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The Hunter pet is a Hunter's constant companion as they travel through Azeroth and Outland. When fighting solo or in small groups, a Hunter's pet acts as a tank allowing the Hunter to maintain the range that he/she requires in order to do their best in combat. When not tanking, pets can be used to deal damage in addition to the Hunter's shots and stings.
To obtain a pet, the Hunter must use his/her skill on a valid beast, from a select family, who is exactly their level or lower. Upon starting the taming process, the Hunter's armor is decreased by 100% and they cannot perform any other actions, else the attempt at taming should fail. The taming process takes 20 seconds and does not increase with every hit, but it can be interrupted. With Patch 3.0.2, Beastmaster Hunters gained the ability to tame additional rare pet types.
- Hunter abilities such as , , and can slow or stop a beast, reducing hits to the hunter which allows for easier taming.
- Try this: Lay a trap, and wait for your cooldown. Pull your target across the trap and once it is iced, lay another freezer nearby and back away further before you begin taming. Thanks to the new combat traps, your target will not come close to hurting you!
- Some beasts have a knockback ability. Using the on them is essential, as the knockback will interrupt the taming process, forcing you to start over.
- A good way to tame a pet is to ask a mage for help. It's possible to tame a pet that is sheeped. This also works with the druid spell .
- The ability can also be helpful in conjunction with traps and shots.
- Draenei can cast on themselves just before beginning a tame. Don't wait until you need it though as you can't cast it after the tame begins.
- Another strategy is to find a priest to use Power Word: Shield on you so you take no damage while taming. But be aware that the shield won't be up so long because the -100% armor mitigation allows for more damage to get in.
Pets eat up to six different types of food: meat, bread, fish, fruit, fungus, and cheese. Some pets, like wolves, will only eat meat, but bears and boars can eat any of the six food types. It is easiest to feed pets that eat meat, bread, and fish because mobs often drop meat, fish can be caught, and bread can be conjured by a Mage.
Feeding pets is very important. The happier a pet is, the more damage it deals:
- Happy: 125% damage
- Content: 100% damage
- Unhappy: 75% damage
With Patch 3.0.2, it became much easier to make a pet happy. From taming the pet to full happiness, it takes only two feedings of appropriate level food and it will not run away due to hunger.
With Patch 4.1.0, happiness has been removed from the game. Feeding your pet now restores up to half of your pet's health, but can only be used out of combat. The pet's food preferences remain unchanged.
See Pet Feeding for more info.
See also below on Abilities that generate happiness.
Fighting alongside your pet
Generally, a Hunter will send the pet in from a distance and allow it to get aggro on a mob before opening fire. Try to keep the mob on the pet so you can use the full power of your ranged weapon to take it down.
A nice trick is to use your pet to pull mobs that are out of range towards you. Use Attack to send your pet in and as soon as it attracts the attention of the mob, use Follow to call the pet back. The pet will start running towards you and the mob will follow. Once the mob is within range, use Attack again. The pet will turn around and attack the mob, and you can use your ranged weapon on it. This pull works over quite a long distance and even around corners, as long as you can get a mob targeted. It also ensures that any additional mobs will have aggro on the pet, rather than you. It does not work as well with mobs who have a ranged attack. Also, be careful that the pet does not pull any extra mobs on the way to the mob and back again.
It is possible to have the pet fight one mob while the Hunter attacks another. Note: the Hunter will not gain loot or experience from a mob that the pet kills solo. This is a deliberate decision by Blizzard, not a bug. If you intend on pulling mutiple mobs and having your pet kill one or more of them while you focus on others, it would be best to try to get at least one shot or hit on each of the mobs and then allow your pet to do its work on them.
You can set your pet to Aggressive and have it auto-attack but this is generally not a good idea unless you would like to gain a few levels faster than you normally would in another mode. An aggressive pet will typically draw in additional mobs that you and your party would be unprepared to handle. Failing to control your pet is a sure route to causing a wipe in an instance. The Aggressive setting has somewhat more useful results in a battleground, but optimal use of a pet would be a coordinated attack alongside the Hunter, not off on its own.
There are 23 families of pets for Hunters to tame, with seven of them only available through the Burning Crusade expansion, and two exclusive to the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Each family has its own skills, diet, and statistics.
With Patch 3.0.2, Hunter pets have been completely reworked. Pet families now are divided into the three classes: Cunning, Ferocity, and Tenacity. Ferocity pets are good for continuous damage, tenacity pets make good tanks, and cunning pets have unique abilities which can be very useful in certain situations. All pets of a class share the same stats and the same skill tree. Each pet family has one special skill. It seems special characteristics that some rare pets used to have were removed.
With Patch 3.1.0, all Cunning, Ferocity and Tenacity pets now have identical bonuses.
- +5% Health
- +5% Armor
- +5% Damage
(exotic) means the pet can only be tamed by Hunters with the 51-point talent Beast Mastery.
means the pet is only available with the Burning Crusade expansion.
means the pet is only available with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.
|Pet family||Class||Special ability||Diet|
|Bat||Cunning||Sonic Blast||Fungus, Fruit|
|Bear||Tenacity||Swipe||Meat, Fish, Cheese, Bread, Fungus, Fruit|
|Bird of Prey||Cunning||Snatch||Meat|
|Boar||Tenacity||Gore||Meat, Fish, Cheese, Bread, Fungus, Fruit|
|Carrion Bird||Ferocity||Demoralizing Screech||Meat, Fish|
|Cat||Ferocity||Prowl, Rake||Meat, Fish|
|Chimaera||Cunning (exotic)||Froststorm Breath||Meat|
|Core Hound||Ferocity (exotic)||Lava Breath||Meat, Fish|
|Crab||Tenacity||Pin||Fish, Bread, Fungus, Fruit|
|Crocolisk||Tenacity||Bad Attitude||Meat, Fish|
|Devilsaur||Ferocity (exotic)||Monstrous Bite||Meat, Fish|
|Dragonhawk||Cunning||Fire Breath||Meat, Fish, Fruit, Raw Meat, Raw Fish|
|Gorilla||Tenacity||Pummel||Bread, Fungus, Fruit|
|Hyena||Ferocity||Tendon Rip||Meat, Fruit|
|Nether Ray||Cunning||Nether Shock||Meat, Raw Meat|
|Moth||Ferocity||Serenity Dust||Cheese, Fungus, Bread|
|Ravager||Cunning||Ravage||Meat, Raw Meat|
|Rhino||Tenacity (exotic)||Stampede||Cheese, Bread, Fungus, Fruit|
|Spirit Beast||Ferocity (exotic)||Spirit Strike||Meat, Fish|
|Serpent||Cunning||Poison Spit||Meat, Fish, Raw Meat, Raw Fish|
|Sporebat||Cunning||Spore Cloud||Cheese, Bread, Fungus, Fruit|
|Tallstrider||Ferocity||Dust Cloud||Cheese, Fungus, Fruit|
|Turtle||Tenacity||Shell Shield||Fish, Fungus, Fruit, Raw Fish|
|Warp Stalker||Tenacity||Warp||Fish, Fruit, Raw Fish|
|Wasp||Ferocity||Sting||Cheese, Bread, Fungus, Fruit|
|Wind Serpent||Cunning||Lightning Breath||Fish, Cheese, Bread|
|Worm||Tenacity (exotic)||Acid Spit||Meat|
Meat is the easiest food type to obtain, so pets that will only eat meat are not difficult to feed. Obtaining fish is not too much trouble either, as long as you are willing to catch them or you could hunt coastal humanoids, like murlocs, as well. Pets that will eat neither of these take a little more effort and planning. Dumpster pets, boars and bears, that eat just about anything, are really nice from an inventory management standpoint. You can toss the odd food drops at them. Besides food, however there are now abilities that generate happiness such as Guard Dog and Carrion Feeder.
- Main article: Pet abilities
Pet skills come in two types — passive enhancement skills, and active skills.
Passive skills change the pet's stats and do not require resources.
Each pet family has one special skill (usually active) and further skills can be learned from the pet's skill tree depending on its class.
Most active skills require Focus — a constantly-recharging point pool that works much like a Rogue's Energy bar. Some active skills are free. Every pet has 100 Focus, and Focus regenerates at a base rate of 5 points per second.
Active skills can be activated in several ways:
- Automatically, through setting them on autocast by right-clicking the skill icon in either the spellbook or pet action bar.
- By clicking the skill icon in either the spellbook or the pet action bar.
- By macros like /cast.
An active skill does not have to be in the pet action bar to be used, even on autocast. It is perfectly okay to leave Growl in the spellbook and have it on autocast. If using a /cast macro, the skill can be addressed as if it were a Hunter skill, so if the pet has the skill "Taunt", /cast Taunt will taunt the current target.
From Patch 1.7 onward, Blizzard started introducing special active pet skills. Each skill can only be used by a specific type of pet and the benefit is quite useful, usually in PvE. This increases the diversity among Hunter's pets and often promotes Hunters possessing several pets at the same time. It is expected that, with time, Blizzard will continue to add special skills to other beasts' types as well.
With Patch 3.0.2, the following aspects of Hunter pet training became obsolete: pet trainers, learning skills from wild beasts and loyalty.
Newly tamed beasts that are four or more levels below the Hunter´s level will have their level increased to three levels below the Hunter´s level. Pets also level much faster, and gain happiness faster from feeding.
As of Patch 4.1.0, any pet you tame will immediately be the same level as the hunter. Also, the pet's separate experience has been removed from the game and your pet now levels immediately when the hunter levels.
Training your pet
Pets below your level gain experience by fighting alongside you (as long as the mob killed is green or higher). When the pet reaches the Hunter's level, it stops gaining experience until the Hunter levels up. Pets gain approximately the same experience from kills as an unrested character of the same level, and require a much lower amount of experience to level as a character of the same level.
With Patch 3.0.2, the experience required to level was drastically reduced, to 10% of the amount needed by player characters to reach the same level. In the current PTR version of Patch 3.3.0, the experience requirement has been lowered to 5%. Pets do not benefit from rest, and do not receive any experience from any sources other than kills. If a pet is more than 5 levels below the Hunter, it will immediately gain enough levels to be 5 levels below the Hunter the next time it is active.
The pet's available talent points at any given time are determined by its level, with a maximum of 16 reached at level 80. A Beastmaster Hunter can add four more pet talent points with the 51 point talent Beast Mastery. You can assign the pet talent points in the pet tab of the talent window. Hunter pets can unlearn their talents at Hunter pet trainers without cost. A visual pet calculator is available at Wowhead Petcalc.
Pets receive attribute bonuses at 15% of their master's/mistress' stats:
- 1 ranged attack power gives the pet 0.22 AP and 0.1287 spell damage (0.338 AP and 0.18 spell damage with 2/2 Wild Hunt).
- 1 stamina gives 0.45 stamina untalented (erroneously reported as 0.3 stamina in the Hunter's stamina tooltip), or 0.63 stamina with 2/2 Wild Hunt). Hunter pets do not gain any health from their base stamina, and gain 10.5 health for each additional point of stamina (10 health per additional stamina before the inherent pet health bonus, which was standardized to 5% in Patch 3.1.0).
- 1 resistance gives 0.4 resistance.
- 1 armor gives 0.35 armor.
- 1 point of spell penetration gives 1 point of spell penetration to your pet.
- 1 point of resilience gives 1 point of resilience rating to your pet as of Patch 3.3.0. Previously, it was 0.4 points of resilience per 1 point.
- The scaling formulas for hit are not yet available, however the Patch 3.2.0 notes stat that "If a player is at their appropriate spell hit chance or hit chance maximum, their pet will be at the maximum for spell hit chance, hit chance, and expertise. If they are below the maximum, their pet will be proportionately below those maximums.".
As WoW is an MMORPG, you may find that you want a pet that looks visually appealing to you, be that it "looks good" or "looks menacing." Be aware that there are a couple of other appearance factors.
The pet's size is directly related to the level of the pet. Many beasts will dramatically shrink right before your eyes the moment they are tamed, though they will enlarge as they level. Pets such as rhinos are large enough to be a sight obstruction in certain areas, which can be to the player's advantage (PVP) or disadvantage (instances and raids).
Flying pets maintain a more or less fixed distance above the ground, essentially hovering rather than flying. Flying pets' models, particularly the wings, interfere with mouse clicking, blocking access to select what is beyond them. This can work both for you and against you, but you will probably find it at least a little annoying. Note: As the pet levels, it gets bigger, and the wingspan gets larger, making the effect greater.
Face it, this is important. If you want a prestige pet, the obvious choices are:
- Unique skin, like the pink flamingo.
- Hard-to-obtain pets, like a level 19 Horde character with a ravager or a level 19 Alliance character with a dragonhawk.
- Anything that can no longer be tamed - Blizzard grandfathers current owners. You have to either luck out and fall into this, or have an eye for a problematic pet which will become untamable. Death Ravager is an example as well as Grimtotem Spirit Guide.
Many types of beasts in the wild cannot be tamed as a Hunter pet. These are:
Not all beasts within the tameable families are tameable. Normal rank and file beasts usually are, individually named beasts may or may not be, and any beast that is notably odd is probably not tameable.
To abandon a pet, you should target the pet on its portrait at the top of your screen, right click and select "Abandon Pet." Keep in mind this is permanent, so be careful not to abandon the wrong pet.
Renaming a pet
Initially after you tame a pet, you have the ability to right click on the pet icon after selecting them, and select "Rename". But after the first time you do this, if you want to rename the same pet, you'll need a (created with Inscription).
- / Patch 4.0.1 (12-Oct-2010): Numerous changes. Many pet abilities have been replaced or altered. Hunters now start with pets at level 1. Whenever a hunter is more than 3 levels above a pet, the pet levels to within 3 levels of the hunter.
- Patch 3.3.0 (08-Dec-2009): Hunter pets now have 100% of their master's resilience; increased from 40%.
- Hotfix (2009-04-16): "Hunter pets should now have their talents refunded when a Hunter switches talent specs, even if they are dismissed at the time."
- Patch 3.1.0 (14-Apr-2009): All Cunning, Ferocity, and Tenacity pets now have identical bonuses - +5% Health,+5% Armor,+5% Damage.
- Patch 3.0.8 (2009-01-20): All Hunter pet abilities with a cooldown of 30 seconds or more are no longer on the global cooldown.
- / Patch 3.0.2 (14-Oct-2008): Major revisions to the pet system, see patch notes for details.
- Patch 1.7.0 (13-Sep-2005):
- Hunter pets can now be untrained of all their skills from any beast trainer in the major cities.
- Hunter pets can now learn a maximum of four active abilities.
- Hunter pets now gain experience based on the level difference between them and their target rather than the difference between the Hunters and their target.
- Hunters are now able to name their pets while mounted.
- Patch 1.5.0 (2005-06-07): Unstabling dead pets no longer puts players into a degenerate state where their pet only partially exists. Unstabled dead pets can now be properly revived, and players can no longer train more pets than their stable can hold.
- Patch 1.4.0 (2005-05-05): When a non-Hunter resurrects a pet, the pet will no longer receive resurrection sickness.
- Patch 1.3.0 (07-Mar-2005):
- Fixed a bug where Hunter pets were sometimes unattackable by opposing faction players.
- Fixed a bug where creatures were keeping their innate resistances after being tamed. This was unintentional and the fix will affect all existing pets.
- Hunter pets immediately gain training points when they level up.