Should Blizzard Ditch Exotic Pets?

29 Jun

Rainchaser knelt by the softly glowing white cat form of Loque’nahak and stroked his fur gently.  While the amazing being’s companionship had lent an almost otherworldly feel to Rain’s travels – it was still his simple cat’s purr that she loved the most.

The purr – It was a low barely audible thing, more felt than heard. But the pleasure the big spirit beast conveyed with it was immensely satisfying.  They had missed one another these past months, with Rain’s duty leading her to the poisonous depths of Kel’Thuzad’s inner sanctum and the snow mantled peaks of mighty Ulduar.  Places she dared not take him.

“I thought maybe I would take you to Naxxaramas,” she told him almost apologetically.  “But I’m so used to explosive shot now that I feel really naked without it.”  The big spirit cat butted his head against her breastplate and demanded more petting.

“I know you’re fierce and beautiful – but when bestial wrath is on cooldown – I just don’t know what to do with myself…and I’m always so afraid of losing you.”

Lok’ cocked one bright glowing eye towards Rain’ and promptly moonfired a nearby squirrel.  As the cordite smell of the magic mixed with scents of the cold pine forest and charred rodent Rainchaser chuffed the beasts neck affectionately.

“Oh I know, I know – you’re not helpless – but this isn’t about you, it’s about me.  I’ve grown so much in the past months and I’ve learned how to stand on my own.  I’m afraid that speccing Beast Mastery again will take that from me.  Make me dependent again.  I don’t like that – I don’t like needing you to fight all my battles for me.”

Lok’ made a warbling sound of displeasure that came straight from his diaphragm and ended in a reproachful sniff.  He turned his head from the Tauren huntress and wound his body around her like a big house cat before nuzzling her one last time and disappearing into the snow covered wood.  Rainchaser knew he would return in an instant if she needed him – and she did miss the spirit cat’s companionship – but the time wasn’t right.  Not yet.

So there I was – set to hit up the military quarter, Saph’ and KT in my guilds weekly 10-man Nax run.  I’ve been survival pretty much 100% for the past two months and for all of the awkwardness that Pike often refers to when playing the spec I think I’ve become fairly competent with it.  Survival huntery has a ton of utility, Explosive Shot is pure joy and Wyvern Sting has gotten me out of more sticky world pvp situations than I’d honestly like to admit getting into.  Learning to “survival” effectively has definitely been a worthwhile endeavor.

That said, my play experience with the spec has been that PvP is wholly entertaining while PvE is bits of entertaining marred by frequent bouts of frustration and despair.  Mobility and power – two of the things I love most about the survival play style while PvPing are often at odds with one another in the raid game.  While stand and deliver boss fights are a joy, I have an almost pavlovian response to seeing my Sniper Training buff disappear the moment I have to shift during a fight.  It’s irritating and frustrating and the only thing worse than having to move during a fight is having to reorganize my shot priorities on the run.  It never seems to sort itself out quite right.

In light of all of this, on Sunday night I was looking for a change of pace.  So – there I was hanging out at the Naxx meeting stone with my big beautiful spirit beast.  I’d whispered my raid leader and told him that I was going to BM it through military.

“Dude – don’t hesitate to have me switch back over to survival if my dps starts to suck.”

Our Raid Leader had bigger fish to fry at that moment so he had no problems with me experimenting with my spec.  So I grinned real big and spent my pre-raid free time enjoying my big white spirit cat and mentally working through the differences in my shot rotation as BM.

Remember to use Bestial Wrath frequently.

If the kitties not RED stuff’s not going to be dead fast enough.

Volley will not do as much damage while I’m BM.

Explosive Shot is no longer in the rotation… neither  is Black Arrow…hmmm…some bad…some good….

I had it all pretty much sorted out.  My gear was just fine for a 10-man run and I’m pretty used to dominating the overall damage charts in our historically melee heavy raids.  A Spirit Beast wasn’t the most effective choice for a 10-man run, but like Pike and Klinderas have often said – “they do plenty gud” – so I was intent on shifting gears and enjoying some time with my laser-kitty.

But by the time pre-pull buffs were going out and our resident sous chef was laying out a fish feast I felt a stab of panic.

What if my damage sucks?

What if I’ve forgotten how to play as a beast master?

What happens when big red kitty is on big fat cooldown?

Will people point and laugh if my pet is doing most of my damage?

(Important to recognize that some people don’t believe all 4k dps to be equal – even when it is….)

Now, there are reasonable – documented answers to all of these questions by folks that are far more experienced hunters than I.  But at that moment I ignored all of them, dismissed poor Loki and dual specced back to Survival before the tank started to move out for the first trash pulls.  I felt like an ass.  Worse – I kinda felt cheated.

See – as much as I love performing well in raids – pets are still one of the reasons I love playing a hunter.  I mean seriously – without a cool pet to tag along in your adventures why bother? Blizzard recognizes this and even gives us a whole talent tree dedicated to players that want to maximize this relationship.  It’s a wonderful thing.

For most of Rainchaser’s /played time – she’s been a very happy beast master hunter.  But not now.  As much as I love the rare pet models – I’m no longer comfortable depending upon my companion for such a large bulk of my damage.  One of the key reasons is that pets are too easily gibbed by raid bosses something that still happens regardless of how attentive and skillful the hunter is.

Without a pet – a beast master hunter suddenly becomes a liability.

Like it or not, as DPS if you’re not pulling the right damage numbers for your raid, you’re being carried and in my small and struggling guilds 10-man raids Rain’ is depended on to make up the slack for newer raiders or to balance out the problem of still having to include pug dps in our runs.

And I knew I could keep up my end of the bargain as survival.

I still miss my exotic pets though and wish there were some way that Blizzard would rethink that final talent point in the BM tree.  Give them a new shot talent or exploding monkeys or something and to give all hunters the ability to tame all the rare and wonderful beasties in the game world.

Now that Skoll – a lightning shrouded spirit wolf has been sighted on the PTR – the urge to spend time as a beast master grows.

But so does my unease.

Am I truly worried about being a one trick pony lover?  Or am I giving beast mastery short shrift in the raid game?  Both Klin’ and Pike are reporting beautiful numbers with the glass canon spec and I can always bounce back to survival for PvP.

That said – I hate having to even worry about it.

Yes – I do realize that  I want my explosive shot and my spirit beast too.  While it would suck to lose those extra talent points as  fully specced beast master I’d still much prefer to have Loq’ with me than keeping my stable warm.

We’d head off into the slime filled halls of Nax’ together – Rain’s ruck full of Rhino Cutters and AP food.

We’d walk right up to Mr. Bigglesworth and moonfire his ass.

‘Cause together – no power in the ‘verse can stop us….

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4 Responses to “Should Blizzard Ditch Exotic Pets?”

  1. Maebius June 29, 2009 at 20:30 #

    ‘Bout Gorram time, I say.
    But seriously, yeah, I love my BM tanky-spec for farming massive groups of mat-farmed-mobs, It feels really tough to DPS appropriately when my ferocious companion gets Hateful struck or some-such. I’m trying ot earn a bit more cash to get Epic flight first, then plan on Sual-specing to SV for the explosive shot (had been SV even before 3.0 for trap-fu). now, I miss the BOOMx3 of that shot, even if I do also love the big red warpstalker/wolf of BM.

  2. Fluffywumpki of Kilrogg June 29, 2009 at 21:37 #

    Right there with ya. Currently SV/MM (mostly since my 10s don’t always have Replenishment from anyone else, and the CC options are nice now that we’re doing Keeper attempts), but I desperately want to bring Dawn’s Light (my Gondria tame) back out of the stables…. and now, with Skoll on the horizon… /sigh

  3. Pike June 30, 2009 at 03:24 #

    EEEEEP.

    I have to hurry and respec! I am still spec’d tanky-BM, not
    glass-cannon-BM. I must not let your readers astray! *goes to fix that*

    By the way– I have serious respect for anyone who can play Survival well, cause I can’t do it. I can Pewpew with the best of them as BM and as MM, but the second I spec SV my DPS goes in the toilet and Jedi everywhere have a bad feeling about it. /sigh

  4. Zoei June 30, 2009 at 17:34 #

    I’m not really going to touch the spec controversy, leaving that to the experts (though I did test BM for a month, can’t stand it, and am going back to MM as my alt spec).
    The point of my reply here is to say that I think you’ve found it! A really nice balance between creative writing and more specific discussion. Well done 🙂

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