small-scale violence in the world of warcraft

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.


    1. If it works the way they say it will, I think it's an excellent balance between the two (being helpful vs. being greedy) with the added bonus of those pets spurned by rare-hunters being available for "I don't care what color, just let me have the damned pet already" collectors.

      1. That's what I'm hoping for. It'll be interesting to see how much of a penalty Blizzard end up inflicting for running away.

    2. I'm not a huge fan of the taking damage after fleeing aspect, it will be annoying when hunting for rares...

      1. It'll also make fighting the NPC tamers different, when you can't run away a dozen times until you get the initial pet you want.

    3. Before any hotfix you could actually just que for a dungeon/bg/scenario etc, take the queue and then quit out to respawn a battle pet. Of course you have the 2 deserter debuffs to worry about. I imagine this was fixed/changed with the DC change and with 5.2 will be pointless, but I have yet to try it lately so it may still work until 5.2, if you've killed something accidentally.

    4. I hadn't used the altF4 trick for ages, but I didn't know that had changed. And I am also thinking that I'm going to have to try a different strategy for the tamers as I am guilty of running away when they don't start with the one I want.