Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pet Pathing / AI Issues

   One thing I've always loved about my pets, particularly as a BM hunter, is that they seemed to have pretty good "intelligence."  You could pop a pet onto Defensive, and it'd do things like switch to a healer if one began to heal (having an aggro table, I assume), or in solo PvE, swap target repeatedly to make sure nothing switched to you.  You could put a pet on Aggressive, and if it "sensed" a rogue stealthing too close, it would turn and stare in that direction, alerting you to his presence--or downright attack them and break them out of stealth if they became visible to the pet.  However, if your pet was set to Defensive and you commanded it to Follow, it would drop target and obey.

   In addition to that, a pet would path intelligently--they would use the same type of routes that a player would.  So if you sent your pet after something standing at the bottom of a tower, the pet would run down through the tower and attack; if you sent pet on something in the next room, the pet would go to the nearest doorway and run in.

   Since this last patch, I've been learning the hard way, pet AI is pretty broken.  A pet no longer knows how to go down a tower or around a wall, and will instead simply stand motionless, staring at the target--and will not obey commands most of the time, leaving a BM PvPer like myself completely alone.

   To add to these new issues, the design intent for the new stances has also become a bit more clearer, and it's not a pretty picture.  Whereas the old Defensive stance had the pet attacking anything you attacked, or which attacked you, the new one ONLY attacks mobs or players which attack you first.  This is completely useless, and I honestly can't ever imagine a situation where you'd want to be hit before sending your pet.  The Assist stance is also quite buggy, overwriting manual commands--so if you try to send your pet to a new target, but have a DoT on your old or if another player is hitting you, the pet will ignore your command and go to the player which is DoTted or hitting you instead.  You literally cannot control it.

   I could set it to Passive, and use only manual commands, but there's a few things for which I value the old Defensive stance--for example, the pet streaking off into the bushes in WSG and alerting me that there's a healer behind that tree stump forty yards away healing my target.

   As a BM hunter, these are pretty crippling changes.  To fix them, I suggest the following:

* Remove Defensive stance entirely or repeal the changes; add back the old Aggressive stance.
* Change Assist stance so that manual commands overwrite stance behavior until the command has been executed.
* Return pet pathing AI to the previous state; there was nothing wrong with it, and now it's broken.

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