New Acquisitions: 96
Current Total: 251
Uh, yeah. Just as I thought — it’s pet collecting madness after the release of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, as evidenced by my new acquisitions count and current total, which illustrates a huge jump in numbers from last week. There are so many new pets to hunt and collect.
My guess is, if I’d spent as much time leveling as I did pet hunting and battling this week, I would have reached level 90 by now. But it’s the perfect thing to do in the middle of an afternoon when your baby is napping. Or any time you have a moment to spare, really. What I’ve been doing is methodically going through Azeroth zone by zone, hitting the low level areas first and working my way up. Basically, the higher the level range of the zone, the higher level of the pets you’ll find in them. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you can defeat the NPC trainer in one zone, then you are most likely good to go to move on to the next level bracket.
Other notes I’ve picked up from my great Azerothian safari:
- It’s all about the team! Team make-up is probably the most important aspect of pet battling, and you’ll probably find yourself constantly switching around and tweaking yours depending on the type of fight. At least, you should be. Always mix it up, and don’t be tempted or feel like you have to be stuck with the same 3-pet team.
- Consider leveling up at least one of each type of pet (e.g. Flying, Magic, Critter, etc.) because you never know when one of them will come in handy. Variety is key! I definitely would not recommend filling your team with three pets of the same type; it’s a bad idea, as evidenced by some of the NPC trainers you will no doubt tasked to defeat. For instance, I wiped the floor with the goblin Cassandra Kaboom, using a strong Elemental pet against all three of her Mechanicals. You don’t want the same thing to happen to you.
- If you’re going to be leveling at least one of each type of pet anyway, and seeing as there are 10 types all together, it’s perfect to level several teams in tandem. When looking for battles in one zone, rotating 3-4 teams also lets you take advantage of the 8min cooldown on your heal/revive pets ability, so no need to visit a stable master every time you get battered up. When one team gets low on health, simply switch to another one. This ensures you’ll have about a dozen pets all around the same level no matter where you go, also allowing for minimal downtime.
- Make sure to still keep a good number of pets at every level or level bracket. You never know when you’ll be traipsing through a lower level zone one day and see a wild pet that catches your eye, and you’ll want a battle pet at a similar level to capture it. This shouldn’t be too hard if you’ve been an avid hunter already, as pets keep their levels when you catch them.
- Admittedly, leveling pets can be a bit of a grind if that’s all you’re focusing on. The best way to make it not feel like one is by making it a hunting expedition. Time flies when you have a goal in mind, especially if that goal is adding a new unique pet to your collection. Still, even when you catch a new pet, why stop there? Chances are the quality of that pet can be improved, because you’ll probably be catching a lot of “Common” ones.
- Don’t settle for “Poor” quality! I certainly don’t. Hunting uncommon and rare quality pets can help you level up quick by keeping your mind off the grind. Kill all Common pets you encounter that you already own (there are addons out there that help let you know), and usually by the time you finally bag that your Uncommon or Rare, you would have gained a healthy amount of XP for your team(s).
- When you find you need to focus on leveling one particular pet, you will want to take it to a zone where there are wild pets appropriate to its level, but see if you can give it an advantage by choosing areas are that teeming with opponents that are weak against it. For example, when I found I needed to power level my Lil’ Tarecgosa, I took to the wilds of Feralas, where the Flying type Nether Faerie Dragons there were getting one-shotted by her strong Magic type attacks. The quick XP gain meant I was able to level her from 8-11 in a matter of minutes.
- Pet hunting comes with a whole other set of rules, since your goal is not to kill, but to capture. Before you set out, it’s good to have a good mix of pets at varying levels on hand. Usually, a good rule of thumb is to have pets about 1-2 levels above the ones you hope to catch, meaning they are strong enough to not lose the fight, but at the same time they aren’t so strong that you’ll risk killing your opponent outright. Also, be careful not to use abilities that your targets are vulnerable to or you’ll risk doing too much damage, leading to a dead pet and a botched hunt.
- Also good to have are pets with “small” attacks (like leech life or abilities that do periodic every turn). They’re good for those annoying situations where you’ll get your opponent just a sliver of health above the threshold which activates the trapping ability, when all they need is a tiny little nudge to put them in the sweet spot (25-30% health range). Always look at the numbers, especially when your opponent goes under 50% health. Calculate the damage of your attacks, and pray you don’t get a freak crit that kills the pet you hope to capture.
- It’s also helpful to have a “tanky” pet on hand, one you can use to soak up damage between turns while you try and capture, because the truth is sometimes the trap misses. This can prevent your other pets from being whittled down and dying on you, because once they die they get no experience at all, no matter how much they participated.
- While I do prefer to level a bunch of pets at once and keeping them all at around the same level, admittedly it’s sometimes good to have along a “brute” that’s higher level than all the rest. They come in handy during those times where you find the need to completely and utterly destroy your opponent, without delicacy or any of the subtleties. Fighting against NPC battle trainers, for instance. Or, say, when you’ve caught the pet you were after and now that a second pet has joined the fight, you just want the battle to be over. Brutes are good as a back-up plan, and I find bears especially good for the job (Baby Blizzard Bear, Hyjal Bear Cub, etc.)
- I’m finding that each zone has at least one pet unique to them. Not always, but in general this is the case. Sometimes, that pet can be a bit hard to find. Maybe I just got lucky, but I wonder if server resets can be used to your advantage? All I know is, after days of hunting around the Wetlands for Tiny Bog Beast or Arathi Highlands for Tiny Twister and having no luck, one time I showed up in both places after a server reset and there were a bunch of them all over.
- Some pets will only come out during certain conditions. For example, Widow Spiderlings in Duskwood or Stone Armadillos in Desolace will only appear at night. Baby Apes in Cape of Stranglethorn only when it’s raining. When it comes to finding out information like this, sites like Warcraftpets.com are your friends.
- Once you get out of the starting zones, you’ll find most wild pet battles will consist of two opponents; you’ll get an alert that another pet has joined the battle after you engage, and it will sit in the sidelines until you defeat the first. Some wild pets only show up as the “second” pet of a team battle. I suspect the Snowshoe Hare in Hillsbrad Foothills may be one of these. Keep in mind, you can only capture one pet per battle.
Latest field notes and recently hunted pets:
Too many to list all of them, obviously. And anyway, most of them are the same variations of your common models of rabbits, mice, snakes and spiders, etc. Believe me, after a while, you get so sick of seeing rats and rabbits like in every zone you go. Anyway, I’m just going to showcase some of the more unique ones I’ve found on my travels, or a few that I personally like.
What the heck is a Quilen you ask? Apparently a lion dog thingy with disgustingly huge blue watery doe eyes. Finally got this after entering Collector’s Edition code to upgrade my game. Holy crap, this thing is so cute it’s ugly, didn’t even know that was possible. It kinda hurts just to look at it.
No safari is complete without a giraffe. Caught this little (um, maybe not so little?) guy out in Southern Barrens among roving giraffe herds, just swooped in and stole him away from his parents. WoW has turned me into poacher. Next up is training him to become a killer in underground fighting ring. Anyway, pet is TALL. Towers over gnomes. Throw a pet treat that increases its size at it, and it also gets as big as a hunter pet. Got loads of comments.
These ghosts are all over the place out in Tirisfal Glades, common but very cool model nonetheless. Also shows you can capture of some of the most unique and pretty pets right in the low level zones, like Gazelle Fawn in Mulgore or Ravager Hatchling in Bloodmyst Isle. Best looking pets are not always locked in later parts of game, though not sure how respectful it is to be able to capture and own and treat the spirits of the dead like…well, pets. Game has turned me into monster.
All over Westfall, very commonly seen in the fields. Essentially miniature of annoying Harvester mobs that try to kill you, but starting out in the human lands it was first wild pet I saw that got me really excited about pet hunting. But also special to me as first catch of this pet also happened to be my first Rare. Very detailed and unique little pet.
We have pet models of earth elementals, fire elementals, etc. about time we get an air elemental pet. Found only around Circle of Outer Binding out in Arathi Highlands, but rarely seen because of possible long respawn times. Hunted for two days without seeing any until after server reset, and then there were many. Good luck if you go, and pray some jerk hasn’t caught or killed them all.
Yet another “Tiny” pet. Also seems to be quite rare because of possibly long respawn times. Found in Wetlands around the Green Belt, northwest of Greenwarden’s Grove. Finally bagged myself one and only shortly after a server reset, may be harder to find but very awesome looking, well worth it to hunt.
FISHY! Oooh, fishy fishy fishy fish! A fish, a fish, a fish, a fishy, oooh! Oooh, fishy, fishy, fishy fish! That went wherever I did go… My first pet quest reward out in Pandaria, that lives in a floating water bubble. To be the greatest pet hunter, quests must not be neglected!
And of course, the achievement reward for collecting 250 unique pets, a fairly easy one to do now these days. Kind of a scary-looking little bugger with its red eyes and evil smirk. I think it might be planning something…