Smarter Pets in GW2

Jon Peters of the Guild Wars 2 development team has recently published a few more updates, particularly details of the engineer’s tool belt, the cross profession combos, and which interested me the most: the pets.

My first GW1 character was a ranger, Nell, and somehow rangers always stayed my favourite profession – in theory. In reality, I played my warrior ten times more, and she became my main character after a while. And yet, I never quite lost that original optimism I felt during character creation, that the ranger was the thing for me. Somehow during gameplay, I didn’t have quite as much fun with a bow than with an axe, and as cool as having pets was, they were sometimes just plain dumb.

Now this could change: Jon promises more direct control over the pet, as well as hotkeys (F1-F3) to make combat easier to handle. Previously, it sounded as if pets weren’t going to change much. In GW1, you had to select your target, and then click the little attack button for your pet separately. If you didn’t do that, the pet would usually attack after a while, but waste precious time waiting by your side until it realised you were fighting, and not handing out treats. Sometimes the pet wouldn’t attack at all. It sure seemed easier to just pick my warrior, hit C + Spacebar, and off she went to hack at her nearest foe.

Apart from more direct control, it is also “explained” how the different categories of pets work. To be honest, I didn’t really understand that: Jon implies that a ranger will have a particular animal available at all times if he’s charmed it at some point in the past. That sounds as if choosing a pet works like choosing clothes in the morning – are they all standing next to the city gates, like a little menagerie? Well, no matter how strange that image is, it sure will be convenient.

At any rate, pet use will be more transparent. The player gets to know their pet’s skills, and every animal has unique ones to use. Charmed pets also don’t level up any longer, but simply adjust to the ranger’s level. This may seem less logical and realistic, but in a world of magic, it can easily be explained. It certainly is less hassle. As most players did, I once had Nell stand in the Kurzick forest for 3 hours, letting herself be killed by a white tiger again and again until the damn beast levelled up to 20. It is exactly annoying practices like this that are just  a pointless waste of time that GW2 is hoping to eradicate. I think the pet overhaul will help. 🙂

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