A Defensive Confession

There is something that every hunter is told to do in instances. Without fail, this rule must be followed or the group and/or raid will descend upon the poor mistaken hunter in a  flurry of teeth and claws and insults to the hunter’s intelligence. It is a rule of huntering that all must follow.

And I break it all the time.

Whenever I instance or raid, I keep my pet on defensive.

It’s not as huge of a sin as having my pet on aggressive, mind you. But I see it drilled into hunter’s heads everywhere, that all pets MUST ALWAYS BE ON PASSIVE OMG OR YOU’LL WIPE THE RAID, LIEK FER SRS.

The reason for hitting the baby seal is to ensure that your pet doesn’t go running off somewhere and aggro things that must not be aggro’d. The number one instance of this that comes to mind is the Baron Rivendare fight in Stratholme – you get close enough to start the encounter and the aura hits you, and your pet goes dashing off to start the encounter while the healer is afk and drinking and omg you’re all dead.

While the “all pets on passive” rule of thumb makes sense, in order to streamline the run for all involved, I have a problem with it. Mainly, it assumes – and reinforces the belief that – the hunter is incompetant and lazy.

With your pet on passive, you never have to worry about it being on the wrong target, and that is the only benefit from it being on passive. The negative aspect, however, is far more damaging to a raiding hunter – the lost dps time. How many times, with your pet on passive, have you found yourself firing away on the target with your pet sitting pleasantly by your side? As a Beast Master hunter, your pet is nearly half your dps. You cannot afford that half to be licking itself mid-combat. Not if you want to hold your own!

What I do can be tricky. It takes practice. It takes effort.

What I do is pay attention.

I put Mijikai on defensive. This means she runs out to attack as soon as I do, and it means she switches targets without me having to do it for her. This keeps her damage up, and means I don’t have to worry about sending her out every time I switch targets.

But I know the fights. I keep Mijikai on defensive during Razorscale, but I know that if she gets hit by any of Razorscale’s fire, she’ll run off to somewhere odd and stand in the fire that will inevitably be there, and die. So I keep an eye on her. I don’t send her off after each mob, but I make sure to rein her in if she strays too far.

I put her on passive – temporarily – for misdirect pulls. During Ignis, she stays on passive until the tank has aggro, then I click her onto defensive and don’t have to think about her again for the rest of the fight.

Yes, it’s harder than just clicking the pet attack button every time you want your pet sent out. But it keeps her damage up, which keeps my damage up, and lets me smirk at the pets I see idling in the middle of combat, while Mijikai grows big and red and rips into whatever’s in her way. It’s a worthwhile trade-off.


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6 Responses to “A Defensive Confession”

  1. Matojo Says:

    Out of curiosity…

    I use a macro that goes like this:

    /cast Hunter’s Mark

    Before I attack, I hit that macro, then open up. I’m a Marks hunter. Is this a bad thing to do or is it perfectly acceptable? I’ve been using a macro like this since I rolled Matojo (now Kinuka) but didn’t really think anything of it ’til now.

    • Tchann Says:

      This can work, yes. But one thing to keep in mind is if you -need- to put up a mark or not. When raiding, I’m one of as many as seven hunters present. More often than not, by the time I get to the mob it’s already got a mark. Throwing a new one up is unnecessary.

      If you’re the only hunter, then the macro will work decently well, as long as you and your pet are on the same target. If your pet is supposed to be on a separate target (for melee reasons, or off-tanking, etc) then using that macro will screw things up, and you’d need to keep the regular HM available to use.

      As for me, I wouldn’t use that macro anyway, but that’s because I like to throw my mark on before the pull begins. They last five minutes now, and I like not having to worry about delaying my dps at the start of the battle. 🙂

      • ironfeathers Says:

        Hmm, alright, thank you! That helps. I think I have some things to poke at, then.

        With HRV it’s mostly melee-heavy, though we do have one or two other hunters available, one of them is also a healer and the other has an 80 DK. In 5-mans/heroics when I am DPS I tend to be one of two hunters there because it’s either me & Fadhila or me & Miranya (I’m the only Marks hunter among the people I know, which is why I took the spec). Occasionally I’m the only one. I haven’t taken my hunter very far.

        I’m not nearly as observant as you, so I’ll have to try out a couple different macros instead of “click attack” – it’d be my luck that my pet would go waltzing off and I’d panic or something. xD

  2. Pike Says:

    The way I see it is…

    – I use the Pet Attack/Hunter’s Mark macro so I’m using a cooldown anyway; and
    – I’m super OCD about pet control to the point that if my pet isn’t attacking something I didn’t tell it to attack, I spaz out. This is probably hardwired into me from back when I had a Pull Shot macro and because I like to control a.) when something is attacking and b.) where it is attacking. With the new defensive, if I tried to pull something into a better position, my pet would run to attack it and ruin it.

    But I’m probably just weird. I used to think most hunters used passive but anytime I have ever mentioned it, I wind up with dozens of comments and e-mails telling me they use Defensive… far more than people agreeing with me about my Passive stance… so… I have acknowledged at this point that I am just weird, and stubborn. XD

  3. Ambrosyne Says:

    I got so used to having my pet on passive all the time, that I don’t think I suffer much from lost DPS-she’s just about never standing uselessly at my side unless I want her there. Hitting ctrl+1 is an ingrated part of my “rotation!”

    I am far, far more likely to forget to put her on passive at a crucial moment than I am to forget to send her out. 😉

    Buuuut that’s just me.

  4. Theaah Says:

    I think that general attitude is born from the multitude of “huntards” that are out there that don’t know about/don’t care about/are terrible at pet management.

    I’ve never had a comment about what stance my pet was in from my raid because they know I know how to control her. I think the closest I’ve had in recent memory was a really weird pathing glitch with that first pull in the hallway leading to General Vezax on 10 man. I moved forward to where I’ve stood many times before and my pet just ran off towards the pull. I did not send him in to attack and he wasn’t on aggressive. My raid buddies weren’t even annoyed though (and we were just about ready to pull anyway so it didn’t end in a wipe) since it is apparently a known glitch. I just felt like an ass since it’d never happened to me before.

    I think the last time I made a “oh crap pulled with my pet” mistake like that was back when I was pretty new into Kharazan and hit the “/target demon chains, /petattack” macro I’d just made for Illhoof in a complete brain-dead moment. ~_~

    All that said, I think it’s insulting to tell a hunter what stance to put their pet in unless they have actually caused a problem already.

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