WoW! Thoughts! — on Hydras, Hippos, and Housing

So Blizzard finally announced the Warlords of Draenor alpha, and tons of information about the coming patch is now up for discussion.   Chief among the information that has come out is a better idea of what benefits and features garrisons will provide, and more importantly, what also has been omitted.

Before the massive infodump, a tweet by @muffinus revealed that Hydras would finally become tamable as hunter pets in Warlords of Draenor.  Hydras have long been requested as pets ever since a bug identified the Spirit of Atha, a ghost hydra, as a tamable crocolisk.  The bug was fixed in patch 4.1, and the result has been hunters clamoring for pet hydras ever since.  Since then, it has also been revealed that Riverbeasts will be a new tamable creature.  Riverbeasts are Draenor’s hippopotamus-analogue, and they resemble hippos with crystals on their back and a tail.  As a hunter, this has me excited, because I love when we get new tames and the abilities they provide.  I rushed out and tamed a direhorn as soon I could.  I have a quillen and porcupine in my arsenal from Mists.  It is always great to get a new creature, especially one with the cachet of the hydras or the appeal of hippos. It’s just a shame that getting these creatures will likely doom one of my beloved pets to return to the stable master and be forgotten.

The problem with all these exciting tames is that hunters can only bring five pets with them at once.   A hunter can generally run with whichever pets they choose for questing or for most solo content and be fine. It’s another story for raiding or extreme soloing, as there, hunters need a large stable so they can choose a pet for the buff rather than any other preference. The problem is that, as the number of tamable pets  grows larger, so too do our options for what to bring.  For some hunters, they will just use whichever pet is newest, and I expect they’ll be showing off their fancy hydras or riverbeasts come Warlords launch.  For others, the concept of the hunter revolves around the spirit bond between a loyal animal companion and their master.  Hunters who romanticize this mythology are unable to enjoy the latest creatures made tamable with each patch.

I acquired Comedian, my hyena, in old Thousand Needles while I was level 35, and I’ve been fighting alongside him ever since.  I’ll swap him out on raids and other specific fights, and while as a hunter I work with all animals to achieve my goals, more often than not Comedian is by my side.  It’s not uncommon for players to bond with their minions – warlocks were upset when a patch during Wrath of the Lich King renamed their demons, and Blizzard was pressured to rectify the situation.  For hunters, it’s a little more personal, because we seek out the pets.  We decide which pets we want, and then have to work to find them.  We may encounter a beautiful or awe-inspiring creature, and then spontaneously claim it, or we may study spawn points and camp for hours waiting for an uninterrupted opportunity to tame a given beast.

Hunters are blessed with the opportunity to begin forging a relationship with a pet before the pet is even ours. We’re not unlike a kid bouncing with excitement on the car ride to an adoption center as we , look over Petopia for unique pet skins and research where and when to make the tame.  These pets become our companions on our adventures – ever-present as we defeat major threats and claim our rewards, or even just enjoy some non-combat downtime. They become an integral part of the narrative we compose by playing the game.  These are not the types of bonds that are shattered just because some new hotness comes along.  I know that while I’ll tame a hydra and play with it for a few weeks, it will be Comedian next to me for the bulk of my time on Draneor.

This results in a problem for hunters.  We acquire all these pets (Mists of Pandaria added 178 new pet appearances at launch!) while we only have fifty-five pet slots.  Of those fifty-five, only five can be accessible at any time, and of those five, only one can be at our side.  In that regard, Stampede was a great addition to the game because it allowed us to interact with our lesser-used pets.  I may not summon my direhorn often, but he’s there every raid for 20 seconds at a time helping me dps the boss.  Stampede lets us remember that while we have that one primary pet, we still have other pets that we feel kinship with.  These lesser pets are no longer just taskbar icons, or items stored with some stable master somewhere; they are real, breathing creatures – friends that we don’t want to neglect.

STAMPEDE

This is why garrisons in Warlords of Draenor need a hunter pet stable.  Many of the above arguments apply to vanity pets, so a Pet Stable is in the works so players can display the fruits of their Pet Battling. Still, there has been no indication of a hunter pet stable, and that has me concerned.  It feels wrong that Blizzard keeps providing all these new, gorgeous, and sometimes challenging pets for us to acquire, only for these beasts to spend the bulk of their time hidden away.  We don’t need to see all our pets at once – even if it’s just a handful chosen at random – any opportunity we have to appreciate our collection will be monumental.

It’s going to be a shame when my riverbeast relegates my direhorn to the stable master.  Hunter pet stables would prevent that shame, and provide players with an amazing showcase of their efforts.  Hunter Pet Stables must be a garrison feature for Warlords of Draenor.

WoW! Blurbs!

April Fool’s happened!  The patch 6.0 notes are still the best patch notes from last week.  http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/13611769/april-fools-4-2-2014

The Hearthstone iPad roll out has begun in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada!  That’s pretty funny, giving New Zealand access before the USA.  I’m guessing they forgot to include this on the April Fool’s page…  http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/blog/13597476

World boss mobs can no longer be claimed by a faction.  Now Ordos is REALLY screwed.  https://twitter.com/WatcherDev/status/451199318125318144

The Untamed Valley is a new short story about the Tillers, Vindicator Maraad, and Sentinal Lyalia.  I look forward to tamable valleys in Warlordshttp://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/lore/destination-pandaria/faction-stories/untamed-valley/1#readmode

Wowhead now has class guides up.  I need all these boosted players to study up on their class so they can queue for LFR and I can blame them for wiping.  http://www.wowhead.com/news=232273/introducing-wowhead-class-guides

Dragon Soul LFR may be accessible via NPC in 6.0.  At this point, they should release it earlier and claim its new content.  https://twitter.com/WatcherDev/statuses/449980024230137856

Spirits of Harmony may no longer be soulbound before 6.0!  I sense a fight brewing! https://twitter.com/hwoome/statuses/449606490731462656

WoW Insider had a great article about how to stop  mouse-clicking and use more keybinds.   After practicing, I actually managed to write this whole article using primarily my keyboard!  Go me! http://wow.joystiq.com/2014/03/31/how-to-stop-clicking/

Female Draenai and Male Tauren Artcrafts!  Looks like the Blizzard animators are really hoofing it to get these models done!  http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/13698957/artcraft-daughter-of-argus-4-8-2014  http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/13607366/artcraft-running-of-the-bulls-4-7-2014

Blizzard registered a trademark for Overwatch.  Maybe they are making a game about watching over the trademark registry for new filings.  http://wow.joystiq.com/2014/04/08/blizzard-registers-overwatch-trademark/

A new WoW Source is coming.  WoW! Source! would have been such a better name.  http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/12296589665?page=1#1

META

Host of WoW! Talk! and The Tauren & The Goblin. Sometimes known as the Video Games Public Defender. Wants to play more Destiny and Marvel Heroes but WoW is all-consuming. Decent F2P Hearthstone player. Sad that he lost the Wii that had Wrecking Crew on it. Would be happy if the only game ever made was M.U.L.E. Gragtharr on Skywall-US. Garresque on Ravencrest-US.

Specialty: RPG's