Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pets R 4 Hug, Not Fite

I'm back on the beta and pet battles still hasn't been officially turned on (that I'm aware of), but there's still a teeny-tiny chance for a battle here and there. Just a small taste and preview, I suppose?

There are a couple of new things in this latest beta patch - mainly UI updates and Pet Journal tweaks/refining. For example, the pet combat log has a bit more detail about each encounter.

Another example is when a pet "dies" during a battle, the journal will clearly indicate that it's no longer able to engage in combat until it's revived.

Not only will there be a large red "X" on its icon, the pet will also appear lifeless in the preview window.

Speaking with a Stable Master near any inn will heal and revive your pets, or you can train the ability to heal and revive your own pets (has a 10 minute cooldown).

I know Blizzard probably isn't ready for feedback on pet battles yet, but I really hope that the pet bandages that were datamined make it into the final version of pet battles. Or the cooldown on the pet revive/heal spell is shortened.

A 10 minute cooldown may not seem like a long time, but when each battle takes about a minute to complete and traveling to a Stable Master to heal up after each battle won't always be an option (or a convenient one at that), those pet bandages that you can use on the go seem worth the time spent making (if that's how you obtain them).

I can't say I'll be very impressed if the design of pet battles is to purposely force a player into combat without a fully healed pet to make it "challenging". I mean, let's be real. Who would in their right mind keep battling with an injured companion? Why handicap and put yourself at a disadvantage like that? There's an achievement to go X battles without using the healing spell, but let that be it: just an achievement. I wouldn't integrate it completely into the gameplay. That's just my two cents, though.

Moving along, I encountered my first Pet Tamer! Julia Stevens in Westfall, just across the bridge from Elwynn Forest.

If you can't read the text, it says: "Ever wanted to teach your pet how to fight? Step right up and I can help ya out!"

I'm a little unsettled by this dialogue from this NPC, to be honest. It doesn't seem very in character with what a little girl (or ANYONE) should be saying about pets. It doesn't bother me to the point where I'm put off pet battles completely, but if Blizzard wanted to be a little more "PC" about it, I would recommend rewording the text to something less... aggressive.

No, miss Julia, I have never wanted to teach my companions how to fight, as I think it's a bit pointless and barbaric unless they're being specifically trained as attack/guard animals.

With that said, it DOES seem a bit hypocritical that I'm taking part in this style of gameplay that seems to encourage fighting between companions, doesn't it? I'm trying to see this in as neutral/casual light as possible, but I do recognize that participating in pet battles is a little... unsavory.

I definitely do not support or condone animal cruelty or fighting for entertainment IRL, and as for pet battles in game, well I'm trying to see it more like Pokemon where everything has a touch of magic and rather than "dying", they simply tire out and are never truly harmed to the point of death.


  1. If they stay like this, I won't be able to play. Particularly since some of the vanity pets are presented as young, who would be so cruel to send a white kitten to die?! Healing should not even be a possibility, these should be duels, the health bars go down but never zero, and come right back up as soon as you're done. What kind of player do they think collects vanity pets? Did anyone at Blizzard think this through? I thought the pet battles were supposed to be lighthearted, casual distractions. If I wanted to kill kittens, I suppose there are games for that. *shudder*

    1. @Lysi: From what I can tell, pets do get healed for a small amount at the end of a combat session, but it's rarely to full health.

      I have to admit that it does irk me a bit thinking about sending baby animals into the ring to fight with another animal, all for the sake of my amusement. It would be somewhat different if there was a logical motivation behind the battles. I can't think of a good one off the top of my head, but something such as "each battle makes them stronger so they can follow you on more adventures!"


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