Blizzard has unveiled a new pet battling system for World of Warcraft's next expansion, Mists of Pandaria, which bears a striking resemblance to Nintendo's Pokemon games.
The previously vanity-only collectable pets in WOW will now be able to train skills, level up, and battle against other players' pets in a turn-based mini-game.
You'll even be able to hunt for new wild pets across Azeroth and trap them after battling them with your existing pets. You can also learn new skills from master pet trainers around the world.
The system, which will be accessible to all players regardless of level, will also work with almost all existing WOW vanity pets. All pets will be customisable with items and you'll be able to name them.
Wild pets will have unique spawning rules - they'll only be found when it's raining, for example, or in the winter, as well as in a particular area - and varying stats.
Trained and levelled-up pets will be tradable with other players on the game's auction house.
In the simple turn-based battle system, each pet can choose three skills from a total possible of six, and each player can form a team of three pets for a fight. Your WOW character will appear on the screen with your pet, urging them on in the battle. There'll be a queueing and matchmaking system for player-versus-player battles.
Along with the introduction of the battle system, all pets will be made account-wide - so, shared between all the WOW characters on one account - and there'll be a new pet journal interface for browsing pets.
At a BlizzCon presentation on Mists of Pandaria, world designer Corey Stockton said the system was intended to be "content for everyone" that offered a slower, more cerebral option for competition with other players as well as giving a point to the ballooning ecosystem of collectable pets in the game.
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