MoP Hunter Pet Changes

Posted: by Frostheim

Hunter pets are undergoing a significant overhaul in Mists of Pandaria. The biggest changes are:

  • In MoP hunters can choose what spec to make any pet: ferocity, cunning, or tenacity. Thus we can have ferocity turtles or tenacity cats.
  • The hunter pet talent system is being thrown out entirely. Hunter pets will no longer have any talent points in Mists.

The talent system is being removed because as it exists currently, it does not provide a lot of choices for most players. If you’re raiding, there is really a “right” way to spec your pet. The rest of the talents aren’t choices; they’re traps there to lure you into spending talent points unwisely and end up with less dps. This isn’t true in all situations — PvP and extreme tanking/soloing often make use of different options — but in most cases there is a right answer, and spending fifteen minutes online will provide you with that answer.

Mists of Pandaria Pet Abilities

Instead what Blizzard chose to do in MoP is to wrap up the most popular hunter pet talents directly into the pet spec, and throw out the less popular ones. Here are the pet abilities that all hunter pets will have in Mists of Pandaria, and the ones that each spec will have:

All Hunter Pets

  • Basic attack (bite/claw/smack — all of which do the same damage and cost the same focus). The new version includes has Wild Hunt built into it, so that your pets can avoid being focus-capped.
  • Avoidance
  • Cower
  • Growl – Changed so that Growl now incorporates a taunt into the growl! This is great news for growl, but also means you want to really, really, really be careful to leave Growl turned off! This will give poor hunters unprecedented power to piss of the tanks and screw up pulls like never before. Also be sure growl is turned off on all pets in your active stable before casting Stampede! It will be interesting to see if this is a real taunt, or the fake taunt we have now (which doesn’t transfer threat).

Ferocity Hunter Pet MoP Abilities

  • Dash
  • Heart of the Phoenix
  • Rabid
  • Spiked Collar – improved in Mists to give hunter pets 10% increased damage, haste, and crit chance. This is the big ability that ensures that ferocity pets are the top dps pet and incorporates the current versions of Spiked Collar (only 1% better), Serpent’s Swiftness, and Spider Bite (only 1% better).

Cunning Hunter Pet MoP Abilities

Tenacity Hunter Pet MoP Abilities

Everything here is pretty good news for hunter pets in Mists of Pandaria. We were worried when we heard that each spec would only get 2-3 passive and 2-3 active abilities, but it looks like a lot of abilities were combined together (along with Wild Hunt being boiled into the base attack) meaning we aren’t losing that many pet options.

It seems clear that one of the design goals with the change was to make the different pet specs substantially different from each other. Previously every spec could grab the damage boost from Spiked Collar, or the armor boost from Natural Armor. Now those abilities are specific to the dps or tanking pet specs, which really feels like the way it should be.

One thing to keep in mind is that pet dps has to be re-balanced in Mists of Pandaria, just like with any expansion. This means that if pets lose as ability available to every spec that gave them 3% more damage, like Culling the Herd, then the rebalance will just incorporate that dps into the pets (and the hunter, since that helped us as well).

Let’s take a look at exactly what pet abilities were really lost in the course of the MoP changes.

Pet Abilities Going Away

Ferocity Abilities Going Away in MoP

  • Great Stamina
  • Natural Armor
  • Boar’s Speed
  • Bloodthirsty
  • Improved Cower
  • Culling the Herd
  • Lionhearted
  • Charge
  • Great Resistance
  • Lick Your Wounds
  • Call of the Wild
  • Shark Attack

Many of these are certainly more appropriately tenacity pet abilities. I’m not worried about Shark Attack since that was only in the current tree to help make ferocity pets do higher dps than other specs, and we now have that via the new Spiked Collar. The only ones that I’m really sad to see go away are Bloodthirsty which provided a nice little self-heal to our pets and Call of the Wild as an additional dps cooldown that we could stack.

I’ve no doubt that PvPers made use of some of the other abilities, but I only ever used my ferocity pet for dps, and so I only ever took the dps abilities, and we still have almost every one of those.

Cunning Pet Abilities Going Away in MoP

  • Serpent Swiftness
  • Great Stamina
  • Natural Armor
  • Spiked Collar
  • Owl’s Focus
  • Mobility
  • Culling the Herd
  • Lionhearted
  • Carrion Feeder
  • Feeding Frenzy
  • Great Resistance
  • Wolverine Bite
  • Roar of Recovery
  • Grace of the Mantis

I’m sure the skilled PvP hunters could offer more enlightenment than I on these changes (I pvp, but not with skill — just with my sporebat) but from a broader perspective some of these changes I like very much. Specifically the presence of Wolverine Bite, Ow’s Focus and Roar of Recovery gets rid of the awkward situation in which cunning pets could at times do nearly as much or even more dps than ferocity pets (plus have lots more utility). They’re now more appropriately pvp-focused, though without as large of a toolbox as once they had.

Tenacity Pet Abilities Going Away in MoP

  • Serpent Swiftness
  • Pet Barding (they still get the 10% armor, just not the 2% dodge, so a minor loss here)
  • Boar’s Speed
  • Spiked Collar
  • Culling the Herd
  • Guard Dog
  • Lionhearted
  • Great Resistance
  • Intervene
  • Roar of Sacrifice
  • Silverback

On the tenacity front the only abilities that I’m really going to miss are Silverback, Guard Dog, and on very specific occasions Roar of Sacrifice or Intervene. Mostly I’m going to miss the extra healing available from Silverback, since threat isn’t much of an issue when soloing or extreme soloing — it’s only a problem when pet tanking.

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  1. Omogon says:

    I have to say that I’m not happy with these changes. Yes I know that for raiding there was pretty much always a cookie cutter dps spec…..but there are other things besides raiding. My tanking pet is set up differently from my questing pet…the pet i use in BGs is different than the ones I use for arenas. Not a LOT different and it probably does not mean a whole lot in the end …but it makes me happy…. It’s just another way IMO to tuyrn us into warlocks with guns

  2. Dis says:

    “Instead what Blizzard chose to do in MoP is to wrap up the most popular hunter pet talents directly into the pet spec, and throw out the less popular ones. ”

    and yet there is no Call of the Wild for ferocity? How was this not one of the most popular hunter pet talents? Is there anyone that runs with a ferocity pet that does not take this talent?

    • Nostromo says:

      Call of the wild is, for the most part, replaced by rabid now with its 2min CD. This makes rabid the pet CD for dps. So, in the end you have a watered down call of the wild on a smaller CD that doesn’t affect the hunter.

      I can’t make a decision on weather I like these changes or not, but I do dislike the way stampede looks now and I hope that when MoP finally hits, you aren’t made to have 5 ferocity specced pets on your active stable whenever you have to raid!

    • sheppo says:

      remember the other flat buffs we’re getting as part of the MoP changes AND Rabid will more than make up for the loss of Call of the Wild.

      Also, Rabid is something else we can probably just forget about and leave it on auto for the most part.

    • Whitefyst says:

      I believe that Call of the Wild went away for a couple reasons:
      – They are rebalancing our DPS so that we get the same benefit but in other ways
      – Blizzard wants to reduce the need for hunters to have to swap out pets in combat to chain CoW

  3. tee says:

    I’ll miss CoW. Very nice and handy cd. If you have this in auto you are doing it wrong.

  4. Shadda says:

    CoW was easily my favourite hunter cooldown. The rest target our haste rating, meaning that at some point they become next to useless as a DPS increase. More attack power, on the other hand, never goes out of style. Heart of the Pheonix is nice if you’re PvPing I suppose, but in raids my pet rarely dies. Unless Blizz decides to let me use it in feral druids, it’s a bit of a wasted ability. :)

  5. Deavande says:

    Are they going to up pet focus since they removed all the talents that gave pets extra focus? If not Wild Hunt will be worthless. Also I hope we can turn wild hunt off if our pets are focus starved. Heart of the Phoenix no raiding hunter took this why keep it. I can’t remember the last time my pet died in a raid with out me dieing as well. If your pet keeps dieing in raids you are doing it wrong. I guess it doesn’t really matter they made pets all exactly the same. Just like they did with all the classes/specs. All hunters will just like each other except for spec and 6 talent points that you wont even have to take to be just as good as the next hunter.

    • Rhodair says:

      I’m assuming you’re mostly referring to BM since that’s where it would really be a concern with losing Bestial Discipline.

      Check out Fervor (Level 60 talent choice). It was changed to give 50 focus to both the pet and hunter, is on a 30 sec cooldown, and is not on the global cooldown :D Also, using Focus Fire with 5x Frenzy was buffed to give your pet 50 focus in MoP.

      This puts a lot more control in the player’s hands, and all good BM hunters will not only be tracking their own focus but their pet’s as well.

    • Dj says:

      heart of the pheonix = pvp neccesity for bm and good for most alot of times

  6. Kheldul says:

    They really should give Tenacity a real honest Taunt instead of taking away its weak one. Why not let pet-tanks OT some content? What’s wrong with a bear or giant turtle tanking compared with a druid bear? Give 10mans some flexibility in the OT area.

  7. Dibbler says:

    I don’t really care about the passive effects that much, those tend to be easily ignored or rolled back into other things as necessary. Not many important active abilities were scrapped, but there were 2 big ones: COTW and intervene.

    Cycling pets at opportune moments for extra COTW was a great trick that I’ll be sorry to see go, but I guess was a bit too obscure and gimmicky to worry about keeping around. I’d rather see a cooldown as a way to differentiate hunters than as a passive DPS increase we get naturally, especially because we’re a bit light in the DPS cooldown department even with the shorter cooldown on rapid fire and potentially readiness, but maximizing COTW’s use was admittedly beyond the scope of what blizzard probably wants classes doing during a fight.

    Apart from that, the other notable ability missing is intervene, which is potentially a very significant loss while soloing certain tough things, and also very occasionally as a surprisingly powerful cooldown in raids where the DPS loss isn’t as important (~85k shield on the tank against an impale on heroic madness is no joke).

  8. Kirk says:

    I want Boar’s Speed back for tenacity pets. It helps with loose mobs when my pet’s tanking.

  9. Chancy says:

    My Question is

    Are they going to gives us Duel Specs for our pets?

    I would love to use my fav pet spirit beast to be my dps pet and tanking pet

  10. Sidoen says:

    Unless they take it out, we have heard nothing about duel speccing so far though so I would assume that it will remain as is.

    One thing I’m liking is that I will no longer need to have any cunning pets in my stable. I’m almost exclusively a dungeon/raiding hunter. The only reason I ever had any cunning pets was because there was no fero version with the same raid buff. I had one or two dedicated tena pets (one focused on magic tanking) for tanking and a few tenacity exotic pets to round out the raid buffs.

    Now that I can choose the talent tree I guess they can all be fero pets with the exception of the tanking pets. I expect I will always keep one pet for tanking and four pets for dps. They are almost merely skins now.

  11. Mania says:

    Thanks for publicizing this better, and for adding the improvements! I completely neglected to look at differences in what the abilities do in the beta vs. live.

  12. Semris says:

    Mobility – is mobility really gone from cunning pets? If yes, there is no point in using cunning pets in PvP anymore…

    Their main advantage (the advantage I felt the most in BM spec) was the speed with which they were able to go from target to target (or keep attacking current target). Task in which ferocity pets often fail.

  13. Yoco says:

    Most of this looks ok to me. With one exception: Boar’s speed only available to cunning pets? That hurts, a lot. I really hope blizzard reconsiders and makes this available at least for tenacity pets, or even for all three specs. Soloing/questing without this is painful.

  14. Tsunai says:

    I don’t seem to be losing disappointment with changes being made to pets… don’t get me wrong, some of the changes are great, but some are just wretched in my opinion…

    Changing Growl to be more of a “real” taunt is great, but unless it becomes a real taunt, and our tenacious pets get a MAJOR armor buff, they still won’t see their intended purpose of tanking outside of possible use in leveling. I know as a BM in Wrath I leveled with a Bear using Swipe to kill/tank mass mobs far better than I did with any pet and having Beast Cleave now will bring that back.

    I am glad to see Heart of The Phoenix as a Ferocity ability for those boss fights where “random targets” get hit or if I am forced to try and take over tanking for a few seconds for some reason (usually tank lag or if both tank and healer gets hit with a stun” since we all know Ferocity pets can’t really take a hit from a boss.

    I am going to miss CoTW for Ferocity pets, and Roar of Recovery for Cunning pets, as well as Spiked Collar and Feeding Frenzy. Yes Cunning pets aren’t “supposed” to be as high DPS as Ferocity but their toolbox just got nuked so this really seems to take away their usefulness. Losing Intervene and Silverback from Tenacity hurts, that little heal and shield were immensly useful in fights where massive damage kept straining healer’s Mana.

    I am starting to really dislike the route in which our pets are going… Ferocity pets are becoming even more fragile, though they are getting a free res, cunning pets are losing both their Toolbox and DPS rating (heck their DPS only does up if their at 35% health or less… and if they’re there then they scream “kill me now”), and Tenacity pets are losing almost all their DPS to help maintain threat outside of cooldowns (except for those few fights where you only use one for Intervene).

  15. quivering says:

    I was wondering where you were getting this information, then I realized pets I had transferred to beta are not showing up with these talents. I retamed one of each family and they showed up.

    It looks like rhino blood and glyph of mending is functional, but the highest heal I saw was ~10k. On live it is around ~14k I believe. I also noticed all pets, regardless of family, had 94k hp.

    I am still nervous about this, can’t wait for the pet pass in beta to see their first real iteration of how this is going to look. Surely to goodness they don’t plan on a tenacity and ferocity pet having same hp.

  16. Taaveti says:

    Overall I am quite happy with the change, the only problem I could see is probably the choice of dps-oriented tank petd gone, which could have been handy to use when questing or soloing.

    I am also happy with CotW gone, since the live version also increases the master’s rap, it is bound to be exploited by precasting it before fights and switching to another pet. I already don’t like the idea of pre-potting much since it kind of became mandatory, and having to manually time the start of the fight for a pet dismiss/resummon is just over my threshold (almost as bad as pallies having to switch into 4pT12 and precasting GotAK and switch back to current gear before fights)

  17. anonym says:

    iknow what blizzard is trying to do but i found it stupid to se thunderstomping cats. in my opinion the should give pets their specific moves (gorilas have thunderstomp ravasaurs feroucious bite) and then depending on the spec the hunter chooses for his pet the ability adapts to it, cuning does something usefull to pvp, ferocity for pve and teneacity for leveling

  18. anonym says:

    iknow what blizzard is trying to do but i found it stupid to se thunderstomping cats. in my opinion the should give pets their specific moves (gorilas have thunderstomp ravasaurs feroucious bite) and then depending on the spec the hunter chooses for his pet the ability adapts to it, cuning does something usefull to pvp, ferocity for pve and teneacity for leveling(maybe for endgame pve too if blizz is willing)
    spam this as a game idea in WoW if u think its good

  19. Joy says:

    The first thing I really took from this before reading comments… My turtle tanking is over… I’ve soloed tons of content and off tanked and replaced tanks in dungeons with my trusty turtle since Wrath.. the unique turtle shield made all the difference.. I dont want a squishy turtle..

    this “make all pets of spec the same” really screws over the options of a hunter.. especially BM… what’s the point in exotics anymore?
    Can my spirit beasts still heal? I got all 9 of them…
    can my core hound still time warp for the group?
    hell, will spiders still be able to web for pvp?

    I was so excited abt the removal of hunter’s min range too.. but the entire reason i rolled hunter was for the pets, and it seems my hours camping rares is gonna be in vain…. dont make me hate my hunter come MoP

  20. dwism says:

    Im thinking: stampede+growhl on = extra tank cooldown.

  21. omashu says:

    Has there been any mention of the stable growing? I’m full, mostly with rares I don’t want to abandon, but will have to, to get any new MoP pets

  22. Kylie says:

    I am sad about a few losses here:
    In Ferocity
    – I agree with everyone else – I love my Call of the Wild
    – I will also really miss Culling of the Herd, this is a really nice proc.
    – I also will miss Bloodthirsty – I know its bad but occasionally I am concentrating on not standing in fire & forget to press mend pet. This just gives a nice little buff to heals.

    In Tenacity
    – Silverback – by far the one I will miss the most in Tenacity
    – Guard Dog – hopefully this wont be too much of an issue but I like to know that my Tenacity pets will hold aggro

    Id like it if they put Silverback & Guard Dog in as a single improve growl thing for tenacity

    I dont tend to use cunning pets (Im not a big PvPer) and I like that I will be able to use my Wind Serpent again. I love her & have wanted to use her in Raids & things but havent been able to simply for DPS.

    QUESTION: Are pets keeping their special ability (eg. Gorilla has Pummel, Monkey has Bad Manners etc.) & if so will Exotic pets still have 2 special abilities (eg Spirit Beasts have Roar of Courage & Spirit Mend)? I hope so…

    • Kylie says:

      Never mind I found my answer – for those who are curious pets ARE KEEPING their special ability (though a few are changing) and exotic will still have 2

  23. Yvvii says:

    I always thought more choice was the way forward rather than less choice. But I am really glad that the pet unique powers are staying, I would hate to have seen my turtle nerfed.

    I like the idea that any pet can take on any role, but I don’t like the losing of the spec tree’s, which I feel add a little bit of uniqueness even if there was a ‘best’ choice overall. I wonder what effect this will have on lower levels however, because at 70 I never see my pet focus-capped, more like focus-starved! And this threatens to make that worse.

  24. Xyrothryu says:

    Im sad to see bloodthirsty go, It was great for soloing stuff, because my pet was always getting healed, and most of the time, I could concentrate on other stuff.

  25. Sara says:

    Hey just wondering if you can help me,
    I’m a level 82 BM hunter, and ever since i patched for MoP, my pets die really, really fast. I’ve even tried getting a new one, but they also die really fast.
    Is there something I’m not doing?

  26. Thundazparkz says:

    I only really started playing earlier this year just after new years. Well it didnt take me long to get to 85 as my hunter (main toon btw) needless to say i liked the way it was set up before MoP came out. I loved that I could customize my pets the way I wanted not based on some preselected garbage which probably includes choices I dont want or use. As far as Hunter spec goes, not including the pet, i didnt really understand it that well, and who can blame me, when most websites just wanted to redirect me to other websites for info and couldnt just put it all on one page. But, there was also the fact i didnt get into a guild until i was nearly 70. well one that actually had ppl on anywasys. But even still most ppl in WoW from my own personal experience are impatient, rude, wont do anything unless they’re getting paid to do it, and generally just dont care until it directly involves them (dungeons/raids) but by then its ppl from a different server and too late to do anything at that point. Basically what im getting at is hardly anybody wants to help, and just automatically assumes you have been playing as long as they have. Now on the off chance somebody does help all they wanna do is give you site after site after site to go read which brings me back to the everything isnt on one page. But how is any of that going to help if i barely even understood how any of this all worked before these changes. Sorry but every last one of these changes i think are BS, and not just for hunters either. Add some new stuff in with expansion, thats fine, do some minor tweaks to help balance with new race / class great, changing how a lot of stuff works removing and adding things on a large game wide scale thats just bad news and disasters waiting to happen.

  27. Poki Mo says:

    Sara I’m having the same issue with my pet dying almost right away. I’ve tried different pets, made sure their growl (if an option) was off, but nothing seems to be working. Mend pet will keep them up only a short while longer. Any advice here would be appreciated.

  28. Nemo says:

    What really bugs me is that my pet doesn’t disappear when I mount up. I hate it. too many issues with it going around things instead of following me close and then aggroing mobs. You can’t run through a load of mobs then feign death. Now I’m going to have to make a macro to dismiss pet on mount. Joy. That will be a nice waste of my time.

  29. Tereas says:

    Dear Blizzard,

    Hunter pets are stupid now and do stupid things like running places where you do not send them, attack things on the other side of the area that you do not attack and randomly decide to get stuck in the middle of combat.

    Someone that is tired of your #$%^ and canceling their subscription.