Note: you can see a full updated list of all 5.2 hunter changes here.
Okay, so last weekend I wrote an article for WoW Insider about my 2013 predictions, which included getting new spirit beasts. By the time that article went live on the site, we had found new porcupine spirit beasts on the patch 5.2 PTR!
The porcupine spirit beasts come with a new and unique taming challenge: for all those hunters out there who mourn for the days of class-specific quests like the mighty Rhok quests of yore — these are the new hunter-specific quests: taming challenges. In fact, one of the new patch 5.2 spirit beasts is eerily similar to a certain Rhok demon….
Meet the Porcupines: Hutia, Gumi, & Degu
The new patch 5.2 porcupine spirit beasts come in three colors: blue, green, and red (and this is the first time we’ve had a red spirit beast). All of them are a taming challenge, in which you have to get them down to 20% health before you can tame them, and because of their huge health you’ll have to kite them around while dpsing (and be aware of other mobs that may be in your path!)
Along with that basic mechanic, each of the spirit beasts also has a unique special ability that changes the strategy needed to defeat it:
- Hutia (green): found in the Jade Forest, Hutia has a big self-heal ability that can be cast while moving. In order to get her health down to the 20% range, you’ll need to interrupt the heal whenever she starts casting it. Scatter Shot works on Hutia, and it is reported to be the only one that can be rooted.
- Gumi (blue): found in Neverest Mountains in Kun-Lai. His only ability seems to be that he moves faster. This is coupled with the winding mountain paths of the region that force you to turn in our kiting, giving him opportunities to corner on you if you do not move optimally. The fact that you will have to kite in Cheetah also means that you’re going to cover a lot more distance while getting his health down.
- Degu (red): Krasarang Wilds. My personal favorite challenge, Degu has two awesome abilities. First, his melee attacks hit like a truck and he can take you down in just a couple hits — so you must stay away from his melee range. BUT, there’s a but. He also has a special ability where he shoots a quill that is a super hard-hitting ranged attack that is uses if you get too far away from him (and he stops moving to cast it). So the goal with Degu is to kite him within his dead zone: not in melee, but not too far out. Happily if he does start casting barbed quill, you can just move back into the dead zone and it will cancel his cast.
Currently the spirit beasts have a very short respawn timer on the PTR (like 5 minutes short) but that may be just for testing purposes. Personally, I very much hope that they keep a super short respawn — let’s have a spirit beast where the taming challenge is the challenge, not getting lucky enough to stumble across it (and then complete the taming challenge on the first try — since someone else will be there to tag it if you fail).
Kalliope has a great rundown of the new spirit beasts, including maps of their spawn points, over on the Petopia forums.
The New Hunter Quests
Back in vanilla hunters had the option of embarking on the epic hunter-only quest for Rhok’delar after getting a raid drop from Molten Core. Part of this quest involved finding 4 rare-spawn demons and fighting them, and the fights were set up to be hard.
One of the demons used mechanics very similar to Degu (but harder): you had to kite him because he’d one or two shot your in melee, but if you got too far away he’d reset, and of course he periodically varied his speed. It was against this demon that I learned the art of jump-shotting while running uphill!
I continue to be pleased that Blizzard adds new and interesting taming challenges to the game — something other than just getting lucky on a rare spawn. However this pushes the number of taming challenge pets to over 30, when we still have only 25 stable slots.
Every new taming challenge furthers the need for some way for hunters to store more than 25 pets. I suspect that we’ll get that eventually, but I fear it may not happen until the next expansion. There’s a chance we’ll get it earlier however, and I’m holding out hope.