I see a ton of hunters asking what the best pets are in TBC. "Is it really ravager?" Well, it depends. There are a few good options. Windserpent, Ravager, Cat, and Bat.
Gore is 22.7% better than Claw. However, Bite+Claw is better than Gore for the first 12 seconds of a fight, and first 30 if you include Prowl+Bite opener. So, cats are better if you value burst damage like when killing trash or some PvP scenarios. This gets annoying to manage though, so unless you're a night elf hunter that really wants a stealth pet, I'd just go Ravager between cat and ravager.
That said.. Winderpent's lightning breath damage is better than both Ravager or Cat's skill damage at all times by over 20% even early in TBC (up to 43% once your crit and attack speed is high enough to fully sustain Windserpent energy.. but that's not until the very end of TBC, and needs luck even then.)
The issue with windserpent is a slight expense of the raid (it can use a shaman's +ele DMG charge), also -4% hit chance for BM lightning breath since it's not melee. These, in my opinion, are not a huge deal though and windserpent is the best damage except when a boss has resistances. Shamans think otherwise though :p so I suggest using ravager for raiding.
Bats (screech) is the best for soloing though if you add multiple targets..the threat is amazing. There's a reason every single Chinese level farming hunter uses a bird as their pet, it just makes life simple. I also like bats for some needy dungeon groups to help the healer.
And, of course, Scorpids are still best for arena and many PvP scenarios. But even with Scorpid it still depends on what you're doing.
Group PvE with shaman: Ravagers or Cats, depending on fight durations. Under 33s per fight = Cat, over 33s per fight = Ravager. Ravager is also better between 25-29s of a fight. Ravager is just easier than cat in so many ways, so really only go cat if you need initial burst more than anything else. If you just want your numbers to be as high as possible tho, Windserpent.
Solo PvE vs multiple mobs: Bats do make life easier. (Not carrion/owl, because bite>claw DMG per hit and it's enough that it makes it worth using. Screech is our energy dump for threat so claw is worthless.) Or.. you guessed it, Windserpent again if you prefer faster kill times and you find your threat management is already fine.
Solo PvE vs single mobs, or in groups without shamans: Windserpent. Highest single target damage by far even with less than bis gear (as long as it's not really bad gear. Don't use windserpent if you're under like 16% ranged crit. Also, melee weaving adds to your overall DPS but it reduces effectiveness of windserpents because less energy production, so if you love to melee weave stick with a Ravager or Cat.)
PvP: Scorpid to block sting dispel, or Windserpent DMG if not playing the drain game. Cat if you love stealth I guess.
Just a side note if you go windserpent, just what I've experienced, windserpent makes you desire to optimize your range attacks at all times which gets kinda tiring. Also, you should bake lightning macros into your attacks (just throw it in with kill command, since you need to do kill command anyway!) so it doesn't reposition itself before lightning, cause it will retreat first when it's on auto. (Or something like this, hopefully someone else can explain, I forget what the actual cause of this issue is. Maybe blizz fixing it in TBCC too,I hope they are.)
Hopefully this helps someone. Good luck on the hunt!
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