Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Update On Family Passives Discussion

Crithto responded to the feedback of the pet family passive discussion on the official Pet Battles forum. In his post, he lists some possible changes to passives for patch 5.4. Remember, these changes are not finalized yet, and additional constructive input is welcome.
"Thank you to everyone who has shared their feedback with us so far, we appreciate it. Based on some of the comments we’ve received, here is an updated list of potential changes we’re hoping to include in Patch 5.4:
- The Magic passive now caps damage taken at 35% of maximum health, buffed from 40%.

- The Dragonkin passive effect now activates when the enemy is taken below 50% health, up from 25%.

- The Aquatic passive now reduces DOT damage by 50%, up from 25%.

- The Elemental passive effect now only affect negative, direct effects of weather (e.g. the accuracy reduction of Sandstorm won’t be applied, but the damage reduction will).

- The Critter passive now makes critters completely immune to roots, stuns, and sleeps."
I'm not a pet-theorycrafter, so my feedback wouldn't be very helpful, but I encourage those that have insightful ideas/comments on these potential changes to respond to the discussion thread. It's a rare opportunity to play such a role in the development process so let your voice be heard. :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TBC Raid Pets Doing Neat Stuff

I didn't notice it before, but I just found out that all of the Burning Crusade raid dropped pets have unique animations/interactions! *squee* I'm a huge sucker for details like that. :)

So what does each pet do? Descriptions and screenshots after the break!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dailies Post Patch 5.3

Now that the Unborn Val'kyr's been added to my collection, I had more time to do other things both in real life and in-game. Today was the first day since the patch was released that I had time to do the Tamer and BoF dailies.

While going about doing the dailies, I noticed the updated tooltips that show the hit percent for each attack. Not only is it just nice to see, but they also change as your opponent's abilities come into play. If you're hit with an attack that reduces your chance to hit, your abilities' tooltips will reflect that and the accuracy percentage will turn red and drop down to the appropriate value.

before debuff

after debuff

It's quite nice and it comes in handy in some situations where any attack will work making it tough to pick the "right" one for that moment. In situations like that, you could just find the one that has the highest chance to hit and be done with it! :P

BoF Dailies
I also got a chance to do the new BoF dailies. After reading the WarcraftPets forums and finding suggestions on how to beat the updated BoF NPCs, rather than going with a Cockroach apocalypse-survival team, I decided to try out a fox. I found the battles to be a bit more challenging, but not impossible. There were only two fights that I had to restart; both were aquatic NPCs.

Here's what I ended up using for each family-type (in no particular order):

My Tale of the Unborn Val'kyr

My first experience with the Unborn Val'kyr was pretty traumatizing. After spending 8 hours in Northrend, I took a much needed break. I went back the next day and stumbled upon a spawn, but an alliance player had already engaged in battle with it. Not two seconds later, a horde came and started to kill the alliance. Not three seconds later, another horde came and joined the battle.

Unfortunately the Unborn Val'kyr was a casualty of war so in the end no one got the pet. Whether it was killed intentionally or unintentionally is unclear. But either way, it was absolutely horrifying watching it die at the very start of world PVP. :(

Having experienced such a tragedy, my hopes weren't very high for finding an unharmed val'kyr. Nevertheless I woke up early today just to fly around Northrend for a few hours before going on to do other things. My hope was that it was early enough so there wouldn't be as many players on searching for it.

After about an hour, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest when NPCScan went off and there she was! A lonely little level 22 Unborn Val'kyr in Howling Fjord. I immediately jumped into a pet battle with her.

I can't tell you how scared shitless I was while battling. The only things that were running through my mind was 1 - DON'T KILL HER, FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING, DON'T KILL HER and 2 - SOMEONE MIGHT DROP DOWN AND KILL ME (and her) AT ANY MOMENT, WHY IS THIS BATTLE TAKING SO LONG?!

It was so nerve-wracking that yes, I was literally nauseous throughout the entire ordeal. If the fight had gone on any longer than it had, I really might have thrown up. It took three attempts before the cage managed to snap shut, and every attempt made me dizzy with fear.

But my pets pulled through, I didn't kill her, no one stopped by to say hello or goodbye, and I successfully captured my very own poor quality Unborn Val'kyr. I can't even begin to describe how relieved I was when it was over. It felt like a million tons of brick had been lifted off my shoulders.

I promptly hearthed and logged over to an alt carrying all my battle-stones. There was an Undead one with her name on it.

Now I can finally spend more time in Pandaria on my main toon and get other stuff done. I've been neglecting dailies of every kind, pet battles included, and I should really get some more flasks for raiding.

I'm so glad that there's only one wild pet with such a spawn mechanic for this patch. If there were multiple versions of the Unborn Val'kyr, I don't know what I would do. Curl up in a corner and cry a bit? Completely overdramatic, but searching for this pet really did take an emotional toll on me. My friends and family will probably be just as relieved that I found what I was looking for, since now I'll shut up about it and stop being so anxious. :P

Anyway, I'm sending lots of luck to all pet collectors out there. My sincerest hope that all of you find and capture your very own Unborn Val'kyr in the near future. ❤ Don't give up, no matter how grim or bleak the situation may seem.

The Possible Drawback of LFR-Only Pets

NathKnave from WarcraftPets brought up something that rekindled my curiosity and concern abut it. What will happen to the pets/items that are LFR exclusive once the next expansion comes out and toons out-level MoP LFRs?

Currently the system works in a way so that once you reach a certain level, you can no longer queue for certain dungeons. You need to head to the portal and physically zone in. Will this also apply to LFR? If so, we'll be out of luck since there isn't a way to physically go to a portal and zone into a LFR raid. A normal or heroic raid, yes. But LFR? We could fly around in the nethervoid forever and still not find a way into LFR. :P

With a pet and even uniquely colored items (for xmog lol) being exclusive to LFR, IF LFR follows the same model as dungeons, these vanity pieces are going to be very rare come next expansion. We're going to have to rely solely on alts of appropriate level. Even then, the queues will probably be painfully long since there won't be as many people queuing up for LFR at that point. Not only that but since the items are soulbound, running LFR on your alt does nothing for your main unless the items are BoE or account-wide.

Hopefully they will become available through some other means, such as a vendor. Or maybe we'll still be able to queue into LFR once we've reached the next level cap. I'm pretty doubtful of that though, since that would defeat the purpose of having LFR for each tier.

All of that being said, it doesn't mean we should panic and rush to do LFR on every eligible toon or spend a ton of gold to buy the pet right away. I'd like to give developers the benefit of the doubt that they'll implement something to cover all bases eventually.

Still, it doesn't hurt to do LFR each week on at least your main for a chance at the Living Fluid. :P

Friday, May 24, 2013

Don't Save Your Tamer Bags In 5.3

UPDATE: According to Mumper, Blizzard is reviewing players that opened too many bags. While that's not a guarantee that your account will be expunged of any infraction (if you were wrongly banned for opening too many Tamer bags), it's good to know they are at least investigating the matter and re-looking at those who feel they did nothing to warrant it.

With the addition of the "bad luck protection" feature, Blizzard has taken a strong stance against gaming it. They now consider it an actionable offense if you open many bags all in one sitting.

Collectors from WarcraftPets are already reporting receiving temporary bans (3 days) for opening Tamer bags that they either saved from previous days or earned all in one day.

So just to be safe, better to open your bags as you receive them, rather than waiting until collecting all the Tamer bags for the day. It removes some of the fun for those that enjoying opening them all at once for that 'Christmas morning' feel, but until this is fixed it's better to be safe than sorry.

I use the term "fixed" lightly though, as it's unclear if this is actually a bug or if it's intended to stop players from trying to exploit the bad luck protection mechanic.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Quest For Your Wild Pet Idea

After searching for about 8-9 hours for the Unborn Val'kyr yesterday and coming up empty handed, I went to sleep feeling very unsatisfied. When I woke up, though, I had an idea brewing. I have no idea where it came from, but it seems interesting enough.

My biggest concerns with how we're supposed to acquire the Unborn Val'kyr is the high amount of RNG involved that spans an entire continent. In addition, you really aren't doing anything productive since flying around or waiting at a spot doesn't exactly benefit you in any way as a pet collector or battler. It's as if a pirate handed you a treasure map but instead of marking possible locations, he just scribbled across the top: "I BURIED MY TREASURE SOMEWHERE". So you just have to drive back and forth in that area, wasting gas, and hope you stumble across it.

But how can a wild pet be implemented to avoid the heavy RNG and lack of player participation? It's "wild" for a reason right?

My idea consists of a few aspects:
- Questing
- Chance of drop (because some RNG is necessary)
- Battling
- Knowledge of strong/weak families
I haven't completely ironed out all the details, but here's a quick example. I'm not claiming this to be viable or a good idea; it's just something that I thought was interesting and wouldn't mind exploring further.

Let's say you're out battling wild pets and you happen to defeat a Mechanical one. It drops a unique item that turns out to be a quest item. You accept the quest and it directs you to a "rare and exotic creatures" NPC.

The NPC is thrilled that you've found the item, because guess what? It belongs to a rare Beast type creature that somehow got away from him. It could be a collar, part of the pet's favorite toy, or anything identifiable to that specific pet. The Mech pet you defeated must have come across the Beast creature, had a scrap with it and won. (Because Mechs are strong against Beast, yea?)

The NPC goes on to say that he needs your help to find his lost creature, but thinks it must be scared after losing a fight to the Mechanical pet. In order to draw it out, you need to defeat X number of wild pets that are weak to the Beast. "Collecting weak pheromones" or something. Using the pheromones would create an item to draw his lost animal out so you can capture it.

So you're off on a quest to defeat X number of wild Critters (because Critters are weak against Beasts). After doing this, you return and he creates the lure for you. He tells you of the creature's favorite hiding spot (or original natural habitat or something), so you need to go there and set up the trap.

Once you spawn the Beast, you must engage in battle with it before capturing it. Since you summoned it, only you may battle and capture it.

You capture it and return to the NPC. But instead of returning it to him, he tells you how grateful he is for your help and that he just acquired a new Beast pet and doesn't have room for the you caught anymore. In the end, you keep what you catch!

What you catch comes in a random breed and quality. Perhaps you could complete the quest multiple times in hopes for a specific breed/quality? I don't know. Haven't really thought about the details.

The good things about this type of gameplay is that it still involves RNG (X chance to drop the item that starts the quest chain), it involves actually battling and doing something that will benefit collecting/battling, and it's not just a "gimmee" as you have to go out in the world and work on getting a wild pet to spawn.

On top of that, it would be easy to implement a pet for each family type AND add more pets to this system in the future. Mr./Ms. "rare and exotic creatures" NPC could "lose" rare pets all the time and ask for your help indefinitely. :P

Anyway, just a thought. I haven't brainstormed loopholes, possible ways to exploit it or difficulties that players may run into yet, so it's not an idea that's complete. Just something I woke up with in my head.

One thing to think about: Would the pet in this scenario still be considered a "wild pet"? Or would it be more of a quest pet? With random quality/breed and the requirement to battle and capture it, it could qualify as wild (maybe?), but then again you have to use a quest item to summon it. Hm, not sure.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly In 5.3

It hasn't been that long since patch 5.3 was released (three days since, to be exact), so my opinions may change over time. Things might also change as hotfixes are rolled out.

In any case, here are my first impressions. First off, what I really like about this patch (short and sweet):
- BoA stones! I loves me some bag space :)

- Pet Journal saves your pet's abilities even when you change teams. Fewer cases of forgetting to change an attack for a certain fight.

- Moar pets!
Keep in mind that there are probably many other new features that I'll enjoy, but to be honest, I haven't really gotten into the battling side of things for 5.3 yet. I've been mainly focusing on collecting all the new pets.

Some stuff that I'm looking forward to experiencing in the very near future:
- "Bad luck protection" for battle-stones.

- The consumable that boosts exp gained for my pets.

- Accuracy changes.
On the flip side, there are some things that I am not really enjoying and do not look forward to experiencing. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't necessarily mean it's "bad".

Maybe it will just take time for me to get used to. Or maybe it will get changed. And it's always possible that it won't and many, not just me, will also (continue to) dislike it.

Unborn Val'kyr Spawning
I was hoping to catch my very own val'kyr before writing this post, so I could share my entire experience, but it's going on the 8th hour now, and I still haven't had any luck.

Yes, I've been in Northrend for roughly 8 hours. My guild's raid was canceled so I decided to head to Northrend, expecting to be done in a few hours. The wait and hunt has extended well over those "few hours".

I've spent a few moments on alts and I did a few LFRs in hopes for the pets. But other than that, I have been sitting and staring at all the zones of Northrend. It's been very engaging *sarcasm*.

I'm having trouble deciding if this spawning is better or worse than the Minfernal. Honestly I'm leaning towards worse. Both are still maddeningly boring, time-consuming, and rely way too much on RNG.

However, unlike the Minfernal, which has a fixed and centralized area in which it can spawn, the Unborn Val'kyr seems to spawn randomly in ANY Northrend zone (minus Wintergrasp, I think?).

There are a total of 9 zones, and so far each one seems to contain at least 2 confirmed spawn points for the pet. That's at least 18+ different locations to travel to. The travel time is killer, as is the randomness of the spawn.

This is like looking for a needle in a haystack. But yenno what? I would prefer looking for the needle at this point. At least when you search for that, you can apply some sort of method to the hunt. Use a magnet or use a sorter. You can't apply any kind of logic to the search for the Unborn Val'kyr, except for maybe flying in a set and predetermined flight path to check on each spawn location.

It's absolutely frustrating. There is just way too much RNG involved with this pet. As I always say, it's about finding the sweet spot with RNG. Enough to make it interesting, but not so much that it makes players feel like they're going out of their damn mind.

Another thing is that the RNG probably wouldn't be as bad if I actually had a reason to be in Northrend other than looking for the pet. If the Unborn Val'kyr had been released during WotLK, I think I wouldn't have minded as much having to travel from zone to zone. I would already be in Northrend, all my activities outside of pets already revolve around Northrend, and that alone would provide reason for me to travel to a random spot and possibly stumble across the pet.

In that type of situation, it would feel much more like a pleasant surprise. Collecting materials for flasks in Zul'Drak, and oh! What do you know? You find an Unborn Val'kyr to collect. How lovely!

Unfortunately, that's not the case, and as it stands right now, I'm going out of my way to be in Northrend to simply WAIT for the pet. This feels very unproductive outside of pet collecting. Even as a collector, I'm not really doing much except flying from spawn point to spawn point, and/or camping an area. Finding it would only be a relief to finally get out of Northrend and be done with the search.

I think the pet looks amazing and I can't wait to collect one of my own. But I really think the spawning mechanic could have been improved. Allow a bit more player control and involvement and/or less RNG. Provide some method to the madness.

As Piazzolla said on the WarcraftPets forums, "This might be the cruelest thing Blizzard has come up with as far as spawn mechanics go.."

Is that an overstatement? At this very moment, as I sit here, sip my now cold coffee, and watch my screen in Grizzly Hills, going onto hour 8 soon, my thoughts are 'no'.

Beast of Fable Difficulty
There is A LOT of talk on how the BoF NPCs were buffed beyond what's "doable" and "fun". After reading people's first impressions, I've put off trying out the ramped up BoF dailies. As a collector first and foremost, I don't need the stress/frustration of trying to defeat a possibly overtuned NPC on my plate right now.

That being said, I can't accurately give my own impression of the updated BoF. However, I can provide a quick summary and my thoughts on the matter.

Many have mentioned how the BoF NPCs have had their life reduced drastically, but to compensate, they hit extra hard and heal for the same amount. The former is something that I think most of us anticipated when it was mentioned that the difficulty would be increased. But the latter comes as a surprise to me.

You would think that because their life was reduced, their healing would also be scaled down. It would only make sense, right? If you had 1000 total HP to start and healed for half of your life, but suddenly you dropped down to 600 total HP yet still healed for 500, wouldn't that be a bit unfair? You could jump to nearly full life in a single turn without even trying.

Players have already suggested a way to counter this overhealing... sort of. Rather than using fun teams and actively participating in the match, a few have opted to use what I consider a "neener neener, I can survive longer" approach.

Simply put, a team that outlasts the NPC so that Apocalypse can resolve and kill the BoF. It doesn't sound like it works on all of them, but with many people getting roadblocked on the BoF quests, any idea is better than nothing.

Outside of battle mechanics, I have to question if ramping up the BoF difficulty by so much was the way to go. There are already so many dailies that collectors and battlers feel they need to get done, and now there are three more that may take the longest to complete due to how difficult it is to defeat the NPCs involved.

It's not as if these dailies don't hold anything important either. There's a higher chance for stones as well as pets from the reward bag. Both necessary for a collector/battler. Sure, there are other sources for both (wild battles, other reward bags, PVP, the AH, etc.), but it just seems a little mean to dangle the carrot and keep it out of reach all because a silly fish can outheal any damage you output.

Like I said, though, I haven't tried the battles out for myself yet, but I can imagine them to be quite annoying post patch. I have no doubt that sooner or later players will discover a strategy that everyone can adopt (even if it may not be foolproof), and/or the BoF will get an update to balance and tune them better.

In the meantime, I wish the best to everyone doing the BoF on a daily basis. I sympathize and empathize with your frustration. *continues to fly around Northrend* Maybe hour 9 will be luckier......... gonna need more coffee.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Game Diplomat's Interview with Mumper

The Game Diplomat recently had an interview with Mumper about everyone's favorite minigame, Pet Battles! There's a summary of what was discussed on the interview page, but here are a few things that I took away from it.
- If players show even more interest in pet PVP, there will be a reason to put more into that aspect of the game. One possibility is implementing a "pet currency" and set number of matches played to earn said currency per week (sounds similar to how arenas work).

- Second set of BC raid pets will be released eventually, but it's unknown exactly when. Other raids may or may not receive pets as well. Whatever "fits".

- Overtuned pets are generally because of experiments with new abilities/combinations. It's never the intent to make a pet overpowered/very strong.

- Beasts of Fable was an attempt to create new and engaging content without having to require a long chain of prerequisites. The NPCs weren't tuned as well as devs would have liked.
Aaand what we've all been waiting for, details on the Unborn Val'kyr!
- Random set of spawns all across Northrend.

- Players can only affect how it spawns by catching one.

- Pet interaction: It will ressurect dead non-battle critters! :D
Yikes, hopefully the Unborn Val'kyr won't have a devastating low or slow spawn rate. With such a large area to search, the hunt for this wild pet might be even more frustrating than waiting for the Minfernal to pop up in Felwood. x_x

Other than that, I'm pretty curious about how high of an interest there is for pet PVP. Part of me hopes that it's only average, about as high as pet PVE, mainly because if there is a "pet currency" a la arena points style, it would start to feel somewhat mandatory to pet PVP. If new pets are implemented and can only be purchased using pet PVP points, that would definitely be disappointing (not just for me, but for others too, I'm sure).

PVP is just not my thing, so if I feel that I need to PVP in order to stay "competitive" (in terms of collecting and maintaining my collection, not necessarily ranking), Pet Battles and eventually collecting will lose its appeal.

This was one thing that I was concerned about when Pet Battles was first announced. In order to keep collecting, you pretty much have to PVE battle these days. I was hesitant at first, but came to accept the system. However, if PVP is added to the equation, and the equation can't be completed without it, I think I may have to take a step back from it all.

I know it's pretty stubborn of me, but mandatory PVP is where I have to draw the line. One or two pets, I'll grit my teeth and go through the motions. But if an arena system is implemented for Pet Battles, where points are absolutely necessary to keep your collection relatively complete, I just don't think I can handle that.

Of course, we'll see. Nothing's been set in stone yet, and developers are probably still brainstorming a number of ideas to make Pet Battles even more interesting/fun.

Coming from someone who's a collector first, pet battler second, I have to admit that this minigame is getting pretty complicated. Well, at least compared to the simplicity of collecting. :P Good thing? Bad thing? Hard to say, plus it's subjective. I'm just going to see how things play out and collect everything I can in the meantime.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Unborn Val'kyr Mystery Continues

The Unborn Val'kyr might be the most mysterious pet to date, as there is still no information on what exactly causes this undead pet to spawn. A few players have found it on the PTR, but there aren't any clues or leads to indicate when/how/why it spawned where it did.

So far there's only one noticeable pattern: rare spawn points.

Keep in mind that this doesn't mean that the Unborn Val'kyr is directly linked or affected by any rare spawns, but they may share the same or similar spawn locations.

Or it could all be a major coincidence. We have such little information on where the pet could pop up, so it may just be natural that players tend to wander towards already known "hot spots" (aka: rare spawn points) where the val'kyr could just happen to be. Other non-rare spawn ares are highly likely.

That being said, 3 out of 4 confirmed spawn locations for the Unborn Val'kyr have been uncannily close to rares spawns.
Icecrown - High Thane Jorfus' spawn area
Scholazar - near Loque'nahak's spawn
Zul'Drak - close to Gondria 's spawn
The last point was confirmed in Storm Peaks, "north of K3", but I couldn't determine the exact spot since a map image wasn't provided. As far as I can tell, only the two rare dragons spawn/pat near K3. If the player was even further north than I guessed, it gets closer to another rare spawn point. It's hard to say, though.

Until we can collect more varied confirmed locations, there isn't much to disprove the whole "rare spawn" idea. More information might be impossible at this stage, though, since the PTR appears to be coming to a close "soon". A release candidate was recently patched in, so in the end we might have to wait for 5.3 to hit live servers to test our luck then.

I have no doubt that we'll eventually figure out the puzzle that is the Unborn Val'kyr. It might take longer than any other pet discovery though!

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Undermine Journal: Great Resource For Pet Buyers/Sellers

The Undermine Journal is finally showing pet items AND caged pets! Yaay. :) Now you can check up on pet prices on the AH across multiple servers without having to log into each realm.

For caged pets, the website shows what breed it is, but it doesn't list the pet's level or its quality. So while it's convenient to check up on whether a certain pet's available on a server, be sure to double check that the pet is what you're really looking for before throwing your money at the auctioneer.

In addition to showing caged pets, if you're on a PVE server and don't have the time to camp out at the BMAH to check for especially rare pets, The Undermine Journal does it for you! It's only for PVE servers, though, because apparently they gather the information manually. WowInsider covers how they do it.

So if you're big on selling/buying pets from the AH, The Undermine Journal is a very useful tool and resource. Heck, I don't play the market much but I still enjoy checking out what's for sale and how much pets/items are going for. :P

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Holiday Wild Pets: Terrific or Terrible Idea?

Currently all major in-game holidays have pets associated with them. From Pilgrim's Bounty's Plump Turkey to Love is in the Air's Peddlefeet and Toxic Wasteling, each one has at least one corresponding pet. Sidenote: I say "major holiday" because there are some events such as Day of the Dead, Pirates' Day and the Harvest Festival that are fairly short and/or don't have much to do/collect during them.

Many collectors, old and new, have managed to obtain most if not all these pets, though. After everything's been collected and all achievements completed, what's to do after that? Blizzard could just add more pets to each holiday, but with the implementation of Pet Battles, there is another idea that might be more interesting than simply adding another vendor or holiday boss-dropped companion. As stated in the linked Tweet, capturable wild pets that only spawn during holidays. Think of all the possibilities! It would be a great way to finally introduce those pink bunnies for Noblegarden. ;)

Now, if wild pets for specific holidays becomes a thing, it could go either very well or turn into a nightmare for collectors. I'm a huge critic of limited-time pets, as it's somewhat punishing for those that don't actually have the time and collectors in general. There's a lot of stress and anxiety, during certain holidays, due to many overbearing factors that collectors have to deal with. So if wild pets is the next step, there should be some things to consider in order to keep things balanced.

My biggest issue with holiday pets is that collectors must contend with multiple factors for the sake of "rarity" (not the quality of the pet, but in terms of how difficult/exclusive a pet is). Namely RNG, low droprates, limited attempts, and the pets being around for a limited time. The latter two aren't huge issues these days since most holiday companions are now cageable and account-wide. (It's still pretty rough for those who don't have the means to utilize alts and extra gold, such as new players.)

In previous situations where holiday pets were involved, it was great if you got lucky on your first few attempts at acquiring said pet, but it was pretty devastating if the RNG gods weren't in your favor. It was painful to hear about others finding nothing but dissapointment day after day. With the clock ticking down, it was discouraging to try but still come up empty handed without so much as a consolation prize.

That being said, consider these factors being applied to wild pets, pets that CAN'T be traded. The result would definitely be frustration and headache.

Some things wouldn't apply obviously, such as droprates and limited attempts. But imagine being able to find and battle only one holiday pet per day. It doesn't sound all that pleasant right? Or maybe it seems ok because you can just capture the first one you find and upgrade it with a Battle-Stone. Keep in mind that we're talking about wild pets, though, and there's bound to be loads of competition. These will be in great demand if there are only limited spawns throughout the duration of the event. It could get pretty infuriating if the spawn-rates are too low or too few. Add on top of that the fact that they'll only be around for a week or so. It sounds less and less pleasant the more you think about it.

It's understandable that Blizzard would like to keep some pets "rare", but there has to be a balance between rarity and actual availability. When collectors face so many factors (and have little to no control over any of them), the fun starts to melt away and turn into irritation. A great example of this is the Minfernal hunt, and I think this Tweet says it all.
"..getting a Minfernal was not very fun. I just wanted it cause it looked cool. Not cause it was rare."
Not all collectors feel this way, but there are many who do share the same sentiment towards certain pets. That being said, a compromise between rarity and actual availability should always be considered. Especially in the case of wild holiday pets IF they are ever implemented. Limited duration/chances can already be frustrating for both those that don't have the time and those that do, but if even more factors are added for the sake of just "rarity", the fun is lost for many players.

There are probably many ways developers can implement holiday-only wild pets, and my hope is that if they choose to do so, they pick a system that's a bit more forgiving than the previous holiday-pet model. If there are limited attempts, perhaps increase the spawn/droprate. If there are limited spawns/drops, then maybe allow players to find them in many areas. The bad luck protection mechanic is being released soon, so somewhere in there might also be an idea to help players feel as though they are actually working towards their goal, rather than feeling unproductive.

Of course there's also the "replayability" factor when it comes to reoccurring in-game events, which is something that we, as collectors, need to keep in mind. To play devil's advocate, if everyone managed to capture a holiday-pet the moment it was released, would Blizzard need to keep implementing a new one each year (to each holiday) to keep us interested? That sounds pretty unreasonable when you think about how low a priority pets, pet battles, and pet collecting must be on Blizzard's "to-do" list.

So in the end it's all about compromise. Compromise between aspects of the game (rarity and fun) and between players and developers. If Blizzard hears us out and takes into consideration our issues, we must also keep in mind there is more to it than what meets the eye.

It's hard to say what will be coming in the future, and the whole holiday wild pets idea may never see a live server. The concept sounds fun, but if a good balance can't be found, I'd rather not see it be implemented at all. It's all about finding the sweet spot between gameplay and fun (even if "fun" is a subjective term). If anything, I hope all sides are taken into consideration, and even if special event wild pets are never implemented, the idea of compromise should still be applied for other features.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Unborn Val'kyr Is a Picky Pet

New news on the Unborn Val'kyr, and it's a tad bit frustrating. In response to an inquiry about whether or not players can actively trigger this wild pet to spawn, Mumper stated:
"Players have no effect other than capturing or killing what they find."
There's further clarification that the spawning is dependent on realm conditions and not the player.

While I'm glad for the confirmation either way, it still leaves us with very little to go on. On top of that, now that we know we cannot initiate the right conditions for it to spawn, that means we have to rely purely on luck. If we happen to find any Unborn Val'kyr up, every little detail of the time, day, environment, etc. will have to be noted to try and pin point exactly what on the server triggered the spawn.

It's pretty frustrating when you think about it. We're going to have to contend with RNG and possibly CRZ, and on top of that, we're going in completely blind. The only hint we have to go on is that it's a "new spawn mechanic", which could mean anything. Other pets that have specific spawning conditions at least give us hints as to what is necessary to find them. Winter for the Snowy Owl, Rain for the Baby Ape, etc. The lack of knowledge about the Unborn Val'kyr is fairly irritating.

I was excited to try and find out what the spawn mechanic would be for this pet, but only when I was under the impression that I could play a part in its spawning. My interest was piqued, and I was actually enjoying trying to brainstorm what I could do next to try and force a spawn. Now that I know I'm just going to have be 100% lucky, it doesn't seem as fun anymore. My role in this is purely random which is kind of discouraging.

So there you go. In the beginning it will be completely based on RNG until more people find the Unborn Val'kyr, take down notes on the conditions at the time and compare notes to determine the common factors and possibly the exact reason it spawned. Good luck to everyone, and seriously, may the RNG gods smile on pet collectors.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Tiny Carps Possibly Cageable In 5.3

El and Wowhead are both reporting that the Tiny Carp pets might become cageable/tradeable in Patch 5.3. Keep in mind that this was previewed on the PTR, so things are subject to change at any time and nothing is 100% set in stone yet.

If this change goes live, I think many collectors will be pretty pleased. Catching the Tiny Carp pets, while not entirely dependent on fishing skill level, does require a lot of time/patience due to the high RNG factor. When they were first released, it was pretty puzzling to me why they weren't cageable. Not everyone has the time to fish and fish and fish... and fish. And not everyone is extraordinarily lucky either.

So this change will probably make the Tiny Carps a little less rare. There is still the RNG factor, so unless many people have tons of time to fish multiple pets up, I don't expect the AH to get flooded with the carps all at once. They will start making an appearance, though, I have no doubt about that.

I must admit that while I'm for this change, I'm a little bummed that it's happening so soon. For those that spent the time and effort to obtain these pets prior to 5.3, it's a little bit of a statement to bring out a Tiny Carp. If you see a player with one, you know they either spent a hell of a lot of time fishing it up (or got very lucky). After 5.3, it will be anyone's guess how so and so obtained their little carp companion. It's not a bad thing, it's not a good thing. It's just a thing that I'm sure some do care about, though.

Ah well, times change.

We'll have to wait and see if this change to the Tiny Carps goes live in 5.3 or not.
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