Active Mode "Guard" (Default Mode): Your pet will attack targets that attack it or attack you. It will periodically switch to attack enemies you hit.
Passive Mode "Avoid Combat": Your pet will follow you and not use any skills for any reason unless you order it to do so or you order it to attack.
F1 Attack My Target
F2 Use Species Specific Skill
F3 Return to Me
F4 Swap Pets
K Pet Management (or click on the Pet's Icon)
Behavior Mode Toggle (key unknown) Set pet to Active (Guard) or Passive (Avoid Combat) mode.
Stow (key unknown) Outside of combat this button will put away your pet, but it will automatically come back out during combat.
Downed Controls All of the pet commands currently work while downed, despite not being visible.
Part 2: Using the Basics
Active Mode is effortless, but gives you less control over what your pet does and who it does it to.
Passive Mode takes more effort, but gives you good control over who/when/where/how your pet attacks.
Target + F1 This tells the pet to chase and attack your current target.
Target + F2 This tells the pet to use its F2 skill as its next skill, then chase and attack your target.
Note: Previously it appeared that passive mode created a more reliable lock-on, but that may no longer be the case. When told to attack a target, the pet will chase it until it gets too far away from the ranger, the enemy gets too far away from the pet, it dies, the enemy dies, the ranger dies, or the enemy stealths. Chase range is quite large.
No Target + F2 Your pet will use its F2 skill. If it is in the middle of a skill, it will use it after the current skill finishes. Useful for F2 buffing skills.
F3 or Changing to Passive at normal range Your pet will stop attacking and come to you.
F3 or Changing to Passive at extreme range Your pet will stop attacking and teleport to you.
F3 in its current state will stop your pet from attacking by itself, even if it is on guard and it is being killed. I've heard that this behavior may reset after your target dies, but I never saw it. Maybe it ends when combat ends. Cycling behaviors did not get the pet to start attacking on its own again. To get it to attack, I had to hit F1 or F2. Basically... if you hit F3 now, you put your pet in passive mode (even if it says it is in guard mode) and you can't change it.
Pet Swapping swaps to your other pet, with full health and all skills recharged.
Pet Swapping with a dead pet results in a very long swap cooldown.
Pet Swapping in combat with a live pet results in a moderate swap cooldown.
Pet Swapping outside of combat with a live pet results in a very short swap cooldown.
Stow is useful for jumping puzzles and taking screenshots without your pet in the way.
Pet Management lets you choose which two pets you will use on land, and which two in water. This is also where you name your pets. Click on the quill thingy near the top.
Part 3: How Pets Decide Which Skill to Use
Pets use one of their viable skills at random when they attempt to attack. Skills are viable if they are not on cooldown, the target is within the range of the skill (ranges available at the wiki), and any requirement is met. Requirements such as:
Harmonic Cry requires the Moa to be injured, even slightly.
Defy Pain appears to require the Bear to be below 20% health (number might be slightly higher or lower than that).
Brutal Charge (Canine) may require the pet to be injured. There appears to be some requirement.
Ranged pets will park themselves at range to use ranged attacks, preventing them from using melee skills until a viable target gets into melee range.
In melee range, pets are at their most random because they can use either melee or range attacks (if they have both). If there is a preferential order that they use their skills when all are available, or if there are many hidden requirements dictating which skills to use, then I haven't figured those out yet. At this point I'm calling it random.
Part 4: Getting Your Pet to Use the Skill You Want
Using F2 will force your pet's next skill to be its Species Skill, even if it is not in a good place for it. Some pets now require careful positioning/timing to get their F2 skills to hit.
Specific automatic skills can be used on demand by ordering the pet to attack at a range where it only has one viable skill. Examples include: Quickening Screech, Harmonic Cry, Brutal Charge (Porcine), Fear (Shark)
Getting a ranged pet to use its melee skills more often requires getting opponents into melee range of that pet more often. There are a few ways to do this. Drag the passive pet into melee range and hit F1. Lure the opponent to your ranged pet. Swap to that pet while in melee range. Switch to passive mode to pull your pet into range of your melee target. Devourer's Tail Lash skill is the prime example of this technique.
Part 5: Shouting Helps
"Sick 'Em" Your pet runs faster and does about 25% more damage for 15 seconds. This skill requires an enemy target. Range is 3000.
"Protect Me" Damage you take is transferred to your pet for 6 seconds. Your pet won't attack during that time. Using Signet of Stone on your pet will not prevent it from suffering transferred damage.
"Search and Rescue" Your pet will go to a downed/defeated ally nearby and slowly revive them. Sometimes it works well and your pet will run to an ally, and other times it will just sit there and ignore an ally very close by. Hopefully it will become more reliable.
"Guard" Your pet will travel to the spot you designate, wait there, and attack enemies that enter an area around it even if it is set on passive mode. This also grants 7 seconds of Stealth and 10 seconds of Protection to your pet (can be improved with boon duration). If all enemies leave the area, the pet will abandon the chase and return to its guard spot. This skill allows your pet to take a shortcut to the targetted area, even floating up walls to get there. If you travel beyond a certain distance, roughly half the length of Battle of Khylo, the pet will abandon its guard spot.
Using any pet command (F1-F4) or a second Shout will cancel any current Shout behavior and its benefits (though it will keep Stealth and Protection from "Guard").
Using a Shout with a dead pet can work (but this is probably not intended.)
There is no icon on you or your pet to show that it is benefitting from a shout.
Part 6: Stupid Pet Tricks
Birdspeed F1+F3 (or F1+Behavior Cycling) Tell your bird to attack a ranged opponent, causing it to use Quickening Screech, then cancel the attack. 10s of Swiftness every 20s is nice. Range should be between 130 and 1200.
Pocket Moa Keep a Moa on passive near you at the start of a fight. After it gets injured, it is ready to use. Order it to attack a target between range 130 and 1500 to force it to stop where it is and do a Harmonic Cry (immobile pulsing Heal over 3 seconds that heals 1340 per second, 1398 with Compassion Training). A 4k AoE heal on-demand, where you want, when you want.
Bear Traps F1+F1+F1+F1+F1+F3 Order a tanky pet to attack multiple NPC's at range, wait until they are clustered up nicely aroud him, and then order him to run straight towards you, directly over a pile of traps and/or AOE barrage you have waiting. A PvE tactic.
Bear Baiting F1+F1+F1+F1+F1+F4 Order a tanky pet to attack multiple NPC's at range, and then order him to attack the thing you want to kill. Then swap pets leaving you and your new pet at a safe distance from the chaos you caused. Your victim is now surrounded by NPCs. If they are naturally hostile, then proximity will get them to aggro on your target. If they are naturally neutral, then you may need to call your pet straight back from your target to you to encourage your opponent to hit them and aggro them on himself. A WvW tactic.
Three-Tailed Devourer Once your ranged pet has decided where to set up shop to fire ranged projectiles, you position yourself behind it. You can shoot through your pet, but your opponent can't (and your Devourer has 3k Toughness.) When the opponent reaches your pet, it will either retreat (meaning you should move) or do a knockback (moving your opponent). You may have to repeatedly reposition yourself and your pet during combat against some enemies.
Running Interference F1+F3+F1+F3... By sending a tanky melee pet in and pulling it back out repeatedly, you are attempting to keep the pet between yourself and your target to absorb some projectiles shot at you. Won't work if there is not a straight line path to your target.
This guide was written after following the development of the ranger for a year, playing ranger in every event, reviewing extensive footage, and trying new tactics each event. Some of the Stupid Pet Tricks I have successfully used, and others are ones that appear viable based on observations made reviewing BWE3 + stress test footage. Of course, some things could change before release.
Edited by misterdevious, 24 August 2012 - 05:15 AM.