Last time, we covered a ton of details about how pet battles work -- but now it's time to put that knowledge into practice to get your pets leveled. It's tough starting at level 1 and building up a team of pets high enough level to collect the pets you might be interested in, much less pick up achievements like Taming the World (which grants you the Safari Hat that will help you level even more pets) or World Safari (which grants you the Zookeeper title).
Getting your pets up to level 25 so you can take on anything the game can throw at you (pet battle-wise, at least) will take time -- but it's a somewhat less daunting task if you combine it with another in-game project. Are you working the loremaster achievement? Thinking of leveling another alt? Because you'll be traveling zone to zone, both of these are a great time to work in some battle pet leveling -- and since you get experience from winning pet battles, they can help with leveling, too.
Wherever you are in your leveling journey, we can help you get closer to 25.
Pet leveling 101
If you want to capture higher level battle pets to add your collection, you'll need a higher level team -- preferably a high level pet in each pet family. Pets level just like you do, gaining experience from fights which fills their experience bar, so just like starting a new alt, you're in for a bit of a grind if you're starting a battle pet from level 1.
When you win a pet battle, every pet that took a turn and is still alive at the end of the fight gets a share of the experience, which is determined by the level of the pet you're fighting with. Pets that are lower level will receive bonus experience when defeating a higher level pet while pets that are significantly higher level will receive no experience for defeating a lower level pet.
Because experience is evenly split, the best way to level up a pet from zero is to pair it with a higher level pet and head to a high level zone, fighting a single round before letting the second pet win the fight. The low level pet will get half of the experience plus a good chunk of bonus XP.
But unfortunately when you're just getting started there aren't any tricks: you just need to go out there and fight. Winning fights with as few pets participating as possible will let those pets get the most experience out of the deal -- but sometimes you'll find you need all three of your pets in order to win. As you advance in levels with some pets, it becomes easier to boost up lower level pets using by teaming them with higher levels using this technique.
A leveling shortcut
Still, finding and fighting in pet battles forever can make for a long grind -- so there's a shortcut. It's still a grind (and maybe a more monotonous one), but by leveraging pet family bonuses and battling in places where you know what pet team-ups you're likely to find in the wild you can beat fairly high level pets with fairly low-level pets.
Here's the stepping stone path:
- Start with three mechanical pets. If you don't have any decent mechanical pets, head over to New Tinkertown and pick up some Fluxfire Felines. Remember, you'll want to get these at a decent quality -- rare is great, but anything better than poor will do.
- Level them up to at least level 4 by doing battles in the area, which will give them access to their first three skill slots. If you're just getting started, this is a great time to do your first trainer quests, which will help you get your mechanical team up to level 5 or 6.
- Head to Deadwind Pass, just outside Karazhan where you're looking for Arcane Eyes. The magic eyes are around level 17 and, unusual for their level, will fight you alone -- perfect targets for your low-level mechanicals. Fight and capture as many eyes as you can -- though depending on whether anyone else is farming eyes, you may find few spawns. Be sure to capture at least 2 decent-quality eyes (though 3 would be better) before moving on.
- Head to Dragonblight in Northrend and make a beeline for the nearest pile of bones. Their you're likely to find numerous Dragonbone Hatchlings, flying pets that are numerous throughout the zone and make for great grinding. The eyes you caught previously will make short work of these, and because the area is dense with spawns and there's a stable master at Wyrmrest Temple, this can be a great place to level any pets you have with the help of your eyes. Be sure to capture some Hatchlings while you're at it!
- Though you could level up to 25 in Dragonblight, you'll get better experience if you move up to higher level pets. With that in mind, your next stop is the Vale of Eternal Blossoms in Pandaria. Here, there are tons of spawn points for groups that are mostly aquatic pets -- which will take quite a beating from your flying Hatchlings. It should be an easy thing to get your first pet to level 25 here, simply circling around the zone and fighting any pets you see.
Moving on to battle pet tamers
To keep building your collection (and to earn the Safari Hat), you'll want to fight pet tamers throughout the game. As a bonus, the first time you beat them you'll get a Sack of Pet Supplies (more on that in a moment). Once you've beaten all of the tamers on a continent, you'll get an achievement and unlock daily quests that let you fight each tamer for gold and other rewards once a day.
Doing these dailies can be a decent way to level pets -- though probably not as quick as taking them to Vale -- and you'll pocket a good amount of gold in the process. Though most tamers will only offer gold and experience as a reward, the Master Pet Tamers on each continent will also give you a Sack of Pet supplies, which you definitely want. These innocuously named rewards have different things inside -- sometimes bandages to heal your pets, sometimes special food or other vanity items -- are where you're most likely to find Battle-Stones. These items can be used to raise a pet -- most stones are specific to one pet family -- to rare quality, and they can really help improve your team. You won't get them every day, but you'll definitely want to try.
Some trainers you'll have no problem beating, but others you'll want to have the right team of pet families in order to win. However, you have an advantage here: the trainers always use the same pets, so you can plan for victory. Check out this guide on Wowhead to see the details of all of the trainer battles -- and get a team ready to beat them all.
For more resources, head to WarcraftPets.com, which will help you find just the pets to build the best battling team. Of particular interest is the list of the 20 best battle pets and the 20 most popular battle pets, both of which can help you flesh out your teams.
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.