Pets – a string of code or a companion
Meet Ort and Oliver. This is one of my older screenshots, dating back to early 2007. This is my first character, Ort the hunter. Ort’s first pet was a Wolf. That wolf looked cute, it howled occasionally, and ran around in a cheerful kind of way. My friend who I played with in the early days had a hunter of the same level, and his pet was one of the large Mulgore cats. When we got to the Barrens, we explored the area thoroughly, amazed at the amount of wildlife that we couldn’t tame. I wanted a Giraffe or a Stormhide, big, majestic pets, something for other players to look at me and go – ‘that dude has an awesome pet!’ (It’s part of Hunter ego, along with a big ranged weapon)
And then I wandered across into Durotar, and along the shore, looking for wildlife. The scuttling little crabs appealed to me, but they were tiny. Less than the size of my Tauren’s hoof. Then I came across a Corrupted Surf Crawler, gleaming like a little sapphire in the sand. I decided I had to have it, and tamed it and named it Oliver. From that moment onwards, all the way up to the 40s, that crab was my constant companion. Up until the point where a friend played on my account when visiting my house, and released him into the wild when he meant to inspect him. Or so that friend claimed. I was surprisingly distraught.
Looking back, should I have been? Should I have rationalised that that was merely a bundle of numbers, that could have been restored by me taming a fresh crawler and leveling it up? Or was it right to be sad for my now solo hunter?
Either way, I grabbed a new pet (whatever it was, it didn’t leave an impact, I don’t even remember it) and levelled to 44. I then, with a goal in mind, travelled all the way (with my newly aquired 60% mount, you newuns are spoilt) to the Swamp of Sorrows, and fought my way to the coast. There, I went a-searching for a certain kind of Crab. The biggest kind currently in-game. The gold and blue coloured Monstrous Crawler!
And I tamed one. He became Oliver mark 2. I felt like whatever I had lost when Oliver 1 wandered off into the wild was regained with this majestic counterpart. Oliver II has stuck with me through thick and thin. When the talent tree changes came, he became my own personal warrior tank, charging around the place and growling (and much later, thunderclapping). He ground my dailies with me in Quel Danas, he took the worst the monsters of Northrend could dish out whilst I pumped them full of bullets, and he sits, pride of place, by Ort’s side whenever Ort is not raiding.
There is the distinct possibility that in Cataclysm, all pets will be created equally, and the crab will be as mighty as the wolf in terms of DPS. If I choose to level my Hunter, this will be a joyous day for me. I never enjoyed waving goodbye to Oliver, leaving him in the hands of the reedy thin Draenei on Aldor Rise or in the holding pens in Dalaran. Goodness knows where he goes when I use [Call Stabled Pet]. I would love to have him fighting by my side again.
Why do I have such affection for what is basically, a simple rendered model with 4 legs, cartoonish claws and long antenna? I’d put it down to the same reason people don’t like destroying their old tier sets, or the people that won’t ever faction change or race change. I’ve gotten very used to how he is over 3 years, and I wouldn’t want him any other way.
And just one final picture of Ort and Oliver, in full ICC raiding glory. I do wish I could take him to ICC, really.