Friday, March 30, 2012

Quality Over Quantity In MoP?

The preview of the Pet Journal on the beta and account wide collections being tested got me thinking: how will these things impact the pet collecting community? There's no doubt that both features will make it somewhat easier on collectors individually, but what about the community as a whole?

At first glace these new features seem as though they will help take some strain off pet collectors (especially newer players). And in terms of newer collectors vs. more seasoned collectors, I think the journal, wild pets, and account wide collections will help bring everyone closer together and remove/prevent some of the elitism in pet collecting.

Currently, many collectors "compete" using the number of pets they own as the determining factor of "winning". The more companions you have, the higher you're ranked.

With the implementation of the Pet Journal, which will show you and tell you where to go for each pet (wild or not), it's opening up the doors for more of an equal footing. I'm not saying it will make things significantly easier for everyone, nor am I implying that all pets will be available to every single player. But I do think it will help level the playing field.

In most situations, players either don't have access to some pets that others may have, or RNG just happens to not be in their favor at the moment. In some cases, though, being "behind" in the rat race can be due to a lack of knowledge or information on where and how to collect some pets. The Pet Journal will definitely help in that area. It will also make it even easier to track your collection.

Account wide collections will also help in the area of having access to more pets in general. Some players have had bad RNG where an alt may have a companion that their main collector just could never get a hold of. The account wide collection feature will help rectify this by giving access to all pets on all characters.

The wild pets also seem to be pretty abundant at the moment, and although I'm sure there will be rare ones (such as rarespawns), the Pet Journal will make it easier to find them.

So if everyone has information on where, when and how, and everyone has the ability to share pets across all their toons (and therefore have the ability to collect more and more frequently), what will be the determining factor for "winning"?

Personally, I have no problems with the competitive nature being dimmed when it comes to pet collecting, and equal footing is fine by me. But other players will seek a way to motivate themselves or just make things more interesting, and sometimes that motivation comes in the form of competition. Finding a way to compete seems as though it will be more of a challenge since Blizzard is removing the main factor (by showing only wins and not losses) in Pet Battles. That piece of information takes quite a bit of the competition out of Pet Battles, although not entirely.

In the end, because of these new features, I think the quality of owned pets will wind up being the "status" aspect of pet collecting again, instead of quantity. Rather than, "I have X number of pets so I'm number 1!", "I have so-and-so pet from this exclusive so-and-so promotion, I'm awesome!" will be the mentality behind competitive collecting.

Don't get me wrong, though. Rare and exclusive pets are still currently a status symbol, but recently it's been downplayed and most people instead choose to compare the number of companions in their collections. Also, I don't think comparing the number of pets owned is ever something that will go away completely. But I do think that it won't be as emphasized as heavily as it is now. The type of pets you own, the original CE pets and Murky for example, would again rise as being the main symbol of status.

Well we'll just have to see how things play out, eh? I enjoy the pet collecting community and I hope that the new Pet Battle system and all the shiny new things in MoP won't aid in souring or dividing the community in any way.

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