World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria and the incoming 5.0.4 title update will bring about a pet battle system that essentially rolls Pokémon and WoW together into some kind of money-printing hybrid. But pet battling isn't just a gimmick, in fact it's only going to get bigger over time, Blizzard has told VG247.
Speaking with VG247, lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas explained that pet battles aren't just localised to the new continent of Pandaria, "It applies to every single zone in the world from Elwynn Forest through the Dread Wastes has actual pets that you can battle and acquire to extend your collection."
"There's also a pet trainer quest line that sees your character training pets across all of the continents and using their pet's skills to overcome battles," he added.
Lead game producer John Lagrave then stepped in to stress Blizzard's long-term vision for pet battles in WoW, "The pet battle system isn't just this wild thing that we're going to abandon after its implemented. It's something we've put a lot of time into, we have lots of cool ideas for it. There was so much stuff we didn't put into it for Pandaria."
Hazzikostas added, "Yeah, and the idea for the battles came from having pets in the game for a long time. Initially, we had a couple of dozen pets, but then we kept on adding more and more."
"We noticed that players were happy to collect them all just to show them off," Hazzikostas concluded, "so we've always wanted to do something with the pet system. Players got really attached to certain pets, they perhaps farmed items for hours and hours to get a particular pet, and this seemed like a very natural extension of that."
You can check out our full World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria interview right here on Thursday.