Exotic Pets and their role for the Hunter Class

So, this is a topic that gets brought up a lot on petopia. Ever since the pet homogenization that removed everything unique about each pet family, Exotic pets exist for no real reason.

When they were first introduced, Exotic pets were meant to be a “wow factor” for Beast Mastery. They can tame pets the other 2 specs can’t tame, and they were bigger and more striking than regular pets, and to top it off, they had two abilities instead of one.

However, over time, that has changed. Now exotic pets have one ability, except for a few like spirit beasts, and new exotic families seem to be added with no rhyme or reason, and a lot of the flashier pets aren’t even exotic anymore. On top of this, it makes hunters feel shoehorned into using only exotic pets.

For the longest time, I thought Exotic Pets were meant to be us taming the pets with more sentience, but then you have outliers like worms and caterpillars that are Exotic, and Cloud Serpents that aren’t exotic.

The general consensus I’ve seen at petopia is that the need for exotic pets just isn’t there anymore. Most agree that Spirit Beasts in particular should remain beast mastery only, but I’ve only seen one or two people argue that Exotic Pets in general should stay.

Personally, what I feel would be the better approach?

  1. Remove the Exotic Beasts tag as well as any second ability a pet has. This would be the heal for Spirit Beasts, leaving them with a dispel as their class skill. (Read #2)
  2. Introduce a new passive for Beast Mastery that grants every pet, not just former exotic pets, a heal over time equal to what Spirit Mend is for Spirit Beasts now. Maybe have it be Spirit Bond, the original heal beast mastery had.
  3. Allow Beast Mastery hunters to “customize” their pets appearance at Trueshot Lodge. By this I mean, give the option to make the pet look bigger, smaller, maybe add a few glow effects, etc. (As the devs know, hunters love effects on their pets, and the devs have even gone out of their way to give us solutions to get back effects we lost, like the oil covered effects) Make them have a way to make pets stand out.

This would effectively add 11 more pet families to tame for Marksman/Survival, still keep Beast Mastery uniqueness by keeping Spirit Beasts, the more striking pets, unique to them, not shoehorn beast mastery into only using a spirit beast if they don’t want to, and give beast mastery more ways to make their pets stand out.

Also, though not Exotic Specific:

Bring back the ability to re-spec our pets. You pretty much NEED a ferocity pet in PvE for heroism and the leech. There’s no question. And you NEED a Cunning Pet in PvP for the Snare Removal and the Movement Speed. Tenacity pets have no place in the game. The health they grant gives less overall than the leech from Ferocity.

This effectively leaves 33% of the pets useless for the entire game, and another 33% useless in the two different aspects. Being able to change our pets spec was amazing, and I don’t remember anyone ever complaining about that, as it allowed us to use whatever pet we wanted in whatever content. The only real downside was if you wanted a snare or mortal wounds for pvp, you were still restricted to a few families.

To add to this, if the above suggestion was added, with removing the Exotic Tag, one thing that could be done to improve Tenacity Pets would be moving the Quilen Heart of the Phoenix Ability to be a tenacity ability.

I’m sure others have other thoughts and I’d love to hear them.

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Just a quick thing to add to this that someone reached out to me in game to ask me to bring up:

Exotic Pets served a purpose when all 3 hunter specs were ranged that used pets. That is no longer the case. Each spec is unique as it stands.

Beast Mastery is Ranged and Uses Pets.
Marksman is Ranged and Does Not Use Pets.
Survival is Melee and Uses Pets.

There’s zero reason for the Exotic Split to still exist to create uniqueness for Beast Mastery.

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Personally, I think pet types have become a bit of a novelty in an otherwise unengaging system; the restrictions set in place aren’t all that fun to play with. I can see a reason for wanting to keep exotic pet appearances unique to Beast Mastery, but overall I largely agree with the general idea that exotic pets don’t really have much of a reason to exist.

I like these ideas a lot! It fits especially well into the fantasy of ‘beast mastery’, to be able to unlock the true potential of the beasts that you’re running around with. I’ve not really been able to come up with any better ideas than this!

I think all hunters should be able to customise their pets like this, not just BM hunters. But maybe BM hunters get some bonus customisations? I actually like the idea that BM hunters have access to some unique pet appearances via exotic pets, if only for the sake of customisation, but who says we can’t have both.

One thing I kind of hate about playing hunter, is that I sometimes don’t get to use the pets I like for their appearance just because they are not great for any given situation (i.e. Loque’nahak is a darn tenacity pet :<), and that feels really bad. I suppose pet specs could just be balanced more closely… but that could take away the identity of the specs a bit more in the first place. Allowing us to respec would be a great fix, we can use the pet we’d like for whatever situation.

So that leads me to ask… should pet appearances instead just be a series of collectables, if they don’t come with a forced spec attached to them?

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I remember when BM Hunters first got Exotic pets… it was a big deal. So many BM Hunters ran out to tame Devilsaurs, Core Hounds, and Chimeras!

You’re right about Blizzard having hamstrung the Exotic pets ever since – a big reason was that they were just “too strong” (AKA difficult for Blizzard to balance). They nerfed the Devilsaurs pretty early on, if memory serves me.

…huh. I never got that impression. I mean, Devilsaurs literally were amongst the first Exotic pet families, and there’s no lore implication that they’re smarter than usual. The Chimeras and Spirit Beasts, I’ll grant you. But Devilsaurs and Core Hounds? Nah, no way.

I read that Petopia thread which you linked. There were literally two other people beside from you who were outright calling for the removal of the restricted Exotic “tag.” The rest were more like “Eh, maybe we can trim down the number of Exotic families.”

I disagree with you, politely of course. :slight_smile: But those people do have a point that we’re a bit overloaded with the number of Exotic pet families. There’s no need to have, what, 12 Exotic pet families? That’s a bit much. I think that having about 5 to 8 Exotic pet families is more appropriate.

As I mentioned earlier, I disagree with this. Exotic Beasts tag should remain exclusive to BM. While I’ve always been a proponent of a “class identity” over “spec identity,” I also have always said that I prefer an approach like this: 80% shared class kit, 20% spec-unique kit.

BM needs something to clearly distinguish it from MM and MSV and RSV – and having gigantic Devilsaurs and Core Hounds and ghost-like Spirit Beasts is a great way to do it.

If the Exotic Beasts tag gets removed, enabling the other Hunter specs to tame those beasts (Devilsaurs, Core Hounds, and so on) – that is going to remove BM’s visual distinctiveness.

I mean, visual distinctiveness was literally the excuse that Blizzard used to change RSV into MSV. Something to keep in mind…

I like this idea! It makes perfect sense to me – and it harkens back to the Cata/MoP years, when Hunter pets had talent trees. BM pets in particular got a few extra points for their talent trees, so the BM pets literally were super-tricked out compared to the MM/RSV pets, even their non-exotic pets.

It’d go nicely with the re-enabling of pet respeccing. :slight_smile: (This is something should have never been removed, in my opinion.)

Ehhh. I understand where you’re coming from, but frankly I’m not a big fan of this. I actually hate the “Change Hati’s appearance” thing that Legion had, although I understand why it happened (because there were many hunters who didn’t like running with Hati; this was how Blizzard allowed them to “run” with their “real pets”).

I mean, there’s gotta be a line drawn somewhere in the sand. Despite WoW being a game – a fantasy/sci-fi/steampunk game – we’ve got to keep slight realism in it. And alternating an animal’s look? Man, that just doesn’t sit right with me.

Now, I do like the idea for mechanical pets. Because it makes sense there!

But, like, cats or wolves or hawks? Ehhhhh, it’s just too ridiculous for me. But I’ll admit that I can be a party pooper. :slight_smile:

Seriously. In my opinion, the current pet system is pretty good – we just need the ability to re-spec our pets, and all’s good with me!

I actually won’t bank on this, because Blizzard basically said they’re going back to a class-based identity in Dragonflight; they said that the spec-identity approach in Legion didn’t work out. That thing which you said here? That’s the spec-identity approach. We still haven’t seen the Alpha version of the Hunter talent trees, so let’s wait and see what Blizzard does.

I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but that’s just my opinion. :slight_smile:

(Personally, I’d love it if Blizzard makes pets important again to MM. I really, really, really… don’t like Lone Wolf. But we’ll have to wait and see!)

7 Likes

I was going to make a separate post about them, but figured this was a good enough thread for it. The “hidden” pet families are in some dire needs of updates:

So, as of Shadowlands, there exists 7 different books you need to learn how to tame certain pet types. They are as follows:

  • Ancient Tome of Dinomancy - Teaches how to tame Direhorns - Zandalari Trolls start with this already learned.
  • Mecha-Bond Imprint Matrix - Teaches how to tame Mechanical pets - Gnome and Goblins start with this already learned.
  • Tome of the Hybrid Beast - Teaches how to tame Feathermanes
  • Blood-Soaked Tome of Dark Whispers - Teaches how to tame Blood Beasts
  • Gargon Training Manual - Teaches how to tame the Gargon of Revendreth
  • How to School Your Serpent - Teaches how to tame Cloud Serpents - Pandaren start with this already learned.
  • Simple Tome of Bone-Binding - Teaches how to tame Undead beasts - Forsaken start with this already learned.

(Side note, I feel like Dwarf and/or Night Elf should start with Feathermane already learned, as that class is mostly gryphons and hippogryphs.)


Anyway, some of these are annoying to get at this point in the game, and updating them could do some good, or outright making some of them baseline - For me, the ones that have an annoying requirement would be the following:

Mecha-Bond Imprint Matrix - This requires 20 Blood of Sargeras and a Legion Engineer who knows it. They can be sold on the AH, but as BoS are hard to come by nowadays, the prices just continue to rise - they were like 20k last time I looked on my server.

Possible Solution: Allow us to craft it with non-BoP materials, or with current-expansion materials. Maybe make this a one-off exception to the new crafting work order system in Dragonflight for old expansions until you work on the other expansions. Etc.

Tome of the Hybrid Beast - Must complete the entirety of the Hunter Class Hall storyline - as this is gated by a lot of annoying quests, having a family locked behind it feels bad.

Possible Solution: Have it unlock by having the “Complete a Class Hall campaign” achievement - so even if hunter isn’t your main, you can access it on a new hunter.

Simple Tome of Bone-Binding - Drops randomly from all undead in Maldraxxus - I personally know one person who has played since 9.0 and not had it drop yet.

Possible Solution: Adding this as a 100% drop rate to the Maldraxxus Paragon Chest for hunters would be a much welcome change, and act as bad luck protection - as by the time you are exalted/earning paragon, you’ve spent PLENTY of time in Maldraxxus.


The other books, Dinomancy, Blood Beast, and Gargon, are from simple kills. Dinomancy takes ~15 minutes of killing, Blood Beast is a raid boss, and Gargon is a rare spawn in Revendreth, and although some people have reported not having it drop - most people get it their first try.

Cloud Serpent requires exalted with OotCS, but it’s easily obtained during MoP Timewalking.


That said, for a lot of these, the problem isn’t their rarity, so much as you have to get them on every single character. Blood Beast, Cloud Serpents, and Bone-Binding are already account-wide, but the other 4 are not. But for instance, I love mechanical pets, but having to buy a matrix for every single hunter I make is ridiculous.

In short, please consider making the other 4 taming books have an account-wide effect, and helping lessen the requirements on some of the others - perhaps make it so the Mecha Bond Imprint Matrix can be made with current mats, not just Legion, or remove the BoP aspect of Blood of Sargeras. Etc.

There’s also the question of how long should something exist before it just gets rolled into the baseline hunter taming?


All this said though, I would like to offer a hunter pet family suggestion for Dragonflights, that everyone wants, but a way that helps it make sense: Dragons.

Instead of just outright adding dragons, give us a quick questline, maybe in Caverns of Time, or Dragonblight, etc. where one of the former aspects teaches us how to befriend dragons, not tame, but be companions.

Gameplay wise, they would act as pets, but lore wise, they’d be trusted companions fighting alongside us - no different to the Dragonriding Dragon.

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I’d like to point out that Spirit Bond is indeed in-game, but is granted to Survival as their Mastery stat (passive healing with a pet active + increased damage from you and your pet). In my opinion, Spirit Bond should be the Mastery for BM instead, while SV should get something based on bombs and traps.

Being able to respec pets would be really cool, and buffs to Tenacity are much needed. They should be the number 1 choice for solo play, being the ‘‘tank spec’’, rather than Ferocity. I’d prefer seeing the Clefthoof ability being used as a buff for that spec (10% additional armor and increases the effectiveness of healing received by 20%.) Side note, I’d also love to see buffs to Survival of the Fittest, since it’s just a weak and short 20% DR on a long 3 min CD, locked by a pet spec.

I’d like to add to this. I think the one thing that DOES make BM unique compared to the other specs, is that they can use two pets rather than one. But sadly this is through a talent. I’d love to see this being a baseline ability. That is pretty much how I feel about Lone Wolf for MM; it first became a meta talent that most people played, and eventually made its way into being baseline, with marks being known as the ‘‘petless hunter spec’’, with their damage coming from themselves rather than relying on pets. BM should be the total opposite, with most damage coming from their pets (emphasis on the plural), and I’d argue that Aspect of the Beast should also be baseline rather than a talent, and create more active (as opposed to passive) talents that can be picked and viable for Beast Mastery.

All in all, I’m not against the removal of the Exotic tags for pets. The way I see it, pets are basically just bots doing damage for you. They might as well be used as cosmetics that any hunter can use. Beast Mastery’s niche shouldn’t be how they can tame Exotic pets, but rather how more powerful pets are for them and how many they can summon at once as opposed to SV and MM.

Visual-wise, I don’t think the way Exotic beasts look is just enough to make BM unique. Except for Spirit Beasts at most. I think the fact alone that they can have two beasts rather than one (or none) is doing a lot more than having a ghost-looking crab. BM should look the same way Demonology looks compared to Destro or Affliction. Army of pets you tamed, and extra abilities unlocked from those pets.

I would have to disagree for most, it’s one way to keep old-content still relevant in some ways. I do agree that the unlocks should be made account-wide, though.

2 Likes

Like I said, even just making them all account wide like 3 of them already are would go a long way.

However, I very much believe they need to add bad luck protection to the bone binding. Lol.

I got it after probably a year of killing things in maldraxxus daily doing Callings and such. That’s going to be horrible for people when SL isn’t current anymore.

Adding it as a guaranteed drop from maldraxxus paragon ensures that people have spent enough time in maldraxxus that they should have it. Lol.

1 Like