BlizzCon 2011: Pet Battle System in Mists of Pandaria

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzCon 2011, World of Warcraft News

During the World of Warcraft: Intro to Mists of Pandaria panel, Cory Stockton introduced one of the coolest features to be released in the upcoming expansion: The Pet Battle System.

Here’s a transcript of the panel:

Pet Battle System

Cory Stockton: Pretty much everyone who plays World of Warcraft probably has a vanity pet. I don’t think everyone necessarily has all the collections, or the achievements but it’s definitely something everyone knows what it is and it’s a feature we felt like we could expand upon and offer some new gameplay.

What exactly are we doing here? Essentially you’ll be able to collect, level, and fight with your pet.

It’s accessible to everyone. We didn’t want it to be a feature that was locked to the max level that only a few people would get access to. We wanted it to be something that everyone could do so you can start at a low level and collect pets, level them up and build your team.

Another thing, if it’s going to work with almost every pet in the game right now, as well as a ton of new pets that we’re going to add for the system for you to collect. So for all you people that already have … say you have 100 pets, most likely almost all of those pets will work with the system right when you get it. Grant it, you’ll have to level them on your own, but they’ll still be able to work with the Pet Battle System.

There’s going to be a lot of customization. You’ll be able to name your pets, give them individual abilities. As far as collection goes, how does that work? Like I said, It will work with your existing pets so a lot of people will start the system and have a pet to start with and get it going. There’s another type of pet you’ll be able to get that we’re introducing new for Mists of Pandaria.

This is going to be called a Wild pet. The way wild pets work is you find them out in the world. When you find them you’re going to be able to engage in battle with them, and fight with them using the pet you already have, and then you’ll be able to get the wild pet and add it to your collection.

Now what’s cool about these wild pets is that they have random varying stats. You’re not necessarily going just go out and be able to get all the wild pets you want, within that first week because they’re going to have varying stats.

You might want a pet that’s good as, maybe, tanking or one with a crowd control ability. You’ll want to collect the pets until you have the one that has the right set of stats — then you can start leveling it up.

The other thing that feels special is that they have unique spawning abilities. Certain wild pets you might only find during a certain season — like winter. Certain pets you might only find when it’s raining, for example, certain pets might only spawn during the day or night so there could be a pet that only sets up during the spring, while it’s raining, in a wind forest at night.

They’re not all like that, obviously but we definitely want to mix it up so people have a lot of pets to collect over a long period of time. We don’t want you to go out right away and get them all we want it to be a system that lasts.

Now, how are you going to find these pets? We are going to change the pet database we have got now, and introduce something called the “Pet Journal”.

Collect

What the Pet Journal does, is, it let’s you manage all your existing pets you have, as well as the teams and the battling and everything that goes along with the new system. We’ve got a few shots that we’ll show you that give you more of a rundown about how the journal works.

The other thing along with this, most pets will become tradeable. So what this means is you’re going to be able to say, get the Wolpertinger from the Brewfest seasonal world event and then be able to take it and say — level it up to a certain level, maybe change some abilities and then you can take the pet and throw it on the auction house and someone else could get it, and based on the time and amount of work you put into it, it will sell for what people think it’s worth so you want the system to fell like you cannot only trade pets not only in the auction house but with your buddies and friends, your guildies, and other players.

This is a huge one. We’re really working hard to have this. It’s to have Account-wide pets. Meaning, obviously, if you have a set of pets one one character you log in another character, you are able to use the same pets. If you have a pet up to level 14 and you log in another character, that pet is still 14. You don’t have to do it multiple times for all the pets.

So here’s a look at the pet journal. Just like the mock-up, these are all mock-up UI made by our UI team. You have your list of pets. You can search and filter through to find the ones you want and over on the right, you can see the pet’s stats and then at the bottom you can see the abilities that they’ve unlocked.

We’re looking at unlocking six abilities over 25 levels, and then on the right there’s an interesting spot called location.

If you click that, you can find out where you can get this pet in the world. So, instead of having to alt-tab out of the game, go to the web, and go to a database site to find out where to find this guy, where do I get him — similar to what we did with the Dungeon Journal where you could see all the items, what boss drop them — you’ll be able to find out where to get all your pets straight off the Pet Journal from within the game.

So now you’ve collected some pets. You’ve got a good amount of them, you managed them, and you’ve got to level them.

Level

How do you do it? Fight with other pets. When you win battles, you earn experience, and experience levels up your pet. As you level, you’re going to learn new abilities that you can then use in battle. Now you’re also going to have slots to place these abilities in.

Every pet can use three abilities in battle at one time, so a pet’s going to learn six and you get to choose any three of those and place them on your pet to use in the battle.

I have a mock-up so you can see how it looks. Every time you level, you earn stats, as well, so the entire level of your pet, obviously, he’ll get stronger as it’s growing.

You’re going to be able to level multiple pets because you’re going to want to build a team. You don’t want to take one pet and get him all the way up. You might want to take a couple and level them all up together so you can have a group of pets that are at similar level.

So here’s a look at the team interface. This is also within the journal. This is a different tab. This guy has two pets on his team and you can see the three slots for abilities where he dragged an ability in. Those are the abilities that when this pet goes to battle that’s what shows up on the bar and you can press that ability to use it.

Over on the left these are pets and their level and on the right, you drag them over and that’s how you build a team.

Battle

Now, how does the fighting work? You have a pet. You have leveled him up and you want to fight against someone and use all this stuff you’ve been earning so you can fight in PvE in the world against the wild pets, but you can also fight friends, and possibly enemies, using the PvP Battle as well. One thing that’s different is it’s going to be turn-based combat.

So we want to slow things down a little bit from WoW combat. WoW combat is super fast. People sometimes die in like 15-20 seconds, right away. So we wanted to introduce something different. Slow it down. Something that’s more of a thinking game.

So mechanic-wise, it’s not going to be something that is going to move so quickly, you won’t necessarily have to miss it, or know what happened, so we wanted to get something that felt different so it could be just people that want to focus on that could have a different piece of content to focus on, like we said earlier, we want content for everyone and have a feature that a lot of different people can play, not just something for a small segment of the population.

You are going to fight with a team of three, and we’re going to allow you to queue. You can go up against another group and we’ll look at the level of their pet to make sure we put you against other pets in the same range, so hopefully you’ve a fight that feels is about a level that you can handle.

So here’s a look. This is just a mock up. One thing that’s important, we want to keep the wow characters in the scene, in the fight. They are important. They are who are collecting the pets. They’re the masters of the whole system. We want to have the WoW characters actually be a part of it. When your pet has an ability, you might do something that makes sense going along with that ability that you use. You can see the bar at the bottom has the ability to be casting, and then you can see your other pets underneath the portraits there.

This is just a mock-up like we said, but something we could envision it looking like.

Customize

Customization like naming your pets is a big thing. You can have a pet that you’ve had for a really long time and finally you can give it a name, and see that name in battle.

We’re also talking about having items. So imagine the idea that you can have an item slot on the pet, you can equip an item. Maybe you could even put gems in that item so that you can modify the stats on the pet as well, so you can pull in some of profession systems.

You can do individual builds like we showed you earlier with abilities so you can take a certain pet and change his abilities and change the slots out, so your team will feel different than other teams around you, and finally, we got this concept of masters, you’re going to be able to — we wanted to have people into the system feel like they could travel around the world and have a reason to go to other places so you’re going to other places. So you’re going to be able to go to Tanaris, like say, there’s a goblin here and it’s really great with training mechanical pets.

So you can go there and fight him, and if you can beat him, he’ll grant you what we call a “master ability”, and you can use that ability on any of your pets to fight in battle.

So here’s a look of how this could work. He has three abilities at the top and then over on the right we see the map and that shows you where to go to fight the master and the ability that you could get.

So it adds a little bit more depth and customization into the system as a whole.

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