Mists of Pandaria’s Pet Battles may be a Pokemon rip-off, but it’s damn good fun anyway

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Pet Battles

By on October 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Let’s just get this out of the way now: the Pet Battle System introduced in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is a massive Pokemon ripoff. And that’s totally fine by me. For years, fans of the Pokemon franchise have cried out for a Pokemon MMO. The thought of an open world filled with hundreds of adorable little monsters to find, battle, collect and train is tantalizing at the very least and yet Nintendo has never capitalized on it.

Well, you snooze you lose, Nintendo. Blizzard stepped up to the plate and has mimicked the Pokemon model, or at least the core elements of it, to a tee. The little non-combat pets players have been able to collect since World of Warcraft’s launch now each come with a potential move-set of six abilities, and a passive ability determined by the creature’s type. Mechanical creatures, for example, will revive themselves after they’re killed with a small amount of health, while beast-types will deal extra damage when their health drops below a certain threshold.

Stats are simplified down to health, damage and speed, and each pet can only use up to three different abilities in battle, making the whole system much simpler than Pokemon’s. But that doesn’t mean it’s actually simple. There’s complexity to the Pet Battle System, and it stems from the way pet abilities can affect the battlefield. Only in recent years have Pokemon games begun to experiment with persistent effects, whereas WoW has happily adopted weather effects, lingering poison clouds, and healing mists that remain regardless of who switches in or out of the fight.

The result is a system which, thanks to the huge number of pets out there to use, gives players a gigantic number of feasible team composition options

The result is a system which, thanks to the huge number of pets out there to use, gives players a gigantic number of feasible team composition options.

I’ve experimented with damage-over-time teams and teams with lots of evasion. My current setup is built around outlasting the opponent through copious healing and damage-over-time. And it’s extremely easy to see how well your team stacks up against others, as the in-built matchmaking does a surprisingly good job of pairing you up against a team of approximately equal strength.

There’s a whole series of sub-quests that will take you across all of the continents to battle AI-controlled trainers too, though the difficulty curve seems to have a few speedbumps. Unlike the Pokemon games, which often makes levelling your pets feel like a side-effect of your journey across the region, most players will probably find times when they have to buckle-down and grind out a few pet levels. And while there are many, many pets to catch, unlock and level, the locked-down skill system means that you won’t ever really be able to surprise your opponent with a fire-elemental that spits ice.

That said, of everything in Mists of Pandaria, the Pet Battle System has attracted the most interest from me, if not the most time. I instinctively check my my mini-map for new pets, and become actively excited when I encounter a powerful new one. And unlike the PvP or Dungeon systems, Pet Battles are something I can do while I’m having my lunch or waiting for the rest of my guild. It’s a Pokemon ripoff, yes, but it’s a well-executed one that fills a niche without feeling overtly tacked-on. Kudos.

8 comments (Leave your own)

So can people battle with all there existing mini-pets, including CE pets etc like mini diablo etc?

 
James Pinnell

This is something I initially wrote off, but actually sounds like a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, I’ve already promised myself that I’m pretty much done with WoW.

 

a pokemon rip off designed as a gimmick, which is going to have the lifespan of 2-3 months before people get sick of blizzard’s standard set of gimmicks? oh yes amazing. totally worth their time.

 

flabcab,
Yup – pretty much everything except the utility type pets such as guild heralds.

crimsonblue,
A gimmick it might be, but actually th e pet battle system is a lot of fun.

 

I’ve found the pet battle system to be boring as.

It feels half implemented and they could of had some pretty good attack animations, but it’s just a normal scratch here or a frostbolt there.

It just feels like they couldn’t be much bothered, just throw in a bunch of already existing assets. It even slows down levelling because the player doesn’t get much out of it.

I’d have liked a pet battle system that had some original animations and had a combat system that was original. There’s nothing wrong about the idea at all. It’s just lazy in it’s creation.

 

cyrinno:
I’ve found the pet battle system to be boring as.

It feels half implemented and they could of had some pretty good attack animations, but it’s just a normal scratch here or a frostbolt there.

It just feels like they couldn’t be much bothered, just throw in a bunch of already existing assets. It even slows down levelling because the player doesn’t get much out of it.

I’d have liked a pet battle system that had some original animations and had a combat system that was original. There’s nothing wrong about the idea at all. It’s just lazy in it’s creation.

Did you ever play Pokemon? Lol. They were was like next to no animations yet people played the absolute crap out of those games (me included).

I haven’t delved into the Pet Battles too much yet, but it’s very much a side thing and not to be a “i’m gonna level this way”, it’s a side distraction for something different to do then jumping around Orgrimmar/Stormwind waiting for raids.

 

I’ve played pokemons and I know there’s no animations on alot of them, doesn’t mean things couldn’t be better.

As pokemon has moved into more and more graphical consoles they have been improving their animations.

 

crimsonblue:
a pokemon rip off designed as a gimmick, which is going to have the lifespan of 2-3 months before people get sick of blizzard’s standard set of gimmicks? oh yes amazing. totally worth their time.

The pet battle system *is* meant to be a distraction, an additional thing .. not a core part of gameplay. That’s hardly an issue though. It *would* be an issue, if it were made out to be a core thing.

It’s fun. It’s a simple, casual minigame that brings in simple tactics and collecting OCD mania. I think it can be expanded on, sure, but as a base implementation, it’s pretty damn good.

 
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