Thursday, March 28, 2013

Beasts of Fable Daily Changes In 5.3?

Wain from WarcraftPets pointed out that the Beasts of Fable quest might be broken up into 3 parts in 5.3. There are already three separate daily quests listed in the PTR database, each daily awarding a bag upon completion.

So the big question now is will the dailies be on a rotation, and only one will be offered each day (at random)?

Or will all three be offered each day, and you may only pick one to complete?

Or (and this is my personal favorite), will all three be offered each day and you can complete none or one or all?

I say the last one is my favorite because it would mean an extra two BoF daily bags each day. We would be able to complete all three (if we wanted to, it wouldn't be mandatory), and receive more bags as the result of our effort. :)

Whatever the case may be, hopefully these changes (if implemented) go off without a hitch. The Tamers and dailies have already proven to be troublesome and buggy, but maybe these altered BoF dailies will be the exception!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thoughts On Raid Dropped Pets

Patch 5.3 introduces the first ever heroic mode-only raid dropped pet, but that shouldn't surprise anyone. After they included pets from current raid content on normal and LFR, it was inevitable. In the back of my head I knew it would come eventually, but a part of me was still hoping that Blizzard would decide against it.

Needless to say, I'm not a fan of the idea of a heroic mode-only dropped companion. I've held back and bit my tongue til now, but heck, I'm not even a huge fan of raid dropped pets in general. It leaves out the collectors that prefer individual play over anything else, at least until the content is updated to allow solo-clears. You may be able to collect the pet eventually when content is changed to allow for an individual to go at it alone, but when compared to other ways to get pets, the wait for "nerfed content" feels more like a punishment for not raiding than a reward.

Pet collecting and pet battling are both styles of gameplay that are individualistic. There's only ever one person involved in your collection and your battling. Sure, there are some situations where you may partner up with a friend to help each other look for a specific wild rare pet, but other than that, it's just you and your pets against an opponent.

With that in mind, it's just inconsiderate to force collectors into a situation where they have to rely on X number of other people to get a pet. And I say "force" because let's be honest, if you want to stay "highly competitive" or are a completionist, collecting every pet is not optional. To not collect what you can, when you can would go against the mentality of collecting and/or completing a collection. Yes, these raid pets are tradeable and cageable, meaning you can buy them off the AH, but not everyone is willing or able to spend that much gold on a few pets.

This makes the current content raid pets pretty exclusive to those that raid or those that are willing to trust 24 others in a LFR to assist in getting a pet. A pet that no one else will really care if you get or not. Yes, it's just mainly you that cares, so shouldn't it just require you to work on getting it?

When older content raid pets were released, I looked the other way. Blizzard changed the encounters for those raids to allow solo and/or smaller group clears. Even if you don't enjoy raiding or want to raid, the content was do-able. This meant a high chance for the majority to obtain these pets, raiders and pure collectors alike. They could go at it however they please, and there were options. Go alone? OK! Go with a small group of friends? OK! Not go at all and sit at the AH waiting for one to pop up? OK because it was farmable enough so that there would be at least a few up on the Auction House for a reasonable price.

Because of all of this this, it was acceptable to me. I knew it would be a slippery-slope though, and it wouldn't stop at just older content.

When Blizzard released the current content raid pets, it was borderline "not ok" for me. I think it's great that everyone has a chance to get the Throne of Thunder pets, so long as they're willing to subject themselves to the potential horror of LFR.

But what happens when this tier becomes outdated? What will happen when no one does the ToT LFR anymore or clears ToT in general? What about when the next expansion comes out and the ToT LFR becomes obsolete altogether? Will Blizzard nerf the content so that it can be cleared by an individual or a small group (less than 10)? If not, then I fear many will have to wait an expansion or two before ToT becomes "old content" and gets some re-tuning for solo clears.

Now add in a heroic mode-exclusive pet and you leave out even more players from obtaining this pet (for a while). At the very least, I hope it's 100% droprate for the small percentage of players who will actually get to see heroic mode this expansion.

The psychological drawback of adding these pets now rather than later, unlike in the case of the vanilla raid-pets, is that players will only see the fact that they can't get it any time soon. That feels more like a punishment/blow than a plus, even if in the long run players will have a chance at these pets eventually. Adding pets after content becomes outdated feels more like a reward and gift because the only obstacle in a person's way at that point is if they can out-gear/out-muster the old raid encounters.

In the case of vanilla raid pets: Adding pets into older content that can be cleared by a single player felt like a reward. It got people interested in seeing all those old raids again.

In the case of current content raid pets: Adding pets into current content and telling people to wait until the content gets nerfed doesn't feel like a reward. We're only human and short-sighted, so it's only natural that we will not react well when told "no, just wait".

Patience is a virtue, and yes, sometimes we just have to sit tight and wait it out. But there needs to be a balance when it comes to "rarity" and how difficult it is to obtain something. For pets that are RNG dropped based, making players (who don't raid, who don't have good RNG luck, and who can't spend gold on a raid pet) wait an expansion or two is a bit overkill in terms of difficulty. It's not even a "difficulty" level at that point. It's just a straight up roadblock, and makes you wonder whether or not the pets implemented into current raid content are there just to ensure people will come back and pay their subscriptions in a year or two.

Perhaps it would have been better to release these pets (normal/LFR and heroic-only) after Throne of Thunder turned into "old content", so if players desired to go solo, it would be viable. Not only would it serve as a way to get people interested in older content again, it would feel like a nice reward and new goal for collectors.

It just makes me sigh that pets would be complicated in such a way where players who play for the joy of collecting, get left out so easily. Raiders get their kicks from raiding and obtaining gear from those encounters. PVPers progress through battlegrounds and arenas. Both types of desired gameplay reward what the players are looking for. Collectors? Isn't it odd that collectors need to go through both the raiding run-around and sometimes PVP on top of other collecting gameplay?

In the end, although I don't agree with this pattern of raid pets, I'll still wind up trying to collect them. As I mentioned before, it's not optional for some, and because of that, we'll simply have to do things we're not entirely inclined to.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Patch 5.3 PTR: Pet Previews

The 5.3 PTR is open for testing! Here are some previews of the new pets that were datamined after the break. I've also included details on where/how to get each pet. Thoughts and comments on the new pets will be coming in a later post.

Remember that these are only previews from the PTR, so models, skins, etc. could change at any time.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Patch 5.3 PTR: Coming Soon!

Yikes! Patch 5.3 PTR is coming soon! New pets and new achievements.

Pet PVP Achievements
There are four new Pet PVP achievements. One rewards a pet and another a title.
- Merciless Pet Brawler: Win 10 PVP pet battles through Find Battle with a full team of level 25 pets.

- Vengeful Pet Brawler: Win 50 PvP pet battles through Find Battle with a full team of level 25 pets.

- Brutal Pet Brawler: Win 250 PvP pet battles through Find Battle with a full team of level 25 pets. Reward: Stunted Direhorn.

- Deadly Pet Brawler: Win 1000 PvP pet battles through Find Battle with a full team of level 25 pets. Title: Trainer.
Burning Crusade Raid Pets
If PVP's not your thing, there are also 10 new raid pets that come from Burning Crusade raids (Karazhan, Serpentshrine Cavern, and Tempest Keep).
- Lil' Bad Wolf (Karazhan)
- Menagerie Custodian (Karazhan)
- Netherspace Abyssal (Karazhan)
- Fiendish Imp (Karazhan)
- Tideskipper (Serpentshrine Cavern)
- Tainted Waveling (Serpentshrine Cavern)
- Coilfang Stalker (Serpentshrine Cavern)
- Pocket Reaver (Tempest Keep)
- Lesser Voidcaller (Tempest Keep)
- Phoenix Hawk Hatchling (Tempest Keep)
Much like the original Raiding with Leashes achievement, collecting all 10 rewards an achievement of similar name as well as a new pet (Tito)!

New Wild Pet
Last but not least, Mumper gave us a little teaser of a new wild pet coming in 5.3. It's a baby Val'kyr called Unborn Val'kyr. Adorable, no? XD
"A new battle pet wanders the vast expanse of Northrend in patch 5.3. The elusive Unborn Val'kyr awaits!"

I'm looking forward to the new raid pets, even if they may be re-used models of existing pets (I'm looking at you waveling, imp, reaver, and phoenix hatchling). It will be interesting to see what "Tito" (the reward for collecting all 10) will be. If it's anything like the existing in-game Tito, it will be a pet with similar look/model as the Worg Pup.

The PVP... I'm somewhat dreading since I really have no interest in it. Much like previous situations, though, I'll do it for a pet. *grumble* 250 PVP battles isn't that many, however WINNING them may be the challenge.

Winning is great (I guess?), but I'm not that competitive, so it doesn't really matter to me. If I'm not working towards a greater goal, winning just doesn't matter. So I'll do it for the pet.

Would I prefer if the achievement entailed simply participating in X number of rounds (in a PVP pet battle)? Sure. But I bet that's too easy to cheese/cheat through. You could simply pass, forfeit, etc. and it would still count towards the achievement. Probably not what the developers had in mind.

So next best thing? I guess making it a requirement that you have to win. Could be an interesting achievement, or it could be a very frustrating one.

I've heard the complaint that PVP battles aren't as interesting/fun these days since it's nearly impossible to pick a random 3 out of your favorite pets and head into a match and have a chance of winning. Some have said that you need to have a specific set of PVP pets if you want to win. Shrug, we'll see I guess?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Possible Burning Crusade Raid Pets In 5.3

The a preview of the 5.3 PTR patch notes are already up and there are some interesting changes going on there. You won't find them in the Pet Battle section, though.

Under the "Raids, Dungeons, and Scenarios" note that there are changes to two Burning Crusade raids, SSC and TK. Someone took that information and asked Mumper about it on Twitter. Although the response wasn't exactly specific, it does hint at something awesome coming in 5.3: Burning Crusade raid.. pets?!

It hasn't been officially confirmed yet, and Mumper may just be teasing us right now, but it's a possibility. Changes/"nerfs" to older content does indicate that something is going on or will be happening in those specific zones. The vanilla raids were also adjusted to accommodate smaller groups (if not solo clears), and they ultimately yielded pets from a few bosses each. With that in mind, it's exciting news to also hear SSC and TK are also being re-worked slightly!

I'm actually a bit surprised that they are considering releasing another set of "raid pets" this early. I suppose the vanilla ones were a hit, and it's a good way to get everyone interested in older content again, I guess. Without having to re-do the entire instance, that is. :P

We'll have to wait and see what these changes mean, and if we really will get another bundle of pets from older raid content. Hopefully more information will be coming out soon.

I can't even begin to think of what type of pet I'd like to see from SSC and TK, though. The most obvious ones would be a water elemental (already have), a sporebat (already have), waterstrider (already have), a "firebird" (already have), and a loot void reaver model pet (already have). I guess the only thing I can think of would be a baby Lurker Below type of pet from SSC. Wouldn't really be "below" if it came in a bubble and followed us around, though. XD

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Qiraji Guardling Spawns In "Real" Summer

If you thought that there were only two season in WoW, the Snowy Owl and Qiraji Guardling will prove you wrong!

Mumper confirmed that the guardling has a "few months to go" before it starts showing up on servers.
"The Qiraji Guardling will be available in the summertime. Still a few months to go."
So although the Summer Bass may be spawning, the guardling actually requires "real" summer. This may mean the earliest we'll see it is in May or June.

The theory that the Snowy Owl spawns on November 1st was a bug and they should have appeared as soon as the Winter Squid started showing up doesn't seem to hold true now that we have this new piece of information. Although the squid can be fished up starting September 23, this is actually only the beginning of fall in the "real world".

If these two wild pets follow the "real world" seasons, then the guardling should begin spawning in June (summer solstice). However, it's arguable since the Snowy Owl spawned about one month ahead of the winter solstice, which starts in December. That being said, if the owl spawn date is correct and not a bug or a mistake, then we can apply that to the guardling as well and determine that it will show up one month prior to the "real world" start of summer, ie: May. It should continue to spawn for about four months.

- Snowy Owl: between November 1st through March 1st

- Qiraji Guardling: between May 1st through September 1st (this still needs to be confirmed, and is only a guess)
We'll need to wait and see about the guardling, and another confirmation for the owls wouldn't hurt either.

I don't know about anyone else, but even though there's still some time before the guardling shows up, I'm keeping my alt parked in Silithus. "Just in case"? Wishful thinking. :P

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

LFR Throne of Thunder Wing Two Opens

The second wing of LFR is open this week, so two pets are available from LFR now - Living Sandling and Ji-Kun Hatchling. I'm looking forward to collecting the hatchling first; it's so adorable!

Both pets should come as extra loot after defeating the last boss of each wing (Council and Ji-Kun). Players have reported receiving the "failbag" in LFR, an option to roll, as well as the pet. In normal mode, the Living Sandling comes from trash, but the Ji-Kun Hatchling is still a drop off of the boss of similar name.

I'm not sure if using your bonus roll will increase your chances of receiving one of these pets, but if you need the gear from either boss, it doesn't hurt to try. :)

According to Mumper, it is possible to keep running each LFR repeatedly just for the pet. His Tweet wasn't very clear, and at the time of his response I was under the impression you could get the Living Sandling from trash mobs, so it's still a little unclear if doing LFR multiple times a week will actually yield anything. But, again, if you have the time and/or a few toons that need the gear from LFR, it doesn't hurt to try. I know I'll be attempting both wings a few times this week for my toons!

Unless you get very lucky, don't expect to see either pet on your first few LFR runs. Mumper states that "it's low" (the droprate). Grats to those that get these pets though, and good luck to everyone still seeking them.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Catching Four Tiny Carps

First off, I just want to make it clear that the spots that I managed to fish up the four Tiny Carps are not "magical" locations. These pets have a chance to drop from multiple areas and in different ways. These just happened to work for me. Try what feels best for you. :)

I finally managed to fish up all four carp companions! Of course the image above was edited, and you can't have four pets out at once. :P

For those interested in the spots that I fished each one up and how many fish were caught, here are the details (in the order that they were caught):
Tiny Green Carp
- Valley of the Four Winds, on the dock where Fish Fellreed stands.
- 203 fish caught, not including missed casts or crates, all in one sitting
- open water fishing, no pools
- Bonus fishing items: +30 fishing pole, Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat and the +75 lure attached to it

Tiny Blue Carp
- Vale of Eternal Blossoms, the lake directly west of the Alliance hub (Shrine of Seven Stars).
- 144 fish caught, not including missed casts or crates, all in one sitting
- open water fishing, no pools
- Bonus fishing items: +30 fishing pole, Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat and the +75 lure attached to it

Tiny Red Carp
- Townlong Steppes, the lake northwest of Niuzao Temple.
- total of 1255 fish caught, not including missed casts or crates, spread out across 2 days and multiple sessions
- open water fishing, no pools
- Bonus fishing items: +30 fishing pole, Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat, Captain Rumsey's Lager, +100 lure, Sharpened Tuskarr Spear
- See notes below

Tiny White Carp
- Kun-Lai Summit, the water south of the Temple of the White Tiger.
- total of 2475 fish caught, not including missed casts or crates, spread out across 2 days and multiple sessions
- open water fishing, no pools
- Bonus fishing items: +30 fishing pole, Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat, Captain Rumsey's Lager, +100 lure, Sharpened Tuskarr Spear
- See notes below
Notes on fishing up the Tiny Red Carp
This pet seems to give many collectors (but not all) quite a bit of challenge. According to El, it can be fished up in multiple locations, as well as from both open water and pool fishing. However, after reading a couple success stories with finding this pet near the Niuzao Temple, I decided to stick with that area.

If many settled on that area as well, but still have had no luck, there are a few factors that might be affecting the catch rate. El lists these in-land waters near the temple require a minimum of skill of 725 fishing for a "no-junk" catch rate (see El's chart for fishing skill required for Townlong Steppes). Recently, junk items fished up were replaced with Golden Carp, so it's hard to actually tell if having 725 skill or above is actually working. You'll find that Golden Carp will still be the majority of the fish you're pulling in.

I have great faith in El's findings, however, and believe that by having 725+, excessive Golden Carp was left out of my catches. In El's guide to catching these fish pets, it should be noted:
"If you catch excess Golden Carp, a proportion of your casts cannot possibly catch a Tiny Carp, so your overall chance of catching a Tiny Carp is lower."
During my first few hours fishing in the waters near the temple, I overlooked this fact, and my fishing skill was just under 725. My first 500 fish or so caught was without using any buffs to increase my skill above the minimum needed for no-junk catches. Once I discovered this new piece of information, though, I quickly added in more items to boost my skill high enough so I could avoid excess Golden Carp catches.

After that my next session with 725 skill yielded no pet after 421 fish caught. The next day, I went back to the same spot, used the same bonuses to boost my fishing skill, and 317 catches later I had my pet!

So I guess if you discount my experience without the proper skill level, the total number of fish caught before I found the Tiny Red Carp was about 738, give or take a few.

Notes on fishing up the Tiny White Carp
Perhaps I was just one of the unlucky ones, or maybe the location I chose was especially tough, but this pet gave me the most trouble out of all of these new fishies.

This pet can also be fished up in various locations, both from pools or open water. I went with the water near the Temple of the White Tiger. Perhaps I have a thing for temples? lol

Anyway, much like fishing in the waters near Niuzao Temple, the area around the White Tiger temple also has a minimum fishing skill "requirement" for no-junk catches. This skill is 750 (see El's chart for fishing skill required for Kun-Lai Summit), and at that point and over, excess Golden Carp shouldn't find their way into your bags. Keep in mind that the majority of fish will still be Golden Carp. That's just the nature of the waters.

It took 2 days and a few sessions each day to finally fish up the White Carp. I switched to various other spots, such as Jade Forest locations, in hopes that I would have better luck. In the end, I stuck with my guns and kept at it near the temple. It may not have been the best choice since I constantly had to maintain 750+ fishing while there, so that meant keeping an eye on my fishing buffs and reapplying them constantly. Other locations for the White Carp require a lower minimum skill for no-junk catches, and are probably "easier" for that reason.

Things to Keep In Mind
- Although there is a minimum skill for no-junk catches, it's entirely possible to fish up these pets without meeting those skill points. It's up to each person to determine how they want to go about it. If you feel a higher skill level will help, by all means, go for it! It couldn't hurt. :)

- These pets can be fished up from open water fishing AND pools of fish.

- Using the Ancient Pandaren Fishing Charm might increase your chances, but only if you fish from pools. This item doesn't help when fishing from open water.

- The pets will appear as secondary catches in the loot window (even if you aren't using the fishing charm).

- As El mentioned, if you're looking to catch just the pets, open water fishing might be more effective than hopping from pool to pool. The travel time combined with having to aim your cast perfectly to land into the pool eats away at time spent actually fishing up things.

- For those with limited inventory space, fishing from pools will yield quite a few Sealed Crates while open water fishing will yield less. These crates don't stack. When opened, can fill up your bags pretty quickly and eat up time if you choose to go mail/vendor the items from the crates.

Advice For Fishing Up the Tiny Carps
Honestly, the best advice is to just stay persistent, be patient, and keep trying. Also being aware of any details associated with the location you're fishing helps too! Find out about the skill level that's best for that area, or if the zone you're in is considered part of another zone and isn't the right spot. Research goes along way in prepping you for the long haul. :) Don't make the same mistake I did and wait 500+ fishes later before realizing I was catching too many junk-fishes!

Other than that, just enjoy the experience. I know it's not the most fun thing to do, and some hate fishing completely, but think of how amazing it will feel to finally fish up these BoP, untradeable pets! Whenever you summon it out to fly alongside you, you'll be making a statement. You underwent hours of fishing to obtain the pet (or got very lucky!), and it's an accomplishment you should be proud of. :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Raid Pet Worry and LFR Release Schedule

Throne of Thunder LFR is coming next Tuesday (March 12), however keep in mind that it's only the first wing (first three bosses). This means the pets Ji-Kun Hatchling and Son of Animus will not yet be available in LFR (they can still be obtained through normal Throne of Thunder, though). On the bright side, the Living Sandling is rumored to be a drop off of trash just before the Council of Elders encounter (last boss in the first wing).

The downside to this is that if it is a trash drop, will everyone receive one? Or will a group of 25 be required to roll for one pet? Can collectors use a bonus roll for this pet drop if only one player can win the actual drop? What about the pets that drop off the boss? Will they also be a competition between all 25 people, or will everyone receive one? These unknowns make me pretty anxious, doubled with the fact that this is one of the first "raid pets" to drop from current content.

Part of me is still wary about pets dropping from raid bosses. I know it's probably me just nit-picking at this point, but despite all the reassurance about not having to choose, I still feel as though I'm being back into a wall, and will ultimately have to pick if I want to use a bonus roll for a pet in LFR or not.

Originally, the argument was that you would use a roll in LFR anyway (for the gear), so no big deal if you use your bonus roll. However, that was before it was announced that this tier of content would have a staggered release. By the time the later section(s) of Throne of Thunder is released (the portions that drop pets), the gear in LFR may not be upgrades for me (I'm in an active raiding guild running the normal version). If I don't need the gear in LFR, but I do in normal mode, I'll want to save my extra roll for my guild's raid rather than spending it on a chance for a pet in LFR.

At that point, I'll have to choose, won't I? Save for later normal mode bosses that I still need gear from, or spend them on earlier LFR bosses that I don't need gear from (but need the pet instead). I'm at a bit of a loss with what to do.

Then again, by the time wing 2 and 3 come out in LFR, I may have saved up enough coins to roll on both gear upgrades in normal mode plus the pets in LFR. That's yet to be seen though, and the uncertainty of it all has got me a little flustered.

I guess all I can hope for is a relatively "high" droprate, so I won't have to make that tough choice between raiding progression and personal progression.

I'd be lying if I said I was a fan of how these three raid pets were implemented, though. It's foreign to me with many unknowns, and that's frightening. I'm sure everything will work out in the end (hopefully), but it's tough accepting and adapting to such a new mechanic. Especially when you feel as though you have a lot on the line. Pets and raiding, I adore them both. Having to choose one over the other is near impossible without me going into a state of panic. :(

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Here's what you need to know if you plan on collecting the three pets that drop from Throne of Thunder LFR:
- March 12: Living Sandling will be available in LFR, Throne of Thunder wing 1. It might come from the trash that's before Council of Elders.

- March 19: Ji-Kun Hatchling will be available in LFR, Throne of Thunder wing 2. This pet comes from the boss Ji-Kun.

- April 2: Son of Animus will be available in LFR, Throne of Thunder wing 3. This pet comes from the boss Dark Animus.
You may have noticed that each pet comes from the last boss for each wing. Perhaps it's Blizzard's way of providing more of an incentive for players to stick around for the "harder" content? Well, whatever the reason may be, I wish everyone lots of luck collecting these pets (as well as best wishes on a successful LFR raid group)!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

5.2 Pet Battles Updates

UPDATE: Player exp earned from Pet Battles was recently hotfixed. Official details and an explanation of how exp is calculated can be found here. Heirlooms and other experience buffs should provide a bonus when battling.

Some Pet Battle updates!

Player Exp From Pet Battles
Day 3 since the patch was released, and there's already a hotfix.
"Yes, pet battles are rewarding more XP than intended right now. We're testing a hotfix to address this asap. :)" - source
I haven't actually tried using battles as a way to level yet, so I can't comment on it. A few others tried it and mentioned how amazing it is, so I would guess that it's indeed overpowered at the moment. Well, hopefully the nerf isn't too big, and it will still be a viable way to level. Who doesn't want a pet to help them progress through the game? ;P

Elite Battle Pet daily
In other news, apparently the Elite daily reward bag is supposed to have a "good chance" to drop a battle-stone. I have yet to see one, however it is still only day 3.
"It's all about options. If you want great XP, hit the Pandaria tamers, if you want rare battle-stones, hit the Elites." - Mumper
Unfortunately, the stone only has a "good chance" from the bag, according to Mumper. So that still means we need to travel to 10 different Elite pet locations, defeat 10 pets, and then return the daily quest for one bag. RNG also still plays a factor in all of this, so even though the droprate for a stone might be higher, it's still random.

When this is compared to say, the guaranteed large experience chunk from the pre-5.2 Pandaria pet battle dailies, I'm not sure they're on par with each other. Nevermind RNG vs guaranteed, just the pure efficiency (or lack thereof) of the Elite daily is questionable. 10 separate battles for one chance each day? It's a little bit of a let down. Poofah from WarcraftPets summed it up pretty nicely by comparing it to Archaeology, and the tediousness of that secondary profession.

I currently don't have a problem with how these Elite battles function or the rewards they provide, but keep in mind that's mainly because I'm still seeking the panda companions from the reward bag. Once I've collected all of those, what will keep me coming back? A chance at a stone (at the cost of a lot of time and energy)? At that point I might just take my chances with the normal Pandaria dailies and wild battling instead. Not only will I be able to level my pets, there's a chance at stones too. The Elite battles just won't hold the same appeal once I've collected all the pets.

But we'll see. In time, I may change my mind or other updates may come. The Elite pets seem to reward quite a few Lesser Charms, and if that pattern keeps up, it might be enough to keep me interested for the duration of this tier.

Side note, the lack of experience multiplier for defeating the elites is intended.

Darkmoon Faire Pets
If you don't have all the vendor pets from the DMF yet, Wowhead reports that a new reward from the regular DMF dailies has a chance to drop the pets. So be sure to do those dailies for not only tickets to purchase the pets, but also a chance at the companions themselves. :)

Note: It's unlikely that the Darkmoon Eye can also drop from the Darkmoon Game Prize. This pet is probably still exclusively from the Darkmoon Pet Supplies.

Some changes were made to a few pets that can only be obtained once (such as achievement pets). Originally, they could come in a few different breeds, but since you can only get one per account it was a bit unfair that some managed to RNG a "good" breed while others were stuck with something different. Upon 5.2's release, those that earn the companions post-5.2 will only see the new breed, while players that earned the pet pre-5.2 will retain whichever breed they originally got (for now).

According to Mumper, they're currently looking into ways to change the pets (that fall under this category) into one breed. We'll have to wait and see if and when it's possible.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Patch 5.2 Thoughts and Comments

The latest content patch was released yesterday, and I managed to try out most of the new stuff. I've found things that are fun and things that are not as enjoyable, but overall, I think Patch 5.2 is a good addition to the expansion. There's something to do for everyone, and gives Pet Battlers and Collectors more options for "progression" (personal and overall).

So let's jump right into what I think of certain aspects of the patch!

Elite Battle Pets
There's already much talk about the difficulty level of these encounters, and how little experience each Elite Battle Pet awards to lower level pets.

In regards to the experience from each fight, it should probably be noted that you can battle each pet more than once per day, so if each one awarded 5k pet experience, leveling using the Elites would definitely be abused like crazy. Keep in mind that the experience values could just be bugged or might be adjusted in the future. With an increase in experience gain, though, the ability to battle these Elites more than once per day may also be changed too. Things need to stay balanced after all. :) We'll have to wait and see how this concern is addressed.

As for the difficulty level, I know many have expressed their disappointment over how "easy" these fights are, but I'm actually ok with it. There are already SO MANY dailies (pet and player) to do, and now add 10 more locations to travel to on top of that. I'm not going to complain if it takes less time to complete the Elite battles than it does to complete a normal pet battle daily, due to the sheer amount of time necessary to complete it all. I mean, the fights themselves aren't too long, but the travel time, ouch. My time is spent more on getting from place to place rather than actually doing what I'd like to be doing. So less time on the fights means less time overall finishing up the dailies each day. I really can't complain about that!

Isle of Giants
While previewing this on the PTR, I was actually dreading hunting for pets in this new zone. Everything is elite, there's no flying, and I'm a healer on a PVP server (who doesn't PVP haha). You can see where my hesitation comes from heh.

But my experience on the Isle of Giants was really pleasant. Granted, I had a group of guildmates with me, so we were pretty much plowing through everything, but that's what makes this game fun! Hanging out with friends and adventuring around.

We managed to collect SO MANY baby raptor pets, that each person in the group had at least 1 of each. :) Pets for everyone! There were extras to sell too. It was a great time especially since we commandeered the boat with 24 trolls on it plus the rare elite spawn (which we killed twice)! The elite dinosaur that sits on the side was a huge help to us, as it would alert us to anyone attempting to board the ship. We ended up naming him Spot. Or Rocky. In the end we couldn't decide. :P

Pro tip: If you have a good group and the means, the boat near the Isle of Giants is an EXCELLENT place to farm the pets!

Now I just need the time to farm up all those bones. Only 934 more to go lol. x_x

Isle of Thunder
I must admit that I tried doing the dailies there but gave up in the end. The lag and phasing was terrible, the PVP was unbalanced, and the quests just felt tedious. Now that I can earn my Lesser Charms of Good Fortune from pet battles, I really have no need for these dailies. As far as I can tell, the rep doesn't really give me much in the way of raiding progression.

As for the zone in general, it's a pretty interesting place, if not troublesome to get around. The wild pets stuck in other phases kept taunting me which was maddening! I don't think I'll be hunting for rares on the isle any time soon, as there's just too much unbalanced PVP going on. I'd need 2 or 3 body guards just to battle one pet.

In the end I did manage to quickly collect a couple uncommon pets, though. Not ideal, but better than nothing I suppose. I'll probably wait for the entire isle to become unlocked before trying again. It's just so hard to get anything done when you're constantly looking over your shoulder or running back to your body. Sure I have shadowmeld, so I can battle while hidden, but it doesn't work 100% of the time lol.

New Pet Battle Mechanics
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the fact that each successful battle has a chance of awarding me a charm (or 6 lol). I would much rather pet battle than run around doing normal dailies, so this is absolutely one of this patch's highlights for me!

Along that same line, bandages stacking? BoA? Yaaaaaay! I can't express how happy I was to finally have bag space for other things like consumables and gear. My poor banker alt is swamped in bandages now, though lol.

I have yet to fully experience the forfeit penalty, except once when I forgot to swap out some abilities prior to engaging in a battle. At first I thought my team was taking damage after forfeiting a Tamer battle, but that doesn't seem to be the case now that I've tried it a few times. So I can't really comment on this new feature. If I utilized forfeit more often during wild battles, I would be a little irritated, I'm sure.

I plan on testing out player leveling via pet battles, but that's really low priority on my "to-do list". Some comments about it from WarcraftPets seem promising, though. The bug where you stop earning player experience at level 89 could be a problem though.

Speaking of low priority, the fishing pets will probably be lower than a few other things I'd like to get done this patch. I'm definitely going to get around to it, but it's pretty time consuming. As I've said before, there's soooo much to do now that I really need to set some things aside if they can be postponed. Unfortunately, fishing is one of those things that fits the bill. :( I'm definitely looking forward to finding those new carps though. :)

Last but not least, the changes to some abilities and pets in general. Overall, I think it was necessary to alter some attacks. A nerf doesn't feel good, and it's a bit frustrating having to find replacements for those heavily used pets, but when you think about it, all of this will just be a fond memory in time. We'll eventually adjust to the changes. Heck, we may even find a pet that's even more overpowered than the ones that came before it. I'm not absolutely in favor of all the adjustments, yet they had to be done and since it doesn't break anything or reduce how much fun I'm having, I can't argue against the pet/attack updates.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Patch 5.2 Pet Battle Bugs

There are a couple of bugs that have popped up with the release of 5.2:
- Gusting Grimoire is uncommon quality instead of rare. It's a known bug and will be hotfixed in the near future.

- Some of the Elite Battle Pet NPCs (from the new quest/daily) are improperly phasing and can't be engaged in battle.
If I hear of any other 5.2 bugs, I'll add to this list. So far these seem to be the major and most commonly reported ones.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Patch 5.2 Comes Out Tomorrow

Patch 5.2's release was officially announced today! In addition, the raid release schedule was also announced.

In light of this gated release, those that do not raid normal 10 or 25 mans will need to wait one week after 5.2 is released, for a chance at the new Throne of Thunder raid pets (LFR). Remember to collect those lesser charms so you'll have extra rolls for not only gear, but pets as well! Don't forget it's slightly easier now, too, since the charms have a chance to drop from successful battles. :D

I honestly have no idea which pet I'm going to attempt to collect first. I'm on a PVP server so both new zones will be jam-packed with both horde and alliance with a lot of ganking in between, I'm sure. But we'll see. Maybe I'll just endure the walk back to my body repeatedly lol.

So a recap of all the pet stuff to do in 5.2 (because if I don't have a list, I'm going to feel very lost lol):
- New Pet Battle dailies; "Elite Battle Pets"
- rewards 1 pet and a chance to collect 3 others
- 4 new wild pets and 1 new pet to collect from the Isle of Thunder
- 4 new pets to fish up
- 5 new pets to collect from the Isle of Giants
- 3 new pets to collect from the Throne of Thunder (raid)
- 1 new pet to collect from Townlong Steppes
- 1 new TCG loot card pet
That comes to a total of 23 new pets to collect in 5.2! I'm excited yet anxious at the same time. There's just so much to do and all the new shinies to collect. :P

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Collecting the Zandalari Raptor Pets

Disclaimer: All of this was previewed on the 5.2 PTR. Content subject to change one the patch goes live.

Coming in patch 5.2 are four new dinosaur pets to collect, the Zandalari Anklerender, Zandalari Footslasher, Zandalari Kneebiter, and Zandalari Toenibbler.

These four companions drop from the Isle of Giants. I haven't found a very elegant way to travel there for the first time, other than simply mounting up and flying north from Kun-Lai Summit. Once you've traveled to the Isle of Giants, though, you can learn the flight path and use it to travel back and forth.

So where exactly do these pets drop? You'll need to kill some Zandalari Dinomancers, level 90-91 elite NPCs.

(click to view larger version)

There are 8 groups of Dinomancers located on the Isle of Giants. The associated number next to each red circle is the number of NPCs found in that particular area. Most come in pairs or in groups of 3+, with only a few spawning as solo pulls. The Dinomancers that are in the very center of the map (6 of them) is the only area where there are multiple NPCs that can be agro'ed individually.

Be cautious when traveling around the island; there are level 90-92 elite dinosaurs everywhere. It's a dino-lover's paradise (until those dinosaurs decide you'd be a tasty meal)! :P

To get around this, you can head to the alliance (far left purple circle) or horde (far right purple circle) "base camps" to purchase some Intact Direhorn Hide. It turns you into a Triceratops (of varying color)!

This item is only usable while on the island, so you'll want to stick around if you buy them. Even touching the beach where the flight paths are located will remove the costume. Using the Hide won't make the dinosaurs and Dinomancers friendly or neutral to you, but it will drastically reduce their agro range. And yes! This costume works on the Dinomancers as well. Using abilities or entering combat will remove the costume, however fall damage will not.

If you're feeling adventurous and daring, you can try taking on the boat where there is a grand total of 24 Dinomancers.

It will take a little bit of fancy jumping to get up and onto the side, and once you're up, be aware that there are two Dinomancers as well as an elite T-Rex waiting for you. Stealth and invisibility potions are invaluable if you're headed for the boat.

You'll also want to be wary of the level 92 rare elite that spawns on top of the boat, War-God Dokah. He's easily avoidable, and you can pull any Dinomancers that spawn nearby away from him without pulling him.

The Dinomancers have a decent respawn rate, and the drop rate of the companions isn't too low, however it's still random so you could get one your first kill or spend a few days trying to find one. Whatever you're seeking on the Isle of Giants, good luck and enjoy the epic dino-scenery!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Snowy Owl Season Over

Winter may not officially be over, but the Snowy Owls seem to have gone into hiding already. I've checked two different servers and haven't found a single owl. It could be that I was just terribly unlucky and someone had just cleared out the zone of owls, but there have also been reports on the WarcraftPets forums of missing feathery friends in Winterspring.

There's been some speculation over just when these flying pets would disappear, since they originally did not follow the seasonal timing of the Winter Squid. At first this was believed to be a bug/effect of the expansion being released at an awkward time for the Snowy Owl, but it's getting really hard to tell.

On the official Pet Battles forum, a player reports that all the Snowy Owls stopped spawning midnight of February 28 (in other words, March 1st). Other users on WarcraftPets also noticed the lack of owls starting on the first of March. I'm hoping to get an official confirmation on the date of its last spawn.

At the moment, it would appear that the Snowy Owls spawn on November 1st and stick around until March 1st, while the Winter Squid spawns between September 23rd and March 20th. It's puzzling why they wouldn't share the same dates, as they both require "winter". On the other hand, one is fished up and the other is a flying critter, so there's no absolute reason they should follow the same pattern. In the end, they are both showing up during WoW's "winter", however short or long the duration.

Since the Snowy Owl appears to have gone into hibernation now, be sure to keep your eye out for the Qiraji Guardling! "Summer" is coming. :P

Friday, March 1, 2013

Pierre Not In Patch 5.2

It looks as though cooks and collectors will need to wait a bit longer before having their own personal stove following them around. After noticing that Pierre was missing from the Pet Journal in the latest PTR build, Perculia (of Wowhead) inquired on its status.
"He got bumped out of 5.2 sadly." - Mumper
It's a little disappointing, however my hope is that they will refine how this pet is obtained and work on making the mats a little less daunting. Currently it's quite expensive to obtain Pierre, as well as near impossible for a non-level capped engineer (with at least 500 engineering skill). It's BoP and uncageable; making it difficult for collectors to acquire this pet without a toon that meets the requirements.

So with Pierre being pushed back for perhaps a future patch, maybe developers will decide to make it less of a special-snowflake pet while not too common. There's always room for a little change and balancing. :)

We'll see how things work out. I was looking forward to collecting the little stovetop, but I'm also looking forward to any updates and possible adjustments to how it's obtained. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a bit relieved that I won't have to make the grind to 500 engineering on my main toon (just for the pet) in 5.2. :P There's already so much else that I'll want to do!
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Perks N Peeves by Quintessence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.