As we covered in our last post, a much streamlined BM tree has eliminated nearly all of our tanking talents, and is now mostly centered on DPS. The BM tree has a pretty has a straight forward build for maximum DPS with a few extra talent points to spend in either PvP or tanking talents, resulting in the build you see above for group tanking. At level 80 this should stand as a standard tanking build, although the effects of Focus Fire on pet threat generation have yet to be determined and Mend Pet may be desirable depending on content.
As always pet talent builds are going to vary wildly based on personal preference and content being tanked, but most will be working off the same 14 point base.
This base of talents picks up the most important talents in pet durability as well with the most important threat talents and still leaves six talent points at level 80 to pick up spell resistances, Silverback or additional threat. Once more 4.0.1 goes live and DPS tools become more readily available, We’ll do a rundown of the threat benefits of Serpent Swiftness, Spiked Collar, and the new Wild Hunt.
Finally we come to the topic of scaling, the answer to some of our biggest concerns going into the Cataclysm changes. While most of our talents to increase our pets HP and Armor have vanished, their base scaling of these stats has gone way up. Stamina scaling before talents has increased from 45% to either 78% or 73.5% (the ingame numbers don’t seem to match Blizzards stated numbers. Before group buffs a hunter and pet with all the HP improving talents in 3.3.5 gives his pet about 8.5 HP per point of stamina on his gear, and it 4.0.1 it’s 8.23. Combine that with the fact that our gear has more stamina on it than ever before and our pet’s HP has barely changed at all.
Its the same story for Armor. in 3.3.5 without any talents pet receive 45% of their hunter’s armor rating, increased to 70% on the 4.0.1 PTR. After talents in 3.3.5 fully talented a pet receives around 73% of the hunter’s armor, but in 4.0.1 PTR its actually been increased to nearly 85%. That’s right, even after eliminating our armor talents, our pets are actually more durable than before.
The final major concern left for us pet tankers after Cataclysm changes is crit immunity, or our lack thereof, and why it might not matter after all.