Hunters pets, impersonal obligations

100 Dwarf Hunter
17550
Hunter pets are not in a good spot right now, although better than they have been before. Blizzard has two design intentions for hunter pets. One being that the pet is a boon companion to the hunter and the other being that the pet serves as practically a hunter's only raid utility.

We currently have three kinds of pet families:

PvE buff pets
PvP pets
The others

PvE buff pets are of course pet families like cats, wolves, raptors, serpents, sporebats, etc.
PvP pets are the usual monkeys, cranes, spiders, etc.
The other pets are the ones that get little to no usage at all in any aspect of the game because their special ability isn't good enough. Pets like crocolisks, basilisks, moths, bears, etc.

Pets have become little more than an impersonal raid buff or special ability, since that is literally the only variation between pet families. Some may say this is a good thing, that people aren't forced to bring only ferocity pets to raids, or that specific pets are no longer required at all times (like wolves pre cata). In my opinion blizzard is going about this all wrong.

I don't want to view my boon companion as just another aspect of my class that makes me a hunter, I want to actually view them as my boon companion, we stick together through thick and thin, overcoming every challenge side by side. That is impossible with the current pet design. In fact I have had to delete some of my favorite pets out of my stable because I needed to make room for all the raid buff/debuff pets. Just like an hour ago I abandoned my rare spawn molten front crab to make room for a standard gorilla for protectors of the endless.

Blizzards needs to separate two things; pets and hunter utility. If pets are completely homogenized except for their skins and bonus abilities it would be too soon. Some might not like it because of a lack of variation but what people fail to realize is that it is this obligated variation that forces us to take specific pets everywhere in the first place. Some kind of variation would be acceptable, for example if every pet family had a unique attack ability that functioned in different ways but ultimately provided approximately the same dps. We would be in a much better spot than we are now where some pets are mandatory and some might as well not exist. Sure the min maxers would use the specific pet that provides 2 additional dps, but we would still be in a much better place than now.

Please blizzard, redesign hunter pets. They just feel like warlock minions now. We just summon them for their buff and then dismiss them when they are no longer needed. That isn't how you treat your boon companion.
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100 Dwarf Hunter
17550
02/14/2013 04:43 PMPosted by Bubgrib
Dunno about you. My pet is fine.

Glad to hear it, but I personally don't like being forced to use a raptor or sporebat at all times while raiding.
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8 Goblin Warrior
0
Dunno about you. My pet is fine.

Glad to hear it, but I personally don't like being forced to use a raptor or sporebat at all times while raiding.
I use a tallstrider more than my raptor, same debuff but it's AoE with the bird.

Edit, I honestly hope the right people at blizzard read this but with it being in a class forum I sincerely doubt it.
Edited by Whim on 2/14/2013 5:59 PM PST
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90 Night Elf Hunter
9200
I actually tweeted Ghostcrawler about this issue - I feel the same way.

My tweet:
@Ghostcrawler Any chance hunters will be able to choose which buff our pet brings in the future? Atm we can't always use our boon companion.


Currently we don't always have a choice over which pet to bring. Which sucks, especially when their argument for not increasing stable size is that pets are supposed to be our "boon companions." Not exactly consistent in this matter xD

Edit: Forgot to add that he hasn't replied (yet). I did post this about a day ago though.
Edited by Paksanarian on 2/14/2013 6:29 PM PST
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90 Pandaren Hunter
11410
Ability to bring almost every buff in the game VS. sentimental attachment to pet.

If you prefer the latter, then I have a strong feeling that it won't really matter if you boycott the former.
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100 Dwarf Hunter
17550
Ability to bring almost every buff in the game VS. sentimental attachment to pet.

If you prefer the latter, then I have a strong feeling that it won't really matter if you boycott the former.

That ability is the thing holding hunters back from being able to bring real raid utility. It is why rogues are getting a raid cooldown in 5.2 and hunters not. Hunters should have real utility, real usefulness to a raid, besides just being handed the trashed shaman utility of being the buff buddy.
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90 Night Elf Hunter
9200
Ability to bring almost every buff in the game VS. sentimental attachment to pet.

If you prefer the latter, then I have a strong feeling that it won't really matter if you boycott the former.


That's not the problem.

The utility our pets bring and the ability to bring whichever buff is amazing - nobody will dispute that.

But more often than not we are forced to use a pet that we aren't necessarily fond of - its just a buff pet, and nothing more.

Basically, Blizzard isn't showing consistency with declaring that our pets are our boon companions but making them extremely situational.

Edit: Well at least, that's my problem with it lol
Edited by Paksanarian on 2/14/2013 7:46 PM PST
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90 Night Elf Hunter
2935
Then again, with me, I often get sentimentally attached to the ones I use a lot.
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90 Draenei Hunter
14770
02/14/2013 04:30 PMPosted by Spinnerdh
Some kind of variation would be acceptable, for example if every pet family had a unique attack ability that functioned in different ways but ultimately provided approximately the same dps. We would be in a much better spot than we are now where some pets are mandatory and some might as well not exist. Sure the min maxers would use the specific pet that provides 2 additional dps, but we would still be in a much better place than now


Using a pet you do not really like isn't great fun. I recently had to get a sporebat that I am not too fond of and had to abandon my ghostcrawler for it. Though honestly I never used him anyways lol but now I can't say that I have every spirit beast!

I think the issue though is that either all pets are exactly the same besides looks or that they have differences. I MUCH MUCH prefer the buffs as to your suggestion of dps... at least with buffs you have a good shot of everything being covered in your raid and then are able to use anything you want. If it was based on dps then no serious raider would bring anything other.

We have many stable slots. I have most of the buffs covered I believe. And yet still have room for pets that I just like the look of. Plus we often still have choices between different pet families or looks & colors to get specific buffs. For example the crit buff I could bring a wolf, devilsaur or quilen. I chose a quilen as it also gives me the rez and I liked the purple Portent. I pretty much only use it in 5 mans or lfr as the crit buff is almost always covered and my raid has others to brez but in lfr ppl r too stupid to brez half the time lol.

I am very sentimental of my pets as well. I think long and hard about what to name them and adore them. I still have my ghostsaber which was my most treasured pet on my first hunter back in vanilla. I have Patrannache in my active pets just because it is lovely and I sit in town with it out lol I like being able to use different pets for different jobs. I find it pushes me into actually finding other pets I do end up loving. Run with your fav look while questing atleast or doing 5 mans and then raid with one you love alittle bit less.

I think the better solution would be to just spread the buffs around a smidge more with a bit more overlapping. Giving us a nice bit of options to choose from but still making us choose.
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90 Pandaren Hunter
18290
02/14/2013 07:36 PMPosted by Spinnerdh
That ability is the thing holding hunters back from being able to bring real raid utility. It is why rogues are getting a raid cooldown in 5.2 and hunters not. Hunters should have real utility, real usefulness to a raid, besides just being handed the trashed shaman utility of being the buff buddy


I find myself getting a lot of the jobs in raids. As such, I tend to have a firm hold on my raid spot as a hunter. Just to list a few of my jobs;

Heroic Will: Soaking sparks and controlling adds.

Heroic Wind Lord: CCing an add with freezing trap (as there is no cast time on trap), Interrupting Mending. Misdirecting incoming adds.

Heroic Amber-Shaper: Entrapment, Binding Shot to control the globs and Narrow Escape to snare them as they're about to die, allowing their target to move away without suffering damage from the globs exploding.

We're also the most mobile DPS class in game that is also strong. Re-positioning and add switching are no problem for us either.

Although you don't HAVE to bring a hunter, having a good one will help your team out significantly.
We have a really strong toolkit, then you add in the ability to bring absolutely every buff and debuff in the game and our potential DPS.
We're a lot better off than most classes. I don't recall anyone saying "We could really use an windwalker for this fight" or "We need a rogue for this" :x

I'm not having a go at you, but I do think you're seriously underestimating the powers we posses. When I get benched for another class, I'll rethink what I've said.
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100 Dwarf Hunter
17550
02/14/2013 08:49 PMPosted by Isaboo
I think the better solution would be to just spread the buffs around a smidge more with a bit more overlapping. Giving us a nice bit of options to choose from but still making us choose.

Or bring back pet talent trees and give us the option to choose between 3 popular buffs, as well as between utility abilities, mobility abilities, etc.

If they were given dps abilities that had effort put into them they would be balanced. It might be difficult to balance classes, but balancing a pet that uses said damage ability on cooldown all the time would be different. It could be as simple as:

Sting
10 second cooldown
Stings the target for 20000 damage.

Ravage
5 second cooldown
Ravage the targets flesh, dealing 10000 damage.

Obviously it could and would hold more variation than that. Pets are not varied, sure 3 pets supply crit, but then the options are still diminished. A quillen is the obvious choice in PvE because it also has a battle rez, compared to a wolf who has no exotic ability and a devilsaur who only provides a healing debuff that has only niche uses, an instant battle rez will come in far more handy and could save a raid if the death knight is low on RP or the druid is the one that died.

Really, any change from the current would be great, even if pets still weren't really options because blizzard didn't get it right and cats did 50 more dps than dogs or whatever, it would be a lot better than the mandatory obligation that it is now.
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90 Pandaren Hunter
14925
02/14/2013 04:30 PMPosted by Spinnerdh
I don't want to view my boon companion as just another aspect of my class that makes me a hunter, I want to actually view them as my boon companion, we stick together through thick and thin, overcoming every challenge side by side. That is impossible with the current pet design. In fact I have had to delete some of my favorite pets out of my stable because I needed to make room for all the raid buff/debuff pets. Just like an hour ago I abandoned my rare spawn molten front crab to make room for a standard gorilla for protectors of the endless.


I actually disagree with your statement about impossibility. I tend to stick with a core of 3 - 5 pets that I am highly attached to. Even though I tamed Terropene, I could never abandon my Scalebeard, because that is who I used when first soloing MC at 80. The Powerpuff Girls have been with me through the past 4 raid tiers, and I have a similar connection to them.

Though, your final sentence brings up an issue that I have been slow to warm to, but now fully support: larger stables. Under the current design, there are more possible buffs, debuffs, utility moves, etc than can be accommodated by our stables. Now, it might also be the design that we have to choose which of those abilities are most important to us, but it feels punitive whenever you have to choose a pet to abandon for any reason.

However, the reason that I was so slow to warm up to the stable space idea is due to technical concerns. The amount of server storage required to accommodate just 5 more pets is probably significantly larger than any of us imagine. Working for a large software company and seeing the backside of our DBs, I'm willing to bet more stable space isn't as simple as adding a page and 10 slots to the current stable masters.

Really, any change from the current would be great, even if pets still weren't really options because blizzard didn't get it right and cats did 50 more dps than dogs or whatever, it would be a lot better than the mandatory obligation that it is now.


How would that be any better than we have it now? Under that design, the best pet would be the best pet, regardless of raid size and composition. As it stands now, the best pet for you and your raid team is not the best pet for me and mine. Individually, we do not have a lot of options, on that we agree, but as a class, we have much more variety than the pre-Cata days.

In response to the rest of your post, and the OP, even if pet special ability damage was "approximately equal" then it is not identically equal. So long as it's not identically equal, there will always be a best pet that is mandatory and independent of raid group and composition. Is this really what you want to go back to? Is this really better than what we have now?

02/14/2013 08:55 PMPosted by Leorina
I'm not having a go at you, but I do think you're seriously underestimating the powers we posses. When I get benched for another class, I'll rethink what I've said.


I think Blizzard has done a good job over the past 4 tiers (where most of my experience is from) of designing individual fights that let each class or spec shine. I think this was best done in Firelands, but you can still see it in T14.

02/14/2013 09:17 PMPosted by Spinnerdh
Or bring back pet talent trees and give us the option to choose between 3 popular buffs, as well as between utility abilities, mobility abilities, etc.


This is something I lobbied for very hard during the Mists beta. I really wanted to see a minimal amount of selection go into our pet's talents. My favorite idea was a two tier talent tree. Each pet would have access to 3 utility moves (Web, Widow's Venom, Hardened Carapace, etc) and 3 buffs or debuffs (5% Crit, Mastery, Attack Speed, etc). You'd select one of those from each level. Exotic pets would gain access to a third tier that contains 3 of the exotic abilities (Lust, Battle Rez, Water Walking, etc).
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100 Troll Hunter
17290
Been toying with a suggestion based on this. Quick TLDR:

- Basic Attacks applies 2 raid debufs (i.e. Weakened Armor, Phys Vuln, etc), based on Specialization. I.e.: Cunning applies Casting, Melee and Range attack slow (appropriate values), Ferocity applies Phys and Spell Vulnerability, Tenacity applies Weakened Armor and Weakened Blows. The idea is most raid comps won't be missing both effects, just one of them. The raid comp might be missing multiple effects, but generally not the same ones provided by a single pet.

Each Pet can learn one of 5 "roars", choice can be re-chosen via Stable Master only. Each roar applies 2 of the raid buffs to the party. Again, same idea, most raid comps won't be missing both effects, so the hunter is really only providing one. The 5th Roar is Bloodlust.

Each Pet can also learn one of 5 utility moves. These are effects the Hunter cannot provide (obvious example, Horn Toss equivalent). B-Rez is one of these choices.

Exotic Pets (regardless of Family, i.e. all BM Pets) can choose one of 5 "extra" effects. For now, the ideas is a cleaving Basic Attack, extended range on Basic Attacks/Melee attacks (less damage when out of melee), trading Avoidance for Health, Mitigation, Threat (i.e. "tank"), etc. Still toying with this...

Now, the kicker is, the hunter is bringing 5 effects via the pet (2 debuffs, 2 buffs or Bloodlust, and a utility move). The hunter himself has no raid orientated debuff or buff (i.e. no TSA).

Where Stampede comes in, is for a short time, the hunter can bring everything. The Roars have reduced duration when used by Stampede pets (i.e. 50% - 100% of Stampede duration, not the 2 min or so brought by the primary pet). Our raid "buff bot" mechanic becomes one of our main PVP utility effects. On a 5 min CD, our party gets fully rebuffed, and the target gets fully debuffed. In Raids, Stampede is just damage most of the time, as debuffs and buffs are covered.

There is a lot more to it, for starters, some moves (like Bloodlust) are pet abilities, but they use the Hunter's GCD, cannot be set to auto-cast, and the hunter has access to it via Stampede as long as the pet is active. Basically, its like the pet being active "teaches" the ability to the hunter, and the ability requires the pet. CDs on said abilities are tied to the hunter, not the pet.
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90 Worgen Hunter
7770
Ability to bring almost every buff in the game VS. sentimental attachment to pet.

If you prefer the latter, then I have a strong feeling that it won't really matter if you boycott the former.

That ability is the thing holding hunters back from being able to bring real raid utility. It is why rogues are getting a raid cooldown in 5.2 and hunters not. Hunters should have real utility, real usefulness to a raid, besides just being handed the trashed shaman utility of being the buff buddy.


Don't know about yours but my hunter, can any buff needed and multiple buffs at times, CC multiple targets, interrupt ( not via pet), remove enrages and buffs, reduce healing affects.

You really upset just cause we don't have a AOE sheild or AOE disspell...
Edited by Dieranged on 2/15/2013 8:55 AM PST
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90 Night Elf Hunter
16385
02/14/2013 07:44 PMPosted by Paksanarian
The utility our pets bring and the ability to bring whichever buff is amazing - nobody will dispute that.

I will dispute that. In fact I think it's the worst thing they could have done and plain old lazy design, like a lot of things when it comes to hunter dev. This is there excuse now for never giving us a unique raid utility. Just to be clear, I don't find the currect pet buff design to be detrimental; I just do not think it's very interesting.

As for pets, here's my wishlist...

1) Make things like Heart of the Phoenix and Roar of Sacrifice HUNTER abilities, so we could use them with regardless of pet.

2) Allow us to choose which abilities we have active on our pets. i.e. If my raid needs the mastery buff, I could simply change my wolf's buff instead of bringing out my cat.

3) Allow BM to add an extra "exotic" ability to their pets.

Btw... can someone tell me what "boon companion" means? LOL The term has zero meaning to me.
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90 Pandaren Hunter
7780
From Dictionary.com.

Main Entry: boon companion
Part of Speech: n
Definition: an intimate or close friend; best friend

Example: With a boon companion, she followed her new path.
Etymology: 1566; boon from Fr. bon, lit. 'good fellow'

Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon

Main Entry: boon companion
Part of Speech: n
Definition: a very close friend
Example: She is inseparable from her boon companion of 20 years.
Etymology: 1566; literally, 'good fellow'
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90 Night Elf Hunter
16385
Thanks ghost. That's pretty much what I assumed.
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100 Night Elf Hunter
8350
Been toying with a suggestion based on this. Quick TLDR

I like where this is headed, but I wish you would toy with the syntax too.

On the first one wouldn't choosing something other than ferocity become a dps loss?
And this seems to primeraly be a PvE problem, where I would expect pet dps to matter.
So the first one already has problems. I do like how it got me thinking though.
Edited by Farsightrx on 2/15/2013 12:30 PM PST
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100 Troll Hunter
17290
02/15/2013 12:20 PMPosted by Farsightrx
Been toying with a suggestion based on this. Quick TLDR

i like where this is headed but I wish you would toy with the syntax too

Oh I am..it isn't just about pets, but the entire class (don't expect anything out of it...I got bored and started something that exploded into a massive "fun" experiment)

Almost done with it actually, just have a few little pieces left.

On the first one wouldn't choosing something other than ferocity become a dps loss?
and this seems to primeraly be a PvE problem, where I would expect pet dps to matter, so you can scratch that one out.

That's a part I left out. Essentially, all 3 specs (pets) have roughly the same DPS capabilities. Cunning is more flexible, while Ferocity has some ramp up built into a single target (so, in tank'n'spank fights light Feng, Ferocity will be better than Cunning, but for multiple target fights, like Will or Elegon (if you are on protectors) would favor Cunning better).

Tenacity is...a little more quirky. In PVP, its damage mechanic has no drawback. In PVE the main one inflates threat and is AOE based. However, Tenacity gives the debuffs that are typically accounted for by tanks, so while you shouldn't need Tenacity for the debuff in PVE, you can get it as part of your stampede for PVP.
Edited by Verdash on 2/15/2013 12:36 PM PST
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