So here's the deal: This article's kinda stupid. I really wanted to write about pet battling this week, because if the idea of running around the world raining destruction on everything with a small animal of indeterminate origin doesn't appeal to you, then you are probably a communist. But pet battling has been functionally disabled on the Mists of Pandaria beta (you can only access it at level 90, and the current level restriction is 88), so all I can really do is nose around and dream of what's to come. If you want to skip this week's outing and return at a time when we're doing something a little more relevant or useful, I don't blame you. Go with blessings.
And yet I still really wanna write about pet battling.
My first pet in the game was a prairie dog sold by Halpa in Thunder Bluff. My next was a Black Tabby, which I camped Ambermill for the better part of two days to get off a now-vanished mob known as the Dalaran Spellscribe. While I have amassed in excess of 150 pets since then, the original two have accompanied me across the world into the darkest depths of the ocean and to the top of the highest mountain peaks. They were there when my guild sent Kil'Jaeden packing. They were there when I was alone in the darkness. They were there when the Lich King fell. They were there when I got my ass handed to me by a slightly less cooperative version of the Lich King.
And by God, they're going to start pulling their fricking weight around here.
Judging from an earlier beta build from late April, pet battling is intended to be accessible as of level 5 and will cost 100 gold. The cost is still the same as of the most recent build, which went live on Tuesday/Wednesday, and it's affected by the reputation discount. However, it doesn't change with leveling. My female tauren monk at level 11 found the same cost as my level 85 druid. Whether it'll stay 100 gold is anyone's guess, because that's a steep cost for new players.
The basics are covered here in an excellent MMO-Champion post, although our primary concern today is the set of pet battling achievements that we know about. But in short, you go to a Battle Pet Trainer in a major city, train both the battle skill and the ability to find trainable pets, and set out into the world to capture and level the little critters. Eventually, someone sends you a Master Ball in the mail or something.
I might be glossing over that last part somewhat.
Most of the achievements that we know about so far are pretty threadbare, and many lack their final names, so there's a lot of guesswork involved.
- World Safari This looks like it's the meta-achievement for a comprehensive collection of pets from each continent. Unknown at this point is the degree to which having stuff like Menagerie gets you close to having this already. Interestingly, the number of pets you can have on the beta is 500, judging from the number given under the current noncombat pet and Pet Battles UI. That's considerably more than the number of noncombat pets we've currently got in the game, but it could be completely meaningless.
- World Pet Tamer It also looks like there'll be achievements related to individual zones or (perhaps more likely) not individual zones on their own but just a raw number of them. As an example, maybe you won't get individual achievements for three pets each from Mulgore, Stonetalon, Ashenvale, Desolace, and the Northern Barrens, but you will get an achievement for having pets from five different zones.
- That Was Close! Gotta hold the A key down. Sorry, old Pokemon joke. That never actually worked with Zapdos or anything else.
- No Favorites The different pet families and battle skills all have distinct strengths and weaknesses in battle (e.g., critters escape crowd control earlier, undead pets come back to life for a round after dying), so this is Blizzard's way of nudging you into training a diverse team.
- Raise 75 pets to level 25 Just what it says in the description. What we don't know yet is how time-consuming it'll be to level even a single pet to 25, but judging from the number of smaller achievements you'll get on your way up (e.g., leveling one pet to 25, five pets, 10 pets, etc.), it is probably not going to be something you can manage in a week.
- Big City Pet Brawler There are actually sub-achievements with a similar title for both the Alliance and Horde, but these just seem to be location-dependent, i.e., win a Pet Battle in all of your faction's cities. I don't know if the larger achievement here is related to daily quests for Pet Battles (kinda like A Bunch of Lunch is with cooking) or if there's something else going on.
- Continental Mauler Continental Mauler seems to be the meta for beating all the pet tamers on each major continent.
- Experienced Pet Battler and Experienced Pet Brawler My guess is that the distinction is between battles with wild pets and battles with other players. Unknown is where battle pet NPCs/master tamers figure in this -- do they count for Battler, Brawler, or neither? Hopefully we'll find out soon, although the PvP notation does imply that Brawler has to be versus your fellow players. This goes all the way up to Legendary Pet Battler and Legendary Pet Brawler, and having to win 5,000 matches for either ain't gonna be a quick process.
- Master Pet Hunter This is where the recently announced Feral Vermling comes into the picture as a reward.
- Master Pet Tamer We don't really know what this one's about yet. It almost certainly encompasses some of the above-named achievements (e.g., World Pet Tamer is probably a requirement for this), but it's also likely to require beating all the NPC pet tamers located on the various continents as well (e.g., Continental Mauler).
- Time To Open a Pet Store This is actually the first achievement I've seen that rewards you on the basis of raw achievement points and not the achievements themselves. It might just be a placeholder for something with more specific requirements.
- Win 5 Consecutive PvP Pet Battles Without Letting a Pet Die Suffice it to say that the title is almost certainly a placeholder. Given how the prominence of strategic death in competitive Pokemon matches, this might be a serious coup. But again, we don't know if NPC pet tamers count for the PvP Pet Battles, and odds are good it'd be easier to win against them than a human player.
Enjoy working on achievements? The Overachiever is here to help! Count on us for advice on patch 4.3 achievements, our guide to Mountain O' Mounts, and a good, hard look at what's wrong with archaeology and how Blizzard could fix it.