A Case for Pet Buffs

I love the pet buff system.  It’s my second-favorite hunter change of Cata (no more ammunition has to get the top spot). Sadly, it looks like pet buffs will go away in Mists of Pandaria. To be clear, Blizzard has not said pet buffs are going away.   I’m inferring based on a few things we do know about MoP. They have told us we can bring any pet we want, which is an awesome goal but not in line with the current buff system. Blizzard has also said some buffs will be eliminated in MoP.  So if there are fewer buffs that raiders “need” and we hunters can bring any pet skin we want, is there room in MoP for our awesome pet buff system? I think there is.

The current pet buff system is awesome.  It reinforced the “bring the player” philosophy. It gave hunters like me, who don’t collect pets, a reason to use and manage all those new shiny stable slots.  During the lull between WotK and Cata I honestly enjoyed seeking out rare skins who could bring every different buff, and I wasn’t even raiding at the time.  Most importantly, Blizz implemented the buff system via the mechanic that defines us as hunters: our pets.

These days, Blizzard is all about “interesting choices.”  That’s why they are getting rid of some buffs, overhauling talents, etc. For me, pet buffs provide an interesting choice on most raid nights.  In my particular 10-man, after we zone-in and I hit Raid Checklist, we’re almost always missing two buffs hunters can bring.  So I have the choice of bringing (via my pet) a boost to bleed damage or physical damage.  The answer isn’t simple, nor is it crazy complex.  Physical damage will increase my personal dps, while bleeds will not.  So bring physical, right?  The bleed is ferocity, which gives me Call of the Wild, an awesome cooldown I usually stack with Time Warp or Rapid Fire.   I don’t want to give that up.  More importantly, I’m always competing on the damage meter with a Rogue and a dps Warrior.  As a team we’re doing a lot of both physical and bleed damage.  There’s no simple answer.  It’s an interesting choice and I enjoy it.

I’d be delighted if pet buffs didn’t change at all, but that seems quite unlikely.  So how do we let hunters bring any pet skin they want and still bring raid buffs?  I can think of three options.  The coolest one is to finally implement pet collars.  Different collars (crafted by the work-starved leatherworkers) would bring different raid buffs.  Simple and fun-do it Blizzard!  Some support class types will undoubtedly say that implementing new pet equipment slots, LW recipies, and items just for the pet buff system would be a waste of development resources. Obviously we hunters would disagree with that, but we’ll let it go for now.  If WoW can’t handle a whole new system, there are still options.  What about pet food?  We already have Kiblers Bits, so why couldn’t we have pet food that gives us a raid buff?  It’s like a flask for our pets( am I pushing my luck if I ask that it persists through a wipe?).  Either way, it would work.  Finally, and least interesting, raid buffs could be pet talents.  If Blizz does go ahead and remove a handful of buffs for WoW, the ones that remain could occupy a tier of pet talent choices.  That is the least interesting of the options I’ve come up with, but it works.

I really hope pet buffs stay with us in MoP, in some form.  What do you guys think?

JC Sway

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