Cats make a comeback with rake!

I have downloaded the latest patch, copied two premade level 80s (a hunter and a druid), but I haven’t been on there yet.  What with a new job, bad head, things to do in WOW normal, and the thought of all those server crashes, I have been a bit lax.  I have been reading all the forum news though.

One great piece of news, is that cats are getting an extra family ability – Rake.  The developers have acknowledged the weakness of prowl, and have said that it was not their intention to move cats from the most popular to one of the least popular pets.  Gwind  my cat is grinning, and I hope Hobbes is nibbling some Rhino toes in the BRK stable.  Cats aren’t out of the running yet.

Ghostwalker indicated that Rake will be similar to the Druid spell.  The specifics of the druid spell are as follows:

Rake Rank 5
40 Energy Melee Range

Instant

Requires Cat Form
Rake the target for [AP / 100 + 78] bleed damage and an additional [108 + AP * 0.06] damage over 9 sec.  Awards 1 combo point.
 

(source: wowhead)

There are different ranks of the spell, this is for the highest rank, trainable at level 64.

It sounds promising, although until tested it is unclear how it will compare to other DPS ability such as those of the devilsaur and the raptor.  The only downside is that it leaves a DOT on the target, which may break some CC.  Freeze trap in its current form would be broken by such a DOT, however in the expansion freeze trap is suppose to break only after a certain amount of damage, I don’t think this change is implemented in the Beta yet (I guess I better go check :>) )

Here is Ghostcrawler’s comment on the WOTLK forums that this was taken from (source):

Here are some changes you’ll see next build or so. I may have forgotten some. 

— Taunt no longer shares a cooldown with Growl and Cower. 
— Avoidance, not Great Resistance, is the prereq for Wolverine Bite. 
— We are still trying to rework Heart of the Phoenix to get around the shortcomings. 
— Tenacity and Ferocity pets lost their armor multiplier but it was given to all pets at base. The net effect is that Cunning pets won’t be at a stat deficit compared to the other trees. 
— Roar of Recovery provides more mana. 
— Lick Your Wounds now with faster licking technology. 
— Carrion Feeder cooldown dropped to 30. We can’t easily change the range because this spells uses the same tech as the undead racial. 
— Focus cost removed from Bullheaded. 
— Not directly talent-related, but rather than reworking Prowl, cats got a second damage ability, Rake. It felt odd for them to shift from most desired pet to one of the least desired. 

As far as who belongs to which tree, those decisions were made largely based on the pet special ability, not what ecologically makes more sense with the tree’s theme. Strong CC or other PvP-useful abilities were generally given the Cunning tree, just because we didn’t also want to see those same pets as the most popular when raiding or soloing. The goal is to have a lot more options about which pet you’re going to bring. With the Cunning stat change and tree rework, hopefully that will include those animals as well. 

Rather than start another thread, feel free to talk about any of the pet family abilities (Rake, Web, Poison Spit etc.) as well within this one. 

EDIT: Cats have Rake, Prowl and Bite. Prowl has almost no combat use. Bite is spammable. Rake has a short cooldown like other pet abilities, but it’s a bleed like the druid attack.

Thoron - Tinns Bald Eagle

Thoron - Tinn's Bald Eagle

In ghostcrawlers comments, there also seem to be some fixes and slight buffs coming to cunning pets. In the previous patch, growl was still not working properly and cowl was still autocasting, I had been having a hard time finding a pet that could hold aggro.  Even the tenacity pets with their improved growl and taunt were struggling. However, I have been having  a lot of success and fun with a Bald Eagle, a member of the Bird of Prey family, a cunning pet.  The eagle’s family skill, disarm seems to work very nicely on a single-target, and together with owl-focus, generating additional focus for him to use all his skills, he seems to hold threat better than the other pets I have tried … at the moment.  This is not to say he will be the best solo pet, once the kinks and bugs have been sorted out, but for now he’s a lot of fun and I am glad to see them making cunning pets alternatives hunters might look at, not just for PVP.

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