Brainstorming Mini-Pets

September 3, 2011 at 12:38 am | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 24 Comments
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A ferocious Guild Wars 2 mini-pet that I've already unlocked.

I was reading through an interview with Colin Johanson at MMORPGItalia and something struck me. It was a rock. Well no, it wasn’t.

Here is a translation of the interview. I find the following quote quite quizzical.

We are not ready to talk about mini-pets yet at this point. I can say that they will play a larger role in Guild Wars 2 than that they have played in the original Guild Wars.

Some people have interpreted this to mean simply that there will be more pets. That seems so boring to me. Surely “a larger role” means more than just “you will have more of them” or that they will be easier to get.

In Guild Wars miniatures are nothing more than collectible prestige possessions. Even when their worth doubled as the Hall of Monuments rewards were announced they were still just for show.

What could you possibly do with mini-pets beyond collecting them?

Well for starters they’d have to have some kind of function. Sure we could display them in our home instance somehow. Up on a shelf or confined to a pen. Maybe even have them wander around our neighbourhood in some specific or non-specific pattern to add life and detail to the place.

In the end however, that essentially just adds up to displaying them much like in Eye of the North. So how do we add even more functionality? Let’s think a bit further outside the box.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has companions that do your crafting for you. Is there some chance our miniatures could do the same? Could we assign them tasks, have them gathering materials or have them diligently attending to our crafting bench? How about adding some kind of crafting bonus?

That actually seems like over-reach to me. They are small, and from the lore, not exactly sentient beings. I doubt we’d be having pets look after tasks like that for us. A crafting bonus doesn’t seem entirely out of question however.

What if they were more practical? How about a straight up buff or bonus to damage, drops, crits, health or other? Maybe they could throw out the occasional low powered spell or tiny bit of melee damage? Wouldn’t be fair to implement in PvP, obviously, but I don’t necessarily see a barrier to it in PvE.

On the other hand, Arenanet did soundly come down on the side against henchmen and companions in Guild Wars 2, so it does seem unlikely that they’d simply turn around and make mini-pets a semi-substitute for them. Even if their damage is roundly reduced.

Another Guild Wars 2 mini, not exactly fighting material.

Taking another turn, I always thought that Polymock from Eye of the North should have been played out with Mini-pets. What if miniatures are a component of mini games of some type? They could battle it out 1v1, participate in brawls or royal rumbles. There could be any number of different types of mini-pet games to play, a racing game similar to rollerbeetle, an obstacle course, or maybe just some mini-pet version of tic tac toe, all utilizing special tactical skills only mini-pets would have.

Hard to imagine Arenanet would devote so much resources for games to play with your mini-pets I suppose, but it is an interesting idea.

Shongaqu, a frequent commenter here, has a number of suggestions at his blog. He notes Aion has pets that provide extra storage, alert players to approaching enemy players, and a fortune pet that eats trash materials you feed it to produce rare materials with.

These are some fairly intriguing ideas and kudos to Aion for coming up with them. I wouldn’t put it past Arenanet to at least consider some of these. Storage particularly comes to mind when trying to foresee what they might do.

Shongaqu also takes note of another idea, of being able to craft miniatures. Now all 8 crafting professions seem to have been named and none seem to apply to the crafting of miniature toys, but I don’t think that necessarily rules anything out. It could just be a fun side activity outside the normal range of crafting.

But to think they left it entirely out does sort of leave a wrinkle in the possibility of it. Of all the ideas I think this would be one of the most fun, but also perhaps one of the least likely.

If there was an idea I most wanted implemented it would be more along the lines of customization.

What if you could change the colours on your mini-pets? The same way you adjust your armour with dye colours you could customize your mini-pets with a variety of colours. In Runes of Magic you could easily adjust the range of colours on your mount. Often this led to a number of bizarrely chosen neon colours that didn’t fit well at all with the environment but it was also a very popular feature, one people had to spend money on to use.

Sure it could often be jarring but it also led to some beautiful, striking, and sometimes lovely customized mounts. I’m not sure how much rendering resources it would take for each person to have their own specifically customized pets but I suppose that could be one reason for ruling it out.

Finally the only remaining brainstormed idea I might have for mini-pets would be the ability to have them put on a show. Sounds a bit silly, but what if they could play music, dance, mimic your emotes, make noises or some other type of on command scripted animation?

We know that emotes in Guild Wars 2 will have sound effects, maybe even a bit of music, what about the minis?

So yeah. I suppose mini-pets could just end up being much easier to get, as karma rewards or otherwise. That would technically make them describable as having ‘a larger role’. Damn that would be boring. Seriously unimaginative.

Arenanet! If you haven’t before, start brainstorming! Readers! Brainstorm in the comments!

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24 Comments

  1. Totally unrelated, but I had no idea one of the Aion minis would alert you of incoming enemy players. That’d be f***ing gold with the rifting system.

    • It would be an interesting addition to WvW but I’m not sure they’d implement it. The hardcore would both overuse it and complain constantly.

    • The Aion alert pets don’t alert for characters in stealth, so those darn hidden assassins and rangers will still sneak up and stab/shoot you at the worst times. 🙂

  2. Polymini sounds like fun.

    • Polymock itself was kinda fun once you got the hang of it. Sort of thought it was a big time investment only to lose in some of the harder matches, especially if you didn’t have good pieces.

  3. I’d like to see more animation with them, I’d like to see more interaction with them. Buffs would be cool, but I like having them for aesthetics more than a purpose. Maybe a standard buff across minis, so your mini is your choice?

    I like the idea of mini-minigames too.

    • You’re probably closer to the mark than I am with most of my guesses, more interaction and animations than actual useful attributes.

  4. a few years back i played a f2p mmo called Rappelz. In that game u can set the minipets to gather loot for u….this filled your inv. Rather quickly however. If implemented with a sort of filtering system i can see this being very
    Viable.

    • That would be pretty sweet, I know in Rift the AoE loot pickup is extremely popular. Setting minis to roundup would be good too.

  5. I don’t see minipets fighting as a mini-game, purely because I have a hard time believing there will be a full set of combat animations for house cats & raccoons.
    General combat seems even less likely to me, because if the minipets are non-combatants (which they’d have to be or the first AoE would kill them!) then it would open up all kinds of abuses for Anet to code around e.g. hiding behind scenery and letting foes whittle foes down, automated farming (because if a pet can assist at L80 it should massacre foes 10+ levels lower).
    I think the Aion model is the most likely:
    * Functionless pets – very likely, as I think most/all HoM pets will be functionless.
    * Signal pets – very likely, as we know there are signal weapons.
    * Fortune (recycling) pets – maybe; if they have many varieties (like Aion) that would certainly add some spice.
    * Pack pets – I’d say unlikely, as GW2 has a high bag capacity & bags-within-items sounds messy.
    * Pack/signal/fortune pets – unlikely, but not impossible.
    +
    * Loot gathering pets – hmm; to be honest, I think if Anet wanted to support automatic gathering, they’d just add it as a standard option.
    * Boon pets (grant a low-level boon) – you can buy all kinds of low-level blessings from special GW2 NPCs quite cheaply, so I don’t think a pet that provides them wouldn’t be unthinkable (they could even charge karma!).
    * Alternate signal pets – e.g. resource nodes, trait ‘quests’.

    • Well when I think combat minis I don’t think they’d player a major role or need a lot of animations but, you’re probably right. Although if minis are based on larger animals/monsters, combat animations wouldn’t be a problem. mini-golem/normal golem for instance. tabby cat/melandru’s stalker.

  6. I think a Honey Badger would make an excellent combat pet.

    Honey Badger don’t care, maybe you know this video! 🙂

    • I’m familiar with the honey badger, but frankly, if people are going to walk up and steal loot while the honey badger is looking the other way all the time, I’m not interested.

  7. They do have a function in GW1. “You’re All Alone!” does not effect you if you have no allies but do have a mini pet active.

    • I forgot, you do craft the Black Moa chick mini. You have to win the instruction book in Eye of the North then make the incubator kit in Factions, then collect ingredients from all campaigns and take the filled kit to Sorrows Furnace and stand in the fire during the last quest there.

    • While I agree, I would say that the minipets with that skill and as a use against dhuum in the underworld are more akin to bugs than actual intended use.

      A lot of people would argue that the vast majority of crafting in GW isn’t much like crafting at all, and I myself would extend that to the black moa chick too. It’s much more like a scavenger hunt than crafting.

  8. move away from the “miniatures”-idea. The Pets we have seen yet (HoM) are already “true” pets and no longer tiny miniatures of existing creatures or npcs.
    I would assume they have a “realistic” size now, they are as big as they should be, no longer miniatures. They now fit more into the “companion”-like pets we know from other games.
    Maybe this is the first change, and maybe there is more interaction with the pets now in GW2. What about pets having needs? (ofc you can turn it off) You can feed them and so far… but there is no penalty for not doing it. But if you do it, you will get a reward, karma maybe. What about pets have some sort of learning mechanism and you can “teach” them a few animations/tricks, and all pets have different ones to learn?

    • There are both true pets and miniatures in the HOM rewards. I think if you look you’ll see they’re specifically referred to as mini-pets or “pets for rangers”, which doesn’t leave much room for interpretation

      However that doesn’t mean you don’t have some interesting ideas there for both pets and mini-pets.

      • No, what he’s saying is that in GW1 we had minis like Rurik, Quetzal Sly, Zhu Hanuku and so on, which are actual monsters and NPCs from the game. So far in GW2 we’ve seen the Tabby Cat, the Raccoon and the Red Golem. None of these are minis of large scale NPCs, they are live size.

        • Ah thanks for pointing out that i had misinterpreted that. I still disagree however, there is no evidence to suggest that they’ll stay away from mini-versions of larger creatures.

  9. I think there is a difference between minis and mini-pets.

    mini-pet seems going to be more as a functional pet, and a small figurine that walks. So hopefully can see bit more interaction between the player character and their mini-pet (like a /pet emote, or have them hug around you).

    You might even be able to feed it, as well as buying pet related toys and items for them (afterall, pet industry in U.S. is about a $10+ Billion dollar market).

    More so, I could see mini games for them, like Pet Race, or pokemon style Pet Arena.

    • More interaction overall would just be great. Something following you around and randomly walking back and forth couldn’t be more unimaginative at this point. Pet races is definitely something I’d like to check out.

  10. If I had to guess, I’d say minipets will either influence your personal story or events.

    For example, running around with a Corgi could rise your “honor” line when delivering quests of your personal story. Or a NPC may suddenly talk to you about some hidden treasure in some isolated part of the map just because your tabby cat is too cute. Or Quaggans give you extra gold when helping them with your jelly fish is following you.

    That would be a “larger role” to me…

    • I wouldn’t put it past them to have a couple of things like this but I doubt it will be that integrated.


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