(Pet Battles Criticisms and Suggestions - Part 1 can be found here)
Another day and more Pet Battles testing! I'm still going at the PVE aspect and still haven't tried out the PVP queue version. I'll get around to it eventually; I'm more of a focus on one thing at a time type of person. :P
It's currently very buggy on the beta right now, and there are random times where your entire team AND the opposing team will simply drop dead when you attempt to start up a battle. The only thing to do in a situation like that is to forfeit and rotate a new set of three for your team to try again or heal/revive your current team.
Needless to say this makes playing Pet Battles fairly frustrating. Dead pets equals extra downtime and/or travel time to find a stable master to rez your companions, and none of that is fun.
Also attempting to level many pets of varying family types at once is somewhat tedious. My goal is to maintain at least enough pets around the same level for at least two teams so I can cutback on the downtime.
Like I mentioned in a previous post, under normal circumstances my pet team can generally go for about 3-4 rounds (against wild pets of appropriate level) before needing to be healed. I don't want to "waste" using my revive/heal ability on just three pets, though, especially with the possibility of my next encounter causing my team to drop dead instantly.
Since leveling so many pets at once can eat up a lot of time, I'm finding it easier to simply capture a pet of similar level and just placing that one in my team rotation instead. This means a lot of half leveled companions sitting in my journal. The OCD in me is pretty unhappy because of this heh.
The hunt for rare quality wild pets is also eating up a lot of time. Since you can't actually see what quality your opponent is, I've had to open up my journal every time I come across a fairly high HP pet (for their level) and compare it to a wild pet I already own. If it seems like one of higher quality, I'll choose to capture it instead of killing it.
Likewise for checking if a wild pet is one that I've already caught or not. Or checking to see if I have 3 of a particular pet.
It sounds simple enough, but having to do that for every round... well it slows my progress down significantly. A mechanic to check the quality of a wild pet and if I currently own that specific companion or have the max number already would definitely be appreciated!
Unfortunately, due to these factors, I'm finding the level grind in the STV range (about 7 - 11) to be somewhat tedious and irritating. And yes, I'm aware of the Pet Tamer experience exploit/bug. But no, I'm choosing to not utilize it and power level my pets to a super high level. I could just do it and bypass this zone, but I figure I'd go about Pet Battles in the same way I would on live to get a more genuine feel for it.
I can't wait to get past the STV area, though. At such low levels, there are only so many variations of wild pet family types to choose from. From level 1 to 10 there are only critters, beasts, and a few flying and mechanical wild pets to choose from. Having such a limited pet type selection isn't ideal when you're going up against Pet Tamers who use varying types.
Sure, I could choose to use existing pets that are in other family types, but as I've mentioned before, I've found it easier to capture a wild pet of similar level and using them for my team rotation. It beats having to swap in a level one or two on a mainly level 10 pet team.
I suppose that's another criticism I have about this new feature. You pretty much need to know your plan of action before getting started. Which pets you want to use, what type(s), how many, etc. It's not as efficient if you don't, and the flow of gameplay feels disjointed if you just dive right in.
You could choose just three pets and focus on leveling them up, but you would come to realize that you need more than just three high level companions AND you need to have varying family types in your rotation. Yet by the time you come to this realization, you might have already progressed pass the starting zones, and in order to level up more/different pets, you would need to either go back to those areas or switch in a sacrificial low level companion into your team. The latter reduces your chances of a successful encounter with the wild pets of higher level, though. Then again, having to go back just to level one or two lower level pets is just as painful too.
So as I've mentioned earlier, it's easier to just find a wild pet of the current zone I'm leveling in, capturing it, and then adding it into my team's rotation. This way I'm guaranteed to have pets of the same level. On the other hand, it limits my options for family type since, again, wild pet choices are mainly Critter or Beast with very few other types.
Well, that's been my experience so far. I still have a ways to go, so things could change. I've been trying to coax my friend (who generally isn't interested in vanity pets) into testing Pet Battles to get his unbiased opinion on it, but he's been busy.
Lately I've been scanning the Pet Battles feedback forum since I'd like to hear more opinions and thoughts specifically from those who normally don't give much thought about collecting pets. An unbiased point of view from those that will go into trying Pet Battles with little to no expectations of what it will be like - I think it would help me see things from all angles and help me generate a more solid opinion of my own.