Hunter pets are back to one spec (again), but each family has new skills
UrsaMajor has been my go-to pet since I started playing, in 2006. He’s seen a lot of change in his days, and, change has come again. In the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch, all Hunter pets received a reworking of their skills.
First of all, the big change. In Legion, we were able to make any pet do any spec, but that ability was removed. Now, pets are locked into one of the three specs: Tenacity, Ferocity, and Cunning. (And some have switched specs.) Each pet family was, however, given a special active ability (found under Command Pet) and a special passive ability. Here’s a list:
Another big change that all pets deal the same amount of damage, no matter the spec. With no DPS difference, deciding which pet to bring with you in any situation comes down to the special abilities given to each pet family. (Those of you who played during middle-to-late Wrath might remember the small add-on which listed which pet brought which ability. I had to always bring my spore bat because I was the only hunter who had one and it helped the casters.)
While Wrath-era pet utility hasn’t returned, now each pet family has a special ability which will make it attractive in certain situations. So many were added or changed, Reddit user lumpybread made a spreadsheet to help Hunters keep these straight.
All pets have also been given Growl and Dash. Growl, the bane of many a dungeon or raid group, has been programmed to turn “off” when you enter a dungeon or raid. I can confirm this works as intended. You can still turn it on in a dungeon or raid, if necessary, but, by default, it’s off when you enter the instance.
But when you’re making use of these new abilities, you’ll find some were added to the Global Cooldown, meaning you can’t cast them at the same time. Beastial Wrath for Beast Mastery, Trueshot for Marksman, and Coordinated Assault for Survival are some of the spells now on Global Cooldown. This will be maddening when you’re used to mashing all the buttons because everything was up.
As we head into Battle for Azeroth, be sure you grab a variety of pets and learn what they can do for you. Remember, you have ten, count ’em, ten new pet slots to fill. Sorry, but more slots won’t make Arcturis spawn any faster.
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