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WoWJun 3, 2015 4:00 pm CT

Battle pet spawning patterns: how to maximize your taming

With the reveal of the two new, limited spawn pets in Talador and Spires of Arak in 6.2, there’s a renewed discussion about battle pet spawning patterns. Here is a look at the different ways pets can spawn, plus tips to maximize your taming time. We’ll go from the most common of rats to the rarest of captures, so grab your Safari Hat and let’s go!

The most common tames are found across many zones, sometimes as secondary pets. These pets are typically seen as filler, there to bulk out the available battles in a given zone. Pets like rats, rabbits, spiders and frogs fit thematically in a lot of places, and Ctrl+P reduces the amount of work the pet team has to do to make a zone feel populated and alive. The issue with these pets is that it is very rare that people will seek them out, which can lead to the other pets, especially those seen in very few zones, having a de facto increased rarity.

The underlying mechanic behind this is something that all players can see at work in the simplest of places, though it’s been largely fixed in later zones. Most players have had the experience when the quest they receive directs them to kill, say, 3 mages and 10 warriors, and when they get to the area where the mages and warriors are, there are billions of mages and no warriors. People generally don’t kill more than they need for a quest so after killing those few mages they need to complete their quest, many players will pick through the mages they don’t need to kill to get to the warriors they do. With the RNG of shared respawns, over time, this means there will be fewer and fewer warriors and more and more mages, until you arrive and have to lay waste to the entire camp hoping for warrior respawns.

In zones with unique pets, you will frequently find a similar situation. Instead of the pet you want, you’re not only fighting with those common pets zone-wide, but also non-fighting critters. One good, very easily seen example is the disparity between the number of Lofty Librams spawned in the Dalaran Crater versus other spawns around Hillsbrad.

dalaran crater rats

While the contingent of rats wandering around the area is partially at fault, in many cases the spawn pool can stretch quite further. If you take a quick trip down to the Azurelode Mine area it is crawling with spiders to battle, and most of the zone is packed with squirrels and rabbits too. Meanwhile, Dalaran Crater may have a sad little rat or two, but none of the desirable Librams, because people just jump down, grab the pet they want, and leave again.

If the pet you’re trying to find has a top-rated comment in a pet-finding hot spot instructing you to kill other, less rare pets nearby and wait for respawns, this is why. The warriors for that hypothetical quest won’t have a chance to respawn until you kill a few mages, after all. However, with pets, the area the ‘mobs’ cover may span up to the entire zone and there are more variables than the binary mage or warrior. The key is to kill the caches of common pets you find, either via battling or with an attack, then make sure to also scourge the area where you’re trying to get things to spawn of non-combat pets. Be a bit careful though, because some pets may also show up as the second or third pet in a battle, so you may want to just run through them.

Much like the example of warriors and mages, the one time you know that these groups are going to be relatively equalized is immediately after a server reset. Some pets do legitimately just have long spawn timers, like the Minfernal, and ‘just log in super quick after a server reset’ is my secret method for grabbing these (patent pending). Just try to be nice and kill a few of the common pets after you get what you’re looking for, to make life easier for other tamers.

There are a few exceptions to this typical spawn pattern, however.

infested bears battle pet gross

The most adorable exception to a typical spawn pattern can be found still within Hillsbrad. Very few pets use what I call the parent and child spawn pattern. This involves small pets which tag around after mobs which are pretty much bigger versions of themselves. The trick here is that every so often, one of these bigger mobs will spawn as a ‘parent’. As long as a ‘parent’ remains alive, it will continue to spawn the ‘baby’ pets for you to tame every 5-8 minutes, even if you battle the baby bears and kill them right in front of their parents, you monster. The Cheetah Cub and Diemetradon Hatchling follow this pattern, but in Hillsbrad the pet you’re looking for is the kinda gross Infested Bear Cub, which spawns alongside Infested Bears. If there are no active bear cubs when you arrive, it’s because horde lowbies killed all the ‘parent’ bears. Wait 5 minutes to make sure you didn’t just miss a fellow tamer, then begin killing any bear which doesn’t spawn a baby.

One of the most confounding pet spawning patterns which isn’t helped at all by the above is conditional spawn patterns. Pets like the Baby Ape only spawn when certain weather effects are happening in the region where they spawn. There are also pets which only appear seasonally, or at a certain time of day. Grinding on the other pets in the area can help increase the number of spawns while the condition is met, but up until that point there’s no rhyme or reason for when this random event can happen, and afterward it won’t have any further effect.

You have two options to farm weather pets. One, you can park an alt in whichever spot and log it in from time to time to see if it’s raining. Or two, you can realm hop. If you do choose to realm hop, use the Premade Groups tab in the LFG tool, and select the Custom tab, then choose a group that looks appropriate… or at least, one that’s not blatantly rude, like a questing group. There is a question of etiquette here, and some people do get upset even if you jump through a group intended for the various Garrison traders. In that case there are usually a number of other groups to try. Using premades is faster in terms of real time elapsed before you get your pet, but has far more hands-on time. Parking an alt is for the lazy (like me).

The last spawn type, and the reason we started on this whole hot topic in the first place, is the spawn pattern unique to the Unborn Val’kyr, and now to two new pets in patch 6.2: the Crimsonwing Moth and Sapphire Firefly.

unborn valkyr pet battle icecrown citadel

In this spawn pattern there is only a single, solitary active spawn of a particular pet, and it is up to the tamer to track it down… before someone else does. In the case of the infuriating Val’kyr, this spans the entire continent, but in the case of the Moth and Firefly, this is contained to a single zone — Talador in the case of the Moth, Spires of Arak for the Firefly. Initially there was a lot of uproar about this, notably tied to the ongoing debate about flying. Pet developer Jeremy Feasel has assured the pet battling community that these new ones are an instant respawn, so there will always be one active in a zone, making these (hopefully) a fun quest to undertake rather than a terrible chore.

Though the best way to find the Val’kyr includes all that server hopping, alt parking nonsense, the best way to find the new 6.2 pets is likely communication with your fellow tamers. If you have a few friends interested in getting one, you could all spread out through that zone on a single server in order to canvas the area better until everyone gets theirs. You’ll find one eventually by running around solo, but it’s rare that the most efficient way to get your desired pet can also involve your friends, so you may as well take this opportunity to have fun together.

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