Friday, January 31, 2014

Concluding Remarks On WoW's 2014 Infographic

Blizzard recently released an infographic that includes WoW stats from almost every aspect of the game. The one portion that caught my eye was the mounts and pet statistics, more so the pets than the mounts. Apparently the Squirrel is the most common pet, the Tiny Red Carp is the rarest pet, and there's a total of 619 unique pets.

Um. What?

I made a little fuss about these stats on Twitter already, as I couldn't really believe it when I first saw the infographic. But upon further discussion on the topic in the WarcraftPets forum, I've become fairly disillusioned with the whole thing.

There are three main questions that should have been answered from the get-go: What data did Blizzard use, when was the snapshot of this data taken, and what was the criteria for "rarest" pet?

Without answers to these questions, it leaves players like me in the dark and scratching their heads. The data just doesn't match up.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy 2014 Lunar New Year

Happy lunar new year! 2014 is the year of the horse, but I don't have an actual horse/foal/pony pet so the Brewfest Keg Pony had to do. It sorta kinda counts.. :P

Here's hoping to see some awesome new pets in the upcoming expansion, and more fun stuff for pet collectors and pet battlers! :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Will 10 Years of WoW Be Notable Enough?

Catching up on some weekend WoW news, I came across WowInsider's article on WoW's anniversary. Can you believe that we'll be celebrating the mmo's 10th anniversary and the overall franchise's 20th anniversary in November? It blows my mind to think that WoW and Warcraft have been around for such a long time. For some players, that's half their entire lifetime.

Besides the amazingness that is the longevity of this game, WowInsider made me aware of something that had slipped my mind. Since this year is such a significant year, will we be receiving some in-game goodie?

Celebrating the game's anniversary by sending players an in-game gift isn't a new practice. For WoW's 4th anniversary we received the Baby Blizzard Bear, which matched the mount from Blizzcon 2008, Big Blizzard Bear.

For the 5th we found an Onyxian Whelpling (that even had a fun and unique idle animation!) hiding in our mailboxes.

After two consecutive years of anniversary pets, we started to expect a gift in the mail come November.

However, for the 6th anniversary Blizzard changed its stance on special bonuses and announced that pets and mounts would be reserved for only "notable milestones or events" from there on out. Talk about a shocking change of heart. While it was understandable, 2010 being the year Cataclysm was released, it was still disappointing news.

Now that years have passed without seeing a new anniversary goodie, we're fast approaching WoW's decennial which is undoubtedly a VERY "notable milestone".

Yet with Warlords of Draenor in development, I can't help but wonder if Blizzard will eat their words and forgo the pet/gift for this year (again). Is this year going to be a repeat of their 6th anniversary? I certainly hope not.

Don't get me wrong, Blizzard is entitled to decide when something is notable enough for a special in-game event or bonus, as well as determine when and for what they can spare the time and assets. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if they skip this year's anniversary in favor of using any extra energy on developing WoD. I would be devastated, but so long as they made it clear that it's not intentionally overlooked without good reason, I think I would get over it with time.

Still, celebrating 10 years of this game would feel somewhat empty without something unique to accompany it. Be it mount, pet or vanity item, such an occasion deserves a bonus to commemorate it. A small token of thanks to the player base, especially those that have remained loyal for a decade+, for the many, many years of continued support? It would be an honorable gesture of appreciation.

What pet would go best with WoW's 10th anniversary, though? Something fresh and new would be ideal, of course, but I'd be happy with any type of pet, even if it's an older, re-skinned, re-used model.

MANY players have been dying to get their hands on Murky or Gurky or Lurky or Murki, and as Blizzard's unofficial mascot, a baby murloc is very appropriate for such a remarkable milestone in this game's history.

There's the argument that it would "diminish" the pet's original value, but I find it a difficult argument to get behind. I completely understand that point of view, but at the same time this game has undergone so many changes and reiterations of itself over the years, it's not unusual to see something from the past brought to the present (lol Warlords of Draenor theme?). What was once unique is now more common place. To balance that, Blizzard has continued to implement exclusive pets (albeit less frequently) which will likely remain special snowflakes until a lengthy amount of time has passed at which point they too will become the norm.

IF there's an anniversary pet waiting for us in November, my vote would have to go towards one of the "original" baby murlocs, hands down. I really can't think of anything more fitting. ANY special goodie would be appreciated, though, regardless of what it is. I hope Blizzard feels the same way, and we'll find ourselves celebrating WoW's 10th anniversary with a little buddy rather than alone.

Friday, January 24, 2014

5.4.7 PTR: Warlords of Draenor CE Pet Datamined

There was a recent PTR update, and an absolute gem was datamined! The Warlords of Draenor Collector's Edition pet is...*drumroll* the Dread Hatchling!

WowInsider posted a video of what it will probably look like since the version in the PTR Pet Journal is merely the Anzu boss model. It still resembles the Raven Lord and shares strikingly similar body structure to the Ji-Kun Hatchling, but you can't deny that it's absolutely adorable.

You can also check out a video preview of the Dread Raven Mount in the WowInsider link as well. It appears to be a combination of a protodrake, skyscreamer and Anzu. There's already a mount that you can acquire from the Raven Lord himself (heroic Sethekk Halls only), but unfortunately that mount does not have the ability to fly while I'm guessing the Dread Raven will.

Wain from WarcraftPets brought to my attention something interesting relating to the original "raven mount", a spell called Dread Hatchling Love Trigger. If the spell name is any indicator of what it may do, it sounds as though the Dread Hatchling will "love" (floating hearts over its head?) the mount version of itself. Interestingly enough though, instead of interacting with the new Dread Raven Mount, this love spell is tied to the original raven mount. It's possible that this is to give a small nod to mount collectors that have obtained the original version, so as to not take away from their achievement and prize.

On the battling side of things, LeCraft Tweeted a teaser of the hatchling's abilities and stats. I'm not a battling expert so I can't comment on this pet's potential, but it does seem to have similar moves to the Gilnean Raven and Crow. With so many healing comps running amok in PVP, another counter is probably be appreciated by the battling community.

I'm pretty eager to get my hands on this cute little birdy, but will have to wait since a release date hasn't been announced yet.

It's curious to me how the WoD CE pet is essentially a baby Anzu, so I'm wondering how that ties in with Draenor. Did the Raven Lord come from there? Are there other creatures similar to him wandering around the draenei world? What significance does he have in the upcoming expansion? I can't wait to find out the answers!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Brainstorming New Pets For the Lunar Festival

The Lunar Festival is currently underway in-game, but unfortunately there aren't any new pets to be had this year. It's understandable since developers have their hands full making the next expansion. Still, I can't help but feel a little disappointed that there's nothing new to collect. It does give me some solace contemplating the possible future pets that could be implemented, though.

One new pet for the Lunar Festival that I wouldn't mind seeing, and I've mentioned it before, is a miniature Omen. We already have the Core Hound Pup and Chrominius, but Omen has a slightly different model that includes proper looking dog/wolf heads. On top of that, a mini-Omen would likely be a different family-type, maybe beast or magic with a mix of abilities between the two. It would fit well with the in-game event and give players a fresh goal to strive for.

The biggest question is whether or not it would be a drop from Omen himself, or a quest reward for killing the demigod. As much as I hate to admit this, since I'm not a fan of RNG dropped pets, it would probably make more sense if a "spawn of Omen" came from the boss (personal player loot please!) after defeating it. Or perhaps wild spawns could appear after Omen is sent back into his deep sleep. Cute little, non-hostile, docile versions that are echoes of Omen when he wasn't all demonic and angry. :P

Mini-Omen is merely one idea for an update to next year's Lunar Festival. Perculia Tweeted a Wowhead comment that mentioned a great idea, pets that match each year's corresponding chinese zodiac animal.

So for example, this year is the year of the horse, so a pony would have been appropriate as the obtainable pet for this year's festival. Past tense. The festival's already here so it's too late to release a new pet. Come next year the zodiac animals will be the goat. :(

The downside to this idea, though, is that we already have many of the animals in the zodiac. We're missing a proper horse/pony/foal and rooster, but the rest are pretty much already represented in the game. That may mean we would only be getting reskins of existing pets, since creating an entirely new model for the 12 zodiac animals would likely rank low on Blizzard's priority list. Reskins aren't a bad thing, and I welcome any pet into my army of companions. There are some players who are against re-using existing models and simply slapping a new coat of paint on it, though.

Another thing to consider is how would we obtain each pet? Quest reward? Drop? Vendor? Would each one only be available during their corresponding year? If the answer is yes to the last question, I'll have to laugh. The animals of the chinese zodiac cover 12 years, and who knows if we'll be playing this game for that long. There are ways around that of course (offering more than one pet per year is an example), but it makes me smile to think that Blizzard would be willing to keep the game going for 12+ years just so collectors could get their fix lol. :P

Anyway, I'm definitely hoping for something new next year, after things have calmed down and there's more time to update the in-game holidays. There are many possible pets that could be added to not just this event but other events as well. Some holidays feel long overdue for a revamp or another pet addition. Hopefully the absence of new pets or things to collect isn't due to a lack of developer interest, but because of a lack of time to create and implement fun ideas.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

WarcraftMounts Now Shows Matching Pets

WarcraftMounts received a nifty update that may interest some pet collectors - mount pages now show corresponding companion pets (if available)! My favorite so far is the Enchanted Fey Dragon paired with the Sprite Darter Hatchling. :3

Currently there's no option to filter just mounts that have pet counterparts, so for quicker browsing you need to have some knowledge of pets that look like mounts beforehand or an idea of which mount/pet you'd like to match with. It also seems that not all possible combinations have been implemented yet, but the more obvious ones appear to be up for now. I can already spot a few mounts that need to have a little buddy included on their profile page. :P

One thing that may be tough to get past is determining which pets go with which mounts. Do they have to match in every aspect? It's debatable and pretty subjective.

Some pets are blatant downsized versions (examples: Blue and Red Dragonhawk), but others require more of an open mind to match it up with a mount. For instance, the Little Black Ram could go with any of the Alliance level 20 Dwarven mounts, but it will only match the mount's model and not the color. Players don't have access to a level 20 black ram mount, so the Little Black Ram will never match 100%. It will ultimately be up to the administrators of WarcraftMounts to decide which factors to take into consideration when adding corresponding pets to mount pages. With such a tough decision to make for each mount and pet, I don't envy them and their task. :P

Hopefully more will be added soon, as it could be a useful resource for collectors since pet collecting and mount collecting can go hand in hand.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

TCG Redemption Issue On Connected Realms

The connected realms feature is still relatively new, so naturally some bugs and issues have popped up. One of these hiccups in the system impacts pet collectors, specifically TCG loot redemption.

At the moment, if a player on a connected realm attempts to redeem a TCG loot code from Landro Longshot in Booty Bay, it's likely they'll receive an error. I'm not sure of the technicalities behind it, but it is definitely related to realms that have recently connected with another one. Perhaps the Landro that they see isn't the "right" Landro that they need.

Players have been reporting this issue since the end of last year, and it appears to still be a problem. From what I gather, Blizzard is aware of it and are working on a fix but there's currently no ETA. Game Masters can provide limited information, but may not be able to assist with a workaround since simply giving players their TCG loot would result in duplicate items once the system has been sorted out.

If you have already redeemed your code and are simply waiting to turn it into Landro Longshot, you'll probably have to wait until developers fix this problem.

If you have NOT redeemed your TCG pet code yet, I recommend creating a character on a non-connected realm and redeeming the pet there. Since pets are account-wide, you'll still have access to the companion via Pet Journal even though it was redeemed on another server. That's the only workaround that I've come across so far, and keep in mind it only works with TCG loot that's account-wide. For non-pet/mount items, we'll just have to sit on those codes and wait.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Wish List of "New" In-game Pets

Senior Game Designer Jonathan LeCraft Tweeted an inquiry that I could not ignore.
"Any new battle pets people would like to see?"
Unfortunately for me, my brain decided to go on vacation at the time and all those lovely pet wishes, hopes and ideas just weren't coming to mind. The only thing I could think of right then and there was a mini-Naaru. Thankfully the rest of the community is NEVER short of ideas and there are already so many awesome suggestions (peacocks, boars, krakken, etc).

One of my favorite ideas came up between a discussion between liopleurodonic and LeCraft. A golden mechanical cow that's quite literally a "Cash Cow" lol. Its "best" battle attack could be a suicide that causes it to explode (dealing initial damage), which would then cause golden coins to fall down on the opposing team (dot, AOE team damage). Who says Lil' Bling is the only one who can "make it rain"? :P

Anyway, after sleeping on it, as unoriginal as some may be, here's what I've come up with (in no particular order).

Pets Based on Existing Models/Creatures
- Baby Zhevra. We already have a baby giraffe and gazelle, so why not round out the safari?

- Baby Whale Shark. Quite frankly, my hopes aren't super high for this one. This creature is truly at its best when it's gigantic, not tiny.

- Baby Chimeaera.

- Baby Jormungar.

- Baby Talbuk.

- Baby Skyscreamer.

- Baby Lion Seal.

- "Old God" minions (Faceless Ones). I absolutely adore all things Lovecraft, so anything that pays tribute to the terrifying unknown beings of beyond have my vote! (Especially if they whisper creepy, indecipherable messages to you when you're not paying attention. :P)

- Miniatures of racial mounts
We already have most of the racial mounts covered - examples include: Dwarf mount pet equivalent is the Little Black Ram, Gryphon = Gryphon Hatchling and Wildhammer Gryphon Hatchling, Draenei mount = Pint-Sized Pink Pachyderm and Peanut, Gnome mount = Mechanopeep, Nelf mount = any of the many feline cubs, Orc mount = Tito and Worg Pup, Troll mount = any of the many baby raptor pets, Wyvern = Wind Rider Cub.

There are two racial mounts that wouldn't really make sense as pets (Goblin and Worgen), but there are still others that could be turned into lovable, tiny variations.
- Human mount = pony/foal

- Undead mount = undead pony/foal (would that be too cruel or not make sense? lol)

- Belf mount = baby Hawkstrider

- Tauren mount = baby Kodo

"New" Pets Based on Real World Creatures (Living and Extinct)
- Komodo Dragon

- Jellyfish (there are so many types and looks to choose from in this category!)

- Kiwi Bird (All the feeeeeels! I dare you to watch and not tear up.)

- Hippo

- Sloth

- Dogs (many breeds to choose from)

- Toucan

- Cuttlefish

- Nautilus

- Swan

Pets Based on Creatures/Beings From Other Universes
Most of these are really just wishful thinking since it would be unlikely to see a character from another game/story in WoW. Copyrights and all that jazz.
- Songbird from Bioshock Infinite

- Any of the Cousins from the Katamari Damacy series

- A Reaper from Mass Effect

- A Creeper from Minecraft

- Atlas and P-body from Portal 2
That's all I can come up with for now, but the question is still open for anyone and everyone to chime in with their two cents. What new pets would we like to see in-game?

There's no guarantee that any of our ideas will be implemented, which is understandable. Sometimes it's just nice to brainstorm with fellow pet enthusiasts though! And who knows? Maybe some of our suggestions will help the devs come up with an even more kick ass version of what we were originally thinking. :)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Pet Collecting/Battling Speculation for WoD

It was discussed (but not officially announced) at Blizzcon 2013 that pet breeding might be in store for us in the next expansion. The topic of pet level and epic quality pets also came up, although the latter was only loosely suggested and it was clarified that the plan was to keep the max pet level cap at 25.

Epic pets only being a loosely suggested idea was confirmed today, as Mumper mentioned on Twitter:
"Not planning on epics yet."
It may still be something devs are playing around with, or perhaps they've scrapped the idea for the most part. There hasn't been any official "pet announcement" for WoD, so nothing has been set in stone yet. We'll have to wait and see, and even then things could change.

Personally, I would be ok without any increase to pet level and pet quality. With over 600 pets, and more sure to come in the expansion, it would be an absolute NIGHTMARE to level and upgrade all of them. Not to mention the imbalances it would cause in pet PVP (and even pet PVE to a lesser degree).

I would be quite content with keeping the max level and quality as it is. Unless, of course, some ingenious developer comes up with a way to upgrade and level without much hassle and in a way that doesn't break the game. That seems like a near impossible task, though.

So how will collecting and battling be affected (if at all) if pet level and quality remains the same?

With the fairly firm confirmation that the max pet level will not be raised in WoD, this means the wild pet level will remain at 25. The new zones will contain level 25 pets, which will drop down to level 23 when captured. I suppose this will give players a little bit of leveling they can participate in, but unless they add an absolute flood of wild pets, we'll level those pets to max in no time.

Collecting/upgrading the new pets may be slow going for some, giving them more to do. But for those that have been persistent in collecting stones and other reagents, they will meet most of their collecting goals pretty quickly.

It's a tough situation, because on the one hand many players don't want to undergo the task of upgrading and leveling 500-600 pets, but at the same time crave more content. The problem is that this mini-game revolves around collecting, leveling, and ensuring your chances for a successful battle are the best they can be (ie: upgrading). Without these mechanics, what's left for us to do? So is this a situation of wanting our cake and eating it too? Can we have shiny new stuff without sacrificing the current status quo?

One thing I could see devs adding is more pet-related achievements that reward new pets or nifty vanity items. It wouldn't appeal to everyone, but it would give a portion of the community something to work on and strive for. (*cough* I'm still waiting on that item/spell/ability where I can have more than one pet out at the same time. :P)

"Harder" trainer battles is also always possibility, although there are only so many ways to make an encounter "hard" without frustrating your audience too much. The "no healing" concept was done in Pandaria, and that received a bit of negative criticism for being too much in the beginning. But I think most gradually accepted it as being a limitation that did indeed create a difficult activity, yet was ultimately doable.

If done properly, other limitations in battles could create new difficult battles. "Use only X family-type" or "limit one pet per match" are two examples that I can think of off the top of my head. Will they meet the same reaction as the "no healing" mechanic did? Probably. "Harder" is relative, though, so not everyone will agree at first.

And of course breeding may still be a planned feature for WoD. That will definitely interest some, but unless a collector feels compelled to have a pet of every breed, I think it will mainly appeal to those interested in battling (specifically pet PVP). It's entirely possible that the breeding activity will have a desirable feature for collectors too, though. New colors/skins for pets is something that might draw the collecting crowd in.

This is all speculation, of course. We're still eagerly waiting for an announcement of pet-related features in WoD. Maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised with what's in store for us. The expansion is still a work in progress, so all we can do is wait and hope for the best.
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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.