Pet Battle Changes

As mentioned in the blog post, there are some pet/pet ability changes coming in the Legion pre-patch.  In addition to providing you with the wording of what is going to happen with these pets/abilities, I am going to provide you with the developer’s comments on why the changes were made as well as my own thoughts on the changes.

 

If you’ve read the WarcraftPets thread on the subject or any of the many threads in the Pet Battles forum on the WoW website, you’ll know that this is a rather heated subject between pet battlers.  That said, try to keep comments constructive and civil.  :  Now, on to the changes!

 

Undead pets will now deal -25% damage during their invincibility round.

 

Developer note: The Undead racial ability has been one of the most powerful, and this change should help bring it in line with the others.

My thoughts:  I agree with this change.  Undeads have dominated the pet battle meta for too long due to their ability to become completely invincible for 1 round while dealing full damage to the opponent’s pets.  Since most Undead pets are generally slower than their opponent, they would actually get in 2 full strength hits due to their racial ability.  This change should definitely bring their family trait in line with the others.

 

Frog Kiss and Sleeping Gas will now have a 1 round cooldown added to them.

 

Dev note: The ability to chain stun opponents (until resilience kicks in) simply feels bad. Rather than a blanket change to resilience, we’re trying a surgical change to one of the more aggravating aspects.

My thoughts:  I do not agree with this change at all.  I agree that something should be done to prevent the chain stunning that occurs with these abilities, but I do not think the cooldown should be put in place.  Here’s why.

Frog Kiss and Sleeping Gas are ramping abilities.  Even at full strength, their damage isn’t stellar and now they’re going to take twice as long to get to full power as before.  If their damage didn’t convince me to use the ability the first time around, this change is going to ensure that I don’t use it at all.  Sure, the stun is a nice little bonus when it occurs, but the chance of the stun is only 25%.  If the stun chance were increased to 50%, I would be much more inclined to use the ability than its current iteration.

You still wouldn’t be able to chain stun opponents, and there would be at least 2 rounds of not being able to use the ability (if you wanted to stun your opponent again) due to Resilience still being in place.

 

Thunderbolt, Arcane Storm, Carpnado, Psionic Storm, Avalanche, and Grave Destruction now deal -15% base damage.  Thunderbolt will also have a 5 round cooldown to bring it in line with other, similar abilities.

 

Dev note: AoE abilities are very powerful in the current battle pet metagame, especially “meteor”-type abilities, which are quite effective against both groups of enemies and single targets. This should bring them closer to their intended power level.

My thoughts:  I agree with all of the above changes.  As the devs stated, AoEs have dominated the pet battle meta for too long, especially the “Meteor” style abilities.  With this nerf, it’s going to make some think twice before using these abilities.  That said, I don’t think it will change too much overall, especially in PvE.

Thunderbolt also needed its cooldown increased to bring it in line with other AoE Meteor-style abilities.  It’s old cooldown, 4 rounds, gave it a slight edge over the others that should now be remedied.

 

Graves – Clobber and Bonestorm have had their ability slots swapped.  

 

Dev note: Graves has a bit too easy of a time damaging the entire enemy team. Though we see other setups with Graves, it’s been too easy to AoE, and a bit too powerful among AoE pets. We are wary of opening up additional new Graves combos with this change, and we’ll be testing this closely and reading all of your feedback.

My thoughts:  The devs were right again.  Graves had it easy when it came to AoEs.  It had the ability to place 2 AoEs in its arsenal at once – 1 regular AoE and 1 Meteor-type AoE.  Even among other AoE pets, Graves stood out because of its devastating damage it could do.  With the ability slot swap, Graves will have to choose between which AoE it wants.  I think Grave Destruction will still be the go-to for this pet, especially since it doesn’t have a health cost to it, but you never know.

 

Also, Graves’ base stats will be changed.  At level 25, its power will now be 297 (was 314), its speed will be 244 (was 211), and its health will be 1587 (was 1669).

Dev note: Graves’ base stats, along with the Undead racial (which favors slow pets), made him an unfortunate opponent to play against. Combined with high AoE and Consume Corpse, he had very few downsides. This change should help bring his output in-line with other, similar pets.

Overall, this constitutes a triple nerf to Graves. However, depending on your ability choices, you may consider the Clobber/Bonestorm slot swap an improvement. Please feel free to leave your feedback in this thread, and we’ll be here reading (and responding where necessary).

My thoughts:  I’m perfectly happy with these changes.  Overall, Graves was an incredible powerhouse of a pet and this should bring that down a bit.  Not too much to make Graves completely powerless, but enough so that it doesn’t destroy your whole team in the blink of an eye.

Graves’ power was really too high, especially considering that it had one of the highest health stats in the game.  Coupled with its very low speed, it was an Undead that would benefit twice from its invincibility round.  Combine all of that with 2 very powerful AoEs and you have a recipe for disaster.

 

Cleave’s damage is reduced by 25%.

 

Dev note: We heard your concerns about adding a cooldown to cleave and agreed that this felt like a better solution.

My thoughts:  Again, I agree with the devs.  For those of you who don’t know, a different solution to the Cleave problem was proposed – adding a 1 round cooldown.  A lot of people, myself included, argued against the change as it would gimp the ability too much to be of use.  The damage reduction was a much better option.  Why?  Cleave was a Meteor-type AoE that had no cooldown.  You could continue to AoE pets into oblivion with 1 button.  Pair that with the Weebomination and its over 1800 health, and you have a problem.

 

Shell Armor’s duration is reduced to 2 rounds from 3 rounds.

 

Dev note: Shell armor was very powerful compared to other flat damage reduction abilities, this should bring it more in line with them.

My thoughts:  I totally agree with this.  Probably more than any other change, this is definitely one that needed to happen.  If you’ve ever faced Shell Armor, you know why.  It’s ridiculously powerful and can make your pet immune to a lot of attacks and gimp even nukes to the point where you basically sit and do nothing while Shell Armor is active.  This needed to happen and I’m glad it did.

On a side note, I was wondering about another very powerful damage reduction cooldown – Trihorn Shield.  I commented that it was very powerful and that with the reduction in duration in regards to Shell Armor if something was going to happen with Trihorn Shield but never received a response, so who knows.  I proposed reducing the amount of damage it prevents slightly (by 15% or so) to compensate for the longer duration of 3 rounds.  I guess Blizz is happy with how it plays out now that they don’t feel the need to change it, but I see differently (obviously).

 

Pandaren Water Spirit’s Whirlpool and Geyser abilities now share the same slot.

 

Dev note: This is our first iteration at disarming the Howl Bomb strategy in PvE, which has proven to be very powerful in too many situations. The goal is to make PvE battles more interesting and encourage the use of a wide variety of pets.

My thoughts:  I have no problems with disarming the Howl Bomb strategy, especially since it made so many fights trivial.  The changes to the Pandaren Water Spirit’s abilities aren’t going to affect me that much since I rarely use the pet, but it will certainly hurt those who rely on it to win battles.

To those who didn’t know, the PWS was the only pet that had 2 nukes that it could use in different ability slots that would work in the Howl Bomb strategy.  The Whirlpool was used for damage and the fact that it would root the pet, while the Geyser was used for damage and the stun ability.  Plus, you could time it so that both hit at the same time, making the PWS a must-have pet in PvE.  So unless you were facing a Critter, the pet was hit with extreme damage while being stunned and rooted so it couldn’t retreat to the back row or even defend itself against the onslaught.

Due to this, I agree with the proposed change to the PWS and am eager to see other comps for previous “Howl Bomb” fights.

 

Howl now only affects 1 attack rather than 2 rounds.

 

Dev note: This is our first iteration at disarming the Howl Bomb strategy in PvE, which has proven to be very powerful in too many situations. The goal is to make PvE battles more interesting and encourage the use of a wide variety of pets.

My thoughts: I disagree with this more than any of the proposed changes thus far.  First off, I don’t think Howl was the problem with the Howl Bomb.  Second, the change to Howl is going to make the ability practically useless, especially if the ability only lasts a certain number of rounds.  (If it lasted indefinitely for the remainder of battle, that’s a different story.)  Howl only increases the enemy pet’s damage taken for the next attack now.  It still has the same 3 round cooldown and when hit, the pet can simply swap out until it wears off.  So you wasted a turn for nothing.  Something needs to change.  Here are some ideas:

As I mentioned in the Pet Battle forum on the WoW website, I think the amount of damage taken from Howl should be increased to 125%, much like the Supercharge ability.  That would make it more attractive to use.  Otherwise, I could get by using Supercharge (since it has the same cooldown) or an ability like Inner Vision which increases all of my damage by 100% for 1 round.  Did I mention that Inner Vision only has a 1 round cooldown to boot?  MUCH more attractive to use than Howl now.

Give Howl a damage component/DoT.  Call the Pack is another Beast ability (like Howl) that deals a good amount of damage AND increases that pet’s damage taken by 100% for 1 round with the same cooldown length.  So you get good damage and a better Howl for free while Howl only lasts 1 attack?  Seriously?  Where is the attractiveness to using Howl?  I don’t see it, do you?

Give Howl a stat modifier.  In addition to increasing damage taken by 100% for 1 attack, also have it reduce the target’s speed by 25% for 2 rounds or reduce their damage dealt by 25% for 2 rounds.  At least it would make Howl somewhat attractive.  Right now, it’s not.

Give Howl CC baked in.  Again, in addition to increasing damage taken, add a root to the ability so pets can’t swap out of it.  That would certainly make Howl attractive (except against Critters, but since Critters taken increased damage from Beast abilities anyways, it’s kind of a moot point).

 

The point here is that Howl needs something added to it to make it attractive to use because at this point, it’s not attractive at all.  It’s like the red-headed stepchild of pet abilities now and that’s kind of sad.  Especially since so many Beast pets have Howl as an ability option.  Just my 2 cents.

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