Expansion Pet Families

I am fascinated by Cataclysm, the upcoming WoW expansion, because it represents a very different sort of expansion. Most MMO expansions change the world by adding new content to the edges of the world. Sure, some of that new content may be for low levels (especially new races), some may be meant to fill in holes in the middle levels, but the majority of it is usually intended for the upper levels. That division helps separate the old and new content in very obvious ways.

But Cataclysm will be restructuring the oldest part of WoW enormously. That clean division of old and new content … not so clean anymore.  Now I’m an old hand at MMOs, but I’m not entirely sure what to expect from this one. And that goes double for how and where new pet families may be introduced.

Pet families have never been explicitly limited by expansion — only by the level and location. For example, moths and wasps were added in Wrath of the Lich King but can be tamed by a hunter with only the Burning Crusade because they occur in Outland.

Chimaeras and silithids, on the other hand, can be tamed by any level 60 hunter, whether they have any expansions or not, because they occur in old Azeroth. (True, you need Beast Mastery to tame them, but talents are available to all hunters, and you can get Beast Mastery at level 60 if you plan carefully.)

How is this going to work when the old and new content are so thoroughly intermingled? Gilneas and the goblin starter area will probably be set off, much like the Draenei islands and the blood elf area, but it sounds like the majority of changes will happen in commonly accessible areas. Does this mean that if we get new pet families, they will be largely available to all hunters? Or will we see new families only in the explicit expansion areas?

Let’s take a look at the history so far. When it launched, WoW included 17 pet families:

  1. Bats
  2. Bears
  3. Boars
  4. Carrion Birds
  5. Cats
  6. Crabs
  7. Crocolisks
  8. Gorillas
  9. Hyenas
  10. Owls (now Birds of Prey)
  11. Raptors
  12. Scorpids
  13. Spiders
  14. Tallstriders
  15. Turtles
  16. Wind Serpents
  17. Wolves

Patch 2.0 and the Burning Crusade expansion added 6 pet families — an increase of about 35% — for a total of 23:

  1. Dragonhawks
  2. Nether Rays
  3. Ravagers
  4. Serpents
  5. Sporebats
  6. Warp Stalkers

Patch 3.0 and the Wrath of the Lich King expansion added 9 more — an increase of about 39% — for our current total of 32 pet families:

  1. Chimaeras
  2. Core Hounds
  3. Devilsaurs
  4. Moths
  5. Rhinos
  6. Silithids
  7. Spirit Beasts
  8. Wasps
  9. Worms

On a purely historical basis, we might expect another 10-12 pet families (an increase of about 31%-38%) from Patch 4.0/Cataclysm. Or we might get no new pet families at all …

At this point we really have no idea how Blizzard will draw the line between Patch 4.0 content — available to everyone — and Cataclysm expansion content proper. And that means that we don’t really know how the new pet families — if there are any — will be available and at what levels.

I’m really looking forward to finding out. (Hint, hint, Blizzard — send me a beta invite ASAP! Or even better, an alpha invite!) In the meantime, though, the best we can do is speculate endlessly and with great passion.

146 thoughts on “Expansion Pet Families

  1. Bonnie

    Question: Since Darkshore and most of the area surrounding it will be under water in the next expansion, does that mean the ghost saber will no longer be available for taming?

  2. Ryai

    So far the devistated Darkshore has mostly been shown to be auburdine and south of it, not north, so the ghost saber is most likely going to be unaffected.

    It’s just going to be more of a pain to get it.

  3. Kristy

    10-12 new pet “families” eh? O.o Holy Cataclysm. I’d absolutely love that if they did that! Hmmmm some of the pet “families” that I’d like to see are Hippogriffs, Zehvras, Elekks, griffons and Orcas.

  4. Razaria

    I was thinking of a family that would replace the current “Rhino” family.

    It would be called “Great Beasts”.

    It would include kodos, clefthoofs, and rhinos. It would make a lot of sense, seeing as the rhino family skins are super-limited, and they all use the same skeletons.

  5. Rottingham

    I have a great idea! Just have every beast in WoW be tameable, be able to choose it’s skill, and then choose what spec (Ferocity, cunning, tenecity)

    That would make this awesome! Fire Breathing furocity tallstrider FTW!

  6. Mitsuhide

    I just remembered that one of the new creatures for Cataclysm is a large six-legged rock/magma turtle.

    Maybe it will be tameable? :)

  7. Firewing

    Eh, I’m not going for zhevra, talbuk, kodo, mammoths. I hate rhinos and devilsaurs. They’re so obnoxiously big that it makes me want to curl up and hide.

  8. HumongousOdiousLupous

    They should make some new models for the current pet families, Cataclysm is about using the existing world. Use the existing pets and watch some discovery channel.

  9. Ryai

    S’kay Rottingham

    HOL: er what?

    Mitsuhide: A friend of mine mentioned the posibility of it being a Dragon turtle and/or possibly a boss. So chances are it will either be labled beast; but untamable or be labled ‘dragonkin’.

  10. Kastoli

    Everyone seems to want to throw basilisks in with crocilisks… Forgetting that their names are similar, they are almost completly different creatures…

    Personally, I’de like Basilisks to be their own pet type, with a Cone Stun like almost all of them have; Diemetradons i can see being grouped with Crocilisks though.

  11. Kikaku

    “Blizzard has already released concept art for a volcano-turtle looking thing called a Volcanoth,…” That totally screamed “POKÉMON!!” for some reason..

  12. Kurzhon

    I personally like the idea of tameable Hydras, but also how Rikaku said, Id love more Loque/skoll skins but not likin the idea of how BM is needed…..ooh ooh…btw, rikaku :) im on ur realm. on horde. mwhah. meet meh in dally sumtime ;)

  13. Liduen

    I’d like to see plauge hounds and mage hunters which have always been labled as deamons become wolves or there own pet family.

  14. Seidouyumi

    My point earlier regarding the pet families is that we are, honestly, reaching a point where there aren’t a lot of beasts left to make tameable. Those lava turtles are probably elementals.

    It may be time to go ahead and make all beasts tameable, though. I think that, at this rate, that’s going to happen anyway. The biggest question will be in grouping.

  15. Omanley

    My Ideas for Animal families in Cataclysm:

    spitters: serpents, windserpents, thunderlizards, dragonhawks, chimaeras, core hounds, nether rays, spore bats, hydras and spirit beats

    they turn into caster pets like the warlocks imp. damage gets normalized so everyone of them is equally good. the form of damage is different though. we have shadow ( nether ray ) fire ( dragon hawk ) frost ( chimaera ) nature ( serpent ) and even arcane ( spirit beast )

    chargers: talbuks, rhinos, elekks, mammoths, boars, bears, kodos, clefthooves, talstriders, gorillas, zehvras & giraffes ( in terms of those two, im not really sure if they made good hunter pets though ^^ )

    these will be our tanks

    invertebrates: beetles, workers, soldiers ( the current silthid pets ), wasps, skorpids, spiders, crabs, moths, worms and tunnelers

    dps melee pets for those who prefer the creepy look

    swoopers: birds of prey, carrion birds, bats, pterrordaxes
    basicly anything that can fly except nether rays/spore bats/wasps/wind serpents. the lable “swoopers” doesn´t mean other flying creatures not belonging to it wont be able to swoop anymore

    reptiles: corcolisks, basilisks, dimetrodons, devilsaurs, raptors and turtles ( anything reptilic except serpents/wind serpents/hydra´s

    prowlers: cats, hyenas, warp stalkers, ravagers and wolves

  16. Paithan

    For those wanting to tame druids, you CAN tame a carrion bird with the non-epic flight form skin. At lvl 10 no less since they are lvls 5-10.

    There are also 2 brown versions of the druid skin that count as bird of prey.

    Edit: guess it won’t let me post the wowhead links to said pets…

  17. Arametic

    My first wish: Insect pets styled after the Praying Mantis, with their special attack being a scythe swipe causing either a stun or bleed effect. I’d debated suggesting an attack that does Holy damage, but that’s far too… OP? silly?

    Probably not -as- silly as my next idea though! Hippos, as in the large water loving pachyderms. Seriously. I’ve seen them referred to as the single most dangerous mammal in all of Africa on account of their deceptive ferocity and surprising land speed. From a WoW perspective their special attack would likely be a massive bite that disarms the target (or possibly swallows a dwarf whole).

    Finally in the spirit of saving the worst strangest for last: a family of “slime beasts” similar to the current “Spirit Beasts” in game. They’d be modeled after other families of pets much as the current spirit beasts are, only they’d be made out of translucent ooze with evidence of a skeletal structure still visible inside. Special attack could be an ‘engulf’ ability that traps the target inside the beast for a couple of seconds, causing nature damage and snaring them.

  18. Rhurter

    I think that Hunters should be able to tame their own mounts, to a reasonable extent, like Pallies, Locks and DK’s have their own mounts. Maybe have a quest to tame a Hippogryph flying mount.

  19. Paithan

    To #124: That goes right along with:

    Why are there no regularly available race specific flying mounts like there are for land mounts?


    Why can’t druid travel form be as fast as a mount (and subject to the same restrictions)?

  20. styopa

    I’d just like to see Blizz offer more top-level pets to train. Right now, if you don’t want to spend hours leveling them up (and yeah, join a pug with a sublevel pet and see how that goes), your choices are extremely limited among lvl 79-80 pets: bear, pig, rhino, spider, dog, worm (and only 4 of those if you’re not BM). So if not BM: 2 tenacity, 1 cunning, 1 ferocity. And just looking at lvl 80 pets? Spider, dog, worm. Woo. hoo.

    That blows, for what’s essentially a COSMETIC change. What other class, on changing specs, needs to grind for hours to be at full capability?

    So I’m meh on new species…I’d just like to have a full cross-selection of the zoo we have now. (Oh, and I guess if I had to pick a new one, the true snakes ala “Twilight Serpent” up on the western cliffs of Nagrand; alternately, just leaving pets with their natural ‘flash’ like the icepaw bears – let us keep the cool glowy bits once they’re tame.)

  21. Pudd

    There is an elemental in Bouldercrag’s Refuge in Storm peaks by the name of Blackmaw which is a cat shaped ‘animal’ that has metal plates instead of fur and its eyes glow red even when sleeping apparently. If they could stick that skin onto a spirit beast or something then I know what my hunter would be doing as soon as that was available as a pet. Or they could make it a pet crafted by an engineer, at least then engineers would have something they could sell that doesn’t cost 15k in mats.

    That and/or they should add some sort of pet upgrades like spiky armour or something. Even if the hunters had to choose between the armour or the food that is available that gives a bonus to strength and stamina for pets. They could make it so that the buffs dont stack.

    Also, I’m sure most of you people will agree with me that more stable slots are needed. 4 might have veen enough back in the day but there is too much variety now and it needs updating IMO.

  22. bonse

    hmm, stags/zevrahs/giraffes etc keep getting asked for, but to be honest I’ve never seen why, outside of food supply or mount, possibly at best a beast of burden they serve very little purpose as a hunters companion, they lack that killer instinct inherant in the predatory/carrion/arachnid types, even turtles have a sense of determined snappiness.

    to my mind taming giraffe would be like protecting your grounds with trained guard sheep

  23. MechaKingGhidra

    As I saw many responses of near the beginning (I just couldn’t read the latter half of all these posts, just…so…many), I’m all for hydras, as well. After all, they’re found in both Azeroth *and* the Outland so both high and low level hunters would have access to them, they’re pretty much the perfect ‘wild’ animal so you wouldn’t have to worry about potential intelligence in line with…say, dragonkin(if you had to fight two other heads for grub every day, I’m pretty sure you’d be rather feral, yourself), and lastly, they’re rather well known for anyone who played Warcraft III.

    In addition to hydras, I would be ecstatic if more snake models were created. Frankly, as much as I enjoy cobras, whenever I play a hunter up to the point where I could tame one (Wailing Caverns, how I loathe thee and your attraction for groups that kill indiscriminately, hardly ever letting a hunter get a shot at them), I was mocked by pretty much anyone with a boar or cat. Heck, the scorpid hunters alone were enough to boil the blood (really, making fun of a poison pet when YOU have one, as well?).

    Give a little more variety to them and don’t have it be instance-exclusive until you get to Shadowmoon Valley (if you are one of the few people nowadays that actually do later Outland material) or Sholazer Basin, and maybe people will actually bother trying them out enough that it will be just as accepted as any bear, owl, crab, and even tallstrider. Frankly, the only pet I’ve never understood were the Warp Stalkers. They just seem *too* good. Oh well, The Burning Crusade really needed an ‘omg’ pet so I guess it’s justified enough.

  24. Forest

    I hope that Gryphon, hippogryph & Wind Ryder/Wyvern will be tameable, as well as Hydra.

    I’m pretty sure Pterrordax will be tameable, cause the even appere on The Lost Isle (Goblin Starter Zone)

  25. Norkarox

    I would love to see most of suggestions. I would also like to suggest those dragon-lizards that were in warcraft 3: the frozen throne missions on the naga side. They could be in that underwater place. Sorry if somebody already suggested this.

  26. Bash

    What I would most like to see are more small, cute and furry pets. Fox, weasel, badger, otter, wolverine and red panda come to mind. Hey, even gnomes can tank!

  27. Daginni

    Blizzard won’t leave the most interesting aspect of Hunters in the Dust. But I don’t think they will add too many new rare pets. Maybe just 3-4 rare uniques and add a annoying achievement for non-Hunters to kill them just to make taming it harder.

  28. Hunterbane

    I think your pets should become mounts 2. Maybe that could b a special for BM, and not all mounts, but soome…Like raptors, Boars, Rhinos…Hell, A devilsaur would b a sweet ass mount

  29. Rottingham

    That might not be a bad idea for people who haev exotic Beastmastery. They can ride the exotic beasts that they tame. Each pet could do something else, such as chimera would be a flying mount, devilsaur and silithid would be an enhanced ground mount (faster then an epic moutn by like 5% or 10% or something), spirit beast and worms would prevent you from being attacked (Spirit beast turns you and it invisible, Worm burrows in the ground), and Corehound and Rhinos are able to hold two people (Like the mammoth or motorcycle)

  30. Rottingham

    Sorry for double post… But I aslo saw a video on youtube of Lost Isles… Looks like the raptors there (As of now) are the yellow outland style. Looks like there could be some nice looking raptors for lower levels now, too!

  31. Pingback: Cataclysm Pets. « Guntitan

  32. Scott


    “if they do continue to produce spirit beasts of different families, and they all just have prowl and spirit strike, then it’s just going to be boring. By giving them each their family ability as well it puts them a step above the norm as far as damage dealing goes, and might got a long way towards buffing beast mastery in general.”

    Exactly – I said this back in the beginning when no one really believed non-cat spirit beasts would ever be released… and some valid points were made, primarily being that it would be harder to program if they stop using the “one size fits all” code model, but I think nowadays as the initial excitement with “rare glowing pet!!” has faded, and people (including me) are thinking about teaming up with a cat-wearing-a-ghostly-bear-suit, players may start pushing back on Blizzard to take it back to old school programming somewhat for spirit beasts.

    Here’s hoping anyway.

  33. Scott

    post 2…

    In re: new families I’ve wanted beetles/scarabs since classic, and felt a little spurned when wasps and silithids were made tamable, but not the beetle/drones… I mean c’mon wouldn’t the *least intelligent* type of silithid be the most tamable?

    And speaking of wasps, even though they’re not a new family I’d love to see the old world wasps become tamable – I’ve never really been that wild about the BC fire flies, and while I like the AQ boss model, it’s *still* not as cool as the “basic” silithid wasp – probably a good half the reason I got my sapphire hive queen is because I felt pushed into it by the tame nerf in 3.1…

    And changing the scholazar drones to use the old style body but with the blue and red speckled boss skin didn’t do it for me either – their eyes look too googly. Or something.

    What I want are the basic green/blue/yellow carapace with shiny black cleavers/stingers, and squinty little eyes that you can barely see (and of course Qirot…).

    In re: ungulates/heffalumps/etc… an elekk might be nice perhaps as an exotic, though the others don’t really do much for me.

  34. Rottingham


    What I want is for there to be a new wasp, that looks a bit similar to the firflies but with a differently shaped head and a bulkier body. And then have it Yellow and black striped… Then it would be a real wasp!

  35. Chaoscntrl

    Here are some family ideas and their special abilities, I know some have already been said, but here goes;

    Hydras – Triple Bite: attempts to bite the target with all 3 heads, dealing [rank] damage per head. there is a 100% chance to bite with one head, a 75% chance to bite with 2 heads, and a 50% chance to bite with all 3 heads.

    Basilisks – Petrifying Stare: The Basilik Stares into the targets eyes, making them unable to move, attack, or cast spells for [rank] seconds.

    Diemetrodons – Fin Smash: The Diemetrodon turns sideways and smacks the target with its fin, dealing [rank] damage and stunning it for 5 seconds. (I wanted to do an ability where it absorbs sunlight, but that would make no sense when used in places like Swamp of Sorrows, Shadowmoon Valley, and Icecrown)

    Pterrordaxs – Wing Beating: the Pterrordax grabs on to the target with its beak and smacks it with its wings, dealing [rank] damage per second for 10 seconds.

    Shoveltusks – Shovel: Shovels the target with specially shaped tusks, lifting it into the air and dealing [rank] damage. (fall damage would also be included)

    Mana Wyrms – Burst of Mana: The Mana Wyrm unleashes a Burst of Pure Mana, dealing [rank] damage to all enemies and giving [rank] to all party members within 5 yards.

  36. Buller

    Lots of great ideas, but I have to agree with one inparticular……Engineering Hunters should be able to create an actual “Hunter Pet”….that would be so freakin’ sweet!!!!

  37. sodaz

    wow buller thats so true but i think that since they said alot of stuff would be under water so i think they will do somthing with underwater pets like frogs fish amphibians ect.

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