WotLK Hunter News from WWI

The Diablo III announcement wasn’t the only news to come out of Blizzard’s World Wide Invitational today in Paris. Indeed, there is plenty of news about the upcoming expansion, Wrath of the Lich King — and plenty of that is about hunters.

I’m still digging through all the reports from people on the spot looking for the tantalizing details, but here’s the major new stuff from my main news sources, WoW Insider and MMO Champion.

Steady Shot

First, the less interesting (to me) news: Steady Shot is being changed so that it will not clip our Auto Shots. Right now, Steady Shot can clip (interrupt) the regular auto-attack, which reduces our overall DPS — which is why so many people spend so much time optimizing a shot rotation macro. But apparently in WotLK we’ll just be able to smash the Steady Shot button and the shot will go off when it can without messing up the whole rhythm of shooting.

I know this is big news for many hunters, although it doesn’t much affects me. (I already button-smash Steady Shot, more or less randomly when I notice it on my bar.) But I will be pretty happy if this means that I have to admit to fewer people that I haven’t a clue when they ask me for shot rotation advice. *grin*

New Pets, Etc.

During a Q&A session, one attendee asked about new pets. The answer: there will definitely be new pets. Of course, that’s not very surprising — we’d be pretty shocked if there were no new pets at all.

Unfortunately it’s not clear if there will be new pet families. I’m still trolling the net looking for clarification on that. In addition, although the same person also asked about ‘pet slots’ (by which I assume they meant stable space), Blizzard didn’t say anything about that in their answer, leaving me for the moment to assume an unwelcome, “No.”

Pet Skills and … Talents?!

The biggest news by far for hunters is that the pet skill system is getting a complete rewrite in Wrath of the Lich King. There will be no more pet Training Points.

I think I’ll repeat that: No more pet Training Points!

Although so far as I can see if didn’t come up at the WWI, that implies that there will be no more pet loyalty. And if that’s true, let me be the first to say, “Yahoo!” Testing pet loyalty is a bitch. (It might not be true, though: I could see them keeping loyalty for other purposes. We’ll just have to wait and see.)

Anyway, if pets don’t buy skills with training points then how do they get skills? A talent tree, of course! Apparently each pet will be able to talent up in one of three specs: DPS, Tank, or Utility.

(I have no idea what might be in the Utility tree and I’m somewhat hesitant about how useful the Tank tree will be outside of rather specific situations, but … I’m still very excited to see how this plays out.)

A specific talent ability that was mentioned was Cornered. With the Cornered talent, your pet gains a 20% increase in damage when they are below 20% health.

In addition, it sounds like each tree will be unique for each pet family, containing at least some unique family skills. That means 23 (or more) talent trees with three specs each, which is a daunting prospect!

Then again, we have no idea how deep or wide these trees may be. Character talent trees are currently nine tiers deep and contain 20+ talents, but a pet tree may only be two or three tiers deep and contain only a handful of talents. Again, I guess we’ll just have to wait for more info.

Anything About Beta?

I can’t wait to get my hands on all these changes! Unfortunately, I haven’t yet heard anything about when the beta might start or how to get into it.

Worse, the leaked info we’ve heard coming out of the WotLK alpha doesn’t seem to bear much resemblance to this WWI info — which to me implies that the implementation of the hunter changes (and probably therefore the start of beta) is still some time off.

Specific sources:

49 thoughts on “WotLK Hunter News from WWI

  1. Gazmik Fizzwidget

    Hmpf. Soon as I get Hunter’s Helper to where I’m really happy with it, they make it obsolete. Ah well, I won’t mind the reduced maintenance/support burden, at least. (My hunter investors are ecstatic, though!)

  2. Znodis

    No training points? Thank goodness. That was a good idea that ended up being a ridiculous mechanic.

    My bet would be that loyalty level and pet level will determine the number of talent points available.

    As hard as it is to wait when other classes have talent trees, etc coming out, I’m really glad they’re taking some time to fix out mechanics.

  3. PepsiJedi

    Something overlooked here… and I think on Insider too.

    If you no longer have pet skills… that means you no longer have to tame pets to learn pet skills.

    *Waits for the little light bulbs to start turning on*

    Which means instead of having 2 pets, + 1 rotating ‘skill training” pet… We can USE all 3 pet slots. We won’t have to hold one in reserve “To learn the pet skills from 70-80″ (( well 10-80 actually)).

    While not another full stable slot, this will act as one that we previously didn’t have till you maxed out lvl. That’s a big deal. 3 full ‘keeper’ pets! That rocks.

    This all being said I do want another stable slot. I have 3 pets I love now, and I know I’m going to want one of those wolvar’s and hopefully a wolverine (( if they make them))

  4. Kamm

    What I am thinking they might do is keep loyalty and make it so you get X amount of talent points with each loyalty level. (Maybe 3-5 or something) This way, they do not have to make the talent trees for the pets too big and they get to keep the loyalty levels implemented in the game.

  5. PepsiJedi

    Doubtful it’ll be totally like that. A lvl 10 pet with 6 loyalty would have access to all the talent tree stuff.

    It’ll be lvl based in some way. Loyalty will still determine food consumption and what not.

  6. zepherr

    To me it looks like thier tryin to amp thier game up becuase warhammer may beat them with thier pet system which is so more better then WoWs but in my opinion im still goin to warhammer WoWs gettin old.

  7. Peter

    PepsiJedi: Which means instead of having 2 pets, + 1 rotating ’skill training” pet… We can USE all 3 pet slots [...] That’s a big deal. 3 full ‘keeper’ pets! That rocks.

    No that does NOT rock. Like many other hunters, I already left the state of learning pet skills years before (and I am Lvl 70 for more than one year). So I have not to learn again and again skills for my pets, I already have gathered all skills already. So why should I am be happy about 3 pet slots ? I have already 3 pet slots, it would be nice to get MORE THAN 3 …

  8. Mania Post author

    Gazmik: Hunter investors?

    Znodis: I could see that. But then talent points are effectively training points — only the method of spending them has changed. Personally I’d prefer to lose loyalty all together: gaining loyalty is slow enough to be an annoying break on trying out a new pet, but too fast (except at the very highest levels) to be a true pet-retention bonus.

    PepsiJedi: You’re right — I did overlook that aspect! It’s not perfect, but it does indeed free up that third stable slot.

    Peter: I understand that it’s not a huge benefit for you, but for those of us who have had to leave the third slot open, either for learning new skills pre-70 or for pet research post-70, it does indeed rock. :>

  9. marzix

    ya know peter, you may have 3 now… but what happens in wotlk and assuming you dont get a new stable slot, you would have to get rid of a 3rd pet to learn new skills.

  10. batgrl

    My husband and I were out at lunch today when he mentioned “oh and they leaked info on hunter pets having talent trees.”
    “What?! Where was this?!!”
    “Oh Wow Insider – the Blizz Invitational is this weekend.”
    “What else? What more?”
    “I can’t remember…”
    “How fast can you eat that rack of ribs you’re working on there?”
    We didn’t really need to go to the grocery store anyway.
    Thankfully I knew where to check first for the info!

    I think it’d be an interesting change. Definitely one that would allow for unique changes for each player. And actually I’d bet there are quite a few 70 hunters who aren’t juggling 3 pets simply because they’re waiting for the moment that they’ll have to go tame something to learn a new skill. Having 3 pets assumes that nothing will change in any patches and you won’t need to stable them all. Of course with 3 you have to set one pet as the “in the event of change I will abandon this one” pet. I never can manage that. But if taming to learn skills is no longer needed, that will definitely change things – and free up some of the time consuming taming time as well as giving us the ability to have 3 pets without worrying about needing to stable. Of course then we’ll be able to get all nostalgic about going out to tame and learn skills.

    I would certainly like to have an extra pet slot in my stable – but I’m wondering if they’re going to say the difficulty with that is the same problem as expanding the bank/bag space for us…

    It will be REALLY interesting to see if the trees make a change in the different pet families and how that works out. I think it’ll be amusing to find out how a boar tank will play versus a flamingo tank.

  11. batgrl

    Oh and when I see a tank option I immediately think that this would be the option for all those Marks spec’d hunters who are having issues with their pet holding aggro. And then perhaps that the pet would be a more useful offtank option. But not that we’d start seeing hunter pets actually be regular tanks for 5 mans. But who knows, some people say they can manage that now…

  12. batgrl

    “In addition, it sounds like each tree will be unique for each pet family, containing at least some unique family skills. That means 23 (or more) talent trees with three specs each, which is a daunting prospect!”

    Wow, I’ve only just rethought how much potential change that would create on your site! Whew…

  13. PepsiJedi

    Peter while I understand your want for more slots (( I do as well. I’d like about 5 and if you look at the stable, there’s room)) I think you’re missing what I’m saying.

    Yes right now you have 3 “Keeper pet” slots. You’re a big bad lvl 70. But…. in a few months. There’s going to be 10 more lvls. In those lvls, if not for the talent trees, there would be more skills. Claw 10…. Claw 11…

    And you, as a big bad 70 would be given a choice. 1) Ditch one of your three keeper pets to tame a northrend critter with claw 10 or claw 11, fight along side it till you learn claw 10 or claw 11, then ditch it and get your old pet back. retrain it and get it back up to lvl. (( Lets be honest. All our Keeper pets are NOT lvl 60-70s. I’ve got a Humar I’ve had since 23, I’ve had a Snarler since lvl 42 and I don’t even want to dream about trying to catch Rak’Shiri that I tamed night before last.)) Or your other choice would be, keep your lvl 70 keeper pets and not get claw 10 or claw 11 ( just an example could be any skill from 71+ critters))

    Now…. you don’t really HAVE 3 pet slots do ya? You have 2 and one you need to use to learn new pet skills. You just havne’t had any for a while.

    If they go total talent tree on us with the pets. You wont have to tame pets to learn skills. (( God I hope you don’t have to tame pets to learn skills to get them on the talent tree. UGG!))

    Each pet will be tamed for itself. You won’t have to hunt down ones to get.. gore 4 or what ever. Your ravager will have that in his talent tree. And not needing a “Training pet” slot, you can use all 3.

    Now granted once you hit 80. Yes you’ll be in the same place you are now. But….. as a GAME… and for EVERYONE…. 10-80 having 3 pets instead of 2 is .. well it’s half again more! Still too few by MY want. (( Again I’d like about 5. lol)) But still it’s an improvement, that might not immediately be seen/felt.

    My only worry is that Blizzard HAS thought of this, and is going “Well you have talent trees now, you don’t need a training pet slot so we ‘have” given you another pet slot. *shudder*

  14. Pike

    I love love love the new pet info that was leaked. >.>

    But on the other hand, please don’t tell me I’m not the only crazy out there who actually really liked shot rotations and is going to miss ‘em…

  15. Kindinos

    Worse, the leaked info we’ve heard coming out of the WotLK alpha doesn’t seem to bear much resemblance to this WWI info — which to me implies that the implementation of the hunter changes (and probably therefore the start of beta) is still some time off.

    The WWI info doesn’t contradict the sparse info we’ve gotten from Alpha (by which I assume you mean the wotlk alpha wiki). All it really lists is Camouflage, which is a vanish-and-cloak-style escape ability, the new ranks of the abilities we already have, and the new pet skills, like the disarm, knockback, stun, etc. that some pets (possibly new pet families) will be getting in WotLK.

  16. Bomyne

    I already use my pet as a tank in 5 mans, as Warriors and Paladins are in short supply. The Tank Tree would be awesome.

  17. Ryno

    Man, pet talents, awesome. The utility tree seems odd to me, I think Blizz should just have two talent trees for pets. I mean, besides tanking and DPSing, pets don’t particularly have anything else to do.

    Except look cute/cool/intimidating/etc. that is, hehe.

  18. Volcan

    I dont have any guess what auto shot rotation is hehe im not a real raider :D

    So all i really look forward to is new pets, and talent trees. For the utility one, i hope it will something like, for better pulling situtations where you dont want 30 trash mobs jump you and that stuff. Or pet feign death!!

    I cant wait so much!!! ><

  19. Redbullseye

    The good thing about this, is hopefully it will make certain pet families that
    are ignored (like the vast majority are) a well needed upgrade and buff so there
    can finally be some variety, and not the same handful of rotating pets.

  20. Faulk_Wulf

    Why wouldn’t pet talent trees work exactly as they do for players?
    After the pet is level 10 it gets 1 talent point, and so on till 80.
    Loyalty may be gone, or it may determine food consumption.
    Personally loyalty has never meant anything to me though.
    My worg has always been 6, except for the very first level I had him. (lvl.10-11)
    So either I don’t play my hunter “right” or I just don’t get the loyalty issue.

  21. Shinryu Masaki


    The thing with loyalty right now is that it determines how many training points your pet has for its level. At 70 this means 350 TP. But if you tame a fresh lvl 70 pet then it will have either 0 TP or negative ones if it comes with abilities. You will not be able to train it anything at all until you level up its loyalty.

    Now will that system stay or leave with WotLK? Who knows. Maybe they will completely remove the pet feeding with it. Or like mentioned above, they will keep the feeding part and loyalty will affect how many times you will need to feed it.

  22. FirstChAoS

    I have mixed opinions on pet talent trees.

    part of me loves not having to drop a pet to get one.

    Also I know some people (my dad is one) who HATE taming new pets for new abilities and which all were pet trainer tamable who will LOVE this.

    on the other hand I worry about something.

    These abilities are in TREES right? what if you can no longer stack growl, claw, and bite like you once did because where they sit on the tree.

    Also would this make the idea of getting new pet slots even MORE impossible? Last I heard blizzards excuse for not getting more pet slots is that “hunter pets are treated like characters and adding one slot will increase lag” for some reason lock pets who gain powers through books are NOT handled this way.

    Wouldn’t adding talent trees (something more PC like) make the dream of a third pet slot even more unlikely.

    then again some of blizzards excuses for pet taming stuff makes no sense. For example ungoro raptors cannot be tamed because they are sentient, but they show LESS sentience tham tamable barrens raptors (who horde boxes of silver and live in huts) and stranglethorn raptors (who have tribes and wear tribal arm bands). Maybe it is a side effect of the ungoro ravasaur trainer quest they decided NOT to ever give horde.

    But as I said, blizzards pet decisions rarely make sense.

  23. Kai

    I look forward to seeing the trees. But not so much if we have to tame new pets for higher skills.

    As a level 70 hunter, I spent a long time with just 2 pets keeping a 3rd as the skill getter. Raijin my white wind serpant being with me the longest (and was the hardist to tame cause of it’s falling bug). But as soon as I hit level 66, I tamed my last beast to learn the last highest rank skill, and instantly set off to tame my 3rd main pet, my warp hunter Nyoka. So with them along with my frost saber it would be hard to give up such kicken pets to tame something new just for new skills :(

    Having trees for their skills however I am looking forward to and hope they do it that way.
    As is I use my cat for Instance runs/pvp as it has bite, claw, dash and prowl. It can also side tank mobs (so long as no one attacks it) for as long as needed with just a few mend pets tossed at it from time to time. We use my pet a lot when we have 6-7 pulls in instances.

    My wind serpant I use for basic questing or hanging around, and is one of my best agro holders. I guess getting electrocuted really peevs mobs off.

    And my warp hunter is used for elite tanking cause of it’s armor boost. He can hold 2 lv 71 elites with no problem.

    With trees, I could boost what I already use my pets for.

  24. Yossir (w/ Torc & Ravioli)

    Even with the possiblities of the talent trees and not having to leave an extra slot open to tame another creature for a higher skill, I highly doubt I’ll be keeping my 3rd pet when WLK is launched. Leveling two pets from 10 to 70 is hard enough. Leveling three at once… that for me is out of the question. When I was in the process of reaching 70, I could usually only quest for with one pet for half a level then grind the rest of the way with the other one. If I didn’t do that, I’d just grind for a whole level and that is incredibly boring. So for me, this whole change is both a blessing and a curse.

    FirstChAoS, you make an excellent point about the raptors on Azeroth. They are extremely intellegent and I might not RP, but I’ve found myself thinking my raptor- Torc- might take some of my money one day and not give it back. So if ravasaurs are soooo sentient, how come they can’t be tamed yet the ones in huts can? And this sort of raises another question- are the Outland raptors just are smart or are they just mindless predators?

    Some of the non-hunter stuff we’ll see includes:
    -a shift in warrior specs since they’re gaining Titan’s Grip- the ability to hold a 2h and a 1h AT THE SAME TIME,
    -warlocks still being awesome since they’re getting another bad @ss spell- turning into an Illidan-style demon,
    -rogues sapping more than humanoids,
    -shaman gettting a CC,
    -mages receiving a something called Frostfire Bolt and,
    -druids… well, I haven’t heard or seen if they’ll get anything cool.

  25. Shaann

    I am just hoping for a new pet with a charge ability. No piggies in Outland and I don’t have the patience to lvl a boar from 60!

  26. Kerub

    i was dreaming the other night i went out and tames a level 28 rfk boar, and it went BLING your pet is level 70.. its loyalty has been increased …
    thats my wishful thinking, cause grinding xp on lowbie tames is ‘fun’

  27. Bradagore

    Seems likely to me that the “tanking” tree will be designed to generate more aggro than a “DPS” tree, and is likely to be the choice of a solo hunter with high DPS (useful for a raider that’s going grinding for mats f’rinstance). However, it’s worth noting that my little coterie of hunters pet-tanked every instance up to and including Auchenai Crypts without difficulty. It can be done with an obliging healer (Party was 4 hunters, 1 priest, so that’s 4 tanks, 4 DPS and a healer…)

  28. Caelima

    I really really really really really really really really really really hope that they give spiders some other skill besides for bite. Their such unique pets, they desever dash or some short of poison bite or spit ablity.

    Blizz really needs to make all pet families equal to each other just not in stats but in ablities as well.

  29. Rudda

    Personally I think this is a great move. (or atleast has great potential)
    Plainly, it would work to have 1 pet for each tree.
    Cat (or other high dps pet) would be a likely canidate to boost through the “dps” tree.
    Bear (or other “tank” pet) would be best if boosted through the “tank” tree.
    Wolf (or other “all around” pet) would be good for the utility tree.
    But then what if they give spiders “web sling” for a CC . . . . ?

    The problem is: will we have access to all pet families (so we can play with the new system) or will we have to go back and tame a lowbie and lvl it up? will there be Turtles, Boars, bears, crabs, Hyenas, etc… that are not more than 10 lvls below us to tame?

  30. Wolfington

    All sounds cool to me..

    yossir – are you sure about those other class changes? It seems Warlocks and Warriors would be unfairly overbuffed, while the others get OK but still rather lame things…

    Rudda – I do hope they add high level beasts like the ones you listed. A high level Hyena, (hopefully not a Red one, Sargeant is unique and I want it to stay that way!) turtle, BEAR, CRAB, I would really like a bear or crab…

    If they fix the walk bug, I will be happy. I like the Kara bats, but I can’t stand it when they frantilcly buzz around with wings flapping at light speed.

  31. Tarjin

    I see priests will have a new spell, Guardian Spirit, to call a spirit to heal a friendly target for 10 or 20 seconds. Since the mechanic for that will be in place, I would love to see implemented my old idea of giving pets a “Guard” mode. The pet would react to damage caused to a particular friendly target besides the hunter.

  32. Sasha

    Im so glad to see this… verge of making the shadowpriest my new main. Then this wonderful wonderful post… Tytytytytytytytytyty! I cannot wait and thats awesome I am so picking up a 3rd pet now.

  33. DarkWolff

    Maybe the Utility tree will have all the family skills, but you can only purchase them with the right pet. Overall this sounds like good news. I hope the tanking tree is good though; letting pets tank 5 mans, combined with the new hero class, could mean the dropping groups for lack of tank will be over.

  34. Varsar

    Wolfington the stuff Yossir has posted I’ve seen as well, and how is warriors and locks being unfairly buffed any different then today? Other games have tried the concept on 1 handing 2handed weapons and let the idea go as unfairly balanced, clearly blizzard will let it slide.

    The lock turning into a demon is rather cool and they give up their pet while in demon form, but as all things lock it’ll be overdone.

  35. Warhmmer

    From the talk I felt they meant there is one DPS, one Utiliy and one Tank talent tree. Each pet species has access to one of these 3 based on the species (player’s can’t pick which one they want – no DPS Turtles for instance). The talents would be geared to the species with access to a given tree. Not every pet would find all the talents in the tree they have access to useful.

  36. Shinryu Masaki

    If that was true then there would be no reason to add talent trees at all, as the pets would basically be the same as they are now. As far as I saw on a few sites, they said the pets get 3 talent trees, but that each of those trees will vary depending on their family. At least this is what has been mentioned all over the place.

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  38. Deathbang

    It makes sense to chuck training points. I mean look at how long it takes to reach Best Friend at level 70! I was dreading level 80. If we rreally luck out they will make pet leveling easier too.(Which they probably will same problem its XP based.) So I’m excited about pet talents! Finally my cat can do even MORE unbalancing DPS :) (As if the thing needs another buff. Immune to CC? check, Huge HP and armor? check, immune to frost and nature spells? check, 200 base dps(when under frenzy) check. add cornered in there and MM will wiped of the face of WoW.) With this expansion I will now deliberately send my pet to attack the cleaving warriors face while I am not healing it!

  39. Tinski

    I just wonder.. will our pets become weaker that before? if pet talents only give 10-20% more armor, stamina etc. in future? Or do the Passive Skills ranks only jump to trees as the similar they are today? Im worried.. : /

  40. Warhmmer


    I may have picked it up wrong at the session but that was what it was described like. 3 talent trees and each species can only choose from one. Would be good if that wasn’t the case though.

    What I found odd was it took one of the questions in the QA sessions before they mentioned that it was replaceing rather than in addition to the skill point system.

  41. Varsar

    You know everyone seems to be assumming we will get MORE out of talent trees. That may not be so. Nothing says that the DPS tree will be any better than Claw and bite are now, this could be just a change not an improvement. I am personally hoping it is an improvement but as with all things blizzard does I have little faith they will actually help hunters with it. My hunter has been sitting at 63 for over 6 months now, I am hoping the WoTK changes will be enough to make playing him enjoyable again.

  42. Rudda

    I agree with Varsar.
    The tank tree Tier 1 might contain.
    Growl (trainable to 10 or 11 ranks not just 3-5 like a player toon)
    Natural Armor (Trainable to 10 or 11 ranks)
    Stamina etc. . .
    Say for gorillas they would have Thunderstomp on say tier 3or4 so that you can’t learn it till your pet is in the 30s (which is when you can tame one anyway)
    It could then have ranks that are available (hopefully beyond rank 3)

    DPS tree tier 1 might include the same ideas for some variation of Bites, claws, spits, breaths etc. . .

    Untility Tree could contain things like
    Slow Poisons, Spider’s web trap (I’m dreaming) etc. . .

    So for the most part, we would not be getting Uber tank pets.
    Or even better DPS pets compared to our current 70s.
    I really think the BIG changes not be in the way most hunters use pets right now.
    I think they want pets to be more “useful” than just mindless M1A1 Abram tanks, or Insane DPS. Atleast this is my hope. Make hunters really fun and more challenging than trap, send pet, shot rotation, rince repeat.

  43. Cavernish

    As one of those folks who play by “feel” and not by linear application of my intellect to the details, I am both excited and daunted by the idea of pet talent trees. Just as I think I am getting the hang of my hunters as a class, with some relatively sound basis for the use of each hunter talent tree and the combinations thereof, here comes the possibility of having to digest the same for my pets and indeed for each pet family. OY!!!!!

    And my friends all wonder why I run nothing but hunters!!!!!

    However, if the talent tree approach will be used to overcome some of the deficits of rank maxing for things like my Gorilla’s Thunderstomp that would be most excellent!

  44. Tarjin


    I haven’t been assuming the tanking tree would turn a pet into an uber-tank and so for the other trees. I assumed pets would be the same to maybe slightly better than they are now. If they end up much better than now, that will be a pleasant surprise to me.

    I do believe this will give us a better, more flexible system for training our pets. While the min-maxers will still come up with a list of the “right” ways to spec the “right” pets, I think pets will be more distinct than they are now.

    And I am getting more: my crab will finally have a unique family ability!

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