Filling Up the Barn

Okay with patch 4.0.1 on the horizon I wanted to take a moment and talk about pets in patch 4.0.1. Now I’m not going to cover all of the pet changes here; we have Petopia for that. Speaking of Petopia there’s a good chance that Mania will be making an appearance on the Hunting Party Podcast soon, but I digest.

Anywho, to get the skinny on all the pet changes coming in patch 4.0.1 and Cataclysm I recommend starting with the Petopia: Cataclysm Overview page. Also, Frostheim released his Cataclysm Hunter Pet and Raid Buffs Guide over at the WHU.

My goal for today is to provide you with some caveats when acquiring new pets and to give you some guidance on the pet families you’ll want to consider when it comes to raiding. I’ll also take a look at these pets in the context of a recent 10 and 25 man raid to see if I’ll be forced to bring certain pets versus bringing my favorites. So let’s crack open a Darkbrew Lager and get started.

Things to Keep in Mind

  1. We still need to level our pets. They start at three levels below us and not five. If your raid starts at 8pm and you tame that Corehound at 7:30pm, it’s only going to be level 77 and pretty worthless to your raid until you get him up to 80.
  2. The list of pets that are level 78 and higher is pretty slim. The available families include Bears, Birds of Prey, Boars, Rhinos, Spiders, Spirit Beasts, Wolves, and Worms. You can see the full list here.
  3. I recommend running heroics to level your pet. The days when this was a detriment to your group are long gone. They’ll be back in Cataclysm, so enjoy it for now.
  4. At level 80 we only have access to four of our five active slots. The fifth one requires level 82.
  5. We need to visit a stable master if we want to swap out an active for an inactive pet. Pets pulled out of the stable will need to have their talents redone.

Recommended Pets

If you want to have all of the raid buffs and debuffs covered then here is the list of pet families you want in your stable. Keep in mind that due to talents, ferocity pets should do more dps than cunning and tenacity (I think cunning pets are pretty close in dps though). Also, if you want to have all the buffs and debuffs you will need to have a BM spec.

  1. Corehound – 30% haste
  2. Silithid – Health buff
  3. Raptor or Serpent – 12% armor debuff
  4. Wolf or Devilsaur – 5% crit
  5. Ravager or Worm – 4% physical damage
  6. Dragonhawk or Windserpent – 8% spell damage
  7. Cat or Spirit Beast – Strength and Agility
  8. Boar, Hyena or Rhino – 30% bleed debuff
  9. Shale Spider – 5% all stats (only available in Cata. though).
  10. Bear – 10% physical damage debuff.
  11. Tallstrider or Fox (Cata.)- 20% melee attack speed debuff.
  12. Sporebat – 30% cast speed reduction.
  13. Chimera – AOE damage (not a buff, but an attack).

Will I be able to Raid With My Favorite Pet?

The answer to this depends on your raid composition, your raid leader and the number of hunters you have in your group. Keep in mind that some abilities that affect raid buffs may not be available to all classes at level 80. For example, Mages don’t get Time Warp (bloodlust/heroism) until level 85. Hunters may be more pigeon holed at level 80 than we will at level 85.

Before heading out to the raid instance, you might want to wait until the raid group is full and you’ve consulted with the raid leader and any other hunters in your group about what pets you might want to bring.

But back to the question about raiding with what you want versus what the raid needs, let’s take a look at the composition from a recent 25-man raid I was in. Again, this may not fully apply to level 80, and your typical raid composition may be different.

Here is the list of buffs and debuffs that were provided by the various classes.

  1. 30% haste (Shaman)
  2. Health buff  (Priest)
  3. 5% crit (Ele. Shaman)
  4. 4% physical damage (Frost DK)
  5. 8% spell damage (Balance Druid)
  6. Strength and Agility (DK)
  7. 30% bleed debuff (Feral Druid)
  8. 5% all stats (Kings) (Paladin)
  9. 10% physical damage debuff (Warrior)
  10. 20% melee and ranged attack speed debuff (Rogue)
  11. 30% cast speed reduction (Feral Druid)

The only thing that was missing was the 12% armor debuff provided by Prot. Warriors and Bear Druids. Based on this it would have made sense for me to bring a Rapor or Serpent. We also had a second hunter in the raid so that meant only one of us would’ve needed to bring the armor debuff and the other hunter would’ve been free to bring his favorite pet.

Now this is a 25-man scenario where it’s much easier to find all of the raid buffs. How about 10-man where you have 15 fewer players?. Well, in my last ICC 10 heroic run the composition looked like this.

  1. 30% haste (Shaman)
  2. Health buff  (Priest)
  3. 12% Armor Debuff (Prot. Warrior)
  4. 5% crit (Ele. Shaman)
  5. 4% physical damage (Frost DK)
  6. 8% spell damage (Unholy DK)
  7. Strength and Agility (DK)
  8. 5% all stats (Kings) (Paladin)
  9. 10% physical damage debuff (Warrior)
  10. 20% melee and ranged attack speed debuff (Warlock)
  11. 30% cast speed reduction (Warrior)

So in my ten man we had everything but the 30% bleed debuff. Since I was the only hunter it would have made sense for me to bring a Hyena. Admittedly not my favorite pet, but I do what must be done.

As you can see Blizzard has really tried to spread out the buffs between the various classes. Personally I like that fact that we fill the gaps in our raid buffs. Raid buffs make the group stronger, and a stronger group has a better chance of succeeding. Hunters will be able to provide a lot of utility and fill the gaps, but I suspect that we’ll have plenty of opportunity to just run with whatever pet we like best.

Happy Hunting!

6 comments

  1. For leveling pets I like the 6-7 mob packs in the western part of the Icecrown basin. A mend pet and a multi/steady rotation gets them down very fast, esp with MM spec for cheap multi shots on mob death. Doing this I was able to level a pet from 77 to 80 in 20 minutes on the PTR.

  2. I will have to try that too, but as a skinner I've had good luck with leveling pets and gathering skins by farming the mammoth herds that run around the area outside of Dun Nifflem in Storm Peaks. Plus the junk and occasional greens that drop, I can make a nice amount of gold in half an hour, plus level up the pet. Of course now with Volley gone I am not so sure I will be able to farm as fast any more…*sign

    On another note, I think it's going to be confusing to try to know what buff is missing every raid, at least for me. So many to keep track of! I am very happy that they have done this with the pets though, because it really makes us much more desirable to raid leaders when trying to fill up the raid. Thanks for the article, glad you took the time to break it down for the rest of us!

  3. […] too since  many of these pets can act as stand ins for classes that are not in the raid. The Brew Hall sums up the explanation of buffs and raiding very […]

  4. […] too since  many of these pets can act as stand ins for classes that are not in the raid. The Brew Hall sums up the explanation of buffs and raiding very […]

  5. […] too since  many of these pets can act as stand ins for classes that are not in the raid. The Brew Hall sums up the explanation of buffs and raiding very […]

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