Should wild pets be tradeable?

There is a lot of activity on the beta pet battles forum. One of the hottest topics right now is about whether or not we should be able to trade/sell wild pets that we capture out in the world. As of now, we know that Blizzard isn’t planning on letting us sell these captured pets once the game is released initially:

We just finished a pass making all pets that are caught via pet battles in the world non-tradeable.  This means these pets cannot be put in cages for trading or posting on the AH.  We felt that the option to buy these pets on the AH would take away from the exploration/collection gameplay of the system.

This could always change in a future patch, but this is how it will go out with MoP.  You should see the change in our next build.

The problem with this system is that it is still theoretically possible to buy pets from vendors, level them to 25, and put them on the AH as a max-level pet. So, this doesn’t prevent someone from buying a level 25 pet. It just limits what pets will be available, and makes it such that only the super rich players will be able to afford to buy high level pets. In addition, I already have over 100 pets, so why would I really need to collect more wild pets if I already have at least a dozen of the pets off the rare list that will already have good stats on day one? It just encourages us to not bother capturing the wild pets if there are easier ways to play the system, and even then, people who don’t want to explore can still find some pets on the AH instead of using wild pets at all.

A lot of people in the forum thread are talking about how they want to be able to buy the pets if they can’t find them out in the world, or want to be able to give them away for free to friends or family members. People in the thread aren’t often talking about wanting to make a profit (there is still plenty of room to make profit off other types of pets). However, people still need to be able to create an economy and social activity out of the pet battle system, which you can’t do if you can’t trade useful pets. There are plenty of pets that shouldn’t be traded (like the Blizzcon pets or CE pets). However, if we can’t trade wild pets, then it sucks a lot of the fun out of the system because it sucks all the value out of capturing wild pets (you get more from leveling up cats you buy in stormwind, even if they aren’t rare quality). If  Blizzard allows any level 25 pets to be put on the AH at all, it circumvents the point of restricting wild pets to not be able to get put on the AH (it just means they’d be more expensive and restrictive as to who could afford to buy the pre-leveled pets).

If the purpose of the restriction is to prevent people without max-level pets from being able to buy max-level pets, then all you need is a quest or achievement to be able to unlock learning max-level pets. If the wild pets you collect have no value and you can’t give them to your friends, what exactly is the point of collecting wild pets at all? I already have more than three pets that are going to be rare quality in my bags when the system goes live, and leveling three pets up from 1 to 25 really doesn’t take very long at all, especially once they implement all the quests. If there isn’t any point for me to pick up wild pets, I probably just won’t trap many of them as I level up. I’ll just stick to my premade team and grind out the experience faster. I thought the point of this system was to entertain us longer than just the week or two that it takes to level a team up to max level and get bored of battling with our max-level pets. For longevity, there needs to be a pet trading economy to make it seem worthwhile to go through all the effort, since we don’t get any actual real rewards out of the system other than a handful of pets & achievement points.

It’s not that people want to make money, it’s that there always needs to be an incentive & reward for participating in content. The idea that you could make a couple gold off unwanted wild pets was a huge draw because it was the only real reward. Every other type of end-game offers you gold, valor/justice points, and actual gear. Having a pet battle mini-game without a real reward system in place just means that after the novelty wears off, or you get all the achievements, you have no real incentive to keep going. I’m still going to need gold to buy my materials I need for raiding, so if I can’t sell a couple wild pets I found along the way to help keep me from going broke, then I have to instead be out farming herbs, ore or fish to sell on the AH even if that’s a lot less fun to do. Allowing people to have alternative sources of revenue doing something they enjoy should still be supported in the game, and removing that support has consequences on the value of the system.

It doesn’t hurt anyone’s enjoyment of the game if I can put a level 25 rat up on the auction house for someone to buy, but it does help pet collectors pay the bills and potentially adds to peoples’ enjoyment of the game. The exploration and collection side of the gameplay benefits from being able to create an economy from our exploring the world.

13 Comments

  1. Posted July 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    As a counter-point, look at what’s happening to Diablo 3.

    It’s very arguable that the AH has severely damaged that game, breaking the link between effort and reward. Many of the arguments in your last paragraph applied to the D3 AH, but it turns out that the AH does have a much larger, much more negative effect on overall enjoyment.

    Perhaps the same thing will happen if you allow people to sell high-level pets.

    • Posted July 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      Eh, I have not even hit level cap in Diablo 3 and I would have stopped playing much sooner if the AH was not available. Being able to out gear the content in Normal/Nightmare modes made the game bareable and fun.

      It really depends on what you want out of the game and how you play. I don’t chase achievements because, achievements and gear in game are not how I value my self worth. I play these games to have fun, and fun for me usually involves rofl-stomping content while BSing on VoiP.

  2. ecker
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    The thing is, and I think you touched on it in this post, but to put it another way – is that simply by making wild pets non-tradeable, they make the whole pve side of battling a limited-time game. For the first few weeks, sure, everyone who wants to will be out gathering up all their pets from each zone. And then after that?

    The zones return to the unused places they are currently. There’s no reason for a player to stick around Durotar fighting the wild pets there when her team is past level 3 and she has no reason to capture any of the pets she’s fighting.

    Just by making wild pets tradeable, you extend the life of the system. People will always go back to old zones to try to get a rare to put on the AH or to grab a specific pet for a friend/guild event. Rare item – including pets – farming is a big part of the game, and it consumes a lot of player time.

    I really like the wild pve pet battles, moreso than the pvp aspect. But I don’t see much shelf-life in rolling through Elwynn Forest slaughtering rabbits when my pets are level 25 and it gives me no benefit at all.

  3. Posted July 25, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Although it may not seem you would hurt the economy with one L25 pet, it is clear that a fair few people were already pinning their hopes on this becoming their ‘cash-cow’ Enough L25 pets could not only damage the more sensitive economies but they’d allow people to create ‘Super Teams’ with enough cash, giving a distinct competitive edge to anyone who could buy their way in. This really shouldn’t be the way you play in Azeroth.

    • Lissanna
      Posted July 25, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      You can already post up level 25 pets, as far as I can tell. You just can’t post up level 25 “wild” pets. You can still level up vendor pets & post them.

  4. Saniel
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I think the underlying meaning of “take away from the exploration/collection gameplay,” is wild pet farming for profit. If I can never capture a rare pet because every time it spawns, an AH Hawk is already there on top of it, it’s going to be frustrating for me. And if he can sell every one he captures, it provides incentive to keep doing it. This is what I think Blizz is trying to curb.

    This is different from things like the TLPD or other rare spawns with mount/pet rewards because once you have them, the only reason to continually farm it is to be a jerk. And the number of people willing to put in that kind of time just to be a jerk is kinda low. Or other rare collectables that just have a random chance of dropping off anything.

    I’m not saying there’s not precedent. Jadefang can be camped and its pet sold on the AH repeatedly. Maybe along the way, they’ll be changing that, too.

    • Posted July 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Yes but the way to combat the camping is to have dynamic spawn locations so that 1 person just can not camp one location. Preferably 5-10 spawn locations or more in the same zone area but not too close to one another.

  5. Daniel
    Posted July 25, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    “I thought the point of this system was to entertain us longer than just the week or two that it takes to level a team up to max level and get bored of battling with our max-level pets.”

    Maybe you thought wrong. I wonder if the real problem here is an issue of expectation management (something that Blizzard has historically not been good at.) It seems to me that some players might be expecting more out of the pet system than Blizzard ever intended. To my mind the pet battle system has always had the feel of the Argent Tournament about it. An interesting side show but not something that’s central to game play during the expansion.

    Based on some of the comments I’ve been reading I’ve got the feeling that among some core fans pet battles were supposed to be something akin to a new game element like raiding, or pvp, or questing. I don’t think that’s correct. Maybe it will turn into that one day but I don’t think starting out that was Blizzard’s intention. If the hardcpre collectors get done with the pet system in just one month, my bet is that Blizzard will be fine with that reality.

  6. Asrah
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    I think its the best to have as less pet tradeable as possible. Some tradeable are ok. For example ones made by professions and a few others (like raids drop boe as well). But it would be stupid if players could buy everything from ah. Where is the challange? You should go out in the world and hunt for whatever you want, not just sit in the ah, get gold and buy it.

    • Lissanna
      Posted July 26, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      What’s the incentive/reward for going out and doing that? I already have about a dozen rare-quality pets sitting in my bags just from all the pet collecting I’ve done for years. I already have over a hundred pets I’ve already collected. You don’t get anything other than achievement points from battling pets. So, there’s no real challenge in the pet battle system even if zero pets were sold on the AH. All it costs is $30 on the Blizzard pet store to have a set of level 1 rare quality pets. It only takes maybe a handful of hours to level them up (once all the quests are in place).

      Without planning for the longevity of the system, it will be something people do for a month and then get bored and quit playing WOW again. I gave up on archaeology because the vanity items weren’t worth the grind that gave no real reward. I just don’t want the same thing to happen to the pet battle system.

      • Asrah
        Posted July 26, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        What do you mean you get nothing but achievements from pet battles? Have you ever heared about fun? Some players play for that “thing”.
        What do you get from pvp? If you are not part of the elite 0.5% you get nothing but the gear you buy to actually be able to play properly. Most of the players get nothing at all, just play because they like to play.
        What do you get from pve? Nothing!!! You get your gear, kill the boss and gain achivements, just like pet battles reward some of those.

        If you don’t like a feature, don’t do it. Why so negative about it?
        I’m certain that collecting them yourself is much better than buying it. How would it feel if you could buy all the gear for your raid or pvp from ah?

        Longevity depends only on the future patches. Blizzard decides to add more to it or not. This is a mini game not something designed to be played for years.

        • Lissanna
          Posted July 27, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

          WOW is something that needs to be “designed to be played for years”. The pet battle system is a lot more intricate than most other mini-games they have had. The flowers vs ghouls mini-game wasn’t something people were supposed to keep doing for years. The pet battle system, however, is something that has to keep people entertained for many years to come. The changes to wild pets likely hurts the longevity of their system, when players are already saturated with tons of pets they already have. There is nothing about grinding through dozens of battles with frogs to capture a Rare quality frog that is very fun. The rarity grinding out in the world is the only part of the game this really effects, so now, people will only bother trapping rares that they randomly happen to come across, or pets they have a particular attachment to, and then stop catching pets.

          • Asrah
            Posted July 27, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

            Would tradeable wild pets increase the longevity of the system? No it wouldn’t. Just make things even faster. Players could just buy everything without playing. Don’t get why do you think it would help at all. Game exists to play with not to buy the stuff you want for gold. PvP to get pvp stuff, raid to get raid stuff, pet battle to get pet stuff. Even if they let some of those tradeable, there have to be not tradeable ones too.