Monday, September 27, 2010

The Continuing Newbie Crisis

“Before I say anything else, my lord, I want you to know that I am deeply honored,” Cerylia said, bowing her head reverently before peeking back up at Halduron Brightwing. “To name me your second… I don’t know what I did to deserve it.”

The Ranger-General’s normally stoic face softened a little, enough for a slight smile to peek through. “It’s more a convenience for you, Lady Dawnwing,” he replied, in a typically-unconcerned tone of voice. “I figured you’d be a more useful and impressive ambassador to Silvermoon and the Horde, by being able to introduce yourself as ‘Lady Ranger Lieutenant-General Cerylia Dawnwing.’ It’s not like I expect you to lead the Farstriders into grand battle or anything. You’ve got a ways to go before you can do that.”

At that, Cerylia made a face. “So what’s the point?” she asked, with a pout. “If I’m not as good as all that, why promote me?”

Halduron couldn’t help but laugh, shaking his head as he placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “You’re an amazing ranger, Cerylia. Don’t ever think otherwise,” he insisted. “You’re right that you do have room for improvement, but I promoted you now for a reason. Do you know why?”

“No… why?”

“Because by promoting you, I’m encouraging you to live up to the standard that this position requires. Instead of reporting to me all the time, asking for my knowledge… you’re going to seek it out yourself. You’re going to take on that responsibility on your own… and by learning for yourself, you’ll become a better ranger in the end.”

Cerylia tilted her head at him. “Ah… so like… the humans say. ‘Give a man a fish, feed him for a day…’”

“’Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.’ See, you’re getting the hang of this already.”


We are at the end of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Cataclysm is eminent, and from the sounds of things, content is going to prove more challenging than it currently is now, due to the way they are redesigning classes and redoing the scaling of gear to content. Dungeons should no longer be 15-minute speed-fests of gathering up mobs and mowing them down with AoE, while healers mindlessly spam heals to keep everyone at full health without fear of running out of mana. Cataclysm will require classes to use crowd control, watch their aggro, determine correct heals to throw for mana efficiency, and generally take things much slower. I can’t wait to see the QQ-ing of all the reckless players who faceroll dungeons now, and try to apply the same strategy to dungeons in Cataclysm. Mwahahaha. xD

But, along those same lines, I also have a great deal of pity for newer or more casual players, particularly those having the unfortunate timing of getting into the game now. And even more so for those being brought into the game by “veterans” (in quotes because not all people with level 80s are actually good players). While it’s great to be recruited to the game by a friend, the issue is that the vast majority of “veteran” players, from what I’ve seen, are very poor mentors and teachers. They simply do not know the difference between teaching someone how to play, and telling someone how to play.

The little bit of RP goodness between Cerylia and Halduron from the beginning of this post illustrates this point particularly well. As Ranger-General of Silvermoon, Halduron’s a smart cookie, and understands if he wants a student to improve, he needs to, at some point, cut her loose and let her figure things out for herself. Learning under pressure in the field is the most effective way (and sometimes the only way) for a student to figure things out. Knowledge by experience, in other words. But with a little thing known as “Recruit-a-Friend,” what should be an enriching learning experience for a new player can turn into a blink-and-you-missed-it leveling race.

Don’t get me wrong. The Recruit-a-Friend program is a nifty incentive to get people into the game. I’ve done it twice (once being invited, and once doing the inviting), and received a Swift Zhevra mount as a result. (I like Zhevras—it’s the closest thing Cerylia will get to owning an actual Quel’dorei unicorn. x3) Currently, the mount incentive is the X-53 Touring Rocket, a two-seater flying rocket you can carry a friend around in. (I personally have no interest in obtaining this mount unlike everyone else… no character of mine wants to fly a mechanical rocket. xD) Free game time is great too. And a really nice perk in-game is the ability to summon your RAF partner to your current position, so you can play together in the same area without need for excessive walking. All very cool.

However… the other in-game incentives are the troublesome ones—triple experience from all sources (quests, kills, etc.), and the ability for the recruited player to grant a free level to any of the veteran’s characters for every two levels the recruit makes. Though these in-game benefits end at level 60, they still result in a major leveling boost for both players involved. With diligence, you can level to 60 in a flash, and the recruiter can get some alts leveled up substantially too with those free levels.

But wait, you say. Why is that a bad thing? Doesn’t everyone want to get to end-game?

Sure. Making level 80 is probably a very important goal for new players, so they can experience the current content and be able to play with their friend’s mains. Triple experience also really makes those slow points in leveling go by faster, so you can get to the meat and potatoes of the game. But many veteran players are selfish in the sense that they want their friend to be at 80 ASAP, as well as maybe squeezing as many high-level characters out of this deal as they can before the 90-days of RAF benefits are up. This, sadly, results in extreme powerleveling of the recruited player, getting them to 60, and then past that to 80 in the blink of an eye.

On the Getting Started forums, we’ve successfully weeded out what we call RATS threads—Recruit a Total Stranger—where people on the forums would hook up purely for those leveling benefits, sometimes roping in poor unfortunate newbies who didn’t know any better and just wanted powerful characters fast. We more experienced players dislike these arrangements because it usually results in a player who has a level 80, but no clue how to play their character. Unfortunately… I’ve found that it’s not limited to total strangers recruiting one another—sometimes you get best buddies doing this to each other, simply because the newbie doesn’t know any better, and the recruiter is completely inept in the field of properly teaching people.

RAF or no RAF, it seems to me that new players just aren’t getting the proper playing experience, since their friends hold their hand every step of the way. They get gear and money thrown at them, dungeon runs for fast leveling, and cookie-cutter specs/gemming/enchants laid out before them so they can be the “perfect” player. Yet, even in the ICC gear that their buddy’s guild carried them to, they have no idea what the Auction House is, where to buy their own reagents for spells, or what Righteous Fury is when someone tells them to turn it off in a group. They are terrified to run dungeons alone because when they do, everyone yells at them for playing poorly. They need and equip gear that isn’t even specced right because it has more armor. They rez at the graveyard because they find it too hard to run to their body—and then get confused when their character is weak, because they never learned about repairing either.

I’ve seen too many people like this for myself. They level too fast—or have their boyfriend/son/brother/etc. level the character for them when they’re not home—and are used to no one saying a mean word to them because they’re surrounded by real-life buddies. Then when they try to play on their own, they’re terrible, and they get upset, because they honestly don’t know why.

Sadly, I don’t think the expansion is going to make things any better for these people unless they resolve to reroll a brand-new character, and actually take their time leveling by themselves. Don’t get me wrong—I think anyone can play and enjoy their game time in their own way. If that involves getting carried through raids by your charitable guild, or only ever playing with your best friend, then that’s fine. The problem is when these players get the mistaken notion that they are great players, and foist their lack of knowledge onto unsuspecting strangers expecting them to know what they’re doing, thus leading to wipes and confusion and embarrassment and hurt feelings. It’s really sad.

The greatest tragedy I’ve seen so far is with a recent new player to WoW, recruited by her boyfriend. She rolled a blood elf for her first character. Her Armory shows that she never finished the quests in the Ghostlands (due to lack of exalted rep with Tranquilien), and never explored all of Eversong Woods or Ghostlands. A blood elf never seeing the death of Dar’khan? A blood elf never delivering the message to Thrall that brings Silvermoon into the Horde? Of all things, that is depressing. To think of all the beautiful lore that is Quel’thalas and the sin’dorei not being experienced, not being appreciated fully. (And I’m not being overly dramatic or silly here. I think it’s terrible that someone would get powerleveled out of the Ghostlands and never complete all the quests their on their first character ever. I mean... it's such an experience. x3 But maybe it's just me.)

I am by no means a great player in the World of Warcraft. But I am a gaming-savvy gal who appreciates the spirit of gaming. And that means helping a fellow player through the game—not playing the game for them. If you recruit a friend into the game, or even if you just make a new buddy in-game and try to answer questions, don’t spoon-feed them. Point them in the right direction, give them only what they need to survive, and let them enjoy the learning experience, whether they like it or not. I have several in-game buddies, most of them new, who ask me for help with everything. Help me with this quest, run this dungeon with me, tell me where to go, show me what to do. It’s tough love, but my policy has always been “I’ll start you off with a few bags and a bit of coin, as well as the occasional random drop I may find in my journeys. The rest is up to you to figure out.” I’ll point them at online resources, give them hints, or share my opinion, but I will NEVER give handouts or tell a player to do X, Y, and Z. And eventually, I stop answering their questions altogether, so they learn they need to walk on their own two legs for once.

And I believe more people need to try doing this as well.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Farstrider Training - Tales of Loyal Pets

As a hunter, one of your most valuable and important abilities is the ability to tame and command a pet.

Some people choose their pets for looks, while others choose it for utility and DPS. Personally… I choose my pets for a mixture of looks and how they appeal to me. Some of my pets were planned, but some of them simply called to me, touched my heart, and now have endeared themselves to me through the “personality” they seem to possess. Here then, are my pets, how I met them, and what I use them for now. ^^

(Note: Pets do not have any discernible gender in-game; the gender is something I have assigned to my pets using my imagination.)

Takysska – female Dragonhawk
Originally: Crazed Dragonhawk from Eversong Woods
Personality: gentle, loving, and loyal. Likes to cuddle Cerylia and hover over her protectively. Despite this, she’s fairly tame and nice to other people, even strangers.
Name origin: My dad is an avid fantasy gamer as well, which I grew up with and was inspired by. Takysska comes from the names of two dragons he uses occasionally in his D&D campaigns, of which he is a pretty awesome DM. :)

Kysska is my first and most beloved of pets, originating as a Crazed Dragonhawk in Eversong Woods. Since the 5.0 changes, she has been able to be a Ferocity pet instead of a Cunning pet, which means she gets more dungeon time now. Yay!

Kuuma – male tiger Cat
Originally: King Bangalash from Stranglethorn Vale
Personality: laid-back, quiet, unconcerned. Sleeps a lot and acts mostly like a big kitty cat, but can pounce and tear apart any potential threat in the blink of an eye.
Name origin: Several years ago, Siegfried and Roy held a contest for schoolchildren to name some of their newborn white tiger cubs. One of the winning entries for a male cub was the name Kuuma, which apparently means “love” in an African language. As I love this tiger, I thought it was quite fitting. ^^

I didn’t originally plan on taming a white tiger pet, actually. I figured everyone tamed King Bangalash so I wanted to go for a more unique kitty. But, fate had other plans for me, it seemed… While questing through Stranglethorn Vale, Cerylia completed the various hunting quest chains for Hemet Nesingwary, Jr. The penultimate one (back before patch 4.0) was where you kill King Bangalash, the great white tiger. He was an elite cat, and had many other cats around to help him, so it was a very challenging group quest at level. My boyfriend and I had quite the challenge getting the quest completed… but we did it.

However… once the tiger fell dead, I somehow strangely felt… sad. He had been such a challenge to fight (even killing us once or twice in the process), but now he was dead. And somehow… the big kitty tugged at my heartstrings, making me almost regret killing him. Heck, it was almost as if I had really hunted down a real tiger!

So once I made enough levels to tame King Bangalash, I returned to Stranglethorn Vale to tame him. It took forever to do; he wasn’t willing to go easily, either for the quest or for the tame. My boyfriend kept interfering with the tame by trying heal me (which grabs aggro, which ruins a hunter tame, by the way), so finally I told him to stop helping me. xD It was a heartpounding tame (we were both level 40, but King Bangalash was still a hard-hitting elite)… but in the end, he was mine. I was overjoyed when the tame finally went through.

For the purposes of RP (since I already killed King Bangalash previously), the story was that Cerylia, feeling guilty after killing the magnificent white tiger, learned that he had left cubs behind from Nesingwary Jr. So she ventures back into the jungles and finds a young white tiger, the son of Bangalash. I love this kitty so much~

Silence – male Warp Stalker
Originally: Warp Stalker from Terokkar Forest
Personality: mischievous and curious, and likes to startle people. He teleports where you least expect him. ;)
Name origin: Named for the fact that, while travelling through Terokkar Forest, there really isn’t a way to avoid the warp stalkers teleporting out of nowhere and dazing you off your ground mount, before you even realize what’s going on. They’re silent… until they strike!

Tamed primarily because they were the only Tenacity pets I really like the look of. (Bears are nice and all, but I wanted to be a little different.) I wanted a tanking pet because I heard they were helpful, but Silence actually collected dust for a while because he seemed weak and died easily . But after I decided to level him more and distributed more talent points to him, he suddenly improved a lot. Now he’s a very dependable pet for questing and soloing content.

Silence is a bit ornery and sometimes attacks extra mobs I wasn’t planning on including in a pull. But I still love him. :)

Ereshkigal – female Core Hound
Originally: The Kurken from Azuremyst Isle
Personality: differs by head. Eres (the right head) is aggressive and dominant; will snap and snarl at any strangers who approach. Kiga (the left head) is more submissive and likes to be babied. Both are loyal to Cerylia and eager to fight for her.
Name origin: Named after the Mesopotamian goddess of the underworld.

When I started my very first draenei oh so long ago… I thought the Kurken was the coolest creature. It was a two-headed frosty looking dog, but it breathes fire! Naturally, I eventually thought Cerylia ought to own such a cool pet, so one night the boyfriend and I set out on an adventure to explore Azuremyst Isle.

Besides getting the achievements for discovering everything in the draenei zones, we also made sure to trek to the furbolg den where this Kurken awaited. The Kurken, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a beast that is terrorizing the furbolgs and must be slain for a quest on the Alliance. As part of the RP, the story for Cerylia was that, as they were doing some spy work for the Horde, she sensed the distress of the Kurken and followed its trail. She came across it in pain and anger, trying to hide from the draenei and furbolgs who were trying to attack it. Cerylia sensed that this creature was lost (perhaps coming from Draenor itself aboard the Exodar), and simply didn’t know what to do on this strange planet. Feeling sorry for the creature, she managed to convince it to accompany her as a friend.

She is a favorite, simply because she sounds soooo cool when she fights. I love using her, and am so glad I took the time to tame her. Her only downside perhaps is how loud she is when she walks around. xD

Aurostibite – male Devilsaur
Originally: Tyrantus in Netherstorm
Personality: Oddly playful for such a ferocious creature. Cerylia is still working on taming him, so he often runs off and gets into trouble.
Name origin: Named after a grayish-white metallic mineral. I wanted to play with the word “bite” in his name, as well as allude to his dark color, which I imagined like a mineral or metal of some kind. Even though aurostibite isn’t black like my pet.

My final pet of WotLK. Auros was an impulse tame, similar to Kuuma, where I killed the devilsaur Tyrantus in Netherstorm for a quest (for the Netherwing). However, upon killing it, I couldn’t help but think about how cool a color this devilsaur was. Then I became nostalgic for my childhood when I loved studying dinosaurs and playing with dinosaur figures and watching Jurassic Park and dreamed of being a paleontologist… Oh, good times. xD I figured at this point the thing was calling to me, and so I tamed him when he respawned.

He’s a bit naughty sometimes and likes to run after things I never told him to attack, but it’s all right. Gives him personality. :3 I also like his sounds when he attacks or randomly roars.

Halycon - female Wolf
Originally: Ironjaw in Terokkar Forest
Personality: shy, yet protective of her loved ones.
Name origin: Name of one of the bosses in Lower Blackrock Spire, which shares the same model.

When Cerylia first ran LBS, it wasn't actually at level. I was actually exploring around and stumbled across the (old) Kibler's Exotic Pets quest (along with the other one to find a spider pet). The reward was a Worg Pup pet, and I thought it would be cute to get a puppy pet. So off I went inside Blackrock Mountain...

To complete the quest, you have to catch a puppy in a cage. The puppies belong to a female worg named Halycon, who is actually a boss. When I saw her, I thought she was such a beautiful wolf, with that reddish fur... but alas, she is not able to be tamed. I really wanted her, though. When she dies, her mate comes for revenge, an even bigger worg named Gizrul the Slavener. You have to kill him too.

My story behind Halycon is that the Blackrock orcs kept her penned up and bred her against her will with a mean old male worg just to see her puppies taken and turned into war beasts. Cerylia finds her and senses her grief, so she rescues Halycon. Currently she is mated to Cerylia's caring male wolf mount, Kaz.

In reality, since I couldn't actually tame HER, I went and tamed the only tamable wolf that shares her model--Ironjaw, in Terokkar Forest.

She was my first pet since the 4.0 changes, and I love her.

Crunchy - male Turtle
Originally: Snapjaw in Hillsbrad Foothills
Personality: friendly, curious, docile. Likes to eat.
Name origin: From the crunchy sound it makes when it bites enemies. xD

Like a few of my other pets, Crunchy was a spur of the moment tame. I was working on attaining the Explorer title before the Shattering, and Hillsbrad was the last area I needed for exploring the Eastern Kingdoms. I happened to get this achievement right next to Lordamere Lake up in Alterac, which I was very happy about.

But as I was celebrating... I found this certain turtle kept walking up to me and looking me right in the face every so often. (I actually think it was there when I got the achievement, too. xD) So I stared at this turtle for a moment... and decided, what better way to celebrate than to take this friendly turtle home? :) Luckily I had a free spot open, and the tame was quick and easy.

As a turtle, he is very durable, and has been recently getting lots of stage time as an off-tank when we two-man dungeons and raids.

Marcus - male Fox
Originally: Highlands Fox in Ruins of Gilneas
Personality: cunning, vicious, mischievous
Name origin: Named after Marcus McCloud, Fox and Krystal's son in one of the endings in the game StarFox Command.

The day the Shattering went live, Cerylia naturally had to poke her head in and see what things looked like. Among the other things she did that evening, she also had to slip down to Silverpine Forest and pick up a lovely blue fox from the Ruins of Gilneas, which she initially named Krystal.

After a while of running with Krystal, though, I began to feel like it wasn't all that feminine of a creature. Seemed much more like a little boy fox to me. :P So at length I decided to go through with my first ever hunter pet rename. I had my boyfriend create me a Certificate of Ownership, which I then used to rename my fox to Marcus (Krystal's son). So far, I have been very satisfied with this change, and Marcus is glad I finally recognized him for the male he was. ^^

Due to his AoE special ability, Marcus has a terrible habit of rushing off after various critters to kill them after we finish a fight... which occasionally pulls more enemies, if the critter he goes after is now very far away. x_X But when Cerylia tries to scold him, he makes it up to her with a cute dance. So I guess it's not so bad. xD

Cloudess - female Spirit Beast
Originally: Loque'nahak in Sholazar Basin
Personality: territorial and quick to attack, but otherwise quiet and observant.
Name origin: Named after a clouded leopard, which it reminded me of. Also combined with the word "goddess."

Like any Beast Mastery hunter, I naturally came to want a Spirit Beast pet as well. My ultimate goal was to obtain Arcturis... but hunting for it with little luck, I decided to expand my horizons and keep an eye out for Loque'nahak as well, the only other Spirit Beast I really wanted. To keep my hunting experience interesting (instead of being lame and just sitting there doing nothing in the zone, wasting my evening), I coupled my visits to Sholazar Basin with completing Oracle dailies for rep. I picked up the Green Proto-Drake easily enough, but no such luck with either Spirit Beast...

So eventually, I logged Cerylia out at Nesingwary's camp after finishing up dailies. Logged in the next evening and began to consider leaving the zone for somewhere else... when my _NPCScan addon went off not more than 5 minutes after logging in, telling me Loque had just spawned. x_X I immediately made sure my beast tracking was on, and took flight towards the nearest spawn point across the river. And what do you know... there it was. :)

I quickly landed and tamed that kitty fairly easily, much to the chagrin of the two Alliance hunters that landed next to me soon after my tame had completed. xD My very first Spirit Beast had been tamed!

Cloudess is currently my favorite pet to use right now; her heal is fairly handy, and I LOVE her unique roar as she fights. Makes her much more legendary and special to me. ^^ She's a beautiful kitty and even though she wasn't my initial planned Spirit Beast, I'm so glad I got her. It's like she came to me.

Halo - female Spirit Beast
Originally: Arcturis in Grizzly Hills
Personality: caring and protective. Fierce to defend.
Name origin: Named for halos that angels wear.

Taming Arcturis has been my project for a long time, primarily due to its personal significance to me. For one, I love Grizzly Hills. Cerylia never quested there, but Serisyna did. The area is beautiful, and coupled with the music, it literally makes me cry. But more importantly, I wanted Arcturis to be my in-game tribute to my mother, who passed away in January 2010.

Though my mom was not a gamer, she did love the fantasy genre, enjoying epic fantasy movies like Lord of the Rings and reading various fantasy novels. She would spend lots of time watching my dad, my sister, and me playing our video games, asking about the characters and being interested in the story and lore of the worlds. I remember that she and my dad would spend many mornings together, sharing breakfast as my dad PvPed in WoW. My mom would love to watch his character fight and cheer him on to win.

My mom was always associated with bears as a favorite animal, and so I thought it would be a fitting tribute to tame the Spirit Beast bear, Arcturis, as a way of remembering her love for the fantasy world. Unfortunately, it seemed like everyone was always camping the one spot for that pet. :\ After many failed attempts, I decided to take a step back and work on it later... perhaps after the Shattering, when everyone would be distracted by the new content.

Not long after taming Loque, I decided to hunt about for Arcturis next, and like before, I logged Cerylia out in the spawn site. The next evening, I logged in again, figuring I would head back to the Argent Tournament for my dailies or something... and the instant I zoned in, my NPCScan went off. Arcturis was literally standing right in front of me, as if waiting for me. Squealing wildly, I easily tamed the majestic creature, and Halo was mine.

I attribute both Spirit Beast tames to my boyfriend; I was talking on the phone with him both times when they appeared. xD

Like Cloudess, she is a quite potent pet with a very handy healing ability that proves useful in tricky soloing events. I always wanted a bear, so I guess this one is Cerylia's bear. :)

In-game, I imagine that Halo is the spirit of a valiant mother bear that died trying to protect her cubs from hunters. Cerylia came across the spirit beast, and by bonding with her came to show Halo that not all hunters want to kill defenseless animals. Now Halo watches over Cerylia protectively, just like another one of her cubs.

I miss you, Mommy. Wishing I could show you all my in-game and out-of-game achievements today.

- female Bird of Prey
Originally: Rustberg Gull on Tol Barad Peninsula
Personality: defensive and spooked easily. Good at making a nuisance of herself, but cuddly with Cerylia.
Name origin: Named after the squeaky sounds she makes when attacking. :)

When I learned about the new pets that came out with Cataclysm, I was amused, while browsing, to find that you could also tame a seagull model. Just how threatening can a seagull possibly be? I joked that I should try to tame it sometime, though it took me quite a while to get around to doing it.

Squee was tamed to commemorate my first day on Tol Barad not long after making level 85. We won the battleground, and with the help of my boyfriend finished all the available quests as well. Little Squee was easily tamed, and to my delight remains small and adorable. She was named a bit silly on purpose by my sister, in return for my silly name on one of her hunter's pets (a sporebat named Spork).

Though a bit delicate, she is quite fun to take around for quests; she makes a great distraction by flying into the faces of her enemies, flapping her wings, squawking, and scratching at their eyes. xD I might take her PvPing sometime, if I have the taste for it again.

Zerus - male Silithid
Originally: Hive'Ashi Sandstalker from Silithus
Personality: Instinctive, cunning, single-minded. Attacks whatever poses a threat to its master.
Name origin: The original homeworld of the Zerg, in the StarCraft games.

Taming a silithid wasn't anything I had planned, but a combination of coincidentally being in Silithus, considering running some PvP soon (for holiday achievements), and reading about StarCraft II inspired me to head out to those horrible hives and find a suitable buggie companion. Silithids essentially equate to spider pets with a constant stamina buff, and I figured since I had recently gotten rid of my Survival spec (which I had only used for PvP), I would PvP in Beast Mastery from now on. So a silithid seemed like a unique and handy choice. :)

I had originally considered a purple "tank" model silithid, but on the way found this blue-green colored model and thought it was rather handsome.

I have always found Silithus fascinating, primarily from my experiences with the zone on my death knight, Llylithen, as well as my druid, Meilyn. Although it's something of a small and uninteresting place to quest, I liked the exotic quality of the qiraji empire, and the creepiness of the "hive mind," "alien" insect silithids. (I remember being horrified and deeply affected when I first discovered the fate of Natalia Mar'alith.) So I suppose this pet is a homage to my fondness for Silithus.

Cerylia herself doesn't have a particular like or dislike for bugs, but I like to think Zerus followed her home in a sort of unusual anomaly. Something happened to make the silithid believe that Cerylia was his "queen" that he needs to guard zealously, and he does so with single-minded, fierce determination. He has little personality outside of this, but like any silithid he is clever and understands what Cerylia tells him.

Stormfang - male Spirit Beast
Originally: Skoll from the Storm Peaks
Personality: Somewhat arrogant and proud. Believes himself to be the strongest of beasts and thus the only one fit to protect Cerylia.
Name origin: A name that references his electrical, stormy appearance and the fact that he is a fanged wolf. Not too complicated. :)

After taming Cloudess and Halo, I had told myself I wouldn't go after any more spirit beasts. I'm not interested in "collecting them all" like other hunters are, and besides--what am I supposed to do with that many spirit beasts? Fate changed that, however. I was originally in the Storm Peaks hunting for the Time-Lost Proto Drake, in some feeble hope that I could locate it on behalf of my boyfriend, when NPCScan alerted me to the fact that I was perched on the mountain right next to where Skoll spawns.

After peering down and considering this opportunity, I decided I might as well go ahead and tame the impressive looking wolf. A few moments later, Stormfang joined the team. :D

Since he is a very large model pet, I tend to think he believes himself powerful, the way the original Skoll in legend did (he regularly chased the sun across the sky in Norse mythology, and before Ragnarok would finally succeed in gobbling it up). We spent most of our early time together trying to figure out the then-new Assist stance and how to apply it in dungeons. It was a little awkward, but we got through it. :)

As Storm Peaks was always one of my favorite Northrend zones (along with Grizzly Hills), I consider him a tribute to the beauty and mystery of this land and its ancient secrets.

Cyan - male Core Hound
Originally: Chromaggus from Blackwing Lair
Personality: Subdued and quiet enough normally, but driven to a frenzied bloodlust in battle. Determined to aid Cerylia in destroying the minions of Deathwing as vengeance for creating and mistreating him, an early experiment in chromatic dragons.
Name origin: Cyan is a shade of blue. I was looking for a color-related name, and though he is purple... I figured Cyan made a good name, and was related to purple... right? They're similar colors!

As typically happens with my spur-of-the-moment tames, I had an empty pet slot just in case I happened to run into a rare elsewhere, and ended up going into Blackwing Lair with my boyfriend. We were two-manning it and eventually worked our way up to Chromaggus, the boss just before Nefarian. Whilst talking strategy, my boyfriend casually mentioned that it was tameable... and I realized he was right. Huh. I've seen those in town once or twice before... I thought they sounded cool... Well, you can guess where that led. xD

Cyan is a fun pet to use, mostly because I love his sound. My sister and I joke that he sounds like a monster vacuum cleaner whenever I send him into battle. xD He is very loyal and quite dependable.

So I wonder, what do you readers think of your pets? (Whether you're a hunter, warlock, or other pet class!) Are they just a DPS/tank blob that follows you around and does what it’s told, or do you have personalities, stories, and affection for your pets? I always think everyone has their own tale, so I’d love to hear them. ^^

Recommended pet hunting addons:
_NPCScan - Gives you a very noticable alert and alarm sound when a particular NPC spawns in the zone. It even tries to mark and target the NPC for you when you click on the alert. Comes prepackaged with a a list of rares it can track for you, but you can enter other NPCs as well to track whatever rare spawn you'd like! Most often used for tracking rare coveted hunter pets (such as the spirit beasts), but also can be used to track other creatures for certain kill achievements or valuable loot. Requires you to clear your cache folder before hunting, but works very well. Was used to nab my spirit beasts, Jadefang (for the vanity pet), and a few other rare spawns for achievements/blue drops.

_NPCScan.Overlay - Another addon that integrates with _NPCScan to create colored paths of rare creatures on your map, showing where they spawn or patrol. If _NPCScan alerts you to one of the rares, the map will show you where the creature probably appeared. It also shows you the range of _NPCScan's detection so you can search an area much more effectively!