Home of the Mystic: The Aggro Problem

A mystic and apparent hunter called (oddly) znodis at Home of the Mystic has some interesting ruminations on how increased hunter damage post-Burning Crusade has impacted the effectiveness of non-DPS pet families. (znodis was also kind enough to share his or her thoughts with us about pet skills when I was laying out my own thoughts on pet skill choices a few weeks ago.

In brief, we hunters do so much extra damage at high levels that only high-DPS pet families can keep up with the aggro we generate. I suppose that this is primarily a problem when you are hunting solo (or in a small group without a tank), but since I am strictly a solo hunter (yes, even at level 70) I have been a bit concerned about this. Even with my cat Cloud, a full Beast Mastery build, and laughable equipment I was having some problem with aggro my last few levels. But I’m not exactly a great hunter, so I wasn’t sure if this was a problem for other hunters.

Anyway, I found it a thought-provoking post. By the way, I am actively looking for other good hunter blogs to read, so if you know of one I should check out please drop me a line.

8 thoughts on “Home of the Mystic: The Aggro Problem

  1. Tiiaa

    I’m in comment mood today *grins*

    I have never had aggroproblems as long as I stayed marksman. the extra attackpower for the pet due to trueshot aura and the converted high marksman ap just made my pet’s growl enormously strong. Whenever farming or questing mindlessly and not realising that tsa had run out I instantly ran into aggro problems, reapplying it solved it right away. Now that I’m bm the only pet that can hold aggro is my boar, and only if the charge doesn’t get resistet, so maybe there’s some extra large aggro chunk in it when combined with a growl.

    I did some testing about 10 weeks ago and for me at least it was proven that Growl does scale with the pet’s attack power. I can run another test if you want and send you the resuslts, I don’t have the old notes anymore.

  2. Maahl

    I’ve never had this problem, actually. My favorite pets are tank pets–Warp Stalkers, Nether Rays (yes, even though they’re mostly casters), Crocolisks–those are what I use most often. Even with a Netherskate, I didn’t have too much trouble keeping the aggro off of myself (I am mostly-BM specced.)

    It simply required a bit of effort on my part, I suppose. I usually pull with Serpent Sting, then send my pet on them; the mob usually reaches me before my pet gets to it (since I do not do PvP, I don’t always use up points for Dash/Dive, plus a number of my favorite pets can’t learn those skills anyway. Warping doesn’t work well for catching them before they reach me either, as the Stalker always Warps behind them, and then has to chase them down as they run anyway). Then I just Disengage, use Intimidation, sometimes Wing Clip, and back off–that typically does the trick. Even when Intimidation is on cooldown, using Disengage twice has about the same effect.

    This even worked with my aforementioned Netherskate; I augmented its low DPS a little with Cobra Reflexes, but other than that he was still just a casting mob, and did not even have Bite.

  3. Anakun

    “By the way, I am actively looking for other good hunter blogs to read, so if you know of one I should check out please drop me a line.”

    And yes as of this morning when i placed just a bit more attack power on my shoulders i started taking agro from my pet nighmare. I will do more resaerch and post my finds on anakun.blogspot.com in a few days.

  4. Branan

    As a mighty Beast Mastery hunter (41/20/0) and dedicated soloist, I never have trouble with aggro management on any of my pets. On the contrary, I have found that my aggro management is better than it ever has been. The only time I pull aggro is when I intend to (such as Distracting Shot when pulling a mob to a freeze trap). If something weird does happen and I get aggro, I feign immediately, let the mob retarget, and jump back up.

    Every pet should be trained with Growl, no exceptions. At 70, all hunters have two very powerful aggro management tools: Misdirection and Feign Death. Beast Mastery hunters also have Intimidation, which generates powerful aggro. Disengage is conditionally useful for shedding aggro too. Learning to use all these tools is the hunter’s responsibility, not Blizzard’s. ;) Granted, you can’t use MD on every pull, but you shouldn’t have to.

    When soloing, I always start by sending my pet in, followed by Serpent Sting, Steady/Aimed, etc. If I crit a lot up front, I hit Intimidation. If I’m dealing with two mobs, I will set a freeze trap, send pet w/ Intimidation, Multi-Shot the mobs to peel one off to trap, burn down the first one, and kill the second as it unfreezes. I rarely engage more than two mobs at a time when soloing, but if I have to, I’ll MD the pet, Multi-Shot the mobs to get them on him, and hit Rapid Shot + Bestial Wrath/Beast Within. I was taking out groups of 3 lvl 70 ogres in Barrier Hills this way, and my raptor rarely dipped below 80% health.

    I use Misdirection and Intimidation liberally when soloing, just to get in the habit of using it when it’s needed. With their relatively short cooldowns, there’s no reason to be stingy, especially if you’re dropping 2K or 3K crit bombs on mobs. Even for a Marksman, I can pretty much guarantee you won’t pull aggro off your pet if you open with a giant Misdirected Aimed Shot crit followed by Multi-Shot.

    While Znodis may be technically correct about non-DPS pets generating less aggro, their lower damage output will have a negligible effect on their aggro-holding ability if the hunter is attentive and uses his tools properly. Turtle and gorilla fans have little to worry about, with a little practice. Not so sure about the sporebat fans, though. ;)

    Branan of Steamwheedle Cartel

  5. Brandstone

    I use a threat meter mod and Feign Death whenever I get close to overtaking my pet or have a big crit. I play with a 5/5/45 Survival build, but I would think this would work on any build. It’s a 30 second cooldown so I use it alot.

  6. Sedna

    I have had some issues with stealing pet aggro recently. Marksman specc, Valano’s Longbow and mostly blues equipped, running with a DPS-trained cat (Dash, Bite, Claw, Growl) and a boar (Growl, Bite, Charge, Gore). If I’m not careful and I land a few crits early in the fight, I can easily grab aggro off the cat. Kill Command does help a little. Not sure about the boar, I’ll do some testing tonight, but I think Charge and/or Gore may be soaking up a lot of hate. One caveat: My cat only recently hit 70, so what I was seeing might have been an artifact of the level difference.
    Branan, thanks for the Misdirection hint; if I keep having problems, I may break that out more frequently.
    Also: If anyone’s looking for an aggro tracker, I wholeheartedly recommend KLH Threatmeter. I use it in groups to make sure I’m not stealing hate from the tank, but it’s also great for hunter soloing to make sure your pet is keeping aggro.

  7. Mania Post author

    Thanks for the tips, guys! I am enthralled by how this discussion is developing. :>

    Anakun: I was aware of Big Red Kitty before, but now that I am actually using a feed reader, perhaps I will actually keep up with it. :> I’m going to take a browse through your blog too, if you don’t mind, as well as the other blogs you link to. Thanks!

  8. Sedna

    Should also say that I almost always send in the pet first (exceptions are when I’m attempting to pull out/peel off a mob or pull someone onto a trap). As a big fat Tauren, I don’t like dancing around to get out of the dead zone- particularly since I seem to have an unerring talent for backing up into another mob. >:(

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