Beast masters are Rangers who, instead of focusing on dealing damage through their bows, focus on strengthening their pet and Beast Mastery attribute, and use almost exclusively pet-oriented abilities. While previously almost non-existent, due to numerous updates and new skills, they began slowly gaining acceptance as a plausible character type.
Pets resemble Warriors, who can either take an enormous amount of damage through the use of defensive shouts, or utilizing multiple pet attack skills that are made to inflict large amounts of damage. Often a beast master takes a role that falls in between a pure offensive build and a defensive build.
Common abilities used
Some common shouts (or skill, in the case of Feral Aggression) used by a beast master include:
- Call of Protection is the most common defensive ability for pets of all, tied with Symbiotic Bond, as few abilities can compete with Call of Protection's base damage reduction.
- Symbiotic Bond is generally used if the Beast Master prefers a defensive role for their pet, most commonly used in a Beast Master build known as the 'Tank Master.'
- "Together as One!" → high damage increase for pet, user, and adjacent allies.
- Feral Aggression is used in a role where they want the pet to be dishing out the most damage possible, though many were turned away from it when Feral Aggression was nerfed.
- Call of Haste allows the pet to move from target to target quickly, alongside the pet's base 20% movement speed increase, and conveniently dealing bonus damage in the process, effectively moving 59.6% faster than a player and receiving the IAS bonus as well, unconditionally.
- Enraged Lunge is the most common pet attack used, partially because it has the largest + damage bonus of any Pet Attack, and is the only way for Rangers to inflict deep wound without a secondary profession skill.
- Brutal Strike is generally used when a Beast Master does not wish to use Enraged Lunge as their elite ability, and comes in as the second highest + damage pet attack skill at +74, though has less controllable conditional requirements to meet the +damage bonus than Enraged Lunge.
- Melandru's Assault
- Rampage as One
- Heal as One is arguably the strongest healing ability a beast master can use, as it can resurrect the pet, and heal you, even when it resurrects the pet, which effectively performs 3 functions at once. In PvE it will also make it unnecessary to bring Comfort Animal as your pet wil travel with you if you equip this skill, freeing up an extra skill slot. Some are turned away by the fact it costs the ranger their elite ability though.
- Comfort Animal, when not using Heal As One, is the only way for a beast master to both heal and resurrect their pet, though does not take up the elite ability. Also, in PvE this skill now counts as Charm Animal to bring the pet with your party, allowing another skill to be taken instead of Charm Animal.
- "Together as One!" → high health regeneration for pet, user, and adjacent allies.
- Companionship is also useful to heal yourself or your pet conditionally based on who has the lowest health, but does not provide the resurrection that the two above skills do, though it is only worth the risk when a Beast Master has ensured that the pet will never be defeated, even when you are dead, in the case of Symbiotic Bond users.
- Revive Animal
- Predatory Bond
- Disrupting Lunge
- Never Rampage Alone
- Otyugh's Cry, now a welcome ability within the beast master community, crosses the line of pure offense and defense, as your pet gains an additional 24 armor, and cannot be blocked throughout the duration.
- Predator's Pounce
- Poisonous Bite
- Scavenger Strike
- Strike as One
- Great Dwarf Weapon
Beast masters, like minion masters and spirit spammers, function as a living build - though instead of summoning up to 10 disposable minions or spirits, which are impaired by requiring corpse exploitation or complex rituals, they lack the ability to have numerous creatures following/guarding them, instead, having a single, powerful ally, that does not need corpse exploitation to function. They only need one of two skills - Call of Protection and Symbiotic Bond, to become one of the most effective tanks in the game, and are able to deal incredible damage, and through the use of several high damage skills/buffs, particularly Enraged Lunge and Feral Aggression, they also are one of the most effective damage dealers available. A skillful beast master can turn both general PvE into a surprisingly painless task, since they conform to the general demand of PvE - high defense and damage, and dominate the grounds of general PvP, since few consider the pet a threat, and have some very PvP based buffs - Call of Haste and Otyugh's Cry, in particular. Although their ability to body block is limited compared to a minion master, beast masters have more control over their pet, and it does not become hostile to all when a beast master dies, unlike a minion master. Alongside minion masters, they also have something no other character can do - perform an action, such as resurrecting a party member, while being able to deal all their primary damage at the same time. Their primary tool, the pet, does not suffer from death penalty in PvE as well, meaning they can stay out of danger and know that their pet will not be harmed by numerous deaths.
The primary drawback is that while a Ranger may have a powerful pet that deals the highest damage of most build types, and have the most defense, this comes at the price of suffering the limitations melee attacking characters suffer from, and the ranger is most likely to have a ranged weapon which has damage that cannot compare to the damage their pet can do. The pet also suffers from being considered an "ally" so certain skills will not affect it, and opposing AI consider pets of second importance compared to players, making them less useful tanks for large groups. Although for some it may not be an issue, PUGs in particular tend to not understand that Beast Mastery has become a character type that can challenge the warrior's ability to deal damage and tank. In PvP, while they have an additional ally to body block, they must needlessly sacrifice two skills at the very least to heal themselves, their pet, resurrect it, and make sure the animal stands by their side, in the case of Charm Animal; however, in PvE, Comfort Animal can be used in place of Charm Animal. Pets, like minions (though to a lesser extent compared to minions) suffer from AI algorithm, meaning a build that requires special timing is less plausible for a beast master, and although it is more advanced than minion AI, it is not on par with the AI of heroes - they may needlessly become stuck behind certain NPCs and objects, do not flee from AoE, and only respond to attacks when the attacker is almost right next to the character, or if the beast master is attacking. By using "Strike as One", a beast master can teleport a stuck pet and the pet will reactivate fighting as the beast master engages the next available enemy. Summing up the various faults of pets: they receive death penalty in PvP areas, and generally do not receive morale boosts in PvE areas (the giants of the Thirsty River mission, and the very last non-elite mission in Nightfall are notable exceptions).
In the beast master builds, there are a few notable kinds of build set-ups:
Bunny thumpers (or just "thumpers") are melee Rangers who use a combination of Hammer attacks and Beast Mastery skills to inflict pressure damage. The name is given from the awkward "hopping" animation seen when a Ranger carries a hammer. The name "Bunny Thumper" was coined by Izzy, shortly after game release.
|Hammer Mastery: 9 |
Beast Mastery: 12+1+1
- Creates high single target pressure
- Difficult to kite
- Hammer Bash is used as an adequate knockdown.
- The most common variants use Irresistible Blow, which can punish enemy targets using common melee counters such as Guardian.
- Crushing Blow inflicts the Deep Wound condition, creating a sudden spike in the pressure damage.
- It has flexible skill slots.
- Rampage as One is frequently used as the elite for attack speed/move speed purposes. The pet (required for RaO to activate) is also used for Bestial Mauling, which dazes the knocklocked target.
- Lack of self healing. The common 3 attribute spread between Expertise, Beast Mastery and Hammer Mastery makes it difficult to fit in a self-heal.
- Low armor against physical attacks means thumpers are a vulnerable target to spikes and counter-pressure. (in case of rangerspike, paragon spike, or melee spike, not against the majority of caster spikes)
- Rampage as One requires your pet to be alive. This can become more and more difficult throughout the game, as your pet also accumulates Death Penalty in PvP.
- The most commonly used elite is Rampage as One, which functions as both a speed boost, and an attack speed increase for you and your pet. A wonderful pressure tool and it is priced accordingly in terms of energy. A zealous hammer is suggested when used with this elite. Other alternative Beast Mastery IAS skills are:
- Both Enraged Lunge and Ferocious Strike can find themselves in skill bars of thumpers in conjunction with Tiger's Fury or Bestial Fury.
- Irresistible Blow is an attack skill that is commonly used on thumper skill bars, due its fast recharge, low energy cost and ability to knock down blocking opponents.
- Pet attacks such as Bestial Mauling or Poisonous Bite are effective.
- You can choose between an Elder, Dire or Hearty Pet.
- Occasionally other elites are used, such as Heal as One. These variations are not common, and may not be as effective as the more canonical versions seen in organized play.
- Useful nature rituals can be easily packed on to a thumper skill bar, such as Fertile Season. These spirits are more commonly seen in teams running in HA.
- As an extreme and uncommon variant, the hammer can be substituted for another weapon, such as a Scythe, an Axe, Daggers, or even a Spear. While not technically thumpers, these rangers have many of same capabilities and play in a similar fashion.
A Pack Hunter is a ranger build with a paragon secondary designed to spread conditions and utilize a pet for additional damage and utility. Pack hunters are effective in many PvP types, including arenas and Alliance battle.
|Spear Mastery: 9 |
Beast Mastery: 12+1+1
This build relies on spears to spread conditions while dealing a good chunk of damage, so different spear mods are preferred for each task. A Furious spear is most common, as it builds Adrenaline for attack skills fastest, although some prefer a Vampiric or even a Zealous spear. A shield with Fortitude is also helpful.
Barbed Spear, a low-cost unconditional bleeding skill is highly favored as usual ranger bow bleeding skills are conditional. When paired with Apply Poison or Poison Tip Signet long lasting high rate degeneration that can be spread and maintained easily. Additional spear attacks such as Blazing Spear, Maiming Spear and Merciless Spear can be used to generate other conditions such as burning, cripple and deep wound.
The pet skills vary, depending on the purpose of the build - rangers seeking to increase their durability take Heal as One, while rangers seeking to maximize their pet's damage output will take Enraged Lunge. Rampage as One was also used for a time, but is now mostly unused in favor of the other two. Otyugh's Cry is frequently used to provide unblockable damage pressure. Due to the energy requirements when bringing energy-based skills such as Spear of Lightning and Maiming Spear, consider bringing Scavenger Strike or 1-2 long recharging Beast Mastery skills that have lower upkeep such as Call of Haste, Call of Protection, Disrupting Lunge, Feral Aggression and Run as One.
Poisonous Bite is a suitable alternative which may benefit from pet boosting skills such as being unblockable and offer advantage compared to the previously mentioned poison-application skills. Also, spreading out degeneration abilities between pet and master ensure that some degeneration can be applied if one of the attackers is blinded. Condition removal is less frequently used as blind usually affects only one target, allowing either the pet or the user to continue to attack.
Blocking and anti-melee hexes are the biggest threat. If possible, fit some skills in to get around these - Otyugh's Cry for example.
- Due to the Thursday, August 6, 2009 update, pets receive 33% less damage and deal 33% more damage in combat in PvE.
|Team roles (edit)|
|Type||General team roles||Specific team roles||Hero team roles|
|Damage||Spiker • Nuker||Bomber • Dagger spammer • Touch ranger • Starburster • Trapper||—|
|Pressure||Lineback||Barrager • Beast master • Cripshot Ranger • Pressure Ranger||—|
|Support||Healer • Protection||Battery • Bonder • Flag runner • Hybrid monk • Imbagon • Infuser • Orders||—|
|Control||Shutdown • Tank||Minion master • Perma • Spirit spammer||Mesmer Midline|
|Utility||Caller • Toolbox||Gimmick||—|