Sunday, March 1, 2015

Race MiniZep Available Starting Next Month

I was looking forward to the Darkmoon Faire this month; new toys and a new pet was added in 6.1. Turns out that I'll need to wait until next month for the Race MiniZep though.

The racing mini-game at the faire is somewhat unique in that its content has a staggered release. This month it's phase 1, and you can earn the "tier one" achievements (The Real Race). Next month will be phase 2, which will include more racing features and mechanics. Only then will it be possible to complete the next tier of achievements (The Real Big Race).

After that there are two more months of "new" racing content, according to Blizzard's DMF release schedule.

  • March: ‘The Real Race’, including the Racing Strider racer and a set of achievements with rewards.
  • April: ‘The Real Big Race’, including a new Rocketeer racer, more boosts and race buffs, and new achievements for beating the The Real Big Race with both racers.
  • May: A new Wanderluster racer, new achievements for beating both races with the Wanderluster, and rewards.
  • June: A new Powermonger racer, new achievements for beating both races with the Powermonger, and rewards.

It's interesting to see Blizzard extending content in such a way, although an earlier heads up on how this whole thing works would have been appreciated. I wouldn't say more forewarning would have saved me time and headache, since I still went for this month's racing achievements anyway, but a better understanding ahead of time of the staggered release would have made it less confusing. For a while on the PTR I thought I was missing something, and it had me slightly worried that I would miss out completely once the 6.1 DMF went live.

Anyway, glad to see that that's cleared up. Now if only the lag would clear up on the Darkmoon Island. The lag really makes completing the achievements frustrating. From objects not loading in properly, to buffs/mechanics not triggering... let's just say I spent a lot of time swearing at my game while attempting the race and other DMF games for the toy rewards lol.

Well, here's hoping next month's faire is less laggy! Looking forward to a new pet to collect either way :)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Menagerie Battles Nerf In Patch 6.1

Patch 6.1 is about to drop next Tuesday and while many collectors are looking forward to it, many are also dreading 6.1 at the same time.


In 6.1 the experience gained from doing the Menagerie battles will be nerfed to the ground. Just how nerfed? Currently defeating the beloved bird team, Jahan, Samm, Archimedes, can yield experience in the thousands for your pet (with Safari Hat and/or treats). Come next week's patch, that number will drop down to 80. THAT nerfed.

Why the sudden nerf? The Menagerie battles are being tuned down in general next patch. The official 6.1 PTR patch notes state, "Reduced the difficulty of quests to unlock the Menagerie, elite pet challenges, and pet battle daily quests." Apparently this also includes how much experience each battle yields.

For those that depend on the Menagerie battles to level their pets, this is devastating news.

Not all of the Menagerie battles are worthwhile for leveling, and there are only 7 teams that people really focus on. But the draw to this type of power-leveling, however inconsistent it might be, you don't have to go anywhere and you can continue to battle for as much or as little as you like without any ramifications.

Menagerie leveling is extremely efficient if you think about it. Zero travel time and a vendor that sells bonus experience treats who doubles as a pet healer right next to you? Yea, for those that consider efficiency fun (fun is subjective) or more important than "fun", the Menagerie is your best friend on certain days.

I haven't taken part in Menagerie power-leveling, since I never felt the need to. The majority of my pets are level 25 and the leveling stones I get each day are enough to level the few pets that need it. Still, I can understand the frustration of those that partake in Menagerie power-leveling. Even if this practice wasn't intended, and Blizzard is merely correcting and oversight, it's still taking away something from players. That never feels very good.

Is a straight nerf warranted? Very likely, yes. Being able to power-level in such a way pretty much trivializes Pet Battles in WoD in general. I highly doubt that it was intended, as they have a reward for going out and battling Draenor pets (the Menagerie battles don't count towards the monument). They WANT us to go out and explore/travel outside of the garrison to complete our pet levels and battles.

Ok, so Blizzard needed to implement a correction to an unintended feature. But to this extent? 80 experience, really? It's undeniably overkill.

Rather than straight nerfing the overall experience earned from Menagerie battles, couldn't Blizzard have implemented other mechanics instead? In fact, @gloriaboboria made a good point on Twitter regarding a different approach Blizzard could have taken.


I wholeheartedly agree that this would have been a great method to prevent players from abusing the Menagerie battles. Sure, they may still spend a few battles standing around to earn a decent amount of pet experience. But after those few it won't be worthwhile anymore and they will (hopefully) move on to other encounters that reward more experience. It's a compromise where both sides would essentially win.

It doesn't look like Blizzard really wants to compromise on this one, though. The patch is near, and with little time left players are just going to have to bite the bullet and say goodbye to Menagerie power-leveling.

But maybe not all is lost. Testing on the PTR revealed that not all Menagerie battles were nerfed. Specifically one encounter, Squirt's team of Deebs, Tyri, and Puzzle. Battling this team on the PTR with a level 1 carry rewarded 2393 experience (with a Safari Hat). What gives?


The Squirt encounter is unique as it's the only "trainer" battle in the Menagerie rotation. All of the other battles either require you to click on a wooden post to start it or on an individual "boss" pet. Squirt is pretty much like every other standard trainer out in the world, so it would only make sense that defeating her rewards a substantial chunk of experience in the same way defeating a normal trainer does.

Keep in mind that this could just be another oversight and Squirt's team could also get a whack on the head with the nerf-bat just before the patch is released. If it is intended then this means players will have at least one Menagerie battle to look forward to each week. Perhaps this is Blizzard's way of compromising.

Well, we'll have to wait and see what happens post-6.1 patch. Even if there's a glimmer of hope, ultimately it will be a fairly disappointing change for many.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wishing Everyone Well In 2015


Tomorrow is Chinese New Year, and marks the beginning of the Year of the Sheep. What better time to summon out my Elwynn Lamb? And since this is a special occasion, instead of letting the wolf get his way, I save my little lamb by unsummoning it before anything tragic can happen. :P

Anyway, I wish everyone prosperity for the coming year, good health, and happiness. :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fire On a Stick, Fire On a Stick!


The Lunar Festival just started, and although there are no new pets this year, new toys, engineering schematics, and this lovely gem pictured above (Perky Pug not included) were added.

The Perky Blaster adds a buff to your Perky Pug that causes it to run around in a circle with a firework in its mouth. These consumables are cheap, one coin for a stack of five, and they're not soulbound. So you know I just had to stock up on them. XD If I have time during the week, I'll probably head out on alts to pick up easy coins and send more pet fireworks to my banker alt to hold for future use.

Other than that, it's a pretty tame Lunar Festival. No new pets, just the two existing lanterns -- Lunar Lantern (A) and Festival Lantern (H). Collect away! :)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy February 14, 2015


It's not a pet, but who doesn't wish the Companion Cube was a real in-game pet? We can always dream! :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

All the Heart Fuzzies


Blizzard announced that more than $1.9 million was raised during the Argi sale this past holiday season. So in other words, in roughly one month nearly 2 million dollars was raised and donated to the Red Cross to assist with the Ebola relief efforts. That's. Amazing.

Granted, many just wanted an adorable baby spacegoat pet. But it's still awesome that Blizzard decided to use the proceeds for charity. Collectors directly and/or indirectly helped, so give yourself a small pat on the back for purchasing Argi during the special sale period. :)

Go plushie, go!
In other adorable pets news, a user on WarcraftPets discovered that even though the Elekk Plushie doesn't have any moves that do direct damage by themselves, with a little help from two friends it can indeed smack its opponents around.

Using one pet to apply Wild Magic on the target and another pet to apply Howl, this allows Plushie Rush to actually deal damage. I tested this myself on a low level wild pet and sure enough, my adorable and normally passive plushie smacked that wild pet around, dealing 214 damage!

I'm sure this is just an oversight and the Elekk Plushie shouldn't be able to inflict harm on enemies, but you have to admit that it's kind of heartwarming. A plushie that just wants to be a real, living being finally gets its day, participates in a fight, AND is useful (sort of). The bittersweet cute factor is through the roof for me and I can't help but smile thinking about it.

You don't need to be "real" Elekk Plushie. You're perfectly fine the way you are. :')

Saturday, February 7, 2015

6.1 PTR: A Not So Long Day


(image from Wowhead) His sit animation makes me smile at least

Graves was recently updated with a model on the 6.1 PTR. It's uhhh interesting? I'm not sure what to think of it. It looks like a partial skeleton mixed with vines/roots, coffins and red crystals...? Not quite cute, not quite grotesque. I think this might be the first pet that I feel fairly indifferent about.

I suppose Graves would make more sense to me if I actually played Heroes of the Storm and saw it in its proper environment. I'll eventually have to do something Heroes related to earn the pet so maybe I'll see it soon heh.

Not much else was added/updated on the PTR, but one other notable thing is the Longest Day achievement change. Turns out it's not a very long day after all. In 6.1 you don't have to defeat all the listed trainers in a single day; you can earn it over time.

I'm not sure what prompted this change, but my best guess is that the achievement wasn't behaving properly for everyone. I vaguely remember reading reports about not receiving credit for a trainer or some other related issues. Perhaps Blizzard felt like the bugs associated with the achievement wasn't worth it, and decided to just drop the buggiest part of it. The removal of the "all in one day" requirement would make sense if that's the case.

Otherwise, I have no idea why the change. I don't consider it a difficult achievement. The trainers are static so you don't have to prepare for any changes each time you battle them and there are solid strategies out there for everyone to use or tweak to suit their needs. The "toughest" part of the achievement is the travel time between trainers IMO.

But I don't know. I'm sure the developers have their reasons, which they're under no obligation to share with us. I'll just be sitting here in the corner, speculating and brewing up conspiracy theories in the meantime. :P

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

6.1 PTR: Two New-ish Pets, Graves and Hogs

UPDATE: Bashiok responded to a forum thread, clarifying what the recent Hogs datamining is.
"It's old data. The "Hogs" mini-Hogger pet is not a reward from that achievement, and we'll correct it in the next PTR build. We haven't determined yet if/when he'll be obtainable, or from what source."
-------------------------------

A new patch was released onto the 6.1 PTR today, and a new pet was added. Grave Golem, previously named My Special Pet, is going to be a reward for an achievement related to Heroes of the Storm. No details on what we'll have to do to earn Hero of the Storm, but as a non-moba player I hope it doesn't require something too complicated.

If it's something similar to the Hearthsteed achievement, Hearthstoned/Mount Up!, I think I could live with that. I'll just need someone (probably the OH) to carry me through a few Heroes matches haha. I apologize ahead of time to any serious Heroes players that have to suffer through a game with me. :P

Another change from the PTR was reported by MMO-Champion. The source specifically is notable because MMO-Champion seems to be the only one reporting this -- Hogs now a reward from the anniversary achievement Victory In Hillsbrad. Wowhead doesn't list this change and Hogs is not in the Pet Journal on the PTR.

IF this is not a mistake in datamining and Hogs WILL be a reward for an achievement that's no longer obtainable, I foresee a large portion of the community being ticked off. Yes, it was briefly listed as the reward for the PVP Feat of Strength early on, but that was removed before the anniversary event rolled around. There was no notice that this would be reverted yet again, and Hogs would eventually be retroactively rewarded.

So it's only natural that those that skipped out on the anniversary BG would be upset if the pet is ultimately the reward. Had there been some sort of early warning, I think more would have participated in the BG just to earn the achievement for this future change.

But, as I mentioned before, only MMO-Champion is reporting this. It could be a simple datamining error. Or Hogs might be a reward for something else and the anniversary BG achievement is just a placeholder until the actual achievement is implemented. All we can do is speculate for the time being and wait and see where (if anywhere) Hogs winds up. I wouldn't panic yet; the PTR is known for changing.

I have to admit that news of these two pets does put me a little on edge, though. I'm not one for mobas or PVP, so even speculating that pets might come from these two sources makes me anxious. Ahhh :(

Monday, February 2, 2015

Love is in the Air New Pet, Mulgore Hatch-- Oh Wait

Love is in the Air has arrived, and I love that there's a new pet! :P

The new pet from the Valentine's in-game event is the Lovebird Hatchling. If it looks familiar, that's because it's a smaller version of the Swift Lovebird mount. Not only that, but it uses the same model and skin as the Mulgore Hatchling. Can't say I'm thrilled about the latter, but a new pet is a new pet right?


I was hoping that maybe the Lovebird Hatchling would have a unique idle animation/interaction to set it apart from the Mulgore Hatchling, but I haven't noticed it do anything interesting yet.

Since it's related to the Love is in the Air event, I thought maybe it might interact with another Lovebird Hatchling or even its mount counterpart. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find someone else on my server with the pet or mount to test this idea out. I also can't seem to talk the OH into grinding Love Tokens to purchase one either lol. :P

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed that this pet is basically the same as a previously released one. Less sprightly, though, since it doesn't seem to run/walk away randomly like the Mulgore Hatchling. It's kind of a bummer so far. Aside from adding a neat idle animation/interaction, Blizzard could have used a different model, as suggested by Wayne on Twitter.


Sure, if they had used a different model it would no longer match the mount, but as long as it was named differently there wouldn't be any expectations for the two to match. Besides, the Mulgore Hatchling matches the Swift Lovebird mount just fine. :P

Ahh well. I can't complain too much. A new pet from an event is still awesome, and I'm satisfied with the steady release of pet-related content. This is just me nit-picking, don't mind me. Go give your Lovebird Hatchling a hug and a kiss, love is in the air after all! :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pet Stuff In the Official 6.1 PTR Patch Notes

The official 6.1 PTR patch notes are out. There are a few notable pet-related bits of goodness, but as with all things PTR stuff is subject to change and not everything will make it to the release of the next content patch.

But anyway, onto the updates and changes! Taken directly from the notes:

  • "For the Pet Battlers out there, there's a separate chance for an additional visitor offering unique Pet Battles with a chance to award a bag containing Pet Battle items and new Battle Pets." (Erris the Collector, Kura Thunderhoof)
- Note: If you don't have the Menagerie unlocked, you can still accept and complete the daily quest (Critters of Draenor) that Erris and Kura offer when they show up in your garrison. Unsure if this will change prior to 6.1 being released.

  • "Reduced the difficulty of quests to unlock the Menagerie, elite pet challenges, and pet battle daily quests."
- Note: The change to the quest Pets vs Pests includes the removal of the boss passive as well as HP changes for the pet NPCs (unsure of the latter as I can't find proper info on the current health of the three pets).

  • "New battle pets have been added to Black Temple, Caverns of Time: Hyjal Summit, and Sunwell Plateau along with a new achievement, Raiding with Leashes III to collect them all. Completing the achievement to collect all the new Battle Pets will award a Naaru pet." (Raiding with Leashes III)
- Nothing much to say here except WHEEEEEEE!

  • "Level 100 characters with a Tier-3 Garrison will now receive an item in the mail that increases a single Battle Pet's level to 25." (Ultimate Battle-Stone)
- Note: This is currently untrue on the PTR. Instead of being mailed a battle-stone, the Menagerie NPC still offers the Unearthed Magic quest that rewards the Ultimate Battle-Training Stone. The level 3 garrison prerequisite might still apply though.

One thing that wasn't mentioned in the PTR patch notes is that Flawless Battle-Stones have had their level penalty removed.


Using a quality stone on a level 15+ pet no longer causes said pet to lose levels. So upgrade away!

Another quality of life improvement, Pet Charms stack to 1000 on the PTR. YAY! Now I don't have to feel silly for hanging onto extra charms that take up bag space. :)

Edit: Pet Charms have also been changed to BoA, along with Battle-Training Stones. My inventory says thank you 100 times over!
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