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Pet Battle Changes in Shadowlands

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Pet Battle content is hitting the Beta this week, and Blizzard outlined changes coming to the system in Shadowlands!

  • There will be no new pet charm currency in Shadowlands and Polished Pet CharmPolished Pet Charms will be the standard currency to buy new pets, toys, consumables, and more.
  • Some of the new pets have Covenant-themed abilities.
  • Some pet abilities have been tweaked to allow for new strategies and synergies.
  • New pet battle content has been enabled in the latest Beta build, and you can find more details in the blue post below.

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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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What about the viability of players leveling pets while leveling themselves? This does not work since pre-patch roll out if you decide to choose different timelines and level in content that would previously been much higher level. Pets have not taken a level change at all in order to appropriately level as they go. Obviously many veteran players have high level pets etc...but new players or players who haven't explored pet battling/collecting yet will not be able to enjoy this. I have experienced this first hand on my account and my sons new account which is a huge impact for him as he is very young and only attracted to pets and battling but also excited to now be in zones he had never gotten to before prepatch. This seems to be a horrible oversight and I hope to see it changed. I don't think scaling levels would work but there should be some way to have starter level pets in most zones....

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I am a brand new player 07/2020  so is my husband! WOW is my very first online game! Regarding pet battles it’s hard to level battle pets especially for new people. It would be helpful if in not just Azeroth battle pets were 5+ level, and actually playable for all players! Perhaps pets could level with you. It’s frustrating to go an area and the pet’s are 10-15 or 20+ levels above you and the game puts you in battles with 3 pets! Why bother to battle if you have no hope, believe me I failed many times. I don’t try anymore when go I to campaign areas and the pets are that high! It’s been months since even tried to battle, I can’t. I only battle during pet weeks or just forget it!  It’s fun to level a pet, to actually achieve and capture new pets but if you can’t you don’t. It’s impossible even at 200% bonus to level a starter pet to level 17 -25 in a week! To level you must first go to a campaign that has your pets level! While there you battle surrounding beasts etc to get to the battle pets there!! Really it is so time consuming. I did ((hours)) of pet battles. I noticed my pets level never moved! Won’t do this again! Why can’t we do pet battles anytime during game, play to make this something we can actually achieve? It seems silly but you have go to another campaign to level your pet(s) and then back to the original campaign you wanted to use that pet in! Oh and this took forever because it was 3 battle pets I have to level just be able go back to my original campaign and battle they make you battle 3 pets! This is so time consuming when there are several types of pets to level up! Easier to give up and rather level my character! Please consider new players not just high level experienced players of the game! Isn't the point to keep the player battling regularly many of us learn to give up battle pets! Sad sad sad

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Anything you do in changes that helps people be able to pet battle anywhere on the entire atlas would be awesome for new players or when leveling their pet!  Why limit pets if one wants have every pet you have and level it shouldn’t it be possible? Why can’t they use stable for additional pets? I hate to be limited on amount of pets. I’d love level all to at least 25! It be fun have opportunities to win old pets even Azeroth and anywhere else in game during pet week to pop up as prize or something! Special pets are fun or holiday pets! Pet Battle Leveling guide with Maps and that gives locations or how to for these special pets you only get by doing quests. Also where pets are and type! Perhaps more training for beginners on pet battles including PVP. Be nice to be able to put something on your pet jewelry, collar even holiday! Mostly please adjust playability for the new player! 

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all these whiners want *filtered* handed to them. Yes, leveling pets at first is annoying.  So what, it should be. Want some high level pets? Buy some of those +10 and +15 pet exp. items and spend an hour and you'll level up some pets. 

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