Pets are people too!

I’ve been thinking about resurrecting my hunter for a while now. She got to 80 sometime last year, did a few instances including alt runs of ToC and then ground to a halt.

Whilst my server was ever so slowly patching itself, I ended up in the dark and dangerous world of the WoW forums. Driven by dreams of huntering again I flicked through several pages of hunter related information until I ended up on the Healing forum. Skimming the list of post titles, I found  a rather heated thread discussing the rights and wrongs of healing hunter’s pets. Naturally with my head full of hunter stuff, I couldn’t resist having a peak.

The general gist of the arguments contained within went like this:

  • My UI doesn’t show pets and I don’t see why it should!
  • It’s the Hunter’s responsibility to look after his or her pet and they have the tools to do the job.
  • The Hunter is just plain bad if their pet needs healing.
  • I don’t have the mana to waste on pets
  • Hunter’s don’t need their pets to DPS.

Going through each point one by one, I noticed a couple of things that I found odd.

My UI doesn’t show pets and I don’t see why it should!

Given that several people pushing this argument admit to using Grid, I find this hard to believe. It takes a matter of seconds to set Grid up to show pets in 5, 10 and 25 person modes. I would imagine this is true for all non-standard party frames.

As for why should your UI show pets, well pets are part of the group. Your interface should always provide an accurate representation of that group. What if at some point Blizzard adds a debuff on some future raid content that can blow people up and targets pets as well as players? Adding pets now means if for any reason you NEED to keep one alive you can easily.

I’ve been in several situations where a hunter and his pet have ended up saving the day. Tank dcs in a 5 man, pet takes up the slack and holds boss until either the tank comes back or the boss dies. Having the pet show on my unit frames made healing him so much easier than having to manually change target would have been, given that the rest of the group needed healing too. Lousy tanks in 10 mans, mobs eating me as a healer. Sympathetic and attentive hunter notices and pulls mob off me and onto his pet. So showing pets can be a good thing. However I can’t think of a single situation where me having the pet bars showing has ever been a bad thing. After all, I don’t have to heal Whiskers the Wolf if I don’t want to.

Healing pets in PvP, especially small scale stuff can be great too because whilst they are trying to bash Cobweb the spider over the head, they aren’t hitting me.

It’s the Hunter’s responsibility to look after his or her pet and they have the tools to do the job.

Of course it’s their responsibility to a degree. I expect everyone to do their best to stay alive and kill the boss. Now in the case of pet classes that also included keeping their best friend safe and well. Mend pet should be used in hairy situations, no one is denying that. To let your pet die without using it would be stupid. However at the end of the day, we as healers also have responsibility for all those little green bars. Throwing a shield out or a rejuvenation will not make or break your mana supply, but it may make the difference between Tybalt the cat contributing all the way to the bad guy’s death or not. Without his contribution the boss will always die slower, which is a bad thing.

The Hunter is just plain bad if their pet needs healing.

Perhaps, two weeks of Ahune have shown me there are some truly terrible hunters out there. My healing Priest has out dpsed every single one I’ve been partied with so far. However there are lots of fights with large amounts of party or raid wide damage. Even with talents to lessen magical damage and the like, I can imagine a lot of content where “mend pet”  might not be enough. Obviously a hunter has more than just mend pet in his arsenal, a ferocity pet could come with Bloodthirsty for example but again, a chance to heal for 5 percent of the pet’s total health isn’t too hot if the animal is taking lots of damage.

If throwing a heal in the direction of the pet doesn’t leave you out of mana, what harm can it possibly do? There are plenty of threads complaining about how boring 5 mans in particular are for healers who are geared, well why not do a spot of extra curriculum pet healing to spice things up.

I can’t spare the mana!

This one I tend to be more sympathetic towards but it depends on one simple question. Why not? If you don’t have the mana because the rest of the group are playing badly and you’re healing full out, fine. The same is true if you’re undergeared and struggling to keep the players alive. However if you’re oom because you’re spamming smite or another dps spell, then perhaps putting a few heals in the direction of the pet first would make more sense. If nothing else, it may make the hunter like you a bit more.

Hunter’s don’t need their pet to DPS.

True they don’t but given that the whole idea is usually to kill the mobs as fast as possibly, every little helps as the supermarket chain says.  Let us consider the Beast Mastery Hunter. Now I know that it’s a lot less popular in this expansion than it was in the previous one, but you still see plenty of BM hunters, especially in 5 mans. There is a talent midway down BM called Ferocious Inspiration, it’s a fairly simple talent but one I would expect all BM hunters to pick up. Amongst other things, it gives a flat 3 percent damage increase to all party and/or raid members who stay in a 100 yard range of the pet. By allowing Chompy the Devilsaur to die because you aren’t willing to alter your UI, not only do you cut the hunter’s dps, you effect that of the whole group. To me, that goes against the whole principle of running instances in the first place. You should all be working together to make the run as smooth as possible. Allowing a source of DPS to die, hinders that.

In conclusion, I think the arguments put forth are for the most part ridiculous. I’m not suggesting putting a pet at the top of your mental priority list, after all that would be pointless but surely there is a spot somewhere in there. My list goes something like this:

  1. Tank
  2. Healer
  3. The nice, sensible dpsers who don’t stand in the fire too much and don’t make nasty comments about the rest of the group
  4. Hopeless the crab
  5. Any remaining obnoxious dpsers

Obviously I’m not advocating the blanket healing of all pets, but they should at least be a consideration and they should most definitely make it onto your interface. The sooner we learn good habits the easier it is to stick to them. Who knows, perhaps in Cataclysm BM will become the hunter spec again giving you added reasons to keep those pets alive. Perhaps raids will require every last drop of dps and pets will become a lot more important to all hunters, regardless of spec. I’m not denying some hunters can try your patience as they attempt to murder their pet every 5 seconds, but it’s easy to ignore them (although I wish Azeroth had a version of the RSPCA so we could confiscate pets from bad hunters only returning them when they learnt the art of animal protection) and / or point out why letting Fluffles the crocolisk run around on aggressive is a bad idea.

Yes, this post probably stems in part from the fact that I feel dreadful whenever a pet dies in a group I’m healing. Especially when it’s erstwhile owner can’t even be bothered to think up a name for him or her. The fact that I may at some point be venturing back into 5 mans with my adored pets has nothing to do with it at all (honest!).

TLDR: Pets are people too! Make friends with your neighbourhood hunters and heal their pets.

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16 Responses

  1. What? No mention of DinoTam? He’s totally a person. :P

    I always show pets on my frames when healing and I certainly don’t mind healing them if I have the resources to do it. Totally agree that I would rather heal a pet than a crappy dps, but if the pet’s owner is being a jerk both are unlikely to get heals.

  2. Yes, as long as Hopeless doesn’t belong to anybody in Group 5 then he’s welcome to my heals if I have mana to spare.

    I think the reason healers are so jumpy about it, on principle, though is 80 levels of some sub-troglodytic moron going “heal my pet” every five seconds, when you genuinely have other things to care about (like the tank).

    • Just after I posted this, I ended up in WSG with one of those “sub-troglodytic moron[s]“. Trying to carry a flag when someone has aspect of the daze up ALL the time gets frustrating fast. Right now I’m erring towards healing hunter’s pets but not hunters. Shame they despawn when their owners die.

  3. I’m in a total hunter-period at the moment. While I still bring my tank warrior out to raids I don’t raid any PUGs or even bother with HCs atm. Guess I’m just bored with her. So out comes my old hunter and I LOVE her. Like seriously. Big crush and everything.

    Within a couple of weeks she’s nearly as well-geared as my warrior (which is kind of depressing when you think about it). But I digress.. point being – I’m playing a hunter a lot and I have comments!

    I very seldom heal these days even though I do have a holy priest lying around – but every char of mine shows pets on their party/raid frames. I just like to see who’s alive.

    I generally try to be a good hunter. I never tell people to heal my pet, I try to take care of Giggles all by myself – but of course (as you say) the damage taken is just much more than a simple mend pet can handle. And he has no other heals for me to activate.

    While one might say that a hunter doesn’t rely on their pet to do damage that is true to some extent. But having your pet out really does change things. My pet does 1-2k dps depending on the fight. He also has a cooldown that increases my dps – so I really do prefer to keep little Giggles around.

    The rare occasions when I do heal, I will heal the pets if the situation allows it (obviously my healer is not awesomely geared) – but I generally try to pop a Renew on them if nothing else. As long as the hunter doesn’t yell HEAL MY PET – cause then I just get annoyed and turn on my selective hearing. (Maybe the new tactic would be to actually heal the defenseless, non-annoying pet and just stop healing the hunter instead).

    But I’m babbling.. I’m just waiting for my weekend to start now.

    In short – I agree. Pets are people too! I feel so sad when Giggles doesn’t make it *sniff* I always give him a few extra bites of food and mends when I get him back cause I feel so bad !

    • I have to admit, I rage when people kill my pet in PvP. How can they be so mean :(

      I tend to get really protective over my pets.

  4. How often do pets need heals?

    As a hunter, my pet’s health rarely ever drops. With their resistance to AOE they don’t take much damage. The only places I’ve had trouble keeping my pet alive are on Mimiron (where it dies when I don’t pay attention to where it’s standing) and Lich King (when I let it stand in Remorseless Winter). Both of those times, it’s my issue, not the healers.

    As a resto druid I do not show pet frames on Grid. Between Wild Growths, Chain Heals, Circle of Healing and Judgement of Light pets get quite a bit of healing without ever being targeted, and I like Grid to take up as little space as possible.

    I completely understand that pets are an important part of hunter dps, but I don’t understand why this topic attracts so much discussion. Is there an epidemic of pet deaths in raids that I’m missing? Unless I’m doing something wrong, my pet doesn’t die.

    • Based on that thread it seems it’s a common occurrence. Either that or a lot of healers like picking fights with hunters. My interest came mainly from the arguments used rather than witnessing a massacre of pets.

      I agree smart heals really help, especially in raid environments.

      On Ahune though, my Boomkin hasn’t seen a single pet survive longer than the first 1 minute. Most hunters I’ve seen on Ahune though do less dps than the healer so the two facts are probably linked.

      Edit: Although I should add, I’m coming at this from the perspective of a control freak who PvPs a lot. When it’s just me, a hunter and their pet at the LM, my best chance of winning is often to keep both the hunter and his/her best friend alive. Therefore I need them on Grid.

  5. I will heal pets quite happily – the only exception is when – as I’ve seen- there’s a hunter in the pug whose pet seems to be nothing but a vanity pet.

    And my list looks pretty much like yours!

    • Pets pretending to be vanity pets I can cope with. My least favourite are those with growl on or those on aggressive. I can still remember a highly dubious UBRS around 4 years ago now, when a bunch of my guildmates were trying to attune some alts to UBRS in a PuG. When they finally got around to asking me and few others to come, they had been in there for around 4 hours due to an over enthusiastic cat.

  6. [...] From, like, eighty years ago, a measured and thoughtful post from Harpy’s Nest on that most controversial of topics: healing pets [...]

  7. I’m one of those healers that doesn’t show pets in unit frames. Phased imps drive me crazy and temporary pets like water elementals are buggy. I don’t care to have to add another layer of triage either, as tank > healer > DPS is complicated enough when playing whack-a-mole on 25 health bars.

    It’s sort of a non-issue anyway in raids because Wild Growth, CoH, Chain Heal, Ancestral Healing, and trinket/trauma splash all jumps to pets. Healers throw smart heals on melee all the time. As a resto druid I’m GCD constrained so I have to have a compelling reason to deliberately heal a pet over a player.

    If something goes pear-shaped in a 5-man or 10-man and a pet has grabbed aggro, I click on the pet and heal it. In a 25-man a ferocity pet is generally flattened as fast as a tanking fury warrior so it’s a non-issue.

    • I agree that in raids its a complete non issue, but I like seeing pet healths in 5 mans and PvP.

  8. I realize this is an old post but I feel I have to drop two copper in. As a BM Hunter main spec (hold the flames and branding irons, please) I have to say that losing the pet is a LOT more than a small problem for a BM.

    My Devilsaur currently does 35-40% of my overall DPS. He gives me a cooldown that increases my DPS for 15 seconds (one that pairs very, very nicely with haste effects). Just having him active increases my DPS by a baseline 3% AND increases my running speed without having to drop into Aspect of the Noob – er, Cheeta. All of this on top of the Ferocious Inspiration effect.

    Almost as importantly, he’s my “save teh squishy!” button. Send pet -> Intimidate -> trap and Distracting shot, or MD back to tank.

    While I try to watch him myself, actual heals are never unwelcome. MP can fail if there’s a damaging aura up that he’s bashing his head against.

  9. Also discovered this post late.

    As a raiding hunter to be quite honest I’ve not recalled a point where my pet has died in a 25man raid where it’s been through a lack of healing even on hard modes. With the amount of raid buffs like ferocious inspiration, Vampiric Embrace, Judgement of Light and even healing stream totem I rarely need to heal him even without splash healing from WG, HL glyph CoH etc. Then you also get to factor in the survivability that most pets have. They take 75% less AOE damage which to be honest is so high if the boss ability does affect pets they generally will survive it. Take Firefighter the Mimiron Hardmode, as an example. My wolf could generally take a massive hit from the shockblast which if I was unlucky would kill him. I had a custom event set up to warn me when it cast. Nowadays with the new cower you can even leave the pet in on massive AOEs and rely on the extra 40% dmg reduction.

    Simply put, in 99% of cases if my pet is dead it’s my fault. If you can save my pet’s life (which generally you can’t) then Hairymclairy the Wolf is very grateful and so am I.

    Also, most fights as MM my pets DPS counts as roughly 1k dps so it’s definately worth keeping about.

    • I loved the Hairy Mclary books so if I raided with you, under no circumstances could I let him die :(

      I agree that most of the time pets are fine being looked after by their owners and the odd splash from smart heals. However in that 1 percent of the time when that’s not enough, given that they are providing dps, I want them visible on my UI so I can heal them.

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