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My wishlist of pet battling in Legion

Discuss pet battles, strategy and theorycrafting.
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Lyraat
 
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My wishlist of pet battling in Legion

Postby Lyraat » November 6th, 2015, 12:37 am

I posted this on the official forums in the vain hopes a blue posted might see it before the forum trolls crap all over it. I wanted to post it here because I want feedback from dedicated pet battlers.

***

Blizzcon starts tomorrow, so I wanted to post my wishlist for pet battling changes in Legion. These are PvP-focused, but still somewhat applicable to PvE.

Undead = Ability cooldown timers stop upon death (i.e. heading into the undead bonus round). Undead pets will always be strong in PvP thanks to their undead bonus round. It's a free round, what's not to love? But undead pets need a nerf. My suggestion is to stop their ability cooldown timers when they die. For example, Graves has Skull Toss, Bonestorm, and Grave Destruction. Heading into round 4, Skull Toss is spammable and always available, Bonestorm has 1 round remaining (will be available in round 5), and Grave Destruction has 3 rounds remaining (will be available in round 7). Graves dies in round 4, returns to life for round 5. However, his timers don't tick over: Bonestorm still has 1 round remaining, and Grave Destruction still has 3 rounds. He can only use Skull Toss in his undead bonus round.

By freezing the ability timers, undead pets won't get that extra big attack. Graves and Fossilized Hatchling can both survive to get a second Bonestorm, which usually happens in the bonus round. That's the killer for the opponent: the undead pet is able to use one of its big abilities a second time even when the opponent attacks every round. They can still use spammable/cooldown-less attacks, they can still use big attacks that were off cooldown. Preventing that will make undead pets less of a threat. Still powerful, but not ruinous.

Magic = Lower the cap to 30% of total health and decrease all backline damage by 100%/70%/some percentage. Magic pets are the least represented pet family in PvP. There's not many of them and their family bonus is lackluster at best. An average pet has 1400 health. 35% of 1400 is 490. That's a massive hit. A magic pet facing a Gilnean Raven would take 463 dmg from Call Darkness in round 1 + 490 (reduced from 618) from Nocturnal Strike in round 2 = 953 dmg in two rounds, down from 1081. The magic bonus prevented 128 dmg. Weak. A 30% cap leads to 420 dmg in round 1 (down from 463) + 420 in round 2 (down from 618) = 840 in two rounds. That cap would lower the dmg by 241, which is equivalent to a low-powered hit. Much better.

Lowering the cap helps, but magic pets need more. And the AOE dmg meta game needs to be overhauled. Two birds, one stone: magic pets take reduced dmg while on the backline. Because backline dmg is weak, but unavoidable and unhealable (for the most part; I know there are abilities to protect/heal backline pets, but those abilities are rare and far weaker than the AOE attacks), the damage decrease would have to been severe. I think 70% dmg reduction is about right. Between two Bonestorms and a Grave Destruction (assuming all three pets are alive), Graves does 722 dmg to backline pets, which puts the average 1400 health pet below 50%. Ouch. 70% dmg reduction would lower Graves's backline dmg to 216.6, which is far more reasonable. 100% dmg reduction (aka “takes no dmg while on the backline”) is a bit too drastic. Anything less than 70% and why bother? Plus, 70% dmg reduction has a nice symmetry with the 30% cap.

Dragons = When an opponent is dropped below 50% health, he takes an instant hit equal to 50% of the attack that lowered him below 50%. Confusing, I know. Example: Chrominius versus Xu-Fu. Chrominius casts Surge of Power, doing 740 dmg and dropping Xu-Fu from 1400 (100%) to 660 (47%). The bonus kicks in and Chrominius deals an extra 370 dmg to Xu-Fu. 1110 dmg in one round. Bam! No more missed or avoided dragon bonus dmg rounds. No more “can only get dragon bonus every other round” nonsense. This would make dragons with big attacks very desirable. That's the point. Dragons are big creatures. They should have big attacks. They should be feared. Right now, they're non-existent. And yes, if the attack that pushed the opponent below 50% was small—such as a dot tick—the bonus dmg would be small as well.

Graves = Increase speed at the expense of health. What makes Graves so lethal is his staying power. 1668 health is a lot of health. Doing 400 dmg per round means he dies in round 5, returning for round 6. Compare that to the average pet's death in round 4, and Graves has a distinct advantage. Decrease his massive health pool, increase his slogging 211 speed, and he becomes less threatening. I think a stat balance like Landro's Lil' XT would work well for Graves: 1465 health, 322 power, 241 speed. Slightly above average health, 300+ power, and below average speed. Fits Graves's profile. I don't think he needs an ability change. Maybe move Bonestorm and Grave Destruction to the same ability slot. That would help, too.

Murkalot = Give Righteous Inspiration to other pets or nerf it. A currently unobtainable pet with an ability that, when paired with pet with a strong AOE attack, is nigh unbeatable? Yeah, nerf time. Let other pets have this ability. He's the only pet in the game with it. Or, if that would be unbalanced, nerf it. Put it on a 15- or 20-round cooldown, so it becomes once per match. Have it buff speed and dmg by 50% instead of 100%. Remove the instant swap mechanic from it. Something to make it less of a game winner. Or...

Offensive dispells = Can we get some? A few pets have defensive dispells, but offensive dispells do not exist. Zero dmg and clears buffs from opponent on a 2-round cooldown, or ~200 dmg and clears buffs on a 3-round cooldown. We don't need more avoidance abilities or stuns. A simple offensive dispell would be fun to have.

Keep the pet level cap at 25 = Please, please, please don't increase the cap. Many of us have hundreds of pets at level 25. Don't make us push those last few levels. No. Leave the cap at 25. Please.

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Topaz
 
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Re: My wishlist of pet battling in Legion

Postby Topaz » November 6th, 2015, 10:48 am

You read my mind about Magic pets racial but I think you went to the extreme with dragons, and not far enough with undeads.
The undead racial should be simple - you stay alive up to when you attack, if youre slower than the opponent you will die on the turn he killed you while getting the ability to use the attacked you chose, if youre faster than the opponent you die on the next turn right after you attack and before the opponent retaliate.
As for dragons it will cause the exact opposite of getting more dragon into the meta, everyone will abuse this racial by using chrominius with howl+surge of power (740*2*1.5), and dragons without big hitters (s/s nether faerie dragon or a s/s bronze whelp) will be tottaly ignored now that their racial is basically useless.

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Re: My wishlist of pet battling in Legion

Postby Vakeetah » November 6th, 2015, 2:56 pm

= DISCLAIMER: Long post ahead! =

I see these as fundamentally good ideas, but perhaps a bit too complex and obscure at times.

For example, the Undead's "freeze all cooldowns" is not an intuitive mechanic, and depending on the type of pet (such as the ones with triple cooldowns, that attack through cycling) it could result in them not using any ability at all. While I agree that Graves is a problem, I don't think nerfing the whole family, in such an obscure way, is the way to go.

Personally, I'd just remove the Undead "round" completely: They get one last attack off as their final revenge, and then die. That'd also have the effect of making speed relevant and desirable for Undeads; which on itself is also one of their greatest strengths, as they are currently ignoring Speed in favor of Health and Power without penalty.

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As for Magic, they do indeed need help, but boosting the health threshold would result in a nerf towards Dragonkin, who already have trouble benefitting from their family advantage over the Magics, due to their hard-hitting nature clashing against the Magic anti-burst.

The main thing keeping Magic off the meta isn't so much that their passive is bad, but rather, that Magic pets tend to be all around terrible. If there was a Magic version of Graves (to give you the obvious example) it'd be used and be considered good; but most of them are just Magic pets with only Magic attacks, often coming in B/B breeds, and ridden with weak attacks such as Laser, Arcane Blast, or Gravity. It's the lack of type coverage and the poor abilities that keep them out of the game - the passive is just another nail on the coffin.

My approach to Magic would be more boring at design level, but anyway... what I suggest is a reverse Humanoid Racial, that is, healing up when they take direct damage in a round. That would make them resilient in the back-line against AoE (which is one of the objectives), slightly more durable against regular (30~35%) burst (which again, is something their passive fails to protect against, as in your example), and allowing Dragonkin to benefit from get more damage through, and act as proper counters. I'd leave DoTs out of the equation, simply because that's the Aquatic thing, and would actually make DoTs benefitial if the effect managed to outheal the damage.

One question left would be: "How much healing?", but that's a balance matter more than anything else. Could be a flat 4-5% like Humanoids, a bit lower but scaling with missing health, or a fraction of incoming damage!

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Third, Dragonkin. I don't think there's a problem with them, actually. They hit hard and are good executers - would it be necessary to make them super bursty above 50% too? I believe it's healthier for the game if the opponent can figure out that a large hit is coming (when the passive activates) rather than being surprised by an attack out of nowhere that suddenly deals 50% more damage. Think Surge of Power, which can certainly shave someone's health by half on its own, so we'd be looking at a 75% of total health without any prior setup. Even if you get locked in place for two rounds, that's not something anyone can recover from.

There are a couple of things I'd like to see about Dragonkin, though! Namely, a multi-hit attack (to get the edge they deserve against Magic) and Deep Breath being more similar to Pump or Wind-Up, because right now the telegraphing makes it unusable, and incompatible with the Dragonkin racial.

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Fourth, balancing Graves and Murkalot. The Undead racial should be nerfed for one, so we'd have to first see if that's enough to displace the Undeads in general, and Graves in particular. Righteous Inspiration, however, is a ludicrous ability to start with, and having it just on Murkalot (a premium, limited edition pet) just make things worse.

Would making it more widely available be a good idea? Unsure, to be honest. Have a look at King and Queen Floret in the Menagerie, who are fairly toxic on their own even after being nerfed, and without abusing AoE attacks (although Fist of the Forest is nasty).

So, to tell you the truth, I think it'd be safer to nerf Righteous Inspiration, while it's still in a contained environment (i.e:Murkalot), and consider spreading it around once it is in a more reasonable spot.

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Lastly, offensive dispels would be a good thing. Not a priority, but anything that adds to the strategy is good in my book, and you could always use them to remove things like Shell Armor, Photosynthesis, or Wish. Not that I have anything against healers, but offensive dispels would help against stall teams - which, if Undeads were to be displaced, would become the next most toxic thing in pet pvp.
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Re: My wishlist of pet battling in Legion

Postby Gráinne » November 9th, 2015, 4:13 am

1. PvE Endgame

Warlords has had no PvE endgame for pets. The pinnacle of pet battle achievement is the Celestial Tournament back in Pandaria. This is the pet equivalent to Blizzard telling people to keep farming Siege of Orgrimmar all through Warlords.

Many suggestions have been made for new PvE activities. I won't recap them here, but I would like to see some development.

2. Trainer/Challenge AI

Erris is interesting because she is the first tamer to have more than a small element or randomness in her script. She is still easy to beat because of her pets, but I was excited when I first met her because I thought she might be the start of us seeing some decent AI, or at least RNG, in tamer battles.

As things stand, tamers are first a challenge when we are new, and then just a boring but effective way to level new pets.

I'd like to see them become a challenge again, with some AI or RNG. Because of the quality of their pets, we would always lose against good AI. However, with a bit of tuning, the existing tamers could be repurposed to present a challenge instead of a levelling ladder, if we chose their "Heroic" mode.

3. Balance in PvP

I don't know how to fix balance in PvP. However, the problem is susceptible to brute-force calculation. I am certain that Blizzard has, somewhere, a pet-battle simulator along the lines of a chess program that they could tune up and use to find changes to make all pets viable. Until I stop seeing two or three of the dirty dozen top-tier pets on almost every team, PvP will remain uninteresting to me.

4. System in PvP

In Mists, Blizzard did a great job on PvE - a truly great job. I thoroughly enjoyed my climb. It feels like, after all that great work, PvP was bolted on at the end like "we don't really know what to do, but let's tack on a little PvP closet and see what happens".

Well, we've had a couple of years to develop some ideas of what to do. I would especially like to see systems in place that mitigate the effect of balance and meta.

In particular, I'd like to see a mechanic such that, for competitive play, you are required to make your teams from a subset of pets, chosen randomly by the game. Something like this:

a) You choose 60 pets
b) The game selects 10, from which you choose one for your first slot
c) The game selects 10, from which you choose one for your second slot
d) The game selects 10, from which you choose one for your third slot

and, while you can select and re-select abilities, these are the three pets you use for competitive play for the day.

5. Cryptozoology

My greatest fun was in flying around the zones and battling to fill my roster for Zookeeper. I miss that. :(

I would love to have a reason to go and do more of it, perhaps to find hidden or variant species. I can think of several ways to implement it, but TBH, anything that would get me back to Arathi or Grizzly Hills with a sense of purpose would do.

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Re: My wishlist of pet battling in Legion

Postby Lyraat » November 11th, 2015, 1:37 am

Thinking more about it...

Re: undead = Losing the undead bonus round entirely is too much of a nerf for my taste. I wouldn't be opposed as there are plenty of undead pets wreaking havoc right now, but it wouldn't be my first option. Also, while that would make faster undead pets more desirable, the current undead roster would either need a stat reallocation or they would be more heavily nerfed than expected. Not by much, I suppose.

Re: magic = Agreed: a big reason why magic pets are nigh non-existent in PvP is simply, they suck. Bad stat allocations, weak attacks, I completely agree. That's why they need a buff to their family bonus.

Give magic pets a shield equal to 35% of their health. They take zero dmg until their shield is defeated. Why not give them 35% health? Mechanics. Take Flamethrower. Does 231 dmg (with 289 power) and applies a dot if the initial hit does dmg. With a shield, the initial hit would not dmg the pet. No initial dmg, no dot. No dot, no follow up with Conflagrate. This would also help on the backline as the shield is active at the start of battle. How the overkill dmg on the shield is applied is something for debate.

Re: dragons = If not bonus dmg for dragons, perhaps let their family bonus proc when they kill a pet. They lowered the dead pet's health below 50%, so they should proc their bonus. That would increase the percentage of rounds dragons get their family bonus. A slight buff.

Re: PvE endgame = You could argue that Tanaan's legendary pets were WoD's PvE pet battle endgame. It was nothing close to the complexity of the Celestial Tournament. But it was something at the end of the expansion.

Re: Tamer AI = If you script the AI, tamers are easy. Learn the pattern, win. If you randomize it, tamers can be very difficult one attempt, stupid the next. I've seen tamer pets cast Shell Shield five rounds in a row. If you make the AI reactionary...well, that's more coding than Blizzard wants to devote to pet battles.

Alternatively, Blizzard could allow players to be tamers. You could sign up to face a tamer with your team or take over the tamer's team against another player. Achievement: Defeat a player with all Legion tamer teams. I'd go for that.

Re: PvP systems = I like that idea. Loads of systems Blizzard could implement. If nothing else, they could reward PvP play more. Daily quests would be an easy starting point: win a PvP pet battle using at least one pet from X family, or win a PvP match without losing a pet, or play 5 PvP matches in Eastern Kingdoms, or with wild caught pets only, or...The possibilities are plentiful. We just need Blizzard to do more with pet battles than sprinkle new pets around.

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Re: My wishlist of pet battling in Legion

Postby Paladance » November 11th, 2015, 6:15 am

I've always had a feeling that the dragonkin racial is somewhat broken.
IIRC, when you get the opponent below 50% HP, it seems to tick every second round as long as you opponent is alive and you keep attacking, even if you won't bring it below 25% yet.

I also guess that it was meant to trigger once per opponent to be honest.

Correct me with a log if I'm wrong.

About the magic, I actually still tried to push manafiends as a placeholder (on a P/P, buffed Arcane Storm is better than Thunderstorm even without repeating, on an S/S it needs repeating too). But their survivability is indeed not great.
The cap change from 30% to 35% was probably caused by the 1/3 factor between these.
But are 4 rounds really a problem? I don't think so.

And what about just giving the damned round the direct (= neither DoT nor delayed) damage halved.
Though dat maggot eff.

E: ability typo
Last edited by Paladance on November 11th, 2015, 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My wishlist of pet battling in Legion

Postby Gráinne » November 11th, 2015, 10:29 am

Lyraat wrote:Re: PvE endgame = You could argue that Tanaan's legendary pets were WoD's PvE pet battle endgame. It was nothing close to the complexity of the Celestial Tournament. But it was something at the end of the expansion.

I would find that a very difficult proposition to defend. When one team will massacre all of the Tanaan opponents, modulo some Mirecroak RNG, it's hard to call it a game at all.

Lyraat wrote:Re: Tamer AI = If you script the AI, tamers are easy. Learn the pattern, win. If you randomize it, tamers can be very difficult one attempt, stupid the next. I've seen tamer pets cast Shell Shield five rounds in a row. If you make the AI reactionary...well, that's more coding than Blizzard wants to devote to pet battles.

I'm not sure that the coding is the barrier here. It's not that hard, and it's exactly the kind of coding that programmers like to do. I do see a problem with rewards, and perhaps Blizzard feel that most players don't want difficulty.

Lyraat wrote:Alternatively, Blizzard could allow players to be tamers. You could sign up to face a tamer with your team or take over the tamer's team against another player. Achievement: Defeat a player with all Legion tamer teams. I'd go for that.

Ooooh yes. Tempting :) But it would be PvP with one side having a set of Legendary pets - and you thought Graves was bad. :P

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Re: My wishlist of pet battling in Legion

Postby Vakeetah » November 11th, 2015, 1:26 pm

Paladance wrote:And what about just giving the damned round the direct (= neither DoT nor delayed) damage halved.

This might well be a good middle-ground solution, that would also achieve the goal of making speed more desirable; as the faster pet could get 1 hit at 100%, and another at 50%; whereas a slow one would get 2 attacks at 50% power. Although, technically, that may just be compensating for the lower overall damage it'd have dealt over the fight, compared to a power breed!

Still, I have to admit that it may be a bit too harsh, comparing it to the Mech passive, which also guarantees resurrection, and may be extended via heals, decoys, etc. As desplicable as Undeads are, it's hard to find a proper balance point, particularly when we have Undeads themselves as the bearers of the most OP AoEs, and where an extra turn can have catastrophic results.

It's probably a problem with the pets and their skillsets - more than their passive, in the same fashion that Magic pets are bad because they're bad - not because of their passive.

-

Anyway! Something to add to the wishlist. Minor probably, but I want to be able to see who I'm fighting, rather than some generic NPC. Maybe even chat, although knowing the toxicity that emanates from each and every PvP encounter, not sure I'd want to risk it coming to the relatively clean and friendly pet battle environment!

Oh yes, and I'd like to see families added and revised. Even if they have to redo the whole weakness wheel, or figure out new passives. Elemental is simply too broad (both in attacks, and members) so could easily be split in two or three families; and with the amount of Demons in next expansion, they could also create that category (moreso after the Nibbles random family choice fiasco)
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Re: My wishlist of pet battling in Legion

Postby Paladance » November 11th, 2015, 2:18 pm

Vakeetah wrote:
Paladance wrote:And what about just giving the damned round the direct (= neither DoT nor delayed) damage halved.

This might well be a good middle-ground solution, that would also achieve the goal of making speed more desirable; as the faster pet could get 1 hit at 100%, and another at 50%; whereas a slow one would get 2 attacks at 50% power. Although, technically, that may just be compensating for the lower overall damage it'd have dealt over the fight, compared to a power breed!

Still, I have to admit that it may be a bit too harsh, comparing it to the Mech passive, which also guarantees resurrection, and may be extended via heals, decoys, etc. As desplicable as Undeads are, it's hard to find a proper balance point, particularly when we have Undeads themselves as the bearers of the most OP AoEs, and where an extra turn can have catastrophic results.


Well, it's difficult to me to build a theory while I can't practice it yet. ^.^

It's probably a problem with the pets and their skillsets - more than their passive, in the same fashion that Magic pets are bad because they're bad - not because of their passive.


Good point. By the way, what were the most occurring pets to QQ about in MoP? I guess that healers regardless on the type, but I'm not sure -- anyway, you can see what I mean. :P

Anyway! Something to add to the wishlist. Minor probably, but I want to be able to see who I'm fighting, rather than some generic NPC. Maybe even chat, although knowing the toxicity that emanates from each and every PvP encounter, not sure I'd want to risk it coming to the relatively clean and friendly pet battle environment!


Erm; wouldn't it lead to the match fixing "I'll let you win, then you will let me"? I also guess that both factions are put in one queue.
(By the way, how it works during the macro-scale mercenary mode? In this case, being not sure which ones does one support seems kinda interesting. :P)

Oh yes, and I'd like to see families added and revised. Even if they have to redo the whole weakness wheel, or figure out new passives. Elemental is simply too broad (both in attacks, and members) so could easily be split in two or three families; and with the amount of Demons in next expansion, they could also create that category (moreso after the Nibbles random family choice fiasco)


I like how you attempted to combine two similar threads inside one. :) Or was it just a coincidence?
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