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!
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?