The 4.1 patch is upon us and we have many, many changes to the Hunters’ life. Most of these are reason for great joy and celebration.
The complete removal of the pet happiness system does not qualify for that description in casa de Grimmtooth, however.
No, I’m not being contrary to be contrary. I have long appreciated the little nuances, the "flavor text", if you will, of being a Hunter. The complex and involved pet training regimen. The agonizing decision as to what pet to bring out of the stables. The constant care and affection required to keep your pet happy.
All of these, of course, are gone.
Pet training has been revamped, and, at least, is relatively interesting in that you now get a talent tree instead of a list of things to train. Still, for each pet tree there is one, and only one, "correct" talent template (two counting the extra talent points that BM hunters get) – at least according to the usual suspects.
Stables have evolved. Addition of the remote stable started the journey towards thoughtlessness, but the current "five pets in mah pocket" changes for 4.0 pretty much made it a non-issue. Plus, it’s kinda ridiculous. We’re hunters, not mages.
Now, the pet happiness system has been scrapped. A lot of people have used the mindless rubric, "well, the glyph pretty much made it pointless", but that statement makes a dangerous, and totally invalid, assumption. I never said that I though that the changes to happiness in 4.03 were good. Quite the contrary. I’ve been silent on the topic because I didn’t have anything nice to say. And I still wouldn’t have said anything except some relatively vocal supporters of the 4.1 changes have continuously trotted out this flimsy excuse. I’ll say it now, loud and clear. I thought it was a bad idea then, and I think it’s a bad idea now. For no other reason than to give Hunters a little bit of flavor, to set the bar at a minimalistic third-grade reading level, and illustrate the difference between a casual huntard, and a real pro huntard.
Obviously, my opinion changes nothing. Our pets went from being meaningful to portable buff machines in 4.0.3. In 4.1, it’s moreso, but now you don’t have to maintain them, either.
I find it interesting that Frostheim’s description of the Hydra family focused on the buff first, is all I’m saying.
In many ways, it seems, hunter pets are lesser than Warlock demons in terms of how interesting they are, now.
And, all due respect to my Warlocky friends, that is an extremely sad state of affairs.
There may come a day soon in which you buy your pet from a store, rather than use the Tame ability. On that day, Hunters and rice cakes will have something in common.
This is a recurring theme in WoW. Things that are moderately difficult, get removed. Remember night? We used to have it. Where’s the weather? Used to be, you had to be level appropriate to fish from specific areas, much less pools. 310% flight speed was earned, not bought. And so forth.
I feel it diminishes us all, in one way or another. There are obviously people that disagree, and Blizz wants their money.