The fastest way to level a battle pet
Now that we have those super Ultimate Battle-Training Stones and maybe a handful of level 25 pets to work with, let’s talk about leveling up the rest of your pets ASAP. Even that guy with 100 level 100s only has enough Ultimate Battle-Training Stones to upgrade 1/7th of a full collection so we’re going to have to get the rest to cap somehow, and 6.1’s merciless nerf to XP from the Menagerie left a lot of tamers cold.
We’re going to start off with the basic generalities, then move on to the specifics of grinding a single battle pet from 1-25 as quickly as possible.
Leveling pets is odd, because the XP is split between all the pets on your team which were active through at least one round in a fight. If your pet acts or is in the ring while your opponent’s pet does something, you win the battle, and that pet survives the fight, they’ll gain XP at the end. If you don’t meet all those conditions (if your pet dies, stays in the back row the whole time, etc) no XP for you. The tricky bit is, battle pets that are at the level 25 cap don’t absorb XP from a battle with opponents at any other level, so you can use your level 25s to drag any non-25 pet through a fight. As long as your little lowbie survives the fight, they’ll gain XP as though they took out much tougher opponents single handed. This is commonly called a carry or 2-pet strategy in battling circles.
You can use those 25s to carry against any level opponent, so if you’ve only got your Battle-Training Stone level 25s and a bunch of 1s from Raiding With Leashes or holidays, you may want to go back to a lower level zone to ensure your level 1s don’t get one-shot out of the gate because of that pesky ‘must survive’ proviso. Your level 1s will still gain XP as though they’re taking on that tough level 10 opponent solo when those 10s are getting obliterated by 25s. And when you can manage to pit that ‘solo’ level 1 against a full team of 25s, things start to get real juicy.
From here we’re going to introduce a bit of math, because not all 2-pet battles are created equal. Don’t freak out. The most advanced math course I took was Math 101 For Liberal Arts Majors, where they barely trusted us to not eat glue sticks, so if I can get this you definitely can too. XP granted for a particular carry will change based on a number of factors: the number of opponents your team faces (more pets = more XP), the number of non-25s you use during the fight (more pets = less XP per pet), the disparity between your pets’ and the opposing pets’ levels (you get a ‘difficulty bonus’ at -2), and scripted PVE encounters (ie, tamers) will generally have a higher XP multiplier overall, with some tamers being higher than others. Also, if you’re fighting a wild team and successfully tame a pet, you get slightly less total XP for the fight than you would otherwise. As a baseline example, a level 25 wild battle in Draenor’s Shadowmoon Valley with no buffs yields 725 XP with a level 1 carry pet. However, carrying a level 1 against the tamer Ashlei’s level 25 team in the same zone grants 4350 XP, a sizable increase that you’re going to want to take advantage of.
I’ve found this to be the fastest possible path to level a single pet from 1-25:
The Horde path is the same as the Alliance one, only with a slightly shorter end bit after you use your Garrison hearth at Tarr. The flight from Frostwall to Exile’s Rise only adds on a mere 3 minutes & 8 seconds, making it overall quicker than the Alliance path without the mole machine. I just drew out the Alliance map because that Frostwall to Exile’s Rise flight path draws a huge line through the center. Also, my raging bias and whatnot.
I use an Infinite Whelpling to solo Ashlei‘s team, but a number of other pets will do the trick too. Sneak that level 1 in when the Elekk Plushie Doodle is active for an effortless carry. You don’t want to add a second carry pet because it splits the XP between both of them and decreases your overall XP earned.
Ashlei total time spent: 3:10 XP earned: 4350 levels 1-11
Next, we hit up Vesharr in Spires of Arak with an Emerald Whelpling and my Nether Faerie Dragon, both with Magic abilities selected. I use the same team to defeat Taralune quickly, though it takes much more time to run to her on foot than it does Vesharr, who’s right next to a flight master.
Vesharr total time spent: 4:37 XP earned: 4750 levels 11-16
Taralune total time spent: 4:32 XP earned: 4375 levels 16-19
Tarr the Terrible‘s team is very Humanoid heavy. I used my team featuring a Giant Bone Spider and Unborn Valkyr for this fast time. Most Undead pets will work to defeat his team, but I use these for sheer burst. The Tarr fight takes a bit longer than the others regardless because all the swapping animations during the battle take forever.
Tarr total time spent: 6:02 XP Earned: 3850 XP levels 19-21
Tarr is both far from flight paths and any other tamers, so here I hearth back to my Garrison. The Alliance time is a bit longer than posted if you don’t have access to the mole machine from the garrison campaign, but either way it’s a much longer hike than Hordeside, and you have to pass through that awful rock fall on your way to Gargra from the flight path. I made a graphic to make it easier to see the path through:
Yeah, still awful. Sorry.
My team for Gargra features a Tranquil Mechanical Yeti with Call Lightning and Lil Bling with Inflation. At this point my lvl 21 can get it in there to absorb a couple of hits or deal a little damage.
Gargra total time spent: 6:13 XP earned: 3375 levels 21-23
Total time spent: 24:34
You’ll notice that at this point we’re level 23 and could top it off to 25 with just one more tamer fight, and yet we skipped Cymre. While I can 2-pet Cymre with an Anubisath Idol and Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling most of the time, it requires a good bit of turn counting to pull it off every time. They didn’t cover counting in Math 101 For Liberal Arts Majors, so I’m at a bit of a disadvantage, and even one wipe on any fight will increase your time spent dramatically. If you’re confident in your Cymre strategy, by all means add her in, right before Gargra for Alliance or after for Horde. By now we’ve collected more than enough Pet Charms to go back to the Menagerie, buy a couple of leveling stones from Lio or Serr’ah, and kick that pet over the line anyway.
I also neglected to mention Erris & Kura in the circuit. They both give even more XP than the tamers in the world and it’s definitely recommended that you carry a pet against them daily. However, if you don’t have them in your own garrison that day it may take a bit to find someone on group finder who has one available for you to use so they may screw up your real-time efficiency.
Also worth a mention is the old Pandaria circuit. It doesn’t yield as much XP per battle, but the Sacks of Pet Supplies with its toys and bandages may be worth a visit. I usually try to make it out to Aki as frequently as possible, as she’s a good candidate for carrying a level 1 (put it in at the very beginning; one turn of Swarm won’t kill anything except Undeads) and most of my toons have hearths still set in the Vale. The issue with, well, any tamers other than the Draenor ones, is that you have to unlock them first by doing all the other previous tamers which is a huge drag if you’re here fresh off your stoned level 25s. You’ll want to do unlock this eventually for your stylish Safari Hat if nothing else.
Though this is the fastest route it’s not one I personally use on a day to day basis. I kind of meander my way from tamer to tamer as I have other things to do. My hunter who farms elite clefthooves for trapping is usually the character that hits up Tarr on any given day, for instance. I also like to throw my lowbie characters at Ashlei & Gargra for extra XP. Even though this post is focused pretty hard on efficiency, this expansion seems to favor being efficient at the cost of fun and, ultimately, burnout. Unless you have a specific goal in mind with leveling a particular pet, don’t do this to yourself every day. Mix it up and do what’s fun for you (even if it’s not pet battles).
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