Late to the Party

Last night, I was called off the bench to join Team Wanda in their first serious attempt at Iron Qon normal 10, and in the process we killed both Iron Qon AND The Twin Consorts.

I then had the pleasure of dying at the hands of Lei Shen.

I can’t wait to see these released on LFR. I think they’re going to be fun for 25 people, but easier to grasp than Drurumoomoo.

Of course, I might also be huffing paint, so we’ll see tomorrow.

This post isn’t about that. ūüôā

Instead, I am just gushing to talk about PET BATTLES!!!

I did get a team to level 25 a while back, got a bunch of achievements, I even added several more pets up to 25 so as to have some variety.

What I didn’t do was ever finish the Pandaren Spirit Tamer quests, the elementals.

Seemed to be tough, legendary pets, you know. Something to save for when I had some free time. Something to look forward to.

This last weekend, my son saw the Burning Pandaren Spirit Tamer sitting on an island as I flew past to collect ore, and asked me if I could fight him.

Picture of burning Pandaren Spirit Tamer from Wowhead

Picture by Cymre and posted on Wowhead!

Well, okay. Sure, I guess.

I checked on Wowhead to see what kinds of pets he had, and they recommended a Humanoid, specifically the Anubisath Idol that drops from Twin Emperors in AQ40 to go after the Dragonkin, a pet with Aquatic attacks that wasn’t actually water for the Fire Elemental (like the Rapana Whelk), and then whatevers to take on the flying one.


I have an Anubisath Idol, I got it from the AH. Still level 1, though. And I have a Rapana Whelk, but it’s only level 24. My go-to Aquatic pet is the Emperor Crab, with the instant Aquatic attack, Shell Shield and Healing Mists.

I do have a Humanoid, though… the Kun Lai Runt. He was an easy humanoid to ge to 25 late in the leveling game, because you can capture one at about level 22 in the Kun Lai Summit area.

Meh, a humanoid is a humanoid, an aquatic is an aquatic, let’s kick this pig.

So, smash the humanoid attack over and over, Dragonkin dies. Elemental insta-kills my Kun Lai Runt, then my Emperor Crab soloes both of the last two pets easily with Shell Shield and Healing Mists keeping me at full the entire time. Not even remotely a chance of losing.


So, I won! The elemental fire spirit is cute. I’d like one of those. I should finish that quest someday

Something about that made me remember, back in the day, people were talking about this tamer being an easy faceroll to use to quickly level pets. I can see what they meant, I didn’t even have an Anubisath Idol and it was easy.

That made me wonder, just how fast could you level a pet that way? Was it nerfed?

I took my Kun Lai Runt and Emperor Crab, plus the level 1 Anubisath Idol, to Terokkar Forest and fought a Skunk. Anubisath Idol dinged level 4. You’d expect that, with a level 1 pet getting XP from some level 20’s.

Okay, so then I took the Anubisath Idol as first pet, Kun Lai Runt as second and Emperor Crab as third to the Burning Pandaren Spirit Tamer.

The first pet he uses is always the Dragonkin, and the first attack the Dragonkin uses is ALWAYS the Tornado, which calls up the whirlwind but doesn’t actually do any damage in that first round. Low level pet is assured to survive that round.

So, level 4 pet, Dragonkin summons a whirlwind, my Idol walks up and punches the Dragonkin on the snout and bravely runs away.

Swap in the Kun Lai Runt, and proceed to spam my humanoid ‘punch in nose HARD’ ability.

The whirlwind did a lot of damage to the overall team, but nobody died, not even the level 4 Idol. I can see why people say the Anubisath Idol at 25 is good for this, because that sandstorm ability nefs the damage done by the whirlwind to the ground, preventing your cowering low level beasties in the back row from taking too much damage.

Can we get through this round?


Dragonkin died, Kun Lai Runt died, Emperor Crab finished off the last two same as before.

Anubisath Idol dinged level 11.

Really? Level 11? One fight?


Okay, try a second fight.

Wait, level 16?

Holy crap.

My Anubisath Idol was level 25 in about a half hour to an hour of fighting… because I don’t have any bandages, I didn’t look up where the nearest Stable Master was for quick heals, and my Kun Lai Runt died every time so I had to wait out the 8 minute rez timer.

I had pets go from level 23 to 25 in one fight. Pets need about 2000 xp to go from level 24 to 25, and you get around 3000xp or more for beating the Spirit Tamer. One fight, and you ding from 24 to 25. That’s pretty nice.

So, sure I swapped some of my other ‘almost but not quite’ 23s and 24s in to top them off.

The thing is, I never finished the original quest. I was lazy, so I’d do it ‘someday’.

So, now I can go up and fight him over and over in a chain, instead of him being a daily quest giver.

I am so late to the party on this it’s not funny, but all I can do is make sure to share this with you now.

If you have at least three 25’s, and you haven’t completed the quest for the Pandaren Elemental Tamers yet, you can go grab a high level Emperor Crab from the Dread Wastes water area where the Saurok hang out, you can grab a Kun Lai Runt from the Kun Lai Summit, and they’re already pretty close to 25. It shouldn’t take too long to finish them off.

Then, once you level those two to full, you can take them and level ALL of your other pets from 1 to 25 pretty darn quick.

If you were the early bird that got the worm, already did the quest and have been doing the dailies, then it’s too late…

But, well, sometimes it pays to be the procrastinating buzzard that eats the roadkill.

On the positive side, doing the dailies got you lots of chances to get those awesome Pandaren elemental pets! So it all works out. Right?


Beartrap the Big Game Hunter

My pet battling enthusiam has brought me to the edge. I got my Safari Hat, and also took down all of the official Master Pet Tamers, including Grand Master Aki.

I have a sad related to this.

I am a Pandarian Hunter, and I do not like any of the mail sets that are out there right now.

I am a Hunter, and not just any Hunter, a Bear Hunter.

No, not a beer hunter, a bear hunter.

I keep browsing mail armor sets in the hopes I’ll find something that grabs me.

The flame set from Firelands was good as a human, but as a panda, I find I’ve got too much surface area to be attractive while on fire.

Plus, you know, the smell of burning fur. Ugh.

In looking over the mail sets out there, the one thing I keep running up against is that none of them say “I go out there and hunt things that would hunt me back.”

There aren’t any camouflage outfits, no gillie suits, nothing of a muted pattern that has any real style.

On the more romantic side of things, we don’t have any archer-style robin hood outfits, or anything I could see a Dungeons & Dragons style ranger wearing.

Instead, Hunter sets seem to say “I went out, killed something, then hollowed out its skull and wear it like a hat. I’m very emotionally balanced.”

Is that what WoW Hunters are? Beings who go out, kill something, then take the carcass and make clothes out of it?

As one style of armor, sure, it’s something that touches on the old D&D idea of¬†being a¬†hunting dragonslayer,¬†going out to seek out materials resistant to¬†dragonflame in order to survive hunting other dragons. Dragons¬†don’t hurt themselves with their own flame, so we’ll make a set of armor out of dragonscales. It’s reasonable, it makes sense.

But for everything? As a concept it’s gone way too far.

What I want is a set that I can wear that feels like I am a Hunter prepared to go out into the wild actually hunting things. Like, on a safari.

Cue the Safari Hat.

Have you seen the Safari Hat? If you defeat 40 Master Pet Tamers, you get the Safari Hat mailed to all of your characters.

It is not transmoggable, not now. It confers 10% bonus to leveling XP for your battle pets.

As soon as I saw it, I loved it.


The Safari Hat is exactly what I want as a Hunter to inspire the set I wear. I am, and play as in my role-playing heart, an old-fashioned Big Game Hunter eternally out there on safari, exploring the wildest places in the world for the new, the amazing, the challenging.

Can you imagine it? I can.

I can picture my Pandarian Hunter, with the Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle from the Big Bad Wolf in Karazhan, wearing the Safari Hat and a safari set of armor looking like a set of linens with a ‘vest of many ammo pouches’, seated on the back of one of the new¬†honking huge Triceratops mounts.

That is how I want to roll.

I want to be a bear,¬†wearing safari threads almost like I mauled a human hunter and stole his stuff. With a massive rifle… riding a dinosaur.

If that doesn’t say TOTAL BADASS, I don’t know what does.

You can keep your freaking laser beams.

I’d like to add, and this is a key thing to consider, I don’t want to be a bear hunter that looks like he killed a human, and then made armor out of the human to wear. Just the safari clothes are fine, aaaight?


Found a couple of pictures of exactly what I’m talking about, the Van Pelt look from jumanji, who even has a big ass cape/cloak and the honking big gun. Even his whiskers are panda-like!



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! ūüôā

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!

A Day in the Life of a Holy Priest

A more accurate title would be “confessions of a pet battle noob”, because that is what I am, and what these are.

After all of my initial gushing over pet battles when Mists of Pandaria released, I didn’t actually do any pet battles.

I meant to. It was fun, it was an exciting concept. Leveling pets! NAMING pets! Capturing NEW pets! Woohoo!

What happened to me was that I hit a patch where I wanted to level my team higher, but I couldn’t find any level appropriate pets to fight. I got to about level 14 to 15 with my one core group, struggled to keep going and got to about 16, and then just stalled out.

I felt stupid, too, because my big thing was, all I wanted was to get a team high enough I could capture a raccoon. And yes, name it Socks. KISS MY ASS, I don’t care how cheesy that is. Yes, I know they’re called bandicoons, they’re freaking raccoons. And they are just so cute, and I wanted one, and…

I needed to level a pet team to max to do it. And to level, well, I need enough pets out there in the world to fight that I can get some XP, damnit!

So I quit. Just walked away, man. Just walked away.

I can’t remember what drove me to come back and take another swing at it.

Oh wait, yes I do! Cassie was doing pet battles, and she was taking on the Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms Master Pet Tamers, and winning with a team lower level than mine. So her bravery spurred me on to think I could try fighting the Master Pet Tamers, too!

So that is just what I did, I began travelling all over Azeroth fighting pet tamers, and learned what so many before me have… Master Pet Tamers give BIG XP rewards to your team!

By fighting and winning against all of those tamers, I finally got high level enough that I thought I could get to Outlands and start capturing some of those pets, maybe even take on that first Tamer in Hellfire Peninsula. Lot fewer zones than in Azeroth, yep. Ought to be able to focus a little clearer on each zone to max it out, right? Lots less distractions to send me off scurrying for shinies.

What I found out by flying around in Outlands collecting pets was that there is an area of Flayer Younglings up there on the border between Hellfire Ramparts and Terokkar Forest. The Flayer Younglings were in vast quantities, and finally I had an area where I could fight und fight und fight, getting fast XP, yahoo!

I quickly got the whole team up to 18, even 19. This was a marvelous, nay a WONDROUS thing!

Now that my team had some XP and had a chance to win consistently, I moved on to other areas in Outlands, searching for pets. I camped out for a while in Blades Edge Mountains. There are these super cute Cogblade Raptors that have a chance to spawn around the gnome basecamp of Toshley Station, especially during and after the station is assaulted by waves of raptors.

I flew around Toshley Station for a while, but while waiting for spawns, I checked out the rest of the zone for more leveling spots. And guess what! I found one, and happy times were had chain battling flaming pets in the little lava area due East of Gruul’s Lair (just on the other side of the spine mountains ridge from Gruul’s).

It was something of a major breakthrough for me. Finding spots in the world where I could hang out, and always have plenty of pets to fight so I didn’t have any downtime (except for healing, of course) was wonderful.

My core team consisted of the Ash Spiderling, the Darkmoon Zeppelin, and the Phoenix Hatchling.

The Ash Spiderling, with it’s Brittle Webbing and Leach Life abilities and being super strong against Critters is great as a soloing pet in the wild. With so many Critters out there, on many fights the Ash Spiderling could kill an entire team, and end the fight still almost at full health.

With the Phoenix Hatchling in the team, he heals everyone in your party a little after every fight, so that is even more uptime between bandage/healing. And the Zeppelin? He’s my glass hammer. No self healing, but damn does he pound hard when I have to pull him out.

This was the team I was traveling with, so I didn’t have much downtime between fights even with the 8 minute healing cooldown.

I was fortunate enough to finally find an uncommon quality Cogblade Raptor, so I took my level 21ish team to Northrend, to go get even more pets.

What should I find there? A beautiful spot in Dragonblight, just a few seconds flight East of Wyrmrest Temple, where there were a never ending supply of pets to fight. And this spot was even crazier… there is a Stable Master standing on the East side of Wyrmrest Temple, within sight of the pet fight area.

I am a pure noob at this, I don’t have guides, for some reason I never see people posting tips on where to level or what to do, most everything I see posted supposes everyone has a full set of level 25 pets. So this place came as a shock to me.

I was able to fight a grueling battle against these Dragonkin things, with penguins and stuff as adds, and so long as one of my pets survived I could pop over to the Temple, get fully healed in a second, and fly right back.

By relying strongly on my Ash Spiderling and the self-healing, many fights I was able to solo, and that meant all the XP for each fight went to one pet.

Oh, hell yes!

I sat there and fought for probably two solid hours, and got my full team to 25. HAH! I WIN! Once the first pet got to max, he didn’t count for XP gains, so then I always had him to rely on to pound the snot out of the opponents first, soften them up.

Wait, I’m max level? Oh shit, time for the real Pet Battle thing to start. I am so totally unprepared.

Ah, but now I can finally tame a PANDARIAN RACCOON!

That was what it took for me to finally break through. With a team of full 25 pets, I could take full advantage of the fact max level pets don’t suck XP out of the team when leveling new ones.

Queue the list of pets to level up… and to pop into my groups as dead weight when I can get away with it.

Also queue the beginning of fighting the Master Pet Tamers. Those things give massive XP gains, and if you can take one down with a low level pet in your group, it’s a bonanza of bonus xp.

I should note that Cassie also leveled her pet teams, using a completely different set of pets she likes that use this synergy shit, where one pet drops a molten lava environment thing, and then other pets use boosted powers in lava, and all that stuff. Frankly, I am impressed at that level of play, but I was grateful just to luck into my Ash Spiderling self-healer. Crutch, thy name is Brittle Webbing and Leech Life.

Huh, when¬†I get home I’m renaming my Ash Spiderling “Crutch”. No, not crotch, CRUTCH.

When Cassie reached Northrend, she didn’t like the damn penguin adds at my spot, so she went to the troll zone of Zul’drak, and camped the billions of Water Wavelings that spawn there. Apparently, there is a Stable Master near there as well, if not quite as close as the one at Wyrmrest, and her team was slaughtering the poor little Aquatics in droves.

Fine, be that way. Escape the two hours of misery fighting penguins to smack Water Wavelings around, see if I care. If people wanted to find out the smart way to do things, they wouldn’t be reading this in the first place.

Ever since hitting max level on my team, I’ve been having fun chasing various pets that could give me some variety against these bastard Master Pet Tamers.

My team was kicking ass, right up to the point where I had to face the Northrend boss with all of the flying pets in the Fjord.

That little son of a bitch kicked my ass up one side and down the other, forcing me to think about matching pets to opponents.

So, what is powerful against Flying?

Oh shit… MAGIC? I don’t have any magic pets leveled!

So, hello Wowhead… ooh, Mount Hyjal has a Nordrassil Wisp, a Magic pet that can spawn right there around the Nordrassil Inn around the lake. And it’s got a nice mix of abilities!

I took my team to Mount Hyjal. I was determined to camp there, get myself a rare Wisp, and then level it to max just to kill that Master Pet Tamer.

I know, it’s stupid to go overboard that way, insisting on a rare,¬†but I somehow got it stuck in my head that I needed to first find the perfect pet, and then level it to max before going back for a retry.

I spent, and I’m not kidding, over three hours just killing pets around the Nordrassil Inn, trying to get a rare quality Wisp.

Never saw one. I ended up with rares of every other possible pet that spawns in the area, but not that one. Got two Uncommon Wisps, though, and leveled my Terrible Turnip to 25, one of the uncommon Wisps to 25, and a couple other things too, like an Arctic Hare and something else.

At some point, I stopped expecting to find a rare quality Wisp, and instead started using the area around the lake to level pets. There are ALWAYS pets to fight there.

I finally did something that may surprise you. I used my brain. There is a rumor that this is a bear of very small brain, but it’s just weak from lack of use.

Since I couldn’t find a rare Magic pet to kill Flyers, I decided to go to to find out what pets are super tough in defense AGAINST flyers.

That’s right, I decided to find a tanking pet against the¬†Flyers. It takes me a while, but I get there eventually.

What should I discover, but that Dragonkin are strong in defense against Flyers.

Do I have a Dragonkin?

Yes I do! A level 1 Celestial Dragon.


Okay, so in order for a pet to get XP from a fight, it has to actually be active in at least one round, and do something in that round. Even if it’s just to stand there, tap it on the chest with a foam sword and then run away, it’s got to stand and risk death.

So, a level 1 Celestial Dragon active in a round versus level 24s. Can it work?


I started a fight with the Celestial Dragon as the first pet in my rotation, and the opponent cast one of those “Speed boost increase” things that don’t do damage. I quickly popped off my lone little attack and swapped pets.

When the battle was over, boom! Instant level 6! At that point, I had enough health to survive a single hit, and I was able to keep leveling from there without the fear of a one-shot.

Other lesson learned, Magic pets can’t take more than half of their total health in one shot, so a level 1 Magic pet could easily survive the first round of a fight against 24s in that way, if you have one to powerlevel.

I leveled, and fought, and leveled so hard and diligently. I was going to field a max level team of a Celestial Dragon, a Nordrassil Wisp, and my Phoenix Hatchling against the damn chicken, turkey and penguin ‘flyers’ of Northrend. Those flightless f’ers were going down! Pitched off the edge of the cliff, if I had my way. That Master Pet Tamer may be trying to get them to run off the cliff to learn how to fly, but I have a more… brief flight in mind for them. Something involving cement overshoes.

I got bored. I went with my Celestial Dragon at something like 19. I just didn’t have it in me to keep going, so, yeah, what the heck,¬† right? What’s the worst that can happen, I die? Brrr, scary.

So a level 19 Celestial Dragon, a 25 uncommon Nordrassil Wisp and my rare Phoenix Hatchling.

Yeah, so after I totally obliterated the opposing force, without evening needing the damn Phoenix, I became a big believer in matching pet strengths to the opponent.

Pet proliferation, that’s what we need!

After all that work, all those fights, and my complete failure of getting a rare Wisp, I went to kill a few of the daily Master Pet Tamers, to get some more of that tasty XP for my dragon. Fights against Tamers net far more XP than a normal fight, and hey, maybe a Flawless Stone might drop!

I headed for the Master Pet Tamer outside Karazhan, late at night and tired as heck… only to find the area saturated with pets.

And no, not the undead ghosts underground, these were pets new to me, called the Arcane Eye.

Arcane Eyes, everywhere, level 17 and 18 pets… and all Magic pets.

WTF!?! I spent how many hours trying to catch elusive Magic pet spawns in Nordrassil, and here there are dozens of the damn things? KHAAAAANNNNNN!!!!!!!

The first one I pulled was a second shocker… only one pet comes, it doesn’t bring any friends! Heck, you could grab this guy with a team of three 10s, probably!


It probably only took 8 kills in a row, super-quick, got a rare, and I could have had it with me hours before, without any of that messing around with Wisps!

Err, except that I think the Arcane Eyes only spawn late at night. Or maybe when the moon is full. Or only when someone has spent hours farming magic pets in other zones, and need to be taunted.

Ah well…. live and learn. The hard way, as usual.

Now that I’ve got a full grown team, I’m having fun,¬†I’m getting lots of new, cool, cute looking pets, and I’m working my way slowly but surely through the Master Pet Tamer quests.

It feels good to have a seat at the adult table now.¬†I can read the experiences of master tamers like Cymre and Navimie, and apply lessons learned from them today, not ‘someday’.

When I stalled out the first time, I never imagined I would be able to someday have not just one team at max, but now a bunch of max pets to choose from. It’s so cool to have all the wild pets out there be available to me, it’s an itch I can finally scratch. Every time I see a Golden Civet in Pandaria, I can actually capture it, rather than just look wistfully and wonder about the pet not traveled.

I hope that, if you’re in the same boat I was in and wanting to get cranking, knowing these spots are out there is of some help to you. I couldn’t have done it without a ready source of opponents to take on one after another. And once I was ablt to take on Master Pet Tamers in Kalimdor and Easter Kingdoms around level 15 and 16, it got even better.

I’m really glad I’ve been able to use my core team for most fights, and look foward to¬†expanding my roster as I need to, without just starting over with some ‘trick of the patch’ team. I’ve read some about stuff like the Fluxfire Feline overpower problems, and I just don’t think it would be all that fun to have to rely on a trick like that to win.

the way the system is designed right now, I get to use a completely different team than Cassie does, and while mine might not be as destructive,¬†I trade that off by have a lot of self-healing and going for the long haul.¬†I like it. it’s cool to be able to make that choice, and have that playstyle difference.

As long as, you know… I slip in at least one ringer in my team to take thos bastards down!

What A Long, Strange Pet Battle It’s Been

This is a pet battling, wrasslin’ post, because that’s where most of my weekend went.

Well, that and healing on my newly leveled, newly geared Holy Priest.

I would talk about healing Mogu’shan¬†Vaults on my Priest in LFR, but shit, you’ve heard it all before, there’s nothing¬†new there.

People continue to stand in shit and blame healers if they die, tanks still chain pull whether healers have mana or not, people REALLY continue to stand in the bad stuff no¬†I’m not kidding, wtf, FOUR PEOPLE dropped into the pit on Elegon? REALLY?

Yeah, been there, bitched about it, nothing new here.

Ooh, wait, there is something new!

One of the people in our guild I group with a lot, Monstre, is a Death Knight that does both DPS and tank. Insane DPS, regularly over 110k, especially in AoE situations.

Monstre has been supportive of my attempts to get my Priest geared up for healing, and has tanked for me to be my little guinea pig. It’s been fun.

Now, I don’t give with any bullshit backseat tanking, but I always watch how people do things, and I’m going to compliment good skills whenever I see them, and he’s very good.

But a compliment from a friend, that’s not a testimonial to put on your tagline. you expect your friends to be supportive. All you can really do is hope they’re not lying to make you feel good.

but a compliment from a stranger… ah, that’s gold.

Cut to normal dungeons.

My son is leveling his Death Knight almost exclusively by chain running normals as DPS. He was level 87 and he has been struggling with just amazingly shit groups.

He gets the joy of waiting 45 minutes for a group to pop, and then when it does, he consistently gets groups that go through tanks and healers dropping whenever they want and groups falling apart.

I have personally watched over his shoulder to see as his group went through four tanks and various DPS and healers, with no talking, just people coming in, flailing ignorantly for a few trash pulls, then dropping.

I started watching over his shoulder because I found it hard to believe he was getting this kind of group without his doing something wrong to cause it. He had to be pulling off the tank, or dying by standing in the bad, or attacking the wrong mobs, or basically making other people leave in frustration.

Nope. It’s really just that bad out there in the evenings in random normals.

To counteract this idiocy, I’ve wanted to get my Priest up there so I could spec as heals and get him fast queue times and a solid, reliable healer who won’t abandon the group, and who should be able to keep tanks alive in normals even when they’re total idiots.

For my very first shot at this plan, I asked Monstre if he’d tank a few normals with me healing, just to pass a little time and have fun with my son.

See, it can only be for fun. You CANNOT queue for random normal instances through LFR if you are level 90. Apparently, you should not be allowed to get Justice Points through running randoms. If you want JP, run a heroic and get the dribs and drabs from boss kills.

I’m SO GLAD you need massive amounts of Justice Points along with the original Heirloom item in order to get the upgraded Heirloom items. SO GLAD. Pfft.

Since Monstre¬†is √ľber with a low sense of humor, I expected him to go nuts on pulls. He can put out insane DPS, he’s got tons of gear as a tank, and we’re going into a normal? Yeah, hold on tight and mana up, you got two secs.

Monstre¬†fulfilled expectations. The first one we hit was Mogu’shan¬†Palace, and it was a case of Monstre¬†running forward and pulling as much as he could before the first boss fight, AoEing it down and seeing what he could take.

So Monstre¬†is intentionally TRYING to be a tool tank. He’s doing the chain pulling, no pause for drinking, ‘I can take it OH SHIT” style of go go go running.

Now, the funny part here is, even in all the chaos, we’re on the first full boss encounter and my son turns to me and says, “Wow, this tank is really good. He’s standing still in one place whenever he can and letting me settle in and hit the boss without having to run around chasing him like an idiot! He’s great!”


That right there says everything you need to know about what tanks are usually like in the normals, amiright?

I tell Monstre what my son said, and he replies, “Oh yeah, I used to play a Rogue, I know what it’s like when a tank goes running around like a dumbass.”


So, if you’re a tank, you know, TRY to stand in one place when possible, unless there is bad stuff under your OR THE MELEE DPS feet, so melee DPS can get it stuck in real good?

Imagine if you will that you are distracting a puissant and fell mage, and as you are holding his attention you’re giving a Rogue a chance to slip up behind and stick a dagger in his back, right between the ribs. If you insist on RUNNING AROUND LIKE A CROSSWIRED¬†FURBY, that Rogue can’t get the perfect shot lined up. So stop it.

Um, so Pet Battles.

Lol, screw it, My next post will be about Pet Battles. And I think I’ll call it “A Day in the Life of a Holy Priest”.

Ascent Into Madness

I’ve been asked before, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Today, I do something different.

Today, I take you through the entire process of where it all started, and where it eventually went.

In the end, you’ll see that you don’t have to be crazy to write here… but it helps!

All this took place in about three minutes in my car.

I was cruising along on the way home from work, and thinking about the design that Tesh did for me just this last week.

Tesh has really been great for no reason other than that he’s a great guy, he’s done these designs just from fun and a love of creating cool stuff, and I wanted to show him how much I appreciated the work he does making this stuff just because “I thought it would be cool, would it be hard to draw?”

So, I asked him if I could send him a shirt from the store, and he’d said yes… the awesome one he’d done a while back based on my son’s idea for a Fish Tanking Pet.

I got shipping notification today, so that got me thinking about the shirt, and that led to me thinking about the original design Tesh did, and where it came from.

Thinking about that design reminded me of how cool it was that Blizzard introduced the Companion Pets that are fish floating in bubbles of water. When we’d originally talked about Alex’s idea, the open-topped fishbowl with the attachments just rocked, but there was nothing in-game to link it to.

Shirt design… floating bubble fish.


So, we’ve got pet fish in the game now, something that didn’t exist when the shirt design was made.

What if… what if we took the design, and the bubble fish…

The original goal was a mechanical Engineer-crafted combat pet for Hunters.

We’ve got a fish pet now. It’s in a bubble of water. So, all that is missing is the mechanical stuff for the fish to ride inside.

Like a mount.

Like the Engineer would craft a vehicle, like a tank chassis, and you’d let your fish pet enter the vehicle, and then THAT would be your Hunter combat pet.

So a Gnomish Engineer could make, in effect, a reverse submarine! The water goes on the INSIDE, and all you do is let your fish get inside, and then it takes control of the mechanical chassis. A little fish-driven turbo tank with drill arm attacks and turtle-style shields. And portholes showing the blue water inside.

Heck, maybe even the fish occasionally opens the top hatch and sticks his head up, wearing WWI biplane goggles, to take a peek around as an idle animation!

That would be so freaking cool.

The purity of the vision, a land shark with a goldfish inside, overcompensating for NOT being born the king of the sea.

Almost like a short Gnome surrounded by giant idiot humans, overcompensating by building giant destructive devices… would there be some kinship there? Some sense of “You and me against the world, we’ll show ’em what we’re really capable of. The fools. For science! Muahahahahahaaaaaa.”

Okay, but we’ve got the Gnomes, but Engineers are traditionally Gnome and Goblin.

Gnomish Engineers already have one style of Engineering crafted pet, while Goblins have another. Why not Gnomish and Goblin-specific mechanical tank chassis that goes with your Mists of Pandaria Fishy pet?

On both the Horde and Alliance side, every player that completes the quests for the Pearlfin Jinyu or the Forest Hozen are rewarded with Fishy, a fish in a bubble. They don’t have to get it by fishing. So it’s a pet that you as a designer could reasonably expect every level 85 either would or could have.

So, since every character that does the quests will automatically get the Fishy, and it’s Bind on Account, and limited to those players at level 85 qualified to do Jade Forest… why not build around that?

Goblins and Gnome Engineers could have their own inspired design for the Fishy Tank.

Yes, that’s right.


You don’t like it, deal with it. I said it, it’s done.

Fishy Tank.

And come on, you know that the Gnome Engineers would be the first to think of something that crazy. A tank designed for a Fishy to drive, with gear-styled wheels (of varying sizes, probably), and drill arms like Tesh designed, and a big engine on the back with pipes puffing out smoke.

But the Goblins, seeing that… you just know that they’d have to design their own, more impressive counter to this.

Something that has that crazy shark-grin painted on the front cowling.

Oh, how insidious that design would be. A goldfish piloting a vehicle with a sharktooth grin painted on the outside. Oh, lord.

I could even see it occasionally going off on it’s own to pounce on Seagulls and other fisher-style birds, like you see the coyotes and wolves in the wild do in-game. Like… getting revenge. You’re just strolling along on the beach, and your goldfish goes tearing fin across to pounce on and destroy a seagull.

Oh, hell yes.

I can see it. Oh lord, it’s like a shining light, coming down from the heavens.

Goblins. Gnomes. And a design war on who can build the deadliest, most over-the-top Fishy Tank.

That would let Blizzard have fun designing two different approaches to a Fishy Tank, and it would give Hunters a new mechanical-based combat pet they could craft themselves towards end game…

What if this was the alst thing that finally opened the door to allowing Gnome Hunters? We’ve already got Goblin Hunters, why not Gnomes, especially if they could eventually have a mechanical combat pet?

Good lord… Gnomes. Pets. What if the formerly Gnomish Engineer-only companion pet Lil’ Smoky became the design foundation for the starting Gnome Hunter pet?

Gnomes, wielding complex guns, with fancy goggles, sending their programmed combat machine out to destroy the enemy… tossing Big Daddys and smoke bombs here and there…

The horror… the sheer, beautiful horror….

There. You see? That is exactly how we went from a starter idea, to whatever the heck we have now. Pure stream of my wandering crazy.

Look, I tell you these things, I tell you exactly how deep the hole is, and if you keep coming back here to read them, don’t blame me when we all ascend into madness together.

I warned you!

Five Feet High and Rising

[audio:|titles=Johnny Cash – Five Feet High and Rising]

Beartrap the Unbalanced: The adventure continues!

The Unbalanced should be a title. I’m not insane, just… unbalanced. Ever seen me try jumping or platforming puzzles? It’s true on so many levels!

I decided that I would do dailies nevermore. None for me. My Druid is exalted with Tillers, so I can plant Songbells or whatever food strikes my fancy, but even there, no dailies. None.

The feeling of freedom is incredible. No responsibilities, no daily toil or drudgery. Just log in and play, man, play.

And after I get that first hour of gametime out of the way where I harvest, plow, plant and do daily Scroll of Wisdom and Imperial Silk transmutes, I can get right on my Hunter and play! lol. In most games, that first hour would be considered playtime too, right?

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Freedom? Oh yes, I’m free to do anything I want to!

And what I want to do turns out to be dailies. I just want to do them for the sake of doing them, not for a ‘someday’ goal.

While Freedoms just another word for no Lesser Charms to use, I’m not doing dailies for some goal, I’m just¬†enjoying going around doing stuffs.

Specifically, Klaxxi stuffs.

I chain-queued my Hunter last night, did a bunch of heroics, and even took part in killing the Sha of Anger for the second time.

That was great, the instances are very exciting and feel nicely bite-sized, but I kept resenting them pulling me away from Awakening Paragons and killing turtles for the honor of the Klaxxi.

Oh, and I hit Friendly with the Black Prince, so I calculated how many more mobs I would have to kill, exactly, to hit Honored and make the Black Prince happy with me.

500. That is what I would have to kill, five hundred. Sounds like a made for TV movie, doesn’t it? The Five Hundred. Dun dun dun.

Is it wrong of me that, after all my whining about gating gear behind rep and JP in a faction, I am seriously thinking about buckling down and going on a one-night rampage of blood-drenched slaughter just to please the Black Prince?

That was a rhetorical question, you don’t need to answer that.

It’s funny. Obviously, I don’t HAVE to have lesser Charms (turned in by the 90s for a Greater) to get extra chances at gear rolls, I can play just fine without them. At the same time, if you have any interest in getting geared up for your raids, don’t you almost HAVE to try and get them, at least in the short term?

Good thing I like the Klaxxi. And sooner or later I’m going to go do some Golden Dawn (er, I mean Lotus) dailies so I can get Satchels for a chance to learn the recipe for the little Jewelcrafting Kittycat pet. I got my recipes for two of the Cat mounts, that will do me for a long time.

Apparently, I will do dailies to get patterns to make vanity items, but I’ll turn my nose and sneer at upgrading my gear to improve actual performance. My Lesser Charms will be an incidental byproduct of my wastrel ways.

Hmmm. Where did my life go so horribly wrong?

A few words about the heroics.

Damn, they are FUN!

The first time you roll a barrel into a monkey just feels right.

At the same time, holy crap are some of the mechanics confusing. Remember how I said my son feels that you ought to be able to figure out what to do based on what you can observe?

Yeah, that works a lot of the time, but then there is Raigonn in the Gate of the Setting Sun.

For the record, so far I really like all the instances I’ve done. I like the pacing, the flair, the humor and the mechanics.

Can I just say though, that when you’re in a group that has, none of us, ever done Raigonn before, it was a confusing mess of chaos?

I had Deadly Boss Mods warning me to fire for the weak spot. I couldn’t find a weak spot to target specifically! Was I supposed to? In the heat of the moment, you can’t really flip over to Wowhead, y’on?

I was pounding away at the big bug for all¬†I was worth, it’s health wasn’t going down. I saw that what looked like rocket launchers were sparkling at the sides of the big courtyard, so I ran over to one and used it, which showed me jumping in like I was about to be launched onto the bug’s back… only I fell through the launcher onto the floor. I didn’t get launched. I wasted a good 2 minutes of time trying to get the sparkly launchers to do something, with nothing apparently happening.

Next thing I know, he’s “fixating” on someone, and his health is going down when attacked, so I figure somehow we got onto a Flame Leviathan style phase, and began DPSing my little heart out, all the while trying to burn down adds and stay out of the bad.

I’m all for exciting mechanics, but honestly, I still have no clue exactly what I was supposed to do.

I know that many of you are very, very helpful types, but don’t worry about telling me what the mechanics are for my sake.¬†I’m just gonna go look it up and research stuff myself anyway. If you’ve got your own tips on how to tank him, though, by all means share them! It looked like a huge pain for a tank new to that place having to figure out how to tank the big bug while also handling the adds.

I’m just making the example that, in these early days… there is perhaps more excitement to be found than we might expect once things become old hat? But we didn’t give up, or panic, we just tried like hell to work as a team, and while the Warlock died to save Elo (our healer), we all managed to win in the end without wiping. So, how bad could it have really been?

Certainly was very exciting. ūüôā

How odd that it was the Warlock who sacrificed his life to save a Priest. Doesn’t that kind of thing get you kicked out of the big meanies green fire club?

As I’ve said before, there is far, far more available to do than I can do in a single day, even if I only played one character. That means that I have to absolutely have to get past the idea that I must¬†do everything or even most things every day.

Thankfully, I’m a bit of an anti-establishment type, so doing the opposite of what I should comes easy to me. ūüôā

Even though there are things of astounding benefit, like having a second farm, or grinding rep with all factions, or doing dailies to have an abundant supply of LesserCcharms to turn in. Those are all temptations, but they are not necessary to play the game.

All that is necessary is I filter out the grind, and only do the fun, and continue to do heroics for gear upgrades as part of the fun.

It was worrying me, being ready for raids, but then Tom, our guild leader and player in Team Wanda told me, so long as I just run some heroics to get geared, I’ll be just fine for us when we start raiding. No need to go insane getting all the VP gear.

I’m going to try to take that to heart, even if it does seem to go against all previous expectations.

If I get left behind, oh well.

Along with that, I really need to research more about everything that is out there so I can make the best use of my time in doing the fun stuff.

A shining golden example.

One thing in the back of my head was Stormstout Brewery. Specifically, pets.

I was queuing for random heroics, to get Valor and because I hadn’t seen any yet, so¬†I had no preferences. But I knew that Stormstout Brewery held an achievement to get a cute pet. And it was an achievement you could do even after the instance was cleared and everyone else had gone home.

So, when I did get a Brewery instance, I bought 5 of the special Tea from Auntie Stormstout at the beginning, stuck them in my bags and then ran the instance with everyone in normal “tank has to go to the bathroom go go go” fashion. I didn’t hold anyone up,¬†I did my best to kill lots of stuff. I balanced on the barrels and blew up the bozos. I admired dancing monkeys.

When the final boss was dead, and everyone else immediately dropped group, I stayed in. Then I drank my first 5 minute tea, and went hunting Golden Hoplings at a nice, leisurely pace. Cassie watched and saw just how easy it was to do, too, especially after I got the nameplates up and went back to find the few I missed the first time. I didn’t encounter any bugged Golden Hoplings under stairs as had been reported on Wowhead, I collected 30 Golden Hoplings, dinged the achievement and found I had mail waiting for me… with my new pet Hopling. ūüôā

I’d done the Stormstout Brewery on normal with some guildies earlier in the week, but I hadn’t been reading up on the instances at that time. How simple it was to complete that achievement, once you knew it was there to be done.

And how cute the pet is, too.

Maybe my priorities are screwed up, but I am finding my motivation for doing things is more about having fun banging around and doing the cute stuff.

Once the new patch comes out, I can tell you for a hard, cold fact that while other people will be doing the new Alliance versus Horde war machine chain¬†in Krasarang, I’ll be running with Cassie and Alex in Molten Core and other Vanilla raids, hunting those newly released raid pets.

Naxxramas will fall, and Mr. Bigglesworth WILL be free! Free to escape the cold, cruel¬†embrace of Kel’thuzad, and free to no longer be killed by every moron that wants to piss off the cat lovers in a party. Free!

I guess freedom is also another word for a cat with no lives left to lose.

Capturing Battle Pets Made Easy – Maybe

I ain’t tested this yet, but yesterday Kay left a comment that has rocked my world.

See, now, the very BEST thing about that Terrible Turnip pet? It’s got an attack that will never reduce the opponent to zero HP. PERFECT for capturing more pets!

This is game changing info for me, folks. And if you are anything LIKE me, it will cut down the frustration factor for you, too.

The Terrible Turnip ability in question is Weakening Blow.

From the text on Wowhead, “Unleashes a restrained attack, dealing 20 Elemental damage. This attack cannot reduce the opponent’s health below 1.”

Obviously that is level 1 pet info. Ability power and damage scales with level.

I just completed my 250 discrete pets achievement last night, acquiring my Feral Vermling in the process.

I haven’t been shooting for high level teams,¬†I’ve been prioritizing going from zone to zone, capturing those pets I don’t have.

My max level team is around level 11, with my go-to badass being my Grunty the Murloc Marine.

My other two main pets are the Darkmoon Zeppelin and the Phoenix Hatchling.

What I’ve basically done is create a Marine Corps Fire Team, with a direct fire assault specialist, call for artillery and medic.

You do things your way, I’ll do them mine.

It’s great, I love my team. They’re lots of fun to level and battle with when I’m trying to go for a complete takedown. I’ve¬†kicked the butts of level 13 battle pet groups in the wild.

BUT… I am flying around the world, visiting every zone, and trying to capture every pet I don’t have yet, including the level 1 pets.

My A-Team is just a tad bit overpowered when trying to capture a level 1 Spirit Crab.

That means I’ve got to have a second plan just for capturing pets.

Every time I mouse over a pet I don’t have yet, I swoop in and then check their level versus my various saved¬†Pet Battle¬†Teams (love that addon), and try to balance a pet team so I have one pet that is underpowered, one that is right on or a teeny bit higher, and then usually my high level Phoenix as a backup.

The way I’ve been doing it, I try to pick a low level pet so I can do just enough damage without doing TOO MUCH, killing my desired capture target. Then I’ve got an appropriately leveled pet so when a second or third pet shows up, I’ve got someone I would like to level up a bit available to swap in and do some butt kicking, get some XP. And I’ve got my high level Phoenix to make sure I can pull it out if I am in over my head, and ALSO to provide after-battle healing.

I’ve tried to spend enough time thinking about it to be ready, without going overboard on matching precise teams to every kind of pet balancing, you know?

Despite all this, I cannot count how many times I have killed a rare by hitting it too hard. Usually because my ‘underpowered’ pet has become overpowered from all the previous captures, and needed to be swapped out before I pulled that last rare, damnit.

Is it a big problem? Nah.

Is it something I’m going to lose sleep over?

Of course not.

But damn it’s annoying to get that rare I wanted, only to kill it by hitting too hard!

I killed three rare Polly’s in Northern Stranglethorn before I found a team low enough to get ‘er done while healthy enough to live through the adds.¬†

Now, here is where the timeliness of Kays comment saved my bacon.

I had a Terrible Turnip pet in this mornings crop, and I went and put it on the Auction House.

It was only when I got to work that I checked comments, saw what Kay had to tell us, and about blew a vessel. I had the perfect capturing pet and let it get away? Ah crap!

Thanks be to Cassie who saw it on her own, and canceled my auction for me, so I still have it waiting to learn and level when I get home.

I am absolutely going to add the Terrible Turnip to my team, focus on getting that little guy leveled, and make him my permanent go-to pet for all capturing duties here on out.

I don’t know for certain this is the perfect answer since I ain’t tried it yet,¬†but as far as I can see, no more shall I lose those rares from my own idiocy.

Thank you Kay, and thank you to Blizzard for thinking ahead and giving us a pet to prevent morons like me from killing the very things we fought for in the first place.

Pet Battles – The Collection Killer

I remember my first impression of Pet Battles when I heard about it in the beta Рfreaking awesome!

I also remember my first thought when I heard just how many new collectable pets there would be in the expansion, added throughout the world – Now I can put cute over collecting.

One of the things I’ve done in World of Warcraft over the years has been seriously collect the non-combat pets.

But I never started out as a collector. I started by seeking out the pets that were really cute. 

I’m just a pet kinda person. Especially cats.

An ‘oh too personal’ moment, maybe even TMI; I could have been the crazy cat guy, if my life had gone a different path.

Hell, I could have been one of those far out dudes you sometimes hear about, living on a private preserve with a dozen tigers roaming the grounds.

I’m the guy that, when asked “What would you do with a million dollars” for the high school yearbook, answered that I’d set up a private preserve in Montana or somewhere for big cats. Oh yes I did, I thought that would be freaking epic.

I am a long distance removed from that kid, but some things linger on. I still love cats, and most cats love being near me. Cassie says it’s creepy, but then again, she’s the one who is the current cat whisperer in the house, followed everywhere by our ginger kitty Meg, so hah!

My love of cats, and of cute pets in general lives on, and the non-combat pets in WoW satisfied my desire for cute little fluffy things… even those that were covered in spines and flames, like the Core Hound Pup.

That is the key point to this post. My desire to actually collect as many pets as possible did not start by wanting to be a complete collector. I started by wanting cute pets. Seeking out something like a Cockroach pet was the furthest thing from my mind.

It was only once I saw how close I already was to having all the pets in the game that I really pushed to get the rest of the way there. I became a collector because I’d done so much of the groundwork already, and hey, you get cute bonus pets for hitting those milestones! A Skunk? A Fawn? Ooh, a Celestrial Dragon?!?

There was that one day a few years ago, I think after I got the Stinker Skunk, that I thought “I’ve already got a bunch, let’s see how close I can get by making lists and stuff and taking it one day at a time.”

Nobody was more surprised than I by how successful I was in getting to 150 before the expansion came out.

A large part of my success was the WarcraftPets website, an outstanding site that let me create a personal account, track my collection and give me checklists on which ones I was missing, and clues on where they could be found.

Now, all that has changed. 

It would have been different if Mists of Pandaria was an incremental change.

Cataclysm was an incremental change to pets. They added 15 or 20 new pets, most of them requiring some form of grinding. Whether it be daily quests, rep levels or lucky drops from fishing or kills. If you wanted to continue working at having a complete collection, you could just expand your list a teeny bit and choose which pet to work towards next.

But they didn’t do that to Mists of Pandaria. It wasn’t incremental, it was a total transformation. They didn’t give us ten or twenty new pets, they gave us HUNDREDS.

To get those pets, you don’t have to hope for a lucky drop. You don’t have to work for a tedious grind, or do hundreds of daily quests for rep or tokens.

If all you want is the pet, you can go out and capture it through Pet Battles. Boom, done.

Sure, if you want to have a Rare quality, then that will take time and effort. But if you just want a Black Lamb, any quality of Black Lamb will do. The rarer quality pets don’t sparkle more when they’re out.

The only gateway is playing Pet Battles, and leveling a team of… cute little pets. Of YOUR choice. And that you can name.

Alex has a Core Hound Pup in his team. It’s his favorite. He has named it, “Mydogsonfire!”

Yes, there are other new pets out there too, that you can get from Quests or Rep, but there is a big difference to me between having a handful of new pets to look for, and HUNDREDS to choose from.

There are hundreds out there I don’t have, and that killed my craving to complete a collection. I was almost complete, and now there are more I don’t have than do.

I don’t feel like all of my previous collecting efforts were wasted, far from it. I had quite a few pets that I could cage and send to Alex and Cassie for their collections, rare ones that I was delighted to share. And I had a wide variety to choose from in building my starter team.

But now, with the flood of hundreds of new capturable pets… I no longer feel the desire to “catch ’em all”. That craving to collect… it’s dead.

There are just too many.

Instead of feeling the collecting frenzy, I’m back to where I began… I want all the CUTE ones!

I like Pet Battles, but I agree with some of the folks that wish it was released a week before Mists came out. I would have liked having my team ready and waiting to capture Pandaria pets.

Every time I see a Bandicoot, I think back to my Storytime about the breezeway bandits, and my hands itch to capture me one of those. Or a whole family, to keep and feed my leftover chicken to.

This isn’t a complaint, it’s an observation. When there were only a few left out there, it was a goal that felt tantalizingly close.

Now that there are just so bloody many out there to choose from, I couldn’t care less about trying to collect every single one.

But I want those cute ones, oh yes I do. And I want a place to let them run free.

We’ve got Farmville in the game now. We’ve got our own special place to plant and grow vegetables, phased and special.

Can the Sunshine Sanctuary for Collected Critters be far behind?

Will Blizzard someday give me my own private preserve where the pets I’ve collected over the years can be released to play together and have fun, while I sit on the porch in my rocking chair, sipping my coffee, enjoying my pipe, and fretting over the feed bill?

Never say never, my friends.

The bandicoot is my new “must have” pet.¬†Which one of the new ones is yours?