I've often heard mention of the intimate bond between Hunter and Pet and the seamless union of souls where the pet becomes an extension of the very fingers of the hunter.
As such, its often recommended that a Hunter keep their pet on passive. Doing so leaves the Hunter in supreme control of each and every action, save for the focus-consuming attacks that are left on auto cast.
The latest installation of that philosophy was put up recently by Pike. The article offers excellent advice with some basic instructions that Hunters, new or veteran, can benefit from. Go, go. Read, read.
For instances and raids, no doubt. Passive is King. Last thing I want to do is have my pet off and doing its own thing, pulling the entire room of dancers before Moroes' dinner party. Not that that's ever happened :-P
But, do you really want to be an oppressive overlord? Do you want to crush your pet's sense of style and independence? Do you want to hurt your pet's pride by constantly micromanaging her every move like Mother Hen?
In a raid setting, sorry Condoleezza, but you're gonna have to listen to what I tell you.
But...a Ravager's got to spread her pinchers and fly. She needs to roll around and feel the soft grass of freedom on her carapace.
If I'm constantly ordering her around, not only does it tire me out, but it downright makes her cranky.
And its actually more productive for combat to let her call the shots from time to time.
I'm a skinner. Nagrand is chock full of skinnables. Just to the east of the Spirit Fields is a little meadowy slope where packs Clefthoofs roam, usually 7 or 8 individuals in each pack. A daddy, a couple of mommies, and a couple of babies. Its good to be a Clefthoof Bull.
Until Condie gets her chance to play.
Having no AoE to write home about, a Hunter is faced with needing to be innovative if he wants to make quick work of these walking leather dispensers.
So, I set Condoleezza on defensive, and send her in to attack the Bull. Once Growl is about to fire again, I kindly ask her to consider attacking one of the neutral Clefthooves, and Growl it. Now two mobs are securely aggroed onto her, with one Growl each.
While this is going on, I also go ahead and cast Misdirect onto her. And I take my time, firing one shot at each of three other neutral Clefthoofs. I don't use Multi-shot, because that might hit one of the two mobs already in combat, and I'm going for AoE-like effect here. She's now got 5 mobs securely on her.
And they're on her securely enough that a Mend Pet ain't gonna pull aggro off of her.
For fun and maximum skinning efficiency, I usually drop a freezer and pull another neutral one over to me. Or if the remaining neutral Clefthoovi haven't walked too far away, and I've crit-ed during the misdirection which means she'll have enough focus for another Growl, I'll gently nudge her in the direction of another mob.
From there, the rest is up to Condoleezza.
I now just keep Mend Pet up, and assist my pet. I've got my assist pet command mapped to F1 and just spam away at that one and follow her kill order.
As each one burns down, she kindly picks another. I check Omen to make sure she's got enough threat for me to open up, and badda bing, badda boom, 6 or 7 dead Clefthoofs in 40 seconds or so, with minimal tap dancing or scrambling or kiting or much fuss at all.
Double bonus points if you immediately switch over to another pack of Clefters that cross paths with the one you're killing. And Triple bonus for when the third pack intersects. That's insane. It takes longer to loot and skin them all than it does to kill them. Although the misdirection cooldown kinda interferes with this one.
Granted, this technique depends greatly upon your armor/stamina so the pet can take all this damage. Plus it depends upon your combined firepower to burn down the mobs.
But if you're looking to complete the daily gathering quest nice and quick, AND you're not on Terokkar server (keep your carapaci off my Clefthooves), go give it a whirl. The best part is, they're all neutral, so you get to choose how many mobs you engage, and can tweak the numbers to suit your armor/stamina/dps.
Make sure your pet gets ample cuddle time after putting in such an admirable job of taking all those hits, and also feeling free to dictate her own kill order for masses quantities of mobs.
Oh, and watch out for Durn. He likes to walk by during the madness, but I find his aggro range is kinda messed up, as I've actually had him walk directly over me without entering combat.