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Scattered Shots: Pet talents for leveling

Scattered Shots is your weekly guide to improving your Hunter skills, brought to you by Jessica "Lassirra" Klein of The Hunter's Mark, covering a variety of Huntery topics. Today, we'll be looking at talent builds for your pets as you level.

At level 10, every Hunter completes a series of quests that will teach them to tame the beasts they encounter in the wilds to serve as their constant friend and comrade. Whether your chosen companion is of the Cunning, Ferocity or Tenacity persuasion, your pet will grow in strength as you both progress through levels, and at level 20 your pet begins to learn their first talents (and receives an additional talent point every 4 levels from then on) to improve their skills and their ability to lend a hand during your joint adventures. There are many options available to you in the choice of your pet's talents as you level, and today I'd like to present you with a few options to help you along.

The talents your pet will have available to it are determined by the family of pet you've chosen to tame. Cunning pets are considered more "balanced" than their Ferocity or Tenacity counterparts and can be great for leveling when your pet's ability to simultaneously tank mobs and deal damage is an important consideration.

There are a wide variety of Cunning pets available in the game even at low levels, so finding one that's both functional and aesthetically pleasing shouldn't be too difficult. From levels 1 to 20 you'll find a variety of Bats, Birds of Prey, Dragonhawks, Ravagers, Serpents, Spiders and Wind Serpents to choose from if a Cunning pet is what you're after.

Tenacity pets are also an excellent choice for leveling as their ability to take damage is significantly better than other types of pets, and many Tenacity pets have unique abilities that make dealing with multiple mobs simultaneously extremely easy which in turn speeds up the leveling process. Like their Cunning peers, there are a multitude of Tenacity pets available at low levels, such as Bears, Boars, Crabs, Crocolisks, Scorpids and Turtles.

You can,of course, opt for a Ferocity pet for the best damage output from your pet as you level, and there are many choices available at low levels, though Tenacity and Cunning pets are far more common for leveling, especially if you're primarily engaged in solo questing rather than instance runs.

Once you've found the perfect pet, here are some talent options to help your pet as you both level.

Cunning: Level 32

Your first talent choices for your pet should reflect what you hope to get out of your pet. Because Cunning pets can be considered Jacks of All Trades, you'll need to give some thought to what you want your pet to excel at. In other words, you should already have some idea of what you want your pet to do best: deal damage or take damage. If your pet's damage output is what you want to improve, spend your pet's first talents in Cobra Reflexes. If you find you need to use Mend Pet frequently, your first points may be better spent on Great Stamina. As such, you'll find you have two options for pet talent configurations at level 32:

  • 2/2 Cobra Reflexes
  • 2/3 Great Stamina

or

  • 1/2 Cobra Reflexes
  • 3/3 Great Stamina

Tenacity: Level 32

Your first choices for your Tenacity pet's talents will be much easier to determine since your pet's primary function is predetermined. You'll want to spend points on talents that will help enhance the inherent defensive traits common to all Tenacity pets to help improve your pet's survivability. As such, your first talent choices should look something like this:

You can, of course, choose to place a point in Cobra Reflexes instead of Charge, but the stun effect and increased attack power on your pet's next attack will be more useful to you right away, and you can always go back and fill in Cobra Reflexes later on if you wish.

Ferocity: Level 32

If you opt for leveing with a Ferocity pet, your talent choices will be best spent on talents that will directly increase their damage output right away, unless you find that your pet's survivability is already an issue. Your first points in Ferocity should look something like this:

  • 2/2 Cobra Reflexes
  • 1/1 Dash
  • 1/3 Great Stamina

Dash will help your pet engage mobs more quickly, however, if pet survivability is an issue early on, you can easily swap the point out of Dash into Great Stamina.

Cunning: Level 44

As previously mentioned, you should already have a plan which will determine your talent choices henceforth. Is your Cunning pet built to deal damage or take it? If you opted for a damage-dealing build, you'll want to add this to your previous talents:

If you opted for a build that supports greater survivability, you may want to swap one point out of Spiked Collar and into Great Stamina.

Tenacity: Level 44

If pure survivability is what you're after, the talent choices for Tenacity pets are very clear-cut. At this point, you'll want to add the following:

Alternatively, if you need a bit of extra damage output, you can swap the points from Charge and/or Guard Dog into Cobra Reflexes or Spiked Collar to give your pet a boost. Another alternative is placing the point from Guard Dog into Avoidance if you find yourself fighting casters frequently.

Ferocity: Level 44

Much like Tenacity, Ferociy talents are pretty clear-cut as you level. Because you've chosen a pet that specializes in high damage output, choosing talents that enhance that inherent skill are always a wise choice. You'll want to add the following talents:

  • 3/3 Spiked Collar

If survivability is still an issue, swap the point from Dash into Bloodthirsty to help keep your pet's health and happiness up as it deals damage.

Cunning: Level 56

Continuing from your previous points, for your pet's damage build you'll want to add:

Alternatively, you can build upon a more survival-oriented build with Great Stamina maxed at three points and swap one point from Owl's Focus into Carrion Feeder.

From here, you'll want to think about maxing out Feeding Frenzy and picking up Cornered as well as you continue to level.

Tenacity: Level 56

As you get further down the Tenacity tree, you'll start to find the talents are oriented more towards damage mitigation and threat building than pure effective health. At this point you'll want to be looking at these talents:

From here, you can max out Grace of the Mantis, pick up Taunt and fill in Avoidance as you continue to level.

Ferocity: Level 56

The bottom half of the Ferocity tree has many useful talents to choose from. The talents you choose will depend largely on your pet's performance so far. If survivability hasn't been an issue, continue to focus on damage building talents:

As you continue to level you'll want to max out Spider's Bite and Bloodthirsty and perhaps pick up Call of the Wild as well for a boost to both you and your pet's damage. If survivability has been an issue for your pet, you may want to consider putting points in Heart of the Phoenix and Lick Your Wounds.

Here are the three builds we've discussed today:

There are, of course, many options for pet talent choices as you level, and these are simply a few suggestions to help you get started. Because respeccing your pet is relatively quick and easy (and also cheap!), you can easily experiment with many different builds to find out what suits your playing style the best.

Filed under: Hunter, Leveling, Guides, Talents, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

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