Not to get all behind the scenes-y on you, but I look at my wordpress analytics stuff on occasion to see what people are looking for help with. Though really I ought to write more about Unknown Search.
So, so helpful. Right now, the thing I keep seeing searches for, and twitter questions about, is pet pvp. It runs the gamut from queries about advanced tactics to just the simple, almost desperate, “pet pvp help”. Though I have been mentioning how fun it is for a month or two now, I haven’t really written much to ease somebody into PVP. Since I just got a relatively glowing plug from that one guy on Eviscerated who does pet battles on this week’s (NSFW) podcast, coupled with ongoing PVP queries from my analytics, I figured it was time to do a beginner’s guide to pvp.
Let me preface with a reassurance that there’s nothing to be afraid of. At worst, you’re going to be out 10 minutes with nothing to show for it.
Let’s be real. We’ve all spent more time than that sitting in far-flung nowheres while we’ve waited on rare tames. Lots and LOTS more time than that. Let’s also say this right now: you are going to lose. Like, a LOT a lot, to begin. I still lose a third to a quarter of the matches I fight, which is an alright win percentage from what I understand. The thing is though, the more you do it, the more you learn, the better you get, the more you win.
My experience is that you should pick 2, maybe 3 teams and use them until you know them in your sleep. This can be a flavor of the month team, like a force swap or a Kun-Lai Runt team, or build one on your own with one of your favorites. I’d recommend starting off with at least one team you know can be successful rather than try to build all your own, but if it doesn’t feel fun to play to you, try a different one. You can’t force a playstyle you hate to feel fun.
I’d recommend listening to the WoW Pet Battle Crew podcast or occasionally Res from the Eviscerated podcast for ideas here (though I need to stress for my younger readers that this is an adult podcast), or this thread on the official forums for ideas on a team you might enjoy. Or, you know, read my site too, or whatever.
That said, unfortunately for my analytics, there is no best pet pvp team. There are good ones to be sure, even overpowered ones, but nearly all of them can be countered once you get a bit more experience. The funny bit is, as you PVP more, you’ll see these team comps constantly, so you’ll know exactly what’s coming as soon as you enter into the match, and you’ll learn how to play your team to beat them.
One of the more overpowered pets, the 3 baby Direhorns, are all mowed down really quickly by my gnome, moreso if I combo it with a debuff. In my experience, buffs and debuffs play a much larger role in PVP than PVE. Though you got a taste of them in first doing so in the Aki fight, players are far more savvy at combining big damage abilities with vulnerability debuffs than NPCs. In general, speed plays an enormous role in PVP, and thus so do speed debuffs, but there are a myriad to watch out for… if you have a debuff up, pay attention to what comes next!
You don’t have an actual physical location when you pet PVP, so you don’t have to worry about the other kind of PVP. Also, your opponent is a placeholder graphic (why I can’t say) so you’re not actually fighting some jerk priest who managed to nab tier 3.
Very unlike PVE, your setup before you queue up doesn’t matter, as you and your opponent both get to choose your first pet after you zone in. This gives you about 30 seconds to look at their team and decide what you want to do. For my teams, I almost always pick a tank pet to lead off, like the Scourged Whelpling, the Crawdad or a Direhorn (though the Direhorn makes a good closer, too). I can take a move or two to figure out what the other team’s gimmick is going to be.
Swapping your pets in PVP is far more beneficial than it is in PVE. You only very rarely ‘lose’ a turn the same way as you always do in PVE. In fact, your decisions in which pet to play in what order can seriously affect your chances to win. In my Black Claw team, I almost always let my Kneebiter die first, because both my Gnome and Whelpling have failsafes after they die, but I try to make sure to leave the Whelp for last if there’s a pet with heavy elemental damage, because it’ll chew the gnome to bits. Reverse that for critter damage and the Whelpling. Having an Undead pet for your second to last pet is a really excellent idea, because if you win the match on your resurrect round, with no pets left, the fight ends in a draw. In that case, I do forfeit.
People have very different ideas on etiquette here. Personally, with the one exception I mentioned above, I like to play out every match as hard-fought as I can, to see what the other pets can do, to see what their weaknesses are. Some people think this is rude, and think you should forfeit as soon as you ‘know’ you’ve lost. We’re learning, and they can just forfeit if they don’t like it. Besides, you never know what you might be able to pull off at the very end.
If you (yes *you*) would like to, you can contact me on twitter or add my battletag Liopleurodon#1882 to duel for some practice. Or, if you feel I’m a know-nothing noobie noob and want to smash my pets and make me cry IRL, I’ll duel you too. Believe it or not, after you get into pet PVP is fun even when you’re losing.
You just get better stuff when you’re winning and paying attention to your analytics Kardashian baby Amanda Bynes (I think this is how it works).