Now that hunters can level high enough in the WoW MoP beta to get access to the Stampede ability we have a little bit better idea of how it works… at least how Stampede works right now. There are some bugs with the ability now that will surely be fixed, and it’s hard to say which aspects of it are intended and which are bugs right now.
First off, however, is a recent change to Stampede. The new MoP hunter ability now has a 10-minute cooldown, ensuring that we can only use it once per fight. Furthermore the MoP version of Readiness has been changes so that it only resets the cooldown of abilities with a cooldown of less than 6 minutes, meaning that you cannot Readiness to reset the cooldown of Stampede (but you can, at the moment, still Readiness everything else, including Bestial Wrath).
Here is the rundown of how Stampede is currently behaving in the WoW Mists of Pandaria beta:
- Stampede summons your active stable of hunter pets, so you can control which pets appear by your choice of what pets are in your stable.
- The pets attack with their melee attack and the basic attack (claw/smack/bite).
- Stampede pets appear just behind the hunter and charge toward the target. This means that if your hunter is closer to your target when you hit the ability, you’ll get more DPS time than if you trigger it at max range.
- The Spirit Bond talent works for every pet in the Stampede, meaning it heals crazy high amounts during Stampede. I suspect this is a bug; however, who knows, maybe it’s intended to be a once per fight big heal cooldown for your hunter as well. This seems unlikely since it would make the Spirit Bond talent even more of a must have.
- If you are not BM but have spirit beasts in your active stable, the spirit beasts will not be a part of the Stampede and you’ll just get fewer pets.
- The Stampede pets have their special abilities, including Spirit Mend for spirit beasts. This means that if you macro your Spirit Mend all of the spirit beasts in your Stampede will heal your hunter. This includes Dash, Rabid, Growl and Prowl. They seem to use whatever abilities are left on auto-cast when the pet was put into the active stable (when it was dismissed).
- The Stampede pets do not benefit from Beast Cleave, Bestial Wrath, or Kill Command — all as you would expect.
- At least one hunter has reported that if a pet was put on Passive mode and then placed in the active stable, when Stampede was triggered the pet stayed passive and did not attack. This is certainly a bug.
I have yet to see any documented reports of the Stampede pet health, if they can be killed, or how their stats and damage scale with hunter stats (I assume their damage likely scales just like a normal hunter pet) or if they are affected by the BM mastery ability, Master of Beasts.
I’m curious to see what the plan is for pet special abilities in MoP, and for Spirit Bond. Both of those could be working as intended and could be bugs — or working as intended but end up getting nerfed. Here are a couple of videos of the new hunter Stampede in action. Keep in mind there is currently a bug in the beta where hunter pets do not shrink down to pet size (this existed for some pets in the Cataclysm beta too, incidentally). So no, that is not how big pets will be in MoP.