Choosing your pets for WOTLK

Patch 3.0 is due to hit on Oct 14th, and with it comes all the talent changes and pet changes for the expansion.   This will give everyone one month before the expansion to decide on their new talent specs.  For hunters it will give them time to choose which pets they wish to take with them into the expansion, and to level up any new pets.

The big over haul of pets, means this is a great opportunity to rethink the pets you play with, and to go out and tame yourself some new pets and get them ready for the expansion.  The changes mean that this will not be the onerous task it once was, and mean that you can pick that pet you always wanted.  They also mean that even if you were previously satisfied with your loyal pet, you may want to have another look, since so much has changed, and there may now be a better pet for you. 


Changes to pets include:

  • Hunters now get 5 stables slots, up from 3.
  • There is no longer a loyalty system – once tamed a pet is your best friend, no need to level up loyalty or be penalized while playing with a lower loyalty pet.
  • All pets come with skills like growl, cower, and bite, claw or slam, and these automatically level with the pets level, so there is no need to go and learn new levels of these skills from animals in the wild – freeing up another stable slot.
  • If you train a low level pet it will jump to 5 levels below you.
  • The stat modifiers for each pet family have completely changed.
  • Each pet family has its own unique skill, some do damage, some help the pet to tank or survive, some are good for pvp.
  • Pets have been categorized into 3 families – each with their own talent tree, fulfilling different functions.
  • There are some new families of pets that are tamable, and some animals that were previously untamable are now tamable.
  • Caster animals that previously has inferior stats, are going to have similar stats to non-casters.
  • Pet leveling has increased – pets now need 1/10th (10%) of a hunters experience to level, instead of 1/6th (16.5%)

To find out more about all of the pet changes go to Petopias WOTLK: Hunter Pet FAQ


So what are the implications of all of this?

  • If you are level 70 you have probably settled with a high dps pet for raiding like a cat, or a pet for pvp, maybe a scorpid.  But these might not be the best pets for leveling from 70-80.  You may be better off looking at a tanking pet from the tenacity tree.
  • Did you always wish you had a pet with a particular unique look (the pink flamingo, humar the black lion, the armored boar from Razorfen Kraul) or a pet that is only available at lower levels (a gorilla, a beige scorpid, etc)?  Well nows your chance – if you go tame him when patch 3.0 hits, he will jump up to 5 levels below you (65 if you are level 70), and you will have one month to level him up to your level before the expansion.  With improved pet leveling, this should be easier than before.
  • You may want to start out with a couple of different pets for different functions – a dps pet, a tanking pet, an aoe tanking pet, a pvp pet.  You can now do this, although you may have to keep swapping them to keep them up with your level, rather than leveling several unique skinned pets with you.


Resources (yes these are mostly the wonderful Petopia)

  • You can find the talent calculator with the new talent trees for the three pet families here.
  • If you want a tanking pet, choose a tenacity pet.  If you want a high dps pet, choose a ferocity pet.  Cunning pets have some interesting spells, and some nice utility; pets in this family are useful for pvp, but also can be useful in pve and raiding.  Choose what you like to fit your playstyle and talent build, and spec the pet accordingly.
  • You will find a list of which pets fall into each of the three families here.  Along with the stat modifiers for that family.  All cunning pets, for instance, have +5% health, +15% armor, and +5% dps.
  • You will find a list of each pet families individual skill here.  Click on the skill to see which pet it belongs to, if you are not sure.
  • You will find a list of all the new pets in WOTLK and the patch here.  Some of these will be tamable in the patch, as they are below level 70 and can be found in Azeroth or Outland, for many others you will have to wait for the expansion and Northrend.
  • You will find a list of pets with unique looking skins here.  And one of pets with special behaviors here.


Some ideas and suggestions

These are not necessarily the must have or best pets, but the pets you might want to think about leveling up from 65 to 70 during the patch period, either because they fulfill a useful function, they have some unusual skins you might be interested in, or they are new/changed in Wrath and you might want to give them a try.


Tanking pets

Talents include a taunt and improved growl, and talents which increase armor, stamina, and dodge, and reduce the damage done to your pet, and increase the healing done to him.

Worm (see above)

New exotic pet, requires 51 points in beast mastery.  BRK Movie here (pls note some of the things in these moves are now a little out of date, BRK points out some of the bugs in the beta, that have now been ironed out).

Pros: Worms acid spit acts like a warriors sunder armor.  Making it a good single mob tank.

Cons.   It did have an annoying stop start motion as it found its range to spit acid, but I hear they have now fixed that in the Beta.  This was a major con for me, but if its fixed, I would consider a worm again.

Skins:  skins

Rare skins:  The Northrend worm is the most unusual, but the pretty blue and white Deep Borer from Maraudon might be a good choice too.

Others:  Boars are tenacity pets, but will a dps skill, so may be a good compromise (and didn’t you always want an armored boar?).  You will be able to pick up a rhino in Northrend, but not until then.


Have you seen BRK’s Gorilladin video yet?  If not watch it here.  Don’t be surprised if every other hunter is running around with a gorilla come Wrath.  I’ve already seen a hunter on my sever with a gorilla called Gorilladin.

Pros:  Great aoe tank with thunderstomp – it’s like having a pet paladin.  

Cons:  Won’t be so good as a bear at 2-3 mobs, or a worm or turtle at tanking 1 mob.

Skins: For Northend Gorillas see here.  For gorillas tamable in Patch 3.0 see here (plus King Mukla).

Rare skin:  Uhk’loc – white gorilla.


I love bears.  I used to qq on the forums for bears to get some love.  Now they have, in the form of dash and swipe.  Watch BRK and bear take down a fell reaver here (from about 7mins in).

Pros: Great 2-3 mob tank and good single mob tank.  There are a lot of bears in Northrend, meaning you can upgrade your bear easily, if your current one falls behind your level.  Eats everything: conjured bread, fish, gnomes.

Cons:  The gorilla will make a better tank for true aoe tanking of 4+ mobs.

Skins:  Northrend skins.  Pre-patch skins.

Rare skin:  Black bear – this is not rare at low levels – but there are none at high levels and none in Northrend, so you tend to see less of them at 70, than the white bears or diseased bears from the plaguelands.  BTW the baby polar bear cub is no longer tamable.  


Previously, not a popular pet, but the improved shell shield along with the tenacity tree talents, makes them an excellent single target tank.  See BRK movie.

Pros:  Virtually unkillable.  Turtles dash will make you laugh.

Cons:  No multi-mob tanking ability like the gorilla, bear or crocolisk.

Skins:  Northrend skins.  Pre-patch skins.

Rare skin:   Turtles are pretty uncommon anyway, no skin is truly unique but these 2 are only found in a couple of places – greenskin – pinkandgrey.


HIgh DPS pets

Talents increase damage and critical strike change, while others improve raid survivability.  These are likely to be popular raiding pets, but not necessarily the best pets to level with.

Devilsaur (see above)

This is an exotic pet.  You need the 51 beast master talent to tame him.  BRK Movie.

Pros:  Very high DPS.  Impressive looking.  You get to tame the thing that stomped you to death so often when you were questing in Un’Goro.

Cons:  Very big, lots of people will have one, the stomping is great at first but might get annoying after a while.

Skins: skins.

Rare skin:  There are only 4 to choose from, and only a few devilsaurs, so all are rare.


Cats were The pet in BC.  They are probably not going to be the pet in Wrath.  They have been given a second family skill, in addition to the only situationally useful prowl, Rake.  However, it looks like Rake needs buffing to make it competitive with with devilsaur or some of the other DPS pets.  However, cats still look the part and skill have pretty useful dps, and there are lots of unusual skins to choose from, now might be the time to get the cat skin you always wanted.

Pros:  pretty good dps, lots of skins to choose from.  Everyone likes cats. 

Cons:  Everyone likes cats, probably not the best dps anymore.

Skins:  NorthrendPre-patch.

Unusual Skins:  there are lots to choose from.  Plus, there are some skins you don’t see very often on level 70 cats – orange stripy tigers, shadowmaw panthers, yellow lions.  Nows your chance to grab the cat skin you always wanted.


Newly tamable.  Not an exotic pet, so all hunters can tame them.  At the moment in the beta, you don’t seem to be able to tame the lower level silithid wasps, only those in Zangamarsh.  BRK movie here.

Pros:  Good dps, nice family skill, good for pve and pvp.  Petty, nice animations.  I liked this fella a lot.

Cons:  It’s hard to tell at present, which pet will prove the highest dps in a raid situation, it might not be the wasp.

Skins:  skins.

Unusual:  Blacksting is the only red and black one, but as he is not a rare spawn, he will be easy to get, so may prove pretty common among wasp owners.


Newly tamable.  Not an exotic pet, so all hunters can tame them.  BRK movie here.

Pros:  High dps and self-heal from family skill, good for pve and pvp.  Could be one of the higher dps families.

Cons:  It’s a moth.  It’s quite flappy, not so keen on the animation compared to the zippy wasp.

Skins:  Skins.

Unusual:  There is just one white moth – Aspatha – a level 71 in Northrend.

Others:  Raptors, wolves, and corehounds all have dps family skills in addition to being ferocity pets.  Unclear, who is going to be the king of the dps tree.  You may also want to take a look at tallstriders, just because of the zany colors available. 


Cunning pets

Cunning pets are neither tanks or dps monsters.  So what are they for?  Some have situational skills, pvp warlock or pally killers, etc.  But generally they seem pretty good all rounders, with more dps than the tenacity pets, and some useful talented skills.   Owl focus, means they have a lot more focus to play with; carrion feeder allows them to get health and happiness back from feeding from corpses (you use less pet food); and with Roar of Recovery you pet restores 30% of your mana over 9secs (6min cooldown).


Exotic pet – requires 51 points in beast mastery. There are level 70 white and blue chimeras in Northrend, so you can pick one up there if you don’t want the bother of training on up.  But if you want a different color, now is the time to do some leveling.  BRK did do a movie, but it was when there was a bug producing mega crits from this guys family skill; that has now been fixed.  I haven’t posted it, as I don’t want you to think he can do that kind of damage.

Pros:  Family skill has dps and slowing effects.

Cons:  Very big wing span, may get annoying in instances.  Did have a stop start mechanism when attacking, but that is supposed to be fixed.  Not my cup of tea, but may be yours.

Skins: skins.

Unusual skin: Nuramoc is unique in color.  Also, you will see a lot more blue and white ones than the orange or green ones probably.  


Another exotic pet – and one which does not seem to have a Northrend version.  So if you want one, get it now and level it up before the expansion.  BRK movie.

Pros:  faimily skill does damage and prevents movement for 4 secs with a 40 sec cooldown.  Has fun, happy animations.  A lot more lovable than a bug has any right to be.  Try him, you will probably be surprised how much you warm to him.

Cons:  Not a tank or a dps monster.  Some people just don’t dig bugs.

Skins.  The rarest is the tan color, only found in AQ or on a rare mob in Thousand Needles.


One of the most improved pets.  They used to have no skills except growl, not even bite.  Now they have smack and spore cloud, dusting enemies with spores causing nature damage and reducing armor.

Pros:  does damage and debuff.  Eats bread.  Looks pretty.

Cons.  Not very fierce looking 🙂  Edit:  Must admit to not trying one for very long, BRK in his movie notes that sporecloud is currently bugged in the beta and will not autocast.


Nether ray

Previously many of them has inferior caster stats.  Blizzard are apparently fixing this, so that caster animals when tamed no longer suffer inferior stats.  If this works, there will be a number of skin options.

pros.  family skill does shadow damage, plus interrupts spell casting for 2 secs (40 sec cooldown), nice against casters and healers.

Cons:  a flapper, only eats meat.


Others:  Birds of prey are nice cunning pets, with this 6sec disarm.  But I think the nicest ones are to be found in Northrend, so I am not suggesting you go train one up here, when you can get a bald eagle in Northrend at level 71.  However, note that owls have been reclassified into birds of prey, so owls no longer have screech (which is the carrion bird family skill) but have disarm instead.  (On a side note, carrion birds are ferocity pets, so don’t have the skill carrion feeder! Also, the raven from blades edge is classified as a carrion bird.)  Your ravager and windserpent are now cunning pets, they only have a 5% dps bonus, compared to a 10% bonus for ferocity pets, they will still be useful pets, but are unlikely to be top of the dps chart in raids.


So what is going to fill my stable slots?

I will probably change my mind tomorrow, but for now, I am excited about:

  1.  Bears – I am going to get my bear back – I am just not sure whether to get another white one (I leveled 58-70 with a white bear) or a a black one, or just try and level with whatever color I can pick up, while also trying to keep one or more other pets leveled up.  Whichever it is, I always call my bears Beren.
  2.  Wasps – I’m liking wasps – need to think up a good name.
  3.  Cat – I will keep Gwind my loyal cat and see how she does.  I hope she remains competitive for raiding, if not I hope that a wasp can fulfill the kitty gap, otherwise it will probably have to be a devilsaur for raiding.
  4. I might try out a silithid or bird of prey – but I think hunters are probably going to find it hard to keep even 2 pets at level with them as they are actively leveling, and if this is the case I am going to have to stick to the bear and Gwind or the wasp.

13 responses to “Choosing your pets for WOTLK

  1. Great guide, thanks a lot.

    I’m still a little confused about exotics. I have a BM alt and will probably stick with that at least for levelling, but I don’t know whether to take the top talent. I don’t like the look of the exotic pets, so need a very good reason to pick them up — not just a few extra talent points for my pet. So are exotic pets ‘better’ than normal ones, or is it just a cosmetic difference? Would it be a waste to spec BM but *not* have an exotic pet?

  2. In my opinion, exotic pets are not necessarily better than normal pets. Some of their skins, such as the devilsaur and the corehound will be very tempting to people, but Blizzard have not made their family skills too good, otherwise every hunter would go BM. Having said that, it does look at the moment as if the devilsaur might be the highest DPS pet (though this needs confirming in live), and the worm will be a very good single mob tank (though not the best for more than 1 mob). I am probably going to take the 51 points in BM, not for the exotic pet, but for the 4 extra talent points. These do seem worth having, allowing you to take an extra special skill in the top of the pets talent tree. There is a lot of good stuff in BM, besides the top talent point, and I don’t think it would be a waste to spec BM and not take the talent. The alternative, would be to go 50/21/0 and get scatter shot instead, but for myself I can find more than 50 points I would like to take in BM.

  3. You’ve convinced me then, I’ll give it a go! Actually, having just seen BRK’s latest movie, the worm looks pretty appealing for levelling.

  4. Too…many…pets…to…choose…from! Aaaarrgghhh! They all look like good choices now. I’m really glad that Blizzard made such an effort to improve each pet. But now what pet do I get?! LOL. Great guide btw. Thank you for the time you took to make this. 🙂

  5. Great article.

    One comment about keeping multiple pets leveling with you. The pets as you mentioned need only 1/10th of a hunter level to level, so a hunter could theoretically keep 10 pets leveling with him if he had enough stable slots.

    Just swap them out whenever you’re in town, and it shouldn’t be difficult to keep multiple pets leveling with you.

  6. The final talent in BM is nice if you choose NOT to tame an exotic pet too. 4 extra talent points for pets is a big bonus.

  7. Honestly, the extra 4 points are huge before Wrath hits. At 70 without Mastery you can only take 1 bottom talent for your pet. Once we get to 80 and have those extra points it won’t be near as big. I did some testing on PTR both leveling my 65 hunter and with my 70, and on both those extra points came in handy.

  8. Also, the family skills for the Exotics seem somewhat more powerful than non-Exotics, though not so much that they require you to pick up the 51-pt. Consider the Spider and Silithid: both skills root a mob, but the Silithid one also does nature damage in the bargain.

    Also: the 1/10th exp only works for grinding. Pets do not get quest exp with you. So unless you’re eschewing quests entirely, you can’t keep 10 pets levelling with you like Toque suggested.

  9. Great comments guys, thank you :>)

  10. Pingback: Joel’s Scattered Thoughts » Blog Archive » Choosing your pets for WOTLK

  11. ok i did some pet special ability damage (the damage is based on average damage over 1 min) research on petopia and got some surprising results, the ferocity pets have low damage compared to tank pets, now i realise ferocity pets may have better just normal auto attack damage but thats not what this poll is about, the worm does 900 damage with only 1 stack, with all 5 stacks, 4500 damage in 1 min, compared to the famous dps cat, who only managed 324, the only dps pet that managed to beat a tank pet in damage was the core hound with 900, against a boar with 858, now it might have beat a few others, but i dident measure the others that dident look to pull mcuh damage at all, the elusive spirit beast who does 600, cant even beat a serpent with 720,was this done on purpose idk, but this is an interesting fact, and for anyone wanting to know, devilsaur-642, hyena-177, wasp-750, chimaera-900, bear-1296, gorrila-1710, scorpid-750 single stack, 3750 max stack

  12. just want to clear some of the rules in this survey, the damage was based on average special move damage in 1 min

    for example if a pet had an attack that had 35-55 damage with a cooldown of 10 seconds u add 35+55=90 divided by 2=45 x6=270 the pet does 270 damage with that move in 1 min

    attack power and all other stats a hunter may have were not averaged in, neither was normal auto attack damage, or any buff the spell that pet has that is anything other than pure damage

    also all moves were based on the lv 80 rank of that particular move

  13. I have the cat and i believe that it is also a good tanking pet. I might be lying but who knows. I have recently got the rhino as a pet and I believe that the cat is way better tanking and they are meant for tanking having an increase of armor more than the rhino which is weird but I have yet to find out why. They also have more Health than the rhino as well. The rhino may be good for tanking but the cat in my opinion and many other on my realm think that as well. 🙂