Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Escort an Orphan, Collect All the Pets

Children's Week is currently in full swing. There are many pets to collect and achievements to complete.

For those interested in just the pets, if you have multiple characters, you can complete the quests and pick a different reward for each toon. Pets are account-wide, so unless you have a preference for collecting all of the Children's Week pets on a single character or wish to earn the achievement Veteran Nanny, you can collect all of them in the same week.

There's a total of ten Children's Week pets, spread out across three expansions (Vanilla, Burning Crusade, and Wrath of the Lich King). Unfortunately, Pandaria seems to be devoid of any orphans to help, at least for now. Maybe there will be new quests and pets in Pandaria and Draenor in the future.

Wowhead has a great guide that covers collecting the pets as well as the achievements.

Other helpful write-ups for Children's Week detail how to complete School of Hard Knocks. If you're like me and really find PVP unbearable, this achievement may seem daunting. Here are two guides that may help reduce any stress and anxiety, as well as tips on how to get it done - Wowhead's 'Children's Week Guide - School of Hard Knocks How-To' and Cynwise's 'The School of Hard Knocks'.

The achievements aren't necessary for collecting pets, but it's a good way to feel even more productive during this fun-filled week. Collect tons of pets and how about being one step closer to that Violet Proto-Drake? It couldn't hurt. Well, it might hurt your orphan a little. Battlegrounds aren't a friendly place for a little kid! ;P

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Viscous Horror's (Horrific?) Fate

WarcraftPets users recently discovered that the extremely rare and elusive Viscous Horror suddenly became not so rare and elusive on US horde and alliance Auction Houses. Taking a quick glance at the Undermine Journal (US alliance and US horde), it would appear that yes, this pet has suddenly shot up in supply.

For those that don't watch the market or know much about the history of this pet, such a large number of Viscous Horrors on multiple auction houses across both factions is not normal. This pet is fairly difficult to come by, as it drops deep inside a raid instance and only from Normal or Heroic mode. Granted that Throne of Thunder is the previous tier, it's still a tedious clear. It didn't help that the pet was released in the last half of the tier, when ToT's relevance was slowly dwindling and coming to a close. All of these factors make the Viscous Horror highly desirable yet scarce.

Until now, that is.

About a month or so ago, checking the Undermine Journal would show maybe one to three available at any given time. Trust me, this pet is still missing from my collection so I used to check up often on its availability. Only recently did I stop keeping a persistent eye on it, but it appears that the jump in its numbers also only happened recently (likely starting in April).

So what could cause this increase in Viscous Horrors on the market? The first guess (as apparent by the forum thread linked at the start of this post) is duping. "Duping" (short for duplication) isn't a foreign concept for pet collectors. Although it's never been officially proven or confirmed, it's speculated (and wildly believed) that many of the highly coveted TCG pets that started popping up last year were the results of a game exploit. In other words, someone or a group of someones was creating the same pet over and over using unintended means. I won't go into how it's done, as I don't really know myself (I've only heard rumors), but IF it can be done, it's not surprising that the process can be altered and applied to a non-TCG pet.

But that's just one possible reason for the large number of Viscous Horrors we're seeing now. There are others, although they aren't as sensational or controversial. I have my doubts about these possibilities, yet I can't dismiss them without solid evidence.
- Increased number of players doing old content?
- Stealth buff to the Viscous Horror's drop rate?
Without seeing actual numbers, it's hard to say whether or not there's a sudden influx of players specifically aiming to clear Throne of Thunder up until Primordious on Normal mode each week. In my own small circle of the WoW population, most players are burnt out on the game and raiding. But like I said, my sample size is quite tiny and it's not uncommon for players to focus on older content for achievement and completion reasons towards the end of an expansion.

The second possibility is harder to argue for; it would need confirmation from Blizzard. They've adjusted drop rates for content that was outdated before, but by this much and within the same expansion? I'm dubious about it. It's still something that we can't count out until we hear a 'yes' or 'no' from Blizzard.

Perhaps it's due to our attraction to the scandalous, but the "duping" idea is currently the most accepted explanation for the sudden burst of Viscous Horrors. It doesn't help that the "duping" of this pet was actually announced prior to any of this. A WarcraftPets user claims to have spoken with a duper in January of this year, and they report that the person mentioned the next pet in their sights was the horror. It's likely that this only added to the community's bias. Until we hear some official word, all we can do is speculate and wonder.

This increase in Viscous Horrors may be a blessing for some, as larger supply will slowly drop the price making it more affordable for more collectors, but a curse for others who used the pet as a bartering tool due to its high worth. It may yet be a curse for all of us if the horrors are indeed being duped and these pets-that-shouldn't-be can be tracked by Blizzard and revoked due to their unintended existence. I should note that I haven't heard of Blizzard taking back other pets such as the Ethereal Soul Trader and Spectral Tiger Cub, both believed to be victims of duping. So I don't know how likely it would be for duped Viscous Horrors to be taken away from legit players who were unaware of the nature of the pet they purchased.

We'll see how this impacts the pet market and community in the long run. The increase in Viscous Horrors and price decrease was bound to happen at some point in the next expansion, although at a much, much slower and smaller pace. So maybe this was just the inevitable occurring sooner rather than later, and at a breakneck speed. It's hard to say and now we'll never know since these (cloned?) pets seem to be here to stay.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pet Breeding Postponed - I Ain't Even Mad

There has been a lot of speculation on pet breeding, a feature that was vaguely mentioned at BlizzCon of last year. It was never fully and properly announced as an official addition to the upcoming expansion, so anything and everything "known" about it is still very much up in the air. Nothing has been set in stone as far as we know.

This was made even more apparent when Mumper recently Tweeted the following:
"We decided against pet breeding for the 6.0 launch. Mainly balance and content concerns."
Does this mean the idea is scrapped completely? It doesn't seem that way, but we'll have to wait and see. There's no mention of completely abandoning pet breeding, and as Doobjanka comments, the postponing of the feature may only be intended for the general 6.0 launch (pre-expac and post-expac launch).

It would make sense to hold off on such a potentially game-changing mechanic until the first major patch of the expansion, just so everyone can settle in first and see where things stand in terms of gameplay and balancing. Even then, it's possible that pet breeding may be pushed back even further to round out the "end game" for Pet Battles in WoD.

All of this is, of course, just my own interpretation. We won't know anything until Blizzard announces their plans. Things could change after any type of announcement too.

Some collectors and battlers may be disappointed or frustrated with the lack of updates and concrete information on breeding, and this latest mention of postponing its release could be quite upsetting for those looking forward to it. It's understandable as it was the big selling point of WoD for pet enthusiasts, and without pet breeding, it's looking like the expansion will only have more of the same (so far). Garrisons will likely be the new time-sink, but I'm sure many were looking forward to a feature that was aimed specifically for Pet Battles.

One thing that we need to keep in mind, though, is pet breeding was never officially announced. Things change and perhaps the idea that was initially presented needed to be re-addressed before being fully implemented and released.

It's a good thing (I hope). This may mean developers are slowly weeding out issues and problems with the original idea and creating something even better. It also gives the community more time to present concerns and feedback on the idea. Although without knowing much of the details, all we can do is brainstorm and speculate.

My hope is that with the aid of our community and more time, pet breeding will be a well-thought out and fully functional feature. I'd much rather they get it right (and take more time to do so), rather than pushing it too early (with all issues and bugs still attached).

Personally, I was never completely sold on the feature to begin with. I'm not a pet battler at heart, so the concept of creating pets with ideal breeds wasn't exactly my cup of tea. I don't ignore pet breeds entirely, and I do take note for certain pets, but it's not something that I'll painstakingly devote myself to in order to conjure up the "perfect pet". To me, breeding for the sake of creating the ideal breed/type of pet sounds as though it would cause more problems in the community and general WoW community than anything else. That isn't to say I wouldn't take part, I totally would, but I probably wouldn't invest all of my time into it like I would with collecting pets.

However, pet breeding for the sake of creating vanity pets (new/different skins, animations, etc.) would be something that I'm highly interested in. If there's a new color of rabbit out there, I'd love to add it to my collection. From my understanding of it, though, it doesn't sound like that's the direction they are looking to go. If it is, it would probably cause less balancing headaches since it wouldn't be an integral part of Pet Battles gameplay. Vanity is vanity and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

So I guess you could say I'm half-heartedly interested in pet breeding (if and when it ever makes it into the game and depending on what breeding is all about), but at the moment I'm not heartbroken or anything over the postponing of the feature. As with all things pet-related, it would only be natural for me to feel disappointed if they announce that the idea is scrapped completely, but that's a bridge we'll have to cross when we get to it.

We can only remain hopeful that they're working on making it amazing and solving any concerns/issues that have already popped up regarding breeding. That's the optimist in me. The realist knows that things can and will change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. So long as these changes don't blindside us and Blizzard is open and sincere (and we keep an open mind), I think we'll be ok.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

BlizzCon 2014 Dates Announced

Blizzard announced the dates for BlizzCon 2014: November 7 and 8! Tickets cost $199 each and will go on sale Wednesday, May 7 at 7 PM (Pacific Time) and Saturday, May 10 at 10 AM (Pacific Time). They have yet to announce the price and sale of the Virtual Tickets.

I'm quite excited as this year marks WoW's 10th Anniversary (and I believe Warcraft's 20th?), so it's a pretty special occasion. I've already set aside time in my fall schedule just for BlizzCon this year, so I'm really amped to go. It will all depend on whether or not I can get two tickets, though, and that's up in the air still. Crossing my fingers and practicing throwing money at the screen.

Needless to say, I'm already wondering about the BlizzCon 2014 goodie bag. What's inside?! Pet? Mount? Some other awesomely awesome gift? It's a notable year and although I shouldn't expect anything, I still can't help but think something special to commemorate the occasion for BlizzCon attendees and Virtual Ticket holders would be appropriate. For $200 per ticket, maybe it should be expected? Perhaps Blizzard should at least announce the contents of the goodie bag sooner rather than later.

Regardless, I'm still excited. I wasn't able to attend last year's BlizzCon, and although I was able to cover any pet-related news/info quickly and efficiently from home, I regret not being able to meet and hang out with all the pet collectors/battlers/lovers at the WarcraftPets meet-and-greet. Not to mention I could have poked at some developers. :P

Well, we'll see what happens come May 7 and May 10. Those days will be the deciding factor.

Monday, April 21, 2014

WoD Alpha: Iron Starlette and Peacocks

There was at least one other new WoD Alpha patch between now and my last post, but unfortunately the pet updates have been slow coming.

In the latest build, Wowhead lists only one notable pet-related change: Sphere of Ultimate Destruction renamed to Iron Starlette.

If you'll remember, LeCraft mentioned this yet-to-be-named pet on Twitter in early March, and one of the suggestions for the name was...*drumroll* Iron Starlette! :)

The only other update that caught my attention was the new mage polymorph: PEACOCK. Yes, that's right. A peacock. Mumper previously mentioned that they were working on a peacock pet, so with the implementation of this polymorph, I can only hope that the pet is well on its way and will be coming to a pet collection near you soon. It would make an excellent addition to my Look-a-Like Challenge - peacock pals please!

That's it for now, but hopefully we'll see more in the near future. I'm starting to get antsy - MOAR PETS.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Screenshots of WoD Alpha Models


I don't know if that model can get any cuter. Maybe if it has an animation where it chases its own tail, gnaws on an over sized bone, or dozes off to sleep. Yep, I think any of those additions would create a cute overdose.

More screenshots of the WoD alpha models can be found on MMO-Champion. None of which have been confirmed as pets (yet), but we can hope!

There are so many awesome looking (yet familiar) creatures. Other than the frostwolf pup, I can't wait to see the toucan, hippos (baby version please!), the odd hydra/plant thing, and of course the sporebats. I have a soft spot for the sporebat for no apparent reason other than they are adorably squishy looking. If any of the updated sporebat models come as a vanity pet...I'll probably squee out loud and bounce around in my chair for a good three minutes lol. :P

Friday, April 4, 2014

WoD Alpha - First Round of Datamining

LeCraft shared some "sneak peaks" on Twitter (note the "#tipsytweets" XD).
"No pet battle patch notes? Baby hippos, baby gronn, carpnado, elite pet trainers, eggs, and leveling stones. Boom. Plus more. #tipsytweets"
Now, I was excited about these small tidbits, however the 'Carpnado' portion really threw me off. I just couldn't believe that the April Fool's gag from WarcraftPets would really be implemented into WoW. With that in mind, I wasn't sure if I should dismiss this Tweet as half-truths or take it as something that needed more detail and explanation.

Well it turns out that it was the latter!

Wowhead has datamined the WoD alpha and discovered some new Pet Battle abilities and descriptions. (IMPORTANT: No alpha keys have been distributed at this time. Any emails mentioning a free key or invite to alpha is likely a phishing attempt and should NOT be opened.)
Carpnado: Summons a frenzy of furious fish on your enemies, dealing X damage, split evenly amongst them.

Tenacious and terrible, the mighty Hogs slaughters weaker enemies without hesitation.

Both heads are equally fearsome on the terrifying chimaera, each capable of its own unique breath attack.

The dark wings will cloud and consume the minds of the weak, because they are just so adorable!

This massive weapon of destruction has been miniaturized for use in the garden. Moles beware!

Made from bits and pieces of vanquished battle pets, dark magic, and just a pinch of love.

Cute enough to eat, but not recommended.

The frost, sometimes it makes the carrot stick in the ground. Not this one.
So even though Carpnado didn't make it into the game as an actual pet, an attack of the same name may be just as awesome! I can't wait to check it out and see if it's as hilarious as it is in my mind. I've been playing my Witch Doctor in D3 quite a lot lately, and Piranhado is an absolute must for me. Hopefully Carpnado in WoW will be something similar, if not more amusing.

Exciting times, pet collectors and battlers - WoD alpha has arrived!

EDIT: The cooking profession might be getting two new pets added to the craft:
Carrotus Maximus - Teaches you how to summon this companion.

Old Cooking Pot - Teaches you how to summon Lil' Leftovers.
Thanks to @EpicGems on Twitter for pointing this out to me!

EDIT #2: MMO-Champion has done their own round of datamining.
Savage Safari Hat - Huntin' pets is dangerous business. Don't go out without your hat.

Mechanical Toucan - Teaches you how to summon this companion.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New Pet "News"!

So...I hear it's the first of April. Here's all the latest pet "news"!

WarcraftPets: Pet Breeding Offers Collectors New Species in WoD!
WoW: Warlords of Draenor - 6.0 Patch Note Preview
Tamer Lio: Lillidan
I'm not really one for April Fool's but these were really fun. There were so many other non-pet related gags that I enjoyed as well. Bravo WoW community, bravo!
Creative Commons License
Perks N Peeves by Quintessence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.