I can has beta? Yes! Yes, I can has.

27 08 2010

Well, that’s the big thing that’s been going on around here of late.  Tahlian’s very talented guild master entered Blizzard’s writing contest and was selected as one of the winners, earning himself and nine of his guildies beta invites.  And I was selected to be one of those nine players, much to my surprise and delight.

Now I’m not going to put up a bunch of screenshots of the spiffy new zones or other cool stuff and spoil all the surprises for you, O Readers…but I will share with you some of the early pet changes, which include the introduction of three shiny new pet families.

First new family: Monkeys!

Monkeys were originally grouped in with Gorillas as Tenacity pets before being split off into their own family and becoming Cunning pets.  Their diet currently is Fruit and Fungus – a little picky, perhaps, but still not too bad.  Their family skills are, at the moment, the same as Gorillas – Smack and Pummel – but I’m willing to bet that these are going to change as Blizzard has not made the big pet pass where all the major changes to pets will be done.  I have to admit I’ve gotten rather fond of this little guy, who I named Chistery (yes, I’m a fan of Wicked. I couldn’t help it).  He’s smaller than a gorilla, and therefore easier to see over and around…and has been pretty doggone good at holding aggro when we’ve been out together.

The next new family – Dogs!

Dogs, like the other new family we’ll get to momentarily, were originally grouped in with Wolves until they became their own family.  Dogs are Ferocity pets at the moment, but as this is beta, that could still change.  Dogs still share the family skills of Wolves – Bite and Furious Howl – but have a diet more like a bear or boar, in that they’ll eat almost anything.  Meat, Fish, Fruit, Fungus, Cheese, and Bread – dogs are another “trashcan” pet that will apparently be very easy to keep.  As you can see, the dogs of Azeroth seem to be modeled somewhat after the real world’s Neopolitan Mastiff.  This particular model, which I named Eiko, is actually the new face of the Scarlet Monestary’s Scarlet Tracking Hound.  Yes, the hyenas are becoming dogs.  But don’t worry – that striking red hyena does exist elsewhere in Cataclysm, so if you’re fond of that skin, you’ll still be able to get it.  I kind of like these guys, but I miiight not tame one for good.  It depends on what their family abilities actually end up being.

And now for the final new family – and the one that a lot of people are absolutely ga-ga for – Foxes!

Foxes, like Dogs, were originally Wolves before becoming their own family.  Currently, they’re Ferocity pets that eat Meat, Fish, and Fruit – which sounds about right for an opportunistic predator that isn’t above scavenging.  Right now, the only family ability they have is Prowl, and we know that’s going to change, because every other pet that has Prowl also has a separate combat ability as well.  These rather striking little guys come in about five different colors and all seem to be available in the lower-level areas, so they’ll be available to hunters of all ages pretty quickly on launch.  Foxes seem to have captured the hearts of a lot of hunters; I haven’t heard much complaint about their looks, although they might could stand to be scaled down a little bit.  This fellow here is about the same size as my wolf Valiant, and he should probably be smaller.

Other than that…my general impression of the beta thus far?  I’m impressed.  When I first heard what the idea was for Cataclysm, I thought I’d hate it.  But now that I’ve seen it with my own eyes and am helping beta test it – this is some good stuff, folks.  Excellent stories, flying in the old world is amazing, especially taking in how the world has changed.  If it keeps getting better as they work out the bugs, then it’s going to be an exciting time to be playing WoW.

For more information on hunter pets in Cataclysm, or just hunter pets in general, have a look at Petopia.  This is one of the longest-running hunter pet sites for World of Warcraft, and Mania does a bang-up job of keeping hunters informed – with the help of the trusty legion of forum posters over there.




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