Ideas: Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

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Wain
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Ideas: Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Wain » Mon May 11, 2020 2:59 am

How would you like to see pet families restructured in Shadowlands?

I don’t mean which new families you’d like to see (though it's fine if you mention them as a small part of an overall restructure), but rather what restructuring of families and their abilities do you think are neeeded?

Here's what I've been thinking so far:

1. Multiple family specs again

Allow families to switch specs again. If not all three specs then at least allow access to two of the three. Say, if you think foxes shouldn't tank then at least give them options of Cunning and Ferocity, Bears could be Ferocity and Tenacity, etc. This would allow for at least some customization and adaptability.

If we have a two-spec system, one possibility would be to simply give every family access to Ferocity, plus one other spec. So the decision would be down to whether a family leans more towards Cunning or Tenacity as its second spec.


2. Merge some families

We now have 56 pet families, which makes it less attractive to add more, even when they're warranted. But there are some that could be merged to make room.
Note: Some of these cases would blend Exotic and non-Exotic families, but see my point 3 below on that...
  • Merge Carrion Birds into Birds of Prey. They made sense as separate families back when there weren't many. Now their distinctions aren't very important and it's mostly just confusing which bird belongs where.
  • Merge Wolves, regular Dogs and Foxes to make a Canine or Hound family.
  • Split off darkhounds and runehounds from Dogs and instead merge them with Core Hounds and Guarm-type helhounds to make a Helhound (or Doom Hound or Nether Hound?) family of supernatural hounds. They all have a lot in common. Most of them have horns, a number of them have multiple heads, most have a demonic or underworld flavour to them. Also, Helhounds are referred to as "hounds" in almost every place they're used, so it makes no sense for them to become Hydras purely because of their skeleton.
  • Merge Silithids into Ravagers (retain the name Ravagers). Especially since Draenor, these creatures have a lot of similarities.
  • Place kunchong in the Ravager family too, or split them off into a family of their own, along with Silithid Colossi.
  • Move the "sandreaver" (creepy-crawly) model from Silithids to Krolusks, and add the Gorms to make a "segmented crawler" type family. They have a lot of similarities.
  • Merge Raptors and Devilsaurs. They're both the same size as pets so there's little difference between them in the game.
  • Maybe merge Dragonhawks into Wind Serpents? They're both winged and feathered flying serpents.
  • I'd kinda like to merge Goats, Oxen and Stags into a horned and hooved family, but I'm unsure how to sort out the mess. And if they stay separate, antelopes belong with goats rather than deer- they’re all closely related.

3. Untether families from the "Exotic" definition and change the meaning of "Exotic"

The original definition of "Exotic" doesn't make as much sense these days. When the category was created we had far fewer weird-and-wonderful creatures, but now we're in a situation where any hunter can tame fantastic fire birds and spiders, but only one spec can tame mundane clefthooves. The Exotic category is also troublesome in gameplay, as it makes non-exotic families a less-attractive option for BM hunters. I propose:
  • Don't make any family Exotic in its entirety.
  • Allow all three hunter specs to use all families.
  • Give Beast Mastery hunters a second family ability (or some other bonus) for all families. Thus, Beast Mastery would become less about being able to tame more things and more about getting more performance out of any pet. Doing this would close the gap in viability between current exotic and non-exotic families. This wouldn't be so hard to achieve, and some of the existing exotic abilities could be recycled / modified for the other families.
  • Exotic pet types: Some hunters still prefer that a subset of pets remain exclusive to BM. If the class designers opt for this they could classify certain unusual looks or models within a family as "exotic". "Exotic" would then come to mean purely "Beast Mastery only" and not necessarily imply more abilities than other pet families have. As a theoretical example, wolves are usable by all hunters, but a cinder wolf (if it ever becomes tameable) might not be. Unusual looks that are already tameable by all hunters would have to be grandfathered in, so I'm not suggesting anyone loses the use of their existing fire spider! Making this change would allow for much greater control in which pets become restricted.
  • 'Spirit' types: I propose dissolving Spirit Beasts as a separate family and making each a "Spirit" type within their related families (all existing spirit beasts have regular family counterparts they can join). "Spirit" types could be treated as Exotic and remain BM-only. For abilities they'd get the regular ability of their related family (so a spirit wolf would get the wolf family ability) and an exotic 'spirit' ability that is common to all spirit beasts, for BM players. I thought this proposal would be the most controversial, but the replies have been pretty supportive!

4. Other classes/types/tags for special types of creatures (cross-family)
Certain other types of creatures could receive special 'type' or 'class' tags to distinguish them and give them different gameplay mechanics, while remaining in their regular families. These might be given distinctive secondary abilities for BM, (and some could optionally be made BM-only, though I'm not proposing that for all). For example:
  • 'Deathly': a bunch of deathly boars, oxen, chimaeras, rocs etc. are coming in Shadowlands, and they're being placed within regular families. These could be tagged/classed as "deathly"/"necrotic"/"undead" and be given a secondary ability like an instant revive, or a necrotic plague DoT.
  • There's potential for future elemental subclasses, like Fire or Void.
If all families get a second ability for BM players then special class abilities would supersede the regular secondary.


5. Even out family abilities
All families need to be useful. Raiders shouldn't feel restricted to just a few. Which family abilities are currently too powerful or too useless and unabalance their usage? I’d be curious what your experiences are with these.


6. Family ability customization per NPC?
This is more a rough idea for the future, and not an immediate wishlist one. And perhaps it's too much effort for too little gain, but I'm noting it here anyway....

Sometimes creatures within a family should have wildly different damage types depending on their wild NPC. Like there are chimaeras that breathe frost and others that breathe fire, or wind serpents that breathe fire or poison. I wonder if family abilities could be modified to allow customization for these situations - maybe different animations or wording depending on how the NPC is set in the database? Hmmm.
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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Valnaaros » Mon May 11, 2020 2:51 pm

I agree with all of the suggestions that you have listed, Wain, except for a couple in regards to merging certain families :)

Hyenas, while they are similar to canines, are not canines. They are Hyaenidae. They look and act similar to wolves and dogs in certain ways, but they also behave differently than them in other ways. The same could be said for foxes, but foxes are at least canines.

Dragonhawks and Wind Serpents are both winged and feathered flying serpents, but their origins and what they are capable of are completely different. Wind Serpents are connected in some way to Hakkar and are capable of breathing lightning and, depending on the species, spitting poison. They also can bite with their fangs and whipping with their tail. Dragonhawks are native to Quel'thalas, do not have any connection to Hakkar, and are capable of breathing fire, and can rend with their talons and beak. Currently neither Wind Serpents or Dragonhawks have their original abilities, but that isn't to say that they couldn't be restored in some form (I personally think that they should).

Aside from these, the only other issues I can think of is possible names. For example, what would a Raptor and Devilsaur family be called? Dinosaur wouldn't really work, since then you could add Direhorns and Pterrodaxes and that would make too broad of a family. This is a similar issue to possible naming/classification of merging goats, stags, and oxen.

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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by worgpower » Mon May 11, 2020 3:16 pm

I agree because family names for many different types of creatures can be hard to find and name for families with creatures that look different and are different to another, I think it’s easier just to have access to other specs

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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by MaximumOverdrive » Mon May 11, 2020 4:06 pm

My only thought to add to this wonderful list, is if they don't make exotics tamable for all specs, please drop the taming exotic ability back to level 10. Changing back to level 65 was some serious unneeded bs.
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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by WerebearGuy » Mon May 11, 2020 5:30 pm

I had a whole list of things I was gonna throw out there, but I'll just drop the most important one; Combine Basilisk, Crocolisk, and Lizard families. Here's my reasoning for it;
- "Lizard" encompasses diematradons (NOT a lizard), snapdragons (Fish? Wolves? Fishwolf?), sabertusk (Fictional lizard), and saurolisk (Actual lizard).
- If you want to argue that the diemetradons in WoW ARE reptiles, they're still just crocolisks with tall sails. It's like comparing a Lion and Barbary Lion.
- Basilisks are common reptiles in what feels like every world in the Warcraft universe, and they're pretty much just mutant crocodiles.
- Crocolisks ARE just mutant crocodiles.
- Basilisks are a dime-a-dozen pick in Cunning for slow debuffs, contesting with far more popular looks such as dogs and birds of prey.
- Crocolisks provide nothing in content as Ferocity pets other than their haste buff, which other Ferocity pets have while also being far more useful.

Lizards are Tenacity, and provide a Mortal Wound effect. While not the most useful when a Ferocity pet exists, Tenacity pets are extremely helpful. Ones that can apply Mortal Wounds are especially helpful, considering there are times where bosses can heal. Crocodiles in real life are known for putting grievous injuries on their target, more often than not including twisting whole chunks off of the body with a grip rivaling an industrial vise (I'm sure the victim would agree here). Crocolisks are just crocodiles with six legs, but all they do is slow a target? That's underwhelming! Basilisks are Cunning, but are identical to crocolisks in every way otherwise. Because they don't actually have the ability to petrify foes, there's not a real reason for them to still be called basilisks in this case. It's like declawing a cat, or clipping the wings of a bird. The basilisk after being tamed isn't a basilisk anymore other than in name. Same with all the poisonous lizards we tame.

TL;DR, there's no real difference between basilisks and crocodiles as pets aside from one being objectively inferior, and there's no reason they can't just be lumped in with Lizards since that family already has a broad range of included beasts.

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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Beviah » Mon May 11, 2020 5:59 pm

Great ideas Wain! I just wanted to share my feedback with you and the community. :)

I do love the idea of pets being able to switch specs again, it "breaks up" the meta for pets a little more. Having pets with multiple spec options, considering their traits and abilities are a lot more impactful now, speaking from a raiding perspective, it makes it more of "your choice", and less of, by using your favorite pet, you might be losing some critical utility. Having access to Bloodlust whenever I'm doing any activity, when my group is lacking it, is an incredible quality of life, as just one example. I would also not be opposed to the idea of the ability to tame pets or have access to use certain families, regardless of your spec, but by being in Beast Mastery, you get access to Exotic perks of some kind. I don't like that by switching to Marksman, or Survival, I can't use some of my pets. Although I understand the idea behind it, being that you are a master of beasts, you should have something to show for that scope of skill. It's just a minor complaint I have about the class over the years. As for dissolving species into sub-classes of their respective species, I think this is an interesting change, but I hold some level of concern towards it. If nothing functionally changes, such as for Spirit Beasts, then I'm completely okay with it. :D

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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Inay » Mon May 11, 2020 9:09 pm

I wish the Exotic family thing was removed, giving the BM hunters some shiny ability, but not gating models behind it anymore. As you say, I can have a shiny fel flaming Wolf in survival, but I cannot have a rylak? A clefthood? This distinction is no longer making any sense, and is only infuriating after Legion when they changed the gameplay of the specs so much.
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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Valnaaros » Mon May 11, 2020 10:19 pm

@Werebearguy I agree with the possibility of Crocolisks being merged with Lizards, but not Basilisks. Basilisks are not the same as Crocolisks, since Basilisks can turn an opponent to stone with its gaze. Crocolisks cannot do that.

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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by PorrasouxRex » Tue May 12, 2020 1:04 pm

It still seems like people only want Exotic Beasts for all specs out of hating the mechanic rather than a good reason. Beast Mastery should not be limited to just "he can summon multiple beasts at a time" that just means the hunter is good at multi-tasking, or control. But still does not properly define what a Beast Master is. What else is it then? Pets dealing more damage, and having rotations designed for your pet to use. Still not enough, and that is even worse than Multiple Beasts, as it isn't really a visual representation and just for the numbers game.

Exotics still and will be the main draw to BM. Sure it's annoying after awhile, but if we have lore reasons to prevent us from taming certain creatures, then there are lore reasons as to why regular hunters who specialize in melee/ranged combat can't tame a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Even if you tame fel-infused or void-infused wolves, they still are wolves. Gara is still a spirit beast because she was still technically dead even with the void giving her more of a physical form, those wolves we tame are still alive with fel.
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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by GormanGhaste » Tue May 12, 2020 2:19 pm

I've been playing BM since before exotics were even a thing. To me, BM is all about more pet abilities, more pet damage. It's not about what pet you have, it's about getting the best out of what pet you have. So yes I really love the idea of getting rid of the exotic label. Let everyone tame all the pets, but give BM pets extra abilities.

I agree with almost everything you suggested Wain. I don't like the idea of subclasses or specific exotic pets though. Both seem to add complication and confusion without enough benefit to be worth while to me.
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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Inay » Tue May 12, 2020 7:53 pm

hating the mechanic rather than a good reason.
Hating the mechanic is a very good reason though.
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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by DannyGreen » Wed May 13, 2020 7:16 pm

I would say, have certain pets only tameable by BM. It let's them keep a sense of specialness.
I'd say Spirit beasts should definitely be one of them. Special pet's only BM are able to tame.

As for family etc.
For the longest time I've been saying let BM have bonus skills on there pet abilities.
Birds can have a disarm, Cats can have a pounce. Whatever feels the need. The important part would be figuring out what the skills would be, without making them mandatory.

Bonus round. Add the option for flying pets to land. They have the animations.

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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Quiv » Wed May 13, 2020 9:25 pm

Two main things I'd like to see that plays into the hunter/pet fantasy:

1- truly training a pet. Its not far fetched to me for a hunter (or beast master) to train my devilsaur to be more defensive, or my turtle to be ferocious, and choose the ability and playstyle of the pet. Locking abilities to specs and families is fine as a default, and certainly plays into some fantasy, but let me train the pet.
2- changing the "mastery" part of beast mastery. I would love for the base versions of the families to be tameable by any spec, but beast masters unlock the mastery of the family. sure a marksman could bond with a wolf, but a beast master could unlock its greatness. This isn't to say get rid of exotics, but even that might be worth rethinking.

These ideas merge a missing piece of the hunter/pet fantasy, while also making gameplay more flexible and meaningful. If I am using a pet that I enjoy and "trained" it a certain way while unlocking its mastery (the best version of itself), that would be more meaningful than the game locking these decisions in for me.

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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Wain » Fri May 15, 2020 10:21 am

Wow, so many great replies to this thread. Thanks for all your thoughts so far, and I'm sorry I haven't replied sooner. Documenting Alpha pets has been pretty time-consuming :P

Valnaaros, you're right about Hyenas (I scratched them out). I get what you said about the difference between dragonhawks and wind serpents, though I'm not so sure about how important that is, since families are often composed of beasts that are a lot alike without having a shared mythical origin, and some wind serpents breathe fire, while others lightning. There are other groups (like chimaeras) where breath types vary between species and it would be great if that could carry over to the pet you tame, but I guess that's unlikely.

@Werebearguy I agree that lizards are a weird mish-mash of creatures already, and maybe crocs could fit with them if they were given a new name. A bit like "Scalehides", I guess (I'm not saying merge them with Scalehides necessarily, but give them a name with a similar flavour). I think Basilisks should probably stay separate since they have a very specific kind of trait in turning things to stone.

As for the "subclass" idea, I can see why that might seem like an over-complication. Maybe think of it less as a subclass and more as a flavour or type of pet within any family. Like most Boars or Oxen or Cats would be type "Regular", but some might be type "Spirit" or "Undead" and give a different power to BM players than the Regular ones would, and might be BM-restricted (or not). It would be more a BM thing.

Anyway, that's enough from me for now. My brain feels like quicksand tonight :P

A couple of questions: does anyone PvP regularly and feel that certain families eclipse all the others because of their abilities? If so, how do you think that could be fixed? Same with high-end raiders. Thanks :)
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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Vornesoul » Sat May 16, 2020 7:29 am

My Goblin Hunter tamed a turtle in Pandaria that I had used as my solo tank till BFA launched. It got shelved because Tenacity doesn't tank as well as Ferocity. As a Goblin, I have to chose between the Mechanical pets that I love and being the best hunter (mechanically) that I can be. I'm the type who is playing BM right now even though I love MM because of how effective BM is. This means that I am almost always using a Spirit Beast even though I personally don't like them.

It's time to remove the exotic distinction. We love to say how special Spirit Beasts are but what about... Worms? Shale Spiders? Quilen? Water Striders? Krolusks? I only see those pets as Animal Companions now, if I ever see them. We love Spirit Beasts because they look great, are "challenge tames" and they are so good that you are almost always using one. I need to be able to use the pets I have without feeling like I am holding back the team. Why give us more stable slots when most of my stable already stays stabled?

At a minimum I would remove the exotic tag and give all families a default ability and a BM only ability. It would also let BM hunters use their favorite currently non-exotic pets. Maybe condense the families down too. Mechanically, a Hyena is basically a Raptor and a Rodent. Right now a Basilisk is a Dog with a different coat of paint. Not grouping them with canines seems pedantic.

If I could do anything? I'd bring back some pet choices. Maybe you could pick between one of the abilities at tame, retrain at Stable Masters, and BM hunters unlock both. Maybe you bring the modern talent system into pet talents. I'd love my mechano-dog to be able to chose between a robo-shield or B.O.R.K! I'd love to be able to make my angry little snapping turtle bite people again. Let me give him some AoE damage by giving him a spin!

There are hundreds of possible pets in the game currently. Yet I don't feel like I have any choices.

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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Tårnfalk » Sat May 16, 2020 8:27 am

I dont play more but here is my idea
Open up all tames for all spec but let beastmaster be able to freely choose the spec and abilities for your pet.
Example
Spec a turtle to ferocity and give it feather fall
Spec a mechanic pet to tenacity and give it spirit mend

That way bm still has something special

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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Rikaku » Sat May 16, 2020 9:35 am

I like all the ideas but the "let all specs have spirit beasts" portion - Unless it was like the "BM only looks" idea. And the only reason I say that is because I'd be very miffed if I saw a MM or SV Hunter using Hati while I still can't use the MM bow appearances I earned as BM :lol:

Hati was a part of BM's Legion artifact weapon. Unless BM Hunter gets to start to using MM artifact appearances for tmog while in BM spec, I don't think it'd be fair for BM to share Hati with the other specs.

In which case, the "exotic looks" idea would be a solution to that. Or just let players start using any Artifact appearance they earned on any spec (make the Legion Artifact Appearance Class-locked, not spec-locked) and then (imo) it's fair to allow Hati as a Spirit Beast to all specs of Hunter.

Again it's really just a small thing, otherwise I like the ideas overall. It was literally just the Hati portion regarding Spirit Beasts that gave me pause. But then again, I might be biased. I've always thought Legion appearances should've been class-locked not spec-locked once BFA launched, lol
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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Valnaaros » Sat May 16, 2020 10:11 am

Tårnfalk wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 8:27 am
I dont play more but here is my idea
Open up all tames for all spec but let beastmaster be able to freely choose the spec and abilities for your pet.
Example
Spec a turtle to ferocity and give it feather fall
Spec a mechanic pet to tenacity and give it spirit mend

That way bm still has something special
I agree with allowing them to choose any spec, but not any ability. The abilities need to make sense for the beast.

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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by DannyGreen » Sun May 17, 2020 7:16 pm

Valnaaros wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 10:11 am
Tårnfalk wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 8:27 am
I dont play more but here is my idea
Open up all tames for all spec but let beastmaster be able to freely choose the spec and abilities for your pet.
Example
Spec a turtle to ferocity and give it feather fall
Spec a mechanic pet to tenacity and give it spirit mend

That way bm still has something special
I agree with allowing them to choose any spec, but not any ability. The abilities need to make sense for the beast.
I think a solution to this would be.
Remove exotic limitations on pets and let us choose the spec of the pet (ferocity, cunning, tenacity) Or let us choose the buff to apply like your pvp skill trinket.

All pet's now have a non offensive ability. Heal debuff, slow, defensive, everything except the Tranq shot. Since that's much more powerful.
I'm sure you guys could think up a few more generic things like, an aoe taunt self heal or something.

That would apply to all the pets, depending on family. So while there may be a "BEST PET" the difference would be miniscule.

Then have pet's learn an ability which are current skills with new names. Much like the current talent system, you just select a trait from a list to attach to your pet.

Spirit mend, becomes Wound lick.
Dune strider becomes Powerfull legs.
Blood of the Rhino becomes Sturdy build.
Etc etc. A few I feel should be exclusive. Like surface trot and updraft.

And BM can attatch 2 to there pet.

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Re: [IDEAS] Pet Family Rework for Shadowlands

Unread post by Myzou » Sun May 17, 2020 9:18 pm

Wain wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 2:59 am
As a theoretical example, wolves are usable by all hunters, but a cinder wolf (if it ever becomes tameable) might not be. Unusual looks that are already tameable by all hunters would have to be grandfathered in, so I'm not suggesting anyone loses the use of their existing fire spider! This links with my next suggestion...
Just to comment on this, I would ditch hunter after 15 years and never look back.

Hunters should not be forced to go BM to have neat looking pets.

I don't understand the purpose of making ANY pet BM only. What about a BM hunter makes them able to befriend a beast that other hunters can't? Survival Hunters fight *side-by-side* with their pets. If anything, that proves they have a stronger bond than BM hunters, especially since they trust the hunter not to hit them with grenades.

I agree with adding 2nd abilities to all pets and making that the BM unique thing, but no way to the other parts. I would not touch my hunter again if I could only use "mundane" looking pets as Survival.

Now that Survival is melee, they fill VERY different roles, so "Just play BM" is not a valid excuse.

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