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WoWFeb 13, 2018 10:00 am CT

Battle for Azeroth alpha restricts Hunter pet specialization

The Battle for Azeroth alpha has significantly reworked how Hunter pets function. Even for someone like me, who only plays his Hunter on a lark and hasn’t even finished getting it to 110 (see, all my 110’s have to be Plate classes in case cool Plate armor drops and I want to use it in transmog) these changes seem a bit backward. It’s still early alpha and anything could still change, but this is what Blizzard has done with Hunter pets so far.

The changes in your families

Currently on live, any pet can be Ferocity, Cunning, or Tenacity. If you get a turtle pet, and you want to use it for damage purposes, you make that sucker your Ferocity pet. If you want to tank with a crane? Switch it over to Tenacity. I currently have a Ferocity Lupos and a Tenacity Lupos and even a Cunning Lupos, just because I can. But in Battle for Azeroth, that changes. Once again, all pets will just be one of the three out of the box and you won’t be able to change it. And just to make it a bit more confusing, some of the pets are changing from their old specializations — so Clefthooves, for example, are going to be a Ferocity pet when they were a Tenacity pet.

Our old friend Bendak has already done a pretty thorough analysis of the changes, and while I am an amateur Hunter at the best of times I do agree with his points. I’m especially in agreement that it’s a bit hard to understand why it matters if players can have a Tenacity Clefthoof or a Ferocity Crab. It doesn’t feel like a problem that needed to be solved. It would be like introducing a talent that made Arms Warriors want to have one of every 2h weapon and a macro to switch between them for maximum utility, except instead it’s pets and you’re basically making it so you’ll switch to your Ferocity pet for Bloodlust when necessary and otherwise use Cunning or Tenacity.

Cunning, Tenacious, and Ferocious friends

Why? Because in the new system, damage isn’t linked to the pet’s specialization. Your Cunning or Tenacity pet will do the same amount of damage and all pets will have both Growl and Dash, plus one of the base attacks — Claw, Bite, or Smack, depending on the pet family. Then the pets will get a special attack based on pet family, chosen from a handful of abilities and then ‘skinned’ to be appropriate for the pet.

However, there are new specialization abilities.

Ferocity pets get:

  • Predator’s Thirst: You and your pet gain 3% Leech. Bendak points out that this is pretty underwhelming, due to the fact that most of the Pet’s damage isn’t leeched to the Hunter.
  • Primal Rage: Increases haste by 30% for all party and raid members for 40 sec. Allies receiving this effect will become Sated and unable to benefit from Primal Rage or similar effects again for 10 min. This one is Bloodlust/Heroism, and if you don’t have a party/raid member who can cast that spell you’ll want it. Otherwise, you won’t.

Tenacity pets get:

These are good for tanking, but even if you’re not tanking they’re survival bonuses and will likely be very strong in any content where you need to stay alive longer and give your healer a hand in keeping you up.

Cunning pets retain their middle of the road nature:

  • Pathfinding: You and your pet gain 8% increased movement speed. This is great for soloing but it will annoy the heck out of anyone you’re grouped with.
  • Master’s Call: Your pet removes all root and movement impairing effects from itself and its target, and grants immunity to all such effects for 4 sec. Remember this old favorite? I foresee a lot of popularity for this one in the future.

Pets in the future

Ultimately, I’m not saying these changes are all bad. I’m just confused why locking pets to a speciality was necessary. Was it to keep some pets from having Bloodlust and a battle res? Why are Spirit Beasts all Tenacity now? If we’re going to lock all Ferocity pets to having Bloodlust, why do they also have the worst ability with Predator’s Thirst? I mean, if you’re going to use Leech, either let all pet damage leech to the hunter or jack up that Leech some, guys.

Making it so each pet family does equivalent damage is a good move, but locking them to specific specializations just means you’re probably going to run Tenacity or Cunning unless you need the Bloodlust. And having Clefthoof be Ferocity while Direhorn remain Tenacity just baffles me. But I’ll still keep running my Devilsaurs even if Ferocity seems sub-optimal in Battle because I can get away with it.

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