Over the past few weeks, the dev who’s been tweeting most about pet battles is Jonathan LeCraft–@TheCrafticus–and while he is a little more prone to .@ the really important things than other devs, there’s quite a lot that serious pet battlers might like to know hidden in his @-replies.
First off, the “quickfire round”:
So, “companions” currently available in-game but not in the pet journal will likely never make the transition.
On the one hand, I personally am not sure what a training dummy pet would have to offer me that a wild battle wouldn’t . . . on the other hand, now that we’re not going to have epic pets, we need SOMETHING in our garrison for pets!
Just really happy that a dev acknowledges my hate of the latest cheese strat! (If you are using this combo . . . I consider you to have no honor as a pet battler.)
And now, on to some meatier subjects:
On January 29, Crafticus asked for player feedback on what abilities felt least effective & important to players:
This was quickly followed by an admission that Hawk Eye (Increases your critical strike chance by 25% for 4 rounds) totally sucks:
As well as a screenshot of a redesigned Croak (Reduces the enemy pet’s critical strike chance by 25% for 4 rounds):
Based on the change to Croak (which now does damage as well as applying a buff), I feel like we can expect an overhaul of many abilities which simply apply buffs and debuffs without also dealing damage or healing–certainly most of the Critical Strike buffs will probably undergo some pretty significant revision:
In my opinion, this speaks to a very general principle of design–whether pets’ abilities should synergize in each pet’s moveset, or through the team as a whole. I personally highly prefer pets that synergize with themselves–because swapping pets, especially during a PvP battle, can cause you to take a huge penalty. Foreboding Curse is an especially odd case–it’s only found on the Ominous Flame (one of the Timeless Isle fire kitties), and as both a speed and damage debuff it would indeed synergize well with a Flurry-type ability as well as any DoT effect or ability that does its damage across multiple hits. However, the Ominous Flame has no abilities AT ALL that benefit from going first; only one DoT; and its Multi-Hit ability (Conflagrate) shares a slot with Foreboding Curse.
Ultimately I have to say I agree with @SerrineWoW here–it’s not just about bad abilities, it’s about cool abilities being difficult to use if they’re only used for flavor, and not as part of a synergistic moveset.
This is a question I asked for purely “journalistic” reasons. Way back in May, when Patch 5.4 hadn’t even made it to the PTR yet, there was some discussion of whether or not this double strength should be changed–in my opinion, a mechanical pet doing mechanical damage is barely viable in PvP when elemental pets are popular, which is annoying; on the other hand, our carefully-crafted teams to take down the hardest tamers (Terrible Turnip vs. Stormoen, for example) would all be shaken up if such a change were to occur, and some pet tamers might give up entirely rather than re-learn such an integral part of the battle system. Imagine someone who’s halfway through the Celestial Tournament when that patch hits–they had every fight solved, now they need to redo half their teams!
Ultimately, I think this double strength was a mistake, but the time to make the change was in the Mists beta or (at the very latest) patch 5.1–before there was any PvE content out there beyond Grand Master Aki.
I do have to say I LOVE pets who deal damage in a different “type,” especially when you can find a “hard counter” to a PvE pet encounter–Magical Dragons vs. Flying, Snails vs. Elemental, Frogs vs. Undead. However I am a bit skeptical about Nature’s Ward (Restores 137 health every round for 5 rounds. While healing, your type is transformed into Elemental.) Liopleurodon even deemed it one of the worst abilities:
Like Lio, I’m not quite sure what sort of situation this is supposed to save you from–an elemental that does critter damage would be a hard counter against a Undead that does Mechanical damage–not a combination that is currently in the game! It would also be a bit of a lifesaver against Undead that does Beast damage–something you see slightly more often–but the ability is not only found only on deer, it always shares a slot with Tranquility–an ability which would almost always be stronger heading out into the unknown of PvP
Type-transforming effects, for those who haven’t been using Nature’s Ward or Rot (which turns your opponent into Undead), don’t change your passive ability–only your damage susceptibility–so this effect can’t save you from Scorched Earth or Lightning Storm damage. It would be very interesting if we saw MORE type-transforming effects on new pets. Offensively, it’s easy to see what the synergy is; it’s harder to see the potential when used defensively.
On a more general level, whenever I put together a roundup like this, I start to question the use of Twitter as the primary means of communication between fans and Blizzard. It’s frankly AMAZING to get your most pressing question answered promptly–but at the same time, it means that a lot of important stuff gets lost under the radar. I try to rescue some of the information that’s most important to pet battlers–but if the only place you can find a bit of “news” is a month ago on Twitter or on my tiny blog, it’s as good as never being said publicly at all. On the other hand, any old thing said to a WoW Insider writer gets broadcast far and wide.
Hopefully we will get more info on pets soon–fansite/podcast interviews, or a longform blog from a developer–but in the meantime, join me in Twitter-stalking @TheCrafticus! Learn what he thinks about robot sharks and robot moose! And ask him lots of questions about YOUR most pressing pet battle questions.