small-scale violence in the world of warcraft

Monday, December 31, 2012

this might be good to know

the other day i picked up a flawless elemental battle-stone, and chose to use it on my teldrassil sproutling, an uncommon pet i had already leveled to 25. doing this knocked her back down to level 23 - the same penalty you take when you capture a wildling. however, this did not negatively affect my progress towards pro pet mob. today i leveled her back up to 25, and this did count toward the achievement.  just fyi.

Friday, December 28, 2012

pets and those other pets

there's always been a bit of a nomenclature problem in wow. hunters and warlocks and death knuggets have "pets", and so those dogs and cats and baby dragons and blobs of corrosive ooze that follow us around need to be called something else. non-combat pets and companions are terms that blizzard has tried to get us to adopt, but non-combat pet battles sounds pretty silly, so we've all gone with pet battles. which makes them pets, just ... uh ... different than those pets.

now, if you do pet battles with a warlock or hunter or other pet class, sooner or later you bump into a problem - while you're battling, you get put into some little phased bubble so that the wolves and demons and other things wandering around the world don't bother you. however, your pet does not. should something bump into him while you're taking care of business with a bandicoon, you get kicked out of the battle and have to go finish what your pet (no, the other pet) started. which can be mildly annoying or (if, say, you're finally about to capture that scourged whelpling) justification for throwing your monitor out the window. so, try to remember to dismiss your pet (no, the other one) first, if you can.

last night i was doing a spot of pvp'ing. i haven't done much pvp yet because, even though i find it interesting, it's rather a slow process what with queue times and other players taking longer to choose a move than the computer does. but last night i wanted to test out an idea against an all-fluxfire feline team, which some people on the forums say are nearly ubiquitous in pvp. unfortunately, they were not ubiquitous last night, and i didn't get a chance to run my test. another time, perhaps. but something amusing did happen, so i'm gonna talk about that instead.

the game put me into a pvp match and selected the icky smelly swamps of the krasarang wilds for a location. as my opponent and i locked horns in an epic clash of a dead bird against a floating rock, i got a message on my screen: "you have entered combat." the hell? aren't i already in combat? then i notice one of those lizard-man dudes, standing at the edge of the phase bubble, looking really pissed. he's throwing punches and blood is spurting and white and yellow numbers are floating all around him. meanwhile, my opponent and i have moved on to a spider locked in mortal combat with a toy robot. eventually, lizard dude falls down dead. i never did see his opponent, which i assume was my voidlord.

i wonder what would have happened if my demon had lost. would the saurok have come after me? or would he have stood at the edge of the bubble, spitting on me and using harsh language?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

farming the whispering pandaren spirit

one of the more annoying pets used by the npc tamers is the whispering pandaren spirit's elemental pet. this is because if you bring an aquatic pet to maximize your damage, you simultaneously make yourself vulnerable to its flying damage, which is strong against aquatics. the solution is to use a pet which does aquatic damage, but is not itself an aquatic pet. unfortunately there aren't very many of these pets - water jets not being popular with the scorpion crowd, etc.

i've been using frederick, a rare oily slimeling, and his creeping ooze attack, but this is less than ideal, since if you use it every round you overwrite the damage-over-time component. so i end up weaving it in with non-aquatic attacks. much better is an idea my wife had, that i thought i'd pass along:

turn the tables on them. if you've managed to acquire a pandaren water spirit, level it to 25 and it becomes the ultimate air spirit killer. it's elemental, so it isn't vulnerable to flying attacks, but configured with water jet, dive, and whirlpool, it can blast its opponent with a water attack every round. makes this fight hella lot easier.

Monday, December 24, 2012

the alt - f4 saga

one of the unexpected aspects of pet battling was the alt - f4 bug. if you started a pet fight and then killed your wow client, the pet you attacked would reappear in the world as if nothing had happened. this had two possible benefits. one, if you encountered a pet that you knew a friend wanted, you could start a fight and then whisper her to hustle her butt over to where you where. the pet would then be held in your fight until said friend arrived, preventing anyone else from getting it. then you alt - f4, and your friend real quick-like starts a fight with it and can capture it for herself. the second use for this was if you didn't have a turnip out and accidently killed a pet you wanted to capture. alt - f4 and you get a free do-over - pretty much the only one in the game.

this continued for a while, until one day @alexziebart, the editor-in-chief at wow insider, mentioned using it for the do-over purpose to @mumper, the lead content designer at blizzard.  mumper's response can be summed up as "wait what huh? you can do that?" and within days, there was a hotfix and wild pets no longer re-spawned when you killed your browser. this prompted much wailing on the forums, with absolute universal agreement that it was always used by everyone only to help out friends, that it was a social feature that belonged in the game, and that nobody never ever would dream of using it as a cheat to undo their own clumsiness in attempting a capture.

i has a dubious.

now along come the patch 5.2 notes. looking through them, i see the following:

  • fleeing a pet battle will no longer despawn the pet that was being battled, but doing so will now inflict some damage on the fleeing pet battle team.
  • disconnecting from a pet battle will once again respawn the pets you were fighting.
  • any pet that has been killed in a pet battle will now never respawn

  • assuming the game ends up working the way the notes say (not always a safe assumption with pet battles, i have found), here's how i interpret this: if you want to hold a pet for a friend while they're on their way over, blizzard is okay with that. in fact, they won't even force you to alt-f4 - you can just flee the battle and take a small health penalty. however, if you accidently kill a pet you wanted to capture, too feckin' bad. it's gone for good. i'm guessing that if you kill the first pet, his friends won't somehow re-span either. not sure how it'll work if you kill the second or third pet but not the first.

    sounds like a reasonable approach to encourage cooperation among players while discouraging cheating. we shall see how many salute it when it goes up the flagpole.

    Friday, December 21, 2012

    too much of a good thing?

    i think i've gotten about six more pets to level 25 since tuesday. the majority of them didn't do a blooming thing to actually accomplish this, though. they just charged in, got smacked in the nose one time, then ran away and let the big bad 25s do all the work. sometimes (like when bringing a level 3 to my daily whomping of farmer nishi) they would jump four or five levels in a single fight. heady stuff, man, i'm telling you.

    now, when i look at my army, i still see a lot of rares that need leveling. loud mary and dakota boy and dogcatcher and so on. gods only know how many rare bandikoon kits and the like. but still - is it enough? we're only a few months into this expansion, and getting all my rares to level 25 now looks totally doable. shoot, getting all my pets to 25 looks doable. and then what? pvp, i suppose, but will that be able to hold my attention for a year or more, until the next expansion?

    the xp rule change, combined with the safari hat bonus, has been great. i'm really loving it up. but if blizzard isn't able to come up with a lot more pet battle content in the months to come, i'm really worried that they've given us too much, too fast. and I'm getting nervous about the consequences.

    Thursday, December 20, 2012

    blizzard, you have my permission to do this

    from a blue post on the european forums, discussing patch 5.2:

    "the developers are planning to let you have a chance to earn lesser charms of good fortune through pet battles. basically, if you win, you'll have a chance of receiving charms based on your pet level.

    and if a player is below level 90, they'll get experience equal to defeating a yellow creature."

    I'm not raiding these days, or even doing lfr, so more charms is not relevant to me. but getting xp? my army of alts would be all over that like stink on kodo droppings.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

    some of the colors of the rainbow

    my on-again, off-again quest to determine what the limits are for naming our pets is on again. these are the results of the latest testing:

    "black", "white", and "yellow" are not allowed. presumably because blizzard wants to prevent fucktwats from using racist names.

    "red" and "brown" are allowed. presumably because blizzard doesn't want to prevent fucktwats using racist names enough to be completely thorough.

    "green" is allowed. presumably because blizzard doesn't give a flying fuck about offending martians.

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    change of strategy

    today's rolling restarts are supposed to implement a change in how experience is awarded after a successful battle. up until now, the experience was divided equally among all of your pets which participated (ie, cast a spell or received damage). if any of these pets were level 25, then their share of the xp was lost forever. now, however, the max-level pets will not be included in the division of xp. this means that if you fight a battle with one low-level pet and two 25s, the lowbie will get all the experience, instead of only one-third of it.

    this changes things.

    my standard system for leveling pets has been to pair two of them up with a 25 and go to the valley of the four winds. if the two lowbies can defeat three wildings, that was great because no xp was wasted. but depending on the pets, it was sometimes necessary to suck it up and bring in the 25 to finish things off. now, however, the optimal method is to team a single low-level pet with two 25s. since all the wildings in the vot4w are either a critter or an aquatic, the 25s should be one with attacks that do beast damage (preferably rampage because a cold methodical analysis of this attack has demonstrated that it is fucking awesome) and one that has flying damage attacks. send in the lowbie to take one hit, then pull her out and then let slips the 25s and end the fight as quickly and brutally as possible. having a second pair of 25s available to swap in when the first pair get worn down should be sufficient to keep grinding without needing bandages or a stable master visit until the cooldown on your revive is up, allowing you to keep the party going until your eyeballs bleed.

    myself, i'm going with a rare scorpion and sea gull for team 1, and a flayer youngling and chicken for team 2. there will be pain, blood, sweat, tears, rending of flesh, flinging of parts, screaming, roaring, and much nomming of xp. you get the picture.

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    odds and ends

    hats! safari hats for everybody! blizzard appears to have finally gotten the taming the world achievement working properly, and julie's and my characters all got their own hat in the mail. so that's a yay. they all also got loremaster tabards, which was a little baffling since i got that achievement over a year ago, but whatevers.

    been doing a lot of leveling lately. mostly taking the various rares i've captured in pandaria and pushing them up to 25, so the top stable now has a number of bandicoons and plains monitors and marsh fiddlers. along the way i hit the pro pet crew achievement. pro pet mob will happen at some point, but not a high priority for me at the moment. at least the reward will now be a rare singing cricket - i feel for those who pushed hard to get the achievement quickly only to get an uncommon one.

    was talking to tome of the ancient about pet leveling, and told her that my preferred method was to let two lowbies pick a fight with a critter in the valley of the four winds, let them each take a hit and swap them out, then send in a level 25 scorpion to rampage on the critter's ass. it gives you a boost over your base damage, in exchange for locking you into the same move for three rounds. not a great move against an opponent than has a real brain and can respond, but against wild crickets and bandicoons it's like a chainsaw vs butter.

    i've picked up five flawless battle-stones in something like 400 battles now - all in pandaria. fighting low-level pets in old azeroth, the drop rate is much lower. four were the same family as the wild pet i battled, and one was a "any family" one. can confirm that you don't need to capture a pet to get the stone, and you don't need for any of the three wildlings to be rares. looks like it's simply a flat percent chance (1%? 2%?) for one to drop, and any special tricks people claim help are just the result of the human brain's ability to see patterns when there's really just noise.

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    on the other hand, it's only gold

    my wife started picking up some of the new pets that drop in old raids on the auction house, i believe mainly because she liked how they looked. but she ran out of cash about the time she realized she was actually getting credit towards raiding with leashes. so she gave me a shopping list of what she still needed and sent off to pick up the remaining ones. the viscidus globule was the priciest, at 17k on our server (the others were running 5-10k). a few minutes later:

    she thoroughly enjoyed her mr bigglesworth, and promptly leveled him to 25. i do find the idea of an undead pet that does beast and elemental damage to be interesting, from a mechanics standpoint.

    for myself, i'll be doing it the old-fashioned way (in part because i now find myself with a lot less gold than i used to have). i've resumed working on weekly molten core runs with ratshag, as he pushes towards his 50th exalted reputation, so i figure i've got decent odds of getting the pets from there along the way (picked up a harbinger of flame last week). then the missus said she'd help me farm for the rest. i know they're all theoretically soloable now, but these things always go faster with a healer, and she's good company.

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    holy hand grenade of antioch sold separately

    the darkmoon rabbit is a pet which drops off of a world boss that spawns on darkmoon island, also known as the darkmoon rabbit. because it only drops one pet, and only spawns a few times a month, the supply of pets is fairly limited. the pet itself is unique (i think it's the same polygons as the crude basic rabbit, but with a more detailed texture applied). consequently, the auction house prices have been bid to astronomic levels - i was amazed to see it listed for 80k on my server, but apparently 200k is not unheard of. wow.

    now, if you're a pet collector who wants one of everything, then only you can decide how much a unique pet is worth to you. for a pet battler looking for an advantage, though, the value is easy to determine: same as any other rabbit.

    for starters, don't be fooled by the fact that the tooltip is epic. this means nothing, and i really wish blizzard would stop pulling this nonsense. the battle pet is rare. it has the same stats as a rare level one alpine hare you can catch in dun murogh. it does have a couple of unique abilities - huge, sharp, teeth! and vicious streak - but these are sidegrades from the standard rabbit abilities. possibly better in certain circumstances, but also possibly worse. certainly not worth dropping a small fortune for.

    so, if you want a unique pet model, and you understand that's all you're getting, then rock on. but don't get suckered into thinking that because it is hard to obtain or has a pretty tooltip that it is somehow "better" or "op" for battling. 'cause it ain't.

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    flawless battle-stones

    spent a few hours leveling pets in valley of the four winds this weekend. along the way, i picked up three family-specific battle-stones - the kind that can only be used to upgrade pets of a particular family. (note that this contradicts the patch notes, which said family-specific ones only came from battling tamers.) since the valley is full of critters and aquatics, that's what i got. it's kind of unfortunate that the pets most needful of upgrading, because they are really rare and therefore hard to farm for a rare, are also the ones hardest to get a battle stone for. yes magic i'm looking at you - willy needs an upgrade! (apparently you can also get a general purpose battle-stone from battling wild pets, but the odds are super low.)

    anywho, when you get one of these stones, the way you use it is as follows: (1) summon the pet you want to upgrade. (2) target the pet. (3) right click on the stone in your inventory. a little clunky, but at least it works. since rare critters and aquatics aren't too hard to find in the wild, i ended up using my stones on quest reward pets that have a distinctive, if not unique, look. so war pug the perky pug, commodore bob the fishy, and peanut all got the goods.

    got some traffic from folks looking for the polished battle-stone vendor. you can buy them from commander lo ping in townlong steppes - he hangs out in the niuzao temple, out in the islands. i'm not feeling any need to buy these myself - as many rares as i have at this point, paying to make a pet uncommon is not appealing. but not everyone is me, so if it fits your plans, then rock on.

    Sunday, December 2, 2012

    the squeaky wheel gets the worm

    one of the nifty features for pet battles blizzard introduced in patch 5.1 was a safari hat as a reward for completing taming the world. put it on, and your pets get a 10% xp boost, which is always nice, plus it has a dashing and distinctive look. not transmoggable, sadly, but one can't have everything.

    unfortunately when the patch went live last week, they forgot to include the bit of coding that said "send a hat to everyone who already has the achievement". so people complained about being completely surrounded by no hat, and blizzard said "oops. our bad. we're sending them now." and some people got them and rejoiced. but some did not. some hatless people discovered that when they walked into an instance (old school, not lfd) the game suddenly remembered you were supposed to have a hat and *poof* you got one. but some tried this and got nothing.

    the godmother has a good post that shows just how bad this omnishambles is. saturday lead content designer @mumper bragged about how sweet the hat was on twitter, only to have breanni reply "dude. still waiting for mine." if the name breanni sounds familiar, it's because she's the one that's done so much for the pet collecting community with that blizzard made a npc outta her. she's the one running the pet shop in dalaran, the one whose name is on all the in-game mails delivering pets to you. kind of a big deal. hoping this results on somebody gets called on the carpet monday morning and told "you made me look like an idiot. effing fix it now!" but we shall see.

    meanwhile, i got tired of waiting for mine and submitted a ticket saturday morning. sunday, i got a response:

    having customer support send these out one at a time seems rather inefficient, and while it's boa that does nothing for my characters on other servers. but, it does look rather dashing, and it should tide me over until everything gets fixed on tuesday. assuming it does.

    Friday, November 30, 2012

    pandaren spirit tamer

    patch 5.1 extends the "defeat the pet tamers" questline with a new quest, pandaren spirit tamer. you are required to defeat four new tamers, each an elemental spirit with three legendary-quality pets. the pets were mostly elemental (each tamer had a miniature version of itself), critter, and dragonkin, with some variations. you get the quest from the pet battle trainer in either the horde or alliance pandaria capital, and the tamers themselves are located in the vale (earth), jade forest (air), dread wastes (water), and townlong steppes (fire).

    i started off with stoppable force (darkmoon tonk), francois (darkmoon monkey), and wild eyes ramona (softshell snapling). stoppable force was configured for dragonslayer mode, with charge selected for its first spell slot. the thundering (ie earth) tamer is reported to cause a lot of people trouble, but i got it down on the first try. the air tamer gave me more trouble, because its elemental pet had two flying attacks which chopped up my turtle something fierce. so i switched her out for frederick the oily slimeling, configured him to use creeping ooze for elemental wastage, and rocked it out. then i proceeded to one-shot the two remaining tamers.

    now, to be honest, when i say i "one-shot" them, what i reall mean is this. i start a fight and see what pets it has. then i run away. i adjust my pet team composition, and start another fight. when i see that its lead-off pet isn't the one my lead-off pet is strong against, i run away. repeat until i get the match-up i want. then i one-shot the fight.

    after defeating the fourth tamer, i hearthed home and turned in the quest back where i started. the trainer gave me a choice of four pets, each a mini version of the spirits i had just defeated. being a destro warlock, ellspeth of course picked the fire one. cute little rascal, ain't he?

    once you've completed the quest, your allowed to go back later and each tamer will have a daily quest for you to defeat them. the reward bag has a chance to contain another mini-spirit, so collecting all four is doable. unfortunately right now the dailies are buggy, and aren't showing up for a lot of people. hopefully this will be fixed before long.

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

    new pet spells i'd love to see

    in among the banana barrages and the chicken stampedes, there are a number of spells from full-scale world of warcraft that have been reborn in pet battles. for examples, feign death, heroic leap, and curse of doom. but there are still plenty of player abilities which are denied to our poor pets. so here is a list of spells i feel blizzard should, nay, needs to add to our pets' spellbooks:

    hammer of the righteous
    fire elemental totem
    victory rush
    ritual of summoning
    army of the doods
    teleport: moonglade
    leap of faith

    so what would pet versions of these spells do, exactly? i got no freaking clue. do i look like the details guy? shoot, i can't even do capitalization right....

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    listening to my inner pandaren

    so when i got home last night, i was one pet away from that's a lot of pet food. so with all the new pets available in 5.1, which ones did i go for? was it the ion cannon-less yeti? the book that escaped from the dalaran library? one of those cool boss drops in molten core or naxx?

    not so much. i listened to my inner pandaren, and he told me "slow down".

    i downloaded the patch, updated my add-ons, logged on and did the same thing i would have done if the patch hadn't landed: started the golden lotus dailies with my freshly minted 90 warlock, because she's fun to play. those new pets aren't going anywhere, and the ones in the wild will be a lot easier to find after the initial wave of collectors has moved on.

    and guess what? while i was doing dailies, i ran across an eternal strider, which i hadn't even realized i didn't have. apparently it was one of those pets that had gotten left out of the original pet journal by mistake, or something. sent in my current leveling team of shianti the teldrassil sproutling and lawrence welk the rapana whelk to rough him up, threw a cage on him, and hey presto! i get the achievement and the free venus. so i got to eat my cake and have it too. thanks, inner pandaren.

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    no ion cannon for yeti

    yesterday i was talking about the darkmoon tonk's high-power ion cannon. essentially it does 2.5 times the damage of a standard attack, at the price of being stunned and unable to act for the next two rounds. so under normal conditions it actually does less damage than just firing off a basic times three times. it pays off though when either it's enough damage to suddenly kill the enemy (especially if it's your opponent's last pet) or when you're close to dying and won't live long enough to get off three more attacks. under the right circumstances, it can be a game changer, and earn you the right to prance about and point and shout "in your face!" at your computer monitor. these things are important.

    the darkmoon tonk isn't the only pet with this ability, but it's the only one that is both "rare" quality and fairly easy to obtain. the tranquil mechanical yeti also has an ion cannon, but it's only 'uncommon". the azure whelpling and lil' tarecgosa both have the magical equivalent surge of power, but the one is an extremely rare drop (or costs approximately one metric crapton of gold on the auction house), and the other requires you to be in a guild that's completed the legendary staff questline in firelands (which mine ain't. edit: well, that ain't really true, 'cause I've got at least two alts in guilds that have, as has been pointed out to me. but still, it's a hard pet to get for a lot of folks.). finally, the orphan's week reward legs also has surge of power, but he's also only an uncommon. so that's a bummer.

    but we're getting new pets today, with the arrival of 5.1! and when i was reviewing this preview page over at wowhead news, i saw that just like his mechanical cousin, the stunted yeti of feralas would be packing an ion cannon. booya! a capturable pet packing the biggest nuke in the game? farm that bitch 'til you find a rare, baby! now, okay, i realize that the idea of a primitive woodlands ape packing space age weaponry is a little far-fetched (although, you gotta admit, it would make the show "finding bigfoot" a lot more exciting). but who cares if it makes sense? this! is! pet battles!

    if only i had some poor shmuck i could kick into a pit of oblivion. woulda made that last bit a lot more dramatic. oh well.

    sadly, it is not to be. checking the entry for stunted yeti on wowhead's ptr site this morning, i saw a perfectly sensible set of humanoid and beast abilities. no ion cannon, no light saber, no buck rogers. i has a disappointed.

    i figure blizzard initially copied the tranquil mechanical yeti abilities as a place holder, and that got datamined. then they went back and made it what they really wanted. or maybe wowhead just made a mistake. or something. doesn't really matter. but if i get the right stone to upgrade legs to a rare, i'm gonna use it. and some poor bugger's gonna get a heckuva surprise one day.

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    don't bring three crabs to a darkmoon tonk fight

    i haven't done much pet battle pvp'ing yet. it's not that i'm not interested, it's just that i've been busy collecting and leveling and, you know, playing that old-fashioned ordinary wow. but yesterday i had some time and curiosity, so went and dabbled. put together a team, lost a few rounds, went back to other stuff, then came back a few hours later with a slightly team. i had a voodoo figurine, a rare oily slimeling, and a darkmoon tonk. i queued up, and a minute later was facing a team consisting of three rare crabs. i can certainly understand the appeal of crabs for battling. a lot of health combined with shell shield and renewing mists make them quite hard to kill, and as aquatic pets they take 25% less damage from harmful dots. since none of my pets had any flying attacks, this didn't look like a good match-up for me. but i had a secret weapon.

    my voodoo figurine and my slimeling didn't fare particularly well. they managed to kill the first crab, but the second one still had more than half its health when it finished them off. and then i brought out the tonk.

    the tonk hits hard. very hard. it pays a price for this, in that its attacks have long cooldowns, but that was okay. the crab defenses are primarily effective against mitigating lots of small attacks, and then healing back up over time. so i didn't let it. first round, i hit it with shock and awe, knocking it below 50% health. second round, before it had had time to heal much, i hit it with the ion cannon, which i believe is tied with surge of power as the hardest hitting pet attacks. and we had dead crab number two. now, the cannon left me stunned for the next two rounds and crab number three got in some free shots, but that was all right. again, all i had to do was get him down to about 40% of his health before i died, and then the ion cannon ended it.

    i queued up again with the same pets, and apparently no one else on our server was playing, because the game matched us up again. same result - the short-term blasts from the tonk's big weapons secured victory before the crabs' long-term abilities could catch up.

    the game put us together again for round three. my opponent was no dummy, and this time he'd switched out one of his crabs for a topaz shale hatchling, which is also defensive but as an elemental would have a strong edge against the mechanical tonk. unfortunately for him though, i'd gone to a completely different team, in which all three pets were capable of doing a lot of damage quickly: grunty, a stripe-tailed scorpid, and a chicken. this time the fight wasn't even close.

    so, the moral of the story is, no strategy is going to work against every opponent. had i brought, say, a rabbit to that first fight instead of the tonk, things would have gone very differently and this would be a very different post. but i did bring the tonk, and i timed its attacks to maximize their effectiveness against an otherwise solid opponent. mismatches are going to happen, sometimes in your favor and sometimes not, so try not to be all down on your pets or yourself if things go badly. it's most likely you just went scissors and your opponent went rock.

    and blizzard? i hope this "fight the same person three times in a row" thing isn't going to be the norm. maybe we should bring some of that cross-realm technology from lfd and lfr over to pet battles, yes?

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    what happens when lady rng gets shnockered?

    she rolls the same result, every time. you should lay off the hard stuff, lady rng.

    last night i was leveling my warlock up in the kun-lai summit and picking fights with the local beasties in between quests. without fail, every time the third pet on the local team was a rare plains monitor. now, this was kinda cool at first, since it allowed me to toss the one poor quality one i started with, and replace it with a full stable of three rares. these are gonna come in handy when i begin to seriously push toward pro pet mob. but after the first three? it got a little depressing, having to deliberately kill rares. not to mention the fact that they took more work to down than their poor siblings.

    i know the game wasn't doing this the last time i went through kun-lai. i'm curious to see how long it keeps up. a day? until the next server restart?

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    a brief word on pet names

    being able to finally name pets (without being a hunter) is something i thoroughly enjoy. as usual, blizzard has a secret list of words you cannot use (two secret lists, actually - one for "reserved" words and one for "offensive" words). the illustrious pike pointed me toward the petopia forums where there is a list of names people have determined to be illegal, but i'm hoping to delve deeper and see just how far i can push the envelope, because i'm weird that way. after last night's research, i can confirm the following:

    "the" is a reserved word, which is a total rip-off given that some of the npc tamers use it in their pets' names.

    most military ranks are restricted, but standard abbreviations are not. for example "adm bigs" and "sgt dingles".

    "duke", like most ranks of nobility, is out. "duck", however, is fine. since there are currently no actual duck pets, i picked my nether ray fry to be the "duck of death", and "iron duck" will probably go to my sea gull.

    more to follow, as my brain comes up with pointless things to try.

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    "how to level the terrible turnip"

    someone landed on my blog the other day after running that particular google search. unfortunately, while this is a reasonable question to ask but there isn't much here to answer it, so our intrepid googler left empty-handed. time to fix that.

    why is it a reasonable question to ask? well, when you look at the turnip's spells they're almost all elemental, which makes it strong against mechanicals (rarely encountered in the wild) and weak against critters (which are everywhere in the wild). meanwhile, aquatics (which are fairly common) are strong against it. so, fighting with the turnip is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. in addition, most of its spells include some form of self-healing (such as leech seed) or damage mitigation (such as sons of the root), and therefore do less damage than purely offensive spells. there's nothing wrong with this, except they lead to longer fights, which means fewer victories (and less experience) per hour.

    so what do you do, given the turnip's limitations? the answer is, don't use it. put it on a team with at least one level 25 rare that hits hard. my personal favorite for this is francois the darkmoon monkey, but there's lots of other good pets for this job. a second level 25 that is strong against pets that the first one is weak against is ideal, if you can do that. then, go pick fights with wild pets that are much higher level than your turnip. after one round, swap the turnip out and send in your level 25, and unleash hell. the fight will be over quickly, and the turnip still gets half of the xp it would have gotten had it stayed in and managed to win the battle entirely on its own. after the fight, the victory heal will get the turnip back to full health, and hopefully the level 25 pet somewhat close to it. then you can quickly move on to the next fight.

    this method becomes a lot less effective when you reach level 20 or so, and try using it against cataclysm or pandaria pets, but this isn't a big deal. the value of the turnip is when trying to capture low-level pets, the ones that can be one- or two-shots by conventional pets. against, say, level 24 pets in the valley of the four winds, the danger of accidently killing a pet you want to capture is pretty minimal, so it isn't necessary to get your turnip all the way to level 25. i've set mine aside now that he's reached 20, to be saved for the day i happen to encounter a, say, silithid hatchling.

    so, that's how i leveled my terrible turnip.

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    five ideas for new pets

    patch 5.1 is going to introduce a number of new pets that can be captured in vanilla zones or drop from bosses in vanilla (or originally created for vanilla) raids, such as molten core and naxxramas. along those same lines, i have a few ideas for pets that i'd like to see added in burning crusade content.

    roflcopter. mechanical pet with several flying attacks. capturable. most often found around shattrath city before raid time.

    shadier shade of aran. undead pet with magical attacks. drops in karazhan. its flame wreath attack does nothing unless your opponent tries to swap pets - then it blows up the battle.

    image of image of archmage vargoth. magical pet. capturable in netherstorm. doesn't actually do anything in battle, just stands there.

    gronn pup. humanoid pet with humanoid and beast attacks. drops in gruul's lair. grows larger during every combat round.

    lil' reliquary of the lost. mechanical? undead? magic? elemental? yeah, i really don't know. wails a lot. drops in black temple.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    pets i am currently leveling

    why am i leveling him?

    because i still need a level 25 undead for all pets allowed.

    why is new named jobu?

    for cerano's "help me hit a curve ball" loa in major league
    why am i leveling him?

    because i want a level 25 rare magic

    why is he named frederick?

    because of reasons

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    pet profile: twitchy mctwitch

    twitchy mctwitch is an accomplished violinist and silent film critic. he likes boring through solid granite and beating pets up.

    i picked up this rare topaz shale hatchling in deepholm (they can also be found in the orange side of maraudon). i like to configure him with leech life, sticky web, and stone rush. this gives attacks from three different families (undead, beast, and elemental) for maximum flexibility, and the high healing from alternating the first two counterbalances the self-damage from the third. if you prefer maximum survivability, you can switch from stone rush to stoneskin for five rounds of damage mitigation.

    there are four variations of shale hatchlings running loose in the wild (topaz, crimson, amethyst, and emerald), all with the same abilities but somewhat different stats. there is also the tiny shale spider which drops from jadefang and is considered a rare.

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    terrible turnip vs minfernal

    i've had an alt parked in felwood at the minfernal spawn point for a while now, and try to check in once a day or so. usually all i find are a few other high-level characters, all chilling out on their flying mounts. but last night when i popped in i was all alone. except.... two pets showing up on the minimap! a quick mouseover showed the first one to be a tainted rat. phooey. but the second one, glory of glories, was a minfernal. huzzah! another quick look around to make sure no one would steal it from me, and then a quick check of which three pets i had up.

    this part is important. if you have been lucky enough to farm up a terrible turnip, then i strongly recommend that you level him up. reason being, he is the only pet with weakening blow - an attack which cannot reduce its target below 1 health point. it cannot kill them, as long as you remember not to any of its other attacks - definitely do not hit leech seed! this makes it ideal for capturing lower level pets, but only if you've leveled him high enough to beat them. good news is, i've gotten mine up to 20, specifically for this purpose.

    sure enough, i send in the veggie and pretty soon mister demon is sitting pretty with minimal health. throw a few cages, and bob's your uncle. (anybody know where that expression comes from? i mean, wouldn't uncle bob have been your uncle the whole time anyway, regardless of how things turned out? or is it just a metaphor for, i dunno, bricklayer tools or something?)

    so, one step closer to kalimdor safari. the minfernal himself was poor quality, but meh. he still looks cool following me around in stormwind, and i've got some rare quality magics in my roster already.

    do i have any tips for catching this elusive bugger? just be patient, i guess. i hear they're more likely to be out right after a server restart, but pretty much everyone looking for one will have heard this too, so i expect there'd be a crowd. i found mine about five o'clock server time (my server anyway - no idea if cross-realm zoning shifted me or not) on a sunday, and as far as i know there hadn't been any restarts all day. so maybe the trick is to keep checking at times when other people won't be, until you get lucky. however you do it, good luck and good hunting!

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    the first rule of brawler's guild is "black tie only"

    i really like the idea of the brawler's guild, for some of the same reasons i like pet battles. it is a line of pve progression independent of raiding. it is completely soloable content. you can go at your own pace. the fact that other players can actually watch you fight is a really nifty addition. the only catch was that, since it is one fight at a time and players have to queue for it, there's the danger that waits would become frustratingly long. but i expected blizzard to handle that through a sensible method such as, say, grouping players into batches of 20 (or 40, or whatever) and putting them into an instanced version of the guild (similar to how battlegrounds work). plenty of people to make a respectable audience, but nobody has to wait all day to fight.

    but now we have details of how blizzard plans to keep the queue lengths in check: the guild will be invitation only, with invites auctioned off ten a day on the black market auction house (minimum bid 1000g, no maximum bid). once brawlers reach a certain level in the guild (currently rank 7, which as i understand it is rather non-trivial) they can start issuing their own invitations, with nothing to stop them from charging whatever price the market will support.

    blizzard's been trying real hard to make us think of fight club without actually violating copyright laws, but does anyone remember the scene in fight club where a small-time gangster comes down to the basement and interrupts the club's clandestine activities?

    tyler who are you?

    fat man (lou) who am I?! there's a sign on the front that says "lou's tavern." i'm fucking lou. who the fuck are you?!

    tyler tyler durden.

    tyler extends his hand for a shake, but lou slaps it away.

    lou who told you motherfuckers you could use my place?

    tyler we have a deal worked out with irvine.

    lou irvine? irvine's at home with a broken collarbone.

    everyone glances guiltily at each other.

    lou he don't own this place, i do. how much money's he getting for this?

    tyler there is no money.

    lou really?

    tyler it's free to all.

    lou ain't that something?

    tyler yes, it is.

    but not the brawler's guild. it will go to the highest bidders. now, i have no idea how much these invitations will ultimately sell for (other than "over one thousand"). but i do know that when i try to picture how the brawler's guild will look in my head, i don't see a lost, frustrated generation searching to escape the meaninglessness of their lives in some dark basement. i see distinguished gentlemen drinking tea and discussing market trends in an oak-paneled lounge while waiting for some properly attired servant to discreetly inform them that the arena is ready for them now. and that makes it all sound a lot less fun.

    blizzard's had a great success with pet battles. brawler's guild clearly has the potential to be another one, but they could screw it up with this nonsensical gating scheme.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    flawless battle-stones

    these consumables will be appearing in patch 5.1, and can be used to upgrade any pet to rare quality (there will also be a polished battle-stone which upgrades pets to uncommon, but meh). according to the patch notes,

    "players will have a very small chance to obtain a general purpose flawless battle-stone after winning a match against wild pets; defeating higher level opponents increases the chances of obtaining a stone. these valuable items are not soulbound, and can be sold on the auction house."


    there will also be pet family-specific versions: flawless elemental battle-stone, flawless mechanical battle-stone, etc. these stones can only be used to upgrade a pet of that particular family, are soulbound, and are won not by fighting local pets but rather will show up in the sack of pet supplies you get from defeating the npc pet tamers.

    different, but also interesting.

    so, how should we respond to the introduction of these stones when 5.1 goes live? the answer is, of course, however the hell you want. take a team of low-level but high-performance pets out on the road to farm the locals for stones to sell on the auction house? go for it. try to hit every pet trainer daily, every day? go for it. pretty much the same as before, and sometimes say "oh look, a stone"? go for it. there is no wrong way to play.

    me, i'm not that excited about the stones, because i already have more rares than i know what to do with. there are a few pets that i like enough that i'd be willing to spend a non-soulbound stone on to upgrade (depending on how the prices settle out, i might even buy the stones). the upgrade priority queue will be sleepy willy, personal world destroyer, creepy crate, sinister squashlingmechanical squirrel, and the enchanted broom (unless i change my mind). after these, i'll probably give away any unbound stones i get to family and friends. i've found my interest in hitting the dailies kind of comes and goes, depending on what else i have going on, and that will probably stay the same. any stones i get from these will probably be applied after careful deliberation of at least three or four seconds.

    any pets you folks are particularly excited about being able to give the rarification treatment to?

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    why i'm hanging out in tanaris a lot

    well, for starters, i still need the silithid hatchling, which only come out during sandstorms. so i keep an alt parked in gadgetzan and i periodically hop over to her to check the weather. so far, no luck, or, as my grandfather used to say every morning after moving the family to southern california in the 1950s, "well, another goddam beautiful day."

    another reason i can often be found in tanaris is that it is the perfect spot to grind on those "raise x pets to level 10" achievements. the locals are all level 13 which means that (a) they still operate in pairs instead of triplets, and (b) it's almost impossible for them to one-shot a level 1 pet. so i typically run with one baby out front, and at least one 25 for back-up. send the baby in first, let him take a single hit, then swap in big sister to crush the locals. if you only do one swap during the fight (ie, don't use your third pet at all), you can go from level 1 to level 6 with just five fights. getting the next four levels takes a little longer, but with a stable master in gadget for quick repairs and lots of pets not far from the city, it still doesn't take that long. just watch out for the desert spiders - their sticky web ability can snare a baby and keep you from swapping it out before it dies. best to send a level 25 in first, and then swap the baby in for a round against the second local (assuming it isn't a spider also).

    so far i've used this system to finish out no favorites and rookie pet group, and i've nearly finished rookie pet crew (just 3 or 4 more to go). then comes the seventy-five pets for rookie pet mob - i suspect i may cheat some on this and trap a bunch of level 9 prairie dogs over in the south barrens for part of this...

    anywho, once you've gotten a pet to level 10, if you want to continue to level him you can actually take him to pandaria. again, the odds of getting one-shot at that point are pretty low, and the xp you get for surviving is truly bodacious.

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    i twisted their nethers

    my friends fim and hydra of the twisted nether blogcast asked me to come on the show and talk about pet battles last sunday. had a really good time, and hopefully managed to say one or two interesting things without too many "uh"s and "um"s and "you know"s. you can download the show here.

    we were kind of winging it, which was cool with me, but it meant that they forgot to ask one of the standard questions: "what is your ideal ice cream sunday?" so i shall tell you now. multiple scoops of strawberry ice cream, bananas, fresh strawberries, more strawberry ice cream, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry on top.

    unrelated to the show: apparently if you are a snowy owl in winterspring (or a software developer in southern california) winter begins today. so those working on eastern kingdoms safari can head over there now and check another pet off the list. myself, i figure i'll wait a week and let the crowds die down - might be easier to find one that way.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    there can be only one

    the cricket was fast. leaping, dancing, singing his infuriating song - at times it seamed as if there were ten crickets, all striking blows on their enemy only to evade his retaliatory strikes. before her, the scorpion crouched, fighting defensively, claws held to protect his vulnerable unarmored eyes. and then, suddenly, it was over. the cricket, seeking to land a crippling blow, danced too close, waited to long to pull back, and a claw closed down on one of her rear legs. she struggled, but its grip was too strong to break, and then the other claw closed down on her thorax. pinned, trapped, there was nothing the cricket could do as the scorpion raised its menacingly stinger over its head, a single drop of poison glistening at its tip.

    then, it was over. the stinger plunged down in a motion too fast for the eye to see, piercing the tough exoskeleton behind the cricket's head. she twitched as corrosive enzymes were pumped into her body, then went limp. the scorpion held the lifeless body a minute longer, then flung it aside.

    "yes!" it roared in a dry, rasping voice. "i am victorious! fear my name! i am cuddles, and i shall-"


    a bolt of lightning struck the scorpion struck the scorpion directly in the face and tossing it into the air. it landed on its back where it lay unmoving, steam rising from the gaps in its armor.

    "cuddles, was it?" asked a sardonic voice. a small dragon entered the battle area, the sun shining on his polished red and orange hide. "yes, i do believe i'll remember that one. hard to forget an opponent so easily dispatched. are there any others?"

    there was silence for a moment. then the slow, unmistakeable thuds of heavy armored feet could be heard approaching. then there was the whine of a gauss pulse rifle powering up. into the arena lumbered round, squat, bowlegged figure, clad in blue space armor with the moniker "pvt hudson" stenciled on one side. bulbous, unblinking eyes glared at the dragon behind a translucent face shield.

    "mrlgrlgrlgrlgrlgrl," the newcomer challenged.

    the dragon's eyes narrowed. he reached out with his clawed hands, and bolts of lightning crackled through the air toward the marine. the space armor's electronics were well-shielded though, and the lightning had little effect beyond scorching and blistering the blue paint. the electro-magnetic pulses from the marine's rifle were a different matter. they hammered the dragon mercilessly, punching effortlessly through his thick hide, until at last he lay dying in the dirt.

    "i hate murlocs..." he whispered as his eyes dimmed and his last breath left his body. but the battle was not over. unnoticed, an otter had been stealthily swimming up the creek adjacent to the battle area. now, with the marine's attention focused on his now-vanquished opponent, the otter leapt from the water, sharp teeth slashing toward exposed hydraulics.

    but the marine was too fast. with a cry of "mglrrglrgl!" he fired his rockets and shot up into the air, avoiding the ambush. he landed a few yards away, facing his new opponent, rifle at the ready. the otter had seen what happened to the dragon, however, and was too clever to try going toe-to-toe with the high-tech murloc. instead he circled, pounced, dodged, and pounced again, teeth and claws always searching for gaps in the armor. private hudson managed to land a few shots, but in the end he stood still in the middle of the field, unable to move, batteries discharged, hydraulic fluid leaking into a pool on the ground.

    "that's all right, dearie," said a new, soft voice. "you've done your part. let grannie mudderclucker take it from here."

    "mlrggl," said the marine in a relieved voice to the chicken now standing next to him. and then he exploded in a cloud of mechanical pieces and green goo.

    "oh dear," said the chicken. she fixed a steely gaze upon the otter. "somebody  is going to have to clean this mess up." and then the fight was on.

    it was not a fair fight. weakened by the battle with the marine, pelted with eggs, blinded by flying feathers, pecked mercilessly, the otter never stood a chance. in only a few minutes it was all over, and grannie mudderclucker stood triumphant upon the field, with none left to challenge her.

    aki the chosen, grand master pet tamer of pandaria, bowed to me. "it appears i have underestimated you, foreigner. yours is the superior."

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    pet quality

    all pets have three statistics: health, power, and speed. health obviously is how much damage it can take before it dies, power is how hard it hits or how well it heals, and speed determines who goes first in a given round. having higher value stats means a pet is more likely to defeat its opponent, and winning is good, so that's why we give a darn. several factors go into determining a pet's stats, most of which i'm not gonna talk about a lot today. species is one - turtles tend to have more health, birds tend to have more speed, and so on. pet level is another - every time a pet levels up, its stats go up. there is some variation amoung individuals of the same species (nancy the scorpion might have a little more power than doug the scorpion, but less health, for example). and then there's the thing i wanna talk about today: quality. sometimes, crazy dave the tundra penguin is just plain a better fighter than mad mortimer the tundra penguin.

    world of warcraft has always a quality system for gear: rare/blue is better than uncommon/green, and so on. pets received a similar design. all else being equal, a rare fire beetle has higher stats than an uncommon fire beetle, which has higher stats then a common, which has higher stats than a poor. (currently, player-owned cannot be higher than rare, but some of the master pet tamer npcs have epic or even legendary pets.) at level 1, the difference between a poor and a rare isn't very noticeable, but as pets level up these differences grow and grow until a level 25 rare can easily smash a level 25 poor.

    so, how do you know what the quality of your pets is? once you've captured a pet, the game will tell you what it is in the pet journal, but the only way to know before you decide to start flinging traps is to look at its stat values and make a guess. there are however a number of add-ons which can tell you what the quality of a pet your fighting is. i personally like battlepetcount, which also tells you if you already own a pet of that type, and what its level and quality are, but there are plenty of others. it looks like patch 5.1, which will be landing before too long, will report the quality of pets you are battling as part of the standard interface, which will a nice improvement.

    pets that you've acquired through any other method than capturing them in the wild (quest rewards, drops, purchased, etc.) are slightly different. for one thing, they are never poor or common. for another, the default game interface currently gives no information at all as to whether they are uncommon or rare, even when they are in your journal. add-ons will tell you, or you can look them up on or, if you're a lazy-arsed git like me, you can fall back on some rules of thumb. if it came from a real-money transaction, the darkmoon fair, the molten fron, the guild vendor, or a low probability drop, it's probably a rare. if it was a quest reward, crafted by a player, or bought at the argent tournament, it's an uncommon. i think that covers most of them.

    should you farm wild pets until you get a rare, and throw away the rest? hell if i know - it depends on what you want to do. if your goal is to pvp or fight the master pet tamers, then yeah, maybe, if its a hard to get species, like humanoid or dragonkin. harder to justify for a critter, since you'll get like a bajillion rare critters in pandaria without trying. if your goal is to have a cool looking baby ape or minfernal to follow you around while you do tillers dailies, then no, probably not worth it. howver, my position on this and every other aspect of pet battling is that there is no wrong way to do it.

    happy capturing!

    update: anonymous points out that the red cricket, awarded from becoming best friends with the tiller sho, is not automatically uncommon or rare, but instead is apparently given a random quality like captured pets, and can therefore be poor or common. a little digging shows that the sapphire cub, created by jewelcrafters, also has a random quality. i'm inclined to suspect that these are bugs rather than what blizzard intended, but there's no official word as to why these are different. lotta folks pissed about getting shafted with a crappy cricket, though.

    Friday, October 26, 2012

    one milestone at a time

    i've had an alt parked in what used to be the alterac mountains (and is now just 'that part of the hillsbrad foothills full of snow and ogres and yeti') for a while now, looking for the elusive snowshoe hare. which is completely different than the snowshoe rabbit. even though they are identical. one you buy from a dwarf kid, the other you freeze your troll toes off, standing in the snow for weeks.

    anyway. a few nights ago, i got all excited when two popped up on my minimap detector. i figured i'd catch one, then put out a realid message that i was looking at one in case anyone wanted to party up and crz in and catch it. (you know, i've never actually done that, so while i think that would work, i'm not 100% sure.) and then it all went wrong. first, i added a lowbie pet to my team so that i could damage him without killing him in one shot. but the pet i added (level 10 lil' deathwing) was still too high, and its first attack knocked the hare down to about 45%. uh oh. nothing to do at that point but hit it again, and of course that killed it. so I hurry up and kill its partner (a rat or something) and swap in a level 6 pet. and step forward to boldly to battle with the other hare, only it's not there anymore. crapdoodle.

    last night though, when i did my daily check-in on the alt, there was a hare on the minimap. woot! more carefully this time, i swap a level 6 pet into the team and into battle we go. a minute or so later, we've got us a snowshoe hare. i checked the achievement list for what else i need. twilight fiendling it says, so we drake up and head for the highlands. flew around for a bit, and there one was. huzzah! and sure enough, that was all i needed for eastern kingdoms safari. i wasn't sure, given what a hot mess that achievement is - there are six pets it shows me as still missing, four of which are actually sold by vendors (three dragonhawks and the cockatiel), as well as the crimson moth and wharf rat (which weren't in the pet journal when i caught them early in the expansion).

    moral of the story, then, is be patient. some pets are pretty hard to find, and have really long respawn timers, but they do exist. use wowhead or the resource of your choice, figure out where they span, and park an alt there. check in every now and then to take a quick look. no sign of them, then move on to something else. sooner or later, you'll get lucky. and i'll be telling myself this as i hunt for the never-seen-by-human-eyes minfernal....

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    blizzard's gonna fill in some gaps

    there's a list of the new capturable pets blizzard will be giving us in patch 5.1 over at perks n peeves. there's more, like the new pets dropping in vanilla raids, but those aren't what i'm excited about (though they are cool). no, what's got me tingly is the fact that almost all the new pets are from families that are horribly underrepresented in the wild right now - humanoid, mechanical, magic, and dragon. i'm hoping this is a sign that blizzard realizes that the current dominance by critters, beasts, and flyings is monotonous as crap, and that they'll make it more varied and interesting in the future.

    plus, you know, a flying book? i gotta have that!

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

    Pet Profile: Wild Eyes Ramona

    Type: Aquatic

    Species: Softshell Snapling

    Source: Capturable in Valley of the Four Winds. Other turtles have the same or nearly the same abilities.

    Interests: Relaxing with a glass of pinot grigio, slow walks along the beach, and beating other pets up.

    I captured Ramona as a level 22, and leveled her to 25 as part of the quest for All Pets Allowed. Her combat style is a slow methodical approach, using her high health and defensive abilities to wear her opponent down. When battling she typically opens with Shell Shield (refreshing it every five rounds), then use Powerball until she's got the speed advantage over the enemy. At that point it's hammer away with Bite (pve) or Grasp (pvp) until the end.

    She's named for Ramona Singer and her pinot grigio-fuelled "turtle time" dance:

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    let us begin at the beginning

    and at the beginning, we find a movie cliche.

    the first rule of pet battles is there is no wrong way to do pet battles.

    the second rule of pet battles is there is no wrong way to do pet battles.

    that said, nobody like flopping around haphazardly like an orc wearing too-large boxer shorts, with no idea of where to go or what to do next. so i'm planning to lay out some suggestions and recommendations i've learned, either through reading in other places or through plain old trial and multiple errors. hopefully, some of it will be of some help to somebody. since my knowledge on this new mini-game is nowhere near complete and never will be, i'd be pleased to pick up some tips from you buggers as well.

    i'm also planning to put some creative writing and artwork about my pets up here. if nothing else, this will amuse me. your mileage may be your own damn problem.

    now that that's all out of the way, we can move on to battles. "which pets should i put in my team?" is a reasonable question, with several aspects to the answer. today i'm gonna talk about the pet family aspect, 'cause i'm gonna talk about the other aspects when i'm not talking about this one. now, there are a total of ten pet families, but when you go out into the wilds to level and capture, you don't find anything remotely like an even distribution. instead, there are lots and lots of critters and beasts, a bunch of aquatics (usually near rivers and lakes and oceans. duh.). once you've leveled up a bit, you'll run into a fair number of flying pets. if you go into tirisfal glades and the plaguelands, you'll get a lot of undeads, which makes sense. everything else - humanoids, mechanicals, dragons, elementals, and magics - often don't appear until you've leveled up a good chunk, and either way they are pretty rare.

    starting out then, you'll win battles faster if you go with pets that do beast damage (25% bonus against critters), mechanical damage (25% bonus against beasts), and flying damage (25% bonus against aquatics). the faster you kill them, the less time they have to kill you, which means you win more often. typically this means going with a beast pet, a mechanical pet, and a flying pet, but there are a lot of exceptions too. for example, a lot of critters have attacks that do beast damage, while some mechanicals have elemental- or undead-damage attacks. blizzard did it this way either to make it more interesting or to annoy the crap outta you, depending on your perspective.

    so that's one factor to consider. other factors, such as quality, long-term goals, and freakin' adorableness, will be covered when i get to them.

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    whispers in the shadows

    “is it true what they say?”

    “i heard he got blown to a million pieces fighting that dragon.”

    “is he building an army?”

    “they say he’s in krasarang fishing with nat pagle.”

    “he’s recruiting, man, i tell you. dragons, mechanicals, beasts, everyone.”

    “he died like a damn fool”

    “spiders? are there spiders in the army?”

    “my brother’s friend’s dad’s cousin saw him in felwood, running through the trees.”

    “he’s a ghost now. you can’t stop a ghost.”

    “he’s building an army, I tell you. there’s hundreds of them now, and it’s growing.”

    “is it raining on jaguar island?”

    “he was never real.”

    “i heard they wiped out everything in the burning steppes. even the cockroaches.”

    “i heard he’s building an army.”