Spent some time working with Call Beast (a much easier process than A Murder of Crows, thank you very much) and got a pretty good handle on how it works. (Note the name has since been changed from Call Beast to Dire Beast). Here’s a video with most of the info:
How Dire Beast Works
First of all, the tooltip:
30 sec cooldown
Summons a powerful wild beast to assist you in combat for 12 sec. Each time the beast deals damage, you will gain 2 focus.
As we’ve all seen from the videos, when you use the ability one of three possible beasts appears behind the target. These include a giant brown bug, a white tiger, or an orange tiger. The beasts in Dire Beast appear to be significantly larger than standard hunter pet size (though with the beta hunter pet bugs it’s hard to tell for certain) and they attack with a single melee attack.
Here are the testing details for Dire Beast. Note that this is still the MoP beta and it’s subject to change at any time:
- All of the three beasts types are mechanical identical — they have no special abilities and no one is better than another.
- The beast acts like a pet on Assist stance: if you’re attacked it will attack. It will also attack anything you’re attacking, and if you change targets the beast will change targets too.
- If you aren’t attacking Dire Beast will just summon the beast behind your target, and then the beast will run to your side and hang out for its 12 second duration, chillaxin.
- If you’re actively attacking, the beast will get 6 attacks in. This means that each instance of Dire Beast nets you 12 focus (or a net 0.4 focus per second if used as often as possible)
- The beast can be targeted and killed. It’s health scales with hunter health, and is 20% of hunter health — making it fairly beefy and unlikely to get one-shot or killed with AoE pulses.
- The beast’s damage is base damage plus about 41.7% of hunter ranged attack power.
- The beasts from Dire Beast seem to inherit 100% of hunter hit, expertise, and crit. They do not gain any haste from the hunter.
Dire Beast vs A Murder of Crows
Right now it’s looking like A Murder of Crows is a bit better than Dire Beast — assuming the crows aren’t killed — but it’s an interesting comparison and we won’t know the answer for certain until we see how the abilities pan out at level 90. Dire Beast does around 1/3 the damage of A Murder of Crows, and can be used twice as often with a 30 sec cooldown vs 1 minute. In addition Dire Beast restores 12 focus every 30 seconds, which translate into almost an extra Arcane Shot per minute. But, Dire Beast is free to cast, while A Murder of Crows costs 60 focus.
Further, there is some indication that it will be difficult for multiple hunters to use A Murder of Crows — it puts a 15-second or so debuff on the target, and it’s very possible that another hunter can’t cast it while the debuff is active (I very much hope this is not true, but I’m not sure what else the debuff is for — unless it’s dispellable, which would also be horrible). Clearly I need to get another hunter and a dispeller to help with some beta testing.
But speculation aside, early indications suggest that A Murder of Crows might well beat out Dire Beast for raw dps in a fight where you don’t have to worry about AoE killing the crows off.