I said in a post a bit ago that diversity and complexity of WoW pets are one reason I like my hunter way more than I like pet classes in other games. But as I mentioned, there is another reason also: underlying playstyle. In short, the hunter class allows for both simple, uncomplicated play or complex, skillful play, depending on what floats your boat.
When it comes down to it, I’m not a very skillful player. I like to think that if I wanted to, I could learn all the intricate details and the quick responses that make a player skillful, but in all honesty it wouldn’t be easy — and more to the point, it wouldn’t be why I play these games. I’m generally not interested in min-maxing my class — I just want to wander around the world and see things. Plus, I’d rather do that by myself — I don’t play well with others. (Or as I like to say, I’ve spent most of my working life managing eccentric engineers and prima donna designers and I don’t want to have anything to do with that kind of interpersonal mess in the games I play.) So I want a simple, straightfoward solo class that let’s me wander the world sightseeing without dying too much.
WoW hunters — unlike most pet classes — allow me to do that. I can pick pretty much any pet, throw my talent points more or less randomly into the Beast Mastery tree, and be good to go.
Now, don’t misunderstand me — I am by no means saying that all hunters are skill-less idiots like myself. (The title of this post is intended to be tongue-in-cheek.) Certainly there is a world of skill to playing hunters well. Spend the time and attention on the details and we can be truly impressive killing machines, a force to be reckoned with. There are people who post on the forums I frequent who know a thousand times as much as I do about playing this class — I know their names, I read their posts, and most of it goes right over my head. I think it’s a mark of the success of the class that I can play alongside these people — and even more, that I can contribute to the community via a pet site without ever really needing to optimize my shot rotation.
But the reason that I play a hunter — aside from a terrible addiction to the complex and fascinating pet system — is that I can play the way I want to: wandering randomly, looking at stuff, and mostly doing okay.