Saber Cats Galore (w/Note on Rak’Shiri)

Cataclysm beta build 13277 may go down in history as one of the most pet-obsessed-hunter-loving builds ever.

One of the big sets of changes involves rare and named cats. Several of them – primarily the ones that looked a lot like the non-rare cats around them – have changed looks. Now instead of being normal cats they are saber cats – in other words, they use the high-shouldered, saber-toothed ‘riding’ models.

Cat Was Will Be
Duskstalker Black Spotted Cat White Spotted Saber Cat
Shadowclaw Dark Striped Cat Dark Striped Saber Cat
Shango Yellow Spotted Saber Cat Orange Striped Saber Cat
Rak’Shiri Aqua Saber Cat White Striped Saber Cat
Duskfang Nothing
Brand New
Black Saber Cat

A couple of important notes:

  • If you have one of these cats alreday tamed, they WILL change to the new look.
  • Rak’Shiri’s new look is the same as the night elf starter pet. You will be able to get this look without starting a new night elf!
  • The old looks for Shango and Rak’Shiri are still available on other cats. We are not losing any looks. (More notes on Rak’Shiri below.)

About Rak’Shiri

Rak’Shiri is the only change here that may panic some hunters because Rak’Shiri already had an unusual look.

So I’m asking your assistance, helpful readers, in explaining to other hunters what’s going on and how to deal with it.

Here’s the situation:

  • Rak’Shiri is changing from an aqua saber cat (riding tiger) to a white one with black stripes (same as the night elf starter pet).
  • If you have Rak’Shiri tamed, your pet will change looks.
  • If you want the new look, you don’t need to do anything – the change is automatic.
  • If you want to keep the old look, you will want to tame Shy-Rotam instead.
  • In Cataclysm, Shy-Rotam is no longer spawned by a quest – she’s always there. So once Cataclysm launches, swapping your cats out will not be a tedious process.

I know a lot of hunters have an emotional connection to their pets. Shoot, that’s pretty much why Petopia exists! But I’ll be honest, here – because this is my blog and all. *grin*

I believe that getting access to a whole new look without starting a new night elf character is worth the trouble of changing the existing look.

You can maintain your emotional connection with the old look by taming Shy-Rotam or with the new look by keeping Rak’Shiri. (Look – my cat finally finished his moult!)

I know some of you will disagree with me, and that’s fine. All I ask is that you keep it civil, here and elsewhere.

42 thoughts on “Saber Cats Galore (w/Note on Rak’Shiri)

  1. Rikaku

    I whole-heartedly agree with this entire post.

    I am sorry for those Hunters who are losing a treasured coloration/pet like Rak’shiri now, but at least there is consolation that there is still that skin available. Spiritually your pet lives on *crosses fingers*?

    That said, I’m loving these new cat looks, and I think I will be the crazy cat lady come the expansion. XD

  2. Arisia

    I admit to nearly bursting into tears when I read this, until I hosed myself off and read it through again. See, when I joined wow all those years ago (and yeah, it was YEARS ago– I joined WoW about 6 months after it began) I fell in love with Hunters because of the pets after just one moment of playing. The tigers in particular made me happy. And then, I took my wee Nelf Hunter into Lagforge and saw HIM… the most AMAZING tiger EVER… and it was BLUE.

    When I got to the right level, I spent, and am not lying here, 16 hours a DAY, for THREE WEEKS sitting trying to catch Rak’shiri. Cutting a long story short, he was tamed out from under me, I had a meltdown, logged out… at 1 in the morning I logged back in to move my toon back to Lagforge when I saw two Hordies taming the while lion– and there was a BLUE TIGER they were just letting alone.

    They helped me tame him (sometimes Cross faction is lovely) we all danced, I got my wonderful and amazing Merlyn and the universe was perfect– my Night Elf hunter has never STOPPED using Merlyn. I didn’t care if *the* raid pet was a TRex, wolf or hell, an emu– if they wanted Aerye, they took Merlyn.

    The thought of my beloved blue tiger being another color nearly killed me. No, I don’t want to retame my cat– he’s been Merlyn the blue tiger for over FIVE YEARS; and say what you will, pixels are not pixels are not pixels…

    I was set to implode violently… hell, no lie here, I would have DELETED Aerye WITH her *blue* tiger before Cat if I’d not read it over and realized that he was safe. I honestly feel for the hunters who’ve had their Rak’Shiri, knowing that they too might have loved and adored their BLUE tiger, just to get a white one come Cat… sometimes it does me JUST that much. :(

  3. Arisia

    err– should read sometimes it does MEAN *JUST* that much

    and as a side note, Blizz doing this really ticks me off. They know that most hunters have connections to their pets (same with Warlocks– when the name mess up happened, the thread on getting a NAME back went on for days, and *their* pets all look the same) and they say over and over again they want us to be connected to our pets, but then its “Oh, there you go, they are just pixels– HERE, have a totally different pet than the one you might have spend DAYS camping… sor-ry!”


  4. Mania Post author

    mythrain: Not a big deal. ;)

    Arisia: I certainly understand where you’re coming from. In other cases I’ve been very much of your mind on this. This case … it’s tricky.

  5. mythrain

    Ok so i have been thinking on this why not just turn King to the starter elf pet and leave Rak his own color i do remember trying to get horde to help me tame him and paying alot of gold to do it but i think that would be the best option and would make everyone a bit happier

  6. Tahlian

    I’m sorry…I can’t just “tame Shy-Rotam and call it good,” Mania. I’ll know. I’ll know that’s not the same Daishar that’s been beside me for the last five years through thick and thin. I’ll know I cheated and it’s not really her. I’ll know, and it will mean that much.

    And furthermore, why are night elves so special that their starter pet skin is on a rare spawn and not a commonly available beast like every single other race’s? That’s not right.

  7. Blarg

    go to winterspring abandon youre pet then when cata comes you go back and tame him/her again like youre a warrior fought all youre life now you want to live in peace for the rest of it you love youre companion so much you think he/she deserves the same you go and set him/her free so he/she can have kids and live happily ever after. Cata hits youre family dies you go hell no! you go to fetch youre old companion to get revenge on deathwing youre like hey! pet dude i need your help again! youre pet goes like HA! you think ill just go with you like that youll have to prove yourself! aggro 100% /tame pet then you do some kind of /hug /love thing and then you go do the new qsts. THE END PS: i know my writing skills are not the best xD.

  8. ziboo

    I’m more disappointed they’re all getting the same model, just different coloration. Yeah for the variety in color, but the body style difference is important too.

    I’ve had Echaykee and/or Humar forever and would be thoroughly put out if they decided to change them to common tan/brown!

    I’m glad they’re adding more pets and more utility to pets too. Everyone having a wolf in raid/instance is boring!

    Two hunters? LOL! I have four! Too many pets tamed and released over the years. The new 20 stable slot is great now

  9. Nimizar

    Given the number of model changes in this build, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Blizzard do a database fix with the 4.0.3 rollout to ensure that existing pets keep their models.

    So, for example, twiddle the database such that all cats currently flagged as “Rak’Shiri” become “Legacy Rak’Shiri” behind the scenes without the hunter having to do anything. They already made a correction like this when they made Harakiss a new NPC rather than re-using the Haarka ID as they did originally.

    Since all the old looks remain tamable in some form or other, they could even just apply a mapping like “Rak’Shiri->Shy’Rotam”, “Nethermine Ravager->Ravager Specimen”, etc.

    Such changes would all be invisible to players, since players only see the family, model and skin of their pets, rather than the underlying info as to “this is the kind of beast my pet was before I tamed it”.

  10. Mania Post author

    It’s possible – but if I were QA there I’d raise a red flag about that at this stage in the development cycle – that’s a lot of character versioning to test. Of course it might have been planned all along and alreday be in the schedule, in which case I withdraw my red flag. ;)

  11. Yoco

    Seeing these changes I wonder if it wasn’t just imagination when I logged my beta hunter yesterday and got the impression her pet had changed colors.

    In this case it wasn’t a cat though, but a (jormungar) worm, namely one of the worms from the cave used for the Sons of Hodir daily. I had the feeling it was distinctly more blue-grayish and used to be more red-brownish. The reason that I am a bit uncertain on whether or not it was changed is that it was a pre-made hunter which I actually haven’t played much, and none of my ‘live’ hunters has the same pet.

    Has anyone else on the beta observed worms changing color in the latest patch?

  12. Kalli

    Jormungers were among the pets who received a wealth of new skins.

    I really hope that Blizzard grandfathers out the existing pets somehow. Seems like that will be the only way to make everyone happy.

  13. Dhorvin

    “I really hope that Blizzard grandfathers out the existing pets somehow. Seems like that will be the only way to make everyone happy.”

    That would make me unhappy. Right now, by beloved Monet (formerly known as Ghamoo-ra of BRD) is scheduled to get a make-over, and I’m ecstatic. He was my second pet ever, from back when I was running BRD for the very first time and thought to myself “I wonder if I can tame that boss?” He’s been my #1 tanking pal ever since, but I’ve always been a little disappointed that, after the usual pet auto-shrinking, he looked just like any other turtle in the instance AND the turtles crawling all over the Hinterlands. Now he’ll be able to re-gain a bit of his former glory. If they changed their mind and grandfathered his old look in, I’d be very disappointed. Sure, I could go re-tame him and get the new skin, but much like those above who are disinclined to go tame some other cat to replace Rak’Shiri, I’d KNOW it’s not my Monet.

  14. joonces

    It’s really a mixed bag for me too. I really love that they’re putting these skins in. And I have 2 cats (on different hunters) that I would have actually liked to have the new rare skins for (Feral Nightsaber and Stranglethorn Tiger). But I’m way to emotionally attached to those two to willingly abandon them and tame the new skin. (One was the first pet I ever tamed, the tiger I tamed with my real life orange cat on my lap when I knew I wasn’t going to have him with me much longer).

    I know it’s just pixels. They’re not real. But yet. So I really understand where people are coming from.

    However, really really excited with all the new skins coming in Cataclysm. Starting to think the stables might need to be even bigger!

  15. Tzia

    “Such changes would all be invisible to players, since players only see the family, model and skin of their pets, rather than the underlying info as to “this is the kind of beast my pet was before I tamed it”.

    Actually, that might -not- be the case, for in the past I have seen my pet revert to its original name. As in, the name it held as an NPC. My husband has a Corrupted Mottled Boar named Barrel. And I know he’s a corrupted not only because I helped my husband tame him originally, but he’s reverted name plate on us a few times. Of course, my Kurken at the time did the same thing… in his original size too.

    My baby girl Ruka is a Frostsaber Pridewatcher. Her skin may be common amongst hunters, but the cat I tamed way way way back in the day was behaving oddly. She wan’t responding to the cubs cries as I killed them, she kinda stood and watched. The fact the NPC was malfunctioning yet was still tameable makes her unique in and of itself.

    I couldn’t switch cats. Ruka IS the cat that wasn’t behaving properly, Ruka has been at my side for years now. Those that say “oh, just grab another one” I can kind of understand where you are coming from, but I can also understand those that have had a pet forever, the ones that sat in the cold and wind and waited for that special pet to come over the hill, being blindsided by stealthed predators as you shivered in the wind.

    I would rather keep the pet I set out to tame than pick up one that is similar in look but not in spirit.

  16. Kalli

    *sighs to Dhorvin* I know what you mean, cause the same thing would happen to my Soup. There’s no all-encompassing solution that will make everyone happy. >_<

  17. thebitterfig

    First and foremost, I think that the special, rare cats DESERVE to have special skins. Putting player concerns aside for a sec, for Shango to look exactly the same as any other cat in the zone isn’t giving Shango the respect he deserves, and I’ll say the same for any other of the cats getting the change. Special beasts (quest, rare, etc) of all kinds out in the world deserve to be special-in-model. There probably ought to be a few Raptors and Wolves and others who get similar updates.

    However, it would probably be a good idea if some other cat than Rak’Shiri becomes the Black and White saber cat. Surely there is some cat out there of less significance who can be transformed into the same model as the Night Elf starter pet.

  18. Pike

    Nooo, not my Locke. Not my pretty teal kitty that I tamed at 4am and that was my One True Pet through all of Burning Crusade.

    Not the butt of half of our guild inside jokes. The one we pegged the new boss at the end of Heroic Mech. The one who sacrificed himself so many times in Blood Furnace.

    Not my Locke… :’(

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  20. Firewing (Or Azu on the forums.)

    I’ve said this on the forums, I’ll say it here.

    Do you all remember those cats that were first the white stalkers, no stripes, the stealth kitties that nuked you as you first visited Frostsaber rock? They were turned into black and white striped flat kitties.

    So, my proposal is turn Rak back to normal, and turn all the plain old Frostsabers into that model. That way, you have your flat heads, you have your new mount skin, and Rak is left alone. No one is in the cold.

  21. Wark

    @thebitterfig: First and foremost, I think that the special, rare cats DESERVE to have special skins. [...] There probably ought to be a few Raptors and Wolves and others who get similar updates.

    Tsk. What do you have against sporebats, netherrays, moths, and all the other pet families that AREN’T charismatic megafauna? You, you… charismaticmegafaunaist, you!

    ;) More seriously, I’m glad kitties are getting all these new looks– yay for people getting new options, and my heart goes out to those who will be suffering some pet separation anxiety. On the other hand, cats were already one of the pet families with the most skins available. More looks are always nice, but could we have more than three sporebats to work with, maybe? What about the chimaeras? I’ll even settle for some netherrays!

  22. Rikaku

    Then what of those people who have those tamed as pets? Then they step in and take the place of those upset over Rak’shiri. The issue isn’t because Rak’shiri is rare, the issue is, “I tamed this pet as is, I don’t want it to change”. It’s a completely legitimate argument.

    Using your idea, then the people who tamed the “old” Frostsabers are left in the cold.

    “Given the number of model changes in this build, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Blizzard do a database fix with the 4.0.3 rollout to ensure that existing pets keep their models.

    So, for example, twiddle the database such that all cats currently flagged as “Rak’Shiri” become “Legacy Rak’Shiri” behind the scenes without the hunter having to do anything.”

    It would surprise me if they did do that actually. It’d surprise me a lot.

    Pets have had their models/skins changed (forcibly, with no grandfathering) since even in Vanilla WoW. This is really the way Blizzard has done things for 5 years now. I don’t see why they’d change it all the sudden due to a handful of pets.

    Honestly, Blizzard has been trying as hard as possible to preserve almost all the skins we had pre-cataclysm and bring out new ones. With less than a month to go, I just don’t see preserving skins that can already be found elsewhere (Shy-rotam) to ‘legacy’ and ‘non legacy’.

    Now mind you, I’m not trying to be a jerk or something. But honestly, this practice has gone on for 5 years, and Rak’shiri isn’t the only pet to go through this. There have been many cats, wolves, windserpents, and hyenas that have gone through this.

    I’m NOT saying this doesn’t suck. It sucks immensely to have a pet changed in a way you don’t want. It truly does suck. I don’t want my tracking hound becoming a mastiff (not only skin change but family change!), but the fact is that at a month left to go Blizzard is merely just “polishing” Cataclysm now. Most of the hard changes are done, and all that remains is minor things (and yes, pet skins are technically minor to Blizzard. Let’s not forget some pets, like ghost wolves, went years before they even had proper animations) to be cleaned up.

    Again, I feel sincerely sorry for the Hunters losing their beloved Rak’shiri. I’ve been through this myself several times before, and flatly put: it sucks. Unfortunately, the only thing we can do is make a suggestion on the forums to Blizzard to address the issue in another way and hope down the line that it gets looked at and/or impacts how they make new skins available in the future.

  23. Mr. Perfect

    I think it’s interesting that they keep a tag on your pet letting them know exactly which mob it originally was, even if they’re a dozen mobs with the same model. I suppose that’s why, back a ways now, elite and rare mobs where actually given the silver and gold dragons around their portraits. Speaking of which, can’t we have that back? :( I liked when the hard to tame mobs had that little tag of authenticity.

  24. Pike

    Phew, talk about running the gamut on emotions the past few hours.

    I’ve done my ranting and my raving and my grieving and my posting and have moved on to that last stage of the grief cycle, acceptance. Locke will always be Locke, regardless of color. *hugs him*

  25. Sarai

    Ok, I will admit that I am a HUGE nerd when it comes to my hunters and their pets, especially on my Nelf Lark. And now? I think I will be camping Shadowclaw on her, then naming him Wynd when she gets him.

    Why? Because her mount (the black striped nightsaber) is named Wynd. And how cool will it be to have her mount running around with her, doubling as a pet?!

    (As a side note, it made me ecstatic when they made the riding-skill changes so that the former 60% mounts would turn to 100%. Switching from the old Wynd to a mistsaber never felt right. >.>)

    Okay, enough geeking out. The Rak’shiri change makes me glad that I went through all the extra trouble to tame Shy-Rotam with my troll. Samurai has been with him literally from the moment he dinged 60 (he leveled to 60 on the frostsabers, farming for the quest item to summon her). To have her suddenly change colors after so long would be fairly devastating. To agree with all the others here, she just wouldn’t -BE- Samurai anymore, because Sam is blue. Fortunately I don’t have to worry about it, but I definitely sympathize with all who are going through that right now.

  26. Nimizar

    Pets have had their models/skins changed (forcibly, with no grandfathering) since even in Vanilla WoW. This is really the way Blizzard has done things for 5 years now. I don’t see why they’d change it all the sudden due to a handful of pets.

    Yeah, I think this is a reasonable point of view as well. The things that nudge me towards “this time might be different” are:
    1. They’re changing a lot of skins in 4.0.3, after opening up the stables to 25 slots in 4.0.1. I suspect most hunters are going to have at least one or two pets change colour when they next patch goes live (they may or may not care about the change).
    2. The effort they put in to recovering the names for warlock demons. While they have changed skins in the past, this is the first time they’ve changed them since that incident. If they don’t realise that many hunters are at least as attached to their pets’ appearance as warlocks are to their demons’ names… well, you don’t make games with millions of willing subscribers by being that dense ;)

  27. Firewing (Or Azu on the forums.)


    These cats had been changed in the first place anyways. These cats were first the pure white model, and were changed to the striped one, so the owners of the cat would’ve already gone through it. However, yes, it would leave them in trouble.

  28. Zhuge

    Any news on whats happening to Araga? He/she’s one of the rare kitties like above. I know she no longer has the stripey tail, and I’ve heard they are replacing the Barrens lionesses with this skin now – so is Araga getting a makeover? :S

  29. Pingback: Mania’s Arcania » Appearance Changes – Worms

  30. Apophiss

    A friend has Rak’Shiri, and is their favorite. When they hear of the change, I am certain that news will bring sorrow. On a whim I headed to Winterspring to see if I had completed the Shy-Rotam quest – and luckily I had not. So I progressed through the quest chain, up to the summoning. I tamed both (Shy-Rotam & Sian-Rotam) and when my friend hears the news, I can call ShyRotam, and show them that all is not lost =)

    So, if anyone on Scarlet Crusade – Alliance (or Horde, a bit more work but can be done) wants this beauty, drop me a tell or email (in-game) and we can summon Shy-Rotam for you.


  31. Pingback: Mania’s Arcania » Appearance Changes – The Rest

  32. Pingback: R.I.P., Black Kitty « 35 Yards Out

  33. amberjade

    I dont know why people are so upset about Rak’shiri. It’s still a unique cat and it’s different to the starter hunter pet. Rak’shiri is a sabercat, not a cat.

    That’s why I love mine.

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