I know some of you were reading into my comments a bit much so I’ll try and explain things a little more.
The wolf is overpowered when compared to the other available pets, mostly because it buffs the master. Buffing all of the pets to that level would require a number of different changes to different pets and the chance that one of those buffs would be too much or not enough is reasonably high. When you have say 10 or more things all roughly equal and then one that is outside of that group, the one that’s outside is called an outlier. Defining it as the new normal isn’t smart game design and just like we do with classes, we are likely to nerf the single thing at the top than buff all the others.
It might not be possible to ever get the pets completely identical (see comments below), so very competitive raiders will probably still only take the best one. But if the best one is only slightly ahead of the others, then it will feel more acceptable to some players to run with the pet they like. For most players, improving their own game will have a larger effect than picking the “best in slot” pet if they are comparable.
As far as the Spirit Beasts are concerned, there are several reasons why they would make a bad “best” pet. There are not very many options to choose from and all of them require “farming”; a rare spawn that is more of a testament to blind luck than any kind of player skill. As we said before, there is no advantage to having a wider spectrum of pets to choose from if there is only one right choice.
We have talked about literally making all the pet families identical and letting the player just pick one based on looks. That certainly homogenizes the game quite a bit, which is why we haven’t done it, but it would ultimately allow pet choice to be cosmetic.
In the end, yes, we do want to get BM competitive with Survival and Marks. We even did some buffs in 3.3 to help them get there but the reason for my comments earlier is that we’d rather have two viable raiding specs than just one so Hunters as a whole are not in terrible shape. Eventually we do plan to get all 3 there. Just remember that when players obsess about 1% differences in dps you can understand why that task is pretty gigantic. There are probably more raiding BM hunters in 3.3 than in 3.2 and probably a lot more than there are Subtlety rogues (sorry for the example rogues, but you/we know it’s true). It’s far from a dead spec. (Source)
I really think this is the right move to make. Spirit beasts shouldn’t be so over powered everyone uses them. That’s why all hunters seem to be running around with wolves now. They’re very useful because they buff the hunter. We should see some pet normalization in Cataclysm, so when the whole world gets turned upside down, every hunter gets to re-learn not only what pets to use, but also how to deal with a focus bar instead of mana. Might as well, right?
I’m glad they’re not taking away the buff from Wolves just yet — I like my wolf, and I don’t want to have to go search for the next “best pet” that’s out there. My demon puppy and I are pretty close, I would hate to lose Sock!
If you were going to hope for a “best pet” of any type, what would you choose?