A few weeks ago at BlizzCon, WIRED.com sat down with WoW Production Director, J. Allen Brack, and asked him some questions about the upcoming expansion, Mists of Pandaria. Some of the Q&A was specifically targeted at the announced Pet Battle System that will be coming in MoP.
Here's what he had to say…
Wired.com: Another thing that people either love or hate is the pet battle system. Would you liken it to Pokémon, as some are calling it? How would you describe the gameplay? Is it just a fun side thing, or are we going to see some serious pet PvP tournaments?
Quote from Brack
That’s a really good question. I think a lot of that is going to determine on the tuning which we haven’t actually made yet. The point of it is just to be a very fun thing that players can do. But you’d be amazed how hardcore people get about certain things. Actually, you probably wouldn’t be amazed… [laughs]
So that’s definitely a goal for us, but more importantly it has to be fun and give something to players to do with their pets. People have been collecting pets for a lot of years now. When we put the very first pet in, people were super excited. Some said “Hey, I want my pets to battle each other.” Now we’re saying, “OK, that sounds great. Your pets should be able to battle each other. Let’s build a system around that.” When we did Cataclysm, we removed pets from your actual bags and put them all in your spell book, which means there’s a lot of people who have a lot of pets.
Wired.com: You said you’re still working on the pet tuning. How are you going to balance that? Are rare pets better, or is it how players equip them?
Quote from Brack
It’s definitely going to be how players equip their pets. So you’ll be able to say, “Hey, I want this pet,” and that pet maybe is the ultra rare one that has these three or four abilities. Someone else can have a common pet that has similar abilities or different types. It’s much more a rock, paper, scissors kind of approach in terms of how the combat is going to work as opposed to, “I’ve got the one uber-rare pet and now I’m all powerful.” That’s how we’re going to do it.
Wired.com: Are you worried about farming for rare pets, then? I can see China starting pet farms for rare pets because pets are…
Quote from Brack
Pets are very special. They’re close to people’s hearts. We haven’t seen a whole lot of farms in terms of stuff like that. That’s a really interesting question. I really hadn’t thought about how that would work. We’ll definitely be looking at all the various drop rates and how people actually get all the various pets in the game. Our goal is to actually have all the pets that you currently have translate right into that system. So there will be new pets for you to get. But you’ll also be able to start using your existing pets as well.
There's much more to the Q&A than this, but I mainly wanted to report on the responses specifically aimed at the Pet Battle System.
I like how he compared the proposed Pet Battle System to that of Rock, Scissors, Paper, because it means the game will involve much more in the way of strategy and counters, rather than the… I spend the most time farming for the best pets, therefore I win approach.
The entire interview is really good, and gives us some additional insight into what Blizzard has planned for Mists of Pandaria. There aren't too many specifics, of course, but it provides a nice overview of what they're striving for with MoP.