I always say, joking around, that there is a difference between people that play a hunter and people that are hunters and that is how they feel about their pet.
Someone that plays a hunter sees their pet as nothing more than a tool to use in game, a spell or ability. Someone who is a hunter will see their pet as a companion, a friend, and so much more and you do not even need to be a role player to have that feeling.
While it might be easier for someone that role plays to see their pet as more than just a weapon that follows you around you don't need to be one to feel a connection with your pet.
My first pet was a nightsaber and he became more than just part of my toolbox, he became my buddy. When I would sit to eat I would feed him as well. As a matter of fact I think he ate better than I did most of the time in those early adventures. Every little bit of meat I came across that I did not need for cooking went into his belly, just to keep him happy.
Many of the mechanics like feeding and happiness have been removed from the game now but that does not mean that you still do not develop a connection with your pet like you used to, or does it.
I've noticed that over the years playing a hunter there are some pets I feel connected to and they become part of me, for lack of a better term, while others are just there, as weapons.
I am not sure what it is that connects me to a pet but some of them I just feel as if I click with. I know why I am so close to my nightsaber, he was my first buddy, my first friend, my first travel mate, I needed to care for him just like you would need to care for a real animal or he would have run away.
I wonder if new hunters, ones that started the game after the addition of the glyph that increased happiness when you hit mend pet so you no longer needed to carry around food have that sort of connection. Or the ones that started after they removed happiness all together. Or maybe the ones that started when you had a pet at level 1 and no longer needed to play a melee hunter for the beginning of your gaming life before you learned the beauty of having a pet and how much easier it made life on you.
Do those newer hunters still feel the connection with their pets the way I do with my nightsaber?
My first turtle was nothing special, it was just a basic everyday turtle and now there are so many other turtles out there that people can get. Fancy turtles if you will, but my normal bland any day of the week and always there turtle is still my tanking pet of choice. I could have one of those new pandaland turtles, could have the molten turtle from hyjal, or any of the other options out there, but I never felt the connection with them like I do with my original turtle.
My wolf, the one in the image up top, was my main raiding pet in wrath because every good hunter had to have a wolf but he was so much more than that. He was a buddy. He was more than just some wolf I went out and tamed because I needed a wolf. He and I were connected. He just looked as grumpy as I feel sometimes. He and I were cut from the same cloth and he was my buddy.
I wonder if the fact I needed to care for the pets is why I have that connection to them. I've caught so many since the need to care for them was removed and none of them are more than just pets. Some I have not even named, like my spirit beast who's name is spirit beast even still. He does not feel like a companion, he feels like a tool.
Over the last two expansions I have tamed my fair share of new little buddies and none of them come close to those early pets and how I feel connected to them. Was it because they were the first ones, was it because I needed to care for them, or was it because somewhere along the time I forgot how to have fun and just worried about efficiency in leveling and everything I do and my connection with my pet became less important thanks to the changes.
It could be anything but it will not change that when I level when a new expansion comes out I want to level with my nightsaber and when I need a tank even if I can turn my nightsaber into one I will bring out my turtle and when I am doing dungeons, if buffs are not an issue my wolf becomes my pet of choice. Because, in the end, those are the three pets I feel closest to.
While it is not intended I am sure, pets seem to have their own personality as well, have you ever noticed that? Some pets, not all, just love to stand on top of every mob you kill, so you have to move to loot because it is obstructing your view as if it is saying, look what I killed for you, now pet me. Not all pets seem to do that, but some do. Or the ones that no matter how you move always have to stand right on top of the object you are trying to interact with? It is like they have a mind of their own and are saying, pay attention to me.
Maybe it is just my imagination running away with me as I know it is only coding and I just interpret it being that way because that is how I want to see it, as I think of my pet as special, to me at least.
How close are you to your pet?
Is the connection I feel to mine left for people that played when we needed to care for our pets or do people still develop that type of a connection to them? Do you find yourself having a connection to some pets but not others?