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Scattered Shots: Finding a unique pet

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 browsing the bestiary of Azeroth, Outland and Northrend to identify some of the most unique pets to be found in the wilds ready for taming.

As a Hunter, your pet is an extension of yourself and a means of expression your (or your character's, for you RPers out there) personality, so finding the perfect pet can often be difficult. Today, I'd like to take a look at some of the more unique pets available in the game to help you pick out the perfect companion to set you apart from the crowd.

Ferocity

Because cats are arguably the most popular family of ferocity pets in the game, we'll start with them. All cats come with three abilities in addition to the standard Growl ability shared by all pets: Claw, Rake and Prowl. There are a number of unique cat skins available to help set your chosen feline apart.

If you prefer the look of a sleek lion, Araga, a level 35 rare found only in the Alterac Mountains is an excellent choice. She's the only cat in the game sporting this particular skin, so if you favor the sandy coloring sans mane, she's the cat you want. If you're looking for that coloring but with a more manly countenance, The Rake, a level 10 rare in Mulgore is a great alternative. If you're unable to find The Rake, there are three other mobs found in The Barrens that share the same skin: the Savannah Highmane, the Savannah Prowler and the Savannah Patriarch.

You like the mane, but not the color? Don't worry, there are other options available! Humar the Pridelord, a level 23 rare found in The Barrens and Pitch, a level 76 found in Sholazar Basin boast the same manly mane as The Rake, but with a much darker charcoal coloring. Not digging the black, either? Try Echeyakee, a level 16 quest spawn from The Barrens or Sian-Rotam, a level 60 quest spawn from Winterspring. Both feature a light white and gray coloring that's sure to set them apart.

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Filed under: Hunter, Leveling, Guides, RP, NPCs, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Patch 3.0.2 guide to Exotic Pets: Worm

Worm:

The worm is your exotic Tenacity option if you need a really hard-core single-target tanking pet. It doesn't have the gorilladin's ability to tank multiple targets at the same time, but you can't do much better than Acid Spit for single target debuffing over time. The more physical damage-dealers you have attacking that target over the longest period of time possible, the more you'll see its effect stack up. It looks to me like the best boss-tanking pet you can find in a party made up of mostly physical damage-dealers rather than magical, if you can get your friends to let it tank the boss, of course. In PvP, the effect doesn't wear off as fast as the devilsaur's ability, so you might find it somewhat useful there as well, if you need a pet with more survivability.

BRK showed us worm a while back, and of course Wowhead can show you all its 6 colors (as well as the upcoming Northrend version). In Azeroth, the most likely place to find these is in Silithus, or if you're in the Horde, you can just hop down to Ragefire Chasm and tame one there.

If you need a non-exotic pet with armor reduction, you can try out the wasp and its Sting, though that's a Ferocity pet for damage more than tanking. If you want a good Tenacity pet for PvP before Northrend, then the crab and its Pin ability might be what you're looking for. In Northrend, however, you're going to want a Rhino for all your PvP Tenacity needs, without a doubt.




Filed under: Hunter, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Patch 3.0.2 guide to Exotic Pets: Core hound

Core Hound:

If casters are giving you trouble, then the core hound is the exotic pet for you. Their Lava Breath ability slows down the enemy's casting speed by 50% for 10 seconds. The cooldown is also ten seconds, so you don't even need the Longevity talent to keep this up all the time, which is especially nice for PvP also. Their Ferocity talents give them lots of extra damage and self-healing options as well.

The core hound is the pet with the loudest footsteps in the game -- their feet pound the earth so hard it even makes everyone's screens shake if they happen to be nearby. So if you're the kind of hunter who likes to announce to the entire world, "Here I am! Look at me! Right here!" then this is the pet for you; but if you want to be sneaky and avoid attention, then you ought to look elsewhere.

BRK loves core hounds lots. There are three types to choose from: red hot, green hot, and white wolf; found in Blackrock Mountain, Shadowmoon Valley, and Azuremyst Isle respectively.

If you want a non-exotic alternative to core hounds, you could consider the serpents and their Poison Spit ability, which is almost just as good as the core hound ability, and ranged too! You won't deafen people and shake their screens with a serpent, but you'll do the trick just as well, more or less, especially if you have Longevity. Serpents are Cunning pets though, so you it also depends on which talents you prefer.

Filed under: Hunter, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Patch 3.0.2 guide to Exotic Pets: Silithid

Silithid:

The silithid is your choice if you want to keep an enemy stuck in place. It has a ranged Venom Web Spray ability which can do some damage and trap your enemy for 4 seconds every 40 seconds or so. Longevity helps with that, but to me at least it still doesn't seem as nice as the chimaera's Froststorm Breath. But it all depends on how you use it, I guess, as well as what other sorts of talents you choose for yourself. This is a Cunning pet, just the same as the chimaera.

BRK had a look at this a while back, which showed off the pets abilities and looks. There are four different colors, and for the most part, they can be tamed in Tanaris, Un'Goro, and Silithus.

The spider is your closest non-exotic alternative, with Webs that do the same thing as the Silithid but without the extra bit of damage.

Filed under: Hunter, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Patch 3.0.2 guide to Exotic Pets


If you're a hunter, you're probably pretty excited about the new talents we're getting in Patch 3.0.2, not the least of which is the new Beast Mastery talent, appropriately enough called Beast Mastery. It gives you 4 extra talent points, and enables you to tame "exotic" pets that would otherwise be beyond your reach. But which exotic pet is right for you? Where can they be tamed? Are they really better than the regular pets?

There are seven exotic pets in all, but only five of them are available to us now:
The Rhino and the Spirit Beast will only be available in Northrend once the expansion actually arrives next month. For now, we have the selection of exotic beasts that would become available to a level 60 hunter upon first clicking that 51st talent point, and reaching the pinnacle of his or her mastery of beasts. These pets are not necessarily set in stone, of course, and they will change a bit over the next month or so, though how much is still anyone's guess.

So what makes each of these pets special? Let's have a look.

Filed under: Hunter, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Patch 3.0.2 guide to Exotic Pets: Chimaera

Chimaera:

Pronounced "kai-meh-ra," this mythical mish-mash of different animals has a Froststorm Breath ability, which does a bit of damage slows down your enemy by 50% for 5 seconds. Normally the cooldown is 10 seconds, which in itself isn't that bad, but with the Beast Mastery talent Longevity, you can shorten this to 7 seconds. Combined with well timed Concussive Shots, you could keep an enemy slowed to 50% speed for 12 out of every 14 seconds. That makes this pet one of your best bets kiting, and excellent for PvP: if melee types like rogues and warriors keep slowing you down with their hamstrings and crippling poisons, this beast is your revenge. It won't free you if you're snared, but it will snare them and give you some hope of escape. It's a Cunning pet, so it's extra mobile, and it can also help you recharge your mana in a fix, but it may not have some of the extra damage capabilities or survivability of Ferocity and Tenacity pets.

Check out BRK's video of a chimaera pet, have a look at Wowhead's chimaera gallery to see whether you prefer the Azerothian or Outland breeds, and then scan their list of tamable chimaeras to find the one nearest you, in many places, such as from Winterspring to Shadowmoon Valley.

If you're wondering what sort of normal pets have similar functionality, the next closest pet to the chimaera is the hyena, with Tendon Rip, which lasts 1 second more than the chimaera's ability, but has a 10-second longer cooldown.

Filed under: Hunter, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Patch 3.0.2 guide to Exotic Pets: Devilsaur

Devilsaur:

This big red dino is a great Ferocity pet with a specialty in sustainable damage over time. Its Monstrous Bite builds up over a period of 30 seconds to an additional 9% damage on all the devilsaur's attacks. If your battle is going to last 30 seconds or less, though, you're not going to get the full benefit of that, especially if, as in PvP, there may be breaks of a few seconds in which the Monstrous Bite buff is not being reapplied, then your devilsaur will have to start over again. This makes me think that the best utility for a devilsaur is in instances, particularly on long boss fights where it can just wail on a target from start to finish. Just be sure that your tank doesn't mind the footsteps -- they're not as loud as the core hound, and they don't shake your friends' screens, but they could definitely get annoying sooner rather than later.

This was the first exotic pet that BRK caught on film, and it comes in shades of red, white and black. You'll find them all in Un'Goro Crater, except for one more in the northernmost Netherstorm biodome as well.

The closest non-exotic pet is the raptor, with a Savage Rend ability that does some bleed damage and boosts attack power if it critically hits. It has a nasty 1 minute cooldown though, which really limits its usefulness.

Filed under: Hunter, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

AotV, Exotics to be changed

Aspect of the Viper is an ability that the developers have been toying with like an indecisive puppy for months now. It's been scrapped and re-written a few times, and I can barely even remember all the iterations it's gone through. Many hunters aren't happy with the current version for PvP. Fortunately for them, neither is Blizzard, so it's getting changed again.

In the new version, half of AotV's regen will work passively - whether you're hitting the opponent or not, you'll get 4% of your max mana every 3 seconds. The other half will remain active, but will work on melee hits as well. This way you'll be regenerating mana whether your target is in melee or at range, and getting at least some mana even if the target is out of LoS.

They're also doing some retuning of exotic pets' specials. The target is for an exotic pet to do 10% more DPS than normal pets. GC says the goal with that is to make exotics seem like a good use of a talent point (along with the 4 bonus pet talent points) without feeling like you have to choice an exotic if you're a BM hunter. I question that a little bit. Let's say a BM hunter gets between 25 and 40% of his DPS from his pet. A 10% boost on that translates to a 2.5 to 4% boost in overall DPS. What hunter is going to skip that just for pet aesthetics? Well, probably the kind that doesn't read articles with numbers in them, I guess. Still, in my book, a damage increase like that is not to be passed up without a good reason.

Filed under: Hunter, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: So what sorta pet are you gonna get?

This question is mostly for hunters, but if you are not a hunter, please feel free to pretend you are a hunter and answer accordingly.

As you already know, patch 3.02, also known as "Echoes of Doom Doom do Doom Doom", will bring with it all those nifty changes to hunter pets' abilities and talents, in addition to doom. Beast Mastery hunters are even getting especially special pets in the form of Exotic Pets through their 51-talent point, called Beast Mastery. Some Beast Mastery hunters will not be getting the Beast Mastery talent, however, because they feel like the coolness of the pet plus a few extra pet talent points do not a worthy 51-talent point make. Other Beast Mastery hunters are just like, "WHOA! Did you see that friggin Core Hound?!" Still other Beast Mastery hunters find the booming sound of Exotic Pet footfalls far too loud, or for other reasons simply prefer normal pets: "Dude, I'm gonna get me a Gorilladin!" or "I've always seen myself as a Pink Flamingo Hunter, and now my hour of destiny has arrived at last!"

So what sorta pet are you gonna get? And why? I'm still undecided myself. I've always enjoyed my Owl most of all, but I'm not tremendously impressed with its new disarm skill in Wrath, since its usefulness seems too limited for my taste. The exotic pets are sometimes really nice looking (like the Spirit Beasts), but sometimes have too much of that "grumpy stompy" look (like Core Hounds) -- though I admit some of those abilities they have are very tempting. I might get used to them, or I might end up going with a Beast Mastery talent build without the Beast Mastery talent, in order to have a wider selection of pets to choose from (in addition to scatter shot). In fact, while writing this post, I just realized how utterly clueless I am about which pets I'll like best. I really have to try them out. Do you have some better idea of what you'll prefer?

Filed under: Hunter, Breakfast Topics, Wrath of the Lich King

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