With Patch 3.0.2, hunter pets have been simplified and streamlined very much.
Significant changes are:
- There is no longer a need to learn pet skills and teach them to pets. There are no training points. All pets know all skills for their family and level, and learn as they level.
- There are three classes of pet, tenacity, ferocity, and cunning, corresponding roughly to tanking, dps, and PvP. All pet families within a class share a stat build and pet talent tree. (Hunter Pets now have talents.)
- All pet families now have one focus dump attack, which are all equivalent.
- All pet families now have one, a few two, special abilities.
- No more mage-build pets.
- All pets can growl and cower.
- There is no longer an active training slot trade-off to consider.
- So, now, all pet families are viable (but details of the special abilities vary). Significantly, they've all been brought up to the capability of the more capable classes.
- Feeding is simplified. Most pets have more options for food, a few have less, (but more eat meat), but pets no longer run away. There is no loyalty stat. Pets do still have happiness, which affects their effectiveness.
- Pet leveling is easier, but more significantly, any low level pet is bumped up to five levels below the hunter. This can occur when you tame a very low level pet, or if you leave a pet in the stable while you level.
- Pet optimization is now about selecting pet talents. It is similar to how training was, but there is no trainer involved; it works just like your talents, except pets get talents at level twenty and every four levels.
- There are a few more pet families. Owls and carrion birds have been combined.
- There are some new exotic pet families; these require the Beast Mastery hunter talent to use.
- You can buy two more slots in the stable, four total. And you no longer need to keep an opening for pets to learn skills from.
(See also, Hunter pet)