If you do pet battles, I bet you too grind your teeth when some of your big hits miss – I get nervous every time I do a lift-off or burrow – for an 80% hit chance, those spells sure do raise my tension.
But which is the biggest factor in winning a pet-battle fight? Skill or Luck?
Some games have the skill of the player at the center, say chess. You are not going to win at chess against someone who is a lot more skilled than you. Then we have, say, rock paper scissors. Can you be so skilled at rock paper scissors that you can curb off any opponent?
Okay, so I guess you can, but you get my point: Skill and luck are two factors influencing the outcome depending on what kind of game you’re playing.
The pet battle forums have a good portion of posts up at the moment about miss chances being too dominant in fights. The point of adding a miss chance is both to allow a variance in “filler” damage abilities (bite/claw/peck etc) so that higher damage is also coupled with higher risk, but also it’s meant to make fights unpredictable to such a degree that no one can calculate the end result.
But the complaint is currently that a hit or miss can determine the entire fight. These are some examples that comes to mind:
- I have had people flee after about 2-3 rounds if one of their big hits didn’t go through.
- I’ve also had someone hit every single time, despite effects that increase miss chance were being applied over and over (f.x. blind)
- I’ve had someone miss against me 3 times in a row while in a sandstorm that they themselves put up (I admit, since it was an Anubisath Idol, I felt like they deserved it).
- I’ve had someone miss against me 7 times in total during an entire fight. I felt bad for them.
- I’ve missed on a killing blow so many times, I’ve had someone else miss on a killing blow, then I missed on my killing blow, and then they finally killed me. So close!
Right now I also think miss chances are too volatile. When pets sometimes only survive for 4-5 rounds, sometimes less, a miss can be equal to missing 25% of the damage you deal against another pet. Naturally this doesn’t occur all the time, but the point is, that when it does, it can make or break the game.
You could add that being matched against a team that is strong against you is also being unlucky. (I actually enjoy this factor and fight on even when my odds at winning are unrealistic. I guess I’m trying to be a good sport)
I don’t consider my game design skills to be all that magnificent, but my best suggestion right now is to only change health pools, so that missing a hit is less devastating. The problem would be that it would lengthen the time of the average fight. In the wild it currently takes me 1-2 minutes to kill the team, in PvP perhaps 5-10 minutes depending on how often you meet a Crawdad *grumbles*. It would also have implications for scaling in certain PvE encounters, e.g. Fable Beasts. Since pet battles are meant to be casual (=quick) this might not be a viable idea.
Perhaps the RNG factor is just really bothersome for me: When I win, I can feel really good about it if I really controlled the fight, but I can also feel bad if they missed a lot (see the above examples). Did I win because of skill or luck? When can I really own my victories? – I can’t always tell. Sometimes being lucky robs me of that, and sometimes being unlucky robs me of the feeling that the fight was fair to begin with.
I also think we’re more prone to remember the pivotal fights and thus overestimate how frequently missing really matters. Often I would just have won/lost less convincingly, but that’s it.
As in the rock paper scissors guide above, skill in pet battles is about qualified guesses at the next move of your opponent, and believe me, at least I am getting really good at handling Kun-Lai Runts in the opposing team!
Ps: Blizzard, please I beg you, change the background music that plays when you enter a pet battle to something more calming and pleasant!