Thursday, April 28, 2011

Patch 4.2 - "Legendary" Pet

blizzard is pumping out previews of 4.2 already. there's already talk about a legendary staff, mainly because upon completion, the entire guild will be awarded a non-combat pet.
"Patch 4.2 introduces an epic quest that will challenge those daring enough to complete the legendary staff Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest. The great staff duplicates destructive magics, and also bestows upon its wielder the ability to transform into a member of the Blue Dragonflight. Those who complete the staff won’t be the only ones to receive a reward, though. As this task requires the dedication of an entire guild, upon completion of the staff all guild members will receive a unique non-combat pet to call their own."
i must say... i am shocked. my first knee-jerk reaction to this was: no. No. NO. DOES NOT WANT. DOES NOT INDUCE FLUFFY FEELINGS.

after calming down a bit and rethinking things, i've come to the conclusion that i want more information and details before i can pass complete judgement.

specifically, for everyone's sake, some things need to be cleared up:
1.) how long will the quest chain be to complete the legendary?
2.) will the guild be required to take on a full tier of raiding (either 10 or 25 man)?
3.) will it be necessary to take on heroic raid content?
4.) will it be costly to "build" the staff (outside of repairs and other raid-like necessities)?
5.) should a person acquire the legendary staff transfer to a new guild, will that new guild also receive the "legendary" companion? or will only those who assisted in creation of the staff (original guild) be eligible?
these questions as well as many others are vital, and the pet collecting community is anxiously awaiting answers and details, i'm sure. this quite possibly could be game breaking for many collectors, and i don't mean that in a good sense.

this is an entirely new direction, one that i never thought blizzard would take, for vanity pets. the guild achievement companions were one thing. they required only some guild participation. while some PVP was necessary, it was still within most players' reach (as long as their guild had at least a few members who enjoy and actively PVP). however, this "legendary" pet... well it almost feels like an abomination (and i don't mean a cute little zombie pet or actual abomination creature).

as i mentioned before, i would like more information before i can formulate a concrete opinion on this, but at the moment i can definitely say that the news of this new legendary companion did not overwhelm me with excitement as it should have.

although i'm currently in an actively raiding guild and we will very likely seek to craft the new legendary, this new pet still worries me and how it will affect the pet collecting community as a whole.

for many collectors, collecting is a style of gameplay. period. they play to gather companions, mounts, and other things that they can cherish and hold onto. it is the reason and purpose of their dedication to the game. many even go out of their way and above and beyond the average collector to spend extra real life money, time and effort to acquire very rare companions. why? because it is what brings them joy and maintains their choice of gameplay.

while blizzard has stated that they do not want to implement things within the game that make players feel obligated or forced to get that are extremely difficult to reach, the direction of this new legendary pet feels exactly the opposite of this sentiment.

for a collector, because it is their chosen path, all companions are felt to be necessary. however, due to the nature of some pets (some are no longer available, some require extra income that players may not have, etc.) many people have just had to accept it and move on despite their continued desire to acquire them.

now with the announcement of a legendary pet, which may be completely out of reach for many (depending upon the details of aforementioned staff), collectors will feel even more disenfranchised. rather than awarding collectors for being collectors, blizzard is instead placing a necessary component to collecting in a somewhat unrelated branch of gameplay, PVE. many already felt pushed into joining a guild just to acquire the new guild achievement companions. will they also now be required to partake in heavy PVE (or at least a guild that leans heavily into PVE/raiding) to get a hold of a highly desirable pet? does that seem right to you?

the entire idea has the potential to leave out many collectors who may only dabble in PVE casually. depending on how the legendary is created, it may also cut off those who are not in a raiding guild or a guild capable of heroic content. what will solo-players or those who play with only a few friends but are still collectors in every sense of the word do now?

according to blizzard, because it's a vanity pet, it is not mandatory to obtain it and it is entirely at the players' discretion whether or not they go after it. but think of it this way, if this legendary pet is implemented, and those mentioned above are cut off and left out, their gameplay is essentially flawed and ruined. not obligated to obtain, my ass. to me, this just shows blizzard's innate misunderstanding of the collecting mindset and style. (or perhaps they do understand the mentality behind collecting, but simply choose to not implement the proper avenues of this gameplay within the game?)

one could argue that the legendary pet is a necessary addition, as it will separate the hardcore collectors from the casual. but "hardcore" and "casual" are both very subjective terms, especially when we're talking about what most people consider a "hobby".

i can't speak for everyone, but i've noticed that these days it's not all that important whether or not you are a "hardcore" collector or not. unlike PVP or PVE where gear is obtained to progress further into content or show how far you've come, collecting is collecting. a large portion of the time the companions hold more value to the players who acquired them than just a number. for a collector, "progression" does not essentially mean harder or hardcore like in PVE or PVP. progression is acquiring desired companions. this pretty much makes "hardcore" and "casual" meaningless terms when talking about collecting pets. but how can a collector progress when blizzard (continually) implements necessary items to complete a collection, that are out of reach of many players who have dedicated themselves to this style of gameplay?

in the end, i guess it boils down to: is a vanity pet truly just a "vanity"? do they mean more? should blizzard treat them in such a way where the collecting community is recognized, acknowledged, and their style of gameplay is properly addressed and implemented?

i'm very anxious to hear more from blizzard on this topic, as well as the details about the new legendary staff and companion. i fear that many collectors will find this to be the final nail in the coffin, and leave the community and game for good. the guild achievement pets were already hard to chew for some, especially those who were not guilded or did not have a large guild. this new legendary pet may push people over the edge. having your style of gameplay go unrecognized and misunderstood for so long... well, a person can only take so much before they say enough is enough and throw in the towel.


  1. I agree! I hate when pets and mounts come out that I have little to no chance to get. I play specifically now to obtain mounts and pets. This one? I better HOPE my guild can make a staff (though they never made the mace, have no warglaives or bow and only have hand of rag/thunderfury because it's way old.) So I'm not holding my breath on this one.

  2. @pandy: yea, this might be one of those retro-items that collectors will have to wait a long, long time to have a chance at.

    well hopefully blizzard has some trick up their sleeves that will balance things out, so that collectors don't feel entirely disenfranchised.

  3. 100% agree with you. WOW is getting worse every day.

  4. @Bergule: well, i wouldn't go as far as to say it's getting worse, but the choices being made and implemented lately seem vastly different than previous expansions. it is very unnerving and often disappointing/disheartening.

    there seems to be a larger disconnect between developers and the community these days.

  5. Your latest post shows one more step to the wrong direction. Pets and mounts deserve better than to be given randomly in a satchel. Poor phoenix, poor green proto-drake, poor giant rat, poor white bear...
    I've played for the US beta, and i really can't understand what's happening to my game. It looks like sabotage to me :). I want to farm the whelps again, i want to do the Sprite Darter quests again !

    Keep up the good work, i really enjoy your site.

  6. @Bergule: it does feel somewhat like an easy way out to just dump a bunch of items into a satchel as a reward, doesn't it?

    hopefully blizzard will implement more unique companion quests in the future! i definitely enjoyed the sprite darter chain too, and i think they did an exceptional job with the lashtail hatchling.

    and thank you! :)


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