Can’t think of a catchy title so hey – WoW’s new player gap, what, why and how?

I lurk in a lot of online communities, some of them not even gaming related, and whenever a thread on WoW crops up my ears perk up and I slide right into the thread to read what people are saying. As someone invested in the game, it’s always interesting for me to hear what people who just started playing or have only lightly touched it think.

Before I go on I want to preface by saying that all the things I say in this blog post are my opinions based on observations, estimates, and speculation. The only people that know anything about Blizzard’s player numbers, funds, budgets, etc. are Blizzard themselves. So the things I posit here are all my own thoughts which have been proven wildly wrong before but oh well, here we go again.

When you sit at the level cap of a current expansion for a long time, it’s easy to forget about new players because unless you’re in very specific areas you will never, ever see them. A brand new player isn’t going to make it to Dalaran and they may not even make it to the faction capital cities because they may not know what they are. There seems to be this implicit assumption that people picking up the game are probably gamers so they can probably follow along with the beginner quests and find their way around. For the most part that’s true, but in some cases it’s not. It takes me 5 minutes to get through newbie zone quests and out to Stormwind or wherever. But for a brand new player it may take hours, if they even get there. So they may go that entire time just out at Northshire abbey killing wolves or whatever trying to get a sense of their surroundings without anyone except veteran alts and NPCs around them.

A running theme I’ve seen among newer players giving feedback, including some I’ve introduced to the game like my own brother, is that they’re entranced by the initial portions of the game, love it, rave about it, but eventually fall off around level 20-30 and leave and don’t come back. That’s not even halfway to the level cap. WoW is to the point where it’s going to have ONE-HUNDRED AND TWENTY LEVELS soon. The truly dedicated stick it out to the end. But should a requirement for playing the game be that someone needs to be ‘truly dedicated’ to catch up to everyone else? Streamlining the leveling and exp process doesn’t solve the issue of how daunting that is on its own. And free boosts aren’t the answer either. Some specs take time to learn, so shoving brand new people into positions where they are at cap and expected to know what they’re doing is a terrible situation all on its own. Yeah, stick someone who is brand new and just boosted a disc priest into a leveling dungeon with all these big dick tanking heroes who like to do m+ pulls in level 103 darkheart thicket and ask that new healer how they feel when they get booted from the group. Does it sound like it’s a good look for the game?

So here’s the rub. The questing in WoW is superb, some of the best in the genre. The leveling is not. The zones are disorganized and don’t follow a single storyline. Hell, some of them aren’t even in the same timeline or Universe as the rest of them. Depending on the time of day you can walk into Orgrimmar and interact with one of three different Warchiefs. The quests do not exist in a bubble. Someone can have a great time getting to level 20 and then realize that holy crap, they have another hundred levels to go. Is it worth sticking around? Especially when their friends are already at cap doing stuff without them, and there’s not really anyone else around them except people leveling alts who aren’t interested in talking?

So yeah, there’s a ‘new player’ problem in WoW. I don’t mean the players themselves. I mean WoW’s seemingly complete lack of interest in both attracting and keeping them.

But what about programs like recruit-a-friend, right? Okay one – how does that help brand new players that may not actually know someone playing the game already? And two – an exp boost is not a replacement for a genuine new player tutorial experience. The idea that a friend would help the new player is fair, but that puts the onus of solving the issue on another player rather than the company that created the issue themselves. It’s a workaround, but not an actual solution. Especially when you go to places like the WoW subreddit and see entire threads of people talking crap on ‘friends’ they don’t consider to be ‘good enough’ at their nerd hobby.

But, then again, how much do the higher-ups really care or want to attract new players? That’s a good question too. WoW used to have advertisements on TV, everywhere. Nowadays I don’t really see them at all. I see more ads for Hearthstone than anything else, and I don’t even play Hearthstone. One could argue that the market for MMOs is tapped. With a peak playerbase of around 12 million people, it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t at least tried the game if they’re into MMOs and video games. Or at the very least it may be hard to find people who still want to try out a 10+ year old game.

But I don’t think it should be a lost cause.

When companies create budgets for departments, particularly marketing and retention areas, they calculate the costs and benefits per new customer vs. the costs and benefits per returning customers. In almost every single industry’s case, it costs more to bring in a new customer than it does to keep a returning customer. The reason for this is purely the cost of marketing. Google adsense, short codes, email campaigns all cost money. Lots. And Lots. Of money. The company hedges bets on investing in new customers with the hope that they come and stick around and keep giving them money. It sucks to spend 2 million on a marketing campaign and get a yield of new customers that amounts to maybe $500,000 in future revenue because they all leave after trying your product. This is also why so many businesses will absolutely bend of backwards for their veteran customers. As far as they’re concerned, they’ve invested in you already, you’re paying them back by being a returning customer, so giving you that $50 refund for the power cord you blatantly rolled your chair over and broke is worth it if it means you keep coming back and spend $100 on your next trip. I won’t get into the specifics of things like brand loyalty, but that’s the long and short of it.

I don’t doubt that there are number-crunchers in Blizzard’s marketing and budget departments that calculate these kinds of things every year and likely determine that it’s the cost of investing in new players that isn’t worth it in the long-run. And that’s probably why we’ve seen the advertising for WoW drop off in comparison to easier to pick up, casual games like Hearthstone and Overwatch. (I say casual in the sense that anyone can play them easily, I’m well aware of the hardcore scenes in both. But those are not the majority of the players.) However, the subscribers that come back are what is keeping the game in the green by a significant margin.

So not only does that mean that newbie QOL changes largely fall by the wayside because there’s not enough budget to pay people to do much except nebulously ponder the issue and say, “Well if we had the funds we could revamp it.” But it also presents a unique issue in that when you have the same veteran old farts playing a game for goddamned years, there IS NO INNOVATION in the feedback. People suggest the SAME things OVER and over again. The same complaints every patch cycle. The SAME complaints when an expansion launches. The SAME system suggestions that boil down to, “We want more dungeons and stuff I guess.” No new blood means that the old blood just keeps circulating and gets dirty and full of fart air and trash as it just keeps going through the cycles over and over again and eventually bleeds out.

I. Hate. That. I despise it. I hate it the way I hate departments at companies that are run by the same 10 people for 15+ years and answer every new suggestion or QOL change with, “But this is the way we’ve always done it.” so you’re stuck using that legacy software that can’t even connect to a database or CRM that’s been developed within the last 5 years due to syncing issues.

So ranting aside, what can be done? It seems like a monumental issue to try and tackle and yet we already have examples from other games that at least make attempts to rope new players in via mentoring systems. I’m not saying the mentoring systems in games like FFXIV and Guild Wars 2 are perfect, because they aren’t, largely because they aren’t monitored in any way. But at least they EXIST.  Take a page from their notebooks and set up a basic mentoring system in WoW. But dear God, don’t make the same mistakes of having it be purely automated. There needs to be a human touch with these things or you end up with the FFXIV mentoring channel with everyone going, “OwO whats this?” around new players who just want to know where to access the culinarian job quests.

For starters, the main capital cities on old continents need to be more appealing besides just auction houses. It’s not right to assume that all new players will make it to Stormwind or Orgrimmar, but having veteran players there helps. You want people to afk more in the old world cities? Give them an incentive. Rest exp is nice but does nothing at cap. Have each minute spent idling in Stormwind/Org count towards an overall weekly tally towards an extra bonus roll coin each week or something. Watch how fast Ironforge becomes a hub again in the case that there’s an actual, tangible benefit for being there. One extra bonus roll coin a week isn’t going to break the bank for casual or hardcore players who probably spend a significant amount of time idling in the current expansion main city anyway.

Secondly, the chat channels need to be combined into one and freaking monitored/moderated. If it’s too much to have GMs in every servers’ chat channels, combine them more. Nobody uses trade chat for trade anymore anyway. General and trade are the same thing so just take them and world defense and put them together and have people keep an eye on them to mute consistent troublemakers. OR, have a mentoring channel that new players are automatically put into when they make a char that has vetted players in it so they can ask questions. This is the tactic FFXIV went with except it became flooded with terrible, terrible people because it wasn’t actively monitored.

The less the playerbase has to be relied on to help new players, the better. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable resource as well. The signal to noise ratio is really high, but there’s still potential there. But you should not ever, EVER expect players in a game to take the place of someone you’d actually pay to do a job. That means players should never have access to administrative features like banning, etc. But if you can hand-pick the good ones and tell them they are a great help and let them do their thing on a voluntary basis, A-ok. But for players to want to care, Blizzard has to care too.

For new players to want to stay and slog through 120 levels worth of questing and grinding, they need to feel connected to the game. Right now the servers are splintered into different shards with only alts out in zones leveling, dungeons are either silent or full of people gogogoing with heirlooms, and the chat channels are either abandoned or brimming with political trash talk. Tell me which part of that would appeal to a new player? And where are new players going to pick up on the other aspects of the game like professions, pet battles, etc.? Outside of min-maxing, someone shouldn’t NEED to search for an outside resource on their own time to figure out core gameplay aspects of a game they’re paying for. That is a design flaw. It was acceptable back in the day when games had storage limits so you had to figure out how to pick up your sword and run to the right side of the screen pewpewing. It’s not so much acceptable now. It doesn’t need to be overkill like the Pokemon Sun/Moon tutorial, but by God it needs to at least EXIST.

I want to be able to proudly introduce people to this game and not feel like I’d need to be there all the time to answer constant questions about aspects of the game that should be explained through the course of them playing. I do that now because I desperately want them to stay, but again, that it shouldn’t be a player’s responsibility. I also don’t want to have to say, “Just wait, it’ll get better. Just wait, I promise. Endgame can be really fun.” while they’re leveling, only to see them go idle for 2+ weeks into forever after they hit level 22. And I ESPECIALLY don’t want to have to break out WoWpedia to explain the whack quest lore to them.

WoW is a behemoth in the industry. It is what most MMOs aspire to be. Which is why it boggles the mind that new player attraction and retention is in the state it is now. If I sound heated about it, it’s because I am for the reasons I gave above. Issues and problems don’t get solved by ignoring them, which seems to be the tactic used here for the last 4+ years. But I digress since I really want to go do something else. If you’ve introduced someone to the game, what were your/their experiences? I’d really like to hear feedback, especially if it reinforces my own already biased views of how things are. (At least I’m honest ayyy.)


Pet Battles: An Intermediate Guide

Hello again! It’s been a while, right? Sorry about that!

Unfortunately due to the nature of MMOs my beginner’s guide is slightly outdated right now, but I’m planning on making a post about all the changes that have gone into the game with the latest patch and potential future patches.

So by now I hope that most of you have gotten your feet wet with the pet battle system. Maybe you have 3 or 4 level 25 pets by now and faced off against some of the PVE tamers or even attempted some PVP battling. Good!

Before I get into it I’m going to briefly discuss some of the changes that have gone live with the latest patch:

1) Flawless battlestones can be found either in the tamer daily bags or off of random wild pet battles. As a disclaimer, I’ve gotten maybe 2 battlestones out of wild pet battles. The large majority of mine have come from tamers. These stones can be used to increase the rarity of a pet in a certain family to rare. Arguably these stones are best spent on pets like the creepy crate, etc. that you cannot find in the wild as a rare.

2) Leveling is much better now as you do not need to KO your level 25 pets to funnel exp to the lower level pet. Simply make sure your low level pet does a single attack and swap it out with a level 25 and that low level pet will still receive all the exp. This has made leveling multiple pets exponentially easier both from farming pets in the wild and doing the tamer dailies.

With that out of the way, let’s move on to the guide!

1) Pet Stats and You

2) Choosing The Right Pet

3) Leveling Against Tamers

4) PVP Pet Battles


1) Pet Stats and You


So you know the basics of speed, health, and attack at this point. I won’t be getting into breed IDs in this guide since that deserves an entire post of its own. Regardless, certain stats factor into move builds and can make some pets more effective.

A high health pet is a great thing when you’re running a defensive pet like a turtle. A turtle with high health, shell shield or healing wave can usually outlast more annoying enemies like the clockwork gnome. The tradeoff for having a high health defensive pet is that you sacrifice some offense for the sake of staying alive longer.

At the same time, a good defense can be a great thing against pets that have damage over time moves like poisonous spiders. Shell shield can completely negate the effects of some poison and webbing moves while slowly whittling down the enemy’s HP.

The downside to a defensive pet is that if your opponent is running a more offensive build you’re left without much to do besides brace yourself and wait to be KOed. But every stat has its uses, and so does every build. That’s the beauty of pet battles!

In most cases you’re going to run into pets that are strong in two stats rather than just one as well. So you may be able to find turtles that have both high health and decent speed, which helps when coupled with a move like powerball.

The attack stat is about as basic as it comes. The higher it is, the more damage you do with direct attacks and damage over time effects. There are a lot of buffing/debuffing moves that help/hinder attack moves as well. For example:

Lil’Deathwing has the roll attack, which increases attack by 25% for 3 turns. There’s a trick to stacking your attack effects to go along with your hard hitting moves. For example, I usually use Lil’D’s elementium bolt attack followed immediately by his roll attack. As long as that 25% attack buff is in effect when the bolt lands, it deals the extra damage. It makes a move that usually does about 700 damage do 900. This trick also works on pets like Mr. Bigglesworth and its prowl/ice tomb combo.

If you are running a pure offensive pet group then managing your attack buffs is key. There’s no sense in running a pet that has a ton of attack and a buffing move without using it properly. Your goal is to knock opponents out before they knock you out, so manage your cooldowns effectively! Offensive pets rarely have much in the way of stats like speed or health. They are true glass cannons so if your opponent gets one up on you, you’re probably going to lose quickly.

Now, speedy pets are an interesting lot. Some of you may have already noticed that the round mechanics in WoW’s pet battles are…erm…wonky. If you have a high speed pet you have an ENORMOUS advantage in battles. This is key to what makes flying pets and their default speed buff so useful!

Speedier pets will -always- go first in battles. (Unless the opponent has a move like surge which automatically attacks first in a round.) What this means is that their moves like lift-off, dive, burrow, etc. will negate the opponent’s move on that turn immediately. If you have a fast pet with an evasion move and you know something like elementium bolt or ice tomb is about to hit you, if you use your move at the start of the turn it will miss. If your opponent goes first, it will hit you and THEN your lift off move will go off, wasting the defensive capabilities.

There’s also the case of moves like survival. If your pet goes first, the survival move will go into effect for that turn AND the next turn. The reason for this is because the turn you cast the move (as long as you go first) does not count as the round it’s in effect. The next round does. This only works for pets when they are faster. So it goes like this:

Turn 1:

-Faster pet uses survival. It goes into effect immediately.

-Slower pet attacks. Survival negates damage.

Turn 2:

-Faster pet attacks. Survival is still in effect as this is the official “round” it is supposed to be working.

-Slower pet attacks. Survival negates damage again.

Once that second turn is over, survival finally wears off.

I don’t know if this is supposed to be happening, but it’s been like this with speedy pets ever since pet battles were launched. I think it’s a safe bet that it’s probably meant to be a benefit for speedy pets since outside of going first in a round there really were no other benefits to having a faster pet.

2) Choosing The Right Pet


Lately I’ve had a lot of people asking, “Yo Alona, what’s the best pet to use? Or what’s the most unbeatable pet team?”

The answer? There isn’t one. Most pets have their uses, and because of that there is no perfect pet team. When it comes to countering certain pets in PVP or with the master tamers, there are certainly pets that work better than others. But if you’re looking for a single pet or team that can beat everything all the time, you’re not going to find it.

Choosing the right pet to level is almost entirely up to you. The first step is to look at the pet’s stats. You can usually tell, even at level 1, what the pet will be strong in. If its HP is higher than other pets, it’s probably going to be a good soaker. If its attack stat is 1 higher than the others, it’s probably an attack pet, etc.

Some pets are almost completely balanced in all 3 stats. This means that they’re never lacking in one stat, but they don’t necessarily stand out. I personally prefer pets with skewed stats like speedy mechanical dragonlings or powerhouse whelplings. But again, this is up to the you.

The second thing you want to look at is the pet’s movepool. What, specifically, are you looking to get out of the pet? Are you looking for something like an eternal strider that has mainly powerhouse aquatic moves? Or are you looking for something like a corehound pup that has a variety of different moves?

Both of these pets have their uses. The strider is amazing in PVE against tamers because it’s so strong against elemental pets with its pure aquatic moveset. The pandaren spirit tamers in particular all have at least one elemental pet on their team. Meanwhile the corehound pup has a varied movepool with two dodge moves and only one attack that matches its elemental type.

It could be argued that one is better for PVE and the other is better for PVP, but that’s not necessarily the case. If I were going into a PVP match I would be more likely to bring the corehound because of its movepool though, because I’m not sure who I’d be up against and dodges are effective against almost everything.

Some pets have movepools that make me just scratch my head. The moonkin hatchling is a good example. I can understand that it’s themed around moonkins in the game, but its stun is pretty much the only good move in its set. But without a faster speed stat, it’s pretty much useless anyway. Usually when a pet has a bad moveset you’ll be able to tell because there’s no synergy between the attacks. The moonkin for example has moonfire, which causes the moonlight weather effect. Meanwhile it also has solar beam, which is effected by the sunlight weather effect. No synergy at all.

If you see something like that, go with your gut and stay away.

It really helps if you go down the list of your available pets in your pet journal and take a good long look at their moveset. Some pets, like the gilnean raven, have interesting one off abilities like nevermore. You never know what kinds of cool moves/combos you can find until you really take a good look.

3) Leveling Against Tamers


By now you should have a few level 25 pets to your name. It’s time to get into more advanced leveling tactics. Once you beat all the tamers on a continent, you’ll unlock the daily quests for that area. This means that every day you can go back and battle the tamers. Tamers give more exp per battle, but you’ll need to be cautious because if you’re bringing a leveling pet, you’re essentially running with a man down on your team.

A good example of how to level against a tamer is to fight Farmer Nishi. She is arguably the easiest master tamer in the game. She runs with two elemental pets and a beast pet, so I usually go in with the following pet team:

Level 25 eternal strider, level 25 lil’Deathwing (you can substitute any hard hitting pet here, honestly.) and my low level pet.

I’ll start with the low level pet out against either of the elementals and use an attack. Once it goes off, I immediately switch to the strider and KO both elementals. Usually her brood of mothran pet KOs my strider, so I send out my lil’D to finish it off. Voila, 9-5k exp immediately for your low level pet.

The same strategies can be followed for the other pet tamers. Generally as long as you have a pet or two that are strong against the opponent’s pets, you can get by with only having 2 level 25 pets fighting. A single round of daily quests against the tamers can easily push one, or even two pets (depending on their starting level) to 25. The ONLY tamer I’d recommend not doing this with is the Pandaren Earth Spirit. Even with 3 level 25 pets it can be a tricky opponent with all its stuns.

4) PVP Pet Battles


Hoboy. Are you sure you want to do PVP battles? Yes? O..okay.

PVP battles in WoW can be a bit of a dice roll. Having only 3 pets to choose from in a fight means you’re going to run into teams that you can beat no problem, or teams that will wipe the floor with you. Using some creativity when it comes to movepools will help immensely but there’s still some luck involved. Currently if you go up against a team of a Fluxfire Feline, Mr.Bigglesworth, and Kun-lai runt, you may as well curl into a ball and weep. But who knows how it’ll be in future patches.

PVP battles at level 25 are where you’re going to run into the people who really know how to play. Most of them know exactly what they’re doing and chose their teams carefully. If you want to win, you’d better do the same.

The best rules to follow in PVP battles are the same rules that apply to dodgeball. Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, and Dodge. If you aren’t taking damage, you’re that much closer to winning. Moves like burrow, dive, and lift-off can be huge boons if you are making the most of them. The biggest trump card in PVP battles right now is the reflection move. Reflection is a boon because no matter the speed of your pet, it activates first in the round.

Some of the more common pets you’ll run into in PVP battles are:

Clockwork gnomes – easily countered with a water waveling or other elemental pet. Any pet that has a shield move will negate its turret damage. Meanwhile a lot of pets have moves like tidal wave that will remove all objects from the battlefield. Given how dependent a lot of people in PVP battles are on mechanical pets, having a good elemental in your party at almost all times is usually a good idea.

Flayer Younglings – A decent undead pet like a blighthawk or ghostly skull will make quick work of one of these things. The key is to manage reflection properly. If you can feign and make them waste their reflection, you’ve won.

Any kind of crab at all – The best defense against these is a strong offense. Use any powerhouse pet and they won’t live long enough to heal.

Right now people are big on using Fluxfire Felines and Mr. Bigglesworths but IMHO they’ll be nerfed in future patches to make them less of a crutch for people who can’t make powerhouse teams without 1-shot KO moves so there’s no point in addressing them.

Kun-lai runts – A somewhat fast undead pet is a good bet with this. Again, see blighthawk or ghostly skull above. If the user gets lucky with the stun on deep freeze, try to work around it. You’re probably only going to run into people who run a frost shock/deep freeze/takedown  build. Just smack them with a curse of agony/doom and move on with your day.

The key to PVP battles is remembering that sometimes your team can’t counter the one lady luck put you up against. Just accept the defeat and move on. There are some points where you may get the same opponent multiple times in a row. If you want to adjust your team, do so. If you’re frustrated about the matching system, just wait an hour or so and try again when more people are in the queue.

Whew. Okay. That’s a lot more information for you battlers to digest! Hopefully this guide is useful to folks.

Also, I hate to put this here but if you want to use my guide/images from my guide elsewhere – I’m okay with it as long as I’m credited. I feel like this should go without saying but I’ve seen some things that look startlingly familiar to the images I put in my last guide popping up around the net. Not that I care that much, but a little link to the source would be rad. 🙂

Pet Battles: A Beginner’s Guide

So, you’re looking to break into the world of pet battling, eh? Good choice! Despite some issues with bugs and glitches, pet battles have made a fine addition to World of Warcraft. Most who have tried them have enjoyed them, and they bring something to the table for inexperienced players as well as people really looking to get into the meta-game of battling.

The system can seem a little daunting at first, but with a little help and practice you’ll soon be on your way to becoming a master pet battler. In this guide I’m going to discuss the more basic aspects of pet battling, with a more advanced guide coming at a later date. Feel free to use the table of contents below to search for the section you’re looking for!

Step 1: The Pet Journal

Step 2: Leveling your pets

Step 3: Pet battles and catching wild pets

Step 4: Picking your team and type matching

Step 1: The Pet Journal

When you click on the mounts/pets tab and swap to the pet section this is the screen you will be greeted with:

I’ve added some letter labels so you can follow along with me as I explain:

A: This is the name/information about the pet you currently have displayed on the screen. If you hover over its little icon you can get more information about the pet including a description and where it can be found.

B: These are your pet’s stats. The heart/green bar indicates its HP. The sword icon with the number next to it is its total attack stat. The attack stat obviously determines how much base damage your pet’s moves will do. The golden arrow with the number next to it is its speed stat. The speed stat determines how fast your pet is. The faster your pet, the more likely it is to go first during pet battle rounds.

C: This is the quality of your pet. This will tell you whether a pet you have caught is poor, common, uncommon, or rare. Note that before patch 5.1 you cannot see the quality of non-battle captured pets. You will need to rely on their base stats or an outside website (like warcraft pets) to tell you the pet’s quality.

D: This is your pet’s experience bar. It operates exactly the same way as your WoW character’s exp bar. Fill it up and your pet gains a level. At level 25 your pets will stop leveling and their exp bar will disappear.

E: This is your pet’s moveset. These are the attacks/skills it can use in battles. As you level up you will unlock more moves which you can swap in and out using the dropdown arrows on this pet screen. Keep in mind that your pet can only have 3 moves for battles.

F: This will queue you for a random PVP pet battle. The system will try to match you with people with similar level pets. However, it’s not always reliable. I prefer to avoid queuing until my pets are level 25.

G: This button will act the same way a stable master does and heal/revive your pets on the go. It has an 8 minute cooldown though which makes it fairly unreliable. It’s always better to train near a stable master rather than rely on this.

H: These are the pets currently on your pet battle team. To add pets to a certain slot you will want to drag them over from the pet list. The pet at the TOP of the 3 slots is the one that will go into battle FIRST. You will initially start out with 1 pet battle slot, but as your pets level up you will unlock the rest.

If you right click on a pet’s icon:

You can use the dropdown menu to rename your pet as many times as you’d like. You can also choose to summon it, or set it as a favorite.

The pet list also has a basic sort function:

With this you can sort by things like pet family, your favorites, etc. In this screenshot you can see that I have sorted by my favorite pets. This usually helps me keep track of the pets I am leveling and prefer to use in battles. If you’re looking for a certain family of pet so you can see where one is located, you can sort by family instead.

Step 2: Leveling your Pets

If you’re new to the system you probably don’t yet have the level 25 pets required to use my powerleveling method. That’s fine! We just have to start from the beginning!

The first likely place you will want to train is your home city, Stormwind or Orgrimmar. There are plenty of critters running around the city and stable masters nearby to help you heal. You can easily get your first chosen pet to level 5 just staying inside the city.

Stable masters can be tracked on your map. They will charge you 10silver to heal/revive your pets. It is critical to stick near them while you’re training so you can keep your pets in fighting condition.

Click here to open a link to all of the listed stable masters in WoW.
And click here to open a link to the levels of pets by zone.

You’ll want to keep both of these links open and select areas to go to specifically for leveling. You’re going to need to keep traveling throughout Azeroth/Outlands/Pandaria to level your pets at an appropriate speed, so it helps to know where the closest stable master is.

If you’re leveling your pets from scratch there is no real way to powerlevel them. You are going to need to follow the tried and true traditional RPG method of taking on pets 1-2 levels higher than you until you outlevel a zone, then move on to the next area.

Initially your pets will only fight one enemy pet in a battle. This number will go up to two wild pets at level 10, and then three wild pets at level 15.

In order for a pet to gain exp in a battle it MUST do at least one attack and it MUST NOT DIE. Dead pets do NOT gain any exp regardless of whether or not they fought in the battle or not. You CAN switch pets in and out during the battle, but you will sacrifice a turn to do so.

If your pet is the same level of the enemy pets it is fighting it can probably take on 2 or 3 in a single battle. It’s usually best to focus on just using/leveling one pet this way, then your second pet, then your third so that they are all leveling evenly as you go. Healing at a stable master naturally makes things a lot easier.

You can gain exp from fighting pet trainers and doing PVP battles, but it’s incredibly unreliable and PVP battles aren’t really worth the effort until you’re at least level 20+ and have unlocked your pet’s full moveset. The lower level pet PVP brackets are a lot like low level WoW PVP brackets. A lot of twinkish pets combos over and over again. Off the top of my head I can assure you that you’ll be facing a lot of mecha/clockwork gnomes, pandaren monks, lil’ragnaros, and celestial dragons. (I’ll be writing a guide on how to counter these in the future!) And if you’re brand new to pet battling these combos can be hard to counter with the basic pets and limited movepools you may be using. Probably best to save yourself the headache and get used to the system by fighting wild pets for a while!

Step 3: Pet battles and catching wild pets

To locate battleable pets you’ll want to make sure you have your “track battle pet” function checked on the minimap. While you’re exploring the world you’ll notice that some of the critters wandering around will have a green paw print over their head:

Right click on these pets and you will be taken into the main pet battle screen:

Again, I’ve labeled things to make it a bit easier to explain:

A: This is your enemy’s portrait. You’ll notice that around it is a golden frame with the speed stat arrow in the corner. This means that this pet’s speed is the highest and it will go first during the round. There are certain buffs/debuffs that can increase and decrease speed. You will always be able to tell which pet is going first in a turn by which one has the golden frame over its portrait.

B: This is YOUR pet’s information/HP bar.

C: These are your other current battle pets. If the enemy team has more than one pet you can see their other battle pets on the right-hand side next to their portrait as well.

D: The pass button. Sometimes your pet will be stunned or another situation will come up that requires you to hit the pass button. Passing sacrifices your current turn.

E: This is the pet capture crate icon/button.When a pet is at low health this icon will begin to glow, indicating that you can capture the enemy pet. More on this in a minute!

F: This is the forfeit button. Forfeiting causes you to immediately lose the match and run away. This button can be used in PVP battles and will award your opponent an automatic win.

G: This is the pet swap button. Clicking on it will bring up a menu of your current battle team allowing you to swap in another pet to fight. Usually swapping a pet in will cause you to lose a turn, so you really want to consider a situation carefully before swapping a pet in or out. If your current pet dies you will automatically be prompted to swap in a new pet or forfeit.

H: This is your pet battle combat log. You can use it to keep track of what has happened during the fight.

You can also see your current pet’s moveset as well as its exp bar. To attack you’ll want to click on any one of your pets moves.

I touched on catching wild pets above. It’s important to remember that you can only catch ONE wild pet PER battle. If you lose or forfeit the fight you will NOT receive the pet you captured.

In short:

Whittle enemy pet’s HP down –> Throw pet trap. If the trap misses you lose your turn and the enemy pet will get to attack. Keep throwing traps until it is successful. Once the pet is trapped it will be rotated off the field. —> Win the battle and the capture pet is yours to keep!

Pet qualities are also important. Currently there is no built in way to see an enemy pet’s quality without an addon. This will, thankfully, be changing in 5.1. In the meantime click here to see a lightweight pet battle quality notification addon that will identify a pet’s rarity as well as whether or not you have already caught one. A very worthwhile addon, IMHO.

Rarer pets obviously have better stats. As a general rule you will ALWAYS want to catch rare quality pets as you are leveling up/training unless you already have one. Catching as you go will allow you to have a broad pool of pets to choose from once you get into more serious pet battling down the line. You CAN use lower quality pets in battles, but chances are high that they’ll be demolished in fights against the higher level pet battle trainers/PVP battles.

Most of the pets that you get from achievements, questing, etc. are defaulted to rare. SOME aren’t though. To check you can go to Warcraftpets and view each pets battle info to see its quality. For example, the Gilnean Raven pet is listed as defaulted to uncommon quality. All of the pet store and collector’s edition/special pets are rare quality.

Step 4: Picking your team and type matching

Much like other battle games, your pets have a type/family that determines its strengths and weaknesses. There are 10 types of pets families in the game currently.

(Aquatic moves are strong against elementals)

(beast moves are strong against critters)

(critter moves are strong against undead)

(dragonkin moves are strong against magic)

(elemental moves are strong against mechanicals)

(flying moves are strong against aquatics)

(humanoid moves are strong against dragonkin)

(mechanical moves are strong against beasts)

(magic moves are strong against flying)

(undead moves are strong against humanoids.)

It’s important to note that regardless of your pet’s base family, some of its moves may belong to a different type. For example, my little Deathwing pet is a dragonkin type – but it has the move roll, a beast type move. This means that although Lil’Deathwing is a dragonkin, if it uses roll against a critter, the critter will take more damage because it is weak against the beast type move.

Wow, confusing, isn’t it? It gets a lot easier to remember once you start battling more and more pets. But to help in the meantime I’ve created two diagrams to help you remember what is stronger against what, and what is weaker against what.

Now, when it comes to choosing your teams you’re going to want to keep things varied. If you have 3 poor quality stormwind rats fighting for you, you’re probably going to have a bad time. If you’re just looking to train up some pets and have fun, feel free to use your favorites. Try to choose moves that do more than just a single chunk of damage. Moves that cause weather effects or buffs are a great asset to any pet battle team. We’ll get into that a bit more once I make my intermediate guide, though.

For now, I think that’s a lot to remember for you folk that are new to the system. I hope this guide helps you out a bit, and remember that there are some great resources out there for pet battling including:


The official forums

Warcraft pets

and Petopia (though this is more for Hunter related pets, they do have some battle pet related articles/links.)

Now get out there and start pet battling!

Pet Battle Leveling – The Quick and Somewhat Easy Way!

****THIS GUIDE IS CURRENTLY OUTDATED! Please see my updated guide for more up to date information!!****

Hey again everyone! I’m planning on doing a general pet battle guide to help newbies to the system out but I figured I’d go ahead and get this leveling guide out of the way since quite a few people have been asking about speedy ways to level your pets!

There is a method besides the plain old “battle pets 1-2 levels above you and patiently earn your exp” that is bonkers good and requires a bit of luck at first, but once you get the hang of it you’ll get getting your pet leveling achievements in no time. It doesn’t involve any shady tactics, and since there’s no exp share or ability to switch between pets after victories in PVP battles – I figured I would share this method with everyone.

It’s important to note before I get started that for this method you MUST have at least two pets to level 25 already. If you’ve already done a bit of battling and pet trainer achievements, this probably isn’t an issue for you. If you DON’T have two level 25 pets yet, your best bet is to stick to the tried and true wild pet grinding method. On to the guide!

Starting with a level 1 pet

If you are starting with a level 1 pet you’ll want to head out to an area in Pandaria with level 23-24 pets, preferably turtles or frogs. The areas in jade forest are great for this as they’re full of emerald turtles and valley frogs. The idea is to fight a level 23-24 wild pet that has a defensive/non-damaging move in its rotation. The frogs have a tranquility move and the turtles have a shell shield move. Neither of these moves do damage.

Place your level 1 at the front of your party with your two level 25s with it. Engage in battle with a turtle or a frog. It’s important to note that in order for your pet to get exp from the battle it MUST do an attack before being switched out. This is where the defensive enemy moves come into play. Your level 1 pet will always go second, but with luck the turtle/frog will use one of its defensive moves and not do any damage. After your level 1 pet does its initial hit, immediately swap it out with one of your level 25s. Kill off the enemy pet party and enjoy as your level 1 pet gains 400+ exp in a single fight. This usually pushes them to around level 4.

If you get unlucky and the turtle/frog attacks and KOs your first pet, no big deal. Forfeit the fight and head to a stable master to heal up and try again. This method is a lot easier with mechanical and magic pets because mechanicals come back to life after being KOed, and magic pets cannot be dealt more than 50% of their HP in a single hit.

Once your pet is level 4+, it can easily take a hit from a level 23-24 enemy so your job just got a lot easier. Rinse and repeat this method until around level 14-15.

If you’re going for the “no favorites” achievement (level a pet of each family to level 10) this is your best way of doing it. It’s also a good way to get a few levels on a pet to see if its stats are going to be decent.

Level 14+

So now your pet is higher level and we can switch things up a bit. The leveling method gets a tad bit more time consuming at this point, but it still beats hours of grinding on lower level wild pets.

At this point you want to switch one of your level 25s with your lower level pet. At this point you don’t really need to be fighting any specific wild pets, but you’ll probably want to try and stay away from the ones that are strong against the one you’re trying to level either way. As always, make sure you’re near a stable master for quicker healing after fights.

Engage a wild pet and use your level 25 to kill off the first two enemies. Once you get to the third enemy, use lower damage skills to whittle its health down to around 200-100ish HP. It’s easier if you try to avoid fighting pets that have healing abilities as well.

At this point you’re going to want to just keep using the pass button to pass up your turns and let your level 25 pet die. Cruel, I know, but it’s for the benefit of the team. Once your level 25 pet kicks the bucket – send in your lower level pet. Even at level 14ish it should have a move that deals 100+ damage, and it should be able to survive a couple of turns in case you miss. Spam that damage move and hopefully the last enemy pet will die. Marvel and enjoy as your lower level pet reaps the benefits of ALL of the exp from the enemy team since your first pet died. In level 23-24 pet battles against common/rare pets, this is usually 800+ exp.

Here’s a quick video I did to show this method in action and also prove it works. (Make sure you flip it to 480 quality so it’s easier to see!)

So now that you know the technique, enjoy powerleveling your pets. 🙂 A more in depth pet battling guide will be coming soon!

Farming: From Citypaw to Tillers Expert!

Hey guys! So, one of my favorite new features in Mists is the addition of farming. Contrary to popular belief – the farming in game has nothing in common with farmville and is more based on the old school Harvest Moon games. That’s part of the reason I love it so much!

Farming is a great way to get food to level cooking or make feasts or even to get mats for your crafting professions. Barring any of that, you can always sell the stuff you farm up as well. The excellent thing is that for a minimum amount of time every day you can easily get enough crafting or food materials to get any transmutes or whatever that you need done.

Below is an illustrated guide to farming. I’m going to go through the basics of running your farm and then move on to tips to really help you make the most of your farming experience. If you need to get to a certain section, feel free to search for the section title/number.


Step 1: The basics!

Step 2: Harvesting for fun and profit!

Step 3: Bonus crops!

Step 4: And you get a gift, and you get a gift, and you get a gift!

Step 5: Expanding!

Step 6: Making the most out of your farm!

Step 1: The basics!

To unlock your farm you first need to go to Halfhill in the valley of the four winds and start the questline at Farmer Yoon. You’ll watch some cutscenes and run some errands and then be able to start working your 4 soil plot. If you are under level 90 the most you will be able to do is these starting quests and plant/harvest veggies from your plots. You CANNOT gain rep to expand your farm OR find dark soil to give gifts until you are level 90. But in the meantime at least you can farm yourself some cooking mats.

First you need to familiarize yourself with your farming tools.

When you grab one of the items it’ll automatically go into your bags. After you’re through using it you can delete it from your bags and it will be placed back into the spot from the above picture. So don’t worry about cluttered bagspace – just use the items to do your daily farming and then delete them.

The bug sprayer is to clear off your infested crops, the watering can is to water your parched crops, the shovel is to dig up any unwanted crops, and the plow allows you to til several plots at a time. You will receive the plow upon reaching exalted with the tillers and purchasing it from Gina Mudclaw.

Now that you’ve got your tools, it’s time to get to work! You cannot plant seeds in your plots until you til the soil. Hold your mouse cursor over the soil and click and your character will automatically til the soil for you.

Occasionally you will see dust flying out of your untilled soil

This means that before you can til that plot you will need to click on it to clear out a nasty vermin that’s squatting under your plots! Click it, kill the pest, and then click again to til your soil.

Sometimes after harvesting a weed will also grow in the plot. You’ll need to click on the weed and use the pull command that comes up on a new actionbar several times to get it out before you can til it again!

Now that your soil is ready for planting, you’ll need to go buy some seeds! Initially you will only be able to purchase basic food seeds to plant, which is fine because you’ll most likely need the ingredients to level your cooking. Additionally, every day farmer Yoon will give you a daily to plant a specific veggie. This is probably the EASIEST daily currently in the game, so don’t pass up your practically free charms.

Head on out to the seed vendor just a short distance away in Halfhill to stock up.

Once you hit higher rep levels with the tillers some special seeds will unlock!

This is when farming starts to really pay off. You can plant seeds that will generate a random herb, drop leather or ore, enchanting mats, and even motes of harmony!

The sapling seeds that you see here will yield a usable tree item that can be planted one time. It’s a neat vanity item if you’re into that kind of thing, but TBH your farm plots are better saved for mats that you can use or sell.

So now you’ve got your seeds. Time to plant them! Head back to your farm and open your bags. Click on one of your plots of tilled soil and then right click on the seed in your bag to plant it.

Rinse and repeat throughout your available land plots.

As you plant you’ll notice that your crops just…don’t look right! You still have some work to do with them before they’ll be growing properly!

Each plant will have a different problem that you’ll need to resolve before it can grow.

Parched plants will look dusty and dried out. This is simple! Grab your watering can and give’em a drink! They’ll be back to normal in no time.

Alluring plants will have a sunbeam shining down on them. This means that they’re extra appealing to flying pests. Click on your plant and fight off the nasty plainshawk that swoops down and tries to steal it.

Infested plants will turn green and have gross bugs flying all around them. Grab your bug sprayer and get rid of the bugs and your plant will be good as new!

The poor runty plants are stuck and can’t grow properly! Click on it and wait for the command to jump to appear. Once it does, jump and you’ll pop it right out of the ground so it can grow fully!

Tangled plants are just absolutely covered in weeds. You’ll need to click on them and then run forward –

to pull all the weeds off!

Wiggling plants squirm and move around. Why, you ask? Virmen, of course. Click on the plant and then kill off the pest when it pops out. No remorse for veggie stealers!

Sometimes when you plant two types of weeds will also spring up. The regular type is the same kind that tends to appear after you harvest your crops. Grab it and hit the pull button repeatedly to pull it out.

The other type is a nasty weed that looks a bit like a tentacle. You’ll need to grab onto the weed and when the new actionbar pops up – spam the 1 button to flex at it…I guess to show superiority…because weeds are intimidated by that somehow. Every few seconds the weed will cast a ground slam on you. Use the 2 button to use your bite attack to interrupt it, then go back to spamming one. You need to get up to 50 stacks of the flexing buff to get the weed to go away.

After all that hard work your plants will be happy and start growing! They’ll be ready to harvest the next day!

Step 2: Harvesting for fun and profit!

Upon returning to your farm after a day you’ll surely be thrilled to see a field of fresh crops just waiting to be picked!

This is the fun and really easy part. Just go up to your crops and click on them to harvest! For each crop you harvest at level 90 you will receive 55 tillers rep.

You’ll notice as you go that once you pick the crops the soil will return to its untilled state. Yep! That means you get to repeat the whole tilling and planting cycle again. But hey, it beats the heck out of fishing.

Step 3: Bonus crops!

Sometimes when you plant you will get lucky and immediately receive a bursting crop after planting. A bursting crop can be harvested immediately and will net you 3 extra crops. The added bonus to this is that you can immediately re-till the soil and replant a new crop without waiting a day.

Additionally, in the picture I showed above you can see that I have a plump green cabbage. Plump crops also yield extra crops for you. They’re slightly more common than bursting crops, and as you can see they’re a lot larger than your regular crops so you’ll be able to tell when you have one. Plump crops DO require the full day to grow, unlike the bursting crops that grow immediately.

Another way to get more yield from your crops is to find out what that day’s special crop is. To find out you’ll need to go into Halfhill and speak to Jogu the drunk, who lives in the pond.

He will predict which crops will have a larger yield the next day. Please note that this ONLY applies to the veggie crops and not any of the special crops. If you plant the crop he tells you to, you’ll usually get an extra 2-3 veggies from that crop the next day.

Some days Jogu is “foggy” (aka hungover) and won’t be able to give you a prediction.

Step 4: And you get a gift, and you get a gift, and you get a gift!

The fun thing about the tillers is that besides the regular tillers rep that you get from doing your dailies and harvesting plants, several characters around the valley have buddy reputations you can raise. You can raise them from stranger, to acquaintance, to buddy, to friend, to good friend and then finally – best friend.

When you reach best friends with a person they will send you a gift for your farm. Once you’re exalted with the tillers they’ll also be willing to come hang out on your farm as well. They won’t actually do anything, but it’s nice to give farmer Yoon some company.

When you are harvesting crops you may sometimes receive a blue item like this marsh lily:

These are the items that you can gift to the tillers folks to raise their friendship level. The item will tell you which of the 2 tillers favors it. If you give a favored gift to someone it will net you 900 (990 w/guild perk) rep. A non-favored gift will still get you 540 (550 w/guild perk) rep.

The tillers members will also accept their favorite food once per day. WoWpedia has a great list of which foods/mats are needed for this. Click here to view it!

Some days certain tillers members will also visit Halfhill market and offer a daily quest. Andi, the cub that hangs out by your farm, will also offer a daily quest to give a gift to someone. These quests will get you both tillers rep AND friend rep with that specific person.

The nice thing about buddy rep is that unlike honored/revered with regular rep, the amount of rep you need to reach the next level does NOT go up as their friendship level increases. It stays at a flat rate. This means you only need to do a set amount of turnins rather than worrying about the required rep amount doubling or tripling as you get their friendship up!

The friendship bar will show next to their portrait when you talk to them. You can also view your current rep in your rep character tab as well.

If you’re trying to raise your friend rep as quickly as possible the best way to do it is to look for dark soil patches throughout Pandaria.

When you are level 90 you can loot these soil patches to receive one of the blue gift items. These patches spawn all over Pandaria but the area they pop in the most is around the Heartland. If you’re trying to grind rep you’ll want to keep in mind that sometimes the soil patches can be a little hard to see as they tend to blend into the ground a bit.

If you cycle around the heartland a couple of times a day you can usually find 7-10 soil patches easily – depending on how many other people are out there looking.

The BEST way to do it is to pick one set of tillers from each blue item and raise your rep with them first. So for example, if I find a ruby shard I decide that for now I want to raise my rep with Tina Mudclaw instead of bothering with Haohan. I take all my ruby shards to her. Then, once she is at best friend status, I start taking them to Haohan instead.

Once you start getting all the characters to best friend, you can start tossing the gifts at any old person. Non-favored gifts still give 500+ rep.

Your new best friends will usually send you a seed pack and some cool vanity items for your farm. Jogu will also stop charging you for his crop predictions as well.

Now if you are trying to find Sho please use the following marker:

As the marker Gina gives you is completely off.

Step 5: Expanding!

So you want more than 4 farm plots eh? Well you gotta work for it!

As you gain rep with the tillers from harvesting and doing daily quests, Farmer Yoon will give you quests to speak to various tillers to increase the size of the farm.

Your first expansion should come at honored, which is fairly easy to get. You’ll need to gather some weed killer and then have the weeds cleared off your farm.

The next expansion comes at revered and you’ll get that pesky wagon removed and unlock 4 more soil patches. The final expansion comes at exalted AFTER you have finished the tillers questline. I won’t spoil that story for you, but you will want to make sure you are doing ALL the quests to gain the specific tillers’ votes. if you do NOT have all the tillers’ votes you will NOT get the last expansion.

As your farm expands you can talk to Gina Mudclaw to buy some tool upgrades. The first of which are the Jinyu princess irrigation spouts. You can click on them and they will automatically water all your parched plants!

The second is a pest killer. Clicking on it will automatically kill off any bugs/clear out your infested plants. Note that it does NOT clear out weeds, virmen, or plainshawks!

The last upgrade is the swanky plot I had pictured way above. If you use the plow in a straight line across your untilled plots, it will automatically til them for you! Out of all the upgrades, this one will definitely save you the most time. To get it you need to be exalted and have all 16 of your farm plots unlocked.

After much farming and reputation gaining you’ll soon have a beautiful farm to call your own!

With a yak! Woo!

Step 6: Making the most out of your farm!

Okay so now you’re practically a farming pro, right? Got your yak, got your 16 soil plots? Good!

The best part about your farm is the fact that it is a guaranteed daily source of crafting mats AND motes of harmony depending on what you plant. With 16 planting spots available there are many, many combinations you can use to try and get a good yield.

It’s important to note that your current professions have no bearing on what you can and can’t plant. This means that as a tailor and an enchanter I can still plant the seeds that grant a random herb or the seeds that grant random ore. For raiders this means that you can help get mats for flasks, feasts, enchants, etc. For non-raiders it means you can sell said items to the raiders for their flasks, feasts, enchants, etc. Haha!

Personally I usually reserve the back 8 land plots for songbell seeds/motes of harmony. This means that I get 8 motes baseline daily, and I usually get the other 2 as I do my other daily quests. Bam, guaranteed spirit of harmony every single day. This also allows you to use your other 8 plots for other things.

One of your plots is usually going to be used up by Farmer Yoon’s random daily veggie quest. Personally, I let that veggie grow and stick it in the guild bank for other folks leveling cooking. I usually plant either windshear cactus (cloth) or magebulb(enchanting mats) around the veggie since I’m a tailor/enchanter.I don’t usually need that much cloth but I usually plant it every other day so I can keep doing my cloth transmute daily.

I also usually use four plots for enigma seeds. Enigma seeds are the ones that grow into a random Pandaria herb. The bonus to harvesting these seeds is that not only do you get the herb, but you also have a shot at getting spirits.

Spirits are items that herbalists usually get when they loot plants in the wild. Now you, as a farmer, can get them too! There’s one that restores HP and one that restores mana. These items DO share a cooldown with potions BUT if you don’t have a good source of potions and don’t want to buy them off the AH, here’s a good alternative for you!

Depending on what sells for more on your server you can base your daily seed selection on whatever is priciest at the same. Or you can just keep yourself covered in mats that you may need!


And so that’s it! I hope this guide was helpful to all the novice farmers out there! Farming has truly been a GREAT addition to this game, and anyone that doesn’t take advantage of it is ridiculous. Let’s all cross our fingers that Blizzard adds more fun and useful content like this in the future!