Amongst all the excitement about pandaren and monks, it's easy to forget about the arrival of Pet Battles with Mists of Pandaria
in a few hours. Blizzard CM Kaivax is definitely not a forgetful soul, and has posted an in-depth interview
with Lead Content Designer Cory "Mumper" Stockton.
It's a great interview, in which Cory clarifies some design philosophy behind the Pet Battle system. The 100 gold cost, which makes pet battles pretty out of reach for new players, is intentional, and part of the design of the feature. As Cory says, everyon playing pet battles should be playing World of Warcraft first, and pet battles as an aside. It's an addon, an additional feature to make use of in your spare time, so Blizzard don't support players who only want to do pet battles. Once a new character reaches level five, though, as long as they have a generous benefactor they can get going and battle some pets right away.
This also means, of course, that players on trial accounts will find it pretty impossible to play pet battles, as they can't trade, can't auction, and, even if you're thinking "I could vendor enough stuff to get to 100g", they have a cap of 10g. And trainers don't seem to accept instalments.
Cory also clarifies some important points with regard to PvP realms, including what happens to your pets if you get killed, and what happens if you die while trying to capture a pet. And, he talks at some length about recent changes in the pet battle philosophy, and more to come in future! Hit the jump for the full post.