Pet Battles For The New Parent

Doing our part in the blogger baby boom, my wife and I welcomed our first child last Friday.  Our little girl appears to be a gamer before birth - she arrived over a week late becasuse she wanted to get in just one more round of the "practice kidney shots on mommy" game - but both are doing well.  Ironically, despite the fact that I still do not own World of Warcraft's new expansion two weeks post launch, this addition to the family may make WoW a must-subscribe game for the near future.

I'd deliberately held off on trying both the new pet battle feature and finishing off my archaeology skill grind from last expansion, knowing that the baby was on the way.  These features turn out to be ideal for attending to a newborn.  The actual pet combat is turn-based, and the use of flying mounts means that I have no difficulty going AFK on no notice to deal with an unhappy baby.  Flying around the world and clicking on stuff (pets or digsites for the occasional change of pace) is pretty much ideal gameplay.

The game itself is pretty much literally Pokemon down to duels with enemy trainers - good thing you can't copyright a game concept.  That said, the brilliance of this system is that I can perform it on my own characters (progress is account-wide), with my own existing stable of pets (well over 100 from before pet battles).  I suppose the catch is that I don't really have as much reason to care about catching new pets given how many I already own - I already have pets with cool looks, unusual skills, and all the families.  Even so, it's a well-implemented addition that no other MMO does nearly so well, and happens to fill a niche for the new parent.