I discovered something absolutely AMAZING while testing on the beta last night. If you're a lover of pet animations and interactions, you'll absolutely want to favorite the many pets that interact with you or other pets. Because guess what? GARRISON GENERATED PETS INTERACT WITH EACH OTHER AND PETS THAT YOU SUMMON!
Sorry for the caps, but this is really exciting news for me. As someone who's always wanted a large group of pets following/around me, all of their animations and interactions included, this is quite possibly the best compromise that I can get. I can have this and more without lagging or irritating the rest of the WoW population. Excellent.
At Tier 2, the Pet Menagerie will spawn 10 pets from your favorites list (or random pets if you don't have enough on the list or any at all), and they will wander around your garrison. The pets are auto-generated upon loading your garrison, so if you're not satisfied with the selection that spawned at your menagerie, relog and a new set will show up. Currently there's a bug where wild pets will show up as wild (green paw print) and can be attacked with player abilities. They can't actually be captured or anything though. This bug will hopefully be fixed before the expansion is released.
Pets that may or may not play so nicely will stop to interact if there's an appropriate target nearby. Let's say you have 3 Clockwork Rocket Bots and add them all to your favorites list. If your garrison spawns them all at the same time, and they're in close proximity to each other...you can expect quite a bot battle!
Player summoned pets seem to work with garrison pets too. I had quite a bit of fun tormenting my garrison black cats with Stinker. He just wants a kiss! ;)
Pets that respond to emotes also work in the garrison, just target them and emote away. The pets wander around every now and then though, so you may need to be quick about showing them your love and attention.
Here's a video of some garrison pet interactions. It's not all of them but gives a good example of what your pets will do when you are (or are not) around. :P
Some pets that interact with players and the environment around them don't seem to work that well, or at least they're not as interesting/fun. For example the Frigid Frostling, who sometimes targets an NPC or player and throws snowflakes at them to grant them a buff, will target an NPC not in line of sight so it's a wonder where the frostling's snowflakes go. The Searing Scorchling and Willy, who are the bane of non-pet critters, simply have no targets they can kill. Poor guys. And pets that are normally vendors don't really work either. The Ethereal Soul-Trader will straight up ignore your requests to purchase more Ethereal Mutagen. Jerk.
There's a small downside to this system where favorited pets have priority spawning inside your garrison. If you desire a house full of pets that have fun animations and interactions, you need to make sure your list is comprised of mainly (or only) those select pets. Otherwise your garrison will randomly pick from your favorites list. If you have a miscellaneous favorite, mainly for battling purposes, that pet may show up instead of one that will put Lil' XT in his place.
If this doesn't bother you, then favorite away! But for me, my list is mainly for quick and easy access to pets for teams that I use against trainers. There are addons that can save teams for you, but I've heard talk of settings not saving properly or things going wrong/being bugged. It doesn't sound like it happens often, but after setting up X number of teams for different strategies and fights, it's probably devastating when your preferences disappear.
But I may have to resort to using an addon in the expansion, because I absolutely must have pets with interesting animations and interactions in my garrison! I WILL NOT SETTLE FOR ANYTHING ELSE.
Another pet peeve some might have is the noise. You may not want to favorite certain pets if you find some of the noises that they make when they cross paths with each other annoying (looking at you Lil' XT). Other pets that have idle animations that include sounds might also not be the best to add to your list. An old guildmate of mine really detested Lil' Smoky's sounds so I had to put it away during raids lol.
All issues aside, I'm truly excited about this garrison feature and I cannot wait to play with it on live. I'm going to make good use of the pet filter over on WarcraftPets; drop down menu, under "Pet Properties", select "Has Interactivity", filter and BOOM all pets that do stuff. Favorite you, and you, and you, and oh can't forget about you!
On top of all of this, pets will often follow you while you walk around your garrison. Adorable. To make it even more personal, garrison spawned pets will also use the names you've assigned to them in the Pet Journal. This feature isn't working at the moment, but here's hoping it will be ready for the expansion's release.
The Pet Menagerie is shaping up to be a great place for both collectors and battlers. It offers something for everyone's style of gameplay. Collect pets? Show them off and watch them play or fight with each other! Battle pets? Challenge the daily legendary trainer and earn/buy rewards! YAY FOR EVERYTHING PETS!