Feedback: Pet Battles in Shadowlands

Hello pet battlers!

In Shadowlands, there are some core changes to Pet Battles, and while there are many pet battle updates now available for testing, we have quite a bit more coming.

First, we have no plans to make a new pet charm currency this expansion. Polished Pet Charms will remain the standard currency to buy new pets, toys, consumables, and all of the other normally-available vendor purchases.

There are several items that are coming along for testing in this week’s build (and the next few builds) of the Shadowlands Beta:

  • New content! There will be plenty of new battle pets to capture, trainers to battle, achievements, and pets that will be rewarded from various activities.
  • New Abilities! With Shadowlands and all of the strong covenant themes, we have some plans for new abilities and mechanics to add to some of the new pets. Some may be small changes to numbers, and other changes may be big and open up new strategies or synergies.
  • Buffs! The list below of changes made to old abilities are all nerfs to existing things that have become too dominant. We also feel like there’s room to make some cool new ability combos, or redesign something that hasn’t worked so well, or buff things that are rarely used. This can be anything from some new ability mechanics, up to and potentially including redesigning or increasing the power of a species’ passive bonuses if necessary.

Previously-announced changes that are now testable in the Beta:

  • Black Claw and other flat damage taken increasing abilities.
  • Hunting Party, Flock, and other similar multi-round abilities.
  • The Shattered Defenses debuff from abilities such as Hunting Party and Flock.
  • Twilight Meteorite and other long-cooldown damage-splitting abilities.
  • The Jar of Smelly Liquid ability.

Let’s break down what actually changed to these, as some of them are complicated.

Flat damage-taken modifiers such as Black Claw now happen **after multipliers such as Shattered Defenses, or pet species strengths/weaknesses. This is a significant change to the value of flat damage abilities. Prior to this change, the value of Black Claw was increased 100% by Shattered Defenses, and if your pet was strong vs the other pet type, it would be increased even further. Flat damage modifiers now happen after all other combat calculations, which wound up being a significant damage output nerf to abilities that hit multiple times, upwards of 25-30% total damage reduction.

Hunting Party and Flock style abilities are significantly changed. First, the Shattered Defenses debuff was reduced in power from 100% to 50%. The goal of this debuff change is mostly to keep the damage of Hunting Party and Flock mostly contained within the damage the ability itself deals. Layering on other Damage over Time effects, or Curse of Doom, or similar delayed-damage sources were all getting a huge benefit from the Shattered Defenses debuff. We think that a 50% damage increase is still strong enough, but less drastic of a damage swing compared to not having Shattered Defenses at all.

The second change we made to these multi-round abilities was to increase the amount of damage they deal to offset some of the changes listed above. Abilities that dealt damage twice per round, such as Hunting Party, had their total damage dealt increased by 25%. Abilities such as Flock that did damage three times per round had their damage increased round-over-round, so to get the maximum damage output, you needed your pet to survive and still be dealing damage on the third round of the ability. Round two of Flock for example, ignoring any debuffs or multipliers, will deal 66% more damage than round one. Round three of Flock will deal 133% more damage than round 1 of Flock. The net result of all of the changes to flat damage modifiers, the Shattered Defenses debuff, and the buffs to Hunting Party or Flock style abilities is that they deal roughly 20% less damage in Shadowlands than they did previously.

Twilight Meteorite and other big damage abilities that split the damage across the team are relatively balanced when fighting multiple opponents, but if you save it until defeating 2/3 of the enemy’s team, the damage output can be devastating, especially when combined with other buffs/debuffs. We reduced the damage on these abilities by 10%, and believe that will make them strong, but less frustrating to play against.

The Jar of Smelly Liquid ability had its cooldown increased one round. This ability has been on our radar of being annoying to play against, and the strength of the ability combined with a speed and damage dealt debuff on the target felt too strong for a cooldown of only one round.

A couple of other changes in Shadowlands:

  • Murkalot’s Righteous Inspiration ability has been on the forefront of PvP strategies for a while, and is very strong, and unique to only this pet. The current change we have in Shadowlands is that the ability starts on cooldown when the pet battle begins, so you will have to wait 8 rounds to be able to use it against your opponent.
  • Almost all healing abilities have had a small variance applied to them of +/- 10% when you use it. Healing Wave might say it heals your target for 100, but actually heal for between 90 and 110. This also applied to some healing abilities like Siphon Life, where it should heal for a fixed amount based on damage dealt, but still had a variance applied on it. All healing abilities have been tuned so that having any variation in the healing amount makes sense, and we’ve removed the variance if it did not.

Finally, we’re considering the viability of older pet battle content after these changes. Some of the changes we’re making could make older battles or achievements much too difficult to complete. We really like how it feels to have so much pet battle content accessible to players who are at all points on the pet battle journey, whether they’re just getting started or have hundreds of max-level pets.

In Shadowlands, we still expect pet battlers to be able to complete older content with a current slate of battle pets, so we’re looking forward to your feedback. We’re confident that we can adjust tuning where necessary.

Thank you!

These changes just show how disconnected you are from the players.

The Nerfs & Buffs we need here’s the suggestions from a post I made 1 month ago.

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Hey at least they didn’t hardlock the forums.
Gotta do what gotta do. I apologize for not letting the bread winners go first but it seems the barrier has been already pushed.

Okay, let’s go!

Flat damage-taken modifiers such as Black Claw now happen after multipliers such as Shattered Defenses, or pet species strengths/weaknesses. This is a significant change to the value of flat damage abilities. Prior to this change, the value of Black Claw was increased 100% by Shattered Defenses, and if your pet was strong vs the other pet type, it would be increased even further. Flat damage modifiers now happen after all other combat calculations, which wound up being a significant damage output nerf to abilities that hit multiple times, upwards of 25-30% total damage reduction.

Thank you for this in-depth explanation.
It seems that this change affects quite a lot, and this is the one thing I hope the team will keep testing. While breaches are in the centre of focus because of the raptors and birds, I understand the shields, and #Sandstorm#, get the same treatment.
After the announcement about SD abilities it became clear the shielding effects will no longer prevent them completely. Ultimately, the whole situation is affected twice, which I might not mind yet, just something that will have to be especially kept in mind for certain encounters, such as these where the flocks are unleashed against us!

The second change we made to these multi-round abilities was to increase the amount of damage they deal to offset some of the changes listed above. Abilities that dealt damage twice per round, such as Hunting Party, had their total damage dealt increased by 25%. Abilities such as Flock that did damage three times per round had their damage increased round-over-round, so to get the maximum damage output, you needed your pet to survive and still be dealing damage on the third round of the ability.

By the following context, and by the abilities themselves, I think with Abilities that dealt damage twice per round/three times per round you meant lasted two/three rounds. Both are true for Flock family, but not for Hunting Party (unless you’ve changed it aswell)! :slight_smile:

Twilight Meteorite and other big damage abilities that split the damage across the team are relatively balanced when fighting multiple opponents, but if you save it until defeating 2/3 of the enemy’s team, the damage output can be devastating, especially when combined with other buffs/debuffs. We reduced the damage on these abilities by 10%, and believe that will make them strong, but less frustrating to play against.

We have been there, but yet again:
Abilities which deal split damage on a 5 round CD are not new: Avalanche, Thunderbolt, Carpnado. Before the Legion AoE changes, they used to deal 40 damage (and two of them had a smaller CD). From the 7.0 onwards, they deal 33 damage.
It makes clear to us that these two abilities are way out of the line even after suggested change. Myself, I would settle at 36 to each of the abilities, including old ones, though more AoE-fatigued players will differ.
The Battle for Azeroth 2RCD abilities (33) are way too strong aswell (they’ve got the current Thunderbolt’s damage, for Light’s sake!). You can also compare it to the overnerfed 3RCD Whirlwind (27).

It’s this, for now. My inner nerd is happy about that little health note, though I think the variance overall is somewhat confusing to the new players. At the very least I would like a tooltip expansion to follow. :slight_smile:

Crosses fingers for the four Xu-Fu’s buddies

An additional concern I would like to express once more is that whether placeholders or not, a couple of strong NPC abilities (Hammer, Necrotic Bomb, Slime Trail) have been given to playable pets. This has to stop. The first ability in particular still makes me squirm.

Could you imagine an analogue in the main gameplay? I think not.

Wait, you’ve given the UNOBTAINABLE pet an OP ability that is unique to it? And you let it stay this way in PvP for this long? The hell?!

Can you please just scrap the find pet battle button and turn its associated achievements into legacy/FoS? The mode is extremely unpopular and unbalanced, and winning 5k battles in that mode is synonymous with masochism.

The find battle option is unpopular because the Devs leave overpowered pets/abilities years to fix, the queuing system is broken so bugs out, limits the opponents into an unknown battlegroup, the rewards are significantly lacking behind pve content, introduced an family based achievement without thinking about the legacy, leaves bugged abilities expansions to fix if at all and often prevents queuing from current content zones.

The best fix for RI is to just remove the speed buff so that there is alot more counterplay options. Currently if played correctly there is maybe 1 or 2 counters to RI.

I’m assuming that you’re not very good at pet PVP so are struggling to get your 5k wins. Probably better use of your time to learn more strategies/counters than complain about the content hoping it someone gets changed.

You’ve literally listed the reasons why this mode should be scrapped.

All those things listed are totally unavoidable and directly caused by the Dev team. The reason there is so many is because when the problem started it wasn’t fixed and this repeats and repeats.

Making changes to most of these is very straightforward.

  • Overpowered abilities and pets can the majority of the time be fixed by changing numbers.

  • the queue bugging out is likely tied to areas you cannot battle e.g Uldum and the multiple character mounts.

  • they can remove the battlegroup restriction and make the 5k wins lvl 25 pets only.

  • increase the rewards for winning or quests available to be on a par with pve.

  • restrict the queue on some days to same family only

  • fixing some of bugged abilities might be harder but some like Bend Time should be reworked or removed.

  • there’s no reason to restrict some areas from queuing

Alot of these issues also affect PVE so it’s positive for the whole part of this game.

Since I can’t reply in the NA forums, and no one seems to know how I can get access to them, I’ll reply here.

1 – If you’d like us to test these changes and give proper feedback, please give us access to our rosters, or let us know when that’ll happen so we can be ready.

2 – What little testing I was able to do indicates the changes to Black Claw and Shattered Defenses are not going to be 100% a strategy breaker. If your strat is overkilling with the damage, you’ll likely be fine. You might need a couple of attacks afterward to finish the enemy off, but that’ll be about it.

If your strat is tight on the numbers and just barely eeking by, you’re going to need to make adjustments or scrap it altogether. (BRD, Tanaan, Argus)

3 – New content: I’ve done half of the new WQ battles. It would have been more, but it seems we’re only getting access to 2/4 in each of the zones so far.

4 – Stratios: His team was bugged day before yesterday. I haven’t checked it today, but one of his pets, Glitterwing, doesn’t show up on the team at all.

The pets that do show up are missing their portraits, and maybe because the third pet is missing, but the first pet to come into the battle swaps. Sometimes you’ll get Tinyhoof first, other times you get Shelby first. It was probably coincidence, but it seemed like every time I swapped my pet to counter his, was when I’d get the enemies swapping, and I’d lose a turn bringing in the pet I want. If this is on purpose, then that’s fine. People will just need to deal with losing a turn to a pet swap. If it’s not on purpose, well, now you know.

5 – Gorgemouth: I liked this battle. It wasn’t a simple matter of grab Critters to counter the Undead enemy, but not so complicated or difficult that it was impossible to figure out. I will say I was a little shocked that my counter worked as well as it did, given his shield, so I’m not sure if my team should have been as effective as it was.

6 – Nightfang: I like the idea behind his buff, and I can record some numbers, but for an enemy that’s getting a Prowl buff at the end of every turn, he didn’t seem to be hitting very hard.

7 – Addius hasn’t come up in the rotation, but I’m looking forward to the Mind Games debuffs. On the other hand, while the idea is nice, it would more effective if the debuff was randomized instead of letting the player choose. If you let the player choose, people will find the one with the least detrimental impact and just choose that one. Randomizing the debuff would force people to come up with different counters depending on which one came up, like how affixes in M+ change how you might do a dungeon.

Also, the numbers for the debuffs haven’t been seen, but are those going to be randomized, too?

8 – Thenia in Bastion has a pet called Golden Grazer, who is one of the talbuk-looking animals, yet it’s listed as a Flying pet. Not sure that was intended. It makes countering the team rather easy right now, but just wanted to point it out.

9 – Dundley in Maldraxxus & Eyegor in Revendreth: These fights were pretty standard with standard counters, but not every fight needs to require a stroke of genius to figure it out.

10 – Scorch: I like that we’re seeing enemies with AoE abilities. It makes you think not just about a 1:1 counter with the enemy, but how well your active pet can kill the enemy, and what pets you need on the backline so they’ll survive if they need to come into the fight.

11 – Faryl has been the most difficult fight so far, but isn’t like Fras Siabi or Kwint level. However, it could also be due to the fact that I’m working with a limited roster, (I was lucky enough that someone caged a bunch of their pets for me), so I wasn’t able to use the pets I’d like to, to counter the team.

12 – Overall, the new fights feel comfortable. They won’t be a challenge after the first try or two for someone who knows what they’re doing, but that’s not what the WQs are about. That’ll be more for achievements later down the line. They also don’t feel so terribly difficult that someone can’t usually grab standard counters and be fine.

13 – You say you want to work on cool ability combos, and I can’t disagree. For the most part, the majority of a roster feels like bloat. You have pets that could be cool, but there’s no synergy between their moves, so they just kind of sit on a shelf. One of the reasons I started making strats was because I disliked using the same 50-100 pets when my roster had hundreds, and now over a thousand. Striking a balance between a pet that has great move synergy but isn’t overpowered, and doing that for each pet, would be a nice step in the correct direction.

14 – Given the fact that Unique pets now number over 1k, it’s probably time to bump up the base pet journal from 1k to 1.5k.

I’ll be able to give more feedback once I have access to my roster and can do more testing, and hey, maybe I’ll even have access to the NA forums by that point.

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Can Necrotic Bomb be looked at before going live on a player pet?

It deals 10 baseline upfront then 45 to a whole team whilst healing 23 hp on 3 round cd.

It’s one of the strongest damage aoe abilities only second to Poison Protocol,5 round cd 60 damage, that is currently the strongest strategy in PVP due to its power level (Poison Protocol is overpowered).
The healing potential and 3 round cd arguably make it better. It will fairly often be able to use the ability twice before being killed.

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There’s a new pet called Backbone I think will be too strong running the build Voidslap 30 baseline damage splash aoe 2 round cd, Bone Barrage 80% hit 27 baseline with 3 damage dot for 4 rounds 1 round CD and Bonestorm 13 baseline damage to each pet and 10% hp to caster 3 round CD.

It’s pretty much a combination of old Graves and Bone Serpent.

There are a couple of rotations that you can follow but the pet won’t become CD locked very easily if at all before it’s killed.

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While I’m not in the beta; doing all the testing, I still follow the pet updates for SL with a close eye, and there are some concerns I have with all the upcoming changes that I’d like to express here.

I came back after a long, long break - now about 4 months ago. I’ve been playing the game off and on for 14 years now, and always have been into pet collecting. When pet battles where introduced, it was kinda logic for me to get into it aswel.

In a short periode of time, I’ve managed to collect over 800 unique pets and got over 1k in total. I’ve started doing the dungeons a while ago, what for me, was a whole new experience. But I had and have fun with it. The BRD one, didn’t got it done yet; it’s a real challenge (but in a fun way!)

I understand the reasons why you would nerf some pets, I really do. But I’m not a player who always plays with the same pets; I like variety - I didn’t collect all those pets to NOT play with them. So my teams are build with nearly all diffrent and unique pets.
Now I read about all the nerfs the pets will get - and I wonder - all the time I’ve put into making teams, looking and testing for strats and tacs, the past months - is it all been for nothing?
Luckily, I also read the comments here on the forums, and it seems that not all has been in vain (f.e.: I read about the BRD-testing and that it seems while the pets are nerfed, it won’t be needed to make entire new teams, just gonna have to make some modifications here and there on some fights -> my personal goal is to get BRD done before SL launches so I’m prepping some teams as we speak) Thanks for that :slight_smile: ! But I also read about a lot of bugs, very hard WQ’s, pets not showing up in fights,… I hope most of this will be solved by the time we get to play SL.

The WQ’s is something I’d like to talk about a bit more. Personally, I’d like to see that we actually get pet related rewards for doing WQ’s pet battles. Now in BFA, we get sometimes “small Azerite cluster” or “war resourses” as reward. Why? I do pet battles, because I like doing them, and love working on my journal and lvling my pets. Getting war resources for example as a reward is just… urgh :nauseated_face: . When I see WQ’s with rewards like those, I just skip them for the day. Not worth my efford and time, sorry. Is this gonna change in SL, I wonder?
As I’ve read about the difficulty of the WQ’s; I’m not too concerned as I have a huge journal to choose from. And somehow I will find the correct team for my (new) opponent. But not everyone has this. So the average battle pet player is gonna do what? Quit pet battling? This doesn’t seem fair to ppl who don’t play the game on a regular (daily) basis (work, RL-stuff…). So if the WQ’s are as hard as mentioned left and right at this moment in the beta; I’d like to ask you to consider to change this - keeping in mind that a WQ should be done “quickly” and ppl will not like to spend more than an hour to look for a team to battle an opponent they can’t beat. You want to keep your ppl motivated, right :wink: ?

My next huge, huge, huge concern, is that I’ve read there’s a possibility that the pets will be only playable from the Covenant you’ve joined. You can obtain the pets from the other Covenants (they are also cagable, it seems), but you can’t play with them??? Why ??? Why on earth??? The collector in me says “collect the damn things”, but the “pettler” in me screams “nooooo!!! I want to play with the pets that I obtain!!!”. I’ve also read that this isn’t scribed in stone yet, and still is subjectable to changes. I really urge you to change it; so we can play with the pets we obtain. I don’t feel like having a bunch of pets in my journal, just for the numbers in collection/achievement, and have them sitting there idle. That’s just… sad :cry: !
I also wonder, how will these pets be obtainable from the Covenant (must look into that still, sorry for my ignorance on that area) - but I can tell you now I’m not gonna save up 200 charms and more for a pet that I’m not able to play with. My experience in BFA is - and this is my personal opinion - that pet’s are freaking expensive! Most of the pets cost around 150-200 charms (some are cheaper ofcourse, but think this is a fair average of what a pet costs in BFA) That are plenty of battles, is plenty of time,… to obtain 1 pet.

Pvp, I haven’t even started this to be honest. I read such negative things about it that up till now I didn’t even bother to get into it. Yet, this would be the logic next step for me to take.
I hope you may consider making some changes on this area aswell.

And last but not least; pet battle week. We get the extra xp for lvling a pet, but that’s it. Why not give an extra (pet!) reward during that week for doing a pet battle dungeon? Or even for doing the pet battle WQ’s? So you really get the “feeling” it’s pet battle week, other than just blindly lvling pets all day, you’ll give ppl an incentive to get a dungeon done, for example.

Cheers and (hopefully) have fun “pettling” in SL!

I wouldn’t worry about the pet nerfs. They turned out to be a giant nothingburger. They make little sense, and very little difference. Some strats that were already marginal will be affected, and the Murk nerf threw an unexpected wrench into Sir Galveston, but you will barely notice them. They did require a lot of work from people re-testing strats … nearly all wasted. :frowning:

While I don’t have Beta, I haven’t seen any evidence that Shadowlands WQ are especially hard. The Strategy Curators and others at Xu-Fu’s already have a variety of strats up, and none of them look at all difficult: https://wow-petguide.com/index.php?m=ShadowlandsWQs It could get more interesting if we have a Family achievement, of course, but that’s supposed to be challenging!

Of course, if you like to make your own strats, at least the first time - I do myself - then you may spend a little time on each one, but only once. After that, they’ll be 1-3 minutes each, as usual. [*]

Yeah, Covenant pets are a bit annoying, but having been through Legion with many Class pets, and all Class mounts, this cannot be as bad. And I do not believe that it is feasible to limit Covenant pets to characters who joined those Covenants, both because characters can and will change Covenants and because those pets would be unusable by characters too low-level to get into Covenants. I think that speculation about pets being unusable has no basis.

PvP … is a whole 'nother story. We’ve done the back and forth on that many times. Just figure there won’t be any significant change in Shadowlands, and pop in to the Discord if you want any tips, when the time comes for you to try it.

I don’t see how a pet for Pet Battle Week is sustainable. There could be one, of course, but what then, when you have that one? There really can’t be a new pet for every Pet Battle Week?

[*] P.S. And far too many people will just bot their way through them with that scripting addon as usual.

Thanks for your reply!

About the hard WQ’s, I’ve read that somewhere on a WoW forum (might also been WoWhead as I’m using that a lot), hence why I was wondering about it :wink: . And I totally agree that the Family achieve should be challenging!

I have little experience on Legion, so honestly can’t say how that was in order to obtain pets. Still need to make some sort of “catching up move” there! :smile:

About the Covenant pets not being usable - I read this in a guide on wowhead: https://www.wowhead.com/guides/shadowlands-battle-pets#kyrian-covenant-pets-grubby-kyrian ; hence my little panic attack there! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Pet battle week; did express myself there a bit wrong perhaps. I didn’t mean that they should give a pet; but a pet related reward as in a lving stone f.e. extra.

The scripting addon, I’ve heard about it but so far not using it. It’s just fun to test out all myself. And a nice way to get to know your pets, how they play/work, get more insight to them,…

And thx for the discord tip, will get into that aswell as soon as I’ll start to pvp with them!

Cheers and have a nice evening!

Hm, I hadn’t seen that there was an actual string

PET_JOURNAL_PET_IS_WRONG_COVENANT
You are not the correct Covenant for this companion.

That is concerning. I still think it’s not feasible, but now I’m getting a bit worried too. :sweat:

I know, right?! Only thing we can do is wait and see what gives. Haven’t seen an official announcement or something that Blizz is willing to change this. Will keep a close eye on this in the upcoming weeks.

Also, I’m wondering… if you see on WoWhead the diffrent pets for the covenants… why has one covenant f.e. 6 pets, and the other only 2? Why not give all the covenants at least the same amount of pets? Feels a bit unfair, if you have to pick a covenant because you’ll need a certain skill for your playstyle; and that covenant only got the 2 pets… you’re kinda… getting a bad trade, to put it polite.

Another point I have… If you do the dungeons, you get to save up marks for 3 or 4 pets. One mark a week; do the dungeons every week; lets say for a max of 4 pets, wich means in max. 12 weeks you’ve gathered all the pets there are. Now; I don’t have all the pets (yet), but I can imagene, ppl who played threwout BFA, that plenty of them do have them all. Why would you than keep on playing the dungeons? Is there a plan to add some new pets to the dungeons at least, so we have a reason to keep playing the dungeons? We don’t get a new dungeon in SL; hence I’m wondering. Is it Blizz’s plan to let it all die out slowly? Or are there plans to add a new dungeon in SL at some later point with a patch or so?

I’m really curious how this all is gonna work out in SL!

I don’t know about pets and covenants. There’s a lot of pets whose sources we don’t know.

About BfA dungeons, most of us stop running them when we have all the pets. Since the moves are the same every week, they are not really something anyone wants to do again and again.

You can, however, keep earning pets from them to sell in the AH, where the pets are cageable.

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A heartening sign!

One of the regulars in the pet Discord today checked on the Beta and WAS able to summon the Slime Cat on Night Fae and Kyrian characters! :smiley: :+1:

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Ohhh!! Wouldn’t that be great!

I’ve contacted someone via discord, who also writes guides. He has let me know that this weekend a huge update is coming on wowhead; so I’m looking forward to that.

Hopefully he has some good news! :smiley:

Have a good weekend!

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