WoD Beta: Lone Wolf and Adaptation talent previews

This is second in a series of posts about the new level 100 hunter talents as they currently exist on beta. The first post was all about Exotic Munitions. Today, it’s about Lone Wolf and Adaptation. This talent changes based on your current spec: Lone Wolf for marksmanship and survival, Adaptation for beast mastery.

These talents couldn’t be more opposite if they tried. One removes your pet, the other turns your pet into a superhero pet. If you’ve read my posts before, you’ll know I am not really down with the whole Lone Wolf thing. I play hunters because of the pets. I still think it’s cool they’re giving the option to those who want to play a pure archer, but the BM version of this talent appeals to me more.

Lone Wolf

While you don’t have a pet active, your damage dealt with Auto Shot, Steady Shot [Cobra Shot], Aimed Shot [Arcane Shot], Chimera Shot [Explosive Shot], and Kill Shot [Black Arrow] is increased by 30% and you are able to provide one of several beneficial effects to your party and raid.

If there’s one place I could seriously see myself using this talent, it would be in future challenge modes. When I did my challenge modes, I did them as survival and always felt like my pet was a bit of a liability. I was overly cautious with it so I wouldn’t inadvertently pull anything extra, and there were other times I had to stop and dismiss it before doing something. 3 seconds is a long time in challenge modes.

One thing to note about this talent is how much it favors AoE damage vs. single target damage. Let’s say your pet is doing about 10-15% of your DPS as MM/SV. Taking Lone Wolf more than makes up for that loss (as it should, being a level 100 talent and all), but pet damage is not factored into AoE for these specs. So it’s actually a full 30% boost to AoE output. Can Incendiary Ammo compete with that? Maybe, but I’m not sure yet.

Update 7/24: Lone Wolf has been changed to only affect each spec’s core single-target damage abilities. It will no longer increase AoE damage at all.


Buffs as a Lone Wolf

You can still bring all of the primary raid buffs without your pet, but none of the special ones like Ancient Hysteria or a battle resurrection.  These buffs have no cooldown and can be swapped whenever you want.

Lost Abilities

The following talents and abilities will simply not function if you spec into Lone Wolf. You can talent into them, but they’ll do nothing.

Spirit Bond is something I’d have trouble living without, though the new self-heals from Kill Shot and Survivalist will help somewhat. The loss of Master’s Call is probably a deal breaker for a lot of PvP hunters.

More Details and Observations

  • If you use the Stampede talent with Lone Wolf, it summons your first 4 pets (not all 5). An extra 4 pets is the same benefit it gives you when you are using a primary pet. Stampede doesn’t remove the Lone Wolf buff and does not benefit from the 30% damage buff.
  • Dire Beast doesn’t remove the Lone Wolf buff and does not benefit from the 30% damage buff.
  • No talents at all (including Glaive Toss and Barrage) benefit from the damage buff.
  • Multi-Shot (and Serpent Sting for survival) are unaffected by this talent.
  • A Murder of Crows does benefit from the 30% damage buff.
  • Lone Wolf checks if you have a pet every 5 seconds. If the check passes, it removes the buff. If you timed it right, you could theoretically pull out your pet and still have Lone Wolf benefits for 5 seconds.
  • The buff is multiplicative with other damage increasing buffs. For example, if you currently have 10% increased damage from Sniper Training (110% on the paper doll), adding Lone Wolf takes it up to 143%.



Increases the effect of your pet’s Combat Experience to 85% increased damage. Your pet now gains the following abilities, regardless of its active spec: Spiked Collar, Roar of Sacrifice, Cornered, Boar’s Speed, Last Stand, Blood of the Rhino, Great Stamina

This talent used to be called Versatility for those of you who are confused. It was originally named this before they had introduced the versatility secondary stat.

A common misconception about this talent is that it’s going to boost your pet’s damage by 85%. It’s actually a 35% boost (Combat Experience already exists as a 50% boost without this talent). It’s still a decent boost, especially once it’s all stacked with Master of Beasts, Empowered Pets, Improved Kill Command, etc.

Regardless of its spec, your pet is going to gain almost every single pet ability and passive from all 3 pet specs. The only differentiation that remains is Dash for Ferocity and Cunning vs. Charge for Tenacity, and each spec will retain one exclusive ability.

No matter what pet spec you choose, they’ll be doing the damage of a ferocity pet, have the survivability of a tenacity pet, and most of the extra utility from a cunning pet. Translation: Super Pet 9000.

Pet roles probably won’t change much. You’ll probably still want to use Ferocity in a raid, or Cunning in PvP. The difference is you aren’t really sacrificing much except for that one signature ability each spec has.

Great Stamina + Last Stand + Blood of the Rhino are massive survivability increases, and now you can have them without sacrificing pet DPS. Boar’s Speed will also help with pet DPS uptime when Dash or Blink Strikes is on cooldown.


More Details and Observations

  • For my money, this talent plus a Shale Spider is going to be the ultimate soloing combo. The Shale Spider brings 5% crit, 5% stats, and Solid Shell. Now all we need is some cooler looking shale spiders (they never really appealed to me) or maybe Gyreworms can be added to their family as a “shale beast.”
  • I’d prefer it if Thunderstomp did 0 damage and cost 0 focus, and all it did was generate threat (or maybe make it an AoE Growl). As it stands now, why would you ever want to spend 20 focus on a Thunderstomp vs. a 25 focus beast-cleaved basic attack? Thunderstomp may generate additional threat, but it does hardly any damage and the extra damage from a beast cleave would probably generate just as much threat anyway.
  • You’re probably going to run short of pet bar space with this talent, and since you can’t drag pet abilities to your normal action bars, you’ll have to create macros for them. Not a huge deal, but I put in a suggestion to just let us put pet abilities on our normal bars anyway. That is probably where I’d want to keep stuff like Last Stand and Roar of Sacrifice, with autocast toggled abilities on the pet bar itself.
  • I have trouble believing I’d ever use another level 100 talent as beast mastery. Maybe Exotic Munitions for AoE, but that would still need to compete against the extra Beast Cleave damage, so I’m skeptical. In current testing, the two talents are very close damage wise, but the upside to this talent is the extra pet utility and survivability.

Next on the list for these previews is Focusing Shot, so stay tuned for that.

The artwork of the orc hunter in the header image is by Dmitriy Prozorov.

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10 thoughts on “WoD Beta: Lone Wolf and Adaptation talent previews”

  1. Considering that all hunters that are BM will be getting super pet and misdirection + multishot + beast cleave will make your pet literally glue to the mobs it attacks i dont see the point of ever speccing a pet into tenacity vs the free instant rez or the CC break.

    1. Pretty much. Though Glyph of Misdirection is currently absent from the beta build. I hope they’re bringing it back, but if they don’t maybe Thunderstomp will have a few specific uses. I’d prefer if Thunderstomp did 0 damage but cost 0 focus and was purely for threat. You’d always want to use that focus for a basic attack.

    2. Thunderstomp is a pet-specific way to generate aggro on new adds, for example if you are under 40 focus (and can’t multi-shot), CC’d, pacified (by Deterrence, Hand of Protection, etc), or any number of other situations where you can’t misdirect multishot.

      Also, Charge>Dash. Adds a 25% Pet AP buff to the next attack, which in your example would be a beast cleave basic attack.

      1. Don’t disagree it has some specific uses, but I would prefer if tenacity’s specialty in this case was just better threat generation at all times to stay with the tanking theme. I never really tested it, but I wonder if Charge is sort of nullified with Blink Strikes. In other words, if BS takes priority, the pet won’t be doing much charging. I’ll have to check that out because I agree charge suddenly became a lot more attractive when you don’t lose the ferocity damage bonus.

        1. You are correct. My tenacity pets never charge the first mob when I am specced for blink strikes, only if I send them at a second mob within the bs ICD do they charge correctly.

          A defensive stance style toggled threat buff would be very nice for tenacity, but not sure if I’d be willing to give up charge for it.

  2. You are right that the two talents couldn’t be more opposite. Not only because one boosts the pet while the other “effectively” removes it but also because Adaptation is almost mandatory for BM while Lone Wolf
    seems to be a niche talent for SV/MM.

    Lone wolf will have some uses on specific boss fights where Blizzard screws up pet pathing and for people who want to pretend they are an archer/ranger, but overall I think Ammo or Focusing Shot will be preferable depending on your play-style.

    BM + Adaptation will be everyones no.1 Leveling&Soloing spec.How it does in raiding will depend on the total damage output.

    1. Could be interesting, but I wonder how they’d handle pet buffs and growl. Would the extra pet just be a guardian pet? Or a full fledged pet? If you had 2 exotics you could get a total of 5 raid buffs by yourself, which sounds kinda cool.

  3. Adaptation should automatically make your pet bigger than other pets, with an option to glyph back to normal or undersize – especially for PvP, otherwise you are just guessing when you run at the hunter’s pet, trying to disarm him.

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