Friday, January 20, 2017

7.2 PTR - Pet Battle Dungeon (Wailing Caverns) Preview + First Impressions

Patch 7.2 will bring a new feature and challenge for Pet Battlers: a Pet Battle Dungeon!

Requirements: players must be level 110 and have a level 25 pet

The NPC in Dalaran (Broken Isles) will offer a new quest, A Call From the Caverns, which sends you to search for Muyani in Northern Barrens. You'll find this NPC in the left eye-socket of the skull above Wailing Caverns (see image below).

     

She'll have a second quest, Wailing Critters, and this sends you into a scenario version of Wailing Caverns to defeat the enemy pets inside. Speak with her again after picking up the quest to queue into the dungeon.


There's a total of 7 Stages in the Pet Battle Dungeon. Not a short run, so be prepared to sit down and do some Pet Battling!

Stage 1 - Defeat 3 different pets, Deviate Smallclaw (common beast), Deviate Chomper (common aquatic), Deviate Flapper (common flying)

Each pet comes with 2 adds. The pets are all level 25, common quality, and have the Elite passive.

Enemy teams are "locked" per instance. If you leave and rezone, the secondary pets on the enemy teams may change slightly.

Leaving the dungeon resets your progress, so only exit if you're ok with restarting the entire run.

You can heal/revive on the initial run (see below for additional details on a "challenge mode" version of the scenario).

Unknown if this is a bug or intended, but forfeiting most fights will result in your pet team taking damage (similar to forfeiting wild battles).

Stage 2 - Defeat Son of Skum (epic beast, 1745 HP, 305 Power, 294 Speed)
One level 25, epic quality enemy pet with the Boss passive

Stage 3 - Defeat 3 different pets, Phyxia, Dreadcoil, Vilefang (all uncommon beasts)

Similar to Stage 1, each encounter comes with 2 adds. All level 25, varying quality, Elite passive.

Stage 4 - Defeat Hiss (epic beast, 1614 HP, 319 Power, 311 Speed)
Same as Stage 2, one level 25, epic quality enemy with Boss passive

Stage 5 - Defeat 2 different pets, Growing Ectoplasm x2 (both rare magic pets)

Each enemy comes with 2 adds; all level 25, varying quality, Elite passive

Traveling to each battle requires running up a long tunnel. There are pulsating mushrooms (they're attackable) spread out around there that give you a stacking movement speed (debuff: Bilebloat).

Stage 6 - Confront the Shadowy Figure (le gasp!)

There's no actual Pet Battling for this objective. Simply walk up to the shadowy NPC lying on the ground (he gets up once you get close enough, you can follow him). Some dialogue/RP will occur, and you'll move onto the final stage.

Stage 7 - Defeat Budding Everliving Spore (legendary elemental, 2231 HP, 353 Power, 300 Speed)

Single pet fight against a level 25 legendary with the Boss passive.

Once you've completed the final stage, you can jump down the cliff and speak with the NPC who will teleport you out.

Currently, if you complete the quest, zone out, and then zone back in, all of the enemy pets will reappear inside. I don't know if this intended or not. I haven't tested how much pet experience is earned from each battle, so I can't say if zoning in and out of the Pet Battle Dungeon would be a good tactic to level pets or not.

Turn in the quest and you'll be rewarded with an Ultimate Battle-Training Stone. 'But...is that it?' you might be wondering. That's definitely NOT the end!

Muyani will have a follow up quest (must have a certain number of max level pets, possibly 15, for this quest to pop up):
Pet Battle Challenge: Wailing Caverns (account-wide weekly quest) - This quest rewards Damp Pet Supplies (chance to drop 3 new pets).

There's a catch to re-entering the Pet Battle Dungeon for the second quest: NO healing or reviving (similar to the Celestial Tournament). That's right, this is the "Challenge Mode" version of the dungeon!

Note: You do not need to complete Normal each week in order to get the Challenge quest. After completing Normal the first week, you'll have direct access to Challenge mode from then on out.

With this in mind, I'd say this version is meant for more experienced and veteran battlers. This is a great option for those looking for something more along the lines of "end game" (although I'm sure some will be annoyed that they need to do the initial "easy/boring" dungeon first, before heading into the harder stuff).

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My initial impressions (I've already left feedback on the Bnet forums, but I'll go ahead and add them here too)...

Pros:
  • Fairly accessible to Pet Battlers of varying experience/knowledge. Initial run was straight forward, no real difficult gimmick. Only needed a handful of pets to complete the run.
  • Unlike Celestial Tournie, you can heal/revive in the initial run. Makes it less punishing for newer/less experienced battlers.
  • A second run can be done ("challenge mode") where no healing/reviving is allowed. Excellent option for more experienced battlers! (different reward)
  • Interesting cliffhanger for the initial quest! The antagonist is still at large, so I hope this hints at future Pet Battle content continuing the storyline. :)

Cons:
  • Forfeiting the majority of the encounters results in your team taking damage (similar to forfeiting wild battles). This may be a relatively minor issue, but will cause issue/headache for those that attempt the "challenge mode" version.
  • There's no easy/obvious way to exit the dungeon at the end, other than jumping down from the cliff.
  • Traveling to Wailing Caverns is a bit annoying, but minor issue.
  • Time commitment. This dungeon isn't exactly short. 7 Stages to go through takes time. Debatable if it's too long of a scenario. Exiting resets your progress so taking a break isn't an option.

The "normal mode" version of the dungeon will be very straight forward for veteran battlers. I only needed a few pets to defeat all encounters. You'll mainly go up against beast, flying, and aquatic pet families, so as long as you have pets that are strong/counter those, it should be relatively easy.

I've yet to try the Celestial Tournament version of the dungeon, so I can't comment on the difficulty level there yet. I'm thinking of waiting until there's a fix for losing pet health when you forfeit some of the battles, because that seems like an added and unnecessary level of headache.

All in all, I'm glad that there's something for everyone. Newer battler? Can still give this Pet Battle a try! Veteran battler? There's a challenge for you in there...go get it. ;)

I'm undecided on the rewards. The battlestone I could see benefiting newbies. Veterans will probably just bank it or use it on a spare pet (to sell/trade/keep).

The "challenge mode" reward seems appealing at first, but depending on the drop rate of the 3 new pets... it could become a tedious chore if it requires MANY MANY runs. Like I noted earlier, this isn't exactly a short run. Getting to Wailing Caverns also takes some time as well. The amount of time needed to get there, do the run, and then contending with RNG bag drops... it could get frustrating.

Not to mention the rewards are essentially reskins of existing pets. Is this enough of a draw for collectors?

Once collectors have the 3 new pets, what's to keep them from going back? Nothing, really. But I guess most abandoned the Celestial Tournament after getting all of the rewards, too. Perhaps the longevity of this content is not that big of a deal.

We'll see how well received (or not) this content is with the pet community. I'm cautiously optimistic about it. Although I may have enjoyed the experience for the most part, I can definitely see how this dungeon might come off as mediocre or 'ho-hum' to others.

7.2 PTR (Already!) - 8 New Pets

2017 is starting off with a fairly big bang for Pet Battlers/collectors! The 7.2 PTR is up and running, although much of it still seems like a WIP. More updates/fixes are sure to come as things get flushed out.

There are currently 8 new pets (with a model of a Hearthstone pet, datamined by Wowhead, that's yet to be added to the Pet Journal). Not much information is provided on the new pets, but here's what's available so far.

Note: Everything is still a WIP and is subject to change.

The Whelplings are listed as "PH", and the model of the Frost and Unholy ones are the same (Unholy Whelpling not pictured). I suspect that their models aren't complete yet, so keep in mind that these images/details may not represent the final product.



Blood Whelpling - unique "PH"



Cavern Moccasin - Drop: Damp Pet Supplies



Crackers - Order Hall: Hall of Shadows (rogue)



Everliving Spore - Drop: Damp Pet Supplies



Frost Whelpling - unique "PH"



Scraps - ???


(NOT PICTURED - currently uses same model as Frost Whelpling)
Unholy Whelpling - unique "PH"



Young Venomfang - Drop: Damp Pet Supplies


From what I can tell, there seems to be 4 new class pets (3 DK and 1 rogue), a new pet reward bag that drops 3 pets, and then Scraps... which doesn't have a tooltip description in the Pet Journal yet. This could mean it's either not yet finished, or it's not actually collectible (I'd REALLY love for it to be though!).

The new pet reward bag, Damp Pet Supplies is from the "challenge mode" version of the new Pet Battle Dungeon. More details in my blog post on this new feature.

Other new pet additions to 7.2:
- Pet Battle Dungeon (see my blog post dedicated to the Pet Battle Dungeon)
- @Mononic1 on Twitter discovered what appears to be a new Trainer on the Broken Isles, Sissix (can't interact with the NPC yet?)

Anyway, more to come, I'm sure. Exciting stuff! :D
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