Yesterday, at Blizzard's press event, WoWHead had a chance to discuss a some Mists of Pandaria with Blizzard's Cory Stockton. During the interview he touched on the development of the Pet Battle system. The information he shared was not much different than what he announced at BlizzCon last year, but from what he said, it sounds like the developers are taking the creation of this new mini-game very seriously.
Cory Stockton on Pet Battles in Mists of Pandaria
Q: One last question. Watching Arthas fight Illidan today for pet battles was awesome–but the battle itself seemed kind of short. What's still in development for pet battles? Also, at BlizzCon, you were talking about complex ways to get pets–some only spawning in cities, some in the rain? Is that still in the works?
Quote from Cory Stockton
All of those things are still planned. What you saw today is what the actual battle will look like and working in game. But we're currently totally in development on the abilities and how everything works in the back and forth. We just got the game up and running in real time, but what you're not seeing is all the gameplay. We've actually been playing a paper version–we cut it out and that's how we've been tuning it for things to be in the game.
As far as depth goes, it's a pretty deep game if you really want to get into it. There's different abilities you can pick and stats–those stats can be random when you catch the pets.
Will TCG and Blizzard store pets also work?
Absolutely. We plan to have the majority of pets work, almost all of them.
As far as your questions about PvE, all your details are making it in. There's a number of pets you'll just find in the world, but some will only spawn when it's raining, or the winter time, for example. I just put one in the other day that only spawns between 9 pm and midnight–during that time he pops every 15 min. It's a really limited period, and you can imagine people in town talking about it when it spawns.
Pet battles are something we look at as totally optional content that's also really deep if you want to get into it.
From the sound of things, it seems Blizzard is trying to do something really special with the new Pet Battle system. I'm anxious to see a game play video.
By the way… who won? Arthas or Illidan? 😉