After endless waiting and so much patience it tried even the saintlike souls of us hunters, the pet design pass has finally come to pass. Probably the most important change was Blizzard's finally giving in to hunter demand and creating a dance ability for our fox pet, but there were several other lesser changes that are probably worth noting as well.
Specifically, our pets are now providing a variety of raid buffs, as promised. But instead of giving minor versions of the raid buffs like we thought, our pets are actually providing the full raid buff: armor debuff, 5 percent crit buff, physical damage debuff, and even Heroism/Bloodlust.
Join me after the cut for the full list of new pet special abilities.
I have a suspicion that Wrath will go down in the history books as the golden age of pet tanking and extreme soloing. I think that Wrath hit the precise perfect balance for extreme pet antics, whether by design or by accident. We have solo'd from Molten Core to Violet Hold and everything in between (and more). We have used our pet to tank for our raids, from Naxx to Ulduar to TotC, all the way to ICC. Our pets have tanked Marrowgar, Deathwhisper, Gunship and Blood Princes, and our pets have even solo-tanked Sindragosa. We can pet tank Rotface while we kite the slimes.
The beauty and balance of the Wrath pet tanking, however, is that we're generally only able to do it after we're a tier or two of gear beyond the content (or with the ICC raid buff). This way, we aren't taking tank spots away from actual tank classes -- something that would get our pet tanking nerfed in a heartbeat. But these are still impressive feats, challenging feats -- and they are big fun.
While it's too early to say how pet tanking will work out in Cataclysm -- the pet design pass has not yet been done -- I keep getting emails about it, and we have seen enough to do some speculation. Join me after the cut for a look at what made pet tanking work so well in Wrath and what we know about it so far in Cataclysm.
While the pet design pass has not yet been done for hunters in the beta, we do have a handful of new pets in the game, as well as new skins for old pet families. Also, our fox pet is no longer in the wolf family -- it's in the new fox family now! Monkeys also get their own family.
This video will give you a look at a handful of the more impressive new pet skins in the beta. If you want a complete list of changes, Mania is keeping up to date with every pet change over at Petopia. Be sure to watch to the end of the video -- the most impressive pet ever is saved for last!
[Update: in the last beta build (after this video was made) that last pet was indeed fixed.]
On Thursday we talked about some of the biggest hunter news in the Cataclysm beta, from Aspect of the Fox to the new Chimer/ Widow Venom combo. But of course that was only the tip of the of the deadly hunter iceberg. Today we're going to focus on the news about our better halves, our lifelong companions and platonic life partners: our pets.
It would be inappropriate of us to claim the title of most-changed class in Cataclysm without some major changes to our pets, and that's just what we're getting. Some of this was expected from blue posts in the months after our class preview, some of it was promised to us years ago, and some of it is entirely unexpected and wonderful.
Across the board, however, I think you'll agree that it's good news for our pets in Cataclysm. Join me after the cut to learn all about it. Since no discussion of pets is complete without the true pet hunter, BM, we'll be taking a look at the BM talent changes and how they interact with the pet changes to make Cataclysm the most exciting time to be a BM hunter in the history of WoW.
Throughout the years of WoW, hunter pets have grown better and better with each expansion. In the beginning they were a pain to train and level, and we were rewarded for that pain with a pet that died in every boss fight. But over time, our pets have grown steadily stronger, easier and more customizable. While we still have some pet issues, those issues are no longer that our pets are too weak.
Of course while we know how awesome and vital our pets have become, healers are still a few expansions behind on the learning curve. They continue to prioritize the tanks or themselves over our pets. But what are you gonna do? The healer's mind is an unfathomable thing -- after all, they rolled healers in the first place, which already establishes them as somewhat unstable. What I don't understand is why that nurturing impulse doesn't translate to adorably fluffy and cuddly minions of death.
So our pets are certified mini-killing machines now, but with that improvement new problems have cropped up. While we still don't know exactly what Cataclysm has in store for our pets, the recent hunter class preview gave us a peek at the direction that Blizzard may have in mind. So join me after the cut as we take a look at the current problem with hunter pets and the possible solution that Cataclysm may present.