Level Grinding or Pet Hopping?

Be warned, in this post I do not keep it classy. Profanity ahead, read at your own risk!

Once I got my own pet team to level 25, I was free to roam about the world, smacking down Master Pet Tamers, capturing any dang old pet I happened to run across, and generally having a grand old time.

I got a max level team by picking three pets early on that worked well together, and then I went out and took on all comers, fighting and capturing and taking ’em down, all over the world.

I ground those levels out, one fight at a time, and I cherished the locations within my range where the spawns were fast and focused, especially if they were near a Stable Master for a fast recharge of the health meters.

Cassie did somewhat the same thing, with a different group of pets, but still the same concept; heading out into the world, fighting everything she could to level her favorite team.

Alex has stood by watching our success, and he wants to get in on the action. There is one very simple catch.

We don’t let our son spend nearly as much time as we do on the computer playing video games. We get most of our playtime in while he’s in bed asleep, or taking a bath, that kind of thing.

He’s done very well on his own, he really loves his Lil’ Ragnaros and Cinder Kitten, although he would probably KILL for a Lil’ Deathy. Well, he isn’t going to get one. There are over 400 pets in the game, he can just get by with a Personal World Destroyer that ain’t Deathwing. If he likes, he can take his Cinder Kitten and Lil’ Ragnaros and go torch Stormwind in Deathys honor! 🙂

He had managed to get his team to level 10 by spending some of his time each night fighting his way along just like us.

Well, I talked to him about it last night, because yes, he does feel left out, and I can’t blame him. It’s no different than when your friends would be max level and raiding, and you’re still trying to level your first character. You see the grand fun they’re having, but the bigger part is feeling excluded from the discussion because they’re talking about what they’re doing, and you’re not a part of it yet. Being on the outside looking in sucks.

The problem is, I am limited as to what I can do to help.

I had originally thought I could just get myself to max, level up a Terrible Turnip, and give it to him as the seed he could use to grow his own strong team. 

Well, you can’t. You cannot learn a pet that is higher level than your own highest level pet. You have to, yourself, have a pet of the same level or higher already in your journal before anyone can give you one of that level.

It makes perfect sense with the PvP aspect of the game, and the competition between players. You can’t just BUY your way into Pet Battles. You’ve got to get there yourself by leveling a team.

Okay, fine. We work within the limitations of the system.

So, do I want my son to level his own favorite team himself? Yes, absolutely. I want him to level Lil’ Ragnaros himself. It wouldn’t be the same if I did it for him.

But… I also don’t see any reason why he couldn’t benefit from having a max level team, so he could have two powerhouse hitters to backup whatever pet he wanted to level, and so he could go tame new exciting pets too.

Last night I decided I would try to help him, not by leveling his pets, but by taking down and taming new pets for him. New, higher level pets.

The first thing I was going to do was cheat. Just, flat-out try to cheat.

I mentioned it yesterday, but when I was in Deadwind Pass around Karazhan, there were lots of level 17 and 18 Arcane Eyes. And when I fought them, they were solo pets. They did NOT bring a team.

I figured it likely I could take down and tame a single level 18 Arcane Eye with a team of three level 10 pets. That would give me an instant level 17 pet to join my sons team.

I had Alex fly out to Deadwind Pass…. no Arcane Eyes. I looked them up on Wowhead… they were rare spawns. As in, they just suddenly spawn a bunch, and then when they’re gone, they’re gone for a while, totally random, can be a long ass time between.

Again, I had just been really lucky when I got mine.

Well, shoot. Okay. That is what I get for trying to cheat.

Alex was disappointed, but he was excited at the idea of having help getting his pets higher level, and off he went to bed.

Me? I had my latest obsession to take on. How to level a team for my son as fast as possible?

I sent a quick question out to Josh Augustine on Twitter, he’s started up a Pet Battles podcast recently and was very nice about answering questions for me yesterday. My question was, “are there any other pets besides the Arcane Eye that is relatively high level, but doesn’t bring buddies?” Sadly, Josh focuses more on the PvP aspect of Pet Battles, so he didn’t have any more suggestions for me.

Damnit. So much for cheating my way to a team. So, what to do?

I decided to take a completely different approach than what I did for my team.

Instead of taking one team and grinding out the levels, what if I start with his team of 10s and try and leapfrog my way with new pets each time?

What I did was check out the maps of Azeroth, looking for where Alex’s team of level 10s could take down and add some 12s to his roster, to form a new team.

I flew up to Eastern Plaguelands, home of slugs and bats and poor, sad looking little infested deer. And I beat the crap out of them, tamed them and made a new team of level 12s.

Then I flew down to Badlands, and used my new team of 12s to take on and tame the level 14 Scorpids and such.

With my new 14s, I headed down to Burning Steppes in search of 16s to tame.

I wasn’t looking for quality at all. I was looking for levels. If I captured a poor, so be it. An uncommon was sybaritic luxury. A rare? Let’s not get crazy.

One thing that made it smoother was that as soon as you tame a pet, it increases in power. If you notice, the health, speed and power a pet has increases as soon as it’s in your stable, even though it retains the same level and quality. I would tame an uncommon with 600 health, and watch it join my team with 750. That always meant that my uncommon had the edge over the wild pets of the same rarity. It’s a help, make no mistake.

I found it easy going until I hit the 16s.

All pets from the 12 to 15 range only brought one friend, and when they were tamed, they stayed the level I fought. So, I could take on a 15, he’d bring one friend, I’d win and add a 15 to my team.

As soon as I started taking on the level 16 pets in Burning Steppes, they brought two friends along with, AND once I was lucky enough to win… the 16 got dropped to a 15 anyway!


Okay, time to kick it up a notch. If it’s going to drop a level, I need to get my level 15 pets and take on 17s and 18s to make it worth while.

I was lucky enough to take down some 17s, and add the 16s to my stable, but it was damn hard. And, I was getting really sick of all the pet types in Burning Steppes. Alex was going to log in to find an ugly assortment of poor, common and uncommon bats, black rats, slugs and scorpions. There have to be some cute pets somewhere, damnit!

After another check of the map, off I went to Un’goro Crater, to try my hand at capturing a Diametrodon Hatchling. Oh c’mon, pet dinosaurs, how could he fail to love that?

I did manage to grab a poor quality Diametrodon, but they were kinda light on the ground. I checked the map again, and Winterspring caught my eye.

There is a Stable Master in Winterspring. There are a ton of pets in Winterspring.

And there is a chance I could get my son a Robo-Chick, an Anodized Robo-Cub (robot bears! HELL YES!) and even a Robot Squirrel.

The bonus for me would be getting a Crystal Spider, which has my favorite Brittle Webbing/Leech Life combo move. that would be nice for the next step in my master plan, taking on the Azeroth Pet Tamers for XP.

Yeah, this is all last night. I was at this until 1 AM. I was by God going to get my son a nice jump on some levels, and leave him with a team ready to take on some starter tamers.

My plan ran right smack against the wall of Winterspring.

I couldn’t capture a pet there to save my ass.

Oh, I got some level 16 Arctic Hares, and a bunch of Robot Squirrels.

Thing is, those damn Chipmunks would kick my ass every. single. damn. time.

Fuck a bunch of nut barrages anyway. You know what you can do with your nuts, you can take them and shove them right up your motherfucking ass, and then you’ll have a nice snack once winter is over, you little chipfuck.

Sorry, I think I was channeling some Lewis Black there for a moment. I feel better now. Wait, no I don’t. Not even close.

Fuck you and the nut you rode in on, you little furry pricks. Fuck a bunch of chipmunks, anyway.

Oh, and the Crystal Spiders! Oooh! There is a reason I love using them, and they used it against me on every fight. They soloed my team every time, my whole team would die just trying to get a Crystal Spider below half.

I spent hours in Winterspring, and that Stable Master? That’s not a benefit, that’s a curse. All having an instant heal available did for me was let me lose my fights that much faster.

I just got butt-surfed by Winterspring, and I didn’t even get the common courtesy of a reach around.

I even got a rare Arctic Hare, not that it did me a lick of good against the Chipfucks or Crystal Spiders.

So, I gave up.

I made some progress, don’t get me wrong. I got a mixed level 15 and 16 team for my son, which would get us a lot closer to being able to take on the starter tamers, who give tons of XP. Maybe my plan of leapfrogging up the levels would take a lot more careful thought to match pet types against the opponent type, bouncing zone to zone.

Still, I felt like I was giving up. I wanted to get him a team that he could then use to do some serious ass kicking. And what I had to hand him was a ragtag band of poor and common misfits that couldn’t take down a rabid chipfuck. Aside from the Arctic Hare, they weren’t even cute. I had a Fire Beetle and a Lava Beetle that were pretty, but they couldn’t fight their way out of a bag of nuts.

Not good.

I logged off, stretched, and looked at the time.

Holy crap, 12:30! I have to get up at 5:30 to go to the gym! Oh, this is gonna suck… hey, wait a minute.

It’s really early in the morning… isn’t that when those Restless Shadeling undeads can show up?

Hmmm. What the hell, I’m already screwed on sleep, let’s go check it out.

I flew into Deadwind Pass, and the area around Karazhan was a sea of green. Not only were there dozens of Restless Shadelings, but the Arcane Eyes were up too!

And thus, I get the karma I rightly deserve for trying to cheat. Here we are, back where I wanted to begin in the first place hours earlier… with level 17 and 18 Arcane Eyes and Restless Shadelings in abundance.

Ah, but if they had been there before, I would have missed out on the heavenly glory that is Winterpsring!

I went after the Arcane Eyes first, and yes, they still only came alone to the fights. About 5 fights in and I had Alex a rare level 17 Arcane Eye to add to his team.

Then I went gunning for the Restless Shadelings, and found out those suckers are badasses. They have an attack that heals them for half the damage they do, and it’s not on a cooldown. You can use it every turn. plus, undead, so you get that second wind for a round even if you lose.

Yeah, I think I could have taken the Arcane Eyes with my team of three level 10s, but I don’t think I would have had a hope in hell of taking a Restless Shadeling, so maybe it all worked out after all.

I went crazy on the Restless Shadelings. The first one I killed was uncommon, and it came solo, so you can swarm them with your pets. And there were just so many of them!

I kept taking the Shadelings down, over and over, until by 1:00 AM I had three Restless Shadelings, two of them rares, a 17 and a 16, with a 17 uncommon for backup.

A team of two rare Restless Shadeling undeads with strong self-heal attacks, backed up by a rare Arcane Eye magic pet. Now THAT feels like a team I could hand over to my son with pride in a good nights work.

Just… y’know, we’ll not tell him about the pain that is Winterpring. Let’s just let that one slide on by, all right? 

Fuck chipmunks.

Tonight, I think I’m going to see if Alex can take this new team, and start going after the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor Master Pet Tamers. I think the team just might be strong enough to do it, unless some of the tamers have pets that are really going to eat undead and magic alive. They might be good ones to level to 20.

Or maybe he’ll decide he’d rather go out taming more of the pets in the wide world that his new team gives him access to. Totally his decision. It’s not like his team is going away any time soon. I’m curious to see if he wants to keep leveling, go after Tamers, or find some more new pets.

Anyway… I gave it my best shot. I thought the level leaping idea was worth pursuing, and I certainly got very far, very fast. The original rush from a level 10 team to a level 15 took about half an hour.

It just needs a lot of tweaking when it comes to picking what to fight.

Just, fucking nuts.

And I want to know who the hell came up with Nut Barrage, because I want to string them up BY their nuts and express a little direct feedback bypassing the forums.

Could’ve been worse. Coul’ve been chickens. I’d rather take a nut to the face than have egg all over it. Wait, that ain’t right. Lemme re-think that one a bit.

Maybe when I’ve had some sleep. To sleep, perchance to dream… of nuts. Giant nuts flying at my face, over and over and over… /cries.

Hey, I WARNED you about the profanity. Don’t give me that!

18 thoughts on “Level Grinding or Pet Hopping?

  1. I had to LOL at the whole “Chipfuck” thing. I love your writing style and things like this just make me smile.

    I’d be tempted to capture a chipmunk and name it Chipfuck in your honor, but I doubt I’d be allowed to use that name in game.

    p.s. Feels weird to use the eff word online…I typically refrain, although I swear like a drunken sailor in real life…but, I figured since you started, I’d let it slip in this one time.


  2. I tested out your theory last night. I look a level 9 and two level 10s (panda monk, celestial dragon and darkmoon tonk) and took down a level 18 uncommon Arcane Eye! So I jumped 7 levels in terms of max ranked pet in one fight. It wasn’t even particularly difficult. I started with the monk did a quite a bit of damage before switching to my celestial dragon to take it down, then switch to my tank to tank while I tamed!

    I then stopped thinking and kill the last remaining one rather than taming it… but it is certainly doable!


  3. Ngita if you’re hunting in the early morning that’s why you’re not seeing them. They spawn at 12am PST time (everything is PST time since 4.1 :/ ) so by morning most will have been hunted down, if you can stay up one night and be there when they spawn you’ll see lots!

    For leveling an initial team imo your best bet is a beast, a mech and a flying. Most wild pets you’ll find are critters, beasts and aquatics so that covers you for bonus damage vs all. Another good one is a turtle for a shield and heals.

    You could get him a darkmoon zeppelin, level it fast on your own team to the same level as his highest pets then trade it, that’d give him a strong mech which would be a big help vs beasts, and since you have 2 lvl 17 undeads there, if you happen to get lucky and see Flayer Younglings up getting him one of those would be seriously huge. They take less damage from critters since humanoid, have beast-type attacks to do more damage TOO critters and reflect to avoid anything really nasty, plus every time they do damage on a round they get a small self-heal.


    • The Shadelings also spawn at 6 am and 8am, which may or may not help someone on the East Coast. Perhaps the weekend will be the best time for East Coast hunters.

      I’m in Arizona, and I was able to grab a shadeling while having breakfast before work. The morning spawn time worked great for me.

      Just an FYI, so people know there’s more than just the midnight spawn.


  4. Karma imo. I read your older posts about eyes and shadelings, You have rares of pets you never see in my crz. I have had a hunter camped outside kara for the daily for a monthand the shadeling and despite hunting in early morning I have seen one! in that time.

    As for the chipmonks, something with a shield and heal like a crab takes no damage at all.


  5. I hate, hate, haaaaa-aaaate those blasted chipmonks.
    That being said, I loves all my spiders. Web + drain life and I can win most fights with them. ❤


  6. I’ve had a lot of luck with Spawn of Onyxia, from Dustwallow Marsh. It’s a dragon with a self-heal, and it has dragon and flying attacks. It’s pretty awesome, and has soloed fights agains pet teams a level or two higher. At 25, by itself it can often take out another team of 25’s. Just in case the shadelings don’t work out so well, or he needs some variety.
    Best of luck to him (and you, should you chose to go back to Winterspring unprepared).


  7. I am not sure whether Alex has been doing Darkmoon Faire but those pets are all very strong pets. The Zeppelin is amazing, and at level 10 is a real powerhouse. Especially when there are beasts to fight all the time.
    I am laughing thinking about you and the nut barrage. I hate to think what profanities you will be spouting with the Banana Barrage from the Darkmoon monkey.


  8. I want to try the pet battles, but I don’t know if I have the heart. The skunks look like my kitty, so I didn’t want to kill them. I always get upset when I accidentally kill a Bambi or cow, when fighting mobs. I refused to finish the quest line in Booty Bay, where you kill the poor cow for his head then put it in a bag and kick it around. And killing a bunny could bring me to tears. Guess I’ll just stick with the regular quests. I do love following your blog, so I’ll pet battle vicariously through your writings.


  9. You might try a crab. I seem to remember soloing much higher-level teams with a rare crab when I first got to Winterspring. (My nemesis was the skunks, the miss + a small heal makes them hard to take down with a lower level pet that already misses some.) They have a shell and a heal. It looks like there may be a level 14 one in Swamp of Sorrows. And it’s … not horribly uncute, like the undead deer. Right?


  10. Oh gawd. Nut Barrage. I just. THE HORROR. I had the pure….joy….of fighting some nasty chipmunks in the Tarren Mill area (I’ve just started my pet battling!) and I wanted to fling myself off the nearest balcony to end my misery. Tears of rage, I tell you. I don’t know how many times I’ve captured the first pet in the battle, only to have the second pet be a chipmunk and totally eviscerate me, causing me to lose whatever first pet I was trying to tame. CURSE YOU, CHIPMUNKS!!!


  11. Haha, sorry about your rough luck in Winterspring, but it was hilarious to read about (if that brings any small consolation).

    I love to think that your kids will be moping about not getting a specific in-game pet at next year’s Christmas, while we were moping about actual toys that exist in the real world at their age 🙂

    Also, I don’t want to make you get any more frustrated, but the Anodized Robo-Cub does look awesome. I haven’t caught one, but I’ve fought them several times in PvP and they always get style points in my book.

    Good find on all those rare spawns in Deadwind Pass, though! I’ve flew through there a couple times looking for pets but never during the right hours. I hope your son appreciates them!

    Thanks for the shout-out for the podcast too 🙂


  12. What a horrible way to spend so little sleep! Just because, I would stomp into Winterspring with my 25 team and smack down all those furry faced chipmunks.

    My worst pets to go against now are almost any of the aquatic and critter types in Pandaria. That rolling attack that increases their speed EVERY TIME THEY USE IT really kicks my teams butt. My family has taken to yelling “Ga-zelle!” and biting their fists every time my fawn dies. 😀


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