Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Pet Leveling Guide For Newbies (And/Or Players That Hate Pet Battles)

So you've decided to jump into the world of Pet Battles - welcome!

I should preface this guide with the following: Pet Battles is not a quick and short activity. It's a long adventure that requires time, knowledge, and effort. However, it gets progressively easier as you collect and level more pets.

It's all about power gain. Your pets and their quality and level are your power in Pet Battles. The more pets you have, at higher quality and level, the easier things will become.

That being said, here are just a few ways you can level your battle pets (relatively) quickly. There are many strategies, ideas, and so on. Pick what feels acceptable for you.

This guide is not a full Pet Battle guide. It requires some basic knowledge of the system/mechanics involved. This guide simply provides suggestions on how to acquire your first level 25 pet, what to do with it, and how to get more max level battle pets.

For a guide to Pet Battles in general, check out WarcraftPets or Wowhead.

I did not come up with these ideas. A big thank you to users on WarcraftPets Forum, Wowhead, Bnet Pet Battle forums, and individual persons for suggesting these.

►►Getting your first level 25 pet (and then some)

Important!: The purpose of your first level 25 battle pet is to help you get more max level pets. Keep this in mind when choosing your first pet to level up.

Strategy 1 - 'Intended progression path'
The original progression path starts in Orgrimmar or Stormwind. Speak with the NPC that teaches you the Pet Battle skill and accept the quest. This will start the long quest chain that will take you through each zone to battle trainers, each with increasing level and difficulty. (List of zones by pet level)

To supplement pet levels between trainer battles, you'll want to challenge wild pets. Capture any rare quality (blue) wild pets that you come across to help bolster your collection. As you climb into higher level pet zones, the pets you capture will help add to the overall level of your collection. Remember: More pets, higher quality, higher level = more power = easier to complete content.

Completing the intended progression path (Pet Battle quest chain) will be extremely beneficial in the end. You will unlock trainer dailies of varying level that, at higher levels, can be used to efficiently power level your battle pets.

Strategy 2 - 'Progression path too long; I have a lot of gold and am willing to spend it'
Want to skip the quest chain? Ok. If you have zero level 25 pets, head to Draenor and get yourself a level 3 garrison and unlock the Menagerie. Complete the quest Unearthed Magic for a free Ultimate Battle-Training Stone.

Use this battlestone on which ever pet you feel you use the most that you currently own. Alternatively, you can purchase a level 1 pet from the Auction House and use the stone on that (most people recommend the Anubisath Idol).

IMPORTANT: You can only add purchased pets of the same level as your highest level pet that you currently have in your Pet Journal. So now that you've boosted one pet to 25, you can head to the AH and purchase and add any other level 25 pets that you want.

It may not be cheap, depending on your server, but it's a fast way to get a decent army of pets ready for Pet Battle content.

Note that there are some pets listed in guides that you cannot trade or buy. You will need to use your newly purchased collection of level 25 pets to go out and capture them in the wild.

Strategy 3 - 'I DON'T have a lot of gold and/or am unwilling to spend it'
This method is better paired with Strategy 1; you'll be grinding on wild pets so why not add in some trainer battles too?

If you have zero level 25 pets, head to Draenor and get yourself a level 3 garrison and unlock the Menagerie. Complete the quest Unearthed Magic for a free Ultimate Battle-Training Stone.

Use this battlestone on which ever pet you feel you use the most that you currently own. Because you will be doing a lot of grinding on wild pets, you should pick a pet that can "carry" lower level ones. This means the pet you choose to boost to 25 should be able to finish fights on its own or with very little help.

You can try and obtain an Anubisath Idol and boost it to 25 with the battlestone, but it will be very RNG dependent as this pet is a drop from a legacy raid boss.

►►How to use your first level 25 pet to level other pets

Method 1 - Capture a higher level wild pet
One way to add to your team of one is to take your level 25 pet and go to Deadwind Pass. Battle and capture an Arcane Eye (wild, is a solo pet so you don't have to fight other pets). Because the pet level of the zone is higher, you'll automatically get a higher level pet.

If you go this route, be sure not to use your level 25 battlestone on a pet that's weak against the Arcane Eyes. Weak against Magic attacks: Flying; weak attacks against Magic: Aquatic. Do not boost these two pet families if you plan on using this method.

Level up your Arcane Eye on other Arcane Eyes (with the help of your first 25 pet), and once it reaches roughly level 20+ (higher level the better) go to Dragonblight in Northrend. Large packs of wild Flying pets spawn in Dragonblight (near the exposed bones) and your Arcane Eye is strong against Flying.

You can use your Arcane Eye on any wild Flying pet, not just the ones in Dragonblight. They are simply the most convenient as they spawn in large groups and have a decent respawn time.

Use the Dragonbone Hatchlings to finish leveling up your Arcane Eye. You can use your first level 25 pet to help, and even add in another lower level pet to leech some levels once your Arcane Eye is 25.

Caution: Dragonbone Hatchlings can spawn with the Cyclone attack, which can potentially ruin this method.

Method 2 - Battle Aquatic wild pets
Boost a turkey (any works), level up a second Flying pet (moths are good), and head to Vale of Eternal Blossoms in Pandaria. Since your turkey is Flying, it's strong against Aquatics, so you want to find Aqautic pets to battle.

Use the turkey's ability Food Coma to crowd control the first enemy pet, swap in your lower level pet, swap it back out for your turkey, and finish the fight with your two Flying pets.

Flying will work well against most Aquatics found anywhere, but like the Dragonbone Hatchlings in Dragonblight, the wild pets in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms are convenient and relatively plentiful. They also usually spawn with 2 additional Aquatic pets, making it easy to level up Flying pets (like the Falcosaur Hatchlings!).

Method 3 - Battle Beast wild pets
Use your Ultimate Battle-Training Stone on a Mechanical Pet with Decoy (Darkmoon Zeppelin, Alarm-o-Bot, Lifelike Mechanical Frostboar, Race MiniZep). This is essentially the same as Method 2, but instead of fighting Aquatic pets, you want to find wild pets that are from the Beast family.

Frostfire Ridge in Draenor is excellent for grinding pet levels against wild Beast pets.

Set up Decoy, swap in your lower level pet and then out again, and finish the fight with your two other high level pets.

►►Efficient use of multiple level 25 pets to help level other pets

Option 1 - Grind wild battles
Just do wild battles using two level 25 pets and one low level.

Option 2 - Trainer dailies.
This calls back to Strategy 1 for getting your first level 25 pet. Complete the Pet Battle quest chain and unlock the trainer dailies in Pandaria (requires full clear of all trainers of Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Outland, Cataclysm zones, Northrend, and Pandaria).

If you've defeated 40 trainers (which is likely if you've completed all of the achievements above), you will receive a Safari Hat. Using it will increase the amount of pet experience your battle pets receive by a bit.

Using the trainer dailies to help power level pets is extremely efficient, as the battles give amazing amounts of pet experience. (Read more about different amounts of pet experience gained from different encounters of varying difficulty.)

On top of granting large chunks of pet experience, the Pandaria dailies also reward pet bags which have a chance to drop battlestones. You can use these to upgrade your pets!

There are many guides on how to use the Pandaria Pet Battle dailies to power level pets. Here is one from WarcraftPets that details which two level 25 pets you need for each battle. Here is one for Draenor trainer dailies (unlike Pandaria dailies, these don't have any prerequisites). They're outdated, but most of the information is still great advice.

I recommend using the Ashlei battle in Draenor first to carry a level 1 pet, and then heading to Pandaria to complete the trainer dailies.

►►Things to note
■ To "carry" a lower level, you want to make sure it doesn't take any damage. It only needs to be your active pet for one round, so swap it in when you feel the enemy team will use a move that does little to no damage, and then swap it out for one of your higher level pets to finish the fight.

You don't want to battle wild pets that have a team-wide AOE. Pet families that can spawn with AOE attacks or persisting damage (but not always): Flying, Magic, Elemental and certain Critters. Be wary of using these for leveling sub-level 5 pets.

■ Be sure to capture any rare quality (blue) wild pets that you don't already have.

■ Once you have a handful of pets at max level, you can head to any zone and battle the wild pets there. The higher the level of the zone, the higher the level of the wild pets.

►►Stand out "carry pets" for grinding pet levels

This list is subjective, however there are some pets that are often recommended due to their power and survivability.

I've ranked these pets based on my own preference (1 being top tier). Other pet battlers may rate them differently.
1 Anubisath Idol
1 Feline Familiar
1 Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling
1 Emerald Proto-Whelp (obtainable only from the wild, prefer Power stat)
2 Darkmoon Zeppelin
2 Any cat (must have the Devour ability, prefer Power stat)
3 Any moth (the more Power stat it has the better, usually)
3 Any snail (the more Health and Power stat it has the better, usually)

Have any additional tips and tricks for leveling pets? See any errors or incorrect information? Leave a comment below!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Shiny Mountain Cottontail Is Back In 7.1

Yesterday while doing a Pet Battle World Quest on the 7.1 PTR, I noticed that one of the adds in the fight looked a little odd. At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me, but upon closer inspection I discovered the Mountain Cottontail in all its glossy glory!

After the battle I promptly sought out a wild Mountain Cottontail on the PTR and found one as a secondary pet. It took a few restarts, but I managed to get it spawn in with its new shiny appearance.

It seems the special version of the cottontail will be back in 7.1! (see above screenshot for glossy skin on the left and normal white on the right)

Unfortunately the updated look doesn't seem to be retroactive. The existing Mountain Cottontail in my Pet Journal on the PTR (was originally shiny) did not have the new skin. Instead, it remained a color-changer so it had the chance to be spawn in with the glossy appearance, but it wasn't guaranteed. Capturing a new cottontail that started out with the shiny skin guaranteed that it retained the look.

It's a little inconvenient that we'll have to capture new Mountain Cottontails in 7.1, but on the bright side we won't have to travel to Redridge to find these wild bunnies. They also appear in Highmountan in Legion, hooray!

I'm ecstatic that this special wild pet will be making a come back. Big THANK YOU to Blizzard for maintaining these small details that mean so much to some collectors. It's the little things that make the game that much more fun and amazing. ❤

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

7.1 PTR - Falcosaur Battle Pet Preview

NOTE: As of Patch 7.1 release the falcosaur WQ areas are a bit buggy, resulting in the Orphaned Hatchling not spawning even after defeating the Matriarch. It should appear as soon as you kill the Matriarch, but there are weird phasing issues in these questing areas that might be affecting the hatchling spawn for some and not others.

Here are some things you can try to troubleshoot:
- Re-zone (leave the questing area and come back)
- If in a group, drop group and reform
- If not in a group, find someone from your server that's in the same zone and create a group with them
- Relog
- Kill the Matriarch again (be sure to loot her body) and again and again...and again!
And if this wasn't clear already, the Orphaned Hatchling does not spawn directly on or next to the Matriarch. It has a static spawn in the quest area, sometimes fairly far away from the Matriarch's location. Using /tar orphan helps.

Also, yes, you can collect both falcosaur hatchlings in the same day. There is no cooldown for collecting them.

There is, however, an internal cooldown on the quests that the hatchlings give. It seems to be a day for most players.

It's possible to pick up additional quests if you have other level 110 characters, however this does not always work for everyone, and it's unclear if it's intended, a bug, or could be seen as an exploit. Blizzard has not commented on this. Attempt at your own discretion.

Just be patient - your pet is just a baby still, give it some time! :)

Good luck to everyone seeking these pets (and/or the mounts)!

Edit: If you're looking to collect just the mounts, be aware that 2 out of the 4 mounts will NOT be available until the Nighthold is released. The Direbeak and Bloodgazer questlines require boss kills in this upcoming raid zone.

The only 2 mounts currently available are Snowfeather and Sharptalon.


Developer Jeremey Feasel reminded me yesterday that in addition to the RWLIV content coming in 7.1, there are baby flacosaurus pets to collect! And after testing on the PTR, I can definitely say that they are pretty unique pets, obtained in a unique way.

Four new falcosaur battle pets are coming in the 7.1 Patch:

To obtain them, you must first have the World Quest for their area. Sharptalon Swarm! for the Sharptalon Hatchling, Direbeak Swarm! for the Direbeak Hatchling, and so on.

These WQs seem to be up for 2 days each, and more than one can be active at a time. I'm not sure what the respawn/cooldown time is for these quests.

If the World Quest for a specific type is not up, it doesn't seem possible to collect the pet of that species. This is because the Matriarch of the brood will not spawn, and she's the key to finding the orphaned hatchling.

Defeating a Matriarch of any of the four falcosaur species will spawn an orphaned hatchling nearby. (We're monsters, I know. Killing the mother just to scoop up the babies.)

I found using "/tar orphan" helpful, but they appear to be static spawns so once you know the location of one, you can return to the same spot for that species.

The orphan appears to remain spawned so long as the World Quest for its type is active and/or if you haven't collected it yet. You can leave the area and come back, and if the quest is still up the orphaned hatchling will still be there.

Interacting with the orphaned hatchling will initially yield nothing except flavor dialogue. But a hint was dropped on Twitter that each falcosaur pets' description in the Pet Journal might provide some insight.

Here are the descriptions for each of the falcosaur babies. Pay close attention to the underlined part.

  • Bloodgazer Hatchling - "Though they may look fierce, the bloodgazer species of falcosaur has a beak that makes it predisposed to consuming fruits."

  • Direbeak Hatchling - "Direbeak falcosaurs are heartier than other falcosaur species, but cannot smell as well. They prefer pungent meals and will often eat carrion that has been sitting in the sun for days."

  • Sharptalon Hatchling - "Sharptalon falcosaurs can subsist entirely on a diet of small nuts and berries, and use their talons mostly for defense."

  • Snowfeather Hatchling - "Snowfeather falcosaur hatchlings instinctively flee to nearby adults when threatened. The species is particularly fond of large prey."

Each falcosaur has a special type of food that they respond to. Bring it the right food and you'll get a wonderful reward!

So after brainstorming for a while and trying out different items (and failing a lot) for the Direbeak and Sharptalon Hatchlings, I got lucky and purchased the right food for the Bloodgazer Hatchling. As the Pet Journal noted, they enjoy fruit. But not just any fruit, Azsunian Grapes!

Perhaps the food each falcosaur is native to the zone they're found in? With that in mind I searched for different foods purchasable in Val'sharah for the Sharptalon Hatchling. There weren't any nuts to be found, but there were a few different kinds of berries. And what do you know? It took some of my Dried Bilberries!

I'm not sure if each hatchling will only accept a specific food, or if a variety of nommies are ok so long as they fall into their preferred food category.

That's as far as I've gone in terms of collecting these baby dino-birds. The orphaned Direbeak despawned on me since the WQ timed out, and I've yet to see the Snowfeather quest pop up. This leaves me some time to brainstorm what food to bring for each falcosaur though. My current guesses are Pungent Vrykul Gamalost or Pungent and Moldy Gamalost and Charcoaled Elderhorn. Stinky cheeses and large game fits their description right? :P

UPDATE: Orphaned Snowfeather loves some Smoked Elderhorn. And Orphaned Direbeak likes Pungent Vrykul Gamalost.

But wait, there's more! These hatchlings aren't just for collecting, there are quests to complete as well. They remind me a little of the Children's Week orphan quest chains.

After adding these pets to your Pet Journal and then summoning it out, the hatchlings will each have a quest for you. Level them up to 25!

Leveling it to max will complete the quest. The hatchlings require a nap time after each adventure (there seems to be an internal cooldown on the quests), but your hatchling will eventually have a new task for you.

I only have two out of the four falcosaurs, so I can't be certain -- but it seems each one has a slightly different quest chain. You can have different quests active at the same time. After leveling each one to 25, I received the following:
- The Smell of Draenei - Bloodgazer (take your Bloodgazer to Exodar Inn)

- The Smell of Night Elves - Sharptalon (take your Sharptalon to Darnassus Inn)

What happens after completing this quest? I'm not sure. My hatchlings are currently worn out and need a break from all the traveling. I'll be sure to update once a new quest pops up for me though!

UPDATE: The quest chains seem to follow this pattern

Sunday, October 2, 2016

RE: PVP Prestige Battle Pets

UPDATE: Apparently it takes 50k Honor to Prestige each time. Season 2 will likely introduce 5 additional prestige ranks (without removing S1 ranks and rewards).


Yesterday night I started the PVP Honor grind with a few guildmates. To sum up the experience:
  • Arenas are not worth it. The Honor earned is just dismal.
  • Battlegrounds are a little better (if you win, at least).
  • PVP World Quests are the best in terms of Honor and time.

After hours and hours of grinding mainly bgs, I checked my Honor level and it was only 16. I had started the night at level 9. What.

I was incredulous. All of that and I had only earned 7 levels? Needless to say, I then realized that the Grind. Is. Real.

This made me stop and and seriously think about these PVP Prestige battle pets. Not only do I need to grind to Prestige 1, but I need to keep going and max out for this season so that I won't be behind once Season 2 comes out in 7.1. There is a new pet coming in S2 that, as a collector, I need to fulfill my gameplay.

Did I mention that all of this has to be done on Alliance AND Horde? I'll have to endure the grind on not just one character but two, just to collect these pets.

Is this worth it? How will other collectors fair? Why does it have to be this way?

After some long and hard contemplation, I'm on the verge of excluding the Prestige pets completely. It pains me to even consider this, but trying out the grind and then realizing just how long of a journey it is (in quite possibly the most uncomfortable part of the game for me)... I just can't think of what my other options are.

At first, when I first heard about the Prestige pet (singular, not plural) I thought I would be ok. Prestige once and then be done, once on Alliance and then Horde - even someone who's as allergic to PVP as can be like me can manage that, right? But with the news of a second pet being introduced next season...that changes things.

It's incredibly disheartening and discouraging. Anxiety-inducing. Almost rage-inducing.

I'm already pretty lucky and have guildmates who will help, but what about collectors that don't have that luxury?

I don't want to over-generalize, but a good portion of the pet collecting community are just not that into PVP. Collecting is largely a solo-form of gameplay and fighting others is generally not necessary. "Care-bear" is thrown around a lot, but really, some just prefer to avoid certain activities that make the game less enjoyable for them. PVP is one of those activities.

It seems unfair to put collectors in this situation where they must choose between their collection (gameplay) and being coerced into a part of the game that they've chosen to largely avoid.

There are some collectors that love PVP, and that's great that they can collect while PVP'ing. But just like them, there are collectors that enjoy raiding, and some that don't. Some that like professions, others less so. Collectors that prefer making gold, and collectors that don't. And so on.

However, unlike every other aspect of the game, the PVP pets are only for those that PVP. There's simply no other way to collect them. Don't want to raid? That's ok, because the raid-dropped pets will be up on the Auction House in time. Same with many other pets that can initially only be obtained from a single source -- they can be traded and/or caged and thusly made available to many types of collectors.

Perhaps Blizzard wanted to put an emphasis on how special PVP is now, and that's why these pets are so exclusive. Raiding? Psh. That's just an everyday thing now, right? Some raiders will have words with you if that's the case.

So this whole PVP thing feels like a mistake. Adding in a reward that many PVP'ers will probably ignore and not benefit from, and placing that reward in an aspect of the game that collectors (that actually want the pet) try to avoid... it feels very underhanded as if something else is at play here. Like maybe WoW has this new shiny Prestige System that Blizzard wants us, everyone, to get into so that it's a HUGE SUCCESS! And what better way, than to add a pet, because you know collectors will flock to it, right?

Sorry for the sarcasm, I'm pretty upset about all of this.

I don't think Blizzard can take back what they've already implemented, nor do I think they want to. But I implore them to consider the following options for future PVP seasons:
1. Don't include a battle pet reward.

2. Include a battle pet reward, but make it tradeable/cageable so PVP'ers AND non-PVP'ers can benefit.
Option #2 seems to be the best of both worlds - you can reward PVP'ers for their efforts (doubly so since they will be able to make a one time profit from selling the pet if they choose to), and collectors that are actively avoiding PVP won't feel forced into an activity that they don't enjoy.

I hope I'm not alone in feeling this way about the Prestige PVP pets. As opposed as I am towards PVP, I'm open to compromise. I'm sure there's a better way to implement these pets without taking away from the PVP community, and simultaneously not excluding the collecting community.
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Perks N Peeves by Quintessence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.