So let's jump right into what I think of certain aspects of the patch!
Elite Battle Pets
There's already much talk about the difficulty level of these encounters, and how little experience each Elite Battle Pet awards to lower level pets.
In regards to the experience from each fight, it should probably be noted that you can battle each pet more than once per day, so if each one awarded 5k pet experience, leveling using the Elites would definitely be abused like crazy. Keep in mind that the experience values could just be bugged or might be adjusted in the future. With an increase in experience gain, though, the ability to battle these Elites more than once per day may also be changed too. Things need to stay balanced after all. :) We'll have to wait and see how this concern is addressed.
As for the difficulty level, I know many have expressed their disappointment over how "easy" these fights are, but I'm actually ok with it. There are already SO MANY dailies (pet and player) to do, and now add 10 more locations to travel to on top of that. I'm not going to complain if it takes less time to complete the Elite battles than it does to complete a normal pet battle daily, due to the sheer amount of time necessary to complete it all. I mean, the fights themselves aren't too long, but the travel time, ouch. My time is spent more on getting from place to place rather than actually doing what I'd like to be doing. So less time on the fights means less time overall finishing up the dailies each day. I really can't complain about that!
Isle of Giants
While previewing this on the PTR, I was actually dreading hunting for pets in this new zone. Everything is elite, there's no flying, and I'm a healer on a PVP server (who doesn't PVP haha). You can see where my hesitation comes from heh.
But my experience on the Isle of Giants was really pleasant. Granted, I had a group of guildmates with me, so we were pretty much plowing through everything, but that's what makes this game fun! Hanging out with friends and adventuring around.
We managed to collect SO MANY baby raptor pets, that each person in the group had at least 1 of each. :) Pets for everyone! There were extras to sell too. It was a great time especially since we commandeered the boat with 24 trolls on it plus the rare elite spawn (which we killed twice)! The elite dinosaur that sits on the side was a huge help to us, as it would alert us to anyone attempting to board the ship. We ended up naming him Spot. Or Rocky. In the end we couldn't decide. :P
Pro tip: If you have a good group and the means, the boat near the Isle of Giants is an EXCELLENT place to farm the pets!
Now I just need the time to farm up all those bones. Only 934 more to go lol. x_x
Isle of Thunder
I must admit that I tried doing the dailies there but gave up in the end. The lag and phasing was terrible, the PVP was unbalanced, and the quests just felt tedious. Now that I can earn my Lesser Charms of Good Fortune from pet battles, I really have no need for these dailies. As far as I can tell, the rep doesn't really give me much in the way of raiding progression.
As for the zone in general, it's a pretty interesting place, if not troublesome to get around. The wild pets stuck in other phases kept taunting me which was maddening! I don't think I'll be hunting for rares on the isle any time soon, as there's just too much unbalanced PVP going on. I'd need 2 or 3 body guards just to battle one pet.
In the end I did manage to quickly collect a couple uncommon pets, though. Not ideal, but better than nothing I suppose. I'll probably wait for the entire isle to become unlocked before trying again. It's just so hard to get anything done when you're constantly looking over your shoulder or running back to your body. Sure I have shadowmeld, so I can battle while hidden, but it doesn't work 100% of the time lol.
New Pet Battle Mechanics
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the fact that each successful battle has a chance of awarding me a charm (or 6 lol). I would much rather pet battle than run around doing normal dailies, so this is absolutely one of this patch's highlights for me!
Along that same line, bandages stacking? BoA? Yaaaaaay! I can't express how happy I was to finally have bag space for other things like consumables and gear. My poor banker alt is swamped in bandages now, though lol.
I have yet to fully experience the forfeit penalty, except once when I forgot to swap out some abilities prior to engaging in a battle. At first I thought my team was taking damage after forfeiting a Tamer battle, but that doesn't seem to be the case now that I've tried it a few times. So I can't really comment on this new feature. If I utilized forfeit more often during wild battles, I would be a little irritated, I'm sure.
I plan on testing out player leveling via pet battles, but that's really low priority on my "to-do list". Some comments about it from WarcraftPets seem promising, though. The bug where you stop earning player experience at level 89 could be a problem though.
Speaking of low priority, the fishing pets will probably be lower than a few other things I'd like to get done this patch. I'm definitely going to get around to it, but it's pretty time consuming. As I've said before, there's soooo much to do now that I really need to set some things aside if they can be postponed. Unfortunately, fishing is one of those things that fits the bill. :( I'm definitely looking forward to finding those new carps though. :)
Last but not least, the changes to some abilities and pets in general. Overall, I think it was necessary to alter some attacks. A nerf doesn't feel good, and it's a bit frustrating having to find replacements for those heavily used pets, but when you think about it, all of this will just be a fond memory in time. We'll eventually adjust to the changes. Heck, we may even find a pet that's even more overpowered than the ones that came before it. I'm not absolutely in favor of all the adjustments, yet they had to be done and since it doesn't break anything or reduce how much fun I'm having, I can't argue against the pet/attack updates.