Saturday, January 3, 2009

To pet or not to pet

One of the greatest pleasures the Hunter class gives to me is the commune with nature. As Pike noticed, and I found great joy in discovering, was the opening text by Lanka Farshot, a Tauren Hunter trainer: "Mighty warriors defend our home. Our shamans guide our spirits and show us our ancestors' past. And our druids help us discover the Earthmother's will. But you are one of our hunters, and our hunters learn many aspects of those roles and blend them together." As a Hunter, I love being such a balance of those classes, both in lore and in practice. Walking the wilds, using the land without destroying it, reclusive to our peers but social to the beasts, Hunters are the ultimate guardians of the world.

At the same time, I enjoy the Ranger aspect of the class more than the beast-handling, hence my love for the Marksman tree. There is something about the ability to handle everything by yourself that appeals to me; the independence and the skill found in inner strength and knowledge. I don't deny that if I didn't have talent points that increase my damage when my pet is active, I most likely wouldn't keep my pet out for raiding. When I raided as Survival, release from concern about my pet was a welcome change, though over time I began to miss the challenge of pet management.

Most people complain that it is more difficult to level as MM because you continuously pull aggro of your pet. I suppose this is true, but I have no other experience, as I have never leveled a hunter as Beast Mastery. I've always pulled aggro of my pet, but I rarely found it an issue, as the mob was usually dead before it ever got to me. If it wasn't, then I kited it, or just FD it back to my pet. I am happier seeing the mob go down in large bursts of damage rather than small fractions if only so my pet will keep aggro.

I genuinely love my pets, Tinea in particular. I was ecstatic when I found out moths would become tamable, and the first thing I did when 3.0 hit was tame her. But I value her for her company over her utility or damage. Frequently during raids I found myself wishing I didn't value her so much, what with annoying pet pathing or some boss abilities affecting pets (Locust Swarm and Shadow Fissure are the two that come immediately to mind). The additional multitasking is fun and challenging, but keeping track of both range and melee areas can be frustrating.

It would be interesting to see in further expansions if MM or SV could be made to benefit the Hunter without the pet, i.e. turn the Hunter into a Ranger. I doubt it, as having a tamed beast is one of the main attractions of the class, but I think it would be a fun possibility.


Pike said...

I love hearing other hunters' personal "takes" on their class. One of the great things about hunter lore, I think, is that it can be done and interpreted in so many ways. Whereas most mages probably hung out in Dalaran or scholarly locations, druids in Moonglade, etc., hunters come from all walks of life.

It's actually sort of a story idea I've got kicking around in my head that I really need to start writing down *pokes self as a reminder* -- about how hunters are drawn to wild, but in different ways, and take it to differing extremes, some using it perhaps more as an inspiration, others immersing themselves in it and finding strength from it, be it the beasts of the woods, or something else, such as the elements or whatnot. I really like the flexibility that it offers for character creation /rpgeek

lienna said...

I shouldn't think blizzard will give us an option of dropping the pet, while it might make an interesting 61 point talent (with due compensation in personal dps) for marks/survival too many people love their pets too much *cuddles her sporebat*

One thing I've noticed, people who level survival or marks get a very intimate understanding of the threatmeter due to their pets being that much less reliable at tanking.

Of course nowadays you can't pull off of a tank without trying the mob up and shoving it in the back of an articulated lorry (or using distracting shot, but that's cheating). Which means that people who don't learn about threat do fine anyway.

Nassira said...

Great post. :) I always leveled Marksman as well. From the moment I learned a bit about the trees and their differences, I knew I wanted to be a Ranger.

I love Eidan, and have had him since level 26, but like Tinea, he is my companion. When he's not out, I feel lonely, but I'm hesitant to send him into battle. When I log onto any other alt, I get this odd sense of something missing, even if my damage more than makes up for it.

I see it this way - he really is my pet and not quite my battle weapon. He sits at my side, patiently waiting and guarding me until I need backup, until someone gets into my personal space. He's the intelligent, well-trained distraction so I can get the good shots in. Just my buddy. He watches my back while I solo and helps our cause in raids.

Now I'm all nostalgic and wanting to sing that song about best friends...