Patch 2.1.0 on the PTR

I always get antsy before a big content push goes on the Public Test Realm (or, for that matter, before a beta starts) — partially because I know that the changes will mean a flurry of activity for Petopia, but mostly because I’m addicted to change. At this point in the game, the normal gameplay is secondary to me — the thing that catches my attention and gets me excited is ‘new’. I don’t raid or PvP, but keeping up with changes — pet changes in particular — is my elder game.

Anyway, I was very excited to see 2.1.0 go up on the PTR Thursday night (and annoyed that I’d played hooky from work already this week, so I couldn’t do it again and spend more time with the changes). There were a large number of changes for hunters and pets andI’m sure that the power hunters will be debating the relative merits of each change for weeks to come. But let’s take a quick look at the big pet changes that I find most interesting.

The big news, of course, is the two new passive pet skills: Avoidance and Cobra Reflexes. There’s some confusion right now with Avoidance: the description on the pet trainer reads “Increases your pet’s chance to avoid area of effect attacks by an additional X%” while the description in the pet skill panel reads “Reduces the damage your pet takes from area of effect attacks by an additional X%”. But regardless, it’s an ability that a lot of raiding hunters seem very excited about trying out. For myself, personally, not so much — but I am quite pleased to see more situational passive skills available. Adding more skills that suit particular situations is the best place for the pet system to expand and restore an important element of choice, I believe.

And that’s why I’m rather disappointed with Cobra Reflexes. What I *wanted* out of Cobra Reflexes was a skill that changed attack speed without changing displayed DPS. This is how the old differences in attack speed worked — Broken Tooth (1.0 AS) had the same DPS displayed on the pet panel as Echeyakee (2.0 AS). Now the slower/faster attack speeds had some subtle effects on actual, in-play DPS, but these were often situational — there were reasons to want a slow pet and reasons to want a fast pet, depending on your play style and what you were doing at the time.

But Cobra Reflexes doesn’t restore this situational choice. CR increases attack speed and decreases damage per hit, but it doesn’t decrease damage per hit enough to make up for the increase in attack speed, so overal displayed DPS goes up significantly when you train your pet with Cobra Reflexes. (In my very simple testing so far, it looks like CR raises displayed DPS by something in the neighborhood of 10%. More testing will follow.) That increase in DPS will overwhelm the subtle advantages of a slower attack speed for almost all hunters — effectively making CR a required skill for all pets. That’s a buff of a sort for pet DPS in general, but an unfortunate setback for situational variety and choice. This is especially true since Cobra Reflexes is most useful in conjunction with the hunter talent Serpent’s Swiftness — and a hunter is not going to re-spec every time they want to change from a fast attack pet to a slow one.

I had hoped, when Cobra Reflexes first showed up on King Bangalash, that Blizzard would take some time before they made the skill more widespread to work these issues out. I am disappointed that they did not — although since I know how these things happen in MMO development I am not terribly surprised.

On a side note, I have seen a couple of posts commenting that this proves that Petopia was wrong when it said Cobra Reflexes was a bug. What I said, though, was that CR on King B *only* was a bug, which appears to be the case since they went ahead and put it on the pet trainer. King B retains CR when tamed on the PTR, but that is becoming more common: there are a couple other passive skills pre-trained on pets now, like the Outland scorpids that come with Natural Armor.

But on to more changes! The Death Ravager can no longer be tamed — but we knew that was coming, and considering the problems the Death Ravager had with PvP and normal pet behavior, it’s probably for the best. Although we are losing that unique ravager skin, we are gaining another (and arguably a nicer one): Razorfang Ravagers can be tamed in patch 2.1. Those are the spiky red/orange ravagers in Hellfire Peninsula with the glowing red eyes.

The patch notes also mention (hidden under leatherworking) that “additional snakes that drop cobra scales are in the highlands of Nagrand as well as in Shadowmoon Valley”. I wasn’t able to find the Nagrand snakes, but the Shadowmoon snakes are unfortunately snakes, not serpents, and cannot be tamed. I assume that the Nagrand snakes are similar.  

There are some other interesting tidbits in those notes, but I’ll have to take them on later. Pet-wise, this patch leaves me wanting more — more useful variety, more family-specific skills, more skins. But then, I always want more. It’s the nature of the beast.

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16 Responses to “Patch 2.1.0 on the PTR”

  1. darkbander Says:

    Wonderful work as always! I always direct new hunters to your site. An info bit ive found though, with the new patch, in the model viewer, lions have fluffier tails and their heads are lowered. Havent been able to get past the test que just yet to test. Just sharing!

  2. cat64fish Says:

    Nice! I have tamed King B on my 60+ hunter, and was despairing at the thought of leveling him up, just to have a pvp pet. Now I can ditch him for the my favourite pet, Humar :)

    Cheers.

  3. darkbander Says:

    More notes for you!
    The sky shadows in Deadwind pass are now tamable!
    The lion info i reported above is in the PTR.
    Crabs! They no longer have spines and are shinier! My poor crab…
    Sporebats have hovering glowing dots instead of the confetti cascade under them and overall glow brighter.
    Hope im being helpful instead of a pest >.

  4. bakedleech6 Says:

    There are lv70 purple tallstriders on the small island southeast of auchindoun! Don’t have a hunter at that level to check if they are tameable but they are just as ostentatious as the strider clutchmother and Mazzranache. :)

  5. Mania Says:

    Thank you for the info! I’ll check it out and get it posted. Feel free to e-mail me with changes or comments also: Mania.Petopia@gmail.com.

  6. Mania Says:

    Oh, and bakedleech6? Do you know what those ‘striders are called by any chance?

  7. bakedleech6 Says:

    something dodos, if I recall. I went there for my druid flight form quest and had to clear a few around my owl statue.

  8. bakedleech6 Says:

    Checked for sure once I got home today; they are called Dodostriders, and the area sub-zone is Sorrow Wing Point. Happy hunting. :)

  9. Mania Says:

    Well that’s an … interesting name. *grin* Thanks for the confirmation!

  10. septemberfool Says:

    Heh, I posted news about the purple tallstrider on the official forums. The general hunter community definitely seems interested in them. I’d love to have one, but all my stable slots are full, :(

  11. lunalysterox Says:

    I’m very excited about these dodostriders, and I want to tame one right away! If anyone gets more information, post it here, I know they wont come out till the patch but some locations and such would help. Me and my ground mounted self are gonna need to find some warlocks…..

    Thanks guys!

  12. 2ofdiamonds Says:

    btw, about the avoidance skill:

    http://www.thottbot.com/s32233
    warlocks got that on the felguard, and it reads: Avoidance (Passive)
    Instant
    Increases your chance to avoid area of effect attacks by an additional 50%.

    also, nice to see some strider love, though mazzranache will always be my number one.

  13. fehmarnmatten Says:

    Hi!

    I don´t know if its come by patch or anything else but the Longtooth Runner from Feralas has now back his run speed. ´Know what i´m talking about i´ve got one and it´s a real nice Pet.

    Greetz

  14. Mania Says:

    fehmarnmatter: Is that news about the Longtooth Runner from live or the PTR?

  15. fehmarnmatten Says:

    Hi Its from live.

    Found no real fitting topic so i left my comment here.

  16. Mania Says:

    That’s fine! I just wasn’t sure from the way you phrased it and I wanted to know whether I should check that out on live or not.

    Thanks for the tip! I’ll take a look.

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