Pet Battles in Visions of N’Zoth

Hello pet battlers!

We’ve seen some discussion around pet battle changes coming in Visions of N’Zoth, and we’d like to discuss those, as well as changes we currently have planned for a future content update.

The Weather Outside is Fight-ful

Weather effects have always been intended to slightly change the rules of pet battles. Sandstorm is great against pets that do weaker attacks, Sunlight is great for healing abilities, and Cleansing Rain is great for aquatic abilities. However, Mudslide and Blizzard both fell by the wayside in terms of being impactful or rule-changing outcomes. So in Visions of N’Zoth, both of these weather effects are being updated with new added effects in addition to their existing effects:

  • Blizzard
    • Now also increases all elemental ability damage by 25%.
  • Mudslide
    • Now also increases all critical damage dealt by 25%.

To be really clear about the Mudslide change: Critical strikes usually hit for 150% of normal damage. Mudslide will now increase that to 175% of normal damage.

We’ve also been thinking for a while that we should add a new weather type to the game, so Visions of N’Zoth will also introduce a new weather type: Toxic Fumes. This deals Dragonkin damage to the current enemy pet and applies the Toxic Fumes weather effect.

  • Toxic Fumes

    • Increases the duration of all hostile damage over time effects by 1 round.
    • All pets are considered Poisoned while Toxic Fumes is active.

Max No More

In Visions of N’Zoth, all of the new outdoor pet battle World Quests in Uldum and Vale of Eternal Blossoms will scale their level to match the highest level pet currently slotted on your team, instead of always being a level 25 enemy pet. This will also be the case for Nazjatar and Mechagon – all of the pet battle World Quests there are being updated. You can check them all out with a team of three level 1 pets!

Stat Changes

In Visions of N’Zoth, we’re also changing how percent-damage reduction abilities stack with each other. Currently, if you’re fighting a pet like Unit 17 in Mechagon (a Boss pet that passively takes 50% less damage), and Unit 17 uses Crouch, Unit 17 becomes immune to damage because the two 50% damage reduction effects are added to each other. In Visions of N’Zoth, the plan is to cap damage reduction at -75%. Using Unit 17 as an example, while Crouch is active, it will take 75% reduced damage instead of 100% reduced damage. This will smooth out the challenge with some enemy bosses.

Please note that abilities like Dodge or Deflection will continue to avoid all damage. Those will not be impacted by this change.

What the Future Holds

In a future update, we’re targeting a number of balance changes we want to make, which will amount to lowering the effectiveness of some pets and strategies. Again, these changes will not be happening in Visions of N’Zoth, but we wanted to give you ample warning time that changes are coming. While we don’t have specific numbers or details to share right now, here are some examples of abilities that we’re going to take a close look at:

  • Black Claw and similar abilities that increase damage taken by a flat amount.
  • Hunting Party and similar abilities such as Flock.
  • The Shattered Defenses debuff effect from abilities such as Hunting Party or Flock.
  • Any large percent-damage-taken or percent-damage-dealt buffs or debuffs.
  • Twilight Meteorite and similar long-cooldown damage-splitting abilities.
  • The Jar of Smelly Liquid ability.
  • Hermit Crab

Of course that last one isn’t an ability, but Hermit Crab incorrectly has a higher stat budget than it should, and it will have its stats reduced to bring it in line with other similar pets.

A goal we have when making many new pet battle World Quests or encounters is to create puzzles that players can counter and “solve”-- ideally with the option to use a variety of pets and tools to do so. When a few pets have such strong synergies that they can deal massive damage in just a few rounds and almost trivially beat these enemies, it becomes problematic. Do we make new challenges only beatable by the highest damage combos, or do we make them generally solveable and therefore immediately smashed by massive damage?

We don’t want to ruin the feel of combination abilities, so we aren’t going to make Black Claw no longer interact with Hunting Party or Flock, but we want to make sure these abilities are dealing appropriate damage. And we want to make sure that secondary effects such as Shattered Defenses are being accounted for with regards to balance.

When we have further specifics, we will be sure to let you know.


I’m not a fan of messing with my Black Claw/Hunting Party strat, but I do enjoy the rest of what is to come.


I know some people who are going to be happy these are being looked into, and we appreciate the time, effort, and attention being put into this.

Black Claw is really only used in combination with Flock-like abilities, so a change to Shattered Defenses and Black Claw might kill the combo, but of course we won’t know until we see/test the changes.

Sighs and looks at the close to 800 strats I’ll have to comb through.

Well, at least you’ve given us some warning, and I suppose it’s for the best, though I’ll reserve judgment until we get some more details. :wink:

eta: Dodge-type abilities don’t avoid all damage. I know if I’m dodged I’ll still be hit with environmental damage, like from Scorched Earth.


I would give anything for a Celestial Tournament II. That’s all. Thanks!


I don’t even participate in Battle Pets but the detail and effort put into this post actually made me smile.

I truly appreciate hearing updates from Devs even if it doesn’t affect me directly.

Thank you!


Scaleable pet battles will probably be helpful in getting newer or previously uninterested players involved in pet battles. When Mechagon came out I got a bunch of questions like “How do I get started with pet battling so I can get this rep?” and the answer, which is to level a bunch of different pets for different strategies up to level 25 from scratch, was pretty daunting for those players. Most of those people just skipped them.


Only bad players would be angry that they are finally nerfing flock and hunting party like abilities.

Also add haunt and curse of doom to the list of things that need attention.

I do like the idea of buffing Weather, Mudslide’s buff already makes me think of Junglebeaks which are crit monsters.

I personally would like to see Pet Battles be more strategy than what it is now.
It was Howl+Bomb before this, and Spider Swarm and all these other strats.

I think the pet battle encounter team are relying too much on pets that do a gajillion damage, so the most effective way to deal with certain pets is to nuke them in 1-2 turns.

Breeds should matter I think way more in PvE pet battles, a H/H pet should be able to tank hits.

Pet Battles should be intuitive in that way like Pokemon, you have your walls, and your wall breakers, and you have your healers. I do like the idea that I try different teams and progress the trainers, and there being a clear strategy on the team. Like if they’re a Sandstorm team or something, so you’d use a strategy that is good against Sandstorm teams.

So if pet dungeons and trainer battles are less about nuking the boss as fast as possible, and more about effectively countering their strategy than that’s good. I’m actually alright with Blizzard even reverting some nerfs on cleave abilities, so long as they buffed aoe heals to match.

Then you’d create a meta of cleave > heal > healing debuff teams cyclically.

If there are dominant strategies, then we can have new pets that counter those strategies available as token rewards in Shadowlands for instance.

If you want pet battle pvp to be taken seriously, please consider lumping everyone into the same battle-pool.


I agree, to an extent. There are some fights that, without Shattered Defenses, would be difficult/nigh impossible. Like some of the family fights on Argus, or even the bosses in the new dungeon. Sometimes it’s not about being fast for the sake of being fast, but taking them down before they can eat through your pets.

So, while I think the changes will be positive to add diversity to the pets/strats used in battles, I hope certain fights are tested and taken into consideration when making the changes.


Or maybe casual pet battlers who don’t have a full range of special pets?

Maybe not think about just yourself. -_-


Very happy about the max damage reduction change. It was annoying in the Argus Legendary pets, and it was annoying on Mechagon.

There are other pets that have the same stat allocation as Hermit Crab, so you might want to look into those as well. E.G. Boghopper (exact same stats as Hermit Crab), Slimy Darkhunter, etc.

AoE abilities are for the most part fine. The main issue stems from skills like Twilight Meteor and the fact you can have multiple of them on the same team. A simple fix for these abilities is simply have any long cooldown AoE ability incur the cooldown for all of their teammates. If you can’t stack the long cooldown AoEs, then AoE damage is rather limited as the no cooldown ones do limited damage.

Do not get me wrong, I completely understand the desire to change the Black Claw/Flock/Hunting Party strategy, as it’s extremely prevalent in the game and over simplifies a lot of fights. However, you also have to understand something:

You and the other devs designed a lot of pet battle challenges in Legion and BFA with the knowledge that these strategies exist. As such, once they are nerfed/removed, they will become infinitely more hard, if not impossible.

It took us over a year to find 100% foolproof strategies for some fights that used the Pandaren Water Spirit, as we simply lacked pets to replace it in some battles.

I have zero issue with changing this moving forward. However, this should not affect battles that already exist in the game. We do not need a repeat of the Pandaren Water Spirit.

It dissuades people from getting into pet battles when they search for strategies only to find “Oh, this one no longer works, and OH, there’s no currently available 100% foolproof strategy that’s been found because they balanced it with the knowledge this strategy existed?”

As such, if you insist on nerfing this strategy in any way, I implore you to wait until Shadowlands, not 8.3, and explain how you plan to nerf it. (so we can plan ahead and see if the strategy would still possibly work on specific fights, etc.)

This will give the pet battle forums, warcraftpets, etc. time to go through the pet battle trainers, dungeons, etc. that specifically use this strategy as the main strategy and try to find other foolproof strats using existing pets. If we cannot, then we can pass that feedback along in this thread, or another you make, so you can design a wild pet in Shadowlands that can be used to combat the loss of the strategy. This will prevent another Pandaren Water Spirit situation, where we had to wait over a year for you to create a pet that unintentionally filled the missing spots we had.

As for the nerfing of skills like Howl, Stampede, or self buffs that do the same, that would be pointless and literally defeat the entire point of the skill at all, and completely remove an entire part of the strategy of pet battles. Please don’t touch them. You already nerfed skills like howl once. Don’t do anything.


Hello. Thanks for the lead-time about changes coming. Keep putting it out there, so the post doesn’t get buried by time. Maybe the NPC Battle-Trainers could mention ‘changes in the wind.’ Now, HEY! Don’t make the mistake of nerfing abilities to level the playing field. Again… The pve pet battles are plenty hard, until the right combination of pets and abilities are found. By ‘right’ I mean reliably winning. As soon as a winning team is found, it gets shared, and BAM!

Almost? Kind of you to say it that way. Yeah, the newer opponents become free loot drops, and there’s no honor in that, while MoP and WoD battles are mostly leveling excursions. Its like playing ‘rock, paper, scissors’ and the opponent is always a rock. Modifying my pets abilities or my opponents, so my opponent can win while still being a rock, its like peeing on my paper so the rock can tear through, might tear through, its changing the rules so my opponent can be dumb as a rock and still win. Countering Black Claw/Hunting Party is not difficult. Dumbing it down so a opponent can be viable, to me sounds like a bad thing.


I like this, but could I say, that I would rather Blizz add moves on pets that nerf certain strategies to act as a meta counter, than nerf strategies altogether.

Maybe boss pets should have buffs different from damage reduction, one where there are more strategies than just Howl+Bomb or Val’kyr+Ikky.

Unbreakable WQ is a good example, I think a lot of BfA world quests were good in that they had unusual mechanics different from a damage nerf. But I think it’s okay to have bosses that can be burned. Midnight at the end of Strat is a good example, as it’s a pet battle with phases. I usually have a Mech solo phase 1, then I bring out my burn strat for his phase 2.

In my opinion it’s better to balance around PVP, and let wild battles be a bit crazy so long as we have fun mechanics that aren’t always about doing the most damage so as to keep PVE varied and interesting.

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I don’t have any strong opinions until the changes are actually implemented, but here’s what I don’t get … why bother doing it?

We the players crowdsource our solutions to each battle, right? So when a strategy for any given fight (or set of fights) comes along that works effectively all the time, people adopt it. Now if you come along and nerf the currently effective strategies we just end up crowdsourcing the next strategy that will get us through the same fights with the best success for minimal time.

So the point of this is ultimately just busywork for everyone on both sides of the issue, is that it? You guys to do the work to change it and we to just come up with a new solution to beating it, ending up in essentially the same spot?

If it’s PvP that’s the issue with some combinations, maybe they can be looked at in some sort of PvP-specific way that doesn’t screw up the PvE setups we’ve been using for ages?


This seems like a band aid fix, and this is in reference to the future plans. There are always going to be 100% teams amd combos to defeat certain pets. The planned changes on the horizon seem like a reaction to specific comps when, in this Pokemon master’s opinion (lol), the real problem is the fundamental way in which pet battles, capturing, and more function at their core.

I’ll detail one example.

When I fight a monster pet that I can’t strategize to hit most effectively for maximum damage because, say, it can only take a max of 30% hp damage in one blow… as a player that tells me that rather than taking the time to create encounters or balance movesets from the beginning, arbitrary limiters are placed on “boss” encounters. And to me particularly, it feels frustrating.

If I take the time to train amd assemble a great team I should get to use it to its maximum potential. If I choose a moveset in, say, Pokemon that allows me to sleep an opponent and then eat their nightmare for for a one hit k.o. on the Elite Four because I planned that out, Pokemon isn’t going to wag its finger at me with a “nope, you can’t do more than x% of damage” and then let the other trainer come back and then steamroll my whole team. That is poor building, poor design. And often is the case that this is what happens in WoW pet battles and is why you have cheese strategies rising up to respond to cheese strategy bosses.

These changes are going in the wrong direction. You need to rethink boss encounters entirely.


This issue definitely deserved a giant blue post, meanwhile m+ players wait with baited breath to see if you’re going to kill the game for us or not.

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Please merge the ‘Find Battle’ Pet PvP battlegroups
(sometimes I can go hours without a match-up, other people’s battlegroups are very active and competitive.)

A few comments on the blue post:

  • Hermit Crab’s extra helping of stats should have been hotfixed a year ago.

  • Twilight Meteorite should have been brought in line with other AoE abilities a year ago.

  • Murkalot needs looking at, maybe a small nerf, Righteous Inspiration is too unique and powerful.

  • Blizzard increasing Elemental damage by 25% seems a bit uncreative, and probably too strong with the combo it is usually used with (Blizzard -> Ice Lance)

  • Mudslide might be made more interesting by instead making it into a soft minefield effect, such as every time an enemy pet swaps in they take x damage

  • Toxic Fumes, shouldn’t this be mechanical or elemental damage? We already have Scorched Earth which deals low dragonkin damage to the active pet

  • Changes to shattered defenses combos in PvE would be good so that players don’t cheese every boss fight, they’re not such a problem in PvP.

  • Store pets (or unavailable pets) should not have abilities that are unavailable to any other pet. This is pay-to-win and crosses the line in Pet Battles. Please make sure some new pets have access to these abilities.

but most importantly
Please merge the ‘Find Battle’ Pet PvP battlegroups


You already did this kind of “balance” back when you removed howlbomb because you didn’t like how people handled your, frankly frustrating, Tanaan pet bosses. I don’t think the Mech/Nazj bosses are quite on that level in terms of how repressive they are, but nerfing Zandalari hatchlings, Ikky, and many more seems silly considering that we’ve had these pets, as they are, for years at this point, including during WoD. You made a bunch of easier bosses because player engagement in end game pet battling has always historically been low, and now you’re going to punish us for using the tools, though I prefer to call them friends, we’ve found and forged along the way? It upset me back when every pet that didn’t use howl for a single, big instance of damage was nerfed into irrelevancy, and I don’t like the idea of you doing the same kind of thing again because I can already pick out pets I like that will just become unusable.


This quote is from the wowhead link to this post.

Alamandaros yesterday at 7:53 PM

I really dislike them targeting Black Claw, Hunting Party, etc. The problem isn’t with those abilities, it’s that Blizzard keeps designing “difficult” pet battles, like those found in Nazjatar and Mechagon, with the exact same mechanic; you can’t deal more than x% of the bosses health per ability. If they’d maybe branch out and try something else, like the plant boss in Voldun, then maybe people would stop using multi-hit ability synergy as their go-to solution.

I think this makes a lot of sense. I also think that if you guys at Blizz consider these to be “puzzles” with “solutions” and we’re not using the right solutions that perhaps you should tell us what you intended.

Take some fights right now that seem nigh impossible without those mechanics and tell us how we’re intended to complete them.

I personally have no idea.