I remember my first impression of Pet Battles when I heard about it in the beta – freaking awesome!
I also remember my first thought when I heard just how many new collectable pets there would be in the expansion, added throughout the world – Now I can put cute over collecting.
One of the things I’ve done in World of Warcraft over the years has been seriously collect the non-combat pets.
But I never started out as a collector. I started by seeking out the pets that were really cute.
I’m just a pet kinda person. Especially cats.
An ‘oh too personal’ moment, maybe even TMI; I could have been the crazy cat guy, if my life had gone a different path.
Hell, I could have been one of those far out dudes you sometimes hear about, living on a private preserve with a dozen tigers roaming the grounds.
I’m the guy that, when asked “What would you do with a million dollars” for the high school yearbook, answered that I’d set up a private preserve in Montana or somewhere for big cats. Oh yes I did, I thought that would be freaking epic.
I am a long distance removed from that kid, but some things linger on. I still love cats, and most cats love being near me. Cassie says it’s creepy, but then again, she’s the one who is the current cat whisperer in the house, followed everywhere by our ginger kitty Meg, so hah!
My love of cats, and of cute pets in general lives on, and the non-combat pets in WoW satisfied my desire for cute little fluffy things… even those that were covered in spines and flames, like the Core Hound Pup.
That is the key point to this post. My desire to actually collect as many pets as possible did not start by wanting to be a complete collector. I started by wanting cute pets. Seeking out something like a Cockroach pet was the furthest thing from my mind.
It was only once I saw how close I already was to having all the pets in the game that I really pushed to get the rest of the way there. I became a collector because I’d done so much of the groundwork already, and hey, you get cute bonus pets for hitting those milestones! A Skunk? A Fawn? Ooh, a Celestrial Dragon?!?
There was that one day a few years ago, I think after I got the Stinker Skunk, that I thought “I’ve already got a bunch, let’s see how close I can get by making lists and stuff and taking it one day at a time.”
Nobody was more surprised than I by how successful I was in getting to 150 before the expansion came out.
A large part of my success was the WarcraftPets website, an outstanding site that let me create a personal account, track my collection and give me checklists on which ones I was missing, and clues on where they could be found.
Now, all that has changed.
It would have been different if Mists of Pandaria was an incremental change.
Cataclysm was an incremental change to pets. They added 15 or 20 new pets, most of them requiring some form of grinding. Whether it be daily quests, rep levels or lucky drops from fishing or kills. If you wanted to continue working at having a complete collection, you could just expand your list a teeny bit and choose which pet to work towards next.
But they didn’t do that to Mists of Pandaria. It wasn’t incremental, it was a total transformation. They didn’t give us ten or twenty new pets, they gave us HUNDREDS.
To get those pets, you don’t have to hope for a lucky drop. You don’t have to work for a tedious grind, or do hundreds of daily quests for rep or tokens.
If all you want is the pet, you can go out and capture it through Pet Battles. Boom, done.
Sure, if you want to have a Rare quality, then that will take time and effort. But if you just want a Black Lamb, any quality of Black Lamb will do. The rarer quality pets don’t sparkle more when they’re out.
The only gateway is playing Pet Battles, and leveling a team of… cute little pets. Of YOUR choice. And that you can name.
Alex has a Core Hound Pup in his team. It’s his favorite. He has named it, “Mydogsonfire!”
Yes, there are other new pets out there too, that you can get from Quests or Rep, but there is a big difference to me between having a handful of new pets to look for, and HUNDREDS to choose from.
There are hundreds out there I don’t have, and that killed my craving to complete a collection. I was almost complete, and now there are more I don’t have than do.
I don’t feel like all of my previous collecting efforts were wasted, far from it. I had quite a few pets that I could cage and send to Alex and Cassie for their collections, rare ones that I was delighted to share. And I had a wide variety to choose from in building my starter team.
But now, with the flood of hundreds of new capturable pets… I no longer feel the desire to “catch ‘em all”. That craving to collect… it’s dead.
There are just too many.
Instead of feeling the collecting frenzy, I’m back to where I began… I want all the CUTE ones!
I like Pet Battles, but I agree with some of the folks that wish it was released a week before Mists came out. I would have liked having my team ready and waiting to capture Pandaria pets.
Every time I see a Bandicoot, I think back to my Storytime about the breezeway bandits, and my hands itch to capture me one of those. Or a whole family, to keep and feed my leftover chicken to.
This isn’t a complaint, it’s an observation. When there were only a few left out there, it was a goal that felt tantalizingly close.
Now that there are just so bloody many out there to choose from, I couldn’t care less about trying to collect every single one.
But I want those cute ones, oh yes I do. And I want a place to let them run free.
We’ve got Farmville in the game now. We’ve got our own special place to plant and grow vegetables, phased and special.
Can the Sunshine Sanctuary for Collected Critters be far behind?
Will Blizzard someday give me my own private preserve where the pets I’ve collected over the years can be released to play together and have fun, while I sit on the porch in my rocking chair, sipping my coffee, enjoying my pipe, and fretting over the feed bill?
Never say never, my friends.
The bandicoot is my new “must have” pet. Which one of the new ones is yours?