I am in no hurry to get through things in WoW Classic. As tends to be my approach, I want to cover a lot of ground without wearing myself out. And wandering every side path has already paid off. This was the era of random quest givers stuck in the middle of nowhere.
The exception so far has been with my hunter.
The hunter was probably the most distinctive class of early WoW; strange, complicated, and always pressed for inventory space, both because hunters lose a bag slot to hold ammo and because you have to carry food for your pet.
But a hunter without a pet is practically no hunter at all… and all the more so where your still running around with the 1 dps newbie hand axe because you haven’t gotten a fortunate drop yet. Three gun upgrades, but no melee, and without a pet every encounter gets resolved at knife range… or axe range, as the case may be.
So I was in a bit of a hurry to get to level 10 with Tistann so he could get a pet going.
I was out in grinding that last bit of experience by taking down leper gnomes past Brewnall Village, itself a quest destination. I had already done the Operation Recombobulation quest there… another one of those quests you might miss if you don’t wander in the right building… but leper gnomes were good exp and drop coins, cloth, and the occasional green quality item. I finally got my axe upgraded hitting them.
That got me to level 10, at which point I started to trot on back to Kharanos where the hunter trainer with the class quest hangs out. I had forgotten that class quests were a thing really, except for hunters. But SynCaine reminded me that they are there for everybody and do require a bit of class knowledge.
I passed through Brewnall Village to sell some drops and saw that I had a quest waiting for me there. And it wasn’t just any quest, but the lead-in quest for the hunter class quest.
This wasn’t the best assumption on the part of Blizzard I suppose. I had already finished up the quests in the area by the time I was into level 9, and this quest only goes live when you hit level 10. I could have easily left the area, hit level 10, and never have seen it. I don’t think it blocks you from getting the actual level 10 hunter class quest, but I would have missed out all the same. These days a quest just appears for you in the UI to keep you from missing such things. But back in the day some game designer just assumed that of course all dwarven hunters would be passing through Brewnall Village after hitting level 10.
I took the quest and kept on trucking to the hunter trainer, where I got a little extra xp for having the lead-in quests I suppose. And then it was on to the real deal.
The Hunter’s Path is in a few stages. You run out and tame a crag boar, a snow leopard, and an ice claw bear as samples of the pets you can tame.
You have to spend ten minutes with them, which I used to go hunt some more skinnable animals. I had picked up skinning and leather working with Tistann. And while the auction house was saturated with light leather (and we’re all too poor to buy anything still anyway) I was quite active in skinning everything I could find, so those stacks of light leather could be sold to a vendor for 3 silver each if I was short of coin.
After the three runs, you are given the ability to tame a pet of your own, as the three each disappear as you finish up each quest. Then the next step is to run up to Ironforge and find the pet trainer… the trainer with skills for your pets. You also get some of the follow-on skills, like pet feeding, dismissing, calling, and reviving. I had to sell a couple of those stacks of light leather to load up on everything.
And then it was time to go out and find a pet of my own. My gut said I should get a bear, and not just any bear, but a bear from Elwyn Forest in the human starter area. There was a reason to get that particular bear, but I couldn’t recall why. I just knew I did that back in the day for a reason, and my hunter on WoW live still has that pet from way back in the day, even though any advantage has long since been ironed out by changes to the game.
Fortunately Petopia, the long standing hunter pet reference site, had opened up a Petopia Classic page for those of us playing WoW Classic.
That brought me back up to speed on bears as pets. Some of it I knew, like the fact that bears are good tanks. I had forgotten they were pretty omnivorous, which is handy since you have to keep pets fed to keep them happy. And the bears in Elwyn Forest come with a rank 2 version of the Claw skill, which other bears don’t get until later.
So I took the tram from Ironforge to Stormwind then ran down the hill to find a bear. I was able to tame a nice level 9 specimen. Level is kind of important, both for what skills they can learn and because your pets level up independently of you, capped only by your own level. I was nearly level 11 at that point, so wanted a pet that wasn’t too far behind.
Pet tamed, then fed until he was happy, I used my hearthstone to get back to Ironforge. Fortunately I remember to set it at the inn there. So my hunter now has his first pet. I ran around and killed some mobs with him, which got both of us a level.
I just have to keep him fed. A fed pet is a happy pet.
I’ve never had a pet run away on me, though it has been said that an unhappy pet can lose enough loyalty that they will take off. Now my hunter can get on with actually being a hunter… though I need some more silver so I can stable Barstow at some point, because to learn some skills you have to tame a an animal that has the skill, the work with them until you learn it. Then you abandon them, unstable your own pet, then hunt with them until they pick up the skill.
Being a hunter can be a job at times, but there are few classes so fun and flexible… in WoW Classic at least.