Broken Tooth lives! Hunter pets can have different attack speeds once again

Before you read any more, let me TLDR this first: There is no appreciable damage difference between pet attack speeds because damage is normalized. For the most part, it simply adds flavor to different pets.

First, a little history. Back in Vanilla WoW, several pets had different attack speeds (you can see the original list here). The most notorious pet was Broken Tooth, a rare cat in the Badlands, because he was one of only two pets with a 1.0 attack speed (2.0 is the standard). This made him a pretty nice pet to have in PVP because of spell pushback. Mages weren’t getting any casts off with Broken Tooth clawing away at them (in today’s game, pets cannot do this anymore).

Eventually, Blizzard normalized all pet attack speeds to 2.0, and it’s stayed like that all the way from The Burning Crusade… until now.

What we found

This was first brought to my attention by Cerbi (one of the BM Experts in the Trueshot Lodge discord) and both of us have been roaming the world (and checking our stables) looking for pets with different attack speeds.

Keeping in mind that the standard attack speed is 2.0 — or one swing every 2 seconds — the biggest outliers so far include Deth’tilac, who has a whopping 0.5 base attack speed. He attacks so fast that once you apply Frenzy stacks to him, he hits a previously-unknown attack speed cap of 0.25, where he hits 4 times per second. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Chimaeron, a Hydra pet who has an unbelievably slow attack speed of 4.0! Chimaeron hits like a truck. There’s all manner of pets in between this range.

So why has no one really noticed this so far? Simple, because the damage is normalized. Deth’tilac might attack 8 times faster than Chimaeron, but Chimaeron hits 8 times harder! Usually we don’t pay attention to the size of pet hits, but just the DPS output. Also, the attack speed only affects your pet’s auto attacks — Basic Attacks (Claw/Bite/Smack) are unaffected.

I didn’t want to share this until we had a better understanding of how it works. I didn’t want anyone to think they absolutely must go and tame Deth’tilac and Chimaeron because of this. In fact, Deth’tilac’s outrageous speed is what alerted us to the fact that Hunter pets have a hard cap of 0.25 for their attack speed. So Deth’tilac isn’t actually desirable to have as a BM Hunter because you will actually lose damage once he hits the cap. Chimaeron might hit like a truck, but the slow attack speed will make him a bit more prone to RNG (both good and bad). There’s fewer opportunities to crit, which gives more opportunities to go on good or bad luck streaks. In contrast, a more normal speed pet is more likely to achieve an average crit rate across all of its attacks.

Intended or not?

Maybe it’s intended, or maybe it’s some unintended consequence of another code change. But the fact that its gone relatively unnoticed until now shows that it hasn’t really broken anything. All pets except Deth’tilac will do the same overall DPS regardless of their speed. Deth’tilac is the one pet you’ll want to avoid as a BM Hunter because it hits an attack speed cap with Frenzy (unless we find more pets with a 0.5 attack speed).

I think it’s actually a neat little flavor thing. Maybe you want a slow, but hard-hitting pet, or maybe you want a pet that leaves a literal waterfall of combat text on your screen as it beast cleaves dungeon trash several times per second.

The numbers

Simulation Craft now has an option to adjust pet attack speeds, so I did some sims to see the difference. I did simulations of all the known attack speeds found thus far. As you can see, the difference is practically nothing. A spread of ~20 dps when you’re doing over 12,000 is well within the margin of error.

The one outlier is the 0.5 speed pet (Deth’tilac) which drops because it hits the hard cap of 0.25 speed once it has more than one stack of Frenzy.

Please, for the love of Ironforge, don’t go and think you have to tame a 1.0 pet because it scores 6 DPS higher on that image above. That Is. Nothing.

And if you’re wondering, the relative damage spread between speeds for AoE damage is the same. They’re all a wash except for the 0.5 speed.

There is a potential case to be made for faster pets to smooth out the crit RNG — especially in shorter encounters — but I think any difference in the grand scheme of things would be minimal. I can see how some people might view the faster pets as more reliable.

Note about Animal Companion talent: These pets keep their unique attack speed when summoned by Animal Companion, and since that pet also benefits from Frenzy, Deth’tilac is not recommended for use as the AC pet.

Which pets have different attack speeds?

Here’s some of the ones found so far:

0.5 speed:

  • Deth’tilac (not recommended for BM because you will hit attack speed cap, but OK for SV/MM)

0.75 speed:

0.8 speed:

1.0 speed:

1.2 speed:

1.3 speed:

1.5 speed:

2.0 speed:

  • Almost every Hunter pet is this speed (including all spirit beasts)

2.4 speed:

2.5 speed:

2.8 speed:

3.0 speed:

4.0 speed:

Update: More pets with non-standard attack speeds are being discovered in this Petopia forum thread.

How you can find more

There are more pets with different attack speeds to be discovered out there if you’re interested.

All you have to do is copy and paste the following command into a macro:

/dump UnitAttackSpeed("target")

Target your pet or any wild beast, then click the macro. It will print the target’s attack speed in the chat window. If you are using this on a tamed pet, make sure to take off any gear with Haste to get an accurate number. If using on a wild beast, you can see its attack speed before taming.

Find anything cool? Be sure to leave a comment with it.

This doesn’t change anything

I debated making a post on this since I wanted to be careful not to create any excitement over what amounts to nothing, but I decided to go ahead to try to get accurate info out there. Plus I just found the whole thing interesting to investigate and wanted to share. 🙂

I find the fast pets (0.75-1.0) pretty appealing because it just looks cool to see your pet blitzing out and showering your screen with damage numbers (especially beast cleaving). But at the same time, I have a hard time giving up Spirit Mend when it’s so good right now. Maybe I’ll keep the 1.0 speed Bat around for those times I need a Blood Lust pet with a tranquilize.

In conclusion, varying pet attack speeds are a neat bit of flavor you can go after, but it will have no real effect on the damage you deal (plus it might just be a bug and I spent all this time for nothing 😛 ).

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25 thoughts on “Broken Tooth lives! Hunter pets can have different attack speeds once again”

  1. “Dump: ERROR: [string “return UnitAttackSpeed(“pet”)”]:1: unexpected symbol near ‘ी”

    Can I not target my pet?

    ALSO THIS IS COOL FLAVOR I LOVE IT. But I can’t go check my ghost wolf’s attack speed if it has to be wild. rip

      1. Turns out throwing it in a macro instead of pasting into chat fixed it. Thanks Macrotoolkit, I guess. For anyone wondering: your old Grimtotem Spirit Guide’s attack speed is a whopping 1 second. Neat! Broken Tooth the ghost bork, anyone?

        1. I clarified the macro bit. You don’t need to change any text in it, just have anything targeted. Pretty cool the grimtotem wolf is 1.0 though.

          1. For some reason your quotations aren’t working and you should manually type in the (“target”) part. Fixed it here. Your keyboard is a strange one, Bendak.

  2. Copy-pasting the command didn’t work until I replaced the quote marks around “target”. This version works for me:

    /dump UnitAttackSpeed(“target”)

    I was hoping the Ghost Saber might be a fast one, but he’s a plain old 2.0.

  3. Thanks Bendak for this nice research.

    Has you or Cerbi allready checked, if the Azerite Trait “Pack Alpha” is also effected by the attack speed normalization?

  4. Survival hunters with the Bloodseeker talent might want to be aware of the speed cap. I’ve been trying to remember effects that proc on pet critical strikes, but all the ones I’ve found so far trigger on the critical strikes of their special abilities. I think I’m going to pick up some fast pets for pvp though, if I can find a fast spider, I’m sure that will freak out some opponents. Won’t be able to use it in a raid, though, a guildie has arachnaphobia.

    1. The blue spiders in old TBC Karazhan (forget their name off hand) are 1.0 speed. Good point about blood seeker, but I think you’ll be ok with it except maybe during blood lust, I’d have to try it out. Also keep in mind haste levels plummet at 120 which gives some leeway.

  5. The Chromaggus version of the Core Hound(don’t know if it applies to the other Core hounds) has an Attack Speed of 1.55.

      1. hmm, haven’t tried that. Will do. *5 minutes later* I noticed the effect.
        Curious, do you want their Speeds with or without gear?

  6. Thanks for this neat little info.

    There’s a reason (well, MANY reasons) why I love Hunters! And being a BM Hunter is icing on the cake.

  7. BUT, arent things like the dispel and spirit mend on the Pet”GcD” which means a quicker pet is better for those utilities since the chance that they are ready in that exact moment i could use those is a bit higher?

  8. One thing to consider is how we are bound by RNG to keep our Frenzy stacks up. Outside of sims if we have a pet that hits faster more quickly we can ignore RNG up to a point if a single frenzy stack is enough to cap it.

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