Armchair Designer: Exotic Pets & Spirit Beasts

As I was showering today, I got thinking about the current problems with the hunter class in WoW. This is a perennial topic for any class, of course, even when there aren’t any major problems.

And as you know, I am not much of a power player, so my notion of problems is rather more limited in scope than many hunters, despite the frequent attempts by my loyal commenters here to enlighten me.

At any rate, I decided that I am personally pretty satisfied with hunters right now — as I usually am — with one exception. And that exception is the Spirit Beast family.

Now let’s be very clear here: I don’t think that spirit beasts are awful. I just think they could be better. And so I started plotting out ways that I personally would be happier with spirit beasts. Here’s what I came up with …

No More Spirit Beasts

First, let’s get rid of the Spirit Beast family. It’s such a weird mashup. I think it would make a lot more sense to move each of the existing spirit beasts into the corresponding normal family. So Loque’nahak and Gondria become cats, Skoll becomes a wolf, and Artcuris becomes a bear. That changes their skills, of course. (And changes Arcturis’ talent tree from Ferocity to Tenacity.)

Exotics Everywhere

But I don’t think the spirit beasts should be normal beasts, either. So let’s leave them as exotics. Yes, that gives us individual exotic beasts within a generally non-exotic family. And I think that’s okay. Even more, I think it helps restore a sane measure of individual variation within pet families. Some cats are normal cats; some cats are exotics with slightly better stats.

Of course, it would be annoying as a new hunter to have your heart set on a particular wolf and then find out when you go to tame it that it’s exotic. So we should really move the Beast Lore talent to level 10. (Indeed, it should have been moved there when they removed Pet Training.)

More ‘Spirit-y’ Pinnacle Pets

Spirit beasts are currently the pinnacle of Beast Mastery — and an outward sign that you are a serious pet collector. But cats, wolves, and bears shouldn’t be the only families pinnacle pets like this. So we’ll need to add more — one to each non-exotic family at least, and preferably one to the exotics as well. Like the current spirit beasts, these should be high level (70+ if possible), rare, and somehow spirit-y.

Skoll is an excellent example of how to have a very special look without going transparent, and I am sure that there are some really cool looks that the Blizzard artists could come up with. I imagine the artists are a little overworked right now, but I think that if we hunters knew we’d get two or three a month until they were all implemented, we’d be content enough to wait.

More Individual Exotics

But I don’t think that pinnacle pets should be the only exotics in non-exotic families. For one thing, even with one per family their rarity may still make them quite annoying for some hunters, especially with the more popular families. And lower level hunters should be able to have some fun also.

So let’s add a handful of non-spirit-y exotics to the non-exotics families as well. This gives us a great opportunity to introduce some of the currently unused or untameable beast skins, like a green carrion bird, a red warp stalker, or a blue dragonhawk.

For hunters in the know, these looks are immediately obvious and different. For non-hunters and hunters without our focus on pets, they aren’t any more confusing than learning that (currently) Gondria isn’t really a cat.

So anyway, that’s what I was thinking about in the shower today.

186 thoughts on “Armchair Designer: Exotic Pets & Spirit Beasts

  1. Ryai

    Swipe is AoE tho Kroxis and an AoE spirit strike ability instead of the normal spirit strike ability would probably give a false sense of increased DPS, for groups of mobs.

    And bleh, a blue? Yeah way to go Blizz.

    Bad enough just saw someone earlier camping for -Nuramoc- that wasn’t a hunter.

  2. Kroxis

    I may have worded it poorly, didn’t mean an SS swipe, I meant ss and swipe instead of ss and prowl. While the cats kept ss and prowl.

  3. Ryai

    Kroxis that’s what I meant. Arcutius would have -more damage dealing abilities- and thus would be camped more, and yada yada yada.

    So yeah. Why all a sudden one bear looking SB gets a family skill; yet Skoll still prowls?

    It ain’t gonna happen.

    Tjhe problem with Spirit Beasts is A: prowl. B: people who want them to act exactly like the animals they represent when they shouldn’t and C: Blizzard not fixing their scaling/DPS problems. As no while they’re not bad per se, it is pathetic that the only real exotic in the top five tbh is the Devilsaur.

    [which would in theory all be fixed for C if blizzard actually got off their butts and made common SB skins hurdurdalur]

    A: Prowl- it needs to be reworked and renamed into something. Like ‘Phase Shift’ is for imps. Or wild Warpers who completely disappear from sight- but aren’t prowling. Maybe a combination of the two- the Spirit Beast becomes tangiable[?] and doesn’t lose speed while zerging silently towards it’s target. While in this state the SB can’t be attacked; aslong as it doesn’t attack.

    Can’t be cast in combat/buffs first attack by XX%.

    Because I don’t care- if the majority of top pets for dps aren’t exotic, then why the hell should anyone be BM for the majority of the time? There’s nothing wrong with being BM and still playing with your wolf, but what if you stayed BM or went to BM because of exotics? More than one Exotic needs to be viable. More than two. Having several be viable would fix this problem.

    Such as Core Hounds, Spirit Beasts and Chimera become viable exotics. This means, BM wouldn’t be forced to use a devilsaur all the time [which is .. really all I see outside TWO core hounds and ONE chimera in Dal, amongst all the whoo shiny shiny spirit beasts] AND they would NOT be forced to use common pets if you never wanted to use them again in the first place.

    B: People wanting them to act exactly like the animals they represent. This is mostly because SPIRIT BEAST DPS IS A BIT FAIL. That is mostly, well infact, all of Blizzard’s failure. They gave us an Arcane using pet- but purposely broke it, and then admited that they won’t fix it or that they can’t fix it. Or possibly both.

    Common spirit beasts along with more rare spirit beasts, will fix this. Commons/Uncommons for those of us who don’t want to spend 3 weeks camping the same spot. And more rares for people who want to spend some time doing the insane.

  4. Kroxis

    I see now. Though if I had my way Skoll would not prowl either but isntead would have a lesser howl. Well ok instead of swipe give it a demorilizing roar of sorts. And in Skolls case maybe, have his howl do something other than DPS increase.

    Perhaps give each “family skin” SS and some sort of buff ability that is not dps oriented is a good solution. Or that would still work with SS and just one buff oriented ability. I don’t have any ideas for what that may be yet but I’m sure some of you could come up with some.

    Alternately tweaking prowl and renaming it would be cool as well.

    Just tossing thoughts into the air now.

  5. Palladiamors

    I think if pets had something useful coming out of prowl, like a mini-pounce, then prowl would see a lot more use, and people might even drop charge to make more use OF it.

    And Jangalian, you have to use cookies. Chocolate chip seem to work the best.

  6. Ryai

    chocolate chip

    *zombie voice* Coooookiiiieeeeees

    moar serious note- that actually is a good idea Palla. And did read of someone suggesting a Shadow Step alike ability. A leaping pounce OR a shadow step or anything really would be epic.

  7. Jangalian

    But..but…I LIKE cupcakes. T^T Alright, for the good of the blog? forum? heehaw? I shall bend to you cookietastic ways.

    /hot gooey fresh-from-the-oven grandma’s recipe chocolate chip cookies. And milk.

  8. Lazona

    …I had forgotten completely about the Blue Dragonhawk Skin, even though I am working towards getting one for my hunter (18 mounts left, darnit DX) For a whole year (and a half or thereabouts according to the hubby) I lamented that the skin was on an untameable boss. Now if Blizzard were to release said skin on an “Exotic” pet, chances are one of my hunters would be out there day and night looking for him/her. Hmm. I might level Emberflare sometime this week…

    Although, explaining to some people why Gondria roars like a cat but is considered to be a ghostly spirit “beast” was a bit of a headache, I must admit. Eventually I stopped trying to explain Maurgrim (Skoll) and simply said “the wolf got hit by lightning in a freakish accident”. Thus far, I’ve yet to be asked anything other than ‘what spawn point did you find him at?’

    Spirit strike is awesome-looking, but it’s a novelty ability. Now had spirit beasts kept that awesome feral leap/pounce ability after taming, I probably wouldn’t be wondering what to do about my grumpy, snarly, sparking hissy fit of a Skoll.

    And I’m all for more-rounded exotic pets with different skins and differentiating abilities unique to them on an indivual basis. I hope that made some sort of sense Oo

  9. Jangalian

    Hey, I’m lactose intolerant too! I just deal with the gut-wrenching pain and…other things. =) Soy milk is foul. F O U L. It’s like the tofu of the dairy world. I’d rather drink juice and nom cookies.

    Before you jump on my back about tofu, I’ve had it baked (it was like french fries, not too bad), raw, shaped like a turkey (URGH) and made into a fakie steak (DOUBLE URGH). The only way I will eat it is if it’s disguised in miso soup, and even then I then to take it out. Ugh. I like miso better when it’s made with egg noodles.

    On topic, I love hyenas, and had a red one forever, until Blizz did something to the model that when they stand still they have this terrible crink in their necks. It’s so sad. =*( I let my Slacker go after that. But I wish THEY had a more useful ability, like Sniff Stealth like the hyenas in game seem to be capable of. That was be a sweet ability for the spirit beast version…eff Prowl, I want the ability to find a rogue in the darkest of hours. >D Also, why are there no unique bear skins? Not Arcturis, I mean, actual bears. There’s grizzly, black, undead, blue/brown, and white. WHooooo…

  10. Jangalian


    I’m on mount 75. Blahrg. Although, I still need to hit up AQ for its mounts, and the Skyguard ‘rays. Oh, and one of the black talbuks, but after that, I can only get the Argent Tourney mounts…AND I DESPISE JOUSTING.

    Side note, the reason they use the hawkstriders for the horde side as the generic vehicle mount is an homage to the classic game Joust, where you rode an ostrich and fought people mounted on dragons with a lance.

  11. Kroxis

    I’m a big time collector. 107 non-combat pets and 104 mounts so far. Though my registered name on warcraftmounts and warcraftpets is necrotan.

    I remember that joust game I think I have it somewhere on a collectors disc for gamecube. It has a craptone of old games on it.

  12. Jangalian

    I spent so many brain-killing hours and so many quarters on that gaaaaaaaaame arrrghh.

    I just showed my age. ARGGGHHHH.

    Kroxis, I would be more of a collector, but I have to work full-time. That + family + dogs = less WoW time. XD I’m so addicted, I wish I could play for a whole straight day, just for once, but no. I’m lucky that I already have a few of the rare mounts (B3, Deathcharger, Brewfest Kodo), and that helps me towards my goal. I mostly type posts when I’m at work….I’m a lackluster employee. :D

  13. Ryai

    I hear you can drink camel milk if you’re lactose intolerant. I’m not sure how true this is tho o.O as even tho it was on dirty jobs- it was said by ‘raw milk drinker fanatics’ or atleast people a bit like that.

    And even if the damned sunreaver strider is a homage to an old game; there’s still the fact Alliance get a mount model that is ONLY available with recruit a friend and since I’m not in any EU state [american playing EU] I can’t ‘recruit a friend’ and get the damned mount :/

    That’s why i hate Alliance getting a unicorn and all Horde get is -another- bloody chicken.

  14. Kroxis

    well I work second shift at a zoo, me and the wife both play. No kids yet though so that’s probably why I’m able to stay up after work and play heh.

    And you -CAN- drink any milk… would is another question…

  15. Naturae

    Here’s a better fix. Remove that 10% buff to the hunter’s damage added in 3.2. Allow Beast Master hunter’s last talent to allow the hunter to have to pets (of different talent tree types) out at the same time. Vua-lah. Damage fixed. Everyone is happy because they can have 1 nice looking pet (or 2) and 1 more for damage. At the same time, get rid of the exotic pet system and let every hunter tame whatever they want. Win-win-win situation. BM won’t suck anymore!

  16. Ryai

    BM doesn’t suck Naturae, you just have to work your rear off to make it efficent, and to have two pets for an extended time? Even Shaman can only do that once every two minutes. To have a permanent pet situation like that, the pets would be glass canons. And how would that work? TBW and Mend Pet? If one is dead, what, is it suddenly invalid to use tbw? If one is los does it not cast? If one dies can you use Rezz pet, or do you have to wait for both to be dead?

    And how would you feed pets if you had to feed?

    This causes more problems, no solutions, and still forces BM to be so heavily dependant upon the pet it is not funny.

    And no- no standardizing exotics into tameable species for all, UNLESS a VIABLE and a GOOD solution is given to BM.

    So no it’s not a win-win situation :/

    Tho, whoo canse I can make BM work. Pulled off 2.4-3.3k dps overall the last few days in dungeon runs.

    Something needs to be done about pet damage. Mend Pet NEEDs to stack, I’m still finding Jareth taking a massive amount of damage when I even glance away from his portrait a moment to spampew my rotations.

    Also seems warlocks are suffering the same ‘go xx specc and never look back’. Got told to specc destro.

    But atleast I wasn’t ‘ridiculed’ like I was on Ryai t_t cause you know, the game is all about your dps. Not fun. DPS.

  17. Naturae

    It is a solution. Blizzard needs to get off their lazy arses and fix the hunter class. BM is SUPPOSED to be reliant on the pet and if there are two pets out at once, blizzard HAS the man-power and money to come up with a solution. Never before, for any class, has blizzard just said “Here, have a free 10% more damage” and they only did that because IT SUCKS. BM is weak. Even in PVP either of the other specs have way more survivability.

  18. moljar

    mania u realy r on to somthing except the taking away the SBs personaly i thnk that they are one of the best pet famlies in the game. but the removing exotics could work but only certen pets like the hard to fing ones like devalsaurs but cheimeras in my opinion should be normal i mean u can find them in soliten (the place next to the barrens i just cant spell it lol) and it just pisses me off that there all around azeroth (the world) and there exotic since i dont have the time to level my hunter to 60 and then get him to the level to acuctly get the chemira i think they should just take them out of the exotic and put in something like… well nothing comes to mind at the time but u know what i mean some thing thats harder to find.

  19. Gimlion

    Despite what the word ‘Exotic’ actually means, I personally believe the Exotic pets are put as that because they show more intelligence and sentience than other beasts. The only exceptions are Raptors and Wolves because both Raptors and Canines are known to be very intelligent animals. But the Silithids, they once had an entire empire to themselves, ruled greatly. And the Chimaeras are KNOWN to have near human intelligence, as with most of those ‘flying’ beasties like Gryphons and Hypogryphs.

  20. Comett

    Sorry, but my cat is more intelligent than a grasshopper. Hands down. Therefore, Gimlion, as much as I adore silthids*, I wouldn’t accept that they’re smarter than my cat. XD;

    *Am I the only one? My boyfriend thinks I’m insane. I hate all bugs in real life, but silthids are socute. :3

  21. Naturae

    Silithids are so NOT cute. Lol…they’re bugs and bugs are icky. And in the game-world, pretty smart. Your theory is kind of making sense Gim. The Devilsaur portrays T-rex, a species of dinosaur which is already “extinct.” Mechanically, it’s dumb as a door-nail. It is most useful on a fight where there is no extended down-time or switching targets. “Simple-minded.” But then in this situation, and only in this situation is when a Spirit Beast can come in and out-dps a devilsaur on a boss fight. As BM, switching between these 2 pets (which next patch can be done every 5 minutes) would probably show you good results.

  22. Johnny

    I agree with Mania, I mean I understand Blizzard wants to add a Beast Model in every known pet family to the Spirit Beast Family, but if you keep it up where you’ll have the same abilities..I mean..I know a few Pet families like a Devilsaur can claw at something (Mainly being the size it is tamed) Could be able to slash at you with its claws on the toes. In fact it’s one of the attack animations of a Devilsaur. But when you’ve got a Dragonhawk or a Wind Serpent…where the heck are the claws or talons? There are only a few Models I think just won’t look right being SS. (Mainly me being an Animal Lover/Observer =P)

    @Naturae Silithuds are cute in their own way. You don’t think that little slight dance isn’t at least cute? Or it wagging it’s little behind like a doggie?
    But my experience Devilsaurs are one of the best pets you can use from a whole list of pets that can deal ALOT of pet damage to a single target. But that’s just because they don’t have a DoT or rend ability that can damage one target while then going after another. In my personal opinion Spirit Beasts would be more fitting for PvP, mainly for the Moonfire-like-ness.

    But to be honest, when people asked Blizzard to give more pet family models to the Spirit Beast tree..I was not expecting them not changing the abilities at all. You know how Bite, Claw, and Smack are still the same ability, just with a different name to make it more realistic to the Beast? Same thing with Cats and Spirit Beasts. The only difference I can tell between Rake and SS is that SS is a distant attack. Atleast give it maybe another extra bonus not just because you worked your butt off to find it and it should be worth it, but because every pet family has a differentn ability to benefit it in battle.

    Understand this. You may say “Well, Raptor’s Rend ability is like a Cat’s rake” Not only that, but it also has a chance to buff up the Raptor as well, while with Silithuds and Spiders, Venom Wep Spray actually deals damage to the target while also keeping it in place Spiders just shoot a web that keeps it in place. Not like I’m saying Pin from a Crab doesn’t do the same. But the Spider and the Crab are in different Pet Trees, so I’m fine with at least something HELPFUL being different if I spot two family abilities having the same effect.

    With SSs and Cats being the same Tree, and having the same ability that basicly is the same when you look at what it does, I mean sure SS can be used from a distance..but I really only like ranged pet Abilities because they look cool to me. The only real useful ranged Pet Ability I can think of would be the Webs from Silithuds and Spiders again, because they hold the target in place. But when every single pet is a Melee for a Hunter, how is distant abilities other than those two really usefull besides getting the first strike when you’d probably shoot at it first? Besides, another non-big difference is that it deals Arcane Damage. In PvP, who stacks resistance? The only time I’d switch a SB is when I’m facing something that resists Arcane. Even that is sort of a pain.

  23. Johnny

    Sorry for a double post, but excuse a few mis-spellings in my little rant. Can’t exactly say my fingers are up and awake tonight. =P

  24. Chandalen

    Why do all SB’s have to be in the DPS(ferocity) tree? Spirit Beasts in many cultures are protectors or guides; why couldn’t there be a tank SB? Yes, make him look unique, but give him tank-like abilities along with his Spirit Strike (or some other unique SB tank attack). Mix it up, but at least make one SB able to tank. Same goes for cunning.. why not a pvp style SB? SB’s will still be exotic and hard to find/tame, but why not go a little further? Make the SB a sub-category in all trees.

    A 51 point talent should be for something more significant than a unique skin. Currently wolves beat Devilsaurs in dps (my testing) and regular cats beat SB’s(again, from my tests). My point is that a 51 talent to tame exotics shouldn’t just get you a new skin and middle of the road damage; there needs to be some sort of bonus, increased dps, new tank ability or something… anything.

    Oh, Hunters need more stable slots!!

  25. Personperson

    i know this isn’t exactly the place for this buuuuut

    what if in cat to open up the BM tree hunters could use 2 pets simultaniously (with minor nerfs to damage so it’s not totaly OP) cuz 4 extra TP just doesn’t cut it for the end-rank talent

    more specifically to the SB, spirit strike NEEDS a buff. i see bites from my wolf in my mm spec that do more damage than Spirit Strike does over its enttire duration with bestial wraith on.

    now to the points mania raises, spirit beasts are their own family, a god shouldn’t be described as something as meager as ‘another kitty cat”.

    if pos spirit beasts prowl should be replaced with something more befitting their status. Spirit beasts don’t sneak around, they walk the twisting nether and strike their foe with something that makes me think of shoop da whoop every time i see it. for all purposes it would look like prowl but not really be prowl. speaking of prowl it could use a buff too. i see hordies targetting my stealthed pet while they’re still on their mount charging at me and it makes the talent useless.

    aanyhoo, i’m gonna end todays rant at here before my head explodes.

  26. Jetlag

    Mania has a good point.

    However, my view is that the exotic pets talent should be lowered to tier 3/4 in BM and a replacement spirit beast talent for the 51 pointer. By doing this both MM and SV could choose to have the exotic pets or just normal pets with the extra talent points and BM’s could still have the cool looking shiney pets.

    If this were to be implemented though blizzard in my view would need to place the spirit beasts in their resembling pet families so they have all the pet family talents aswell as keeping the existing spirit strike attack (but hopefully buffed up a little, maybe even making it an AoE :P).

    Or heres another idea i had:- the spirit beast talent allows the hunter to tame a permanent 2nd pet (the spirit beast). However (don’t flame yet!!), the spirit beast is passive/inactive in that it doesn’t fight alongside the hunters regular beast in melee. It follows the hunter attacking his/her regular pets target using the spirit strike from distance. The spirit beast does have more utility however and also a 3min CD 30sec duration attack/DPS ability. The utility abilities being a sentinel/guard use for the hunter so that when the hunter is attacked by a mob or enemy player the spirit beast automatically attacks them with a 2sec duration stun followed by a 2sec duration 50% movement reduction, cannot happen more than once ever 30secs. The 2nd utility ability being a cleanse/heal on the hunter useable every 2mins restoring 30% health. The DPS ability i mentioned earlier on the 3min CD would be triggered by the hunter, lets name it spirit empowerment – the spirit beast merges with (i cnt decide whether it should be the hunter or regular pet) causing them to inflict 10% extra damage for the duration.

  27. Pingback: Mania’s Arcania » Armchair Designer: Blizzard Wants Hunter Pet Feedback

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