MMO-Champion reports that patch 5.1 will be out "soon". This could mean within a week or up to three? Or more? We'll see!
A new feature coming in 5.1 is the ability to upgrade a pet's quality using Battle-Stones. There will be two versions, Polished and Flawless.
One will transform any pet you own into an uncommon (green) quality companion, while the other will upgrade your pet into a rare (blue) quality companion. Epic (purple) stones were datamined, but they will not be released any time soon.
These stones will be very rare and random drops from the Tamer daily bag. There's also a chance that you can receive a Battle-Stone after defeating a wild pet, and he higher the level of the wild pet you defeat, the higher the chance of finding one in the wild. Alternatively, if battling is not your preference for finding upgrades, you can purchase Polished Battle-Stones for 1000 JP.
Some stones will be BoP while some will be BoE. Also, there will be general versions and family specific stones.
As far as I can tell, each stone will upgrade directly to whichever quality is designated by that particular stone. NOTE: Using a Battle-Stone on a pet level 15 or higher will cause the companion to lose 2 levels.
For example: Using a Flawless Battle-Stone on a poor quality rat will automatically turn it into a rare quality rat.
If this is the case, what (if any) is the point of Polished Battle-Stones? In terms of quality, rare is currently the best. Choosing to battle with anything other than a rare quality pet can often prove to be challenging and tedious. Even uncommon (green) pets have lower health, lower attack, and lower speed most of the time. This can put your team at a disadvantage.
So if we can upgrade directly to rare quality using a Flawless Battle-Stone, would anyone even WANT the Polished ones? If you can skip over a tier, wouldn't you do that instead of painstakingly try to upgrade one level at a time?
I suppose for those that absolutely can't wait to upgrade a poor or a common pet to rare, and those that don't mind battling with an uncommon companion, Polished Battle-Stones will be a blessing. Is that reason enough to keep them in-game? Even they will choose rare if given the option.
For those that demand the best and will not settle for just uncommon, receiving a Polished Battle-Stone will be a bit of a let down.
It's not as if you can AH, trade, or give away the the Polished stones. From what I can see on Wowhead's PTR database, all the uncommon stones are BoP. There's also no vendor price atm, which might mean you can't vendor them either. That's seems like it's going to be pretty frustrating.
Honestly, I don't see much of a point having Polished Battle-Stones in-game. Even those that are willing to use uncommon pets in a battle will opt for a Flawless Battle-Stone if given the opportunity. Polished stones just seem like an unnecessary filler.
Now, if your pet HAS TO BE uncommon prior to upgrading it to rare quality, then I could see the demand for Polished stones being much higher.
There are currently some pre-MoP pets that are poor or common, but are still fun and I'm sure there are those out there that would enjoy using them in Pet Battles. If these pets could only be upgraded to rare after they've been transformed into an uncommon pet, the Polished Battle-Stones would much more viable. You would need to find Polished stones before even thinking about using a Flawless one on that poor/common companion.
I have yet to find any Battle-Stones on the PTR, so I can't say how this will all work in the end. Perhaps some changes will be made to how the stones function, and both Polished and Flawless will be a necessary part of the upgrading process.
Until then, I'm baffled at the idea of having the option to upgrade to uncommon, when rare is still the best. I mean... doesn't everyone want (to be) the very best? :P