Discussion around possible epic pet rarity in Legion

Pet Battles
Hey :-)

Just now a new item came up in the Legion alpha files that upgrades a pet to Epic quality: http://legion.wowhead.com/item=137627/immaculate-battle-stone

The existence of it was acknowledged by none other than Jeremy Feasel on Twitter, saying:
Hi! We are testing out the impact of epic battle pets and training stones. This is a good thread for feedback: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20742364802


I didn't see a discussion thread for it here so far, but I'd love to hear some EU thoughts on it as well!

Personally, I see it as a double edged sword. Depending on the effects an epic pet would have (higher stats, most likely?) it would change everything we know around pet battles, and that's both a scary and exciting outlook.
In PvP I guess it would skew over PvP for a long time towards people who collected more epic pets already, until there is a competitive balance reached by the majority of players again. But once that's reached it could work very well.

On the PvE side things are different. Most of the old content is already trivialized by the abundance of strong pet combinations and guides. Making the fights a bit more easy would not change anything in the need to level up pets (for those who don't have 700+ lvl 25 ones), which is among the main time-sinks in pet battling.
It would mean however that most people would like to upgrade their whole collection and getting 700+ of those stones, or even worse going back to re-capturing wild pets in epic quality and abandoning their blue ones, sounds like a horribly tedious (and boring) task. I would definitely not look forward to this, if that's all the epic quality brings.

Speaking of benefits then, what could this additional quality level bring? Additional skills for more variety? Maybe not higher stats but instead a buff that's different for each pet family, or a racial skill that can be activated once per fight?
Nice to see you here :-)

I've just left my concerns in this WPets thread:
http://www.warcraftpets.com/community/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=15609

These posts refer to these forums partially, so I guess that there's a kind of vicious circle now.
I hope that I don't need to refer to this thread anywhere… I'm done! :D

19/02/2016 08:45Posted by Aranesh
Speaking of benefits then, what could this additional quality level bring? Additional skills for more variety? Maybe not higher stats but instead a buff that's different for each pet family, or a racial skill that can be activated once per fight?

I can't see anything beyond the stats' upgrade, to be honest – because there are already epic pets among the tamers and I can't see technically two different "epic pet" definitions.
However, I've been considering an alternative way of progress too, though initially it was meant to just create a forum game:
http://www.warcraftpets.com/community/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=15349
Yeah, there's a lot of spreading discussions on different forums. But I gathered the EU forum would be a good spot to have it, since it's the official one.
Well anyway, I'm actually not so concerned about upgrading all pets. It really, really depends on how difficult it is to get these stones. But even if it's the same as right now for blue upgrading stones, pet battling is all about gathering and collecting. If that were not fun for us battlers, we wouldn't do it in the first place... I guess ^^

Benefits... I see it as a scale, ranging from a clear upgrade in all stats, which would change all of pet battling fundamentally - to the very extreme opposite, a purely cosmetic change, just like Jeremy Feasel suggested in his recent tweet.
I'd like to see it somewhere in the middle there with a tendency towards cosmetic changes, exactly along the same lines as you in your thread on wpets. Unique abilities per pet, or pet type, or pet family, unlocked by epic quality, that give an advantage but are kind of limited, or with random factors.

I wouldn't want epic quality to be a flat out bonus. Just like they said with the random Legendary items: a +10 stat increase as a reward is boring.
Just makes all of your pets useless until you grind out 100's of stones. It doesn't add anything to the game.
I don't like the idea of upgrading all my blue pets to epic. Upgrading them to blue is a hassle already. After a long grind for stones or capturing epic pets, you'll end up with exactly what is now... just with a bit more stats, but it won't change anything for good. To be honest, I'd probably upgrade only 3 pets to epic for PvP and ignore anything else entirely. Upgrading pets from poor to rare quality is really enough. Nothing else is needed.

As an avid pet battler, I'm *AGAINST* epic quality pets. New pets would be enough. A need to upgrade everything to quality would probably discourage me to pet battles for a longer time.
And I believe many people would have similar feelings to me.

The actualy gameplay is fun in pet battles - battling not grinding and collecting -.-
What has happened…?

A US thread has been broken with flamewars.
A WPets thread is relatively quiet.

No!
I don't have the feeling the US thread is a flamewar. It's a very lively discussion, in contrary to here :D
But that might change! The outlook to upgrading 600+ pets yet again is kind of a downturner. And if upgrading is too easy to make it more appealling, there is no real value to it (e.g. missing that Yeah Purple! effect).
So after long consideration I would say: Yes epic would be nice and probably a needed addition to the pets after so many years, but it should be purely cosmetic. Then I would eben be fine with it being VERY rare, but the effect on the pet being super awesome as a reward.
20/02/2016 08:33Posted by Aranesh
I don't have the feeling the US thread is a flamewar. It's a very lively discussion, in contrary to here :D
But that might change! The outlook to upgrading 600+ pets yet again is kind of a downturner. And if upgrading is too easy to make it more appealling, there is no real value to it (e.g. missing that Yeah Purple! effect).
So after long consideration I would say: Yes epic would be nice and probably a needed addition to the pets after so many years, but it should be purely cosmetic. Then I would eben be fine with it being VERY rare, but the effect on the pet being super awesome as a reward.


No. With epic pets being very rare and being super awesome, then some lucky people would excel at PvP with their epic pets while other unlucky ones would be steamrolled by them. Bad RNGfest is even WORSE than heavy grind. There is no fun with unrewarding 'grind' in hopes of a lucky RNG proc. No, just no. If epic pets must be introduced then out of evertyhing, I prefer grind than 0,01% chance -.-
20/02/2016 11:07Posted by Sandalf
No. With epic pets being very rare and being super awesome, then some lucky people would excel at PvP with their epic pets while other unlucky ones would be steamrolled by them. Bad RNGfest is even WORSE than heavy grind. There is no fun with unrewarding 'grind' in hopes of a lucky RNG proc. No, just no. If epic pets must be introduced then out of evertyhing, I prefer grind than 0,01% chance -.-

Aranesh states it being "purely cosmetic" - so it wouldn't provide any actual battle benefit, and definitely not make "steamrolling people in PvP" any easier. I'd think of it as the equivalent of a "shiny" Pokémon.
I'm late to the party. The US discussion, the WP discussion and this thread have already covered a lot of ground. I'll try to stick to the proposal and not to repeat too much of points already made.
 

1. NO to Epic pets with flat stat increases. It adds nothing to the game.

A pet upgraded to Epic gains ~7% Health, ~7% Damage, ~7% Speed. There is nothing interesting in getting back to where we started.

In PVE, it makes old content easier. The argument could be made that this is also what happens every expansion in the main game. However, in the main game, we do not upgrade our older gear. In the main game, we get new content - a whole expansion's worth of all-new zones, dungeons, raids from which we earn and for which we need our new stronger gear. I assume this will not apply to pets. We will not abandoning our roster and capturing 700 new pets in Legion.

In PvP, after +7% upgrades all round, we're just back to where were were. An Anklerender vs an Idol will work exactly as it does today.

There might be other ways to have upgraded Epic pets without flat stat increases - perhaps an improved racial, or inheriting a racial from a teammate, that would add some new gameplay. However, that's not the proposal.

 
2. No to cosmetic Epics.

Legion seems to add a lot of graphics. I suppose adding more pixels to pets would be consistent with that direction, but it's not one that I like.

Cosmetic Epics don't bring anything to the game either, but at least they're not mandatory grinds - at least, not for me. However, I think it is a cruel and unusual punishment for true collectors and completionists.

 
3. Rewards

Pet Charms are not interesting as a primary means for improving pets. They are a product of the Garrison philosophy: do a boring chore by rote that takes about 3 minutes, and be guaranteed to get a currency you can save up.

Warlords clearly did expand the reach of Pet Battles a lot. Many more people are involved now. However, PvE is now reduced to the Auction House and a formula: buy your pets, look up wow-petguide.com or import a Rematch team with notes, and you win 100%. There are no better rewards for going beyond that. There is not even a "beyond that".

The Celestial Tournament did this very well with 4 exclusive pet rewards that were challenging to get at the time. Tanaan, by comparison, was very flat.

The PvE pet game badly needs challenges that can't be bought with chores, or followed like recipes, to get the best rewards:
- Expand the Erris model of RNG/AI to tamers with full-strength pets
- "You can bring only 12 pets into the Tournament"
- "Well done! your survivors have proven worthy to face my other team...."

http://legion.wowhead.com/item=137627/immaculate-battle-stone#comments does not show the Epic stone as being Soulbound or BoA. Is it intended to be traded?
20/02/2016 11:58Posted by Vakeetah
20/02/2016 11:07Posted by Sandalf
No. With epic pets being very rare and being super awesome, then some lucky people would excel at PvP with their epic pets while other unlucky ones would be steamrolled by them. Bad RNGfest is even WORSE than heavy grind. There is no fun with unrewarding 'grind' in hopes of a lucky RNG proc. No, just no. If epic pets must be introduced then out of evertyhing, I prefer grind than 0,01% chance -.-

Aranesh states it being "purely cosmetic" - so it wouldn't provide any actual battle benefit, and definitely not make "steamrolling people in PvP" any easier. I'd think of it as the equivalent of a "shiny" Pokémon.


Still, as a cosmetic change, it'd be pointless as well. Now, there sure would be achievements: Upgrade 1/5/50/250/650 pets to epic quality. And somehow one would feel it's necessary to do. I know we aren't forced to do achievements but I like them... But I DO NOT complete the most painful and grindy ones, so I'd be a sad player who won't complete that. And I'd feel discouraged to play pet battles to be honest. It's just over-the-top to upgrade 600 pets, ok? When there is new expansion you have less than 20 items to upgrade. not 600 items... -.- You get my stance on this, right?
Interesting to see different opinions.

I'm glad blizz is thinking about this topic though. Because what is there for collectors who have 98% or more of pets on blue, level 25? New content comes, you collect the 5-15 new pets (or 70, in case of an addon), upgrade them - which is extremely trivial thanks to the catch-up mechanisms - and that's it, right? Done.

I would love to see something with a bit more... substance. But it needs to be something fun that I would enjoy login in for. Grinding charms to buy upgrade stones clearly is not cutting it.

How about a questing system? You get a number of randomized quests a week and each grants you an upgrade stone. In line with the Legion system, could be super different tasks. Beat 5 tamers. Win against 3 mechanical wild pets. Join a PvP fight and win without losing a pet. Beat a master tamer with only one level 25 pet. Level a pet from 10-25, etc. etc.
It would require comparably little time investment every week, and if you do your quests you are always on top without the outlook of 700 more pets to grind to epic.
The only real difference it would then make is which pets you upgrade every week, not how many.
Blue Post US: No Epic Stones. Yay! and hints at other good news...

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/20742364802?page=20#398

Hi everyone!

First and foremost, thank you very much for testing pet battles in the Legion Alpha. We’ve heard your concerns and have decided not to move forward with epic pet battle stones in Legion.

To explain a bit about how we arrived at this point--

When designing rewards for the new battle pet features in Legion and the revamped pet store in Dalaran, we considered epic stones a potential direction to go. Some players are nearing the cap of max-level, all-rare pet teams, and we wanted to see if this space would satisfy their needs for a long-term future level of investment.

You have correctly identified a few of the issues that come up with this feature:
New players now have a harder time catching up (though we could mitigate this by speeding up the early leveling process).
Players with 600+ rare pets that felt as if they were nearing completion of their pet journal are back to having 600+ pets to level.
Power Creep – older content is now easier, future content is harder for new players entering pet battles.

One of the things we like about pet battles is that much of the early content stays relevant through all of the expansions. Similarly, the collection aspect of battle pets works well when it’s wider (more pets to collect, more variety in abilities) rather than taller (more levels). Both of these are very good reasons to avoid adding epic pet stones.

This direction also pushes us to create content that tests max-level-pet-battlers in a way that is not purely numbers, but use of abilities, use of specific pets, and memorization of enemy strategies. The Celestial Tournament was a good example of pet battle content that rewarded a varied and filled pet stable. We have some exciting things in mind for future battles versus tamers!

It’s worth noting that this feature was not intended to replace any gameplay content. We’re working on all sorts of pet battle updates that we’d like to make in future patches.

Thanks again for all of your feedback. We really appreciate your great ideas and discussion!
29/02/2016 21:41Posted by Gráinne
Blue Post US: No Epic Stones. Yay! and hints at other good news...


Not having fun additions to the game because some people decided to take a fun minigame way too seriously is as far from "good news" as you can get.

I mean, I can understand people being people and whatnot, but that Blizzard listens to them and decides to keep something fun out of the game because of it... it's just sad. Really sad.
Wrote, in fact, yesterday.

My first feelings about that post were much more mixed than I had thought. I felt too confused to reply, but it's better now.

The initial news: "there will be epic pets" didn't seem to me discouraging, quite the opposite: I was just glad to see that there is any change at all.
These were the details that started to make a problem, at least to me. What we've seen from the Alpha news was a system based on the WoD one that just couldn't be good – and I suspect that this overview has contributed the most to the general feedback.

I still would like to see epic pets if they are implemented in a smarter way. I mean, a CT-like adventure and pet epicness (not talking about the stones) don't have to be contradicting each other, hafta they?
But I'm not surprised that blues have deducted the other thing from the main thread.

Now I'm afraid a bit that each suggestion to make a change will be denied with an excuse "community is pretty conservative, look Feb 2016".
But I've seen proofs that it doesn't have to be true.
Just not all people/opinions are… vocal enough?
Hey hey!

First and foremost, thank you very much for testing pet battles in the Legion Alpha. We’ve heard your concerns and have decided not to move forward with epic pet battle stones in Legion.

To explain a bit about how we arrived at this point--

When designing rewards for the new battle pet features in Legion and the revamped pet store in Dalaran, we considered epic stones a potential direction to go. Some players are nearing the cap of max-level, all-rare pet teams, and we wanted to see if this space would satisfy their needs for a long-term future level of investment.

You have correctly identified a few of the issues that come up with this feature:
  • New players now have a harder time catching up (though we could mitigate this by speeding up the early leveling process).
  • Players with 600+ rare pets that felt as if they were nearing completion of their pet journal are back to having 600+ pets to level.
  • Power Creep – older content is now easier, future content is harder for new players entering pet battles.


One of the things we like about pet battles is that much of the early content stays relevant through all of the expansions. Similarly, the collection aspect of battle pets works well when it’s wider (more pets to collect, more variety in abilities) rather than taller (more levels). Both of these are very good reasons to avoid adding epic pet stones.

This direction also pushes us to create content that tests max-level-pet-battlers in a way that is not purely numbers, but use of abilities, use of specific pets, and memorization of enemy strategies. The Celestial Tournament was a good example of pet battle content that rewarded a varied and filled pet stable. We have some exciting things in mind for future battles versus tamers!

It’s worth noting that this feature was not intended to replace any gameplay content. We’re working on all sorts of pet battle updates that we’d like to make in future patches.

Thanks again for all of your feedback. We really appreciate your great ideas and discussion!
pff... so we dodge a bullet for legion - thnaks blizzard - hope it doesnt come around #8.
Thanks for the blue response Aerythlea :-)

I'm with Remte here for the largest part. Most of the responses against epic pets pointed out the amount of farming required, and it felt (subjective opinion here) like this was the critical pain point with most other reasoning being thrown in just to proof the point.

What bothers me is that there never was and still is no decided concept of the amount of farming required.
The discussion could have been widely open, from do one simple quest and all your pets are epic to farm like crazy for every single stone until you have 700+ of them.
Instead I feel most people just assumed it would be the latter and were instinctively against it. I am against that as well, but at the same time I would be greatly in favour of a system somewhere in the middle between the extremes. There have been amazing suggestions from the community on how it could look like, but within only 2 weeks it seems the whole topic of "how can epic pets be awesome" was kicked off the table :/

A feedback to Blizzard perhaps, when the topic was introduced, the stones were already in the Legion alpha, purchaseable for 200 Pet Charms each (not considering the fact that you can "cheat" unlimited Pet Charms, but that's obviously only for Alpha testing). While also obvious that the number 200 is nowhere near final, it gave the immediate impression of: OMG this is going to be a crazy grind.
I assume most people started into the discussion with that preconception, and perhaps the sole existence of this preconception played a big part in the end. Could have been avoided by opening the topic before introducing the items with numbers into the Alpha.
Ok, so please no more Achievements, because i want to reach all at some time in the future.
And no more Pets, Mounts, Toys, Items, etc for the same reason.

Thanks.
Please for the love of god don't introduce epic stones. Whats the point? Its just timesink for the sake of timesink. I'm almost in goal for a full pet collection after years of work. Full 25 and blues, correct breeds etc. So when I finally (soon) reach the finishline, another bulk of papers are tossed onto my workdesk? Hell no. I have worked actively to get where I am now, to be prepared for what Legion offers, so I'm not constantly expansions behind. New players will also be totally overwhelmed by the stupid amount of pets there is to catch, all the hard work that lies ahead. Its too discouraging.

With Legion we will probably have 850 pets or more. Have fun getting almost a thousand epic stones, are you mad!?

I'd say theres more pressing issues such as:

- Size of pets, many are too small or too big
- Proper 3D model in journal, several have display issues
- Improve journal with build in button for bandages, better filtering (PetJournal_Quickfilter) and other suggestions if people have it
- Take steps so that future released pets have proper movesets and viable in PvP, many pets are rehashed no-good pets with different names
- More collecting achievements surrounding segments or categories of pets (collect X/Y criteria) to encourage players to venture out and collect
- Make trainers harder and some of them RNG, nothing is worse than the TJx15 tamers experience. Copy paste the whole lot of them
- Minor tweaks to underused pet families, mainly PvP where certain races are dominant (I think Undead does receive slight nerf, so good)
- Improve TOOLTIPS of abilities so the player can make right choices during a pet battle, too often you need to theorycraft to understand why X happened instead of Y.
- Speed up some animations during pet battles, its too slow when doing PvE daily tamers, you spam buttons to queue in next attack to shave seconds of your farmroute due to pet treats running
- Many pets gotten from achievement, vendors, non-wild are usually blue, perhaps consider making some of them green, so you're forced to interact with that pet, rather than "just +1 dump to collection".

Just some things ON TOP OF MY HEAD. I'm pretty sure theres more.

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