Thursday, August 14, 2014

WoD Pet Battle Progression Speculation

Update: LeCraft has clarified that the gated content outside of the garrison was only a temporary thing. In a future beta patch the prerequisite won't be required to battle Cymre. :)


Cymre Jones of Bubbles of Mischief recently blogged about a surreal experience; coming face to face with...Cymre Jones, the NPC! She will be a new pet battle trainer in WoD, however there are a few notable details that we should consider further.

According to Cymre, this new NPC will not consider you a worthy opponent until you've unlocked the level 3 Pet Menagerie in your garrison. To do so, you will need to have a level 3 Town Hall in your garrison and complete the achievement Draenic Pet Battler.

This news makes me wonder a couple of things.
- Will there be multiple pet battle grand masters scattered across the open world of Draenor? If so, how many and what does the travel time between each one look like?

- Since Cymre (and possibly other NPCs) can only be engaged in battle after you've unlocked the level 3 menagerie, does this mean these pet battles outside of the garrison will be on par in terms of difficulty with the menagerie challenges or will they be harder?
I was hoping for some miscellaneous PVE battles outside of the garrison, but what I had in mind was more of a stepping-stone between Pandaria/Celestial Tournament difficulty and that of the rotating teams in the menagerie. NPCs with epic quality pets with moderate to difficult battles would be an appropriate filler, for example. And in my mind, these "Draenor Grand Masters" would be accessible prior to the teams found at the menagerie.

So I'm not entirely sure what to make of this new information. There will be at least one NPC that we know of (Cymre) that's gated behind a higher menagerie level, with "unlocking" that higher level representing "progression". And since progression usually means things get more difficult as you move forward, I guess standalone trainer battles outside of our garrisons will be WoD's initial "end game" for pet battles? Yes? No?

Or will the Draenor Grand Masters have the same difficulty level, the only difference being they will be located independently of our menagerie?

If the answer is the latter, will they reward something extra special? For gated content to require so much of our time and energy (before and after it's unlocked), and provide no new challenges or difficulty level, any normal person would expect something unique.

I mean, if I have to go through each menagerie level, win 1000 times to unlock the "final" tier, and then the NPCs make me run around Draenor (on a GROUND mount, mind you), only to experience the same thing that I would have had I remained inside my garrison... well, they better have something damned good as a reward for my efforts. (Not that I wouldn't be grateful for additional pet content. I totally would, and I'd totally complete it all. Just unsure what the intent behind it would be -- implementing content so time-consuming that's more of the same, when it could be used as something to further generate interest in gameplay.)

However, if the the former scenario is what the NPC Cymre represents, then our reward would simply be tougher content. Unlock everything? Great, now you can go fight some REALLY hard pets. Some battlers long for encounters that are very challenging; maybe the Draenor Grand Masters are an answer to that. If so, only the die-hard battlers will go out of their way to seek them out (after jumping through all the hoops building the menagerie and garrison).

It's entirely possible that none of these are what's in store for us in WoD, and that Cymre and other NPCs will play an entirely different role in pet battles progression. Maybe we'll need to defeat all of them before unlocking the challenges at the menagerie. Or maybe they will be a specific objective for the menagerie daily. Who knows?

One thing is for certain, I'm ready to take on Draenor and all of the pets, battles, and content that it can throw at me. My army of adorable little companions and I will conquer it all!

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