Pet taming was the class-defining feature for Hunters, the class I spent most time with during my three-month visit to Azeroth. Also my favorite. Blizzard had clearly looked at everything that was wrong with the Everquest Ranger and thought "Surely we can do a bit better than that". So they did.
Then after a while they decided, what with Hunters famously being adventurers of very little brain and even less patience, they might have gone a tad too far with the whole full-feature pet-taming mini-game, so that had to go. By the time I arrived, fashionably late by about five years, Pet Taming was down to the bare bones but those bones still looked tasty to me. I set out to make the most of what was left, only to run slap-bang into the Stable door.
|You want me to swap you for the Jungle Cat? He's not scared of heights.|
I'm loyal to my pets in MMOs. I like to give them a name, watch them develop a personality and then create a shared history of adventure with them. On the other hand, I want to collect as many as I can because collecting is fun and pets are fun so collecting pets is funfun.
Twenty pets? Plus, if I work up the Call Pets skill, another five? So, twenty-five? When there are in excess of 300 possible pets? (I'm getting all this information from Petopia, by the way, which was my go-to for Pet info back when I was playing. I haven't played WoW in three years so about all I can remember is Not Enough Pets!!!).
|Like I'm taking advice from a Necromancer on responsible pet ownership|
Twenty-five wasn't just not enough pets. It was insultingly, tauntingly, derisorily not enough pets. It took all the fun out of pet collecting. Well, some of the fun. Not possible to take ALL the fun, there's just too much fun there. But still...
I read recently at That Was An Accident, one of my very favorite blogs and one I rarely get a chance to link to because it's the only WoW blog I read and, well, I don't play WoW (I think I mentioned that earlier...) that the Stable is going to double in size. Confirmed here. So, fifty pets.
Still not enough. Tempting though. I have been getting a weird, almost subliminal urge, not strong enough to call a desire or even a whim, more a background hum, to take another look at WoW. Purely as a tourist. Just for an evening. People keep going on about it and three years may be just long enough to ripen nostalgia even in someone who didn't think they'd had that much of an emotional engagement with the damn game in the first place. (Me, in other words.)
|A Reindeer is for life, not just for Frostfell|
Anyway, annoying though the Stable is, it's one hell of a lot better than EQ2's infuriating Beastlord bait&switch. In EQ2 you can have all kinds of pets, just so long as you stick to one of each kind at a time. For example, my Beastlord picked up the red-nosed Reindeer at Frostfell. Deer are members of the Bovine Family in Norrath's anarchic biosystem along with cows, sheep and camels. If I ever tame a sheep, bang goes Rudolph. Not that I call him Rudolph. That would be a daft name for a deer. And not that I want to tame a sheep...
EQ2's strict one in, one out policy on Pet Families pretty much put paid to any interest I had in collecting pets there at all. I just got one decent exemplar of each kind and that was that. What a waste.
|They understand every word you say, you know|
And what a joy, what a relief then to come at last to Tyria. In Guild Wars 2 you really can collect them all. There just aren't as many. Where WoW has 300 and EQ2 170, GW2 can muster only around 50 pets so far, but once you get those 50 they are yours to keep. They're not on loan. When you get a new cat you don't have to give the old one back. You don't have to park your polar bear in a Stable, worry whether she's getting enough seal-meat, if she's missing you, pawing at the straw and whimpering herself to sleep...
So, pets. Yes, I want to collect them. Lots of them. And once I've got them I want to keep them. I will feed them and walk them and take care of them. All of them. I promise. Trust me. Now, please let me keep them.