small-scale violence in the world of warcraft

Monday, January 28, 2013

by fire be purged, sucker

getting into pvp pet battles has been on my list of things to do pretty much since the beginning, but i've never managed to bring myself to do more than dabble. "i'll get serious about it after i finish leveling" i tell myself. well, last week i replied "dude, you've got all the leveling achievements. doesn't that kinda qualify?" to which i did not have a good answer.

a little digging around on the official pet battle forums suggested that a "triple conflagration team" was a good team. the idea is, every pet has at least one attack that causes your enemy to burn - flame breath, scorched earth, flamethrower - and conflagrate, which hits hard, and then hits hard a second time if your opponent is burning. two fire elementals up front: lil' ragnaros and either a searing scorchling (which i don't have - farming for one by doing more molten front dailies currently has zero appeal), a pandaren fire spirit, a spirit of summer, or a fel flame (this is what i went with). backing them up, ready to pounce should your opponent pull out an a aquatic (which do bonus damage against elementals), is a silver dragonhawk hatchling with frog-killing quills active. why silver, as opposed to any of the other colors? because of reasons which i'll talk about later.

so here they are - the pet battle equivalent of a fire mage. no defense, no healing, just lots and lots of kill him before he can kill you. 

so how'd they do? pretty damn well, i thought. over the weekend i picked up eighteen wins, and lost maybe ten or so. couple of the losses came because i derped - hitting conflagrate when the target wasn't already burning, for example - so hopefully that will get better with time. it's not perfect (no team can be) and it's weak against teams sporting undead and critters. teams with multiple aquatics or weather changing abilities can also be problematic. but those teams of triple fff's that are so op that blizz is nerfing them in 5.2? yeah, we ran into one of them. it was delicious.

all-in-all, a successful run. i do think i need to put together some more teams, and rotate them, even if the others aren't as good. the pool of people you battle against tends to be very small, and i'm pretty sure that after winning five in a row, at least one of my opponents figured out what i was up to and put up a team specially designed to beat triple-conflag and ended my streak. (if you hadn't noticed, the game gives the illusion of more opponents by replacing your opponent's avatar with a random one. if you watch the pet names though, you can figure out when it repeats.) so, more teams, different strategies, and hopefully more victories.

that's the plan.

why a silver dragonhawk? speed. most pets have different "breeds" - combinations of power, health, and speed. one breed of silver dragonhawk puts all its eggs in the speed basket and gets  whopping 357 speed, pretty much guaranteeing that it'll go first against anything other than a flying pet (which have a 50% speed bonus). since quills get an extra attack if you go first, i wanted to guarantee that i'd have an edge. i had to buy about a dozen dragonhawks from the vendor before i got one with the right breed (and then level it and find a dragonkin battle-stone). worth the sacrifice in power and health? i think so, but i can't be sure that it isn't simply confirmation bias diddling with my brain. next dragonkin stone i get, maybe i'll put it on a slower, harder-hitting dragonhawk and see how it performs.

Friday, January 25, 2013

why i'll be sticking with pet battles in 5.2

well, there's actually a lot of reasons, starting with "i'm still having lots of fun doing them." but this blue post regarding 5.2 caught my eye:

the developers don't want fresh 90s to skip previous content and jump into the newest, so you'll still need 480 item level, but all the changes introduced to previous content will definitely help catch up quicker (lower prices, higher drop chance...)

this is a major change recent expansions, where a freshly-leveled alt could immediately be handed enough gear from the main to jump into the newest 5-mans and be raid ready in a matter of hours. in 5.2, every alt which dings 90 will still need to do dailies to unlock valor point vendors, and then have to farm valor through some combination of old dailies, old scenarios, and old heroics, just to reach the point where they can enter the new lfr. whereupon they can began grinding more rep and more valor so they can replace the epics they just worked their digital butts of to buy.

no want. the shiny is gone.

currently, when a pet reaches level 25, it's as good as it will get (assuming it's a rare). the pets I level today are just as ready for action as the ones that dinged two weeks into the expansion.

i really hope blizzard has the sense to keep it this way.

Monday, January 21, 2013

this has nothing to do with pet battles

but a gif of joffrey getting smacked around is always worth posting.

normal pet battle stuff will resume shortlyish.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

has anyone else noticed...

...that fishy (or as i like to call him, commodore bob) sounds an awful lot like a muppet wearing scuba gear when he fights?

or is it just me?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

into the darkness

i recently reached the 75 pets at level 25 achievement (and got the no-longer exciting reward of a level 1 rare critter). since there is currently no higher achievement for leveling, i no longer have any means of tracking how many pets i've leveled (other than manually counting them). which means leveling joins unique pets and captured rares in the ranks of "things the game used to track for you but don't no more." so be it. it's not really that big a deal.


based on past experience, it seems almost certain that there will be new achievements at some point. what isn't certain is if there will be a "level 150 pets to 25", or if they'll simply introduce a new level cap and have all the achievements point to that, eg, "level 10 pets to 30" or whatever. given that the current achievement counts dings and not actual pets (allowing you to double dip on non-rare pets by stoning them and re-leveling) i expect that any pets i level to 25 now won't be counted towards a hypothetical new achievement. mildly annoying if my completed work isn't counted, but it could be severely sucky if i level so many now that the only way to hit the new achievement would be to release existing 25s and catch new pets. hrmmmm.....

probably best if i don't think about it.

Monday, January 14, 2013


back in the sunset days of cataclysm, as information for pet battles was beginning to come together, one pet ability really caught my eye: BONESTORM (and yes, i'm even willing to capitalize it faithfully this one time. that's how big a deal it was). back then, i only had a vague sense of what it would do, but it sounded freakin' awesome so i wanted it.

fast forward to a few weeks ago. i got "luggage", my creepy crate, leveled to 20, unlocking bonestorm. and i looked at the numbers. i'll leave it to the great jean-luc picard to express my reaction.

now, pretty much every pet has a basic attack, the one that does x amount of damage one time, based on the pets power stat (which is in turn based on level and quality and breed).  then there are a number of attacks that do, on average, the same x amount of damage but in some other fashion. there's the "1-3 attacks, each doing half of x damage", there's the "25% more damage over the next four turns", there's the "does half of x damage, but heals the user for the same amount", and so on. then there are attacks that do more than x damage, but at some sort of cost. attacker has to spend a round buffing up, or is stunned for a couple rounds after, or the attack continues for three rounds and can't be cancelled, or whatever. the point is, attacks are meant to be balanced so that, while one may be better under particular circumstances, there is rough overall parity.

bonestorm fails this goal. epically.

let's look at some of luggage's numbers. creepy chomp does 260 undead damage. bonestorm does 195 undead damage, split across the enemy team, but costs 10% of your total health. so, if i use bonestorm on the first round, i will do 65 less damage and take 160 more damage. that's a heck of a penalty to pay just to be able to damage the enemy reserves, especially since attacks like quake and magma wave do it with no penalties at all, either in terms of damage done or taken.

bonestorm is a fun attack. seeing my crate do its whirling dervish run through the enemy ranks is highly amusing. it's a shame blizzard screwed up the numbers so badly when they coded it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

add-on: petbattle teams

one of the add-ons i find really useful is petbattle teams. it allows you to define an unlimited number of teams and then switch a new team in with a single mouse click. in addition to remembering which three pets are on a team, it remembers which three spells you have selected for each pet.

here is what it looks like on my computer:

it creates an extra frame to your pet journal, showing all the teams you have defined. you can see that i've named my teams based on their purpose. i've got four different teams for leveling in the valley of the four winds, each with the pet i'm currently leveling (today it's the scourged whelpling) and two level 25 pets chosen for their ability to carve up critters and aquatics. after each fight, i switch to the next team, and by the time i've used all four the the cooldown on revive pets is up, saving me the trouble of having to find a stable master. you can also see a team with heavy mechanical damage for fighting beasts, and my teams for fighting some of the npc pet tamers. i took this screen shot as i was getting ready to fight the tamer in winterspring (that goblin whose name i don't bother to remember), so that team is currently selected one. underneath the list are buttons for creating a new team, casting revive pets, and slapping bandages on them.

i started using petbattle teams shortly after mists came out. back then, i only had two teams - the six pets i initially leveled. being able to instantly swap between them was a big help even then. now, i have no idea how i'd manage to keep it all straight without it.

Monday, January 7, 2013


so, looking at my armory page, i see that i have four level 23 rares, twenty-five level 22 rares, and twenty-nine level 21 rares. all of these have just been sitting on ice since i captured them. meanwhile, i only have nine pets to go to achieve pro pet mob and pick up a singing cricket. yet all my attempts to focus on reaching the achievement efficiently keep getting derailed because i get distracted and end up leveling cooler looking pets up (rare or otherwise) up from 1.

so, so hard to be disciplined and level yet another raccoon or grasshopper, when there's baby elephants and pandaren spirits and the luggage....

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

a day in the life of a flayer youngling

"chiba. yeah. see, molly's been to chiba, too."

molly does not know what the master means when he says that. but he smiles and pats molly on the head when he does, and he is proud of molly, and that is the best thing in the world.

molly has a job. molly is fast, and molly's claws are razor sharp, and molly kills whomever the master says should die. it is a good job, and molly does it well because molly wants to please the master.

today there is a baby, a little bunny rabbit. molly could easily kill it and eat it, but that is not molly's job. the baby is to be protected, so that it can grow to be strong and fierce and serve the master, alongside molly. this will be a good thing. so molly does not kill it.

the baby rabbit is facing a bandicoon. it swipes at the baby, who tries to dodge, but it is young and slow. blood! the bandicoon has hurt the master's baby! evil, evil bandicoon! it must die!

molly runs forward into the fight. the evil bandicoon turns toward molly, but it is slow and stupid and molly's claws are cutting it, slicing, killing, destroying. it manages to bite molly's leg, but this is not important. molly does not have time to bleed. soon the bandicoon is dead, and the baby is saved. the master will be pleased.

treachery! the evil one had an ally, lurking in the grass. it attacks molly with teeth and claws, but molly is smart. molly twists out of its path, then uses its own ferocity against it. some of its attacks hurt molly, but they are of no consequence. molly is fast and molly's claws are sharp, and molly serves the master, and so she cannot lose. soon the second bandicoon lies dead on the ground, next to its evil friend.

again! these bandicoons think they can drown molly with numbers, but they will fail. slice! stab! blood! fury! molly's ferocity is too much, and soon the third villian is defeated. molly roars in triumph, a warning to all who defy the master.

why ... why is it so dark? was there ... poison? nasty ... evil ... bandicoons.

the baby ... the baby survived. the baby gained experience. so ... molly did her job? the master ... is pleased with molly?

the master ... will ... revive ... loyal ... molly?