But I want to play, and while I could play any one of my small army of alts, I get the most enjoyment out of playing hunters - I like the play style of hunters and mostly, I love the hunting and taming of pets. The solution would be to roll another hunter alt, however without a purpose with said alt, it would just be yet another alt that gets benched at any level under 60, and only gets played once or twice a year, if that.
It can be a bit of a conundrum. (I love that word)
BUT! I may have found a solution (for the time being anyway)
Recently I read a thread on the Petopia forums where a member had found themselves with a lot of free time on their hands and needed something to fill it. So they created themselves their own "hunter challenge."
They created a brand new hunter (on the opposing faction to their usual), and levelled it with a mandatory pet change every 5 levels. They then added in the following restrictions:
- Each pet had to be chosen from the zone they hit each 5th level in,
- Each pet should be a nearby random beast unless it clashed with their next restriction of:
- No doubling up on families unless no other choice existed, if two of the same family had to be tamed, then no doubling up on skins.
During this process they kept a record of each location and pet tamed and at the end they gave a review/overview of the pets covering what they thought. (Thread is located here for those interested in seeing how they went)
After reading the thread, I found myself really interested in the idea. I realised that it would give me the opportunity to:
a) play a hunter without getting bored when I realise that she was ultimately going nowhere,
b) See some zones I hadn't quested in before (especially considering I did very little alt levelling during Cata, so I still haven't seen many of the changed areas/storylines), and
c) try some new pets that I had been reluctant to tame previously, considering my lack of stable space on my main
I decided I'd attempt to do this "challenge" myself, sticking with the same restrictions as the original, along with the same level blocks (every 5 levels from 10-70, then slightly more frequently between 70+)
So today I rolled myself a brand new hunter and set out on an alt journey with a purpose. I chose Horde to try keep things fresh, and I picked a Tauren because they are not only awesome, but they are the only horde race I have been able to get into playing previously. I also decided to embrace my geekiness and stick to a library/literary naming theme, something I have wanted to do for a long time, but never got around to.
Voila, Melvil was created and her starter pet, the purple plainstrider, became "Dewey" (Melvil Dewey being the Librarian who created and published the 'Dewey Decimal Classification System' - one of the most used library classification systems in the world along with the Library of Congress Classification System)
Having originally started playing hunters before they got given a starter pet, it's really nice to have a pet from the get go at level 1. Really, it's the way it should have been from the start - while taming your first pet was really awesome, those first 10 levels really didn't give you an accurate feel for the class you were playing. Having to change your playstyle right at the beginning was a little off-putting.
Dewey held aggro well, and could easily pull mobs from you if you had pulled an add and had spent some time attacking it. Though occasionally he was slow to attack when I pulled aggro on random mobs. Which makes being unable to control your starter in any way a little frustrating, especially if you are trying to manage more then one mob.
Appearance wise, I find plainstriders pretty ugly, yet somehow endearing. Though the purple and green combination on Dewey is quite nice. Their animations are cute and give them lots of character. During my levelling from 1-10 I found myself getting pretty attached to my twitchy plainstrider and was a bit sad when it was time to stable him and get a new pet.
The first new pet I stumbled upon was a Prairie Wolf Alpha who was quickly tamed and named Cipher (Meaning "the initials of a personal name, written or arranged in ornamental form of such complexity and/or artistry as to form a private mark or symbol." Often seen on the binding of books belonging to notable historical individuals, such as William III of England)
Despite being a "dog-person" in real-life I have never really had a strong attachment to wolves in game. I like their animations and behaviour in game, I just can't find myself forming bonds with them.
The major thing I noticed about Cipher was that he died. A lot. Compared to Dewey, (who was a complete tank it seemed) any groups of mobs or attacking several mobs in a row and Cipher was sure to get taken down, quickly. You really notice the lack of Mend Pet at the 10-15 bracket and I can't quite understand why you don't get the spell earlier. While you get Feed Pet (which now heals you pet for X amount of health) it's very dependant on a) remembering that it is now a heal, and b) having the necessary food on you to feed to your pet. It also doesn't help that Feed Pet can only be used out of combat.
Overall, Cipher served me well enough, however I wasn't too sad when I hit level 15 and it was time to stable him in return for a new pet. After running out of Ratchet, the first pet I see and tame is one of the Cheetah skin cats, now named Curiosa (Meaning: Books or pamphlets that are highly unusual in subject or treatment, usually somewhat indecent by conventional standards" Try not to think too much into it - I just like the way it sounds)
It was here I called it a day, but hopefully it won't be too long before I can resume my journey.
I found that it's a little harder to get a feel for a pet at the lower levels when they go by so quickly (even without Heirloom gear), however given that the low level pets are common and as such they are pets I have had in the past it's not so much of an issue. It's my hope that as I level higher I will come across more uncommon companions and get to spend a bit more time with them.
The most important thing is that I am really enjoying myself while playing Warcraft again.