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Pokem…err, Pet Battles October 3, 2012

Posted by Ben in General Whinging, Leveling, Pandaria.
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My blogging partner, Stormy, has given his opinion about Pet Battles. He doesn’t like them, isn’t interested in them. And that’s cool. This feature is probably the first WoW feature that is totally optional.

However, I find it enthralling. And for a number of reasons:

I played (and continue to play) Pokemon sporadically. I’ve owned at least one of the cartridges from each generation of the handheld version of the game, and a few of the console versions. Pet Battles take the best part of those games (the battles) and leaves out the more annoying aspects (stopping every five steps in a cave to fight another Zubat that awards negligible xp). Now I have one of my pre-WoW game obsessions available to me in my current game obsession!

It gets me back into the world. I have too many characters that have been practically been parked in Orgrimmar since they reached level 85. So my hunter has become my unofficial “pet battler.” She can stay in whichever inn she likes closest to the appropriate level mini-pets (currently level 10). And when I have a level 1 critter to get going, one of my Org-bound toons can kill some dung beetles to get going. Then, once I’ve unlocked the “dailies” portion of the content, I’ll probably designate an alt to each continent to cut down a little on travel time. I may eventually abandon the capital city altogether.

It’s fast. In the mornings before I leave for work I usually have about 20 minutes while I eat breakfast to putz around the internet. It’s not enough time to make any significant progress on daily quests, but I can now devote this time to doing daily profession gem cut discovery/glyph research and then squeeze in a handful or two pet battles before I have to head out the door.

The speed of the battles will lend itself to filling in those small gaps of inactivity better. Waiting a few minutes for that third guildie to be ready for a scenario or LFD? Suit up your mini-gladiators. LFR queue? Pet battles. Got fifteen minutes to kill before the raid? Go.

But not to be entirely gushy about the feature, I do have a few criticisms:

I wish the matrix of strengths and weaknesses was a bit more complex. Only having one type of attack that’s good against a certain type of pet is limiting. I know Blizzard wants this to be a simple mini-game, and I’m not asking for mixed-type pets, but if Beast attacks could be good against more than just Critters it’d make picking a team a bit more interesting. Especially early on when almost all the pets in the early zones are either Beasts or Critters.

There’s also little information about the relative accuracy of certain attacks. My Darkmoon Monkey has an attack that drops three stacks of bananas on the target, and then does damage over time. Except it seems that only one of the three stacks of bananas actually hits the target. A certain chance to miss is obviously required, but tell me so I can be prepared.

A more efficient way to heal a single pet would also be appreciated. There’s the eight-minute cooldown heal everyone button and the “whenever you want for 10 silver” heal from the Stable Master, but I don’t have a way to top off one pet in between battles. A crafted First Aid bandage that healed a set percentage of health (say 40%) with a cooldown short enough to be used after every other fight or so would smooth things out. Sometimes you get a bad match-up of types or an unlucky string of misses (either attacks or in capturing), so why not? Although it is nice that Stable Masters now have a purpose for the other ten classes in the game.

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