Saturday, January 26, 2013

Forfeit Penalty On Tamer Battles - Why and Why Not

Reasons why Tamer battles should not have the forfeit penalty attached to the encounters in 5.2:
- Forfeiting on a Tamer battle does not negatively impact anyone else's gameplay, unlike those that forfeit during wild matches in order to quickly find a certain pet. A Tamer match is between you and the NPC only, so a penalty wouldn't be helping anyone and only hurting the individual.

- Some Tamer battles are so finely tuned that losing a single turn because you're forced to swap (to avoid being at a huge disadvantage), would mean a high chance of a loss. Examples include but are not limited to: The Darkmoon Faire Tamer (Jeremy Feasel), Major Payne, many of the Pandaren Spirit Tamers, etc.

- Placing a penalty on the Tamer battles removes any large sense of control over the encounter that players have. There is already so much RNG involved, and too much RNG usually makes things more frustrating than fun. A balance needs to be struck where players feel like they have slight control over what happens, yet there's enough RNG so that they still have to react and respond accordingly and not just brainlessly plow through content. Being able to choose who you go up against first gives players that choice, but it doesn't necessarily ensure a win. We still have to battle with care; simply mashing buttons usually leads to an unsuccessful encounter with a Tamer.

- A forfeit penalty on Tamer battles wouldn't help those new to Pet Battles. Someone who's just starting out will already have the challenge of figuring out each Tamer's quirks and how to best approach them. Why throw in another possible disadvantage onto their plate? It makes it harder to jump into the game and feel really amped about it.

- There are so many Tamer dailies to go through each day. Placing a forfeit penalty on these specific types of battles will make doing all or even most of them even more time consuming. Not being able to predict/choose which pet your team goes up against first could mean many losses before a win on each Tamer. Losing that turn because you have to swap to a different pet really does make a difference in the outcome of a match. This means losing more often, which leads to having to spend more time than usual at each Tamer before defeating him/her, and by the time you're done, you may not have time for other battles.

- Players can genuinely forget to switch out abilities before a Tamer battle. Some use the same pets on multiple encounters, but use different attacks. Since the Pet Journal UI doesn't record and remember which abilities to use on each battle for each pet, players must manually set it up. Going through so many dailies each day, it's easy to forget that so and so needs to use this and that on Tamer 1, 4, and 7. With all of this in mind, some may have no choice but to forfeit during a Tamer battle. Of course with the penalty, that will mean they need to heal up their team even before the fight's begun. No one wants to start a match with a slightly damaged team.

Reasons why Tamer battles should have the forfeit penalty attached to the encounters in 5.2:
- It re-enforces intended gameplay. Forfeiting to find a certain pet isn't how Pet Battles was designed, so a penalty was implemented on wild battles. Yet if you take damage from fleeing a wild battle, your pet team should take damage when feeling from any battle.

Conclusion and possible resolutions/compromises
Maybe my view is too limited, but I see more reasons why there SHOULDN'T be a penalty on Tamer battles than why there should be one.

If there's to be a forfeit penalty, perhaps make each Tamer battle start with a static pet. Having the same one come out each time will reduce unpredictability, but at least players will feel somewhat empowered in that they know they can use X pet first without fear of losing their turn.

Or don't implement the forfeit penalty for Tamer battles at all. Who is it really helping in the long run? It makes sense on wild battles, but in a one on one, semi-static Tamer battle, what exactly is the forfeit penalty doing? What does it accomplish other than frustrating players and negatively re-enforcing gameplay? It's unnecessary when there's no harm being done.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts on the matter, and developers will make the final decision. Perhaps it's too difficult to implement the penalty for wild battles but remove it for Tamer battles. Perhaps there are other reasons why a penalty needs to be placed on a semi-static, individually based, battle.

My hope is for compromise. Ok, give us the penalty on wild battles, but at least let us have some control during the tougher Tamer encounters. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, and while we'll gripe a bit about the penalty mechanic overall, I think many will appreciate the thought and sentiment if it wasn't applied to Tamer battles.


  1. As I startet pet battling I was in your corner but now I must say it doesnt matter.

    If your playing Pet Battles since start you have HUGE numbers of bandages.

    If your new to battling your two pets to get are the Anubisan Idol & the Feline Fluxfire cause thats all you need to get to beat EVERY tamer in the game AND to level a pet at the same time.

    1. @Drudatz: As far as I know, they're nerfing the Fluxfire Feline, and although the Anubisath Idol is indeed a powerful pet, I simply can't put all my eggs into one basket.

      Blizzard is always coming up with new things, and if we fall into a complacent mentality that since it's ok now because of X, Y, Z it'll always be ok, we're going to get stuck somewhere down the line.

      This doesn't bode well for new-comers as well, and it's something that also has to be considered since Pet Battles is intended to be all inclusive.

      I have to admit that I do have an excessive amount of pet bandages to use if the forfeit penalty is applied to all types of battles, but I don't think everyone does. Especially those that are just starting out.

  2. Ah, exactly! You've eloquently stated the reasons I have been feeling frustrated with the planned tamer forfeit penalty.

    If this goes ahead I will do less tamer dailies (I currently do around 15), which makes me sad.


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