Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Play How You Want

If you're looking for an in-depth analysis on pet variety in Pet Battles, I suggest reading this blog article, written by Cavernshark: "Fly or Die – Status of Pet Battles in Mists of Pandaria Beta".

I admit I'm not much of a theorycrafter or one that looks that a system from a technical or analytical standpoint, so I can't exactly weigh in my thoughts on the matter of which pet family will be "easier" to level in the open world.

However, from my experiences on the beta, I'm finding that leveling a flying companion isn't any easier than leveling the other pets from the other family types. In fact, I found leveling a flying pet to be much more annoying, if anything. My current team make up consists of a rotation of Beast, Undead, Aquatic and Elemental.

Then again, I'm focusing less on which pets have a chance of dealing/taking more or less damage from different family types, and instead forming a pet team(s) with more synergy. If one pet has a certain ability that another companion would benefit from upon a switch out while in combat, I'll likely use them on my team.

That isn't to say that I haven't been aware of strengths and weaknesses of certain family types, but it's not as big a concern to me. Sure, if I run into a Beast and I'm currently using a Critter as my starting pet, I know that most of the Beast's attacks will be strong against mine. My Critter isn't completely at its opponent's mercy, though, and with the write moves, ability choices, and tag-team effort, things turn out in my favor.

But I feel like I'm digressing from the initial point which was the lack of pet variety during the leveling process. I definitely do agree that initially, you will run into mainly Beast, Critter, Aquatic, and some Mechanical and Flying early on, making some pets seem like the "go-to" for leveling. Whether or not sticking with only certain family types will work in the long-run is debatable.

I think the reason behind the low number of varying pet families in the world is the fact that the environment really dictates what type of wild pets you'll encounter, and Blizzard really can't go through and drastically alter everything for the sake of inserting more of a variety of pets.

As you progress and level, though, you are exposed to more of a variety, not to mention the Pet Tamers that you have quests to defeat do use companions that can sometimes be in the family type you normally wouldn't run into while leveling.

In the end, it will really be up for each player to determine how they choose to play Pet Battles. What works well for one may not work out for another. And I really do think that despite the possible theorycrafting and min/maxing, Pet Battles is shaping out to be just a fun minigame. Unlike in Pokemon where there was always that one ultimate pet that everyone had to have due to its overpowered nature, WoW's version truly is a 'play how you want to play, and you can still be just as successful' minigame.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Why You Want to Befriend the Tillers NPCs

UPDATE: According to El, after becoming best friends with Sho, she will mail a Chirping Package to you which yields the Red Cricket.

MMO-Champion has a preview of "WoW-ville" (play on Farmville), and previously datamined pet was revealed as a reward for taking part in raising your friendship with the Tillers NPCs!

I haven't tested it yet, but it sounds like after reaching a certain amount of friendship with either one (might be a specific NPC? not sure) or more NPC, they will mail you the Red Cricket (Bind on Use)!

Note: This isn't actually the Red Cricket, but I'm guessing it will have a similar model.

The cricket model is really awesome, so I'm definitely going to work towards getting this cute little insect. Plus the whole concept of raising a farm in WoW seems pretty interesting and intriguing.

El from El's Extreme Anglin', has a Tillers Farming guide that might help you get started.

If Farmville was never your style, El also recently Tweeted that unlike Farmville, "WoW-ville" doesn't really have the social inter-dependence aspect.

It sounds like the Tillers farming gameplay is worth a try at the very least!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Achievement Point Calculations Update

More adjustments were made to the achievement point rewards. Many have had the points halved and the Jade Tentacle now requires that players earn 400 pet-related achievement points (up from 300).

The previous calculations for pet-achievement points can be found here.

And here are my new calculations based on the latest beta build:
General = total of 75 points (minus the achievement to earn 400 points)

Collect = total of 225 points

Battle = total of 135 points

Level = total of 90 points
All of this comes to a grand total of 525 points. As mention before, the Jade Tentacle requires earning 400 pet-related achievement points.

So it looks like you still won't have to complete ALL achievements in order to earn the Jade Tentacle, but it's cutting it close. There's probably room to leave out some of your least favorite or the tougher achievements, if you want.

More Pet Updates - Undocumented Changes

Thanks to the awesome users over at WarcraftPets, here are some undocumented changes that were discovered in the latest beta patch.

Biggest things to note:
- The Pet Journal now shows a wild pet's special spawning conditional. Here are just a few examples:

Note that not all wild pets require a unique time of day, weather condition, or season. So if you don't see any spawned in the area that they're normally found, someone might have just battled/captured them all and they will probably just take some time to respawn or they're just that rare.

- Wild pets will decrease in level when captured. I haven't tested this myself, but it sounds as if capturing a wild pet will yield a pet that has some level shaved off of it. The example provided: capture a level 23 frog but wound up with a level 19 frog in the Pet Journal.

- Player spells, abilities and attacks can now kill wild pets. Unsure if this is intended or not.

- Hostile mobs can attack you while you're engaged in a Pet Battle, which would result in a premature end to the encounter. Unsure if this is intended or not.
And just for funsies, here's a couple of screenshots of the Baneling as previewed in the Pet Journal!

Awww! You might think it's got a face that only a Queen could love, but I find it adorable. :P

It's Like Banelings, Banelings Whoaaa

I take one day off from my computer and a new beta build comes out. Figures! :P

Since I'm still in the process of catching up on everything, here's all the new additions, updates, and changes via WarcraftPets News.

There was a lot of stuff datamined, and I'll be damned if I rewrite all of that out again. XD

Stuff I'm most excited about:
- SC2: Heart of the Swarm CE redeemable pet is a Baneling! I am absolutely NOT skipping getting this comopanion. I'm not a huge SC2 player, but I really enjoyed playing and watching the campaign. (Long-live the Queen of Blades!!!!)

The following video is a necessary for those who aren't especially familiar with Starcraft 2, and is just plain old fun for those who are. :P

- Cooking will be able to craft Red and Blue War Fuel.

- Not only that, but Engineers will be able to craft the Warbot itself!

- JC'ers will be able to craft the Sapphire Cub and Jade Owl.

- Magical Mini-Treats, Magical Mini-Treats, Magical Mini-Treats! I can't tell you how long I've been hoping and waiting for these to be implemented. I enjoy larger mini-pets, but at the same time I absolutely ADORE tiny-itty-bitty ones. I'm extremely happy and grateful that developers took some time to create these. Now to figure out where they come from...
There's more that I didn't mention here, so be sure to check out the WarcraftPets page that I linked above.

I'm not sure where the recipes for the professions come from, but they all seem to be BoP as are the items they create. With pet collections being account-wide, this shouldn't be an issue for those with alts who have the professions listed. Although to enjoy the Warbot fuel, players will probably need to pick up cooking for each toon they want to use it on. Luckily, the fuel recipe only requires level 1 cooking skill.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

No 2012 Olympics-Themed Pet

I think many were hoping and wondering if there would be an Olympics-themed pet for this year, or if the Spirit of Competition would be making a return.

A blue just confirmed on Twitter that the Spirit of Competition will not be making a re-appearance this year.
"There's no Spirit of Competition reward this year. The expansion's kept us busy and contains MANY pets (handle them). ;)" - Zarhym
Along the same line, it sounds like there won't be any Olympics-themed companion for 2012. Huge bummer. :(

I was hoping for a UK inspired dog/puppy pet, in honor of the Olympics being held in London, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. On the other hand, I do appreciate the fact that devs have been working hard to bring us over 200 new pets to collect in MoP, plus the whole new Pet Battles feature.

Well, here's hoping that a new dog/puppy model for a companion will eventually be implemented in the future.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MoP Release Date & News On CE Pet

Official MoP release date: September 20, 2012. *flails arms* Panic time?! There's still so much information to collect about all the new pets. Meep. It's crunch time.

Anyway, here's the official press release about MoP, and here's the condensed version.

There will be four purchasing options for MoP:
- The standard box version
- The Digital Download
- The box version of the CE
- The Digital Deluxe Edition
With the announcement of the new option for the Digital Deluxe Edition, I might actually have to consider buying it. It's cheaper ($60 compared to $80) than the traditional box copy of the CE but still comes with the redeemable in-game mount and pet (Lucky Quilen Cub), you can pre-download the new content, and then play the expansion as soon as the game is released on launch night.

It doesn't come with ALL the CE bells and whistles, though, like the artbooks, dvds, etc. The Digital Deluxe Edition only comes with in-game redeemable items for WoW, Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3.

NOTE: Both the pet and the mount will be Battle.net account-wide.

Normally, I don't invest in the CE versions of WoW. Why? Because I can't bring myself to pay $80 for the pet, only to feel like I'm missing out on all the other CE pets. Once I get started, I fear I won't be able to stop. The end result would be over-spending way beyond my budget just to maintain the "completeness" of my CE collection. And my WoW CE pet collection will NEVER be complete too, since the vanilla CE pets are no longer readily available. Argh. I don't know if that's something my mind (or heart!) can handle. :P

Except this new Digital Deluxe Edition option... it's extremely tempting. Damnit.

Another great thing is that I can always choose to purchase the Digital Deluxe Edition at a later date for an additional $20. If I can't decide now, there's always a possibility in the future. For how long, I'm not sure, since there's no indication of a time limit to the DDE.

Ah, I'm so torn now!

But I guess now is not the time to be lamenting over my own collection. I have to focus on gathering as much information on the MoP pets; beta will likely be coming to a close in the near future.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Necessary Action Is Better Than NO Action

The announcement that wild pets will not be cageable, tradeable, or sellable until further notice hasn't exactly been well-received by many players. That isn't to say the change doesn't have its share of supporters, though.

Personally, I do not support the idea of flat out removing the ability to cage and trade wild pets. It removes so much from the minigame, and puts collectors at a large disadvantage. Without this ability (and if wild pets cannot be released), collecting wild pets will be a counterproductive activity for pet collectors since duplicates will quickly fill up pet slots, and there won't be a way to remove them from Pet Journals. This will ultimately leave very little room to collect other non-wild companions, since the number of total unique pets is slowly inching closer and closer to the 500 cap.

But I digress. Instead of arguing for the ability to trade and sell wild pets (with limitations, mind you), I want to discuss why Blizzard's "knee-jerk reaction" is necessary, and faulting them for it is just as much a "knee-jerk reaction" as the action of removing the trade/sell ability.

Beta Update - "Already Known" Pets

I don't want to get anyone's hopes up, as this might just be a bug or an unintentional change, but I noticed while on the beta that the extra BoP Toxic Wastelings that I had saved in my bank had the "Already known" error removed from the tooltip.

(Image from April 18, 2012)

Previously, any extra BoP pets that you already knew had an error on the tooltip and produced an error when attempting to learn a second one on a toon that already knew it.

Currently, these items are still soulbound, but I had the option of caging the existing Toxic Wasteling in my journal. I did not attempt to cage it and then relearn it using the saved one in my bank, though.

If I can use the ones that I had in my bank, despite having already learned how to summon them, AND this is an intended change, then this is good news for those that saved any soulbound pets on live servers. If those companions are on the list of cageable/tradeable, then you might have some highly sought-after pets in your inventory/collection!

NOTE: I don't know if this applies to all saved soulbound pet items, since a second Brilliant Kaliri in my inventory still had the "Already Known" error in its tooltip. Perhaps achievement pets are the exceptions, while other saved pets such as the BoP ones from seasonal events are included in the change.

It might also mean holiday loot bag dropped pets will be more widely distributed post-MoP. I'm not against this in the slightest since I was never a huge fan of how these pets were obtained in the first place.

Some players have gone years without having one drop for them, despite the energy and dedication to trying for one. Ok, it keeps them playing, but not because they're having fun. Instead it's because they're hanging onto a thin thread of hope that maybe, just maybe next year it will drop from a once per day, RNG, limited time bag for them.

If this change goes through, other collectors and players will have the opportunity to either sell or be generous and hand out any extra holiday loot bag pets to fellow collectors.

We'll see what happens.

Misc Blue Posts

I have so much (too much) to write about! But rather than another wall of text, I'm going to focus on just the small stuff for now.

Here are some notable blue posts announcing upcoming changes for pets and Pet Battles:
"We are in the process of moving the pet combat logging to its own, separate tab. Hopefully on the next build but no promises." - Mumper

"There will be a way to get Warbot fuel in MoP. Still figuring out the specifics, but we are going to make it happen." - Mumper
The Pet Battle combat log is a bit spammy, so I think a built in separate tab will come in handy. If you don't mind having it in your main chat window, though, I'm sure there will be an option to include it there.

What I'm REALLY excited about is more Warbot fuel in MoP!! I've been hanging onto full stacks of the Red War Fuel and Blue War Fuel for the longest time, now. Since they're currently not available anymore, I've been reluctant to use them because part of me feels like they're so unique that using them freely and carelessly would be a "waste".

Now I can finally free up some bank space without the guilt. :) Hopefully the plan to make the fuel available again in MoP doesn't fall through, though. Otherwise I just used up a bunch for no reason other than inventory slots. D:

Giant thirsty Warbot demands more Red War Fuel. Size courtesy of Magical Pet Biscuits! :D

Last but not least, there are some interesting updates to Pet Tamers and their quests on the beta (should be implemented in the next beta build):
"- Unique Tamer emotes
- Unique Tamer pets
- Tamer battles have been tuned up in difficulty
- One Grand Master Tamer per continent. Defeating him/her will unlock all the daily's on that continent.
- The flow has been consolidated to work though our two main trainers in Stormwind and Orgrimmar.
- We have implemented more than 40 Tamer fights across the entire game. This does not include the boss fights!
- Daily quests on Grand Master Tamers offer the Sack of Pet Supplies as a reward.
- A new achievement reward for defeating all the Tamers. A "Tamer" title.
- All of the quests to fight Tamers are now account-wide. This means that the one-shot quests can only be completed by one character on your account. The daily's can be completed by any character, once per day. Account wide quests are denoted in the quest log."
- Mumper
What I'm most interested in is bolded. Hopefully they will reset the questline for beta users, or give us the option to reset it. I've completed the majority of all the quests, and if it becomes account-wide, then I'll be locked out from testing the upgraded Pet Tamer encounters. I'd like to see just how difficult the battles are with them post-patch.

I'm also curious about how we'll access the 40+ Tamer battles. Currently you encounter each one in a questline (auto-accept quest), but there are only so many in the chain. I wonder if the rest will be linked with what's been previewed and tested so far, or if they will be off the beaten track and we'll have to somehow discover or unlock them.

Another thing about this update is the whole "Tamer" title thing. I remember when they first announced it as an achievement reward and I couldn't help but laugh at the potential silliness. "Tamer Quintessence" ...does that mean there was once a "Wild Quintessence" out there? :P

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wild Pets Becoming Untradeable

A blue announced some heavy news on the beta forums last night:
"We just finished a pass making all pets that are caught via pet battles in the world non-tradeable. This means these pets cannot be put in cages for trading or posting on the AH. We felt that the option to buy these pets on the AH would take away from the exploration/collection gameplay of the system.

This could always change in a future patch, but this is how it will go out with MoP. You should see the change in our next build."
- Mumper
You read that right. Wild pets will NOT be tradeable or sellable until further notice.

I'd like to point out that there is a disclaimer that this decision might not be absolute and final, but it does sound as like it will be implemented for MoP. We might not see a better solution until further down the line.

Still, I hope that this is only a temporary fix. There are many other possible ideas being suggested to counteract the whole issue of players possibly breaking the pet leveling system and Pet Battles gameplay on day one.

While I understand that this is probably a necessary move on Blizzard's end, it's still difficult news to accept and view in a positive light.

All we can do is continue to provide constructive feedback and hope that developers will hear us out and agree to a different compromise.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pet Quality - It's Complicated

With pet collecting evolving into a more mainstream style of gameplay, Pet Battles, everything about companions is getting more complicated. That's just nature of evolution.

That being said, I've been putting off writing about this topic because it's not simple, black and white, cut and dry, or something that I have a firm opinion about yet. There are many sides, valid points, and shades of grey. It's something that we as a community and Blizzard as developers, are going to have to discuss at length and compromise over. Even then, there will still be some who are not satisfied.

In a couple of words: pet quality/rarity.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Achievement Point Calculations

I finally took some time to do the math and calculate the achievement point earnings for each section of Pet Battles. Here's what I've found:
General = total of 105 points (minus the achievement to earn 300 points)

Collect = total of 290 points

Battle = total of 170 points

Level = total of 105 points
So it looks like completing Time to Open a Pet Store will be possible without having to invest a lot of time into the battling area of Pet Battles.

This makes me relieved since I'm not too big on PVP in any form. Then again, the Pet Battles PVP achievements don't look too painful. :)

I was mainly worried that with the achievement point reductions, I would wind up being forced to complete all sections. I'm relieved this won't be the case.

Jade Tentacle, here I come! XD

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Murkimus: "Where's the Battle?"

Yay! Murkimus finally arrived in my mail on live servers. :D

It's about time I got around to adding him to my collection. Now that I have an experienced battler in my collection, my pet army is sure to win Pet Battles! :P

The Ups and Downs of Pet Collecting Achievements

Currently there are a couple of long discussions going on about why current pet collecting achievements and their rewards should or shot not be retired, removed, and/or turned into Feats of Strength.

Both sides of the coin make good and valid points, and I'm still in the process of determining where I stand in this matter. What my opinion is might not make much of a difference or change anything, but I find that it's still important for me to chime in with my two cents.

If the quality of this opinion write up isn't as high, my apologies. This is a tough topic, and my thoughts on the matter are still evolving. I'm also less than well-rested, but I feel THAT compelled to write about this. ;P

Do Blues Love Pets As Much As We Do?

I certainly hope so! What's not to love about these little critters? :D

Anyway, Mumper offers up some very interesting pieces of information today!
"Also keep in mind that not all pets are set to short spawn timers. Some only spawn at certain times, seasons or day/night." - full quote here

"We just added Pet Battle Bandages to the Sack of Pet Supplies for both the one-shot Master quests and the Grand Master dailies. They stack up to x5 so that is always another option if you take part in the questline." - full quote here
Yep, you read that right. Not only will a few wild pets have environmental spawn conditions, there will be seasonal conditions as well.

I can already feel my blood pressure rising with just the thought of time limited wild pets. I'm hoping with every fiber in my being that because there will only be a small window of opportunity each year to catch certain companions, at least their respawn time will be short and they will have more spawn locations. It seems only fair, right?

Otherwise we're going to have another holiday loot bag situation on our hands, where there are just too many factors in an attempt to keep it "rare", that it just starts to feel too stressful and not fun.

We'll see how things play out, I guess.

That was the semi-bad news. The latter leans more towards good news IMO! I'm glad they decided to put Pet Battle Bandages into the Sack of Pet Supplies.

Prior to the change, there was a chance you would receive a unique item twice from the bag. However, because it's unique you can only have one in your bags, so in the end you would wind up with an error message and an empty sack. Very discouraging.

The addition of bandages to the reward is definitely what the minigame was missing, and the baggie will benefit from having a common loot drop along with a chance for a special item. No more empty rewards, yay!

It will also encourage players to follow and complete the questline. Nevermind the chance at receiving a new pet from the bag - the bandages are quite the incentive.

There are just some zones where the 15 minute revive/heal spell is not enough and a stable master is no where to be found or it's just too inconvenient to travel all the way there and back. Downtime and travel time doesn't equal fun!

Last but not least, the Worg Pup that went missing post-Pet Battles release on the beta will be returning in the future.

I guess it just decided to go on a solo adventure for a little bit before returning home. I'm glad the pup hasn't decided to run away forever. I adore my little color-changer! It's the pet I use the most on my hunter since she owns a larger version of that particular creature model. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More Achievement Changes

A new patch coming soon to a beta near you! MMO-Champion and Wowhead News have all the fun details, but here are just the pet related discoveries.
- Many pet achievements are having their point rewards reduced. This might make completing the achievement Time to Open a Pet Store (and earning the Jade Tentacle) a little harder. (Note: read edit below)

- The Feral Vermling reward is being removed from the Zen Pet Hunter achievement, and placed as the reward for Going to Need More Leashes (which has also been changed to require collecting only 250 unique pets, down from 300).

- A new reward for the That's A Lot of Pet Food achievement: Venus.
I haven't had a chance to add up all of the pet-related achievement points to see just how many areas you'd need to complete to earn the Jade Tentacle, but I expect it to include nearly all of the achievements (if not all of them).

I'm a little miffed by this, because I was hoping I wouldn't have to put in too much time with the PVP aspect of Pet Battles. If the only way to earn 300 pet battle achievement points is by completing ALL related achievements, then I suppose I have no choice, do I? *insert defeated sigh here* I certainly hope the Jade Tentacle is worth it.

EDIT: Well now I'm not sure what to think. According to Mumper on the forums, the Jade Tentacle will be a reward for the collect 400 unique pets achievement. So maybe I don't need to worry too much about earning so many achievement points afterall? Only time will tell.

On a less stress-inducing note... the new Venus pet definitely has my imagination going! First thing that comes to mind is a venus flytrap type of companion. That would be pretty amusing, having yet another pet that eats other critters haha. I just hope it doesn't go for the wild pets that I'm trying to capture! :P

Well, that's IF it's a venus flytrap. There's no icon for the pet item at the moment, so it's tough to say what this pet will be. Maybe it's a mini-planet. Maybe it's a little Roman goddess of love. Maybe it's a... um, what are some other "Venus" related things/people?

Anyway, I'm eager to find out more!

Update: MMO-Champion has an image of the Venus icon. It's a plant! XD

MoP Beta: Pet Battles Updates

Mumper recently released a list of Pet Battles beta updates and fixes. There will be tweaks to some pet abilities, and a few bugs and exploits will be sorted out. A lot of the changes will occur after another beta patch, but there will be hotfixes if possible. Hopefully this will be the end of the dreaded insta-death bug!

The change to non-captured companions (non-wild pets) should be a welcome change for many collectors. There was a bit of feedback on the forums that many existing pets should be tagged as a higher quality, depending on how difficult it was to acquire them of course.

It will be interesting to see how this change affects Pet Battles. The entry level for battling was somewhat high in the beginning since players didn't have any wild pets yet. Unlike existing companions in their collections, wild pets have a chance at being rarer in quality with better stats, and therefore scaled a lot better as they leveled.

Now that some pre-Pet Battles companions will be getting upgraded to a higher quality, starting out might be much easier (for players that own these pets, that is). Grinding those first few levels before finding a rare quality captureable pet might not be as frustrating or tedious. We'll see how it goes!

Then again, this change might be more superficial than anything since the scaling factor between quality levels and stat gains per level will be reduced. Maybe quality won't play as big a part in Pet Battles?

But I'm no expert on the technical side of these mechanics, so I'll just have to wait and see how playing through it feels.

On a more funsies note... I can't wait to be able to use pet biscuits on my captured wild pets. When I was going through my bags to see what I could get rid of to make some space, I debated for a long time whether or not to destroy my biscuits. I'm definitely glad I didn't!

I'm also looking forward to being able to use my new Chain Pet Leash on the pets that I've caught. Those wild ones, yenno? Sometimes they get a little too rowdy and need to be kept on an extra strong leash. Ribbons and ropes just don't cut it! :P

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pet Battles Resources

For those that played Pokemon and have experience playing trading card or turn-based games, Pet Battles will probably be easy to pick up and dominate in. But if you're like me and you really don't have much background in these areas, it might take some trial and error before you can "be the very best" lol.

That isn't to say I'm not enjoying myself. I still am since this mini-game is pretty easy to pick up. Plus I'm not a complete fail against pet teams haha. (I have yet to try against another player, though. :P) But I know that with more knowledge and practice, I can get even better and eventually build my ideal team(s).

Here are some good resources for understanding Pet Battles. Most of it covers the basics and there's (a lot of) information that's repeated, but there are gems of details within these write ups that might be useful, especially for those who are just getting started.
- WarcraftPets Overview
- Wowjuju's Insights
- Bubbles of Mischief Guide
- WoW Insider's Review
If you find other websites with excellent information on Pet Battles or any theorycrafting on it, please let me know in the comments or on Twitter! I'd love to add more resources to my list. You can never have too much knowledge.

(Unless you see what can't be unseen and your mind goes crazy from absorbing what can't be understood. *cough* Cthulhu fhtagn *cough* XD)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Porcupette Source Is Limited?

UPDATE: According to Mumper's Twitter the Sack of Pet Supplies will not be limited so we'll definitely have enough chances to find the Porcupette. YAY! Color me relieved!

There are reports that the Porcupette is a drop from the Sack of Pet Supplies (the reward for completing a quest to defeat a Pet Tamer in Pet Battle combat).

I'm nowhere near completing the questline and there are still tamers for me to battle, so I still have a chance to see it drop.

But I have to wonder if once you've defeated all the Pet Tamers and unlock the Pet Battles dailies, will your chances of obtaining the Porcupette drop to zero? Last I checked the sack was only from the quest chain, and the dailies did not have the Sack of Pet Supplies reward and only awarded gold (according to Wowhead's database).

If this is really the case... I will be a very unhappy and upset collector.

But if it's not, and the dailies will also reward the Sack of Pet Supplies (giving players a chance at the new pet even if they've completed the questline), then I suppose that's acceptable.

The fact that having it drop is based on RNG and you can only find it from one source puts enough limiters on it to keep it "rare". Adding on an extra factor such as limited chances due to it being awarded only through the questline and not the dailies, would be such a major downer.

Yea, it's BoU so we'll probably see it up for sale on the AH or players can gift it to each other, or you can complete the questline on alts (unless they change it so that quest completion is across all toons on your account) for extra chances at the pet from the sack reward. All these things considered, it would still leave a bad taste in my mouth. My experience with holiday loot bag pets has probably given me an extra pessimistic and grim outlook on companions that are acquired in a similar fashion, though.

We'll see. It's still early on and the pet isn't even fully implemented yet, I think. I'm hoping that either the dailies will also give players a chance at the Porcupette or the droprate is high enough so that by the time you complete all the quests and unlock the dailies, one will have dropped from the sack.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pet Battle Criticisms (Cont.)

(Pet Battles Criticisms and Suggestions - Part 1 can be found here)

Another day and more Pet Battles testing! I'm still going at the PVE aspect and still haven't tried out the PVP queue version. I'll get around to it eventually; I'm more of a focus on one thing at a time type of person. :P

It's currently very buggy on the beta right now, and there are random times where your entire team AND the opposing team will simply drop dead when you attempt to start up a battle. The only thing to do in a situation like that is to forfeit and rotate a new set of three for your team to try again or heal/revive your current team.

Needless to say this makes playing Pet Battles fairly frustrating. Dead pets equals extra downtime and/or travel time to find a stable master to rez your companions, and none of that is fun.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dread Wastes Rarespawns

Speak of the devil, eh? I just mentioned the rarespawn NPC, Nalash Verdantis, that drops the Aqua Strider and ta-da! He spawns on the beta lol.

I also found where Karr the Darkener spawns. He drops Grinder.

I only won the Aqua Strider; someone else in my group won Grinder.

Nalash Verdantis

This level 90 rarespawn has 3808k HP (value might change) and is a neutral mob that becomes hostile once you start attacking. He spawns on an island in the middle of the Lake of Stars.

His encounter involves three abilities, one you should probably interrupt if you can (Torrent), one that can't be interrupted but it can be and SHOULD be dodged (Rain Dance), and a base ability (Water Spout). This NPC is stunnable.

Overall a pretty basic don't stand in bad stuff, DPS hard, use your abilities wisely fight. A lvl 90 horde hunter managed fairly easily to defeat him solo, but I'm not sure what type of gear the player was using.

In quest greens/blues and outdated Cata gear, I needed some aid from my group. Plus I'm normally a healer, not a DPS. So *ahem* :P

Anyway, it looks like the pet is a 100% droprate and if in a group, all members will have to roll for it. It's a BoP pet, but you can trade the item to a group member that was present for the kill within the standard amount of time (2 hours).

Update: This pet may not be 100% droprate from this NPC.

Karr the Darkener

This level 90 rarepsawn has 3808k HP (value might change) and is a hostile mob that spawns in the Terrace of Gurthan (the ruins just east of the Forgotten Mire). He's surrounded by hostile stone quillen.

His encounter involves one main ability and a shadowbolt. The main ability (forgot the name) is a channeled cast and seems to target the player with highest agro. Said player is debuffed and simply needs to move out of the bad that spawns under their feet. Other than that, DPS him down! This NPC is stunnable.

Similar to Nalash, the companion seemed to be 100% droprate, had to roll on it if in a group, etc. Note that unlike the Aqua Strider, though, the item that teaches Grinder is BoP AND unique.

Update: This pet may not be 100% droprate from this NPC.

I'm not sure what the respawn timer is for either rarespawn as it seemed fairly quick on the beta. Half an hour quick LOL! But respawn times are likely shortened for testing purposes, so I expect both rarepsawns to be on the standard 6 - 12 hour cooldown. We'll have to wait and see once MoP goes live to be sure, though.

Lastly, just wanted to thank two players on the beta, Moodwen and Halrandir, for helping me kill these two rarespawns. :)

Updated List of Possible New MoP Pets

All hail the Pet Journal, bringer of insight and knowledge! Two more sources have been revealed for previously datamined pets:
Jade Owl and Sapphire Cub are both BoP pets from Jewelcrafting.
This is not really a surprise, however I wasn't expecting the BoP component. Then again, with the change to collection being account-wide, it makes acquiring BoP profession-crafted pets slightly easier. Unless you don't have any alts or said profession(s). :\

But I think that's an entirely different discussion.

Moving along... the spawn point of the rarespawn that drops the Aqua Strider was discovered by Caelan on the Petopia forums. It's fitting that the hunters can track down the spawn area so quickly, yea? :) I'll be on the look-out for this NPC and have more details if I get the chance to fight him.

Check out the updated list of possible NEW BoA, BoP, and BoU pets in MoP! Only the pets with actual items and specific bindings are shown because there are over 200 wild pets. Oi! x_x

Pet Battles Criticisms and Suggestions

I want to give many kudos to Blizzard devs for the Pet Battles feature. It's just what this game needs imo. This is a fresh, new way of enjoying the game, and it gives pet collecting a lot more depth and meaning. Of course the Pet Battles system is not perfect and probably won't appeal to everyone, and improvements/changes could be made, but overall this feature seems like it's captured people's attention even if they're not active pet collectors. Maybe Pet Battles will turn them into companion-lovers? :P

A lot of questions and concerns about Pet Battles are answered in Mumper's FAQ post. I would read through that first before actually trying out the feature in-game.

Now, where should I start? The good? The bad? The ugly? There's not much in the latter category tbh, but I'm probably biased about pets in general lol.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pet Battles Testing This Weekend

All signs point to yes so far - Pet Battles will be available for testing on the beta servers this weekend! *excited*

MMO-Champion has datamined the upcoming build and the first thing that jumped out at me:
Time to Open a Pet Store - old reward: "Zookeeper" title. new reward: Jade Tentacle.
You read that right. A JADE TENTACLE. Are we finally getting an actual tentacle pet? I can't help but giggle at the thought. XD Yes, yes. I'm so immature.

Oh, and no, the "Zookeeper" title reward hasn't been removed completely. It's been moved to a higher tiered achievement.

Anyway, there are loads of revamped pet-related achievements. I won't list them all here. Instead, here are the NEW ones:
- Take Em' All On!: Win a pet battle aginst a pet of every family.
- Going to Need More Leashes: Collect 300 unique pets.
- That's a Lot of Pet Food: Collect 400 unique pets.
- Taming the Great Outdoors: Defeat 15 wild pet tamers.
- Taming the World: Defeat 45 wild pet tamers.
- Trainer Extrodanaire: Earn 100 pet battle achievement points.
To view the full list of updated/new achievements, go to the MMO-Champion post linked above. There are a CRAP-TON of pet achievement changes.

The beta servers are still down and patching will take some time. Hopefully Blizzard will release the Pet Battles blog post in the meantime. I'd like to see what they have to say in response to some questions/concerns about battling and collecting in MoP!

UPDATE: More pets found in this latest beta patch!
- Porcupette: BoU, no indication of source yet.

- Yu'lon Kite: Previously an on-use item and not a true vanity pet. Latest beta build has turned it into a true vanity pet. BoP. Inscription created.

- Chi-ji Kite: Same as the Yu'lon Kite.

Is "Soon" Really Soon?!

UPDATE: UHM. YEA. XD Get ready for a flood of information and updates!

Interpret this Tweet made by Cory Stockton ‏(Lead Content Designer) as you will:
"I sense big things in this "Possibly maybe" patch for tomorrow. Well, maybe I should say small things. ;)"
Meep! Possible big little beta patch coming this weekend?


Here's hoping it's not too buggy. :P

Blub Blub

It was a fairly short and easy-going grind to honored with The Anglers for the Tiny Goldfish on the beta!

So far it doesn't seem like the Tiny Goldfish has any vocalizations, although it does make a neat "bubbling" noise when summoned. I've tried a few emotes with this companion but it just doesn't seem interested. I haven't attempted to get it to interact with any other pet yet, but by the looks of it, it appears that this fish is content with just idling about next to you lol.

The large chunk of reputation gained while questing really helped boost my progress further than if I had just done dailies. I didn't try to fish up any of the rarer fish to turn in to Nat Pagle for additional rep, but it was still a relatively quick rep grind even without those extra dailies.

The standard dailies were straightforward and fairly easy, although there were a few that particularly bugged me.
- The Snapclaw quest was especially frustrating because only one player could loot the quest item, even if you were in a party and all members were on the same quest. You can even loot the quest item if someone else (even someone of the opposite faction) tags the mob (you just have to tag the mob as well and be the first to loot the body).

On top of the looting issues, the quest mob has a pretty long respawn timer. Be prepared to sit around waiting for a while if you get this daily.

Hopefully this daily quest gets sorted out and fixed before MoP goes live.

- Like Bombing Fish In A Barrel daily quest was simple but because there's no "smart" targeting for the bombs and the mobs are constantly moving about, I found myself mainly chucking the quest item (bombs) at a group of sting rays and just hoping that one would land just as a sting ray was passing by. I could see some players getting frustrating with this especially if there are a large number of players doing this daily all at once.

- The daily quest Fishing for a Bruising was your basic kill X number of mobs. Except that if you head to the questing area at the wrong time, all the mobs that you need will already be tagged by the NPCs. In order to get new (and therefore taggable) mobs to respawn, you have to first kill off the ones the NPCs are attacking. Thankfully the respawn time isn't too bad, though.
The one daily that I enjoyed doing the most was Jumping the Shark. It was fun, quick, and who doesn't love being able to punch a mob in the face with your bare hands? :P My druid is STRONG! Yeaaaa! *cool sunglasses*

Unfortunately I haven't tried out all the dailies yet since they're on a somewhat random rotation, but I'll keep checking each day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Murloc Blues

UPDATE: Blizzard is now aware of the situation and they're working on getting the pet mailed out "soon".

It's been 4+ weeks since the end of the Arena Pass (5 weeks and a day to be exact), and there's still no sign of Murkimus. Players are starting to get anxious, however there is an EU blue poster that said:
"We are currently investigating this matter where players are eligible for the pet but have not yet received it. We will get back to you on this as soon as we have an update :)"
- Nakatoir
Hopefully this is an indicator that our little murlocs will be on their way to us soon. Also hoping that this "investigation" also applies to all regions and not just the EU servers.

If my memory from past years is correct, I think most players received their pets between 4 - 6 weeks after the end of the Arena Pass event despite the official ToU stating:
"The pet will be mailed to the character(s) on the account within four weeks following the end of the Arena Pass Service."
I'm not too worried but I AM starting to feel a slight onset of 'Gimme!' coming on lol. Especially since some players in the threads listed above claim that the titles that were also part of the reward were already handed out.
"Arena Pass Participants who have played one hundred (100) Arena Matches as a member of an Arena Teams that is ranked in the top 1,000 of all Arena Teams at the end of the Arena Pass will receive the “Vanquisher” title for characters on the World of Warcraft account registered by the Arena Pass Participant that are level 71 or higher."
Back to more waiting I guess!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tiny Goldfish

Now that I'm 90 on the beta, I've been working on gaining reputation with The Anglers so I can purchase a Tiny Goldfish pet!

This BoU companion is sold by Nat Pagle at the Anglers Wharf in Krasarang Wilds (level 86-88 zone). It requires a reputation of at least honored with The Anglers and costs 250 gold.

Even though The Anglers main hub is located in the Krasarang Wilds, this is not where your reputation grind starts. Instead, your journey will start in the Dread Wastes (level 89-90 zone).

As noted on El's Extreme Anglin', you can start earning The Anglers reputation even before reaching level 90. However, there is a prerequisite quest chain you must complete before gaining access to the main Anglers' story line and quests.

Pet Battle Dailies In MoP

If you haven't been keeping up with the WarcraftPets Forum and the MoP threads, this post about an auto-accept quest to battle a Pet Tamer after defeating a critter in a pet battle, along with a search result for a specific tamer NPC, has my mind brewing with possible pet battle challenge scenarios.

In the recent beta patch, pet battles dailies (yes, dailies) seem to have been added. This is where the two versions of a tamer NPC comes in. One is for the initial auto-accept quest, while the second one is the NPC for the daily quest. Also, it should be noted that one quest rewards a Sack of Pet Supplies, while the other only rewards gold. I think only the initial quest rewards the Sack of Pet Supplies.

So it's speculation time again!

Disclaimer: Until pet battles has been unlocked and this can be confirmed, take this all with a grain of salt. I might be right or I might be wrong. This is just me spewing ideas through my fingers, onto the screen, and into your eyeballs. :P

In light of these intriguing finds, here's what I think encounters with Pet Tamers might be like:
1. Capture X number of pets or capture/defeat a pet of a certain level/type.

2. Auto-accept a quest to find and defeat a specifically named Pet Tamer. (Quest is non-sharable)

3. Battle said tamer, and if you defeat them it unlocks step 4.

4. You can battle that particular Pet Tamer once per day. (Daily quest version)

5. The Pet Tamer will either direct you to a higher level Pet Tamer or you'll need to capture X number of wild pets or defeat a certain wild pet to unlock another Pet Tamer quest.
What's inside the Sack of Pet Supplies? Could there be Battle Pet Bandages (yes please!)? Pet biscuits? Toys? Maybe even a pet? It will be interesting to find out!

If this is really how the pet tamer battles will play out, what does this mean for collectors who are interested in battling? Well for starters, leveling up pets will be a requirement, since it's not clear which level of wild pets will have to be defeated in order to unlock the auto-accept quest to challenge a Pet Tamer. Having a complete battle team of three will also be necessary since Pet Tamers aren't exactly push-overs.

The concept of having to unlock so many aspects of Pet Battles might work out or it might not. It will be up to us to test it out and to make sure it flows seamlessly and isn't too tedious. I can't wait to test this all out "soon". :)

You Do Not Meet The Requirement

Khorah from WarcraftPets asked a really good question about the vanity pets that have unique functionality that will be accessible to all toons in MoP. Namely the Argent Squire and Gruntling as well as the Guild Herald and Page. Will these companions behave the same way regardless of the toon you summon them on?

The simple answer: Nope!

Currently you can summon these pets on any toon (regardless of faction), but unless you've purchased the Argent Pony Bridle for the Argent Squire/Gruntling on the toon you're summoning the "pet" on, you won't have access to his additional mail, vendor, and banking features.

The Guild Herald and Page are in the same boat as the Argent companion. Unless you're on a toon that's in a guild, the vendoring aspect of these two pets won't be available to that particular toon. You can still summon them, but they will just be humanoid companions without any additional vendoring ability.

Side note: I'm still not sure if we'll actually be able to summon cross faction pets once MoP goes live. At the moment, I can summon my Argent Squire just fine while on a horde character on the beta. This might be changed in a future build, though. We'll see.

I'm also unsure if you'll be able to "use" these companions' additional features if you DO meet the requirement(s) but they're of the opposite faction. Asking an alliance Guild Page to sell stuff to your horde character seems kind of strange. And how on earth do you coax an Argent Gruntling to accept a Pony Bridle that was purchased from and meant for alliance lol?

Fun fact: If you do summon a cross faction pet and try to talk to him, the speech will be jumbled jargon. Very fitting and amusing!

I'm not sure whether or not I'm for or against being able to summon a horde pet while on an alliance character or vice versa. I think it's pretty interesting for RP purposes (I'm thinking something like, "I captured this alliance and now he's my prisoner of war!" lol), but it does feel a bit out of place at the same time.

It also puts pressure on collectors to create toons for the "other side" just to collect a companion. Not everyone is against jumping through hoops for their collections, but some might feel disgruntled about having to level up to the appropriate level for the Argent pet and reputation grinding with a second guild to acquire the Herald and Page.

But to each their own! Personally, I'll be working on my alts to gather as many pets as I can, regardless of faction.

PS: For those who already completed the pet collecting achievements on one toon, you'll be able to summon the reward pets (such as Nuts) on all toons in MoP. This is due to the fact that the completion of these achievements will be cumulative across all your characters.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Do All The Things

I've been slowly but surely leveling a character on the beta to 90. This is in preparation for when Pet Battles is finally unlocked and available for testing. Well, not JUST for Pet Battles, but I would be lying if I said that hunting for those wild companions in level 90 zones wasn't a large motivator for me. :P

During my time spent leveling in Pandaria I've seen some absolutely lovely wild critters that I can't wait to capture for my collection. So far I'm particularly fond of the Grassland Hopper.

Being a druid allows me to temporarily "tame" one (if it's not flagged as a capturable wild pet), but unfortunately the Charm Woodland Creature ability is bugged. If I mount up after using this ability on a critter, my new little friend will freeze in place and not follow me. To work around this I've been using my travel form more and more.

Side note: I'm still not fond of the fact that the critter despawns if I zone or log off. Despite it being a one hour buff on the "pet", it seems like such a waste since it disappears whenever I have to hearth to do something mundane like deposit stuff in my bank or switch some talents around. I basically have to stay in the area that I found the creature in if I want to make the most of the glyph/ability.

Anyway, since I'm leveling alone on the beta, I've had ample time to think about what my goals should be once I reach level cap. Pet collecting won't be as simple as it has been in the past, where the biggest decision was to decide which new pet to collect first.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Black Market Auction House - What's For Sale?

Wowhead News has more information on MoP's Black Market Auction House. Check out their post for all the details on where it's located, the costs, etc.

What I'm more interested in are the possible items sold on the BMAH. I spy with my little eye some rare pets!

Remember that this system may still be incomplete and might not be set in stone yet. What's previewed on the beta might not be the final version. And yes, I feel this warning is warranted since some might get a bit miffed about a few of the items being sold on the BMAH.

General Pets For Sale
So far Breanni looks like she's found a supplier for most of the Argent Tournament pets. She's also selling some (might not be all) of the pets that can also be found from the random dungeon Call to Arms reward bag, Satchel of Exotic Mysteries.

I'm not entirely sure collectors are going to be all that willing to drop 10,000 gold on either grouping of pets, though.

The way I see it is that mainly seasoned players will have an excessive amount of gold to spend, but these older collectors will either already have these pets or are more savvy and can manage to acquire the Argent Tournie pets and miscellaneous companions through other (cheaper) means.

Newer collectors will probably find the BMAH prices too high and stick with the Neutral AH or even the basic AH for these two categories of pets.

Some collectors will take the traditional route and farm for these pets on their own.

This is all just speculation, though, and I'm sure some will be quite thankful that they won't have to travel all the way to Icecrown every day to complete the tournament dailies. Server prices vary as well, so who knows? Maybe the BMAH will be cheaper than the Neutral or regular AH on some servers.

Still, 10,000 gold for an Obsidian Hatchling? Breanni really overpriced that one. :P I don't know how much effort it takes for some players to get to Dalaran these days, but it can't be 10k gold's worth!

TCG Pets
I've gone over the basic list of possible pets found on the BMAH, so let's discuss what might be the more controversial list: TCG pets.

At the moment there are only three TCG pets that might be sold on the BMAH, but they're especially rare. THESE companions would be worth the 10-20k gold (starting price), for sure.
- Dragon Kite
- Hippogryph Hatchling
- Bananas
What makes me concerned about the sale of these rare TCG pets is that some collectors spent quite a bit of real life money to acquire them. Will they feel somewhat cheated? Would they have dropped X amount of cash on the pets if they had known they would some day be able to purchase them in-game for gold?

On the other hand, many collectors who wouldn't normally have a chance at the rarer TCG pets finally have a shot at acquiring them.

Now it's just a matter of how fast you can reach the gold cap, as there is no buyout option or bidding cap (that I'm aware of). This might mean the winner will ultimately be who can bid the max amount of gold the quickest.

Also remember that the pets for sale on the BMAH will be on a possibly random rotation, so it could take months before a TCG pet pops up. It might not even be the one you're looking to buy. Collectors will be playing with the odds here, and there's no guarantee they will win.

It's the same with many auctions in real life, however there's a higher chance for a definite win when dealing with sales on Ebay or other websites. At a higher cost, of course.

I suppose it's the best compromise if you think about it that way. You can either take your chances in-game with the RNG of a specific TCG pet showing up for sale and attempt to be the fastest to bid PLUS be the highest bidder, OR you can spend real life money for a card on Ebay but feel slightly more confident that you'll win it.

In the end, I don't think the BMAH will make or break pet collecting. It will make a few pets slightly more accessible, but it's in no way a guaranteed or efficient source for companions. Collectors will still be trucking along in the same way that we've been collecting for years and years - hunting, grinding, and waiting. Oh, and can't forget capturing come MoP! :)

Dread Wastes Not So Dreadful?

Thanks to the Pet Journal, two more pets have had their sources revealed! Or maybe these are just placeholder sources and Blizzard is trying to throw us off the trail. :P

According the journal, the Aqua Strider is a BoP drop off of Nalash Verdantis in the Dread Wastes (level 89-90 Pandaria zone).

In the same boat as the Aqua Strider is Grinder, who is also a drop off of an NPC from the Dread Wastes. Grinder is a BoP drop off of Karr the Darkener.

I'm not having any luck finding either NPC in any database at the moment, and I still don't have a level 90 toon on the beta so flying around searching for Nalash and Karr is a no-go for me atm. So unfortunately, I can't confirm this nor can I provide any other details.

Are these NPCs quest mobs? Rarespawns? What are their spawn locations? If anyone has more information on them, please share!

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm a Lion-Dog

The WoW Facebook page has some interesting screenshots of a Quilen mount and companion pet, as well as a vague description of the two: "Tales of their existence will soon come to fruition in Mists of Pandaria."

Sites like Wowhead, MMO-Champion, and Wowinsider are already speculating that these two will be the MoP Collector's Edition goodies, the Imperial Quilen and the Lucky Quilen Cub.

Honestly? The pet looks more like a dog than a lion-like creature to me. Maybe a bulldog? One that has an overgrowth of fur around its neck. Or a puppy that's pretending to be a lion. Tricksy pup! I see through your lies. Lion-dog? More like a... lying dog. Eh, eh? No? Bad pun is bad. :P

Don't get me wrong, I think WoW could do with more puppy pets. It's just that this is supposed to be a Quilen, not a dog. Right?

This cross species combination has me slightly perturbed. I guess it's.. cute? I think it would look cuter if it was actually a dog pet, though. My brain just can't seem to accept that this is what a baby Quilen would look like.

I'm not sure what it is about this companion, but it just doesn't sit well with me. Is it due to the fact that it's so fluffy looking while its larger counterpart looks more stone-like and mythical/mystical? Possibly.

In any case, I'm quite interested in hearing more about these two in the near future. With the news of Blizzard releasing the opening cinematic for MoP in August, the details about the MoP CE will likely be coming "soon" too.
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