Just a few short (or rather, long) levels ago, Ferguson was running a Blood Furnace PUG. In my group, was an “extra special” hunter, whose pet kept taking extraordinary amounts of damage. True enough, there is a lot of AoE in the Furnace, so I did what I could to keep it healed up, but it was eating away at my mana. I flip my Recount around to the healing meters to see that I’m the only one who’s been doing any healing. I don’t mind helping a hunter out when the damage is just too much for the Mend Pet HoT, but I figured, it simply is not the healer’s job to look after the pet. When I questioned this hunter about why he hadn’t healed his pet at all, his response was “He’s not taking any damage… he hasn’t even died once!”
I suppose, in the end, it was partially my own fault that he wasn’t healing his pet. The group was doing well otherwise, and I’d been pretty good about keeping his pet healed up. Maybe he didn’t realize that during a boss fight, I simply can’t focus on it.
This got me thinking – are there other hunters out there that rely too much on their healers? What about healers who refuse to pay any attention to pets?
What if the two were to collide?!
… Anyway, I’d like to discuss this issue that affects me doubly – under what circumstances should healers heal hunter pets? I decided that I need to get some input on this issue, since if I’ve learned one thing through PUG-ing, it’s that everyone has different strategies and expectations when it comes to healing.
I e-mailed a few Hunter and Healer bloggers, and they were all kind enough to respond with lengthy discussions on the topic. All were very insightful, but it seems that we all unanimously agree on what seem to be two basic logical points:
A Hunter should be responsible for their pet.
A Healer should not be completely ignorant of pets.
From a Healer standpoint, pets take the lowest priority. It is irresponsible of a healer to let a player die while they are trying to save a pet. However, in my opinion, it is against the principle of being a healer if pets are completely ignored. Even if it means watching them die as you wait for a chance to toss a Renew on them, it’s imperative that you at least know what is going on and keep them in the back of your mind. Hunters should understand if you don’t get to heal their pets, but on the other hand – if you are sitting around twiddling your thumbs while the pet is at low health, show the pet some lovin’. Lassirra of The Hunter’s Mark discovered the same thing as me while leveling up a priest after a hunter: there are more opportunities for this than I had thought there were.
Ego from the Egotistical Priest, told me about how she has a separate group in her raid UI (using XPerl) for pets. It is less prominent than the regular raid groups, but when she has a couple seconds of free time and mana, she can quickly have a look and give a hunter a hand.
As for hunters, pet management is key here. Proper pet management means knowing when to toss a mend pet, and when to recall your pet to your side. It also means not really having to worry about the issue of getting heals from the healer! If you are keeping good control of him, your pet should not need heals! Unfortunately, especially when still leveling, some hunter’s haven’t really taken the time to learn how much is too much for their pet, Bremere of Healing Anonymous has had similar problems with hunters in lower level instances.
But there are situations, like when a pet is off- or even main-tanking. At that point, Mend Pet shows itself for what it truly is, an ersatz Renew. You wouldn’t expect a tank to survive on just Renew, especially if it’s a cute little kitty-cat? This is one of those times when the healer priority list needs to be fumbled up. Yet still, some healers somehow forget to help a hunter out even in this situation, much to Pike’s frustration (Apect of the Hare).
Matticus of World of Matticus brought up an excellent point about PvP. Since obviously, I’m not a big participant in the arenas, I really hadn’t thought about the value of a pet in that situation. Those things can be deadly to a caster – and if you can keep them up a little longer, it’ll probably do you some good.
In the end, it depends on a number of factors like group composition, amount of group damage taken, spare time and spare mana. Hunters should do what they can to take care of their pets – but when its appropriate, heals are always welcome!
I’d like to quote something Jez from DPS: We Deliver said to me: “It’s kind of like getting a mage table in BGs – you can’t expect it, but it sure is nice when it happens “
Thanks to all those who gave me input to help me write this post!