The problem with tenacity pets and blood of the rhino

It's me again, Durendil, hunter soloist and currently sad not-panda. I've tanked bosses, dungeons, elites, quests... with my trusty tenacity pets. Poor pets :(
WOD has brought many changes: for blizzard, it meant fixing two things: pet CDs are now shared, and mend pet/spirit bond are no longer affected by + x% modifiers. I am not here to complain about blizzard's design choices. I'm here to point out the unexpected consequences that make tenacity pets... nearly useless, from an objective point of view.
Now the main issue is: tenacity pets don't feel like tank pets at all since they are only 12% more durable nowadays. You could show me number that say that ferocity pets are now nearly as tanky as pre-patch tenacity pets - which my testing seems to confirm - but putting my pet in tenacity is now just punitive: if I don't do it, he'll die because he'll get critted, and if I do, I won't actually gain anything. There's no more tanking spec, only the spec you have to tank with.

What happened? Well, blood of the rhino went from the pet tanking passive to barely noticeable. It is made by 3 components: +20% armor, -6% chances to be critically hit, and +40% healing received.

First, the -6%: just like the old hit/expertise cap, on it's own it's punitive (see above). When it was part of a "tanking pack", it felt good but now it's just there to stop us from tanking in ferocity.

Second, the +20% armor: it's not working. I'd say it's a bug, but the last few weeks have given me trust issues. Now i'd enjoy seing it corrected, but it won't be enough - like the +12% health, it would be a small, barely noticeable bonus.

Which brings us to the +40%: when you made the tenacity spec, what did you want it to be used for? In raids? Nope, you said it yourselves: many bosses do triple damage on pets to avoid exploits. In dungeons? Nope: it takes very skilled dps and healers to keep a pet alive and not recuperate aggro. And if you have such a skilled team with you, then you probably have a skilled tank too, and he's ten times better than a pet. In solo? Nope, the passive is useful only if you have a healer in your group. The +40% was what made us hunter see bigger numbers when we switched to tank spec, and feel that our pets were more tanky. And now it's gone, in a way that would only be justified by tenacity pets causing too many balancing problems.

One day, I was completely overgeared and had a great healer with me. I tried pet tanking wavebinder Kardriss in normal (she doesn't have damage*3). It was a disaster. And I couldn't pet tank challenge modes if I wanted to. So hunter tenacity pets are in no way a threat to high-end PVE. Or pvp, unless I missed something and everybody uses turtles. Or... anything. They are only there for when hunters want to do a quest with powerful monsters, or the few of us who solo raids that don't give us useful gear, or any kind of rewards (I've definitely spent more gold on soloing than I gained). For fun. So why not address this problem? There are 2 solutions I can see:
-remove tenacity spec and make other specs crit immune against mobs. Because if I wanted +12% survivability I'd use a stamina flask. (note: if switching to the tanking spec is like drinking a flask, then maybe it's not worth it)
-actually make tanking spec worthwhile, and make us feel that our tanking pets are tanking pets, not just glorified dps pets with less dps. Making mend pet/spirit bons heal them for 40% more would do the trick, or just anything else that's visible (and actually useful). Maybe give them a defensive CD? (last stand is, with all due respect, a flavour effect given its very low effect and gigantic CD, although it's the only thing that still says "this is a tank pet"). For example if you made cower a tenacity-spec CD it would already fix the problem. Just give our pets something with non-negligible uptime and noticeable effect and we'll have tanking pets again, instead of pets we have to tank with because we have to.

If you have any questions, or remarks, or anything, I'm open to discussions but I'm just feeling that blizzard's approach to tenacity pets is "not used in high-end PVE or PVP? let's completely ignore it", while it could be "not affecting group PVE or PVP? Let's do something good with it since it won't unbalance anything and make the game better for hunters that don't carry a healer in their pocket!". So please just hear us for a few minutes, we know you're extremely busy with important stuff (especially since patch 6.0.2, but it's sometimes the little details that make this game great. Were you unhappy with hunter pet tanking before the patch? If not, no point in taking all the fun out of it, no?
I don't want to reroll warlock just to have tanking pets back.
Interesting how all hunter healing related abilities and glyphs are percentage based and so have no interaction with each other.

As for Blood of the Rhino:

The armor increase is 0% instead of 20%,
The healing increase is 0% instead of 40% for mend/feed pet at least. Haven't been able to test bandages.

Can we actually be sure that the 6% crit immunity from melee attacks is actually still there ?

Blood of the Rhino's armor buff should simply be fixed but it isn't yet in the upcoming 6.0.3 patch.

Either Mend/Feed Pet should scale with RAP (like spirit mend) or the increased healing component from Blood of the Rhino should be removed and Greater Stamina should be buffed to 50%.
Tanking pets should be tanky.. with all that comes with it - let's say dodge chance based on hunter's crit, stamina increased by mastery and % damage reduction based on versatility..

I hope AoE attacks stayed, but they're too weak anyway and won't hold aggro unless you support them with Misdirections :S

Also, defensive CDs (at least 1) are a must.. if you want, reduce damage of tenacity pet by 50%, but let it:

since even mend pet glyphs are now mutualy exclusive, we can't even cleanse debuffs off our pets, unless we sacrifice like 50% healing..

I was able to solo Firelands with a ferocity pet, but fights like Baleroc are really hard on pets - it literally takes 3 hits and dies, even though you can hold on a good while longer because his attacks don't deal as much damage to you.. I'm not able to solo Heroic Baleroc though...
The crit immunity is there, I checked (well to be true my pet checked, by being mauled again and again by bosses. Poor pet :))
Also, when you're not in a group, aoe aggro isn't exactly complicated with all that misdirecting going on. However if you're with other people (like, doing MSV with 2 friends) then you have to be the best dps and misdirect aoe like crazy. I wouldn't exactly call it a problem (since my friends can understand commands like "do not grab aggro") but if other hunters feel it is, I believe that thunderstomp should generate non-neglegible aggro compared to misdirection. Idea: what if thunderstomp increased threat received by the hunter's aoe misdirecting by 200% for 3 seconds, for example? (don't forget beast cleave)

I personally managed to solo Baleroc in 582 ilvl gear but that's not the problem - sure we can solo bosses with enough gear/hunter-related awesomeness, but we just want tanking pets to feel like tanks - as Allemantheia said, even if they do less dps it won't matter because we want them to be tanks.

P.S: although try to keep the dps loss reasonable, or everyone will just switch to MM/SV for soloing. Maybe make them not bring the raid-wide buff? Or make hunters go on "tank mode" reducing dps by 10%? (I say 10 because if it's too high it will cause new problems).
I remember the old shell shield that reduced damage taken and damage inflicted by the pets - trading dps for survival. That's what we're ready to accept.
I had an idea: the problem with code is that some things are easy to implement others really hard, no? (I started coding myself and I understand your plight better now :))
And changing mend pet to be affected by healing modifiers could be too hard. So maybe if we tried another solution?
Example: if we gave tenacity pets a passive that said:
-increases pet health by 100% of pet's +healing received%
-increases pet health by 100% of hunter's +healing done%

Then we'd be exactly how we were before, since increasing pet health by 40% = increasing pet's healing received by the hunter's heals by 40%.
The second part of the passive is for buffs (like Elegon, or Theralion) and Versatility.
Good catch Durendil.. I was wondering why my tenacity pets were suddenly not so... tenacious!
New idea: hunter ability/talent/glyph/else:

Aspect of the Rhino:
You take on the aspect of a rhino, reducing your and your pet's damage by 10% but unlocking new abilities for your pet depending on it's specialisation:
All specializations: reduces the pet's chance to be critically hit by 6%. Maybe an armor bonus or health bonus?

Ferocity: lick your wounds: your pet restores 100% of his health over 5 seconds. Channeled, 2 or 3-minutes cooldown. Variant: we could give him cower. //the aim is to give ferocity pets a little defensive thing since heart of the phoenix is way less interesting with the 1,5 sec rez (or, if glyphed, insta-rez)//

Tenacity: mend pet/spirit bond are now affected by healing % modifiers (variant: use the health-increase method detailed in my previous post). //jto make tenacity pets fell like tanks//

Cunning: Intervene: 25 yards range 30 seconds cooldown Your pet runs at high speed towards a group member, absorbing damage done against them from the next attack equal to 50% of your pet's total health //now I wanted to put it in the tenacity spec, but I was trying to make 1 ability/spec if you feel it would affect pvp too much, you can always give it to ferocity pets or make it share a CD with roar of sacrifice, so the two abilities can't be overlapped//

Now, another possibility would be to make pet collars/glyphs (could be exclusive) to customize your pet with some of the abilities?

Also, my thoughts on intervene: check Caribald's goodbye intervene video ( and try to feel the broken hearts of hunters worldwide (personally, it was the first time a soloing change brought tears to my eyes) towards what was one of the most useful abilities in soloing and especially the real skill check - it wasn't just a passive, but an ability you had to click at the right moment, that had tons of little details to it - range, the fact that a single hit would negate the absorb... Also, it can no longer be abused in pvp thanks to shared pet CDs (also, in pvp it will only absorb 1 hit, while in soloing it was either for one-shotting mechanics or dots - see the video).

Finally, for last stand: the fact was that before, we didn't use last stand but stamped + last stand, so we had 5 last stands up (pet health*3.7). So it was our "heroism": used usually once per fight but gave us 20 seconds where we didn't (usually - 4 drakes + halfus would still kill him in 10 seconds) have to worry about our pet's survival, giving us the respite needed to finish an add or just get through a phase, or burst at the start. So we could do something there.

Frankly, we hunters have tons of ideas, if you want to do something to make tenacity a real pet spec again, don't hesitate to ask us questions, we're ready to put some time in this and we're experts on our pets (while you know better what can and can't be done, and balancing issues). Seriously, we're tired of seeing our abilities disappear because of PVP/button bloat (how many hunters actually had cower in their action bars instead of leaving it on autocast?).
Tenacity Pet Specialization: Blood of the Rhino now reduces the pet's physical damage taken by 15% instead of increasing armor by 20%.
Tenacity Pet Specialization: Great Stamina now increases the pet's health by 60% (up from 12%)

Ok, so first thoughts:

AWESOME pet tanks are tanks again. Thanks really a lot (of kisses). Increasing the pet's health by 42% increases healing done by mend pet by the same amount (the only downside will be on fights like elegon where healing is buffed but on the other hand on fights such as durumu healing debuffs don't affect our pets).

For the physical damage reduction, I have no bad comment: it's better than armor in the physical sense and worse in the magical, but definitely better on the logical/feeling one - you don't exactly see pets, like warriors, deflecting magic.

The only missing thing now is a good CD (although last stand is now a bit more useful)
P.S: with a pet with 101k, I used last stand, it said "increases pet health by 30k, but he was at 124k - not a tragedy, but it might be worth looking into.
Personally my preference for CD would be intervene (since it's mostly skill - based and if there's something hunters need right now, it's an absorb for massive one-shotting attacks such as Valiona's Blackout).

If you don't add a CD, WOD soloing will be only at a slightly worse place for soloing (no quintuple last stand, or rotating pets to have last stand up more often) than MOP. If you do, we might see it go back to WOTLK (where correctly using your intervene was the key, comparable to a DK using that ability that heals him at a percentage of damage taken last x seconds or something the right time to maximise health recuperated). Either way the base numbers are here, and we're really happy. Now we just need something that requires a little skill to use properly and it will be perfect.

Either way, we'll have lots of fun.

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