Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Patch 5.4.1 Released, Pets Will Need to Wait

Patch 5.4.1 was released, but only to implement new and updated pets in the Pet Journal. No new pets have been released yet.

The new additions include Murkalot and Alterac Brew-Pup. The former being the Blizzcon 2013 gift and the latter will come from the Blizzard Pet Store in the future. I expect the Blizzcon pet will be mailed to eligible accounts once we get closer to the convention dates or during the actual convention (November 8 and 9).

Changed pets include the four that were previously only obtainable in Asian regions.
Golden Pig
Jade Tiger
Silver Pig
Zipao Tiger
Their source is now "Recruit A Friend", however the revamped RAF system doesn't seem to be out just yet. Hopefully Blizzard will announce something soon. I'm really eager to find out what will be required to earn these pets.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

5.4.1 PTR: RAF Pet Rewards

Wowhead recently uncovered possible pet rewards from the revamped Recruit-A-Friend system (release date TBA) on the PTR.

There are currently four possible pets that will be redeemable through the RAF program, but they will probably add more in the future.
Golden Pig
Jade Tiger
Silver Pig
Zipao Tiger
So far all of these pets are unique (may only have one), BoP or BoA, and non-tradeable. They are also all the Asia-exclusive pets, which may mean we'll finally have access to the originally unobtainable companions. There are other limited-time pets that were Asia-only, so they might add those to the RAF system in the future too.

All that being said, I'm very eager to learn more about the updated RAF program. My main concern, though, is whether or not this will cost collectors an arm and a leg to acquire all of the pets.

Right now, to be eligible for RAF rewards, your friend (or you if you referred yourself) must purchase the full game (not sure if this means all expansions or just the original) and two months of game time.

The price for a month's worth of game time is $14.99, and depending on what "full copy of WoW" means, it could range anywhere from $20 (for just the Battlechest which I think includes expansions up to Cata) to $50-60 (for the Battlechest + MoP expansion).

IF (and I stress if) they maintain the same requirements for the updated version of the RAF program, just for these three pets, you'll be spending at least $139.96 for four separate accounts and one month game time for each one (technically, you need to buy 2 months but you get one month free for your main account per RAF account, so it's like buying 2 months of RAF time for half price). YIKES. All is this assuming my math is correct and prices haven't changed.

However, developers mentioned in a recent interview that they will be changing how the RAF program works. They haven't gone into detail about it yet, but they mentioned using RAF tokens to redeem pets. How we'll obtain these tokens is still unknown, but hopefully the cost won't be too high.

I mean, for $139.96, you could buy a few TCG pets or even one of the older, rare ones (if you find a good deal). For $130, you could buy 13 Blizzard Pet Store companions, compared to just four from the RAF system (under current conditions).

I'm definitely glad that they're considering giving us access to previously these pets, though. There have been many requests for the Asia-only pets, and perhaps Blizzard has finally found a way to fit them into the game.

I'll wait to see how they change and update the RAF system, and hopefully the eligibility requirements for the rewards will be tweaked/tuned to allow for more reasonable access to the goodies.

I hope Blizzard keeps in mind that even if they release these pets to other regions through RAF, if the price is too high, those pets will still be out of reach for many collectors. It would be a nice gesture in general, but the situation would still be somewhat the same (unavailable to many).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Look-a-Like Challenge - Part 5

After much searching, I discovered more pets to look like. A few of these might be my all time favorites, but I couldn't say for certain. How could I pick which pet I enjoy looking at the most? :P

Unlike my other Look-a-Like posts, though, nearly all of the ones listed here require the help of a friend. The key is the use of creature abilities on a target that you can copy.

I don't think it's possible to obtain most of these costumes (in the manner in which I present) alone. Potions of Illusion and/or Ai-Li's Skymirror are an absolute must as well.

IMPORTANT! Also, a short explanation of mob Polymorph or similar CC effects (this knowledge will come in handy when attempting the Look-a-Likes below):
Most mobs will NOT target the "tank" or player with the highest agro and Polymorph them. Instead, many mobs will choose the person that has secondary agro. That being said, the player that wants the costume (has the potion or skymirror) must not have the highest threat on the target creature. Should both players have the items to copy a costume, then it doesn't really matter who ends up CC'ed.

Pet: Cobra Hatchling
Look-a-like: Lord Cobrahn
Notes: Rogue friend required, must have the minor glyph, Glyph of Disguise

Wait until Lord Cobrahn uses the ability Cobrahn Serpent Form (usually when he's less than 100% health). Once he's used it, vanish and then pick-pocket him while he's still shapeshifted. Using skymirror or a potion will preserve the costume for longer.

Pet: Harbinger of Flame
Look-a-like: Charred Flamewalker
Notes: Rogue friend required, must have the minor glyph, Glyph of Disguise

These mobs only spawn once you've begun the quest chain to unlock the Molten Front in Mount Hyjal.

Pet: Crimson Lasher
Ability: Sunseeker Harvester's Polymorph
Notes: Friend and Ai-Li's Skymirror required

Wait until the NPC uses Polymorph on a player, then quickly target said player and use the skymirror. Because you lose control of your character when polymorphed, it's unlikely you'll be able to skymirror yourself while CC'ed.

Pet: Core Hound Pup
Ability: Cabal Zealot's Shape of the Beast
Notes: Mage friend and Ai-Li's Skymirror or Potion of Illusion required

Mages can spellsteal the buff from the zealot and transform into a corehound for 2 minutes. Use the skymirror or a potion as necessary.

Pet: All Chickens
Ability: Vilebranch Witch Doctor's Hex
Notes: Friend and Ai-Li's Skymirror required

Wait until the NPC uses Hex on a player, then quickly target said player and use the skymirror. Because you lose control of your character when hexed, it's unlikely you'll be able to skymirror yourself while CC'ed.

Pet: All Crabs
Ability: Naz'jar Spiritmender's Hex
Notes: Friend and Ai-Li's Skymirror required

Wait until the NPC uses Hex on a player, then quickly target said player and use the skymirror. Because you lose control of your character when hexed, it's unlikely you'll be able to skymirror yourself while CC'ed.

Pet: Toxic Wasteling
Ability: Plague Scientist's Combobulating Spray
Notes: Friend and Ai-Li's Skymirror required

You will have to kill the first four bosses in Icecrown Citadel to reach the NPCs that use this ability. Wait until the NPC uses Combobulating Spray on a player, then quickly target said player and use the skymirror. Because you lose control of your character, it's unlikely you'll be able to skymirror yourself while CC'ed.

Pet: Widow Spiderling
Ability: Darkfallen Archmage's Polymorph: Spider
Notes: Friend and Ai-Li's Skymirror required

You will have to kill the first four bosses in Icecrown Citadel to reach the NPCs that use this ability. Wait until the NPC uses Polymorph on a player, then quickly target said player and use the skymirror. Because you lose control of your character, it's unlikely you'll be able to skymirror yourself while CC'ed.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Look-a-Like Challenge - Part 4

In honor of Hallow's End, I've found some look-a-likes for two Halloween pets. A couple of them aren't the easiest costumes to acquire, but if you're itching to be festive, it may be worth it. :)

Unfortunately, since I don't actually own one of the pets, I couldn't get a screenshot for that particular costume. Not only that, but the RNG involved in even getting transformed is quite high.

It would be awesome if there was a spell to turn us into a black, broom-riding, hat-wearing cat, but alas. ;P

As with my other Look-a-Like posts, it's helpful if you have the following:
1.) The help of a friend
2.) Potion of Illusion and/or Ai-Li's Skymirror
3.) Misc items that transformed my character into fun things

Pet: Creepy Crate
Item: Box o' Tricks
Notes: The item can only be used in Shadowmoon Valley if on the quest "To Legion Hold". Using a skymirror on a person transformed (or yourself) will preserve the costume even if you leave the zone.

Pet: Mini Diablo
Ability: Trick (demon) (Only available during Hallow's End)
Notes: Friend and Ai-Li's Skymirror or Potion of Illusion required

The Trick costume is random, so it may take many attempts to actually get the Mini Diablo costume. Since it only lasts for 45 seconds, the Skymirror or potion is necessary.

Pet: Nordrassil Wisp
Item: Hallowed Wand - Wisp (Only available during Hallow's End) or Wisp Amulet

Pet: Vampiric Batling
Item: Hallowed Wand - Bat (Only available during Hallow's End)

Friday, October 11, 2013

How We Collect Now: My Dilemma

Something has been on my mind lately. Pet collecting. Well dur, I'm a pet collector. But to be more specific, the state of pet collecting post-release of Pet Batttles.

"Why" we collect hasn't changed all that much, although some people's goal may be to collect to battle rather than collect for fun. Either way, we still want to "catch them all". The most significant change that I've noticed is "HOW" we collect.

In the past, collecting was mainly a "do it yourself" activity. You could enlist the help of a few friends, but in general you had to do the grunt work. From farming mobs, questing, or grinding reputation - there was a very clear path to the pet you wanted. There weren't many workarounds or options to collect some pets, and if you wanted it you had to jump through the necessary hoops. At the same time, that was part of pet collecting's allure. A few (and I stress the few) pets that were difficult to find, but so satisfying to collect.

These days, post-Pet Battles release, not only has the number of pets skyrocketed, so has the interest and desire to collect. On top of that, most pets are now cageable which makes it possible to trade/sell them. Combine these changes together and what you end up with is a situation where it's somewhat unreasonable to expect a player to adopt the mentality of "do it yourself" due to the exceptionally large number of pets to obtain. With cageable pets, buying and selling has become a much more viable option for collecting, and it helps alleviate the strain of facing RNG and the grind of over 500 pets.

Some collectors have taken to grinding gold instead of the pets themselves so that they can simply purchase what they seek off the Auction House. For them, it's a more effective and efficient use of time and energy. Which is understandable. There are only so many hours in a day and days in a week, but so so so many pets. Sometimes RNG can be unkind and risking the roll each time may only mean time lost. So it's only natural that players seek out an "easier" and more direct way of doing things.

Don't get me wrong, though. I think it's great that collectors now have another option when it comes to acquiring pets. You could do it yourself or pay someone else to do it for you (not literally hire someone, but purchase a pet from them). The market is open for everyone and that's perfect for spreading pets around and reaching a wider audience. Even those who may not even enjoy pets all that much can still participate by buying low and selling high.

But now that utilizing the Auction House is a popular and pretty efficient way of collecting pets, it means that old-school collectors will need to adapt to this shift in HOW collecting is done. Farm a pet? No, farm the gold to buy the pet. This is where I run into an issue.

As someone that adores these in-game critters, I'm ultimately in it for the pets. I don't want to farm for gold; it's not fun and it's not what I'm after. It's just a means to an end. Call me old-school, but I really do enjoy the hunt and search for a pet. I love the journey of it all. Coming to the end of that adventure only to find a pet is extremely rewarding and satisfying. Well, at least it was.

However, I do have to admit it HAS become pretty tiring. Every patch has been explosion of companions, and trying to research and collect them all by yourself is a lot more time consuming, tedious, and frustrating than in the past. The sheer number to find with each new release kind of dulls the experience, and that gratifying feeling of coming to the end of a hunt is instead replaced with relief that I can finally move onto collecting the next pet on my list (or doing something else).

So while I don't want to make gold to just buy everything, it seems as though the situation is slowly pushing me towards that direction. It just doesn't make sense to mash my face against the wall to get to the other side when I could simply walk around it.

I remember spending a few days for about 6 hours straight each day grinding for the Firefly pet. Could I do that now though? For 20-30 pets a patch?

Perhaps my age is starting to show/kick in, but I'm finding time to be very precious now. If there were only a few to collect every other release, it would be similar to pre-MoP collecting. There would be more time between each one, and it would feel as if there was more time to search before resorting to buying it. (Of course that would also mean less content for collectors, which is a huge bummer.)

With how things are now, it's completely unreasonable to spend hours for each one out of 10, 20, 30, etc., and would probably result in me going crazy in the process. Maybe I had more time in the past, or maybe I was simply younger, but I just can't seem to put forth the same amount of energy into "doing it myself" these days.

Yet if I can't seem to grind out the hours and battle the RNG like I used to, it leaves me with only one other option: buy the pets. The problem for me is that I'm terrible at making gold. Saving gold, I'm great at that. But making it? I just can't do it. My interest isn't high enough in farming for it, even if I do realize that it will lead me to what I'm actually interested in (pets).

The shift in "how" we collect has really put me in a tough spot, and with this evolution of collecting, I may just get left behind. If I can't find it in me to sit through the grind for 20 pets a patch or farm up thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of gold each new content release, I'm afraid my pet collecting days will be over.

I think that buying pets will steadily become more and more popular than trying to farm your own, and with each new batch of many many pets, it will only become a better option. I mean, if you have to collect 20 or even 10 pets, and must face RNG or a long grind for all of them, would you? What if the option to simply make enough gold to purchase them off the Auction House was there? I think most would take the latter path, even if it removes most of the journey and adventure of collecting. Spend time and energy to battle RNG (a risk/chance) or make gold and buy the pet (a guarantee)? Yea. I'm pretty confident that many will stick with the guarantee.

What would "solve" my issue? Perhaps if there were fewer new pets each patch. But if there are many new ones, maybe lower the RNG. Then again, I love seeing so many new additions, so I don't think I'd want Blizzard to cut back on how many are released each time. The RNG could be adjusted, but that's tougher to balance with everything else. They could make the pets uncageable which would force us to go out and hunt them ourselves. That would be unfair to many, though, and I'd rather see lots of people enjoy companions.

In the end, it's probably just me. I just need to adapt better and make the change to how I collect along with everyone else. It's too taxing to try and stick with the old-school mentality of "do it yourself", and it would be more reasonable to just buy low and sell high. Unfortunately, it's all easier said than done for me.

I don't plan on giving up pet collecting any time soon, but I do find that I'm struggling more than before. It's put a slight damper on the experience, but I enjoy my collection too much to just let it all go. I'll either make a change in myself or power through it. One day my dissatisfaction with myself or the situation might get the better of me, though, but all good things must come to an end eventually.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wind Rider Cub Gone From Blizzard Pet Store?

The Wind Rider Cub was recently back in the Blizzard Pet Store, however it seems that the sale was short-lived. After roughly a little over a week and a half the store sold out and now the option to even preview the item/pet in the US store is gone.

The EU store is also missing the listing for the item/pet, but then again there's a notice on the front page that physical items are currently unavailable from that region's store (this includes both the Wind Rider Cub and Gryphon Hatchling).

When the little wyvern sold out in the past, players were still able to at least view its Pet Store page. Now that it's gone completely, everyone is wondering if this means it will be gone for good.

It's entirely possible that this is only temporary and Blizzard has removed the Wind Rider Cub's Pet Store listing to avoid any confusion about whether or not it's available. Perhaps it is simply out of stock and it may take some time before they're able to create more. We'll just have to wait and see what's planned for the future. Hopefully, for all collectors, the Wind Rider Cub will be back in some form or another.

Unlike its counterpart, the Gryphon Hatchling (who shares its model with the capturable Wildhammer Gryphon Hatchling), the Wind Rider Cub has a unique model and does not share it with any other pet. Because of how unique and rare it is, it's in somewhat high demand by collectors. It's adorableness and limited availability also drives up the desire to own a little wyvern companion.

If (and I stress the IF) the pet is truly sold out from the Blizzard Pet Store for good, one thing that can be done to compensate is to add a wild version of the Wind Rider Cub into the game. This would allow players to collect at least some version of it, even if they can't get a hold of the store pet. It's not 100% the same thing, and some collectors will still pine after the "original" one, but there are others who will happily seek out and capture a wild one just the same.

So while it's not time to worry too much just yet, we'll definitely need to keep an eye on the Blizzard Pet Store and hope that the Wind Rider Cub will return.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Moon Moon, We Love You

UPDATE: Hotfix October 7 - "Moonfang should now always drop something when defeated."

After 7 hours of sitting in the Darkmoon Island forest (that's seven attempts total), I'm now a proud owner of Moon Moon! :D

The event comes and goes like clockwork, and it's fairly straight forward except for the fact that you must actively help Moonfang spawn by killing smaller wolves. I didn't have any problems with this, though, minus the elite wolves that spawn as the second "phase". Those need a couple of people if you want to kill it within a reasonable amount of time.

Other than that, you just need to be careful not to kite the wolves or Moonfang away from their original spawn area. They have a high rate of evading and then returning back to their spawn with full health (if you drag them too far). It's especially annoying if Moonfang does this, as that means everyone will need to work on defeating the world boss all over again.

One thing that should be mentioned is that although you can loot this boss multiple times a day on a character, sometimes the body won't have any loot for you at all. There aren't any trash or vendor items to be had; Moonfang's loot table only consists of unique-bound vanity items. The "no loot" scenario is likely due to the fact that 1 - you already have one of the unique items, or 2 - the internal random roll for loot just didn't pick any of the unique items.

It can feel a little disheartening when you run up to loot Moonfang only to find nothing available, but thankfully you can just try again. She's taggable by all too, so it's not like you'll be competing with any specific group or faction for a chance at the pet or other vanity items.

Overall I'm pretty satisfied with how this was all implemented. Limited time (one week out of the month), but a "high" rate of spawn (once an hour) that you can participate in and loot as many times as you want. The droprate isn't too high or too low, which balances out nicely with everything else. Being able to tag the boss for personal loot is also a huge plus that I think everyone appreciates. No chances of "ninja looting" here!

I'm still a little concerned about how this event will play out on low population servers or when the novelty/popularity has died down. The DMF is CRZ'ed, though, so there should generally always be some players there, but what will happen when most don't even want to bother killing Moonfang anymore? Will they have a significantly harder time with the encounter?

Keep in mind that this isn't taking into account that the event probably won't be outdated until maybe next expansion, when the level cap is higher and we all have more gear. If you take that into account, perhaps it won't require a large group of people to take down Moonfang, and smaller groups who are still interested will be able to do it just fine. We'll have to wait and see how it plays out in the long run.

Last but not least, I've updated my Look-a-Like Challenge to include Moon Moon. :) I must say, it took a few attempts to get a good screenshot. Moon Moon kept wandering off just as I was taking one. Damnit, Moon Moon, stay still! :P

Oh, and if you target Moon Moon and emote dance with it, you're in for a cute surprise! :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Speculation On the Darkmoon Faire's New World Boss, Moonfang

Next week Three days from now is the start of the Darkmoon Faire, and there's a new pet to collect from a world boss on the island: Moon Moon! I'm pretty excited to see how it goes, and hope that the implementation of Moonfang will be much smoother than the Darkmoon Rabbit.

Unlike the Darkmoon Rabbit, Moonfang will apparently be "summonable"... sort of. By killing enough wolves on the island, Moonfang will spawn, at least according to this Wowhead comment.

Additionally, a poster on the WoW forums noted that Moonfang will be similar to the Timeless Isle rares (similar 1 hour-ish timer and all), and anyone and everyone will be able to tag it/have a chance at loot. If this is indeed true, this will be a huge step up from the Darkmoon Rabbit which required you to be in the raid that tagged the boss. It will remove much of the griefing (but not all, of course) and give everyone a fair chance at the vanity items that drop from Moonfang. This style of loot distribution for a world boss definitely gets my two thumbs up.

The main question now is will players only have one chance at loot per day? Or can players kill Moonfang as many times as they please in hopes for a drop (same as Timeless Isle rares)? If the former is true, then we'll need to start parking all of our alts on the island for a chance on each one. Unless... it's an account-wide chance (bleh). But we'll see what the mechanics are for loot once players start killing this new DMF boss.

My hope is that it will be similar to the Timeless Isle rares, and players will only need to invest some time and effort into spawning Moonfang and killing it.

If things are balanced enough, a "low" droprate paired with the ability to attempt countless of times per day will be a fair situation. If the droprate is "high", then having a "once per day" mechanic would be understandable. Another thing to consider is that this event is only around one week out of the month, making the time limitation another factor that needs to be added into the equation. It's all about balancing the RNG with everything else to ensure that it's not too "easy" yet still fun.

Last but not least, I'm curious as to how Moonfang's stats will scale depending on the number of players attacking it. The rares on the Timeless Isle increase in health as more players tag it, but it's entirely possible for a single player to take on one of those rares by him/herself. I doubt that Blizzard wants players to be able to solo the new DMF world boss, though, so I'm wondering if Moonfang will have a set health pool and hit like a monster truck even without numerous people attacking it.

If that's the case, then a large number of people will definitely be necessary, meaning that summoning and defeating this world boss will depend heavily on participation on the Darkmoon Island. That could spell trouble for lower population realms, and/or once the novelty of the event has died down.

We'll have to wait and see what's true and what's not at the start of next week. Things could have changed between the PTR and patch 5.4 release, so it's all still kind of up in the air. I'm crossing my fingers in hopes for a good scenario for collectors, though.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wind Rider Cub Back In Stock (US) and Blizzcon 2013 Pet

Two things that are noteworthy as of late:
1. The Wind Rider Cub is now back in stock in the Blizzard Pet Store! US only at this time.

2. Blizzard has finally announced the goodies for this year's Blizzcon event, and yes, one of those goodies is a pet. Murkalot!
I've heard that EU players can purchase the cub plush + pet and the code will work for EU accounts. However, I must stress caution when doing this, as I'm not sure if this is supported by Blizzard. If the code doesn't work, it's possible that they will assist in getting a working EU code for you, but it's also possible that they won't. So purchase at your own risk/discretion.

As for the Blizzcon goodie, it looks like they're releasing a WoW pet with the theme of the new Diable class, the Crusader. But honestly, when I look at Murkalot, I can only imagine him yelling "ONE, TWO, FIVE!" and then throwing a Holy Hand Grenade. :P

On a serious note, though. If you plan on purchasing a Virtual Blizzcon Ticket, keep in mind that you cannot sell the pet. After purchase, you receive this message:
"BlizzCon 2013 In-Game Goodies
Your BlizzCon 2013 in-game goodies for World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft will automatically be added to your Battle.net account. After the goodies have been officially released to players some time after the start of BlizzCon 2013, you’ll be able to access them in-game when you log in using this Battle.net account. Keep an eye on www.blizzcon.com for more information."
Only those who will be physically attending Blizzcon and/or receive the physical scratch card with Murkalot code will be able to trade and sell it. If you want to give someone the pet via Virtual Ticket, you'll have to purchase the ticket through their account so that it's bound to it.
Creative Commons License
Perks N Peeves by Quintessence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.