Google+ ALT : ernative: 11/18/2012 - 11/25/2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Smoking Gun


World
Any chance we'll see a few severely low population server AHs combined? Economy is ruined on many servers


Definitely want to fix the low pop economy problem. Not 100% sure yet that cross realm AH is the right solution.



Server economies, in certain sections of the Blogsphere, are big business.

There's been a lot of discussion about the consequences of Cross Realm AH's and you'll find as many supporters as detractors. With CRZ clearly here to stay, I find myself thinking that it can only be a matter of time before some kind of change takes place, but then I wonder why there is such a dependence on the system to begin with. The consequences of combination does have a fair amount of merit, but the reprogramming that might be required to make it stick... I have to believe that in terms of actual game code the AH's been around a very long time, and embedding what would be a fundamental change like that might break other things, hence at least part of the reticence. After all, we've been stuck with the 16 slot bag since Vanilla: if that standard eventually expands, then we might see a change.

Having done some research, I realise that my initial considerations are fairly naive. There are some pretty fundamental game mechanics at play here. It is no wonder Ghostcrawler's being non-committal.

There is one simple solution to the low population AH: the server merge. However, merging servers is a Smoking Gun, clear evidence that a game's dying, and I doubt as a result we'll see that happen for quite some time. After all, that's why we got CRZ: making zones look populated = things looks healthy even when there's six of you in Stormwind on a Monday night. A quick glance at The Undermine Journal should indicate to anyone that AH sales matter to an awful lot of people, quite apart from those who play this part of the game as their primary interest. So if we establish that a CRAH is not the answer, what alternatives are there?

The thing is, Mr Street has a really rather basic problem to address, that's pretty much completely out of his remit. You can't fix Economics.

My husband owns an Economics degree, and likes to remind me whenever people in trade complain about the price of things, that they can moan all they like. If they want to blame anyone for this, it shouldn't be Blizzard who takes their ire, it should be Adam Smith. Economics is not something you can nerf, or indeed ignore, especially when it has become as ingrained as it has in Blizzard's UI. Make the wrong changes to this kind of structure and there is the potential to destroy the game more thoroughly than any competitor could manage with a rival MMO title. Bearing that in mind, fixing the problem becomes pretty much impossible. Introduce a Real Money AH a la Diablo and it could have an even more disastrous effect across the entire game.

There is one final solution to this problem: do nothing. Eventually, if people are sufficiently frustrated by the state of their AH, they will pay money to play somewhere else. Servers will continue to depopulate or players will survive without the AH. Attrition doesn't take any programming changes, after all, and can be a more powerful incentive for people to server transfer. Plus, it has the added benefit of making money for Blizzard. However that state of affairs return us to the Smoking Gun: perhaps it is time for the PR machine to come to Ghostcrawler's rescue, to take the weapon and admit it's been fired.

With Blizzard being localised into an increasing number of different languages with dedicated servers, this could be the opportunity to pick the most low population areas to close. Tell the world that the game is constantly changing, and that player movement to localised servers has reduced populations in certain places to a level where a shutdown would be preferable. Offer everyone free transfers off to servers of their choice, and change the way the community thinks. Show them that what for the rest of the MMO industry continues be a Smoking Gun is just a natural consequence of game evolution on the scale Blizzard deals with.

Maybe Blizzard are working on a secret plan to beat Economics, and I'm not giving them as much credit as they will obviously be due when they announce it. Whatever the outcome, they'd better be really sure its the right solution, because the consequences in game if it isn't could be more disastrous than anything they've previously experienced...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Aspiration Station


The lower the number, the bigger the problem...

I like to talk a lot about numbers in this blog, because I know just how significant they are in a computer game. They dictate everything from the place where I'll find my quest mob to the damage I'll need to do in order to down that mob quickly. They also place me in a wider context: 180th on Achievement Progression on my Realm, for instance. The lower these numbers go, the more dangerous they can become. I'm inside the top 100 on my server for battling. That's a worrying statistic to begin with.

I've managed to hike my Pet Battle Score up over 3000 points since the weekend, and checking my realm position on WarcraftPets.com places me 8th on their list for total pets gathered. Part of me knows, if I didn't have the responsibilities I have now, there would be a very strong desire to solely focus on this and make that three figure standing into a two figure on, and get myself into the top five collectors. Understanding you are 'that kind of player' I think is the key to being able to control the urge, understanding it's 11pm and you need to be up at 7am so it's time to stop the battles. This is the moment I look at the people without kids and the responsibilities of being in a family and, although there is a moment of regret, it doesn't last long. As my seven year old informed me yesterday, this moment she's hugging me will never happen like this ever again. That's the reason I can not obsess, and sit and write instead about how what we aspire to in game can often be a negative influence on other aspects of our life.

I've seen numerous interviews with Blizzard Dev's where the issue of datamining pops up: game designers don't like having the rug pulled out from under them. There is, in Warcraft at least, very few avenues for surprise, especially with people like me picking apart every piece of information on offer. The surprises therefore have to be well hidden, or come from things that aren't immediately data-driven: I'm amazed at the number of people who battle, for instance. I'm not surprised however that WoWProgress has a Pet Battle score, and that I'm now using it as my benchmark to progression in exactly the same way as I would consult Mr Robot for optimal gear spec. There are some fairly meaty achievements, requiring an arkload of pets to reach L25. For that there needs to be some planning, and if there is one thing I do love in this game, its the ability to have a plan.


NOT!George Peppard, but the Hardest Man Alive. He ALWAYS has a plan ^^

I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone sharing their Battle Pet Tips with me right now. Biggest nod must go to The Grumpy Elf from whom I have learnt a pretty surefire way of levelling all my L1's up a sizable amount with the minimum of fuss. I'll be trying out the best spots for other things too, but before that happens there is My Plan (TM), which consists of the following:

  • Seek out and capture as many pets as possible missing from my Safari Achievement list
  • Do the remaining Trainers in Northrend and Pandaria
  • Work out which pets I need to upgrade from Poor/Common/Uncommon to Rare
  • Seek out and start capturing said pets
  • Start the process of levelling 75 rare pets to L25 for the Pro Pet Mob achievement

I don't see me breaking any records for speed in all this, but you can bet that I'll be thorough, and in the end I'll have absolutely the best quality team I can muster because, at some point, I can GUARANTEE Blizzard are gonna attach some prestige to this 'casual game' apart from anonymous PvP battles. If they have decided that PvE Brawling is the way forward, someone is going to start looking at pet battle numbers and decide they're not doing enough. The question isn't if, it's when, and when it does happen I will be ready.

Oh Yes.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

IntPiPoMo 2012 :: Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

Note to Self: Go do Deepholm ^^

No, I hadn't forgotten about my IntPiPoMo obligations, its just been One of Those Weeks (TM) and so I needed some time to get the relevant screenies sorted. Now we are, you can expect TWO POSTS today (adding a much needed 12 screenies to my total) The first of these is all about the wonder that is Pet Battling :D


DOO WHOT?


I normally pay scant attention to the pets I'm fighting save for colour and level, but this particular fight stuck out because a) this is a DESERT and b) there's a Sea Gull here. I mean, seriously, are you on holiday and just fancied a fight before you left? In fairness this is Tanaris and there's some sea somewhere... [FX: Points]



One HUGE spider: polite though :D


I fight in some (potentially) dangerous places though from memory I have only ever aggroed mobs twice because of a poor choice of fighting spot. This spider in Stonetalon seemed quite happy to walk all over me whilst I was battling, and it made a good shot, so much so I'm pretty certain this one's been used in another post... ^^



Three pets, all not owned, ALL USEFUL.


I've converted numerous people to the charms of the Pet Battle Quality Notifier addon, and I reckon its been the single biggest asset in my task to get my team together in double quick time. This screenie is notable for the fact I had a TWO Arctic Hares (one rare, one uncommon) PLUS an uncommon Tundra Penguin: without the addon I'd have never known to wait until the last pet to capture. I think this is probably be the one addon currently I'd not ever want to lose, if only for the time it saves.



And THAT's Number 400 :D


This last image is special: that Cloudy Hedgehog represented 400 pets collected and a sizable investment in both time and energy (plus the cash I may have dropped for all those Pet Store pets ^^) I've managed 11 more since that picture was taken, and if you'll excuse me I'm off to take my own reminder and get the guys down to Deepholm... :D

Not as Intended

Hmm, what's wrong with this screenie? ^^

I thought that perhaps my addon was broken when I was doing some pet battling late last night, but that's not the case. My esteemed Pet Battling compadre Ratshag pointed this out on press 5 to capture yesterday: it appears that certain mobs in Kun Lai aren't hindered by the restrictions of the RNG. In fact, if they're travelling in a group of three or more (as these Tolai Hare Pups were) you can pretty much predict your fight opponents for the next 10 minutes or so.

This was taken just to check. There are others...

I've not seen this behaviour anywhere else with other 'groups' (these are the battle pets that follow each other in a line of  three or as a mother with babies behind)  but now I can confirm its happening it might be time to check out other groups, because I'd like to bet this is a programming fail and not anything to do with current server conditions....

Needless to say, if you have a fight in a group of three like I did, and there is the choice as to which not owned pet you capture, you could have some added bonuses until this issue gets fixed...

The Management Would like to Apologise...

... if you've made a comment on my blog in the last few days, and it has subsequently vanished. There has been a MASSIVE deluge of spam to the site in the last ten days and all I can assume is that Blogger's spam filter has gotten a tad confused with everything at once.

I'm really sad too, because there's been lots of hugely positive stuff since the weekend and it appears to have completely vanished into the ether with absolutely no chance of recovery :(

Perhaps this is the time to start considering an alternative to Blogger... ^^

[EDIT: Just to give you an idea of how bad the spamming has been, I've just deleted a shade over eight THOUSAND spam messages since I last looked at the system back in August. Needless to say, I'll be keeping a closer eye on things in the future!]

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pets Progression Post

That's a lot of dead pets :(

There are those who will tell you that 'having a plan' is always a good idea. However there are times that demand you to tear up said plan, throw it away and simply go with the flow. That's pretty much how it's been since the weekend with me and the pets.

The more astute amongst you will see that there's 2 Pandarian natives in my team above: that's because as soon as I left Northrend having captured everything that wasn't nailed down or tied to specific spawn conditions, I had an epiphany. When the rare pet you just captured is at the same level as your currently best rated pet, it is time for some decisions. As I'm not here currently to form a PvP team, I'm simply going through the motions of capturing everything, what matters right now is numbers and colours. Ideally I'd like this post to be bought to you by the colour Blue, and the number 25. The issue then becomes how that is attained with the most efficiency.


The New Plan B.

The new direction is wonderfully simple: pick the highest level pet regardless of when you captured it and level it. This will, of course, cause some problems when I want to hit specific trainers, so the deal then becomes making sure there's at least one of each family maxxed (which was the initial thrust of my planning) To do that whilst still operating a collect and store policy is not as hard thus far as I had envisaged, especially as I'm using pets like Sideways who come with their own self heal. It then becomes about picking groups of pets to fight where my aquatic pet has an inbuilt advantage: right now, that makes the Valley of the Four Winds an attractive prospect. Most battles therefore run a bit like this:

  • Check which opponents Crab has bonus damage attack to
  • Let other pets fight until Crab Bonus Opponent appears
  • Swap in, let Crab take a few hits
  • Swap out, ensuring Crab does not die.
  • Collect XP, rinse and repeat.
Although I'm sure this is not the best way to max experience its working for me right now and does mean that I can keep a rolling group of pets in the 20's whilst remaining in Pandaria to capture the last of the indigenous natives. Last night I hit the next target I'd set: 400 pets collected. The reward is one that will be levelled as a matter of urgency once I'm done with the first total continental sweep and the Trainers:


Venus. She's got it, yeah baby she's got it.

I'll need to think about what happens once I've done with the major Achievements: at the back of my mind is the Pet Battle Score (which I checked at the weekend: current #1 is over 14k, I come in at just over 1000 ^^) which I suspect will have some bearing on my movements once the last Trainer goes down. Until then, it'll be Dailies with my husband, raiding if my dps warrants inclusion, and slapping critters about across Pandaria...

Zen and the Art of Satisfactory Blogging


Pirsig's thesis is that to truly experience quality one must both embrace and apply it as best fits the requirements of the situation. According to Pirsig, such an approach would avoid a great deal of frustration and dissatisfaction common to modern life

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, on the novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.Robert


M. Pirsig's first novel holds a dubious record: according to those nice folks at Guinness, despite selling five million copies worldwide, the original manuscript was rejected by a massive 121 publishers. It's one of the stories my Creative Writing teacher trotted out when he was trying to convince the class that not only a) is persistence a good quality in a writer, but also that b) believing in yourself is vital. Knowing WHY you write is as important a specification as what you write. Someone asked me why I do that yesterday, in an extremely internet-specific context. Why bother if your website isn't showing up as the #1 hit for your domain? He couldn't see me as the top return in his wee internet search box, so he couldn't grasp why I was bothering with this to begin with.

It's a really good question: why bother writing on a medium if people can't find you?

I also had a discussion with another friend yesterday, which takes me back to the days of the New Blogger Initiative early in the year: what should you write when you begin a blog? Both these questions have a lot of internal resonance with me, especially in reference to the work that goes on here. When I began my journey three years ago it had pretty much nothing to do with people finding me, and everything with the need to write, which those of you who follow my ramblings reguarly will know is of some significance. At no point did I feel the need to wave my blog in people's faces, to make sure that if someone looked for me they'd automatically get me as their #1 Search Result, because I wasn't writing for a popularity contest. It was, and always will be, just me publishing what I think is important. If people choose to come and read that, then so be it, but its not about making it easy to find me. In fact, if I'm honest, I kinda like the idea that people have to work.

A lot of that has to do with my own confidence in ability, and this is where the second point come to the fore: writing should be about making you happy. I will never understand someone who bemoans having to write something 'because they have to' (apart perhaps in the context of an educational project on a subject they're having to do not by choice) or getting upset about a piece they don't want to write. Even discussing difficult subjects has the potential to make you happy, simply by the process of externalising the problem. Dragging this back to the game for a moment, I know how hard it was to sit down and admit my failings concerning gameplay a couple of weeks back, but the benefits of making that a post has been well worth the effort. I didn't say that in public so that I could link it to seven different gaming sites and be the #2 most retweeted post that day, I said it because I wanted it said so that I could ask for some help, and I got that. I also gained a great deal more besides, none of which I would have garnered from random web searches. In the end, you guys have become a new set of friends, and that was never the plan, it just happened.

However, there is one last point to be made before we go back to the actual point of the blog: relevance. It's a word that gets thrown about a lot in the world of internet-driven sales, because those people who market and target all those lovely adverts you'll never see on this site ever, who understand the need to present you guys with stuff you'd want to read/buy/adopt as your lifestyle. I talk about stuff that is relevant to me, that matters when I'm playing the game or when I see stuff in the World that relates to it. I have no desire to start writing articles I know would gain favour with certain sites, or indeed would raise my profile by doing so. If, like yesterday's mention on WoW Insider someone comes along and feels my work is deserving of a wider audience, then so be it. I write from the standpoint of hoping that who I am is more important than pandering to anyone else's perception. This is why I'd make a lousy journalist, because in the end there are some lines I just will not cross, however good the 'story' might be. In the end, you guys take me as I am, and that's probably the most satisfying part of this entire process.

Writing should make you happy, and this is the best place I've been in for a very long time. Long may it continue.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'll Cry if I Want To...


8th Anniversary Letter

but still nothing about the awkward mail we received.

That was indeed a bug, and it does not appear that it can be hotfixed.

Suffice it to say that we're not happy about that, but we are happy that you guys have all joined us for the 8th Anniversary of World of Warcraft.


Ratshag made an interesting point in yesterday's post, in reference to me wondering if the various parts of Blizzard actually communicate with each other as effectively as perhaps they could. Looking at this little (rather embarrassing) incident above, it does seem that is the case. Personally, I don't think this is a bug: I think someone simply forgot. They amended the number from SEVEN to EIGHT and assumed that was all that needed doing, without looking at what they sent last year, and forgetting the presence of a certain dragon in the text... ^^

What this incident has highlighted amongst the communities I frequent is how Blizzard deal with the rather prickly issue of player entitlement. Again we see how the company copes with the ongoing issue of their success: producing a pet every year as a gift became problematic when it was quickly apparent they could make money from offering the same thing from the Blizzard Store. Last year it was made clear we'd only see gifts again for a 'major' anniversary (I'd expect therefore if I manage to make it a decade playing this game to see something in my mailbox) but still, there is whining and muttering. The letter 'bug' doesn't make dealing with such complaints any easier, but it is becoming very clear that certain sectors of the game playing community are beginning to expect a certain level of 'added extras' in their normal scheduled gameplay.

You cam blame the marketing people for this: when your new game's Special Edition costs hundreds of pounds and is loaded with a ton of physical and in game extras, people get greedy. It becomes de rigeur to anticipate that special events will be loaded with free gubbins that you can pick up and sell at a later date to the poor saps who weren't able to play at the time: that's how it works right now with In-Game Holidays, after all. All those old timers like me who don't need any of the stuff in the holiday period but end up with a ton of tokens they don't need then feel obliged not to let them simply vanish and grind up to something they can go stick on the AH six months after the affair. You just have to take a look at my server as an example: tons of crap that everyone got, that most people aren't prepared to pay the amount asked to resell. If you could sell a Baby Blizzard Bear, I suspect even that after a while would lose tons of value because so many people would attempt to offload them.

I may be overly cynical, but I'm not sure that a pet is the best idea as a birthday gift to begin with ^^

The reward item that Blizzard did provide has also come under the community microscope: from comments in my Guild the only thing that the Celebration Package is useful for at 90 is to get one more for each mob that yields Black Prince reputation. I have to think that whoever is running the Blizzard PR machine has missed a major trick here: considering the amount of grief currently with reps, this could have been a great way to recoup some favour by tweaking the award to work with the problematic grinds. I know, things don't move that fast in the world of game development, but we can dream. So, if we look ahead to the 9th Anniversary, and we assume someone sits down and re-writes that letter, what would make a decent gift next time around?

I'd like to see a BoA item introduced next year: I think the current system is lazy. I'd like to see it delivered, one item per Battle.net account to boot, because I'm also curious to see whether Blizzard can not default to the 'just send it to every alt regardless' mentality. The main character you specify on the Warcraft homepage will be the recipient at the time the item is dispatched, but it won't matter because of the BoA nature of the gift. It will be a Tabard, that for a 12 hour period, once a week (7 day internal cooldown), will give you a +10% increase to reputation and XP regardless of level. You get to choose who uses it, it doesn't go away, so acting as a decent and permanent reward to those who play regularly. It has more value than a mount or a pet to those who level alts or who wish to have a permanent aid to progression.

The problem I see, at least when it comes to player entitlement, is that making everyone happy really never happens. It wouldn't matter if Blizzard gave us what we asked for, you can guarantee at some point someone will complain that actually, they got that wrong too. It seems a better idea to provide an item that is clearly a significant boost for the long-term player, not simply the one who'll log in once a year just for the gift and then come back again when they're bored of Guild Wars 2/TOR/TSR (insert your MMO here) My tabard would, on that basis, ensure 12 hours of play once a week, which would at least keep the monthly subs rolling in...

Talking of which, there is one more elephant in the room that no-one's really sure about, and which I'm going to assume will surface as soon as Blizzard have something major to announce. Is anyone going to mention the Annual Pass is up for renewal, and if so, will there be any incentive from Blizzard to make it worth our while this time around?

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Things We Leave Behind


CRZ is harshly criticized by some, and praised by some, but mostly it fits seamlessly into the gameplay of many (as it was intended to). The technology makes possible some truly cool things, like cross realm parties. It's a response to the many complaints that the old world felt empty and devoid of life. It's also a lot more than that. We're aware of the concerns that players have expressed about it, and we'll continue to improve it so the experience that players have with it only gets better.

Yes, the current design for dailies is very much based on player feedback, and it fixes some of the things that, ultimately, really weren't working well in Cataclysm. Now we're seeing a totally different kind of feedback, and we'll learn from that too. World of Warcraft is still very much an iterative entity.


Following on from Friday's post: Blizzard is clearly not the same entity it was when the game first debuted in the US in November 2004. An awful lot has been pumped into the business of PR since those early days: whether it be Devs answering questions on Twitter, or the company organising MASSIVE gaming events based around their own games like the one that took place in Shanghai this weekend. It is easy to forget, cosseted away in a small part of the UK, just how considerable a presence Blizzard maintains in the Far East and (taking in the scale of what took place over the weekend) how significant a market this is for Blizzard not only to maintain but to expand. Considering the importance of such global brands, getting people to answer your questions directly when you ask is no mean feat. I think people should be grateful for any response when they ask stuff to begin with, even if they're not happy with the outcome.

Let us return briefly to the CRZ question, as it is something I have direct contact with a great deal, and it is one that frustrates me. This is a many-fold issue:

  • It is a 5-10 second 'delay' between zones currently, so if I'm using my own mount this means I just sit and wait as zone name changes. Yes, there's a good chance that an addon I'm using is responsible for this, but it wasn't a problem before the CRZ were introduced, as I've not added anything since that time.
  • Flying over a zone using a scheduled flight will show me the 'unphased' version of it and inevitably report the presence of rare pet spawns that, when I arrive in the zone have 'vanished'... except they weren't there to begin with. Same is true for rare spawns, which can be frustrating but (like the CRZ addon issue) I've got used to.
  • I liked it when it was quiet.

The last point is probably the key one: if I'd have known that making a fuss that I LIKED my server with few people in it and not having to fight people for everything might have delayed Blizzard's plan, I would have done so. I grasp the points being made that stuff like resource nodes should have some competition, but then I see that Blizzard stuck more of them in game in Cata with faster spawn timers... sometimes I think the left hand and the right hand need to talk more in terms of the PR. I hear via Twitter that the Fishing Contests are still broken on the PTR (and am still staggered nobody worked out that problem before they used the phasing) and you know, part of me thinks they could solve all these problems in a stroke, if they just took the CRZ away. However, I'm guessing this is one of those ideas someone in Blizzard is just going to stick to doggedly until they make it work, because of the implications it could have for long-term gaming design. More significantly, there comes a point in PR terms where ditching an idea can cause more harm than good, especially if you've sold it as hard as Blizzard have with this.

For the record guys, I think you'd not score an own goal if you removed CRZ. I doubt I'm in the majority on that one...

It is encouraging to see the people in charge of the customer relations reacting to the general consensus, and I would suspect that before 5.1 goes live (which I'd expect to be the week before Christmas) we might see some tweaks with Reputation above and beyond the 'double bubble at Revered for your alts' plan that is already on the table. This weekend saw a considerable portion of the Guild maxxing the more problematic factions (Shando Pan and Klaxxi) and I suspect my life will return to a diet of night-time grinding with my Husband for said progression with the weekends reserved for gathering and pet battles. People may continue to belittle the system but the majority has just buckled down and done the hours, and as long as the game can command that level of commitment from the majority of its player base, then there's really not that much to worry about to begin with.

Needless to say, things were a great deal less communicative or reactive eight years ago, so before you moan there's no pet for your Anniversary gift from Blizzard, take a moment to remember that although some things may have been a lot better in your eyes 'back then', the past is not a totally accurate mirror...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pet Battle Sunday

Work with me, folks ^^


Today has been a Very Good Day (TM)

Let's do a roundup: last night I stayed up later than usual, because I'd decided on a bit of a game plan change.

Last Night's Progression...
 
It all began with the Restless Shadeling in Karazhan, which I grabbed on the 11pm UK (12am server) spawn. If you are struggling for a rarer pet in terms of appearance, waiting for this time of day really does seem to pay dividends, as the last two nights have conclusively proved. Once I had the Shade this left me only one more zone in the Eastern Kingdoms in which I had to capture a pet: the Twilight Highlands. I threw caution to the wind, ignored the fact I was only at Outland level, and dived in.

One stalwart plus two pretenders...
  
Lung, my dragon, ended up pretty much soloing most of the 3 pet fights in Twilight Highlands, the grey pets being little match for a 500 HP self heal and Moonlight. The two rares I did snag joined the team: suddenly the prospect of having L21 Rare Pets raring to go (and without the need for hours of levelling) made a huge amount of sense. Stinky has a group heal as well as a powerful single target, Edwards's heal too means this is a pretty self-sufficient duo, and we've blazed a trail across Northrend today picking up huge numbers of scalps. I'm currently finishing off the Outland Master trainers, having taken some significant steps along the way:

See, rep is all well and good but really, its what you enjoy that matters... :D

The Safari completed regardless of the two pets I had capped but didn't register AND all the cage pets that don't count as caps to start with. Kalimdor trainer was academic when I knew I had the power to do Twilight Highlands. Now its all about going back and filling in the gaps.

Needless to say, I've had more fun doing this than I did grinding the Golden Lotus rep to Exalted. The reward may not be a crane, but its been a damn sight more rewarding....