I’ve been using the new dismiss-and-tame method of taming since it was discovered just after Patch 2.1.0. I’ve heard about a couple of hunters running into some trouble with it — and this doesn’t much surprise me, since Blizzard has yet to clarify whether or not it is supposed to work, and even if it is a new feature it seems like a buggy one, with some odd side effects.
But I haven’t had any trouble with it myself — until last night, anyway. Other than when I am testing the functionality, I’ve been pretty careful not to get my pets too tangled up: I only stack one pet at a time and I either abandon the new pet as soon as I learn the skill I wanted, or if I plan on keeping the new pet I head right back to the stable to straighten out which pet is where.
But last night I realized that I had never tamed the gorgeous blue-black Deviate Dreadfang that I wanted for my windserpent hunter. So I ran to Wailing Caverns to pick it up and start the long, slow leveling process. (Okay, not that long — I am only level 35.) And then I had to break for dinner. And then when I came back I decided I also wanted a green Venemous Cloud Serpent to go with my cape. (This Dranei character is a bit of a fashion hound.) And I forgot that I hadn’t hit the stable yet to deal with my stacked Dreadfang. So I ended up with three windserpents stacked (plus a crab in the stable).
Whether it was this forgetfulness or something else entirely — and I am guessing random bad luck, actually, since I have tested multiple stacking quite a bit before – I found that when I did get to the stable master, my pets were stuck. First I switched out the Venemous Cloud Serpent for the crab and abandoned the crab, and that worked normally. But after that I was unable to move any of the windserpents into the active slot. I could see two windserpent icons (although only one gave my pet info when I hovered the mouse over it), but I was unable to drag either icon into the empty active slot, and also unable to purchase the second stable slot. (I remembered later that I had already purchased the second slot, so I’m glad now that the game didn’t let me waste my money.)
I tried relogging and closing the client down entirely. I tried zoning to the other continent. I tried taming a new pet (which worked but didn’t uncork the others). Finally, I put in a ticket to get help from a GM. Then I got called away by the spouse. When I got back, I had e-mail from Blizzard (I swear they wait for you to log off to contact you!) telling me to reset my UI and contact them again if that didn’t help. I reset the UI, and of course it didn’t help, so I contacted them again. A couple hours later I logged out for the night.
When I got up this morning, I had another e-mail from Blizzard saying that I had had too many pets so they deleted one — the lowest level one without a name. (Unfortunately that was the Deviate Dreadfang, so now I have to go get another one.) But I logged in and indeed, my stable is unstuck! But I still wanted to talk to a GM to see if I could get any information on whether or not the dismiss-and-tame method is a bug. So I filed a third ticket asking what I need to do to avoid this situation in the future. Thankfully, this ticket was answered in less than five minutes. (A personal best — normally my tickets sit for at least an hour.)
The GM that responded was happy to answer my question. (He was somewhat cagey about me quoting him, so I am paraphrasing here.) He said that he’s seen this problem (having too many pets) several times and that it is caused by forgetting that you have an active pet before you tame another one. Normally the game prevents us from doing this, he said, but for some reason it currently does not. They will have this resolved as soon as they can, he continued. In the meantime, he urged me to always use ‘Call Pet’ before I try to tame in order to make absolutely certain that I do not have an active pet.
So there you have it: The dismiss-and-tame method is bug and it will be fixed soon. Using it could get you into a bad state that will require GM help to fix.
I am terribly disappointed. My only remaining hope is that perhaps the GMs are aware of the bug, but unaware of the development of a new skill training method that caused the bug and which will be finished when this bug is fixed. But that’s a long, thin straw, I admit. It’s more likely that dismiss-and-tame is just a simple bug.
For myself, I will continue to use it carefully, stacking only one pet at a time and only long enough to learn the skills I need. And we’ll see what happens with it, I guess.