Category Archives: pets

Pick a pet, any pet!

So I’m sure you long-time readers know about Tux and Locke, but who’s the third pet in my stable?

Well, currently, it’s a level 68 Bloodmaul Dire Wolf from Blade’s Edge, named Amarok. Amarok being the name of a giant, fearsome wolf in Inuit mythology, and also the name of an amazing piece of Open Source software. I originally got him partially because I was inspired by my desktop wallpaper and partially because I wanted a pet that still did some damage but also had a little more armor than my other two pets, for grinding and the like. But for some reason I haven’t really gotten attached to him the same way that I have to Tux and Locke. Oh, he’s a neat little pet, but… I dunno. I’m sorta feeling like something different.

So here is where I turn to you, readers, for help and advice.

Should I stick with the wolf, or try something different?

Oh, and here are the current candidates for “Try Something Different”:


Tux was the first pet I ever tamed, and the second was Wash, a Mottled Raptor from Wetlands. I’d had my eye on a raptor pet almost as long as I’d been playing the game, and I went out and tamed Wash the second I was a high enough level. (Oh, and for those of you who do not “get” the name… click here, please.)

For a while, Tux sat in the stable while Wash followed me everywhere. Then I started to feel bad for Tux so I pulled him out again. Then I tried alternating between Tux and Wash for a while but it soon got to the point where I simply could not keep them both up to me in level. Finally while questing in Stranglethorn Vale I realized that level-36-Wash just could not hold aggro on some of the level 40 mobs I was trying to attack, and I was forced to choose between Tux and Wash… and, well, I picked Tux and Wash went to the stable for good.

There he stayed until I was level 69 when I realized that I needed that third stable slot (the other two taken by Tux and Locke) to be able to learn the highest level skills for my kitty and birdy. It was actually something that I’d known I’d have to do for a while, but I’d been putting it off because I’d gotten rather attached to Wash in the short time that he’d quested with me. So finally one day I took a deep breath, pulled him out, took him to the prettiest spot in Nagrand, and released him.

…I cried. Real hunters cry.

(Warning: if you are anything like me, then do not look at these pictures while listening to “When Somebody Loved Me” from Toy Story 2 unless you want to risk bursting into tears.)

*pulls self together*

Anyways, the point is that I still have this little longing in my heart to have a raptor waddling after me again. The downside is that they do fill basically the same role as a cat so it might be sort of redundant to have both. But hey, who said having hunter pets had to be logical, right?

“A feeling is not much to go on.”
“Sometimes a feeling, Mister Spock, is all we humans have to go on.”


I’ve never had one. Supposedly they are the highest-DPS-pet in the game and that aspect sort of intrigues me. I’d like to try something else in my raids and heroics; I love Locke but he’s gotta get some time off sometimes ya know?

Unlike many people, I find ravagers to be cute in an Aliens/hydralisk sort of way. “Pike, you’re nuts for using the words “cute”, “Aliens”, and “hydralisk” in the same sentence.” Yes, yes I know. (Hey, Starcraft is cute.)

I do rather like the idea of trying out a type of pet that I have never tried before… it’d be exciting I think.


My character Lunapike has a Windserpent as one of her two pets (the ever so cute bright red Springpaw Lynx is the other) and I’ve really enjoyed having him as a pet. Lightning Breath is great and scales with hunter AP, so as your attack power goes up it will make a difference in your noodly Windserpent buddy as well.

I’ll admit I’m also inspired by the fact that a hunter friend of mine who I have ridiculous amounts of respect for (and who consistently beats me in PvP although I outgear the heck out of him) runs with a Windserpent. Clearly he knows something that I don’t. (Actually I think he knows a lot of things that I don’t.) And I think the Windserpent might be a part of that secret. MUST. FIND. OUT.


If I want to stick with my original plan of having a grinding pet, then the ever-fashionable boar might be a good choice. The downsides are that it’d be quite a level grind to bring one up to level 70, and also, the recent boar nerfs make this somewhat less of a must-have-pet than it used to be. Still, it’s a solid choice with lotsa armor.

And there you have it. What’s a hunter to do for her third stable slot? The nostalgia and overall coolness-factor of the raptor? The damage, unique-ness, and new-ness of a ravager? The fun Lightning-Breath-goodness of the windserpent? The armor of the ol’ boar standby? Or should I just stick with my wolf?

…I’m torn.

What do you think?

I’ve put a poll up on the sidebar so you can cast your vote. And please feel free to leave your comments on pet-picking!

Ode to Locke

This is my cat, Locke.

Formerly known as Rak’Shiri, Locke was tamed at about 4am server time while I was wearing the Leper Gnome Halloween costume. I’d wanted Locke for a while. He is teal, after all. Teal is my favorite color and basically the main reason I rolled a night elf– teal hair. Teal hair!! So I camped out for him (he’s a rare spawn) and finally managed to nab him.

We were level 57 then; today we are both level 70 and he is my Official Grouping Pet. This is mainly because a few people have taken issue with Tux’s immense wingspan and I don’t want to be a pain-in-the-butt, so I use a pet with a somewhat lower profile. (It’s also helpful because I can keep Tux spec’d more for PvP and Locke for PvE.)

Locke has successfully “emergency tanked” two dragons: the last boss in Hellfire Ramparts and the last boss in Old Hillsbrad. He usually manages to somehow double the DPS output of any and all other hunter pets that happen to be in the group. And he has really come to be loved by our little group of instance-runners. He has become our willing guinea pig more than once: “Hmm, do you guys think we can jump here? …hey Tawyn, have Locke go check it out!” And he has spawned many a guild inside joke. One is that one of these days mid-Heroic Mech run, he is going to randomly disappear and then replace Patheleon the Calculator as the new end boss. (We decided that he is going to be wearing a monocle when this occurs. “When”, not “if”.)

The other big inside joke is that if anything bad happens and there’s no apparent scapegoat– it’s Locke’s fault. Many a mysterious wipe or pull-gone-bad has been irrevocably decreed Locke’s fault.

We were in Heroic Mech the other day and after one of these “Locke’s fault” occasions, we all sort of had a good laugh about how ironic it was that nothing had ever really truly been Locke’s fault. Nothing in recent memory, at least (because I recall a few slipups in Dire Maul and Scholo). Locke has always performed his duty masterfully and has never caused any issues unless it’s my own mistake. Hunter pets seem to get a bad rap a lot– but Locke? Nope. He’s pretty much got a halo on his fuzzy teal head.

…we spoke too soon.

A couple hours after we’d finished Heroic Mech we made a new group and headed to Heroic Underbog. We were about halfway through, working our way up one of the ramps and slowly and carefully pulling naga mobs out from behind a little open door. Everything was going as intended and I sent in Locke to attack skull, as is customary. And then it happened. I send Locke in to the mob, he somehow manages to position himself so his butt is pointing towards some other naga– and they must’ve not been amused because suddenly these extra naga were targeting Locke and charging over to him.

Well you can probably guess what happened next. We already had our hands full with our current pull– the extra nagas were the death of us. Not to mention I was petless, with Locke having met his untimely demise due to an unfortunate and accidental mooning-incident.

It was all partially very funny and yet also partially very embarrassing and shocking to me. For once, it really had been Locke’s fault.

Yet another guild inside joke of ours is that if you make some silly mistake or screw up, you are informed “And that’s why you’re not going to Zul’Aman.” And Locke was not spared. He was informed that he’s not going to Zul’Aman and that Tux is going to get to go instead.

Poor Locke. Tux is givin’ him heck in the stable, I’m sure.

Sweet Dreams are Made of This

So the other day I was browsing the fan art section of the World of Warcraft website, and stumbled across a stunningly gorgeous picture that promptly became my new desktop wallpaper:

So maybe I’m really just an obsessed hunter-addict (okay, so there’s no “maybe” about it), but I can’t stop looking at this picture. It’s just a compelling and dynamic image. And standing at the side of that powerful hunter, almost appearing to to be materializing from the shadows, is an ever-faithful wolf pet.

So of course I had to go tame myself a wolf.

I picked the Bloodmaul Dire Wolf in Blade’s Edge. He comes with the highest rank of Furious Howl, and before I tamed him I temp-tamed a raptor from Netherstorm and obtained the highest rank of Bite for myself as well. This is my third stable slot, after all, so I’d best get everything I need beforehand.

Is the wolf gonna stay? I’m not sure. I haven’t had anytime to play around with him yet and he’s only level 65. It’s going to be neat, I think, to try having something other than a pure DPS pet. The wolf is more of a well-rounded pet, sacrificing some DPS for some armor. I think he might be good for grinding and solo’ing. One thing is for sure: he needs a name.

And once he gets a name, I’ll probably get all attached to him.

Oh Blizz, why must you torment us so, with a mere three stable slots?

Hrmm. It doesn’t look quite as epic as the artwork, does it?

Someday, though. Someday when Tier 4 leaves the bounds of a young hunter’s daydream, as it is perhaps the most attainable dream in a garden of delights such as Loyalty Level 7, traps that never break early, The Ultimate Aimed Shot of Ultimate Destiny (And No Threat To Boot), and being able to surround oneself with a limitless menagerie of creatures.

Everybody say "Grats!"

So it’s a little hard to see, but…

That would be my Tux, dinging 70.

Lemme tell you a little bit about Tux.

He was the very first pet I ever tamed (aside from the “taming quest pets”) on the very first hunter I ever rolled– heck, the very first character I ever rolled period.

For some strange reason, he stuck by me even though he was starving and unhappy and rebellious for a little while because I had no food with which to feed him.

He stuck by me even though he couldn’t hold aggro worth a darn because I didn’t know I was supposed to teach him Growl.

He stuck by me when my strategy was “Hey Tux, let’s run around and melee things together!”

He was the pet that I put on aggressive in Deadmines, zipping around attacking everything and pulling everything because the two of us didn’t know any better. Or perhaps he did and was just too polite to tell me.

He followed me everywhere. In Westfall. In Redridge. In Darkshore. In Wetlands. Actually in Wetlands I tamed a raptor and Tux spent a good few levels in the stable, but for some reason he still liked me when I eventually pulled him back out.

Desolace. Stranglethorn Vale. Arathi Highlands. Swamp of Sorrows. Tanaris. Hinterlands. Felwood. Un’goro Crater. Winterspring. I went all over Azeroth and back again and the whole time there was a little owl following me.

It was around this time that I realized I had a little problem; namely, Tux’s birdlike nature and his big wings were annoying people that I grouped with. So out of courtesy I tamed my teal kitty, Locke. Now, I love Locke to death. And Locke was my first pet to hit 70 because he gets to go to all the instances.

But Locke is no Tux.

Tux is just a normal ol’ gray owl, a Strigid Hunter to be precise. He’s not one of those fancy white owls or black owls or super-shiny red-and-purple owls. Nope, he is just a plain gray bird from the night elf starting zone.

…and that is why I wouldn’t trade him for anything. We’ve experienced the entire game together, he and I. We’ve grown together and learned together and made mistakes together and never once has he complained.

We’ve come a long way, you and I…

So I guess what I’m trying to say is…


A Question for the Ages Leads to an Informative Post

Way out in Netherstorm, by Area 52, there is a goblin named Dr. Boom. Who or what is he? Well let’s see what WoW Wiki has to say:

Dr. Boom is a non-elite quest boss with about 500,000 hitpoints; he does not move or use ranged attacks, making him a popular target for casters and Hunters to test their DPS output, as well as a target for leveling up ranged weapon skill.

So we can see that he is handy for a few things, aside from a quest. He is very handy for leveling your weapon skill (if you are not quite a high enough level for Netherstorm yet, you can always hit up those guys in Blasted Lands that don’t die.) And he is handy for ranged DPS classes who want to test their defining role: DPS.

Now, as BRK once said in one of his posts… hunters can’t really get the full story because you can’t use your pet on Dr. Boom. So even though you can get a good idea of your ranged DPS sans-pet… it’s discounting 35% of the story (or however much your pet contributes to your DPS.)

Still, I found myself heading over to Dr. Boom today. Why? Well, initially it was because I have a third use for Dr. Boom.

Namely, he allowed me to answer the age-old question… What happens when Improved Aspect of the Hawk procs, and you use Rapid Fire, Abacus of Violent Odds, and The Beast Within… all at the same time?

Well it doubles my vanilla DPS, that’s what:



(Note: I also tested using Bladefist’s Breadth in place of the Abacus, since I typically have both equipped. The resulting DPS increase is not quite as much as it is with the Abacus.)

But wait! That’s not my total DPS… that’s just Tawyn‘s DPS. I am a hunter, afterall. I have a pet.

Now Tux is only going to be effected by Bestial Wrath and not all the other fun stuff like I am. But still…



So now we have a bunch of numbers showing my DPS and Tux’s DPS, before and after using a bunch of buffs/trinkets. Remember, this is all “white” DPS: no special shots, no Kill Commands, no Ferocious Inspiration, no Frenzy for Tux… not even Hunter’s Mark. So the actual number in real combat would undoubtably be higher.

So why am I posting all this then? Well I’m not one for hardcore math or theorycrafting. But here’s what we can see right off the bat:

1. Unbuffed (except for Aspect of the Hawk), Tux is doing 32% of our vanilla DPS.
2. If we pop The Beast Within, Tux moves up to doing roughly 41% of our vanilla DPS.
3. If I use a bunch of speed-increasing trinkets/procs and The Beast Within, Tux is still doing about 26% of our vanilla DPS.

Obviously this isn’t telling us the full story; as I said before the numbers would change as we throw in stuff like Frenzy and Ferocious Inspiration and various special shots and Tux’s Claw. Also the numbers would change if I were to pull out my kitty Locke who does slightly more DPS than Tux does. The main thing I am trying to say here is: Your pet is important. If you are a Beast Mastery hunter and your pet dies, your DPS is going to be gimped down to about 70%– or less– of what you normally do. Furthermore you will be bringing no more Ferocious Inspiration or Kill Commands to the table.

And even if you pop all of your trinkets/buffs (minus the Beast Within), and double your white DPS, you still will not be able to make up for the loss of your pet.

Now there are times when things happen and losing your pet on some superhard boss fight might be inevitable. In these cases you can only hope he does the best he can, because not using him at all is exactly the same as him being dead. Well, except not as sad. *hugs pets*

But there are things you can do to increase your pet’s survivability. Here’s a short list:

Sporeling Snacks.

-Various other stamina buffs or scrolls (I love using scrolls on my pet).

-Spec’ing him with Avoidance Rank 2.

-Spec’ing him with the appropriate resistances for the instance. BRK wrote up a handy list for Karazhan and various five-mans here.

-Keeping a Mend Pet up. Kestrel has a really nifty macro that lets you keep both Mend Pet and Scorpid Sting up at the same time.

-Knowing what you’re fighting. You should pay attention to the people who have been here and have done this before. Pay attention to the things they’re telling the melee DPS classes. If you’re in Mechanar and they say “Rogues, you have to run away when he ‘raises his hammer menacingly'”, then you need to mentally add “And pet.” If you’re in Shadow Labs and they say “Melee classes have to run away when Murmur does his Sonic Boom” …yep, that includes your pet. Watch for what the melee guys are watching for and recall your pet to your side at the appropriate time. Then send him back in when it’s safe.

Is it hard to do? Yep. But is it worth it to not only have that extra DPS, but also provide that constantly-ticking Ferocious Inspiration to your party? You betcha!

Happy Huntering, and give your pet a pat for being a good boy (or girl).

Random Ramblings!

So my Sitemeter tells me that I’ve had like 100 new visitors just in the past few hours thanks to a link on Big Red Kitty. To coin a term, I have been BRK’d. Wow! Thanks BRK! And welcome to any new visitors. Please feel free to browse around my little blog, and pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable if you so desire. *passes out cookies and tea for the readers, and a variety of pet foods for their pets*.

(Edit: And a link on Mania’s Arcania too? Wow, thank you!! I might just have to make another “shout-out” post sometime soon.)

Now then, Outlands:

This screenshot was taken shortly before heading through the Dark Portal to get to Outlands. Yes, I’ve had my hearth set to Shatt since level 50 or so, but there was no way I was going to miss out on going through the portal.

The irony is that the screenshot is already “outdated”, so to speak, since in the short time between then and now I have already managed to replace two pieces of gear as well as my ranged weapon, all with stuff that is better than my old-world gear to a ridiculous degree. I already love Outlands though– it’s fun, it’s challenging (the “yellow” mobs are more like “orange” mobs, and I love that challenge), and of course, there’s all the new gear!

So here I am, on the fast-track to level 60 (ooh, remind me to do more farming… need epic mount cash) and enjoying every bit of it.

Other bits of interest: My teal kitty has been christened Locke. This name has a double meaning for me; firstly, John Locke was a 17th-century English philosopher, just like Thomas Hobbes… so there is an in-joke there, a nod to both the Calvin & Hobbes comic and to BRK. Secondly, Locke Cole is a character from the Super Nintendo game Final Fantasy VI, which is one of my favorite video games. Locke the kitty and Tux the owl have been taking turns playing in Outlands with me, all the while being lavished with roasted quail.

Also, I have decided that I’d like to improve upon my PvP skills. I’ve been doing a lot of battlegrounds recently (since once I hit a level ending in 8 or 9 I hightail it over to the battlemasters… you might say I have a bit of an addiction) and while I would call my self an “okay” PvPer and I tend to be towards the top of the damage charts at the end, I still am not a “good” PvPer. A lot of times in PvP I’ll get caught of guard or people will sneak up on me, and then I seem to spend the duration of that duel trying to get back to range and doing very little non-pet damage. It’s definitely time to practice my technique here.

I do have an interesting PvP story to share. I was in Alterac Valley the other day, and was somewhere out in the middle of nowhere when I ran across a lone orc warrior. He was level 51, and I was level 59. Now I know it’s battlegrounds, I know player-vs-player combat is the whole point here… but I couldn’t bring myself to attack him. Not with eight levels separating us. Besides, since we were both out in the middle of nowhere I figured he must have been doing a quest or something. So I hopped on my mount and rode right past him. Not long after this I paused to catch my bearings and decide where I wanted to go. And who should come jumping on me but that level 51 warrior! We fought, and obviously Tux and I triumphed. But I have to say that little incident left me admiring the orc player’s courage and mindset. He knew what PvP was all about. He was willing to try taking on a player that was eight levels higher than him. Whereas I, well, I love a good battlegrounds game but I’m really just a carebear at heart. It was an interesting juxtaposition of two different playstyles and I /salute that orc warrior, wherever he is.

Alrighty, enough pseudo-philosophical rambling. Back to Outlands!

Big Teal Kitty

That, my friends, is Rak’Shiri, the oh-so-elusive Winterspring spawn that is the prized catch of Alliance hunters everywhere (since hordies can summon the same type of cat for a quest, so they don’t have to go hunting for him. =P) He has a sort of teal-tint to him, and that is one of the reasons why I picked him over other cats… because teal has long been my favorite color. This also explains my character’s hair color… but I digress!

My wait for him actually wasn’t that bad. I camped out at Frostsaber Rock for a couple hours last night, with no luck, but a lot of guildies were on at the time chatting up a storm so I at least wasn’t lonely. Then, this morning, at roughly 4:30 am server time (don’t worry, I work the early morning shift, so I’m used to it… and I’m an hour ahead of my server anyway) I logged on again to see if he was there. I didn’t see him at first, but I did manage to catch him out of the corner of my eye when I was on my way out…

Taming him was certainly an adventure; I was pet-less, obviously, and there were mobs everywhere. After several false starts and mashings of the Feign Death button (I maintain my stance that Feign Death is a girl’s best friend), I laid down a freezing trap and began the taming process. Not long into this, I was jumped by a stealthed mob. Helplessly I watched my HP dwindle but then, in the nick of time, my new kitty was tamed and helping me fight the offender. Unfortunately this meant I hadn’t had time to feed him or teach him growl, so he wasn’t a lot of help, especially since more and more mobs kept showing up. We fought valiantly for a while, but eventually I hit the bucket. I didn’t mind though, because I now had my lovely Big Teal Kitty.

(Adding to the overall amusement of the above story is that I was wearing the Leper Gnome costume the whole time.)

It will take a few levels to get my new kitty up to speed, I think, but it’ll be fun. And obviously I will never, ever fully give up Tux. But it’s about time I had another pet to play with… just in time for Outlands, too, since I also hit 58 last night. He does need a good name, though. It was my boyfriend who ironically came up with the idea of naming him after a philosopher a la Hobbes (the irony being that as far as I am aware, he has never read BRK), so I’ll be thinking!

Oh, and thank you all for the suggestions on blog readers. I will be looking into them this weekend.

Beware My Rudimentary Art Skills

I have made a topbanner for my blog! As I do not have access to a working scanner at the moment, the characters were mouse-drawn in GIMP. Then they were pasted onto a picture of Elwynn Forest. I think it turned out okay. The hardest part was figuring out how to center the image because, by default, it aligned to the left. It’s still sort of stuck to the top of the banner but it looks okay for now.

Let me know if you’re having trouble reading the banner, I realize the bright blue text is kind of an iffy idea but I tried to make the text large enough to still be easily readable.

Other blog-related news: I’ve added my e-mail address to the sidebar. I don’t know if anybody would have reason to e-mail me but I thought it would be a good idea to have it there, just in case!

WoW-related news: My boyfriend admitted to me the other day that Tux’s wings annoy him sometimes. This is understandable and the curse of pets with big flapping wings. I love Tux and would never part with him but as I get closer to “the higher levels” of the game (aka the Outland Levels), I figure it’s time to start thinking about an alternative pet to use when the people I’m grouping with would rather I not have a bird. I have my raptor in the stable, but I’ve also been thinking about the ever-so-classy cat. Decisions, decisions, on what my third pet should be…

On Training Low-Level Pets

So with the newest patch, raptors got the ability to learn dash. I do indeed have a raptor sitting in my stable. I got him in Wetlands at level 22 or so, leveled him to 36, and then realized that he was falling too far behind and I was having too tough of a time keeping two pets leveled with me. So sadly, poor Wash the raptor has found himself in the stable ever since.

But “raptors getting dash” inspired me to go out and pull him out of confinement and see if maybe, just maybe, I could start leveling him again.

Here’s the catch: I’m a (currently) beast mastery spec’d hunter at level 53, and he’s… level 36.

I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I was curious to see if I could do it, so I packed up and headed over to Blasted Lands where I would run into a bunch of mobs that were green to me– hence they would still get us experience, while hopefully being not too difficult for me to handle now that I was, for all practical intents and purposes, pet-less.

My test run was, not surprisingly, very difficult. My pet rarely hit, and when he did he did very little damage. He couldn’t hold aggro. My polearm skill wasn’t particularly hot. But, after some trial and error, I managed to carve out a step-by-step strategy on how to do this:

Pike’s Personal Strategy on How to Level a Pet That is 20 Levels Lower Than You:

1.) Get as far away from the mob as you can, and still be able to shoot it.

2.) Lay down an immolation trap.

3.) Send the pet in. Once the pet has the mob’s attention, shoot at the mob with Scorpid Sting and Arcane Shot. At this point you’ve probably pulled aggro, so go ahead and shoot it as many times as you can before it gets to you.

4.) As soon as it runs over the immolation trap, feign death. The mob should jump back to the pet. This is when you get up and run far enough away to regain distance.

5.) At this point, the DoT laid by Serpent Sting is probably really close to running out. So fire off another Serpent Sting and Arcane Shot, and if all goes well the mob should be dead or close to it by the time it gets back to you, thanks to your sting/trap DoTs, and you should be able to finish it off pretty quickly. If something goes wrong or you need to buy some extra time, throw in some tricks like Wing Clip to get back to distance.

And that’s what I’ve been doing. It seems to work pretty well for me. I actually got my dino to gain a level, but at that point I had to leave so I stabled him to continue progress another time.

I have to admit, running around with a low-level pet that can’t hold aggro, and throwing down immolation traps of all things, has sort of made me feel like an uber-huntard-newbie. There were a couple of other hunters around while I was doing this, I can only hope they guessed at what I was trying to accomplish and didn’t just think I had completely lost my mind. But if I can level my dear pink raptor up to level 70 I think it will all be worth it to have a unique pet– it will be worth it to have a pet that can’t be tamed “in the wild” past level 40. My current goal is for this to be the pet that I use in cases where, say, the group isn’t fond of a big owl with flappy wings.

But yeah, I’m curious to know other methods regarding how hunters have trained up low level pets. Maybe I can find one that’s a bit more effective than my current one.

In other, real-world news, I have a new job– at a pet store. I find this delightfully ironic considering my class in WoW. *grin* ^_^