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An argument against Lone Wolf

In Warlords, we were presented with three interesting choices for talents at level 100: Exotic Munitions, Focusing Shot, and Lone Wolf.

Exotic Munitions changes our Auto Shot behavior, Focusing Shot replaces Cobra/Steady Shot and looks like it’s going to be great on “stand and turret” fights, and then there’s Lone Wolf… the talent that should not exist for our class. Lone Wolf provides you with a damage boost equivalent to the damage your pet does in exchange for not having a pet out and allows you to cast buffs on your raid that your pet would have instead.

I’m not a number cruncher, so this doesn’t take in to consideration whether or not Lone Wolf provides the greatest DPS boost at 100, I’m focusing on how Hunter pets contribute to the class from a class design and utilitarian standpoint.

Goodbye pets, goodbye part of your toolbox!

I ran dungeons with the Lone Wolf talent for two days and it was awful. I felt like I was betraying my loyal friend because a sim said I would be better off without him. And not only that, not having my pet out made me realize how much I NEED him. My pets aren’t just an extension of my ability to do damage, they’re an extension of my awesome Hunter toolbox. I didn’t realize how often I use Master’s Call until I didn’t have my pet out and needed it.

When the tank dies—something that, let’s face it, occurs a LOT at the beginning of an expansion when everyone is under-geared and unfamiliar with the dungeons—my pet wasn’t there to taunt and tank the mobs and maybe save the group from a wipe.

Having played BM almost exclusively since Dragon Soul, I’ve come to rely pretty heavily on the Spirit Beast heal, and not having it makes me feel incredibly vulnerable.

Marksmanship’s mastery Sniper Training makes kiting mobs unappealing, combine that with not having a pet to tank for you, you better be putting out some hefty damage to kill that mob before it gets close enough to hit you. Unfortunately MM is parsing substantially higher than the other specs, so this is something you really need to take in to account since most players gravitate towards the spec that puts out the most damage.

Kiting is a fundamental Hunter skill and two of the three top tier talents essentially kill or severely nerf your ability to effectively kite mobs at level cap. Not only did they take away half of our buttons in Warlords, but they’re taking away our class mechanics as well! Regardless of the direction Blizzard seems to be taking the Hunter class in, I still maintain that every Hunter should know how to kite. For a refresher course on kiting, check out this video on kiting:

Pets make us who we are as a class

Aside from the fact that our pets are essential tools to performing well, Hunters are the original pet class. We used to have to complete a quest chain to learn how to tame pets. Selecting your first pet was a meaningful choice. We used to have to feed our pets to keep them happy so they would do more damage and if they got unhappy enough, they would run away. We had to grind mobs to level them up to make sure they were ready to raid with us. We had to legitimately take care of our pets and we developed bonds with our pets as a result.

There’s not a Hunter I know who doesn’t have Petopia bookmarked. Rares present fun and exciting taming challenges for us and many of us have invested countless hours camping, stalking, and taming pets to take in to battle. Many, many Hunters, myself included, have spoken fondly of their pets like friends and feel a deeper emotional attachment to their pets than other “pet” classes.

I remember my very first pet: a purple raptor, tamed in the Barrens at level 12. In my day, we had to tame our first pet, we weren’t given one! RonWeezley the raptor was my loyal companion as I discovered Azeroth and learned to play WoW. I had him in my stables until well past hitting cap at level 80 when I very, very, very reluctantly had to release him back in to the wild to make room for the oily wolf glitch tame. I felt so guilty abandoning my friend and as soon as the stable was expanded, I immediately went out to re-tame another purple raptor to get RonWeezley back.

I remember at level 35 begging my brother to take me to an Alliance zone to tame a blue moth that wouldn’t be available in a Horde zone for nearly 30 more levels. I was terrified of world PvP and when we entered Darkshore and the red letters on my screen told me it was an Alliance zone, I freaked out, thinking there were alerts going off in chat alerting all the Alliance players in the area where I was and telling them to come kill me. I clearly was too new to the game to understand what the local defense channel was and how it worked, but let me tell you, running to the boat to Azuremyst Isle was an adrenaline-filled journey of terror and excitement. That common blue moth was my first “exciting” tame and I still have that blue moth in my stables.

What pet was your first tame? What is your most memorable pet tame story? Share it in the comments below!

Bottom line:

It feels wrong to not play with a pet and it’s like playing with half your keybinds taken away. I have specced out of Lone Wolf and in to Focusing Shot. Not only does MM mastery make Focusing Shot almost obligatory, it doesn’t take away the essence of what it means to be a Hunter by taking that talent.

Lone Wolf is a talent that doesn’t fit our class and if this option is going to be offered, it should be a glyph or somehow a less mandatory choice. Don’t make this talent the top DPS talent, Blizzard. My pets are a part of who we are as Hunters. Don’t take that away from us.

Two things have always defined the Hunter class and set it apart from everyone else: being the sole physical-damage-dealing ranged class in the game, and our pets. Without our pets, who are we as a class?

8 thoughts on “An argument against Lone Wolf

  1. HERE HERE!!
    I had a similar but shorter rant on my Twitter (https://twitter.com/jaedia/status/534457786789552129). I did give Focused Shot a go but something put me off.. I can’t remember what now. So remembering that I’m a dirty casual who barely raids, I went with Exotic Munitions and liked it! I can’t give up my petses. <3 At least in BM, it's a different talent.

    My first tame was a white bear in the Dwarf starting zone. Similarly to you, I begged my other half to take me there to get him as I was a Blood Elf at the time. I loved that silly bear and had to release him into the wild when I found Skoll during a Time Lost camp. :< Still haven't got him back because well.. I don't know. Maybe if I go tame the original in Dun Morogh?

    1. You should go re-tame that bear! I almost never use a raptor pet but just knowing RonWeezley is hanging out in my stables makes me feel better about everything. 😀

      Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. I joined WoW in early cata so I never knew what it was like to find and tame a pet to begin with, unfortunetly. However, i’m still as attached to my starter pet as ever, Jack the wolf <3 Though my first actually tamed pet was a boar that I never even named. I didn't actually tame anything until well above level 20 when I learned that in order to tame something its actually supposed to attack you xD I was such a huntard back in my version of ye old days

  3. Surv hunter here. From what I can see running dungeons and such, right now to get the top dps out, I would run EM on trash and then switch to LW at bosses. In all honesty though, I’m not one of them guys that strives to be at the top of the charts in lieu of enjoying the play style of my my character. I can’t even tell you how many times a quick switch from my wolf to my Gorilla at tank death has saved the group. So in short, I will be sticking with EM at the very least until I’m raid ready, then we’ll see. As far as my first pet? Hehe, yes i still remember, very new to the game and excited as all hell. It was a starting lvl dragonhawk that I aptly named fruitloops. Fruitloops ran with me and melted faces with his fire breath until they shoved the nerf stick to him (The firebreath really was amazingly op) then he still stuck around my stables until I must have let him go when I needed room. By this time, I understood different pets and what they did for you so I decided on getting a Gorilla to tank for me and aptly named him Oldpetnerfed lol. I still run that same Gorilla at 100 in WoD :) (And an electric wolf i picked up in MoP named Electrolux for instances) I’ve ran my hunter through OP and shit stages, when everyone laughs at the beginning at the “Faceroll” class, and I laugh back at them and tell them, “Hunter is quite possibly the easiest class to learn, but quite possibly the hardest class to master”. I love my hunter straight up 100% because of how they play, and everything that they are capable of doing 😀

  4. Except some of the points you make are completely wrong. No spirit mend using Lone Wolf? Uh no… you can’t be using a spirit beast with Lone Wolf because it’s replaced with Adaptation. Same for battle rez, must be BM for exotics, and BM’s can’t be Lone Wolf.

    As for the pets themselves, at ANY time you can call out a pet in an emergency, like to tank or save the group. All that happens is you lose the LW buff since you are gaining the exact same thing right back with the pet. It could be argued LW does this faster since their pets aren’t out in the first place to be dismissed – gaining you a couple of seconds to save the day.

    I also disagree that pets are a staple of the class. Not really. Blizzard added pets to the Archer/Ranger archetype and it’s really nice not to have to deal with terrible pet AI and management during chaotic raid phases. We lose nothing except Master’s call, which isn’t terribly useful anyway unless you PVP, at which point you shouldn’t be using LW anyway and should be using EM.

    LW is a breath of fresh air and thank god they added it to the game.

  5. Personally I’ve always disliked having to deal with a pet in dungeons and raids. I was always jealous of warlocks being able to sacrifice their demons to power themselves up instead of relying on said demon to do part of their damage. I say it’s about time they gave survival and marksman hunters the option to distance themselves from pets. I hope lone wolf always remains viable, though I also want to see one of the other 100 talents stay equal with it so those of you that feel attachment to your pets get the option to use them like I now finally can leave them in the stable. On a final note it’s now awesome I can play a character even closer to my favorite lore hunter, Lady Sylvanas.

  6. I’m played MM since my first hunter, and that colors my perception. That perception is: pets are overrated. What makes a hunter stand out is ranged physical DPS. THAT is the only distinctive. Pets? Talk to locks. When the other ranged types are locked out because of a boss silencing AoE or the baddy has just become magic resistant, we just keep pew-pewing. We do melee-type damage from the safe distance of the back row, 35 yards away. And yes, we kite. If losing Sniper Training means the difference between life and death while kiting, you should improve your kiting and avoidance skills to buy the extra kiting time.

    And yeah. Taking Lone Wolf with a BM mindset (let alone active Specialization) is just a mistake.

    A pet is always fun, and allows me to solo stuff easily outside of a raid or instance setting. Hell, I have a BM alt spec and a full stable of pets (including a few epic tames). But I don’t mistake BM for a raiding spec, even when it happens to be the top of the DPS charts.

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