Petopia Gets a Face Lift!

I’ve just uploaded a whole bunch of changes to the Petopia website. Most of these are fairly subtle changes meant to make things easier for me, but some of them are also meant to make things easier for you. :>

Now I should start by saying that, just like a live MMO game, a web site like Petopia is a living, growing thing. And it’s going to go on growing — there’s a lot of work left to do, a lot of small tweaks I want to make, major features I want to add, interesting research I want to host, all sorts of things –  but since there’s just me whacking away at it right now, it won’t all get done overnight. So expect ongoing changes as I continue to polish things up. :>

The flip side of that is that I have a lot of opportunity to evaluate feedback as I go. It doesn’t matter if I am excited about a change if it makes it harder to use the site. So I’m going to be watching all the feedback I get about changes to Petopia very carefully. If you have a comment or a suggestion, please drop me an e-mail! I prefer e-mail for this kind of feedback — I find it easier to sort and track that way.

So let’s look at what actually changed:

  • Much of the site now uses CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to control formatting. This doesn’t neccesarily have much effect on what readers see, but it does make it easier for me to update and add pages. You will likely notice some formatting changes, though — these aren’t from CSS per se but because I wanted to clean up some of the formatting while I was making the changeover. I’m still not completely satisfied with a lot of the formatting, but I wanted to get the new functionality up before I start obsessing about margins.
  • The first really visible change is that the navigation menu looks a bit different. The information is all still there, but I’m trying to make it easier to find your way around the site, especially if you’re new. I find this layout just slightly easier to grasp, but we’ll see what everyone else thinks also. :>
  • The second big change is the addition of a Pet Database – a real, honest-to-goodness database instead of the hand-coded static information Petopia had before. I was anxious to get this new functionality up and live because I’ve already found it to be really helpful myself. (I’ve had a version running on my home server while I work on it, of course.) Searching the database for, say, a pet your level is much simpler than scanning up and down the old Pets By Level page making notes on a piece of paper. *grin* You can also search for things like diet, which is handy.

So try it out and tell me what you think!

22 thoughts on “Petopia Gets a Face Lift!

  1. Maahl

    Well, I can say at a glance, that I definitely miss the immediate “Defensive” “Offensive” “Balanced” categories. I often used those just to load the page and glance at so I remembered which monsters were of which family. The lack of that quick overview is not going to sit well with me, I’m sure, since I’ll have to individually check each monster’s page to see. While this doesn’t affect the current families too much, since I’ve memorized them for the most part by now (I still forget that, say, Spiders are DPS pets, from time to time), if there are any new families added I’ll be confused forever whenever I try to just check its grouping on the fly…

  2. Maahl

    Also–I would send you it in an e-mail, but it seems you’ve never received any of the e-mails I’ve sent you in the past regarding skin errors etc., so I’ve given up on mailing you. It’s probably because I use a hotmail account I suppose?

  3. Bulldazhor

    Nice work Mania,
    I would agree with Maahl regarding the pet family, it’s a very helpful sort for Hunter and especially the new one that came to petopia to discover about pet.
    Otherwise i really like the BIG image for each skin, we really can appreciate the detail and i really like it.
    /bow

    Bullda

  4. Regolith

    Hi mania.. LOVE petopia. Makes me look like a class leader that knows what he’s doing!

    Can we please put back in the bonuses to health, armor, and DPS for each pet family. That is super helpful to me and the rest of my hunters when deciding which defensive pet to get, for example.

    Thank you for all your hard work!

  5. Znodis

    I think the offensive, defensive, and balanced categories no longer apply as far as being the reason to tame a pet. I just wrote a guide yesterday to choosing a pet and IMHO, hp and armor are non-factors. An extra mend pet can cure a deficiency in either stat.

    The 3 concerns for pets currently are damage, threat generation, and movement speed. Your choice of pet should be based on your concern for each. Maybe someday Blizzard will give every pet a movement ability and balance DPS/threat but until then, don’t worry about D.

  6. Jayla

    I just love the new search! It is so nice searching around my level to see if there are mobs with skills I can use.

    One thing I would like to see (if there is any rhyme and reason to it) is what mobs can easily lose argo even if they have up to date skills. Example:) I am BM spec and can easily pull argo off of a bear or hyena but my wolf, carrion, and boar never lose argo. I love the Deathmaw (lvl 17 clawed up bear) skin and Scarlet Tracking Hound but I hate losing DPS because of being slow to shoot for them to gain argo.

  7. Mania Post author

    In general, I’m looking for a more useful way to categorize pets. The old offensive, defensive, and well-rounded categories are based solely on the stat mods for each family — which made a lot of sense when those were the only factor that went into pets, but makes a lot less sense now when skills are so important and scaling helps normalize the stat differences. In short, I’d like to avoid newbie hunters who choose a bear because Petopia says it’s defensive, and then find out that they would have been much better off tanking with an owl, or even a cat. It’s a categorization in flux, though, and I agree that having a way to break up the families is useful since there’s so many of them.

    Maahl: I’m sorry to hear that your e-mail hasn’t made it to me. What e-mail address have you been using? GMail filters out spam, but they save it all, and I go through it several times a day to catch stuff that isn’t spam. I suppose I may have missed a few, though. You could try again and I’ll keep an especial eye out for it.

    Miklos: You can use the database to search for pets by zone. I find it more useful than the old page, since you can also use the other search fields and sort the results. The old Pets by Zone page tells you how to use the database this way, although it’s not linked from the menu anymore (since the database is). Hmm .. I should probably add a shortcut on the index page for that.

    Jayla: There’s a lot of factors that go into pulling aggro off your pet. I’m not sure I could usefully help with that kind of information, in general. But you might take a look over Znodis’ site, Home of the Mystic. He has some interesting thoughts on aggro.

  8. Maahl

    Mm, sorry Znodis, but I have never had any luck with a DPS pet. I used a Spider for a brief while but even it couldn’t keep up with my usual playing style. I don’t know if I’m an unusual Hunter or if you’re just not taking into account different play styles, but for me, saving mana is very important–and if I can save an extra couple mana by not having to cast Mend Pet constantly throughout the battle, then that’s all the better. My playing style is to deliberately bounce aggro between myself and my pet, making the mob run back and forth like a lunatic most of the time, which makes soloing a bit more interesting than just sitting back and plucking away on my bowstring ;)

  9. Bishop

    I’m missing the information on armor/hp/dps a lot. As it stands, it looks like the pets are created equal in this sense, which I am fairly certain they still are not. It would also be nice to have a way to list all the pet type families that could learn a certain skill (ie Dash).

    Of course with the way pets are currently implemented in the game, there’s really no reason to choose anything but a boar. But that’s not Petopia’s fault. :)

  10. Reavi

    I’m going to hop on the stat bandwagon. Pets aren’t created equal, and knowing which are better DPS, HP, and AC was a useful tool to have. Abilities do make a difference, but at this point in time, it’s not a major one.

  11. slayerboy

    Really liking the new design of the site and the database. I do miss seeing the stats for the pets. As far as families (offensive, defensive, well-rounded) I agree that it’s kinda moot now. Great site, keep up the amazing work!

  12. Zghuk

    Lok Thar!

    I really like the new site, it’s quicker. But I miss the stats of the pet families like +10 % damage. The categories off, def and well rounded pet were also helpful for a quick overview.

  13. Fway

    I agree with bringing back the family’s stat differences (DPS, armor and HP). I’m gearing for end-game instances and raids, and looking to create an “uber” DPS pet, and those stats were nice to take a quick look at what would be worth while training.

  14. Foussa

    Hi Mania! I’m Foussa, webmaster of zoowow.org. I see that you finally included a pet database on your site :). I still prefer mine, though, because it allows you to sort the results any way you choose. But I don’t have as much search criterias, namely Learnable skills, Best stats and Skin are missing. I might add the former 2 to zoowow, it’s a nice idea, even if of course it’s basically redundant with Family.

    As you know I also have a database of pet food vendors, and I plan to include a database for ammo vendors and pet trainers. Always useful.

    Regards :)
    Foussa

  15. Soxrobin

    Eh, I liked the old site better, but I seem to be alone in that for the most part. I definately have a problem with all the stuff now on the front page. I didn’t used to have to scroll down to see everything, so it’s slowing down my browsing of the site a bit. Other than the main page, however, I can’t really say since I haven’t explored it too much. I liked the way the pet families were organized before with the well rounded, tank, and DPS, mostly because it broke up the list a bit which made it easeir to find a family quickly.
    Just my two cents, take it or leave it. :)

  16. Mania Post author

    I’m still reading and collating the feedback! Thanks, guys! Feel free to e-mail me with any of this as well.

    Foussa: Hello! I check in on zoowow.org every so often, but unfortunately I can’t read it terribly well. I am not well educated in other languages, I fear. :> But I do like the way your database is set up, and I love the idea of a database of pet food vendors and trainers. I wish English-speaking hunters had good resources for those.

  17. crazie_

    Hello, nice to see the site getting some visual updates. :) I’m not so sure about taking off the pet stats though… that was pretty neat.

    About the search database function – I guess it’s easier for new users to see which pet colour they like and stuff.

    Personally, I prefer the classic version, it’s faster to look through the pets and all the useful info is on one page. Maybe you can put a link to the old “pets by level” page somewhere?

  18. Mania Post author

    Unfortunately, the old pets by level page was hand-edited by me, which made it really annoying to deal with and prone to mistakes. :> But hey, you can just go to the Pet Database page, hit search without changing any of the fields (to get all of the pets) and then click on the Level header to sort the results by level. That will give you everyhing, in level order.

  19. Tzia

    I’d really love it if the HP, Dmg, Armor stats were at least posted on the family page of each pet type. I know I used it from time to time in deciding what pet I was going to use for leveling. I think it would help a little bit if you lowered the font size of the updates, they seem to be trying to take over the page.

    Petopia is also the site that helped me decide on what cat I was going to have at 60 and then when BC came out take with me to 70. I wanted the cat ever since I could tame a pet, which was chosen with the help of Petopia. I loved the look of the Frostsaber Pridewatcher. She’s been my outlands pet, even coming over to a new server with me on transfer. I’ve gotten tons of comments on her and I wouldn’t have known about her without Petopia.

    Thanks Mania for a great resource to the hunter community.

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