the why…

Have you ever gone somewhere without your pet? Maybe you had to go tame a new pet for skills, or maybe you were doing a quest where you took control of something else so your pet couldn’t be there (that quest chain in Blade’s Edge Mountains comes to mind)…

If you’re anything like me, going somewhere without your pet is not a pleasant experience. You feel vulnerable; incomplete, crippled even. You skitter nervously past mobs, like a mouse running through a field with hawks overhead. You are weak.

And then you see him (or her): the pet you want you want to tame. Maybe he has just the right skills you need to learn, or maybe he is just the right color and the right style. Maybe you’ve carefully done your research to decide exactly which pet you wanted to tame, or maybe this one just pops out at you and feels right.

He, like you, is vulnerable right now. His life consists of walking around in zigzags and circles and occasionally pouncing on a hapless critter. Oh he could put up a decent fight against a passing adventurer, but it would probably all be for naught– he exists so that someone can kill him and loot him for vendor trash or some random green.

You are both vulnerable. But together…

Your eyes meet and he runs at you. You’re prepared with a trap, but eventually he breaks free and bashes on you. You try to hold out just a bit longer…

And then it happens.

A flash of light and he is standing by your side. In that instant everything has changed. In that instant, neither of you are weak anymore.

There is a beautiful synergy between hunter and pet that I have been unable to find in any other class so far. Granted, I’ve never gotten another class past level 19, so perhaps I’m biased. But the fact remains that, for the time being, I’ve yet to find that synergy elsewhere in the game.

In my last post I was geeking out a little bit about crit. You know why I like crit? It’s not just so I can top the DPS meters. Oh don’t get me wrong, I love being at or near the top of the meters at the end of the instance. It means I’m doing my job and doing it well.

But this is what happens when my pet crits:
Ferocious Inspiration procs, giving a buff to everyone in my party, including myself.

And this is what happens when I crit:
My pet gets to use Kill Command
My pet gets a bunch of focus through the Go for the Throat talent.

You see that? We’re helping each other. We make each other stronger. Everytime that big blue number pops up on the screen (thanks Scrolling Combat Text) and the little alert comes up, it means I not only get to jam my Kill Command hotkey, but a bunch of pet crits are probably coming up too. Those, in turn, further strengthen me through Ferocious Inspiration. It’s a beautiful dance and it thrills me each and every time it happens.

That’s why I play hunters. That’s why, specifically, I finally settled on the Beast Mastery spec. Sure it was Uncle BRK who put the idea into my head in the first place, but it was I who had to try it out and I who had to decide if I liked it or not. It’s about more than a DPS increase. It’s about the aesthetics. It’s about the thrill of the hunt. It’s about that companionship.

Because alone, you are weak.

But together, you become stronger than either of you could have ever imagined.

from Aspect of the Hare

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