Time to finish pets

A great post by Toga. Since Blizzard insists on removing pets that look cool, it is about time they finished developing them.

Very frankly, we are way past time that Blizzard finally finishes what was promised to us over two years ago back in September of ’05. Blizzard at the time (patch 1.07) announced that specific pets having special abilities (run speed, attack speed, and even damage type) was or could result in all hunters taking the same pet because it was too optimal. The result was that we got a handful of pet families with special abilities. At the time this included cats, owls, bats, carrion birds, scorpids, and wolves. Given that this change was part of the “hunter review” and that the other 11 pet families didn’t get a special ability, they said they’d finish it “soon”. 6 down, 11 to go.

Along came patch 1.08 in October of ’05 and they added Lightning Breath to windserpents. 7 down, 10 to go.

And then with patch 1.09 in January of ’06 and in exchange for normalizing pet attack speed, run speed, and damage type we got turtles that can learn shell shield, boars that can learn charge, and gorillas that can learn thunderstomp. Again this was explained that some pets were too optimal and that these changes would encourage players to use different pets. 10 down, 7 to go.

1.10 came at the end of March of ’06 and buffed shell shield. Still 10 down, 7 to go.

1.11 in June of ’06 tweaked a couple special abilities for pet families but that was it. Keeping at 10 down, 7 to go.

1.12 in August of ’06 ignored us again. 10 down, 7 to go.

2.0 came in December of ’06 and brought us the 41 point talents and all that pre-BC fun… and not one change to hunter pets. 10 down, 7 to go.

Burning Crusade came along and added six new pet families! These include the dragonhawk, nether ray, ravager, serpent, sporebat, and warp stalker. Four of them even have pet family abilities! One of them can’t learn any pet abilities besides growl and cower. So the new count is 14 down, 9 to go.

Patch 2.1 in July of ’07 did… well nothing. 14 down, 9 to go.

Patch 2.2 in October of ’07 saw raptors gain dash. This marks the first time one of the original pet families has gained a special ability in 22 months. And it was one other pet families had already, they just gave it to this one as well. 15 down, 8 to go.

Patch 2.3 comes to us in November of ’07 and again nothing. 15 down, 8 to go.

So that’s where we are… 15 down and 8 to go. Of course that’s a generous statement there as it’s including raptors as complete even though they don’t have a family specific attack like the other 14 (well, turtles don’t either really). And with a one minute cooldown on their thunderstomp, when was the last time you saw someone with a gorilla pet? Turtle’s shell shield is still unfortunate because what pet needs a special defense when it can’t generate enough aggro to be attacked? Wolves have dash and furious howl but there hasn’t been a new rank of furious howl since before Burning Crusade and the ~50 bonus damage has long since become pathetic.

Let’s face facts. We started down this path together because Blizzard said we the hunters were in danger of becoming too focused on a handful of pets. When was the last time you saw a hunter that didn’t have a cat, raptor, or ravager that wasn’t a novelty pet? Warp stalkers, boars, wind serpents, and owls are considered to be barely acceptable. Great. 7 useful pet families out of 23 and only 3 of them are truly useful. Blizzard, you did not accomplish your stated objectives. Our choice currently is to take a cat and train it bite, claw, growl, and dash; a raptor and train it bite, claw, growl, and dash; or a ravager and train it bite, gore, growl, and dash. Decisions, decisions…

Hunter pets are the mainstay and largest identifying feature of the class and the latest word is that Blizzard has hotfixed the game to prevent taming the Dustwallow ghost wolves. For the first time in ages hunters were actually interested in taming a wolf even though it’s a sad performer. We can’t have that! 23 pet families should be a selling point for the game by showcasing the versatility and choices… but by having only 3 that are worth keeping around it’s insulting to us and embarrassing to Blizzard.

And so that this is completely clear to everyone else out there, imagine if swords (one third of the sword/axe/mace triumvirate), all swords, had no special abilities. Just dps. No extra stats, no procs, no nothing except dps. And it wouldn’t even have extra dps… just the same as a white axe or mace. There wouldn’t be a sword in use that wasn’t as a joke. And that’s what hunter’s pets have been brought to over two years.

Blizzard, it’s time… finish what you started and complete the job you began way back in September of ’05. Give us choices. Make us make strategic decisions about our pet choice. If you need ideas, I’m sure we’d be glad to provide (frenzied regeneration and maul for bears, web and poison bite for spiders, hamstring for crabs and turtles, and so on) but I don’t think this is about having ideas or not… it’s about whether you care enough to bother. And now Wrath of the Lich King is on its way and the rumors are already out that we’ll be getting new pet families again. Will these be incomplete like the new pet families in Burning Crusade were? Will our “old world” pets ever be completed? Will I ever have a reason to tame the first pet I ever tamed, a bear, without feeling like I’m having to hobble myself because I’m tired of cats, can’t stand ravagers, and raptors just don’t do it for me.

Give us back our choices, it’s time.

About Drotara

Drotara (or BehemothDan) considers himself a geek on many levels. A web developer and programmer by trade, he has no shortage of geeky hobbies. When not fulfilling husband and daddy duties, he enjoys WoW, the WoW TCG, Magic: The Gathering, and great board games with friends and family.