Hruin's Half-Baked Battle Pet Guide
There is no sense in me writing a comprehensive battle pet guide. Other people have done it better than I can. It would be boring if I just listed a bunch of links. Ziri could do that. But what I can do is give you an idea of why I collect battle pets and what I've learned.
For me, it started during MOP. The Feline Familiar dropped from a bucket. I had it out for some reason. As I was flying over Pandaria, I noticed someone was right on my tail. My first thought was, "Why is this #$%hole following me and how is he staying with me?"
I scrolled the camera back and saw a cat riding a broom who was following all my moves. I decided he deserved to be levelled up. And that's where it all started.
That was my thought during TBC. Pets were a waste of bag/bank space. When I came back for MOP, I didn't want to play Pokemon. But that cat in the hat taught me a few things.
It's something to do when you're too drunk to do anything difficult. While that may not apply to most of you, it's still something to think about. It replaced fishing as my go to activity when I'm not ready to go to sleep, but too drunk to be useful.
There are Achievements to be had. Yeah, it's not a lot. But there are 840 possible Achievment points.
It's a great filler when the XPac has petered out. At a certain point, you've done everything. That's when you start collecting pets.
It can be profitable. It's not foolproof, but you can make decent money selling pets. You need to know what to sell and how to price them. And since they are account-bound, you can use them to transfer cash from one realm to another.
How Do I Start?
You start with Varzok in Orgrimmar. This gives you the Battle Pet Training ability and it opens up the Pet Tamer quests. These will take you all over Kalimdor, Outland, Northrend, Cata and Pandaria. It's a lengthy questline and it's not necessary to do it. But if you complete it, it opens up dailies in Pandaria. Tamers used to be the fastest way to level pets, but that changed with Draenor.
It's pretty much up to you. There are tons of wild pets that can only be captured by you. They can't be caged, so they can't be bought or sold. There are also lots of pets that drop from quests, raids or dungeons. And there are several that can be bought during festivals. It's not hard to put together decent teams with just a few pets.
PvP is kind of the end game for battling. It's not everyone's cup of tea and there is a pretty steep learning curve. But it's pretty fun once you get the hang of it. And there's nothing more satisfying than beating the guy who names his team "You Can't Win" or something stupid like that.
There is also challenging PVE content like the Celestial Tournament, the Tanaan legendary pets and the Battle Pet Dungeons. While not insanely difficult, they do require a pretty specific stable of pets.
Wild Pets -
One thing you want to do is assemble a "Capture Team" so you don't kill the pet you are trying to capture. This is especially useful for rare spawns like the Unborn Valk. There are a couple of attacks - Weakening Blow (Terrible Turnip, Snobold Runt) and Superbark (Corgi Pup, Corgnelius, Grumpy, Molten Corgi, Scraps) - that won't bring a pet below 1 health. Put one of these pets on your team to bring your target to 1. Just don't put a DOT on them.
Two pets are seasonal. The Snowy Owl is only availabe during winter. The Qiraji Guardling is only available during summer. Plan accordingly.
Some of the toughest pets to get are the weather related ones. For instance, the Baby Ape only spawns when it's raining on Jaguero Island. If you are trying to catch one of these pets, park an alt there and just check it occasionally. Saves a lot of aggravation.
If you want to finish one of the "Safari" achievments, get the "PetTracker" addon. It shows approximate spawn points for all pets in a zone. If you type "missing" in the map search box, it will only display those pets you don't have. Really helps whittle things down.
Some pets spawn in several zones. Try to capture them in the highest possible zone. It's easier to level a pet from 23 to 25 than from level 1.
Don't stress over breed or rarity at first. For most pets, breed doesn't really matter. And upgrade stones are cheap. Better to catch them and upgrade later than waste a lot of time searching for a rare.
When you form a team, you usually have an idea of which pet you want to open with. Don't put it in the first slot. Savvy battlers will probably figure it out anyway. But most of the others will assume the pet in the first slot will be your opener.
Take your time. It's easy to lose a battle if you're not thinking. Take a second to think about what your options are. Look at what your opponent can possibly do. You don't want to pick your heavy attack and then watch the other guy dodge it.
Don't run. You don't know what's happening on the other side. I've lost battles that look like sure victories in a bunch of different ways. Spilled a beer on my keyboard. Had the power go out. Realized my dinner was burning on the stove. Picked the wrong attack. There are many ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
How you end the battle is as important as how you start it. Think about the matchup you want at the end. Or think about the one you don't want and try to avoid it. It sucks when you take down two of his pets but the last one steamrolls the rest of your team.
If you keep running into the same team in the queue, take some time to come up with a counter team. It's fun to chase someone from the queue.
When in doubt, you could do worse than steal a team from Discodoggy. I reccomend "Rich Girls".
A Word About Breeds -
There are 10 possible breeds for Battle Pets. Technically there are 20, but half are male and the other half female and there is no difference between the two point wise. Some pets have one breed. Others have 2 or 3. A few have a lot more.
For most pets, it really doesn't matter. There are times when it does. So if you see a guide that has (H/H) or (S/S) by it, here is what that means.
Each pet has 3 pools - Health, Power and Speed. There is a base value for the pet. The breed adds a few extra points on top of that. The "pure breeds" - H/H, S/S and P/P - add 20 points to that one pool. The B/B (Balanced), adds 5 points to each pool. The other breeds are in between. There's a formula that calculates the rest that makes no sense to me. But it seems like the “pure breeds” have more total points than the others.
Generally speaking, H/H is good for "tanky" pets like turtles. P/P is good for flyers (because of the racial speed bonus) and big hitters like dragons. S/S is good for pets you want to move first like pets with stuns.
While there are some tamers where it's important, it's usually a PVP thing. Speed is important because getting in the first shot allows you to dictate the battle.