|Jacob the Test Seagull welcomes you to this post :D|
Following on from my 'game changing' pet battles post in the week, I though (now the beta is stable and playable) it might be an idea to see what any potential battler is letting themselves in for when signing up for the job. As things stand, you're going to have your work cut out.
Even at what is clearly an early stage of proceedings, there is a lot of information to be gleaned from the interface. Many pets are duplicated in the Master List, and with these duplications (and only my fingers to count on as I'm no data miner) I make it 326 pets on the current beta.
|Let's use this Lamb as an example of what you can expect to see when things go live.|
There are a decent number of pets currently listed both with a location and a full list of spell abilities, but considerably more that have neither, or simply a location. I have to say I'm impressed at the thought that has gone into naming the particular live abilities, and it's clear that whoever is programming has not only a sense of humour, but a grasp of stuff outside of Azeroth. There are some smile-inducing Easter eggs even at this early stage.
|I remember Joan Aiken's 'Arabel's Raven' from childhood. 10 points for the reference!|
We've been informed that certain pets will only 'spawn' at certain times and under certain conditions, and we have a number of pets currently with unlisted locations with their own names. Some, like Bananas, I know come from the CCG and are likely not yet labelled. There are the three Crocs that you get from completing the 'Crocolisks in the City' Fishing daily in Shatt, similarly unlabelled with a location, plus a number of rather famous Murlocs. However, there are some newcomers: Lizzy is a Warp Stalker, Polly is a parrot (DUH) and Xelnath is a Drakonid. I suppose it could be possible that they're destined to become rewards in the future but a part of me hopes that maybe, just maybe, the really rare pets could end up being specifically named.
|This pet's gonna be available for the Day of the Dead festival, then... ^^|
Looking at my meticulously hand-transcribed list (which stretches to four pages of my A4 Warcraft notebook [*]) the way pets have been chosen fits very comfortably into the current game world. You'll find the Snowy Owl in Winterspring, the Tiny Harvester in Westfall, a Scalded Basilisk Hatchling in Blade's Edge Mountains and a Scourged Whelpling in Icecrown. They complement the local wildlife well and should help people associate certain critters with certain zones. Some, like The Gurkster, are models I don't immediately recognise, others are existing skins with reworks to reflect the areas the new critters are located in.
|Awwww bless, he doesn't look very well or very happy :(|
What is going to be very difficult, and I suspect will require someone with more data-crunching skills than I will ever possess, is to work out what constitutes an 'ideal' three man team. Will it even be possible to do that, I wonder, or will it be about identifying the most powerful particular pets in each of the ten classes... I've never played Pokemon, but I know a lot of you guys have, and here I think the experience of understanding how types work against each other is really going to pay dividends.
|Despite its delicate appearance, Legs looks as if it could kick butt ^^|
Although this is very much a work in progress, what is already apparent is the effort being put into this 'mini-game', and how seamlessly it will fit into the Game World once completed. It's clear that Blizzard really are making good on the promise of bringing the fun to Pandaria: next up, how will all this work play out when properly let loose to the over one million Beta players (potentially) available to test this?
[*] Yes, I have a Warcraft notebook. Don't you? ^^