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.


  1. Hey Quintessence,

    Thanks for linking back to my blog.

    I think you've made some fair points. At the end of the day, I agree that everyone should play the pet types they like, not necessarily the ones they feel they have too. Teams should be built of skill synergy, not family syngery.

    I had personally been trying to level up about 15-20 pets at the same time to find the ones that fit my playstyle when I started to notice that some of my pets could go multiple battles without healing, and others could barely go one. That's why I started digging into this.

    As you point out, I don't think they need to completely overhaul the system because there are bound to be strong and weak pets in each family based on individual skills and "what's popular" in the PvP scene. But adding more pets of rare types to the world (like elementals... anywhere?) would go a long way to improving quality of life for every pet tamer.

    P.S. I'd be curious to know which elemental and undead pet you're using if you wouldn't mind sharing.

    1. @Cavernshark: I definitely think that there should be more wild pets of the less represented family types too. But rather than trying to convert current critters or creating new ones, Blizzard could simply up the spawn rate of the wild rare ones (such as the Tiny Twister).

      Another thing I think we should remember is that Blizzard's probably going by the assumption that players will already have a large pool of pets from varying families to choose from prior to MoP. It's just that as of right now, we put ourselves at a somewhat disadvantage if we use them because their stats aren't boosted like higher quality wild pets.

      If the quality changes go live and many of these existing (non-wild) pets get upgraded to a higher quality, our current pets will actually be on par with the rarer wild ones when first starting out. It'll definitely open up more options in the beginning.

      PS: I'm using the Infected Fawn as my Undead (Siphon Life is just awesome!) and I switch between the Amethyst Shale Hatchling and Fel Flame for my Elemental.

      For the other slots, the Baby Ape and Small Frog also get a fair share of battle time too. I'm a fan of the dotting, life-leeching, and/or self-healing type of team lol.

      All of them (minus the Infected Fawn) are of rare quality, something that I find really does affect a battle. If the Infected Fawn didn't have a leeching ability, it would likely be the first to go down out of all of them.

      For me, quality is a major factor in Pet Battles. That slight boost in stats not only helps in combat, it's also psychologically reassuring. But that's a totally different topic! :P

  2. Thanks for the article link. I even went to the thread hoping to suggest ways to add more varieties. I do think additional pets can be added throughout the world in addition to the reassigning of families.

    Every graveyard can have a mixture of Restless Shadelings and Lost of Loredons.

    While Elements can be around every stream, lake, mountain and Air could be just anywhere. Arathi Highlands is a good example of under used elemental areas.

    Mechanical, honestly with that one there are just not enough. (where my baby fel reaver)

    All in all Wild Pets are wild and I'm hoping they will consider just putting lower levels ones in the same zone. This will make rare hunting more interesting as well (a whole different topic I know) but trying to find a rare Lost Lorderan when they are in every graveyard in Azeroth and the BC, good luck with that.

    1. @Tadedra: I was quite surprised they didn't take advantage of the elemental areas in Arathi Highlands when Pet Battles first came out. It's such a prime spot to stick some wild pets!


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