Monday, December 31, 2012

Will a 5.2 Change Help or Hurt Pet Battles?

The changes slated for 5.2 will be, for the most part, a positive change and compromise between fun gameplay and intended gameplay. However, discussions on the WarcraftPets forums brings up some possible downsides.

The biggest one that I see is the "damage to the fleeing pet team" change. Taking into consideration the other changes coming in 5.2, will the damage penalty even be necessary? What is the purpose behind this change anyway?

Currently, the side effect of forfeiting a battle when the pet isn't ideal or desired is that it despawns the companion and its team. When players do this on especially hard to find pets (mainly in order to find a rare quality), like the Minfernal, Scourged Whelpling and so on, it's frustrating for others who would like to simply catch one, regardless of quality or breed. Since these particular pets are rare in the general sense of the word, despawning so many in such a short period of time is detrimental to others' gameplay.

But! With pets not despawning post-patch 5.2, this shouldn't be a problem anymore. Pets that are undesirable will instead be left alone OR manually killed off my players (in hopes to force one of different quality to spawn).

So how is the damage penalty for forfeiting a positive addition to Pet Battles?

On one hand, it does (negatively) reinforce the idea that to find certain pets, you must get your hands dirty and complete battle after battle before finding one. Simply plowing through pets and forfeiting probably isn't how this mini-game was designed to work.

But if you think about it, forfeit-hunting is still going to happen regardless if a damage penalty is in place. Forfeiting is easy, quick, and if I know anything about humans, it's that most generally like quick and easy. Not every practices this, but those that use it now probably won't change how they play the game due to a mechanic like damage after fleeing. If anything, they will find ways around it and continue doing what they've been doing.

At the moment, the damage penalty for fleeing a battle punishes those that may not even use the forfeit method to hunt for specific pets.

IF this damage penalty applies to Tamer battles, it will essentially be putting an annoying roadblock on the dailies. Many players, myself included, tend to forfeit a Tamer match in order to get a satisfactory line up. If my pet isn't strong or a good match up against the first opponent, I'll leave the battle and swap my current team around and then try again.

With this change in place, I'll have to bandage my team up after every swap out. Even if it's just a tiny bit of damage, who wants to start off an engagement without full life when you don't absolutely have to? It will be an irritating and unnecessary extra step.

Negative reinforcement to attempt to back players into a corner of desired/intended gameplay should be the last resort imo. If the goal is to encourage players to not forfeit, perhaps add some incentive rather than a punishment.

Maybe Battle-Stones have a higher drop-rate? Maybe players could earn some type of currency for successful battles that they could use to purchase unique pet items? Bonus experience? There are many options that positively reinforce rather than slapping players on the wrist.

If the goal of this change is to create an environment where all players will have a chance at hard to find pets, the new mechanic coming in 5.2 that doesn't despawn pets when a player forfeits helps this issue more so than a damage penalty. Players hunting for a specific quality, breed, color, etc. will be able to leave pets up for others (should they choose to) without having to go through any extra steps.

So in the end, what exactly does damage to the fleeing party "fix" or resolve? It's punishing to all Pet Battlers (regardless if they use the forfeit method or not), puts an unnecessary roadblock and irritant on Tamer battles (if this new mechanic applies to them, that is), and overall is more negative than positive.

Perhaps I have a knowledge gap, and if there's another reason for this specific change that I'm missing, I'd love to know.

And of course, much of this could change between now and 5.2 release. How the penalty is applied, how much damage, which battles, etc. could play a big factor in whether or not this change will help or hurt Pet Battles gameplay.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

When "YAY" Becomes "yay..."

I hope the holidays are treating everyone well! Technically, I'm still "on break" until the week after New Years, but I still find some time to log on now and then to do the Tamer dailies and level some pets.

Unfortunately, my leveling progress has slowed dramatically, but not just because of the holidays. I'm running out of goals that encourage and drive me to continue leveling.

Actually, that's not entirely true. A better statement would be 'I'm running out of ENGAGING goals that encourage and drive me to continue leveling my pets.'

I still have two goals left on my plate, level pets and upgrade all pets. On their own, though, these tasks are just grinds. There's no excitement behind it since it's just routine and repeat. Nothing new or unexpected usually occurs.

Side note: My other goals don't necessarily involve leveling any pets, as they're mainly collect X non-wild pet. So those are kind of unrelated.

I currently have all the wild pets in rare quality, and all the colors that I desire/are available to me. Breeds aren't something that I want to dive into, since that's a whole new level of obsession. I'm nit-picky as it is; trying to capture specific breeds, in rare quality, of a specific skin... I think that would burn me out.

Prior to completing most of my goals, my driving motivation to level was to capture rare quality pets. It doesn't sound all that exciting, but the rush of FINALLY finding the right one was there. That feeling made the activity enjoyable, and stumbling across what you're looking for every now and then broke the routine and monotony of it all. At the same time I was leveling pets left and right. It was efficient and a stimulating experience at the same time.

All the tasks prior to completion gave me the same sense of motivation to move forward, not just hunting for rares. Finding specific colors, capturing pets in general, etc. But now I'm left with just grinding levels and possibly finding Battle-Stones.

The latter of the two does provide some motivation to complete something PLUS level pets, but unless I have a specific family-type in mind and a place to potentially farm it (while earning pet experience), situations don't always pop up where I can feel determined to do it.

I can't exactly make farming Battle-Stones my "go-to" driving force because... well, it's not entirely possible to "farm" stones. Nevermind the huge RNG factor, there are also only limited spawns for certain pet family-types. This makes it extremely difficult to work on a certain family. I could simply hope for general stones, but for me, it doesn't feel as satisfying if I don't have a specific goal/target in mind.

Simply grinding levels has started to become tedious and boring for me. Am I just burnt out? What can I do do now? Is there any type of engaging task I can do to help inspire myself to keep grinding levels? I'm at a complete loss, yet too stubborn to let it go and leave it as "oh well".

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Have Another Good One

Happy holidays and have a safe New Year to everyone big and small. :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

5.2 PTR Official Patch Notes

Blizzard released a preview of the 5.2 PTR patch notes. Keep in mind that these are subject to change and might be incomplete.
- Supercharge now provides a 125% damage bonus (was 150%), and its cooldown is now 4 rounds (was 3).

- Sprite Darter Hatchling – Evanescence and Arcane Blast have swapped ability positions.

- Nether Roach is now a real roach and can now survive the apocalypse.

- Battle Pet Bandages now stack to 25 and are Bind to Account.

- Battle-Stones now have a chance to be awarded from PVP Pet Battles.

- Pets whose color schemes change each time they are summoned have returned. Older pets with this behavior now have it back, as well as some newcomers.

- Pet levels will now only display on the map when pets are tracked.

- Taming the World now lists its reward correctly in the Achievements pane.

- Level capped players will now have a chance to each Lesser Charms of Good Fortune after winning a pet battle versus a Pet within 5 levels of the highest level pet on their team. Higher level pets will offer a better chance to earn a Charm.

- Winning a pet battle versus a team within 5 levels of the player's highest level pet will now award player experience.

- Fleeing a pet battle will no longer despawn the pet that was being battled, but doing so will now inflict some damage on the fleeing pet battle team.

- Disconnecting from a pet battle will once again respawn the pets you were fighting.

- Any pet that has been killed in a pet battle will now never respawn.

- A number of new pets can be found on the Isle of Lightning, including Rare spawn drops, wild pets, and raid boss drops.

- Elite Battle Pets have been added to the game world. These rare pets will spawn alone against an entire team. A new quest has been added to track progress as these new pets are hunted down, and defeating that quest will award the new Red Panda pet.
Very interesting! I'm glad the non-wild color-changers will be making a comeback, and some new ones soon? Or existing non-wild pets will change skins each time they're summoned in 5.2? Can't wait to find out. :)

I also can't wait to see what an "elite battle pet" is like.

One thing I hope is that if you happen to engage in a battle with an "elite", you'll be phased out like with the Tamer battles. Unlike a normal wild battle, an elite one sounds rare and difficult. Imagine how heartbreaking it would be if you're nearly done with the battle, but you get pulled out due to world PVP. All that progress for nothing. It's the same with the Tamer battles, so it would only make sense to phase out during an elite one too, right? Well, we'll see.

I'm a little nervous about the new pets on the Isle of Lightning. Rare spawn drops and wild pets are acceptable, but raid boss drops? This worries me a little since I've never been a huge fan of making 10 or 25 people defeat a and then fight over who gets the companion pet. At least with the vanilla raid boss dropped pets, you could go in and kill bosses without having to drag in a full raid of players.

It looks like developers have found more of a middle-ground with the whole despawning situation. Here's my take on the notes above:
- They've added a penalty for forfeiting battles.
Damage to your pet team might not be a complete deterrent to forfeiting while rare hunting, but it does make it clear that it's not exactly how Pet Battles are meant to be played.
- Pets won't despawn if you DC during a battle.
To prevent players from abusing this mechanic in order to save rare pets that may have accidentally been killed, pets that were defeated won't respawn.

This makes me wonder though, will a new wild pet spawn in its place? Or will that team you engage with simply have a dead pet or missing team slot?

Still, it'll be good to have the ability to help others find certain pets again. :)

5.2 PTR Preview

WowInsider is reporting that a new 5.2 PTR build will be deployed soon, BUT it's not ready for player testing or play yet. This doesn't stop us from datamining it though. :P

So far they've found 3 new possible companions:
- Gusting Grimoire (BoP)
- Living Sandling
- Red Panda (BoP)
They speculate that the Gusting Grimoire will be the common pet loot from the upcoming TCG expansion deck (aka: "Floating Spellbook"?), and the Red Panda was datamined from the 5.1 PTR as the reward for an achievement to defeat X legendary wild pets (where X was either specifically named legendaries or a certain number).

Unfortunately, the achievement and pet reward never made it into the live release of 5.1, but it could make it into 5.2! There was some mention of "boss pet battles" being considered where players go up against a legendary version of an existing wild pet. So that could be a thing. :P

Things could have changed since the previous datamining, so we'll have to wait and see!

Second Spellbook? Please Re-Skin!

As reported early October of this year, the next TCG deck will be Timewalkers: Betrayal of the Guardian. The release date is set for February 12, 2013. Cryptozoic recently made the official announcement for this upcoming TCG expansion, but did not list the loot cards for it yet.

Many online card game vendors are still showing a "Floating Spellbook" as one of the loot cards, and since the other two don't sound like a possible pet, it would seem as if this will be the common pet for Betrayal of the Guardian.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is indeed the pet for the upcoming deck, since there's now a spellbook pet model (Lofty Libram). My only hope is that they make the TCG spellbook companion a bit unique either in color, model, or battle abilities. It's understandable if they want to re-use an existing model to save time, but at the very least throw on a new skin, yea? :P

But who knows. Maybe things will change and the Floating Spellbook was just a placeholder. We'll have to wait and see!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pet Battle Dailies Tracker Addon

I normally don't review addons since I try to keep the ones I use to a min, but I absolutely must discuss this one. It's just that awesome. :P

If you're like me, and you have trouble keeping track of all the Tamer dailies and which ones you've done/haven't completed each day, this mod will be such a blessing! It's called Battle Pet Daily Tamer, and it highlights all the tamer dailies on your world map with the iconic paw print. Once you've completed a daily, the paw print will disappear, leaving only the ones you haven't defeated for that day.

You can view the icon from a range of map views, from zoomed out to zoomed in.

Dailies that reward the bag are marked with a green paw print, while regular pet dailies are shown in blue. By default, only the Grand Master and Spirit Tamer dailies are shown, but you can toggle the regular pet dailies on and off in the interface menu. Yay for options! :D

Another great thing about this addon is that it provides basic information on each Tamer team. If you hover over each paw print, it will show you what family of pets that particular Tamer has on their team, as well as the battle level. This is very helpful, especially for those just starting out and haven't had the time to memorize each team. :)

I adore this addon, and I'm so glad Arvelayne from WarcraftPets recommended it. This mod allows me to multitask without fear of forgetting what my daily progress is each day. I can start doing the dailies, then queue up for a heroic dungeon, play on my farm, and other misc tasks, but I'll still be able to go back and pick up where I left off on my pet dailies.

It's such a helpful mod! Now I don't have to use a spreadsheet and notepad to keep track of my daily progress. XD

All Color Challenges Complete! (For Now)

I actually finished all color challenges shortly after my previous screenshot post, but only just got around to taking screenshots of all of them.

I'm relieved that I finished this prior to the log out fix change. The method of relogging to try and get a different pet skin (only worked with secondaries) came in really handy towards the end of my collecting adventure.

Originally I did it the hard, slow, old fashioned way where I searched for primaries that were rare and a specific color, but after so many possible color challenges that got REALLY tedious. (It did allow me to level up quite a few pets, though.) Utilizing secondary pets that were rare helped a lot.

I'm pretty disappointed that they made removed the ability to do this. It's kinda heartbreaking, especially for those just starting out on progressing with their collections. :(

Anyway, for now, and as far as I can tell, I'm done with all color challengs! All pet models in all available colors, and all wild pets in rare quality.

Whew. It was a fun challenge! I can't wait to see what future challenges pop up. :)

Top: Temple Snake
Left column, top to bottom: Coral Snake, Rattlesnake, Rat Snake, Grove Viper
Right column, top to bottom: Emerald Boa, Moccasin, Coral Adder, Snake

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hotfix That Doesn't Feel Like a Fix

Mumper announced on Twitter that there's been a hotfix for the logging out/alt+F4 method of exiting a battle and not despawning pets.
"Another note, we have hotfixed the issue with pets respanwing from players disconnecting (alt-f4ing) out of the game."
I don't know how to feel about this fix. On one hand, I can understand that ok, it wasn't intended and therefore it was hotfixed.

However, I think this "bug" did more good than harm overall. Not only did it make accidentally or unintentionally disconnecting during a battle less punishing (because let's face it, ISP providers, modems and routers can act up sometimes), it also made it possible to help friends find certain pets of a specific kind (quality, color, etc.). Since we can't trade wild pets, at least we could use the log out method and still help others find their "perfect" pet.

Thoughtful players also utilized this alt+F4 method to help save rare quality pets that they may not have been looking for. It gave someone else the chance to battle and capture it.

I have to shake my head with this "fix". It bums me out. No more grouping with guildmates to share rares that we find. Kinda disheartening. :\

Edit: Just realized that this will affect hunting for specifically colored rare quality pets. The trick to search for one that's a secondary, and then relogging to force that secondary rare to change colors until it's the one you're looking for, will probably no longer work. :(

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lesser Charms for Battles

An interesting bit of info came from a blue today on the official WoW forums:
"...the developers are planning to let you have a chante to earn Lesser Charms of Good Fortune through Pet Battles. Basically, if you win, you'll have a chance of receiving charms based on your pet level."
- Draztal
At first glance this sounds like good news. More rewards for the amount of time spent doing something we feel is our own personal progression in the game.

The only downside is that these lesser charms currently don't directly impact pet collecting. If we could use the charms as currency for Battle-Stones or some other pet-related item, this might be an even better setup.

I think that Pet Battles has a need for some kind of consistent reward and/or currency system. Maybe not now since this minigame is still so fresh and new, but down the road. Not because it will make things "easier" but it will help stabilize/balance the gameplay.

There's so much RNG involved in pet battles compared to other aspects of the game. The only constant is the dailies being there every day. It's not a bad thing, but it can be pretty daunting for some people.

A currency/reward system, however big or small it may be, would give players a sense of control over their gameplay. It's a tiny guarantee at something good at the end of the road. You do X amount of work, you will be rewarded Y some amount of time later.

On the other hand, though, having a system set up like that can lead to burn out. Look at the current situation with regular dailies. Raiders feel it's necessary to do them for VP and lesser charms (which turn into greater charms that you can use to gear up), but at the same time they're reluctant to do them because it's so tedious and time consuming yet it feels mandatory. This is not a good position to be in; feeling compelled to do something yet disgusted by it.

Well, anyway. There's no telling what the lesser charms will be used for in the future. Currency for pet items? Perhaps they WILL implement a new and exclusive pet to the charm rolls in raids, and this is their way of compensating some pet collectors who don't really put forth the time to PVE?

I can't think of any reason to not add this small extra bonus to Pet Battles, and if there's a negative to simply rewarding lesser charms for successful battles, it's not coming to mind at the moment.

EDIT: One thing that could potentially be a negative side effect of adding purchasable pet items for charms is the conflict between saving/using the charms for PVE progression or "pet progression". However, if the greater charms still remain reserved for gear rolls, and not turned into currency for both misc and PVE items, it might work out. Greater charms = PVE currency, but those extra lesser charms = possible pet currency...?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Instant Forfeit Macro

Iconyx from WarcraftPets reposted a macro originally from the official WoW forums, that instantly forfeits a pet battle when used.
/run C_PetBattles.ForfeitGame()
Simply create a macro, place it on your bars, and then keybind it. Once you're in a battle, just hit the bind and you'll instantly forfeit the match. You won't have to click on the confirmation box or anything!

Do what you will with this macro, but personally I see it most useful for Tamer battles.

Can't get the right lineup that you want? Use the macro! Your team looks like it's not going to survive the fight? Use the macro! Change your mind about what pets you want to use? Use the macro! Realize that you've selected the wrong abilities for a pet? Use the macro! It just helps speed things up a little bit. :)

Of course, this new trick does have a downside. It makes despawning wild pets in the search for rares that much quicker. Not everyone practices this method of looking for rare quality companions, but for those that do, it will only speed up the process. This might leave very few wild pets behind for others to battle and/or capture.

So if anything, I urge user discretion with this forfeit macro. It can come in handy for personal use, but remember that using it on wild pets (which are meant for everyone, not just individuals) could impact another person's pet collecting experience.

Wild Pet Spawning

When Pet Battles first came out, there was some speculation on how pets spawned in the wild. Do they spawn in as battle pets, or do they generate first a normal critters and then "transform" into battle pets? Regardless of which one is the case, does killing critters help/speed up wild pet spawning?

While hunting for a specific colored, rare quality maggot in Howling Fjord, I stumbled across a possible answer to how wild pets are generated.

There are three clusters of maggots in Howling Fjord. These groups of maggots spawn in as critters. However, after clearing out one cluster of wild maggot pets and after some time, a different group of maggots would DESPAWN, and a new group of wild pets would spawn (same spot). These new maggots were 100% battle ready, green paw print and all.

I can't be certain, but I think the same number of pre-existing maggot critters respawned in as maggot wild pets. So if there were 5 wandering around, after they despawn, 5 battle-able versions would spawn in.

The transition is immediate and very subtle, so I had to sit and watch it happen at least 3 times before I could believe my eyes.

I don't know if this applies to all pets, or just groups of companions, but it's pretty interesting to think about. Any existing critter doesn't exactly turn into a battle-able pet on the spot, but it can despawn and a battle-able pet could spawn in and take its place.

So taking this into consideration, killing critters could potentially help speed up wild pet spawning. Not just because it clears up a "slot" for another critter and/or wild pet, but because it opens up the possibility for a battle-able version of that critter to spawn in its place. This could be based on RNG or perhaps specific spawning script is written for certain critters.

I have no way to confirm this 100%, and I've only experienced the despawn/respawn situation in Howling Fjord. But this is something that's worth keeping in mind when hunting for wild pets.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Seven More Color Challenges Complete

Seven more color challenges done! There are some colors that don't appear naturally in the wild, and if they're not wild, they might not be rare quality. Otherwise, all wild pets are rare. :D

Still working on moths, crabs, raccoons, snakes, maggots, and desert spiders. Nearly finished with all of those since I'm only missing one from each category.

I think after that, I'll be done with all current color challenges! :D

Left column, top to bottom: Singing Cricket, Red Cricket
Right column, top to bottom: Marsh Fiddler, Grassland Hopper

Friday, December 14, 2012

Full Experience For Lower Level Pets

Great news everyone! We won't have to kill off our max level pets in order to grant our lower level ones full experience in a battle anymore. Yay :D
"We’ve been receiving a few inquiries over Twitter and through email regarding Farmer Nishi, so we thought we’d share our thoughts on Pet Battle experience gains with you.

We will soon be applying a hotfix that causes level-25 pets to no longer “steal” experience from your lower-level pets. Previously, if you had a level-3 and level-25 pet grouped together for a battle, the XP earned would be shared between the two at the end. This resulted in some players doing what they could to kill off their level-25 pet so the level-3 pet would get all of the experience. You no longer need to worry about this as the level-3 pet will now receive 100% of the XP that’s earned, so long as it has participated in at least one round of combat."
- Crithto
This hotfix might not take full effect until next Tuesday's maintenance, but this is still great news. Pets no longer stealing other pet's experience will help make leveling a bit faster. No exploits or tricks needed. :)

With the Safari Hat combined with the increase of Pandaria Tamer daily experience gains, leveling should be a much quicker task.

Not only that, but leveling in the wild with max level pets should be more viable than before.

Currently max level pets are eating up some of the experience if they stay alive. Unlike a daily where it's this huge battle and a death isn't uncommon, wild pet battles shouldn't result in deaths, intended or not. But in order to grant your lower level companions full experience, you have to kill off those max level pets in a wild battle. This made leveling in the wild pretty inefficient.

With the experience gain change, we won't have to worry about this anymore. So I can hunt for stones AND level efficiently at the same time!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Retroactive Upgrade to Quality

Mumper recently confirmed on Twitter that developers have worked out a way to retroactively change pet quality!
"I was waiting for confirmation.. Woohoo! Red Cricket, Singing Cricket and Darkmoon Hatchling should all convert to rare now."
This is fantastic news for many that wished for a rare, only to find out that their pet's quality was incorrectly assigned upon implementation.

Unfortunately for those that wanted to keep their "unique" uncommon version of the Darkmoon Hatchling, it seems that this baby birdie wasn't mean to be anything other than top notch.

Side note: I can't confirm this myself, but could it be possible that if you caged the uncommon quality version of the hatchling before fix, that it stayed uncommon...?

I haven't logged in to check my own Red Cricket yet, but I hope it's true! I'm not entirely sure if this new tech has been fully implemented yet, or if it's working on all realms. It might take another maintenance day or more for it to get rolling and make the changes for all players.

So if your pets haven't converted quality, hang tight! Hopefully everything will work out soon.

What Next..

My updated to-do list in no particular order:
- 75 pets to level 25

- all wild pets rare

- raid boss pets

- level all pets to 25

- upgrade all pets to rare

- color challenges / replace ex-color-changers

- Brawler's Guild, get rank 4 for Clock'em

- level/earn rep on a horde character for horde guild "pets"
Unfortunately my resto druid isn't cut out for the Brawler's Guild, so I'm going to have to level an actual DPS character for that. It'll take me some time as I haven't worked on leveling any of my other alts this expansion. There's just too much to do!

That being said, I haven't had much time to level my other OTHER alt on the horde side. I'm in a guild where both guild "pets" are unlocked, I just don't have the reputation to purchase them yet.

On top of that, I need to get to Northrend for the Argent Tournie quest reward companion. Ahhh!

Other than that, leveling and finding Battle-Stones to upgrade pets will take some time, but I plan on breaking up the monotony by doing random color challenges and finding rares in specific colors that I need.

Hopefully if I spread it out between leveling, upgrading, and self-challenges, I won't get burnt out or grow tired of pet battling/collecting.

I think getting bored with pets is going to be a challenge in itself, though. :P

Monday, December 10, 2012

Disagree to Agree

There's been a lot of discussion about the Tamer dailies and using them to power level companions up to level 25. When I say "using", it's probably more accurate to say "abusing" these dailies.

It's been hotfixed, but it was possible to pick up the dailies, win the battle, abandon the quest, and then pick it up again. You could essentially keep doing this and earning a significant amount of experience for your pets, as there was no penalty for doing so. Simply swap in a low level companion to take one hit, and then finish off the battle with a higher level pet. Many players were utilizing this method to earn easy pet experience.

Since this was fixed and you can no longer do this, it's obvious that the Tamer dailies were not designed with this type of gameplay in mind. Developers never intended people to use dailies in such a manner. In the end, it's what could be called an "exploit".

Some players are relieved that this bug has been dealt with, as it was a pretty cheesy way to level up pets. But others are none too happy with the change. For the latter, leveling is a long tedious process, and the dailies trick helped ease that grind.

I can definitely empathize with those that utilized the dailies inappropriately. This isn't an activity I took part in myself, but I do understand the desire to quickly level up pets and get that goal out of the way.

If there's an efficient and fast way to do something, it's only human nature to seek it out and then make use of it to the fullest. We're simple minded creatures like that.

At the same time, I understand where those that felt it was "cheating" are coming from. Abandoning, picking up, and then abandoning quests again and again is a pretty cheap way of doing things when everyone else is going through the "proper" gameplay.

So why the clash between the two mentalities? Why not just agree to disagree and go separate ways?

Well first off, no one likes to be called a cheater lol. That in itself is something any normal person would object to, even if what they're doing is pretty much the definition of "cheating".

Secondly, this isn't something that some collectors can just let go of because of the competitive nature that collecting has taken.

Normally, in an individualistic minigame such as collecting, it wouldn't matter what your fellow player is doing. Cheating, cheesing, manipulating the system, etc. It doesn't really affect how you play, right? Someone could go about it one way, and you could go about it another. In the end, the result is the same. It's still YOUR collection and no one else's. How you attain your ultimate goal is your own concern.

But now there are Pet Battle rankings on Wowprogress, so the "how" does matter to some. How people reached the top or are climbing the ladders is important because there's a much more competitive atmosphere to pet collecting. With any competition, fairness is a factor, and if some feel as though the scales are tipped too much to one side, it's going to be called into question. It SHOULDN'T matter, but when a leaderboard and competition is involved, using a method to rise in ranks that's not condoned by developers does mean something.

While we can try to continue doing our own thing, and attempt to brush off what we now know, it does have a psychological impact on how you play. Even simply knowing that X person is above you on the meters might cause you to unconsciously step up your game. It doesn't generate the same reaction in everyone, but we're all affected by the concept of competition/rankings in some way.

Anyway, Blizzard has made the call on this one. Exploiting the Tamer dailies should no longer be possible, and everyone will have to go about the intended route to reach their goals. But this is something I'm sure some people won't forget.

And Bingo Was His (Her?) Name-o

I just found out that my Moonkin Hatchling is male. What's the problem with that? I named it "Lil Quint" lol!

The genders don't mean much at the moment, but I was curious so I checked out this website. It's a handy site that shows you your current collection's breed plus other information.

Simply select your region, realm, language and then type in your character's name. It'll pull the information from the armory and bring up a list of all your pets.

You can find the gender of each pet listed under "Brd" (short for Breed). Numbers 3-12 are male, while 13-22 are female.

So imagine my dismay when I found out that some of the pets I had named more feminine nicknames were actually boys. It doesn't really change anything or affect gameplay, but it does bother me somewhat.

Still, I'm not going to go and change all the names based on this new knowledge. There are just too many to redo! x_x

I did manage to get some genders + names right, though. It's silly, but I'm slightly relieved by this heh.

From here on out, I think I will be paying closer attention to gender when pairing a name with a pet. Am I being too anal about it? Should it even matter? If a pet looks like a "Sally", should I just go ahead and name it that even if it's technically a boy?

I guess it really depends on preference. If it bothers me enough, I may change them. Perhaps I'll start using more gender-ambiguous names for my future companions. That way it fits whichever gender they might be. :P

But what's been seen can't be unseen. Now that I know what genders my pets are, it WILL have an impact on what I name them, even if it's unconsciously.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Six More Color Challenges Complete!

In order to break the monotony of just grinding out pet levels, I decided to go on a color challenge spree. Most of these were already nearly complete, but I decided to finish them off.

It's really fun trying to complete a color challenge for a specific pet model. At the end, I feel really accomplished, and my collection gets one step closer to being "complete". But let's be honest, a collector will never run out of things to hoard! :P

Why haven't I included some of the most basic pets like rats/mice? Honestly, those are so common and the colors aren't exactly all that inspiring. :x I completed that color challenge without even trying so it wasn't worth noting imo.

Anyway, every color (that's available to players) plus all wild pets are rare quality. Many screenshots after the jump!

Top: Savory Beetle
Left column, top to bottom: Beetle, Twilight Beetle, Fire/Lava Beetle
Right column, top to bottom: Crystal Beetle, Dung Beetle, Gold Beetle

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tweet Tweet

Some recent notable Tweets from Mumper:
Battle Pet Bandages -
Q: Any chance we can see an increase in the stack size for Battle Pet Bandages? I'm using 10 bag slots on them.

A: on tap for 5.2. Will probably make them BOA too.
Safari Hat -
Q: Went through 3 GM's all of which are unwilling and/or unable to send me the hat. Pooey. :(

A: We are working on a hotfix we feel pretty confident about, hold tight.
Color-changers -
Q: After changing the Dragon Kite to a battle pet, was the RNG of 1 of 3 colors removed? I see it only comes in purple now?

A: Yes, battle pets only save one color. We are investigating a way to get color changers back for 5.2.0.
Good to hear that devs are still working on these little nuisances. Hopefully everyone will get their Safari Hats in the very near future, and I can't wait for pet bandages to become BoA. I have so many on an alt that I rarely battle on, but I use to do one of the Tamer dailies lol.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hunt For Rares or Hunt For Stones?

I have a dilemma. I'm torn between continuing the hunt for rare quality pets, or hunting for flawless battle-stones. Doing both at the same time isn't really an option.

Hunting for Rares
If I continue my original route, and continue to look for rare quality pets, this would mean a lot of time spent (wasted) sitting and waiting for them to spawn. Now that these pets are on staggered spawn times, they're less predictable. They also spawn in much smaller batches, so there's fewer of these gems to go around.

But that's not what bothers me. It's the endless waiting while not doing anything other than waiting. I can't count how many times I've just sat a toon at a spot and then tabbed out to watch youtube or do something else. Every now and then, I'd tab back into game to check if any wild pets had poppped up.

It's not exactly the most interesting, exciting, or even fun thing to do. I mean, it's great if you stumble on a newly spawned wild pet, but when you're actively looking for one, most of your time will be spent staring at nothing.

It's kind of frustrating.

Oh, and I'm not talking about hunting for rares of the more commonly found pets. I'm referring to the wild companions that have specific spawns, only in one zone, and slow repsawn times.

Nevermind the RNG of happening upon a rare version of one of these pets. What about the RNG of even finding one? This makes the hunt for the highest quality a real pain.

I will grit my teeth and do it for the sake of a pet, but this is nothing like vanilla collecting when you were actively going around and doing something that would ultimately reward a pet.

Killing mobs that have a chance to drop a companion, questing for a companion, heck, even collecting the materials and recipe to craft a pet! Collecting back then required action and you felt productive.

Right now sitting and waiting doesn't feel all that productive.

Hunting for Flawless Battle-Stones
Trying to collect specific battle-stones isn't all fun and games either, though. There are specific pets that I'd like to upgrade.

There isn't a problem when it comes to pets in the Critter, Beast, Flying, and Aquatic families. You could easily go out and battle as many of those as you like for a chance at a battle-stone. Since family-specific stones can come from defeating a pet of that particular family, these four stones shouldn't be all that hard to come by. Critter, Beast, Flying, and Aquatic pets are everywhere. The world is saturated with them.

But what about Humanoid, Magic, Dragonkin and Elemental, Mechanical and Undead? Trying to get stones specifically for these families is a lot tougher. There are fewer spawns for these families, and on top of that many of them are the "rarer" (hard to find and slow to spawn) wild pets. Trying to battle a bunch of these for a shot at a family-specific battle-stone is extremely inefficient and near impossible.

If these family types had faster respawn times, maybe it would be feasible. Or if the family-specific stones had a higher chance to drop from these types. But as things are now, it's hard to even find one let alone get a battle-stone from defeating it.

Plus, if I'm using these wild companions as fodder for a chance at a certain battle-stone, it will probably inconvenience others who are actually looking to just collect the pet. While I'm killing the wild pets, someone is desiring to simply capture it.

Of course I could simply hope RNG is on my side and do the Tamer dailies every day (which I already do), but like I mentioned before, I'd like to upgrade specific pets. It's entirely random which one you happen to loot from the daily reward bag. At least if I'm out battling specific pets, I can have some control over which type of stone I might get.

So which path do I take? Continue to sit and camp spawn points? Go out and camp specific family spawn points? Just battle everything and hope I get a non-family specific stone?

The end goal remains the same: collect and/or upgrade pets to rare. Now I just have to pick how I want to go about this. It's just incredibly frustrating when your options are all pretty undesirable.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Some Insight Into Pet Battles

If you haven't heard the interview with Cory Stockton (aka: Mumper, lead content designer) over at WarcraftPets, be sure to head there now and give it a listen!

I'm looking forward to future patches, but I do agree that 30+ pets each patch would be overkill. Although going from 30 one release to an incredibly small number, like 2 the next patch, would be somewhat extreme.

I think slowly reducing the number with each patch is a good idea. It lets collectors have something new to focus on, but at the same time doesn't overwhelm or underwhelm them.

Honestly, I'm not sure if I'm ready for a epic/legendary quality pets and boss battles yet. Would I love to see them? Absolutely. But I haven't gotten to the point where I'm just sitting around, wondering what to do next in Pet Battles. It's not boring and I'm not exactly pining for brand new content just yet.

Plus the thought of epic/legendary pets and "rare" boss battles makes me a little anxious. You just know those are going to be in high demand if/when it's released. Since it's all just being considered and the fine details haven't been hashed out yet, the unknowns are unnerving.

How hard will they be to find/obtain? Can you get ganked mid-boss fight and lose all of your progress? In what way will epic quality pets be introduced? Will there be wild epic pets to catch or will battle-stones from dailies be the only way to upgrade?

And there are so many other questions! For now, I'll just have to sit tight and wait.

Overall the interview was very informative, and shows how much care and thought is put into this mini-game and pets. I love that they implemented gender in with breeds "just in case" lol. If breeding pets becomes a thing, I hope it's not too complicated.

Can't wait to see some skin/model updates and puppy pets in future content patches. :)

Darkmoon Hatchling Mix-up

When patch 5.1 was released, there was a bug with the Darkmoon Hatchling. This caused the pet to be uncommon (green) quality when learned, unlike its fellow DMF vendor pets which are rare (blue).

A fix for this was released, but it only affects the hatchlings that are learned AFTER the fix.

Any Darkmoon Hatchlings that were purchased and learned prior to this hotfix will remain uncommon, according to Mumper. These cannot be changed after the fact.

You can try to put in a ticket to see if a kind GM will refund your tickets so you can repurchase the pet, but it's not guaranteed that a GM will assist. It all depends on which GM you speak with, what their mood is, have they slept well, what time of day it is, which day, if they had their afternoon snack and nap yet...... yea.

*ahem* Anyway!

It's pretty disheartening news, but I guess I'll try my luck with a GM.

Maybe it's my slight OCD. Maybe I'm just picky and anal about trivial things. But I'd prefer it if all similarly obtained pets stay in the same boat.

Plus I feel slightly cheated that I have to pay the price (spend another 90 tickets if a GM won't refund them for me) for something that was not my fault nor could I have known about it beforehand. :\

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's the Circle of Life

As Mufasa Quint gazed out over the land, he she turned to Simba the Cinder Kitten and explained, "Look. Everything the light touches is our kingdom."

To which Simba the Cinder Kitten replied, "Wow."

Mufasa Quint nodded solemnly. "A king's queen's time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day, Simba Cinder Kitten, the sun will set on my time here, and will rise with you as the new king queen."

"And this'll all be mine?" asked Simba the Cinder Kitten in amazement.


Simba The Cinder Kitten gazed out over the valley and whispered breathlessly, "Everything the light touches... "

Oh don't mind me, just my own little parody of a scene from the Lion King. XD

Monday, December 3, 2012

More Fixes

The wild pets Darkmoon Glowfly and Crow have been fixed! Both are now capturable and come in all qualities. Got myself both in rare. :)

Another fix in the works, if it hasn't already been hotfixed yet, is the Darkmoon Hatchling. Many were scratching their heads as to why this particular DMF vendor pet is uncommon, while all the others are rare. Well, that's a mix up and the hatchling SHOULD be rare too.

There were many other little bug fixes here and there post-patch 5.1. I don't know if I can cover them all, let alone discover all of them lol.

We'll find out tomorrow if the Safari Hat is cooperating and will be sent to eligible toons. Crossing my fingers!

Unless developers change things last minute, you do not need to complete the achievement all on one toon to receive the hat. It's account-wide. And all toons on an account should receive one in the mail. If you've submitted a ticket and a GM tells you anything otherwise, please don't mind them.

Scorpion Color Challenge Complete!

Yay, another color challenge complete. Before patch 5.1, my scorpion pets were color-changers, so I didn't feel the need to collect specific colors. Now that pets no longer swap colors when summoned, I've had to replace certain pets with the actual color that I need.

Left column, top to bottom: Durotar Scorpion, Leopard Scorpid, Scorpid
Right column, top to bottom: Scorpling, Stripe-Tailed Scorpid, Crunchy Scorpion

As per the challenge, all pets are rare! :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Collecting the Perfect Color and Quality Tip

Now that color-changers have been fixed and no longer switch skins each time they're summoned, I'm in the process of replacing many pets and acquiring duplicates in some cases. But they can't be just any old quality. No, they must be rare!

This has proven quite the challenge due to my specific requirements. However, Wain from WarcraftPets posted a method for finding that perfect pet.

Rather than looking just for primaries of a specific color and hoping that they're rare, check all pets in the zone for secondary rares. If a second or third companion in the lineup are rare but not the color you're looking for, simply relog.

The pet and its team, as well as the qualities of each pet should be the same after you log back in. However, the skin of each secondary companion has the chance to change!

Note: Only the second and third pets have a chance to switch colors after relogging. The primary wild pet's color is fixed to the one it spawned in with.

With this information under my belt, collecting all the colors in rare quality is going to be much easier (hopefully)! I'll definitely be checking more pets for secondary rares now.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

New Darkmoon Faire Goodies

The DMF is back in town! Don't forget to head over and try you luck at the new DMF Tamer daily. There aren't any pre-requisites, it just costs 1 token each day you battle him.

Note: This daily might be account-wide, so don't be disappointed if you can't complete it on alts for extra tries at the Darkmoon Eye.

Hopefully the daily bag pet won't have a low droprate. I mean, the DMF is only around for a short time each month. Would be a little cruel to make it a super low drop.

There is also a new vendor pet, the Darkmoon Hatchling, which costs 90 tickets. It matches one of the mounts also sold at the faire. :)

Last but not least, there is a new wild pet to capture on the island. The Darkmoon Glowfly! There are some reports coming in that it's currently bugged, though, and only comes in uncommon quality. :(

The original patch notes stated that there would be two new wild pets on the island, but the Crow is bugged and only comes as a secondary, uncapturable pet. This was also the case on the PTR. It's not known if the bug lies with the Pet Journal and the Crow shouldn't even exist in it, or if it should be a capturable pet but for some reason it's not.

In any case, enjoy the faire this week everyone! Good luck on all the new pets.

Hotfixes Galore

I think the Pet Battle dailies are fixed. Or at least I hope they are! They were all available for me today, and hopefully they'll all be available again tomorrow.

Unfortunately the hotfix for the Safari Hat hasn't exactly worked for everyone. Even after this morning's server restart. Although I received a hat on one of my alts, all the others (including my main) have yet to find one in their mailbox. I'm wondering if it was just pure luck that my alt happened to get one.

Hopefully after next Tuesday's server maintenance the Safari Hat will be properly sent out to all toons on eligible accounts.

Another hotfix that might have been released was one for the Pandaria Tamer XP issue. Some are reporting that there seems to be a boost in XP now, while others are still seeing the "nerfed" value. Honestly, I have no way to confirm for sure whether or not the hotfix has gone through and XP is functioning properly. I usually don't use Grand Masters to level my pets, so I don't have a base value to compare current XP to.

Last but not least, there are finally rare versions of the Jungle Grub and Clouded/Silent Hedgehog. Time to go hunting! :)

And thanks to my best friend, who managed to log into his account from all the way on the other side of the world, I was able to collect some of the new raid pets.

My favorite so far is the Mini Mindslayer. Although it's not so mini with a pet biscuit! :P
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Perks N Peeves by Quintessence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.