Fluffy and You: Hunter Pets

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WoW Community Council
#1 - June 30, 2022, 2 a.m.
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The goal of this thread is to provide feedback on the current Hunter pet system, compare and contrast the current system to the systems of past expansions, and discuss possibilities for the pet system come Dragonflight and on.

Currently, there is another thread about Hunter pets, however the other thread — created by Maizou — focuses primarily on Exotic pets (with a small aside for “special” pet families which Hunters must ‘learn’ how to tame), whereas this thread will focus on the general pet system for the whole Hunter class.

The primary focus will be on the pets themselves as they are applicable to all three Hunter specs — brief allusions will be made to the Beast Mastery (BM) spec, but bear in mind that the BM spec is not the focus of this thread. The following topics will be discussed along with a few brief digressions: Pet specs, pet pathing, and personalization of pets.

I will be separating those topics into separate posts; if you can only read one, I highly encourage that you read the post about pet specs (the first one below this post). I would love to hear your thoughts on this post — don’t be shy! I welcome all feedback and criticism. :slight_smile:

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Game Designer
#8 - July 7, 2022, 11:22 p.m.
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Hello Hunters, just wanted to stop in this thread and say a few things about pets.

Pets have undergone a lot of change in the history of WoW, and the majority of the change was for Hunter pet interactions, so most of the below discussion is specifically about hunter pets.

Pet identity is a thing that’s important, but pets having some uniqueness is also important. These are sort of competing goals. Turtles are inherently an armored, tough creature. Cats often are graceful and agile creatures. Foxes are generally smart and tricky creatures. While I’m not saying that we are designing the pets in the game after reality, it does make some sense that families of pets are different. There’s also a lot of families in each of the three categories. Are things perfectly balanced among the pets with abilities? Probably not. Could it be better? Certainly. Is it better if they all were exact clones and just had a different visual? Maybe. Is that turtle you’re fighting against a tough, tanky turtle, or secretly a turtle with Mortal Wounds? In the current state of things, that is a known answer.

Hati from the BM artifact weapon was sort of a unique situation. A lot of people want a specific archetype of pet for their character they are playing. Artifacts had a lot of visual customization. Forcing a second pet that had a distinct wolf look on every BM hunter for the whole expansion wasn’t something we wanted to do, hence the Essence Swapper existed as a solution to that. We kept the “second pet” functionality with the Animal Companion talent, which lets you choose what your second pet is from your stable.

While mentioning Animal Companion, there’s a known issue that taking this talent reduces the damage of all of your pets and other summoned units instead of just reducing the damage of your second pet. We plan on keeping Animal Companion around, and this is something we have plans to resolve so getting other abilities that summon pets no longer creates bad synergies, but I can’t give a guaranteed timeline on a change.

Revive Pet, and Dismiss Pet being difficult to use is an intentional change that we don’t have plans on adjusting currently. For a while, the solution for parts of the game was to tame 5 pets, do some content in which your pet would die, and just abandon and re-summon a different, new pet, and then go get 5 more pets again later. Dismissing a pet used to be instant, now it has a 3 second cast time. Your pets are not intended to be disposable things, at least for Hunters - Warlocks and Death Knights have some mechanics where they steal from their Pets, but that fits their fantasy. You should care about your pets you are using and should care about keeping them alive.

We’re always looking to improve pathing for both players and pets and make things smarter and more user friendly. That’s an ongoing process for the game as a whole. We discuss problems with pets on encounters where you get teleported or forcibly moved around a lot. We also play classes with pets and understand some of the frustrations. It is not a simple solution, as players move in very complicated ways, and use a lot of tools to move themselves around, and we don’t want pets to just feel like they are floaty or teleport around all the time.

We realize pets are an important piece of your identity as a Hunter, Warlock, and Death Knight (and Mages too?). There are ongoing efforts to improve pets, add new pets, and make cool things for pets and pet classes.

Thanks for the feedback/discussion post!

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Game Designer
#14 - July 8, 2022, 8:49 p.m.
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I appreciate the replies here and discussion in other places.

I probably should have prefaced my earlier post with a note that it was not intended to be a “here is a list of things changing in the next patch”. It was just some commentary on the state of pets, and how we got to where we are, and things we have to think about when doing pet related things.

We agree things can be better with pets. Many of us play classes with pets that are of vital importance to your DPS or just to do whatever content you want to be doing. We have planned improvement for pets and summoned units to work better in many places in the game. This takes engineering time, and is a complex system, and sometimes creates unintended problems. It’s not forgotten, it’s just a perpetual list of priorities that has to be worked on, and sometimes becomes too risky to put in a patch where it potentially disrupts things in a negative way compared to what is already there.

The comments above about pet specialization and pet family abilities are good. They were a bit lumped together in my reply above. Things can be made better, but I don’t want to promise any timelines or specific changes.