Tag Archives: Pet Battles

Return to Azeroth – Summer 2018 Edition

Coming and going from the game is pretty much the norm in my own personal history of Azeroth.  It was, in its way, a precedent started when I first tried the game back in early 2005.  I played a bit then went away for about a year.  Then I came back with our EverQuest II guild and it has practically been a revolving door since then.

There have, over the years been stretches, long and short, away from WoW.  Sometimes I and some friends would pop off for another game for a bit, as we did with Lord of the Rings Online or Warhammer Online.  Sometimes the game drove me out, as during the Cataclysm and Warlords of Draenor eras.

But somehow I always end up wandering back in to pick up with whatever new content Blizzard has to offer.  While I bitch about how things have changed at times, WoW does seem to be a soft landing to return to when compared to other MMORPGs.  I have been back to LOTRO and EverQuest II a few times, but the effort required to become basically knowledgeable as to what you’re doing is so steep and has changed so much over the years that it is very difficult to shake off the feeling of being completely lost unless I just start a fresh character and begin again from square one.

Not that such a venture isn’t fun.  I’ve probably run levels 1-40 or so in LOTRO more than a dozen times and have quite enjoyed it.  But mucking around in the Lone Lands for the fourteenth time doesn’t get you to Mordor.  And character boosts, something I’ve tried in both LOTRO and EQII tend to just compound the feeling of being lost, both in how to play your character and where you lay in the context of the story.  Being lost in a zone can be fun, but being lost when it comes to how to play or what your purpose is… that is decidedly unfun for me.

There is probably a whole comparative study waiting to be done about how various fantasy MMORPGs welcome lapsed users back and get them up to speed again.  I am not even sure how WoW manages to get me back on the right path.  But I now take it as read that I am going to come and go from the game as part of every expansion release and that I’ll just get by.

And so it has come to pass, one of the milestones that brings me back to Azeroth has arrived, the start of the pre-launch activities for the next expansion.  I knew the time was coming and had the Battle.net launcher… we’re back to calling it Battle.net right… up to get the pre-download going before the rush.

12.57 GB remaining to download

Since we were also hitting the first week of a new month I decided to resubscribe a bit early in order to get in some time earning prize tickets at Darkmoon Faire.  I still have my eye on that Darkmoon Dirigible mount.

But on logging back in I found that the pre-expansion activities were warming up.  There was a quest that popped up automatically that sent me back to Stormwind to speak to Mathias Shaw, the leader of SI:7.

I’m still not sure how he is speaking to me…

I headed off to Stormwind where I received the update that in turn sent me off towards Silithus.

I had to think for a moment about the best way to get there.  I discarded my old school impulse to get on boat when I remembered that Stormwind got a series of portals during Cataclysm, on of which sends you straight to Uldum, which is just a zone over from Silithus at the south end of Kalimdor.

On arriving in Uldum I went right to the flight point looking for a lift to Silithus only to find that the flight point I was looking for was missing.  I took a ride to the flight point at the north end of Uldum and then flew over into Silithus on my own.  Things there had changed.

That’s new…

Sticking out of the ground in the center of the zone was a giant sword with a pulsating point on its hilt.

Zone map for the event

I flew on to my destination where I set about a series of quests to gather information about what was going on… through the usual method of killing things… until Khadgar finally showed up.  After being used so much over the last two expansions he is feeling a big worn out as a narrative device.

But Khadgar was mostly just a sign post this time around, sending me off in search of Mangi Bronzebeard, with whom I eventually settled in to speak with on a Stormwind airship near the offending sword.

Aboard the airship…

Mangi had a plan.  He wanted to contain the power of the titanic offending weapon stuck into the middle of Silithus, a zone so unpopular that I am a bit surprised anybody noticed the thing was there, with my artifact weapon.

You want me to stick my sword where?

I guess I really only have a Malaysian knock-off Ashbringer.  You can tell by the faux Asian style when looking at it.  So I figured I ought to go along with the plan.  So I  went along and raised my weapon with a crowd of NPCs around me.

Ashbringer is absorbent

After that Mangi declared that the op was a success, that the giant dingus in the sands had been neutralized for the moment and they’d be in touch if they needed anything more from me.  Dismissed.

I was sure I much have missed something.  I logged my hunter on to run through the whole thing again, paying closer attention this time.

Mangi explaining how only my gun can contain this now…

I trigger the event and watched myself and the same set of NPCs try to absorb the power of the thingy.

An absorbing broadside

And, in watching this cut scene… one of those on the fly cut scenes that puts your character into the action… I though this time I noticed a change.  The event seemed to transform my hunter!

It turned me into a newt!

Then I realized that those were my shoulder pads, so outsized that when I turn a bit sideways they hide almost the whole of my head.  After that it was “off you go” and that was it.

What I was missing is that this event fully levels up whatever artifact weapons you have.  I didn’t notice that on Vikund, my paladin, since Asherbinger was almost there already.  But when I did the event with my mage, whose staff had barely anything unlocked, there was an accompanying achievement that clued me in.  I also did the Horde side of the event, which starts a little differently, but ends up with the same result, just on a Horde airship.

This time for the Horde

So that was it, a little bit of a lead in and/or closure as we hit the expansion transition, along with the usual catch-up mechanic that Blizz likes to throw in for the laggard crowd.  Use it quick, because that artifact weapon won’t be around after Battle for Azeroth hits.

Now I have to go and figure out what I need to do before the 8.0 update hits.  I understand that pet battle tokens and the shop are going to change.  I’d better look that up and spend my currency to upgrade whatever pets I have still waiting before the change.

And speaking of pets, at least when I was in Silithus I was able to pick up the last pet I needed in Kalimdor for the achievement.

That was the Qiraji Guardling that appears outside of AQ, but only during the summer.  So if you need one of those as well, now is the time.  You cannot get them near the wall because there is a phasing transition in the zone for the event, but if you go further in you can find them easily enough.

Looking for Mr. Bigglesworth

On the collecting end of pet battles in World of Warcraft I am running out of easy pets to catch.  I’ve scoured most of the open world and the few pets I have left to catch there have some special circumstances like there needing to be a weather event in the zone, needing to stay up until midnight, or the season needing to be summer in the real world.

That in mind, I began looking into what other routes I would need to pursue to continue collecting, starting with some of the pets I see recommended over and over again.  Mr. Bigglesworth gets mentioned now and again, and while he didn’t make that top 20 list over at Warcraft Pets, I decided to see what it took to get him.

He is actually the reward for the Raiding with Leashes achievement and, as it turned out, I wasn’t too far off from getting that.  In fact, I needed to collect just one more pet.

Just one missing from the list

The Viscidus Globule comes from the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, AQ40 of old, a raid I have been in more than a few times in search of pets, mounts, and other items.  The drop rate is alleged to be pretty high for the pet.  The problems was killing the boss, Viscidus, who has one of those special mechanics.

In order to slay Viscidus you have to freeze him by spell, enchant, or weapon, and then hit him 75 times in 75 seconds or less to finish him off.

Vikund, my default “do all the things” character can wander through AQ with impunity, but soloing Viscidus is another matter.  I found him a weapon that would freeze the great blob via frost damage, but no amount of haste was going to get me those 75 hits in time to slay him.

Fortunately at this point I have a selection of level 100+ character to choose from and, in reading about how people have taken Viscidus down solo, the beast master spec’d hunter seemed to be a viable option.  All you had to do was get a ranged weapon that put the freeze on the slime, something you could do via various enchants or oils.

None of those seemed to be available at the Auction House however, and the long neglected enchanting skill on one alt came up dry as did another alt that was an alchemist.  However, there was a bow available from a Wrath of the Lich King quest line that would do the job.  However, while the bow was available from a vendor, it was bind on pick up, so Vikund, who had done the quest line up in the Storm Peaks could buy it, he couldn’t hand it off.

And Tistann, my hunter, had not done the quest line.  So it was off to the Storm Peaks with him to get it done.  Fortunately getting far enough down the quest line to be able to buy the bow didn’t take that long and, of course, being level 110 meant there being no risk while doing it.  Soon he had the Brunnhildar Bow.

This bow freezes stuff

From there it was off to the instance.  I had to think for a moment as to what would be the best way to actually get there.  Getting to Darnassus and taking the griffon the length of Kalimdor was my first thought.  But then I seemed to recall a portal to Uldum in Stormwind from back during the Cataclysm expansion.  The portal was still there and I was soon winging my way to the target.

Once there I was quickly trotting through the now familiar instance to Viscidus, avoid what I could walk around and slaying what I could not.  There is one stretch where you end up with dozens of arachnids chasing you that I usual just AOE once they all collect on Vikund.  With Tistann I avoided even that by just feigning death once I was through, speeding my way to the fight.

Spotting Viscidus

Getting in there and stuck into Viscidus wasn’t an issue.  His health was hardly a barrier.  Had he been a tank and spank boss and level 110 could have one-shotted him.  Instead he sits a minimum health until you do the special routine.

Viscidus waiting for the right moment to die

As the frost attacks built up Viscidus first changed color and then, when he was frozen, there was an announcement and a graphical indicator on him.

Viscidus frozen

At that point the counter was running and I needed to get in those 75 melee attacks, so I unleashed all the pets and called on Stampede and fired away, all of which easily totaled up to the required number of attacks and Viscidus went down.

Viscidus defeated

He just didn’t drop the pet.

I had to wait for the instance lockout to run down and try it again a few days later.  The second time around the Viscidus Globule dropped and, on collecting it I also got the Raiding with Leashes achievement and Mr. Bigglesworth as a reward.

Pets obtained!

I put Mr. Bigglesworth at the top of the leveling queue and had him up to level 25 the next day, so I have him ready if I need him.

Mr. Bigglesworth Ready

Obtaining Mr. Bigglesworth also put me another cat along in the quest for the cat collecting achievement.

Not quite crazy for cats yet

I need two more cats for that and the Crazy Cat Man title.  I think at this point I have all the easy ones off of that list.  I guess I should have purchased a Guardian Cub back in the day.

And now I have move on to Raiding with Leashes II.

The second achievement

I am actually not doing bad on that one either.  I’ve been to Kharazan for other things like transmog and such that Vikund is exalted with the Violet hold.  But the drop rates for the pets are not so generous as they were with the Viscidus Globule.

The Celestial Tournament

I have mentioned the Celestial Tournament before.  It is a pet battle challenge in World of Warcraft on Timeless Ilse in Pandaria.  You go there and speak to Master Li to join in.

Master Li on the Timeless Isle

Master Li has a simple description of the event.  The tournament is an instance with its own rules.

To be able to enter it you first need to have at least 15 battle pets at level 25.  That probably isn’t enough, but that is the bar.  You can only do the tournament once per week, a lock out that resets every Tuesday.  Once you enter you have to defeat all of the challengers to win and you cannot use the pet heal skill or pet bandages to heal up any of your pets.  You have to get through with the pets you have with you.

Now, there is a work around on the healing thing.  There are some of the fights where the first pet the foe uses does a self-buff, so you have a free round to cast a heal.  Also, there is no penalty for quitting a fight, unlike the 10% health hit you suffer if you surrender in the wild, so you can get out a pet with a group heal, make them your first pet in a group, and heal on the first round, then surrender, until your injured pets are healed up.  That is a bit tedious and it requires that you not let your pets die in battle.  If you do, you’ll have to get along without them.

The challenge itself is divided into two parts.  The first part is a set of three Master Pet Tamers, each with a team of three.  There are nine total, three groups of three, that rotate each week.

The initial three are not all that tough of a challenge.  I was able to come up with winning teams for the various tamers soon enough.  My main problem was creating independent teams to fight each one.  If you read advice or comments about fighting any individual master pet tamer, the same usual suspects always seem to come up.  If you go over to Warcraft Pets and look at their Top 20 List of highest rated pets, most of that list comes up again and again.

I have duplicates of some of them… the Iron Starlette and the Emerald Proto-Drake for example… but not all of them, so to make independent teams I have to find substitutes.

Fortunately, for those first three, there are substitutes possible, so those teams were setup.

It was the second set, the legendary battle pets, that was the difficult part for me.  After the three pet tamers, you have to fight the four legendaries, Chi-Chi, Xu-Fu, Yu’la, and Zao, who also happen to be the four pets standing around Master Li in the screen shot up at the top of the post.

For those fights your team of three goes up against a single pet which generally has a lot more hit points and hits harder while having a buff that reduces your own attacks and often a self-heal skill that will undo all your efforts.  Over at WoW Head they have a pretty extensive guide to the whole thing.

My problem was two-fold.  First, back when I was first giving this a shot, I lacked a lot of the pets on the guide, so was having to wing it and roll up my own teams.  That led to the second problem, which was it is a pain in the ass to experiment with teams.  You have to go into the tournament, defeat the first three, then use your experimental team to see how it does.  If it fails, you have to leave the instance, heal up your pets, then go back and do it again with whatever your adjustments might be.

After a long evening of doing that I said, “screw it!” and set about just collecting more of the battle pets suggested and then leveling them up.  Basically, I went away for almost two months and only returned over the weekend to finally give it a go again.

And with a bevy of new pets to form teams around, I beat it on the first try.

Well, that was suddenly easy

There was, of course, an achievement that went with the victory.  But the real reason to do the Celestial Tournament is to ear Celestial Coins.

The coins, I want the coins

With the Celestial Coins you can purchase items from Master Li, including four battle pets representing each of the four legendary pets you have to fight.

The pets for sale

Fortunately, when you with the Celestial Tournament for the first time Master Li gives you a quick quest that gives you two more coins, so that you have a total of three and can purchase one of the pets right then.

It’s a gimme, but you won’t pass it up

I went for Xu-Fu, who is one of those pets on that Top 20 list I linked above and comes up regularly in strategy guides for various fights.

Xu-Fu obtained

Of course he is level 1, so I put him at the top of the leveling queue in Rematch to get him up to level 25 on my next leveling cycle.

Now I just need to win the tournament nine more times… which means nine more weeks… to complete the set.

For those interested, these are my teams for each of the for legendary battle pets.

Final Four Teams

You can click on that picture to make it readable.

The general strategies for each were:

  • Chi-Chi – Snails!  Keep Chi-Chi poisoned with your two DOTs and use dive when it is off cool-down.  Two snails should be enough, but bring three just in case.
  • Xu-Fu – Cast lightning with the Whelpling, switch to the Clockwork Gnome and have him put down a turret. When he dies, which he will do quickly, in with the Chicken and Flock until Xu-Fu goes down.
  • Yu’la – Dodge when Yu’la does lift off, burrow, then a cycle of attacks around that.  A set of regular rabbits can do this, but the Dust Bunny from Dalaran has a more powerful base attack, so speeds things up.  Now glad I got two of those.
  • Zao – Get lightning up with the moth before it dies, then go to the raptor, do expose wounds and then batter until Zao goes down.

Those teams I picked up while searching around.  They were generally not the top strategies I came across, but they all seemed to work and, most importantly, had no overlap in pets so I didn’t have to worry about keeping pets alive from battle to battle.

Anyway, another battle pet collected.  Back to working on the various Raiding with Leashes pets.

Pet Battle Level Fest

I was going to just write a post about my daily pet leveling routine.  I start with a level 1 pet, because I seem to have a huge number of level 1 pets, and get them up to level 25 in a little less than 20 minutes, collecting some gold and experience along the way.

I guess that every pet you get through a quest reward or a drop or other method other than catching them is level 1.

The idea here was to have an easy daily task that would level up a pet and have some side benefits.  Having half a dozen level 100+ characters helped here, because to do this you need access to Draenor.  Also it helps to have the Safari Hat toy, which gives you a 10% boost to pet experience from battles.

I take one of my not-yet-level-110 alts and start them off in their Draenor garrison which, on the alliance side, happens to be very close to the first destination, the trainer Ashlei in Shadowmoon Valley.  Ashlei’s lineup is good because it includes an Elekk plushie, which has no attacks, so it is safe to bring in a level 1 pet into the fight.

Facing Ashlei with my Tauren, Safari Hat on!

With the Safari Hat on and a lesser pet treat consumed (25% bonus) the fight will boost a pet up to level 12 or 13, which is enough to make that pet safe to be swapped in on the other fights they will face.  There are plenty of viable, never fail teams for this fight.  I happen to use Grunty and Deathy, two BlizzCon reward pets, but those are hardly a requirement.  Just swap in your level 1 when only the Elekk Plushie is left on Ashlei’s team, stay a round, and they swap back to another pet to finish it off.

That’s the thing, a pet has to survive a full round in battle to get credit and experience.

From there I fly off to the the Spires of Aarak to face Vesharr.  I used to be on the hairy edge with this fight, where a couple of crits would cause me to lose, but have since found a safe team with Chromius and the Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling that works.  This fight can pump the leveling pet up to as much as 19 with the treat active.

From there I head to Talador and the trainer Tarelune for the third fight.  My team here isn’t optimal, featuring Rascal Bot and a Nether Faerie Dragon, but mostly works and, even when it fails, it comes close enough, and the leveling pet is high enough level by this point, that I can still finish it off and get the experience.

After Taralune I use my Dalaran hearth stone and from there use the portal to Pandaria.  There is a stable master right there after you use the portal to heal up pets, after which I fly out to Aki the Chosen, one of those fights where the Anubisath Idol makes all the difference.

Anubisath Idol up front in Pandaria, Safari Hat on!

After that fight, if I have a treat up, the pet I am carrying is well into level 24.  In order to get the maximum use out of the treat, which lasts for one hour, I recall back to my garrison and log off, having used less than 20 minutes of the treat’s time and saving the remainder for the next day.

I have a pile of those treats, but I like to conserve them because there is some effort to earn them.  I can used another character out in the world to get that last level, or just throw a one of the leveling tokens at it if I have one handy.  Either way, another pet to level 25.

If I did not have a treat up I will fly off to the Burning Pandaren Spirit in the Townlong Steppes for one more fight.  The spirit’s team can be taken by a snail or whelk, you just have to swap in the level pet at the right time.  Once the fight is done it will be level 24.

Taking on the burning Pandarian Spirit with snails

Each fight rewards gold, the last two also add in a bag of random items, and experience for the character who you’re using.  The experience is good enough that my rogue went from about 103 to 110 on it, when I then started using a level 100 mage, who is well on his way to 110 now too.

I could do more.  With some additional effort I could probably level up a second and even a third pet every day.  But the plan was to keep it from becoming a grind, and just four or five battles a day is easy and leaves me time to do other things.

Unless there is a pet battle event.

Last Tuesday after patch 7.3.5 hit I came home, interested in that, but started off doing my usual pet thing, only to find that my level 1 pet jumped to level 19, with only the Safari Hat giving any experience boost, after the first fight.  It was only then that I noticed that the week’s special was a 200% boost to pet battle experience.

Oh yeah, that helps

That seemed like an opportunity.  I wasn’t keen to burn myself out on pet battles, but I started looking up leveling pet strategies for the other NPC trainers in Draenor and Pandaria determined to not let this go to waste.  So rather than my usual 20 minutes or so I spent most of my play time working on pet battles.

Or at least as much time as I could stand.  I happened to have updated my standings over at Warcraft Pets just before the event, so I had a baseline of where I started.

Stats before the event

That showed me with 248 pets at level 25.  After six days of the event I had Warcraft Pets import my latest standings and found that I had leveled 61 pets up to 25.

Stats as of Monday morning

Again, I probably could have done more but I have a sense of how much I can really binge on something like this before burn-out becomes a possibility.  And I still have this evening to run through the trainers one more time.  I should probably use the last day to boost up as many level 1 pets as I can, as once they have a few levels the options for raising them further safely are greater.

Meanwhile, because pet battle yield experience, gold, items, and even faction in some cases, I had a number of other achievements pop up including hitting exalted with one of the WoW Legion factions I was still working on.

Exalted with the Nightfallen now

Of course, one of the things that made this all viable for me is the Rematch addon I wrote about previously.  Not only does it let you setup teams, but you can also create a queue of pets you want to level up and allows you to create teams with a placeholder that it will automatically fill with the pet at the top of the queue.  I still have to juggle the queue sometimes to make sure I have a pet appropriate to the battle I am facing (no level 1 pets for the Mana Trap battle above, as one of the foes has an attack that hits your back line pets as well) but otherwise it helps me keep things going quickly without a lot of fuss.

So I made some progress on leveling up.  I still haven’t found time to return to the Celestial Tournament in Pandaria, but I now have a big enough field of level 25 battle pets that I ought to be able to take it on successfully.

Pet Battles – Beyond Catching Them All

When Pet Battles were announced as a feature of the Mists of Pandaria expansion for World of Warcraft I was a skeptical.  Pets had been a thing forever in Azeroth, if a bit rare.  I remember getting that worg pup and a spider back in vanilla WoW, but they were akin to mounts back then in that they took up bag space and didn’t do much when brought out aside from follow you around… though that was enough at times.

Children’s Week brought along some more pets to show off, first in Azeroth then the Outland version.  Things evolved, pets and mounts became manageable through a different interface, ceased to take up an inventory slot per pet, and became cross-wide items.  I collected some along the way, including a few from BlizzCon Virtual Tickets, because I tend to be a collector and also because achievements began to show up for them.

Grunty from BlizzCon 2009

Still, as a Pokemon player I was dubious about Blizzard attempting to graft something akin to Pokemon game play onto WoW.  When I did finally pick up Mists of Pandaria during its second year, I treated pet battles as more of a collection game than anything else.  I picked up pets opportunistically as they appears, tried my hand against a few of the NPC pet masters, but generally treated it as very much a secondary or tertiary activity.

It wasn’t until Warlords of Draenor and the need to defeat some bigger pets in order to unlock the menagerie in the garrison that I started to consider doing more than level up a few pets for a catching group.  Then I started building something of a pet army, enabled by the Pet Battle Teams addon.

At that point I built up teams to defeat the pet battle masters throughout the game as well as the daily garrison challenge.  I leveled up pets and collected the badges to buy stones to upgrade their quality, but I never quite got around to the Celestial Tournament, the big pet battle event on Timeless Isle in Pandaria.

Before I got to that I burned out on Warlords of Draenor and garrisons and did not return until WoW Legion was looming.  At that point I was more about getting flying in Draenor then the pre-launch events for WoW Legion and then the opening of the expansion itself, during which time battle pets were not a priority.  After my initial run to 110 in WoW Legion I tired and took another break.  It was only with my return late last year, after switching to the Rematch addon for pet battles, that I was back in the saddle.

The main Rematch UI

But I still wasn’t up for the Celestial Tournament.

The Celestial Tournament is a series of seven battles against a couple sets of possible foes, three battle masters and four epic pets, during which you cannot heal or revive any of your own pets.  It your Pokemon faints battle pet passes out they are out and if you need that battle pet again you had better have a dupe.

While I have read that you can do the Celestial Tournament with as few as 18 level 25 pets, they do have to be the right pets.  I was able to put together teams from my 500 pets to take out the initial three masters, but the four epic pets would thwarts me every time.  Looking at guides, I discovered that I lacked most of the recommended pets for these battles.  So my goal became hunting those down and then leveling them up.

A few possible contenders, like the Iron Starlette, I had but just needed to level up.  Some candidates were fairly easy to find.  I stumbled upon an Unborn Val’kyr on my first attempt to find one, and bagged a pair of Emerald Proto-Whelps along the way.  Others took a bit more time.  I had to run through Ahn’Qiraj about a dozen times before I managed to get the Anubisath Idol pet as a drop.

Anubisath Idol up front in Pandaria

I also came up with a daily leveling routine that would take a level 1 battle pet all the way up to level 25 in five fights, which I will post about later.

In the mean time I took on the Wailing Caverns and Deadmines pet battle dungeons.  Those are somewhat easier events based on the Celestial Tournament model, where you battle a series of challenges in the dungeon environment but cannot heal or revive your pets.  Doing Wailing Caverns has a chance to award pets when you finish, while the Deadmines awards you tokens that you can use to buy one of three pets.

At the Mining Monkey in the Deadmines

Then one evening as I was killing the same mobs over and over on the Isle of Giants in Pandaria looking for one of the Zandalari pet drops, I decided that maybe I ought to go check out the auction house.  Most pets you catch can’t be traded, but some you get through other means can be caged and handed off or listed at the auction house.

A visit to the auction house and 50,000 gold later and I had filled most of the gaps in my potential Celestial Tournament line up.  (Remember when that was a lot of money?)  I wasn’t aware that quite so many pets were tradeable.  Granted, they were all level 1, so I had some leveling up work to do, and a few need to be boosted to rare quality, but I had a clear path forward.

And then, when adding those pets to my collection I crossed the 600 pet mark, which gets you an achievement and another pet.

Stormwing is the reward pet

Meanwhile, I stumbled across another achievement reward out in the Broken Isles when I did the 30th unique world quest pet battle.  That gives you a token to up your battle pet storage.

Space for 1500 pets

I was actually starting to wonder about storage.  The initial limit was 1,000 pets and, while there are only currently 946 pets you can get (Warcraft pets says that number is 917, with 960 total, so take your pick) you can have dupes.  You can catch up to three of any pet… and I have dupes of some of my more useful ones… plus any pets that pre-dated Mists of Pandaria you got one for every character that had it, which is how I ended up with five Creepy Crates in my collection.  So my total was edging up towards 800.  But now I have more breathing room on that front.

At this point I think I have all my Celestial Tournament pets at 25 and boosted to rare quality, so I plan to give that a serious run this weekend.

And collecting… that keeps on going.  My count is currently at 614 unique pets and I have a bunch I can still get if I work at it.  I’ll never get to the full 946 though.

Recount collection stats

That count includes pets that came with collector’s editions of the game and, while you can find a collector’s edition of the 2004 release of WoW still, the price is way too steep for me.

All In on Pet Battles

As I noted in an earlier WoW post, with my return to Azeroth I have also gone back to pet battles as part of my play time.  I enjoy it and it is different enough to be something of an alternative activity to prevent burn-out… as long as I don’t go too crazy playing.  Maybe I should think about the title of this post again.

While I still haven’t managed to acquire that Arctic Fox Kit from Northrend yet, I did try a new addon.  BKS recommend Rematch for pet battles in a comment on that linked post and, after giving it a spin, I must agree that it is something special.

It is the sort of addon that makes me worry about addons and how authors wander off an abandon them, because now that I have this I am not sure how I will do without it.

The main Rematch UI

It isn’t a matter of the UI being magic or anything.  It won’t catch pets for you or auto-create teams.  What it does do is make a lot of information available to you easily and and sensibly.  Need something strong against a certain type of pet, there is a tab for that search.  Need it also to be able to survive against that type, you can add that to the search criteria.

It also lets you create and save teams, which was the only thing I really felt I needed.  And it also generates reports about your pet collection, which is a super extra bonus feature.

Some of my stats from earlier in the week

That has helped keep my pet battle enthusiasm going.  Accessible data… data we already have access to but presented in an organized and searchable fashion… is important to me.

I have been working on a couple of fronts.

I have an alt out in Pandaria every day doing the pet dailies and trying to get the spirit pets out there.

Taking on the burning Pandarian Spirit

That has had the side effect of leveling up the alt.  So far only one of the spirit pets has dropped, the air spirit.  So far as I can tell, the water spirit is the one to have.  It gets mentioned in a number of lineup recommendations.

My teams are not perfect.  I have managed to build up an effective set against most of the battles, though some are near run things.  My team for Dos-Ryga for example works most times, unless he rolls a crit or something else comes out against me.  On a good night I beat him on the first attempt.  On my worst night I needed eight runs at him to win and move on.

I have also been hunting for additional pets, both to fill out my collection and to build teams to take on the various NPC pet trainers.

Big additions to my lineup include the Anubisath Idol I mentioned last time.  I just kept running the raid with high level alts until he dropped.  The Emerald Proto-Drake and the Unborn Vykrul are also now in my collection.

Anubisath Idol up front in Pandaria

Getting those meant leveling them up as well, something else I have been working on.  This week has been good for that since Blizz has been having a bonus pet experience event.

Time to take advantage of that

All of which has led me back to Timeless Isle in Pandaria.  It has been kind of fun revisiting the place now that I can pretty much one-shot everything with my main.  Of course, that can be a pain as well.  One of the pets I wanted to catch on Timeless Isle only spawns on top of high spots there, and the only way to get up to them… flying being restricted… is to get an albatross to carry you up.  But to get them to carry you, you have to attack them.  And if you one-shot everything… well, that doesn’t work out so well.

Fortunately my daughter walked by and said I should just use my taunt ability, which worked just fine.

Riding the albatross at last

Of course, the real reason I ended up back on Timeless Isle is the Celestial Tournament, the rewards for which include, of course, more pets.  But the tournament itself is a step up from any of the battles I have faced so far and will be a topic for a future blog post.  I am just getting started there and have quite a ways to go before I can report any real success.

Resumed Pet Battle Campaign

On coming back to World of Warcraft I was a bit bemused to find that one of my key pet battle addons, Pet Battle Teams, appeared to have broken again.  I had run into problems with it before, when Blizz changed the name of the pets window in the game, so I checked on that.  But that did not appear to be the problem.  So I setup my base catching team, the Terrible Turnip, Grunty, and Deathy, and continued to catch pets in the Broken Isles while I tried to get the addon straightened out.

Grunty in Action, Turnip Face Down

Grunty and Deathy are BlizzCon rewards and are two of my favorite pets.  They are unique and a bit OP and work very well for a lot of my general needs.  Grunty was the first battle pet of mine that hit level 25.

I tinkered with Pet Battle Teams some more, tried uninstalling and re-installing the addon, and eventually removed all data and started from scratch.

That last bit appeared to do the trick.  Somewhere along the line my team data went out of date and when I came back to the latest version of the addon.  That was a shame, as I had already set up teams to handle many of the trainers and challenges in the game.  The problem I have with managing my pets is that with over 600 of them in my collection, including duplicates, finding the right pet for the right battle can be a challenge on its own.  I like to have some set up for specific battles and other set up for opposing different pet types, like aquatic or flying.  That at least puts a few of what I am often looking for quickly to hand.

My Pet Window with the Teams Addon

Of course, I should be working on flying in WoW Legion.  But if I spend all my time doing that it will start to feel like a grind, so I do a bit of that every day, the look into other things.

And with pet battles I actually have a lot of options.  I have a bunch of nice pets I want to level up.  I have the collections for various areas to finish.  And then there is Pandaria.

Pet battles came in with the Mists of Pandaria expansion, but that was the expansion I did not play at launch.  Because of that, when I did finally join in on the expansion… and it turned out to be one of my favorites… I was way behind the curve when it came to pets.  I had a bunch of pets, but they were all level 1.  So I wasn’t going to be challenging the master trainers in Pandaria.

So, for me, pet battles really started in earnest with Warlords of Draenor.  I had to work to build up a team to unlock the menagerie in my garrison.  While I have a number of negative comments about garrisons in Draenor, the menagerie was not something I would knock.

The menagerie became the cornerstone of my pet battle experience.  Between that and Trainer Ashlei I was able to level up and improve my collection dramatically.  As I wrote back in early 2015, my pet battle enthusiasm had been unleashed.

Now, running around the Broken Isles doing world quests, I was finding that pet battles were on the list of options.  In building up teams for that I started to realize that I had a something of a collection going.  Checking my stats over at Warcraft Pets, I saw I had well over 100 max level pets.  So I decided I might be ready to go back to Pandaria to face some of the trainer challenges there.

I may have binged on it a bit.  After a rough start I managed to get in the two beginning challenges for trainers there, racking up a number of achievements along the way.

Pandaria Pet Battle Achievements

Getting those required some research.  WoW Head has posts with basic information about each fight, which is a start.  It is the comments where the real meat comes in about the sorts of teams that might be successful.  However, it isn’t just copy the team and go at it… mostly because I almost never have the battle pets suggested.

Literally I think all of my pet battle problems would be solved if only I had the Anubisath Idol pet, as it seems to feature heavily in successful teams.  However, I don’t have him or a number of other favorites.  So I looked at what had been successful to see if I can use those ideas with pets I actually have.

A team that didn’t quite work…

I got a few on the first try, but most took a couple of runs to come to victory.  Eventually I ended up at my last fight.

This time I have you

Success there led me back to the quest giver.  That both yielded a reward, a new pet, of course.

I went for the Earthen spirit

That also opened up daily versions of the quests in order to get the pets I didn’t choose.  So I have more battles ahead of me.

In addition, I still have a lot more pets to catch.  In some places just one pet awaits me, like the one I am missing in Northrend.

It only spawns when it is snowing in the zone…

In other areas I have to get there at the right time.  And then there are the raiding with leashes pets.  I have a couple of those, but there is a list still waiting for me, including the aforementioned Anubisath Idol.  So much left to do… enough to keep me busy for a while I imagine.