Wolves have always been one of my favorite hunter pets in WOW. My second pet was a huge and beautiful Black Ravager Mastiff, from Duskwood, who I imaginatively (cough, cough) called Fenrir. At the time, I trained him for his special skills, it being way before the overhaul of pets, when a hunter had to go out and search for upgrades to their main pet’s skills.
As I leveled up, I trained several wolves. I spent hours and hours searching The Badlands for Barnabas without luck, and later tamed a similar looking Thunderlord Dire Wolf from Blades Edge Mountains, whom I named Red. Red used to 5-man with me and even raid Kara, but he and other wolves were not usually my main pet, and I mostly raided with a cat, like almost everyone else in BC.
Before the overhaul of pets in patch 3.0 wolves looked great, but they were not the best pets, since their family skill Furious Howl, did not scale well. Also, they could learn bite, but not claw, and consequently had lower DPS than a pet like a cat. With the changes in 3.0 Bite became a focus dump skill, like claw, with no cooldown timer, a skill that can be used constantly as long as the pet has enough focus to cast it. Furious Howl was also given a scaling boost, making wolves much more attractive. The wolf was also classified as a ferocity pet giving it the same starting stats as a cat or other high DPS pets (since patch 3.1 all pets now have the same starting stats of +5% to armor, DPS and health, so these are now pretty meaningless).
However, it was the changes to Furious Howl in patch 3.1 that made the wolf the desirable raid pet it has become today. Previously, Furious Howl affected your whole party, now it affects just the hunter – but – it now stacks with other buffs such as a Paladin’s Blessing of Might and a Warrior’s Battle Shout. Previously, Furious Howl was overwritten by Blessing of Might or a Shout, therefore, if you had a Warrior or Pally in your raid it became a useless buff. Now, it gives the hunter and the wolf an extra 320 attack power on top of any other buffs, for around 50% of the time (it is an instant cast – it lasts for 20secs – but has a 40secs cooldown – so it will be up for 20secs and then be on cooldown for 20secs). The spell has a 100 yard range, so the wolf should never be out of range of his master when it is cast.
Attack Power increases your base DPS for 1 for every 14 attack power therefore a 320 boost is worth 22.8 DPS, while it is active. That is actually a very attractive boost.
Depending upon what you are reading, and how the author has calculated their data, the ranking of top DPS pets for raids might vary slightly, and there is not a huge different in the top 5-6 pets. However, most calculations and tests put the wolf at number 1, especially for Survival and Marksman Hunters.
|Spirit Beast (Exotic)||Spirit Strike|
|Devilsaur (Exotic)||Monstrous Bite|
There is another thread over on elitist jerks where people use Shandraras Spreadsheet (formerly known as Cheeky’s Shreadsheet) to try to come up with the best combination of spec, gear, shot rotation and pet to create the best possible DPS for each hunter tree. In this one, before Patch 3.1 Raptors were the flavor of the month, hence all those raptors (including my very own Letin) you saw running around. Since the patch Wolves come out as the top pet for MM and Survival Hunters, and Devilsaur’s for BM hunters (although remember Devilsaur’s are not always popular in raids due to their size, noise and large hit box). Remember, these are theoretical min/max builds for 25-man end game content, but if anything that flat 320 additional attack power should be giving a bigger boost to a less well geared player (in terms of a percentage increase to their attack power) than to a very well geared play.
One place you will not see the wolf toted as the best raiding pet was the recent article on WOW Insider – Scattered Shots: Pets for Raiding. Jessica Klein also used Shandraras spreadsheet for her analysis, however Jessica misses the main point of the Wolf – no-one is saying that the Wolf’s individual DPS is greater than a Raptor or a Cat – it isn’t – but the Wolf also buffs the hunter – it is the Wolf and the Hunters’ combined DPS that usually comes out as higher than that of the hunter and a cat or the hunter and a raptor. (A quick note on raptors btw – their DPS is a bit more patchy than the other pets as it relies more heavily on crits – if you have a high crit rating and the raptor crits a lot during a fight it would likely out DPS a cat, but its DPS is more variable).
As I said before, the top few pets are still pretty close, I am not saying you must go out and get a wolf immediately, but that they are now either the best or very close to the best raiding pet, and if like me you have always loved them, you can embrace them and fill your stable with a pack of wolves 🙂
In fact, that is exactly what I have right now – one bear, one raptor, and three wolves, two of which I need to level up: Hamfast 80 (Cavedweller Worg); Mithril 75 (Old Cliff Jumper); Mell 75 (Ironjaw).
Want a wolf – we haz wolves.
See Petopia for the full list of wolf skins. Thanks again to the marvellous Petopia for the pictures and resource.
If you do not want the bother of leveling up your wolf the Cavedweller wolf is the best option, as you can pick a level 80 one up straight away.
If you are happy to level a wolf, there are a number of great skins. Wolves come in 3 main types and a couple of unusual additions.
There is the wolf/coyote type skin, often see at lower levels. These guys look happy and keen when they run, they look like they are ready to have some fun. And if you get a Praire Wolf from Mulgore, it will even bark when you click on it 🙂
There is my personal favorite the Azeroth and BC worg skin. These guys make huge pets, but have laid back loping run motions. There are some attractive color skins and a couple of unique options. Timber is the easiest pure white one to get. He’s a rare but he doesn’t have a long respawn timer. Black ones are easily available in Duskwood or Silverpine Forest. Ironjaw from Terrokar is a unique brown/grey/black wolf. He is a quest spawn, so respawns quickly and very attractive. But my favorite, who I finally tamed yesterday is Old Cliff Jumper. He’s a unique grey worg, with some darker grey mottling, grey eyes and a purplish tongue. Old Cliff is reported to have something like a 21hour spawn timer, though I have also heard 16 hour, so it’s hard to know. I tamed him yesterday at 1.40pm PST/ST on Antonidas. But since there was a server reset today with the maintenance I don’t think that helps much. You can find maps of his spawn locations on the links from Petopia to Wowhead, thottbott and Allakhazam.
The other main type of wolf is the underfed Northrend Worg. He’s skinny and long legged, shaggy and fierce looking. My Hamfast once ate a whole Fish Feast, meant for a raid group, didn’t seem to put on any weight though. A number of these like the Cavedwellers and the Sentry Worg change color when you resummon them. These are currently the most popular type of wolves you see with hunters in Northrend, I supposed because they are the native Northrend wolf as well as being a new skin in WOTLK.
Now we have a couple of unique looking wolves – the demon dog – Vargul Blighthound (74-75) from Zul’Drak, and the Saddled and spike collared hell fire ramparts wolf.
There is one wolf skin you will occasionally see a lucky hunter with, that can no longer be tamed, and that is the Ghost Wolf. Hunters who were able to tame a Ghost Wolf during the short time these were tamable in Duskwallow marsh were allowed to keep them. But this was fixed so that the summoned Ghost Wolves could no longer be tamed. But, you never know, maybe the next spirit beast in the game will be a wolf skin, now that one I might try to camp and tame 🙂
Do you feel the call of the wild? Have I sold you on the wolf yet? Or were you already there? Tell us about your wolf pets.