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.
This post goes more in-depth on some of the changes mentioned in November, which can be found here.
My personal experience with the Shattered Defenses / Black Claw changes boils down to these two observations:
1 -- If the strategy experienced any kind of overkill with fight, chances are it'll be just fine. You might need to do one or two more moves to finish the enemy off, or use a third pet if a strat was previously a two-pet strat.
2 -- If the strategy worked by the skin of its teeth, there will likely be issues. It'll either break the strat, or it'll need some work to get it in-line with the new changes. The biggest concern at the moment will be some of the Tanaan Jungle, Argus, & BRD fights.
But what say you, pet community? Have you had a chance to test the changes? How do you feel about them, even if you haven't?