For many hunters out there what pet they use is more so a function of the group they are in or it goes back to the age old "what is the best pet" argument where they will always use whichever pet sims to be the best pet. Since wrath and the age of the wolf there really has not been a "best pet" but thanks to frost from warcraft hunters union we were able to find the true best pet, for the DPS. Just watch the video, trust me, you will not regret it.
So now that we know that a sporebat is the best pet in the game and it hits bosses for a billion with its enormous man parts and can make rogues bleed from the anus, and death knights too, we can move on to other reasons you might choose a pet beside the fact that using a sporebat will make you leet.
Do You Pick Your Pet Based on Your Group?
Most of the time, at least while grouped, this is how I choose my pet. I bring the buff that is needed for the group. Lucky for me I actually like one of the two pets I need to carry around for my group. So much so I have been running around with it even when not in a group. It is one of the two "key" pets I have found.
In my personal guild groups, which include two 10s, a 25, and various flex runs here and there along with pick up groups and LFR runs I have found there are two "key" pets every single hunter should have. Just in case.
Oddly enough one of them is a sporebat. As funny as it was to watch the video that made a joke about a sporebat being the best pet because at the time it was effectively the worst and nearly useless the buff it supplies seems to be needed quite often. Along with the sporebat it seems a hyena is the other "key" pet that is needed. So I suggest to all hunters to carry a sporebat and a hyena around with them because more often than not those will be two buff you often need to supply.
For me I am lucky when I need to use my hyena, it fits well for what I like to use. I like the minimalist approach and being it is a small pet it works for me and has recently been the pet I walk around with often in raids and even when solo. Hey, an attack speed boost is always nice right?
Just because you need to bring a specific buff for your group doesn't mean you have to run around with a pet you really do not like the look of however. One of the best things about being a hunter are the options we have. There are so many different skins you can choose from and in many cases they can even look entirely different and not just a color change. Take a look at Petopia and find the pet that has a look you like.
A good hunter should always know what buffs a pet brings and should have a pet that can supply that buff. Like I said, in most cases having a sporebat and a hyena can handle it but sometimes you could get a group that is missing a buff you usually take for granted like the crit buff and for that you should have a wolf. Even if you do not have one on you, you should have one in your stables. With 55 slots there is no excuse for any decent hunter not having every single buff and debuff in the game at their disposal. Also, thanks to pet battles, there are stable masters all over the place now. More than there ever were in the game before. So there is no excuse for not being near a place where you can access your stable to change your pet and get the one you need.
Instead of listing every buff and debuff your pets can give your group and which pets do so I will refer you over to wowheads MoP buffs and debuffs list.
Do You Pick a Pet For a Task?
Being all pets can work out of any skill tree now meaning any pet can be cunning, tenacity or ferocity more often than not, unless you are doing something pressing, you do not need to switch pets.
If you want to solo some rares around the world and fear your cat might be a little squishy you could either switch to something more tank like or just switch your cats spec to tenacity and let it tank. It will not have the tank cooldowns a turtle or a beetle might but it should do just fine being a tank cat instead of a claw cat.
While all pets can be all things that does not mean all pets should be all things. A pet that is intended for tanking like the above mentioned turtle will be a better tank than just changing your cat over to tenacity. Sure your cat will be able to handle nearly anything you come across in the world but if you plan on soloing heroics your tenacity speced cat might have some issues your turtle will never run into thanks to shield shell.
Same goes for PvP. Pets meant to be cunning have more PvP utility than pets that were not intended to be cunning. So my suggestions is, even if your pet can be anything you want it to be and fill the roll of the attacker, the tank or the PvP utility, the pets that are originally intended to fill those roles will always fill them better.
Well, within a certain amount. Being all pets damage is normalized even a pet that is naturally cunning will do the same DPS in ferocity spec as a natural ferocity pet will. So if it is just about doing damage and doing damage only, perhaps it does not matter. But when it comes to a special task you will always rather have a tank pet taking the hits than a ferocity pet in tenacity spec.
Do You Pick Your Pet for Look?
I've already mentioned above that I have grown fond of my hyena recently as it is a small pet and I like the minimalist approach. We are talking about a hunter here who went out of his way to find armor that did not look like armor just because I hate the bulky look. Sadly 90% of it is no longer in game or I would farm it on multiple hunters. I just do not like bulky looks and that means I do not like bulky pets. Or loud ones. Can anyone say core hound? Bulky and loud. No thank you.
If it were not for the fact I tamed beast back when beast used to have an extra skill point and was a skull which meant that my pet was a boss and followed boss rules making it harder for it to be hit and having bonus armor which made him the best tank ever even without a defensive cooldown I would not even own a core hound. I hate them that much.
So the pets I travel with, even if I am choosing them for a task, or choosing them for the raid, always get picked because of how they look. I like minimalist pets. I also like clean pets and back in wrath when the wolf was the only pet we were allowed to use, if we wanted to not get laughed at, I went to hellfire and caught myself fluffy, as you can see up top, and he is my favorite. Has been for a very long time. He really fits me. He fits me because of his look. And for wolves back then we had those scruffy looking things all over northrend, or that nice clean presentable wolf I named fluffy. Probably because he was anything but fluffy.
Do You Just Take Whatever Works?
I know a lot of people like this. They don't even name their pets, they have no connection to them, they are just a DoT that follows them around. They do not care what the pet looks like, they do not even care what the pet does, as long as it attacks. For these people, tell them they need a sporebat. It will actually do two things at once doing so. It will give you an inside laugh because you watched the video above, or should have, and it will give them a pet that might actually bring a buff which seems to be the most needed buff in the game usually.
I can sense these people from a mile away, and it is not only for an unnamed pet. Actually an unnamed pet could be anyone, I even have a few because I have not found a name that fits them yet, but it is a poorly named pet. You can tell these are people that just do not care and they will take whatever works. The only time they will change is if someone tells them too.
They will have pets with names that are spelled wrong, in all lowercase, in all caps, is a series of random letters that look like gibberish. If you are one of these people, let me break some news to you, you are not a hunter. You might play a hunter, but you are not a hunter. A hunter would not mutilate the name of their pet. Hunters, even ones that would rather be archers, still love their pets even if they are taking them for whatever works.
Do You Match Your Pets With Your Mounts and/or Battle Pets?
When running across water I love to get on my water strider mount from the anglers with a water strider pet and a water strider battle pet. It's the water strider family. When I need to use my sporebat in raids because we need it to hit the boss with its enormous man part I always have my tiny sporebat out.
There are so many cool combos you can make with pets, mounts and battle pets. I think I try to find a match of some sort at least battle pet wise no matter which pet I am using. I usually stick to my basic mounts however unless it is something like the water strider one and I am in need of it, then might as well bust out the water strider family if I am in BM spec.
Do You Choose Your Pets For The Coolness Factor?
Are you the type that catches all the rare tames. Have yourself every spirit porcupine, all the old spirit beasts, the rare tames from cataclysm and the rare tames where you had to chase footprints in mists? Do you have a collection of old raid bosses as pets like beast, buru, or chromaggus? Who would not love to tame thok? Really, think about how awesome that would be. Some people love that stuff, I have never personally gotten into it even if I do have some rares like that.
How about the coolness factor of the slime pet, or maybe you caught the wolf in boren tundra while it was still oil covered, or the wolf in the plague lands with the sword through his head. I wonder how many people out there still have a worgen in their stables from when there was a brief moment when we could tame them. I never got one but I don't think they took them away from the people that did. I have a few of those trick tame ones and rare ones that can no longer be tamed, but I don't think I've used any of them in years. For me it is just a matter of "cool I got it" and it goes in my stables where it sits forever.
I've never been into pets for the coolness factor myself but I know for a great deal of hunters out there part of the thing they love of being a hunter is the coolness factor. Can' really blame them because hunters are cool.
Do You Choose Pets That Match What You Wear?
Transmog gave everyone the ability to change how they looked but it gave hunters a little more. It gave us the ability to match our armor with our pet. Or is that match our pet with our armor?
For me and my simple non-armor looking armor you can very well say that me choosing basic, simple and smaller pets actually means I am matching my pet with my armor, my basic, simple and smaller armor. I like that look and even without noticing it my pets have to look right with me to feel comfortable with them even if I do not do it intentionally. I just choose what I like and it happens to match what I am wearing.
I have a hunter friend that has so many different transmog sets, and he does a bang up job making them look awesome, but he always has pets that go specifically well with them. So much so that I would have never thought of it myself but once you see it you say, wow, that pet looks awesome with your outfit.
How do you choose your pets?