Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Constantly Full of Surprises

I tweeted earlier that I somehow managed to get two pets out and following me at the same time, and here's the screenshot proof. I promise 100% that I didn't edit in a second pet. There really were two pets (Guardian Cub and Mirror Strider) following me around as I did ToT LFR.

And since I thought I was going crazy and/or merely lagging, I tried a pet biscuit on both of them. To my surprise both of them grew bigger.

I have no idea how I managed this; I was just playing with my random pet summoning macro while the raid waited for a second tank to queue in. I didn't even notice I already had one pet out until a few summons after the first one decided to stick around. Needless to say, I very much enjoyed having two of my companions following me. :)

Next is just a silly screenshot that I couldn't resist taking. :P

I must admit that I've been a bad pet collector and haven't noticed all the neat details of all the newest pets. There's just not enough time in the day to sit down and simply admire each one.

Anyway, in the same LFR where I had two pets out, I noticed that my character suddenly turned a brownish-green color for a brief moment. I didn't know what to make of it at first, but then I saw I had my Filthling out. Taking a wild guess, I looked it up on Wowhead and what do you know?

The Filthling has an idle interaction and will occasionally spew its guts onto you, applying the Filthy buff (yes, it's a buff not a debuff strangely) which turns you into this gross color. LOL! It even makes this violently ill sound when it does it. How thoroughly amusing. XD

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Qiraji Guardling Woes

UPDATE: A June 24 hotfix was applied to increase the spawn rate of the Qiraji Guardling. Blizzard does listen! :)

The Qiraji Guardling is stirring up the community lately, and some players are unhappy with how this pet was implemented. I haven't heard/seen this much dissatisfaction in a while, not even about the Minfernal or Unborn Val'kyr.

With low spawn timers, CRZ, limited amount of time to capture one, and griefing from other players, it's only understandable that some are frustrated. On one hand, this pet could have been implemented differently to help reduce the amount of stress on collectors, but on the other hand, we as players need to remember that good things come in time.

Blizzard's infatuation with "rarity" goes a little too far sometimes, as I've mentioned many times before, and the balance between keeping things rare and actual fun gameplay can often be overlooked. A player on the WoW forums sums it up nicely:
"There's a difference between "supposed to be rare" and frustrating game design. Frustrating game design is saying we're ok with having 100's of people farming the same location for hours, days, months, years...etc...because...we want it to be rare."
In the case of the Qiraji Guardling, there should have been many factors to consider before its implmentation, not just that the pet needed to be hard to obtain.

First off, this pet is the last pet for many players to collect in order to earn the "Zookeeper" title. I know many players are very achievement oriented, and a title is something that they can show off 100% of the time (whereas a pet doesn't passively stick to you like a title does). Blizzard should have recognized that because of this, and on top of the pet being highly desirable for collectors in general, that making this pet spawn so little and so few would aggravate people. The psychological effect of being unable to finish or complete something can be pretty intense, and it's only natural that players would feel angry that there's a roadblock in their progress. Not just any roadblock, either. A purely RNG roadblock in which they have little to no control over.

Secondly, I think a lot of the anxiety over this pet is due to the fact that it will only be around for a limited time. "Summer" may last for a few months, and although many collectors understand that there will be time to capture one, it's only human to feel pressured to get it as soon as possible "before it's too late". Missed chances are incredibly discouraging, so people will do almost anything avoid this, be it getting it on day one or getting it as soon as possible. Not to mention it requires players to go out of their way to wait for the pet to spawn. It's incredibly time consuming and leaves players feeling unproductive. So to get it ASAP means having more free time to do other, more productive activities (in-game or IRL).

On top of a limited time frame in which the guardling can be caught, there's the incredibly low spawn rate and limited number of spawns that players must face. Under normal circumstances, if this pet was available all year round, I don't think there would be as much fuss about it. Again, I didn't read/hear nearly as much outcry about the Minfernal or the Unborn Val'kyr, and I can only guess that it's due to the fact that players have some control over when they capture it. They can choose to go out at any moment in time to hunt for one. Even if there are only a few spawns and the pets only show up every few hours, there's still room for player choice.

But the Qiraji Guardling? There's less room for player control because of the limiting factors. Few spawns, slow spawn timer, and limited time to catch one. Add to that the increased desire to obtain a guardling to complete a collection or achievement. All these things just to make the pet "rare" leaves players with a really unfavorable experience. There has to be some sort of balance between making a pet hard to get and the act to get that "rare" pet fun. Unfortunately for the Qiraji Guardling, there are just too many factors that leaves it unbalanced and not very fun.

What's even worse is that even if players are willing to withstand all the forces working against them, it's still open for other players to ruin their chances. There have been reports of players griefing those attempting to catch a Qiraji Guardling, by killing both players and the battle pet. This just adds to everyone's frustration, and makes it a headache to capture a pet on any type of server, PVP, PVE, or RP. Because of CRZ, mean spirited players have free reign over all servers and can be a nuisance anywhere.

All of these things combined, it's only natural that anxiety levels are extremely high. It would be insensitive to simply brush off players who are upset with the implementation of the guardling, and discount their voiced issues as merely complaints of an impatient person. There are valid concerns that Blizzard really needs to take a closer look at and keep in mind when implementing the next "rare" pet.

On the flip side, though, we have to remember that many of us will get this pet, but it's just a matter of time. As some have already pointed out on numerous forums, come July/August there will probably be many Qiraji Guardlings at the gates of AQ just waiting for someone to pay attention to them.

The stress and irritation that arises from anxiety over collecting the pet is natural and I don't think anyone should be condemned if they feel upset as long as they can maturely articulate it and keep in mind that they will get their chance eventually. We all need to vent our worries at times, and this situation is no exception. As long as we think of the bigger picture and remember that anything is possible in this world (of warcraft), even the act of collecting a very hard to find pet, we can shoulder each others' anxiety and help each other get through it.

Does that sound a little too family-friendly TV sitcom-ish? In the end it's true, though. This is what the community is meant for. We exchange ideas and sometimes worries with those of like-mind. In some cases we can also share hope and optimism that others will succeed in their adventures too, and give them hope that their pet will come eventually.

It's frustrating and it's maddening, and we don't have to agree with it or find it enjoyable. But if it's something that you really want/want to do, it will come in time. As a community we must remind each other that and empathize with our fellow collectors.

So to sum it all up, I hope Blizzard finds a more balanced way of implementing "rare" pets or at least consider it. And we as players need to remain patient with not only the mechanics but also each other, and remember that we're all at the mercy of the RNG gods.

Sidenote: Although I touch on CRZ being an issue, I don't include it as a main factor in the unbalanced implementation. I don't agree with or like CRZ, but the competition for pets will always be there, CRZ or not. I've pretty much resigned myself to this fact, and even though I rolled an alt on a low pop server, I don't have any expectations that there will be less people looking for pets on that server than my main toon's high pop server. In the end I just pretend that everyone from different servers just has really long and elaborate name tags, but are still from my server. Delusional and in denial? Probably. But if I don't force myself to think this way, I would just get even more upset over pet spawning mechanics, and I don't need that added stress.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Upcoming TCG - Timewalkers: Reign of Fire

WowInsider recently reported on the upcoming TCG expansion deck, Timewalkers: Reign of Fire. As a pet collector, the first thing that popped into my head was, 'So what's the (pet) loot this time?' I was surprised with the answer.

According to the Cryptozoic TCG page on Reign of Fire:
"The Timewalkers have also uncovered time-lost relics from the past. These treasures have returned, featuring every Loot Card™ that has ever existed in the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game! With better chances to open Loot cards in each pack, players will be able to uncover some of Azeroth's greatest trinkets and treasures!"
Yes, you read that right. Reign of Fire will have EVERY loot card every created for WoW TCG. Each box will have a chance to yield something from a previous expansion; "15 game cards per pack; 36 packs per box".

This blows my mind and is very tempting. The only problem is that it's a risk to purchase an entire box, since there's no guarantee that you'll find a specific loot card you're after. On the other hand, it's also a risk to purchase a specific loot card from Ebay or other sources, albeit a smaller risk.

I'm unsure how much an entire box will cost, but if it's cheaper than an Ethereal Trader or Dragon Kite from Ebay, I may just save up for one. Reign of Fire TCG expansion is set to be released July 23, 2013.

My Very Own Qiraji Guardling

Yay, Qiraji Guardling collected! The last of the wild pets is now in my pet army, so I'm all set until they release more wild ones.

I ended up getting the guardling on an alt on a PVE server. With the addition of spectate mode (not optional), it removed the ability to battle while stealthed or shadowmelded. This means trying to catch a highly desirable wild pet on a PVP server is just suicide. I've seen the battles between players over a wild pet; no one wins in that situation, as the pet is often a casualty of war. So I wasn't taking any chances!

There were quite a few other players on the PVE server by the time I logged in. No one was sure if the pets would start spawning midnight server time or midnight PST. Turns out it was the latter, so many people were waiting an extra long time.

I made a beeline straight for the first one I saw, but there seemed to be plenty of spawns to go around. At least I think there were. I saw a few others battling once I had finished my own match, so hopefully others managed to capture a guardling too. :)

Anyway, I'm now a proud "Zookeeper" although I don't think I'll be using the title much. Whenever I think of a zookeeper, large piles of animal waste comes to mind. :P

Thursday, June 20, 2013

5.4 PTR Patch Notes Update - LFR Bonus Rolls Confusion

UPDATE: Mumper clarified on Twitter. So that's that, I guess. Not exactly the response I was expecting.

"They don't drop from bonus rolls currently. They will in 5.4 and they are setup to specifically not override loot."

There was an update to the 5.4 PTR patch notes today:
"Any Battle Pet that could be awarded from a Throne of Thunder boss on Raid Finder difficulty can now be won from a bonus roll, in addition to the standard bonus roll reward."
This is somewhat confusing since there have been reports that the ToT LFR pets have already been dropping for players on their bonus roll.

So the latest patch note could mean one of a few things:
- Those that thought they received the pet on their bonus roll were mistaken.

- The above patch note is worded improperly or wrong completely.

- The above patch note is correct in that players can use a bonus roll and receive the pet PLUS a piece of bonus loot (not just one or the other).
I'm wondering if it's the latter since I can't remember reading any reports of players using a bonus roll and receiving gear + the pet.

IF this is the case, that means we currently have a 50/50 chance of receiving the pet on a bonus roll (in addition to the other 50/50 chance of receiving anything other than gold at all). You can only get one or the other, but not both from a bonus roll. The pet is essentially competing with pieces of gear each time you use a coin.

I have no idea if this is true or not, and the patch note is vague and unclear. Hopefully a blue will clarify in the coming weeks about what's true and what this new addition to the patch notes means.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2013 Arena Pass Registration Starts!

UPDATE: Blizzard clarified which pet will be available for this year's Arena Pass. It will be the original Murkimus the Gladiator, and NOT Murkimus Tyrannicus.


The 2013 Arena Pass registration (US) is open! The EU registration will likely start soon if it hasn't already. :)

It's unclear whether or not the pet for this year's Arena Pass will be the newly datamined Murkimus Tyrannicus or if it will be the traditional Murkimus the Gladiator. Only one is listed as one of the rewards for participating (""Murkimus", the Armored Murloc in-game pet"), so it's hard to say which one will be featured this year. Hopefully we'll find out more details in the coming weeks.

Here are some details for those that haven't participated in the past:
- Have an active WoW subscription and an account that is in good standing.
- Sign up and pay $20 in North America or €15/£12 in Europe.
- Find two other players and create a 3's team.
- Once the rated phase begins, you and your team will need to participate in at least 50 arena matches to qualify for the pet.
- You must not leave your team at any time during the rated phase or else your games be discounted towards the final total.
- The arena matches are held on a completely separate server than the main WoW realms, so no transferring of characters or anything like that is necessary.
For more details, check out the FAQ for the Arena Pass event.

If you're terrible at PVP (like me), do your best to participate in each match. Going in and botching the game by not attacking or zoning in naked may disqualify that match or your entire team. The Arena Pass is meant to be fun for everyone, so do your best to stay in the spirit of PVP for those that enjoy the sport. Blizzard does keep tabs on those that are instant forfeiting and there have been cases where action was taken upon those teams. Better to be safe than sorry, and do your best to give the other team hell. ;P

Another thing to keep in mind is to actively communicate with your team! I don't mean in the arena itself, but to organize when to play matches together. If you're teamed with two strangers that are in it for the pet as well, it's important to make sure everyone is on the same page. 50 games may not sound like a lot, but between real life priorities as well as other in-game activities, a person's schedule can already be pretty full, so it's sometimes difficult for people to make time to play extra. Communicate. Let them know when you're free and be pro-active and ask when your teammates will have time to do some matches during the ranked phase. Set up specific days/times when the three of you can be online and queue up for some games, and in turn be considerate and keep your word to be online at a certain time. We all have to help each other out and do our part to earn this pet! :)

As for me, I'm unsure if I'll be participating this year, and it will depend on if the new murkimus will be the pet for 2013. Since I already own the original Murkimus the Gladiator, it would be pointless if I signed up only to receive a second one. I'm hoping for some details on the pet soon so I can determine if I'm going to be participating or not. Not to mention I need time to find a team!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

5.4 PTR: Engineering Schematic for Pierre and Rascal Bot

WowInsider did a brief write up on how engineers in 5.4 will learn the crafting recipes for the two new pets and the mat necessary to craft them. Apparently all the recipes will come from a single source, Schematic: Chief Engineer Jard's Journal, which currently drops from any mob in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.

The drop is "smart loot" meaning if you're not an engineer or not maxed level engineering, you will not see it drop. Only engineers with 600 skill will see it and be able to roll.

Now, my biggest question was whether or not this loot was exclusive to a level 90 player or not. To test it, I hopped onto my level 86 engineer on the PTR and joined a level 90 friend. After reaching 600 engineering, and a few kills in the Vale (we killed a few of the new sha mobs and then a neutral crane), the schematic did indeed drop for my lowbie. She was able to learn all of the recipes without any hassle.

This is EXCELLENT news, and I hope this doesn't change come 5.4's release. Both pets are BoP, and the mat necessary to craft them is also BoP, making this pet pretty exclusive to engineers. Unfortunately for some (like myself), not all engineers are level 90 yet BUT have max skill in the profession. By making the prerequisite only 600 engineering skill, it gives more players the opportunity to craft the pets for themselves.

Players who aren't level 90 yet will need to find a max level partner to help them 1 - reach the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, and 2 - kills mobs within this zone to get the schematic to drop. It would be lovely if you could cage and then trade Pierre or Rascal Bot to anyone that helps, as a show of thanks, but oh well. Profession exclusive pet is exclusive.

As a sidenote, if you have an toon with engineering but need a bit of catch up to reach 600 skill, here's a handy guide to quickly level engineering. I'm definitely going to be following this guide so I can reach max engineering before 5.4. :D

Friday, June 14, 2013

5.4 PTR: New Pet Preview

I finally found some time to log onto the PTR and check out the Pet Journal. So far Pierre is still not tradeable, Crafty is a work in progress and its entry in the journal is just a placeholder, and the four Celestial aspects are in miniature form!

All of the Celestial babies are from the Tournament of Celestials vendor and are cageable. Their abilities are currently all the same, and will very likely be updated/change later.

Aspect of Chi-JI (flying)

Aspect of Niuzao (beast)

Aspect of Xuen (beast)

Aspect of Yu'lon (dragonkin)

Much like the Argent Tournament, we'll probably have to collect a specific currency to purchase each pet. It's possible that Timeless Coins and/or Celestial Coins will be used at the upcoming tournie.

Next, there's Moon Moon which is indeed a drop from the DMF world boss, Moonfang. It's a beast and is cageable.

Abilities: 1 Moon Fang, 2 Howl, 4 Moon Tears,
10 Bite, 15 Crouch, 20 Moon Dance
I'm still curious to see how the tag and loot mechanics will be for the new world boss. Crossing my fingers that it will be classified as faction taggable!

Last but not least, Rascal-Bot looks like it's the homage to Bad Robot. It's a mech and is not tradeable. Much like Pierre, it's a crafted pet using engineering. Its abilities haven't been updated yet and are still the same as Pierre.

The crafting recipe for both Pierre and Rascal-Bot are currently identical. It's only changed slightly from when the recipe for Pierre was first discovered in a previous PTR cycle. Both pets require 15 Living Steel each and 15 Jard's Peculiar Energy Source each. Much like before, the latter material is BoP so engineers will need to be able to craft this mat themselves.

It's still unclear where the recipes will come from or if they will be trainable. My hope is that they won't require a level 90 to learn/obtain, or else my poor engineer will be out of luck. Both pets are BoP and NOT cageable so if you must be 90 to learn how to craft them, I'm going to be waiting a while before I finally manage to get a hold of the pets. :(

Anyway, if you'd like to see a preview of these pets in-game (PTR), there's a youtube video here!

Blossoming Ancient Now Available!

The Blossoming Ancient was finally released today! :D It costs $10 and can be purchased from the US or EU Blizzard store. Remember to purchase from the store that caters to your region, as you can only redeem a code for your region.

It came with a lovely little note from Malfurion (Stormrage).
"Even the mightiest of ancients was once a single, tiny seed.

In time, this sapling will grow into one of the Cenarion Circle's greatest protectors.

Until then, it will serve as your faithful companion."
Adorable! I can't wait to level up this cool looking guy. :)

And look, according to its foliage, it's still spring. XD Never again will we have to wonder what season it is in WoW. :P

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

5.4 PTR: Official Patch Notes

Blizzard just released the official 5.4 PTR patch notes. Keep in mind that things may change over the course of the testing period.
A new pet battle tournament is available on the Timeless Isle, more details coming soon!

Players are now able to trade in any 3 of the same family specific Flawless Battle-Stones for a single Marked Flawless Battle-Stone.

Viewable pet battles will now display working health bars.

Battle Pet levels are now only shown on the map if you are tracking Battle Pets.

Aquatic type's passive effect now reduces damage from damage-over-time effects by 50%, up from 25%.

Critter type's passive effect now makes critters immune to roots, stuns, and sleep effects.

Dragonkin type's passive effect now activates after an attack brings a target's to below 50% health, up from 25%.

Elemental type's passive effect now only affects negative direct effects of weather. (E.g. Sandstorm's accuracy reduction won't be applied, but the damage reduction will.)

Magic type's passive effect now caps damage taken at 35% of maximum health, up from 40%.
The pet battle tournie sounds pretty interesting, but I'm starting to have flashbacks of the Argent Tournie. Very grindy. I wonder if it will be similar to the Argent Tournament in that it's faction specific. We'll see!

I CAN'T WAIT to trade in family-specific stones for generic ones. I'll finally clear up some bagspace and upgrade those last few pets. :D

There were other changes to pet abilities as well, and changes to pet ability positions for the Darkmoon Zeppelin and Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling. You can view all the changes here.

Pre-Patch 5.4 PTR Datamining

The next PTR is coming on "soon" and Wowhead has already datamined some goodies! Four possible pets might be coming in 5.4.
Crafty (BoP)
Moon Moon (BoE)
Rascal Bot (BoP)
Essence of Xuen (BoP)
Currently only the first three have both item IDs and spell IDs, while Essence of Xuen is still missing a spell to go along with it. We'll just have to wait and see how things pan out this upcoming PTR cycle.

I'm pretty curious about Crafty and Moon Moon, and I can't wait to see what type of pets they will be (or if they'll even be available to collect). Crafty's summon tooltip includes an extra line, "This pet is awesome", but we'll be the judge of that! :P

Edit: @perculia and @liopleurodonic brought to light additional pet-related additions: 2 new achievements!
Crazy for Cats (under the Collect sub-category)
The Celestial Tournament (under the Battle sub-category)
The first one made me laugh, but I have to wonder about the Aspect of Xuen requirement. Perhaps tied with Essence of Xuen?

The second achievement sounds pretty intriguing. A pet battle PVE event, tournament-style? Will we have to battle waves of champions Grand Master Tamers? I can't wait to learn more :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tantalizing Tweets

In case you missed it, some info via Twitter:

"Found a bug in the forfeit (less than)1 min hotfix. Wins should still count, players should just not receive XP. We are working on an update ASAP."
This Tweet was in regards to the interesting change where queued PVP pet matches lasting less than one minute did not award a "win". Apparently it's supposed to still count in your favor if someone forfeits under the one minute mark, but you just don't earn experience. That's great news for those going after the achievement(s)!

"We know folks want these, just have to work out a plan for how to give them out. Its on the radar for sure."
This is in response to an inquiry about regionally unique/specific pets (such as the China/Korea only ones), and if they would ever become available to EU or NA.

The chances are very good.
Last but not least, baby peacock pet. 'Nuff said! :P
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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.