Good-bye Stable

July 19, 2007 at 8:10 am (Game Design, Hunter, Pets, Warcraft, World of Warcraft)

This is just to clarify (for myself as well) why I think the stable needs to go away.

I have come to the opinion that the stable is a crutch. Not for players, but for the devs.  For players, the stable is just a place to put your pet while taming or your useless pet while you (pointlessly) wait for it to be buffed.  It is unnecessary.

At the outset of WoW, there were 4 classifications of pets (armor, hp, dps, balanced), varying pursuit speeds, attack speeds, but only a few choices for pet abilities (claw, bite, or nothing). All pets got growl, and in 2.5years I have yet to meet anyone that routinely uses cower. There really was a huge variety of pets. Though most were bland, there were some really interesting ones, for specific situations.

A few years later all pets can now be categorized by 2 questions: Does the pet have a focus dump ability and does it have a speed ability?

A pet that does not have a focus dump ability simple doesn’t have a snowballs chance in MC of holding agro. DPS is the only variable between pet families that determines whether it can produce enough threat to both solo tank or group DPS. HP and armor are non-factors if the pet isn’t getting hit and that’s the biggest issue right now. There are talents which allow the pet to generate extra focus, but with an ability on CD that’s just a wasted proc.

Dash, dive, charge, and warp are the type of skills critical to PvP. Most players know to ignore the pet when encountering a hunter. A good one will know to CC it. The movement abilities keep the pet doing damage and are just as critical as charge and shadowstep in PvP for keeping the enemy in melee range.

So there are now four categories of pet family:

Movement & Focus Dump Focus Dump
  • boar
  • carrion bird
  • cat
  • owl
  • ravager
  • warp stalker
  • windserpent
  • bear
  • crab
  • raptor
  • scorpid
Movement Neither
  • bat
  • dragonhawk
  • hyena
  • nether ray
  • tallstrider
  • wolf
  • crocolisk
  • gorilla
  • serpent
  • spider
  • sporebat
  • turtle

Pets in the top left I could recommend to anyone. There are some strengths and weaknesses there, but really any one is as good as the other. The 2 I’d say are furthest apart are the cat and warp stalker. There’ you’re trading DPS for some HP, but that’s basically an extra mend pet for the cat. And there’s the point. I can’t see someone saying ‘hold on a second, I have to hit the stables and swap out my cat for my warp stalker.’ The difference may be noticeable, but I doubt it will really matter.

So if you don’t need 2 pets, why have a stable? Here’s some reasons to get rid of it:

– Ends the when will my ____ get a family ability. Lets be frank. There’s just no way to maintain 23+ families over every expansion for the next X years. The only reason people still complain is that they have that favorite pet sitting in the stables. As someone in that situation, I can honestly say that I’d be saddened by the loss. But I’m willing to cut the cord and change the complaints from ‘give my crab an ability’ to ‘I remember back when I had a crab.’ Honestly, my raptor is superior and even he isn’t in the recommended box.

Narrow that list to 7-10 current pets, with 2-3 recommended pets added each expansion, and things are a bit more reasonable.

– Makes pets truly a partner. With no stable, people may try out a new pet when there’s 2 recommended at similar levels, but you spend the days /played with the same group of pixels next to you and you grow attached.  This seems to be one of the design goals for hunters.

– Slows flavor of the month pets. Everyone tame King B. Everyone tame a windserpent. Everyone grab a scorpid. If your pet could be nerfed at anytime, you may have second thoughts about grabbing that level 20 and trying to get it to 70 before the bug gets fixed. More power to those that can.

– Ends the tantalizing apple of ‘different pets for different times.’ Look, stables are too inconvenient for that anyway. No one wants to stop the raid while the hunters go swap pets for the next boss.  If you’re goal is to make pet classes that are useful all the time, you don’t need a stable.

– Similarly, keeps pet’s well rounded. With no stable, dev’s have no right to say ‘well just stable that pet for now, we’ll fix it soon.’  If you want a better pet, drop the old, get a new.

– It’s impossible to level 2 pets anyway. Having a stable doesn’t help get 2 pets up simultaneously. Without fail, one will make it to the level cap with the hunter and then it’s possible to start another. No stable required.

– Absolutes. Honestly, when people ask what pet should I get they want a short list. With the exception of the warp-stalkers all of those pets are available before level 20. And except for boars and carrion all are available close to 70 as well.

The only reason for stables right now is that they are necessary for taming and learning new skills.  However, there’s a solution there too.  Just leave the current taming bug in and purge the stable at logout.

Taking out stables resets the player expectations, and the dev’s priorities.  It will force players’ choices to be more meaningful.  Dev’s will be free from managing too many types of pets to concentrate on making a few good ones with what players need.  And once they actually have pets figured out, they can go back and ‘fix’ the rest.


1 Comment

  1. golden_hell said,

    I think you forget 2 thing

    the scorpid posion – which is really a great damage dealer on long fight

    the flame breath from dragon hawk – it s great and is an AOE (problem is that it can break the cages, trap, sheep easily).

    Anyway : it seems the ravager (and the new tamable 70 pet) one of the best pet avaible.

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