Pet taunts on the Isle of Thunder

With Patch 5.2, I got rid of my rarely-used PvP off-spec and set up a questing/soloing SV spec, glyphed and talented for pet healing and a little bit more utility. With the Isle of Thunder containing clusters of mobs with higher health levels, quest “bosses,” rares, solo scenarios, and so on, I felt that it would make my life a little bit easier, and it definitely has.

Pet Growl is great in MoP – very effective in situations like this. Because I’m a lazy hunter, I usually just leave Growl on. Lots of other hunters do the same thing, which makes it kind of humorous when you’re fighting a rare with two hunters on it and the pets keep taunting off one another.

However, I’ve been learning (again) that, when hunters do this in certain situations, it’s not as funny on the other side of the ball.

While the knowledge has always been there, this was really brought home to me over the past week with my warrior tank. Stage 4 opened last week, bringing more “boss” quests per day, and more rares to kill. A couple of these bosses, including Itoka, Master of the Forge, and Metal Lord Mono-han, put a lot of bad on the ground in the form of energized metal, roaming electric sparks, electrified water, and so on. These things are obviously good to get out of, and likewise, kiting the boss out of or away from them is imperative.

As a prot warrior – and hence, on the other side of the ball with regard to the relationship with tanking pets in these situations –  I’ve repeatedly been frustrated when hunters keep Growl on when it’s pretty obvious that I’m tanking the boss. It’s pretty annoying when, as a tank, you can’t kite the boss out of persistent bad because the pet is taunting him immediately after you do, every time.

With Itoka, the roaming sparks are a constant nuisance, and Metal Lord’s “Toss Energized Metal” is similar, although in his case the danger circles are static. In either case, constant re-positioning is fairly mandatory, and, as someone who enjoys tanking, I like moving the boss around to give everyone the best chance to do damage and to take a minimum of damage themselves. This is virtually impossible when the hunter either ignores this concept or is completely unaware that it’s a problem.

I do take solace from the fact that, on several occasions, hunter pets have died during these fights, and I’ve been able to resume controlling the boss’s position. But here’s the bottom line about hunter pets constantly taunting off the tank and standing stationary in bad stuff, regardless of whether hunters care about their pets dying:


Potentially a lot longer.

When the pet has either of these bosses, and the hunter isn’t spending any time re-positioning it like a normal tank should, the original tank and any other melee DPS cannot do their normal damage to the mob. They could, theoretically – but that would involve taking boatloads of damage due to spending way too much time being hit by electrical charges of one form or another, and likely dying if they didn’t get out in time. The AoE damage on these fights is no joke; even as a decently geared tank, it’s virtually impossible to stand in one of these circles for the entire fight and survive. And even if there is no AoE around for the moment, a tank taking no damage is building up zero vengeance, so his/her damage for that time period is going to be pretty anemic.

And pets don’t have a vengeance mechanic, so there’s absolutely no “win” in pet tanking when there’s someone else there that wants to tank the boss for you.

There have been several occasions over the past week where a hunter pet has taken control of the boss, and I’ve been forced to stand outside the circle, telling the hunter to “please turn off Growl” (if the hunter is Alliance) and tossing Heroic Throw because I can’t otherwise reach the boss. I try to make it obvious, without resorting to being unpleasant, that I. can’t. do. anything. And neither can that ret pally or DK or rogue standing next to me. And the boss loses health at a much slower rate, and it’s just a huge pain in the ass, because nobody can do what they would normally be doing in that situation, other than the hunter.

So, a word to wise hunters: please keep the Growl button on your pet bar. Know when to turn it off – and if you don’t know when to turn it off, it’s any time you don’t need to be the tank on a rare or a quest “boss.” And use Glyph of Stampede, so that it turns off Growl on all of your stampeding pets as well. Because if you don’t, you’re needlessly making your own dailies – not to mention others’ – take a bit longer to complete. Which sucks, because dailies take enough time as it is. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.

Bad pun intended.

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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!

8 Comments on “Pet taunts on the Isle of Thunder”

  1. […] However, I’ve been learning (again) that, when hunters do this in certain situations, it’s not as funny on the other side of the ball. . . . read full article […]

  2. TheGrumpyElf says:

    I love doing the rares on my DK because I can solo them all without even thinking but I was saying the same thing you are saying yesterday when a hunter, for the third time, started attacking a rare I was killing. Take off growl.

    Seriously, growl is not like it used to be. Any tank worth their salt could easily out threat the old growl. But now it is a real taunt. What is worse is that the pets do not die. As a hunter main I can also solo all the rares on the island thanks to the fact my pet never takes any sizable damage.

    Locks with their walkers, hunters with their pets, shaman and their earth elemental, you name it, they all annoy the crap out of me when I am on one of my tank characters. If you see someone tanking, take off taunt, simple as that. I do it which means they can do it too. People need to pay more attention to what is going on around them but then again, that is part of the problem, people don’t notice anything but themselves.

    As you said, rares, quest mobs, go down faster when you have a tank moving the mob so all melee can attack. It goes down faster when you have a tank gaining vengeance and doing more damage. It goes down faster if people learn to play the game the way it should be played.

    Word to the wise to my fellow hunters out there. All tanks have tell tale moves that have a distinctive animation. If you see a melee and they are using these tel tale abilities, turn off growl. It would be better for them, and you. Be a good hunter, don’t be one of the bad ones.

  3. I try to leave Growl off.
    I know myself. If I left it on, I would forget.
    I don’t want to be “that” hunter.

    • Mushan says:

      Hehe – yeah, I’ve done the same thing, but since I’ve had my tank on the Isle, I’m trying to be conscious of my ways when I’m huntering. But I know what you mean!

  4. Peter says:

    The pet growl is a weird thing. In 5.0.x it was a true taunt, but in 5.1 they removed the taunt. Since then it is no true taunt and tanks losing agro to a pet should be ashamed.

    Since 5.1 it now back to being a weak (as I can fairly easily pull agro off my own pet) agro trigger. MD is once again needed for true agro holding. Of course growl should still be off in raids for that reason.

    So I have actually never seen this multiple pet issue? Or could it be that Blizzard added, or left something smart to it that makes it a hybrid taunt and the classic agro buf?

    • Mushan says:

      To my knowledge, you’re partly correct, in that Growl is not a true taunt on raid bosses. However, it still is – and sucks balls – for non-raid bosses, such as the rares and “quest bosses” that I mentioned above.

      If it were not a problem, I wouldn’t have written this post, and I am not ashamed that I struggle to recover when a pet auto-taunts off me on the Isle of Thunder as soon as I taunt. I don’t have a problem taunting a raid boss off a fellow raid tank on my warrior and holding aggro until he taunts it back. But the pets, who auto-taunt when they lose aggro on these outdoor mobs, are a complete pain.

      TheGrumpyElf has the same problem, and he knows his shit, so I feel a bit vindicated with the point I made. Thanks for your comment.

      • Peter says:

        Sorry if something rubbed the wrong way, but it does seem to be more complicated than the article states.

        Before 5.1 the pet was a taunt. After 5.1 not anymore. Also since I can easily out-agro my own pet against non-raid bosses including those on the Isle of Thunder, I still wonder why a tank may have issues since they have a much higher agro per damage ratio.

        So I tried to do some experiments yesterday. A druid bear tank and my hyena pet both tanked the haywire sunreaver elite. He held agro steady all the time, after doing one initial taunt. I even did full misdirect on top of growl on each cooldown and still had zero chance pulling the elite off him. My ashamed comment referred to that situation.

        Also when solo’ing old raid bosses there are various bosses that reset (tank) agro and attack you the hunter again. Against various bosses it takes even with growl and misdirect quite some time to get the pet to agro again. If it was a true taunt that would be no issue.

        So what we think is the problem, is that pets have a high initial agro. Their growl buf probably puts a high initial agro instantly. So if a regular tank and pet go in at the start, the regular tank may have issues indeed for a while until the tank can build up on its own. Similar if the pet comes in soon after the tank pulled.

        Other explanations we thought off could be that it puts a very high temporarily agro on it. So like the hunters misdirect it fades, or is perhaps only active when the buf is active? The standard agro tooltip from Blizzard doesn’t help much here, so I may need to go look for one of those old add-ons to get more accurate agro info.

    • Mushan says:

      I wrote a long response – even longer than this one – describing my experiences, but decided to save your eyes. It was turning into too much “run-on.” :)

      I did go out tonight to do my dailies on my hunter, playing around with different situations, using Skada’s threat meter. Here are a couple of things that I noticed, as an ilvl 508 SV hunter with a tenacity turtle.

      1) If I pull the Zandalari Colossus (an elite) to me, and then sic my pet on him after I have aggro, there is no way the pet will get aggro. I killed him by shooting him at point-blank range, with my turtle snapping at his heels the whole time. He completely ignored Growl.

      2) On normal (single) mobs, the pet will get aggro, whether I pull or not, with no Misdirection. The growl will almost always catapult the pet’s threat so high that he is dwarfing me on the threat meter from Growl until death, despite the fact that I’m doing insanely more damage than my turtle.

      3) Fights like Metal Lord Mono-han – who is a quest “boss” but is not an elite, are the same. He’ll growl and that’s the end of it. I can’t out-aggro him to save my life…

      4) …except for other fights like that, such as Fleshcrafter Hoku, who I pulled and then sicced my pet onto. I tanked that one the whole time, the same way I did with the Colossus, testing it out – he ignored any Growl I used to try to get him off me.

      5) Mumta spawned while I was in Court of Bones. I went upstairs and someone had pulled. I started shooting, my pet charged, Growled… and held aggro for the entire fight, despite all of my efforts to out-threat him (and those of the other players).

      6) I’ve also noticed over the past few days that, on Fleshcrafter, if a hunter of the opposite faction throws down an Ice Trap while I’m tanking him on my warrior, I get trapped by that Ice Trap. It shows up with a reddish hue, just like PvP, although I am not flagged and neither is the hunter, and it affects me just like it would in PvP.

      So there are weird things going on. Weird things with taunt mechanics, and weird Isle of Thunder-y things. I’m not sure what the hard and fast rules are for the Growl mechanic and how it’s working when I do dailies on either toon.

      Your points are all valid, and thanks for sharing them. I’m glad you responded to my response – you gave me some things to think about as I tested things out. I have to say that I am still not embarrassed or ashamed that I’ve had these issues when I play my warrior. It seems like there are inconsistencies in how Growl works, post 5.1. And it seems that others have had these issues too.

      Thanks again for commenting!

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