Feedback: Pet Battles in Shadowlands

Hello pet battlers!

In Shadowlands, there are some core changes to Pet Battles, and while there are many pet battle updates now available for testing, we have quite a bit more coming.

First, we have no plans to make a new pet charm currency this expansion. Polished Pet Charms will remain the standard currency to buy new pets, toys, consumables, and all of the other normally-available vendor purchases.

There are several items that are coming along for testing in this week’s build (and the next few builds) of the Shadowlands Beta:

  • New content! There will be plenty of new battle pets to capture, trainers to battle, achievements, and pets that will be rewarded from various activities.
  • New Abilities! With Shadowlands and all of the strong covenant themes, we have some plans for new abilities and mechanics to add to some of the new pets. Some may be small changes to numbers, and other changes may be big and open up new strategies or synergies.
  • Buffs! The list below of changes made to old abilities are all nerfs to existing things that have become too dominant. We also feel like there’s room to make some cool new ability combos, or redesign something that hasn’t worked so well, or buff things that are rarely used. This can be anything from some new ability mechanics, up to and potentially including redesigning or increasing the power of a species’ passive bonuses if necessary.

Previously-announced changes that are now testable in the Beta:

  • Black Claw and other flat damage taken increasing abilities.
  • Hunting Party, Flock, and other similar multi-round abilities.
  • The Shattered Defenses debuff from abilities such as Hunting Party and Flock.
  • Twilight Meteorite and other long-cooldown damage-splitting abilities.
  • The Jar of Smelly Liquid ability.

Let’s break down what actually changed to these, as some of them are complicated.

Flat damage-taken modifiers such as Black Claw now happen **after multipliers such as Shattered Defenses, or pet species strengths/weaknesses. This is a significant change to the value of flat damage abilities. Prior to this change, the value of Black Claw was increased 100% by Shattered Defenses, and if your pet was strong vs the other pet type, it would be increased even further. Flat damage modifiers now happen after all other combat calculations, which wound up being a significant damage output nerf to abilities that hit multiple times, upwards of 25-30% total damage reduction.

Hunting Party and Flock style abilities are significantly changed. First, the Shattered Defenses debuff was reduced in power from 100% to 50%. The goal of this debuff change is mostly to keep the damage of Hunting Party and Flock mostly contained within the damage the ability itself deals. Layering on other Damage over Time effects, or Curse of Doom, or similar delayed-damage sources were all getting a huge benefit from the Shattered Defenses debuff. We think that a 50% damage increase is still strong enough, but less drastic of a damage swing compared to not having Shattered Defenses at all.

The second change we made to these multi-round abilities was to increase the amount of damage they deal to offset some of the changes listed above. Abilities that dealt damage twice per round, such as Hunting Party, had their total damage dealt increased by 25%. Abilities such as Flock that did damage three times per round had their damage increased round-over-round, so to get the maximum damage output, you needed your pet to survive and still be dealing damage on the third round of the ability. Round two of Flock for example, ignoring any debuffs or multipliers, will deal 66% more damage than round one. Round three of Flock will deal 133% more damage than round 1 of Flock. The net result of all of the changes to flat damage modifiers, the Shattered Defenses debuff, and the buffs to Hunting Party or Flock style abilities is that they deal roughly 20% less damage in Shadowlands than they did previously.

Twilight Meteorite and other big damage abilities that split the damage across the team are relatively balanced when fighting multiple opponents, but if you save it until defeating 2/3 of the enemy’s team, the damage output can be devastating, especially when combined with other buffs/debuffs. We reduced the damage on these abilities by 10%, and believe that will make them strong, but less frustrating to play against.

The Jar of Smelly Liquid ability had its cooldown increased one round. This ability has been on our radar of being annoying to play against, and the strength of the ability combined with a speed and damage dealt debuff on the target felt too strong for a cooldown of only one round.

A couple of other changes in Shadowlands:

  • Murkalot’s Righteous Inspiration ability has been on the forefront of PvP strategies for a while, and is very strong, and unique to only this pet. The current change we have in Shadowlands is that the ability starts on cooldown when the pet battle begins, so you will have to wait 8 rounds to be able to use it against your opponent.
  • Almost all healing abilities have had a small variance applied to them of +/- 10% when you use it. Healing Wave might say it heals your target for 100, but actually heal for between 90 and 110. This also applied to some healing abilities like Siphon Life, where it should heal for a fixed amount based on damage dealt, but still had a variance applied on it. All healing abilities have been tuned so that having any variation in the healing amount makes sense, and we’ve removed the variance if it did not.

Finally, we’re considering the viability of older pet battle content after these changes. Some of the changes we’re making could make older battles or achievements much too difficult to complete. We really like how it feels to have so much pet battle content accessible to players who are at all points on the pet battle journey, whether they’re just getting started or have hundreds of max-level pets.

In Shadowlands, we still expect pet battlers to be able to complete older content with a current slate of battle pets, so we’re looking forward to your feedback. We’re confident that we can adjust tuning where necessary.

Thank you!

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When is the character wipe/character copy going to be available.

Also, can you fix the copy data so that all the pets show up not just the first 1000 which is what has been happening since at least last beta.

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So could you all like, not nerf my cinderkitten? I already don’t pet battle with him because he doesn’t have enough health, but now my Minordomo is being nerfed? /cry He’s my favorite pet but not very good for battling with even pre-nerf.

Currently, the trainers on Beta are a one time battle only (i assume per day). I’ve just tried to do the Bastion one that is tied to the WQ (Stratios) and after completed WQ and pet battle i couldn’t battle him again.

For testing purposes at the least, could this restriction be lifted? It would be a lot easier for us to make and test strategies.

On the topic of this trainer, he’s also bugged, only shows 2/3 pets whilst battling.

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You can probably do these on multiple characters and since you can just make templates and have all the flight paths isn’t much work.

It sounds like a lot of work for content creators and strategy writers who will usually test over 20 times per battle

Also consider that templates likely won’t exist on beta forever and will go away with the big character wipe

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So surrender right near the end, you can repeat forever then.

Will we still have to go back to Legion and the Garrison to level pets?

I really don’t understand what you were trying to do with those nerfs but it appears you changed the cooldowns or the slots these abilities were in as well because this should never be happening. I know I don’t have the normal pets I use (and maybe never will unless you fix the account data copy so it lets you have all your pets not just 1000), but I have never run into this before.

There should always be one real ability to use other than a straight buff one.

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I have a general comment about world quest pet battles. In my opinion, these should be fairly simple to do. However, some of these I have to spend an hour or so before I can get a team that will work. For 15 pet charms it is just not worth it.

I realize there is some people who enjoy more difficult pet battle content, in addition to the pet battle dungeons, can you not put in special battles aside from world quests that reward pets like existed in MoP.

p.s. I have already given up on two world quests after spending a whole bunch of time on them because I can’t find a team that works.

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Is there a character creation template or vendor that has some level 25 pets to test with?

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If your template doesn’t have them I doubt it. I have some of my account pets for some reason. Although, I should try some of these with lvl 1 pets, often the lvl 1 pets are easier if you have a variety of them.

I am playing on a lvl 60 covenant template if that helps.

Tried a covenant template but only thing I have available is the authenticator pet at level 1. I guess I’ll have to wait for character copies to be enabled to test more.

I don’t know why but most of my account data seems to follow me when I am testing without copying it over.

Hey, look at that – I can finally post here! so I’ll re-post what I put in the EU forums:

1 – If you’d like us to test these changes and give proper feedback, please give us access to our rosters, or let us know when that’ll happen so we can be ready.

2 – What little testing I was able to do indicates the changes to Black Claw and Shattered Defenses are not going to be 100% a strategy breaker. If your strat is overkilling with the damage, you’ll likely be fine. You might need a couple of attacks afterward to finish the enemy off, but that’ll be about it.

If your strat is tight on the numbers and just barely eeking by, you’re going to need to make adjustments or scrap it altogether. (BRD, Tanaan, Argus)

3 – New content: I’ve done half of the new WQ battles. It would have been more, but it seems we’re only getting access to 2/4 in each of the zones so far.

4 – Stratios: His team was bugged day before yesterday. I haven’t checked it today, but one of his pets, Glitterwing, doesn’t show up on the team at all.

The pets that do show up are missing their portraits, and maybe because the third pet is missing, but the first pet to come into the battle swaps. Sometimes you’ll get Tinyhoof first, other times you get Shelby first. It was probably coincidence, but it seemed like every time I swapped my pet to counter his, was when I’d get the enemies swapping, and I’d lose a turn bringing in the pet I want. If this is on purpose, then that’s fine. People will just need to deal with losing a turn to a pet swap. If it’s not on purpose, well, now you know.

5 – Gorgemouth: I liked this battle. It wasn’t a simple matter of grab Critters to counter the Undead enemy, but not so complicated or difficult that it was impossible to figure out. I will say I was a little shocked that my counter worked as well as it did, given his shield, so I’m not sure if my team should have been as effective as it was.

6 – Nightfang: I like the idea behind his buff, and I can record some numbers, but for an enemy that’s getting a Prowl buff at the end of every turn, he didn’t seem to be hitting very hard.

7 – Addius hasn’t come up in the rotation, but I’m looking forward to the Mind Games debuffs. On the other hand, while the idea is nice, it would more effective if the debuff was randomized instead of letting the player choose. If you let the player choose, people will find the one with the least detrimental impact and just choose that one. Randomizing the debuff would force people to come up with different counters depending on which one came up, like how affixes in M+ change how you might do a dungeon.

Also, the numbers for the debuffs haven’t been seen, but are those going to be randomized, too?

8 – Thenia in Bastion has a pet called Golden Grazer, who is one of the talbuk-looking animals, yet it’s listed as a Flying pet. Not sure that was intended. It makes countering the team rather easy right now, but just wanted to point it out.

9 – Dundley in Maldraxxus & Eyegor in Revendreth: These fights were pretty standard with standard counters, but not every fight needs to require a stroke of genius to figure it out.

10 – Scorch: I like that we’re seeing enemies with AoE abilities. It makes you think not just about a 1:1 counter with the enemy, but how well your active pet can kill the enemy, and what pets you need on the backline so they’ll survive if they need to come into the fight.

11 – Faryl has been the most difficult fight so far, but isn’t like Fras Siabi or Kwint level. However, it could also be due to the fact that I’m working with a limited roster, (I was lucky enough that someone caged a bunch of their pets for me), so I wasn’t able to use the pets I’d like to, to counter the team.

12 – Overall, the new fights feel comfortable. They won’t be a challenge after the first try or two for someone who knows what they’re doing, but that’s not what the WQs are about. That’ll be more for achievements later down the line. They also don’t feel so terribly difficult that someone can’t usually grab standard counters and be fine.

13 – You say you want to work on cool ability combos, and I can’t disagree. For the most part, the majority of a roster feels like bloat. You have pets that could be cool, but there’s no synergy between their moves, so they just kind of sit on a shelf. One of the reasons I started making strats was because I disliked using the same 50-100 pets when my roster had hundreds, and now over a thousand. Striking a balance between a pet that has great move synergy but isn’t overpowered, and doing that for each pet, would be a nice step in the correct direction. I’d rather have fewer pets that are better balanced with good synergy, than 200 new pets I won’t ever use.

14 – Given the fact that Unique pets now number over 1k, it’s probably time to bump up the base pet journal from 1k to 1.5k.

I’ll be able to give more feedback once I have access to my roster and can do more testing.

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I have been able to access all four when I tried.

And Glitterwing is showing up just fine today.

And this is a problem. It shouldn’t be a challenge even at the start for people who know what they are doing. They are making pet battle world quests harder each expansion. I think these world quests should be at a difficulty that 90% (well maybe 90% is a little high but at least 50% - not the 1% that I am encountering) of the teams that people use can complete them and that sure isn’t the case with these.

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ETA: Nope, Glitterwing is still not showing up for me when I start the battle with Stratios.

I can see all four trainers they have for each zone, but don’t have access to them unless their WQs were up. So far the WQ rotation has looked like this:

Bastion: Stratios, Thenia, Stratios (Zolla and Jawbone haven’t been in the rotation)

Revendreth: Eyegor, Scorch, Eyegor (Addius and Sylla haven’t been in)

Ardenweald: Nightfang, Faryl, Nightfang (Rascal and Glitterdust haven’t been in)

Maldraxxus: Dundley, Gorgemouth, Dundley (Rotgut and Caregiver Maximillian haven’t been in)

So 2/4 in each zone haven’t been up for testing yet. That’s what I meant :smiley:

In this I somewhat disagree. It takes at least a couple of playthroughs to get a feel for the fight. It’s when you have to spend hours trying to find something that works, and even then it’s RNG (Fras, some of the BRD fights), that I take issue. Fighting the enemy twice to get a feel for which strat and pets would be a good counter isn’t too much to ask, imo.

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Oh, I misunderstood I have only been doing them as world quests.

I have been spending almost an hour on a few of these and then have to give up. I have been doing pet battles since the start. Most of MoP I was able to figure out the fights myself. It wasn’t until that tournament I had to start cheating by looking up guides. In BfA, I had to look up guides for just doing world quests. That is ridiculous.

What other world quest requires someone to have to spend hours obtaining pets and then another other to figure them out for 15 pet charms… None. They are expecting way too much for doing these so people are hunting through guides and just going out and picking up the power combos so they can just do these. There is no learning what the pets can do anymore because they are making them too hard for the average person to do in a reasonable amount of time.

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I think it’s a bit early to say this. It’s too early to make determinations and comments like this without the usual roster, and there has been no balancing yet.

From what I’ve experienced so far (with my limited roster of level 1 Blizzcon pets…) it’s been doable and a good experience.

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