As I've commented on previous blogs, I'm figuring out the mechanics of the hunter class in WoW. A key component I realized, and I'm a tad embarrassed to say quite recently, is pet control. Pets are indeed useful to hunters, but they can cause trouble too, which I've learned. If there's anything good to come out of the LFG tool besides badges, it's that it allows players to learn things about their class they never thought about while soloing.
As I was questing along (I didn't even do 5-man instances until I got to the high 70s), I always had my pet on defensive mode, with growl turned on, because I didn't know any better. As long as I was able to kill x number of boars or go speak with this NPC, it was all good. I got the job done. I didn't die. I completed the quests and received my rewards.
Flash forward to a normal UP and heroic Nexus run a few weeks ago. I had been running in PUGs, but nobody ever commented on what my pet was doing. I let the tank pull the mobs, and once the tank was in place, I fired away, with my pet charging in. In the Nexus run, I had my pet in defensive mode, and yes, with growl on. The pet pulled a trash mob, and of course, a player in party made some helpful comment to effect of "the huntard pulled the mob".
That incident made me think of how I was controlling my pet during these runs. So I put the pet on passive for subsequent runs, but still sending the pet in when it seemed it wouldn't be able to pull anything. In the UP run, I was wrong. I didn't think to turn growl off, so of course, the pet generated threat, and pulled another trash mob. Once again, a player in the party made some sarcastic comment akin to "nice pull hunter".
After those experiences, I keep my pet on passive 90% of the time while running an instance. In boss fights, I'll let the pet go in. Of course, growl is off! I've been doing this the past couple weeks, and I was surprised the other party members didn't comment as to why I never send the pet in! After browsing forums on this topic, I found other players put their pet in passive in instance runs too. Of course, after the run is over, I put my trusty wolf back on defense, and turn growl back on when I'm questing.
While I wasn't exactly happy about the way I was called out running the instances with my pet, it was a learning experience, so in an odd way I'm thankful for them being jerks. It really hit home that I didn't think much of pet control, and hence, became a little more educated with the hunter class. When I run instances now, I'm more comfortable as to when to use the pet, and when to keep it a spectator. I haven't had any complaints yet!