If you haven't caught the pet battle fever yet, now's a great time to start. New rewards make pet battles a great way to help earn some of your raiding currency, such as Valor Points or Lesser Charms, and mechanics changes make the whole system more transparent and less frustrating.
Tired of killing daily quest mobs for VP? Why not pet battle for it? All of the master tamers in Pandaria, as well as the Spirits and Beasts of Fable, now offer daily quests for their defeat that offer the standard XP, 5 VP and 2 Lesser Charms per turn-in. The Beasts of Fable quest has been split into three parts, giving you a total of 14 pet battles you can do daily for VP, charms, and a chance at a battle-stone.
Those battle-stones should be more common as well, with "bad luck protection" added to the game. Every bag without a battle-stone increases the chances of the next bag containing one. If you're using pet battles to level alts, all the pet battle daily quests now award XP as well. All of these quests now show up on the map, so you can find them easily.
Gotta catch em...
Apparently 500+ unique pets just wasn't enough, so it's time to get back to work collecting! There are roughly 20 new pets to catch in this patch. Half of those are from the new version of Raiding with Leashes, Raiding with Leashes II: Attunement Edition. For this iteration, you'll be looking for drops from Karazhan, Serpentshrine Cavern, and Tempest Keep. As for the rest, they're scattered about; some from the new 5.3 content, some from Throne/Isle of Thunder, and a new rare pet, Unborn Val'kyr, is hiding out in Northrend.
If you're into the PvP side of pet battling, several new rewards have been added for winning battles at maximum level. You get an achievement at 10 and 50 wins, a third achievement plus pet at 250 wins, and the final achievement plus Trainer title at 1000 wins. Yes, this might take a while. However, there's a new weekly quest to help you get through the grind. Every reset, you can win 10 PvP pet battles for 8 Lesser Charms, 20 Valor Points, and a bag with a high probability of cool stuff.
Last but not least, there's some good mechanics changes that have been made. One of the clearest messages players sent was that missing attacks was frustrating, so miss chances have been reduced, and all attacks now display their exact chance to hit on the tooltip. Pets will also save their ability layout last used; no more having to re-select them every time you switch them in, which is a helpful addition. Finally, in a controversial change, pet battles can now be seen by others. This is cool for strategy purposes, as you can hang out by a tamer you're having trouble with and watch somebody else's strategy, but it's very likely to get you killed on PvP realms.
Personally, I'm most excited for the tamer battle XP. I've been regularly doing the tamer battles to level pets, so now I can level pets and alts at the same time. What about you, pet battle fans? What's your favorite new change?
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.