As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m quite enjoying the Mists of Pandaria expansion for World of Warcraft; I’ve been more regularly involved than I have since probably the Lich King. Still, I’ve reached a bit of a natural lull in the action. I’m still raiding, yes, but I don’t do that every day. I’m still churning along with my dailies so I can rack up the valor points, but I’m exalted with almost everyone so that’s become slightly tedious. What’s a girl to do when she wants a break from the routine?
As it turns out, Pandaria already had an answer for me: battle pets.
When battle pets were first announced at BlizzCon, I was less than thrilled. Yes, I enjoyed having companion pets, but the idea of having them battle just seemed like Pokemon with core hounds and wolpertingers. I myself had never gotten into the Pokemon craze, either because I was just a few years too old or because I didn’t own a Nintendo handheld ’til the DS, so it seemed like they were just adding a game I had no interest in playing.
Round One: Fight
I think what finally brought me over – in addition to wanting a break from the norm – was the achievements.
Yep, I love a good achievement. I’ll scroll through the lists and set out to eat every food in Azeroth or hug someone I just shanked. My favorites are the holidays, but I finished those up years ago. Thus I was looking for something new to do when I realized that Battle Pets had an entire section of achievements devoted to them. And I barely needed to do anything to get the first few! Afterwards, of course, I was hooked.
Yes, it’s fun fighting, leveling up to see what cool new spells they’d learn, but let’s be honest here: the main addiction is pet collecting. It’s fun fighting i part because I don’t know if that rare is going to pop up. I spent hours in Winterspring hunting for a few pets, and felt ridiculously triumphant when I landed them. Never had I paid attention to the weather in Storm Peaks before, but oh ho ho am I aware of it now.
And most of the fun of collecting is due to the fact that most of the pets are freaking adorable! I started out by being selective, capturing only stuff that made me go aww – anything miniature or fluffy would probably do it. Eventually, though, the completist in me demanded that I get everything on the list – in the rare form, if possible, because I’ve got to get that achievement, too.
A Rare Bird
And once I realized there were some pets that were more difficult to find than others… well, here’s a story. I have a hunter that’s probably only in her 50s, from the Burning Crusade expansion. I haven’t played her in years – but I will probably never get rid of her. Why? Because I spent hours hunting down cat statues so that I could tame a Ghost Saber. Yep, I’m one of those people.
Currently, I’m splitting my time between searching out these rare battle pets and actually battling; it keeps me from getting burned out. And this I only do when I time to kill from regular WoW stuff like dailies and raiding. And THAT I only do when I have real free time, which honestly isn’t that much. So we’re talking about a sliver of time here… but that’s also how I’ve managed to play one game for at least seven years and not get burned out.
I may have been skeptical about battle pets, but they’ve added yet another dimension to a game that continues to grow and evolve, without changing the ‘feel’ of it. Now I’m just eagerly awaiting the addition of new, hard-to-find pets!
What about you? Have you tried out battle pets? If you have, what do you think of them? And how have your favorite games stayed fresh after years of play?