This is a follow-on from my guide After your first Level 25
Last revised May 2021, patch 9.0.5.
Now that you have three or eleventeen pets at Level 25, it’s time to don that shiny new Safari Hat and go chasing the wild pets that you can find in the zones, and offer them a home.
In my rough descriptions of where to find them, I mention the areas I would first think of looking. These will often not be the only areas these pets appear, and you should check the species’ map pages on Warcraft Pets or Wowhead
If you are having trouble, the Warcraft Pets page has multiple tabs for each species, and the Location and Comments tabs for each pet linked here can be very helpful.
Before we depart - Equipment Check
For everyone, but especially for people who want to work methodically zone by zone, the addon Pet Tracker will be a great help, showing what pets are available in the zone you are at, if you switch on the Species option on the map. These early Safaris will not be completionist since we are here focusing on the most immediately useful wild pets, but if you see a good-looking candidate in need of a home, why not?
For everyone, the addon Battle Pet Breed ID will be essential to see the breeds of the pets you can capture, so that you don’t waste time collecting the wrong ones.
For everyone, the addon Rematch will be invaluable so that you can filter your collection as needed, and keep a coherent levelling queue.
Bandages are not expensive - 5 PPC for 25 Bandages - and they are also rewarded from Pandaria dailies and World Quests. At this stage, you are building up your stock of Charms, and will probably want to use your Charms mostly for Blue Stones, but you will want to carry some Bandages and use them, though hopefully not after every battle.
Before we depart - Team Selection
When heading out to the bush, you want a capable team you can trust! You will want three main Blue 25s to handle each capture, and you will often want to switch one in or out, because they have lost health and you haven’t been able to heal yet, or because one of them is weak to the type of pets you are battling.
You can use any three pets, but some characteristics are especially useful.
- You should pick at least one pet that can shield and/or heal itself well, because when it comes down to capturing your target, you nay have to put down traps several times, and meanwhile your pet is being hammered. Also, at this stage of your development, Bandages don’t grow on trees, so having pets that can go through multiple battles without a heal inbetween is very valuable.
- You should pick at least one pet that can make short work of the two in the opposing team you don’t want to capture.
- And you should pick one pet that does weak damage so that you can bring your target down to capturable health without killing it.
My personal main Taming Team is P/P Emperor Crab, Anubisath Idol, and Grumpy. It isn’t optimally efficient, but I’ve been using the Idol and the Crab since Mists, and I’m used to them.
- My P/P Emperor Crab with Surge, Renewing Mists, and Shell Shield, can put up its shield and keep healing itself for ages against most opposition except high-level Flying attacks. Against high-level Flyers, I tend to replace him with the P/P Emerald Proto-Whelp, which also has very powerful shields and heals. Incidentally, these are two of the first pets on this list!
- Anubisath Idol with Crush, Sandstorm, and Deflection, is a tanky monster that can put up a Sandstorm to reduce damage all round, Crush through that Sandstorm itself, and Deflect any big attacks.
- Grumpy, like Lord Woofington, has the Superbark ability. It does a lot of damage, but never kills the target! It will only reduce the target’s health to 1. This is of course invaluable when capturing pets. Once you have hunted a particular rare breed for an hour, only to accidentally kill it just when you thought you had it, you will understand. Pets with Weakening Blow will also work here, but the the double-damage buff of Howl with the safe nuke of Superbark makes this the ideal capture combo.
Before we depart - Pro Tips
Be Patient! Don’t expect instant success, and when you are no longer patient, take a break, or hunt another pet or another zone. Don’t get frustrated. Don’t be in a hurry. You will get them all eventually.
Scouting teams. Sometimes it may take you many tries to find the pet or the breed you want. It is not possible to see a pet’s quality or breed without starting the battle, and when you abandon a battle, your team loses 10% health. You can create a “Scouting team” of random pets of any level you don’t care about, enter the battle with that team, check whether it has something interesting. Then you can abandon the battle and call up your Taming Team to restart it if there’s a pet you want to capture.
Quality. Of course you will prefer to capture a Blue-quality pet if you can, but it is definitely worth also capturing lesser-quality versions of the right breed while you hunt; you can always use a Blue stone on them later if you don’t come across a Blue.
Spawning pets. Sometimes, you have scoured the area, scouted every battle, with no sign of the pet you want. Pets and regular critters usually share spawns. To spawn more pets in the area, kill all pets and critters nearby (if you can - pets in some zones are immune) with your character, and wait a couple of minutes.
**Zones and Levels. ** Some species, like Rabbits, are found in many zones, and as such, they can be captured at many levels. A Rabbit captured in Highmountain will be level 24-25 (weakened to 22-23 after capture) while one from Ellwyn will be below level 6. It’s a lot faster to level a pet from 22 or 23 than from level 5, so when pets are available from many zones, consider looking for the highest-level ones.
Off we go! - The List
The priorities. These are the wild pets that will come in useful very quickly, and that you will use again and again.
Emperor Crab. Find it in the Briny Muck south of Dread Wastes in Pandaria. You definitely want a P/P breed; the H/H is usable, but slightly inferior. They’re plentiful, but often appear as backline pets for a Rapana Whelk, so scout out those when you don’t immediately see any crabs.
Emerald Proto-Whelp spawns only in one small clearing in Sholazar Basin, and it doesn’t spawn quickly. It usually needs a little camping, but only a little. At worst, come back tomorrow. You definitely want a P/P breed. If you are really getting frustrated, you can tame a Dream Whelpling any time at the end of the Emerald Nightmare raid in Legion. At the end, Cenarius brings you into the Dream, and there you will find Dream Whelplings. They don’t have the Breath option that the EPW has, but one of these will substitute until you have better luck with the EPW.
Nexus Whelplings can be frustrating. They are found only in Coldarra in Northrend, in the crater around The Nexus, they don’t respawn quickly, they can be hard to spot, and you want a P./P breed, though you might consider also picking up the other breeds as spares.
Nether Faerie Dragons hang out at the entrance to Dire Maul in Feralas. There are more NFDs on a typical day than ants at a typical picnic, but they come in a lot of breeds, and you need an S/S, so you might spend sone time hunting for the right one. Having said that, there are niches for the P/P breed and the H/P breed, so as long as you are equipped with an S/S, it can be worth picking up the other two as well while you’re there.
Unborn Val’kyr spawn in several Northrend zones, but I would head straight fo Grizzly Hills. There are three spawn points there, and a Valk is always up at one of them. It has two breeds. The H/H is more generally useful, but since they’re so easy to get nowadays, you might pick up an extra B/B as well.
Mudshell Conch is a snail found in Highmountain. For battling purposes, it is identical with the Shimmershell Snail, so either will do equally well, but you can capture the Mudshell at Level 25, which saves levelling time. You definitely want a H/P. Of all the generic Snails in the game, the H/P breed of these species gives the best performance. It doesn’t hurt to have two or even three snails of different species; they can be very effecive within their niche.
Rabbits! So. Many. Rabbits! We have all kinds of Rabbits and Hares everywhere! They have the same moveset, and most species of generic Rabbit have similar stats, so many of them are identical for battling. You want a species whose S/S breed has a speed of 357 as a Blue 25. I would suggest an S/S Arctic Hare, since there are lots of them at high level in northern Dragonblight, and they have a nice white coat. If you’re a bunny-lover, you might also consider as an extra variant the 325-speed S/S Grasslands Cottontail from Arathi, and the 341-speed variant Dust Bunny with its Smoke Bomb option from the Dusty Rug in Legion Dalaran.
Frogs! The Bane of the Undead, there are also a great number of Frog species to choose from. I recommend the S/S Leopard Tree Frog from Jade Forest and/or the P/P Yellow-Bellied Bullfrog from Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
Moths! A wise man once said “Never underestimate a moth.” If that first Moth Dust stuns you, you can be in a lot of trouble. The P/P Yellow Moth is ideal for a cageable moth, but when it comes to wild moths, you can count on the H/P Gilded Moth from Vale of Eternal Blossoms, and maybe also the S/S Silky Moth from the lake at Nordrassil Inn in Mount Hyal for some niche cases.
The Fel Flame is as Elemental as it gets. There is nothing special about it, but it’s easy to find in Shadowmoon Valley in Outland, and it is guaranteed to ruin any Mechanical’s whole day. Any of the breeds is fine; I tend to prefer H/P, but any difference is situational.
The S/S Chitterspine Skitterling in Nazjatar, with its Black Claw->Swarm combo, is a Bleed-and-Stampede pet that can do vast damage to Tamer or Legendary pets over four or five rounds.
The H/P Infected Squirrel from Eastern Plaguelands and the H/P Blighted Squirrel from Silverpine are two more Bleed-and-Stampede Undead that can be used as part of a team to take down a really tough big Legendary.
The next pets will find a place in the longer term, but you probably won’t have frequent use for them in the immediate future.
The Twilight Whelpling in Twilight Highlands packs a real punch with its Twilight Meteorite. They’re easy to find around Grim Batol. I favour the H/P breed, but there are arguments for the P/S.
The Kun-Lai Runt unsurprisingly roams the snowy mountains of … Kun-Lai! All three breeds P/P, P/B, and P/S have some niche; eventually you might collect all, but any will do for now.
It may not be a beginner’s easiest pet, but you could easily pick up an S/S breed Rose Taipan near Valdisdall in Stormheim. Its Blinding Poison, followed by Puncture Wound, can be extremely effective.
Any one of the P/P Junglebeak or P/P Axebeak Hatchling from Gorgrond, or the P/P Bloodbeak from Tanaan Jungle in Draenor. All three are identical for battling purposes.
The P/P Long-Eared Owl and the P/S Northern Hawk Owl are both species of “Darkness birds” available in Highmountain. The only difference is the breed, and both breeds have a place.