Sep 27, 2005

Training Cats and Dogs: Part Deux

Ok, I have to apologize. I'd never intended Ditlog to devolve into a episodic, stream of consciousness journal of the Misadventures of Erilar the Hunter. I mean, who wants to read that? It's like the old geek joke about hanging out at the gaming convention and the slightly disturbingly weird uber-geek who won't stop following one around and talking about his character.

In any case, the point I've been meandering towards is this: Ditlog is still an experiment. To anyone out there that's actually reading this, please hang in there. As I've stated previously, I created Ditlog as a working experiment. At this point, Ditlog is an merely a instrument designed to congeal my muddled thoughts and half-formed ideas about a website by simple evolution.

So, without further befuddlement, I'd like to present this entry as I probably should have the first time through:

I've been spending some of my WoW time lately beefing up my hunter's pet. With the release of patch 1.7, hunters have been blessed not only with the long-awaited revamping of our Talent trees, but also the addition of a bevy of interesting new pet abilities.

Due to the wide variety of choices now available, I've been spending many a lunch hour scheming about the exact combination of abilities I want to train Erilar's trusty nightsaber with. In the process, I stumbled upon two very helpful hunter pet resources.

Petopia is a smashing new website that details the types of trainable beasts available, their individual characteristics and advantages, and an informative top-50 list. Petopia does a great job of outlining all the pet abilities now available, complete with a guide to what animals an aspiring hunter can learn each from. Finally, Petopia has collected a comprehensive collection of images detailing all the different varieties of each species. Truly, a valuable resource for gun- (and bow-) toting Azerothians everywhere.

Not to be outdone, WoW enthusiasts Rocket, Bindar, and Rooke have developed a highly-useful pet training calculator which allows one to plan out the own Stupid Pet Tricks to the nth degree. This web app even customizes the training points and pet skills available to a hunter of a given level. Pink pencil-tip erasers world-wide have issued a press release to the developers thanking then for saving hundreds of their brethren from an untimely and dusty demise.

My recent efforts have snared me two new abilities for Erilar's hunting companion. The first, Dash, has actually been available in-game for some time now, but after some quality Petopia time, I decided that it was for me. Dash allows your pet a brief 15-second burst of speed - from a 40% bonus at lower levels to a whopping 80% at the highest. I'm interested see the skill's utility in chasing down runners, but at this early stage I've been getting a real kick out of seeing my new wolf take off like a rocket towards target mobs, with a satisfying Superman-like woosh, when given the command to attack. Cool factor:10, Usefulness: TBD.

Prowl is one of the new 1.7 pet abilities. It allows pets of the feline variety to enter stealth mode, like a rogue or druid in cat form. Their speed is reduced to 50-60% of normal, but their first hit scored (breaking stealth) yields a total of 120-150% of normal damage. Quite cool. It seems that leaving this ability on autocast will not be practical, as the animal then moves too slowly to keep up with his/her master, but it will be an interesting addition to hunter tactics.

I intend to collect the Furious Howl skill next for my new wolf. This nifty ability imparts a 10-second buff to each party member's next attack. I can't wait to see what Blizzard has in store for the pets that were left out in 1.7 - particularly bears and spiders!

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