A necessary change of mains

Gee, thanks Blizzard…

For the remainder of Battle of Dazar’alor, I will continue to play a Hunter. I’ve had to switch specs from BM in the main recently to MM, as BM as usual mid-expansion, starts to fall behind because of scaling.

If you don’t know what that means, about 40% of BM’s damage comes from the BM Pet, mainly a Spirit Beast, and as such the spec’s damage output doesn’t scale as well as MM does with higher gear. This reliance on pets for damage is a boon to BM early in an expansion, but starts to hurt the deeper into an expansion you go without buffs from Blizzard.

However in BfA it appears to have hit that point already, just 6-7 months into the expansion, and BM is now, well you can see for yourself how it’s faring in Mythic BoD:

As you can see there, in Mythic BoD across all item levels and all specs, BM is last. Not just last, but significantly last by a fair chunk of damage. It currently lags behind the best spec, Shadow, by a whopping 5½-6k DPS overall. And when average DPS is around 20-21k DPS, a 5½-6k swing is a phenomenally large amount to be lagging behind by.

Survival, previously the best Hunter spec by quite a margin, has completely fallen off the pace. It had been among the top 6/7 specs in Mythic Uldir, but now has crashed all the way down to 3rd worst.

So as of right now, the Hunter class has 2 of the 3 worst performing specs in current content.

MM, currently the best Hunter spec for raw DPS, is itself only 13th out of the 24 specs available. So the best the entire Hunter class can muster is a spot in the lower half of the spec rankings.

Mages and Warriors are in a similar position, where none of their DPS specs feature anywhere near the top half of the DPS specs in Mythic BoD.

And, for Hunters at least, it doesn’t look to be improving any time soon, either with further gear or any attention from Blizzard.

This means that if I want to keep my raid spot, especially against players with gear 10-12 item levels higher than me, continuing to play an underperforming spec (and class) is not a tenable situation.

It’s a pity. In Uldir I was outperforming other players and classes with gear 10 or more iLevels above me because at that point BM was scaled fairly at a baseline level with other specs, and the spec’s strengths shone through (full mobility, consistent pet damage, beefier health pool).

So now I’ve had to switch to MM, which I’m still getting to grips with, but in the earlier half of heroic BoD I’m parsing Purple and Orange again, after a few nights of grey & green parses while I got into the groove with the spec and the fights from a new spec perspective.

One issue I have with MM though is how squishy it feels. I know I’m lagging a bit in gear levels, mainly because I really need BiS gear otherwise it’s not actually an upgrade in terms of DPS, but I’ve seen myself get one-shot by mechanics in Heroic BoD that more tankier classes might not be.

MM’s lack of self-heals is also an issue, and with only 2 defensive cooldowns and one mediocre heal, all of which have fairly long CD timers, it can be hard to recover from big hits if the healers are busy taking care of tanks for example.

The latter half of Heroic BoD is somewhat more difficult to get to grips with a new spec, but I’m still improving. While I may not be parsing as high as I do with BM, the objective damage output is superior by a fair margin, but still miles behind that of other classes.

So, as I did in Legion, it looks like I’ll be changing mains mid-expansion. My options were either Shadow Priest (as it’s currently FotM per the charts above), or a class I actually have recent-ish Mythic experience with: Warlock.

I had given consideration to Shadow, as that would give me a Holy OS, but we tend to run with a lot of healers in the roster already, so it would be of no great benefit.

That means Warlock looks to be the class of choice as we enter the mid-part of the expansion, again!

There’s little chance all 3 Warlock specs will be nerfed into the ground by then, let alone the end of the expansion, so it looks to be a safe bet to maintain a raid spot and raid as often as possible.

So over the next few weeks and months I’ll level and gear my Warlock, and get him ready for the back end of 8.1.5, meaning he’ll be good to go right away in the upcoming Azshara’s Eternal Palace raid in 8.2.

We’ll be progressing in Heroic BoD over those weeks, as we’re currently 6/9 and began work on Heroic Mekkatorque last night (looks easy enough), in an effort to clear Heroic by the time 8.1.5 comes around.

We also cleared the first boss, Champion of Light, on Mythic last night, so we’re currently sitting at 1/9 Mythic, 6/9 Heroic, 9/9 Normal mode 🙂

I should be able to bring my Warlock to farm nights in heroic BoD once we’re starting proper Mythic progression, so fingers crossed I’m on a par gear wise by then!