This is gunna be one of those posts where I just dribble on about my thoughts and experiences with a particular pet. Posts like this one will come in dribs and drabs because getting pets to 80 still takes time as a casual player and a BG addict, and somehow… only two made it with me on the original journey.
I’m starting with the wolf, or rather one wolf in particular.
Meet Tip-Tap the Vargul Blighthound.
I picked him up a bit late in the game at level 78 and as such spent most my time to level 80 attempting to get him up to scratch for PVP purposes.
Why Pick a wolf?
Having been a casual antisocial slacker the last few months I rather feel like my gear really isn’t that spectacular and that I am underpowered, thus tip-tap here was chosen for his special ability ‘Furious Howl’ which buffs ranged attack power… also I suspect that despite my beastmaster history and my current beastmaster spec that my short tour of the Burning Crusade as a marksmen hunter has influenced me irreparably to desire the ‘uber damage’ (whereas as all hunter blog readers probably know beastmaster types are meant to, hand-in-paw with their pet, glorify in the good old fast sustained dps… like killing a man with a 1000 little pokes with a needle. And here I am still hankering to see the odd crit with big numbers.)
Um… also I was one of those baby-hunters that attempted to tame the little blue hounds outside Undercity before I knew better.
So why the name Tip-tap?
It’s mostly to do with this weird shuffle the hound has.
When I send him into attack the little blighter quite often won’t run in but rather shuffle, sometimes it’s a fast shuffle sometimes it’s a rather irritating sloooow shuffling tip-toe towards the target (the kinda shuffle where I could go make a sandwich while I’m waiting for him to get to the point… which is I suspect a mild return of an old hunter pet bug – hopefully it’ll just disappear someday after a patch.) Charge, when it’s not on cooldown, is a great fix for this problem.
Also there’s this Australian all-guy dance group called tap-dogs that I secretly admire (ooh the Warlock if she manages to read past the pet drivel is so gunna rib me for this one) in the manner of a group of 40+ office ladies ogling a shirtless window cleaner (scary scene if you have ever seen the like.) I mean com’mon they wear jeans and checked shirts… and tap shoes and then they dance around… what’s not to like?
So his name could’ave be tip-toe or it could’ave been tap-dog but some how when I was typing it in it changed to tip-tap. (Bwahahaha yep all that above is a typic hunter blather on about “why I named my pet such-n-such” almost as bad as having to listen to a D&D’er talk about ‘their character” eh *grin*)
The ‘cower bug’ seems to still be about which is maddening – particularly since you can’t actually place all pet abilities on the pet bar at the moment so you have to be selective.
There are macros a hunter can set up to make sure the pet is set to growl and defensive but eh, I am both lazy and jealouse of my action bar real-estate. I really don’t have room for extra buttons since I scrapped my custom UI come the expansion.
When my lazy wears off I will key bind the following macro to a letter somewhere on the keyboard:
It’s a KISS macro.
I learnt the hard way that “The heart of the phoenix” is in no way an auto-cast ability, so you gotta click it if you want it. Making it a button that has to go on the pet bar (once again at least until I get my act together and consider keybinding it.) This one’s a great ability for PVP, they think they have killed your pet and pop he is right back at them and you didn’t have to stop to think about it (which is awesome if you didn’t actually have a window open to think about it.) It’s also damn handy for a lightweight pet in PVE. I use it all the time.
The Ferocity ability ‘Lick Your Wounds’ can be set to autocast but frankly that’s going to waste the cooldown – making it another pet ability that should be clicked/keybound. Actually keybinding would probably be best because it looks like this ability has to be spammed to get it to go off most of the time, probably because it requires focus and ferocity pets are setup nicely to be focus-sinks. Unless you turn off bite chances are wolfy here (or any other ferocity pet) is going to be running on empty when you decide it is needed.
NB: I’m of the opinion charge is better (hands-down better) then dash and movement speed because it adds something to the attack, however I haven’t customized this pet for snagging enemy players (I would probably pick a spider or something for that in anycase.)
All on autocast are: Growl, Charge (chosen over dash), Call of the Wild, Furious Howl
Well the wolf could handle 1-3 mobs if I was careful while I was leveling him.
At 80 we have taken out groups of about 8-6 mobs (around levels 75-79) but we do better with successive incomings then a gang bang. Unlike the gorilla this is not a pet you want to use volley with (are any other then the ever-so-poular gorilla? I’ll have to try croc at some point.) Rather like an old style tank you sometimes have to drop back the damage (bite) so growl can fire off and you have focus for lick and you will probably have to target each mob individually for some ‘personal-pet-attention’ to keep from pulling aggro when you are about to cast mend pet.
However both lick your wounds and phoenix put aggro on the pet, so if in doubt fire off lick your wounds and it should be enough. I use traps when I have to with the wolf as my sidekick, I am also happy to get beat on by a mob if it keeps the situation under control.
The wolf seems fine for damage (particularly as I am avoiding the exotic pets and cats are getting the big nerf bat smack.) I see a lot of marksmen hunters running with them in BGs, I’m noticing a trend where I am finding it hard to beat a MM hunter boasting a wolf sidekick (particularly if my cooldowns are burnt sigh) so either their gear and skillz are better :p or they have something good going with the wolf synergy.
(Woe, what happened to my old tactic of meleeing the MM hunter to death? Maybe it’s my dual wielded weapons but it doesn’t seem to cut it as well as it used to.)
Vargul Blighthound’s can’t swim for crap (least last I was in the water) they sort of bop along like the pig used to before they gave him a swim animation. They also get firey blue feet under the water which is kinda nifty.
Vargul Blighthound’s are constantly breathing out steam and do kinda make a noise like Darth Vader – although it’s nowhere near as bad as the good ole crocs.
HUNTER PVP THOUGHT OF THE MOMENT:
You know Masters Call is made of awesome.
How many of us hunters have had that experience in a battleground where we are happily shooting away into the messy messy PVP crowd only to cop it from behind from some rogue type?
And our stupid pets are off savaging the rest of the battle field.
Here’s what I think: some sort of nifty macro is needed that combines Masters Call with Intimidate (and maybe phoenix for those unexpected pet deaths) – you could even throw in all sorts of other nasties and create a new style hunter panic button… errr spamable if in a panic.