These Battle for Azeroth Hunter pet changes aren’t so popular [Updated]

I talked about some of these changes in my original alpha post, but now that people have seen the changes in-game, things have become a little more clear.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: You can no longer change pet specializations. Each pet family is locked to one of the 3 specializations. Mechanicals will always be Cunning, Ravagers will always be Ferocity, and — most peculiar of them all — Spirit Beasts will always be Tenacity. Those are just 3 examples, you can see the full list at Wowhead.

For the most part, the assigned specs of each family make sense, but I have no idea why they are doing this now. We’ve been able to change pet specs for over 5 years. Why take away this customization now? Was there something so terrible about a Hunter wanting to use a Ferocity Turtle?

The response to this has not been pretty, but I do think part of the uproar is because people think Ferocity pets will still do more damage than a Tenacity or Cunning pet. This no longer seems to be the case.

Update: Blizzard has made a post clarifying the new system.

Changes to the specs

Blizzard is simplifying each the specs by giving them all the same passives and differentiating each one with 2 main abilities.

  • All 3 specs will deal the same damage as a Ferocity pet does today, and be as good of a tank as a Tenacity pet is today.
  • All specs have Growl and Dash, plus their appropriate basic attack (Claw, Bite or Smack).
  • Each family will have a special ability. They’re all just clones of the same handful of abilities. For example, Bats have Sonic Blast and Spirit Beasts have Spirit Shock. Both do the same thing.
  • Battle resurrection is being removed from Hunter pets completely.


  • Predator’s Thirst (3% leech) — Completely underwhelming, especially since Kill Command/Dire Frenzy/etc. damage isn’t leeched to the Hunter. Could be decent if Blizzard changes how leech works for BM hunters (all active pet abilities should get leeched to the hunter).
  • Primal Rage (heroism/blood lust) — Yep, all Ferocity pets get blood lust!


  • Pathfinding (8% movement speed) — More movement speed is always nice to have.
  • Master’s Call — This was taken away from us in Legion, but now it’s back. Very strong PVP ability.


  • Endurance Training (10% more health for Hunter and pet) — This is very useful.
  • Survival of the Fittest (20% damage reduction for 6 sec) — Another useful ability. This is huge since BM Hunters do not have any sort of damage reduction capability outside of Aspect of the Turtle.

The Tenacity abilities are oddly the best for raiding and Mythic+ — extra survivability is huge. The only reason I can see to use a Ferocity pet is if my group needed the blood lust, and outside of that the Ferocity pet would stay dismissed in favor of Tenacity.

Updated thoughts

Since Blizzard has clarified their stance, I am updating this section. Previously I suggested they give battle rez to Cunning, but since battle rez is going away completely, that suggestion isn’t relevant.

I would still wholly prefer the freedom to swap specs, but after reading Blizzard’s post on the subject, I can at least say they have thought it out pretty well, even if I don’t agree with it all.

Knowing that every pet will deal the same damage as a current Ferocity pet and be just as good of a tank as a current Tenacity pet, I can tolerate this a little more. Also, there is a new talent that allows a second pet from your stable. The second pet (if you choose that talent) can be any cosmetic choice you want since it doesn’t use any family or spec abilities, so if you want to run Tenacity but your favorite pet family isn’t that spec, at least your second pet can be anything you want. Small consolation I guess.

When I first saw the spec restrictions my reaction was much more “OH NO YOU DON’T, BLIZZARD” but over the past few days I’ve… not exactly warmed up to it…. but at least accepted it.

I think pets on the whole are better now, it’s just we’ve lost some cosmetic freedom of choice. I still don’t think that restriction is necessary, but Blizzard does.

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31 thoughts on “These Battle for Azeroth Hunter pet changes aren’t so popular [Updated]”

  1. I’m assuming the reason that Quillen was changed from ferocity (pre-spec switching) to tenacity is it would be a bit overboard to have one pet with both brez and primal rage / ancient hysteria. Which I suppose is a good reason to swap Brez to one of these specialization abilities.


    1. Yeah I just added a note to clarify why they did that. It really does put battle rez in an odd place. And yeah, give that cube 1% more damage than the rest and I’m on board.

  2. I know it is unpopular, but as a RL animal person, I cannot get my head around tenacity cat or ferocity turtle. So, I never change my pet’s specialization. I would like a rez for ferocity for sure though.
    The thing I am most bothered by is the changes to survival. I am really loving the melee spec and hope they do stuff I can live with.

  3. This seems like maybe it will all be okay in the end but there’s a bit of a mental adjustment I’m going to have to make to accept running with a tenacity hyena.

  4. IMO as long as they do the same dmg I don’t see an issue, as long as I don’t have to always be running ferocity to be competitive I don’t mind some change in how specs are handled.

  5. I run mostly M+ on my Hunter, and I can choose between two pets: my corehound or my crane. Do we need Battle Rez or do we need Lust. At least for Lust I can bring a different Ferocity pet.

    My biggest problem is I like to play my Hunter like a Engineer / Tinker and always use a mechanical pet. That won’t be an option.

  6. I for one embrace these changes. To be honest changing pet specs at will seemed a bit too convenient. Pet families should matter, and even though I don’t agree with all of their choices for combination, I think this makes for a more meaningful pet choice in the end.

    Even though you “don’t see any reason” to use a cunning pet on PvE, there is nothing to stop you from doing that – especially when the damage for all specs remains the same.

    The truth is most people simply haven’t páid much attention to their pets except when it comes to appearance, and that is not a good thing. Pet choice _should_ matter.

    1. “Even though you “don’t see any reason” to use a cunning pet on PvE, there is nothing to stop you from doing that – especially when the damage for all specs remains the same. ”

      10% more health and a damage reduction cooldown. That’s 2 big reasons to stop me from doing that.

      1. That just means that you care more about extra health and a cooldown than you care about which pet you are using.

        There’s nothing wrong with that, but the choice is still yours.

  7. I find it hard to believe blizzard would rewind back to the time where pets were locked into one specialisation as it takes away a lot of customization which is something they seem to be focusing on a lot in BfA.

    I like the idea of every spec doing the same damage, but each having it’s own utility. Personally though i’d love to keep using my favorite pets no matter what situation i’m in.

    It’s too early to say wether this will even make it into BfA at all, but i’ll surely send my feedback to blizzard, though i doubt it would change much, seeing as they’ve ignored massive community outcry a few times already.

    I’ll still be using my favorite pets outside of raiding and dungeon content, but it would be a lot more fun if my Sporebat could help me defeat the threats in BfA just like he did in legion!

    ..i still have my fingers crossed for the ability to have 2 active pets in BfA.

  8. Yeah I know they would all do the same damage from the start, that’s not why I’m up in arms. It’s LOCKING PET SPECS that is NOT OKAY!!

  9. If all 3 specs will do same damage then that is fine. Just turn off growl on your spirit beast and should be good to go.
    It also gives more reason to use your other stable pets instead of just one.
    We tame pets, then for most part switch their spec to ferocity anyways, so making pet spec all do same damage is really a good thing.

    The information of all 3 specs doing same damage is maybe what needs to be pointed out more as this is what many hunters will feel is wrong with the decision if they are not aware of this bit of information.

  10. Meh – I’m ok with the pet changes, other than losing Spirit Mend which has been around since the start of Spirit Beasts.

    More concerned with the talents right now. They’re SO boring at the moment – either passive stuff you don’t even notice short-term, stuff you just macro in to BW, or Murder of Crows.

    There’s no interplay with any of them either – what exactly is the point of Way of the Cobra if you’re going to have one pet all the time? (I guess Spitting Cobras would count as a second, but *shrug*).

    Disclaimer: Haven’t done much of the alpha yet at all. I will say that this “no addons” bit is obnoxious, hard to put all my keys on stuff when I can’t put action bars wherever I want. Also, the built in unit nameplates are god-awful.

  11. Normalizing pet damage across the specs makes having them locked to specific pet families bearable, but by no means ideal. One pet spec will inevitably become the default, and for the majority of the time played your pet options will be cut down to roughly a third of what it previous was.

    The bigger issue that I see with this new system, however, is the fact that battle rez is still a pet family ability, and not a spec ability. This makes the few pet families with the battle rez ability significantly stronger than the other pet families in terms of utility, especially the moth. According to the current list on wowhead, moths have both a battle rez and a purge ability, whereas other pets have one or the other at best, making moths possibly the best pet family in the current build.

  12. I’m cool with spec locks on pets, but there are a couple I’m hoping will change; clefthoofs are going ferocity when they should stay tenacity, and stags and tallstriders are going tenacity when they should probably be cunning. And the spec locks are fine as long as we don’t have a situation like leveling through Legion where you HAD to have your pet in tenacity if you wanted it to stay alive. The loss of spirit mend is also a bummer, although I only really used it on a couple of Fenryr tame attempts and to get that achievement in ICC where you have to heal the emerald dragon.

  13. Unlike Warlock pets (demons) that they “force summon” from the nether on a contract (never been interested to check the terms), we hunters have a very special bond with our pets.

    We don’t get them randomly from the nether and then “dismiss”. We go out in the wild and literally tame them to be with us. They are not our slaves but our companions. Depends on the mood or needs of the group / raid, we may bring different pets with us at different times but we love them all the same!

    Having the option to bring ANY pet with us and able to respec was the best thing happened to hunters. Why would they take out this freedom and joy from us? This is not just some simple numbers changes to balance the class or removing / adding spells / abilities. This is a CORE part of being a hunter. Give us a bloody reason WHY they decided to do it and it better be a damn good reason to even have a chance at argument.

    On the note of some people thinking it looks weird to see a cat / moth / seagull “tank” a dungeon/raid boss, well guess what, those are WILD animals. We tamed them but that doesn’t mean they are tiny, weak and scared little fluffy puppies. “Cat” pet is a family of pets, that includes Tigers, Lions, Panthers etc… EVER tried to corner a small cat in a closed room / place and see how it goes for you? I am talking about BIG WILD Tigers here.

    Yes they can and will tank. They look more believable than a Gnome warrior holding a sword double than their size in ONE hand and as much bigger shield in another and tanking a big scary dragon. Lets not even start on all female tank characters with bikini plate armor….

    This change was NOT needed, serves NO purpose and when they even thought of it, they should’ve at least posted a thread asking for feedback BEFORE they made the change. Or should’ve posted a thread about the change has been made but we are seeking your feedback and based on that we will revert it back if people are not happy.

    1. I was really hoping that they were going to go even farther in the current design and simply allow us to spec any pet using a new pet talent tree. With that in mind, a pet might be able to choose among lust or rez, but not have both. So, too, would every other option be available to any pet (and any pet family), but no one pet would be able to have more than one in any corresponding talent tree level.

      This seems like the way to go b/c as this poster indicates, I have strong bonds with my pets. I’d like to be able to choose them based on my likes and talent them based on the needs of my party raid. Win-win.

      For me, I really, really like cats. I’d prefer to only run with cats. Such a system as outlined above would allow me to do this and still bring what I need to help my raid.

      Under the proposed system and indeed under the current system, I won’t have the ability to choose freely. Now when I raid, I bring either a rez pet or a lust pet as my raid group needs. Bringing anything else would be putting my desires over the good of my group. I’m not that asshole. And thus I’m a helpful raider who never gets to run with a cat.

      A hunter should be able to bring any pet he or she desires and be able to spec that pet as the group needs. I’m sorry, but this isn’t game breaking. It is easy to obtain the pets of any family and thus meet the need. Thus, changes like this are simply a way to constrain player choice.

  14. So, what would be the point of keeping my Turtle I’ve had since WotLK with me for solo when I have Loque’nahak with me? I guess there is Turtle Shell, but that only pops when i get cocky with pulling too much, or am taking on an elite.

  15. Crazy odd changes on Blizzards part. Again. The spec swapping is, overall, a purely cosmetic choice overall. We want the pet we want to look at with the specs we need. Blizzard has obviously embraced how important appearances are (see:Transmog Addiction Support Groups) so why select one class to remove cosmetic options from for ZERO gameplay payoff? Blizzard may not “hate Hunters” but they would LOVE to get rid of hunter pets altogether for encounter design reasons. Witness current BM bs compared with Marks and SV. Marks (ranged) won’t be allowed to have a pet, and SV’s (melee) pet can be treated as just another melee skill.

    1. actually, when I say “ZERO gameplay reasons” I mean for the player as there is a huge reason it’s useful for Blizzard. Making Tenacity the obvious choice for any group encounter 99% of the time will make it a lot easier for them to design the encounters. Really just makes it boring for we BM hunters and they’ve already shown little interest in supporting that spec.

  16. with all the % speed boosts the hunters can get it begs the question if they will stack. Because if they don’t – most of them will be useless

    as for the changes in general. I see them so far as a slap in the face for BM. A huge boost to the utility of MM and SV

    SV becomes the ‘you and your pet do this … you and your pet do that’ spec so all system changes to pets buffing both the pet and the player work even better for SV

    MM can just call a pet whenmever they need it as a tactical choice. They drop their 18 % damage bonus and get either hero/bloodlust, more health and another def timer or the cunning option – and they can swap back to the damage boost with a mere 2 sec stowaway action

    BM looks at all of this and thinks … man SV becomes more and more the spec that ‘sounds’ like it focuses around working ‘with’ your pet … while you call random hillbilly animals into the fight. SV works as a team BM works as a slavemaster – derp

  17. They need to make bloodlust baseline for all 3 specs and give ferocity a new active. I suggest a weak form of cc like a 2 sec knock down, an interrupt, or a root.

  18. The number 1 biggest issue with spec locking, aside from the spec locking itself, is that cunning and ferocity both feel weak when compared to tenacity. Cunning will have some very situational uses in PVP and maybe PVE but for the most part will see little to no usage in either. As it currently sits ferocity will literally only see use if your group doesn’t have a mage/shaman or if you’re like pushing hard enough content that say your shaman is resto and it’s going oom.

    My proposal since Blizzard is removing our brez because we’re supposedly a haste class now, put haste on all specs. Then give ferocity some decent utility that will make it actually competitive with tenacity. I want to have to make a choice between ferocity and tenacity based on the fight, not “do we have haste covered?”

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