UPDATE: It looks like the Scary Sprite event has been buffed/nerfed with this past week's Tuesday maintenance! Not only does the crystal spawn a lot more, the Scary Sprites have had their HP reduced and spawn quite often during the encounter. Thank you Blizzard! This will hopefully give everyone more of a hope of obtaining the pet. :)
I've been spending at least an hour a day on the Timeless Isle, but I wish I had even more time to hang around there. So many pets to collect still!
All in all, I think the Timeless Isle is a fairly successful zone for what it was intended to be. It's a place where you can gear up your toons or alts fairly quickly, you can explore and adventure around, there are tons of things to collect and achievements to complete, and it's just a nice way to end an expansion.
That being said, there are two things that I have issue with on the Timeless Isle, and yes, both concern pets - the Vengeful Porcupette and the Dandelion Frolicker. I would say that both areas of dissatisfaction could be fixed with a little tweaking to how they're obtained.
If you've kept up with my blog over the years, you already know how much I despise PVP (in any form). Even if it involves a pet, I will more than likely drag my heals and procrastinate for a very long time if I have to PVP to earn it. Heck, I STILL haven't completed my pet PVP battles for the Stunted Direhorn.
So it should be no surprise that I already have issue with how the Vengeful Porcupette is acquired. PVP to earn currency to purchase the pet. I just can't bring myself to be optimistic about the endeavor.
Well, recently it was brought to my attention that there's yet another reason to dread the world PVP grind. You can ONLY earn Bloody Coins if you get the killing blow. If your target falls off a cliff and dies, no coin. If a creature kills your target, no coin. If for whatever reason they die by something else other than your direct attack, no coin.
This just makes it all even more infuriating. Not only do I passionately dislike PVP, but I must also be DPS to earn the currency for the pet? This seems pretty unfair.
My main role is a healer, always has been and always will be. I do have a DPS off spec and can make sure of my healing gear for it (yay hybrids), but I am in no position to PVP as DPS. I'm miserable at PVP already, so what makes anyone think that I will be capable enough to score killing blows on anyone? It would just be my crummy attempts at sniping kills from other people (which I feel is pretty rude, but hey, maybe I'm just too nice).
The "workaround" to all of this is that you can still earn coins from a buddy who is willing to be killed repeatedly by you. However, keep in mind that there is a 10 minute cooldown on the target that you kill, and you cannot earn a Bloody Coin from that target until the debuff has fallen off them. This means even if you have a friend who's willing to die by your hands to help you collect coins, it will take upwards of 16-17 hours, with 5-6 coins per hour. It may also be possible to earn coins from any other level 90 alts that they may have, but it's all a very tedious process.
Another option is to simply wait for the pet to go up on the AH or even pay a friend to grind out the coins and purchase the pet/cage it for me. With how rare the pet is on the AH, and how deserted the Timeless Isle will be in the coming months, this pet will probably go for way too much. Having a friend get killing blows to earn coins is reasonable enough, but just how many people have someone on call like that who would be willing to use their time, their currency, all to give up the pet in the end?
Regardless if there's another way, this is downright frustrating. To think that I will have to resort to such a cheesey method of doing things for this pet - was this Blizzard's intention?
Quite frankly, although I can't stand PVP, I was going to suck it up eventually and partner up with a friend to go on a killing spree of the island. However, I was going to do it as a healer and we'd be a DPS/healing duo. But this plan is all irrelevant now since I will need to get the killing blow, and that happening consistently enough so that we're not wasting our time is very unlikely.
I wouldn't be so uptight about all of this had the "killing blow" requirement not been an issue. Sure, I'd still resist the idea of PVP'ing, but at least it would seem fair for everyone. In this situation, it heavily favors DPS and people who have the ability to PVP well as DPS.
So since I don't fall into either category, DPS or someone who can PVP well, I guess I will have to resort to a somewhat underhanded way of earning the Vengeful Porcupette. Thankfully my friend is more than willing to sit and let me kill him over and over. I'm definitely lucky in that respect, but not everyone else will have someone they can call on to help them.
I'm pretty content with how you're supposed to obtain the Dandelion Frolicker, as it's pretty interesting. But my problem lies with the spawning mechanics of both the crystal and the Scary Sprite itself, as well as the enormous RNG factor that seems to overshadow everything else.
The Neverending Spritewood crystal that's used to turn the Nice Sprites hostile towards has a roughly 1-2 hour respawn timer. The problem with this is that that means it will only spawn handful of times a day. How many of those attempts will actually be solid tries for the NPC that drops the pet? How many out of the handful of people clicking the crystal actually have the DPS to kill enough sprites or the Scary Sprite and know what they're doing? The answer is not enough.
Is it anyone's fault that some players aren't able to adequately make use of the crystal spawn? No. Improvements can always be made, and it may be a learning process for some. But with this in mind, there are just not enough chances in a day for everyone to experience the encounter properly. Those that know what to do and what to kill may not even get a chance each day. This is RNG factor #1.
There doesn't seem to be any set number of sprites you need to kill before a Scary Sprite will spawn. I've seen people kill hundreds without getting the right one spawn, and I've read of attempts where they killed less than 20 and managed to spawn a Scary Sprite. Random is random, and killing a normal sprite has a chance to spawn a Scary one, but the spawn rate seems terribly low and too inconsistent. This is RNG factor #2.
Even if you manage to spawn a Scary Sprite, or two or three or more, the pet has such a poor droprate that it makes any effort put forth feel like it was for nothing. This pet is so rare that I've heard of it being just as expensive (if not more) than the older TCG pets. It's a bit shocking considering someone paid RL money for the TCG pets, and the Dandelion Frolicker doesn't require RL funds. Chalk the droprate up to RNG factor #3.
So what do we end up with in the case of this pet? Too few spawn of the crystal leaves many chancing even being able to attempt the encounter each day, a low/random spawn rate of the Scary Sprite, and a miserable droprate on the pet itself. We're looking at a situation that relies too heavily on RNG, which ultimately makes it not very fun.
While I think it would be nice if the pet was 100% droprate for all the effort it takes just to be able to try for it, I'm not expecting that. I think a simple increase in spawning of the Scary Sprite and/or the crystal would help. It takes a lot of effort, yes, but when it feels like that effort is for nothing due to RNG overpowering all other factors (patience, persistence, etc.), it gets hairsplittingly frustrating. And for something that's supposed to be fun, it currently is not.
In the end, minor changes would be great compromises for these two pets. Allowing Bloody Coins to be earned with honor kills rather than killing blows, and increasing the spawn rate of the Scary Sprite and/or Neverending Spritewood. I don't see these changes as being unreasonable, as we'll still have to work to earn our pets. It may still be frustrating for some, but at the very least there would be mechanics in place to ease the grind and balance the RNG. It takes into consideration and better accomodates the different playstyles that each collector has.