Monday, March 27, 2017

Patch 7.2 This Week!

The next major content patch is almost upon us, and there's new Pet Battle content plus new pets to collect!

11 new pets to collect
Here's a (temporary) list of the new pets coming in 7.2.

Note that the Death Knight and Monk companions will not be available at the start of 7.2. Gaining access to these pets on the vendor will require an 11 week campaign which unlocks the class mount quests. More information on the new class pets can be found here.

A new toy
Similar to the DK and Monk pet rewards, Mages will be able to unlock a toy that allows battle pets (that normally wouldn't follow players into the air) to fly alongside players.

3 new WQ trainers
These trainers can be found on the new zone, The Broken Shore. They're unlocked after completing the Broken Shore introduction scenario and quests. More information on their teams here. At this time it doesn't look like they will count toward Family Familiar.

Pet Battle Dungeon
If you're level 110 and have at least ONE max level pet (but it's recommended you bring along 3 or more), head over to Breanni's shop in Dalaran (Broken Isles).

A new quest will send you to investigate a mystery in the Wailing Caverns. Completing and turning in this quest will unlock a weekly quest of the same nature, except it's Pet Battle challenge-mode time. For a detailed rundown of the Pet Battle Dungeon scenario, see this blog post.

Similar to the Celestial Tournament, the challenge version of the Pet Battle Dungeon requires at least 15 max level pets, and you cannot heal or revive your pets while inside the scenario.

The challenge-mode weekly quest rewards a bag that drops quite a few Pet Charms, and has a chance to drop one of three new pets (two of which were discovered to be color changers!).

There's also an achievement tied to completing the challenge version of the Pet Battle Dungeon, Pet Battle Challenge: Wailing Caverns, that rewards a new pet.

Did I miss anything? Please let me know if there's pet/Pet Battle content that I've overlooked. :)

I'm pretty excited about 7.2, if not somewhat (or very, heh) overwhelmed and anxious. So much to do, so little time.

I would have preferred a longer period between the announcement of the release date and the actual release date itself...but *shrug* what can you do?

Can't wait to collect some new pets!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Patch 7.2: Developer Q&A and Patch Release Date

There was a Dev Q&A today that answered some player questions regarding Patch 7.2. You can find the VoD and transcripts either on Wowhead or MMO-Champion.

Here are details related to the new pets in 7.2. The patch is set to be released March 28.

  • Unlocking class mounts (and therefore DK/Monk class pets) in Patch 7.2 will take 11 weeks (of campaign), plus exalted w/Armies of Legionfall.
  • Earliest for flying is ~2 weeks into 7.2. (Pathfinder 2 is required for class mount quest)
  • Not all classes will have class pets (that match their mount and/or in general...?)
  • Future Pet Battle Dungeon(s) depend on player feedback and participation. If both are positive and high, there will likely be more dungeons in the future.

I'm absolutely shocked that 7.2 is less than a week away. I would have preferred a bit more heads up, but ahhh. New pets are on the way!

Things to do to prep for patch next week:
- Level DK/Monk/Rogue. Grind AP on DK/Monk to reach weapon level 35 (all 3 weapons for DK), and complete class campaign on Rogue.

- Have at least 3 max level pets for Pet Battle Dungeon (normal-mode), and 15 max level pets for challenge-mode.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Road to 7.2 Class Pets: Personal Experience and Insights

   

I wanted to share my experiences with leveling and preparing a character for the upcoming class pets, so I'll be breaking down the process into sections with some personal insights. Note that this is all based purely on my own testing or observations; other players' experiences may vary.

TLDR; The entire adventure isn't a short one, and shouldn't be seen as something to quickly grind through. I think this is very much meant to be a long-term goal, much like the Argent Tournament pets took weeks to months of dailies (for some collectors, even crossing into multiple expansions).

It's a slow-going task, but it's absolutely doable. These pets will not be removed and they will be waiting for you. Don't let the length of time discourage you from these pets! (Not enjoying the class playstyle is an entirely other matter though...)

Disclaimer: Although though my personal opinion is that collecting the 7.2 class pets is a lengthy task yet doable, I would still advocate a different way for collecting these pets. Even if it's just a slight change. I still think there are some collectors who will feel discouraged and/or left out. That being said, I accept whatever decision Blizzard makes regarding these pets.

Here's a break down with my opinions and commentary to help explain my point of view. Walls-of-text, ahoy!

For a preview of the requirements for Patch 7.2 class pets, see here.

Pre-7.2 Content:

Friday, March 3, 2017

Developer Response Regarding 7.2 Class Pets

There's been an official response from Muffinus (developer Jeremy Feasel) regarding the 7.2 class pets.

Hi everyone! Thanks for your feedback, wanted to drop in a few updates/notes.

In the next build, you'll see that the required currency for each bonus item has dropped from 10000 to 1000 Order Hall Resources. We agree that the "hard part" of getting the bonus items should be maxing out your artifact, not the grind afterwards.

In 7.2, we want these bonuses to feel like a badge of honor for players that have unlocked the final ability on their empowered artifact. For some time they'll be pretty exclusive, and this is intentional. It makes sense for the Blood Death Knight, with their bloody mount, to also have the Bloodbrood Whelpling, showing off their dedication to their specialization.

It's also important to note that we also have no plans to remove these items in the future, and we will re-evaluate their acquisition in a post-artifact world. If you don't want to go for them right now, don't worry, you won't be permanently missing out on anything.

I hope this assuages some of your concerns. As always, we're looking forward to your continued feedback!

Although this isn't the compromise I had in mind, it's far better than nothing and silence. I would have much preferred the removal of the Power Ascended requirement for each of the upcoming class pets, but that seems integral to the experience that Blizzard wants us to have.

Going from 10k resources to 1k is still a notable concession, and will mean a little less grinding on a (possibly alt) toon.

It should also be noted that the Artifact Knowledge research is being bumped up to AK 50. Main characters with max AK can purchase and send alts a tome that will automatically increase the alt's AK to 45. This will hopefully make the AP grind for alts significantly quicker/less painful.

I look at it as encouragement to make progress on my main first and foremost so that my alts can get a significant boost later.

Of course, this doesn't address all issues revolving around these pets, and some collectors will still inevitably be/feel left out.

However, the most interesting part of the developer statement is that they will be taking a second look and reassessing how these pets will be collected post-Legion. This could mean a wide range of things for all types of collectors/players, but we don't know for sure yet.

It's possible that changes made in the future will enable a much larger audience to obtain class pets and toys. Even those that initially felt like it was hopeless to even attempt collecting these pets may see the end of the tunnel.

Re-evaluation is also good news because it will hopefully mean alts will be able to smoothly transition on into new expansion content once they've hit 110 post-Legion, but without missing out on class rewards. It would be awkward if, for example, my Mage needs to hang around on the Broken Isles well past level 110 just to collect enough AP to earn Power Ascended.

Hopefully the re-evaluation ensures that this doesn't have to be the case.

But on that same note, I'm hoping we won't have another situation where the class pets are "moved" to another source. An example of this poor design choice is the Thundering Serpent Hatchling, which was removed as a vendor item from guild vendors that completed MoP Challenge Mode achievements. It eventually ended up on the BMAH as a random drop from a box that also had a random chance of popping up for sale.

If the class pets follow suit post-Legion, it would not make for very interesting or compelling gameplay. Going from a guaranteed source (that requires some time and effort) to a completely random chance seems almost like taking a step back instead of moving forward.

All of this is yet to be seen though. We just don't know what developers are brainstorming for these pets.

I can definitely understand that some collectors will still oppose these new class pets. And understandably so. The reduction in price doesn't necessarily address the different play-styles or players that may not fit in this exclusive box that they've created for each class.

There are still collectors who do not have the time to dedicate to an alt, and may barely even have time to keep up on a main character. There are collectors that cannot bring themselves to play a certain class, maybe because they absolutely dislike the play-style or lore, or simply don't want to take time away from their main. There are MANY different types of collectors, and there will still be opposition to these 7.2 class pets from some of those players.

We have to keep in mind that Blizzard is at the very least considering all of the feedback they've been getting. If you have constructive criticisms about these pets, let developers know in a logical and respectful manner. Perhaps the feedback won't have an immediate impact, but who knows what will happen in the long run. I give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt that they will indeed make good on their word and re-evaluate how these pets are collected in the future.

I just hope that they take into consideration a good portion of the community that feel hopeless and helpless in this situation. And I hope that it won't be too late for said collectors.

Overall, I am personally very glad to hear from Blizzard on this matter. The compromise is smaller than I envisioned, but it's still something. I'm more reassured by the fact that they plan on re-evaluating these class pets as time goes on, and I can only hope that this will also mean more pet collectors than not will have a chance at these pets in the future.

In the meantime, I can only encourage other collectors to see these class pets as a long-term project. Hold onto hope that they are not truly out of reach, and persist through these less favorable times. It may seem unreasonable and impossible now, but there's a chance that things could change for the better.

I've used "hope" and "hopefully" a lot in this post, but that's because that's all I can offer those that still feel discouraged. It's probably not enough to keep everyone collecting and invested in pets, though. And it's heartbreaking, but I understand.

I think Liopleurodonic put it best: "...it's a lot easier to stay motivated when completion is an attainable goal."

I completely agree and encourage Blizzard to keep this in mind going forward.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Class Pets: I'm Taking a Step Back

I believe I'm done. Done with responding or adding my two cents into conversations about the upcoming 7.2 class pets. It's just put too much of a strain on me emotionally.

I think I was done as soon as is started. When it was revealed how the DK and Monk pets would be earned, I had a very distinct sinking feeling in my stomach. No, no, no, my gut told me. This will not go over well.

The extreme way these pets will be obtained is causing an equally extreme response from the community. Those against it, they're upset because of the various reasons they're against it. Those for it, they're pushing back against those that oppose it because they think it's ridiculous to have issue with this situation. Middle-grounders and those trying to seek a balance between two sides are largely drowned out, not present, or dismissed.

As I stated on Twitter earlier, I'm disillusioned with these pets. To be entirely honest, I'm quite bitter towards Blizzard for implementing them in the first place, as it's caused a divide within the pet collecting community. In all my years volunteering for WarcraftPets, I don't think I've seen such a divisive topic as class pets (specifically the ones coming in 7.2).

I'm not expecting everyone to get along and agree with everyone else all the time. But these pets have caused any sense of civility and community to fly out the window, and it's very much an "us vs. them" type of scenario. And both sides consider the other wrong. One side is dismissive and considers the other as being entitled and merely complaining. The other side is angry (understandably so) and cannot fathom the (valid) points made by the other.

It's (excuse my french) a shit show.

What was my hope to involve myself in these discussions about the DK/Monk class pets? To shed some light and perspective for those that don't understand why others are upset. Those unaffected have nothing to fear or worry about, therefore there's really nothing to discuss from their point of view. But if we're to maintain a healthy community, I believe we need to consider the less fortunate. Empathy and empathizing goes a very, very long way.

As I mentioned before, whether Blizzard decides to change how these pets will be collected or keep them as they are now, it will not impact me much. I'm lucky to be part of the fortunate. But that doesn't prevent me from understanding why those, who feel they WILL be negatively impacted, see this as poor design.

I can also understand why the other side is ok with these pets, and even possibly why developers would want to implement collectibles like this.

But when it comes down to it, I think those that feel these pets will have an adverse effect on their gaming experience need to have their concerns addressed. They, in my eyes, are the little guy. And the big guys should stand up for the little guys (while not neglecting the big guys' desires/outlook).

So I advocated for a compromise. One that wouldn't take away from the intended overall experience, but one that would concede to those that are against these pets that it could be a bit more reasonable.

The compromise: Everything would stay the same, but the requirement to learn all traits post-empowerment would be removed. That's it.

The intent is to ensure those that want the challenge (and/or to feel special for a time) will still get it for the most part, and those that felt it was originally impossible to even strive for, may not be as discouraged and come to think it's not as out of reach as they initially thought.

But it's a minefield, and each side (mainly the side that's for the pets) is very much stuck in their beliefs. It's impossible to get across that a compromise as light as this would address both parties.

There's a serious lack of empathy involved from many that are vocal about supporting the design choice regarding these pets. I could say the same about the side that's voiced opposition, however I've read many responses that state that they're not looking for an overhaul of the entire collecting process, just a small concession.

I've yet to come across a response in support of the class pets, that acknowledges there are players whose gameplay experience will be negatively affected and to help with this, there's room for a reasonable change. I've yet to read a response from a supported of these pets that has a tone other than dismissive.

You're selfish for feeling the way you do.
You're entitled.
Stop complaining and whining.
You won't get to participate, get over it.
It's not that bad, do it later.

And so on.

We get to see the true colors of the community, I guess. Which makes me incredibly demoralized.

So I'm going to just stand by and watch and wait and see what happens. I think I've said all that I can to provide perspective. In the end my point of view really doesn't matter.

Blah, blah, blah. Overreacting. So melodramatic. Etc. Spin this situation however you want. It will not take away from the fact that some collectors feel very strongly about all of this, and to dismiss or ignore them would be a disservice by Blizzard.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Updates and Additional Thoughts on 7.2 Class Pets - At a Loss

UPDATE: Thanks to Adumbledore, there's now a DK/Monk pets feedback thread on the US Bnet 7.2 PTR forums.

Whether you're for or against these upcoming class pets, feel free to leave your feedback. Keep in mind that feedback will be better received and taken seriously if it's constructive, respectful, and on-topic.

------------------------------

This week's PTR build added in the Death Knight and Monk class pets. To put it bluntly: I am not looking forward to these pets in their current iteration.

Disclaimer: I'm aware that this is the PTR and things could still change. Nothing is set in stone yet. I'm desperately hoping things will change for the better, and class pets will be implemented in a more collector-friendly manner. At the same time, I'm a pessimist at heart. So... there's that.

Both the DK and Monk pets are purchasable from Class Hall vendors. Each pet costs 10k Order Hall Resources each (DK's have 3 pets, so 30k total). BoP and not cageable.

To see the pets on the vendor, you need to complete the class mount questline. To purchase the pets, you need to meet the following requirements:

Death Knight pets (3 whelplings) -
Must empower and fully unlock all artifact weapon traits for each DK spec (Blood, Unholy, Frost). This includes the new traits added in 7.2. Each pet requires the corresponding fully unlocked artifact weapon.

Monk (Ban-Fu, Cub of Ban-Lu) -
Requires the achievement Power Ascended (empower and fully unlock all traits for one Monk artifact weapon).

Note: It's still unclear how the Rogue class pet will be obtained. The PTR Pet Journal still only states "Hall of Shadows". If anyone has a high level Rogue on the PTR and can try/test where Crackers is from, please let me know!


Feels Bad Man
I don't know what to say about these class pets at this point. It seems bonkers that Death Knights must farm artifact power to fully unlock talents for not just one but THREE artifact weapons. It seems a bit unreasonable to require fully unlocking traits for any artifact weapon, if I can be honest.

Sure, Artifact Knowledge is going to increase come 7.2, so each AP token thing will grant more AP per. But it still takes time and energy to go out and collect each token. WQs, dungeons, raids, etc. These activities still all require so much time. Especially for those playing with a time constraint. If DK or Monk aren't main characters, it'll be rough grinding the resources and AP just for the pet(s).

I was going to add arguments and logic to this post about why these pets shouldn't be so heavily gated behind seemingly unreasonable requirements, but I'm tired. Emotionally tired.

Since this PTR cycle started, I've argued for compromise when it comes to class pets. Add more exclusive pets? Ok. But consider the player-base that actually want these pets, and implement the pets in a way that doesn't completely alienate them. No need for "dumbing down" the game, just a few tweaks here and there so collectors don't feel completely discouraged/turned off.

There have been valid issues about class pets post-Legion and come next expansion. DKs and Monk will essentially be trapped in Legion, farming AP and resources in order to buy their class pets. If there's a weapon requirement for these companions, what will happen if we don't get to keep these artifact weapons in the next expansion?

I've discussed on Twitter at length the changing environment that is pet collecting. How once upon a time it was less like a job, and more like a quirky pastime. These days, compounded with the extreme content over-saturation in Legion (and gating and RNG among other things), many collectors seem to be burnt out. Or they've put collecting on hold indefinitely. Would-be collectors simply see it as too daunting of an activity and don't even bother.

The addition of new class pets with stringent requirements doesn't help. Gating these pets behind tasks that have nothing to do with pets or Pet Battles doesn't help.

I feel like I've said as much as I can, as logically and reasonably as possible.

Yet I can't shake the feeling that all that I've said is in vain. Am I simply yelling into the void? Is my point of view that of the majority? Or vocal minority? Have I surrounded myself in an echo chamber, where thoughts and ideas just bounce back without any real discussion? Am I not stating each point well enough? Is my mode for feedback incorrect; should I be directing it elsewhere?

If I'm being unreasonable about my dislike for these upcoming class pets, I'll gladly bite my tongue and back off on the subject. If my suggestions for compromise and not alienating pet collectors are out of line, I won't push the issue further.

The majority of myself feels that my point of view is not irrational though.

And then there's a small part of myself, the devil's advocate, that's insisting that I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. Perhaps it really won't be that bad.

Minus having to level each class that has a class pet.

Oh and having to contend with RNG for some of them.

Plus the gating behind certain Order Hall Advancements.

And can't forget about the steep resource price and artifact weapon requirements coming soon to a Class Hall near you.

Yea, sure. It won't be that bad. (Sorry for the sarcasm, but I feel so passionately about this whole situation that it's slowly turning into a sense of hopelessness/helplessness.)

So I don't know what to think anymore. Self-doubt, inner conflict, plus I'm incredibly discouraged and demoralized about the whole thing.

Do I hope that there's some future yet-to-be announced mechanic that will make collecting these pets viable next expansion and less tedious? Yes, absolutely. Even if there is, does it remove the fact that I still advocate compromise? No. I would still very much like to see these pets implemented in a gentler, more collector-friendly manner for those aiming to collect the pets in current content.

I just don't know what else/what more can I say to get my points across. I'm at a complete loss.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love Is Definitely In the Air

Happy Valentine's Day, February 14th, and/or Tuesday to all!

No new pets were added with this year's Love Is In The Air in-game event, but there was a new item that "buffs" an existing pet. ^_~


#buffpeddlefeet can now be realized with Peddlefeet's Buffing Creme! It puts a Well Buffed buff on Peddlefeet that turns him slightly translucent and sparkly. This consumable can be purchased from the holiday vendors for one token.

Some background: Once upon a time, a character by the name of Zepp dreamed of the day where Peddlefeet would be buffed. Perhaps this isn't the exact "buff" Zepp had in mind, but a buff is a buff. ^^;


In addition to the creme, while I was looking for a suitable body of water to use my Love Boat toy in, I discovered a tiny, adorable change to Dalaran (Broken Isles).

I'm not sure if this is temporary or a permanent addition, but it would seem Trashy has found a cute companion to spend this special day with. :)


Normally, Trashy is a mob that wanders around Margoss' Retreat (the fishing island floating just outside of Dalaran). Today, I was surprised to find him with Cinnamon, an adorable red panda with a bow. Cinnamon usually hangs out in Curiosities & Moore shop in Dalaran.

We'll have to wait and see if this love is just a fling, or something more. hehe ^^; (note: There's a Trashy Jr. hanging around in the Dalaran Sewers; could Cinnamon have anything to do with that...? *wink*)


Anyway, I hope everyone has/had a great day. <3

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Mischief Raises Over $2.5 Million For Charity!


Today, Blizzard announced that Mischief sales generated more than 2.5 million dollars for Make-a-Wish, a non-profit organization!

Unfortunately for me, this number includes sales of both the in-game battle pet and the Blizzard Store plushie. I'm only keeping track of how much each charity battle pet raises.

Regardless, it's wonderful that players helped raise so much for charitable causes!

Here's the full list, now with Mischief included.

  • 2016 - Mischief (AND plushie) raised over $2.5 million for the Make-a-Wish Foundation
  • 2015 - Brightpaw raised over $1.7 million for the Make-a-Wish Foundation
  • 2014 - Argi raised over $1.9 million for the Red Cross Ebola Relief Efforts in Africa
  • 2013 - Alterac Brew Pup raised over $1 million for the Make-a-Wish Foundation
  • 2012 - Cinder Kitten raised over $2.3 million for the American Red Cross Superstorm Sandy relief efforts
  • 2011 - Cenarion Hatchling raised over $1.9 million for the American Red Cross Japan Earthequake and Pacific Tsunami relief efforts
  • 2010 - Moonkin Hatchling raised over $800,000 for the Make-a-Wish Foundation
  • 2009 - Pandaren Monk raised over $1.1 million for the Make-a-Wish Foundation

Estimated total: $13,200,000*

*includes money raised from sales of non-battle pet items

Thursday, February 2, 2017

First Thoughts On Class-Specific (Order Hall) Pets

Patch 7.2 is introducing what seems to be new class-specific pets from the Monk, Death Knight, and Rogue Order Halls. Similar to other Order Hall pets, they're BoP and not cageable.


This news has caused some concern and anger within the collecting community. We'll have to level even more characters if we want access to class-specific pets? Will all classes have a collectible battle pet from the Order Hall?

In regards to the last question - I speculate that yes, in time, ALL classes will eventually have an Order Hall pet. Some may have more than just one (Druids and Death Knights, for example), while others will share the same pet with another class (Demon Hunter and Warlocks).

I know some are hoping that these class-specific pets will stop with the new additions in 7.2, but I think that would be unfair to classes that have yet to receive an Order Hall pet (Hunters, Mages, Paladins, Priests, and Warriors are still lacking a class-specific battle pet).

If it truly is Blizzard's intention to release a battle pet(s) for each class, collectors have a daunting task in front of them should they desire to collect them all.

Locking pets behind a certain level on a certain class is a huge concern for some collectors. There are players that don't want to play more than a few classes, while others simply don't have the time to level up additional characters.

Since it's unlikely that Blizzard will back down from adding class-specific pets, I think consideration of these players and some compromise is in order. Here are some suggestions on how Blizzard can implement future class-specific pets. One or two or all ideas could be applied to a class pet.

(To be clear, I am prepared to level as many characters as I need to in order to collect each class-specific pet. However, I can ABSOLUTELY empathize with those that are unhappy with these pets. I also agree that it's a huge undertaking and completely overwhelming for those attempting to collect them all.)


1. Don't lock the pets behind a high player level, Order Hall talent, or additional RNG.
The best example for a compromise between multiple class-specific pets and player progress is the Shaman pet, Snowfang.

Players only need to reach level 100, complete the introductory quests to unlock the Shaman Order Hall, and then battle Snowfang the NPC.

Collectors get to experience a new/different class (and class hall), while not having to overexert themselves in order to collect a pet. They can level up, unlock the Order Hall, collect the pet, and then move on. Or, should they find that they enjoy the class, continue playing/leveling that character.

This method of collecting still requires effort and ensures the player experiences the class, but it does not lock a collector into a character for an undetermined amount of time, unlike the following pets.

The less favorable examples of obtaining class-specific pets are the Druid, Warlock and Demon Hunter companions. Not only does collecting these pets rely on at least player level 105, but it also requires a certain Order Hall level/talent AND RNG. All of these things compounded will only cause frustration for those playing certain classes just to collect the pets.

2. Have certain classes "share" the same pet.
Similar to the Warlock and Demon Hunter pet, there are some classes that could probably share the same class-specific pet. Priests and Paladins come to mind for a shared companion. This would give players the option to seek out the pet through one or the other. It would mean one less character to level, which would be a blessing for those that are not alt-aholics.

3. Make the class-specific pets cageable at the start of the next expansion.
Players will automatically want to participate in the new shiny content of the next expansion. Leaving the class-specific pets locked behind Order Halls is fine, but that will also mean players that want to collect the pets will need to extend their stay in the Broken Isles, rather than heading off into newer content.

If the class-specific pets become cageable at the start of the next expansion, both collectors that may not want to level alternate characters and those that play the classes but have zero interest in collecting the pets will have a chance to benefit. Everyone will be able to jump into new content without feeling as though they're missing out on anything. It would mean more are able to enjoy and appreciate these special companions.

I have to admit that this change would be somewhat controversial. The class-specific pets are indeed special - they are (relatively) unique to each class and the fact that they are BoP and not cageable only adds that uniqueness. It can be argued that by removing these two aspects, it also removes each pets' value/rarity.

But WoW is an ever-changing game and environment. It evolves and so must we. It doesn't happen often, but there have been a few times where aspects of certain pets has changed. And although it's subjective, I don't think the value of those pets has been altered to the point where they're completely unwanted. The majority of collectors will desire all pets, regardless of changes.

Side note, there was an interesting user comment regarding the "uniqueness" of the Order Hall pets. I hadn't even considered that some might feel these pets AREN'T unique and/or do not add anything to the class fantasy. If many collectors feel this way, there's not much reason to keep these pets BoP and not cageable since they'll simply be another item on a collecting-check list.

Blizzard has shown that they are leaning more and more toward implementing pets obtainable only through specific activities (Order Hall and PVP pets, just to name two). However, they're running the risk of alienating the very players that would even have an interest in these companions. This is why compromise is absolutely necessary. It's not the BEST situation for collectors, time and effort may still be required, but it lessens the otherwise overwhelming task.

There are many other ideas on how to make class pets more collector-friendly, not just the ones listed above.

I can only hope Blizzard takes into consideration the varying types of collectors/players, and implements future class-specific pets with compromises.

Friday, January 20, 2017

7.2 PTR - Pet Battle Dungeon (Wailing Caverns) Preview + First Impressions

Patch 7.2 will bring a new feature and challenge for Pet Battlers: a Pet Battle Dungeon!

Requirements: players must be level 110 and have a level 25 pet

The NPC in Dalaran (Broken Isles) will offer a new quest, A Call From the Caverns, which sends you to search for Muyani in Northern Barrens. You'll find this NPC in the left eye-socket of the skull above Wailing Caverns (see image below).

     

She'll have a second quest, Wailing Critters, and this sends you into a scenario version of Wailing Caverns to defeat the enemy pets inside. Speak with her again after picking up the quest to queue into the dungeon.


There's a total of 7 Stages in the Pet Battle Dungeon. Not a short run, so be prepared to sit down and do some Pet Battling!

Stage 1 - Defeat 3 different pets, Deviate Smallclaw (common beast), Deviate Chomper (common aquatic), Deviate Flapper (common flying)

Each pet comes with 2 adds. The pets are all level 25, common quality, and have the Elite passive.

Enemy teams are "locked" per instance. If you leave and rezone, the secondary pets on the enemy teams may change slightly.

Leaving the dungeon resets your progress, so only exit if you're ok with restarting the entire run.

You can heal/revive on the initial run (see below for additional details on a "challenge mode" version of the scenario).

Unknown if this is a bug or intended, but forfeiting most fights will result in your pet team taking damage (similar to forfeiting wild battles).

Stage 2 - Defeat Son of Skum (epic beast, 1745 HP, 305 Power, 294 Speed) and his 2 friends
One level 25, epic quality enemy pet with the Boss passive, plus two additional non-epic adds (no Boss passive)

Stage 3 - Defeat 3 different pets, Phyxia, Dreadcoil, Vilefang (all uncommon beasts)

Similar to Stage 1, each encounter comes with 2 adds. All level 25, varying quality, Elite passive.

Stage 4 - Defeat Hiss (epic beast, 1614 HP, 319 Power, 311 Speed) and his 2 friends
Same as Stage 2, one level 25, epic quality enemy with Boss passive, plus two additional non-epic adds (no Boss passive)

Stage 5 - Defeat 2 different pets, Growing Ectoplasm x2 (both rare magic pets)

Each enemy comes with 2 adds; all level 25, varying quality, Elite passive

Traveling to each battle requires running up a long tunnel. There are pulsating mushrooms (they're attackable) spread out around there that give you a stacking movement speed (debuff: Bilebloat).

Stage 6 - Confront the Shadowy Figure (le gasp! step not required in challenge-version)

There's no actual Pet Battling for this objective. Simply walk up to the shadowy NPC lying on the ground (he gets up once you get close enough, you can follow him). Some dialogue/RP will occur, and you'll move onto the final stage.

Stage 7 - Defeat Budding Everliving Spore (legendary elemental, 2231 HP, 353 Power, 300 Speed) and his 2 friends

Single pet fight against a level 25 legendary with the Boss passive, plus two additional non-epic adds (no Boss passive).

Once you've completed the final stage, you can jump down the cliff and speak with the NPC who will teleport you out.

Currently, if you complete the quest, zone out, and then zone back in, all of the enemy pets will reappear inside. I don't know if this intended or not. I haven't tested how much pet experience is earned from each battle, so I can't say if zoning in and out of the Pet Battle Dungeon would be a good tactic to level pets or not.

Turn in the quest and you'll be rewarded with an Ultimate Battle-Training Stone. 'But...is that it?' you might be wondering. That's definitely NOT the end!

Muyani will have a follow up quest (must have a certain number of max level pets, possibly 15, for this quest to pop up):
Pet Battle Challenge: Wailing Caverns (account-wide weekly quest) - This quest rewards Damp Pet Supplies (chance to drop 3 new pets).

There's a catch to re-entering the Pet Battle Dungeon for the second quest: NO healing or reviving (similar to the Celestial Tournament). That's right, this is the "Challenge Mode" version of the dungeon!

Note: You do not need to complete Normal each week in order to get the Challenge quest. After completing Normal the first week, you'll have direct access to Challenge mode from then on out.

With this in mind, I'd say this version is meant for more experienced and veteran battlers. This is a great option for those looking for something more along the lines of "end game" (although I'm sure some will be annoyed that they need to do the initial "easy/boring" dungeon first, before heading into the harder stuff).

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My initial impressions (I've already left feedback on the Bnet forums, but I'll go ahead and add them here too)...

Pros:
  • Fairly accessible to Pet Battlers of varying experience/knowledge. Initial run was straight forward, no real difficult gimmick. Only needed a handful of pets to complete the run.
  • Unlike Celestial Tournie, you can heal/revive in the initial run. Makes it less punishing for newer/less experienced battlers.
  • A second run can be done ("challenge mode") where no healing/reviving is allowed. Excellent option for more experienced battlers! (different reward)
  • Interesting cliffhanger for the initial quest! The antagonist is still at large, so I hope this hints at future Pet Battle content continuing the storyline. :)

Cons:
  • Forfeiting the majority of the encounters results in your team taking damage (similar to forfeiting wild battles). This may be a relatively minor issue, but will cause issue/headache for those that attempt the "challenge mode" version.
  • There's no easy/obvious way to exit the dungeon at the end, other than jumping down from the cliff.
  • Traveling to Wailing Caverns is a bit annoying, but minor issue.
  • Time commitment. This dungeon isn't exactly short. 7 Stages to go through takes time. Debatable if it's too long of a scenario. Exiting resets your progress so taking a break isn't an option.

The "normal mode" version of the dungeon will be very straight forward for veteran battlers. I only needed a few pets to defeat all encounters. You'll mainly go up against beast, flying, and aquatic pet families, so as long as you have pets that are strong/counter those, it should be relatively easy.

I've yet to try the Celestial Tournament version of the dungeon, so I can't comment on the difficulty level there yet. I'm thinking of waiting until there's a fix for losing pet health when you forfeit some of the battles, because that seems like an added and unnecessary level of headache.

All in all, I'm glad that there's something for everyone. Newer battler? Can still give this Pet Battle a try! Veteran battler? There's a challenge for you in there...go get it. ;)

I'm undecided on the rewards. The battlestone I could see benefiting newbies. Veterans will probably just bank it or use it on a spare pet (to sell/trade/keep).

The "challenge mode" reward seems appealing at first, but depending on the drop rate of the 3 new pets... it could become a tedious chore if it requires MANY MANY runs. Like I noted earlier, this isn't exactly a short run. Getting to Wailing Caverns also takes some time as well. The amount of time needed to get there, do the run, and then contending with RNG bag drops... it could get frustrating.

Not to mention the rewards are essentially reskins of existing pets. Is this enough of a draw for collectors?

Once collectors have the 3 new pets, what's to keep them from going back? Nothing, really. But I guess most abandoned the Celestial Tournament after getting all of the rewards, too. Perhaps the longevity of this content is not that big of a deal.

We'll see how well received (or not) this content is with the pet community. I'm cautiously optimistic about it. Although I may have enjoyed the experience for the most part, I can definitely see how this dungeon might come off as mediocre or 'ho-hum' to others.
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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.