Tag Archives: the other kind of leveling

Pet Leveling Challenge Update – level 35

Time for a new Pet Leveling Challenge update. I have to say that I did wuss out a little bit.


I’m still doing things only by pet battling, but I ‘allowed’ myself to start doing pet daily & weekly quests. It was extremely time-consuming to travel from place to place on foot, and there was really no way for me to gain any coin, so it would’ve been this way forever. I wasn’t even able to use the taxi service.


Ugh. I’m not going to be flush with cash at all, especially because I’m still avoiding the Auction House as a part of the Ironman rules. I also transferred her from my mega high pop main’s server to a different one when they opened up free transfers, so now when the queue on the main’s server is too long I can still log onto this character.

The result of both of these actions is that idea of logging onto that character doesn’t make my skin crawl anymore. While it would’ve been cool to hit level 90 in Northrend on foot, the idea of having to, for instance, walk all the way from the Alliance base in Howling Fjord to the area where fjord worg pups live alone made it extremely unlikely she’d be hitting 70, let alone 90.

The reason I mention the worg pups is because mine is still Common quality. I figured while doing this challenge, I’d have more than enough opportunity to capture all the rares in the areas I could access (places like Pandaria and much of Cataclysm content are still off-limits, because you have to complete a quest to access them). Getting those rares make for an easy carrot as I’m grinding through this punishing slog, but I’m so sick of looking at my remaining Common pets, especially as I level other alts through Northrend. Those worg pups are right there.


Just right over there. Sigh.

And that’s a big part of why I’m kicking this leveling project into high gear. At this point, I’ve been avoiding leveling the bulk of my stable, because once my pets get too far above the level of wild pets, I have to go on only PVP fights until I level my character and schlep to a new area. I’ve been in the Arathi Highlands for ages. It’s really difficult to say, especially as I get toward the top of the pet levels curve, just how many I’ll need, so almost all my pets have been in stasis around level 11 until I can get this done. Warlords of Draenor is right around the corner, so I really need to get a move on here.

The other thing I have to report is that, because of this project, I’ve been doing a good deal of playtesting about player XP through pet battles. I’ve made a previous post or two on the topic. This is a level 88 character, battling with a full team exactly the same level as her opponent.


(click to increase size)

So, once I’m able to roll around Swamp of Sorrows or Un’goro Crater, that’s it. That’s the most XP I can get from a battle, as long as I’m not trying to fight single pets. The player XP also scales down if I fight with pets slightly higher than my opponent (around 20K XP per pet level at this player level). The only scaling in player XP from there on up will come from my leveling up. This is kind of both awesome and awful. I am glad I don’t have to rush to Northrend, but I’m curious how quickly that scaling will happen, and just how quickly I’ll want to ditch this project again.


level 15

I was going to skip this post altogether and move forward, because let’s be real. Leveling is leveling. Nobody cares until you’re 90, and the previous post on the topic was me griping about how bone-dull boring it is so this is clearly a terrible move in terms of keeping an audience. I have a couple observations which may be important going forward, though.

First of all, I found the breakpoint. Well, numerically speaking anyway.


The huge jump in XP between level 4 & 5 is because the wild team gains a pet at level 5. So, you gain extra XP with each additional pet, which means the breakpoint where pet battling suddenly gets a whole lot better for player XP is probably around level 40-ish, when you can start battling level 15+ teams with 3 pets.

I knew this, and was thinking to myself the best places to try & get around player level restriction to battle 15+ pets, when a devil appeared on my shoulder on Twitter. Specifically, it was a Devil Who Wears Transmog, and she said, “Have you tried level 25 pvp?”


No, I hadn’t. I’m really rubbish at pet PVP you guys. Really, really rubbish. I didn’t know that pet PVP gave you any kind of XP either. But that new green baby direhorn for winning 250 battles is coming in just a few days, so I figured I might as well give it a shot. And after some battling (SO MANY RUNTS) I finally won one. Contrasting the XP I got against that level 6 team, this happened.


Oh. OH goodness. Now that’s a breakpoint. I also gained 150 XP for ‘discovering’ Darkshire, booya.

The thing is, you only get XP if you win. All those times runts and brooms rubbed their butts all on my pets’ cold dead bodies I got bupkis, so this is only as time efficient as your queue and your pvp skill (and how trolly the teams you go against are… but Triple Turkey has been sort of quashed) allows. All it takes is 12 wins to level at this point.

So, come 5.3 and its achieve for winning max level PVP battles, I will definitely be adding level 25 pet pvp battles into the mix. I still have a few lowbie rares to collect and there will be a post with me griping about that, trust. I’ll continue to do mostly wild battles for statistical purposes. The provisional nature of pvp XP, that you have to win to get XP, makes it so I don’t feel like it’s cheating the challenge (too much). I expect that once I’m high enough level to get to triple pet wild teams this huge spike will even itself out and it’ll be more efficient to battle wild again, just from the time wasted due to losses.

For now, I’m going to move on to the southern part of the continent to do some more rare tames, and wait til Tuesday, when I’ll unleash my PVP prowess onto the world at large.


Current level – 15

Current /played – 1 day 8 minutes

Number of ginvites – 102 (31 since last update)

Level 10 (pet leveling challenge)


This is the first time I’ve ever taken a ding shot lower than level 60. It’s also the first time level 10 has felt like an accomplishment in any way.

I know there’s good potential for getting trolled here, because this is obviously not difficult. It’s lowbie pet battling. You have like, one ability per pet at these levels, maybe 2. Press button, press button, press button, win. Walk a few dozen yards. Press button. At 13 hours, and with the no guild restriction of Iron Man, it’s bizarrely lonely. I talk to my Battle Tag buds, and have been listening to podcasts (I welcome suggestions for new ones in the comments!), and have been streaming to make it easier, but it’s still awful.

It’s hard to put into words the psychology here. This is more difficult than any race to cap I’ve done… in those cases, I have new things to do, new information to parse, new locations to explore. Race to cap also tended to be more about physical stamina than mental. I typically had competition, which gave me extra drive to keep going. I had strangers randomly sending me tells, either to cheer me on or tell me I sucked and had no life (or asking me to run them through Zul’Farrak, plz & thxu). This exercise is mentally un-stimulating radio silence, and it really, really sucks.


In fact, partway through level 7, I went to Loch Modan just because I needed a change of scenery that bad. Once I got there, something I suspected and hoped wasn’t the case was quickly confirmed.


My XP in Dun Morogh had grown slowly as I leveled, but made up a smaller and smaller percentage of my overall XP to level. At level 7, when I left, I was getting 40 XP per fight in Dun Morogh, which was .88 (repeating of course) percent of a level per fight. As soon as I set foot in Loch Modan and fought a level 5 wild pet, I got 105 XP, 2.3% of a level per fight. The percent per level in Dun Morogh continues to decrease. I’m down to .73% of a level per fight at level 10.


In other words, with those level 1 critters in Dun Morogh, I will never reach a breakpoint. The only way to increase my ratio of battles required per level is to fight higher level pets, which means I have to go to higher level areas in order to get more efficient. However, there is a tipping point between real time efficiency, XP gained per fight, and just how many times I get my face bitten off by a skull level bear.


Even though I gained much more per fight, my downtime was such that Dun Morogh and Loch Modan were roughly equivalent in real-time efficiency, but that efficiency plummets in the Loch when you die. However, I can say pretty conclusively that at this point, battling with higher level pets than the available wild pets, though it gives me a couple XP hit per battle, ends up being way more efficient because I can churn battles more quickly.

Current Level – 10

Current /played – 13 hrs 44 mins

Number of ginvites – 71 (51 since last update)

Number of references to Charlie The Unicorn – 1



The Iron Pet Leveling Challenge

I saw this over on Blog Azeroth (a great resource if you’re a blogger). Since it was pretty much the first community blog challenge I’ve seen that would fit into the topic of this blog at all, of course I had to give it a shot.


The challenge is to level a character to 90 from only pet battles. No quest XP. No kill XP. No professions. Exploration XP is OK, because you kind of have to explore as a pet battler. No new gear after you pick up your obligatory safari hat from the mail.


I know what you’re saying. “Oh but that’s so easy now. I knew this one guy, Tommy? He went from 85-89 in like 5 hours from pet battling.” Well, this challenge is unique in that it starts off hard and then gets harder. At some point there’s a breakpoint (I mean, there has to be, right?!) and from there it gets easier & easier until you can coast to the finish. I think this is intentional, because Blizzard intends for you to actually play your character in the lowbie levels.

When I say ‘easier’ vs ‘harder’, I mean less or more time-consuming. There’s really nothing hard per se about lvl 1 pet battles. It’s when you start doing the math, and see that XP bar creep up more and more slowly as you level that you see where the ‘hard’ is in this challenge. It’s bizarrely psychologically difficult. This may also be because I chose a Dwarf, and it’s just all freaking snow all the time. Makes for thrilling screenshots too.

And yes, it is psychologically difficult. Here’s a slightly fudged graphic to help explain why:


The gist is, the XP needed per level grows at an alarming rate, but your XP from battling barely budges. At level 1, each fight is 3.5% of a level, and you need to do 28 battles to gain the 400 XP required to level. Contrast that with level 5, where each fight is 1.1% of a level, and you need to win 93.3 battles, 2800 XP, to level up. It just keeps getting slower and slower so far.

Theoretically I could go fight some higher level pets to speed things up, but I’m level 5. There’s almost nowhere else for me to go where I won’t aggro everything in the zone yet. I have been toying with using higher level pets and getting less XP per battle but chewing through battles more quickly, after a twitter tip from Farli of The Overcut. Regardless, I’m already almost out of level 1 and level 2 pets, all of which were duplicates of pets I’d already leveled. You can see I took off my safari hat at some point, and this is why.

My entire stable of pets was already up to 10+, so I won’t get to do much to actually improve the pets I want to keep until I can start battling level 5+ pets reliably. I may get some of these in the Loch Modan area, around level 10 for me. I’ll get a lot for sure once I get to the Wetlands but this won’t happen until–sweet baby jesus help me–I’m level 20 or so.


I’m not sure yet whether I’ll take ‘help’ (ie, gold) from higher level characters, but if I don’t that means no mounts, and no taxis except for the handful of free ones between capital cities. It seems more in the spirit of an Iron Man, but the thought of that makes me want to lay my head down on my desk and give up already.

‘No Quests’ may also restrict entry to places like Deepholm. Without a personal flying mount, this may mean all of Cata content. Maybe even Pandaria as a whole, too. I know it restricts me from getting to the Vale, but man. MAAAAN. Also, no combat means no killing critters to free up spawns for battle pets, which stinks. However, I’m definitely ignoring one of the central rules of the ‘official’ leveling Ironmans – permanent death. I feel like this is already soulcrushing enough, and I know that if I add in that rule, if I do die I’m just done. Plus, I figure I’m going to be going to places I’m stupid low level for, there’s virtually no way I’m not going to die.


This is one of the few times in WoW where I’ve actually thought to myself, “what in the high holy hell are you thinking” while I’m doing it. Usually my abject moronitude is just an afterthought, but this time it’s like my brain would punch me in the face if it had arms.

Current Level – 5

Current /played – 4hrs 56 mins

Current number of unsolicited ginvites – 18  20. I got 2 more when I logged in to take an extra SS for this post.

Your Leveling And Pets

Before we get this blog post a-startedddd, let’s get this out of the way. This particular part of the game has been re-tuned roughly a dozen times since it’s hit the servers, and it’s only been live for 3 weeks. I’m going to discuss in general terms so hopefully it stays relatively accurate for a while, but don’t be surprised if it’s the exact opposite from what I say here if you’re reading this from far in the future. Also, don’t get all pissy because I got 70 XP and you got 75 XP for the same freaking THING Liopleurodon, you SCREECHING NOOB, GOD. Clear?


When 5.2 dropped, among other fantastic pet developments, Blizzard also added the ability to get player XP through pet battles. Like everything else in the game, this can be very quirky.

There are a few rules of thumb which have stayed consistent thus far.

1 – *ALL* the pets on your team must be within 3 levels of the pet you’re killing in order to get XP. Yes, even if you just have your level 25 terrible turnip in the back row just in case and never ever use him, your character will not get XP.

2 – You must win the fight or you don’t gain any XP, even if you kill or trap a couple pets before you lose. This also applies in PVP.

3 – The amount of XP is dependent both on your level and the level of the pets you’re fighting. This post has been a wall of text with no pictures, so here’s a level 2, 15, and 85 characters fighting the same level (ie, lvl 2) pets:



So, the XP you get is dependent on your character’s level. But, it’s also dependent on the level of the pets you’re fighting, AND the level of your pets vs the pets you’re fighting. From here on out, we’ll use the level 85, because flying mounts are a thing.

I got 5.9K xp using my level 3s against level 2s. In the next screenshot, I used level 25s and a level 24 against a level 23, and in the following one, I kept them all at or below the level of the pets I was fighting.


The interesting part here though, is that it seems like there’s only so high you can go with XP. For level 85s, you will get a maximum of 87,149.  The range of pet levels you’re capped out seems fairly wide.

lvl85-4 lvl85-5

Yes, you do get XP from tamer battles too.

To contrast Major Payne’s 25s, I was fighting 18s in Hellfire Peninsula, which is a couple dozen levels beyond gray mobs for a level 85. The gap may be even larger though. I didn’t get a chance to do further testing, as in the process of pet fighting, a fel reaver sneaked up on my poor little unplayed alt.


You may want to send flowers.