A Short Thought: Are Pet Battles A Gift For Gankers?

If you’re planning on completing your pet collection in Mists of Pandaria without full Gladiator gear, as the meme goes, you’re going to have a bad time.

Blizzard seem to have made a rather curious choice with Pet Battles. In order to catch them all, so to speak, you’ll have to travel the world. Currently, this appears to include contested zones, where you’re flagged for PvP if you enter, even on a PvE realm – and Blizzard have confirmed this is deliberate and intentional. Cymre of Bubbles of Mischief wrote about this curious choice a couple of days ago

“I was annoyed to find what almost appeared to be random flagging on a PVE server if you were just working on Pet Battles. I thought this was a bug since you would be flagged flying into Mulgore, for example, but I’ve since read that it’s an intentional feature. ”

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but my impression so far is that the demographic who are likely to be enthusiastic about Pet Battles and the demographic who are enthusiastic about World PvP are, shall we say, not identical. I’ve heard enthusiasm for Pet Battles from more casual players, from achievement hunters, and even from peoples’ children. It doesn’t look like a minigame that’s meant to require PvP expertise. Pet Battles seem to be targeted at – and recieving the most enthusiasm from – the more gentle, less hardcore side of WoW’s playerbase.

Whom, if they want to complete their pet collection, are going to be required to go out into Azeroth, get themselves flagged for PvP (as I’m assuming that different pets spawn in each zone), and stand very still operating a completely different minigame.

Is it just me, or does it seem like the Pet Collection feature, coupled with PvP flagging, is basically sending a lot of people with no particular interest in or skill at PvP out to be slaughtered by gankers? Obviously, it’ll be worst on PvP servers (where I would imagine pet collection will be somewhere between deeply irritating and completely impossible), but even on PvE servers it seems the design is explicitly intended to send people who aren’t prepared for PvP into PvP-flagging zones. And then have them stand still with their backs turned.

I can’t see this one ending well…

What do you think? Have I misunderstood something?