Sunday, September 13, 2020

Secret of Jenafur: IT'S OVER


It's done. They've solved it. Well, one person, actually (thank you for saving us Paul!). Jenafur's been found. BFA can finally come to an end. And yet, it feels like a bittersweet end.

Normally, if I don't enjoy a Secret, I simply don't participate. I've yet to obtain Lucid Nightmare or the Crimson Tidestallion. However, both of those involve mount rewards. I'm not a big mount collector, but I *am* a pet collector.

So Jenafur is/was different. I had to be invested in this damn cat. And at first it was interesting. Going from Amara to Crazy Cat Lady's house, eventually to Karazhan. This cat was taking us on an adventure! Then...we went no where for almost a year.

I've no problem with puzzles taking time, but from the start I had a feeling this one would be a struggle for the community. Not only was the reward obviously a battle pet (a not-so-enticing reward for most), BFA wasn't exactly a super popular expansion. I've noticed that most Secrets work due to brute-forcing and numbers. Have enough people trying enough theories at the same time, and someone is bound to come across the solution or part of it. This generally requires a lot of excitement about the Secret though, and a battle pet usually doesn't generate a lot of interest unfortunately.

In addition to lacking in numbers and interest, this puzzle was, to be blunt, implemented poorly. Once inside Karazhan players had an idea of what the next step was, but nothing was clear. It felt disjointed and missing cohesiveness. There weren't any indications if what you just did was the "right" thing or "wrong" thing. Which can make a puzzle VERY frustrating. Players knew what needed to be done, but had no direction on *how* to do it. Food, check. Something to do with music, check. Music staff? Maybe check. But what food, in what order, and where? We ended up at a dead end.

This went on for about a year. During that time there were hints dropped here and there, which initially gave players some direction. But then the hints just felt as if they were restating what we already knew.

There's also rumor/speculation that the Make-A-Wish girl had to "leak" the sheet music associated with this Secret to a friend, who then shared it with others, until it eventually made it to the Secrets community. Without this sheet music, it's possible we wouldn't have the solution today.

Speaking of sheet music, reading over how Paul solved this puzzle... it's just mind boggling to a layperson. I only have *very* basic understanding and knowledge of music, and I somewhat understood the whole food = notes, floor tiles = music staff. How they came to the final solution (which food to use and where to place) still boggles my mind though. So I'm just wondering how the hell someone with ZERO music knowledge was supposed to figure this puzzle out.

I'm also not fond of the fact that we needed external resources to aid in solving this Secret. I much prefer and enjoy puzzles that can be solved by just playing the game. The sheet music and hints felt necessary for this one, which just feels... not great.

I won't go into the whole controversy around the final hint and how it was presented by the girl herself. Let's just say I have many thoughts on it. If you really want to know and we're mutuals, I might discuss it with you. Maybe.

All in all, I'm glad this one is over and done with. It required what felt like a lot of external help, which doesn't feel great.

I feel guilty for saying this, but I really did not enjoy this Secret. Both as a participant and as an observer. Participating felt more than just frustrating, it felt futile. Observing was cringe-worthy at best.

I hope some lessons were learned while the community spent almost a year (with help!) trying to figure this one out, only to have someone that doesn't even play WoW solve it. My hope is that future Secrets are not implemented in this manner. Any "hints" should be readily available in the game, and if the Secret isn't a popular one, the need for many different eyes and minds should be minimized as much as possible. Even a layperson should be able understand/solve it in that type of situation.

Anyway, go get yourself Jenafur. She will emote occasionally, and very rarely turn shadowy and sprout tentacles (pictured above) all while whispering ominous messages to you. At this point I'm on her side. Destroy it all Jenafur, destroy it all.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Shadowlands: Battle Pet Reskins vs. Unique Models

It's been a while since I last posted, eh?

Shadowlands stuff! Finally! There's not a lot of new Pet Battle content (yet), but there sure are a TON of upcoming battle pets. Over 100, last I checked.

I've been compiling a list of pet models for WarcraftPets' graphic artist (to help make it a little easier on her workload), so I figured I'd make a list of Shadowlands pet models that are reused/reskinned vs. unique Shadowlands models. For the curious. Just some small trivia heh.

Here is a list of battle pet models and the number of new pets that will use it (plus an example image of what the model looks like). It's not a full list detailing every single upcoming pet. More like a summary.

At the very end is the number of unique-model pets.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

N'Zoth Assaults - How Many Attempts Per Year?

I was curious how many chances we get at the drops from the 8.3 N'Zoth Invasion content per year, so I created a Google Calendar thing to figure out some estimates. Here are the results.

With the Black Empire Uldum assault starting on the first Tuesday of the year (NA region), and if using only 1 toon:

► Approx. 182 attempts for K'uddly & Corrupted Tentacle

► Approx. 183 days for Wicked Lurker
Can't really figure out how many attempts since it's random whether or not the rare that drops this pet will spawn.
► Approx. 104 OR 105 attempts for Rotbreath & Aqir Tunneler
The number varies slightly because it depends on which Minor Uldum assault starts at the beginning of every other week (Aqir or Amathet). For this year (2020 and includes first few days of 2021) it's roughly 104 attempts.

I'm not listing the Minor Vale assaults since there aren't any pets that drop from those, but if you're curious about other drops from those two events, it's about the same as the Minor Uldum assaults listed above.

For me, this puts a year into some perspective. It may feel long sometimes, but there aren't actually that many days. Life is short. We're prisoners of our own time/making. Existential crisis, yikes?

Anyway, with a low drop rate and only so many chances per year it's no wonder that a pet collector's only options are to either use A LOT of alts for additional attempts per day, or buy/trade the pets. A third option is to just keep playing for however long it takes to see the pet drop. I'm not a statistics major so I can't calculate how long, but Wowhead currently lists the drop rates as follows.

  • K'uddly - 2.1% chance
  • Corrupted Tentacle - 2.38% chance
  • Wicked Lurker - 1.98% chance
  • Rotbreath - 2.76% chance
  • Aqir Tunneler - 0.97% chance

RNG is RNG though. I received the Wicked Lurker before the Corrupted Tentacle, despite the latter having a higher estimated drop rate. Experiences will vary, of course.

I don't know how I feel about this information. It's kind of grim, to be honest. I'm fortunate that I have time to get multiple alts attempting for the pets, plus my OH who is also able and willing to try for me. But for someone that doesn't have the time and can only use 1 toon... oof. I feel for them. This 8.3 experience is probably not very fun if all they're doing it for is the pets.

At the moment it almost feels as if it's designed with players like myself in mind - those with lots of alts to use. I mean, that's how you fight RNG, right? Just roll the dice more and more? But how do you keep players playing if their army of alts makes (relatively) quick work of the RNG? Just make the events limited on top of the already low drop rate (and random spawn in the case of Wicked Lurker's rare). In other words layered RNG.

I wish there was a better implementation of this type of content. There has to be a compromise somewhere so that both designers and players are content with the results. It feels unnecessarily unfair.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Year of the Rat


Happy Year of the Rat! Wishing everyone good health, wealth, and happiness.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Patch 8.3 - Invasion Rares For Pets

Update: Added info on the Amalgamation of Flesh and Wicked Lurker drop. Thanks to @WayneGWoods for the heads up!

--------------------------

Notes for myself to keep track of which rares are important in Patch 8.3. See below for approximate locations of rare mobs that spawn during specific invasions and have a chance to drop a battle pet.

There are 3 separate invasions for each zone (only one up for each zone at a time). I'm not 100% sure that the listed invasion *must* be active for these rares to spawn, but it would only make sense.


Vale of Eternal Blossoms, during a Black Empire invasion
1 = The Forgotten (drops K'uddly)
2 = Will of N'Zoth (drops Corrupted Tentacle)
Amalgamation of Flesh - unknown location, spawns during Black Empire invasion (drops Wicked Lurker)




Uldum, during an Aqir invasion
1 = Lord Aj'qirai (drops Rotbreath)
2 = Skikx'traz (drops Aqir Tunneler)

Not pictured: Uldum, during a Black Empire invasion
Amalgamation of Flesh - spawns during Black Empire Uldum invasion, requires the Pyre of the Amalgamated One bonus objective to be active for the rare to spawn (drops Wicked Lurker)

Friday, December 20, 2019

Quint's 2019 Giveaway

Giveaway time! It's my first Twitter Giveaway, so forgive me if I goof on anything.


Choice of a prize:

  • One(1) Dottie battle pet
OR

How to enter:
- Retweet my giveaway Tweet; liking is optional but appreciated

Eligibility:
- Must be following my Twitter account prior to December 19, 2019 (those that enter but follow me after this date will not be eligible)

- US-region (because, as I understand it, Blizzard made digital goods region-locked)

Ends December 28, 2019, at which point one winner will be randomly chosen, and then announced and notified. They will have until December 30, 2019 to get in contact with me to claim the prize, or they'll forfeit it and a new winner will be selected.

GL! :)

WINNER: @thewayitis35

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

After how many years of playing WoW and now I'm doing my first Twitter giveaway? Geeze. Right?

This is more of a test run than anything. I *might* be hitting a 10 year milestone for volunteering at WarcraftPets some time next year...and I *might* want to giveaway something (bigger? better? we'll see) to celebrate. If this giveaway goes smoothly then it's more likely I'll do something next year. ;)

Why only Twitter followers before X date? I wanted to prioritize those that have followed and supported me throughout the years. Making it "follower-only" gives them priority over randoms that just want free stuff but never really gave a damn about the content and random stuff I like/create/share. Think of it as a personal 'thank you' from me.

(Disclaimer: This giveaway and any potential giveaway next year is hosted/run by me; WarcraftPets has no involvement/is not affiliated. Although...if it weren't for WCP picking me up as a volunteer all those years ago, I probably wouldn't be doing any giveaways, so there's that haha.)

Anyway, I'll be double checking entrants to make sure they qualify. As of December 19, 2019 I have 1088 followers, with the most recent ones on top.

IF I have a 10 year giveaway next year I'll likely have the same requirements, and only those following prior to a specified date will be eligible. Haven't decided on a date yet. We'll see.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Dottie, My New Best Friend

Dottie, this year's charity pet, is now available! Blizzard announced her release earlier this week, along with an adorable video.

Between December 3 and December 31, 2019, 100% of the battle pet adoption proceeds will be donated evenly to two charities - the Make-A-Wish Foundation and WE.org.

But on top of an in-game battle pet, Blizzard released a Dottie toy too. Plushie sales will also be donated to the two charities. Note that this is a completely separate purchase from the battle pet; the toy does not come with the battle pet and vice versa.


I'm so taken with Dottie and her cute little bounces, I can't get over how adorable she is. Using Magic Pet Mirror on her and then emoting sit results in the sitting animation pictured above. Combine this with Pepe... and I'll admit I squeed hehe. Dottie being a charity pet, with sales going toward worthy causes, makes adopting her even sweeter.

What's not as sweet to some, however, is the fine print for this pet and plushie.

Through Dec 31, 2019, Blizzard® Entertainment will donate 100% of the purchase price to be shared equally with Make-A-Wish and WE.org, less any chargebacks, refunds and Value Added Taxes (VAT) or other similar taxes paid with a maximum donation amount of USD $3 million from all sales of the Dottie in-game pet and plushie for charity.

This disclaimer can be found on both Dottie's digital goods page, as well as the toy page. I honestly can't remember if this note was added onto previous charity pet sales, but it kind of caught me off guard. At first it left me feeling a little put off. A cap? On donations to charity? Really?

Others seemed to have a similar reaction. Some in the community have stated they felt it was greedy and distasteful. Not a good look for Blizzard, especially these days with the loss of good faith from a portion of their playerbase.

But after thinking about it for a bit, I realized I didn't have any authority to call Blizzard out on this one.

I don't fully know or understand all of the legal baggage that comes with non-profit/charitable donations and organizations, but a donation cap might be the result of a legal issue not installed by Blizzard but by state or federal law.

Why now then? Why was there no fine print regarding a donation cap before? There are a number of reasons why this might be the first time we've seen this additional note.

One possible reason is that this cap was always in place, but this is the first time Blizzard officially announced it. Donations as a result of charity pet (and plushie) sales have never exceeded $3million (that we know of). The highest was $2.5million in 2016 from Mischief (pet AND plushie) adoptions, and the second highest was the Cinder Kitten with $2.3million in donations. It's possible that Blizzard already estimated a certain number of sales, and they knew they would never go over X amount. If it's an unspoken yet known thing, maybe the announced $3million cap is just their legal team pushing for some official disclaimers to keep their hands clean.

(Side Note: I've kept track of charity pet sales and how much each has raised over the years. Unfortunately, the data stops at 2017, as Blizzard never released information on how much Whomper raised for charity in 2018. Was really hoping they'd announce that prior to or along with Dottie's release, but oh well.)

Or perhaps this specific year has been an especially productive one for the charities, and they've received a large injection of donations. If they can only accept a certain amount annually (due to laws), a "good year" would mean future donations need to be gauged and measured accordingly. Perhaps they had to give Blizzard the bad news that they could only accept up to a specific amount so as to not go over their own cap.

There are probably other (legal) reasons why we're seeing this cap notice now or for the first time. I'm not well versed in law so I couldn't tell you how many or what they are.

Does it look bad on Blizzard? Considering the context and precedence (of no announced-cap previously), yup. But do I think it's malicious? Not really. I mean, it very well *could* be, but for the sake of good will and charity, I want to believe that it's not.

To be clear, I'm not defending Blizzard on this one. I just don't know enough about the situation to have an objective view. Is this cap because of legal reasons? Was a cap always there? Is it Blizzard's choice or are their hands tied? Malicious/greedy intent? No clue. So even if I wanted to defend Blizzard, I couldn't. Not without all of the facts.

Take what you will from Blizzard's disclaimer. Everything is just opinion and speculation unless we gain access to all the information/facts. You're still free to feel however you feel about the situation though. Like it, hate it, unconcerned/unbothered, etc. It's all valid.

I will say that it does kind of put a damper on Dottie's release though. It's not exactly a very 'feel good' moment to learn that charitable donations will be capped at a certain amount. I feel like the community's kind of lost some steam for this charity pet as a result.

Regardless, I adore Dottie. I'm also glad that SOME proceeds will go to good causes, at the very least. I'll give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt for now, because I simply do not know all the reasons behind the disclaimer. IF in the end the cap was put into place by Blizzard out of greed, welp, what can I say. 'I'm not surprised, capitalism's a bitch'?

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Revamped Recruit-A-Friend Guide (Patch 8.2.5+)


Blizzard recently relaunched an updated Recruit-A-Friend program. Sadly, previous rewards are no longer available, however there is a new reward that might interest pet collectors: Rikki!

Here is the process on how to recruit yourself to earn this pet.

It costs approximately $15.00 (cost of one month game time) to collect Rikki from the updated RAF system.

1. Log into the game, open your Social window.
2. Select the Recruit A Friend tab, and hit the recruitment button (lower left of the window).
3. A new window will pop up where you can generate a recruitment link.
Note: Link does not expire until a custom date noted underneath the link field. Each link can be used 4 times.
4. Copy and email this link to yourself.
Note: You can use the same email address that's already attached to your main account.
5. Clicking the link will take you to a page to either select one of your existing eligible accounts to "recruit", or Create New Game Account.
Note: Alt-accounts that are eligible for "recruitment" are accounts that are inactive and you haven't used in a long time (at least 2-3 years). You'll get a list of possible accounts to select or the option to make a new one.
6. After selecting either option, go to the Blizzard Shop and purchase one month game time.
Note: Doesn't have to be the subscription option. Much easier to use separate game time.
7. Apply it to your account (WoW1, WoW2, etc.) that you just "recruited".
Note: To make sure the game time is applied, you can check by either going to your Bnet launcher and viewing the recruited account (WoW1, WoW2, etc.). A timer should be displayed next to the Play button if that account has game time on it. Alternatively, you can go to Account Management online, select Game & Subscriptions, and see if the RAF'ed account is listed as "Active Account Status".
8. Log back onto your main account and Rikki should be waiting for you to claim in the Recruit A Friend tab of the Social window!

You should be able to claim Rikki immediately once eligible and he will be added directly to your Pet Journal. He's rare quality and S/B breed.

Side Note: Although Rikki was an instantaneous reward, there are reports that the additional RAF rewards aren't.

It seems that rewards are awarded monthly, so reward #2 is not redeemable until one month is up for the RAF account and the second month kicks in, and so on. The original RAF program had a similar issue, but much like the original RAF system, there's a possible work around. See this Twitter thread to learn more.

Disclaimer: I haven't tried getting the other rewards, so I can't say for sure how it works. Just be aware the other rewards may not be redeemable right away.

You can learn more about how recruiting multiple people/accounts works on the official Recruit-A-Friend page.

That's about it! It's unknown if the older rewards will come back, or if other new pets will be added. We'll have to wait and see.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any additional questions, corrections, or comments. Happy collecting :)

Sunday, July 7, 2019

8.2 Non-Wild Pet Colors

In addition to the 8.2 wild pets coming in multiple colors, many of the non-wild pets also have a number of skins.

Here's a quick list. No images. I'm not sure if there will be more pets added to this list, and I won't be able to check until I've collected the pet. So just a list for now.

Amethyst Softshell - 2 skins
  • round shell
  • spiky shell

Bonebiter - 2 skins
  • red-orange and black
  • yellow and black

Burnout - 3 skins (appearance-changer upon summon)
  • two arms
  • two arms and embedded arrows
  • one arm

Glittering Diamondshell - 5 skins
  • grey w/blue eyes
  • pink w/blue eyes
  • dark grey w/red eyes
  • dark grey w/yellow eyes
  • dark grey w/green eyes

Microbot XD - 2 skins
  • silver w/copper gears, red head light
  • silver w/copper gears, blue eyes

OOX-35/MG - 4 skins
  • yellow w/light brown accents, yellow eyes
  • grey w/green accents, green eyes
  • copper w/grey accents, white eyes
  • grey w/copper accents, brown eyes

Prismatic Softshell - 2 skins
  • round shell
  • spiky shell

Scalebrood Hydra - 3 skins
  • purple w/white belly
  • dark grey w/white belly
  • white w/white belly

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Giving Up On A Goal

After much consideration, I think I've finally decided to not actively seek out battle pets that have multiple skins that are not wild.

This decision doesn't come easily; the collector and semi-completionist in me is cringing and not happy. I do enjoy the different appearances, but I don't think I can stomach the difficulties of trying to obtain non-wild pets of different colors anymore.

I've already written a lengthy feedback post on the official Bnet Pet Battle forums, detailing why it feels horrible as a collector faced with collecting non-wild pets with multiple skins. On top of the RNG involved and lack of (good) in-game preview tools of caged battle pets for sale, there's also a notable lack of player agency involved.

Let's compare examples of a pet that has player agency vs. one that has little to none. OOX-35/MG is an 8.2 pet that can only drop on days that a daily is active on Mechagon. Meanwhile, Glittering Diamondshell is an 8.2 pet that drops from a rarespawn on Nazjatar. The former can come in 4 different colors, and the latter has 5 skins.

I already have all versions of OOX-35/MG - why? Player agency. The only RNG I had to contend with was the randomness associated with which skin I received after adding the pet to my Pet Journal. I was largely in control of the whole process of collecting this pet. (It could be argued that there's also RNG regarding when the daily will pop up, but I see that as an 'eventuality' rather than completely random.) I did not mind collecting this pet and its multiple colors. It took time, but it didn't feel bad.

The Glittering Diamondshell, on the other hand, drops off a rarespawn that can appear in multiple locations. That's RNG #1; just finding the mob. It's respawn timer, if it's like any of the other 8.2 rares, is between 1 and 1.5 hours. RNG #2; period of time that's somewhat, but not entirely predictable. The battle pet that drops is not guaranteed. RNG #3; purely chance to receive the pet. And last but not least, the skin that you learn is random. RNG #4; no control over whether or not you receive a duplicate color or one that you need/want. All four factors combined makes for a very, very frustrating and discouraging experience. If you take into consideration breed (many dropped pets come in a variety of breeds as well), it's even more demoralizing.

To spare myself the heartache and disappointment, I've decided not to concern myself with dropped pet colors anymore. I could buy them from the AH, but as I explained in my long Bnet post, it's difficult to preview caged pets since the in-game tool currently only shows the default color.

It's tough for me to let go of something that I've been so consistent with throughout my WoW career - collecting all battle pet skins. But without player agency or the tools necessary to collect efficiently, I just can't swallow all of the layered RNG. I'm throwing in the towel. Giving up. The RNG and lack of player agency killed my drive to continue. So I'm done with that goal/challenge. Collect one of whatever pet it is, and then move on.

In my post that I linked above, I offer up some suggestions. Non-wild pets as color-changers, better in-game preview tool, or implementing different skins as separate pets altogether. I don't know how reasonable or practical any of my ideas are, but they're better than the current state of things (IMO).

On the bright side, I will continue to hunt for wild pets that have multiple colors. The RNG is still there, yes, but unlike dropped pets, I have more control over what, when, how, where I battle and search for wild pets. Randomness isn't overwhelming and I can actually feel like I'm making progress.

As I've mentioned before, the carrot at the end of the stick can only be enticing if you can actually see it.
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Perks N Peeves by Quintessence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.