Monday, July 14, 2008

Are boars still worthwhile?

(This is a reply to another post from Zulazilu in the comments of my last post, about boars as pets)

Charge can be great for mob positioning, Zula, and also for being able to send the boar the moment a mob crosses a trap.

However, their damage output is comparitively extremely weak, and the Orc racial bonus from Command is one of the only boosts to pet damage available to anyone who doesn't spec Beast Mastery. The bug which causes Charge to break Freezing Trap is also still present.

Ordinarily damage output is not something I am primarily concerned with, but after the Charge nerf, the boar's damage output is so low that it also compromises their ability to hold threat, and that is something I *do* care about.

I know my old boar is present in my picture at the top of the blog, and he will remain there; I also hung onto him for as long as I could, even going so far as trying to use Kibler's Bits and Strength scrolls to boost his threat generation.

However, after repeatedly dying while trying to solo Ramparts, due to his inability to hold aggro even when I was using my lower ranked shots, (which, if I'm careful, usually allow other pets to keep up) as deeply unhappy as it made me, I realised it was time to face facts.

The Charge threat generation nerf was IMHO a genuinely mortal blow to the viability of boars as pets. Usually I'm able to roll with the punches when the nerf bat has hit in the past; although traps have had several minor nerfs, (such as the introduction of the arming time) they generally weren't gamebreaking. If the boar wasn't also hit with the -10% damage penalty as well, they might still generate enough damage that they could keep up in threat, however, those two factors together produce a scenario which I haven't been able to improvise around.

For farming, with the full 250 TPS that pets are usually said to provide, if I keep my overall damage output at less than 350 DPS, pets can cope. Soloing instances with elites, it gets a lot harder, but Snake Trap and my threat wipes mean it's still doable. That is the bare minimum of threat generation that I need, though, and the boar just doesn't produce it. I was pulling Orcs in Hellfire Ramparts away from the boar after two shots, and for multimob tanking especially, I can't have that.

I was extremely upset, as I said, to have to stable my boar. I had an emotional attachment to him as a pet which I haven't re-established with any of the others; it's just not the same. However, I must also admit that since finally stabling him after the Ramparts incident, I've only used him again once, as well; that was for farming water primals, and even there he noticeably slowed me down in comparison to my Wind Serpent.

For general, low-risk farming against single targets, a boar will likely still be acceptable, (if very slow) but for any greater risk environment, including one where multi mob tanking will likely be necessary, I can't in all honesty recommend them. For levelling I'd recommend some type of flyer now if you can get them, (for Screech) or a cat if you can't.

Also, as far as Improved Wing Clip is concerned; I usually opt for Entrapment of the two, but that's probably a personal preference thing.

I find in PvP though in particular, that I like a scenario where I can drop a trap, have someone run into it, and then have them snared for a few seconds behind me while I'm still moving out to kite. Wing Clip in that scenario means that there is a much greater risk of me being hit while applying it; and in the case of a Rogue, that means being potentially stunlocked as well. An Entrapment proc means they're snared without having touched me at all, so I can then apply Concussive from range after that, to keep them at bay.

It can also sometimes be good for positioning mobs; once they hit the trap, if Entrapment procs, my pet will fight them in place, rather than them continuing to move foward and almost getting into my melee range at times, before the first Growl hits.

Like I said though, it's personal preference. I've used Imp WC before, and it certainly can be useful, especially if you also take it with Counterattack. The problem with Counter as well though is that you really need Deflection in order to maximise procs for that, and 5 points there start eating into your Marks talents as well, which is very bad for your damage.

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