After gearing myself out decently, I started toying around with Pet Battles. It is a very casual element to the game that so far does nothing to improve the character performance. Only the few tamer quests that there are give xp, and even that isn’t much. Although it seems useless, it is the perfect time-sink while waiting for dps queues to pop or when you just want a dose of silly fun. As it turns out, getting good at throwing innocent kittens at raging elementals (actually, consider a frog instead) isn’t at all mindless. I threw myself at this activity with my usual compulsion, and have come up with a list—based largely on my mistakes—of what can be done to get a team together and leveled up in order to take on all the critters of Pandaria.
1. Take a 3-piece team to max level before worrying about other pets. Sure, you will eventually want one level 25 of each family, but getting a team together unlocks content and will help you power-level your other pets. It’s pointless to level 10 pets side-by-side because it will take ages, and you will end up capturing higher pets once you get to Pandaria anyway.
2. Study this chart and keep it handy. Even though you have your go-to team, it helps to understand why you are having trouble killing something or why you are pounding through higher-level creatures with such ease.
3. Before level 10, none of the “rules” matter. Just play around and have fun. See what the abilities do, and capture a bunch of world pets.
4. Don’t use an “undead” pet in your initial team. Most of what you will be killing/capturing will be critters, and even though “undead” has that cool resurrection, they won’t be the best for getting through the content if you are constantly heading to the pet healer. I made this mistake. I chose Fossilized Hatchling because he has the Claw beast ability that is especially good with critters. He certainly did a bunch of damage, but if he was up against a critter that was faster than him, he would die at pretty much the same rate at which he killed… which wasn’t all that useful.
5. Quality matters. Try to capture one of each type of pet you encounter, but understand that you will need to use “rare” quality pets if you want to be successful at PvP or have expectations of speedy leveling. So, when you are out capturing, stick around awhile and try to pick up a “rare”. Just like gear, you can tell the quality by the color of their name: grey=poor, white=common, green=uncommon, blue=rare. Chances are, you have rare quality pets in your arsenal already.
6. Do the pet trainer quests. There are tons of xp for your pets involved in these quests, and it tests your skill as well. If you find that your team isn’t the “correct” family to battle the trainer’s pets, you don’t need to train up the “correct” ones. Instead, get your team one level above their pets and then go back and stomp them. Once you do all the quests on a continent, each of the trainers becomes a daily quest and can be used to level your next team.
7. Get some addons. In 5.1, there were changes to the pet battle UI that made most addons unnecessary. That said, there are still a couple that can help you figure out what pets you should get and what quality they are. There are guides to let you know about a number of them, but I recommend getting Battle Pet Quality Notifier as a first step. It will let you know if there is an upgrade in the group of pets you are about to battle. Remember: the only upgrade that matters is a “rare”. This addon doesn’t take into account level, so if a pet comes up blue, but the mod doesn’t tell you it’s an upgrade, check to see what level the “rare” pet is that you already have. A level 22 “rare” frog is much more valuable than one that is level 3.
8. Release pets. If you see a new pet, capture it. The quality doesn’t matter. You want at least one of each, right? If you run into more, check if they are an upgrade before catching another one. The only upgrade that really matters is if the new one is a rare. Remember that you can only have three of each type of pet. Go ahead and keep two, but leave yourself room to catch another one. I once had two rare level 5 rabbits, and 1 level 6 uncommon one. I kicked myself when I came across a level 20 rare and couldn’t catch it because I hadn’t released the uncommon. Arg, that was annoying.
9. Power level. Anyone who has played Pokemon probably knows all about this. Once you have your max-level team, get your other pets up as quick as you can. Here’s how: Put your low-level pet in a team with two 25s. Have the low-level pet go first. Let them get one hit (or attempt) in, and switch to your power team. Your baby pet will get hella xp. By all means use the copious daily quests all over the world to make this go quickly. A good method I learned from Alludra is to bring your level 5 into Pandaria, and go up against an aquatic pet. They usually buff on their first turn, so no damage will be taken. If one of the higher-level pets puts a DOT on your baby pet, just forfeit and start over.
10. Do your Tiller quests. On your farm, you have a chance to dig up a Terrible Turnip. This guy is fantastic for catching pets, as his Weakening Blow won’t ever kill a pet you are trying to capture. If you want to kill all of the things instead, use Tidal Wave.
Next week, I will tell everyone once and for all which pets they should use… because there IS a right answer.
See you soon,
You can find the right answer here!