The latest Shadowlands alpha build added something of particular interest to hunters. Most races received new starting pets! Some are just model or skin changes, while others like blood elves have an entirely new family for their first pet. As you can see above, the character creation screen is a little buggy, and none of the new pets actually work once you log on to your character. I’ll do my best to show what’s going on; but remember that things will likely change once the many glitches are ironed out.
First off, not every race has new pets. Mag’har orcs, Kul Tirans, Zandalari trolls, Highmountain tauren, goblins, dwarves, vulpera, and worgen all retain their old pets. Undead and Nightborne have their old pets, but the character creation screen is doing weird things which suggest they might be changed. Dark Iron dwarves and Mechagnomes have issues displaying their starting pets that persist from live servers. Night elves aren’t available in this build so their pet situation is up in the air.
The character creation screen is a mess for these new pets. For some reason there are two pets on top of each other, and sometimes they have missing or heavily distorted textures. The draenei and undead are the worst offenders:
Luckily, if you create a character, the log in screen has their new pet appear without any bugs. So I made a bunch of randomly generated hunters to show off the new pets. Let’s check them out.
Then there are a couple outliers. Undead still have their black widow spider, but the character creation screen also has a (heavily glitched) Naxxramas style spider.
Blood elves have even stranger problems. As I showed up above and at the start of the article, they get a mana wyrm instead of a dragonhawk. Or at least male blood elves do. Female blood elves still have a dragonhawk. In fact the character creation screen for males has two mana wyrms, but the female screen has a mana wyrm up close and a dragonhawk behind it.
Nightborne probably have the same manasaber pet. But instead of displaying two of the same pet on top of each other, their character creation screen has a disembodied Battle for Azeroth nightsaber head just behind the manasaber.
As Nightborne and night elves use the same skeleton, and night elves are disabled in this build, I’d guess the nightsaber is the new night elf starting pet rather than a replacement for the manasaber.
Once you log in to your new character for the first time, things get weird. Regular races just don’t have a pet. “Call Pet 1” isn’t even in their spellbook. Incidentally, “Call Pet 3,” “Call Pet 4,” and “Call Pet 5” are in the spellbook, listed as being learned at levels 31, 41, and 48. There’s no “Call Pet 2” in the spellbook either. I can only assume you gain a pet at a certain level instead of at level one, but short of leveling a hunter of every race until each gets a pet, I don’t know how to check.
Allied races have a pet when you first log on, but its the one they have on live servers, not the one on the character creation or log in screens. In fact once you’ve logged on to a character once, the new pet is replaced on the log in screen with their live server pet. The character creation screen still uses the new pet.
On live servers, Dark Iron dwarves and Mechagnomes have a similar problem. Their pets on the character creation screen and when first created are a blue mechnical wolf and red darkhound. Once you log in, they become a gold mechnical wolf and an otherwise unavailable flaming darkhound. This issue persists on the alpha. I’m uncertain if that suggests whatever is going on with the new starting pets will effect them as well or if its just a coincidental unfixed bug.
With all of these bugs, clearly hunter starting pets are in a state of flux. I like most of the new pets, but others I wouldn’t mind seeing reverted. The voidstalker makes more sense for void elves than a creature from Argus, for example, and regular draenei would probably make more sense with a Warlords of Draenor talbuk model. Trolls getting a Zandalar raptor is great, but I miss the red color scheme of the original (there is a red ravasaur skin that could be used). Hopefully the next build will fix at least some of the issues and clarify what’s going on.