Forfeiting a Pet Battle is normally not the ideal choice. Most of the time players want to win rather than simply give up. However, there is talk about collectors using the forfeit option to "farm" for rare wild pets.
"Farming" would go something like this: find a pet, enter battle, use a macro or addon to determine the pet quality and if it's not the quality you're seeking (usually rare) then forfeit the match. Rinse and repeat.
The problem with this method is that it causes the pets that you've forfeited battle with to despawn, leaving other players in the area one less wild companion to challenge.
So the big question comes down to, is this an exploit and should Blizzard put a stop to this somehow? If so, how?
It's hard to say, but I think many can agree that rapidly despawning wild pets is an inconvenience for everyone. Fewer pets in the world means fewer chances for everyone, regardless if they're looking for a specific quality. Not to mention that some pets are just exceedingly rare and have slower respawn times. Someone "farming" those companions could cause a huge headache for everyone else in the zone.
Also, we have to wonder, is it wrong to seek a rare quality pet? Of course the answer is no, but what about HOW we go about finding those companions?
The act of farming has never had a very good connotation in this game. It's usually criticized and frowned upon by most, since many associate it with gold farmers and hackers/exploiters. Farming inconveniences others for the sake of greed and extra gain on one person's part.
Searching for a rare quality pet shouldn't fall under this category, but the more I think about it, when using the forfeit action and causing the wild pet to despawn... it does negatively impact other players' experiences somewhat.
But, ok, let's say this is something Blizzard wants to put the brakes on. Pretend that their take on it is that hunting for rare quality companions is fine, but "farming" for rare quality wild pets by using an addon/macro and then forfeiting is not how the system was intended to work. How should they go about resolving this issue?
One idea would be to break the scripts and addons that show the quality of a pet prior to it being captured. However, I'd have to argue that this wouldn't really solve much, as it's still possible to "farm" for a rare quality wild pet even without an aid. It's a lot more time consuming and troublesome, but still possible.
Instead of relying on an addon, you can roughly determine a pet's quality by looking at it's stats and health. Additionally, you can capture one and keep it to compare its stats with all the ones of the same kind you run into. If your poor quality cat has the same stats of the cat you've just engaged a Pet Battle with, then that cat is also poor.
So removing addons and macros won't necessarily fix this. You can still "farm" by using the forfeit action even without any extra help.
Blizzard could always up the repsawn rate for wild pets to help compensate for "farming". I don't think this is something they would do, though.
Another mechanic they could implement would be to put an experience penalty for using the forfeit action (too many times per hour?). I've never heard of Blizzard putting in a system where actions can take away experience, and part of me doubts that they ever will. Like I've said before, people generally don't respond well when they have something taken away from them.
The last option would be to put a cooldown on the forfeit action. I'm leaning more in favor of this, than anything else, if I had to choose.
Putting a cooldown or limit on the number of times you can forfeit per hour (or something similar) doesn't really have much of a adverse impact on gameplay. Sure, you might not be able to save a pet that's about to die by leaving the match, but which would you rather have? Players causing massive numbers of wild pets to despawn or being held back slightly during combat? I think the lesser of two evils is the latter.
This, of course, is only my objective view on the matter. Personally, I'm not exactly for or against. If Blizzard doesn't choose to take action, I'm ok with that. If they do, and depending on how they do it, I'd probably be ok with that as well. My position on this is definitely on the fence.
I'm not going to lie, I've used forfeit a few times on pets when it wasn't the quality that I wanted.
I can see why people would resort to this method, though. Finding a rare quality pet goes by much quicker and you don't really lose anything since you can still choose to battle the pet just for experience.
Plus it's how they've chosen to play; hunting for those higher quality companions. How they do it might be distasteful, but who's Blizzard or anyone else to say how they should go about doing things? That would be like telling a tailor that they can't go out and collect all the unique mobs (that are also quest mobs) in a zone and aoe farm them for cloth. Players questing in that area who need those creatures would be greatly inconvenienced, but should anyone tell the farmer to stop?
On the other hand, I can understand how frustrating it can be for other players in the area. The respawn times on a few pets are long, and if someone were to despawn all of them in their quest to find the perfect pet, well that just ruins everyone else's fun. What about those that don't care about quality but just want the companion? Shouldn't they get a shot at battling one of those pets too?
Anyway, this is isn't exactly a black and white situation. There's no use of hacking tools or extreme exploits, so it's not as if Blizzard can outright say that it's actionable. We have to consider both sides and weigh the pros and cons of implementing some sort of resolution. In the end, the "fix" might just boil down to which is the lesser evil in this situation.