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Friday, December 3, 2010

Best Leveling spec in Cata?

This is on everyone's mind. What will you level as in cata? Well fear not!! I have figured it out already.

During the extensive pre-cataclysm boredom stage, I decided to knock out loremaster of northrend. I haven't bothered with the old world one because I knew in cataclysm you will be able to fly in it. Also, it is a LOT easier now with a combination of quest number achievements by zone instead of just a total quest count, so I am glad I waited.

But basically, let us go through each spec with the pros and cons before I give you my opinion.

First off, BM. For the longest time BM has been regarded as "The leveling spec". Mainly because the pet would be tanking throughout the majority of leveling, so a spec that increases the durability of the pet as well as the threat it puts out seems ideal and makes it very easy. Also, the pet doing most of the damage the process is mostly automated and you don't have to do that much. Kind of like first-class service. But, in cataclysm, pet threat is a nonfactor. We have the amazing glyph of misdirection which resets the cooldown when it is cast on our pet. So with any spec, our pet has 100% threat regardless.
Also, all of our pets have had enormous buffs to their durability. Mend pet is buffed as well as proper scaling from our gear. They are in no real fear of dying anytime soon.

But BM is not completely useless! It is very good with the new focus mechanic, your pet has good regeneration and it is pulling most of the weight, and you get cooldowns that help your focus like fervor and the beast within that reduces cost by 50%, but most importantly I enjoy the faster mount speed, an all purpose bonus to questing, and not to mention the self-heals from the spirit beast, a godsend in our time.

But what I feel this spec lacks is that it is extremely cooldown-reliant. It is only focus efficient for a short duration and then is pretty poor between fights. While leveling, you will be constantly killing without pause, and this spec loses its benefits.

Survival. My staple tree of specialization, and the currently best raiding and pvp spec in cataclysm. This is obviously the best choice for leveling, right? In my opinion, it isn't.

"Why not?", you might ask. One, this tree has no survivability. No self heals. Second, this tree has zero focus regeneration outside of procs. That means it isn't good for rapid leveling without annoyance. Example, Shoot explosive shot, mob dies, shoot explosive shot, second mob dies.. You are now completely OOF and have no way of regenerating save spamming steady shot or waiting. This is why I won't level with this spec. Also, this spec has damage that is very dependent on your debuffs on the target. Serpent sting, 10% more damage, (not to mention that your dots crit a lot harder than as other specs) Black arrow, ticks hard and procs locknload. That means a typical SV rotation is black arrow, serpent sting, explosive shot. Then the mob is dead before the dots get to use their full effect. So then you are simply ending up with neglecting your maximum potential dps to just spam explosive shot. That could work, but then you run out of focus with no way to restore. I have a better solution.

Marksmanship. My spec of choice for leveling. Why? Well, first off it requires extremely minimal buttons to press. You press two buttons to kill things, chimera shot and arcane shot. They require no shots to be set up beforehand, they will apply Hunter's mark, chimera shot no longer needs serpent sting so you do not even have to use it. Other than that, the PRIMARY reason why MM is the superior spec is rapid recovery. Every time you kill a mob, you get 50 focus back. 'Nuff said. If this tree had ONLY that I would be sold, but it has far more. It has very nice aoe damage with bombardment, as well as using concussive barrage you can effectively kite multiple mobs at once. Silencing shot. A very useful ability for the inevitable caster mobs that you'll encounter while questing as well as those elite quests that only hunters can solo, because we are so pro. It also has readiness, so you can do whatever you want a second time, including feign death to prevent dying and running through quests to pick up that item you need, and of course self heals from chimera shot. It isn't much, I know, but it is enough that you don't have to stop.. since your pet will be taking the majority of the damage.

Lions, Tigers, and Bears! Oh my!

You are probably wondering what pet to use, and which pets stand out. Allow me to assist you.

PvE: I generally go between the Cat, Wolf, and Raptor in that order. I use whatever the group doesn't have. In case you didn't know, cat provides horn of winter, wolf LoTP, and raptor is sunder armor. As a Sv hunter sunder armor isn't as important, but if you are MM a raptor is more important. You can also get a wind serpent for 8% magic damage, ravager for 4% physical damage, or a hyena for 30% bleed damage. These won't be as beneficial as the others I think. (Except maybe for a wind serpent as SV) but you should get one on the off-chance that your group has all the other buffs.

If they have everything, you might consider a pet that reduces the damage on the tank. A fox or plainstrider reduces attack speed by 20% and a carrion bird reduces physical damage of the surrounding targets by 10%. They can be pretty significant differences if your tank needs help.

Rare pets.
This is probably the most striking one. An undead eagle. We all have seen these flying around northrend and were dying to tame one. Now we can.
The only way to get this particular "beauty" is by doing a quest in the WPL. Shows the bird in question while is the first quest in the chain.

Corehound fans, you have a brand new best in show. We got Chromaggus, the prismatic dragon-hound thing from BWL. Be warned though, this cannot be tamed solo and you will need help.

Foxes. Yes we all love them and they are so cute, and 95% of the huntard population has one, and it is the new staple for "huntard" as cat has been for the past 2 expansions. But if you want one, get the rare one that every huntard cant. This beauty is called Ashtail, and it spawns here. The spawn time is 45 minutes so there is probably a wait, but nothing as horrible as a spirit beast.

Shows the exact spawn point.

Monkeys! They are awesome, and make funny sounds when attacking. What is not to love? Oh, and they are currently the best PvP pet ever with a 4 second stun (that will be nerfed, to the ground baby, in the near future)
Which monkey is the best?! Well, the ones with pickaxes of course! You can tame them in the deadmines. If you want a normal non-weaponized monkey, they roam around northern stranglethorn.

A unique BM pet. I know right? They are supposed to be unique but this one stands out with the unique crowd. Here we have a worm. If you are raiding as BM I would suggest you grab one of these and/or a chimera for the situations in which you need aoe damage for your raid.

The unique thing about this worm is that it is transparent. You tame it while doing the daily quest for Dun Niffelem.

And finally, we have the new ghost wolf! This isn't as unique and striking as the old blue spirit wolf, but it is a sigh of relief from those hideous northrend worgs.

You tame this in eastern plaguelands. You can even tame him with the sword in his head using the kill-tame method used for the oil worgs in borean.