Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pet Battles

The snobbishness of game culture never ceases to amuse me.

Video Gamer: "Pokemon is so childish!"
Normal person: "Video games are childish!"

I think Pet Battles are an interesting idea. I probably won't do a lot with this system, but it looks neat and I'm sure there will be people who find it fun.

It occupies an unique space, design-wise. In some ways, it's a solo PvP game, only without the crazy balance issues that would occur if Blizz made dueling a official sport. It does not depend on gear, so it's good for people who don't climb either the PvP or PvE grinds, while also not interfering with PvE or PvP.

It's a completely transient activity, so you can drop in and out. But it still leverages the multi-player and permanent aspect of WoW, as you get to play against other players.

It might be a possible sub-game for the people who want less twitch and more strategy, depending on how it's implemented. It would be easier to make the pet battle slower, or even turn-based, than it would be to change the regular game.

There are a significant number of people who can't or don't want to raid, or who don't want to be on the gear treadmill for PvE, and who aren't good enough for competitive PvP. These people need something to do, just as much as the raiders need raids.  This is an option for those people.

I don't know if Pet Battles are the best option for this segment of the audience, but it ties into pet collecting, and is generally not as "hardcore" as PvE and PvP main games are. I think it's good for WoW to have these "softer" elements, and I would like to see Blizzard come up with more of them.

So what pet are you going to level and train? I'm going with my favorite White Kitten.

Also, Blizzard, make a [Faceless Minion] companion pet! You know you want to. We have a couple of die-hard pet collectors in my guild, and there is much sighing over the tiny Faceless Minions every time we go to Bastion of Twilight.


  1. I hope they let me battle with my Alliance Balloon! Or maybe my Singing Sunflower...

  2. The Argent Squire. I will endanger small children to win my battles.

  3. My Mini Tyrael will smother everyone with his cute glowing tentacles.

  4. When the feature was introduced at BlizzCon they actually said the pet battles would be turn based, which got quite a big cheer.

  5. I was shocked that people brought out the 'Pokemon is for Kids' card. Seriously? Didn't we move past this like... half a decade ago? I know plenty of full fledged adults who love the game because of the strategy, I know a ton of kids who play it for a myriad of reasons.

    Seriously, it's bad enough I have to deal with that crap because I'm 27 and watch nothing but cartoons and read comics, don't lump my Poke-love in there too!

    If anything this is the one feature I'm going to keep my eyes on closest in terms of the expansion. I can't wait! Me and my Robo Squirrel will be ready!

  6. This could turn out to be the most important part of the expansion. It doesn't appeal to me, however. In MMOs I want to play my character, not minigames.

  7. "Also, Blizzard, make a [Faceless Minion] companion pet! ... there is much sighing over the tiny Faceless Minions every time we go to Bastion of Twilight."

    Absolutely :D

  8. No one could ever stand the unscrupulousness and greed of my Ethereal Soul-Trader

  9. My big complaints about WoW Pokemon are that there are enough things that need to be fixed in-game (bringing Outland, Northrend, and the post-Cata Old World up to the Pandaria storyline, for example), and there is already an MMO that relies heavily on the Pokemon/MtG mechanic to satisfy combat (Wizard 101).

    This has a feel of Path of the Titans or Dance Studio to me, and if there's one thing that will get dropped from mop, that's it.

  10. I am all for the pet battle system. I am not ashamed to admit that I am 36 years old. I have a 12 year old son. I tell him all the time when he asks "Dad, why do you always beat me in duels... " I say "Son, I have been playing pokemon longer than you have been alive." It is not a kids game, it is a really good old school rpg, and if you do not agree that probably means you never gave it a shot.

    I am also behind new content over revamped old content. The old world got revamped. That is awesome, but at this point leveling goes so quick, I think most people do not care. My last alt, a resto shammy.. Never stepped out of SW except to do some arch and exploring while pvping on the weekends. 16 - 77 in pugs & BGs. I never saw the new content.

    Outland revamp? Northrend revamp? I would not complain if it happened, but would not care. The only thing I would like to see is the quest givers hanging out in the front of the place so I can get a little more xp.

    Just my 0.02 though.

  11. I can see Pet Battles being one of those things that they put on the iPhone, along with the Auction House.

  12. This was the feature, I think, that caused my wife the pet collector (over 150 so far) to decide to drop out. Specifically, she heard a statement that there will be some pets that will be exclusive rewards for pet battles. So, now to continue her collection, she will have to participate in a mini-game. And now, instead of pet collection being a somewhat esoteric activity that is totally done for the 'cute collection' aspect, it will be competitive. Total turnoff for her. You may like the gameplay idea, but for her it takes one of her quiet fun activities and turns it into something where she might be "challenged" to fight. Big, big turnoff for her.

  13. Grunty the Murloc Marine. He has a machine gun.

  14. One word... Thor

    (and whatever Zerg monstrosity you get from Heart Of The Swarm collectors edition.)

  15. Jonathan, they did say that you can turn off being challenged for pet duels entirely, and if there are any that are behind the system, it would be for challenging NPC trainers. This wouldn't make it that different then grinding rare drops, except you have a guaranteed chance for winning the fight.

  16. As the wife of Jonathan, I'll weigh in on that last response.

    I'm really glad that they're planning to let you turn it off. The idea of being swamped with pet duels in Stormwind really annoyed me.

    But really it's this. I'm a fuzzy old RPer (and an achiever with over 10,000 achievement points, and a raider who dropped Arthas in 10-man strict and a PVPer with a Season 2 title). I probably identify with my character entirely too much. My character has pets because she can't turn away a cute little hungry face.

    There's just no way she's going to be the next Michael Vick. I just can't picture sending my beloved companions out to fight for their lives. I guess that just means I'm looking at it all wrong, but there it is. So, I guess I can see the funny in "Hey, I will fight with my Sunflower!", it's just really not where I'm at.

    And yes, I know I can just not participate. It's just... I don't like what they are doing with this game I loved. So, I guess it's just time for me to move on and others to enjoy this game, 'cause I'm just not anymore. Happens, I guess.

  17. Carol, not that this'll help, but you could choose to fight with some of the more bloodthirsty pets.

    Like the little floating beholder who already neems critters to death that he sees? I'm pretty sure he wants to fight.

    Mini-Diablo, Grunty, Deathy, Thor, all of those would seem to want to fight as well. Or, you could use some of the new ones they'll be sure to put out just for this.

    Remember, there's nothing a trainer can do to make a Pokemon fight if they don't want to. I don't think Ash could argue with Pikachu's lightning bolt.

  18. [quote]
    Video Gamer: "Pokemon is so childish!"
    Board Gamer: "Video games are childish!"
    Sports Player: "Board games are so childish!"
    Normal Person: "All games [including adult games] are childish! Therefore all adult are childish!"