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:
- 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
- Hopeless the crab
- 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.