Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pet battles - what can breathe life into them again?

Balkoth said something in reply to my post the other day which got me thinking....
I had like 200 pets prior to MoP and was fairly proud of it...then they added another 300+ and I just thought "screw it." Too much effort to stay "current" at that point.
When pet battles first came out, it was exciting.  I loved collecting pets. I never did before because pets took up bag space and bag space was ALWAYS at a premium.  Pet battles were new, and something different to explore and collecting them was addictive for those with that slightly obsessive inclination.

The daily pet battles in Pandaria were exciting because of the chance for more pets, and then there was the Celestial Tournament which meant I had to figure out which of all the 600+ pets I had had good abilities for each particular battle.

However, I suspect that like many others, we turned to the internet to find out what other people used for their pet battles, and levelled the pets that others had for their teams.  It was daunting trying to figure out and memorise from the huge list of pets and abilities what would be good - and it would be the more serious pet battlers who knew the abilities of each pet without having to continuously look it up.

Up comes WoD, and there are few more pet battles, some more pets to collect, and some rare drop pets, which are a pain in the ass to collect, and I'm still going trying to get all my pets.  There are new tamers (which were not particularly hard) and there was also the garrison pet battle building.

But do you know what?  I have not levelled any of my new pets, I have been sticking to my old pets.  I take out my new pets to play with them and have them walk around in my Garrison, but I haven't really tried them out or battled with them. I should rectify that I think, my task for today.

The other thing I noticed, is that I feel like I play my pet battles the way I play Hearthstone.

There are new cards coming all the time in Hearthstone.  But I keep playing with my old cards, even though I am collecting the new cards.  I haven't quite worked out how to integrate some of the new cards into my decks because I'm so used to my old ones, and so my new shiny cards get neglected. Much like my new pets.  So much to choose from and there are so many that are the same!

OMG so much choice, some have pretty packets, some taste good but you know what? They all have CALORIES
What would make me want to pet battle more? How can pet battles stay relevant and yet interesting and allow people to explore it (but still keep it optional).

What I do wish, is that we could do mini games of pet battles, when not actually online in the game.  I doubt that feature would ever come. Imagine an iPad app for pet battles!  Unfortunately it would be as big an undertaking as Hearthstone if they wanted to add animations for it, but if they wanted it to be in simple style like the original Pokemon games then that would be rather cool.  All you would need was access to our Battle net account pet battle details and do some random generated numbers as we battled people online!

There are a few things that I would do to make the pet battle interface better.  I wish the filters were improved - for example, looking for an aquatic pet that could do magic damage would be a quite useful, or being able to search out a particular ability. I often go to Warcraft Pets if I'm looking for pets with a particular ability. Also because the sheer number of pets is enormous, I suppose I could just favourite all the pets I use, but it's almost like you need vanity favourites and battling favourites and maybe some backup favourites... Perhaps just cataloguing the pets differently would be nice.  For example, I doubt I will ever touch any of my run of the mill snakes, rats, cats or moths.  All of the undead and humanoids are quite interesting pets, but some of the critters, beasts and aquatics can be a bit yawn worthy.

And also, maybe something in the garrison that pets can do. Could you imagine, battle pet missions? LOL!  OF course, they are not followers, so they don't really have minds of their own because we are choosing their abilities for them, so that wouldn't really work out.  But maybe having a certain pet could add a buff to a follower, like an increase success chance with a Pug by your side or more better at avoiding danger zones with a moth/butterfly pet around (LOL).  But that would me make it more compulsory to pet battle, so perhaps not the best option after all.

So I suppose, pet battles do feel stale.  Adding new pets is not going to fix that (thought it might for a bit).  I wonder if they need some kind of tournament again like they did for Celestial tournament to get people trying out different pets and trying out different things, or perhaps the tokens could be used to buy pets.  Whatever they try, I hope it's something fresh!

18 comments:

  1. That's what I have wished for for months: pet battles on i-pad. Yes, it can be done. Blizzard has lagged behind mobile for years, and it was a tactical business mistake. When they get caught up we players will still be there, of course, but pet battles need to be MUCH more simplified and manageable.

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    1. I would love an ipad pet battle! Or Android. :P

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  2. I don't like pet battles as much as I used to, but I still enjoy them. BTW thanks for the awesome pet guide stuff.

    The reason I lost most of my interest in pet battles had absolutely nothing to do with pet battling at all. I think it is fine for what it is. It had everything to do with blizzards pet UI. When my computer crashed and I lost all my data that included all my pet team addon data. I was near the upper ends on warcraft pets and top 100 in the world on wow progress when it came to pets, so you know I loved it and did it a lot. But I lost all my teams I had saved in an add on.

    I had teams for everything. Over 100 different teams I just bounced around with and did battles. When I lost them I lost all desire to build them again. I did them all myself. No guides. Heck, I was one the first there. There were no guides. And I refused to have to do all that work finding the right teams for everything again.

    It has been some time since then and I have remade a few teams as I needed them and made new teams for the new battles this expansion. But if I ever lost them again I do not think I would even try again. Blizzard needs to allow us to have more than 1 team at a time. If I could use 100 teams up easy I am sure many others can. The UI and the limited ability of it needs to be fixed to help pet battles as a whole, in my opinion.
    But I like pet battles and don't really think I would ever "quit" unless something like that happened to me again. I would like to see more content, but it really does not need it. It is what it is. A small distraction, a side game, a little fun here and there, and I like it as that.

    Outside of the losing everything again, what would make me quit pet battles would be one of two things, if they ever did them.

    If they raise the level cap of the pets I will quit. I am not leveling 500+ pets from 25 to 30. Hell no. I've already did all that work and I do not want to do it again.

    If they add the ability to upgrade to epic. No way I am going to farm my ass off to upgrade over 600 unique pets plus extras to get them to epic after doing all that work to get them all to rare. Hell no, I am not doing all that work again.

    I like pet battles as they are and for the space they fill in the game for me. I just do not want to repeat doing something I did already, like assembling groups for everything again, or leveling everything again, or upgrading everything again. No thank you. Been there, done that. I just want to play with them now. My needs are simple.

    BTW, I am basically leveling the new pets using the stones I get from doing the garrison pet daily on 7 characters. Nothing else to use all the token on. But I rarely do them every day, but when I do, that is what I am using the things for. Leveling new pets. Some of the garrison battles I can level 1 or 2 pets with as well. So like you, I do not "actively" level new pets any longer. I prefer to spend time with my old pets. Tiny sporebat FTW. (if you do not know what they is reference too check https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhvvNGeHHME, trust me, you will not regret it)

    Sorry of the long rant / reply, should have made that a post in its own. lol

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    1. That addon is something that needs to be added to the standard UI as well - I should have mentioned that. When you have over 600 pets I can't be stuffed trying to scroll through them all trying to remember what teams I had - I have also lost all my teams and I struggle now to remember all my Elekk teams so I could complete my post - and I think adding that into the Blizz UI would help a LOT.

      You're right, I couldn't do the level cap thing again nor adding epic pets either.

      And LOL at the video - yes I know that video, we used to say that A LOT in raid :D BUT SPOREBAT IS GOOD FOR RESTO DRUIDS!!! And I do remember a time when everyone pulled out their sporebats after I whinged about the lack of haste buff in the raid and they started quoting that :D

      And, thanks for reading my pet strats. Didn't think anyone read them - they were a godsend for me after I lost my teams, I was just glad I had written them down SOMEWHERE.

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  3. I wonder if a portion of the time spent in pet battles in the past is now spent in Garrisons.

    If people have a set amount of time to play and Blizz keeps adding things, something's gotta give. And if you raid, it's certainly not that.

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    1. I have hardly done any archaeology. And I don't feel like I get anything from pet battle rewards lately, so I don't feel the urge to pet battle like I used to.

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  4. I too wish the pet battles feature would come to tablets and phones (not only iPad) but one of the reasons I dislike pet battles in wow so much is that they take so long. I want to turn off the animations.

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  5. I too wish the pet battles feature would come to tablets and phones (not only iPad) but one of the reasons I dislike pet battles in wow so much is that they take so long. I want to turn off the animations.

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    1. That would be cool except we would have to pvp pet battle i think - coz you can't go out and explore the world!

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  6. The new trainers I only did once or twice. They took longer to get to (because no flying?) and the reward didn't entice me. I don't think having the menagerie helped this, it is so much more convenient.
    The menagerie dailies at first were okay, but after I got the pets and the 500 pet charms achievement I stopped doing them.
    Now I see this garrison monument for 2000 draenor pet battles, I'm at 126, and there is no reason for me to get out there and do it. It'll be a pure grind, probably with the same pets in the same spot. I could have been hunting for wild rares, but 2 menagerie dailies is enough to guarantee a rare upgrade, so that time spent seems wasteful in comparison.

    The relative ease of levelling and upgrading pets via menagerie dailies has taken some of the shine off of doing so. I'd be more inclined to keep doing it if they were useful, but so many of the harder pet battles require certain pets to defeat, so again it doesn't feel productive.

    Some other thought bubbles on how this could be improved:
    -The trainers could have a different reward/currency than the menagerie dailies to encourage people to do both (maybe not every day).
    -1 menagerie daily per day across all characters, like the mop dailies, to reduce the comparative strength of the rewards (and the chore factor)
    -The battle training stones could give a fixed XP reward rather than 1 level. Because 1 level at level 24 is way more effective than 1 level at level 1, so you hoarde the stones rather than using immediately.
    -Menagerie dailies should count as draenor pet battles for the monument.
    -There could be a daily/weekly to capture and deliver a certain pet for a reward (similar to JC hut dailies)
    -or to defeat a trainer with a certain type of pet/pets, similar to those Major Payne challenges.
    -or 'tour' type quests where you pull a certain pet out at certain locations or doing certain tasks

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    1. Those are great ideas Crooked! You should work for Blizzard!
      I love the idea of a daily catch a pet and deliver it to someone. Or taking your pet on a tour. Kinda like a Children's Week thing.
      I agree that Menagerie dailies should count towards draenor pet battles. Those pet battles are taking place in Draenor after all!

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  7. I'm still trying to level up my collection so it's a slow and tedious slog. At least the Draenor circuit only takes around 40mins but I don't always do that every night. I've backed up my teams so I can easily restore them if need be but I would love to see them add some more integration to the default UI. The less addons the better.

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    1. I don't do the draenor circuit at all and I think no flying is why. I would love to see more in default UI!

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  8. I used to do the tamers in MoP a lot because of the convenience of flying, now I don't bother. Actually pretty much everything Crooked said. You're right, Blizzard should hire Crooked for those ideas!

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    1. Should totally laud that! Crooked is amazingly astute!

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  9. I wouldn't say I am an avid pet battler but I like that the choice is there. I tend to level my alts up in different ways so one of mine did pet battles however there seems to be an awful lot of time travelling involved to get the pets which is get when levelling but maybe not so much once you are in WoD.
    I had thought that the garrisons would revive my pet levelling as I had imagined that the pet building would be somewhere where I could train up lower level pets and earn items to change quality since most of mine are low and green. Then after I might actually be able to go out and beat trainers that need specific pets.
    Mostly I just use them as a companion pet :)

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    1. I find the garrison has decreased my will to pet battle in the world. But I am trying to get out and pet battle again.

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  10. I think the new 6.1 pets are helping me get back into pet collecting!

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I hope these comments work! Not sure why people can't comment lately, it makes me sad :(