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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.

Posted in Beta Feedback, Mists of Pandaria, Pet Battles, Written By Lissanna

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