Like most people know, the short answer is “It depends on your raid composition” – which is true enough but lets look at it in a little bit more detail.
Before I go on, I just want to point out that his is only going to be from an Marksman and Survival hunter’s perspective, I haven’t done any analysis on the Beast Mastery tree as, quite frankly, I don’t like BM.
There are 3 trees of hunter pets; Ferocity, Cunning and Tenacity. Within each tree there are various special abilities, which can provide the raid various buffs, that can help the raid in a multitude of ways as well as increasing the most important of things: your DPS.
The outcome I am trying to achieve is to be able to rank the pets in order of DPS, so when you are presented with the situation of multiple buffs missing, you can make an informed pet selection.
As buff stacking can impact the results in different ways (e.g. Bleed Damage & Crit % due to Piercing Shots) I’m going to ignore all stacking and start from a base where there are no buffs present outside of Hunters Mark. I’ll then look at the differences between the family trees and then the abilities, for both MM and SV.
Also bear in mind that these tests (using Female Dwarf) are based on my hunter’s current gear, so you may get some difference if you tested these out. I’m not aiming for 100% accuracy though, just some broad guidance to help with pet selection.
Pet Family Trees
(Not the kind of pet family tree I am talking about)
The 3 trees available are Ferocity, Cunning and Tenacity. To take a “neutral” view on the DPS of each tree (excluding pet buffs/debuffs) I’ve selected 3 pets that offer no such buff (Monkey, Carrion Bird & Turtle) to get a view.
From the above you can see that Cunning and Ferocity are very close in damage, with MM slightly preferring a Cunning Pet and SV preferring a Ferocity pet. Tenacity, as expected, is a distant 3rd, with a dps loss of 617 (vs. Cunning for MM) – 1141 (vs. Feroicty for SV).
In terms of DPS buffs, there are 6 abilities available from our pets that can increase our DPS:
- 8% Magic Damage – Magic Damage is a significant propotion of our damage these days, even as MM. Chimera Shot & Serpent Sting are magic damage and as SV you’ll have even more with Explosive Shot, Serpent Sting, Black Arrow & Cobra Shot.
- 4% Physical Damage – Similar to the above, this damage debuff benefits both MM and SV but this time in the favour of MM, with Steady Shot, Aimed Shot, Auto Shot, Kill Shot & Pet Attacks. SV will have Autoshot & Kill Shot benefiting.
- 20% Armour Reduction – Very similar to the physical damage debuff, this will benefit all physical damage abilities (which are reduced by armour).
- + 549 Agi / Strength – A cat here can buff your Agility, which is the primary stat of all hunter specs. Lovely Jubbly.
- +5% Crit – All of our abilities can crit, so this is a buff to all specs. With Piercing Shots in the MM tree, this is a nicer buff to MM.
- +30% Bleed Damage – No benefit here to SV as they have no bleeds, this buff will solely benefit MM hunters through the piercing shot ability.
(The cat was surprised to find out they came out on top)