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How to get started building your own battle pet arsenal

No, we aren't talking about hunters today: the battle pet system allows all of us to have and fight with pets through a special battle pet interface. And though you're not likely find mention of pet battles before you hit Pandaria, you can start participating in pet battles as early as level 5. And even if you aren't a fan of the "gotta catch 'em all!" game on which the system is modeled, we think pet battles are a fun break from leveling -- and since you're walking right by battle pets to collect and fight as you wander through each zone, why not have your battle pets advancing at the same time you are?

The concept behind battle pets is simple; your battle pets fight other battle pets throughout the game in a turn-based format, gaining levels (up to 25) and skills (each pet has 6). Whenever you see another battle pet -- or battle pet trainer -- you can fight to gain experience and, of course, the glory of victory. If that sounds interesting, let's get started on the road to becoming the fiercest pet tamer in Azeroth!

To get started with battle pets first you'll need to talk to a battle pet trainer, who can usually be found somewhere around your starting zone. Here's who you're looking for:

If you're having trouble finding them, just ask a city guard to direct you.

For 10 gold, these trainers will give you some basic quests to teach you the battle pet system. Once you've completed their quests, they'll send you to on Stormwind or Orgrimmar to continue your training. Alliance players will need to find Audrey Burnhep and Horde players will need to find Varzok. From here, you'll be sent to find and fight other pet trainers -- many of whom you can come back and battle daily for rewards -- but you're left mostly to your own devices for acquiring and leveling pets of your own.

How to get started with WoW's pet battles
So how do I grow my pet arsenal?
Though you can only have three battle pets actively equipped at any time, there are hundreds of different battle pets in the game -- so there's plenty of room for a starting character to grow! New pets can be found on vendors, as drops, by doing quests, by getting achievements, buying them from the Blizzard store. But there's one other way to get new battle pets: by capturing them in the wild.

Wild battle pets are at a level similar to the zone you find them in -- so if you're surrounded by pets that are too high or too low level, just move to another zone. This makes leveling your pets as a low-level player very straightforward: just take a bit of time as you advance through each zone to find, fight, and capture new pets. (For higher level players, you'll want to head out to newbie zones and then work your way through higher level areas as your pets advance.)

Capturing a wild pet is simple: just enable pet tracking on your mini-map, find a pet you're interested in, and right-click on it to start a fight. Once your opponent is below 35% health, you have the option to trap it and add it to your collection. The trap will not always succeed, but keep trying until it does!

The battle pet system is account wide, which means that each character on your account has the same battle pets at the same level. So if you've done this on another character, you won't be able to do it again -- though you can collect and level new pets, which will be accessible to your other characters.

And a word of warning while you're collecting pets: if you're on a PvP server or are PvP flagged, you can be attacked while fighting in a pet battle. So take care to make sure you're in a safe spot -- or are ready to defend yourself if needed!

How to get started with WoW's pet battles
Pet battle tips
Here are a few tips we picked up while messing up participating in pet battles. Learn from our experience!
  • Your pets get hurt in combat just like you do, so remember to heal them between battles. You can do this with your revive pet ability (on an 8-minute cooldown), at any stable master, or by using pet bandages (which you have a chance to get when you win a fight against a pet trainer).
  • Know your pet families! Not only does each pet have its own skills, but each type of pet has its own family abilities and each family will be strong against some types of pets and weak against others. Use this to your advantage by pitting the right pets against the right opponants.
  • Having trouble winning pet fights? Maybe you need to level your pet up: try visiting a lower level zone and fighting pets there.
  • Having trouble capturing pets? If you're not getting them down to the 35% health necessary to trap them, you should try fighting lower level pets in lower level zones to level up. But if you're killing them before you can get them below 35%, try swapping in a lower level (but not too low) pet to fight.
  • If you're looking to level up, you can fight other players as well: but you can't capture their pets.

I want to learn more about battle pets!
With so many pets to capture and quests to complete, there's a good chance you have questions beyond this beginner's guide. If you want in depth information about pet battles, we recommend WarcraftPets, WoWpedia, and WoW's Pet Battles forum.

Happy pet hunting!

Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you can't bring your A-game to World of Warcraft! Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from the seven things every newbie ought to know to how to get started as a healer or as a tank.

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