Monday, September 29, 2014

Preview of the Two New Pets Coming In Patch 6.0

With WoD being released in early November, it's only logical that the pre-expansion patch (6.0) will be coming out some time in October. My original plan was to hold off on spoiling the 6.0 content by playing on the PTR, but because of my own curiosity obligations to WarcraftPets, I needed to check out the details of the two new pets coming with the patch. *cough* Uhm, yea. Obligations. :P

Anyway, I went through the pre-expac quest chain. It was straight-forward and fairly easy. You don't truly appreciate the ability to fly until you don't have it, and after being on the beta for so long, it was as if the world was made 100 times more open and free.

The storyline can be completed in a relatively short amount of time; you'll receive the Iron Starlette at the end. This pet is not bound on pick up and can be caged, so even if the 6.0 quest chain is removed once WoD is released, there may be a chance to find this pet on the AH. Or Blizzard might find another place for this pet, in the same way Gahz'rooki was moved from a vendor to a drop. In any case, if you *can* obtain it while the quest is available, why wouldn't you? :)

Some commentary on this pet: With the current breeds on the PTR and its moveset, some are speculating that the Iron Starlette could be the new Fluxfire Feline (pre-nerf).

If you're newer to Pet Battles and are unsure what all the fuss is about, when the mechanical feline (commonly referred to as FFF or FF) was first implemented, it came in a Power breed and had a moveset that made it possible to two shot most pets with startling ease. Naturally this upset the balance of the game, and the FFF had to be nerfed.

It's still unclear whether or not the starlette will sit in the same boat as the original FFF, but there's already some solid discussion on it over at the WarcraftPets forum. Thank goodness for the pet theory-crafters; I would be so oblivious and in the dark otherwise!

And on an aesthetic note, while the Iron Starlette is adorable (who wouldn't love their very own little fiery ball of death?), I'm really disappointed that it doesn't have any idle interaction. I would have loved to see it roll over and kill critters in a fiery blaze. Unfortunately, after sitting and staring at this pet while next to a critter on the PTR for some time, it didn't appear to do anything other than idle around. Maybe I'm wrong and maybe I didn't wait long enough. One can only hope that that's the case, but I doubt it (I waited for a damn long time!).

Bronze at last

The second new pet that will be available once patch 6.0 arrives is the Bronze Whelpling. Keeping in line with the other whelpling pets, she's a drop from the Iron Horde mobs in the 6.0 questing area (revamped Blasted Lands, level 90).

Initially, I wasn't sure if I should kill normal mobs or the elite ones, but in the end I just parked myself next to a group of normal Ironmarch Grunts and killed them for about 30 minutes (of course each person's experience will vary, I might have just been very lucky).

The mobs have a quick respawn time, so if you can find yourself a good spot with a few spawns nearby, you should rack up kills in no time. Even though I killed only grunts, I think any of the normal "Ironmarch" orcs in the area will have a chance to drop the pet.

It's unknown whether or not the Bronze Whelpling will stick around after the pre-expac content is over, but my guess is yes. Gahz'rooki is a pet with a similar history of being implemented during a world event content patch that led up to Siege of Orgrimmar, and once the content was removed the pet was relocated somewhere else in the world so that it would still be available to collect. I can't see any reason why the Bronze Whelpling wouldn't receive the same treatment. But even if the Bronze Whelpling was made no longer available as a drop, the pet is not bind on pick up and can be caged.

Whatever happens, I guess I'll be spending some time in Blasted Lands in October. I can't wait to collect another whelpling! :)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Detailed Garrison Progression For WoD

Blizzard recently released an informative article on garrison progression, Garrison Preview Part 2—All -Buildings Great and Small.

Some notable points that should be kept in mind:
- Level 1 blueprints all become available to you when your Garrison reaches Tier 2.

- Level 2 blueprints become available at different times depending on their size:
Small buildings: Reach level 96 or complete the Talador zone.
Medium buildings: Reach level 98 or complete the Spires of Arak zone.
Large buildings: Reach level 100 or complete the Nagrand zone.
- Level 3 blueprints become available as you complete certain achievements across Draenor.

- Level 3 blueprints are account-wide. Once you unlock one on a character, it’s available to all characters on your account.
Note: You don't actually have to complete the entire zone to unlock blueprints of your appropriate level. The blueprints on the vendor have a tooltip that reads, "Requires (zone) Outpost or level XX".

The outpost unlock often involves just the first quest chain of a zone, but will require a follow up storyline in one area (see below).

(Alliance) garrison progression in WoD:
The ultimate goals are to unlock and fully upgrade the Menagerie, plus open up and upgrade plots as soon as possible to start amassing materials to craft the pets. I went through 90-100 on beta again to record a specific itinerary.

1. Level 90-93 = Build level 1 garrison w/ 1 Large Plot + 1 Small plot

2. Level 91-93 = Upgrade garrison to level 2, Build another Large Plot + Small Plot
2a.) Level 92 = Fully unlock Mines, upgrade Mines to level 2
- level 2 blueprint requires level 2 garrison
3. Level 94-100 = Build and level current/existing plots, unlock other plots
3a.) Level 94 = Fully unlock Fishing shack, upgrade Fishing Shack level 2
- level 2 blueprint requires level 2 garrison
- start doing daily quest
3b.) Level 94-96 = Upgrade small plots to level 2
- blueprint requirement: complete Talador "Establishing your Outpost" storyline
3c.) Level 96 = Fully unlock Herb Garden, upgrade Herb Garden level 2
- level 2 blueprint requires level 2 garrison
3d.) 96-98 = Upgrade Medium plots to level 2
- blueprint requirement: complete Spires of Arak "Shadows Gather" storyline, go back to Veil Terokk, do followup quests there, go back to Southport, complete "Securing Southport" storyline
3e.) 98-100 = Upgrade Large plots
- blueprint requirement: complete Nagrand "The Might of Steel and Blood" storyline
4. Level 100 = Upgrade garrison to level 3
4a.) Unlock Menagerie, upgrade Menagerie to level 2
- start doing daily quest (can start at Menagerie level 1)
4b.) Upgrade Menagerie level 3, unlock Mastering the Menagerie daily
- blueprint requirement: Draenic Pet Battler achievement (can complete this at any level)
4c.) Upgrade all other plots to level 3
- level 3 blueprints require a specific achievement related to the plot/profession

Note: Although the Menagerie plot and NPC appears at the same time as the Mine, Herb Garden, and Fishing Shack, unlike these three, you can't actually pick up a quest to unlock it until your garrison is upgraded to level 3. This might be slightly confusing since the unlock quest, Pets Versus Pests, only requires level 98 to start and is advertised as such in most guides.

One would think that with a level requirement of 98, you could pick it up at 98 and open up the Menagerie at that point, right? Nope. The actual level needed for the Menagerie is 100, as that is the only time you can upgrade the garrison to level 3.

Hopefully I can stick fairly close to my proposed plan; I don't think there will be any extreme deviation. I should be all set for WoD :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Crafting the Profession Pets In WoD

There will be quite a few pets that come from professions in WoD, and since my ultimate goal is to be self-sufficient in the expansion, I decided to review the necessary steps/stuff. I'll probably need to employ the help of my alts if I want to craft all the pets myself.

Just to clarify, I'm only looking at pets crafted with Blacksmithing, Engineering and Tailoring. I have yet to take a closer look at the pets from Mining, Herbalism, Archaeology, Fishing and Cooking.

And as always, things could change between this writing and WoD's release. :)

Blacksmithing Pet

The first pet is probably the "easiest" and most convenient pet to craft out of the three professions. Almost everything you need is right there at your fingertips at The Forge.

First you should probably build The Forge on a small plot inside your garrison. This will open up a vendor who sells recipes only available to characters with the Blacksmithing profession (includes the recipe for the pet).

Next, you must obtain Draenor Blacksmithing by either buying it with gold from The Forge vendor, or finding it as a world drop in Draenor. After that it's just a matter of collecting the mats to purchase the recipe that teaches you how to craft the pet, and then finally creating the pet itself!

Soul of the Forge recipe costs 1 Secret of Draenor Blacksmithing
- 5 True Iron Ore to craft the Secret (has a cooldown)
Crafting the pet needs:
- 10 Sorcerous Fire (byproduct of certain professions)
- 50 Truesteel Ingot (A and/or B)
A: Per crafted (has a cooldown)
- 20 True Iron Ore
- 10 Blackrock Ore
B: Per The Forge Work Order (completed every few hours, can queue up multiple orders)
- 5 True Iron Ore

Ore for the ingots can be collected by anyone, regardless if you have Mining as a profession, from the garrison Mine. Upgrading the Mine will open up more nodes and more Work Orders with a higher ore yield.

You automatically learn how to create Truesteel Ingots when you use the Draenor Blacksmithing recipe, but the ingots can also be obtained through Work Orders at The Forge (does not require you to have Blacksmithing as a profession but they are BoP). Utilizing both the orders and cooldown is probably the most efficient. The higher your Blacksmithing skill and the level of your Forge, the more ingots you'll receive per craft and Work Order.

Every so often, you'll receive Sorcerous Fire as a byproduct when creating Truesteel Ingots (crafted or Work Order). This is not guaranteed, though, and sometimes you'll receive Sorcerous Earth instead (hang onto those!) or no bonus material at all.

Sorcerous Fire isn't exclusive to Blacksmithing and The Forge. It can also be obtained from Alchemy (Alchemy Lab plot), Engineering (Engineering Works plot), and Enchanting (Enchanter's Study). If you build any of these plots but don't have the profession associated with it, you still have a chance to loot Sorcerous Fire from the Work Orders of each building. Much like Truesteel Ingots, the byproduct is not guaranteed and Sorcerous Fire shares its droprate with other "Sorcerous materials". Sorcerous Fire is not BoP, so you could buy/trade it as well.

In the end you really only need two plots to craft this pet, The Forge and perhaps the Mine (if you don't have access to a toon with Mining).

Engineering Pets

I would rate the Engineering pets as the second "easiest" out of the bunch. You'll need to have at least Engineering skill level 50 due to the requirement of an Arclight Spanner in the schematics OR access to a Gnomish Army Knife.

In the same fashion as the Blacksmithing pet, you'll want to build the Engineering Works. The vendor will sell budding Engineers Draenor Engineering for gold as well as the schematics for the pets for 1 Secret of Draenor Engineering each. Learning this will teach you all the recipes you'll need to craft the pets, but not the schematics for the pets themselves.

Note: If you build the Engineering plot even though you don't know the profession, the NPC will be able to craft these pets for you once you upgrade the Engineering Works to level 3. This seems to be the only plot that will craft the pets for you if you don't have the profession.

Lifelike Mechanical Frostboar schematic costs 1 Secret of Draenor Engineering
- 5 True Iron Ore to craft the Secret (has a cooldown)
Crafting the pet needs:
- 40 Sumptuous Fur
- 50 Gearspring Parts (A and/or B)
A: Per crafted (has a cooldown)
- 10 True Iron Ore
- 10 Blackrock Ore
B: Per Engineering Works Work Order (completed every few hours, can queue up multiple orders)
- 2 True Iron Ore
- 2 Blackrock Ore 

Mechanical Axebeak schematic costs 1 Secret of Draenor Engineering
- 5 True Iron Ore to craft the Secret (has a cooldown)
Crafting the pet needs:
- 50 Gearspring Parts (A and/or B)
A: Per crafted (has a cooldown)
- 10 True Iron Ore
- 10 Blackrock Ore
B: Per Engineering Works Work Order (completed every few hours, can queue up multiple orders)
- 2 True Iron Ore
- 2 Blackrock Ore 

Mechanical Scorpid schematic costs 1 Secret of Draenor Engineering
- 5 True Iron Ore to craft the Secret (has a cooldown)
Crafting the pet needs:
- 10 Blackrock Ore
- 30 Gearspring Parts (A and/or B)
A: Per crafted (has a cooldown)
- 10 True Iron Ore
- 10 Blackrock Ore
B: Per Engineering Works Work Order (completed every few hours, can queue up multiple orders)
- 2 True Iron Ore
- 2 Blackrock Ore 

As mentioned above, the recipes to craft these pets requires an Arclight Spanner OR a Gnomish Army Knife/Ultimate Gnomish Army Knife/Ultimate Gnomish Army Knife.

An anvil is also necessary to create the Gearspring Parts. One option is to build The Forge, but if you'd rather not use up another small plot, you can always run over to the Mine inside your garrison and find an anvil there. Additionally, you can always craft/buy a Thermal Anvil of your own.

Ore can be collected by anyone, regardless if you have Mining as a profession, from the garrison Mine. Upgrading the Mine will open up more nodes and more Work Orders with a higher ore yield.

The Sumptuous Fur has a chance to drop from mobs around Draenor, but if you build a Barn you can trap Talbuks and Wolves to begin Work Orders for fur. The fur isn't BoP so you could buy/trade it too. The way I see it though, is you'll need to build a Barn to collect the Pygmy Cow on at least one toon, so why not make use of the Work Orders while you're at it? XD

Tailoring Pet

I consider this last one the toughest out of all the crafted profession pets mentioned in this post. Why is it more difficult to craft the Elekk Plushie? Who knows, but my guess is you need to save up a lot of love and magic to fill its insides with. :P

Using the same process as the other two, you will need to build the Tailoring Emporium in a small plot, purchase Draenor Tailoring, learn it and then get started on collecting the mats.

Elekk Plushie pattern costs 5 Secrets of Draenor Tailoring
- 5 Sumptuous Fur each Secret (has a cooldown)
Crafting the pet needs:
- 10 Sorcerous Earth (byproduct of certain professions)
- 50 Hexweave Cloth (A and/or B)
A: Per crafted (has a cooldown)
- 20 Sumptuous Fur
- 10 Gorgrond Flytrap
B: Per Tailoring Emporium Work Order (completed every few hours, can queue up multiple orders)
- 5 Sumptuous Fur

Unlike the other two professions, you need to make five secrets before you can even learn how to craft the Elekk Plushie. This results in a five day wait due to the crafting cooldown on the Secret. Yikes.

On top of this, if you want to maximize your daily yield of Hexweave Cloth (by utilizing both the crafting cooldown and Work Order), you'll also need to unlock the Herb Garden in your garrison. Anyone can pick herbs there, regardless if you have the Herbalism skill or not. Upgrading the garden opens up more nodes for you to pick, but the Gorgrond Flytrap isn't guaranteed to spawn in your Herb Garden. You can also place Work Orders for herbs, at the cost of 5 Draenic Seeds each order.

The Sumptuous Fur has a chance to drop from mobs around Draenor, but if you build a Barn you can trap Talbuks and Wolves to begin Work Orders for fur. The fur isn't BoP so you could buy/trade it too.

The Sorcerous Earth used in the recipe may be a little tricky to obtain. Unlike Blacksmithing which is fairly self-sustaining, Tailoring will need to rely on other professions for this material.

Sorcerous Earth is a byproduct of Blacksmithing (The Forge plot), Inscription (Scribe's Quarters plot), Leatherworking (The Tannery plot), and Jewelcrafting (Gem Boutique plot). If you build any of these plots but don't have the profession associated with it, you still have a chance to loot Sorcerous Earth from the Work Orders of each building. Sorcerous Earth isn't a guaranteed drop and it shares its droprate with other "Sorcerous materials". Sorcerous Earth is not BoP, so you could buy/trade it as well.

Extra Notes
All of these pets can be crafted by characters with the appropriate professions of any skill level. I dropped Alchemy and picked up Blacksmithing on the beta, and despite only having a skill of 1, I was still able to start working towards making the Soul of the Forge.

The only profession that *might* be skill dependent is Engineering, because of the Arclight Spanner. There is a work around for that though, but that's only if you can get your hands on a Gnomish Army Knife.

All recipes can be purchased in your faction's city in Ashran (once you've completed the initial zone quests) in addition to the plots in your garrison. The cost should be the same at both places.
Recommended miscellaneous plots:
- Mines
- Herb Garden
- Barn
You'll want to unlock and upgrade your Mine as soon as you can since the majority of the crafted pets require ore. I would place the Herb Garden as second or even third in priority, the Barn possibly being more essential than the garden because of fur Work Orders.

When upgrading either the Mine or the Herb Garden, be sure you go through and loot all of the nodes first. Once you level the plot up to the next tier, it will spawn a new set of nodes even if the day hasn't reset/rolled over yet.

Profession skill level, plot level, and whether or not you've assigned an appropriate follower to your profession plot -- all of these factors help determine how many mats you use/receive each time you place a Work Order or use the crafting cooldown. Higher skill and higher plot level means better yield.

And last but not least, here's a quick list regarding "Sorcerous stuff". With Fire and Earth coming from multiple professions, it gives us a little more freedom to build what we want and what's appropriate for each toon.
Sorcerous Fire - Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Engineering, Enchanting

Sorcerous Earth - Blacksmithing, Inscription, Leatherworking, Jewelcrafting
Depending on which buildings you set up in your garrison, you'll need different materials to start each profession's Work Order.

We get a total of three small plots in the garrison. If you're ok with giving up the Salvage Yard and Storehouse, you could have one plot dedicated to the profession that crafts the pet, one for your secondary profession (if it's not Herbalism, Mining or Skinning), and the last plot would exist to help supply more materials to craft the pet from the first plot. It's entirely up to you, though!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Progressing On the Beta - Cows, Spores, and Dailies

I've accomplished quite a bit on the beta recently, mostly thanks to the information shared by the collecting/battling community! :)

Moo, damnit

The first bit of collecting occurred when I received a Tweet about a certain little cow. Thanks to @JiangWing I was quickly a happy owner of the Pygmy Cow.

You can collect this pet once you've upgraded you garrison Barn to level 3. A special mug will spawn on either the first or second floor, and looting it will yield the pet.

I found mine on the second floor, but there was no obvious way up. You need to use some creative mechanics; the engineering goblin glider comes to mind. But I'm no engineer so I used Wing's recommendation and built a level 2 Gnomish Gearworks. The main thing I was looking for with the gearworks was the XD-57 "Bullseye" Guided Rocket Kit. The item you can loot from this plot changes each day, so I was lucky that the rocket spawned that particular day!

Using the rocket, I managed to get up onto the second floor and collected my adorable little cow. The mug that you're looking for doesn't have any type of glow or indication that it can be looted, until you hover over it with your cursor. As mentioned before, it can spawn on the first floor as well. Usually among the other mug props, so I would be sure to check each one of those if you can't find it on the second floor.

Seeing stars spores
I finally got around to collecting the different spore pets of Draenor. There are currently only three available, two of which required some time to find.

The first one is a drop from a rarespawn named Rotcap. It's a straight forward find, and there's already a Wowhead map to help you find him. :P Rotcap drops the Brilliant Spore.

The second and third spore pets were a bit harder to collect. They require some jumping around and can be obtained by looting spore-like objects found in their respective zones.

Crimson Spore comes from a Strange Spore in Gorgrond. A map to indicate where to look doesn't exist yet, so I had to go by descriptions detailed by other players. Here's the location of the spore on the map:

(click image to enlarge)

You'll find protruding red fungus things on the side of the cliff. The Strange Spore can be found on one of those "fungus stairs", and is fairly easy to get to. Jumping around is your friend. :)

The last spore, Umbrafen Spore, was the hardest to find and reach. It's located in Shadowmoon Valley, and can also be looted from a Strange Spore. Head to Elodor, and follow the road all the way up the mountain. Climb as far as you can up the mountain located north-west of Elodor, and then jump down to the largest mushroom nearby. Here's a map so you can see which mushroom I'm talking about:

(click image to enlarge)

It took me a few tries to actually find it, but the jumping portion was easy. This spore was tricky because I couldn't actually see the lootable object from a distance and I had to be practically on top of it to finally spot it. There was a lot of guessing, jumping, not finding anything on one mushroom, and then climbing the mountain to start all over again.

The spore pets are lovely in color, but they have a balloon-type syndrome. That is, instead of free floating like a spore should, they're currently tied to a rope (like a balloon). Hopefully that will be sorted out prior to WoD's release. XD

Ding! One thousand

The last bit of progression I've made on the beta is probably the biggest one. I finally unlocked the level 3 Menagerie! Whew. After collecting all of the available wild pets, I still had about 300 Draenor pet battles to complete. Using a tip from @patf0rd about single pet fights that still existed, I cheesed the rest of my way to 1000.

Once I finished the achievement, I purchased the level 3 blueprint and was all set to take a firsthand look at the new daily quest. It completely replaces the previous daily quest available from the level 1 and 2 Menagerie, but only for your toons that upgrade to Menagerie level 3. Side note, once you've unlocked the blueprints, all of your characters can purchase it (regardless of faction) if eligible. Hooray for only having to complete the achievement once!

Mastering the Menagerie has the same objectives as the daily it replaces, but the rewards are much better. In addition to the same number of Pet Charms, you also have a chance to loot one of seven new pets from the Big Bag of Pet Supplies. The pets don't have a 100% droprate and seem to be randomized (they don't correspond to the pet you have to defeat for that day).

Oddly enough, the daily isn't account-wide so if you have multiple high level toons with a level 3 Menagerie, you can increase your chances of getting the new pets. Another reason why WoD is feeling more and more like the expansion that "forces" us to spread our time across many different characters. But that's a different discussion. ;P

Doing the daily on two toons the first day (an alliance and a horde) only netted me one pet, the Sunfire Kaliri. Absolutely gorgeous!

On the second day, I scored two pets, one from each daily reward bag. Puddle Terror and Ghastly Kid.

These pets ARE cageable, so I expect to see these pets up on the AH quite a bit. I'm sure if you power through and reach level 3 Menagerie early in the expansion (and on multiple toons), you could make some decent gold by selling these MtM pets. I don't play the AH all that much, though, so I'll probably just hang onto the pets and any duplicates I get. Maybe I'll hand them out as gifts? :)

If undergoing the 1k Draenor pet battles grind doesn't sound like it's something you want to do, you could just wait until these pets pop up for sale. I don't think there's any prerequisite to add them to your Pet Journal. They probably won't be cheap initially; it's up to each collector to determine which one is worse: 1k battles or paying an arm and leg. For me, I'll probably just do the grind.

There are only seven MtM pets unfortunately, so I can't imagine this content will last us for very long. Especially for those that have many characters that complete the daily. Blizzard could always add more pets as drops from the daily to keep us interested, but that's probably only a temporary solution. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Possibly Problematic (Wild) Pets In WoD

UPDATE: The Bone Serpent was removed from the Pet Journal in a recent beta patch. So while we won't have to worry about finding it, we'll also lose out on a really awesome looking wild pet. :( :( :(

Being the compelled collector that I am, I decided to dive in and go for the 1k achievement on the beta to unlock the level 3 Menagerie blueprints. Since I need to grind my face off on wild battles, I figured I might as well kill two birds with one stone and collect all the WoD wild pets.

For only one dedicated night of collecting, I'd say I was very successful. I managed to collect all but a few wild pets from Draenor. The conditions on beta are ideal for collecting, though, so I don't expect my experience on live servers to be as lucky/quick. With more competition it will probably take more time to just find the new pets.

Unfortunately in a few cases, even without a ton of collectors searching for the same thing I was, some of the wild pets gave me trouble.

What a Pain in my...

If my experience on the beta is any indication of what it will be like on live, there are three wild pets (maybe more) that might give collectors a headache in WoD.
- Axebeak Hatchling
- Bone Serpent
- Shadow Sporebat
The main issue with the first two is that despite searching all over the respective zones that the pets should have appeared in, I couldn't find a single location where either spawned. Not even a critter (non-battle pet) version. It's possible that the Axebeak Hatchling and Bone Serpent may only come as secondaries in battle, but I find that a little silly.

Both zones have appropriate places where they could spawn. Why implement them as exclusive secondaries when there's all this real estate for them to wander around?

The entire southern half of Gorgrond is a jungle that's filled with other birds, some of which are even wild pets too (Junglebeak). And there's a cluster of actual (bone) wind serpent mobs in Spires of Arak (they share the same model as the pet). It's a wonder to me that neither seemed to appear near any of these likely locations.

Perhaps they haven't been fully implemented yet? Did I somehow miss them? Was someone else clearing them out faster than I could spot them? Or maybe they're just really, really rare?

I have a problem with the last explanation, though. Even with the rarer wild pets of Draenor, there is usually some indication of where they could spawn. All you have to do is find the non-battle pet version of them to get an idea of where to hunt. The exceptions, of course, being the Axebeak Hatchling and Bone Serpent. They were nowhere to be found in any form when I looked. Maybe they're the new Minfernal/Unborn Val'kyr? I cringe at the thought...

Oh, speaking of non-battle pet versions of wild pets...

In the end I did manage to find a Shadow Sporebat, but only after many hours of fruitless looking and waiting. This particular pet gave me trouble for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it's spawn location. The sporebat seems to appear alongside its larger counterpart, the Zangarra Sporebat. These mobs can only be found in the tiny little area in north-eastern Talador, Zangarra. And when I say tiny, I mean tiny (compared to other zones/areas). With such little space, there's probably only a limited number of spawns for that area.

Secondly, there ARE non-battle pet versions of the Shadow Sporebat hovering around the area. That's the only reason I knew to check there. But do they share spawns with the actual pets? I really don't know.

I decided to take it upon myself to try and coax the spawning of actual pet versions by killing off the critters. One would hope that by doing this, it would free up "slots" for the real pets to spawn in, right? Unfortunately, that didn't seem to help.

Another method that some collectors swear by is killing off the mobs associated with the pet. I didn't need to since Zangarra was full of people questing and therefore killing the Zangarra Sporebats for me.

Absolutely no battle pets were spawning. Not even miscellaneous wild pets, such as snails, rats, etc. It was only after I had left the area and checked back hours later that I found one lone Shadow Sporebat and managed to collect it.

I'm not a designer or developer so I don't know the finer details of how spawning works, but to me the tiny area in which the sporebat could spawn coupled with possibly sharing a spawn rate/timer with non-pet versions both made it very difficult to collect this particular pet. Not to mention that since there's a lot of traffic in that spot, questing and what not in such an enclosed area, it's possible that any pets that DID manage to spawn were instantly casualties of player versus mob battle.

Needless to say it was very frustrating, and this situation might end up applying to a few other wild pets as well.

From what I've observed, many of the wild pets that only spawn near/around their larger counterparts (the hippos for example) tend to have a similar problem as the Shadow Sporebat. It's not quite as bad for most of them since there are more areas in which they can appear (it's still limited for the hippos though since they only appear around bodies of inland water), but there were A LOT of non-pet versions wandering around. As adorable as they are, I was fairly annoyed whenever I came across one that I couldn't actually interact/battle with.

It would be nice if there was some official confirmation on whether or not killing the mobs and the non-pet versions actually helps the spawn rate. In some situations I did away with both, while in others I let both be and just hoped to come back and find a pet to battle. I really can't say which method worked better; both were equally aggravating because neither seemed to have any impact at all.

Anyway, these are just the few exceptions to the norm. And it's possible that I just happened to be extremely (like a million times) unlucky. Perhaps others will have a better experience with the aforementioned pets, and easily find their spawn locations. (Please let me know if you do!)

My overall experience with collecting wild pets in Draenor was good. The majority of pets spawned in logical areas, so it wasn't that hard to find them. I expect that due to higher competition on live servers there will be fewer spawns up, and the quality of spawned pets not as ideal (most were rare on beta). But that can be overcome with some patience and dedication. That's collecting in a nutshell for ya, I guess? ;P

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WoD Beta: The Great Purge?

A new WoD Beta patch was released today (18888) and many of the previously implemented wild pets were removed from the Pet Journal. It's possible they were renamed and/or haven't been re-added into the journal, but we'll see. Here's a list of all of them that are missing:
Bloodthorn Hatchling
Cerulean Moth
Crimsonwing Moth
Fen Crab
Glowing Sporebat
Ironclaw Scuttler
River Calf
Sapphire Firefly
Violet Firefly
I'll continue to update this post with more details and information if I come across any. More to come once I finish combing over the Pet Journal.

Update: With the above pets gone (and if they don't find their way back into the game), we're down to 96 possible new pets in WoD. Not quite over 100 like before, but it's still a large amount and all of those new pets should keep us busy for a while. :P

In addition to the removed pets listed above, there were some changes to previously implemented pets. A few had their source changed, and the pet that was originally known as Karabor Kid was renamed to Argi. It also received a small makeover and its model received some updates.

Only one new pet was added this time, the Parched Lizard. It can be found as a wild pet in Gorgrond and uses the same model as a warp stalker.

Speaking of wild pets, many wild pets were finally implemented and spread across Draenor. Wild battles now also consist of 3 pets instead of just 1. This should mean pet experience earned from grinding on wild pets will be the same in Draenor as in Pandaria.

The vendor at the Menagerie inside your garrison had her stock updated. You can purchase a Mystery Bag for 2 Pet Charms and receive a random family-specific leveling stone.

Unfortunately, she doesn't trade a Marked Flawless Battle-Stone for three of a kind anymore. If you're still in need of a specific family's quality upgrade stone and want to trade in three, you'll need to visit the Pet Battle trainer in Stormwind or Orgrimmar.

Other than the Marked Flawless stone (costs 10 Pet Charms), there doesn't seem to be a steady source of quality upgrade stones in Draenor. I imagine this may prove to be a huge inconvenience for some collectors/battlers. :\

Not a Goodbye, Just a See You Later

The pet Hogs was originally implemented in a previous WoD beta patch, and was set to be the reward for a limited time achievement during WoW's 10th anniversary. As the beta progressed, though, Hogs was eventually removed as the reward, and everyone wondered where he would end up.

Well, we finally have some confirmation on Hogs' fate (for now). From developer LeCraft's Twitter:
"Hogs has been removed as a battle pet. He may appear in a later patch."
This is disappointing news, but I honestly can't say that I'm too surprised. If not an anniversary reward, I can't imagine where Hogs would fit in as a collectible pet. Perhaps he could have been placed in the Blizzard Store as a purchasable pet, at the risk of upsetting a large audience. Collectors have mixed feelings about the Pet Store, and to place such an iconic and high profile pet may not go over well enough to be worth it.

But we'll see.

Even though it's unlikely that we'll see him any time soon, it's still possible that Blizzard will release him in the future. I'm crossing my fingers that they find an appropriate and suitable place for him in-game.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Murloc With Hair

We have confirmation on the still unconfirmed Blizzcon 2014 pet!

Looks like it will indeed be Grommloc, currently named BC01 on the PTR/Beta.

The Blizzcon page hasn't been updated with info on the contents of the goody bag, so we'll have to continue waiting for official confirmation. At this point though, Blizzard has pretty much locked this pet into place and I don't think "grommloc" will be going anywhere. :P

As a side note, he has hair. Do any of the other baby murloc-themed pets have hair? I can't remember. For some reason I find this hilarious and odd at the same time. WHY DOES HE HAVE ACTUAL HAIR?! lol

Monday, September 15, 2014

Faction-specific and Profession Pets In WoD

With WoD looming just around the corner and time flying by fast, I'm getting steadily more and more anxious about all of the pets that I'll need/want in the expansion. Currently there are over 100 new pets to collect. Meep.

I've already listed the garrison buildings that collectors will be interested in, but here are some other "to-do's".

This list is mainly to help myself organize and plan for collecting in WoD; hopefully it gives others some direction too. :)

Faction-specific pets:
Horde - Bone Wasp (Laughing Skull reputation)
Frostwolf Pup (Frostwolf reputation)

Alliance - Draenei Micro Defender (Council of Exarchs reputation)
Sky Fry (?) (Sha'tari Skyguard reputation)
Note: I'm unsure if the Sha'tari Skyguard is the same thing as the Sha'tari Defense, a new unlockable faction via the Trading Post building in your garrison. This building unlocks a horde faction (Laughing Skull) that sells a pet, so it would only make sense if there was an alliance one as well. However, the Sha'tari Skyguard is currently a faction that can be accessed by both horde and alliance (on live servers), so it's confusing that the pet is listed in the Pet Journal as something from the "Skyguard" instead of the "Defense".

Profession pets:
Archaeology - Ancient Nest Guardian, Frostwolf Ghostpup

Tailoring - Elekk Plushie

Engineering - Lifelike Mechanical Frostboar, Mechanical Scorpid, Mechanical Axebeak, Sky-Bo

Cooking - Lil' Leftovers

Herbalism - Nightshade Sproutling

Mining - Ore Eater

Blacksmithing - Soul of the Forge

Fishing - Land Shark, Sea Calf
I have the secondary professions (arch, cooking, fishing) all set and ready to go for WoD, but it looks like I'm going to need to level more toons and professions. Thankfully my toons with engineering and mining are already level capped and skill capped, so I'll just need to put some time into them in WoD. I'm still missing a tailor and blacksmith though, ugh. Perhaps I can convince my other half to dust off his alts to give me a helping hand? ;)

So much to do in the near future, ahhhh!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

WoW's 10th Anniversary Dates Announced

Blizzard announced the 10th anniversary dates:
"The 10- year anniversary celebration will begin in-game on Friday, November 21 and will last until Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 10 a.m. PST."
This gives us about 1 month and 2 weeks to collect all of the 10th anniversary pets. Hopefully that's more than enough time for everyone in the community.

The first pet, Molten Corgi, only requires a log in on any character during the 10th anniversary celebration. If you don't have too much time to spend in game, at least log your toon in and retrieve your adorable fire pup from your mailbox. :)

The second pet will require a bit more time (depending on your luck and the drop rate). Hatespark the Tiny is a drop from the last boss (Ragnaros) of a revamped 40 man LFR-styled Molten Core. According to developer Jeremy Feasel, it sounds as if the pet is not a 100% drop rate, and we'll need to kill Ragnaros multiple times before obtaining Hatespark.
"Repeat MC runners will have a chance to get Hatespark the Tiny and the Flames of Ragnaros enchant illusion :)"
Personally, I'm not that thrilled. I'm hoping that since I'll need to repeatedly kill Rag, that the LFR version of MC will be split into wings. If it is, then I can queue for the last wing many times without having to go through the hassle of clearing the entire thing over and over again.

I wouldn't have such a big problem with MC if I could put my own group together and run it with people that I know and trust to not be dead weight in a raid. But I've yet to come across a solid LFR group made up of nearly all random people, that's performed well. Add to this uncoordinated and unorganized set of people a lengthy raid that's been revamped to match our current level, and ouch. Plus the RNG droprate of the pet and limited availability. It might be a painful experience rather than an enjoyable celebration of 10 years of WoW. We'll see.

Both pets will only be available during the aforementioned dates. That is, once the 10th anniversary celebration is over, the pets will not be obtainable anymore. Only Hatespark, who is cageable, might occasionally be on the Auction House post-anniversary. So remember to log in to at least collect your Molten Corgi!

Edit: I completely forgot to mention another detail that shouldn't be overlooked; you need to be level capped to participate in the LFR version of MC. WoD will be released November 13, so if you want to be able to participate in the "new" Molten Core immediately, you'll need to power level and be 100 in 8 days. That's a tall order for some players, especially for those that may want take multiple characters to the raid.

With this additional information, I'm not sure how I feel about the pet not being 100% drop rate. There will be a lot of pressure on collectors to reach the appropriate level and then overcome the RNG in a 40 man pug. All within about a month. Yikes.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Gated Pet Battles In WoD

I think it's about time we talk about the giant elephant in the room (and I don't mean the Elekk Plushie). WoD pet battle content is shaping up quite nicely, however new gated content was recently implemented for beta testers to test out, and let's just say it doesn't seem very well received so far.

There are many pet-related activities that are locked behind a number of tasks, but this one might just be overkill.

To unlock the level 3 Menagerie blueprint, we'll have to battle one thousand (1000) pets. In Draenor. Not in Pandaria, not in Azeroth or Outland. Only in Draenor. And it's something you won't want to skip. Why? Because the level 3 Menagerie unlocks a new daily that rewards a bag which may contain one of a handful of pets each day. It's THE good stuff, and everything we've been and will be working for — new pets.

While I don't mind gated content or grinds, this achievement has a few issues. Nevermind the fact that many players will see 1k battles as excessive, but what exactly is there to battle one thousand times in Draenor?

There are only six Draenor trainers, which you can only battle once per day each. There's only one Menagerie challenge, that we'll likely be able to battle only once per day once WoD is released (despite being able to challenge it repeatedly on beta). That leaves wild battles to grind out that enormous number.

Granted, we'll be battling wild pets regardless if there are other, more interesting things to battle. We'll be hunting for all of the new wild pets in different breeds and qualities. But there are still limits to how many new wild pets there are, and eventually we'll reach our collecting goal long before the 1k mark is met.

After that, it will be just a straight grind. Which again, I don't mind. However, considering the state of wild battles on the beta at the moment, I'm not looking forward to it too much. As a disclaimer, beta is beta so content may not yet be finalized.

Currently many of the wild pets are still missing from the world, or at least one would hope. Draenor is largely devoid of any wandering pets, and they can only be found in large packs in Nagrand. Depending on the density and spawn rate once WoD is released, the competition for wild pets could be high. Not just for the new pets, but also for the achievement to unlock the next level of the Menagerie. That doesn't sound very fun.

Plus, wild battles on the beta are currently single pet fights. I'm unsure if this is intended or if two other pets will eventually join the wild teams, but I'm torn between rooting for one or three.

But let's give it the benefit of the doubt. WoD will have a plethora of wild pets, and the repsawn rate will be balanced enough so that collectors will have more than enough fill of new pets and wild pets for battle fodder. There are still concerns that surround this overwhelming achievement we have to complete.

"And, I have to do 1000 Draenor pet fights before I can actually start getting the most relevant reward from beating Draenor pet fights? This is akin to forcing people to get a "defeat Garrosh 10 times" achievement before they can get loot from Garrosh."

As Poofah mentions on WarcraftPets, other than for collecting the new pets, wild battles have no real value in terms of progression. It's not something that's new or will teach a seasoned battler anything. The level cap hasn't been increased, so the wild pets in Draenor are essentially the same as those in Pandaria. Minus a few new faces. The gating is a grind for the sake of a grind, it would seem.

Also unlike the Pandaria wild pets, Draenor ones are pretty undesirable for leveling too. If they remain single pet fights, Draenor wild battles will yield much less pet experience than a wild team of three. 319 experience for a level 1 pet in Draenor (with Safari Hat), compared to 798 experience for a level 1 pet in Pandaria (with Safari Hat). As long as Draenor pets are fighting solo, we lose any benefit to battling them.

But again, I'm torn between wanting teams of three as opposed to a team of one. With such a huge number as one thousand looming over me, a single pet fight goes much faster. However, I lose much of my motivation to battle wild pets in Draenor since my pets don't receive nearly as much pet experience from single pet fights. So it's a lose lose situation either way. Increase the teams to three pets for full pet experience, it takes longer to reach that 1k goal. Keep the teams as a one pet encounter, but lose the leveling benefits of Draenor wild battles.

On top of that, this achievement basically locks us in Draenor. Battles elsewhere won't count. They must be completed within the new zones in the expansion. But outside of new pets to capture, there's very little appeal to staying in Draenor for wild battles. Why stick around when I can earn more levels (AND rewards) battling previously implemented trainers? Because I'm forced to participate in Draenor-only battles for the sake of "progression", despite there being no new/additional benefits. As things stand, it's actually more of a disadvantage.

I don't think I need to mention travel time, do I? Well, I'll touch on that. Nevermind getting from zone to zone, just running around on a ground mount was tedious. Without flying in Draenor, finding pets could eat up the majority of our time. Playing on my level 100 on the beta, it was a chore to find wild pets that weren't guarded by high level mobs (because clearing out an area of mobs means MORE time spent doing something other than pet battling). It was tough to just battle without having to waste time traveling or dodging other things.

What will this mean for collectors who can't spend many hours a day looking for battles? I spent a good 3-4+ hours a day over the course of 2-2.5 days just to earn 500 Draenor battles under my belt. Not everyone has that kind of time. I even got lucky and there were multiple restarts throughout my play time, which reset the wild pets and spawned them all back in fairly quickly.

It could take weeks or months for the average collector to finally unlock the level 3 Menagerie and reach that last step of Draenor pet battle "progression". But by then, who knows? Will newer content be out and will those players feel left behind? It's discouraging to think about and may put off some collectors.

To play devil's advocate, completing this 1k achievement will go to those that truly immerse themselves into pet battling in Draenor. It's not a task that involves a lot of skill or knowledge, but it is something that not every player can accomplish right away. It will mark a very dedicated collector (or someone with a ton of free time on their hands), and perhaps it should initially be reserved for only such persons. They will likely collect the new pets from the level 3 Menagerie daily quest before others, and they'll have a small window in which parade their new pets around and to shine as a special snowflake.

If that's really the intent behind it all, I guess the one thousand goal is...acceptable? (Errr, but I'm not really one for special this would bother me somewhat.)

The Solution? Is There One?
Should the gated content be removed entirely? My opinion is no. Having a long-term goal is good not only for us as players, but also for the game. It gives the gameplay longevity and something for us to look forward to. As it is now, though, 1k Draenor battles is NOT something many will look forward to.

Taking into consideration all factors mentioned above, perhaps simply lowering the number required to unlock that last, more desirable step in pet battles progression, would be the best course of action. 500 Draenor battles? I managed to achieve that in 2-2.5 days. 750? That could be doable over the course of a week for your average collector/battler.

Compared to the majority of other garrison achievements that unlock other level 3 building blueprints, the Menagerie one just seems out of place. 500 Draenic Stone for Mines level 3 and 500 Draenic Seeds for the Herb Garden level 3.

Admittedly, the Fishing Shack achievement that unlocks its upgrade does sound extreme (100 of 7 different fish, 700 fish total), but keep in mind that while working towards that achievement, you're gathering NEW resources that you can and will use to further other professions. You're not grinding for the sake of grinding; you're progressing forward and are rewarded for your efforts. The wild battles in Draenor really don't offer much in the same way.

Perhaps awarding more pet experience for completing a wild battle in Draenor is another option. It would certainly make the grind more appealing, but some would still contend that 1k is just too much to be fun. For some veteran collectors, there are only so many new pets that need to be leveled. And with the implementation of the leveling stones, that process will go even faster. It's only one pet level per stone, but that takes away the need to grind experience out.

In the end, my impression thus far is that one thousand Draenor pet battles is too much. Gating is fine, but it should be more logical. Wild battles are so yesterday, and there are no new or additional benefits. How does it prepare us for the next step? It doesn't, really. Perhaps the level 3 Menagerie should be gated behind defeat X trainers X number of times. Or defeat X trainers with X pets. Or defeat X trainers within X number of rounds.

The simplest and most straightforward change I can think of, though, would be to reduce the number of Draenor battles required to unlock the level 3 Menagerie.

We'll see what the end result is, but I'm hoping for a compromise. Collecting takes dedication, and we are more than willing to devote ourselves. But everything needs to have a balance. Besides, at this point I don't think many of us really need to prove our commitment to collecting, anyway. ;P

Thursday, September 4, 2014

WoD Beta: Mastering the Menagerie

Thanks to @patf0rd we now have some insight on what you earn by defeating all of the Draenor trainers.

Once you've completed the achievement Taming Draenor AND have a level 3 Menagerie (blueprints for a level 3 menagerie require the achievement Draenic Pet Battler), you'll unlock a new daily quest inside your garrison called "Mastering the Menagerie" (NYI on Wowhead). The objective of the daily is to defeat all 6 trainers.

It will reward a Big Bag of Pet Supplies which contains charms and the family-specific leveling stones. Plus, it might drop some new pets! Well, at least according to the Pet Journal. There are a handful of pets that are rewarded from the quest "Mastering the Menagerie".

A big thank you to patf0rd for sharing this info with me and testing all of this out!

Edit: List of all the pets that are currently listed in the beta Pet Journal as a reward from "Mastering the Menagerie". There's a total of 7.

Albino Chimaeraling
Ghastly Kid
Puddle Terror
Sunfire Kaliri
Sun Sproutling

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WoD Beta: Flashy Title Here (Pets?!)

I've been semi-quiet on my blog for past week; the Diablo 3 2.1 patch just sucked me in. Still, I've been diligently logging into WoW for pets. Can't neglect those pet battle dailies! :P

New Pets and Achievements
Anyway, there was a beta patch yesterday and it wasn't huge but some updates were pretty significant in my opinion. We've got two new pets, a new achievement, and two achievement updates. There were also slight changes to the Draenor trainer rewards and the vendor located at the menagerie in your garrison.

First new pet is the "spacegoat" that was previously datamined. It's official name is Karabor Kid, and the pet journal says it will be from the Blizzard Pet Store. When? That's a definite unknown, but I'm already throwing money at my monitor though lol. And of course, *insert some lame joke about selling Draenei "kids" to "collectors"* :P

Second new pet is tied to an updated achievement, An Awfully Big Adventure. Defeating FORTY-FOUR trainers (spread out all over Azeroth, Outlands, Northrend, Pandaria, etc.) with the Elekk Plushie on your team will now reward your efforts with a pet, Trunks (a new baby elekk).

Yes, you read that right. 44. That's...a lot of trainers! But for many battlers, it should be a piece of cake. The most annoying portion of this achievement might be the travel-time. And probably the Celestial Tournament since the achievement requires all of the rotating initial 3 trainers.

Thankfully, there are already many strats that detail how to defeat the usual trainers with a "carry pet". We'll need to brainstorm and test new strats for the additional trainers, but I have faith in the battling community that some solid ideas will come out. :)

Speaking of updated achievements, though, another one was changed. Previously, Victory in Hillsbrad rewarded Hogs, but no more. Now you get a title (corresponding to your faction) when you complete this achievement.

I'm pretty bummed that the pet won't be the reward anymore, but hopefully Hogs will make his appearance somewhere else in the game. I have many bones for him to gnaw on, so get into my collection, damnit. :P

Aside from the changes, there's a new achievement for defeating all of the Draenor trainers. Taming Draenor will unlock "Draenor Pet Battle Daily Quests".

I'm still not sure what the daily quests will consist of, though. Is it a new daily quest? Or something we've already had a chance to test? Is it tied to the level 3 menagerie or maybe it's something else? There are still a handful of pets that are rewarded from the quest "Mastering the Menagerie" (quest NYI), so maybe the achievement unlocks that?

We'll see. I'm having a hell of a time trying to even complete the achievement on beta. With disconnects and the world going down constantly, it's been slow going. Not to mention my menagerie is still only level 2, so I can't even check level 3 if there's anything new once I've completed the achievement. Hopefully someone else will have the time and patience to see what this is all about.

Draenor Trainer and Vendor Changes
On the topic of Draenor trainers, their rewards were changed slightly. Instead of receiving Pet Supplies, battlers will get some gold and 4 Pet Charms from each trainer. Before, the bag contained some charms as well as a family-specific leveling stone.

In news related to this, the vendor at your menagerie now only sells Flawless Battle-Training Stone instead of both the generic one and family-specific ones. The flawless one costs 2 charms each, so if you battle all 6 Draenor trainers each day, you can purchase at max 12 stones per day. This value is subject to change of course.

I'm actually ok with these changes. Rather than juggling 11 different family-specific, soulbound stones, we'll only need to deal with one all-around useful one. Save some bag space, save some headache!

It does take away a little of the excitement from the trainer rewards, though. With a bag, there was anticipation whether or not there's a new pet inside. Now we won't have to worry about grinding those dailies every day for a new pet. Instead we'll be grinding away on those dailies for battle-stones lol. But I think I'll be happier with a guaranteed stone than an RNG drop pet heh.

There's still a chance we might see more of the leveling stones and a new reward bag from some other reward in a future content patch after WoD's release. I wouldn't count it out, at least.
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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.