- Reflection has been replaced with Deflection, an ability that always attempts to go first and causes the pet to avoid all attacks for that round.Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of this yet. At first glance, it appears that most of these are "nerfs", but until I get a feel of how it will affect my gameplay, I can't say "good" or "bad" at the moment. At the very least, they're interesting adjustments to existing abilities.
- Fluxfire Feline's Wind-Up has been replaced with a new ability, Flux, which deals damage to the enemy team.
- Pets that had been affected by a crowd-control ability will now be granted Resilience, making them immune to crowd control for a short while.
- Blocking abilities that last for 2 turns like Decoy, now have a cooldown of 8 rounds.
Reflection and Wind-Up
Many can agree that both Reflection and Wind-Up (for the Fluxfire Feline) are both very (and maybe even overpowered) strong attacks. Both have the ability to hit hard and one allows you to avoid damage completely. It's understandable that if used in pet PVP, it could be quite frustrating and annoying. Not that there aren't any counters for these abilities/pets, or that it's not predictable when your opponent will most likely use each one. Just in general, these two abilities are probably overused due to how effective they are.
But that's in pet PVP. What about pet PVE? One could argue that even in battles against NPCs, Reflection and Wind-Up are OP and mindless win buttons. It makes it hard to want to choose any other pet that doesn't have Reflection or Wind-Up, and that makes team variety and gameplay a bit boring/routine. Perhaps that's what developers are also trying to address, and not just the overuse of these two abilities in PVP.
On the other hand, I wonder how these changes will affect PVE gameplay and how it will interact with other attacks. Neither of them are being removed, and really, the main change is a tweak to how each functions, so I don't see either impacting a pet's rotation too much. Both should be usable in a similar fashion to how they're utilized now.
I have to admit, though, that I'll be disappointed to see Reflection go. It's such an amazing attack! I haven't actually played around with my Fluxfire Feline that much, so I don't have similar sentiments towards Wind-Up, but I've heard good things about it, so I assume some will be sad to see it go.
I'm really curious about this newest mechanic. "Resilience" in Pet Battles? Really? Are they going to get PVP power in a future patch too? :P
In all seriousness, though, the patch notes don't really explain the nature of pet resilience. Will it only apply to PVP? Will it be in PVE? Maybe to a lesser extent?
I can understand why this was added for PVP reasons. It's pretty easy to create a crowd control team, where you keep your opponent's pets on lock down for nearly the full duration of the match. It's also pretty frustrating to go up against a team that doesn't allow you to perform any attacks or abilities. However, it would be too big of a nerf to remove utilizing a CC team altogether, so in the end, I suppose this is the best compromise. Teams that have the ability to CC often will still be viable, but to a lesser extent.
If this is applied to PVE, I don't foresee too many changes in gameplay. Then again, I never really played the CC card, where I relied on a team to constantly stun a Tamer team. Because of this, I can't really comment on what it will mean for PVE battles.
Now this change... I'm really sad about it! I absolutely adore Decoy, and adding a longer cooldown onto it will likely make me second guess whether or not it's worth it to have in battle.
I'm actually kind of confused why this ability was altered, though. It's not as though you could have it up constantly (unless you have two pets with Decoy, which I guess could work, but I never saw the fun in that). In addition to that, certain attacks remove it from the playing field quickly, so it's not as if you could block multiple attacks each round. It just doesn't seem as overpowered as Reflection to get such a large nerf.
The longer cooldown will definitely change my gameplay when I use pets like the Darkmoon Zeppelin and Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling. Not only will I have a tougher time justifying adding Decoy into my rotation, if I do use it, it will likely throw my rotation off balance. I'll definitely need to adjust the use of each ability and when I use them. It's not a welcome change, but if I have no choice I'll live with it. Adapting to an evolving gameplay? :P
There's still some time before 5.2 is released, so things could still change. Perhaps if developers see a strong enough negative reaction and negative impact on battling some of these nerfs will be reverted. It's difficult to argue against most of these ability adjustments, though, no matter how unfavorable they might be.