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GURU: Diminishing the Identity of Pets?


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#1 Roun Lyriel

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 09:32 AM

Heya, folks! I'll take this opportunity to formally introduce myself though I'm sure some of you have already seen me posting around the forum. Previously I was at FFXIVCore where one of my duties had been heading the editorial team. Because of my experience there I was asked to help with a similar setup for GW2Guru. Now I'm part of Guru's oven fresh Content Writer team, looking forward to scratching my itch to write.

We'll be basically acting as GW2Guru bloggers, writing various opinion articles like this one, though we'll also be managing community articles, working on various types of community spotlights, and even cooking up a some community focused content for simple fun and laughs. You'll be seeing one in about a week, a sort of riddle game.

The team is still steadying itself right now so we may be doing more or less in the future, and there's definitively things we'd like to try such as coverage of life in Guild Wars 2 once it releases, but for now I'll leave you all with my humble article.

http://www.guildwars...entity-of-pets/

Feel free to discuss!

EDIT: Just wanted to throw in that I usually get involved in the discussions as well. There are some really good points in the thread that I would have loved to discuss, but it was my birthday weekend so I was drunk and so very not available. I hope you'll all forgive me. Next time, I promise!

Edited by Roun Lyriel, 07 November 2011 - 10:59 PM.

"I shall write my own story, inked in blood, wrought on flesh, the tale within my very soul. The hands of fate have no place here."


#2 Bubbles The Prophet

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 09:43 AM

I agree with your ideals but ranger, is so much more than a pet based classed.
Its supposed to be a nature theme class that puts some emphasive (or something) on animal companions. Even though Arenanet made the decision to have a  pet be part of the main mechanics doesn't mean we're looking at as beastmaster. Basically we're looking at a hunter who befriended a friend during his journey. And that's why the changes are good because, you don't have to rely so heavily on one pet and have more choice to do what you want.

#3 I swung 4 times

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 09:51 AM

If it were not an active combat game, I would agree that the pets be more personalized.  But I like the idea of pets as weapons in this case.  I would just hope the pet combat and the ranger combat achieve enough synergy.

#4 Nemui

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 10:14 AM

imho: gameplay > everything else

I swung 4 times said:

I would just hope the pet combat and the ranger combat achieve enough synergy.

i agree with this, even though i'm not sure i'll even play a ranger. on the other hand it shouldn't end in dependency on the pet, because there might be people who don't want to focus on their pets... okay, achieving both of these goals simultaneously is probably impossible :(

#5 Chalky

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 10:18 AM

I have to say I disagree with the idea that they didn't fix the ranger pets from a gameplay perspective. They absolutely did.

Although it's a shame to lose some of the depth of the pet class, the decision is justified.

It isn't viable to have a complex pet that you maintain direct control over since that would essentially mean controlling two characters. Because of the requirement to have direct control over your pet for gameplay reasons, they have had to cut the complexity and reduce pets to a single active skill. To balance this reduction in complexity, they have introduced the ability to swap between pets easily and to own a large number of pets so that you can remain flexible in combat.

Because a player owns and uses a large number of pets, it is simply no longer viable to have a player invest a lot of time into levelling up and evolving individual pets.

#6 The Greyhawk

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 10:25 AM

I don't mind pets.  I like that they are available to Rangers.  And I like that they are much more viable an option then they were in GW1.  If this works out, so much the better.  However, I do have an issue or two with other aspects of  GW2s Rangers.  One of them being their supposedly diminished survivability, as is stated by the Team Quitters articles (links found in the news section).  One of the things Rangers had going for them in GW1 was their ability to survive, and I'd be disappointed to see that taken away.

#7 Zeus_CM

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 11:29 AM

I swung 4 times said:

If it were not an active combat game, I would agree that the pets be more personalized.  But I like the idea of pets as weapons in this case.  I would just hope the pet combat and the ranger combat achieve enough synergy.

I agree with you. I will quote Jon Peters on this one:

Quote

Jon Peters:

It’s true, we had a lot of ideas about how the pet stuff could go, but this is the one approach that felt the most Guild Wars 2. We picked this pet system because it fit with our goals of making versatile characters and fluid combat.
http://www.mmorpg.co...iew.html/page/1

#8 BrettM

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 11:41 AM

Funny. I just posted some similar thoughts in another thread before reading this. Rangers do feel a little less like THE pet class now, and are a little less differentiated from other "pet" using professions (necros, engineers, and guardians).

But, in the end, I have to agree with Chalky. It is more important that ANet make pets work than that they support "boy and his moa" play styles. Gameplay > roleplay. Though I admit that I had looked forward to venturing forth with my inseparable old animal buddy, I still expect to thoroughly enjoy playing ranger.

#9 Newtimer

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 11:44 AM

I think this is a perfect change for pets. I see the point you make, but I believe playability will increase by this change and that its much more important.

#10 Faowri

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 11:56 AM

I do think it's kind of a shame, as one of the things I felt reading all of the criticisms about the ranger class before was that there was no real bond between the ranger and the pet - it was nothing but a hassle to keep tabs on and level up, and the pet didn't really work with you, so inherently you were going to feel less attached to the pet. They may not be real, but I love those games that have made the most of building a relationship between your character and your character's pet. I felt it could have brought something really unique to the class to make that pet bond something special for the ranger.

That said, gameplay-wise, making the pet more like an objective weaponswap instead of a faithful friend makes a hell of a lot of sense. It also seems to fit better with the general nature of GW2 combat.

Guess I'm just going to have to use my imagination on the pet relationship front!

#11 Iuris

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 11:58 AM

Since this article is generally a matter of personal preference, all I can do is voice my opinion that the change is a positive one. It removes grind needed to re-level a pet if you decide to get a new one, and I never liked the forced pet focus for the Ranger anyway. I'd prefer pets as just decorative skills, no HP or regular attacks, just enacting skills when ordered to.

#12 Lord of Potatoes

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 12:11 PM

Thats the result you get when a pet should feel like an extension of the player and not something that follows the player around.

But thats good, because in an MMORPG you need balance professions and how they work. If you'd need alot of control over the pet new players could have a hard time learning how to use a pet. Therefore, implementing the pet the way it has is a good thing.

#13 Trise

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 12:12 PM

The bonds are still there. Like all companions, you will have "epic moments" with every pet you use. Those stick in your memory and build a relationship. Saying that won't happen because you can pull them out of danger now or let them retire is just silly.

#14 4thVariety

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 12:44 PM

With GW2's focus on direct control over the character on screen, it is a risk having something around which you cannot directly control, yet come back to bite you in the back.

It is totally the right move not to have the pets level individually. There is no reason to first reward a player by giving him a new pet in the far corners of the world and then punish him by making him grind the pet to proper levels.

But ultimately, if you dig deep into the gamesystem of any MMO, a pet is always but a different texture put on a beneficiary effect. An effect, which could have been realized by any number of animations. You click the "pet tank" button, I push the "freeze enemy" watermagic button. Same thing, same number key, different animation.

That seems to be what hardcore Ranger fans miss the most. The pet having an unique effect on combat. An effect that is not shared by all eight classes, with merely eight different animations. But that is not something ArenaNet can pull out of a magic hat over the weekend. Even the example Roun gave about Warhammer was flawed. Because the pet was not unique, the players reacting to it were just inexperienced. The unique feel of the powerful pet was not based on its own merit, but the flaws of his opponents. That might happen in GW2, but not for long.

#15 Crophancis

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 12:45 PM

Lord of Potatoes said:

Thats the result you get when a pet should feel like an extension of the player and not something that follows the player around.

But thats good, because in an MMORPG you need balance professions and how they work. If you'd need alot of control over the pet new players could have a hard time learning how to use a pet. Therefore, implementing the pet the way it has is a good thing.

They could have given the option for those of us who want to, you know, set abilities on automatic use or controled by the player, it doesn't seem hard at first sight at least. Not that I'm against this new implementation though.

#16 spithas26

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 12:46 PM

well the changes are good but i believe that the player should be able to choose if the pet uses its 3 family skills without his command or if he has total control over the pets skills (with f1 - f4 buttons) .

like that a player who dont like pets AI could just order it what skill to use

that combined with the agressive stance (which allow u to choose a target for your pet) offer too much control over your pet to feel its like a bar :)

#17 On_Slaught

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 12:55 PM

I think the changes are a huge move in the right direct game-play wise. We finally have control over when they use their most important ability, it is easier to toggle them on the fly, you can switch between pets on the fly and you no longer have to level up a new pet everytime you find one.

Having said that, they have made the process less deep and pets less unique. Now every pet of that type is the exact same in every way save name. While that is something, I think making the gameplay aspect better makes up for it.

#18 Acrux

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:09 PM

I agree that the changes to pets makes the partnership less personal but from a gameplay standpoint it's a great improvement. Not having to manage two characters while still exercising control over your buddy is part of what ArenaNet seem to be striving for: no unnecessary mechanics.

There's still a good degree on control, in my (admittedly lazy) opinion. A "sick 'em" button on F1, using the species-specific skill on F2, toggling between active/passive with F3 and switching pets with F4. Much more control than a Necromancer's minions, for example, but less control than previous games I've played. From how I understand it, there's no "Move to that Point" command. And although there wasn't a mention in that blog post, I hope there's a target queue (to flag which order your pet will claw face) by using Shift-F1 or something similar.

Also, how will Alpha Strike change? Since you can now have four pets, could there be a possibility of all four (assuming two amphibious pets are slotted into the aquatic half when on land and vice-versa) being brought out at once? I'm going to assume it will change to "bring out both terrestrial/aquatic pets when on land/in water", so only two at once.

#19 Amannelle

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:14 PM

This is such an interesting perspective, since it is completely opposite of mine. :D So I love hearing about your take on the ranger (and how you've come to have this opinion based on past experiences). I can completely see how you want to emphasize your pet as a long time companion who helps you through everything. :) Basically, I personally see the two sides as such:

"Hunters"
This side looks as pets as a long-term ally. They are, more or less, your partner in what you do. From this perspective, the ranger is often also looked at as one who has learned wilderness survival skills (whether with a bow, a musket, a blade, etc). Often the pets are looked at as partners who have grown with you or been with you (at least, in roleplay).


"Pokemon meets Nature"
This side tends to view the ranger pets not necessarily as pets so much, but rather as animal companions who come in and go out at a whim. To these people (myself included) the ranger doesn't seem to be so much a "survivalist", but rather an extension of nature itself. He commands the creatures of nature, and as such the animals that accompany him come and go.


I think this has come about mostly because GW2 doesn't have "Hunters and Druids", but rather has both styles pushed together into the single Ranger. For this reason, you have someone who can set up traps but can also summon nature and its spirits. I think the biggest question at the moment is "Where do pets fit into this?" Are they animal companions summoned at a whim, or are they longtime partners assisting their survivalist?

#20 Tau

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:15 PM

Yep, it's the only downside I can find to these wonderful pet changes. Ideally I too would like to have only one pet that is truly a companion, for the sake of roleplaying, but I'll have to use that swap and I doubt we can use the same pet twice.
But that's definitely not something I can't overcome :)

#21 Ginko

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:23 PM

BrettM said:

Funny. I just posted some similar thoughts in another thread before reading this. Rangers do feel a little less like THE pet class now, and are a little less differentiated from other "pet" using professions (necros, engineers, and guardians).

But, in the end, I have to agree with Chalky. It is more important that ANet make pets work than that they support "boy and his moa" play styles. Gameplay > roleplay. Though I admit that I had looked forward to venturing forth with my inseparable old animal buddy, I still expect to thoroughly enjoy playing ranger.

I was a little disappointed in what I read in that article. It sort of seems like they're having their cake and eating it to by minimising micro actions a player needs to engage in to make the pet effective which I agree with but at the same they have the species skill which seems to be designed to be a strategic effect which desires control. Rather than going for a more complex system (even one without micro emphasis) it feels like they've just tied two ideas together and effectively lessened the importance of the pet all together.

Before this article I thought pets were a really interesting game mechanic that would really define the ranger class, now they feel like a very dry minion-like construct. I hope this is just a shallow look at only one dimension of the pet, with far more customisation and relevance of the mechanic to be revealed later on. It really feels like this post reinforced the shallow, disposable AI minion side of the pet rather than the dynamic interactive partner to the class I was hoping for.

#22 JL16

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:51 PM

Amannelle said:

This is such an interesting perspective, since it is completely opposite of mine. :D So I love hearing about your take on the ranger (and how you've come to have this opinion based on past experiences). I can completely see how you want to emphasize your pet as a long time companion who helps you through everything. :) Basically, I personally see the two sides as such:

"Hunters"
This side looks as pets as a long-term ally. They are, more or less, your partner in what you do. From this perspective, the ranger is often also looked at as one who has learned wilderness survival skills (whether with a bow, a musket, a blade, etc). Often the pets are looked at as partners who have grown with you or been with you (at least, in roleplay).


"Pokemon meets Nature"
This side tends to view the ranger pets not necessarily as pets so much, but rather as animal companions who come in and go out at a whim. To these people (myself included) the ranger doesn't seem to be so much a "survivalist", but rather an extension of nature itself. He commands the creatures of nature, and as such the animals that accompany him come and go.


I think this has come about mostly because GW2 doesn't have "Hunters and Druids", but rather has both styles pushed together into the single Ranger. For this reason, you have someone who can set up traps but can also summon nature and its spirits. I think the biggest question at the moment is "Where do pets fit into this?" Are they animal companions summoned at a whim, or are they longtime partners assisting their survivalist?

LoL i like this analysis of pets.

pets now really seem to have this Pokemon-esque feel too it.

But I look at it this way, instead of having a personalized attachment to a single pet, you have attachments to a group of pets. So it started out as a Starsky and Hutch sorta deal when Rangers were first revealed.

Now it comes across more like the A-Team :P

My issue with this when i first read it was that it seemed too convenient. "OOopps pet is dead, SWAP"
Didn't like the sound of that.

But then again Im sure ArenaNet has tried other solutions, and I think I would have to agree with them on this one.

Definitely fits the Guild Wars 2 combat style. Too put things in perspective, these remind of the old days when I played Pokemon on the game boy "Charizard I choose you!"
"Dammit charizard, you dyin...retreat, Go Squirtle xD!" And ofcourse necessary balancing would be made

So at first I was torn about the idea, but now im lovin it, GJ anet

As for the Engineers and Cross-combos, I love em.

Im still waitin on Underwater Weapon/Backpack kits though...

#23 Supreme

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:02 PM

A total aside, but I am really sick of articles with a question mark at the end like Fox News. Is this "Diminishing the Identity of Pets" or isn't it? What's your actual opinion on the matter? I get trying to walk on egg shells around a GW community, however there isn't a need if you're trying to make a point anyhow.

As for the actual article itself. Leveling up your pet in Guild Wars 1 made me not level up anything else, as the process was tedious. Because the Ranger's ability to swap pets is now a mechanic, it makes them more versatile. Having a squad of Moas is all well and good, however if you need a shark to go underwater, now you don't need to go around leveling one up.

#24 Grit

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:21 PM

The fast-paced combat of GW2 simply cannot allow for complicated micro-management of pets. The simplified system is necessary for pets to be effective without creating too much of a hassle for the player.

Keep in mind that pets will always be an important part of the Ranger dynamic.. not just a cheap gimick. Because they also have the power to raise you from downed mode ;)

We'll have to play the game for ourselves to witness the synergy between players and pets, but it certainly looks good on paper.

#25 Neeves

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:38 PM

gah, these were my thoughts exactly. It's like they choose to fix the pet by pulling it down to a lower tier rather than fixing it by pulling it higher.

#26 Tzu Qui Jinn

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:56 PM

I'm very glad this is being discussed.


On the positive I very much like the mechanic of skills enabled for Pets with 4 skills on their bar. Three from the Pet sub type and one that is unique to that particular pet as it lends to immersion game play.


On the negative there is something said about unlocking all pets of that class of pet once you capture one as it takes away from something unique from a Ranger class also. This said, do I really want to endure hours of animal finding to get that right skill needed for the situation. That's 12 animal groups multiplied by various degree's of sub types. So to get all skills for bears, I'd need to find all bears and capture them.


Essentially what arena net is doing is unlocking skills for your animal groups by capturing a single animal. So if there are 7 different types of bears you get 7 unique skills you can select for active game play when you use a base type of animal companion. Three plus One (taken from this group of seven).


Now there are obvious benefits to this system for PvP play as another player can determine what he is up against when he see's a polar bear as opposed to a brown bear, not unlike a player seeing a Ranger with a two handed sword and understanding what skills he is facing. That said I'm not exactly sure I want other players to know exactly what they face when they see my bear, do you?


Also another obvious question is ... can these pet skills have traits?

#27 Whiteraven

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 03:02 PM

I don't agree with the OP, I think this is a wonderful mechanic that makes the pet less of an NPC reliant class and gives more control over a unique pet.

I'm sorry it breaks immersion and roleplay for you, it simply made my original idea evolve. But for those who are upset maybe they could could implement a new mechanic, where if you chose not to slot a second animal, then when you call your pet back it would go on its regular cooldown but gives the ranger some sort of buff to fight solo until the pet is able to come back.

Edited by Whiteraven, 05 November 2011 - 03:05 PM.


#28 Specialz

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 03:05 PM

4thVariety said:

With GW2's focus on direct control over the character on screen, it is a risk having something around which you cannot directly control, yet come back to bite you in the back.

It is totally the right move not to have the pets level individually. There is no reason to first reward a player by giving him a new pet in the far corners of the world and then punish him by making him grind the pet to proper levels.

But ultimately, if you dig deep into the gamesystem of any MMO, a pet is always but a different texture put on a beneficiary effect. An effect, which could have been realized by any number of animations. You click the "pet tank" button, I push the "freeze enemy" watermagic button. Same thing, same number key, different animation.
I think of a good pet system kinda like the relationship between your brain and you fingers. While your brain does control your fingers, you don't really need actively focus on controlling them.

Secondly, I 100% agree with your statement about not having direction control over a pet. I played a pet class in Tera and believe me, while the class was great overall the my pets were responsible for 80% of my deaths while soloing. What usually happen was, I would CC the mob that was about to kill me, but my pet for some reason would keep attacking the mob breaking my CC and eventually leading to my death. That happen all the time. AI isnt advance enough to make an NPC 100% dependent on it.

Edited by Specialz, 05 November 2011 - 03:11 PM.


#29 Cloudpiercer

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 03:06 PM

I am completely happy with this method, most Rangers were already planning on filling up all 3 of their pet slots and swapping them in between battles but now this new system actually makes you a master of nature. You still get to choose which pets you bring along but now you can make a choice based off of gameplay and not just aesthetics. Its kinda how some Warriors only want to be a Greatsword wielder and do not want to weapon swap, I think Rangers can do the same thing. If you really wan't to do something for looks or an RP reason you can forsake gameplay and do it anyway.

If I'm in a battle and there are a bunch of ads swarming the room being able to swap to my Drake to deal with them and back to a Devourer to attack the boss from range is much to satisfying gameplay wise to sacrifice. I remember having to hard swap/rez pets in WoW when one died during a boss fight and how annoying that was.

If you really want to hardcore be with 1 pet for most of the game, slot in an amphibious pet then grab another one that is a different color and role play it as the same pet.

Tzu Qui Jinn said:

On the negative there is something said about unlocking all pets of that class of pet once you capture one as it takes away from something unique from a Ranger class also.

Thats not how it works at all, when you capture a polar bear you unlock the polar bear species not every bear species. You still need to find and tame the different bear species in the bear family.

Quote

For example, a snow leopard is a species belonging to the feline family of pets. Charming a species unlocks that species for you, allowing you to equip that species into any pet slot whenever you are out of combat.

Edited by Cloudpiercer, 05 November 2011 - 03:10 PM.


#30 Grit

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 03:11 PM

Tzu Qui Jinn said:

I'm very glad this is being discussed.
On the negative there is something said about unlocking all pets of that class of pet once you capture one as it takes away from something unique from a Ranger class also. This said, do I really want to endure hours of animal finding to get that right skill needed for the situation. That's 12 animal groups multiplied by various degree's of sub types. So to get all skills for bears, I'd need to find all bears and capture them.

Essentially what arena net is doing is unlocking skills for your animal groups by capturing a single animal. So if there are 7 different types of bears you get 7 unique skills you can select for active game play when you use a base type of animal companion. Three plus One (taken from this group of seven).

I think you may have misread the blog post. But it's understandable, since the word "species" is a little ambiguous.

Quote

Pets no longer evolve. Instead, they are set to the level of the ranger, and their stats and abilities are determined by their species. Each pet belongs to a species and each species belongs to a family. For example, a snow leopard is a species belonging to the feline family of pets. Charming a species unlocks that species for you, allowing you to equip that species into any pet slot whenever you are out of combat. In Guild Wars 2, a single ranger can collect and use every type of pet in the game without having to worry about stables or leveling the pets from scratch.

Each family has three basic skills that define that family. For example, bears are hard to kill, drakes do AoE damage, devourers use ranged attacks, etc. These skills are automatically used by the pet. Each species within a family has a unique skill. For example, polar bears have an icy roar that freezes enemies, while brown bears have a roar that removes conditions. This family skill has a cooldown and is activated by the ranger by hitting F2.

Charming a species does not unlock the entire Family for you. You'll still have to capture a Brown Bear and a Polar Bear individually, but it's not something that you're being forced to do.