interview, helpfully summarized by Feldon at EQ2Wire, both the expansion that brings back Beastlords and the Game Update that
I have an affinity for pet classes that long pre-dates MMOs. The first time I ran into the idea was back in the very early '80s in a tabletop RPG called Dragonquest, a quirky ruleset that offered an unusual choice of career paths. I didn't much fancy Military Scientist, Astrologer or Courtesan but I liked the sound of Beast Master. It reminded me of Daniel P Mannix with attitude (if Mannix didn't already have more than enough attitude to be going on with).
|Oh sorry! Was he yours?|
Several dead pets into our group's campaign it became apparent that a Beast Master who was a) rapidly running out of beasts that took months to train and b) increasingly reluctant to allow any of the few he had left to take any risks whatsoever in case "something bad" happened to them, was going to be of limited use outside of a petting zoo. I re-rolled as something less emo and that was about the last I thought of pet classes until I stepped into Norrath some fifteen years later.
|We don't do "cute"|
Shamans did have a pet that looked like a wolf, but it turned out to be a spirit. It looked cuddly but your hand would just go right through. You couldn't rest a pint on his back like I used to do with the landlord's labrador in a pub where I used to drink. We were close, but we weren't quite there. We'd dealt with the downside but something was still missing. Then came the beastlord.
I arrived late on Luclin, Norrath's doomed moon. We were off playing something else at the time, Dark Age of Camelot probably, so I missed the birth of the Beastlord. When we returned, though, I made a Vah Shir Beastlord immediately. A tiger-girl with a tiger pet? Come on!
I took to the class right away. It had all the things I'd always wanted in a pet class: a really powerful pet that would fight beside me, not a weak creature I'd need to protect nor a living wall I'd hide behind. My warder and I stood hip to shoulder as we fought, falling back or surging forward to support and sustain each other as Shissars hissed or Akhevans made that weird chittering noise they make before they fell to our claws.
|What have I told you about claws in town?|
For many years Beastlord became the class that dare not say its name. They all died on Luclin. Every last one. They're never coming back. Except they are. Next Tuesday in beta and, with luck and a following wind, by the end of the month for the rest of us. There'll probably be five thousand new beastlords in Freeport on the first day and I'll be one of them. And I'll be keeping a diary.