Pet Review – Serpent Update

May 5, 2008 at 10:33 am (Guide, Hunter, Pets, Warcraft, World of Warcraft) (, )

I found myself with quite a bit of time on my hands this weekend. I don’t know how it happened, but I wish I could replicate it. I went off and tamed a serpent, Kite, who has already gained a level and 2 loyalty levels. I think I can make a 2 word summary: “Windserpent lite.” Poison spit has all the disadvantages of Lightning Breath without any of the things that make LB good. LB is a focus dump, PS has a 8s cooldown. LB is instant damage that can crit, PS is a weak DoT. Both are nature damage, so they have the shaman stormstrike issue. Windserpents are high DPS to begin with, Serpents are at +0%. Poison Spit is a ranged attack, which means it has the same bug as Windserpents only worse.

So, situation #1 – not macroed. I pull agro so the mob runs towards me. During that time Spit’s CD is up and the serpent stops pursuit, runs AWAY, and casts the DoT. Now it has to run further to catch back up to the mob and resume DPS. Same thing happened to me with Windserpents, so lets do the same solution of putting it on the SS macro.

Situation #2 – PS on macro. The issue seems to be that there is a hidden cast time on PS since this didn’t happen with Windserpents. I pull agro so the mob runs towards me, and the CD is up just as before. Since it’s on the macro, there’s no cast until I hit it. But with a mob running towards me, I speed up a bit, anyway. The serpent’s reaction is to stop, turn around to back up, turn around again to start a cast, stop, turn away, turn back to start cast, stop, turn away, turn back, (repeat). The serpent basically stays in one place, doing the pet dance with itself. Once the mob is far enough away PS will cast and the serpent runs back to resume DPS. (FYI, if I stop spamming the macro, the serpent goes back to it’s behavior in #1.)

In the end, he’s closer to the mob when Poison Spit is finally cast in situation #2 than in #1, so it still seems worth having it on the macro since normal DPS resumes more quickly.

This whole thing is made worse by the fact that if I’m macro spamming, 8s is just about the time I usually pull agro. I’d say the bug occurs in 50% of my fights. Can I compensate for it? Sure. But isn’t the pet there to support me rather than me being there to support the pet? The sporebat may have some competition. At least Gus didn’t CAUSE problems. On the upside, I do like the animations for serpents.

Since I’m now exalted with SSO, I’m back to only doing the 4 outland based quests that have supply packs as rewards. I’m doing it for disenchanting the gear for extra g and the BoJ’s but I’m in a dry spell and haven’t see one in 3-4 days. I’m thinking Dory’s Embrace is going to be out of reach. So rather than try to grind level 70-72 mobs on the Isle with my below 70 pet, I’ve decided to go for some Consortium rep. I got 3k so far this weekend. By the time Kite hits 70, I might just be revered. I may actually get the ring enchant I want.

Also, this (hit view in 3D) is quite possibly the best looking bow in the game, IMO. I want it so badly…



  1. Goeben said,

    I’m not sure why you are so down on this “bug.” Clearly the developers intended for ranged abilities to be used at range when possible. If you don’t want to compensate for it, don’t blame the pet — it’s just following its programming.

    Personally, I avoid pulling agro in the first place. But if you prefer going full bore DPS, that’s fine too. If you do pull agro, why not use the “bug” to kite the mobs? When the mob runs toward you, and the serpent (or windserpent) goes to range, feign death. The mob will waste a lot of time running back and forth between you and the pet.

    Ranged pulling with a pet can also be useful, but you have to start farther away. If you want to fight the mob say at 30 yards, start 40 yards away. Send the serpent (or windserpent), which will cast when it is 20 yards from the mob. The pet and the mob will both close range, reaching each other about 30 yards from you. I find this very useful when pulling mobs in crowded areas — your pet has initial agro, and the mob is 10 yards farther away from any helpful friends.

  2. Goeben said,

    A clarification of my previous post:

    I don’t disagree with your comparative analysis of any of the pet families so far, or your general evaluation of the serpent. Under many circumstances, a serpent will be inferior to other pets, but I disagree with the idea that any pet, or any pet ability, is bad or should be avoided.

    No pet is perfect, after all, that’s why you are giving each one 4 grades as well as a final ranking. Each pet family requires a certain playstyle to be most effective. I will agree that ranged abilities — Poison Spit, Lightning Breath — require finesse, and may result in lower DPS under some circumstances compared with other abilities. As you noted, a serpent sacrifices more than a windserpent because it lacks base DPS, a focus dump, and a speed enhancement.

    But any pet can be effective if the hunter understands what he/she is doing, and why. There are a variety of possible hunter playstyles and pets to complement them. Ranged attack pets are not for everyone, but ranged abilities definitely don’t “CAUSE” problems. They are trickier to manage than straight melee pets, but they can be lots of fun, and very effective, if you enjoy a little finesse.

  3. Znodis said,

    You bring up some good points (which I’ll address in another post).

    Standing by themselves, I think any pet is viable given that the hunter knows how to use them and compensates for their weaknesses. I’m sure there’s many that have taken each family from the lowest levels to raiding at 70 and done just fine.

    What’s frustrating about the Serpent (and the cause of my negative tone) is that any advantage that may seem to exist, already is present in a better form with the Windserpent. Base stats (0%,0%0%) vs (7%0%0%). DoT vs Nuke. Focus dump vs 10s cooldown.

    Even the way a WS bugs is superior. (I’m pretty sure the pets are behaving as if the range of LB and PS are 8-30 rather than 0-30, hense bug.) To working around the bug with a macro solves the issue with WS, but the Serpent bugs out with it’s little solo dance. While I do really hate the bug in general, the venom in the post only refers to the lack of a workaround in Serpents. Once I used the macro on WS, there were no further issues.

    The focus of the review is comparison. With that in mind, if someone was going for the finesse play that you describe and considering either a Serpent or a Windserpent, I would tell them WS every time. That’s really all I’m trying to communicate.

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