Monday, October 13, 2008

AOE Pets and All Outdoors

I spend a lot of time in solo play. I have an erratic sleep cycle, and chronic health problems often keep in in a skittish variable state where I'll want to take a break on very short notice, then ramp up unexpectedly and wish to engage intensely for a while. One of my goals for Tivara was to pick up the reputation benefits I keep skipping or losing track of, so I've been grinding at least as much as I've been questing.

It was more or less on a whim that I tried out a gorilla. Big Red Kitty has been talking up the advantages of Tenacity pets and the pleasures of pets doing AOE damage, and I thought, well, why not give it a try? So I did.

As I mentioned in my intro post, I've become thoroughly, strongly, delightedly sold on their merits.

Outland, as Burning Crusade players will have noticed, is filled with packs of critters. I presume that Northrend will be too. The problem with a pet whose attacks are all aimed at single-targets is that it's really easy for the enemies not currently being eaten to decide to go aggro me instead of my pet, and it's very unwise to do much multi-target attacking of my own. There are, of course, ways of dealing with all that, and good hunters need to know how to do it. I'm learning. It's just that sometimes I really don't want to.

Enter the gorilla:


Thunderstomp does some damage to all targets in range. It's got a 60-second cooldown now, going down to 8 seconds come tomorrow. And Blizzard's programmers made it smart - the gorilla thunderstomps only when two or more enemies are damaging it. It's a beautiful thing. In the wake of a thunderstomp I can use Multishot and Volley, as long as I'm not too stupid about it. All it needs now is animation showing the gorilla throwing barrels.

There's very little I can fight at all that Sagarmatha can't keep busy. The dps I get is of course lower than it would be with what'll be Ferocity pets tomorrow. But it feels less prone to annoyance, which for me includes having to feign death more than I like, needing to do extended efforts at shrugging off aggro, and anything else that distracts me from perching comfortably and shooting a lot. It gives me time to practice shot sequences, or to coast along happily, as I may wish.

There's also another advantage to having a gorilla pet: there is no fight in World of Warcraft that does not become that much funnier because it's a gorilla beating up something. It's funny in itself, and it also inspires jokes and comments when I'm grouped with others, or soloing but gabbing in guild chat.

I haven't yet taken Sagarmatha into an instance, except for one run through Hellfire instances in the low 60s when guildies at 70 helped a couple of us blast through. But I'm looking forward to trying real pet tanking with him.