Thursday, February 25, 2016

How to make Pet Battling stay fresh (but without Epic Battlestones) in Legion

Crooked told me about some Alpha changes regarding Epic Battlestones.
The latest Alpha patch included Immaculate Battlestones, both a general version and family-specific ones. Using one of these on a battle pet will consume the stone and upgrade the pet to epic (purple) quality. 
Epic battlestones and pets are still undergoing testing; there is no guarantee that players will have access to them in Legion. Developers are keeping an eye on any constructive feedback regarding this change.
In the Alpha at present, the Epic Battlestones increase the health, power and speed stats. However, this could be subject to change:
I admit I am strongly against upgrading stats with Epic Battlestones.

Pet battles, like gear, is something that has to be added to every expansion. New pets, new battles and tournaments, there is the need to put SOMETHING there to make it feel "fresh".

Pet battles become like raiding. You can't raid unless you have certain gear, and  you can't beat some pet battle trainers unless you have certain pets. People who are new to the pet battle scene get frustrated at the pet battle trainers, and those who are seasoned pet battlers get bored by the "easy" fights, and are looking for a challenge. How do you find a medium?

Pet battling has been, and should be, about skill and knowing your pet stats and strategies. Not unlike Hearthstone, I imagine. There is no unbeatable team, there is always a counter to your super team. I am concerned that adding Epic stones will only widen the gap between high end players and early players even more and discourage them from pet battling.

I do however, like the idea of these Epic Battlestones giving cosmetic effects. Like, extra animations? Or how about more interactions with other critters (eg eating them or stomping them). That would be cool. And then people would have their pets out more often, like we used to back in Vanilla when they were items in our bags.

I have often thought about how they could make pet battles accessible for new players and seasoned players. An LFR system doesn't quite work for pet battles but graded difficulty with increasing rewards with increasing difficulty (perhaps more pet tokens for a harder difficulty battle or an increased chance at drops of epic battlestones) might be good. Or perhaps, a system a little like how they will do the new challenge mode dungeons in Legion, with the scaled difficulty.

Another thing which has become the "norm" in pet battles is to merely find a guide to beat your target. There are heaps of blogs and reddit sites out there with suggested pet teams - not unlike websites and videos showing techniques for boss fights. I still like to try to find my own teams that work, but with 700+ pets, it can take a while to figure it out!

Another thing that needs an update would be the Pet Battle UI. I use addons for my pet battles, but I think it would be nice to have some of these things built into the standard Blizzard UI. Having pet teams, would be a good addition to the UI. I'm using Rematch, which is a great addon for making teams and sorting them for targets. Another useful sorting tool for pets would be abilities. Say if I'm fighting a flying class, I want to find magic abilities that would be good against it. I can't remember which pets have magic abilities, but if that could be part of the search, that would be great. There are heaps of times I wish I could find which pets had "Arcane Storm" and had to resort to going to Warcraft Pets to search for pets that had that ability.

Personally, I have no qualms about grinding pet charms for epic battlestones, but I don't feel like it achieves anything to make pet battling more fun. The whole idea of pet battles was a mini-game for fun. What people find fun in pet battles are things like dancing with Mini-Tyrael, watching Zergling and Grunty fight each other, or watching two Crawling Claws playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. I think having something like that happen with an Epic stone or some other cosmetic change (like maybe they throw flowers on you or put ice on the ground around you) would make the Epic stones fun and not a chore.

The Grumpy Elf thought he was in the minority when he said he didn't want Epic Battlestones. I disagree. I think that anyone who loves pet battles and collecting them for fun and enjoying difficult pet battles don't want it. I admit I'm lazy and don't level all my pets to 25 (I only JUST upgraded them all to rare!), and I don't see the point because sometimes it's fun to have low level pets to challenge myself with (see Major Payne's Advanced Pet Battle Training).

2 comments:

  1. Cosmetic effects would be perfect, especially if they offered more pet interactions. I'm just not sure they'd use resources on something that only a small part of the player base enjoys. The ability to upgrades stats will be a nightmare for serious battlers and strat writers.

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    Replies
    1. I agree, unless they exclude epic pets from pvp battles or something!

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