So what exactly are Battle-Stones? These items are used to "upgrade" any pet to a higher quality. For example, a poor (grey) cat could be turned into a rare cat using these stones.
The stones have a chance to drop from the Sack of Pet Supplies, after defeating a wild pet, or can be purchased for Justice Points. (NOTE: How the Battle-Stones are obtained could be changed prior to the patch release. This is just Blizzard's current plan.)
There are different stones for each quality.
- Polished Battle-Stone can upgrade a pet to uncommon (green) quality.In addition to different stones for different qualities, there are also family-specific Battle-Stones. So for example, there are Polished Elemental Battle-Stones and Flawless Elemental Battle-Stones. Each pet family has its own version of uncommon, rare, and epic stone.
- Flawless Battle-Stone can upgrade a pet to rare (blue) quality.
- Perfect Battle-Stone can upgrade a pet to epic (purple) quality. Note: This specific stone will NOT be released with patch 5.1, and is set for a possible future update.
It seems like a pretty straight forward concept, right? Obtain a Battle-Stone, pick a pet to use it on and that pet will have better stats than it started out with. This sounds like a perk, right? What flaw could anyone find with this system?
Well, as it turns out, not everyone sees this new feature as a plus. Some players view this as a "dumbing-down" of Pet Battles which will make hunting for rare quality wild pets pointless and obsolete.
If you think about it, why WOULD anyone continue to search for a rare version of a pet when they could simply purchase a Battle-Stone and upgrade at their leisure?
First off, there's no indication of how common or uncommon the droprate will be for Battle-Stones. They may turn out to be extremely rare, which means it would take a very long time to fully upgrade all of your pets to the highest quality possible. If that's the case then it would still be worthwhile to continue the hunt for rare quality wild pets in the meantime.
If the droprate on the stones is high, though, I could see it impacting Pet Battles negatively. There really wouldn't be a reason to spend time and effort on capturing quality pets, and it would be more efficient to just keep whatever you capture and upgrade them at a later date. This would definitely take away from Pet Battles since this mini-game relies on the searching, battling, and capturing aspect.
For now, we can only speculate how often we'll come across Battle-Stones. Until we can determine a droprate, there's really no telling how the stones will change gameplay.
Still, I completely understand and empathize with those that feel using the Battle-Stones on wild pets kind of takes away from the capturing part of Pet Battles.
One possible resolution would be to limit the stones so that they're only usable on non-wild pets. Then players would still need to hunt down rare quality pets to capture, rather than having an easy upgrade for their wild pets.
The downside to this idea, though, is that some wild companions are highly sought after and have a low respawn rate. It can be frustrating to finally capture one and find that it's not the quality that you were looking for.
Having Battle-Stones would help in situations like these, and take the stress and pressure off of collectors searching for a rare quality hard-to-find pet. It would also help reduce the number of players camping spawn points of the more desirable companions. With the implementation of Battle-Stones, many collectors will probably catch whatever they can, and be satisfied with it regardless of its quality since they can upgrade that pet later.
Another reason that I'm leaning more towards Battle-Stones being a good thing is that we will finally be able to use our pre-MoP companions without feeling as if we're at a disadvantage for not using a rare quality companion in battle.
Currently, many of the non-wild pets are not the highest quality. It's a pity since many enjoy these older pets, and if quality were not an issue, would probably use them on their pet team(s).
With these Battle-Stones, those older companions will finally get a chance to shine. A common (white) quality vendor pet could be turned into a rare quality version in an instant. It would allow players even more options and customization of their teams. Everyone likes to have options right? There's more freedom to play how you want.
Until there's more information and detail about Battle-Stones, it's really hard to say whether or not these items will be more beneficial or detrimental to gameplay. But so far, there are more pros than cons imo. Things aren't set in stone yet, though, and things could change between now and patch release. We'll just have to keep an eye on this and provide developers with constructive feedback.