Fluffy and You: Hunter Pets

Introduction

The goal of this thread is to provide feedback on the current Hunter pet system, compare and contrast the current system to the systems of past expansions, and discuss possibilities for the pet system come Dragonflight and on.

Currently, there is another thread about Hunter pets, however the other thread — created by Maizou — focuses primarily on Exotic pets (with a small aside for “special” pet families which Hunters must ‘learn’ how to tame), whereas this thread will focus on the general pet system for the whole Hunter class.

The primary focus will be on the pets themselves as they are applicable to all three Hunter specs — brief allusions will be made to the Beast Mastery (BM) spec, but bear in mind that the BM spec is not the focus of this thread. The following topics will be discussed along with a few brief digressions: Pet specs, pet pathing, and personalization of pets.

I will be separating those topics into separate posts; if you can only read one, I highly encourage that you read the post about pet specs (the first one below this post). I would love to hear your thoughts on this post — don’t be shy! I welcome all feedback and criticism. :slight_smile:

31 Likes

Pet Specialization

This is the bulk of this post; I highly encourage you to read this section at the very least, if you don’t intend to read my entire post. I’ll briefly describe the premises, so that we all are on the same page when discussing Hunter pets and their specs.

Ever since WoW first launched in 2004, Hunter pets have had come in three different specs — Ferocity (“Offense” in Vanilla/Classic), Cunning (“General” in Vanilla/Classic), and Tenacity (“Defense” in Vanilla/Classic). The pets are classified according to their family — for example, there is the Bear family to which all the bears belong to; all the big cats like tigers and lions belong to the Cat family, and owls, hawks, eagles, and falcons belong to the Birds of Prey family (“Owls” in Vanilla/Classic), and so on. Lastly, each pet family comes with their own unique pet family ability such as Shell Shield for turtles or Prowl for cats.

For the majority of WoW’s history, the pet families come pre-assigned with a specific spec; for example, the Cat family is Ferocity — this means any lion, leopard, tiger, jaguar, or panther a hunter tames will automatically come in the Ferocity spec. The only exception to this rule was during Mists of Pandaria (MoP), Warlords of Draenor (WoD), and Legion — during those three expansions, Hunters could choose specs for their pets; Hunters could have their lion specced Tenacity, and their turtle specced Ferocity, for example. Battle for Azeroth (BFA) returned us to the old, pre-MoP model of predetermining our pets’ specs depending on their families.

The change in BFA has been rather unpopular with Hunters; the MoP model which WoD and Legion kept enabled Hunters to choose any pets they wanted to use. BFA successfully equalized pet DPS across all three pet specs, but by restricting pet specs according to pet families, BFA ended up gimping many pet families. This is primarily due to the passives of the pet specs; while the DPS is equal between Ferocity and Tenacity and Cunning pets, the passives are decidedly not.

Cunning pets are widely used in PvP with their 8% increase to movement speed buff and Master’s Call (which removes roots and slows from the target), while Ferocity pets are widely used in PvE due to their 10% leech buff and Primal Rage (Bloodlust/Heroism). Tenacity pets see far less use compared to Cunning and Ferocity pets due to their 5% increased maximum health buff and defensive cooldown (which reduces damage taken by pets and hunters by 20% for 6 seconds). Tenacity pets are considered less desirable compared to Ferocity and Cunning pets in both PvE and PvP — the sole exception is in raids, where BM hunters sometimes would run with Spirit Beasts (Tenacity pets) due to the Spirit Beasts’ family ability Spirit Mend, which is a heal. MM (Marksmanship) and SV (Survival) hunters do not often use Tenacity pets in PvE content, aside from questing.

This results in Hunters by large forsaking their Tenacity pets in group content and some of more difficult soloing challenges. Historically, Tenacity has been the “tank” spec, however the BFA change to the Ferocity spec has made Ferocity pets the superior tanks due to Ferocity’s leech passive. Currently, this is why you more often see Hunters using Ferocity pets when soloing.

In order for the reader to fully appreciate the magnitude of Hunters by-large forsaking Tenacity pets in “higher content,” here is the list of pet families which are assigned Tenacity:

  • Bears
  • Beetles
  • Blood Beasts (crawgs and ticks)
  • Carapids — Exotic (snails, gorms, and krolusks)
  • Crabs
  • Cranes
  • Direhorns — Special
  • Dragonhawks
  • Feathermanes — Special (hippogriffs, gryphons, etc)
  • Hydras
  • Lizards
  • Mammoths
  • Oxen
  • Riverbeasts
  • Spirit Beasts — Exotic
  • Stags
  • Stone Hounds — Exotic (including “Special” pets gargons)
  • Toads
  • Turtles
  • Worms — Exotic

We often see leveling and questing Hunters use those pets, such as bears and turtles, but we do not see those pets in PvP, nor higher PvE content. Those pets are rarely used by Hunters, which is a shame, since there is twenty (20) pet families on this list.

Now, onto Cunning pets: they are considered the weakest at tanking solo content — which means Hunters don’t often use Cunning pets in PvE content, aside from leveling and questing. Please look at the list of pet families which are assigned Cunning:

  • Aqiri — Exotic (silithid)
  • Basilisks
  • Birds of Prey (owls, hawks, eagles, etc)
  • Boars
  • Camels
  • Foxes
  • Gruffhorns (rams and goats)
  • Hounds (dogs and hellhounds)
  • Hyenas
  • Mechanicals — Special
  • Monkeys
  • Moths
  • Pterrordaxes — Exotic
  • Raptors
  • Rodents (porcupines, marsuuls, etc)
  • Serpents (not winged serpents; does include the “Special” pets cloud serpents)
  • Shale Beasts — Exotic
  • Sporebats
  • Warp Stalkers
  • Water Striders — Exotic

Despite the impressive-looking list — twenty (20) Cunning pet families — in reality Hunters usually use only three (3!) pet families for PvP: Hyenas, raptors, and rodents. This is because those three pet families have Mortal Wounds as their pet family ability. The other pets have Dispel, Defense (both manual and triggered), Slow, and Dodge for their abilities. Those abilities are generally considered inferior to Mortal Wounds when it comes to PvP.

It is a rather unfortunate situation, since the actual number of pet families with Mortal Wounds is twelve — but only three (hyenas, raptors, and rodents) are Cunning. If Hunters want to go with any of the nine other pet families (carrion birds, devilsaurs, ravagers, scorpids, wasps, direhorns, hydras, lizards, and riverbeasts), they lose out on the Cunning spec unique ability Master’s Call.

This leaves us with the last pet spec, Ferocity. As has been mentioned before, Ferocity is considered the go-to spec for PvE, much like how Cunning is the go-to spec for PvP. Ferocity pets are considered the strongest tanks due to their 10% leech buff (this buff applies to both the pet and the Hunter), and considered valuable due to their Primal Rage (Bloodlust/Heroism).

Even MM Hunters have a Ferocity pet on call for use in instances and raids (more often in instances) if there is no other player who is capable of popping Bloodlust; it’s that important. However, when presented the list of Ferocity pet families, something interesting might would jump out — whereas there are twenty families for Tenacity and Cunning each, Ferocity only has nineteen (19) families… and four of those families are Exotic, which leaves only fifteen (15) families for MM and SV Hunters. They are:

  • Bats
  • Carrion birds (vultures and ravens)
  • Cats
  • Chimaeras — Exotic
  • Clefthooves — Exotic (includes rhinos)
  • Core Hounds — Exotic
  • Coursers (horses, unicorns, and zebras)
  • Crocolisks
  • Devilsaurs — Exotic
  • Gorillas
  • Ravagers
  • Rays
  • Scalehides (kodos, thunder lizards, ankylodons, etc)
  • Scorpids
  • Spiders
  • Tallstriders
  • Wasps
  • Wind Serpents (winged serpents)
  • Wolves

There is a total of 59 pet families in the game. However, we usually only see one Tenacity pet family used commonly: Spirit Beasts, for raiding BM Hunters. We rarely see any other kind of Tenacity pet outside questing and leveling. In PvP, we almost always see pets from only three Cunning families — hyenas, raptors, and rodents. When it comes to PvE group content, we see a little more variety with the 15 Ferocity pet families for MM and SV Hunters, and 19 Ferocity pet families for BM hunters.

Still, that only adds up to 18 commonly-used pet families for MM and SV Hunters, and 23 commonly-used pet families for BM Hunters… out of 59 pet families. This is truly a shame, and an unnecessary situation; had Blizzard opted to allow Hunters to retain the ability to choose their pets’ specs like we had in MoP, WoD, and Legion, we would see a much wider variety of Hunter pets. For example, when we look at the pet families that have the Mortal Wounds ability, the number is twelve families. If Hunters can choose any pet spec, then the Hunters can tame beasts from any of those twelve families and spec them Cunning for PvP. Likewise, if Hunters can spec any pet as Ferocity, then you will see Hunters running around with uncommon pets like blood beasts, hydras, stags, aqiri (silithid), monkeys, and so on.

Before tying up this section on pet specs, there is one final consideration which we must consider — the inconsistency between Classic and Retail when it comes to the predetermined specs for pet families. In Classic, Hunters have access to 17 pet families — and six more pet families were added in BC Classic. This means there is a total of 23 pet families in the Classic client. We will be looking at those 23 pet families as they stand in Classic/BC Classic and Retail.

As unbelievable as it might seem, but when players go back and forth between the Classic client and Retail client, they must contend with the fact that 12 out of the 23 pet families (a full half) changes specs between the two clients! This can lead to some confusion and frustration on the players’ part. A pet family could be “Defense” (Tenacity) in Classic, but Cunning or Ferocity in Retail. A list of the twelve respecced pet families has been provided below — and please remember that “Defense” is Tenacity, “General” is Cunning, and “Offense” is Ferocity:

  • Boars are Tenacity in Classic, and Cunning in Retail
  • Carrion Birds are Cunning in Classic, and Ferocity in Retail
  • Crocolisks are Tenacity in Classic, and Ferocity in Retail
  • Dragonhawks are Cunning in BC Classic, and Tenacity in Retail
  • Gorillas are Tenacity in Classic, and Ferocity in Retail
  • Nether Rays are Tenacity in BC Classic, and Ferocity in Retail (as “Rays”)
  • Owls are Ferocity in Classic, and Cunning in Retail (as “Birds of Prey”)
  • Raptors are Ferocity in Classic, and Cunning in Retail
  • Scorpids are Tenacity in Classic, and Ferocity in Retail
  • Tallstriders are Tenacity in Classic, and Ferocity in Retail
  • Warp Stalkers are Tenacity in BC Classic, and Cunning in Retail
  • Wolves are Cunning in Classic, and Ferocity in Retail

As has been shown, there is one rather large problem stemming from the fact that Hunters are no longer allowed to choose pet specs; they are not free to play with any pet family they wish to — they only have a limited list of pet families to choose from according to the content they wish to play (3 pet families for PvP, and 15 non-exotic pet families and 5 exotic pet families for PvE). This leaves 37 pet families largely unused — which in turn hurts the Hunter players’ ability to truly customize their characters. Blizzard has been making large strides in encouraging customization for player characters, including loosening transmogrification restrictions — so why cannot Hunters choose what pets they want to play with?

Please consider returning to Hunters the ability to choose between the three pet specs for their pet families; allow Hunters to run Cunning-specced turtles or devilsaurs or wasps or cats. Allow Hunters to run Tenacity-specced raptors or mechanicals or scorpids. Allow Hunters to run Ferocity-specced bears or cranes or foxes.

The current equalization of DPS between the three pet specs is very, very good; Hunters don’t suffer a damage penalty for running a Tenacity or Cunning pet. However, the passives needs some working on — specifically, with the Tenacity spec. This aside… by returning pet speccing to Hunters, Blizzard could really open up the pet world to the Hunters. Hunters will be able to freely utilize any of the 59 pet families, rather than restricting themselves to 18 families (MM/SV) or 23 families (BM)!

46 Likes

Pet Pathing

Historically, this has been a much-lamented aspect of playing a Hunter; Hunter pets can be rather… dumb.

Many WoW players can tell stories of Hunter pets pulling half the instance whenever the group jumps down a level — and the pet doesn’t jump down with the Hunter! The pet would run the long way down, pulling along many packs of mobs with them. If a Hunter player claims that they never ever had their pet pull half the instance and thereby wiping the group… they are probably stretching the truth a little bit.

For a little while approximately halfway through WoW’s history, Blizzard had succeeded in enabling Hunter pets to follow their Hunters when jumping down… but this success was short-lived. The pet pathing swiftly regressed, and Hunters (along with their groups) has had to deal with the wonky pet pathing ever since.

Funny moments aside, this is a rather serious issue for BM Hunters in particular, since the BM spec is so dependent on pets for DPS. When their pets can’t reach the target, the BM Hunters are not doing much damage. Their pets consist for over half of their damage — as much as three-fourths of their total damage profile in some case! So when BM Hunters’ pets cannot reach their targets, or take an exceedingly long time to reach their targets, BM Hunters are effectively disarmed.

In several expansions, Blizzard attempted to solve this issue for BM Hunters by enabling their pets to teleport directly to the targets. However, Blizzard has never been wholly happy with this solution, which is why Blizzard kept giving and then taking away the pet teleportation solution.

However, there has been several instances where pet pathing caused a lot of trouble for BM Hunters in SL raids — the Sire Denathrius fight and the Sylvanas fight are rather notorious among BM Hunters due to the great difficulty (or flat-out inability) of their pets reaching their targets. These fights are just two examples of many instance and raid encounters in which BM Hunters face a great obstacle with pet pathing.

This issue also extends to the Warlock class, which also depends on pets, and to a lesser extent Unholy Death Knights. Frost Mages do not suffer as much from pet pathing, since their Water Elementals are ranged attackers, and in certain situations (primarily raids), Destro Warlocks prefer to use Imps, which are also ranged attackers. But the rest of Warlock demons are melee attackers alongside the Death Knight ghouls.

The reason it was said that “to a lesser extent Unholy Death Knights” suffer from this issue is because unlike the other pet classes, Death Knights can instantly dismiss their ghoul and instantly summon their ghoul. This means when their ghouls get stuck, or are unable to reach the target, the Death Knights can dismiss their ghouls immediately, and instantly re-summon ghouls at the target — thereby bypassing the whole obstacle.

Pet pathing toward boss encounters are not the only example of this problem; Hunters often run into this issue when it comes to jumping puzzles and obstacles. If a group has to jump down a level, the Hunters (and the other pet classes) have to dismiss their pets before they can jump down — or their pet would take the long way around and end up pulling half the instance! This is where the Hunters struggle compared to the other classes.

As has been previously mentioned, Death Knights can immediately dismiss their ghouls, and then instantly summon their ghouls. Mages and Warlocks both can instantly dismiss their elementals/demons, but Mages require 1.5 seconds to summon their elementals, and Warlocks require 6 seconds to summon their demons. Mages and Warlocks can lower their casting time with haste.

Hunters, in contrast to Mages and Warlocks, can summon their pets immediately — but Hunters alone require 3 seconds to dismiss their pets. Unlike Mages and Warlocks, Hunters cannot reduce this time with haste. It is hard-set to 3 seconds. When one looks at all four classes which uses pets, one can see the inequality: Death Knights suffer no time penalty (which translates into no damage penalty) for both summoning and dismissing their ghouls. Mages has a relatively short summoning time (1.5 seconds) which can be lowered with haste, and their elementals are ranged attackers. This means Mages do not suffer as much from pet pathing issues. Warlocks do suffer from a long cast time (6 seconds) — but this can be lowered with haste. Furthermore, Warlocks have at least one ranged attacker in the Imp.

Hunters alone are stuck with a long casted dismiss for their pets. This results in stress for Hunters in instances (particularly timed M+ runs) — they are hard-pressed to keep up with their groups, and those 3 seconds can really add up. Furthermore, Hunter has no ranged attackers in their pets; all the basic pet attacks (Bite, Claw, and Smack) are melee attacks.

Again, all this hurts BM Hunters the most, since the pets are the BM Hunter’s “weapon.” Blizzard has, for the most part, ignored this issue in SL — which resulted in the BM Hunter’s poor showing in raids and M+ (especially certain raid encounters). However, as we have seen, the pet pathing issue does not just affect Hunters; it also affects Warlocks and to a lesser extent, Death Knights and Mages. It just disproportionately affects the Hunters, especially BM Hunters.

A solution needs to be found for this issue — work on pet pathing, for one, although historically it has been a difficult approach. Return pet teleportation to BM Hunters is another solution. Perhaps give BM Hunters an option to “reposition” their pets, or “guide” their pets through the terrain? Or perhaps BM Hunters could have their pets “follow” their footsteps exactly behind the Hunters (like the /follow function for players), instead of running off to the side.

Something to keep in mind, Blizzard: Solving this issue for Hunters would also positively benefit the other pet classes, particularly Warlock.

36 Likes

Personalization of Pets

This topic has been, very briefly, alluded to in the section about Pet Specialization — the power of Hunters to choose whatever pets they want to play with.

Many players see the relationship between the Hunters and their pets as a personal relationship. They can name their pets, and some players only choose select pets to go with their Hunters — after all, it is a likely bet that you have heard of a Hunter who only tames cats (usually an Elf of some kind), for example. Or perhaps you have run across a Hunter who only tames red-colored beasts. Or perhaps you have run across a Hunter who only uses one pet throughout their entire WoW history.

This issue has come up before, during Legion. BM Hunters had a rather unique aspect to their artifact weapon in Legion; since — as previously mentioned in the Pet Pathing section — pets are BM Hunters’ weapons, Blizzard designed their artifact weapon to provide with a new, unique pet: Hati. Hati is literally a part of Titanstrike (the artifact weapon). When BM Hunters use Titanstrike, they have Hati alongside them.

However, quite a number of BM Hunters were unhappy that they were forced to run with Hati, a pet which they did not choose — and in many cases, Hati did not fit in with their chosen pets. Blizzard finally solved this issue by allowing BM Hunters to change Hati’s appearance into that of an existing pet. BM Hunters could literally transform Hati into another pet of their choosing — although mechanically, the transformed-Hati was still Hati; she was just in disguise.

This shows us that Blizzard does care about Hunters’ freedom in choosing what pets they want to use… which is another reason why the loss of pet specialization is an odd choice (see the Pet Specialization section). However, while Blizzard gave BM Hunters some power in choosing what pets to play with, at the same time Blizzard removed some personalization from Hunters in Legion (the exact same expansion that gave us Hati and the Hati solution) — specifically, the spell Stampede.

Stampede was introduced in Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK) to all three Hunter Specs. The way this spell originally worked, up to WoD, was that when the Hunter casted Stampede, all five of their pets would spawn and attack the target. Hunters had great fun with this; many Hunters would intentionally set up themes of pets to carry around with them — this was especially easily possible during the MoP and WoD era with the ability to choose specs for pets — for Stampede. If they wanted, Hunters could (and would) intentionally run around with four turtles named Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo, for Stampede. Or alternatively, Hunters could run with a full pack of wolves or pride of lions. Stampede was actually customizable to a degree — and Hunters had a lot of fun with this!

But then in Legion, Blizzard redesigned Stampede to use random wild beasts as opposed to Hunters. This resulted in the spell feeling detached to the Hunters — they have no relationship with wild animals, after all. There was a fair amount of criticism in the early days of Legion (especially the pre-patch) — the Hunters want to use their own pets that they tamed and named for Stampede, not random wild beasts.

Ironically, Blizzard added a glyph that enabled BM Hunters to summon their own pets when using Dire Beast, instead of a random wild beast. As one can see, there is some inconsistency across the Hunter spells when it comes to wild beasts and tamed, personal pets.

A possible solution for Blizzard to return a feeling of attachment and personalization to the pets, especially for the BM spec, is to re-design those spells (Stampede and Dire Beast) to use the Hunters’ pets, rather than wild animals. Blizzard could add glyphs to those spells so that the players who prefer wild beasts could alter the spells’ cosmetic appearance to use wild beasts. (There is precedence for this; currently, four different glyphs exist for Dire Beast — one which enables Hunters to use a version of their existing pets, another which transforms Dire Beasts into a bee swarm, or spiders, or specific beasts that Nesingwary hunts.)

Another possible solution, albeit awkward and a bit cumbersome, is for Blizzard to allow the Hunters to “transform” their pets into any pet they want — for example, if a Hunter is running cats for their Ferocity pets, but they really want bears… then give the Hunters an option to cast an illusion on their cats to make them look like bears a la the Hati solution in Legion. But as mentioned, this is an awkward solution that can easily fall apart with glitches.

Ultimately, Blizzard should choose and stick with one philosophy: Should Hunter pets be personable and personalizable? Should Hunters be encouraged to feel attachment to their pets? Or should Hunter pets be a throw-away thing? Should Hunters use wild beasts indiscriminately? If Blizzard wants a more personal take on the Hunter pets, then design the Hunter spells to reflect this — especially Stampede and Dire Beast. Blizzard can also go further with this with pet specialization (again, look at the Pet Specialization section); empower the Hunters to choose what pets they really want to play with!

In short, Blizzard can make several relatively minor changes that would go a long way in restoring previously-available customization to Hunters in their pets. This would open up a very large selection for Hunters, and give the Hunters freedom to make their characters stand out even more.

37 Likes

Please feel free and comfortable to share your feedback and criticism. If I missed something, point it out! I’d love to hear your thoughts. :smiley:

14 Likes

After playing a bit more Survival, I’d like to sum up these issues I encountered.

PVP

Mainly just Epic battlegrounds.

  • I can never find my pet, it’s always CC’d somewhere.
  • In Wintergrasp when jumping down Sunken Ring, it often goes all the way around, leaving me with 0 dps because I can’t generate focus, nor trigger my grenade buff/reset from tier set.
  • Despite telling it to come back, it often takes ages. Especially when chasing someone, the pet is incredibly slow and once it falls behind, it won’t ever catch up unless my target stops moving.

PVE

I play this the most, and due to less CC I have more control over it.

  • But the pathing is a MAJOR issue, especially when jumping down at locations such as Xav. Bron is also a big issue here, because after defeating him and jumping down, he’s guaranteed to pull the patrolling pack most people skip.
  • In Open World it sometimes happens that my pet is on a ledge that has no direct path down, while I’m fighting a mob. This is especially bad in Vespoid areas in Zereth Mortis. My pet will literally just stand there and watch me fight mobs, while I can’t regen focus as it requires my pet to attack…
  • Pet does not get speed boosts when I do, especially annoying with Wo. I’ve wiped my group several times because I didn’t realize my pet was in the middle of a mob pack. The pet does get stealth so it beats my why it’s not fast

Pets are a disaster and it makes me not want to play Hunter.

20 Likes

Pets on retail completely lacks the attachment that pets have on older expansions like the classic ones.

You don’t need to feed them, you don’t need to train them, you don’t need to level them up, you don’t need to spend time with them to make them your best friend, they don’t have talents, you can rez them in 5 seconds with barely any cost (some focus that you regain over the cast duration versus half your mana pool on classic) or negative effect (loss of happiness on classic) when they die…

I’m just gonna say it… Pets are boring as heck on retail. I could just abandon my current pet and not care one bit. Hell, I can’t even name one of my pet because you can’t rename a pet that had a unique name.
I don’t even care enough about it to remember the name I gave it, yet I can remember the name of my pet from original WotLK. I don’t feel any emotional connection with a pet that has as much personality as a death knight’s ghoul.

22 Likes

Hello Hunters, just wanted to stop in this thread and say a few things about pets.

Pets have undergone a lot of change in the history of WoW, and the majority of the change was for Hunter pet interactions, so most of the below discussion is specifically about hunter pets.

Pet identity is a thing that’s important, but pets having some uniqueness is also important. These are sort of competing goals. Turtles are inherently an armored, tough creature. Cats often are graceful and agile creatures. Foxes are generally smart and tricky creatures. While I’m not saying that we are designing the pets in the game after reality, it does make some sense that families of pets are different. There’s also a lot of families in each of the three categories. Are things perfectly balanced among the pets with abilities? Probably not. Could it be better? Certainly. Is it better if they all were exact clones and just had a different visual? Maybe. Is that turtle you’re fighting against a tough, tanky turtle, or secretly a turtle with Mortal Wounds? In the current state of things, that is a known answer.

Hati from the BM artifact weapon was sort of a unique situation. A lot of people want a specific archetype of pet for their character they are playing. Artifacts had a lot of visual customization. Forcing a second pet that had a distinct wolf look on every BM hunter for the whole expansion wasn’t something we wanted to do, hence the Essence Swapper existed as a solution to that. We kept the “second pet” functionality with the Animal Companion talent, which lets you choose what your second pet is from your stable.

While mentioning Animal Companion, there’s a known issue that taking this talent reduces the damage of all of your pets and other summoned units instead of just reducing the damage of your second pet. We plan on keeping Animal Companion around, and this is something we have plans to resolve so getting other abilities that summon pets no longer creates bad synergies, but I can’t give a guaranteed timeline on a change.

Revive Pet, and Dismiss Pet being difficult to use is an intentional change that we don’t have plans on adjusting currently. For a while, the solution for parts of the game was to tame 5 pets, do some content in which your pet would die, and just abandon and re-summon a different, new pet, and then go get 5 more pets again later. Dismissing a pet used to be instant, now it has a 3 second cast time. Your pets are not intended to be disposable things, at least for Hunters - Warlocks and Death Knights have some mechanics where they steal from their Pets, but that fits their fantasy. You should care about your pets you are using and should care about keeping them alive.

We’re always looking to improve pathing for both players and pets and make things smarter and more user friendly. That’s an ongoing process for the game as a whole. We discuss problems with pets on encounters where you get teleported or forcibly moved around a lot. We also play classes with pets and understand some of the frustrations. It is not a simple solution, as players move in very complicated ways, and use a lot of tools to move themselves around, and we don’t want pets to just feel like they are floaty or teleport around all the time.

We realize pets are an important piece of your identity as a Hunter, Warlock, and Death Knight (and Mages too?). There are ongoing efforts to improve pets, add new pets, and make cool things for pets and pet classes.

Thanks for the feedback/discussion post!

21 Likes

This is true - though just to point out, no one has argued for pet uniqueness to go away - just increase the options we have available.

For instance, as mentioned above, if you PvP and you want Mortal Wounds - right now you have a measly 3 options, as you need a cunning pet for PvP.

However, if you re-introduced the ability to change the spec of our pet, this number increases dramatically to 11, 12 if you’re BM.

Pet specs have changed through the years as well - as indicated by this post:

A good example of why not respeccing hurts pet uniqueness and player choice is Wolves, as indicated above. In classic, they are Cunning - because wolves stalk their prey and do things meticulously. In retail, they are ferocity, because they are one of the most ferocious animals in real life. But this doesn’t take into account how protective mother wolves are to their babies - in which case, I’d argue Tenacity would fit for it. (Same goes for Alphas and their packs)

In locking pets to a single spec, you are innately telling us we can’t choose a personality for our pets, that all wolves are ferocious, none of them have a mentality to protect their pack, etc.


As it stands now, Tenacity pets are useless in all content - BM Hunters who want a heal are forced to use Spirit Beasts, even though they changed to Tenacity from Ferocity, which sucks.

The health you gain from Tenacity does not equate to more health than the leech you obtain from Ferocity - which means Ferocity is always the winner. This is coupled with the fact Ferocity has heroism/bloodlust.

In PvP - you want Cunning because they can remove your snares and such.

This means, in the current state of pets, 33% of pets are useless in all content, and 66% are useless in PvE and 66% are useless in PvP.

Allowing us to respec our pets like we did in the past does nothing but open the options for pets up to us, and allow us to apply a personality to pets if we RP.

We aren’t asking for dramatic changes to pet family abilities. Just to increase our options of which pet we use - by allowing us to change their spec to what we want.


In an ideal world, what I’d like to see:

  1. Allow us to respec our pets, just like we were able to in the past.

  2. Revamp the spec abilities for pets. (Not the family abilities, just the spec) Bring back some of the pet abilities from the talent trees that used to exist - and give each spec 2 abilities, so choosing a spec becomes more important than swapping when you want. For instance, you can bring back Bullheaded for Cunning, for Tenacity, bring back Last Stand and Heart of the Phoenix (I know HotP was Ferocity but it fits Tenacity better). For Ferocity? Bring back Call of the Wild and Rabid.

(I’m including links to the abilities for those new to wow who may not know them)

Call of the Wild and Rabid are no longer in Wowhead’s database, but they were: (Call: Your pet roars, increasing your pet’s and your melee and ranged attack power by 10%. Lasts 20 sec.) (Rabid: Your pet goes into a killing frenzy, increasing attack power by 5%. Successful attacks have a 50% chance to increase attack power by an additional 5%. This effect will stack up to 5 times. Lasts 20 sec.)

The Passives would stay the same, though maybe add reduced damage taken by the pet for Tenacity.

Changes like this would help re-establish that Tenacity is for soloing, Ferocity is for high end PvE, and Cunning is for PvP. Give each spec a place in specific content - while allowing us to respec means all pets are viable again and we can choose which pet we like most, aesthetically, or RP wise, or what family ability we want.

  1. Remove Bloodlust/Heroism from Ferocity and instead introduce something like “Aspect of the Devilsaur” that allows the hunter to cast it directly, so MM don’t have to sacrifice their DPS to use hero. Conversely - just make it so if we dismiss a Ferocity pet, Primal Rage is the ability we gain.

This is literally still possible, just by actually abandoning the pets - so your change doesn’t really do anything but punish the average player that is trying to work around pet AI getting pets stuck somewhere - if the top players were doing this, they would still do it by just going out and taming 5 random pets each time they need to.

The issue with this is your next point - pet pathing. Pet AI is terrible, and it can run off and attack a target I dotted instead of my primary target, even with /petattack macros. Or like in the Denathrius fight, when we enter the mirror, our pet can get stuck cause it doesn’t teleport with us. And either ends up dying from add damage or just can’t be used until we dismiss it and resummon it - so the dismiss timer is a big problem.

As I said in another thread - I personally don’t feel Exotic pets serve a purpose anymore, but I know they do for some people. However, I do request you guys please re-assess each Exotic family if they stay.

For example, Spirit Beasts, Chimaera, Pterrodaxes, and Devilsaurs make sense as Exotic. Carapids, Clefthooves, Water Striders, and Worms though? Not so much. I’d even say Stone Hounds at this point as well. Shale Beasts are kinda an “in between” for me. But like, why on earth can my hunter tame all these fantastical pets as MM/SV, but a worm or snail is too much for them?

33 Likes

Nimox, thank you for your reply! I really appreciate the glimpse into the developers’ thought process regarding Hunter pets.

I did notice that there is one pretty big communication break-down between Blizzard and Hunters, and I would like to clear up the air here. I want to make sure that we are on the same page, after all! :slight_smile:

Specifically, you wrote:

On the surface, this is accurate – I believe that many players do agree that pet uniqueness is a nice thing.

However, the issue is – and please know that I say this as kindly as possible – that Blizzard is mistaken here. I’ll summarize it up in one sentence, then expand!

Pet family abilities are not pet specialization abilities.

When I read your reply, I realized that I should have spent more time clarifying the difference between the pet family abilities and pet spec abilities. So I’ll do that right now!


Pet Family Abilities

As I explained in my “Pet Specialization” section, all pets are classified into pet families. Turtles, cats, bears, and so on.

They come with their own unique “family ability” – like Shell Shield for turtles, or Agile Reflexes for foxes, or Ankle Crack for crocolisks.

Each pet family ability have different names, but basically there are six different pet family abilities. Here is the list (with how many pet families have each ability):

  • Defense/damage reduction (manual) – 8 pet families
  • Dodge – 9 pet families
  • Mortal Wounds – 12 pet families
  • Dispel – 8 pet families
  • Slow – 14 pet families
  • Defense/damage reduction (automatic trigger) – 8 pet families

For reference: https://www.wow-petopia.com/abilities.php

Turtles, for example, have the manual defense ability (Shell Shield) – and so does seven other pet families (boar, mechanical, shale beast, core hound, scalehide, beetle, and carapid). They all have different names for the flavor, but the ability is literally identical across all eight pet families.

(Note: I did not include the “bonus” Exotic pet families in this, but the same basic concept applies.)

I have more to say on this, but let’s put it on shelf briefly while I explain what pet spec abilities are, then we can look at the two together.


Pet Spec Abilities

As we’re all aware, there are three pet specs: Tenacity, Ferocity, and Cunning. Each spec comes with their own active ability and passive ability. I’ll list them below for clarification:

  • Tenacity – 5% increased HP for hunter and pet (passive), and damage reduction by 20% for 6 seconds for hunter and pet (active)
  • Ferocity – 10% leech buff for hunter and pet (passive), and Bloodlust for group (active)
  • Cunning – 8% increased movement speed for hunter and pet (passive), and CC break (root and slow) for pet and target (active)

For reference: https://www.wow-petopia.com/specs.php

As I have explained in my previous post, the spec abilities play an incredibly large role in determining which pets we use in specific content – Cunning for PvP, and Ferocity for PvE (with Tenacity in highly specific situations).

Now, that we can clearly see the difference between the pet family abilities and pet spec abilities, let’s see how they work together.


How Pet Family Abilities and Pet Spec Abilities Interact

This is where I believe that the misunderstanding stems from. I’ll again refer to your post, Nimox:

This is not what I was talking about in my section on pet specialization. Mortal Wounds is a family ability, and pet family abilities cannot be changed by pet specs.

The reason I brought up Mortal Wounds in my earlier post is because I wanted to point out that there are 12 pet families which have Mortal Wounds, but only three are Cunning.

This means only 25% of the “ideal PvP pets” (Mortal Wounds + root break) are available to Hunters. The other 75% are not ideal for PvP, since they only have one or the other – not both!

This means for the other 9 pet families which have Mortal Wounds… Hunters discard them when it comes to PvP, because they don’t have the root break. So Hunters don’t touch those 9 pet families at all.

What I’m asking – and I see this request echoed quite frequently by other Hunters, although I don’t claim to speak for every Hunter – is that we’re allowed to change pet specs, which means changing spec abilities.

This means the ability to switch between:

  • 5% HP buff and 20% damage reduction
  • 10% leech buff and Bloodlust
  • 8% movement speed and root break

This does not mean pet family abilities like Mortal Wounds.

So, let’s look at that turtle example. Currently, turtles are assigned to the Tenacity spec. Also, as has been mentioned previously, the family ability for turtles is Defense (manual).

This means turtles comes with three abilities:

  • Manual defense (pet family ability)
  • 5% HP buff (pet spec ability)
  • Damage reduction for pet and hunter (pet spec ability)

Let’s look at the hypothetical situation of a Ferocity turtle. A Ferocity turtle’s abilities would look like:

  • Manual defense (pet family ability)
  • 10% leech buff (pet spec ability)
  • Bloodlust (pet spec ability)

Here’s a Cunning turtle – their abilities would look like this:

  • Manual defense (pet family ability)
  • 8% movement buff (pet spec ability)
  • Root break (pet spec ability)

Notice how in all 3 examples, the turtle’s family ability is the same? So your hypothetical situation of a turtle with Mortal Wounds is incorrect – this is just not possible by changing pet specs.

Because I want to make this very clear to people reading this – especially those unfamiliar with Hunters – I’ll do another example. This one will be of a pet whose family ability is Mortal Wounds. Let’s go with… wasps.

Wasps are assigned Ferocity. This means right now in retail, wasps come with those three abilities:

  • Mortal Wounds (family ability)
  • 10% leech buff (spec ability)
  • Bloodlust (spec ability)

But, if we change that wasp’s spec to Cunning? Then the wasp’s abilities will look like:

  • Mortal Wounds (family ability)
  • 8% movement buff (spec ability)
  • Root break (spec ability)

For thoroughness’ sake, here is a Tenacity-specced wasp:

  • Mortal Wounds (family ability)
  • 5% HP buff (spec ability)
  • Damage reduction (spec ability)

Notice how the wasp has Mortal Wounds across all three specs. This is because Mortal Wounds is a pet family ability and not a spec ability.

So, back to your concern about PvPers not knowing what to expect from various pets if Hunters can choose the spec? This is not as a big concern as you would think. Only 11 (and 1 exotic) pet families have Mortal Wounds – a total of 12 pet families.

If a player sees a pet in arena or battleground, they would automatically assume that the pet is Cunning spec, which means it would come with the root break! Hunters would pretty much run only Mortal Wounds pets (with a few exceptions) – and if they can choose specs, then all the Mortal Wounds pets would be Cunning.

If a player sees a hyena or wasp or devilsaur or hydra coming toward them… they would know that the pet has Mortal Wounds as its family ability. And, assuming the Hunter can choose pet specs, the player would also assume that the pet is specced Cunning – which means root break.

If a player sees a cat or wolf or turtle coming toward them… they would know that the pet does NOT have Mortal Wounds as its family ability – but they would assume that the Hunter specced the pet into Cunning. This means the pet would have root break, but without Mortal Wounds.

This is what I mean by allowing Hunters to choose pet specs for their pets. I do not mean the pet family abilities – the two things are entirely separate.

(Let’s look at the PvE scene briefly: By allowing Hunters to assign specs to their pets, it would free up Hunters to use any of the 59 pet families in PvE situations, since it’s the spec abilities that matter in PvE. Hunters would choose specific pet families according to the family ability they like, and then choose the spec they want.)

This is the bulk of my post – I’ll briefly touch on other points before tying up my response.


This issue has been around for four years, ever since Animal Companion was introduced. It would be nice if we could get this issue fixed sooner than later. :slight_smile:

Also, speaking of pet AI… it would be really nice if Blizzard could take a look at the pet AI in whole – for example, pets are very bad about targeting the correct target (they would attack the wrong target), and they are not good about using their automatic attacks on cooldown. It’s common for Hunters to macro basic pet attacks just in order to get Fluffy and Fido to actually chew on the target.


I feel that Maizou covered this part pretty thoroughly. The point isn’t about “immersion,” but rather the gameplay angle, especially where pet pathing is concerned.


Again, Maizou also covered this. I just want to re-emphasize my point: Pets are BM hunters’ weapons. When pets can’t reach targets, BM hunters are doing basically no damage at all. They are effectively disarmed, and this really shouldn’t be acceptable at all.


But as I said in the beginning of my reply, I’m really glad to hear from you! It helps a great deal to know what the devs are thinking, and what angle they’re coming from.

I can only hope that my post helps you – and all the non-Hunter readers – understand what I meant when I asked for the ability to change pet specs. Pet spec abilities are not pet family abilities, after all. :slight_smile:

29 Likes

But I have to dispose of them at times:

  • When I need to use Primal Rage on MM or when I have another pet out
  • When I need to dismiss them because they don’t have my speed with Wo
  • When I need to dismiss them because otherwise their pathing will pull the entire dungeon (I think we all remember Gnomeregan?)

It’s cool whatever fantasy is behind it, but I don’t really care about that when I’m doing M+ or Raid.

Yesterday I was doing Necrotic Wake, and that place is obviously problematic (targeting rectangles not respecting their max range for example). However, playing Survival “Kill Command” is part of my super complex 2 button rotation, and my pet would just refuse to attack in 9/10 gcds inside the Necropolis. My Kill Command button also has a pet attack macro, and it just refused to move. Whenever I pressed the button the spell would do nothing as if the target was not in the line of sight, and my pet would just stay on follow mode.

Failed the +22 key because I was doing 30% less DPS because of it.

Feedback like this has been giving a lot, and it feels ignored. Perhaps we could be given a detailed post on long standing bugs or issues like this? Then we at least know that it’s being looked into.

19 Likes

To reiterate what others have said more eloquently, nobody is asking for pet identity to be removed, or pets to be completely homogenized. But the current system is retrogressive: it forces pet distinctiveness at the expense of pet utility, a system that previous hunter class designers moved away from for that very reason, and it’s confounding that it was returned. It’s difficult to find any hunters that disagree with that sentiment, and demonstrates how widely unpopular the one-spec-per-family system is.

At the very least, all pet families should have access to Ferocity, plus at least one other. I can understand if you don’t want to allow thin and fragile looking pets to be Tenacity, or gigantic, stocky pets to be Cunning, so I’m not asking for all pets to have access to all three specs. But all should at least have access to Ferocity (+ either Tenacity or Cunning). This would go a long way toward making all pets useful, while retaining some distintiveness for specialty situations.

I also strongly believe strongly that the “exotic” category should be removed and instead ALL families should offer a bonus ability for Beast Masters:

  • BM players would no longer feel pressured to use a narrow range of families.
  • All families would offer something special for Beast Masters, so BM would become a spec for “getting extra tricks out of any pet” rather than “taming a slightly wider range of pets”. This fits the class fantasy.
  • Other specs could then tame any family they like, they just wouldn’t get the bonus ability.
  • These days, the “Exotic” category no longer makes a lot of sense. It was different when Exotics were first added and there were fewer families, and even fewer exotic-looking things. Now we’re in a situation where any hunter can tame fantastic flaming birds, progenitor wolves, and pink elekks, but for some reason only beast masters can tame really mundane-looking clefthooves.
  • Spirit Beasts: I propose dissolving Spirit Beasts as its own family and making each a “Spirit” type within their related families (all existing spirit beasts have regular family counterparts they can join). This would be very similar to how undead pets don’t have their own family, but are instead speciality types of their respective families. Optionally, the ability to tame “Spirit” types could remain BM-only. For abilities they’d get the regular ability of their related family (so a spirit wolf would get the wolf family ability) and an exotic ‘spirit’ ability that is common to all spirit beasts, for BM players. I thought this proposal would be the most controversial, but replies in previous threads where I’ve mentioned this have been very supportive.
22 Likes

I honestly can’t. Tauren Warriors have as much strength as Vulpera Warriors, so that argument is already moot to me. To me the most annoying part is that I can’t have the pet I want with the abilities I want. I’m okay with a system where taming pets unlocks specific abilities to that pet (category), and then be able to teach it to others through a talent-like system.

Let me focus on what abilities I need in raid and M+ without breaking the immersion of my character and pet/mog combination.

13 Likes

I appreciate the replies here and discussion in other places.

I probably should have prefaced my earlier post with a note that it was not intended to be a “here is a list of things changing in the next patch”. It was just some commentary on the state of pets, and how we got to where we are, and things we have to think about when doing pet related things.

We agree things can be better with pets. Many of us play classes with pets that are of vital importance to your DPS or just to do whatever content you want to be doing. We have planned improvement for pets and summoned units to work better in many places in the game. This takes engineering time, and is a complex system, and sometimes creates unintended problems. It’s not forgotten, it’s just a perpetual list of priorities that has to be worked on, and sometimes becomes too risky to put in a patch where it potentially disrupts things in a negative way compared to what is already there.

The comments above about pet specialization and pet family abilities are good. They were a bit lumped together in my reply above. Things can be made better, but I don’t want to promise any timelines or specific changes.

13 Likes

I still have my fingers crossed that my Mechagnome Hunter will one day finally be able to tame a Fel Reaver.

5 Likes

It’s really insane that literally one mechanic from a boss fight, rendors players with a pet terrible and lose out on a huge DPS loss when the player didn’t do anything wrong.

Just something to keep in mind when creating new bosses or dungeons.

2 Likes

I bowed out of my guild’s AotC Nathria because I was running on my Warlock as Demonology and the terrible pathing, the fact demo pets couldnt attack ranged adds, and your pets could just randomly stop attacking until you re-summoned them made me a liability. (Not to mention entering a mirror meant all of your pets instantly became out of range of Denathrius/Remornia, so imps/felstalkers, and even your tyrant would despawn before reaching Denathrius again)

I’m interested to see if they listened and fixed the mechanics for when Nathria is fated, or if BM and Demo will be benched. (My Guild was okay with me staying, but I don’t like feeling like a liability lol, but I know people who got benched by their guilds for it)

7 Likes