Hunter Pets in Battle for Azeroth

Battle for Azeroth Alpha General Discussion
As we’ve kicked off the Battle for Azeroth Alpha, we’ve seen a lot of discussion about the new way Hunter pets work. While we’re by no means finished, we have reached a place where we want to share some insight into our plans and explain some of what you might see in development as Alpha continues.

Our primary thoughts on pets going forward:

  • Move past the idea of a DPS/Tank pet specialization
  • In Battle for Azeroth, all pets will have equal damage, health, and armor. All can tank or DPS equally. Choosing to put a particular pet into “Tank spec” feels outdated, so we’re going to shift all pets to a setup that will work as though they’re specced into both Ferocity and Tenacity (in Legion terms). All offensive and defensive passive abilities such as Blood of the Rhino and Combat Training will be rolled into every pet by default. Charge will be removed, and all pets will have Growl and Dash/Swoop. Some spec-specific actives will be redistributed where appropriate. We are keeping the names Ferocity, Tenacity, and Cunning as the broad groups that all families fall into. They are no longer changeable, and each has a new passive and active ability that are useful in almost any situation.

  • Maintain and/or reinstate pet family uniqueness
  • Pet family flavor is part of what makes selecting a companion unique and special, and want to emphasize that even more. A special ability has been added to all pet families that were missing one. Exotic Pets still have their unique ability (like Surface Trot) in addition to a new ability. Pure flavor abilities that many pets have are also staying like Trick and Rest.

  • Expanding access to Bloodlust, and the removal of Battle Res from pets
  • In Legion, all Hunters have access to Bloodlust and Battle Res, but they only exist among a handful of families, which leads to very narrow options. To that end, Bloodlust will be available on roughly a third of the tamable pet families rather than just two. In a world where we are proliferating abilities to many families, our first inclination was to add Battle Res to a separate third of those families. After seeing that landscape, it felt odd to fully embrace Resurrection as part of the Hunter kit. Further, moving into Battle for Azeroth, we are solidifying Bloodlust and Battle Res as the strong shared cooldowns that a group can bring - one offense, one defense. In that world, Hunters having access to both of the super powerful group benefits didn’t feel appropriate.

  • A variety of pet ability packages
  • It’s important to acknowledge that some hunters want to maximize their impact with their pet, while others are collectors who want a pet for every occasion. There should be opportunities to cleverly swap from one pet to another in a given situation and reap the benefit. At the same time, the Hunter who has grown attached to their spider named Fluffy should feel effective across the game. We’re going to try to ensure that every pet package is attractive, with a unique combination of benefits that work in many situations.

    Here are some specifics of the Battle for Azeroth design for Hunter pets:

    There are currently 51 pet families, and each family will be categorized as Ferocity, Tenacity, or Cunning. Each will have an active and a passive, and the active will be a Hunter class button that changes contextually with your active pet.
    • Ferocity
      • Primal Rage (Active - Bloodlust)
      • Predator’s Thirst (Passive - 3% Leech for you and your pet)
    • Tenacity
      • Survival of the Fittest (Active - 20% damage reduction for the Hunter and Pet for 6 seconds with a 3 minute cooldown)
      • Endurance Training (Passive - 10% max health for you and your pet)
    • Cunning
      • Master’s Call (Active – a friendly target and your pet are immune to root and moment impairing effects for 4 seconds with a 45 second cooldown)
      • Pathfinding (Passive - 8% movement speed for you and your pet)

    Each pet family will get one of six different abilities, and each ability will have a unique name themed to the family. Precedented abilities such as Ankle Crack - 50% Snare, Monstrous Bite - Healing Reduction Debuff, Shell Shield – 50% Reduced Damage Taken, Agile Reflexes - 30% Dodge, and Thick Hide – Reduced Damage Taken at Low Health already exist in the game, and we’re exploring adding something similar to Tranquilizing Shot to the list.

    While this does create a landscape where there may only be a handful of families that exactly fit the combination of tools you prefer, each family was chosen with variety as a premium. There are winged creatures, predators, grazers, and more represented across as many abilities as possible, while keeping them thematically appropriate.

    For two specific examples: a Spirit Beast in Battle for Azeroth still has Spirit Mend and Spirit Walk, and will gain Endurance Training and Survival of the Fittest. They also have a new ability, Spirit Shock, that dispels magic and soothes enraged enemies. Cats, on the other hand, gain Catlike Reflexes – a 30% dodge cooldown – in addition to Primal Rage and Predator’s Thirst. Both are able to tank or DPS equally.

    Nowadays, only about half of the pet families out there have a useful ability, and we want to improve on that. In Battle for Azeroth, Bloodlust will be much more prominent, so Hunters should no longer feel bound to Core Hounds and Nether Rays as their best options. Most importantly, these changes should result in a pet landscape where all pets can serve as dps or tank as well as they could in Legion.

    Please remember that all of the above, especially the numbers, are subject to change as we test in the Battle for Azeroth Alpha. Feel free to discuss anything related to Hunter pets here. We really appreciate your feedback!
    Thanks for the clarifications on the future pet changes. One thing I noticed with all those changes is that the Direhorn family lost their ability Reflective Armor Plating from live and haven't gained any other to compensate on Alpha, while all other families have their (at least two) abilities set.
    This sounds overly complicated. Why not just allow us to transmog our pets to anything else like we did with hati? That way people who want a chicken with a shield can just transmog a turtle to the chicken. The rest of us can keep our chicken as a dps pet and our tank as a turtle.
    There are things I like about this, and things I do not like about this.

    I like that you are giving more abilities to pets. Giving them more meaning. And allowing for more variety of pets to be brought to a raid environment. But that's where my likes end.

    I do not like that pets are locked to a spec. I'd prefer to change my pet's spec to another one to gain the benefits that the other spec has. I understand that all specs do the same in terms of tanking and damage, but what if I wanted Bloodlust and I have a Spirit Beast? A Spirit Beast that I love and I hate to switch out for another pet? I have to go get some other pet and use that? It would be so much easier (and it would make more sense) if I could switch it to have Bloodlust and call it a day.

    In addition to that, I appreciate the new abilities you are bringing to pets, but a far good number of them seem useless. In a raid environment, Spirit Shock appears to be the only with any value. A pet is not tanking in a raid environment, so any damage reduction or dodge is useless. Enemies do not seem to be harmed by a Mortal Strike effect, so that effect is also useless in raids. Why not add in new abilities that actually do something in raids? Vulnerabilities, bleeds, poisonous stings, damage buffs, etc.

    These changes appear to benefit some players in some situations, but not everyone. The changes feel incomplete. At the end of your post you mentioned that things, including numbers, are subject to change, but are they also subject to complete reworks? Because this is does not fully fix pets.

    Also the Leech effect given by the Ferocity pets seems really low to be of any value. 3%? That's almost nothing. It makes Ferocity feel like half a spec rather than something actually useful.

    Thanks for reading my post.

    Edit: I cannot speak for the entire Hunter community. Please refer to this post: https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20761886024 for other Hunter complaints who cannot post in here. Thank you.

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