enough dps to beat the enrage timer, that’s all that matters. As long as everyone else is doing the same we win (this is the rarely stated argument that I think is the best argument against my stance — it’s a different philosophical viewpoint from mine. I prefer do all you can, vs do just enough, but both are valid.)
Anyhow, in the aftermath of the rage and confusion, I’m going to clarify a couple of points that I wish I had space to get into with more detail. I’m also going to attempt to emphasize things that were misinterpreted.
I Like BM, and BM is Raid Viable
I don’t have a grudge against BM. Really. I certainly poke fun at BM hunters in the same way that I used to poke fun at survival hunters back when they were far behind. I probably spend more time in a BM spec than any other spec. I raided as BM for years when it was on top. I still do tons of extreme soloing in BM. I have a stable with exotic pets that I can’t bring myself to abandon, even though I basically never use them. I feel for BM hunters. I understand your pain. But that doesn’t mean I think it’s okay to do up to 30% less damage than you could be doing.
BM is raid viable. You can beat the Festergut dps check as BM with enough gear and skill.
However, in the question of “Can BM Raid?” the harsh practical answer is that most raid leaders won’t let you in their raid as BM. If they’re any good as a RL, they know you can do a lot more dps in another spec, and they know that is better for the raid. Even if you can do “enough” doing more is almost always better. Higher dps means you’re more likely to down bosses even when things go wrong.
How Much Less DPS than YOU Could Do is Okay?
I do appreciate the idea of playing the way you want to play, or the way that you’re most comfortable raiding. If you want to use your Dragonstalkers Helmet for nostalgia reasons instead of t10 helm, I’m okay with that. The actual impact on your dps is gonna be small. If you have slightly suboptimal talents so you can pvp as well in your raid spec, again, no biggie. Just like I don’t expect you to pay that 20k gold for your upgrade, I don’t expect you to do every single little tiny thing.
But raiding as BM isn’t a little thing. It’s a big, giant thing. 20% – 30% dps difference.
This is a point I wish I had stressed in the wow.com article… how much less dps than YOU could be doing is acceptable in you as a raider?
How much of a dps loss is okay for the sake of your fun at the expense of the raid’s fun? I say at the expense of the raid here because odds are with 30% more dps, you’d be killing bosses faster, and likely wiping less.
I can beat Festergut’s enrage timer as BM, but there have been several times that if I was BM, the raid would have wiped because we didn’t have that extra cushion when something went wrong.
So how much less dps than your own personal potential is okay? Because even if you’re great at BM and merely competent at SV or MM — the difference is so vast that with just a bit of practice you’ll be doing considerably more dps in another spec.
How much less dps is okay? Surely not 90% less, but surely more than 1% less. Where’s the line? Or doesn’t it matter as long as your doing the minimum you have to?
My answer to this is around 5-10%. As long as your within about 10% of your own personal potential, I’m okay with your choices. Beyond that I think the good of the team starts to take precedent.
What About Bob?
Many hunters found the Bob example to be extremely offensive. It wasn’t designed to offend, but it was specifically engineered to really make you pause and take a hard look at what you’re doing. Because Bob isn’t gimping his dps as much as a BM hunter is, and they’re both doing it for the sake of their personal enjoyment of the game. Why is Bob’s behavior unacceptable but a BM is okay? Exactly what is the difference?
It’s certainly true that Bob can just visit the AH and buy all new gems, flasks, buff food, and pants and be ready to go. The BM hunter on the other hand has to respec and then learn to play that new spec. But still… that BM hunter should still be ready to go by the next week’s raid. It’s not that big of a commitment in terms of time. For many BM hunters it’s certainly a big emotional commitment.
The Greedy Goblin Way
This debate continually makes me think of a Greedy Goblin article where Gevlon argued that you should never do more than about 10% above the bare minimum dps. Anything more is a waste of resources (for useless things like epic gems) and you just end up working harder to carry the morons and slackers. Instead you should just find raiders who can also do just enough and you’ll win.
The notion of “just enough” versus “as much as I can” has never been a difficult choice for me. As regular readers know, I’m all about doing all you can to help the team. We are death dealers, and we don’t want to leave massive piles of dps sitting on the floor.
Also, it should be noted that casual raid teams need the help more than hardcore teams. In a hardcore raid team, you can be pretty certain that every raider is highly skilled and will do everything right, compensate for accidents swiftly, and execute with precision. Those of us that do more casual progression raiding aren’t able to clear every ICC wing in a few hours of its release. We make mistakes, we have a lot more slop and thus we are in greater need of more gear and more of a dps cushion to compensate for errors.
And honestly — and this is just my opinion here — if I was in a raid with a raider who chose to raid in a spec that was 30% less dps than his optimal spec, I would consider that disrespectful to the raid team. Id’ tell a rogue to get his ass out of Subtlety and use a real spec. I want everyone in my raid to be giving it their all within our time constraints. I want everyone to try as hard as they can, whether that means running the random for gear or learning the spec that will help the raid the most.
It Ain’t All About the Bet
And finally, this is not all about the hunter bet. Every single article posted in February was one that was already on my list in January. I think that the viability of BM in raiding is a big hunter issue that was deserving of being addressed. It was filled with misinformation and I think it’s about time we shined some light on it. That’s why I posted it.
On one hand we had tons of people saying that BM wasn’t raid viable and BM hunters were noobs and buffoons for trying. They were wrong. BM is raid viable.
On the other hand we had a lot of BM hunters arguing that with true skill BM was not only viable, but could actually out dps skilled SV or MM hunters. They were also wrong. BM is a massive dps loss compared to other specs at high gear and skill levels.
I’m all about trying to win the hunter vs druid bet. I think hunters have a much larger and more active community than any other class, and I want to see us win! But I’m not going to deliberately post something inflammatory and endure the flaming and being called an elitist jackass just to win the bet.
But likewise I’m not going to avoid addressing a big hunter issue, or taking a stance on it, for fear of the flaming and trolling :)