In Which Kia Mourns A Baby Dinosaur

It’s been awhile, so it’s only fair that I catch you up.

Year 2013 was kind of a butt. No, it was a really big, smelly, unwiped butt full of butt things that pretty much started and ended with my really terrible job taking phone calls for an employer that provides third-party customer service for a number of gigantic multinational corporations who don’t want to bother to provide it themselves. My particular client was a provider of telephonically-based communication packages (yes, I am unsuccessfully attempting to be obtuse) and it was… not fun. Everyone in customer service will be nodding your heads when I say that the best and worst thing about working in customer service is… working in customer service. That is why there are places like Not Always Right and my new favorite, How May We Hate You? It was an awful, soul-sucking, hellacious job where I had a different schedule every week, got paid utter crap to be cursed and yelled at about a lot of things I had no control over and couldn’t fix, and in which my entire value as an employee – and my paycheck – was based on how customers answered three survey questions.

(As an aside, yes, those customer satisfaction survey things affect something. The pay and/or job of the person you interacted with. If you hate the company but loved the person you worked with, but you fill out the survey based on your feelings about the company and not the employee, I promise you that the company’s feelings are not hurt but you probably cost the employee you liked so much some money. After all, as my bosses told me continuously, it is my job to change your mind about the company.)

Kia’s Brain: They are not here to listen to you whine. They are here for the baby dinosaur.

Kia: I know, but I feel it’s important to give context for my very extended absence. Unrelenting anxiety and depression will shut anybody up.

Kia’s Brain: Then less whining, more context. Get to the point.

Kia: /glare

The point is that if you at all doubt whether your employment can affect your mental health, doubt no more. It can, most assuredly. I was in the deepest depressive cycle I have been in for awhile. Fortunately, in December I was hired for a job that I am loving, that has a regular-people daylight-hours schedule, pays me a lot better, and lets me use not only my brain but also the business degree which I will never be done paying for, I swear. Which brought me far enough out of my depression that I thought, “WHY NOT REVIVE THE SISTERHOOD?! LONG LIVE THE SISTERHOOD!” And then I gave Amber the opportunity to stop me and instead she said “YES DO IT” because she too is a butt and so here we are.

A word to my friends who are struggling with terrible terrible jobs or unemployment: it is INCREDIBLY hard and I understand. It takes all the life, all the creativity and joy and passion out of you. It may take a LONG time to get better. Know that you are surrounded on Teh Interwebs by people who care for you and that there are people who are willing to provide an ear and/or a shoulder anytime you need it. Count me as one of them! I am cheering you on!



However, not ALL of 2013 was the Worst Thing That Ever Happened To Anybody EVER. Two wonderful, if inequally-happiness-inducing events occurred. FIRST, Achloryn and I adopted our amazing cat Sir Percival the Ginger and every day we wonder how we ever got along without him. His godmother Elfindale is responsible for his name. LOOKIT HE’S SO CUTE:

SPEAKING OF ACHLORYN, by far the best thing that happened to me in 2013 (indeed, pretty much “so far in my life”) happened on July 26, 2013:


Achloryn and I got married! I should put up more wedding pictures. Maybe one day I will. Many thanks to all of you who came to our WoW Wedding and celebrated with us. We loved having you as part of our big day. For the mildly curious, being married is totally awesome and you should all get married someday, all of you. Unless you’re not into that kind of thing, in which case, don’t.

For the extremely nosy, since both our mothers have hinted at it, we are not now nor are we ever planning to spawn, because children are terrifying small persons that are easily broken and cause a great deal of noise and distress, so that’s the end of that discussion.

So while this will continue to be primarily a WoW blog, I’m thinking this time around I’ll probably branch out a bit more, since I am a gamer now. I never called myself that before, because I pretty much only played WoW and I was of the opinion that someone who only plays one game is not a gamer, but the other night Achloryn and I tallied it up and determined that I had played seven games this year for extended periods of time, including another MMO. Ergo, I must be a gamer. That is very weird, but this is my life. It’s kind of awesome.

Kia’s Brain: See what we have here is a distinct lack of any baby dinosaurs.

Kia: Yes, well, there was a lot to cover. I was getting there.

Kia’s Brain: And instead you rambled on for almost 900 words without getting anywhere close to it.

Kia: I figure at this point, it’s probably better to wait for the next post to talk about the Lashtail Hatchling and its tremendous ability to cause joy and pain.

Kia’s Brain: It’s not just the hatchling who has the ability to cause joy and pain. I’m in charge of several key centers in you—–



/several crashes


Baby Dinosaur

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In Which Kia Attempts A Dramatic Comeback

Kia’s Brain: *cough cough wheeze cough*


Kia’s Brain: *wheeze cough cough hack cough wheeze*

Kia: Would you like a tissue? Or a throat lozenge?

Kia’s Brain: *COUGH cough WHEEZE cough*

Kia: Okay, I GET IT, it’s dusty in here. You are making a thinly-veiled reference to the fact that I haven’t blogged in…

Kia’s Brain: (OVER A YEAR)

Kia: …awhile. But I think I might want to try it again!

Kia’s Brain: This is a stupid idea. You’ll write four posts and disappear into the unknown again.

Kia: That is possible. BUT… I’ll have written four posts.

Kia’s Brain: That is surprisingly Zen of you. I didn’t know we did Zen.

Kia: It’s a new thing we’re trying.

Kia’s Brain: Zen might be good. I like Zen.

Kia: You are a neurotic, antagonistic worrywort that focuses on the negative and is borderline abusive.

Kia’s Brain: I am freaking awesome in my ability to keep you on your toes.

Kia: I can’t deny it.

Kia’s Brain: Have a picture of an owl to distract you.

Kia: OWLS!

caffeinated owl


HAI AGAIN, WORLD. I’m working on a new post that I’ll probably have up in a day or so talking about where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing and also the joy and tragedy that is the Lashtail Hatchling. Until then, my friends.

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In Which Kia Changes Her Name

No, Kialesse will stay Kialesse.


Next Friday, Elizabeth will be appending a new last name.

Achloryn and I met through WoW when our friend and former GM Amber introduced us while I was still off in Burkina Faso. When I came home and joined , I began lurking on Vent during raid times and started a conversation with Chris.

We talked nearly for the next 48 hours straight. I didn’t sleep for two days because I stayed up with him on the night shift. We started our long-distance relationship immediately and for the first nine months of it, we saw each other a total of four days.

Then I moved in. That’s a story all of its own.

Now we have almost arrived at a day Chris and I started talking about six weeks after we started dating, before we had even seen each other. On July 26th, we’re getting married!

Now, Chris has his family and I have my family, but Chris and I have a family together – our family that we’ve come to love and respect and enjoy in WoW and on Twitter. In other words… you. We live in a virtual world and most of our dear friends we’ve never met, but that is irrelevant. We decided that we want a chance to celebrate with our friends near and far and are hosting a wedding celebration on Wednesday, July 24th on the Rexxar server.



I realize that many of you may be raiding at that time (SiB would normally be also), but if you are NOT, please consider getting all dressed up and coming to the log bridge east of Conquest Hold in Grizzly Hills at 8:30 PM on Wednesday. Amber is going to officiate a ceremony for us and we’ll have cake and wine and /dance and show off our transmogs and possibly somebody will have to serve as the inappropriate uncle who has too much to drink. I’ll let you elect one. Probably best if it’s someone who plays a dwarf.

Posted in WEDDING! | 5 Comments

In Which Kia Toots Her Own Horn

This was too good not to POST EVERYWHERE OMG.

WoWScrnShot_121512_203336 WoWScrnShot_121512_204832


/preen again


/preen some more

Posted in ALL THE NERDPOINTS, Pet Battles FTW, WILD KERMIT FLAIL | 1 Comment

In Which Kia Is MIA

[Insert witty and entertaining blog post here.]

Just a note to say that I am glad you are all still out there and that I promise I haven’t abandoned you all to the solitary pursuit of pets.  This stupid game I subbed called Real Life has been taking a pretty heavy toll the last month or so and the raid bosses are kicking my ass pretty good.  I’m soldiering on.  I’ll be back to your regularly scheduled Kia’s  Brain mockery very soon.

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In Which Kia Waxes Lyrical

I interrupt this apparently-interminable series on pet battles to bring you the newest item upon which Kia’s Brain is reflecting, with all due respect and deference (and a thousand apologies) to the venerable Bard of Avon, who, were he alive today, would totally play a rogue.

Kia’s Brain: To daily, or not to daily, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in Pandaria to suffer
The cleaves and ground stomps of outrageous Mogu,
Or to cry out in frustration of too many things to do
And then just not do them. To daily, to farm,
No more; and in defiance of Blizzard to end
The time-sink and the thousand horrible mobs
That dailies require: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To kill, to slay;
To zerg, perchance to loot – aye, there’s the rub:
For without these dailies, what epics may come?
When we have tricked out our toons to the max,
And bored to tears – then we shall long
For new dailies; what long expansions
Can long bear the scorn of the leet players,
The elitist jerks, the min-maxer’s disdain,
The pangs of bored farmers, the altoholics
Who cry “NOT ANOTHER REP GRIND!”, and the raiders
That blew past the content in two days,
When the developers may their own honor win
Just by making Spirits of Harmony tradeable?
But the dread of endless dailies,
The abyss of dailies, from whose question marks
We flee with our Pandaren Step enchants,
Makes us gaze with longing at empty Valor Points
Which we cannot attain with raiding alone.
Thus conscious does make grumblers of us all,
And thus the desire to be tricked-out raiders
Pales in the light of obsessive pet battles,
And fishing for Spinefish Alphas and mogging,
And so we give the dailies the arrogance
Of our middle fingers.


Oh lord.  What have I done??

Posted in Nonsense and Foolishness, OMGZOMBIE, WILD KERMIT FLAIL | 2 Comments

In Which Kia Takes On All Comers

This is the fourth part of a five-part series on pet battling.  You can read the first three parts here, here and here.  BE FOREWARNED – this is a massive, massive wall of text.

So you’ve found yourself some pets and you’ve beefed them up a little.  Awesome!  Now what?

Sounds like it’s time to take on the pet bosses.

Scattered about the world are Master Pet Tamers, people with serious pets who want to challenge you to srs bzns pet battles.  You do not need to be afraid of these terrifying individuals!  I, Kia of the Sisterhood of Kia, am here to help you.

In the first post, I talked about the two trainers (Audrey Burnhep for Alliance and Varzok for Horde) who guide you though your first pet battles steps.  Once you have learned enough about pet battling to satisfy their not-terribly-stringent requirements, they will send you to your first Master Pet Tamer, Julia Stevens for Alliance and Dagra the Fierce for Horde.  Once you defeat them, they will then send you on to the next tamer, and so on and so on.  The last tamer in the quest series will then send you back to your trainer.

These first six Master Pet Tamers are a quest line specific to your faction, and are the first half of either Taming Eastern Kingdoms or Taming Kalimdor.  You currently cannot get credit for both of these achievements on the same character.  You will need a character of at least level 5 on the opposite faction to get the opposite faction quest line.  If you are not of the same faction, the first six Pet Tamers for the achievement are not interactive.  However, if you are stubborn and bullheaded like am, it is possible to get the victories on your main character as long as you have a level 5 of the opposite faction.  Everything pertaining to pet battles is account bound; in fact, once you train pet battling, you never have to train it again – as soon as your characters hit level 5 it becomes available.  Therefore, the quests are also account bound.  You can pick up the quest on your Horde toon, hop over to your Alliance toon and the Pet Tamer will now be available to battle.  If you do it this way, do not turn in the quest on your Alliance toon – go back to your Horde toon to turn it in.  Otherwise you won’t be able to get the follow-up.

Why yes, I DID run a level 5 Horde through Northern Barrens.  Why do you ask?

It doesn’t matter who gets the victory, though.  Only Alliance toons can get Eastern Kingdom credit and only Horde toons can get Kalimdor.  Fortunately, you only need one or the other for Taming Azeroth – the meta will show credit for the achievement for the opposite faction’s continent once you defeat the tamers that are available – but you will need both of them in order to finish Taming the World.  There will not be enough pet tamers unless you complete the quest line on both factions.

When battling Pet Tamers, keep in mind that their pets are going to generally be stronger than yours.  Do not expect to be able to solo a pet tamer – you will almost certainly need at least two very strong pets at level.  It’s worth it, though.  Defeating a Pet Tamer will give you 3.5x the experience of a normal wild pet, plus finishing one of the Pet Tamer quests will reward you with a Sack of Pet Supplies, which if you are lucky, will contain a few of the very valuable (and soulbound) Battle Pet Bandages, which work the same as pushing the Beautiful Magic Button.  Only without having to push the Beautiful Magic Button.  Alternatively, you could get junk.  Such is life.

Team composition is a bigger deal when battling pet tamers than when battling wild pets.  While you can usually overpower stuff in the wild, pet tamers’ pets are going to be strong enough that you really do want to try to tailor your team to maximize strengths.  The tamers have all three pets out when you fly up to them, so you will be able to see what you’ll be up against before you go into battle.  I would start out with a Mechanical, a Beast, and either a Flying or Aquatic pet.  For the purposes of walking you through the Tamers, I am going to operate under the assumption that you are downing Pet Tamers as you go, rather than going back and zerging them once you hit max levels.  I’ll only offer suggestions of pets that you can tame at or below the level of the tamer or are available through drops or vendors.

Taming Eastern Kingdoms

  • Julia Stevens: Maclure Vinyards, Elwynn Forest.  Battles with Fangs and Slither, both level 2 Beasts.  My preferred mechanical is my Mechanical Squirrel – his Wind-up ability is a monster.  The Tranquil Mechanical Yeti and Clockwork Gnome are also excellent choices.
  • Old MacDonald: Just across the Elwynn Forest-Westfall bridge, Westfall.  Battles with Teensy, level 3 Critter; Foe Reaper 800, level 3 Mechanical, and Clucks, level 3 Flying.  A great Beast to have as part of your Pet Tamer Battle team is the Panther Cub.  Devour is possibly the greatest ability ever.  If you have a Mana Wyrmling from Netherstorm or a Shimmering Wyrmling from the Argent Tournament, they are good matches for Old MacDonald’s chicken.  If you don’t have any Magic pets yet (you may not), it still shouldn’t be a problem – at level 3, you should still be able to outlast with your Mechanicals and Beasts.
  • Lindsay: Camp Everstill, Redridge Mountains.  Battles with Flipsy, Dipsy and Flufftail – all level 5 Critters.  Your Beasts will rip the little girl’s rabbits apart and then you will feel guilty as all hell.  You have been warned.
  • Eric Davidson: Raven Hill Cemetery, Duskwood.  Battles with Darkwidow, Webwinder, and Blackfang, all level 7 Spiders (Beasts).  In addition to a couple Mechanicals, I would bring a strong healer to this battle, like a Crab, a Fawn, or a Frog.  Your Mechanicals will be able to knock down the spiders, but they do have some nasty stuff that might take you out before you claim victory.  Blackfang in particular will web you, then do an attack that does double damage if you are rooted.  If you’re down to your last pet, make it one that can heal itself.
  • Steven Lisbane: east of Grom’gol Base Camp, Northern Stranglethorn.  Battles with Moonstalker and Nanners, level 9 Beasts, and Emeralda, level 9 Magic.  If you have a Dragonkin that you are leveling, you definitely want to use it.  I tried taking on Steven with my Panther Cub, Mechanical Squirrel, and a Crab, and Emeralda decimated me.  Be careful to use one that uses Dragonkin abilities, though – lots of Dragons actually use Magic abilities, which won’t help you as much.  Onyxia Whelpling, if you have one, is a good bet.
  • Bill Buckler: eastern coastline near Booty Bay, Cape of Stranglethorn.  Battles with Eyegouger and Young Beaky, level 11 Flying, and Burgle, a level 11 Humanoid.  This will probably be your first real test, because by the numbers, your best choices are two Magic pets and an Undead.  Magic pets can be very hard to come by and Undead are a pain in the ass to level.  If you have a Ghostly Skull from the vendor in Dalaran, it’s a great choice for Burgle because it will heal and do damage simultaneously.  If you don’t have any Magic pets, Mechanicals are a reasonable option here, because of their family passive that brings them back to 25% health.
  • After you defeat Bill Buckler, he will send you back to Audrey to pick up a quest to defeat the second half of the Eastern Kingdoms tamers, which you can do in any order.  Horde characters will also receive a quest to defeat these pet tamers, once they have completed the introductory tamer quest line.
  • David Kosse: Just north of Jintha’Athor in the Hinterlands.  Battles with Corpsefeeder, level 13 Beast; Plop, level 13 Magic; and Subject 142, level 13 Critter.
  • Deiza Plaguehorn: Across the lake from Light’s Hope Chapel, Eastern Plaguelands.  Battles with Bleakspinner and Carrion, level 14 Beasts, and Plaguebringer, a level 14 Undead.  Undead are vulnerable to Critters, but I would avoid using mice and rats with abilities like Stampede, a three-round ability.  It doesn’t do enough damage to make it worth spending three turns on.  Stick with rabbits like the Elfin Rabbit or the Mountain Cottontail – Burrow does some pretty awesome damage in that situation.
  • Kortas Darkhammer: Thorium Point, Searing Gorge.  Battles with Garnestrasz, Obsidion, and Veridia, all level 15 Dragonkin.  These guys are nasty.  Like lots of dragons, their abilities aren’t all Dragonkin abilities – they have Magic, Elemental and Humanoid ones, too, and Veridia is from the Green Dragonflight, so she goes into the Emerald Dream and heals herself.  The worst part about Dragonkin is that they are vulnerable to Humanoids – and you won’t find a Humanoid pet you can tame until you get to Outland.  My recommendation would be to go with a team of Snakes.  Snakes have the Humanoid ability Counterstrike as their level 15 ability.  Combine it with Burrow, which will do a lot of damage and some avoidance, and you should be able to muddle through.
  • Durin Darkhammer: south of Blackrock Mountain, Burning Steppes.  Battles with Comet, level 17 Flying; Ignious, level 17 Critter; and Moltar, level 17 Elemental.  Moltar is the kicker; he will use Magma Wave, which will hit all your pets as well as destroy any objects they create.  Ignious is a Critter, but he will use Elemental abilities, so avoid using Mechanicals for this fight.  Find 2 Aquatics with strong heals and if you haven’t got any Magic pets for Comet, a Beast like the Darkshore Cub.  The three-round Hibernate will keep you alive and fighting.
  • Everessa: North of Sunken Temple, Swamp of Sorrows.  Battles with Anklor, level 16 Beast; Croaker, level 16 Aquatic; and Dampwing, level 16 Flying.  You will definitely want a Flying pet for Croaker to out-DPS his turn-you-into-a-frog ability.  I would go with one that can do Lift-Off, like Polly.
  • Lydia Accoste: outside Karazhan in Deadwind Pass.  Battles with Bishibosh and Nightstalker, level 19 Undead, and Jack, level 19 Elemental.  Lydia is a challenge.  I was still trying to use my Beasts and Mechanicals, and she slapped me down most derisively.  Jack especially is a pain; he does major healing.  Try using a Fawn and switching it in on a regular basis to pop Tranquility. Pair it with a couple of Aquatics – maybe a Frog and a Strand Crab.
  • Congratulations, you have successfully Tamed Eastern Kingdoms!  Before Audrey will let you go on to Outland Tamers, though, you will need to finish…

Taming Kalimdor

  • Zunta: east of Thunder Ridge, Durotar.  Battles with Mumtar, level 2 Critter, and Spike, level 2 Beast.  Start with a Beast, a Mechanical, and a Flying pet.  The first one is always a cakewalk.
  • Dagra the Fierce: on top of the mountain east of the Crossroads, Northern Barrens.  Battles with Longneck and Ripper, level 3 Beasts, and Springtail, level 3 Critter.  Still no problems yet.
  • Analynn: east of Zoram’gar Outpost, Ashenvale.  Battles with Flutterby, level 5 Flying; Mister Pinch, level 5 Aquatic, and Oozer, level 5 Critter.  Mister Pinch is a crab, so with shield and heal himself.  If you were lucky with your Oracle eggs and got a Tickbird Hatchling, Cyclone is a great ability since it can hit your opponent’s back row pets as well.  Oozer the snail is considered a Critter, but he has Undead abilities, ironically enough.  A Cheetah Cub or Snow Cub’s Rake ability is a good counter to Oozer’s Acidic Goo.
  • Zonya the Sadist: southwest of Krom’Gar Fortress, Stonetalon Mountains.  Battles with Acidous and Constrictor, level 7 Beasts, and Odoron, level 7 Critter.  Skunks like Odoron have this extremely annoying ability called Stench which reduces your accuracy by 25% for 4 rounds, and they use it mercilessly.  Expect to see lots of misses when you’re battling Odoron.  Take them all out with Mechanicals.
  • Merda Stronghoof: Cenarion Wilderness, Desolace.  Battles with Ambershell, level 9 Elemental; Bounder, level 9 Aquatic; and Rockhide, level 9 Critter.  You can use Aquatics here to take advantage of Bounder’s Cleansing Rain, especially if Bounder goes first.  He doesn’t heal, so if you bring a Frog, you should be able to out-damage him.  Rockhide will use Powerball and increase his speed. Use a Beast like a Spiny Lizard with Screech to slow him down.
  • Cassandra Kaboom: south of Desolation Hold, Southern Barrens.  Battles with Cluckatron, Gizmo, and Whirls, all level 11 Mechanicals.  Whirls is the worst of the lot with the repairs, so stack Elementals.  The Spirit of Summer from the Midsummer Fire Festival is great for massive amounts of damage when you combine Immolate and Conflagrate.
  • After you defeat Cassandra Kaboom, she will send you back to Varzok to pick up a quest to defeat the second half of the Kalimdor tamers, which you can do in any order.  Alliance characters will also receive a quest to defeat these pet tamers, once they have completed the introductory tamer quest line.
  • Traitor Gluk: south of the Dire Maul entrance, Feralas.  Battles with Glimmer, level 13 Dragonkin; Prancer, level 13 Critter; and Rasp, level 13 Beast. Even though Glimmer is a Dragonkin, she LOOKS like a Nether Faerie Dragon and does Magic abilities.  You could use another Dragonkin against her, but beware of Rasp, who has Counterstrike.
  • Grazzle the Great: on the docks in Theramore, Dustwallow Marsh.  Battles with Blaze, Firetooth, and Flameclaw, all level 14 Dragonkin.  Hold off on this guy until you have level 15 Snakes with Counterstrike.  Grazzle is the Horde version of Kortas Darkhammer, only a level earlier.  If you have an Aquatic pet with Cleansing Rain or an Elemental with Sunny Day, take it along with your Snakes to overwrite Blaze’s Scorched Earth, which will stack with the dragons’ Burn abilities to cause double damage.
  • Kela Grimtotem: North of Darkcloud Pinnacle, Thousand Needles.  Battles with Indigon and Plague, level 15 Critters, and Cho’guana, level 15 Beast.  She is easy enough to take down with two strong Beasts, especially ones that use Devour, and a Mechanical.
  • Zoltan: Jaedenar, Felwood.  Battles with Beamer and Ultramus, level 16 Magic, and Hatewalker, level 16 Mechanical.  Beamer has an ability called Interrupting Gaze, which will interrupt multi-turn abilities.  Take Mechanicals that only use single-turn abilities, especially ones like Tiny Harvester, since it can also help to mitigate Beamer’s speed-reducing Eyeblast.
  • Elena Flutterfly: Across the lake from Nighthaven, Moonglade.  Battles with Beacon, level 17 Magic; Lacewing, level 17 Flying; and Willow, level 17 Dragonkin.  I recommend stacking Mechanicals for this fight.  Willow is a Dragonkin, but she also uses some Beast abilities, which are poor against Mechanicals.  Beacon uses Illuminate to make it a sunny day, which will boost the healing done.  A Mechanical with a strong Repair like a Mechanical Chicken will do well.
  • Stone Cold Trixxy: In the mountains above Owl Thicket, Winterspring.  Battles with Blizzy, level 19 Flying; Frostmaw, level 19 Beast; and Tinygos, level 19 Dragonkin.  Just like her opposite number Lydia Accoste, Trixxy’s pets smack you around.  Frostmaw will use Prowl to increase his next attack by 150% and Blizzy will use Predatory Strike, which will instantly kill anything under 25% health.  They do A LOT of damage.  I suggest trying to wear the team down with a Strand Crab using both Shell Shield and and Renewing Mists on cooldown.  Substitute in a Mechanical that has Wind-up or use a Celestial Dragon with Ancient Blessing to try to stay alive.  Trixxy isn’t easy even when your pets outlevel hers.
  • Congratulations, you have successfully tamed Kalimdor!

There, you’ve done it!  With both Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor tamed, Aubrey and Varzok will be looking for new challenges for you.  Oh, guess what?  These were the easy guys.  Next up: the Master Pet Tamers in Outland, Northrend, Cataclysm and Pandaria!

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In Which Kia Raises The Bar

Welcome to Part Three of my five-part series on Pet Battles and You: Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know About Pet Battling And Were Too Embarrassed To Ask.  You can read parts one and two here and here.

Now that you know all about your adorably furry and/or scaly and/or winged companions, it’s time to make them All Growns Up!

Leveling battle pets to 25 is exactly the same process that leveling a toon to 25 (or 50, or 73, or 90) is – you watch your health bar, go kill things, collect your XP, and repeat.  Blizzard made the battle pet leveling path even easier because it follows a regular character leveling path.  Not sure where to go next for higher-level pets?  Ask yourself where you would take an alt next.  It’s almost certainly the right answer.  Or go look at this page at  I told you they were my favorite people.  Or scroll down to the bottom of this post, where I’ve put a handy-dandy quick-reference chart JUST for your convenience.

Now, we all know that leveling alts can be a tedious… okay, downright mind-numbingly boring… occupation.  How do you (lolololol) battle through?

Here are two different approaches:

Solo Pet Leveling

Leveling pets solo (only using one pet per battle) is by FAR the fastest way to level a pet, but only pets that have significant damage reduction and healing abilities can actually accomplish it expeditiously.  The key to fast solo pet leveling is using pets that can survive three to four battles in a row.  Blizzard has given us a Beautiful Magic Button…

…but you can only push it every EIGHT minutes.

(/rant You will soon come to realize that eight minutes is A FREAKING ETERNITY.  /rant off)

The slowest part of pet leveling is constantly having to fly back to civilization in search of a trainer to heal up your pets.  Therefore, if you want to solo level a pet, you need to pick one that can heal itself during battles.  If your pet can last three battles, you are going to be very close to the 8-minute mark, and then you can click your Beautiful Magic Button and continue on your merry, homicidal way.

Pets that are great at soloing:  Crabs (I soloed my Strand Crab from level 10 to level 25 in about four hours), Turtles, Bears, some Dragonkin (the Celestial Dragon is an ass-kicker), some Elementals (if it looks like a miniature resto druid in tree form, it probably has good heals), and Toads.

Generally speaking, if your pet LOOKS like a player class that does really great tanking or healing or a Tenacity hunter pet, it probably IS a good solo pet battler.

Pets that REALLY REALLY suck at soloing: Exotics – pets that have strengths against hard-to-find families like Humanoid and Magic.  Some Elementals (the ones that look like crystals), because their hardest-hitting abilities also damage themselves.  Undead pets in general, because they are vulnerable to Critters and CRITTERS ARE EVERYWHERE.

If you want to just zerg pets merrily along as quickly as possible, here’s some tips:

1) Fight with your strengths.  How much XP you get for a pet is entirely dependent on the comparative level of the pet you are fighting, NOT what family it belongs to.  You do not get extra XP for fighting things that are hard to beat because they are strong against you.  If your level 10 Panther Cub battles a level 12 Squirrel and a level 12 Moth, he will get the same amount of XP for both of the wins.  However, he is going to have a MUCH easier time beating the Squirrel and will finish the battle faster and with more health.

2) Fight level 4 or 14 pets until your pet is at least levels 6 or 16.  Usually, my approach is to always fight battles with pets at least one level higher than I am, since you get more XP from battling higher level wild pets.  However, at levels 5 and 15, wild pets get to add a friend.  The cost in XP of fighting a lower wild pet is still far less than the cost of having to defeat a 2nd and 3rd pet.

3) Keep emergency backup at your level.  You do still have 2 other pet slots, so keep the bench warm with appropriate-level pets.  Remember that a pet must live until the end of the battle to receive any XP; a dead pet gets squat.  In a desperate pinch, it’s much better to bring in a closer and take a hit to your XP gain than it is to take that extra hit that kills you and gets you nothing.  And if it DOES come down to that pinch, you don’t want to find that your level 22 Dragonkin that’s fighting a level 24 Bandicoon is getting backed up by a white level 5 Rabbit.

Team Pet Leveling

Leveling a 2 or 3 pet team will feel 2 or 3 times slower than soloing.  That’s because… it is.  The amount of XP any individual pet on your team will gain is a function of how many pets were used (AND SURVIVED) in the battle and the relative level of the wild pet compared to you.  For example, at level 1, a pet will gain 50 XP if it defeats a level 1 pet by itself.  A team of 2 level 1 pets that both hit the wild pet and survive until the end of the battle will get 25 point each.  Still, even though leveling a 3 pet team is three times slower than soloing, you emerge at the end with three maxed pets instead of one.  In the end, it all works out to the same amount of time invested.

It just feels painfully, grindingly slow.  Here’s some tips to make it bearable:

1) Don’t stack families on your team.  When wild pets add friends, they are not necessarily from the same family as the original wild pet.  A Rabbit might bring along a Moth or a Crab to your pet battle party.  You’ll maximize your chances of having a pet that is strong against one of the enemy pets if they are not all from the same family.  If push comes to shove and you’re in a corner, stack Beasts.  You are more likely to see Critters than any other pet.

2) Whenever possible, fight pets AT LEAST 2 levels higher than yours.  The loss of XP that you suffer by using three pets in the battle is alleviated to some degree by the gain you get from fighting higher level pets.

3) Equalize pet health loss.  Have each pet in your team kill one pet on the other team, and then substitute the next pet.  Don’t keep any one pet in for longer than the time it takes to kill their opposite number.  Remember that you still have that (AGONIZINGLY LONG) eight-minute cooldown on your Beautiful Magic Button, so to expedite leveling, your team needs to survive at least three battles in a row.  Also remember that a pet ONLY needs to be in the battle for one round (makes and receives an attack) in order to qualify for XP.  If necessary, put the your terribly beat-up low-health pet in for just one round and immediately yank it out again.

3) Deploy with wisdom.  If the enemy sends an Aquatic, send in your Flying pet.  This should be a no-brainer.  If you don’t have anything that is strong against the enemy pet, at the very least don’t send in something that is WEAK against it, for the love.  Unless, of course, you don’t have any other choice, in which case – best of luck.

4) Press the SKIP button.  It’s almost always more of an overall health loss to substitute out a stunned, trapped, or transformed pet because the enemy pet will get extra hits on the way out AND the way back in.  Just hit the skip button to skip your turn and take your medicine.

5) Don’t be afraid to wave the white flag.  You can ALWAYS retreat from a battle with absolutely no penalty whatsoever, save the health that your pets have lost.  If you have a pet die on you, it’s better to retreat and keep the whole team at the same XP level than to continue with the battle and end up with a pet dragging behind.

Where To Level Your Pets

Whenever possible, try to stay within spitting distance of a Stable Master so that you can augment your Beautiful Magic Button with a very quick trip back to a person who will heal your pets for you for the very low price of 10s.

(Seriously, Blizzard?  I have to confirm EVERY TIME that I’m SURE I want to be spending TEN WHOLE SILVER?  EVERY TIME??  SERIOUSLY?!!?!  GAH.)

Generally speaking, every major town will have a Stable Master.  Not always, but usually.  There are some places where Stable Masters are extremely few and far between, and strangely enough, Pandaria is the worst offender there.  You would think that since it’s the expansion that brought us pet battling, you wouldn’t be able to move four feet without tripping over a Stable Master, but sadly that is not the case.

Now then, that handy-dandy pet level guide I mentioned: Pet Level

(Yes, yes, okay… it’s a PDF.  I’m SORRY, I totally fail at tables in WordPress.  Sue me.)

My Top 5 Favorite Leveling Spots

5)  Skald, in the northeastern corner of Blade’s Edge Mountains, just south of the Crystal Spine.  There’s a sweet spot there that has a bazillion Scalded Basilisk Hatchlings all piled on top of each other.  If you’re careful you can easily level 18-20 without moving more than 20 feet in any direction.  Unfortunately, there is no Stable Master within easy flying distance, so you’ll have to be VERY careful.  Or else spend a lot of time waiting on your Beautiful Magic Button to go off cooldown.

4) The Starting Zones – ALLLL of them.  It’s all but impossible to go more than about five feet without tripping over a pet that you can battle.  Plus, you can make loops around the central towns like Goldshire and stay close to Stable Masters.

3) Valley of the Four Winds.  My favorite part about Pandaria wild pets is that very frequently they come in packs of three and four.  Besides the ramped-up cuteness factor, that is VERY convenient.  And Halfhill is fairly centrally located, so it’s not terrible to get back to the Stable Master for a quick heal.

2) Northern Feralas.  For leveling 10-12, Feralas can’t be beat.  The pets are plentiful and you can usually find seventeen of them wandering within ten feet of Veir, the Stable Master at Dreamer’s Rest.

1) Northern Felwood.  I LOOOOVE Northern Felwood for mid-level pet leveling.  There are TWO easily-accessible Stable Masters (Nalesette Wildbringer in Talonbranch Glade and Hurah in Whisperwind Grove).  There are squillions of pets and they are all level 14.  I sometimes will take pets as low as level 11 and hang out there until my pets are big enough to swoop up to Winterspring for the last couple of levels before heading to Blade’s Edge.

The Absolute WORST Places To Pet Level

5) Jade Forest.  There are no Stable Masters at all in Jade Forest and the pets are very much intermingled with mobs that will aggro.  PRO TIP: If you are leveling pets in Cata or Pandaria zones, the mobs are still high enough to yoink you out of your pet battle if they run into you.  If that happens, the wild pet you are battling will be restored to full health – but YOURS won’t be.  Do yourself a favor and clear out the baddies before you go into battle.  Just don’t use AOE!  You’ll hit the pet!

4) Shadowmoon Valley and Blasted Lands.  You will spend far, far more time flying around LOOKING for pets than you will actually FIGHTING them.

3) Swamp of Sorrows.  Ugghhh.  Too.  Many.  SNAKES.  /shudder

2) Undercity and Silvermoon City.  Yeah, I know that sounds stupid, but you need to tame pets in the capital cities to get Big City Pet Brawler.  If you are a die-hard Alliance like myself, you have NO idea how to get around Undercity.  I finally managed to find something that might have been the door and swooped in on a Lost of Lordaeron wandering within a close enough distance before I got swarmed over by the guards.  Oh, and guess what?  You still can’t fly in the Outland races’ starting zones.  FYI.

1)  Storm Peaks.  In Storm Peaks, the pets, specifically the Arctic Fox Kit, only come out when it snows.  Guess what it never does in Storm Peaks?  Storms.

Next up – Throwdowns With Pet Tamers!  All the skinny you need to know about where they are, what they’ll bring to bear, and how to beat them down.

Posted in ACTUALLY Serious, Pet Battles FTW, WILD KERMIT FLAIL | 4 Comments

In Which Kia Builds An Army

Since I know that yesterday’s post got all of you all hot and bothered and ready to pet battle, we’ll forge ahead and talk about what to do now that you’ve tasted the sweet, sweet ambrosia.  You’ve got a more usable UI, you’ve made friends with your trainer, and you’ve won your first double-handful of battles.  You are officially addicted!

Now what?  What do I do, I hear you saying, to keep this beautiful stream of adrenaline rushing to my brain?!

Why, you need to build some teams!  Let’s talk about the pets themselves.

Most everyone knows at this point that a pet comes from one of ten families, and that each family has strength and weaknesses against other families.  For example, a pet from the Beast family attacks a Critter with 150% of average damage and a Flying pet with 66% of average damage.  At the same time, a Beast will get hit by a Mechanical for 150% of the Mechanical’s average damage and by a Humanoid for 66% of the Humanoid’s average damage.

While there are several different charts out there that you could use to try to remember all of those variations, I wouldn’t bother at this stage of the game.  I never use any of them.  If you really want one, WarcraftPets (my favorite people) made arguably the very best one and then put it in a printable format.   I don’t use them because Blizzard makes it VERY obvious with a big red or green arrow on the UI if any given ability is strong or weak against the pet you are battling.  They also give you a hovertext box that shows the same thing.

You can also mouseover the family icon on the top of the UI frame or in the pet journal to see if what the pet is strong and weak against in defense.

Keep in mind that just because a pet is from one family, that does not mean that the abilities they can use are also from that family.  You can see that the Fossilized Hatchling I’m currently leveling is Undead, which means he takes extra damage from Critters.  However, his main attack ability is Claw, which is a Beast ability and does extra damage to Critters as well.  Most of the pets will have abilities from more than one family.  Some weird outliers will have more abilities from other families than their own.  For example, the strange case of the Fledgling Nether Ray, one of my favorite pets.  Every last one of her abilities is from a different family.  You can use her to attack Flying, Critter, Humanoid, Aquatic, Mechanical, and Magic pets with a reasonable amount of success just by changing which abilities you have active.

There are two other important concepts to keep in mind while pet battling.  You can’t do anything about these, but knowing how they are affecting your battles can help.  First, each family gets a unique bonus, sort of like character racials.  Some are significantly better than others, but none of them are particularly bad.  In my humble, unasked-for opinion, the Three Best Family Bonuses are:

  • Elemental – ignores all weather effects
  • Humanoid – heals 4% of health every round it deals damage
  • Mechanical – heals to 25% of health after a dying once per battle

Your mileage may vary.

Secondly, each pet has a set of stats that are affected by the pet’s quality – health, power, and speed.  These all increase with every level; how much they increase depends on the pet’s quality and specialization.  For that reason, blue pets are always going to be better to level than anything else – they will always end up with more health, more firepower, and a higher speed bonus than lower-quality pets.  If you use PetJournal Enhanced, you can also sort your pets by these stats under the Specialization.  Some pets are more heavily slanted one way than another.  PetJournal Enhanced labels them as balanced, fast, resilient, and powerful.

  • Fast – very generally speaking, Flying pets and Critters are frequently the fastest, with some higher-level aquatics thrown in as well.  Flying pets also have the benefit of the family bonus of being 50% faster while above 50% health.  Speed is a huge advantage in pet battling.  If you get the first hit, you also get the last one – which means that your pet with 2 health left still has a good shot of knocking off the last 100 health left on the enemy pet.
  • Resilient – Aquatics, Dragonkin, and the occasional Elemental are often extremely good healers as well as having abilities that will block and dodge enemy attacks and often a giant health pool.  One of the hardest pets to kill?  A Strand Crab using both Shell Shield and Healing Wave on cooldown.  You might be in combat with one of those for days.  Hope you’ve got a really, really good Flying pet on hand.
  • Powerful – Beasts, Mechanicals, and some Critters hit like absolute trucks, and it only gets worse if they are attacking something they are strong against.  It’s normal to be able to 2- and 3-shot opponents, which is an big advantage when your pet is almost certainly not going to be able to go first.  If they can outlast the first couple of hits, they have the damage to seal the deal.

Pet teams are, usually, the best way to go, although you can have success with solo-leveling an individual pet if it has the right combination of abilities.  Once wild pets get to level 5, they get a 2nd pet friend to help them, and at level 15, they get two.  Soloing down three pets is therefore all but impossible if you don’t have really solid self-healing.  Instead, build some teams that go together well.  It may take some trial and error, and you may find yourself switching out pets in the higher levels, but part of the fun is figuring out which pet abilities sound good on paper and which ones actually do totally rock.

Some pets also have abilities that generate weather conditions which benefit other pets’ abilities.  I leveled up my Celestial Dragon with my Nether Faerie Dragon.  Even though the Nether Faerie Dragon is a Flying pet, most of its attacks are Magical.  That makes the Celestial Dragon a terrific partner for it, because she has Moonfire, which turns the weather into Moonlight and gives a 10% buff to Magic abilities for 9 turns.

Kia’s Brain:  /moan

Kia: What is it?!

Kia’s Brain: You are giving me a headache with all this totally useless information.

Kia: It isn’t totally useless!  Wasn’t it Sun Tzu that said something to the effect that knowing your enemy is half the battle or some such nonsense?

Kia’s Brain: “If you know both your enemy and yourself, you can win numerous battles without jeopardy.”  But that isn’t the point.

Kia: What’s the point, then?

Kia’s Brain: Weren’t you the one saying yesterday that you needed to forget the philosophic nonsense and just have fun doing pet battles?  This isn’t fun.


Kia: You’re right.  I hate it when I have to say that.

Kia’s Brain: Then, fix it, for the love.


So what should you do for your first dozen or so levels?

  • Start with a Beast, a Mechanical, and one of the following: Aquatic, Critter, or Flying.  Mostly what you are going to fighting will be beasts and critters, with some Aquatics or Flying pets thrown in for flavor.  The more exotic pet families won’t even appear on the scene until you hit higher Azeroth zones and even into Outland.
  • Don’t level it if it isn’t blue.  Trust me on this one.  You’ll hate yourself later when you do eventually tame the blue version of the white pet that you leveled all the way to 25.  Learn from my fail.
  • Remember that you get more abilities as you level up but you can only have three active at a time.  Don’t forget to check whether your level 10 ability is one you’d rather be using in place of your level 1 ability.
  • Have fun playing around with pets!  If you forget everything else (and you probably will), the most important thing to remember is that YOU CAN’T DO IT WRONG.  Yes, there are strategies that make some things easier or whatever, but in the end… it’s pets.  This is not a matter of national importance.  You will survive if your pet battling skills are a little rough at the beginning.

Next up – Raising the Bar!  How and where to get your beloved pets all the experience they need in life, including my most and least favorite places to level pets.

Posted in ACTUALLY Serious, Pet Battles FTW, WILD KERMIT FLAIL | 3 Comments

In Which Kia Plants The Seed of Addiction

Pet battling is the greatest thing ever.

I freely and fully admit that I was scornful, even derisive, towards the very idea of pet battling before Mists came out.  “I am a hunter,” I soliloquized (because no one was listening to me) grandly and melodramatically.  “I already have all the combat pets I need in Jake and his little-used brothers and sisters.”

Of course, that was long before I knew that you can get nearly 100 achievement points in the first hour or so of pet battling.

That is the hook, my friends.  Bite carefully.  100 achievement points in an hour is a most shiny and alluringly wriggling bait.

But let’s say that you, being of stronger intestinal fortitude than I, have thus far held out against the temptations of pet battles but now wish to succumb.  Where do you begin?

First, open your web browser of choice and bookmark WarcraftPets.  You’ll thank me.  If you want to skip all the idiocy I spout and talk to the people who REALLY know what they’re talking about, here is a link to their Getting Started page.

Now, you have a Curse client, right?  Of course you do.  Go open it.  I’ll wait.

Some Interface Suggestions

Now, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with the default UI for pet battling, except that the default pet journal sucks.  Blizzard very, very quickly figured out that pet battles were insanely popular and are implementing huge, sweeping fixes in patch 5.1 that all current pet battlers are thrilled and excited about.  Or maybe that’s just me.

But in the meantime, what can you do to ease your way?

Here’s four basic pet battle addons that you need right now:

  • PetJournal Enhanced: Currently the pet journal is simply an alphabetical listing.  This addon is the way the pet journal should be (and will be, post 5.1).  You can sort pets by family type, rarity, and most importantly – level.
  • PetBattle Teams: This gem of an addon allows you to set up to 14 teams of 3 pets which can be swapped in and out with a single click.  Also, if a pet is saved in a team, PetBattle Teams will save the ability choices you’ve made, rather than defaulting back to the lower powers when you switch out the pet.
  • PetBattle Info: The current default UI will not tell you the rarity of a pet until after you have tamed it.  This addon will.
  • PetCaught: Find out via mouseover of a wild pet in the world or on your minimap whether or not you have caught it and the rarity if you have.

Now then.  Do you absolutely need these addons to pet battle?  Of course not.  You don’t absolutely need DBM to raid, either.  Will it make your pet battling life so much better?  Uh, yeah.

Fortunately, if you are a true, die-hard addon holdout, there’s hope for you.  Some of the changes being implemented in 5.1 totally eliminates the need for three of the four of these addons.  Your patience will be rewarded.

A Philosophical Choice

If you are not at all like me and actually tend to think about things before you do them, rather than being hypnotized by the wriggling allure of fast and cheap achievement points, you might take a minute to think about what kind of pet battler you think you might be.  There’s generally two types: collectors and champions, although you can very easily be both at once (I’m both at once).  Generally speaking, collectors are after getting every last pet, while champions (my term, I just made it up) are interested in maxing out a few pets and beating Zen Master Aki.

It’s absolutely fine to want to do both.  However, if you are leaning one way or another, be aware that there’s different strategies for each that will make your chosen path easier and more fulfilling.  If you’re a champion kind of pet collector, you’re probably interested in picking maybe five or six extremely strong pets and just zerging them straight up to Pandaria.  Collectors, on the other hand, may have forty pets at level 10, so that they have a nice, comfortable stable that can easily defeat and trap any wild pet they come across.

Yeah, Forget the Philosophic Nonsense

Pet battling is fun.  That is the whole point.  Do whatever makes you happy.  If you’re really thinking this hard about it, you’re defeating the purpose anyway.  Stop it.  Go enjoy yourself.

Okay, but really?  How do we start?

First, check yourself: are you at least level 5?

You are?  Excellent.  Now, are you Horde (patooey) or Alliance?

If you are Alliance, go visit Audrey Burnhep (yes, a play on Audrey Hepburn) in Stormwind, near the portals to the Cata zones.  If you play Horde (patooey), you want to stop and see Varzok, an orc who lives near the flight point in Orgrimmar.  They will be your guides through the first half-hour or so by giving you easy quests and stepping-stones to pet battle infamy.  They will also give you a pet based on your race, on the off-chance that you have been thus far living under a rock and have not acquired a single one yet.

After you learn the skill Battle Pet Training from Audrey or Varzok, you will also learn Track Pets, which allows wild pets to show up on your minimap.  Wild pets are always the little critters that wander about the zones that up until now you’ve probably totally ignored, unless you’re one of those people like me who always do the Loving the Squirrels achievements immediately.  Note that not all critters are wild battle pets.  The ones that you can actually battle and tame will have a green paw print over their heads.  The rest are just critters.

You will start with just one battle pet slot available, but you will add the second and third by completing the Newbie and Just A Pup achievements, which require you to level a pet to levels 3 and 5 respectively.  If you are solo-battling, it will take you three battles to get to level 3 and about four or five more (depending on the pet level you’re killing) to get to level 5.  Possibly around the same time you hit level 5, you’ll also finish Cat Fight!, and if you did that without dying once, you’ll get On A Roll, too.

Of course, you’re likely to be like me, and instead of actually killing all of the pets you are battling, you start catching them instead.  Then you’re talking about getting points for An Uncommon Find, A Rare Catch, and That Was Close!, too… all of which you can possibly hit within the first thirty minutes of pet battling.

Audrey and Varzok will also direct you to the very first pet tamer challenge – either Julia Stevens south of Stormwind or Zunta south of Orgrimmar.  Both of these first tamers have 2 level 2 pets, which can very easily be defeated by your level 5 pet or 2 level 3 pets or 3 level 2 pets… or whatever combination thereof.  Thus you will finish Taming the Wild.

And once you’ve hit that milestone, my friend, you might as well admit to yourself that you are well and truly addicted.  It’s okay, we have a support group here – as in, we totally support your addiction and can’t wait to give you more tools to further ensconce yourself in it.  Don’t worry.  We have cookies.

Next up: Building Your Army.  All about the pets themselves, why you will love them and why you will hate them, and which ones you just can’t live without.

Posted in ACTUALLY Serious, Pet Battles FTW | 3 Comments