Pets and Exp. Changes

August 29, 2007 at 9:36 am (Game Design, Hunter, Pets, Warcraft, World of Warcraft)

There have been recent rumblings about lowering the leveling curve and increasing quest exp by 30%. As mania pointed out, both these could affect pet leveling significantly.I’m all for the exp change, but pets are going to be an issue. First off, one of the design goals of the hunter is to have a bond with your pet. Warlocks get insta-pets because of the nature of the class: demons are meant to be used and disposed of. The concept of only being able to level one pet with you, unless you make some major sacrifices (which increases bonding) by not gaining quest or rested exp, is part of this philosophy. As are 3 slot stables unfortunately… So I highly doubt we’ll see a change there.

Her 2 thoughts are basically, make sure to change pet leveling curve proportional to the hunters, and second to give the pet % quest exp if it was active when the quest was completed. Since there’s some issue of being dead when quest is completed, let’s change that last idea to the pet gets quest exp if it is your current pet (ie: if it’s the pet you’d get when you use ‘call pet’).

I’m actually not sure that both need to be done, but let’s talk about the second one first.

The idea of pet quest experience seems so obvious to me I had to give it a second thought. I mean at every quest I turned in for 2 years I thought “I wish my pet got some exp too…” Here’s the thing. If pets just get exp when the hunter does, then I could complete 5 quests with one pet, stable, and give all the quest exp to another. So, that’s why Mania has the “active pet when quest is completed” part in there. However, that will be really hard to implement. It would basically require the pet to have it’s own quest log, and then there’s the issue of what happens if the pet dies right before killing the quest mob. I could have 10 raptors slain, but my pet could have 8. Also, what if the pet I completed the quest with got stabled before I turned it in? There’s lots more special conditions going around there, too.

If we try to simplify to what we really want, the pet gets a special quest log where the quest appears there and is completed when the hunter has completed it and gets exp even if it’s no longer the current pet when turned in. Wow. The fact you now have a mechanic where it’s possible for some exploiter to instantly complete quests and not even be there by fooling the game into thinking his mage is a pet. And believe me, if there was the slimmest possibility of instantly completing quests, hackers would be attacking it forever.

It’s going to be difficult to balance exp too and they’re really not going to know if it works until they actually test it. It will really depend on the proportion of mob vs quest exp of that particular player.

Now, back to my question of whether both are needed. Let suppose we lower exp per level by (lets just throw out) 10% and raise quest exp by 30%. Grinding now takes 10% less time. I actually got about 50% of my exp from quests I think. So if I need 10,000 exp for my next level and earned 1000 exp from killing mobs for a quest and 1000 exp from turning the quest in before, I would now earn a total of 2300 exp towards my 9000 exp needed. This quest that previously got me 20% of the level now gives me 25%. The over all effect is that a level will take 80% of the previous time or a 25% increase in exp depending how you look at it.

Now for my pet who needs 1/4 of the exp to level but gets no quest exp. Pets already gain 5% more than the hunter if they are at the typical one level lower spot. So they’d gain 1050 exp towards their 2250 exp instead of 2500 exp for level, which is 46% over 42%. Now, just suppose the pet received quest exp too. Great Googly Moogly. They’d have earned 2350; almost the entire level. All this and they’d end up making grinding a pet later seem even less worth-while.

So lets go back. How much more exp do pets really need to keep up. Well with my previous figures, the hunter ended up with 20% more effective experience. In more concrete numbers, how much exp would my pet need to earn to have gained 20%? My calculations (which I won’t bore you with) give 1181 exp. That’s just 12% more exp. Now since leveling a pet is more annoying than it should be to begin with, let’s boost that to 15%. (If I worked for Bliz I’d be your favoritest Dev ever :)

So now let’s compare: create some type of quest log for pets with possible bugs if the pet is dead when quest is completed or turned in or the pet that completed the quest is now in the stable which gives the pet some unknown percentage of quest exp so as not to make it overpowered that exploiters are going to hack away at forever

vs.

Increase pet exp by 15% which not only solves the problem but makes leveling up a new pet much easier.

Of course this is all provided that Bliz actually remembers to change the pet leveling curve, and I seriously have my doubts about their ability to compensate pets.

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2 Comments

  1. shibumi said,

    Interesting read. The exploitable aspect is a given that Bliz would avoid that at all costs. It’s a very good point, however, mechanically there *has* to be a way to track quest experience for the pets, if quest experience is provided.

    I don’t like quest experience for grinding pets really, though it seems logical since we use the pets during those quests. I think the tie should be in the purpose of the pets – they are our weapons, and the killing experience should be the factor, as it is now.

    That said, then the emphasis would be on making that grind less of a grind, and bumping the experience percentage of the Hunter for the Pet experience, perhaps.

    Yes 15% is a good number (already you are becoming my favorite write in bliz developer)

    good read. thanks

  2. Xizang said,

    What about an XP-Boost for the pet proportional to the difference in level they have? Lets say I tame a level5 boar because I just want that skin. Level difference would be 65, and the pet could be assigned a bonus of 65% of the experience. This would speed up the nasty part alot, I think.
    Getting Quest XP into the thing seems weird to me. On top of the difficulties mentioned above, the pet just does not know it was a Quest. It does its job as commanded, and stopped after killing X mobs or after me collecting Y items of this and that kind.

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