Monday, November 3, 2014

It's Time To Fix The Stable

Having to go to town to switch hunter pets has annoyed me for a while. Now that I'm playing Beast Mastery as my main spec, it seems downright out of date. I'm going to stop you before you tell me how bad it used to be, and how I shouldn't be complaining at all. I was there for 3 total slots and having to learn pet abilities. And at this point in WoWs life, going to a stable master located only in major cities is just as outdated as seeking out a pet just to learn Growl (level 3). Or having only one spec.

The hunter stable hasn't been updated in any meaningful way since October of 1010. 49 months. That's almost as long as SoO has been out! Sure, we have gotten more slots. That is great. Personally, I would rather have a smaller stable work better than one where I can put all 600 pet skins in a window. The way our stable works now is inconvenient, outdated, and seemingly arbitrary.

What is the thinking behind being able to "carry around" five pets? Why five? There are 10 buffs/debuffs in the game, and there used to be more.  OK, so it's not about buffs. Special abilities (Ancient Hysteria, etc.)? Maybe. There will be at least five of those in WoD depending on what you count. But the limit has been five since before Direhorns were in the game so..Frankly, there is no good reason I can think of to limit us to five pets out in the wild. It is just an arbitrary limit that will be forcing many, many hunters back to town in the next expansion. And it will force the rest of our group to wait while we do it.

Personally, I think we need a way to summon at least 25 pets these days. Why 25? I think a way for hunters to distinguish themselves is by having a complete stable of pet buffs and special abilities. I really enjoy checking the composition of a 5-man group, seeing what we need, and bringing that buff. Even if nobody notices, I get some small satisfaction out of "min/maxing" my pet. And if it makes the run a little quicker, all the better. So, to cover all the buffs, debuffs, and most special pet abilities we would need 15 slots. I say we need 25 because of a different quality of life change that we have had for years now: Dual Specs.

Remember, this whole idea of fixing the stable came out of my preparing to play BM for the first time since Burning Crusade. I'm actually pretty excited about it. That said, I know there will be times I will want or need to play another spec. Under the current stable, I'm going to have a strange mix of exotic and non-exotic pets, or go to the stable master every time I swap specs. When I'm BM, I'm going to want exotics. If I carry around 5 exotics, any time I switch specs I have no pet! Factor in not knowing which buffs I'm going to need until I zone into the group finder, and the whole thing becomes a mess. All the convenience of a second spec is negated if I still have to hit the stable master in town to use it. Some of the convenience of a flexible raid size is also lost if hunters need to keep porting in and out to get specific pets.

The hunter stable system is a relic of a game we don't play anymore. Regular trips to town used to be part of the WoW experience. All classes had to go there for reagents, repairs, to change talents, and of course good old ammunition. The only one of those systems that even still exists is repairs, and they remain more for economic reasons than anything else. Thanks to pets and expensive mounts, we don't need a town to repair, get and send mail, or even transmogrify.  Hell, we don't even need to go to the bank anymore to use crafting materials that are stored there. But we still need a stable master? I don't think any other class still needs to go to town for basic game play.

There are lots of potential solutions to this situation. I want the stable fixed so desperately as I move forward as a BM hunter that I would be thrilled to get any of them. We could:
  • Simply be able to access the whole stable anywhere. OK, maybe not inside arenas.
  • Gain a slot every 10 levels, which would at least get us to 10. 5 for each of your two chosen specs.
  • Sacrifice a garrison spot to get some kind of "magical" stable.
  • A huge quest. This is hunters' green fire.
  • Rare companion pet who can access the stable remotely, kind of like the Argent Squire.
  • A crafted (expensive) item that can access the stable. Engineering, perhaps?
  • A stupid expensive mount that has a stable master on it. I'd pay 200k for that convenience.
Playing my hunter in Warlords gets me really excited. Constantly going back to town to switch pets does not.


  1. While I'm not entirely signing up for 'it needs fixed" club, I DO feel that if they're going to make changes, they should eliminate all arbitrary limits. Make 'em all available, everywhere. 5's an arbitrary limit. So's 10, 25, 50, or 250. If there's no compelling technical or mechanical reason for the limit, just chuck it. That'll kill some lines of code that they won't have to forget to test anymore.

    I would feel sorry for the stable masters. They'd have to get new jobs. Or just take up drinking as a recreational sport. Given the number of Dwarven stable masters, the latter option is a distinct possibility.

    1. They can go drinking with reagent vendors, reforgers, and class trainers.