Earlier, there was a blue post on the Visions of N'Zoth & Pet Battle forums regarding some changes we'll be seeing in 8.3 and beyond.
~~Links to the original posts no longer work~~
Hello pet battlers!
We’ve seen some discussion around pet battle changes coming in Visions of N’Zoth, and we’d like to discuss those, as well as changes we currently have planned for a future content update.
The Weather Outside is Fight-ful
Weather effects have always been intended to slightly change the rules of pet battles. Sandstorm is great against pets that do weaker attacks, Sunlight is great for healing abilities, and Cleansing Rain is great for aquatic abilities. However, Mudslide and Blizzard both fell by the wayside in terms of being impactful or rule-changing outcomes. So in Visions of N’Zoth, both of these weather effects are being updated with new added effects in addition to their existing effects:
Now also increases all elemental ability damage by 25%.
Now also increases all critical damage dealt by 25%.
To be really clear about the Mudslide change: Critical strikes usually hit for 150% of normal damage. Mudslide will now increase that to 175% of normal damage.
We’ve also been thinking for a while that we should add a new weather type to the game, so Visions of N’Zoth will also introduce a new weather type: Toxic Fumes. This deals Dragonkin damage to the current enemy pet and applies the Toxic Fumes weather effect.
Increases the duration of all hostile damage over time effects by 1 round.
All pets are considered Poisoned while Toxic Fumes is active.
Max No More
In Visions of N’Zoth, all of the new outdoor pet battle World Quests in Uldum and Vale of Eternal Blossoms will scale their level to match the highest level pet currently slotted on your team, instead of always being a level 25 enemy pet. This will also be the case for Nazjatar and Mechagon – all of the pet battle World Quests there are being updated. You can check them all out with a team of three level 1 pets!
In Visions of N’Zoth, we’re also changing how percent-damage reduction abilities stack with each other. Currently, if you’re fighting a pet like Unit 17 in Mechagon (a Boss pet that passively takes 50% less damage), and Unit 17 uses Crouch, Unit 17 becomes immune to damage because the two 50% damage reduction effects are added to each other. In Visions of N’Zoth, the plan is to cap damage reduction at -75%. Using Unit 17 as an example, while Crouch is active, it will take 75% reduced damage instead of 100% reduced damage. This will smooth out the challenge with some enemy bosses.
Please note that abilities like Dodge or Deflection will continue to avoid all damage. Those will not be impacted by this change.
What the Future Holds
In a future update, we’re targeting a number of balance changes we want to make, which will amount to lowering the effectiveness of some pets and strategies. Again, these changes will not be happening in Visions of N’Zoth, but we wanted to give you ample warning time that changes are coming. While we don’t have specific numbers or details to share right now, here are some examples of abilities that we’re going to take a close look at:
- Black Claw and similar abilities that increase damage taken by a flat amount.
- Hunting Party and similar abilities such as Flock.
- The Shattered Defenses debuff effect from abilities such as Hunting Party or Flock.
- Any large percent-damage-taken or percent-damage-dealt buffs or debuffs.
- Twilight Meteorite and similar long-cooldown damage-splitting abilities.
- The Jar of Smelly Liquid ability.
Of course that last one isn’t an ability, but Hermit Crab incorrectly has a higher stat budget than it should, and it will have its stats reduced to bring it in line with other similar pets.
A goal we have when making many new pet battle World Quests or encounters is to create puzzles that players can counter and “solve”-- ideally with the option to use a variety of pets and tools to do so. When a few pets have such strong synergies that they can deal massive damage in just a few rounds and almost trivially beat these enemies, it becomes problematic. Do we make new challenges only beatable by the highest damage combos, or do we make them generally solveable and therefore immediately smashed by massive damage?
We don’t want to ruin the feel of combination abilities, so we aren’t going to make Black Claw no longer interact with Hunting Party or Flock, but we want to make sure these abilities are dealing appropriate damage. And we want to make sure that secondary effects such as Shattered Defenses are being accounted for with regards to balance.
When we have further specifics, we will be sure to let you know.
In addition to the post above, Kaivax also responded to concerns regarding old content, and the potential ability nerfs:
19 November 19: We’ll do our best to make sure older Achievements are still able to be completed after the changes, even if that means we need to change some of the Tanaan Jungle, Argus, and Battle for Azeroth pet battle challenges to make them somewhat easier.
What say you, pet community? Do you think this will be an overall good change for pet battles, or will it be more harmful than helpful?
I think it’s also worth noting that the sample future changes I listed in the OP were the most-impactful examples we’ve thought of. I’m sure we’ll also take this opportunity to find pets/abilities/combos that we can buff at the same time.