So the secret finding community has been at it again, and with the launch of 7.2.5 they discovered how to get the gorgeous Sun Darter Hatchling pet. It’s quite the puzzle, and incredible of them to have figured it out!

If you would like to get your very own Sun Darter, check out the comment on Wowhead with all of the instructions. I took a few screenshots along the way.

So before you head off to start this adventure, you need to be prepared with a whole bunch of random consumables. The comment has the full list. Most can be purchased from the Auction House, but some required some adventuring. Thankfully I already had the Gordok Ogre Suit on an alt, so I only needed to get me Scotty’s Lucky Coin, Noggfenfogger Elixr, Winterfall Firewater, and some Dire Brew. Most were straight forward (although Scotty was tricky to find!) But the Dire Brew… argh. I have always gotten so damn lost in Blackrock Depths, and this time was no exception. I was running around that place for almost an hour just for this. I was most frustrated! But I got there in the end.

The other sticking point for this was the Major Nature Protection Potion. All of the other potions were available on the AH for a reasonable price, but the Nature potion- well that one was selling for 10k and up. I just couldn’t justify it. I understand the reasoning- you need to be exalted with Cenarian Expedition to purchase the recipe, and some of the mats can be tricky to get… but still. 10k was a bit excessive. So I looked in my guild list to see if anyone in guild had the recipte. There was 1 person, but they weren’t on very often. Even still, I went off and sourced all the mats for the potion, and waited for them to log on. They did not. In the end I looked on the AH and saw the price had dropped to 5k, so figured stuff it, and bought one. lol

So off I went on my adventure! I had never ever been to the part of Azeroth that this cave was found in. I personally found the area really magical. There was just something about it that said “adventures happen here”. I think I’ll just go back every now and then to sit around. It’s a beautiful spot by the sea.

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Once inside, you are immediately stopped by a wall of fire, shortly followed by a wall of fel. This is where all of your potions come into play.

Once you are through the fel wall, it’s time to turn into a skeleton. I had bought 20 Noggenfogger Elixrs in case it took me awhile to change to a skeleton, but wouldn’t you know it? Got it first go. So I snuck past the first gargoyle…

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I then came to a fork in the road. The instructions said to go to the vined wall first, so that I did. Using Scotty’s Lucky Coin I turned into a sprite, and was able to freely pass through the wall, to collect a stone from the puddle inside. Once back out and in front of the blue wall, I used the stone and got all wet! But I was able to pass through onto the next area.

This is where the Dire Brew got used, and I turned into a Dark Iron Dwarf. I was able to dance right past that guard with no worries at all!

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The path then split into 3 options. First we had to go up a ramp to a purple wall. Using an Ethereal Oil, I was able to pass through the wall to what lay beyond. This part was the part I was most impressed with. Inside this room was a strange stone with a hole in the middle of it. The idea is that you need to put your arm in the hole to get a special buff. But your arm has to be the right type and size. The secret finders figured out that if you use the Gordok Ogre Suit and Winterfell Firewater, you’re just the right size! And shove my arm in, I did.

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Out I went, and this time faced a caged wall. I drank Pygmy Oil until I turned into a Pygmy and could run through the bars. Inside was a myterious cube that wanted to see “an amusing heir”. Well my perky pug in a princess outfit would do just the trick! Second buff received.WoWScrnShot_062717_143006

Then it was through the last wall that was now opened up. It was kinda creepy inside. There was a plaque to the right which I clicked on. Then swapping a few buffs over, I walked across the water to click on the Oddly-Colored Egg- and the Sun Darter Hatchling was mine! 🙂

This was just so much fun to do. I hope that the secret finding community had a great time figured it all out! 🙂

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I started writing this when the topic of Epic Battle Stones was still being discussed. Today Blizzard has responded to the feedback and decided not to go ahead with the Epic stones. So my post is probably a little useless.But here I am anyway.

I felt that the discussion around the epic stones was relatively polite and considered. The posts that I had read about this were passionate, yes, but they didn’t attack the devs as being “stupid” or the idea being “a waste of time”which a lot of other posts/changes have generated. It was refreshing to see actual discussion. I have noticed, however, that since a decision was made, people who thought the stones were a good idea are angry.

With that in mind, I’m going to still publish this post about my thoughts on the Epic stones (which is below), but I want to do another one in the near future about the “bitch away the changes” mentality that people seem to have, or seem to think is there in places it may not be.

So without further ado, here’s my thoughts on the future of pet battling…

The Epic Battle Stones discussion

There are arguments for both sides regarding adding Epic stones.

The thing I think that is most important about this “debate” all parties (who are interested in pet battles) would like to see new content added for Pet Battles. I am yet to see a comment from someone saying “don’t change anything! Don’t bring in anything new! Leave it exactly how it is and don’t add new content!”. It’s not there. Everyone who has an interest in pet battling would like to see some additions. With this in mind, Blizzard looked at ways to do this for Legion. One suggestion was to bring in Epic Battle Stones.

Adding Epic Battles stones would bring in another level of quality for pets, giving 5 rarities in total. No word was given on how often or how these stones would drop (i.e. could we farm these a get at least 1 per day? Or would they be super rare?) so it can be a bit difficult to comment in some areas. However, here are my initial thoughts about the stones.

Arguments for the epic stones

Gives pet battlers something to do

Pet battling in general is suffering the same fate as the rest of the game at the moment – that is, people have done most (if not all) they can do with pet battles (or what they are willing to do) and are left with nothing/little else to do with their pets. Many people have collected all of the pets they can from the wild, and some people have even upgraded them all to rare and levelled them all to 25. Which leaves them with nothing to currently do with their pets other than to farm, raise and sell them, which not something everyone enjoys.

Adding in a new level of quality would give people something else to do, even if that is just to grind out a new quality. This has been the general argument for having the stones brought in to the game.

It’s the next natural step

This is true, and is an point Rho argues very well in his recent episode of Realm Maintenance – just like it’s natural for players to have a level increase or gear increase every expansion, it should/could be expected for pets to do the same. Progression is expected in an MMO, and pets should experience that progression too.

I can understand this, and I don’t disagree with the mentality in general. But for battle pets it’s a bit different. In the rest of the game when you get higher level gear for your character, it’s for a purpose – it makes raiding easier, or world PVE easier. Where previously you may have needed a group to kill a rare, you can do it with 1 other person, or even on your own. Also, it looks different, so you can show off your hard earned super leet gear for all to see. There is a payoff for spending the time and energy to get the upgrades.

With pet battles, I query what that benefit would be. It may make your daily tamer battles a little easier, but that’s about it. Unless there was a cosmetic change too, your pets would look the same. So there isn’t an immediate sense that there would be a payoff for the “higher level”. Quintessence made a great point in one of her posts about this:

“It’s not like epic pets will make upgrading to rare any faster; it’s not the same as upgrading your gear, which then makes previous content faster. Epic pets may make trainer battles go a little smoother, but actually upgrading your pets to rare? It’s still a slow process as you collect battlestones and charms and continue hunting for rare quality pets. So there goes our grind to rare, long and now obsolete once epic pets are implemented.” (from “Epic Pet Idea – Epic Pet Slot” by Quintessence)

There is no “end game” benefit to having an epic level pet. The only content that it will make “easier” is pvp pet battles (which not a lot of people do) and the pet trainer dailies (which I feel haven’t been a huge challenge anyway). So the only additional gameplay coming out of this is more grinding with no real benefit at the end of it other than a menagerie of purple pets.

I feel like the whole pet battle system is a bit backwards to MMO gameplay. Where in your MMO you level up by questing in different zones and having a story line then doing raids/dunegons to get your gear, pet battles don’t have that. With pet battles we kind of skip straight to that “boss kill for better gear” mentality by simply finding a pet in the wild, defeating it, and hoping for a better quality drop pet. To argue there should be progression in the pet battles isn’t wrong, but I would argue that perhaps, given pet battling is already a bit backwards, could we look at ways of bringing in “questing” in to pet battles?

Arguments against epic stones

Too much grinding to do/not interesting game play

This is an argument that has people divided – Completionists will feel they must get all their pets to epic, so would be looking at grinding out stones for over 700 pets – ouch! Others argue that you don’t need to do that – just make a few key pets epic and let that be that.

I tend to fall on the “completionist” side of the fence, mostly because I’d be worried that I would upgrade the “wrong” pet. I can avoid that by just upgrading them all!! My bigger concern with this approach is that, which pet battling in general is well suited to players who don’t mind the super long grind, it’s not interesting game play, and perhaps there are better alternatives here. Or perhaps a better reward for the work it would require.

 

Difference between casual and “hardcore” pet battlers will increase

This is actually my biggest concern with having epic stones. For epic stones to be worthwhile, there will need to be pet battles where they are needed for a player to defeat the fight. If someone decides they want to start getting in to pet battles, there is a huge gap there for them that would make it immensely difficult to get involved. It would also be terribly daunting. So I’m concerned that adding this new level of difficulty would be a hindrance to getting more people involved in pet battles.

The flip side to this argument is that this mentality already exists within WoW – there are different levels of raiding suited to the different play styles of players. Some players are casual and would prefer an LFR/Normal level difficulty. Others want to go all out in to Mythic difficulty. So why not a similar approach with pet battles? I don’t disagree, but there would need to be a way for players to play at the level suited to them. At the moment there’s no option to set a difficulty level on a pet battle or a pvp pet battle. I don’t know how difficult that would be to implement, but that could be one way to address this.

 

Alternatives to the epic stones

I don’t disagree that there is a lack of things for pet battlers to do, but I personally don’t feel adding a new level of quality for pets alone is the answer to that problem. If epic level pets are to be brought in to the game, I feel it needs to more than just “here’s a purple pet”. So what are some other options?

Unlock skins/spell effects etc. for the pet

This is purely cosmetic, but could be a lot of fun. I know some pets already have loads of skins available for the various types. So how about unlocking different spell effects? Or how about unlocking a “trick” that your pet could do? e.g. if you have a pet spider out, when you AFK it will start building a web on you. Silly fun things like that.

Unlock a 4th spell slot

This could be complicated, but interesting. The 4th slot could have new abilities, or better yet, lets you choose one of the existing abilities your pet already has. This may change the game a bit too much, but is an interesting idea anyway.

Have a quest line for collecting/battling pets

This is my favourite idea and I hope that it’s something that Blizzard will look at doing at some point down the line. I mentioned above that pet battles work a bit backwards to the normal MMO experience. What’s missing is a story line to go along with collecting pets or completing pet battles.

I’d really love to see an interesting story line where players need to work their way through a series of pet battles in different regions with some “hard bosses”. Hell, maybe we could have a Legendary Pet quest line that means we need to fight a whole bunch of pets and collect tokens and things from them and catch a certain pet to help you on your way so that it can save a legendary pet that you get to keep. It doesn’t even need to be a combat pet – just a super unique, completely awesome and amazing pet. Something that will take some time and creativity in pet choices to get through.

Gives a small buffs

This was a suggestion Rho made on the previously mentioned Realm Maintenance podcast, and it’d definitely my favourite idea that I’ve seen. It’s not to boost raids/dungeons etc, but to give buffs like a small XP boost for example.

Other people have also suggested that it could buff your pet battle team to give extra experience gains, or increase your chance of getting other levelling stones.

 

All in all…

… there are quite a few alternatives available to a simple stat increase for epic pets. Part of me thinks that Blizzard knew this, but made the suggestion on the forums to get people thinking about what they do want for pet battles in general. It’s a great strategy if that’s what they did, because I really think people have come up with some great thoughts.

Can’t wait to see what’s to come in Legion for pets!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I finished the last battle in the Celestial Tournament! It took me awhile, but I got there in the end. I doubt that it will happen, but it would be nice if there was another similar type tournament in Legion. I like this PVE-style of pet battling, where it’s just me against a series of pets. (I’m really not a fan of the PVP pet battling at all!)

All in all, it took a LOT of work to get through all of this, and an awful lot of patience. But it was worth it. All 4 of the pets are gorgeous and unique and I love them.

If you’re interested in taking on the Celestial Tournament, you’ll need 15 pets at maximum level just to enter, and a lot more than that to be able to complete the fights. In the end there were 2 guides that I used, both from wowhead. The first, and the one I used the most, is the A Pet Battler’s Guide to: Defeating the Celestial Tournament. I found this guide really useful because it has multiple stats, and best of all offers a series of alternative pet options if you don’t have what the guide suggests. The second guide I used is Celestial Tournament with 18 pets. I only found this guide towards the end of my attempts, but it has some great strats for the Celestials themselves. The guide does make use of the “healing pets up” strat where you have a pet with an AoE who can heal up any pets who haven’t died. The guide explains it well, and it works well, too. I used it as a backup for any strats that didn’t work out for me in the first guide. Both guides are great, so check them out!

I took all 4 of my little pets around to their parents’ temples for a visit and to get some family pics. 🙂

Best of all, this ticks off another item from my bucket list!

This weekend I’ve been having a bit of trouble with my back so have been taking it easy. Which means a lot of time in WoW. This week’s bonus event is one of my favourites, the Pet Battle Bonus. It’s a brilliant opportunity to level up some of your pets very quickly. I have two pet related items on my pre-Legion bucket list. One is to get the pet battle monument by completing 2000 (argh) pet battles in Draenor. The other is an equally stupid goal of my own to get all of my pets to 25. So why not kill 2 birds with one stone while also levelling up one of my toons at the same time?

One of the best places to level up pets nice and quickly is actually right outside the Horde garrison. There are loads of little Icespine Hatchlings that respawn very quickly. That and with my little team below, they are perfect for levelling pets very quickly from level 1.

pet team

My super levelling pet team

Here’s my team:

Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling
Breath
Thunderbolt
Decoy
(note: Decoy is really the only ability you need from this pet, so if you have another with Decoy that you would rather use, go for it. Just make sure your other 2 abilities will be useful in the rare event that Xu-Fu will go down). 

Xu-Fu, Cub of Xuen
Bite
Feed
Prowl

Levelling pet – any pet that you want to level, even level 1

The strategy:

  1. open with Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling and drop Decoy
  2. switch to your levelling pet. Don’t do any abilities – the decoy will take the hit so your low level pet doesn’t take any damage
  3. switch to Xu-Fu and take the hit
  4. do prowl
  5. do feed – generally this should bring you right back up to full health
This is how your level 1 pets will survive the fights - that decoy!

This is how your level 1 pets will survive the fights – that decoy!

From here it’s a straight forward rotation of doing bite until prowl is available again, then doing prowl, feed and repeat. Xu-Fu does most of the hard work here, but he’s a brilliant little pet. His self healing is what makes this so easy to get through. I work it so that the last hit on the opposing team is Feed which usually bring Xu-Fu back to full health, ready for his next team to fight. It means you don’t spend a lot of time having to heal up your pets outside of the battles. Also, if you’re very lucky, you’ll get 2 critters on the opposing team – each can be taken down with just 2 hits from Xu-fu (sometimes even just 1 if he crits well!).

Sometimes you will get unlucky and Xu-Fu will go down, especially if the other 2 pets are Twilight Wasps (flying), but following the above I’ve only ever had that happen on the 3rd opposing pet, and the mechanical dragonling does just fine to finish off the battle (drop decoy, thunderbolt and breath and you should be done).

You can make the pet levelling process WAY faster if you wear our Safari hat, and use both a Lesser Pet Treat (25% pet exp. bonus) AND the Pet Treat (50% pet exp. bonus) – both will treats will stack, so with everything combined with the pet battle bonus experience, you’re looking at 275% pet experience bonus. VERY nice. 😀

It’s quick and easy. My priest dinged 100 today having essentially the very basics in Frostfire Ridge to give her a garrison, and from then on she did pet battles. It’s definitely a slow levelling process, that’s for sure, but it was something different, and is another alt to cross off my list to have to max level before Legion.

If you try this team out, let me know how you go. Hope it works well for you, too 🙂