This week for our continuing review of Mists of Pandaria we are going to take a close look at the pet battle system in the game. Some may dismiss this as a side attraction or mini-game; however we looked at it as an intregal part of Warcraft which is here to stay. The Pet Battles are fun and bring something completely new to the players which we found quite addictive. I thought it best to go into the highlights and low points of this system and explain why it is so important to Azeroth’s future.
The Rough Spots – Week Three (Collecting and Travelling)
In any collection game there is a lot that goes into getting access to all the content. I would not consider this a downside, because collectors are the ultimate form of completionists. The pet system now gives players a strong reason to travel back to the world and find all of these little critters we have been stepping on and one shotting for years now. It is the traveling that can become a little tiresome. However, WoW has done a lot to enhance the travel systems in the world. Just like collecting flying mounts or ground mounts has become such an important part of growing your character you can now use them to grow another aspect of your avatar: your pets.
For me I enjoyed the travel in the world. Going over new and old landscapes really brought back some memories of the game and I actually found the exploration more fun than when I went exploring in Cataclysm. Why? Because I now had a purpose, I was collecting. The only reason I include this aspect in the Rough Spots area is because it may not appeal to all of the WoW players. For me though, it was fun to scour the world again, even if it takes time. But there are a lot of completionist and collection players out there and the pet battle system does an amazing job of giving players enough content to build some fun companions for their characters.
Another area that could be a down side to this system is finding other players to do battle with. Similar to the old duel system, I remember duels being very popular outside of Orgrimmar back in the day. I did not find too many players to fight it out with in the Pet System, but that could very much be my own fault. I am busy playing all aspects of the expansion afterall. However, I do believe now that most of the player base has probably hit 90, the pet battles will definitely grow in number. It would be great to see some awesome Fight Clubs spring up around cities and zones where players can fight it out. Is it bad that I named my Mechanical Chicken “Little Jerry?” Even worse, can I make a Michael Vick joke now? Ok, enough rough spots, let’s get to the shiny.
The Shiny Spots – Week Three (Everything Else About Pets)
The Pet System overall is a testament to WoW’s new direction: give player’s new stuff. I think it is a great system in Mists and adds a lot to the game even if it’s not for everyone. I say this because I was very much one of the doubters. I thought it would be silly and more annoying than anything else. Well, Blizzard proved me wrong. The idea that I can name my Mechanical Chicken was just funny, and I still have a soft spot in my heart for the Mechanical Yetis, two hysterical aspects of the game which WoW has now given a clear purpose outside of bragging rights.
The reason I think this system is fun is because WoW has kept to its core MMO design for a very long time now. While raids and bosses have changed, and PvP areas have sprung up, this really is a new system to the game that adds an entirely new direction for players. If you like to collect things and want a casual night of pet battles… it’s there for you. I found myself rooting for my pets with every battle. The fact that the system is laid out into families (groups) gives you plenty to go out and find. I really got ito building up my mechanical group, but there are a lot more.
The combat being turn based is refreshing too. Instead of button mashing all the time, you have a few moments to think. The system is easily compared to Pokémon, actually takes all of what is great about Nintendo’s franchise and brings it into WoW. Building up pets and combinations makes for some fun combat and I found myself addicted to the thing when all is said and done. I could spend hours hunting down pets and fighting them.
Here is the bottom line with the pet battles for WoW: while many of us made fun of it, it really is a great addition to the game. It is a fun ancillary system that players can choose to partake in or not. There is no pressure to level up like mad to be competative. The system is just fun as it is. Thanks, Blizzard for adding something into the game that truly does feel new.