Windserpent – Swiftwing Shredder (69)
Overall Rank: 7/23 – Recommended
Damage reduction: 51.03%
Skills: Lightning Breath, Bite, Dive
|Solo: (B-) Lightning Breath requires more pet management than most.
Instance: (B+) Good damage especially against high armor targets, and doesn’t get in the way as much as other fliers. Watch for shaman issue.
BG: (B) Lots of PvP gear leads to higher crit and more LB.
Arena:(B) LB from distance seems to really annoy those that immobilize.
In my opinion (which this entire site is) this is not a pet for beginners. Windserpents are the sports cars of pet families. They are temperamental, require a ton of special treatment, and have huge potential. However, for all that work, in the real world, they just get you from A to B just like anything else.
Positives: Lightning Breath can help you pull from range, letting you pull where you may not have dared before. It scales (gains additional damage) from the hunter’s AP (unlike claw and gore), and also deals magic damage which means armor does not mitigate it. LB is also a focus dump meaning as often as you have 50 focus, it can be cast. So, there’s also some nice synergy with GftT and Beastial Discipline. The slimmer profile and smaller wing span means it doesn’t get in the way as much.Dive + higher damage + focus dump make this a recommended pet.
You may reasonably ask, why are windserpents below raptors, everyone says they’re better? Answer: People are lazy. Windserpent are indeed better, but I’d bet 50% of the people would tame a WS and then come back posting about how they used to have a raptor, and now their DPS went down with their new WS because they didn’t read the next part of the review. It’s a pet you have to know how to use to use it effectively unlike almost every other pet family which is basically tame and play. I’m hoping that if anyone ever uses my list to argue against getting a WS, the person on the other end points them to the actual review portion rather than just the ranking numbers.
Warning: Buyer beware.
There’s a bug with Lightning Breath where the pet tries to get to ranged before casting it. I found this to happen even while soloing. The second LB annoyance is that while it can be used to pull, it also means that the mob has to get to your pet before he can growl. Several times I mistakenly opened fire when the mob ran a bit and then stopped short delaying the growl. Agro on me, and if I happen to crit, it wasn’t coming off until the mob was dead. Both of these problems can be fixed by taking LB off auto cast and /macroing it to your steady shot. (This also negates the pulling from ranged advantage.)
This causes another issue, which is that although LB is a focus dump it uses it a chunk at a time. So I would have 15 focus, crit and gain 50 focus, gain a tick from beastial discipline and anything over 100 was wasted because I had to wait for my steady to fire. It’s not that it can’t/doesn’t do well, you just have to pay attention. Attention that may mean you don’t notice a mob/ganker/raid boss coming up behind you.
And what have you gained for all this work? Nothing a Cat, Ravager, or any other above this can’t give. You should also be aware that enhancement shaman’s Stormstrike ability increases damage from the next 2 nature attacks. LB will use those up, when they are better spent on a Boomkin or Elemental spell.
Final note: The run animation is currently (3/31/08) broken. It goes through only a small amount before looping back. It’s hard to describe but it’s very stuttery and distracting.