And tell you a little story to make a point.
With all my spec testing lately and my latest entry on how my "relationship" to my pet, playstyle-wise, varied according to spec, I fear I may have accidentally given off some false impressions. So, I'm gonna clarify.
There are hunters of all specs who love their pets.
There are also hunters of all specs who really don't care very much either way. This includes some BM hunters who are BM only for the numbers, for example.
The point that I was trying to make in my last post, is that I missed the feeling of splitting my damage with my pet. I missed knowing he was doing 35% of my DPS. It felt awkward knowing that the damage responsibility was basically squarely on my shoulders. It felt lonely to me.
When I say that, I am not at all trying to discredit the relationship you lovely MM and SV hunters have with your pets, or say that they aren't important.
Tawyn was my first ever character and she was Marksmanship until level 55-ish.
The reason is because I had no idea what I was doing or what a spec was. So I asked my friends what to do with these newfangled talent points. At this point I'd actually started putting points into BM already but two different people completely mocked the idea of me spec'ing BM and told me Marksman was the way to go, so I promptly changed course and followed their advice.
Up I went through that talent tree and my owl Tux was there the entire way. He was my feathery little pocket tank. He was my leveling buddy. He didn't dish out a lot of damage but he held aggro like a champ. I loved him dearly. I loved him just as much then, as a Marksman hunter, as I do now as a Beast Master hunter.
Really though, I was hungrily eyeing the Beast Mastery tree the entire time I was leveling. Heck, I went off and made Lunapike so I could have a BM hunter that my friends didn't have to know about. There is a reason why I gave her a red kitty pet, aside from the fact that I think they're cute. It was a conscious, symbolic choice because Lunapike was going to be my BM hunter.
That Little Red Kitty is level 70 now, by the way.
Anyways, back to Tawyn. I finally said "Ya know what, screw everybody else. I don't care if they're going to call me a noob now. I'm respec'ing." So I did, and I'd like to say that I didn't look back.
...except I did look back, once. Because it sort of scared me at first. Tux went from being my pocket tank to being this Big Red Owl of Doom. He was doing as much DPS as I was at the time, if not more. "I've created a monster!" I thought. I spent about a level as BM and then spec'd back to my Marksman safety zone. Tux went back to being my mild-mannered companion. All was well.
Then I started to miss the whole "fast and furious" playstyle of BM and the idea that Tux could be more than just my tanky friend. We could fight alongside each other, each doing equal damage. We could be unstoppable, together.
Together we went through the Dark Portal and stepped into Outlands and that is when I spec'd to Beast Mastery for good and since then I haven't looked back. I wouldn't have it any other way at this point. We fight together. He isn't just there to keep the mobs away from me. He is there to buff me with his Ferocious Inspiration so I can in turn buff him with Kill Commands and tons of Focus, and we both act as an elegant killing machine, as One.
I have a special relationship with my pets as a Beast Master hunter. But that doesn't mean I love them any more than I did when I was Marksman. That doesn't mean I don't value them any more than I did when I was Marksman (although in a gameplay sense, obviously you do have to value them somewhat more =P)
When I was experimenting with non-BM specs in Beta, I felt a certain detachment to my pets in terms of there not being nearly so much hunter/pet synthesis (one procs something for the other) and the reason I was forgetting Mend Pet is probably largely because I was busy trying to work out new rotations. Anyways, that is what I missed about being BM. I missed the hunter/pet synthesis. I didn't love the pets any less just because I shuffled talent points around. That would be silly.
So! That is your Pike-story for the day. Hunters everywhere love their pets, and that is the way it should be. Just wanted to clarify that. Thank you, as always, for your comments and support and I will see you all next time.