WoW Wednesday - Pet Battle System
By MerryQuiteContrary, OnRPG Journalist
For years, your faithful vanity pets have accompanied you on countless adventures. They've provided you with comfort, company, sometimes even with entertainment and hours of fun. Maybe you only have a handful of pets you really love, or maybe you have made it your quest to capture as many of them as you can. The fact remains, heroes love their little companions... and in Mists of Pandaria, they will take the spotlight in a brand-new way.
It was announced a couple days ago that the pet battle system would be back in Mists of Pandaria beta after being taken out due to it not being complete and/or Blizzard wanting to get it right. I've been watching and waiting for this for what feels like an eternity. Colour me excited when it was announced it was included in the 16GB “patch”. Remember when I wrote Blizzard does true betas? Yeah. All of Monday was spent cursing Blizzard, my PC (though not its fault to be fair) and the heavens because the pet battle system was BUGGED! Oh the horror. By Tuesday all was well and me and my corehound pup of doom Oscar set off to find adventure.
I found the pet battle trainer, Vazrok in Ogrimmar (there is a trainer in Stormwind as well). He was able to train me, sell me a cockroach and give a quest. There are two ways to participate in PvE pet battles. One is out in the world. Oscar and I spent some time in most of the horde low level zones battling beetles, trees, and crabs. A green paw shows on the mini map to indicate where there is a willing combatant when out in the world. Just clicking on the critter with the green paw starts the battle which is turn based. As you level up your pet more slots and abilities open. At pet level three you gain the ability to trap the critters and add them to your roster of companions. When you successfully trap an enemy it will be rated such as poor or common and this determines the amount of stats gained each level. They can also have random abilities. For my second slot I trapped a spirit crab who goes by the name of Clackers. As an aside, it is great that we can now name our companion pets. The last member of my current team is Ever, the Mana Wyrmling. We have only lost once out in the wild and that was to a moth. A moth! One other thing about battling out in the world is that other creatures can enter your battle so after the initial enemy dies you may have to fight another critter but you are warned in advance when this is going to happen.
The other way in which to participate in PvE battles is through the NPC trainers. The first quest given is Learning the Ropes and is given by the initial trainer. The quests then will automatically be advanced as you complete (by winning) the previous NPC quest. I am not sure the quests alone will be a viable option for levelling your pets. I have been doing a mix of both with steady results.
Battle pets fall into ten categories: Aquatic, beast, critter, dragonkin, elemental, flying, humanoid, magical, mechanical and undead. They all have strength and weakness against the other types as well as passives. For example elemental attacks do more damage to mechanical companions and less to critter companions. The mechanical companions passive is that it can come back to life once per battle at 25% health whereas a dragonkind companion would be 50% additional damage on the next round after bringing the opponent to below 25% health.
Most companion pets have the ability to rumble but there are a few exceptions to the rule such as Father Winter's helpers, balloons, kites and argent companions. Yet enchanted lanterns can fight. Go figure.
Like PvE there are two ways to find a PvP battle. Queuing for a battle against other players is as simple as queuing in the dungeon finder. However, what I've noticed is that you are often not pit against other pets of equal levels. I consistently am fighting other player's pets that are several levels higher than my own. The best part of fighting other players is there is no trash talking. In fact, you aren't even aware of who you are fighting. This is a brilliant move on Blizzard's part to try to help out a notoriously awful PvP community. If you decide to duel outside of the battle finder, you still will not be able to communicate with the other player until after the battle ends.
I can see the potential here for a lot of min maxing. Players will no doubt be trying out different companions attempting to create the best teams. With the introduction of many new companions the achievement hungry of you will be happy to collect the new pets. Those that maybe aren't fans of the current duelling system because of all the negativity may enjoy the silent battles. There might just be a little something for all types here.
There is an issue that may need addressed. The two in one resurrection and heal ability is only available once every 15 minutes. You can also heal your pets at the stable masters but this is a bit of an inconvenience if you are out in the field levelling your pets. Knowing Blizzard, they will sort this before long and after all it is beta.
So what do I think about all this as someone who is fairly critical of this expansion? I quite like it actually. It isn't going to be a feature ex-players are going to come back for. It isn't game changing but it is fun and Blizzard knows fun. If you are a pet aficionado, a wannabe dueller, or even a min/maxer you just might like this new system. If nothing else, this new pet battle system will be a nice way to pass time waiting for the raid to start.