PTR 2.3.0: Pet Circling

One of the more surprising lines in the PTR 2.3.0 patch notes was this one:

Pets will try to get behind their targets when engaging in melee combat.

That’s good, right? If your pet is behind the target then it can’t be parried or something … err … right? But what does this really mean? How does it work? Will your pet just circle and circle, trying to get behind the enemy as the enemy swings to face it?

I had a chance to check out this out on the Public Test Realm today, although not for very long. But I did at least test two of the basic situations a little.

Situation #1: Pet Has Aggro

For the first trial I used my normal strategy — Hunter’s Mark, send in the pet, sit back and potshot the enemy while the pet holds aggro. In this situation, I didn’t see any change in behavior. In particular, my cat Cloud was perfectly happy to remain head-to-head with the enemy.

Situation #2: Hunter Has Aggro

For the second trial I made sure that I would keep aggro. I turned off Growl (and Bite and Claw) and I initiated combat with the enemy myself. My cat jumped in to defend me when I was attacked, of course, but I noticed that he manuevered slightly to the side of the enemy first. So I moved over to where Cloud was standing so that he was now head-on to the enemy (although I still had aggro). At this point Cloud stopped attacking, walked slowly to the side so that he was at right angles to the enemy, and then started attacking again.

Of course, without more testing I don’t know how helpful this behavior will be in group and raid situations (and since I don’t group or raid I won’t be doing that testing myself). But I wasn’t terribly impressed with it as it stands now. My pet repositioned himself very slowly, at a walk, and during that time he wasn’t attacking. But perhaps on larger enemies this behavior makes more sense.

If you’ve had a chance to try this on the PTR, please drop a comment and let us all know how it was working for you!

25 thoughts on “PTR 2.3.0: Pet Circling

  1. Gerald Howell

    I read about this on BRK and wondered the same thing. Thanks for testing this out. Sounds interesting as long as it doesn’t take the pet a long time getting behind the enemy. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking how this will work out in PVP.

  2. Regolith

    Indeed, and “at a walk”? I thought blizzard was all about the PvP crowd?! So now all a smart mage as to do is rotate on the spot to avoid being hit by a pet? Really?

  3. Constrictor

    Great, this is a good new move, sometimes we Hunters need moves like this. I like it!

    Properly, I have a screenshot of my Ghost Saber “Bastet”, he is about level 33 now, if you want, its a honor to me fit the screenshot in the “Ghost Saber Gallery”, i just uploaded the screenshot to imageschack.us: http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/5136/wowscrnshot093007162224nt5.jpg

    Thanks so much and keep the good and great job at petopia!
    Constrictor (TEMPLARIOS GUILD) – Level 33 (Server Gorefiend)- Bastet, the Ghost Saber.

  4. Znodis

    I’ve heard reports that in your situation #1, the pet slows to a walk as he approaches the mob (since he doesn’t have agro). Have you noticed this? Maybe the guy was testing on a really low level small agro radius mob or neutral one.

  5. Kalalay

    To be honest, I’ve been awaiting something like this. Getting your pet behind a mob bypasses blocks, parries and greatly lowers the chance to dodge while at the same time raising your chance to hit. This applies to anyone striking behind in melee, not just pets btw. I hope Blizzard does it right, and the AI functions like you describe, Mania, otherwise I’d hope they turn it into an ability, something called ‘Trained Adavantage’ or something, where you could actually tell your pet to reposistion behind with a ‘ctrl+#’. I can just imagine a situation just like Regolith’s suggestion driving me batty.

  6. Messyah

    I fought Moroes in cat form last night in Karazhan and his back was to me and the bastard parried attack after attack after attack. It was really pissing me off.

    I think this whole back-attack thing for pets is a farce and is going to lead to some very unhappy hunters.

  7. Mania Post author

    Znodis: I didn’t see my cat slow to a walk in that situation. I have heard similar things randomly happening with cats, and on a previous PTR Cloud kept slowing down for about a week, but then it went away. I’ll keep an eye out for it though.

    Regolith: Yeah, I am didn’t think much about how this might apply in PvP. Someone who can PvP (i.e. not me — I just die) should check this out on the PTR.

  8. Tiiaa

    Actually the only tailswipe that affects pets is the one from Nightbane – all other tail attacks ignore pets, and with nightbane it ist’n exactly hard to have the pat attack from the side.

  9. Nyl

    This is in fact a huge relief for any high end raiding hunter. To explain: Any mob has a base chance to parry when attacked from the front. Boss level raid mobs have a slightly higher chance due to being counted as level 73, as high as 14% or 15%. In other words, your pet will experience a significant DPS boost when attacking any mob from behind (as any competent rogue will confirm for you).

    It goes further, however. There is a somewhat obscure side effect in that whenever you parry an attack, your own subsequent melee attack is sped up. If you apply this to a huge hulking boss who can hit your tank for 7’000+, and add some bad timing with other factors in the fight, you can effectively kill your tank by meleeing the boss from the front and getting a parry chain or having your pet doing so.

    Raiding hunters used to have to coordinate their pets so they wouldn’t be attacking any hard hitting boss from the front, a difficult task at best with the current interface. This change is extremely welcome to them and (though on a smaller scale and less noticeable) also affects anybody running 5-mans. Watch your pet run around the mobs and be proud, the little guy’s pretty smart after all.

  10. daniel

    from what i’ve heard, the pet will only try and circle the mob if it’s not holding aggro. since it’s pretty useless to try and get behind a mob if you’re tanking it it should only happen on bosses or if you have another tank on the mob.

  11. Moeko

    This means that when you are fighting bosses and such, and you pet does not have aggro he will try to get behind the mob instead of getting cleaved and such in front of him.

  12. Gaujo

    This is so cone effects don’t kill pets, like what the dragons in Blades Edge, Core Hounds in MC etc do. Know how warriors are supposed to turn these types of mobs away from the raid? This will do the same for pets, allowing them to escape those types of AOE. This is all just what makes sense to me.

  13. Pingback: News from The Instance | BIRKANA

  14. Zierlyn

    Pet positioning was never difficult on bosses. Just one quick Eyes of the Beast, jump behind the mob, and Arcane shot to break the channeling. You only lose 2-3 shots and your pet is in the back safe from cleaves. Overall it’ll be a good change I suppose, but it will completely destroy a pet’s usefulness on a fight like Aran where the mob is constantly switching targets. It’ll spend the entire fight repositioning itself and never landing a hit.

  15. Listen

    It sounds like this would be better used under certain circumstances so it should be offered by a pet trainer and activated as “Attack From Behind” so the hunter can choose when he wants his pet to use this new ability.

  16. Xdeep

    I don’t know if you ever noticed, but pets that can use Warp, when they come within distance of their target, blink and end up immediately behind the target, of course if they have the aggro, the target turns and is directed towards the pet. If they do not have aggro, they continue to attack the target from behind.

  17. BlackHat

    i think this change were made because of a hunter know bug wich rarely happen. Wehn the pet get aggro the mob keep running to the hunter until the original pet location before it was sent. I think thats if the pet try to get the target by behind will prevent thats bug.

  18. Rezar

    I myself am greatly distressed by this. The patch has been out for a few days so I’ve been getting plenty of chance to see all the possible problems with this, especially in raiding situations. The main problem with this change is this: pets do not always know the best way to get behind a mob. My darling cat embarassed me several times in Kara this week by running back teh way we had come in what seemed to be an effort to take the long way around to get to the mob. For example: on the pulls on the stairway leading to Moroes my cat would try and run through the servant’s quarters, ultimately aggroing the mobs in there and dying twice before I gave up and didn’t use her for those pulls anymore. Warlocks seem to be having similar issue with some of their pets (I know I saw a fel puppy run off behind us once or twice).

    Yes, when it does work correctly it’s a nice little thing to have going, but untill Blizz gets all the horrible pathing issue sorted out I’m going to be very annoyed with them for this. Presumably it has something to do with the way the pet’s NPC brain processes the terrain and where it thinks it can go or not go and from what I’ve seen of Blizz’s problem-fixing track record it ain’t getting fixed anytime this side of New Years. -.-

  19. Stubs

    What Rezar said. This change has made my pet weird in Kara. Espcially on the mobs on the narrow hallways. I send the pet in to attack the mob, only to see him fly off behind me, to god knows where. I call him back, for fear he may go aggro a ton of mobs somewhere, and just stop using him for the fight. Great job Blizzard, now fix it already.

  20. Kallixenia

    Third to what Rezar & Stubs have said. Everytime in KZ now, I get to watch my cat go zooming off behind the raid, and listen to everyone flipping out on vent. Enough is enough, Blizz, fix this please.

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