This has just got to be the most exciting news from WOTLK so far. The stuff they are proposing for hunter pets just has me salivating for WOTLK. Head over to Petopia and see all the furry goodness for yourself. And when you’ve done, go to WOWhead and play with their Pet talent tree calculators.
So what’s got me so excited? My cats still going to be the queen of raid dps, right? Probably, yes (although watch out for moths in raids!) But this complete overhaul of the pet system means that each family of animals comes with its own unique skills, and some of them are very interesting indeed. These will branch out the number of different pets you see hunters running with, and bring some loved but less useful pets back into vogue. Added to this, every pet has its own talent tree, and in each talent tree are skills like dash. It appears that, even your turtle and crab will now be able to dash! In addition, pets will automatically learn the next level of their skills, so there will be no need to tame wild animal to learn these skills, freeing up all 3 stable slots for permanent pets. (Unfortunately I can’t find any news of extra stable slots – give us at least one more blizzard /beg.) When tamed an animal that is lower than you in level, will jump up to 5 levels below you (so you can go and grab those pets you always wished you had tamed or kept at the time e.g., Humar, the Razor Fang Kraul pig, the ghost saber). Finally, with all the new pets in Wrath, as well as newly tamable current species such as moths, and you have a bundle of furry (and fluttery) goodness. So what does this all add up to? Well for me:
- I love bears. I leveled from 48-70 with a bear as my main pet. From 56 that was a white Winterspring bear, named Beren. I sadly let him go when I needed to train up a cat at 70 for raiding, and because I finally faced fact that he was not going to get dash or any special skill anytime soon, no matter how much I grumbled about it on the forums (and boy did I grumble). Well Blizzard have listened to us bear lovers (and all those other lovers of off-pets). Through the talent trees bears get dash! And they get swipe (striking 3 enemies at once) as their family ability. I used to use Beren to tank instances I was over-level for. Now it looks like he will truly be able to tank, or at least off-tank. What’s more, a tanking pet with its improved growl and taunt abilities should make a great soloing pet, hopefully overcoming some of the aggro management problems hunters are having. I say ‘he’, but of course I will need to go train a new Beren. I guess I can either get a Winterspring bear and train it up the 5 levels to 70, or wait till 73 and then snag one of the white bears Petopia list as inhabiting the Dragonblight. Either way, I am one happy bear lover :>)
- I will of course keep the faithful Gwind for raiding and when I need high DPS. Cats retain prowl as their family skill. Currently I find that most useful in BGs (paired with my nightelf shadowmeld), however there seem pets with other skills even more exciting for BGs. Gwind was a labor of love too. I leveled her up from 60-70 when I was already 70. At the time I had one of those black stiped cats you can pick up at level 70 that every hunter had. I wanted to be different so I snagged Gwind, unfortunately by the time I had leveled her I found everyone else had the same idea, and now Shy-Rotam skins were more common that black stipes! Still its much nicer, so I don’t regret it.
- I started to train up an owl recently for screech, to try and find a pet that could hold aggro better when soloing (like many hunters, I can pull mobs off my pets just by auto shooting, even after letting the pet build up some aggro). Owls are being reclassified as Birds of Prey and instead of screech get the interesting, but probably not best family skill, disarm (good for arena maybe, but that’s not my thing). So I will probably get rid of my owl, to free up the spot for Beren II.
- My third pet is currently my beautiful timber wolf, Red. He looks just as a hunter pet should look, and has stayed pretty large after taming. I am really loath to give him up. However, furious howl was never that great, and for my third pet I would like a pvp orientated pet. There are some pets with some interesting skills out there for pvp, some might be more arena orientated, some more useful for BGs, or world pvp. It would be nice to try out a pet in the utility tree, since my bear would be the tanking tree, and my cat dps. But at the moment, the pet that appeals for BGs and world pvp the most is another dps pet – the hyena. It has a hamstring ability, reducing the targets movement speed by 50% for 6secs. Just think of all those fleeing flag runners or enemies with less than half health you are just itching to finish off. I don’t know how many times I’ve chased down a fleeing horde in a bg, only for them to get away on a mount or with a run speed enhancement. Add a high dps hyena with an increase to outdoor movement speed and dash through talents, and his tendon rip ability, and no more fleeing horde :>)
- One thing that could change all these musing though… that mysterious end talent in the beast master tree… what is an ‘exotic pet’? Watch this space.