The Current State of Pets

I was thinking about pets over the weekend, and I find them to be in a curious place right now. If you think about it, the system is perfect, and yet something about it doesn’t feel quite right.

In Mists of Pandaria pets were changed to bring raid buffs/debuffs and utility, although some were restricted to exotic pets. This was normalized in Warlords of Draenor and both exotic and normal pets can provide everything. You no longer have to be Beast Mastery if you want to provide combat resurrection services. I charge my raid a nominal fee for this service.

All pets can be Tenacity (i.e., tanks), or Ferocity (i.e., DPS), or whatever it is that Cunning pets do.

We no longer need to feed pets or keep them happy so that they maintain their high level of DPS, and don’t run away.

We have 50 stable slots, and even the with influx of new pets in Warlords of Draenor there is still adequate room to bring new favorites into the fold.

As I said, pets are in a perfect place right now. Too perfect, and therein lies the problem. We’ve reached the point where a Hunter can bring any pet to a raid that they want, and it just seems boring.

Now I understand that for PvP and soloing the choices you make in pets have some meaning, but for raids it usually doesn’t matter. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that Lone Wolf remains the talent of choice for most Hunters.

Our pets can do everything, but in many circumstances Hunters don’t even use one. Flexible raid sizes have also diminished the importance of pets as all the buffs/debuffs and utility are often covered by other classes. Unless the raid size is small and composition unbalanced, there is rarely a need to bring a specific pet.

This is the crux of the problem. Blizzard has made pets incredibly useful, and not just for Hunters, but for everyone in the group. They’ve also made them incredibly redundant, and thus useless.

We want to be the spatula that no one thought bring at that barbecue, but everything is a catered event now, and no one needs a spatula.

Even the buffs from Lone Wolf aren’t needed that often, and because it’s such a great talent, we don’t even see pets in raids.

I think this had led Hunters to think less about pets this expansion. I hardly check my stable anymore before raid to ensure that I bring a good mix with me, because I know it won’t matter.

Perhaps we’ll find some salvation in 6.1. The buff to Stampede will ensure that there are situations where we’ll see Hunter pets running around, even if you have Lone Wolf. There are encounters in Blackrock Foundry where Beast Cleave will dominate and you’ll want play as Beast Mastery.

Not much can be done about the redundancy of the buffs and debuffs, and quite frankly I don’t like being locked into having to bring a specific pet all of the time. What would really be nice is if Exotic Munitions were brought in-line with Lone Wolf and became an option for PvE. Then at least you’d see Hunters bringing out pets in raids, and maybe, just maybe, they’d starting caring about who to bring.

4 comments

  1. I found myself in the odd situation the other night of being the only person in LFR with a battle rez. I was lucky I had a crane pet in my actives so was able to stop, switch pets and rez the tank. So it does matter in some situations. And with my guild group — which can barely scrape 10 people together for a raid, the right buff still makes a difference. So I don’t think they’re totally useless, but in big groups, yes, for the most part.

  2. Also — I meant to add — it’s not really just us. I also play a resto shaman, and I almost am NEVER the person casting Heroism. Sure, I bring it, but usually there’s a couple of mages and other shaman. (or hunters! lol)

  3. I miss where each pet had a purpose: Thunderstomp ape for aoe, owl for disarm; etc. Taming a Devilsaur for the first time in Ungoro was such a fun experience especially when you took to Alterac Valley afterwards. It feels like the pet bugs are worse now. I had to hit the passive button multiple times in BRF to move them on to the cleave targets. Spears on Beastlord were especially bad. I’ll have to check my pet attack macro again. I end up running lone wolf SV a lot during progression so I don’t even get to see my pet. Even Rangers in DnD has pets.

  4. I hear you. I’m never asked to utilize my pets’ awesomeness anymore. The upside is after years of only being able to bring a sporbat, I can bust out Karkin, Blisterpaw, and some of my other favorites for the first time in a while. I do like that part of the current system.

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