It's exciting times to be playing a hunter there's no doubt about that. As I alluded to a in a recent post I've been running around training some new pets. My choices are a combination of research, analysis and 'zomg cute factor' just so you know *grin*.
I've got Snaggle as my Ferocity pet so I wanted to try out a Cunning and a Tenacity pet. After some reading at the most brilliant pet resource of all Petopia I opted to train a spider as my Cunning pet. My reason was because spiders have the special ability Web and I could foresee this being very useful in PVP against melee classes.
I decided to train one of the spiders that lurk in Terrokar forest since a) the location was convenient and b) I like the skin. After putting the lurve onto my spider and feeding him some Clefthoof Ribs to make him happy I specced him out and played around a bit with killing other spiders to get comfortable with using him. I found myself to be pleased.
Next I hopped over to Ironforge to pick up some glyphs from the Auction House and realised that a couple of fellow guildies were duelling out the front, a warrior and a rogue. Eager to try out spideys Web ability I joined them. I duelled the warrior first and won and then fought him again and lost. Mr Rogue had been observing and was very interested in seeing Web in action so then we duelled. I lost the first one and won the second. Now Mr Rogue is one of the top PVPers in our guild, very skilled so the fact that I managed to beat him was awesome! He however was not very pleased with spidey at all! I was not very pleased to discover the rogue ability Dismantle. We experimented a bit and discovered that when under the effects of The Beast Within it's still possible to be affected by Dismantle. Not happy. Still all in all I was feeling the joy of having a new tool in my PVP arsenal and in honour of the discombobulation Mr Rogue was experiencing trying to find a counter for Web I adopted his name suggestion for spider: Smithers. Hehe.
The main thing though of course is working out how to manually trigger Web. In a PVP situation against more than one player it's going to be pretty useless if the ability is on autocast and spidey uses it on a ranged caster while a warrior is all up in my grill. During these initial duels I had an autocast macro set up to toggle the ability:
/petautocasttoggle WebBut this didn't give me the fine control I was looking for. Someone suggested I modify a warlock pet macro for my own use and this is what I ended up doing. The bonus being that I can use one macro to trigger a special ability for each pet depending which one I'm currently using thus:
/cast [pet:spider] web; [pet:cat] rabid; [pet:bear] swipeI haven't decided whether it's worth having the cat and bear abilities on manual cast yet. I can see a future where I get yelled at for having Swipe on autocast for bear in a crowd control situation. Rabid I will probably end up working into a macro associated to a shot rotation. Anyway the macro works and that's good. Well it kind of works. I've been grinding elementals up in Nagrand for pet levelling purposes (as well as hopefully some profit) and using the time to experiment with 'on demand' casting of Web. I soon discovered that I would frequently get a 'ability not ready' error when trying to cast it. Huh?
I'm no guru as I've often stated before so it was time to search the interwebs to see what more intelligent people than me are saying. What was puzzling me is that Web is a no cost instant cast so it's not like I needed to make sure Smithers has enough focus before I try and cast it. What then is causing the issue? To Elitist Jerks! I waded through the massively long Hunter WoTLK thread and on page 185 came across this comment:
Hey guys, I've noticed with my crab that while claw is on autocast, it triggers the 1.5s GCD and thus it makes it very hard for me to using pin or roar of sacrifice.Aha! So it seems that pet special abilities are using the 1.5 second Global Cool Down. That's not very cool since even with the changes to Autoshoot you're generally spending a lot of time managing the GCD to keep up a steady rotation working in your shots as you need them. Initially I tried inserting /stopcasting in front of my macro but this didn't yeild consistent results. Further research revealed that pet special abilities share the GCD with Bite. So I turned off Bite and ran around killing Basilisks. Result - Web cast everytime I wanted it to. I removed the /stopcasting command from the macro and experimented with firing the macro mid cast of steady shot and no problem. This would seem to indicate that the special ability is tied only to Bite and not the GCD for hunter abilities. No idea if this is actually true though.
I have noticed however that intervene doesn't have this problem since the pet can intervene while in the GCD of a claw. However, I wish blizzard would do the same with pin and roar of sacrifice as these are all on demand skills.
The way it is currently, I have to turn off claw, cast pin, then turn claw back on. Even though I have a macro to do this, it requires 2 button presses and is kinda inconvenient.
Does anyone have any opinions on this? =P
I know that blizzard removed focus costs from almost all the pet special abilities since people were complaining that due to the focus dump skill, no pet could ever have the energy to perform their special abilities without the hunter first disabling the auto cast. However with the special attacks on the GCD, it is still pretty annoying =P.
What do you guys think?
Conclusion: At this time the only way to manually cast a pet special ability on demand is to have Bite turned off. Whether this is at the detriment of your DPS is not a question I have the theorycraft skills to answer, but for me, in a PVP situation the ability to control when I cast Web is more important to me than the damage from Bite.
Of course now I need to work out whether I should manually cast Wolverine Bite or just leave it on autocast. Questions, questions, questions! Like I said, these are exciting times! I'm sure I'll have more to report once Smithers is level 70 and I've mixed it up in a BG.
What has your experience been? Got any wisdom to share?