Monday, April 30, 2012

Thoughts On Trading and Selling Pets

Blizzard has already given us a small preview of the guidelines that will be in place when it comes to trading/selling companions in MoP, but there are still questions about certain pets. Specifically will the TCG, achievement, and no-longer readily available pets be tradable? There's also the more controversial topic that questions the trade/sale of PetStore companions.

While there is some general agreement between most pet collectors when it comes to the idea of trading and selling pets, there are varying opinions about the specifics of which pets should be tradable and which should remain completely soulbound.

Forgive me if this post is a jumble of thoughts that might be somewhat disjointed and even possibly contradictory. I'm still working out my views on the idea of trading and selling pets in general. The fact that the system is still a work in progress and not finalized also adds to my conflicted and incomplete opinions. More after the jump.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

All Children's Week Pets In One Year

WoW Insider just blew my mind. Why didn't I think of it sooner? It's so simple yet brilliant - it's genius!

Get all Children's Week pets in one year. Not possible? Well with account wide pets in MoP, I think it is. :P

Because all pets will be shared across all your toons in MoP, by choosing one of each pet, you'll have all the Children's Week pets ready to summon and play with in MoP. The only trick is that you'll need level appropriate toons for the Outlands and Northrend quest chains.

For the Shattrath quests, you'll need characters that are at least level 60, while the Dalaran chain will require characters that are at least level 70. For the remaining four companions from Stormwind or Orgrimmar, you'll need alts that are at least level 10.

So this neat idea might not be for everyone. But I still say give it your best shot. The pets will still be around next year, and unlike the holiday boss dropped pets, these companions are guaranteed as long as you have the time to complete the quest chains. Don't stress out too much if you can't collect them all right away. They're worth waiting for!

They Grow So Big So Fast

It's Children's Week and although there aren't any new pet rewards this year, there is a new goodie from the quests - Magical Pet Biscuits! Bigger pets for everyone! :D

(Don't blink, don't blink, don't...
..hey, does Legs even have eyes to blink with?)

Each chain can yield 25 biscuits. You can acquire a grand total of 75 biscuits if you choose them as the reward for all three quest chains.

So even if you've collected all the companions from this in-game holiday, it might still be worth checking out just for the biscuits.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

MoP Beta Pet Overview (Thus Far)

There were a few beta patches this week, and with them came quite a few pet-related updates and changes. Here's just a general overview:
- Pet Battles was turned on for a short while, and then turned off (but wild pet tracking is still "on" last I checked). Here are some of the Pet Battles details, but I'm not sure if all of it is accurate since it was observed during the premature testing period. In other words, don't be surprised if things change and that information becomes outdated fairly quickly.

- Initially, Pet Battles training required level 5 but now it seems the trainer won't let you learn it until you're level 90. I'm not sure if that's how the finalized version will be, or if it's simply an extra measure to prevent players from learning the skill prematurely.

- Caging companions through the Pet Journal was enabled and fixed so that the pet cage taught the actual spell for the pet and not just the Hyacinth Macaw.

- An updated wild pet tracking system was implemented. Instead of showing all possible critters on the mini-map, there are now two different critter icons (as seen in the image above). One to indicate if a pet is capturable (the green paw print) and a mini-map icon that shows non-capturable critters that are used for leveling your companions (the brown dot).

- More tooltips were added into the Pet Journal for different abilities and sources for each pet (but not all pets have had their source location added in yet).

- Pet Achievements are showing up in the new pet achievement tab. There's one major category for general pet-related accomplishments, and three sub-categories; Collect, Battle, Level.

- The auction house has a new filter tab just for pets. To make it easier to find a certain pet, they've added companion family filters such as humanoid, flying, critter, etc.

- Pet Biscuits and the companion toys/goodies don't seem to work on wild pets (yet?). Hopefully that will change in a future beta build.

- Extra BoP pets (such as those holiday boss dropped Toxic Wastelings and such) are still useless. It's strange because I can cage a Toxic Wasteling, which removes it from my journal, but when I attempt to learn the extra BoP wasteling I have saved in my bank, I get the "already known" error. Using the caged version of the wasteling to re-add it into my journal seems to work fine, though. I still plan on holding onto the BoP companions just in case things change in the future.

- Pets seem to persist in the Pet Journal even if you delete the character that learned a specific pet (and that toon is the only one that learned it). I'm still not sure if that's intended or if that's a bug that will eventually get worked out.
If there are any specific questions or something you'd like tested on the beta, please let me know! I'm trying to think of every possible test/scenario to test for all things pet-related. I'd love for companions to be implemented nearly bug-free in the final version of MoP so everyone can just enjoy the new features and pets without any hassle or worry.

I can't test out anything tied to the achievements yet, though, since they don't seem to be functioning atm. And anything related to capturing wild pets will have to wait until Blizzard turns Pet Battles back on.

There's a list of all the companions that have been datamined from the beta over at WarcraftPets, but only the ones with binding tags on them - BoU, BoP, etc.

On top of that, I'm going to be writing up a list of capturable wild pets for my personal use since my slight OCD to organize and keep track of everything is starting to bug me. Although the 500 number in the Pet Journal might not be the number of possible pets to capture, I can assure you that there are a lot of wild pets listed. It's pretty overwhelming at first glance!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Fish and Vermling

Two new pets were discovered in the latest beta build (should be deployed soon)!
Tiny Goldfish
Feral Vermling
The goldfish pet is a Bind on Use item that requires an honored or higher reputation with The Anglers faction. According to El's Extreme Anglin', this companion will cost 250 gold. It seems like a fitting pet, but I hope its name accurately reflects its size. I don't know about everyone else, but the tinier it is, the cuter it is imo! :)

The vermling companion is also a Bind on Use item, and Wowhead News is claiming that it will be the Master Pet Hunter achievement reward. I'm skeptical about this since the achievement doesn't have any reward attached to it atm, normally achievement rewarded pets aren't BoU (from what I remember), and I haven't found any other source that would indicate this as its reward, but we'll see! Things could change in less than a moment's notice.

I think many a collector will be quite pleased with the Feral Vermling companion, as I've heard lots of "we must have this as a pet!" requests since beta started and testing began in panda-land. I'm a bit ambivalent about these creatures so far, and I'll have to wait and see what its model is before I can pass judgement. When I first saw one of the derpy-rabbit-like mobs (in-game, not its concept art), it made me think of a reskinned Oracle from Sholazar Basin. Shrug. Perhaps it was this deja vu feeling that made me less smitten about the virmen than other mobs/pets. Then again, my feelings could change depending on the final version of the companion/game... and being such a pushover for pets, it's likely my feelings will end up doing a flip flop. :P

UPDATE: Both MMO-Champion and Wowhead databases are showing the Master Pet Hunter achievement with the vermling reward attached to it now.

I still find it strange that an achievement reward is tagged as Bind on Use rather than BoP. I know pets are going account wide in MoP, but could this mean players won't need to complete the actual achievement to get the companion rewarded for it? In other words, tradable achievement rewards? Not sure how I feel about that if that's the case.

Or will this minipet get a update in a future patch to change it to BoP? We'll see.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Here Fishy Fishy Fishy

Thanks to Synkai from WarcraftPets, one of the newest datamined pets from the beta, Fishy, was discovered to be a quest reward!

The quest that awards this pet is called Let Them Burn and seems to be at the end of a quest chain at the Jinyu Alliance quest hub in panda-land. I haven't found any horde equivalent of this quest yet, or a companion reward for the opposing faction, the Hozen. It's likely that horde will get their own version of the quest/pet in the future.

As Synkai mentions in the post linked above, this companion might have a death wish like our favorite suicidal pet, the Plump Turkey. Or it could be a bug. We'll have to wait and see which it is after the release of MoP!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pet Battles Will BRB

Although Pet Battles will be temporarily turned off on the beta for a bit, Cory Stockton, one of the Lead Content Designers, had this to say about it:
"We are hoping to get it back on the servers soon, it's just way to early for meaningful feedback at this point." - source

"I am working on a blog with lots of info on the system now. Hoping to have it up soon!" - source
So if you didn't get a chance to preview and try out this (VERY EARLY) iteration of Pet Battles, don't worry! It will be back and better than ever (hopefully :P). Also, keep an eye out for an official blog post about this new feature.

After spending the entire afternoon wandering about the beta and poking at the critters, I've drawn up a short list of possible concerns about wild pets. They will likely be addressed in a future beta patch, but these things still bother me somewhat:
- Collectable wild pet respawn times. In some cases where there seems to be only one or VERY few of a specific capturable pet, if the respawn time is too long, it will definitely frustrate collectors to no end. Especially if a single player can have more than one version of the same pet in their Pet Journal. What would stop a player (other than the need to eat/sleep lol) from camping a spawn point (possibly the ONLY spawn point) for a rare wild pet and hoarding all of them to sell on the AH?

- It's a shame that a collectable wild pet despawns if you choose not to battle it after engaging the pet battle phase. What if it's the only wild pet of its kind, and it also has a long respawn timer? That would add to collectors' frustration.

- I still haven't tested out whether or not players themselves will remain vulnerable to world PVP even when engaged in a wild pet battle. This is mainly a concern for those on PVP realms, where world PVP is more likely to occur.

- What is the difference between a "Pet Battle" and a "Pet PVP Battle"? The most obvious answer is that the former is when fighting against critters, while dueling other players and finding battle matches fall under the latter. Other than that, is there anything that separates the two?

- While on the topic of dueling, will it be possible to cross-faction pet duel?
That's just off the top of my head for now. More questions and concerns are bound to pop up as testing progresses on the beta. For now, I'm just going to have to sit and wonder and wait. Luckily, being a pet collector, I have lots of practice when it comes to the waiting game. :P

Too Soon, He Says

Looks like we all got excited a bit too soon. Zarhym made an official post about Pet Battles on the beta:
"While we've received a number of questions and some feedback regarding the pet battle system added in the last beta patch, we're in the process of disabling this feature. We know a lot of you are very anxious to test out pet battles, but it wasn't our intention to introduce them to the beta at this stage, as we don't yet feel they're in a solid enough state to allow for meaningful feedback.

One we're further along in development, we look forward to implementing pet battles and gathering your thoughts on the feature."
- source
Sadness! But it was definitely interesting and fun while it lasted, and this teaser preview makes me even more excited and eager to see a more finalized version of this new feature.

Pet Battles Preview (Early Edition)

Pet Battles is live on the beta, however I must stress that this is still a VERY EARLY version and it's definitely still a work in progress. The developers have made great progress in terms of overall look and feel of the battling system, though, and it's actually quite addicting to go out and find critters to battle against!

I'm in the process of editing video to showcase how it works, but remember that things could change with each beta patch.

Some noteworthy things about battles with wild pets (for the time being):
- You can't attack a wild battle critter with normal spells. This makes griefing less likely since other players can't kill your intended target.

- BUT! Other mobs can still grief you as they interact with the critters as usual. Example: I was just about to battle a critter when a buzzard decided to fly over and kill it. I'm totally reporting that buzzard! :P

- Most critters aren't "capturable", but you can battle them for experience. To distinguish a capturable pet between a non-capturable pet, one will have a yellow paw print when hovering over it and a brown dot on the tracking in your mini-map (non-capturable), while another critter will have a green paw print and a green marker on your mini-map (capturable). The critter's tooltip will also say "capturable".

- Doing battle with a wild pet temporarily removes any mobs near you so that there's a clear space for your pets to battle. Once you're done with the battle, those mobs will respawn around you. I'd be careful where you choose to pick your fights!

- Pets gain experience from a battle ONLY if they participate in it. This means you need to switch your pets into the fight if possible in order for them to receive any exp. (Unsure if this is intended or will change)

- Canceling a battle or double clicking on a wild critter will cause the battle to fail and the critter to despawn. (Unsure if this is intended or will change)

- Your companion can "die" while in battle, but that doesn't mean it's removed from your collection. It just removes it from battle and can't be used for the remainder of the battle.

- Wild battle pets do seem to have somewhat random stats, but there have been some consistencies that I've seen.

- If you're already in combat with another player or mob, it won't let you go into Pet Battle mode.

- When your companion levels up, it looks exactly like a character dinging.

- Currently you can have more than one of the same pet in your Pet Journal. Example: I logged into my horde toon and received some of the mailed pets and learned one (despite already having it in my Pet Journal). After learning it, I checked my journal and I had two of the same companion. (Unsure if this is intended or will change)

- The X/500 doesn't seem to be the max number of pets that are available to be collected. Instead, 500 seems to be the max number of companions you can have at any given time (includes duplicates and non-pets).
More to come with some video footage too!

Here's some footage of the current iteration of Pet Battles. Showcases the overall battling phase (attacking, being attacked, switching pets, etc.), pet "death", capturing a wild pet, and leveling up a pet (unlocks a second ability).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beta Crashes Are Fun

I finally managed to patch my beta client, but I'm now battling that awesome #132 error. Joy! x_x

Although I'm crashing quite a bit, I did manage to see some pet-related changes. The spellbook companion tab is now gone completely, leaving only the Pet Journal. Also, the "Info" icon in the journal now tells you the source for the companion.

It's strange though, because although I know many of the pets, all of my companions in the Pet Journal are greyed out. I can't seem to summon them through the Pet Journal atm. I'm wondering if I need to train for pet battles from a Pet Trainer before I can even summon any of the pets I already have. That's a bit ridiculous, though.

It could just be due to developers needing to turn off certain aspects of the Pet Journal to implement and address systems and features for pet battles. We'll see once the beta servers stabilize and I can stay logged in for more than a few minutes without crashing. (I did read somewhere that a Pet Trainer was found in Goldshire, though. I'll have to try and check that out once the crashing stops.)

In other news, the Can I Keep Him? and other collect X number of pet achievements is showing up in the new Pet Achievements tab, so no worries. Players should still be able to earn those pet rewards for the number of companions they collect. Whether or not the same numbers that currently apply to these achievements (50, 75, 100, etc.) will also apply in MoP, I don't know. As a few others have mentioned, collecting 50 pets seems hardly an achievement with the prospect of over 400 possible pets to collect in MoP.

That's it for now until the crashing stops.

UPDATE: A Pet Battle Trainer is in Goldshire! His name is Marcus Jensen. It currently costs 80 gold to train and requires level 5. Track pets currently costs 8 copper and requires level 5. Prices and minimum requirements are subject to change lol.

Oddly, I still can't summon my companions or add them to my battle team even after training. All companions in the Pet Journal are still greyed out. It might be bugged.

Oh, and there's a new cursor when hovering over wild pets. It looks like a paw print heh.

Newest Beta Patch Info - Tons of Achievements

According to MMO-Champion, a new beta patch will be released soon. Datamined from it are some Pet Battles achievements as well as two new pets! Finally, more pet goodies to look through. :D

The two new pets discovered so far: Terrible Turnip and Red Cricket. Both pets are Bind on Use, and so far there's no indication on how collectors will be able to obtain them.

I'm guessing the turnip pet might come from the Tiller faction. Could this be one of the pets that will require reputation and "Craftsman tokens" that Bashiok hinted at in his beta blog post a while back? We'll have to wait and see.

WoW Insider and WoWhead are listing 5 new pets discovered in the latest beta patch, two of which I just mentioned. The other three are "new-ish" imo. Both the Gilnean Raven and Shore Crab don't have item IDs for the corresponding spell, so I'm going to guess that they'll be wild pets. In fact, if my memory is correct, the Shore Crab was actually a critter that was spotted when pet tracking was available on the beta.

The Fishy companion, however, does have an item ID. This pet is BoP, and again, still no concrete source for this one or any of these pets.

As for the Pet Battles achievements... well there are quite a few of them. Check out the MMO-Champion link above to view them all or check out this post after the break. So far they don't have any rewards attached to them, but that could change at any moment.

The current companion collecting achievements (collect 100, 125, etc.) are still missing if this list is to be taken as the "final" version of pet achievements. But it shouldn't be, and is likely to be updated and changed in the future.

If the current collecting achievements don't make it into the expansion, though, I wonder where the rewards for them will end up. I don't think they'll be removed entirely, so no need to panic at this time, but it would help settle many a pet collector's mind if there was some indication that they would be reintroduced and still readily available come MoP. We'll see.

Once I get my beta client patched, you can bet that I'm going to dive in and browse through the achievement tab to see what I can uncover.

Here's all the pet-related achievements:

2012 Arena Pass Server Up

The Arena Pass realm is up! To access it, just log into WoW and go to the switch servers screen. There should be a new tab on the bottom that says "Tournament".

It will still be about two weeks until the matches played with your team will count towards the number required to be eligible for Murkimus. Now's a good time to get your team started and become acquainted with your team's play style and schedule.

Here's a reminder of important dates for the Arena Pass.

I can't wait to get my 50 games in! Win or lose, Murkimus shall be mine. :D

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Details On MoP Pet Trading

MMO-Champion has a translation of the WoW China Developers Q&A, and within it there were two responses that answer some large nagging questions about pet trading and Pet Battles in MoP:

Q: Will there be any rules about pet trading? Will we be able to trade pets of limited editions (like Panda Cub) or Blizzard Store pets (like Wind Rider Cub)? How about achievement pets?

A: We plan to allow players to trade Blizzard Store pets excluding Guardian Cub (because it's not BoP and it's unique). Collector's edition and other limited edition pets (like Mini Tyrael or BlizzCon pets) will not be tradable, either.

Q: You said earlier that not all pets can take part in pet battle system. What are the exceptions?

A: Currently the exceptions are pets with humanoid children models. They will not be included in pet battle system. Nor will the Guardian Cub.
So there you have it! Confirmation that Blizzard PetStore pets WILL be tradable (except for the Guardian Cub), but CE and other limited edition pets will NOT be tradable.

Big bummer for those hoping to finally get their hands on a Murky or the original CE pets. Then again, I think we all kind of knew that this is how Blizzard would choose to handle the VERY rare and exclusive companions. If they had allowed them to be traded, their stance on keeping some pets "rare" would be flung out the window completely and they wouldn't be able to use that excuse argument in any future situations. :P

Not to mention it would be opening a can of worms that I think should be remained closed. Some want to be able to trade the CE companions, while others don't. There's really no room for grey in this specific debate, so best to avoid it completely and continue doing what we've been doing which is not trading these rare and highly desirable pets.

As for the exceptions in Pet Battles... I suppose I can understand why they would leave out any humanoid children models, but at the same time that just makes Pet Battles feel wrong altogether. What about the Elwynn Lamb? The White Kitten? All those fluffy and very passive animal-like critters that seem out of place in a battle scenario? There are baby animals in our collections too, not just children.

If Blizzard is deeming it inappropriate that a child-like "pet" can't pick up a toy sword to play "knights and dragons" or a toy gun for "cops and robbers", why are we sticking cute little creatures into arenas to bite, scratch, and fight it out with other adorable pets?

This is touching on an ethical issue here, so maybe a longer post is necessary to discuss it in depth.

Lastly, my best guess why the Guardian Cub won't be allowed to battle is because of the special coding that's used to make it BoP for the first 24 and then suddenly switch to BoU. I bet something weird happens when that code is mixed with the Pet Battles code. Maybe the cub goes super saiyan, and becomes the ultimate, unstoppable killer. :P

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Falling Deeper Into the Rabbit Hole

Wowhead is reporting that vanity pets get "racial" passive abilities. Here's the list so far:
Critters -- Elusive
Critters break out of crowd control effects more quickly.

Beasts -- Enrage
Beasts deal 25% extra damage below half health.

Humanoid -- Recovery
Humanoids recover 2% of their maximum health every time they attack.

Dragonkin -- Execute
Deals 50% additional damage to targets with less than 25% health.

Flying -- Swiftness
Flying creatures gain 50% extra speed while above 50% health.

Aquatic -- Purity
The duration of harmful damage over time effects is reduced on Aquatic pets.

Elemental -- Weather Immune
Elementals ignore all weather effects.

Undead -- Damned
Undead pets return to life for one round when killed.

Magical -- Spellshield
Magic pets cannot be dealt more than 50% of their maximum health in one attack.

Mechanical -- Failsafe
Comes back to life once per battle, returning to 25% health.
Coupled with even more information on strong/weak abilities for each family type, pet battles is getting more and more complicated. Those who thought it would be a simple "rock, paper, scissors" mini-game, might want to reconsider.

So far there are family types, family type attacks and abilities that are strong/weak against other (specific) pet types, pet stats, pet levels, and now pet "racial" passives. These little companions are starting to feel more like miniature players than vanity pets.

I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, I think it's interesting how Blizzard is trying to make Pet Battles more than just a roll of the dice upon each player's turn. Then again, is theorycrafting going to creep into what was meant to be a fun and casual style of gameplay? Are we going to have to start min/maxing our pets to get the most out of Pet Battles?

I'm going to wait and see how the battles actually play out before I form a concrete opinion.

Who knows? Maybe Lil' Gear isn't that far off... heh.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BoP Pets Still BoP On Beta

While I was cleaning out my druid's bank in hopes to make more space for xmog gear (lol), I came across two items I completely forgot I had - the Clockwork Rocket Bot and Toxic Wasteling. They're the actual BoP pet items. When I picked these up, I decided to keep them despite already knowing the spells for them. My hope was that the items would change to BoE in MoP or in the future.

Anyway, after realizing I still had them in my bank, and my druid was copied to the beta, I decided to check and see if these BoP pet items were altered on the test realm.

(Both images from the beta)

The answer is: no. As of this date and beta build 15589, they are still BoP and you can't trade them, mail them, or learn them a second time on a character that already knows them.

I'm not sure if this will change in a later beta patch, but I'll hang onto them a bit longer just to see. Part of me really doubts that they will be made into BoE, though. Which is sad since players are still receiving these BoP, holiday boss dropped pets on toons that already have them. It seems like such a waste.

"Destroyer of the Lake"

I love how, regardless of how new or old a vanity pet is, they can still find new ways to amuse me. The comical things that they do are often random and situational, so while they won't be a constant source of new entertainment, they have their moments. Sometimes you just can't help but smile or laugh at the silliness of it all when you've got a pet at your side.

I've been using my Mini Thor on my shaman lately because it just seems to match my xmog outfit the best. She's in no way my main collecting toon, so my options for pets are pretty limited.

Anyway, while I was out and about doing random dailies, one of the quests required me to head over to a lake. Since I didn't feel like going for a swim, I used water walking instead. This proved interesting, because while I could walk on water, my little companion couldn't.

As I paused to look over the quest, my Mini Thor decided to do his normal idle animation which is to fly up in a spiral formation and then land back down. Except I was on top of the water and he was underneath. In all honesty, for a moment I forgot I had him out since he was hidden under the surface.

So imagine my surprise when my Mini Thor rose out of the water like some mechanical, mystical water beast, paused to look at me, and then promptly disappeared right back down into the water.

I don't know, maybe you had to have been there but I found it quite amusing. It reminded me of those stories about the Lady of the Lake rising out of the water to speak with Merlin or something like that. Except my "Lady of the Lake" can shoot rockets out of his arms. XD

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dreamed a Little Dream

I had a dream about vanity pet achievements last night lol. In the dream I was attempting to find a solution to some issue with newer players vs. older players and new collections vs. old collections.

The answer to it all? Using the Pet Journal to cage all your vanity pets and relearn them in a special companion "code" to unlock special achievements.

So in my dream, there was an STV "code" to unlock the pet achievements found there, and it was "bunny, tiger, tiger, tiger, bunny". (Because we have tigers as minipets right? ROFL!)

Anyway, you could either capture the pets in that order (if you didn't already have them) or you could use your Pet Journal to put them into cages and then relearn them in that specific order. Doing so would unlock something in the achievements, but now that I think about it... my dream never revealed what it was. Nor did I find out what specific issue this way of doing things was a solution for.

Despite none of this making sense now, it seemed to make perfect sense in the dream. I knew I was dreaming but it still felt like a "EUREKA!" moment while I was watching it all play out. Ah well. :P

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Is This a Good-Bye to the Spellbook Companion Tab?

I know I've mentioned this many times, and I'll continue to say it until the expansion is released, shipped, and we're all playing it on live servers: the Pet Journal, pet trading, and all things related to pet collecting in MoP are still works in progress.

Anything discovered and mentioned should be taken with a grain of salt for now. Things could drastically change at any moment, so it's probably best not to take any of it as absolute fact right now. Since we are merely the audience and we don't have an in depth view of what's behind the scenes, all discussions are really just speculation.

Now that that disclaimer is out of the way, let's talk about the current situation on beta servers where both the Pet Journal and spellbook companion tab exist as two independent collections. There's still no telling if the spellbook companion tab will remain in-game once MoP is released, but as it is now, well, there are pros and cons to having two collections on one character.

Am I for having both available to my druid? Or would having just the Pet Journal be enough? To answer that, let's take a look at those pros and cons.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The "Other" Side

Hooray. Just collected a Horde Balloon on an alt! That's one horde pet down, three more to go I think.

Even though there's still no confirmation that alliance characters will be able to use horde pets and vice versa in MoP, I'm still going to go about and collect the horde specific companions. What can I say? I'm the type that just wants to be prepared for all possible scenarios. :P

Collecting Though Another Activity

Signed up for the Arena Pass. Check!
Found two other pet collectors to form a 3's team. Check!

Now to just wait for the arena servers to come online so we can officially form our team. I have to admit I'm pretty nervous since I'm not a PVP'er in the slightest. I've dabbled in arenas and BGs in the past but it was always limited to a few games at most. It's just not in my blood, I guess? :P

Participating in other areas of the game for a pet is an interesting concept, though. In some cases it works out alright, but in other situations... it turns into a dreaded and despised obstacle. Sometimes I wonder if combining more than one style of gameplay is a good idea, or if it's better to simply leave each to their own.

I think in order to balance it properly, one needs to consider each activity and whether or not they're similar. The more closely related two activities are, the better they mesh. While the fewer similarities two activities share, the less likely they'll be accepted. And then sometimes there are just those wild cards that catch everyone off guard and people either love it or hate it (I'm looking at you archaeology).

Take fishing for a pet, for example. Both fishing and pet collecting are largely individualistic modes of gameplay. There's no dependence or reliance on anyone else other than yourself and your own determination/patience. Plus both are fairly laid back and can be accomplished at one's own pace. Because of these similarities, these two activities seem to fit together well enough. Sure, there are comments here and there about so and so number of casts before finally fishing up a particular pet, but in general, I don't often run across comments that outright condemn fishing for being frustrating and a terrible way to collect a pet.

While on the other hand, let's take PVP'ing for a pet. PVP has less in common with pet collecting, in that it's dependent on teamwork, less static and more dynamic, and one simply can't just step into a battleground or arena and expect to win. (Don't get me wrong, though. Collecting isn't an "insta-win" activity either, but it's much easier to get into than PVP.) Not all collectors hate PVP, but when it comes to collecting a pet through specific tasks that involve PVP, I find there are a lot more negative comments than positive ones. These two activities just don't seem to fit together very well.

But that being said, this isn't always the case. If executed properly and a balance is struck, I think combining two seemingly opposite styles of gameplay could work out.

The Arena Pass is an example of this... sort of. Instead of requiring wins, collectors merely need to participate in a set number of games. Throwing matches just to earn a pet isn't advisable, but at least the pressure to really get into PVP isn't a prerequisite. It's really a delicate combination of the two that seems to work, but it's still not an ideal way to collect a companion for many pet collectors.

Well, to each their own. It's tough to appeal to everyone, and the majority often has minorities within it that will have their own ideas for what's the "best" way. As long as all sides are considered and a compromise and balance can be found, I suppose collecting plus another activity isn't such a bad idea.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 Arena Pass Important Dates

This is the schedule that the 2012 Arena Pass will follow:
April 24 - The Arena Pass servers will be brought online, and players will likely be able to start meeting up on the arena servers to create teams.

May 22 - Registration for the Arena Pass ends.

April 24 through May 8 - Practice Phase. Any matches played during these days will NOT count towards the number required to earn the pet.

May 8 through June 5 - Ranked Ladder Phase. Any matches played during this time frame will count towards the number required to earn the pet.
The last dates, May 8 through June 5, are the dates that players should especially take note of and mark down on their calendars. Only during this time frame will matches played count towards the 50 necessary to be eligible for Murkimus.

Questions and Concerns About Wild Pet Collecting

I am absolutely DYING to try out collecting/battling wild pets. All the previews we've been given thus far on the beta are definitely welcome teasers, but I still feel like I'm missing a huge chunk of the larger picture. And it's driving me nuts!

I have a feeling I've written about this before, or at least posts along the same line. So I'll just be shoving the majority of it behind a break and move on. :P

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pet Cage Preview

The latest beta patch brought about some interesting changes and updates. First off, the minimap wild battle pet tracking is gone (for now). Secondly, the pets listed in the Pet Journal now have an XP bar with values (0/110).

And last but not least, you can now place pets in your Pet Journal into a pet cage.

It's bugged at the moment and when you use the pet cage it will teach the Hyacinth Macaw instead of the companion that's listed on the cage.

One thing to note is that because the spellbook companion tab and the Pet Journal are still two independent collections, removing a pet from the Pet Journal (by placing it into a pet cage) does NOT remove it from your spellbook.

This complicates things because if you want to replace the pet (you just stuck into a cage) in your Pet Journal, you'll need to use a character that hasn't learned that particular pet yet. Otherwise, you'll get an error message stating that you already know the companion and cannot re-add it into the Pet Journal.

Simply knowing the spell for the pet also won't allow you to re-add it into the Pet Journal. You have to actually learn the spell from the pet item.

For example: I used a low level troll warrior to place my Albino Snake into a cage. It was removed from the Pet Journal completely (on all my toons, both alliance and horde). When I logged onto my main character, a nelf druid, and purchased another Albino Snake from Dalaran, I couldn't use it because my druid already had that pet in her spellbook companion tab. In order to replace the snake in the Pet Journal, I had to send the pet to a toon that didn't already know it. Once my draenei shaman learned the Albino Snake, it popped up in the Pet Journal again.

Like I've said before, this is all still very new and there are bound to be bugs and inconsistencies. Blizzard is still working out the details, so hopefully this is something that will just get sorted out as the beta progresses.

UPDATE: The pet cage can be traded and as far as I can tell, you can put pretty much any pet in your Pet Journal into a cage. Even the rarer pets that are no longer readily available such as Grunty. Since the journal and the spellbook are two independent collections at the moment, you can still summon a Grunty once you've sold/traded the one in your Pet Journal. But you have to use the spellbook to summon it and it will not have a unique name or be renameable.

Give Your Pet a Treat During Children's Week

One of the biggest pet collecting in-game holidays is coming up, Children's Week. It will start at the end of April and last for one week. As far as I can tell, no new pets have been or will be added as rewards for this year's quests.

Something NEW does seem to have been sneaked in, though, so don't pass up on this year's event (just in case!). Magical Pet Biscuit. Yes, these are back and Wowhead has them listed as one of the possible rewards for the Children's Week quests as of patch 4.2.0.

These biscuits are the same as Papa Hummel's Old-Fashioned Pet Biscuit, except you don't need a TCG code to redeem them (and they don't cost anything extra). They first showed up as rewards for the 125 and 150 pet collecting achievements, but were replaced by the two pets that are now awarded upon reaching these two milestones. Then the pet biscuits kind of just disappeared for a while.

Until now?

We'll have to wait and see if they will actually be a choice for this year's Children's Week, but I'm hoping they will be. With three possible quest chains to complete, and each offering a bundle of 25 biscuits per quest, players who don't have access to TCG loot should be able to pick up a total of 75 (IF they don't choose any of the other rewards from the quests). These are pretty fun items and while 75 may seem like a lot, I think most collectors can burn through them pretty quickly. XD

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

2012 Arena Pass Registration Open

The Arena Pass registration is now open! Games don't start yet, but I'm sure they'll announce when the rated matches begin. I recommend reading through the FAQ just to be sure you know what you're buying.

I think I'm going to try for it this year since I have some spare gift money. Originally I was hoping to find a great (and by great I mean AWESOME STEAL) deal on a TCG pet, but it doesn't look like that will be happening any time soon. So next best thing? Another pet but for much less money and I get to play with either guildmates or fellow vanity pet lovers!

The trick will be making sure our schedules match so my team can participate in the required 50 rated matches to be eligible for Murkimus. Hopefully it all works out!

Soul of the Aspects Now Available!

Soul of the Aspects has landed! We all knew it would be from the PetStore, but it was just a matter of when heh. Like the other store bought pets, it costs $10, is BoP, and all current and future toons will receive it (only applies to one license).

To celebrate its release, MMO-Champion is giving away 20 of these lovely and energetic golden dragonlings. Entering is easy, just comment on their post stating if you'd like one for the NA or EU region.

This pet is extremely lively! I've found it particularly enjoyable standing right on top of it so when it does its swirling animation, it literally spins around my character. Gorgeous!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wowhead's Easter Egg Hunt

UPDATE: Considering how many hits this post is getting per day, I'll make it plain and clear - You will not find the answers to Wowhead's Easter contest here, sorry. Wouldn't want to ruin the spirit and fun of their contest, not to mention undermine all the hardwork put into creating it! Good luck hunting elsewhere for tips and clues. :)

Wowhead is giving away TCG prizes as part of their Easter Egg hunt contest, and amongst the TCG loot is a TCG pet! 10 third place winners will receive a Gregarious Grell, while other winners will receive packs or even whole collections which may contain loot cards.

To enter, you'll need to have a Wowhead account. Solve the riddles listed on the contest page and visit the database page for each answer to each riddle. You'll be entered into the contest by receiving a holiday Wowhead achievement after you've visited the correct answer page.

For more information, check out their contest page linked above. Good luck to all those entering!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Character Deletion - Pet Doesn't Disappear From Pet Journal

This might just be a bug, but deleting a character with a pet exclusive to that toon doesn't remove the pet from your Pet Journal on the beta.

I had my friend find two pets that he didn't already know, the Blue and Yellow Moth. He then created a new character, learned both pets on that lowbie, and checked to make sure they were added to the Pet Journal on his level 85 character. Sure enough, they were there, so then he proceeded to delete the level 1 character. After the level 1 was gone, he logged back into his 85 and both the Yellow and Blue Moth pets were still in his Pet Journal. He could still summon them and everything.

I don't know if this is intended or if it will stay this way. At the moment, I'm hoping that this isn't a bug, though.

Deleting the pet upon deletion of a particular character might be the wrong way to go. Having multiple characters with unique collections (found through the companion tab in the spellbook) would mean keeping track of which pet is unique to which toon. Keeping tabs on all of that information could get messy, so letting players keep all companions in the Pet Journal regardless if the toon that learned it is removed seems like a good idea to me.

I'm trying to think of any negatives or exploitable actions that could be associated with keeping this in-game, but nothing's coming to mind at the moment.

It just seems too punishing if removing a character also means losing a pet unique to that toon.

500 Possible Pets to Collect

If you're skeptical about the number, it's no joke. At least for now. The Pet Journal on the beta is claiming that there are 500 pets (total) to collect in MoP.

While many share similar models and are simply recolored/reskinned, they are still identified as unique. Then there are the new critters with new models that are so kick ass I'm considering screenshotting or taking video of my favorites. That could take a while lol.

But I digress.

With 500 possible pets to collect, perhaps my evaluation of the future of pet collecting is off... by a few hundred or so. Will quantity still outweigh quality? 500 makes it seem that way, doesn't it? Rather than introduce a handful of special pets for collectors to seek out, it's feeling more like Blizzard is bombing us with a ton of pets. Enough to last an entire expansion?

Is that necessarily a bad thing, though?

Honestly, I'm torn. I enjoy the idea that I'll have plenty to collect and search for immediately in the expansion. The wait game, while most collectors are VERY proficient at it, is a bit of a pain. With so many wild companions ready for collecting the moment MoP is released, we'll have plenty to keep us occupied for a while, if not throughout the entire expansion.

On the other hand, with so many pets out there, what will the quality of these pets be like? Will they all have unique animations? Will there be anything remotely interesting about them other than their recolor or reskin? I can't imagine Blizzard having the resources or the time to hand out an idle animation or unique interaction for 400 vanity pets, let alone half that number.

So if not, then they just seem a bit like cheap fill-in pets that are somewhat meaningless. Granted, collecting and how people perceive it is subjective and people create their own special collections with different sentimental values attached to each pet, but still... with so many "new" companions that are just critters that happen to follow you, some might feel like they're just an empty score on a tally board.

Well, we'll see. Pet collecting is changing at its very core with Pet Battles, so maybe the focus won't be the collection anymore but the battle encounter instead.

It's a bit disheartening since I very much enjoyed the classic activity and felt like the gameplay was fine as it was, but things change I guess. In order to justify more resources being thrown at a certain area of the game, Blizzard has to make it worthwhile and see that its what the majority wants/desires and is willing to pay for. We want more/new pets. Blizzard wants to give us more/new pets. Yet there has to be a high enough interest to use their time and energy to focus on bringing us what we desire. Maybe Pet Battles was their answer to this (as well as their new cash-cow baby? lol).

But like I've always said, balance and compromise. 500 pets, many of which are not very interesting or engaging yet are readily available to ALL players? That's fine. Don't forget about including extraordinary pets in there too, both that are exclusive and non-exclusive. Want to throw in some PetStore companions? Go for it. But don't leave out those that can't afford or are unable/unwilling to spend money on a high quality pet. Blizzard has the opportunity to make a profit while appeasing the collecting community, but only if they approach this situation cautiously and carefully.

In any case, I'm anxious and eager to see what the future of pet collecting will be.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Beta Pet Renaming

After seeing a retweet from WarcraftPets, I just had to check it out for myself: renaming companions is now ready for testing on the beta! Yay!

To rename a pet, go into the Pet Journal and right click on the pet. Currently you can rename your pet as many times as you want. The pet's name can include spaces but no special characters.

Side note: There's also an option to "release" the pet you've right clicked on. That option doesn't do anything at the moment, but I'm wondering if it has something to do with trading/selling pets? We'll see.

Once you've renamed your pet, it will automatically change to that name (if you have that pet out). It's a bit buggy, though, because when I unsummoned my pet and then resummoned it, the name reverted back to its original default name. If I unsummon it and then resummon, the new name shows up.

Not sure if this is intended and/or if this will change, but if you rename a pet but summon it using your spellbook companion tab, the new name isn't used. It's default name for the companion is used instead. So far only pets summoned using the Pet Journal use the name you've assigned.

And here is my little Armadillo Pup, renamed to Arnold! Not very original, I know. :P

Beta Pet Journal Gets Tooltips

In the latest beta patch the Pet Journal was updated. Tooltips and an area for pet stats! The new tooltips shows the cooldown for each ability (example: Cleansing rain has a 5 turn Cooldown), as well as which pet family the skill is strong/weak against. Stats are still largely missing, but at least they're slowly working an area in for them.

The artwork for each pet category was also refined, but I'm sure most see that as just a minor detail. (Lovely touch up nonetheless!)

The "info" option for each companion is still NYI, and clicking on it doesn't do anything yet. Pet Battles are still a no-go on the beta as far as I know too.

Well, one step at a time. :)

Kalimdor received some updates in the wild pet department with more zones being populated. Oh, and instead of the orange bunny icon on the minimap, the tracking feature uses a brown paw print now. Personally, I was growing fond of the orange bunny. :P

UPDATE: Looks like Outlands is starting to fill up with wild pets too! New thread over at the WarcraftPets forums for the Outlands areas. :D

This, That, and Giveaways!

MMO-Champion is reporting that a new beta build should be released sometime by the end of this week. While nothing pet-related seems to have been datamined (yet), I'm hoping for another wave of newly implemented wild pets on Kalimdor. Maybe we'll even get to see our first preview of the Pet Battles UI/combat? I'd be interested in an updated Pet Journal too.

The anticipation! Ahhh!

In other news, WarcraftPets is having their 5th anniversary today, and to celebrate they're giving away lots of TCG loot cards this weekend! Be sure to check that out. You never know when a companion loot card might be up for grabs. ;P

So happy fifth WarcraftPets! The best part about helping out with the website is working with fellow vanity pet lovers and enjoying the company of an awesome community. :) May there be many more bright and pet-filled years for the site and community! ♥

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

List of Pet Battle Abilities

MMO-Champion is starting up a list of known pets and their abilities. You can filter/sort by name, type, power, etc. It also shows the (base?) stats of companions. Each ability's individual page shows which family of pet the attack is strong/weak against as well.

This information will definitely come in handy when picking your Pet Battle team, especially since there are just so many companions to choose from. It can get quite overwhelming pretty quickly!

The lists aren't complete yet, as more pets/abilities are still being added into the beta for testing. I can't wait to see the final product, though. It might be a very long list. Thank goodness for filters!

Owen's Wishing Well

While checking out the new Jade Forest zone, I stumbled across an absolutely breathtaking spot in the northern area, slightly northwest of the Ruins of Gan Shi. It's a very serene area with a single fountain and a bunch of Wishing Frog critters wandering about.

This fountain area was flagged as Owen's Wishing Well, and upon getting closer I found a Lucky Golden Coin sitting on the well's wall. It was clickable so I tossed it in and gained a buff called "Made-a-Wish" that didn't seem to do anything but lasted 10 minutes.

What attracted me the most was the bird that was perched on the fountain. It was stunning and kept fidgeting around, so I was almost scared that my approach towards it would cause it to fly away.

At first I thought it might be a rarespawn or even a rare critter, but it turns out it was just part of the scenery. Bummer!

The colorful feathers and large beak make me think of a kingfisher. It's an absolutely gorgeous creature that I would LOVE to add my collection if I could.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Annual Arena Pass Event

Get ready for some arena-ing if you haven't already acquired a Murkimus the Gladiator! Sign ups for the 2012 Arena Pass starts on April 10.

As in previous years, it's likely that the cost will be about $20, and to be eligible for the pet, players will need to be on a team of three that participates in 50+ rated games.

I think I'll actually go for Murkimus this year. I'm still hanging onto that old stash of birthday/X-mas money that I was hoping to save for a TCG pet, but I have yet to see a deal that's within my budget. I can definitely afford the Arena Pass, though.

Anyway, looks like I'll need to start hunting for a team of two other collectors to create an arena team for the Arena Pass!

Edit: Forgot to mention that winning isn't a requirement. Just participating in enough rated matches will qualify you for the pet. If winning were part of the prerequisite... well let's just say there's no way I'd have any chance hah!

Flying Pandas

Ok, this isn't exactly a vanity pet, but I felt it was worth mentioning because it just sort of caught me off guard: Pandaren Dragonling. It's an engineering on use trinket that summons a Pandaren Dragonling to fight for you for one minute.

First thing that came to mind was a black and white (panda) themed dragonling.



I can just imagine a fluffy looking, panda colored whelp. LOL! But it probably won't look like that and instead will likely look like an "asian-themed" whelp from panda-land.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Planning For the Next Couple of Months

Lots of beta stuff going on, and there's more to come I'm sure. Can't forget that there are two in-game holidays where pets can be acquired from this month! Noblegarden starts next week, just as the DMF ends, while Children's Week starts during the last week of April. Pets, pets everywhere!

I don't think either event will have any new pets to offer, but I'll be checking them both out anyway. I'm still hoping for that fabulously hot pink bunny to become a real vanity pet, rather than just a costume. Heh, if it were up to me, though, all pets would come in every shade/color. Think of the collecting insanity that would cause. *cackle*

After April will come May, which will be a relatively slow collecting time. The only thing currently scheduled is the DMF at the start of the month. Which is fine by me since May 15 is when D3 will be (hopefully) released! Can't wait to see the Fetish Shaman live.

There's also a chance that the next TCG deck, Tomb of the Forgotten, will be released some time in May. I haven't heard of an official release date yet, though. That expansion will contain the common loot card (pet!), Sand Scarab.

So even with beta going on, there's still vanity pets to look forward to on the live servers. I'm glad that I can hunt for new discoveries on the beta during the collecting downtime, but then go back to collecting things in-game when I've exhausted all my finds on the test realms.

Once D3 is released, though, I wonder if I'll have the time/energy to do everything. :P

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Beta's Darkmoon Rabbit

UPDATE: Wamo has even more details about the encounter and the pet over on the WarcraftPets forums!

Someone found and killed the Darkmoon Rabbit on the beta, and it did indeed drop the pet!

Looks like the rabbit is a neutral mob and it spawns in the Darkmoon Cave on the faire island. Not sure of its spawn times but I'll be sure to check regularly now that a spawn point has been confirmed.

With 72 million health, it looks like we're going to need the help of a party or even a raid. I wonder if the pet that it drops will drop for everyone in the group/raid. Or if there will only be one drop and everyone will have to roll against each other. Last I checked, the Darkmoon Rabbit companion is Bind on Use, so we'll probably see it on the AH sooner or later going for a large chunk of gold.

Strangely, though, this companion isn't listed in the Pet Journal. Perhaps rarespawns don't show up in the journal, so as to keep their obscurity intact and keep them "rare"? That's just my guess so far. The Pet Journal's incomplete; the Darkmoon Rabbit might be listed in there in a future beta patch.

Anyway, check out the Darkmoon Rabbit kill thread that I linked. The rabbit pet is... PINK! Or at least that's what it looks like to me. And only for now (its tag says "Placeholder Art" so we can assume it'll be updated and changed in a future build). It's not the bright, hot pink bunny that was datamined just before Noblegarden was first released. Instead it looks like a lighter shade of pink, but pink is pink. Can't complain? :P

Personally, I'm inwardly cringing at the thought of collecting this particular companion. One, since I'm guessing it will be like a rarespawn, it will be highly sought after. I can imagine many people camping the spawn point and fighting to tag it (on PVP servers). Two, with so much health, you'll definitely need some help killing it, so take those rarespawn campers and multiply by 5-10 or more because they'll likely enlist the help of friends/guildmates. Three, the Darkmoon Island is only accessible for one week at the start of every month. I'm not exactly a huge fan of the limited time idea, but at least the pet is guaranteed to drop (I think?).... IF you're lucky enough to tag the mob, kill it before you're zerged by other players, and finally win the roll on the pet.

A lot of "ifs" are involved... more than my liking. It's not my ideal idea of "fun" but we'll see. Maybe it won't be as bad as I'm imagining it. I'm sure there will be some who enjoy this type of encounter at least.

PS: If this is an April Fool's joke, I totally fell for it lol. It seems totally plausible though. :P That's my story and I'm sticking with it!

Pet Achievements Missing On Beta

It looks as though the collection achievements such as the Littlest Pet Shop are missing on the beta. I can't seem to find them in any section of the achievement window. What this means, I haven't the slightest clue.

One possibility is that it's being relocated into the new Pet Battles tab instead.

I don't think they'll remove the achievements entirely, as it would not only be a real shame but new collectors will lose their chance at the pet rewards from those achievements. But at the same time, with the Pet Journal and account wide collections being introduced in MoP, a collecting achievement is kind of pointless, isn't it?

Then again, if both the Pet Journal and individual spellbook companion collections are maintained, you could technically still track the number of pets for each individual character (since the Pet Journal and the spellbook are two separate things).

It's still early on in the beta, so we'll have to wait and see what Blizzard decides to do.

PS: And no, this is not an April Fool's joke heh.
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