Most folks have certain class traits that appeal to them. Some love being that long-range archer sniper, while others get juiced on the feeling of being an invincible tank. There are those who prefer healing, those who love hybrid set-ups, those who like to conjure fire… and then there are those who love pets.
On our first Massively OP Podcast we fielded a question about MMO pet AI, which set me off on a long speech about just how much I love pets in games. Man, do I love ’em. I love how they make me feel as though I have constant companionship, I love how I feel “overpowered” when I’m fielding one, and I love how combat feels when I’m attacking a foe with one or more allies at my side.
Chances are, if your game has a pet class, that’ll be the one I’m playing. Here are my top 10 favorite pet classes in MMOs that I played for a serious length of time.
1. Lore-master (Lord of the Rings Online)
While the Lore-master initially comes off as having a stable of rather small pets, including a raven and a lynx no bigger than Garfield, the specialization of each pet brings a lot of strategy to one’s playstyle. I am partial to the Bog-guardian for its long-range attack (and how it shoots bees at foes), but the sabertooth is great against packs, the eagle has a handy auto-rez-me skill, and the spirit shines in groups when it can add to healing efforts.
2. Robot Mastermind (City of Villains)
Possibly the nadir of pet classes, the Mastermind went overboard in giving you large team of pets that you could micro-manage, macro, or blindly order to your heart’s content. For my money, there was nothing better than sending forth an army of cool-looking robots to cut down the enemy. Runner-up to the Robot Mastermind was the Thug Mastermind with its awesome Gang War summon (about 30 extra non-controllable pets aiding you for a limited time).
3. Illusion Controller (City of Heroes)
On the flip side of that game’s factions stood the Illusion Controller, one of my all-time favorite powersets. Pretty much all of the Illusionist’s powers were temporary pet summons, but as development progressed on the game, so did the quality and fun factor of these summons. Pulling out imaginary allies to sic on bewildered foes never got old — not to mention standing in the back and taking no damage!
4. Warlock (World of Warcraft)
The Warlock had a lot in common with LOTRO’s Lore-master, including its access to a stable of pets, each with a certain focus. The imp used to be a great raid minion, while the felhunter was perfect to take out against an enemy spellcaster. However, the class came alive to me with The Burning Crusade and the ability to order around an axe-wielding felguard. Suddenly, no one was making fun of my diminutive height as a Gnome because everyone was already dead at my feet.
5. Every class (Star Wars: The Old Republic)
BioWare’s penchant for bringing tons of personality to functional companions is a huge selling point of SWTOR for me (plus, y’know, Star Wars and Smugglers and story and taun-tauns). It’s so great that no matter what class I choose, I have a gang of five to seven companions from which to choose for questing. The fact that companions have choices of roles and the ability to be kitted out adds a surprising amount of customization and strategy for the duration of the game.
6. Necromancer (Guild Wars 2)
While GW2’s version of the Necromancer isn’t as, erm, mosh pit crazy as its predecessor, I actually prefer it for pets that aren’t constantly dying. Plus, I love how the pets do double duty of both attacking enemies and healing me at the same time. All minions should work so hard.
7. Squig Herder (Warhammer Online)
The Squig Herder was probably the most odd of all pet classes I’ve ever tried. For starters, it was a runty Goblin with an undersized Cupid bow. Then, of course, was the fact that its pets were angry balls of teeth with legs that it beat into doing the Squig Herder’s will. If that’s not weird enough, there was even a skill for a giant squig to swallow — temporarily — its owner and be controlled from the inside. Genius.
8. Hunter (World of Warcraft)
While I am more fond of the Warlock, I spent countless hours with WoW’s Hunter as well. I remember back in the day when everyone wanted to tame Broken Tooth for its slightly faster attack speed, whereas I was just gleeful that I could command a gorilla to pound away at my enemies. My personal coup de grace was pulling off a series of near-exploits to tame a spirit wolf in the Burning Crusade era and parading it around to the astonishment of fellow Hunters.
9. Squirrel Girl (Marvel Heroes)
Speaking of pet insanity, meet Squirrel Girl. She is a gang of cute furry fun, starting with the command of a squad of squirrels that constantly attack nearby foes. Add to that her permanent companion Tippy-Toe, her Team Up companion, squirrel reinforcements, and the game’s dozens of pieces of gear that have chances to proc even more pets, and she’s a one-woman Avenger team. I have yet to be bored of sending her into the thick of action and watching her emerge victorious by virtue of outnumbering the enemy.
10. Bureaucrat (Anarchy Online)
While I could never truly figure out how to play the Bureaucrat effectively when I tried this back in 2002 or so, this class is notable in my personal history for being my very first MMO pet class. It was definitely weird to play a corporate suit that just so happened to command a robot, but it amused me.
What pet classes have you enjoyed?