Archive for the “Pet Battles” Category

I’ve been asked before, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Today, I do something different.

Today, I take you through the entire process of where it all started, and where it eventually went.

In the end, you’ll see that you don’t have to be crazy to write here… but it helps!

All this took place in about three minutes in my car.

I was cruising along on the way home from work, and thinking about the design that Tesh did for me just this last week.

Tesh has really been great for no reason other than that he’s a great guy, he’s done these designs just from fun and a love of creating cool stuff, and I wanted to show him how much I appreciated the work he does making this stuff just because “I thought it would be cool, would it be hard to draw?”

So, I asked him if I could send him a shirt from the store, and he’d said yes… the awesome one he’d done a while back based on my son’s idea for a Fish Tanking Pet.

I got shipping notification today, so that got me thinking about the shirt, and that led to me thinking about the original design Tesh did, and where it came from.

Thinking about that design reminded me of how cool it was that Blizzard introduced the Companion Pets that are fish floating in bubbles of water. When we’d originally talked about Alex’s idea, the open-topped fishbowl with the attachments just rocked, but there was nothing in-game to link it to.

Shirt design… floating bubble fish.

Hmmm.

So, we’ve got pet fish in the game now, something that didn’t exist when the shirt design was made.

What if… what if we took the design, and the bubble fish…

The original goal was a mechanical Engineer-crafted combat pet for Hunters.

We’ve got a fish pet now. It’s in a bubble of water. So, all that is missing is the mechanical stuff for the fish to ride inside.

Like a mount.

Like the Engineer would craft a vehicle, like a tank chassis, and you’d let your fish pet enter the vehicle, and then THAT would be your Hunter combat pet.

So a Gnomish Engineer could make, in effect, a reverse submarine! The water goes on the INSIDE, and all you do is let your fish get inside, and then it takes control of the mechanical chassis. A little fish-driven turbo tank with drill arm attacks and turtle-style shields. And portholes showing the blue water inside.

Heck, maybe even the fish occasionally opens the top hatch and sticks his head up, wearing WWI biplane goggles, to take a peek around as an idle animation!

That would be so freaking cool.

The purity of the vision, a land shark with a goldfish inside, overcompensating for NOT being born the king of the sea.

Almost like a short Gnome surrounded by giant idiot humans, overcompensating by building giant destructive devices… would there be some kinship there? Some sense of “You and me against the world, we’ll show ‘em what we’re really capable of. The fools. For science! Muahahahahahaaaaaa.”

Okay, but we’ve got the Gnomes, but Engineers are traditionally Gnome and Goblin.

Gnomish Engineers already have one style of Engineering crafted pet, while Goblins have another. Why not Gnomish and Goblin-specific mechanical tank chassis that goes with your Mists of Pandaria Fishy pet?

On both the Horde and Alliance side, every player that completes the quests for the Pearlfin Jinyu or the Forest Hozen are rewarded with Fishy, a fish in a bubble. They don’t have to get it by fishing. So it’s a pet that you as a designer could reasonably expect every level 85 either would or could have.

So, since every character that does the quests will automatically get the Fishy, and it’s Bind on Account, and limited to those players at level 85 qualified to do Jade Forest… why not build around that?

Goblins and Gnome Engineers could have their own inspired design for the Fishy Tank.

Yes, that’s right.

THE FISHY TANK.

You don’t like it, deal with it. I said it, it’s done.

Fishy Tank.

And come on, you know that the Gnome Engineers would be the first to think of something that crazy. A tank designed for a Fishy to drive, with gear-styled wheels (of varying sizes, probably), and drill arms like Tesh designed, and a big engine on the back with pipes puffing out smoke.

But the Goblins, seeing that… you just know that they’d have to design their own, more impressive counter to this.

Something that has that crazy shark-grin painted on the front cowling.

Oh, how insidious that design would be. A goldfish piloting a vehicle with a sharktooth grin painted on the outside. Oh, lord.

I could even see it occasionally going off on it’s own to pounce on Seagulls and other fisher-style birds, like you see the coyotes and wolves in the wild do in-game. Like… getting revenge. You’re just strolling along on the beach, and your goldfish goes tearing fin across to pounce on and destroy a seagull.

Oh, hell yes.

I can see it. Oh lord, it’s like a shining light, coming down from the heavens.

Goblins. Gnomes. And a design war on who can build the deadliest, most over-the-top Fishy Tank.

That would let Blizzard have fun designing two different approaches to a Fishy Tank, and it would give Hunters a new mechanical-based combat pet they could craft themselves towards end game…

What if this was the alst thing that finally opened the door to allowing Gnome Hunters? We’ve already got Goblin Hunters, why not Gnomes, especially if they could eventually have a mechanical combat pet?

Good lord… Gnomes. Pets. What if the formerly Gnomish Engineer-only companion pet Lil’ Smoky became the design foundation for the starting Gnome Hunter pet?

Gnomes, wielding complex guns, with fancy goggles, sending their programmed combat machine out to destroy the enemy… tossing Big Daddys and smoke bombs here and there…

The horror… the sheer, beautiful horror….

There. You see? That is exactly how we went from a starter idea, to whatever the heck we have now. Pure stream of my wandering crazy.

Look, I tell you these things, I tell you exactly how deep the hole is, and if you keep coming back here to read them, don’t blame me when we all ascend into madness together.

I warned you!

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Beartrap the Unbalanced: The adventure continues!

The Unbalanced should be a title. I’m not insane, just… unbalanced. Ever seen me try jumping or platforming puzzles? It’s true on so many levels!

I decided that I would do dailies nevermore. None for me. My Druid is exalted with Tillers, so I can plant Songbells or whatever food strikes my fancy, but even there, no dailies. None.

The feeling of freedom is incredible. No responsibilities, no daily toil or drudgery. Just log in and play, man, play.

And after I get that first hour of gametime out of the way where I harvest, plow, plant and do daily Scroll of Wisdom and Imperial Silk transmutes, I can get right on my Hunter and play! lol. In most games, that first hour would be considered playtime too, right?

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Freedom? Oh yes, I’m free to do anything I want to!

And what I want to do turns out to be dailies. I just want to do them for the sake of doing them, not for a ‘someday’ goal.

While Freedoms just another word for no Lesser Charms to use, I’m not doing dailies for some goal, I’m just enjoying going around doing stuffs.

Specifically, Klaxxi stuffs.

I chain-queued my Hunter last night, did a bunch of heroics, and even took part in killing the Sha of Anger for the second time.

That was great, the instances are very exciting and feel nicely bite-sized, but I kept resenting them pulling me away from Awakening Paragons and killing turtles for the honor of the Klaxxi.

Oh, and I hit Friendly with the Black Prince, so I calculated how many more mobs I would have to kill, exactly, to hit Honored and make the Black Prince happy with me.

500. That is what I would have to kill, five hundred. Sounds like a made for TV movie, doesn’t it? The Five Hundred. Dun dun dun.

Is it wrong of me that, after all my whining about gating gear behind rep and JP in a faction, I am seriously thinking about buckling down and going on a one-night rampage of blood-drenched slaughter just to please the Black Prince?

That was a rhetorical question, you don’t need to answer that.

It’s funny. Obviously, I don’t HAVE to have lesser Charms (turned in by the 90s for a Greater) to get extra chances at gear rolls, I can play just fine without them. At the same time, if you have any interest in getting geared up for your raids, don’t you almost HAVE to try and get them, at least in the short term?

Good thing I like the Klaxxi. And sooner or later I’m going to go do some Golden Dawn (er, I mean Lotus) dailies so I can get Satchels for a chance to learn the recipe for the little Jewelcrafting Kittycat pet. I got my recipes for two of the Cat mounts, that will do me for a long time.

Apparently, I will do dailies to get patterns to make vanity items, but I’ll turn my nose and sneer at upgrading my gear to improve actual performance. My Lesser Charms will be an incidental byproduct of my wastrel ways.

Hmmm. Where did my life go so horribly wrong?

A few words about the heroics.

Damn, they are FUN!

The first time you roll a barrel into a monkey just feels right.

At the same time, holy crap are some of the mechanics confusing. Remember how I said my son feels that you ought to be able to figure out what to do based on what you can observe?

Yeah, that works a lot of the time, but then there is Raigonn in the Gate of the Setting Sun.

For the record, so far I really like all the instances I’ve done. I like the pacing, the flair, the humor and the mechanics.

Can I just say though, that when you’re in a group that has, none of us, ever done Raigonn before, it was a confusing mess of chaos?

I had Deadly Boss Mods warning me to fire for the weak spot. I couldn’t find a weak spot to target specifically! Was I supposed to? In the heat of the moment, you can’t really flip over to Wowhead, y’on?

I was pounding away at the big bug for all I was worth, it’s health wasn’t going down. I saw that what looked like rocket launchers were sparkling at the sides of the big courtyard, so I ran over to one and used it, which showed me jumping in like I was about to be launched onto the bug’s back… only I fell through the launcher onto the floor. I didn’t get launched. I wasted a good 2 minutes of time trying to get the sparkly launchers to do something, with nothing apparently happening.

Next thing I know, he’s “fixating” on someone, and his health is going down when attacked, so I figure somehow we got onto a Flame Leviathan style phase, and began DPSing my little heart out, all the while trying to burn down adds and stay out of the bad.

I’m all for exciting mechanics, but honestly, I still have no clue exactly what I was supposed to do.

I know that many of you are very, very helpful types, but don’t worry about telling me what the mechanics are for my sake. I’m just gonna go look it up and research stuff myself anyway. If you’ve got your own tips on how to tank him, though, by all means share them! It looked like a huge pain for a tank new to that place having to figure out how to tank the big bug while also handling the adds.

I’m just making the example that, in these early days… there is perhaps more excitement to be found than we might expect once things become old hat? But we didn’t give up, or panic, we just tried like hell to work as a team, and while the Warlock died to save Elo (our healer), we all managed to win in the end without wiping. So, how bad could it have really been?

Certainly was very exciting. :)

How odd that it was the Warlock who sacrificed his life to save a Priest. Doesn’t that kind of thing get you kicked out of the big meanies green fire club?

As I’ve said before, there is far, far more available to do than I can do in a single day, even if I only played one character. That means that I have to absolutely have to get past the idea that I must do everything or even most things every day.

Thankfully, I’m a bit of an anti-establishment type, so doing the opposite of what I should comes easy to me. :)

Even though there are things of astounding benefit, like having a second farm, or grinding rep with all factions, or doing dailies to have an abundant supply of LesserCcharms to turn in. Those are all temptations, but they are not necessary to play the game.

All that is necessary is I filter out the grind, and only do the fun, and continue to do heroics for gear upgrades as part of the fun.

It was worrying me, being ready for raids, but then Tom, our guild leader and player in Team Wanda told me, so long as I just run some heroics to get geared, I’ll be just fine for us when we start raiding. No need to go insane getting all the VP gear.

I’m going to try to take that to heart, even if it does seem to go against all previous expectations.

If I get left behind, oh well.

Along with that, I really need to research more about everything that is out there so I can make the best use of my time in doing the fun stuff.

A shining golden example.

One thing in the back of my head was Stormstout Brewery. Specifically, pets.

I was queuing for random heroics, to get Valor and because I hadn’t seen any yet, so I had no preferences. But I knew that Stormstout Brewery held an achievement to get a cute pet. And it was an achievement you could do even after the instance was cleared and everyone else had gone home.

So, when I did get a Brewery instance, I bought 5 of the special Tea from Auntie Stormstout at the beginning, stuck them in my bags and then ran the instance with everyone in normal “tank has to go to the bathroom go go go” fashion. I didn’t hold anyone up, I did my best to kill lots of stuff. I balanced on the barrels and blew up the bozos. I admired dancing monkeys.

When the final boss was dead, and everyone else immediately dropped group, I stayed in. Then I drank my first 5 minute tea, and went hunting Golden Hoplings at a nice, leisurely pace. Cassie watched and saw just how easy it was to do, too, especially after I got the nameplates up and went back to find the few I missed the first time. I didn’t encounter any bugged Golden Hoplings under stairs as had been reported on Wowhead, I collected 30 Golden Hoplings, dinged the achievement and found I had mail waiting for me… with my new pet Hopling. :)

I’d done the Stormstout Brewery on normal with some guildies earlier in the week, but I hadn’t been reading up on the instances at that time. How simple it was to complete that achievement, once you knew it was there to be done.

And how cute the pet is, too.

Maybe my priorities are screwed up, but I am finding my motivation for doing things is more about having fun banging around and doing the cute stuff.

Once the new patch comes out, I can tell you for a hard, cold fact that while other people will be doing the new Alliance versus Horde war machine chain in Krasarang, I’ll be running with Cassie and Alex in Molten Core and other Vanilla raids, hunting those newly released raid pets.

Naxxramas will fall, and Mr. Bigglesworth WILL be free! Free to escape the cold, cruel embrace of Kel’thuzad, and free to no longer be killed by every moron that wants to piss off the cat lovers in a party. Free!

I guess freedom is also another word for a cat with no lives left to lose.

Comments 9 Comments »

I ain’t tested this yet, but yesterday Kay left a comment that has rocked my world.

Kay:
See, now, the very BEST thing about that Terrible Turnip pet? It’s got an attack that will never reduce the opponent to zero HP. PERFECT for capturing more pets!

This is game changing info for me, folks. And if you are anything LIKE me, it will cut down the frustration factor for you, too.

The Terrible Turnip ability in question is Weakening Blow.

From the text on Wowhead, “Unleashes a restrained attack, dealing 20 Elemental damage. This attack cannot reduce the opponent’s health below 1.”

Obviously that is level 1 pet info. Ability power and damage scales with level.

I just completed my 250 discrete pets achievement last night, acquiring my Feral Vermling in the process.

I haven’t been shooting for high level teams, I’ve been prioritizing going from zone to zone, capturing those pets I don’t have.

My max level team is around level 11, with my go-to badass being my Grunty the Murloc Marine.

My other two main pets are the Darkmoon Zeppelin and the Phoenix Hatchling.

What I’ve basically done is create a Marine Corps Fire Team, with a direct fire assault specialist, call for artillery and medic.

You do things your way, I’ll do them mine.

It’s great, I love my team. They’re lots of fun to level and battle with when I’m trying to go for a complete takedown. I’ve kicked the butts of level 13 battle pet groups in the wild.

BUT… I am flying around the world, visiting every zone, and trying to capture every pet I don’t have yet, including the level 1 pets.

My A-Team is just a tad bit overpowered when trying to capture a level 1 Spirit Crab.

That means I’ve got to have a second plan just for capturing pets.

Every time I mouse over a pet I don’t have yet, I swoop in and then check their level versus my various saved Pet Battle Teams (love that addon), and try to balance a pet team so I have one pet that is underpowered, one that is right on or a teeny bit higher, and then usually my high level Phoenix as a backup.

The way I’ve been doing it, I try to pick a low level pet so I can do just enough damage without doing TOO MUCH, killing my desired capture target. Then I’ve got an appropriately leveled pet so when a second or third pet shows up, I’ve got someone I would like to level up a bit available to swap in and do some butt kicking, get some XP. And I’ve got my high level Phoenix to make sure I can pull it out if I am in over my head, and ALSO to provide after-battle healing.

I’ve tried to spend enough time thinking about it to be ready, without going overboard on matching precise teams to every kind of pet balancing, you know?

Despite all this, I cannot count how many times I have killed a rare by hitting it too hard. Usually because my ‘underpowered’ pet has become overpowered from all the previous captures, and needed to be swapped out before I pulled that last rare, damnit.

Is it a big problem? Nah.

Is it something I’m going to lose sleep over?

Of course not.

But damn it’s annoying to get that rare I wanted, only to kill it by hitting too hard!

I killed three rare Polly’s in Northern Stranglethorn before I found a team low enough to get ‘er done while healthy enough to live through the adds. 

Now, here is where the timeliness of Kays comment saved my bacon.

I had a Terrible Turnip pet in this mornings crop, and I went and put it on the Auction House.

It was only when I got to work that I checked comments, saw what Kay had to tell us, and about blew a vessel. I had the perfect capturing pet and let it get away? Ah crap!

Thanks be to Cassie who saw it on her own, and canceled my auction for me, so I still have it waiting to learn and level when I get home.

I am absolutely going to add the Terrible Turnip to my team, focus on getting that little guy leveled, and make him my permanent go-to pet for all capturing duties here on out.

I don’t know for certain this is the perfect answer since I ain’t tried it yet, but as far as I can see, no more shall I lose those rares from my own idiocy.

Thank you Kay, and thank you to Blizzard for thinking ahead and giving us a pet to prevent morons like me from killing the very things we fought for in the first place.

Comments 11 Comments »

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?

Comments 14 Comments »

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