Looks like the Patch 2.3.2 PTR is finally up! Time to check out this so-called faster pet leveling and see if it lives up to expectations. As a fun experiment, I’m going to try ‘liveblogging’ my experiences — that is, adding bits to this post as I go. I’ll use timestamps to keep the bits organized.
5:25 pm – I’ve been leaving the PTR client running and sitting on the realm selection screen, and after I got back from the grocery store there were finally realms to select. I pick the PvE realm and saw that my character copies from the 2.3 PTR are still there, as are the two new copies I made last night.
I log in with Kait (a copy of level 29 Kaet left over from the 2.3 PTR) and immediately get a Lua error involving the pet panel. I ignore it and open the pet panel, and another similar error pops up. I don’t know if I can trust what I am seeing on the pet panel — most of the stats are missing and the ones that exist have no data. But the XP bar is there, and it says that my random level 23 raptor needs a total of 4250 XP to reach level 24. This is less than a level 20 pet needed on the 2.3 PTR, so it looks like they may have just lowered the amount of XP that pets need to level.
… if I can trust the pet panel when it is throwing errors.
I ask on the Trade channel if all hunters are seeing these errors, but it looks like I am the only one. I log out to reinstall the PTR and start this post. :>
5:31 – It suddently occurs to me that the problem I am having with Kait might be because she was left over from the 2.3 PTR. So I log back in (I haven’t deleted anything yet) and try logging in a more recent copy of Mania, renamed Manai. On this character I initially get “Internal Pet Error” and then, when I use Claa Pet to summon Cloud, the same pet panel Lua errors I was getting before. Okay, back to the reinstall option.
5:41 – Installing the PTR seems a lot faster than it used to be. Anyway, I am still getting the same errors on the pet panel. *sigh* Well, I’ll collect what data I can anyway and see if it looks valid — as well as reporting the errors on the Test Realm forum.
Nope, scratch that — forum login looks to be down. *sigh* Well, for posterity (and so I only have to type it the once), here is the error I am seeing:
On login and when I open my pet panel:
Interface\FrameXML\PetPaperDollFrame.lua: 187: bad argument #3 to ‘format’ (number expected, got no value)
Mousing over the ‘Damage’ line on the pet panel:
Interface\FrameXML\PetPaperDollFrame.lua: 1301: bad argument #2 to ‘format’ (number expected, got nil)
And this is what my pet panel looks like:
5:59 – My very first few data points indicates that pets need less XP across the board to level. Before, pets needed 25% of the XP that a player of the same level would need — now it looks like they need only 16.75% of the XP a same-level player would. Again, very preliminary, and I haven’t tested to see whether the XP they get per kill has changed.
6:08 – I stopped by Blackhoof Village on my way to a Stable Master in Dustwallow Marsh. The ghost wolves are still beasts and still Beast Lore as tameable, although I didn’t actually try to tame one.
6:26 – I noticed that one of my existing pets had exactly the XP they needed for the next level. I’m reasonably certain that I didn’t log off with that pet in that state. So I am guessing that pets keep the amount of experience that they had before the 2.3.2 patch, but capped at their current level. This is different than what happened when the XP that players needed went down — with players, we kept our current percentage towards the next level.
6:31 – The 16.75% number seems to be confirmed by the additional levels I’ve checked. To put that in perspective, pets on the PTR only need two-thirds of the XP that they need on the live worlds. Their leveling has been sped up by at least 33%.
6:39 – Pets do not appear to gain experience when the hunter completes a quest. Given the amount that they lowered pets’ required XP, I didn’t really expect them to change this — but it still would have been a nice way to let us quest with a high-level (effective) pet while still leveling up a low-level (ineffective) pet.
6:51 – Similarly, pets still do not gain experience when you kill something that is grey to the hunter, even if it wouldn’t have been grey to the pet. (Again, not something I expected to change, but it’s worth checking.)
7:04 – And my final test (for right now, at least): Pets are earning the same XP per kill on the PTR as they are on the live realms.
So it looks like the only change that Blizzard has made to pet leveling is a straight 33% cut in XP required per level. I can’t say that I am unhappy with that — it should handily fix the issue I had already started to run into after the 2.3 patch, of keeping even one pet level with me. And shaving any XP off of the tedious process of leveling a low-level pet up to 70 is obviously a good thing.
But there are two questions whose asnwers remain to be seen:
- Will this change will allow me to keep two or three pets even with me while I level?
- And how significant is the savings in pain and tedium for leveling up really low-level pets?
In other words, is this change the long-term solution we’ve been hoping for, or is it just a temporary bandaid to address the unfortunate side-effects of Patch 2.3?
After dinner I’ll spend some more time really playing on the PTR to see if I can start answering those questions.