It’s a Pet Store not a Gear Store

Blizzard’s opened up the virtual pet store where you can purchase the first of several pets to come. I don’t actually know this, but I’m fairly certain we’ll be seeing more purchasable pets later.

What’s the big deal?

In a nutshell, the micro-transaction MMO model involves consumers paying for certain items. I have a friend of mine who plays Maple Story and I routinely tease her about buying a wedding dress for 5 bucks or other stuff only for it to disappear about 3 months.

Gear has an expiry date it seems.

The Korean “free” MMOs employ this model very well. I’ve briefly participated in some but I broke off from it seeing as I couldn’t sustain it. Figured I was better off investing in WoW instead.

Anyway, there seems to be this slippery slope argument that’s making the waves on Twitter and in some of the comments I’ve seen.

“If Blizzard sells in game vanity pets for real money, we’re now one step closer to being able to purchase real epics and gold for real money too!”

Since we can buy pets, we’re much closer to being able to buy weapons and other equipment to boost our characters and make them that much better.

I don’t think so

This is a great move by Blizzard from a profitability standpoint. Being able to purchase pets isn’t something that’s brand spankin’ new.

Players can redeem loot codes from the CCG booster packs for in game bonuses. I’ve got guildies with the Ogre Suit, the Turkey mount, the Spectral Tiger and so forth.

Being able to directly buy the pets removes the RNG aspect of popping open card booster packs and wasting money until you found one with the vanity item you want.

I don’t quite see this as being a punch in the face of players who spent countless hours farming for those Raptor eggs. I had guildies who would stay up late riding around and tying to find the right raptor for that particular pet.

A Pandaren Monk does not equal a raptor pet, just like the Rusted Protodrake does not equal a Spectral Tiger.

Players who invested their time and efforts into getting those bonuses earned them. If Blizzard was actually putting up Ashes of Al’ar or the Mimiron head mount for sale, then an argument and an uproar could be made then. 

But guys, it’s just a pet.

It’s a vanity pet.

It does not increase your stats.

It doesn’t do anything to increase or decrease your performance. It doesn’t affect your game in anyway. All it does is grant you a simulated neon sign above your head that says “I CAN AFFORD A PANDA THEREFORE I AM AWESOME!”

I can see them adding like tabards, more in game pets and mounts. These are items that you can already acquire from the CCG. It’s logical to assume they wouldn’t be out of bounds.

Save your rage for when it really matters.

If the day comes that Blizzard decides to sell gold, weapons, or the shirt of +1000 stats, feel free to raise hell.

Because I know I will.

Now I think I’m going to pick me up a Panda.

Five Reasons You Want To Heal My Pet

Five Reasons You Want To Heal My Pet

In this post, Amava of Amava Knows Aggro looks at the often underhealed Hunter pet and why they should be extended heals.

Hello, my name is Amava. I’m a raiding Hunter who transferred to the Ner’Zhul server to join Conquest shortly after WotLK was released. As a damage-dealing player, I’ve been a long time reader of World of Matticus because knowledge of the whole spectrum of specialties and roles helps build the foundation for a successful raid. When Matt put out his Guidelines for Guest Posters, and specifically called out a Hunter post as "lets not go there", I just had to plead my case to the healing community.

top5pet

Awareness of your fellow raiders’ strengths, weaknesses, needs, and desires helps make you a better member of your team. Over the next few minutes, I’ll hopefully convince you that any mana and GCD’s that you can spare for a Hunter’s pet directly helps the raid succeed. Let’s explore five reasons you want to keep an eye on those critters…

Say it with me: D. P. S.

If you raid, I’m willing to bet you enjoy dead bosses. There’s a million and one factors that go into killing a boss, and one that stands out very visibly is the need for enough damage per second to bring the mobs health to zero before the Enrage Timer dings. The pet of a Hunter of any spec brings a solid chunk of DPS to the raid. If the Hunter is a Beast Master, even more so. WWS reports show BM pets doing 45-50% of the Hunter’s total damage. Take for example a recent Conquest raid on Patchwerk in Heroic Naxxramas. Two BM Hunters. Two kitties. Two Thousand DPS. Each. Actually, closer to 2.2k each, but that didn’t fit nicely with my Two-Two-Two structure. Bottom line: Hunter pets bring massive DPS to your raid. Please help keep them alive.

Buffs and Debuffs

One of the most important parts of raiding is having a solid Raid Composition. There is a plethora of raid buffs and boss debuffs that all work together to boost the performance of your raid of 25 unbuffed toons to the equivalent of 28-29 toons. Ghostcrawler says, "Bring the player, not the toon." Blizzard has given a variety of options for fulfilling each of the buff/debuff categories which is outstanding from the perspective of a Raid Leader trying to get a team together, and Hunter pets only serve to increase the flexibility. I’d like to modify GC’s statement, "Bring the player [and the pet], not the toon." Since patch 3.0.2, there are a number of options for a Hunter to bring if your raid is lacking a particular capability. Some examples are a boost to the Attack Power of nearby players, a reduction in the armor level of the boss, or make the boss miss its next attack (tanks and healers should love this one). Dead pets bring no buffs or debuffs, so please help keep our pets alive. Communication is the key to a successful team, so I encourage you to discuss with your Hunters to see what special abilities their pets are bringing to the raid.

Cuddly

Everybody loves animals. Even animal haters, deep down inside, love animals. The haters are probably just harboring spite from a single bad encounter, and are irrationally prejudiced against the whole Animal Kingdom. I mean, even the Grinch has a dog. But I digress. It’s something primal; something instinctual from our roots. We love animals. There’s a subtle and subconscious benefit to your raid. It boosts morale seeing those fuzzy wuzzy pets charging off to battle, or just yawning and fidgeting while they patiently wait for everybody to stop going /afk. They’re also cute as hell when they accidentally go off and aggro the next pack of mobs or two. Blame the Hunter, not the pet.

Off-Tanking

Ever since patch 3.0.2, some Hunter pets make outstanding tanks. There are a whole slew of options, but most notable ones are Gorillas, Bears, and Rhinos. Before WotLK’s release, at level 70 there were reports of pets main tanking Gruul. At level 80, I’ve used my Gorilla to solo Utgarde Keep and nearly all of The Nexus. They are quite sturdy, can be spec’ed to resist lots of magical damage, and generate a respectable level of threat. In a raid environment, if you need to occupy the attention of a mob or two, a Hunter’s tanking pet brings some fantastic flexibility to your team. Just like the official tanks, our pets are going to need some love from the Healers. Do keep in mind that a tanking pet won’t deliver as much DPS as a ferocity pet, and I’m unaware of any reasonable way to make my pet uncrittable, but they do provide more options to your Raid Leader, which can be priceless in a pinch.

Spirit Bond

Here’s one that should really hit home for a Healer who wants to boost her numbers and top the healing meters. Mid-way through the Beast Master talent tree is a talent called Spirit Bond. Putting 1/2 points in this talent boost all healing that both the Hunter and the Pet receive by 5/10%. On the surface, it does not really look like a raiding talent, because it doesn’t directly boost DPS at all. However, the BM tree is a little messed up, and Hunters often find themselves with one or two points that really have no nice home, but need to go somewhere to allow access to the sweet and juicy talents deeper in the tree. Any mana you invest into a Hunter’s Pet will boost your individual return by 10% if that Hunter goes 2/2 in Spirit Bond. Communication is the key to a successful team, so I encourage you to discuss with your Hunters to see where they put their points.

Wrap Up

This is my top five reasons you want to heal my pet. Whether its raw numbers-based action or the softer side of a cuddly belly to pet between wipes, we all win when you keep our pets alive. What other reasons are there for keeping our furry friends alive? Or are you one of the haters who’d rather sit outside the FSR for just one more cooldown than lift a finger to help a kitty out?

Image courtesy of clix