Hunter pets back in vanilla were convoluted by today’s standards. You couldnt’ simply tame a pet and use it. You had to worry about several things:
- Pets did not level up to your level. If you were level 60 and tamed a level 10 pet, you would have to manually level them up. Very slowly, since they weren’t able to do any tanking for you when they’d get killed in a few hits.
- Pets had 6 loyalty levels, which also had to be leveled up. The more loyal they were, the easier it was to keep them happy.
- Pet Happiness had to be kept up by feeding your pet regularly, if you didn’t keep your pet happy they would do less damage. If they stayed unhappy for too long, they would permanently abandon you.
In today’s WoW this simply wouldn’t fly, but there was something good buried under all that. Hunters tended to pick a single pet and stick with it (helped that we could only have 2 other pets in the stable at the time). Rak’shiri was my main pet through a good part of vanilla. Your pet was your best buddy because you worked so hard to get them there. Not like today where it’s almost become a collection mini-game.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy collecting pets, but I still think something was lost from the spirit of the class. Pets feel more disposable than ever.
It got me wondering if there was a way to bring back the idea of a hunter bonding with their pet, without all of the baggage that made it not fun.
How many of you wish you had a oil-stained wolf like the one above? Or maybe a boar that’s on fire? Or maybe one of those Icepaw Bears with glowing frosty paws? Tames such as this were only possible though some “clever use of game mechanics” (aka glitching) and they were all eventually fixed by Blizzard. They did let those hunters who tamed them keep their pets, but taming in such obscure, glitchy ways was obviously not their intention.
Pets that have additional effects or props attached to them almost always lose them upon taming. There are some exceptions, like Gib, but for the most part anything not part of the original model is lost. There’s a good reason for this. The way I understand it, these effects are applied with a hidden aura (buff) and whenever you tame something it is intentionally stripped of every single aura it has. This is so hunters can’t tame a pet while it has a damage buff active or some other game-breaking buff. The downside is we can’t tame pets with these unique effects.
A while ago there was mention by Dave Maldonado on Twitter that they were going to look into making these appearance auras be attached to the pet even after a tame, but nothing ever really came of it. Muffinus stirred the pot recently when he responded to this tweet:
Hunter pet dress-up items? Sounds like a perfect opportunity to add this sort of functionality to the game. The first time I ever saw the hunter pet collar idea brought up was an old post by Frostheim at the WHU. His idea centered around making it a piece of gear with stats on it that you slot into your pet, but what I’m proposing is that pet collars become the new way we can customize the appearance of our pets. You want an oil-stained wolf? Why not an oil-stained tallstrider or devilsaur?