Thursday, February 25, 2016

Epic Pet Idea - Epic Pet Slot

Despite my resolution to stop talking about the epic pets (possibly) coming in Legion (because I think a lot of what needed to be said, has been said already), I just can't help but revisit it. Not as a debate or arguments for why epic pets shouldn't be a thing, but as an idea for implementation that's fair, not tedious, and compromises between nearly all styles of play.

Just as a disclaimer, this idea isn't completely original. I didn't come up with the core of it. I don't remember who it was, but someone in the official feedback thread mentioned an idea that I felt was interesting and wanted to build upon.

Upgrading pets - it's a long grind. Whether you're new or old to Pet Battles, upgrading your entire collection to rare takes time. With the possibility of epic pet upgrades, not only would it be another grind, it devalues the previous one.

It's not like epic pets will make upgrading to rare any faster; it's not the same as upgrading your gear, which then makes previous content faster. Epic pets may make trainer battles go a little smoother, but actually upgrading your pets to rare? It's still a slow process as you collect battlestones and charms and continue hunting for rare quality pets. So there goes our grind to rare, long and now obsolete once epic pets are implemented.

Collectors also don't want to contend with having to upgrade hundreds of pets. Nevermind the meaningfulness of the grind to rare quality. The grind to epic quality (assuming the way we will get epic battlestones is through the system in place on Alpha now) will be just as tedious, if not more.

On top of that, if epic pets are going to receive a stat upgrade along with their purple-y name, many collectors and battlers will probably feel it mandatory to upgrade everything. Why handicap yourself by NOT upgrading a pet? What if you one day need that pet as part of a trainer strategy? In PVP, using max level, fully upgraded pets is pretty much a must too.

There are other valid concerns about epic pets that you can read through on the official feedback thread. I won't go into all of them since the whole point of this post has already gone a little sidetracked.

So IF (and I stress the if) we have no choice or say in the matter, and epic pets will be making a debut in Legion, what would be a good way to implement them that doesn't completely turn away a large portion of the collecting/battling community?

Again, not my idea, but I wanted to expand upon it: Epic pet slot.

After completing X achievements, quests, upgrading your entire collection to rare, etc., or what have you, you receive the ability to "epic-fy" upgrade one of your Pet Battle slots in the Pet Journal.

Upon doing so, any RARE quality pet (the pet must first be rare before it can go in the epic slot) placed in that slot will be automatically upgraded to epic with stat boosts and everything. Temporarily. Remove the pet from the slot, and it returns to rare.

This will ensure that the quality cap is still technically rare, keeping our previous efforts meaningful and somewhat avoiding the grind to epic.

It also doesn't negatively impact those who are compelled to have their entire collection a certain way, as much as upgrading every single pet to epic would.

It allows us ONE epic pet to use in PVE, not three. A full team of epic pets would impact battles, as proven by my tests and comparisons between battles using epic pets and using rare pets. Three would mean future trainer and PVE content would need to be even harder to be challenging. Three epic pets is a bit much, so let's compromise: one epic pet would give you less of an advantage, but still gives you the feeling of being a bit stronger than you were previously.

And who knows, there's always the option of allowing us to unlock the other two epic slots in future patches or expansions.

In PVP, the epic pet slot would be turned off. Again, going back to the idea that rare quality is technically still the cap. This gives veteran and newcomers more even footing; everyone would still be focusing on upgrading to rare anyway, since the epic pet slot can only be used by rare quality pets. It's not like someone newer to the scene can go out and capture a wild epic pet, but they CAN go out and catch a rare one. And if they get the right one for PVP, they'll still have a fighting chance.

Don't want the slot to be epic-fied because you want to use a specific strat? The slot could be moved. Let's say slot one was your original choice for epic, but now you want to use a carry pet strat and would prefer your epic be the pet that carries the team. You can move the upgraded pet slot to effect pet #2 in your lineup instead. Or pet #3. This gives us options and doesn't lock us into something we will likely want to change later.

Worried that this won't give us enough fresh content, whether artificial or real? Perhaps gate the epic pet slot behind a long quest chain, or a certain number or specific achievements that only long-time and/or dedicated collectors/battlers would have completed. It also still requires rare pets to use, so those that have yet to upgrade their entire collection and are still in the process of doing so will still be right on track.

TLDR; Epic pet slot idea in detail:

  • A Pet Journal team slot (of your choosing) that automatically upgrades any pet placed in that slot to epic (stat boosts and all).
  • Only rare quality pets can be placed in the epic slot.
  • The upgrade to epic is only temporary and only applies to pets in that slot. Remove the pet from it and it drops back down to rare.
  • One epic slot (to start with?); possibly the other two can be unlocked at a later date.
  • Epic pet slot is turned off in PVP.
  • You can move which slot is epic, giving you options for strats.
  • Epic pet slot acquired after completing a long quest chain, or many achievements, or getting your entire collection to rare, or all of the above. Something that requires determination and dedication to complete.

This idea not only introduces epic pets into our collections, it doesn't drastically disrupt the status quo.

Again, original idea can be credited to someone in the feedback thread. This is just my own detailed version of it.

I realize that this idea may still alienate some collectors/battlers. Not everyone feels the need to upgrade their entire collection to rare quality. The only way around this would be to remove the rare prerequisite for the epic slot. But then any pet would work, meaning any previous effort to upgrade to rare would be devalued.

I don't know what the tech or resource limitations on implementing an idea like this would be, so I can't say how viable this solution is. Maybe it's not feasible at all. Or maybe it will just take some time. Who knows?

This idea, like all others, has its share of issues and problems. But if developers have already decided that epic pets will be a thing, I would prefer this type of system over the current battlestone mechanic.


  1. I very much like the idea of having an epic pet slot. That would make things so much easier!

    1. @Rhapture: The intent isn't to make it easier per se, but it does add epic pets in a less daunting (and relatively "easier") manner.

      I don't think we need hand-outs, just some thought and consideration of the overall Pet Battle gameplay/community.

  2. Now that idea is good and perfekt for the 5k achi dontcha think? ;)

    1. @thesadpoet: If it's for either the 5k PVP or the 5k general battles, I'd be ok with it. Not so much if it's exclusively for the 5k PVP achievement. But that's just me. :P

  3. I am sorry I am on the complete opposite side of the fence on this one. I hate, no loathe this idea. But not for simply being a troll or an ass, but more for the concept that I loved battle pets coming out in MoP, as a full scale way to play WoW, It was amazing to have trainers and levels and the lot. When rumors of the breeding system crawled out for WoD I was thrilled, only to be instantly horrified to see them gutted and the people who stood against them won...then WoD came out...and a good deal of those people where complaining about no raised level cap, no advanced rarity, can't catch epics or legendaries. No advancement to pet battling. [aside from pet charm system]

    Now again we have a chance for a new feature, I finished out my pet collection ages ago. I have nothing to level, I have nothing to boost, I am sitting on a ton of extra charms and leveling stones and rarity stones with nothing to do with them. Legion I see as a great chance for change, for advancement but if we smother the chance to change the format again then what is the point?!
    We are gonna get to legion and those who want to play with their pets will have a handful to level up and make rare and 700+ pets to sit on it and rotate. I would love an excuse to get all my pets more battle time to level them up or push them further.

    An epic pet slot? Then you are gonna have people having to pick the one good pet and making teams around that one pet, as a concept for a new type of battle that might actually be fun, but as a system for the future of PVE? Please no, I have seen other games take this approach where you have a good unit and 2 others that pretty much are there to put all the strength into the last pet.

    If we all rally against the epic turn of battle pets, Blizz might just repeat the mindset of Breeding in WoD and give us no large change to the system, I appreciate you giving an alternate option but this still means little to no change for the majority of pets.

    1. @Tera: I guess I just don't understand the mentality behind, "we need change to our mini-game". Why attempt to fix what's not broken?

      And if it's not "change" in the form of fixing something, then why "change" in a manner that scales vertically rather than horizontally?

      Change could be new tournaments, scenarios, quests, PVP game modes, trainer challenges, etc. Restrictions and mechanics that force us to look and approach a Pet Battle differently. Or maybe even a new pet family. Hybrids or something, I don't know. There are many ideas for content out there that don't involve relying on a battlestone-type of system.

      Why does change have to come in the form of epic battlestones and another quality grind?

      We had the "rare quality" grind, so I just don't see an "epic quality" grind as change. To me, it's nothing extraordinarily new, it's not an actual change to the system. Sure, our pets get increased pet stats, but then what?

      I see epic battlestones and that grind as artificial content -- temporary busy-work.

      But maybe that's what the devs want to give us. Who knows? I'm hoping for an official response about epic pets and battlestones soon.

    2. I agree that epic pets might not be the "Best" solution but I love the concept of finally getting my pets to a higher rarity, ever since seeing epic pets on the opposing team I sat and wondered, "Why not us?" I agree it is a stop gap in the grand scheme of things. It doesn't resolve the need for further content but my concern is if we shut them down here that in return we will get nothing. I would love to see doubles battles, I would love to do dungeons and events with my pets. There are tons of options as you suggest but the outpouring of negativity toward a change I fear is gonna blow up in our face. If epic does come around I am hoping the rarity stones are able to be uptraded so we can have use for all those vendored uncommon stones,, and maybe like the followers you can level your rare pets to epic, that would be fine with me too.

      In terms of changing what isn't broken, the pet system is fun, but personally, I'm complete, I have 747 unique pets plus tons of extras all maxed out for their possible rarity and level. I have teams set for every encounter and have even challenged myself to try and make teams of only 2 pets to take down trainers. I am looking for something to do mostly. I know that isn't the case for everyone, many are still building and leveling and that is fine.

      We will see how everything falls soon I hope.

    3. @Tera: I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this.

      I too have collected everything that I can (minus that damn Stunted Direhorn), plus rare-ified and max leveled everything. But I'm ok with there being lulls in Pet Battle content. I'm ok with taking a breather to just enjoy my pets, and saving up energy for the next collecting/battling frenzy.

      I also appreciate the fact that it gives other collectors/battlers who may not be as far along a chance to catch up before the next big wave of pets shows up.

      I'd like to hope that the community giving honest feedback and expressing concerns about epic pet upgrades won't discourage the developers from adding more to Pet Battles. If genuine, civil constructive criticism does deter them from here on out, then I think we have a lot more to worry about than epic pets and battlestones. ;)


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