## Thursday, February 28, 2013

### Pet Theorycrafting and Numbers

Who would have known that Pet Battles had so much depth to it that pet theorycrafting would become a thing? Well it has! Poofah of WarcraftPets wrote up a pretty comprehensive post on the math behind it all. Trying to pick a certain breed for a pet? Here are some things you should keep in mind:
- A pet gets 24 total stat points spread between health/power/speed, and then between 1.5 and 2 ‘bonus’ stat points

- 1 power = 1 speed = 5 health

- The break-even point for power vs health is 5 turns. If the fight lasts exactly 5 turns, then 1 power = 5 health, which is the same value that the game places on these stats. If the fight lasts 4 turns, then power is only worth 4 health; if it lasts 6 turns, then power is worth 6 health. So, if the fight lasts less than 5 turns, power is worth less than the game values it, and you should choose health over power. If the fight lasts more than 5 turns, power is worth more than the game values it, and you should choose power over health.

- ...unlike power, the value of going first decreases as the number of turns increases—therefore speed scales positively with power, and negatively with health. If neither pet has abilities that particularly benefit from going first, then you can calculate the value of going first as above. This is the break-even point for speed: if this value is higher than the difference between your speed and your opponent’s, then you would benefit by sacrificing other stats in order to go first.
You'll want to read the full post for all the details, but these notes are what stood out for me. Much of the math and theorycrafting goes over my head, yet you can still glean some very informational points from Poofah's thread without having to fully wrap your head around the numbers.

Another great post that breaks down some necessary information for leveling can be found here. The list of number of Tamer battles necessary to level a pet after reaching a certain experience point is especially helpful for deciding which lower level pet(s) to include on a team when doing your daily rounds.

I'm not an expert in pet theorycrafting nor am I consciously seeking to be, but I can definitely appreciate the player time spent into breaking down the puzzle into smaller pieces so that the rest of us can better understand the mechanics of this mini-game. At the very least, it's interesting to see just how much detail and depth developers have put into Pet Battles! :)

## Saturday, February 23, 2013

With just a few more weeks (just an estimate) before 5.2 is released, things are coming down to the wire. That being said, would I be wrong if I said I'm fairly confident that they've finally implemented a "finalized" way to craft and obtain Pierre? We'll have to wait and see. :P

Here's what we know so far:
- Pierre can be crafted by engineers
- Pierre is BoP
- Pierre CANNOT be caged and traded
- The schematic that teaches you how to craft Pierre requires 500 engineering
- This schematic is also BoP
- The schematic that teaches you how to craft Stabalized Lightning Source (mat necessary to craft Pierre) requires 500 engineering
- This schematic is also BoP, as is the crafted item
Question: Will my engineering character have to be level 90?

Question: Where do I get the recipes to craft Pierre and the Stabalized Lightning Source?
Answer: Most likely the Isle of Thunder (new daily quest hub in 5.2)

A Wowhead comment that was updated recently, mentions that both recipes required to craft Pierre drop from Notes on Lightning Stabilization. This item is the reward for completing the quest I previously mentioned in another post, Stabilized Lightning Source (starts from the item Peculiar Energy Source, which drops from the NPC Itoka on the Isle of Thunder).

So although the recipes only require 500 engineering, you'll still need a level 90 character to get to the Isle of Thunder and complete the quest.

It might be worth trying to get a summon to the isle, killing Itoka and attempting to loot the item that starts the quest. I doubt that will work though, since the quest itself is flagged as level 90. Then again, since it's still the PTR, there wouldn't be any harm trying it out? :P

Things could still change between now and the release of the next patch, so we'll just have to keep a close eye on the PTR.

## Wednesday, February 20, 2013

### Renaming Pets Complete (For Now)

I've successfully renamed all of my non-wild pets. Whew!! All names should be unique, but let me know if you see any doubles.

There were moments of frustration where I just couldn't think of ANYTHING to call a pet. For the Raiding With Leashes companions, I ended up naming nearly all of them after the bosses they drop from lol. I just couldn't get inspired with those. :(

For some reason, renaming a pet Jade produces an error message. Kind of odd considering how common and fitting the name is for many of the green-ish pets. Oh well. I got around it by naming my Jade Owl Jadeite, which also happens to be a precious green mineral.

Thanks to a good friend of mine who suggested the name Tychus for Mini Thor. How bittersweet!

Well, now I can officially say that I'm ready for all the new pets coming in patch 5.2 now. Sorta. At least when it comes to renaming my pets, I guess? :P

## Tuesday, February 19, 2013

UPDATE: The latest PTR build revealed a new recipe, Schematic: Pierre! It only requires a skill level of 500 engineering to learn, but it is Bind on Pick Up. No word on where it will come from yet.

There's also an update with the Stabalized Lightning Source. A new schematic was added for it, and it also only requires 500 engineering (still BoP). I'm not sure if engineers will need to be level 90 to acquire either recipe, but let's hope there's an alternate way! :D

----------------------------------------------

The latest PTR patch brings us more information on how crafting Pierre will work.

Not only will you need a max-skill level (600) engineering toon, your character must also be level 90. This is due to the fact that you'll need to complete the quest Stabalized Lightning Source to unlock and learn how to craft one of the materials necessary to create Pierre.

To begin this quest, you'll need to kill Itoka, who drops Peculiar Engery Source. Itoka is an objective NPC for one of the dailies on the new zone, Isle of Thunder.

Currently both the recipe to craft the Stabalized Lightning Source and the lightning source itself are BoP. So you won't be able to ask around for extra mats from fellow engineers.

This is pretty disappointing news for me. I currently have an engineering alt, however she's not level 90 yet. Getting to max level engineering shouldn't be a problem, but with this new restriction on simply learning how to craft the materials, I guess I won't be adding Pierre to my collection for a while. With so much to do in Pet Battles, pet collecting, PVE content, and not to mention RL obligations, I just don't think I'll have the time to level another character.

If the pet's binding changes in the future and it becomes either BoE or cageable, perhaps I'll have a chance. Things could always change, but I doubt it. :(

Alternatively, I could drop a few thousand gold into leveling engineering on my main character. It's not ideal in the slightest, but if I don't have any other choice.. x_x

### Hope You Like Sushi

I recently went on an adventure with a fellow guildmate on the PTR. Our goal: Kill G'nathus. Normally I would run the opposite direction of this giant sea monster, but he has something I want, Spawn of G'nathus!

This elite has 43,613,700 health, and one ability which is Lightning Breath. He was hitting for about 200-300k on a tank. With a full party of five, one tank, one healer, and 2 DPS, I could see people being able to down G'nathus without too much trouble. Unless you're on a PVP server. Then you'll probably get harassed quite a bit lol.

G'nathus is affected by roots and snares, so if you can kite, I would definitely recommend doing so. Especially if you're doing it with a smaller group. The less damage your tank takes, the longer you'll be able to work on whittling down G'nathus' hp. Other than that, though, there's not much else you need to be aware of. There are a few 90 elites wandering the area, but you can get by them pretty easily without agro'ing.

I'm sure a hunter or a warlock, or any class with a pet that can tank a few hits will be able to solo this easily. It'll take a heck of a lot of time, though lol.

The key is to just stay out of melee range, as its Lightning Breath ability doesn't hit for nearly as much as a melee hit.

After about 30-45 minutes of kite dps'ing, we managed to kill this giant eel. The pet dropped as well as a blue agility trinket (forgot the item level, sorry). We didn't stick around to see it's respawn time.

Since it dropped a piece of gear, the pet could be 100% drop and the gear has a chance to drop with it. OR the gear could be 100% chance drop, while the pet drop is more random. OR both could be RNG drops. I really hope it's the former, though, since this beast took some work. And being on a PVP server, I can only imagine how much more trouble people are going to have to go through. How terrible would it feel to finally defeat this big guy and nothing drops. :(

Fortunately, for those unable or unwilling to take a shot at G'nathus, the Spawn of G'nathus is cageable. Expect to see this pet going up on the Auction House for quite a bit shortly after patch 5.2 hits. The price may go down after a while, but it'll depend on the demand.

If the respawn time isn't too terrible, I might set up a group within my guild to kill G'nathus on a regular basis. Pets for everyone! :)

Edit: Just checked back and G'nathus was there again. An hour or two, I think? So it doesn't seem like his respawn timer is too long. However, keep in mind that this is the PTR and timers are often sped up to accommodate more testing. Maybe I'll get a chance to fight and kill G'nathus again on the PTR to test the droprate and respawn time.

## Sunday, February 17, 2013

### Fishing Up Tiny Carp In 5.2

Four new fishable pets are coming in patch 5.2, and El from El's Extreme Anglin' has a guide on how to fish up all four!

It seems as though the catch rate is approximately 1 in 5,000 but casting into pools of fish may be significantly more efficient than open water fishing. Either way, it'll be a challenge to fish up all of them. With the droprate of the Nat Pagle fish being increased, though, I'm sure we won't come away completely empty-handed. :P

Although each fish is supposedly "unique" (to a zone), El has provided strong evidence that that may not be the case. One Emperor Salmon School should not differ from another Emperor Salmon School, even if they spawn in different zones. This will be something that needs even further testing to confirm, though. I bet El's just the right angler to do it too. ;)

I'm definitely bookmarking El's guide for future reference; it will come in handy in the upcoming patch.

PS: So glad I managed to get the Ancient Pandaren Fishing Charm recently. Hopefully this little doodad will increase my chances to fish up the Tiny Carp pets! XD

## Friday, February 15, 2013

### Details On Player Experience and Lesser Charms

I did more testing on the PTR, and I learned a bit about two new mechanics coming in 5.2 - player experience and Leser Charms of Good Fortune from Pet Battles.

First off, let's start with player experience. According to the 5.2 official notes:
"Winning a pet battle versus a team within 5 levels of the player's highest-level pet will now award player experience."
The underlined portion should definitely be noted. So while it's possible to level by participating in battles, it's not enough to simply engage in any type of Pet Battle. If you have a max level pet (lvl 25) in your collection, this means you'll need to find (at minimum) a level 20 wild pet to battle if you desire player experience for your toon. You have your pick of Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley in Outlands or Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord in Northrend for level 20 wild battles.

For those that don't have a level 25 pet yet, find your highest level pet and subtract 5 from it. That will give you the minimum level pet you can gain player experience from. From there, you can check the Zones By Pet Level to determine where you can go for pet battle player experience. In some cases, you may need a higher level friend to escort you around.

I took my level 86 first to Outlands to check out the level 20 and 21 pets first. This brought about some interesting information.
- Level 20 battle yielded 62250 player experience
- Level 21 battle yielded 66400 player experience
It would seem that if you engage in a match with a higher level pet, you'll receive more player experience. The same pattern occurred in Northrend and Pandaria.
- Level 23 battle yielded 74700 player experience
- Level 25 battle yielded 83000 player experience
If you choose to use Pet Battles to level up an alt, your best bet (if you don't want to spend extra hours grinding on lower level pets) would be to find a max level buddy, team up and have them escort you around Pandaria since you won't be able to find level 25 wild pets to battle elsewhere.

Note: I haven't tried Pet Battle PVP to see how much player experience you can get from those.

Next I did some Pet Battling on my level capped druid. Much like the player experience mechanic, Lesser Charms from Pet Battles follows a similar guideline:
"Level-capped players will now have a chance to earn Lesser Charms of Good Fortune after winning a pet battle versus a pet within 5 levels of the highest level pet on their team. Higher-level pets will offer a better chance to earn a charm."
Keep in mind that this time, rather than simply "highest level pet", it specifically states "on their team". So if you have a team of level 19 pets and you attempt to farm some Lesser Charms from level 25 wild pets, you probably won't receive anything. However, if you have a team of two level 19 pets and a level 20, you will see some results (from a level 25 battle).

I did a total of 10 wild battles in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, and I received a total of 12 Lesser Charms of Good Fortune (all of them were successful battles). Specifically, 4 charms on the 5th win, 3 charms on the 6th win, and 5 charms on the 8th win. It would appear that the number of charms you can get per win ranges from 3 to 5, but I haven't done extensive testing yet, so the range could be even bigger.

Capturing or defeating the entire team doesn't seem to have any affect on how many charms you get or if you receive any at all. I trapped a rare on the 8th battle, but again, I haven't tested it enough to determine if capturing pets will yield more.

Quality of pets also doesn't seem to have an affect on what you receive. There were multiple battles in the Vale where my team was up against a wild team with a rare pet in it, yet those engagements didn't produce any charms at all.

Note: I haven't tried Pet Battle PVP to see how many charms you receive or how often you can get them. I would guess that it's about the same droprate, though.

## Thursday, February 14, 2013

### "Failbags" and Pets

A blue post addressed the increasing frustration over "failbags" (the reward for no loot in LFR).
"The change is still in for the failbags to ... not be fail. They'll have a chance to contain things like very valuable grey items (essentially randomizing the gold you get from the bags), LFR versions of non-boss loot, Spirits of Harmony, consumables, pets and mounts, and... maybe some other stuff I forgot. Lots of things! Opening them should have some anticipation and surprise now. :)" - Bashiok
Note the bolded text. Pets! From the LFR bags! This should give some more reason to complete LFRs each week.

Now the big question is which pets? The older ones that can also drop from the Call to Arms dungeon queue? Or pets that come from the 5.2 raids? Also, which raids? Only the 5.2 raids or all LFR raids?

Personally, I would love to see the 5.2 raid pets also have a chance to drop in the new raid LFR bags and not just on the extra charm roll/trash drop. There are so many of the older pets floating out there these days, and while that's not a bad thing, it does make things pretty bland for the veteran collector.

As Bashiok mentions, looting (a pet) should feel exciting again. Adding all of the older (and more common) companions isn't that thrilling. I'm sure many long-term players have alt banks full of extra versions of these pets. But if the pets in the LFR bag loot table included the new ones, how awesome would that be to loot one? Everyone likes shiny new things, even newcomers.

In any case, it's still good news either way. More ways to get pets! :D

## Wednesday, February 13, 2013

### Lesser Charms and Experience From Pet Battles in 5.2

In 5.2 there may be more reason to participate in Pet Battles than just your adoration for mini companions. Mumper announced on Twitter that the chance to receive Lesser Charms of Good Fortune from a PVP and PVE battle has been increased.
"We just bumped the drop rate on lesser charms from pet battles considerably. Its not as fast as daily's, but its certainly an option now."
On top of that, Pet Battles will also reward player experience upon completion. Catalytic on the WarcraftPets forums tested this on the PTR, and determined that it would take about 250+ battles to level up from 85 to 86. The values may have been updated since that initial test, but it's good news for alt-lovers that non-level capped players will also benefit from Pet Battles. In 5.2 you'll be able to enjoy your companions as well as progress your toon at the same time! Yay effiencency. :D

I haven't tested just how many Lesser Charms can drop from a battle yet, but if it's close to being on par with dailies, the drop and droprate shouldn't be too shabby. Perhaps it's time for some PTR tonight after raiding? :P

Edit: They've also added a small buff to Battle-Stones.
"We added a low chance to get the rare battle stone to the LFR and Dungeon Finder loot bags."
The stones, being exceptionally desirable yet fairly uncommon/rare, needed a bit of love, so kudos to this update!

## Tuesday, February 12, 2013

### Battling Books

I either have my dates mixed up or the next TCG deck release date has been pushed back. In any case, according to WoWTCGLoot Betrayal of the Guardian will be out shortly before the targeted week of patch 5.2 release. Appropriate since the patch is necessary to put the Gusting Grimoire in the game. :P

WoWTCGLoot has also updated their pre-sale announcement with the pet that one lucky pre-sale purchaser will win. It's Grunty! There are also other prizes for the new loot as well. You can review them all here.

If I remember correctly, the Gusting Grimoire shares similar abilities to the Lofty Libram, with a couple placement differences and alternate attacks. I have yet to try using the Lofty Libram in a battle, so I don't really have an impression of how books battle. ;P

Anyway, the pre-sale for the Gusting Grimoire is still going on, so don't miss your chance to get the grimoire as it's released and enter in to possibly win Grunty. :D

## Sunday, February 10, 2013

### Hot Enough For You?

Patch 5.2 brings us an interesting pet, Pierre, an animated cooking stove that even doubles as a cooking fire. What makes it so special? I mean, there are already a slew of normally inanimate objects that have magically come to life just to follow us around on our crazy adventures, right?

Pierre can be crafted by engineers; again, not a big deal. But guess what? It's currently Bind on Pick Up. AND on top of that, it cannot be traded.

Nevermind the pricey materials necessary to craft this companion (15 Stabilized Lightning Source - 150 Ghost Iron Bars or 300 Ghost Iron Ore; 15 Living Steel - *insert grumbling about math here*), you'll need to be an engineer period to get your hands on this hot oven.

I haven't been able to find any information on what engineering skill level you need to have, but when you're using materials like Living Steel, my guess is either max (600) or very close to max. I can't even find a recipe/trainer that teaches you how to craft Pierre.

It's been a while since we've had a profession exclusive pet. I'm sure many, like myself, thought gone are the days of pets being restricted to only those of a certain craft. Could Pierre be the start of a re-emerging trend of BoP profession pets? There are pros and cons to this, and from a player point of view it's hard to swallow the pros.

The only upside if this is the case, is that certain professions will have something unique about them. Engineering will have Pierre, so and so will have XYZ, etc. You could argue that a few professions already have unique craftable companions associated with them, but the difference is that those pets can be traded and sold. As of the latest PTR build, Pierre has been flagged as untradeable and BoP, making it a pretty limited pet.

From a developer standpoint, it's good to include some rarity/exclusivity into the game, and it might make things more interesting. Those without an engineering toon will need to get one in order to add this new pet to their collection. Hunting for materials and possibly the recipe itself? More world exploration. In theory, all of this sounds pretty exciting.

But what about from a player point of view? The downsides are pretty obvious, don't you think?

With how simple it can be to obtain a pet these days, part of me feels that many won't be very pleased with the idea of having to specially go out of their way for a companion pet. Back in vanilla, it was a standard activity. These days, not so much. Especially not for a crafted pet. Die-hard collectors will make it a point to do whatever they can to add Pierre to their collections, but that leaves out many new to pet collecting and Pet Battles. Will Pierre be one of those special (snowflake) companions that marks a truly dedicated collector?

So many questions are still unanswered (how do you learn how to craft his pet, what skill level is required, are these the finalized mats necessary, etc.), but the main thing it boils down to is how will this pet ultimately be implemented into the game? As a rare drop engineering recipe that creates a BoP, untradeable pet? Perhaps a trainable BoP, untradeable pet? Or something completely different (BoE and/or tradeable)?

However you get it, I want it, and if that means dropping a profession to level up engineering just so I can craft this companion for myself, then so be it. I've done it before, who's to say I can't do it again?

Ideally, if it's a BoP pet, at the very least we'll be able to cage it and then trade it with each other. Having a unique pet is great, but it's even better when you can share it with others. Sharing is, afterall, caring. :P

Anyway, there's still some time for developers to change their mind or mix things up a bit, so it's hard to say where Pierre will end up. Probably won't be seeing him in the kitchen, though. ;)

### Year of the Snake

It's a bit late for a lunar festival screenshot in-game, but it's totally on time IRL. So with that in mind, Happy Year of the Snake! May this year bring much success and prosperity. :)

And since the Love Is In the Air festival is going on in-game, have a wonderful Valentine's Week too. :)

## Friday, February 8, 2013

### Writer Woes

I really enjoy Pet Battles. This mini-game gives me an alternative goal than just "collect them all". It's fun, easy-going, yet there's depth and diversity. There's no absolute right or wrong when participating in a battle. Sure, there are pets that are obviously stronger than others, and some just make logical sense to use against particular types, but in the end picking a pet for a PVE battle is really all about what the player wants and feels comfortable using. And I guess that's one downside to this mini-game, except not in a 'that's what's wrong about this game' type of way. It's more of a personal inconvenience.

I've been debating whether or not to continue writing about the tactical side of Pet Battles. Guides on how to defeat Tamer teams, which abilities to use when, etc. These days I find myself using one team and then finding another pet or two to swap in and out that work just as well. This is a bit frustrating from a guide standpoint since I feel compelled to go back and change what I previously wrote.

Doing this for every guide past, present and future, it's not very realistic or efficient though. Writing up a detailed how-to post and then revising it every time I find a new team that works (which is quite often)? That would take up so much of my time that I wouldn't be able to play Pet Battles and enjoy it for what it is.

On top of that, pet abilities are always being refined, altered, and/or added and removed. Just because one ability is good against a specific pet one week, doesn't always mean it will be just as good the next week. These changes are only natural for an aspect of this game that's so fresh and new, though. I'm not against it, but it does make writing about Pet Battles from a tactical point of view a bit more challenging.

Lastly, I'm a pet collector at heart. It's what I started out as, and it's what I mainly consider myself even now. Pet collector first, pet battler second.

What's the difference? The collecting aspect appeals to me more than the leveling, winning, etc. Battles have a more competitive air about them, while collecting remains as it was when vanity pets first made their appearance in the game. You simply collect. It has expanded since then, and you can focus on different things in your collection such as quality, pet colors, etc. Ultimately, the goal is still the same: collect them all.

I really can't make up my mind what I'd like to do in this situation. Continue writing about battling and then rewriting each post as new information or new tactics becomes available? Or focus on collecting and simply playing the game? I'm inclined to the latter since there are many excellent bloggers out there who have taken up the task of writing about Pet Battles. Will it make me any less of a pet enthusiast though? I don't know, but I certainly hope not.

## Thursday, February 7, 2013

### WarcraftPets Giving Away Mini Tyrael

If you haven't checked out the contest over at WarcraftPets yet, you definitely don't want to miss it! WoWTCGLoot.com has given WarcraftPets a Mini Tyrael, and this extraordinarily hard to find pet is the grand prize.

Three winners will be chosen at random; first prize is Mini Tyrael, second prize is a Bananas loot code, and third prize is a choice of 1 of 3 Blizzard Pet Store companions. Don't delay in submitting your entry, the contest ends 11:59 PM EDT, Friday February 15, 2013!

I'm a bit bummed that I can't enter since I'm a volunteer and admin on the site, but regardless, best of luck to everyone!! :)

## Wednesday, February 6, 2013

### See What I Did There?

I finally looted the Darkmoon Eye from the DMF daily bag! Honestly, I didn't have much hope of getting it this month, but that didn't stop me from trying each day. Luckily RNG decided to be kind this month, and now I have a shiny new pet. :D

This pet is one of those that I don't mind grinding for. It's availability is limited, but no where near as scarce as holiday pets (used to be). There's a good mix of both RNG, persistence paying off, and player control. Random if you get it, but you can try for one week every month, and if you simply don't want to, the option to purchase or trade it is always there too. There's a way to get this pet that can appeal to almost everyone.

Now comes the hard part... what to name it! I've already heard suggestions for LotR references, but I want something different. Hm, I guess it's time to brainstorm for a bit. :P

## Monday, February 4, 2013

### Forfeit Penalty Update

In 5.2 your active pet team will take damage (10% of each of their health) when you forfeit. When previewed and tested on the PTR, this penalty also applied to not only wild battles but also Tamer battles. At the time, Mumper mentioned that it would likely stay that way for the time being.

However, he recently tweeted that the forfeit penalty will not apply to Tamer battles in an upcoming PTR build. Keep in mind that this is still all in the testing phase, so things could still change and nothing has been set in stone yet.

Still, this is good news. There's a chance that the penalty will only apply to wild battles, and the matches against Tamers will remain as they are now.

I'm personally hoping that the penalty not applying to Tamer battles, and I'm crossing my fingers that this decision will stick in 5.2. I have my reasons, but I'm sure developers have their own reasons for implementing it or not implementing it. Maybe there can be a compromise between the two sides. :)

### The Formidable Fluxfire Feline

I must admit that I haven't been using one of the most popular pets in Pet Battles until now. What can I say? Up until now, I guess I just didn't have a practical use for the Fluxfire Feline, even though it's great against nearly all pets. With the Darkmoon Zeppelin, Clockwork Gnome, and Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling, what was I going to do with another mech pet?

Answer: Oh so much, and more.

After using the Fluxfire Feline for the DMF tamer battle a few times, I can definitely understand why this pet is getting a nerf. One shotting a pet with at least 500+ overkill? And only having to hit three buttons (Wind-Up, Supercharge, and then Wind-Up again)? Ouch. Going up against a pet like that in PVP must be beyond frustrating. Even more so if there's a team of three of these hard hitting kitties.

In PVE battles, though, it's kind of disappointing that it will be nerfed. Is it warranted? Probably.

One could argue that it doesn't really hurt anyone to be so OP in a PVE battle since there's only one active player involved. It's just you and the tamer/wild pet team. Who is it negatively affecting? Are there even any negative side effects?

It's a pet that can pretty much replace any other pet and do just fine, and in the spirit of Pet Battles, that's not quite right. There should be a choice, and a smart one at that, not just a mindless "win button" companion. The overall gameplay intent is being undermined if there are pets such as this. Sure, some pets should be strong against certain types, but a pet that's strong against every type? It makes it painfully clear that that's where Blizzard draws the line.

But that still doesn't remove the fact that it's fun to feel really strong. Which is why it's sad to see the feline get neutered/spayed in 5.2.

Well, that's the way things go, I suppose. Change is only natural and we'll just have to adapt. My only regret is not experiencing the wonder and joy that is the Fluxfire Feline sooner! But I'm sure it will still have a place in Pet Battles, and we'll see if it's still just as strong in 5.2.

## Saturday, February 2, 2013

### More Pet Renames

I'm still in the process of renaming all of my non-wild pets. It's a pretty daunting task considering how many pets there are now. My brain just can't come up with so many unique names, so I start to fall into a habit of choosing a word that describes the pet and then adding a "y" at the end lol. Not my ideal way of naming companions, but after trying to think up of so many all in one sitting, I kind of get stumped.

The majority of my pets have been given official nicknames, and it's mainly just the companions released in 5.1 that need new handles. I've only named about half and I'm already hitting a wall.

Some of my favorites so far:
Baneling - Landmine
Cinder Kitten - Pyromanicat
Imperial Moth - Venomoth
Viscidus Globule - Croco Koosu
Venomoth is actually the name of a moth Pokemon. :x I couldn't help it! I was at a loss for names since there are only so many "mothy" names out there.

The Viscidus Globule gets a special name since it's reminiscent of the slime that used to think it was a crocolisk. It was during WotLK, I think, and hunters found that they could tame the named slime in Sholazar Basin. The poor thing was so confused but Blizzard set it straight shortly after they found out about the mix up. Koosu doesn't have an identity crisis anymore, but it was fun while it lasted. It's a shame that I never got around to taming one of my own on my hunter, so I guess having a minipet similarly named is the next best thing. ;)

For the Pandaren Spirits, I gave them names after the Captain Planet Planeteers lol. What better fit than those that channel each element? Now that I look at them, though, the names seem kind of odd and I don't think many will get the reference. I mean, even I had to look up Planeteers' names lol, and I chose them heh. I guess it will be sort of an inside joke?

I've hit a mental block on additional names for the rest of my collection, so it's probably time for a break and a breather. Maybe in the near future I'll finish up the list. At the very least, I'd like to have all of my non-wild pets renamed before 5.2. There are lots of new pets coming that if I fall behind on renaming them, I'll never be able to catch up!

## Friday, February 1, 2013

### Pet Ability Changes In 5.2

There were some updates to the official 5.2 PTR patch notes, which included many pet ability changes. Here are what I think are the most notable updates.
- Reflection has been replaced with Deflection, an ability that always attempts to go first and causes the pet to avoid all attacks for that round.

- Fluxfire Feline's Wind-Up has been replaced with a new ability, Flux, which deals damage to the enemy team.

- Pets that had been affected by a crowd-control ability will now be granted Resilience, making them immune to crowd control for a short while.

- Blocking abilities that last for 2 turns like Decoy, now have a cooldown of 8 rounds.
Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of this yet. At first glance, it appears that most of these are "nerfs", but until I get a feel of how it will affect my gameplay, I can't say "good" or "bad" at the moment. At the very least, they're interesting adjustments to existing abilities.

Reflection and Wind-Up
Many can agree that both Reflection and Wind-Up (for the Fluxfire Feline) are both very (and maybe even overpowered) strong attacks. Both have the ability to hit hard and one allows you to avoid damage completely. It's understandable that if used in pet PVP, it could be quite frustrating and annoying. Not that there aren't any counters for these abilities/pets, or that it's not predictable when your opponent will most likely use each one. Just in general, these two abilities are probably overused due to how effective they are.

But that's in pet PVP. What about pet PVE? One could argue that even in battles against NPCs, Reflection and Wind-Up are OP and mindless win buttons. It makes it hard to want to choose any other pet that doesn't have Reflection or Wind-Up, and that makes team variety and gameplay a bit boring/routine. Perhaps that's what developers are also trying to address, and not just the overuse of these two abilities in PVP.

On the other hand, I wonder how these changes will affect PVE gameplay and how it will interact with other attacks. Neither of them are being removed, and really, the main change is a tweak to how each functions, so I don't see either impacting a pet's rotation too much. Both should be usable in a similar fashion to how they're utilized now.

I have to admit, though, that I'll be disappointed to see Reflection go. It's such an amazing attack! I haven't actually played around with my Fluxfire Feline that much, so I don't have similar sentiments towards Wind-Up, but I've heard good things about it, so I assume some will be sad to see it go.

Resilience
I'm really curious about this newest mechanic. "Resilience" in Pet Battles? Really? Are they going to get PVP power in a future patch too? :P

In all seriousness, though, the patch notes don't really explain the nature of pet resilience. Will it only apply to PVP? Will it be in PVE? Maybe to a lesser extent?

I can understand why this was added for PVP reasons. It's pretty easy to create a crowd control team, where you keep your opponent's pets on lock down for nearly the full duration of the match. It's also pretty frustrating to go up against a team that doesn't allow you to perform any attacks or abilities. However, it would be too big of a nerf to remove utilizing a CC team altogether, so in the end, I suppose this is the best compromise. Teams that have the ability to CC often will still be viable, but to a lesser extent.

If this is applied to PVE, I don't foresee too many changes in gameplay. Then again, I never really played the CC card, where I relied on a team to constantly stun a Tamer team. Because of this, I can't really comment on what it will mean for PVE battles.

Decoy
Now this change... I'm really sad about it! I absolutely adore Decoy, and adding a longer cooldown onto it will likely make me second guess whether or not it's worth it to have in battle.

I'm actually kind of confused why this ability was altered, though. It's not as though you could have it up constantly (unless you have two pets with Decoy, which I guess could work, but I never saw the fun in that). In addition to that, certain attacks remove it from the playing field quickly, so it's not as if you could block multiple attacks each round. It just doesn't seem as overpowered as Reflection to get such a large nerf.

The longer cooldown will definitely change my gameplay when I use pets like the Darkmoon Zeppelin and Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling. Not only will I have a tougher time justifying adding Decoy into my rotation, if I do use it, it will likely throw my rotation off balance. I'll definitely need to adjust the use of each ability and when I use them. It's not a welcome change, but if I have no choice I'll live with it. Adapting to an evolving gameplay? :P

There's still some time before 5.2 is released, so things could still change. Perhaps if developers see a strong enough negative reaction and negative impact on battling some of these nerfs will be reverted. It's difficult to argue against most of these ability adjustments, though, no matter how unfavorable they might be.