Ranged hunter pets: a possible solution to pet-pathing and range issues in raids

Me and my Thunderhawk

Me and my Thunderhawk

Has anyone had the problem where your pet gets itself out of range on Immerseus and disappears, requiring a re-summon?

I have. The first time I noticed it was in LFR. I had to re-summon my pet several times on that fight, and, since I was paying attention to damaging the boss and then downing all of my adds, I couldn’t figure out why. At first, I thought it might be because the back of the boss is so far away from where I was standing, so I moved to an area behind the boss when we did it on Flex on Saturday, and it still happened twice.

I was stymied. The only other possibility I can think of is that perhaps, when Immerseus “splits,” his physical model technically collapses below the ground. This reminded me of how sometimes, in spite of attempts I would make to force him to follow me, my pet would still “chase” one of the heads of Megaera, sometimes way down the length of the place where the water met the ground, when a head would submerge, and would eventually disappear. This also required a re-summon, and thinking about that this weekend made me wonder if the pet is chasing the Immerseus model below the ground when he “splits.”

I generally think the problem, though, is that the boss is simply so large that if the pet is on the other side of the hit-box, you can get too far away from it if you Disengage or otherwise move out of range.

Blizzard has commented in recent months that they can’t fix all of the pathing issues, since they’re more about specific fights or terrain than about the pathing skills of the pets themselves. While I’m skeptical about how true that ultimately is, I’m willing to accept that argument if they’ll consider real solutions to the problem, in order to give hunters the opportunity to not have to waste (potentially several) GCDs re-summoning pets on certain encounters.

My proposal is to take pathing and range issues out of the equation entirely by creating a new subset of pets that can attack at range, by your side or wherever you place them. This subset would be special in that it would consist of pet families such as birds, wind serpents, dragonhawks, bats, sporebats, and other relatively similar creatures. There would be enough different families that all raid buffs could be brought, and would be non-exotic in order for every spec to be able to use them.

We’ve already seen this in other parts of the game. Hunters with the T15 2-piece bonus occasionally summon a Thunderhawk to fight for them; the Thunderhawk stands next to the hunter and casts spells at the target. Outside the hunter class, there are Frost mages with their water elementals and warlocks with their imps, standing at range, faithfully casting Water Bolts and Fireballs, respectively. And the Bad Juju trinket procs Voodoo Gnomes that cast a Chain Lightning-type attack for any class that can use the trinket: hunters, shaman, druids, rogues, monks… so there are certainly examples of the mechanic already existing in the game.

I’m not proposing that all current and future hunter pets would be ranged pets – which would be kind of silly: “Go, uh… stand here and get ’em, Hyena!” – and I’m also not proposing that we move to a ranged-only pet system. However, it seems that providing the option on open-/large-terraine boss fights would be a nice quality of life change for a class for which managing a pet can be a nightmare, due to certain boss mechanics – and in this expansion, the biggest culprits seemed to be “boss submerges,” “huge hit-box bosses,” and “boss flies to other side of large room” mechanics.

We could even have an additional command button for pets to “Attack at Range” or something to that effect, giving us the option, for appropriate pet classes, to either send the pet in with the infantry or hold it back while still attacking, with no damage penalty for not being in melee range.

Perhaps I’m the only hunter who feels this way. Maybe I’m the only one seeing these problems on Immerseus, but I know that I’ve read a lot about problems hunters have had on Megaera, and basically Blizzard’s response was to shrug and apologize, without hope for a solution. My proposal would generally negate the need for Blizzard to fix “every pathing issue on every single boss,” and could be done while staying true to the basic context of the game: war done with all kinds of magic. If kept to pet families that could believably attack at range, such a concept isn’t far-fetched, shouldn’t really be that difficult to develop (since the mechanics are already there in other places), and would still allow skilled hunters to control exactly where the pet needs to go and what it needs to target.

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


2 Comments on “Ranged hunter pets: a possible solution to pet-pathing and range issues in raids”

  1. They’ve fixed something similar before, actually – in the Shado-pan dungeon, when Gu Cloudstrike calls down the serpent to fight for him, pets used to get stuck “behind” the serpent (especially with Blink Strike) and were totally useless for pet-dependent things like Kill Command. Worse, you couldn’t dismiss it during the fight and resummon it, because it was out of your line of sight.

    I say that they’ve fixed it because I did several Shado-pan runs on a new hunter, and hooray! No pet getting stuck out in the nothingness!

    • I actually had a similar situation just occur recently while leveling my Unholy DK on this exact same boss. Once serpent was summoned, my ghoul just sat there lump a bump on a log. Mashing the attack or assist button didn’t help, either. This was just last weekend.

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