Survival vs. Beastmaster Hunter in Legion

Survival Vs. Beastmaster in Legion

I was dead-set on Survival going into Legion. I had my mind all made up that I would be a gnome melee hunter. Then… I had some time to kill during this pre-launch invasion hype. I finished all my quests, got all of my invasion drops, raised my trade skills, and I thought, “I’ll try out BeastMaster just for the heck of it.” After trying out BM, I’m seriously torn.

Survival vs. Beastmaster DPS

Beastmaster is out-dpsing my survival spec by about 20% right now. BM is also ranged vs melee, which to me makes it waaaay easier to play. I can spend more time consistently shooting the target while mobile (to avoid bad stuff) rather than being so close to something.

The pet skills for BM are also really neat. Stomp does incredible damage. I think I’m seeing 40k+ crits that are AoE, and that’s incredibly powerful for something that’s a passive on my pet when it “charges in” — which seems to happen way more often than the description implies.

My biggest struggle with Survival seems to be RNG + sustainability. Messing up that rotation even a little bit drops my DPS by 30% whereas I seem to be able to sustain DPS on the BM spec even after the initial burst.

BM burst is indeed powerful. Popping Stampede, Burst of Crows, Bestial Wrath, AND Aspect of the Wild is disgusting.

Follow up that initial cooldown dump with Kill Command on cooldown, Dire Beast on Cooldown, and cobra shots to dump Focus… it’s super easy AND really great DPS.

Survival vs. BM in PvP

I wasn’t enjoying Survival in PvP. Having to be in Melee means being soft to hits and getting focused pretty easy — or even burned by passive AoE damage. Sending in the pet to stomp and then using multishot (which procs more pet aoe) means tons of damage. I was keeping people off flags in AB all by myself AND killing them by blowing cooldowns. I couldn’t do that as Survival.

Thok Hunter PetBeastmaster vs. Survival Pets

I could never go Marksman because of the no pet thing. For the same reason, I feel like BM is really fun because it gets even cooler pets. Being able to tame Thok (from Siege of Orgrimmar) and other neat exotic pets pushes the needle toward BM.

Melee vs Ranged DPS for Hunters

Here’s where things get sticky. I’m hearing that Survival (melee) out DPS’s BM (Ranged) end-game in the parses. There’s also this idea that melee might be better DPS due to fight mechanics in 5-man mythics. I haven’t done enough research, but this is what I’m hearing.


From the sound of things, if you think I’m leaning BM then you are correct. I think it’s more fun right now. The rotation is easier. The ‘flavor’ is more hunter. But that doesn’t mean Survival isn’t fun, and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s any less powerful. I’m torn, and will likely need my friends to weigh in and push me one way or another. For now, I’ve flip flopped to BM.

  • The problem is that right now, until legion launches everyone is playing with only half (well maybe 3/4) of a spec due to how important the artifact weapon and the initial ability from it is to a lot of specs.

    I am kind of if the same boat as well on my Shaman in that I really want to play Enhancement, but it’s the same thing where it’s much easier to mess up the rotation and if you do it drops the damage by quite a bit, a lot more to watch, having to be melee means in the current mythic dungeons / raids it’s a lot harder to keep up time, etc.

    And while all the sites are saying that in the beta enhancement is one of the top DPS specs… right now my Elemental spec is out DPSing my Enhancement, especially on burst. My Elemental is bursting for 35-40k DPS
    at ilvl 695 (the ilvl 700 invasion pieces + a shitty trinket), and then slowing down over a long fight to finish about 25k DPS where as my enhancement has no real burst and just sits around 22k DPS.

    I have looked up a lot about the specs of all classes on youtube as well, watching videos of how they play with the artifact abilities and passives and it amazes me how much they really do change it so I am waiting for legion to make a final decision but I definitely feel the pain.

    I am actually leveling up a gnome hunter as well, something I never thought I would do, I’ve always hated hunters but with the easy invasion leveling… I couldn’t resist, and I am finding hunter much more fun and rewarding than I expected.

  • Well besides melee vs ranged, there is a grand canyon wide gap in those two specs’ rotations. BM in Legion stands alone as the most simple DPS rotation in the game by a decent margin. Meanwhile survival is among the most complex rotations. I hope that doesn’t come across as condescending or a knock on BM, some players like more buttons and some like less, but the enormous difference between these two particular specs made me point it out.

  • Going to add that BM will probably be better for mythic dungeons, dungeons are all about the AOE and BM excels at that while survival is pretty mediocre AOE. I main a feral druid which is similarly bad at AOE so I know that struggle and if mythic dungeons are going to be your focus I’d definitely go BM.

  • @Jenks: I will happily say that I PREFER simple rotations. I come from EverQuest where abilities were straight up and auto attack was bread and butter. I prefer fewer buttons and simpler rotations every day. I see no shame in that. Total preference. 😛

    Good insight about the AoE.

    @Drathmar: Very good point, and something I neglected to really think much about. Survival Hunters need their finisher from the artifact weapon to make them complete. That’s definitely a huge bonus.

    I’m not sure what BM hunters get from the artifact. I honestly haven’t even looked it up once.

  • I leveled up a new gnome hunter like you did. I did BM all the way up to maybe level 60 or 70, then i started primarily doing Marksman. As a marksman, I feel like im waiting a lot for my skills to cool down, sidewinders, barrage, etc.

    With the BM I feel like the rotation is easy but I always have a skill that I can be using to do damage. Plus I have a pet, which honestly makes it even better, Especially with Friender or the mechanical sheep! 😛

  • I boosted my hunter and have been gearing him up for Legion as preparation to make him my primary alt. I went Marks and don’t regret it. I mainly PvP though.

    Also, you don’t have to give up your pet as Marks. It’s a talent choice.

    On the other hand I’ve found my main, a primarily Ret Pally, to bet quite awkward as compared to what I am used to. So many changes. Hopefully, he will feel smoother at 110 for me.

  • My suggestion is to do what you think is fun. I wouldn’t worry about top tier DPS from Beta. You’ll be fine and I’ll carry you with my epic prot tank deeps. 😉

  • The minute you start choosing spec because it’s more effective rather than it’s more fun to play is the minute the game stops being a game and you should reconsider or quit, imo.

  • You haven’t? Then you are in for a treat, it will definitely tip the scale for BM: you get a SECOND PET, a beautiful lightning direwolf named Hati.

  • I feel like the classes are broken without these artifact weapons. My BM is doing 25k sometimes 30k. Item level is 704. I hear MM hunters are doing 40-50k. I think you should choose the more effective spec until legion launches. It beats getting kicked out of raids when you did everything right. It’s a real bummer when you see other classes pulling 70 and even 100k.