Of Spirit Beasts and Wolves

Wolf and Spirit Beast

I saw this post late last night in the WoW Damage Dealing Forum, but was too tired to comment on it at the time.

The spirit beasts are not the real issue from our perspective. We think spirit beasts are doing fine and we don’t want them to be the only choice for BM hunters since speccing BM should give a player more choices for pets (ideally) and not less. The problem mainly lies with the wolf just being overpowered. We did consider nerfing them for patch 3.3 but decided that the nerf to pretty much all hunter PvE dps was not worth the benefit of providing more options for pets. Keep in mind though that we have and will continue to make unpopular or even controversial nerfs if we feel they are a benefit for the game.

Groan… What a load of crap.

First of all, wolves are not the issue here. The real issue here is that exotic ferocity pets need to be doing more f**king damage, especially Spirit Beasts. They’re 51 point talent pets, with a dps-only special… wtf..?!

If they were to really put the bat to them, all nerfing wolves would do is cause every hunter to switch to a raptor. Sure, some will go for wasps and maybe even cats, but chances are nearly every hunter currently using a wolf will just grab a raptor if it’s going to provide the best DPS. Now where’s your variety..?

Instead, why not show BM Hunters a little love and buff the pets that took them days, weeks or even months to obtain. Taming a Spirit Beast is no small feat for many, so there should be some sort of reward that accompanies it. Why not have them be just a little bit better. They don’t have to be the best, but they could at least be right near Devilsaurs. Makes sense to me.

BM is already behind MM and SV by a noticeable margin, so why not give hardcore BM Hunters a slight tip of the hat by making Spirit Beasts something more than just a vanity pet. It’s pretty sad that a pet which can take weeks on end of camping to acquire, provides less overall DPS than 2-3 different non exotic pets.

Beast Mastery is a 51 point talent, and Spirit Strike is a pure DPS ability. Why on earth should Spirit Beasts not be at least first or second in damage for Beast Mastery Hunters..?! /boggle

In my opinion, Blizzard has dropped the ball with Spirit Beasts. They should have either stopped with Loque’nahak, or introduced new Spirit Beasts with different abilities. Instead, they just keep reusing the same pet model with a new skin. It’s ridiculous.

At the very least… they should give hunters the option for additional stable slots so that the Spirit Beast “collectors” can catch ’em all. Hell… if they did that, I’d probably go grab Arcturis and maybe even Skoll, just for the fun of it.

I think the concept of Spirit Beasts was a cool introduction to the game for pet people such as myself. However, I feel the novelty is wearing off.

What I would like to see is a move towards more pet-specific skills. Each pet should mirror it’s normal counterpart in terms of abilities, but just make them a little bit sweeter.

Cats could have a “sepectral claw” attack that maybe ignores a portion of the target’s armor. Wolf SBs could have a ramped up howl that also does a small bit of single target damage along with the AP buff. Arcturis could be more of a tanky Spirit Beast with ethereal armor maybe, which gives him an increased chance to be missed, or something else along those lines.

Those are just rough examples, but I think they help make my point. Some variety ffs. That way, BM Hunters could have 3 or 4 Spirit Beasts if they so desired, yet all of them would be useful in some way.

I think as long as the devs are fine with BM being a distant 3rd from the other 2 specs in terms of DPS potential, they should at least indulge the die-hards with some added benefits like more stable slots or SB variety. It’s the least they could do.

Anyway, here’s how Blizz feels about BM’s sub-par DPS potential…

It may not be great for raiding but is still good for leveling while both Marks and Surv are competitive for raiding. I wouldn’t expect any big changes for now.

So there ya have it. Beast Masters, don’t hold your breath waiting for buffs to your DPS. Blizz is fine with BM being a “leveling tree”. I know some of you that are quite proficient at Beast Mastery are able to do amazing things with the spec, but with gear and skill being equal, there’s just no competing with MM and SV.

Chances are, many of the Beast Masters that play the spec at a high level do so because they are into the pet aspect of the class. These are the same people that probably would go the extra mile to use a Spirit Beast if they felt it would provide more overall damage. Why not make this happen?

…and leave Wolves alone!!!

28 thoughts on “Of Spirit Beasts and Wolves”

  1. if anything, since spirit beast are soo unique, you should be able to choose a spirit beast talent tree, so skoll could be tenacity, louqe ferocity, etc. it would be at least a little fair to a spirit beast collecter, and cool too

  2. hi just found your site LOVE IT
    theres a lot of ppl that dont want to see bm get any added buffs from our pets
    and that prtty much narrows it down to anyone whos in the mouth of our pets
    im spec SV/BM and i like both spec for what they can do
    but i must say i love the hunt for epics i have the sprit cat took a week to find her and we are a good match ,her and volly in the bg’s we top the list for kills
    im very close to 25k kills now
    its like they say its all in the hands of the player
    a good bm hunter thats put the time in knows what im saying bm hunters rock
    a few good macro’s or a good keyboard and a pet you can depend on and theres not much that can stop you you’ll take your beatings but you’ll give more than your fair share back

  3. Pet Coiffeur my lads I don’t want wanna be a Zoo Keeper I just want a mechanism like the barber’s shops which I could customize it by my self to make it unique somehow.
    I don’t understand the “rare” characterism for some pets while anyone with a little bit of patience could obtain them.
    One thing that I really hate in this game is the fact that in the end we all end up look like clones.

  4. Well as I am leveling another hunter it angers me all over again about the Gorilla losing thunderstomp to the tenacity tree rather than keep it as its own and then giving them a useless talent pummel I mean come on.

    I love how Blizz goes from one extreme to another, they think Gorilla is overpowered and they nerf the crap out of them in the process making bears, Crocs and turtles the overpowered ones. I dont want a turtle I dont want a bear or a croc why cant they ever make a change and make it even?

    To the point of this article I dislike wolves now with a passion I hate the fact that I can not run with any other pet in raids because I need the dps boost. Here’s how you solve the problem don’t nerf furious howl do to the wolf what they did to the Gorilla, make furious howl part of the ferocity tree then Spirit beasts would probably either take the top spot in dps or at the least come in a strong second. That way wolves will still be viable but not the only pet we can choose for raiding just like they did with the Tenacity family and Gorillas.

    I mean really do we need natural armor in the ferocity tree replace that with a version of furious howl early in the tree so all hunters can get it, problem solved. No offense to bear, croc and turtle lovers by the way, just like alot of you were sick of Gorillas I am sick of Wolves.

  5. I bought myself the second spec BM only for the exotic pets. I’m a hunter and I like rare or special animals to be by my side – that’s what it should be. I was lucky to tame all the spirit beasts – so now I have a wolf and four spirit beasts in my stable…

    I would love to have at least 3-5 stable places more – just to experiment with different pets. I know that they won’t produce more dps but for the fun of having various pets at my side. I fully agree to the demand of increasing the talents of spirit beasts in some (at least any) way. I would love to raid with my animals as BM – just now I switch to SV when raiding due to the loss of 600-1000 dps.

    Goodaim – Tirion – Horde (of course…)

  6. Heh, brings back so many memories, I never kept Broken Tooth after taming him once or twice due to the 1.0 speed. I will admit that I updated my Ghostpaw Runner to an Alpha. That was pretty good for wolves to have a 1.3 speed, not the best in wolves, but 2nd!

    I did end up setting Gondria free. And if I ever get my baby hunter up to speed I might just go tame her again. I got me another panther, not the original one I had, as there was no point in it due to speed normalization. But went with the Zulian Stalker from ZG. Always wanted to tame that one at 60 but never could due to it being 61 >< Altho, did you ever try out the spawns from the panther boss? got me one way back and had a 1.1 speed which in my book was good since 50% of hunters had BT.

    And Snarler is still awesome! I remember finding him when I hit 42 and it taking me 45 minutes to get a successful tame off! lol Maybe that's why I have a soft spot for him still to this day was all the trouble I went through to tame him 😀 Good times indeed!

    Oh forgot about the part regarding more stable slots, Yes please, or at least let us have different stables for our 2 specs. At least then I could have my 3 spirit beasts and not feel guilty knowing I can get a tank and what ever else I feel like taming at the time.

    • I’m willing to bet the next Spirit Beast is gonna be a flapper. A bird of prey probably – eagle, hawk or owl most likely.

      Spirit Turtle would be sweet though. Spirit Turtle with charge and prowl.

  7. I am currently an owner of all 4 spirit beasts and after doing some heroics using both specs I can tell you right now that I will not be doing it often if not ever again. The dps loss is just to great compared to my sv build and I might even turn that sv into mm. Plain out, bm/spirit beasts need something to put them up there with the other specs. And as for BM being a leveling spec? I call BS. There is no reason why any spec on any class can’t be more raid viable/friendly.

    And yes, leave wolves alone! I have had my Ashenvale wolf for 5 years now and I happen to like it in the spotlight for being good in runs. Even tho there is a part of me that is pissy about being one of only 2 hunters that had my white wolf back in the day at 60 and now they are Everywhere, I still love my wolf now that it’s good and would never wish it to be nerfed.

    I cannot say tomorrow I will be part of the SB4 club (as my friends call us nut hunters with all 4 Spirit beasts) I do miss my old cat and after reading this… well I am just tired of having only two pets and 3 clones that look different. I will still keep Skoll, Loque, and Arcturis hoping they decide to implement us being able to choose the talent trees for our pets, but if that happens I might just go back and get Snarler again for my tank pet ^_~

    • I loved my ashenvale wolf. 😀 I had him for about 20 levels, until about the time I found out about Broken Tooth.

      Once I hit my 50s though, I was back to wolves. I’ve always had a penchant for them as hunter pets, even when they weren’t so hot. I’m glad they’re finally getting their due, and I really hope they don’t get tampered with.

      I was so excited after the pet overhaul pre-wotlk, knowing I’d finally be able to take my Grimtotem Spirit Guide out of the stable for raids.

      Snarler’s awesome btw. I remember hunting for him about 3.5 years ago. It was after they fixed his resistances bug, but still was a cool pet to tame.

  8. I myself do not have any spirit beasts. I was considering getting them until i learned about their poor dps and weak special ability. Qualities i look for in a pet in order are:special ability,appearance and then dps(which can be combined with the special ability quality). The fact that spirit beasts have weak dps and a mediocre special ability is pretty sad. They should at least be on par or near the best of the best.

    As far as stable slots go, maybe im strange for thinking this, but 5 feels alright for me at the moment.

    Oh…and I really hope they dont do what they said they have been considering doing for a long time and totally “homogenize” all of the pets, so that your choices are based on appearance alone. The ability to utilize different special abilities in different situations is one of my favorite things about being a hunter! They should be making sure the pets within their own families and talent trees are more equal, and not thinking about making them ALL equal.

    Isnt part of the fun of being a hunter the fact that we are so overwhelmed with choices? Lets not take those choices away, or make them super easy to make and take away the redeeming qualities with specific species.

  9. Oh darn, this was going to be the topic for one of my articles… You beat me to it Gar 😛 So what does Mousie, a raiding Beast Master who uses spirit beasts think of this blue post?


    “As far as the Spirit Beasts are concerned, there are several reasons why they would make a bad “best” pet. There are not very many options to choose from and all of them require “farming”; a rare spawn that is more of a testament to blind luck than any kind of player skill. As we said before, there is no advantage to having a wider spectrum of pets to choose from if there is only one right choice.”

    Yes, luck is part of getting a spirit beast. But isn’t having a specific piece of gear drop from a boss blind luck (Battered Hilt anyone)? And how about rolling for said gear? I didn’t know you had to have leet skillz in order to garner the highest roll.
    As with almost all aspects of WoW, there’s a combination of luck, skill, and time spent in order to get better and do higher DPS. Spirit Beasts may take minutes to get, or weeks, why not honor that commitment and boost their DPS so they’re doing more damage than a Prairie Stalker?

    Ugh, even though there have been no changes to beast mastery, why do I still feel like I’m getting nerfed?

    • Feel free to expound upon it if you like. There was a follow-up blue post which I haven’t commented on.

      Being that you’re a proud owner of all four spirit beasts, I’d like to hear your views on them, as well as your thoughts on whether pet collectors should have access to more stable slots, etc.

  10. I completely agree with all of you guys on this. How could the blizzard developers be getting this wrong? Dont they use damage calculators over there when determining nerfs and buffs to classes and specs? While he seems aware of the lack of DPS in the BM spec, his other arguments dont seem to hold up well.

    a 20-30% DPS difference is too much…

  11. I’m with you Gar – BM cannot and should not be consigned to the “leveling only” bucket. And yes,Spirit Beasts should be the best pets. Remember the time when we would go out of our way to tame an exotic elite while we were leveling, so as to have the pet teach us new pet skills sooner? Was that so bad? There should be some reward for taming these super-rare spawns. Chalk down one vote in the “aye” column 🙂

    • Two for “aye”

      Oh, those were the days… I remember sitting my tauren hunter down in Duskshire in order to tame Lupos (shadow damage ftw).

  12. Spirit Beast are crap compared to Devilsaurs and need serious buffing. I only use a spirit beast over Krush when i want a reduced hit box.

    its unlikely BM will be “Fixed” before cata as devs would have to fix it now and then possibly undo the fix afer cata.

    Still I dont see how its hard though to increase the exotic pet stats 10% over normals or atleast double the dmg of spirit strike.

  13. Die hard BM hunter here. I have tamed all 4 Spirit Beasts. The best thing about 5 mans for me is that I can run with my Spirit Beast and crank out the dps just fine. My 5th pet is a wolf. I use it whenever I get into a VOA raid or for the weekly raid quests. Not because I want to, but because I feel like I have to. I can’t argue with the numbers…no one can. We do more damage with wolves. There are sooooo many problems/suggestions here that I just don’t know where to start but here goes (most of this will be me agreeing with prior posts):

    1. Let the Spirit Beasts do more damage. This seems like the most basic fix. You wouldn’t want to put in all the time and effort to farm the battered hilt, do the long questline to forge QD and then have it do dps on par with a blue, would you? Allowing Spirit Beasts to do more damage than a wolf gives BMs a means of doing comparable damage without totally screwing with the tree.

    2. GIVE BMs MORE STABLE SLOTS!!! If all my 51 point talent lets me do is collect pretty things to look at then dont restrict how many of the pretty things I can have! I want them all, dammit!

    3. Change the BM 51 point talent to make it worthwhile. If no one cares about taming rares because all they do is look pretty then drop that down in the tree. Place it so that it is deep enough in the tree that it is still only a BM talent, but make our 51 point talent something that REALLY buffs our pet and makes it something scary. Granted, the 4 extra points in the pet tree is nice, but they are nowhere near enough for a 51 point talent.

    4. This next idea is kind of out there but I like it best and I think it really works well with the “flavor” of being a BM. Let Spirit Beasts/rares get a buff based on the number of them that you have tamed. Picture this…you are a hunter with the skill and patience to have tamed a number of Spirit Beasts/rare pets. As your skill in taming these magnificent creatures increases, so does the ferocity/tenacity of the beasts once they are trained by you. You are a BEAST MASTER!!! You get the most bang for your beastly buck! This could/should be reflected in the number of Spirit Beast/rare pet tames you have. And ones like the Kurken (ones that are there all the time to be picked like fruit) don’t count. I like this idea. Alot.

    Thanks again, Gar, for keeping the issue on the frontlines.

  14. I suspect that if they keep the top three DPS pets within a smallish range of each other, people will pick based on aesthetics or raid utility, instead of just picking the one that’s a mile ahead in raw damage output.

    Honestly, I believe that the 51 point BM talent should, in addition to all the extra pet DPS, provide the ability to give significant debuffs. How many 10 mans have you run without judgment of wisdom or a major armor debuff? What about something like curse of elements? If the 51 pointer let hunters provide one of these, it would be blockbuster, and would also give BM hunters a niche they could fill without feeling like they’re costing the raid DPS.

    I realize that 51 point BM hunters can provide some of these already – I’m just talking about taking it a step farther and giving them more choice of debuff, as well as not making the debuff come at the cost of a personal DPS 51 point ability.

    • Actually the judgement of wisdom idea is pretty good, being spirit beasts it’s feasable they could be radiating mana. providing a mana buff to those within a certain area.

  15. I think what really bothers people is that BM is, in my opinion, the defining spec for hunters in WoW; meaning, it really separates them from the rest and highlights the class’ uniqueness in the game. So when the last expansion reduced that spec to leveling/questing and not endgame use, people got upset and disappointed.

    Personally, I miss BM but I’m OK with the current state of affairs for endgame. After all, we have 2 raid viable specs. Getting back to the crux of the issue though, I think what most people would like is to be raid viable AND have a bit more hunter-uniqueness at the same time. In other words, have a bigger pool of flashy pets to bring into raids, or have pets do more in the raid environment.

    Now some people could care less about looks, and argue that they’d be just fine raiding with an “untextured cube” as long as it provided max dps. To me, I would like the aesthetics and more diversity of hunter pets, AND have them contribute high dps. Considering how big this game is, and the capability of Blizz, I think it’s fair to desire both of these things, and GET both of these things.

    So taking away BM in raids is fine, we’ll deal. But first, fix pet scaling. Second, BM exotics should get big-time boosts in some way to make that 51-pt talent worthwhile. Further, if you tame a spirit beast, you should get rewarded rather than have it collect dust in the stable. After all, as you mentioned, what the hell is the point?! Third, if we raid with other specs, let us raid with something other than 1 lame pet option!

  16. I agree it is inexplicable why Blizzard is being so obtuse about this. A spirit beast (being a RARE beast) should be similar to finding a RARE weapon….not everyone can get them…and if you put in the time & effort to do so, you should get a benefit out of it…and to take the parallel further…as BM, the pet IS a large part of our DPS…maiking it our “weapon”..

    A lot of the folks bitching on the forums are really just whining and nit-picky….but this is definitely a case where Blizzard has dropped the ball in my opinion…..

    Spirit Strike should make other players (as I’m a PvP junkie) say “OMG I’m dead!!!” THAT would be cool!!!

  17. I think you have a good idea with the Spirit Beat to have it so that each different model has a different ability, it IS a good idea and would provide not only extra DPS, extra options for taking this 51 talent point making it special. When you consider that Explosive Shot can just so insane with damage at times, there should be more variety considering its essentially an ability that give you a special (not so much better, but a bit) pet. They definitely dropped the ball with Spirit Beasts.

    I also have to agree on the final part because I play a DK and, if you have, then you’ll know that there is only ONE real option for levelling and that is Blood spec. However where BM is seen as some sort of ‘levelling’ spec and falls far behind MMS and Sur for raiding, pvp, solo play. Blood can be turned in to the best single target DPS spec AND the best single target tanking spec. Nerf DKs? No, silly troll. Buff BM? Of course, they ruled the roost in TBC and haven’t had any love since. They have stated in the past that all specs on any class should be on par and competitive with each other.

    Good post, as always.

  18. This is just plain stupid. The whole point of putting the majority of your talent points in one tree is to get the 51-point talent. So the whole point of BM is to tame exotic pets, but if all its good for is a leveling spec, then you’re only going to have the exotic pets for 20 levels before you respec to get better DPS. It’s almost as if they want to restrict hunters to using the same pets since you’re forced to use a relatively small amount of pets if you want good DPS.

    Heck, my hunter is only level 41 and I think this is completely unreasonable.


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