13 October, 2008
Pets are very meaningful to a lot of people in the offline world. So, it makes sense that we see them in online games. This week, let’s take a look at pets and think of some ways they could be improved.
There are two main types of pets: combat and show off.
Combat pets are NPCs that help you in the game. Usually these are animals, but in the case of some necromancers, it could be a zombie or skeleton. The perform some type of gameplay activity, usually helping in combat. In general, it seems that most pet classes are rather powerful. In WoW, for example, the primary pet class is known for being the easiest class to solo: the Hunter. This ease of play has given rise to a lot of stereotypes.
Show off pets are the opposite: they have no gameplay function and are just for show. They can be an accessory the player buys, a token of an event or holiday, or something that shows off an accomplishment, or perhaps a token that shows the player is just really lucky. Generally they’re intended to be eye-catching. Often they follow the player around, or they may be limited to the player’s house.
Of course, sometimes the lines get blurred. In EQ2, players could get a god pet that did not engage in combat, but that gave certain stat bonuses; they were somewhere between a combat pet and one purely for show.
The now canceled game Gods & Heroes was intended to allow players to have a small army at their command. Even though these “pets” weren’t just animals, they were subservient to the main character.
So, what do you think? What additions could be made to pets to make them more interesting in other games?