Comparing different methods of leveling using pet battles

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Comparing different methods of leveling using pet battles

Post by Vancleef » November 2nd, 2019, 5:23 am

When leveling up a few alts I took notes on how much character experience they got from doing pet battles. The data is presented in the table below. This data is current as of patch 8.2.5.


Here is the same data in text format:

Code: Select all

Patch 8.2.5
Current level|Xp required|Daily quest xp|Pet battle xp
Explanation of each column:
  • Current level is the character's current level.
  • Xp required is the amount of experience points required to level up.
  • Daily quest xp is the amount of character experience you get for turning in a daily quest. There are pet battle daily quests starting in the vanilla zones all the way to the zones in Warlords of Draenor. After that expansion world quests were introduced, and they don't give quest completion experience.
  • Pet battle xp is the amount of character experience you get for completing a pet battle on equal terms. What I mean by that is that if you have a level 25 pet on your team, for you to get the full amount of experience listed, the enemy's team must also consist of level 25 pets.
The Cataclysm, Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor tamers, Major Payne, Crysa, Environeer Bert, Jeremy Feasel and Christoph VonFeasel all have daily quests and their pets are level 25. This means that you will get both the Pet battle xp and the Daily quest xp if you defeat one of them.

If you defeat one of the repeatable Legion tamers, you will only get the Pet battle xp, since there's no daily quest.

If you defeat one of the low-level tamers in the Eastern Kingdoms or Kalimdor with a level 25 pet on your team, you will only get the Daily quest xp, since the battle is then considered trivial.


I wanted to use this data to compare different methods of leveling up characters by doing pet battles. To do this, I timed the most effective methods of doing pet battles I were aware of. These fell into these three categories:
  • Repeatable Legion tamers ― Most Legion tamers can be repeated indefinitely when their world quest is up. If you're unfamiliar with this method, you should take a look at the Powerleveling Guide on Xu-Fu's website for more info.
  • Pandaria master tamers ― This is the classic pet leveling route. Each tamer has a daily quest that can be completed once per account each day.
  • Low-level tamers in Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor ― These are daily quests spread throughout the vanilla zones. I've written a guide on how to beat these as fast as possible.
All in all, I compared 15 different variations of these methods. I will describe each method in more detail at the end of this post.

To make this as fair a comparison as possible I opted to do each method as quickly as I could. To accomplish this I used several tricks:
  • Rematch ― I used this addon to automatically load in my team for each tamer, and to automatically queue in leveling pets. This way I didn't have to spend any time organizing my pets. For three of the repeatable tamers (Sir Galveston, Andurs, Rydyr) I brought three copies of the pets used to defeat them. Rematch can be set up to automatically load in healthy identical pets, so this way I only had to heal every third battle against those specific tamers.
  • Azeroth Auto Pilot ― This addon is mainly designed as a questing guide, but I use it here for it's quest auto-accept feature. With it you don't have to spend time clicking through dialog boxes when accepting and turning in the daily quests, the addon will do it automatically for you. There are probably other addons that do the exact same thing.
  • "Gossip text macro" ― The following macro will skip gossip text from NPCs. I bind the macro to a key and after interacting with an NPC I just spam that key to start the pet battle immediately.

    Code: Select all

    /script SelectGossipOption(1)
    /click StaticPopup1Button1
  • tdBattlePetScript ― This addon will automate pet battles for you. Instead of choosing which abilities to use you just press a single button over and over again and a pre-written script will choose the right ability. I hadn't used this addon before starting working on this post, but for the repeatable Legion tamers this addon will make you much more effective and it's widely used by people, so I determined I should use it here to make a proper comparison. To make everything as effortless as possible I set the auto-key used by this addon to the same key as I use for the macro above. That way I only have to press that key, over and over again, ad infinitum. Is this good gameplay? I think not, but at least for leveling pets this is by far the fastest way to do it. To make my comparisons as fair as I could, I used the addon for all tamers, but in my opinion it's only necessary for the repeatable Legion ones.
  • I didn't use this last method, but with hindsight, to make everything even more streamlined I would've put Revive Battle Pets and Battle Pet Bandages on my action bar, and bind those to keys that are physically close on the keyboard to the key used for the macro and tdBattlePetScript. When I was timing the different methods when preparing this post, I had set up Rematch to automatically open its mini window after each fight, and then I clicked with my mouse on the heal button if my pets needed healing.
After timing each method I ended up with the data presented in the graph below. The y-axis is the amount of time it takes to level up (in minutes). The x-axis is your character's current level.


To not make the above graph too cluttered, here's a second graph that shows a few extra variations.


A few things to keep in mind when reading these graphs:
  • I'm assuming a 65% character experience bonus (from heirlooms + warmode, for instance).
  • For the methods that require flying (Pandaria, Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor) I'm assuming you're upgrading to 280% flying at level 70 and 310% flying at level 80.
  • For the repeatable Legion tamers I'm assuming zero travel time. I feel this is fair for the ones that are located in Dalaran (Sir Galveston, Bodhi Sunwayver, Tiffany Nelson), as you'll probably have your character sitting in the city by the pet battle arena if you're planning on using them to level up your character. For the ones in Stormheim however (Robert Craig, Andurs, Rydyr), there will be a very significant amount of travel time that isn't shown in the graph.
  • The daily quests are available every day, but the repeatable tamers are only available if their world quests happen to be up. However, the daily quests can only be done once per day while you could repeat the Legion tamers for hours if you felt like it.
  • When timing the repeatable Legion tamers I kept my full attention on the game, immediately restarting each battle after the previous one finished. I feel it would be mentally exhausting to keep up this pace for longer periods of time.
  • The methods that include travel time (Pandaria, Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor) were timed while in a guild. This gives access to the Mount Up guild perk.
  • For most tamers there's a small chance that you'll fail the battle and will have to restart it. My timings included no such failures, which means on average all the methods that can fail will be slightly slower than shown in the graphs. The battles against the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor tamers (except for Crysa) cannot fail.
  • If you're playing with warmode on there's a chance you'll be ganked. This is not taken into consideration in the graphs. Dalaran is a sanctuary zone, so when battling the tamers that are located there, you're completely safe even with warmode on!
  • Some of these methods will require a lot of Battle Pet Bandages.

Everything above has been about leveling up characters with pet battles, but most people probably use pet battles mainly as a way to level up pets. All the methods I've compared in the graphs above are methods that include carry pets on your teams. This way you'll level up both your character and your pets at the same time. The following table shows the average time it will take to level up a pet from level 1 to 25, assuming you're wearing a Safari Hat.


With the Safari Hat you need to win 6 battles versus most level 25 tamers to take a carry pet from level 1 to 25 (2 battles during pet bonus week). Versus Andurs and Rydyr you need to win 15 battles for a carry pet to go from from level 1 to 25 (6 battles during pet bonus week).


The rest of this post is for describing each method and how I timed them.

Repeatable Legion tamers

This is how I timed all the Legion tamers: I stood in front of the tamer within interaction range with my pets fully healed. I started the timer and then immediately interacted with the NPC, then started mashing the tdBattlePetScript action key. After each battle I healed my pets if I didn't have a replacement set and then immediately started a new battle. I did 12 battles in a row. After the 12th battle I healed my pets a last time. After that I immediately stopped the timer.

Sir Galveston

My time: 14m 32.23s (12 battles)
Strategy used: unknown author
Team: Court Scribe, Surger H/S, carry pet

For this tamer I brought three Court Scribes and three H/S Surgers. Both these pets were really cheap. With three copies of the pets I only needed to heal my pets after every third battle. This way you will save a lot of bandages and also a small amount of time.

Robert Craig

My time: 15m 30.82s (12 battles)
Strategy used: by wirerat
Team: Ranishu Runt, Menagerie Custodian, carry pet

I had one set of pets for this tamer, so I healed my pets after each battle. Since I timed this there's been a new strategy published, using a Stormborne Whelpling and Iron Starlette. It's said to be slightly faster.

Tiffany Nelson

My time: 17m 9.44s (12 battles)
Strategy used: by Salty Goldfish (Xu-Fu link)
Team: Rotten Little Helper, Servant of Demidos, carry pet

I had one set of pets for this tamer, so I healed my pets after each battle.

Bodhi Sunwayver

My time: 19m 17.16s (12 battles)
Strategy used: by Threewolves
Team: Servant of Demidos, carry pet, Stormstruck Beaver

I had one set of pets for this tamer, so I healed my pets after each battle. I used the TD script listed with the strategy on Xu-Fu's website when I timed this, but during my 12 battles I noticed the script several times playing suboptimally (using one ability when another ability would've finished the battle on that round), and during one battle the script got completely stuck, which took me a few extra seconds to respond to. I've posted a script in the comments over there that take these problems into consideration.

Andurs and Rydyr (Beasts of Burden world quest)

My time: 6m 45.57s (12 battles vs. Andurs), 7m 5.29s (12 battles vs. Rydyr)
Strategy used: by Salty Goldfish
Team: Draenei Micro Defender, Crimson Spore*, carry pet (it will take zero damage)

The exact same strategy works for both of these.

These two are a bit different than the other Legion tamers. You can only fight one of them over and over again, if you defeat both of them you will complete their world quest and you can then no longer interact with them. To battle them you also need to have Legion world quests unlocked on your current character. You unlock world quests by completing the quest Uniting the Isles. This quest has a level requirement of 110, which means you only can battle Andurs or Rydyr on characters that are level 110 or higher (the other Legion tamers are available to characters of any level).

When I was timing Andurs and Rydyr, I used three Draenei Micro Defenders and three Crimson Spores. This way I only had to heal after every third battle. Battling one of these for an extended amount of time will still eat a lot of bandages, since each battle is so short.

*Versus Andurs, you need to use a rare quality Crimson Spore. For Rydyr, this Spore can be replaced with any pet with the Explode ability and with a speed of 281 or more. This includes a uncommon quality Crimson Spore.

Eastern Kingdoms

The Eastern Kingdoms tamers are for Alliance players only. You can read the full details of how I level using these in this guide.

With my pets fully healed, I start in Stormwind in the position shown in the following screenshot, already mounted on my flying mount.


The route is then: Stormwind > Elwynn Forest > Westfall > Duskwood > Northern Stranglethorn > Cape of Stranglethorn (Bill Buckler) > Deadwind Pass > Swamp of Sorrows > Redridge Mountains > Burning Steppes > Searing Gorge > hearthstone to Light's Hope Chapel in Eastern Plaguelands > Eastern Plaguelands > The Hinterlands.

I've included four different versions of this route in the graphs above. The times below are with 150%/280%/310% flying speed (unlocked at level 60/70/80).
  • The full route, including Eastern Plaguelands and the Hinterlands ― 29m 6.81s/22m 22.39s/21m 26.45s
  • The full route, including Eastern Plaguelands and the Hinterlands, but skipping Bill Buckler ― 24m 27.81s/19m 0.37s/18m 17.72s
  • Stopping the route in Searing Gorge ― 24m 18.05s/18m 30.25s/17m 40.40s
  • Stopping the route in Searing Gorge, also skipping Bill Buckler ― 19m 39.5s/15m 8.23s/14m 31.67s

The Kalimdor tamers are for Horde players only. You can read the full details of how I level using these in this guide.

With my pets fully healed, I start in Orgrimmar in the position shown in the following screenshot, already mounted on my flying mount.


The route is then: Orgrimmar > Durotar > Northern Barrens (Crysa) > Northern Barrens (Dagra the Fierce) > Dustwallow Marsh > Thousand Needles > Southern Barrens > Feralas > Desolace > Stonetalon Mountains > Ashenvale > Felwood > Moonglade > Winterspring.

I've included two different versions of this route in the graphs above. The times below are with 150%/280%/310% flying speed (unlocked at level 60/70/80).
  • The full route, flying from Feralas to Desolace ― 38m 58.86s/29m 25.50s/27m 56.57s
  • The full route, using your hearthstone to get from Feralas to Desolace ― 35m 40.32s/27m 19.51s/26m 2.41s

The strategies I'm using to defeat the Pandaria tamers are by Salty Goldfish. His strategies were consistently the fastest and most reliable I could find for each of the tamers. You can find his strategies on his YouTube channel or in his Wowhead comments. He didn't have a strategy for the Whispering Pandaren Spirit, so there I'm using my own simple strategy.

The route I'm using is this: Hyuna of the Shrines > Whispering Pandaren Spirit > Thundering Pandaren Spirit > Aki the Chosen > Farmer Nishi > Mo'ruk > Flowing Pandaren Spirit > Wasterwalker Shu > Courageous Yon > Burning Pandaren Spirit > Seeker Zusshi.

I timed three different variations.
  • For Alliance players: start with fully healed pets in the Stormwind portal room, as shown in the following screenshot, then take the portal to Jade Forest (the portal is only available starting at level 80) ― 31m 3.94s
  • For Horde players: start with fully healed pets in the Orgrimmar portal room, as shown in the following screenshot, then take the portal to Jade Forest (the portal is only available starting at level 80) ― 31m 38.65s
  • For players of both factions: having already set your hearthstone to the innkeeper Peiji Goldendraft in the Drunken Hozen inn in Jade Forest, start the timer in your capital, then immediately use your hearthstone to get to Jade Forest ― 36m 47.26s/31m 21.85s/30m 40.36s
Now here are more details about each individual tamer. I wrote TD scripts for them since scripts didn't already exist for Salty Goldfish's strategies.

Hyuna of the Shrines

Team: Bronze Whelpling S/S, carry pet (it will take zero damage), Ikky

Code: Select all

if [enemy(#1).active]
use(Arcane Storm:589) [round=3]
use(Arcane Slash:1353)
if [enemy(#2).active]
use(Early Advantage:405)
change(#2) [!self(#2).played]
change(#1) [self(#2).active]
change(#3) [self(#1).dead]
if [enemy(#3).active]
use(Black Claw:919) [!enemy.aura(Black Claw:918).exists]
Whispering Pandaren Spirit

Salty Goldfish had no strategy for this tamer, but I use two P/P Nexus Whelplings with Arcane Storm, Mana Surge, Tail Sweep. It's fast but not completely reliable.

Thundering Pandaren Spirit

Team: Death Adder Hatchling S/S or Rose Taipan S/S, Dibbler H/P, carry pet (it will take zero damage)

Code: Select all

if [enemy(#1).active]
quit [self(#1).dead]
use(Blinding Poison:1049) [round=1]
use(Puncture Wound:1050)
use(Vicious Fang:156)
if [enemy(#2).active]
use(Blinding Poison:1049)
use(Puncture Wound:1050)
use(Vicious Fang:156)
change(#2) [self(#1).dead]
use(Toxic Smoke:640)
if [enemy(#3).active]
use(Toxic Smoke:640) [enemy(#3).hp>1715]
use(Explode:282) [enemy(#3).hp<=650]
use(Drill Charge:1921)
use(Toxic Smoke:640)
Aki the Chosen

Team: Sharptalon Hatchling, Fledgling Warden Owl, carry pet (it will take up to 956 aquatic damage, safe for level 1 magic and mechanical pets)

Code: Select all

quit [self(#3).dead]
use(Predatory Strike:518) [enemy.aura(Shattered Defenses:542).exists]
use(Falcosaur Swarm!:1773)
change(#2) [self(#1).dead]
use(Call Darkness:256)
use(Nocturnal Strike:517)
change(#3) [!self(#3).played]
change(#2) [self(#3).active]
Farmer Nishi

Team: River Frog P/P or Slithershock Elver P/P, carry pet (it will take 315 elemental damage, up to 472 if the enemy crits 3 times), Dibbler (any breed)

Code: Select all

change(#2) [!self(#2).played & enemy(#2).active]
change(#1) [self(#2).active]
change(#3) [self(#1).active & enemy(#3).active]
use(Dodge:312) [round=2]
use(Bubble:934) [round=2]
use(Drill Charge:1921) [enemy(#3).hp<=594]

Team: Rotten Little Helper, carry pet (it will take up to 1013 beast damage, safe for level 1 magic and mechanical pets), Nexus Whelpling P/P

Code: Select all

use(Greench's Gift:1076)
use(Club:1079) [enemy(#3).active]
use(Booby-Trapped Presents:1080)
change(#2) [!self(#2).played]
change(#3) [self(#2).active]
use(Arcane Storm:589)
use(Mana Surge:489)
change(#1) [self(#3).dead]
Flowing Pandaren Spirit

Team: carry pet (it will take up to 536 elemental damage), Blackfuse Bombling (any breed), Ikky

Code: Select all

standby [round=1]
change(#2) [self(#1).active]
use(Flame Jet:1041)
change(#3) [self(#2).dead] 
use(Quills:184) [enemy(#1).active]
use(Black Claw:919) [!enemy.aura(Black Claw:918).exists]
Wastewalker Shu

Team: Bound Stream S/B, carry pet (it will take zero damage), Snowfeather Hatchling

The script here is incomplete. Sometimes you will have to use Healing Wave when facing the last enemy pet, but I haven't figured out exactly under which conditions.

Code: Select all

if [enemy(#1).active]
use(Pump:297) [round=1]
change(#2) [self(#1).active]
change(#3) [self(#2).active] 
use(Predatory Strike:518) [enemy.aura(Shattered Defenses:542).exists]
use(Falcosaur Swarm!:1773)
if [enemy(#2).active]
use(Falcosaur Swarm!:1773)
change(#1) [self(#3).dead]
if [enemy(#3).active]
use(Pump:297) [round<13]
Courageous Yon

Team: Iron Starlette P/P, Zandalari Footslasher S/S or Zandalari Kneebiter S/S, carry pet (it will take zero damage)

I've done a minor change to Salty Goldfish's strategy here. Instead of going Supercharge + Wind-Up at the end, I go Wind-Up + Toxic Smoke. This way you will save one round if Wind-Up happens to crit.

Code: Select all

quit [self(#2).dead & enemy(#2).active]
change(#3) [!self(#3).played & enemy(#3).active] 
change(#2) [self(#3).active] 
change(#1) [self(#2).dead] 
change(#2) [round=5]
use(Supercharge:208) [round=2]
use(Toxic Smoke:640) [enemy(#3).hp<=433]
use(Bloodfang:917) [enemy.aura(Shattered Defenses:542).exists]
use(Hunting Party:921)
Burning Pandaren Spirit

Team: Servant of Demidos, carry pet (it will take zero damage), Macabre Marionette

Code: Select all

if [enemy(#1).active]
use(Clean-Up:456) [round=1]
change(#2) [!self(#2).played]
change(#3) [self(#2).active]
quit [self(#3).dead]
use(Macabre Maraca:1094)
if [enemy(#2).active]
use(Dead Man's Party:1093)
change(#1) [self(#3).dead]
use(Magic Sword:1085)
if [enemy(#3).active]
use(Magic Sword:1085)
Seeker Zusshi

Team: Zandalari Anklerender P/B, Teroclaw Hatchling, carry pet (it will take 75 elemental damage, 112 if critical)

I've been using a P/S Zandalari Anklerender here since I don't have a P/B in my collection, and it has been working fine. Using the P/B breed is probably slightly more reliable.

Code: Select all

if [enemy(#1).active] 
quit [self(#1).dead] 
use(Black Claw:919) [!enemy.aura(Black Claw:918).exists] 
use(Primal Cry:920) 
use(Hunting Party:921) 
if [enemy(#2).active] 
use(Black Claw:919) [!enemy.aura(Black Claw:918).exists] 
use(Primal Cry:920) 
change(#2) [self(#1).dead] 
use(Alpha Strike:504) [round=6] 
use(Dodge:312) [enemy.aura(Underwater:830).exists] 
if [enemy(#3).active] 
change(#3) [!self(#3).played & weather(Cleansing Rain:229)] 
change(#2) [self(#3).active] 
use(Alpha Strike:504) 

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Re: Comparing different methods of leveling using pet battles

Post by Africanleopard » November 14th, 2019, 10:06 am

Thanks for taking the time to do this. I have a few alts I need to level so I am going to give this a bash :D. I am rather tired of questing through all the same zones again :|

Edited to add that with the WoW 15th anniversary buff it’s an additional 10% XP. I was levelling my level 113 in Voldunai with pet battles and I got just over 15K XP per battle.

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Joined:June 12th, 2013
Pet Score:13230

Re: Comparing different methods of leveling using pet battles

Post by Ranok » November 14th, 2019, 8:45 pm

Awesome post, must have put a LOT of work into that.

Just a couple of notes that would explain why we might not see exactly same numbers as yours for player XP.

As A-Leopard pointed out there's currently that lovely 15% Anniversary boost. And it's not just a one week thing, lasts till January 7 of next year.

Also your mileage may vary depending on your faction. Blizzard introduced a handicapping system that keeps track of which faction is doing better with PvP kills and adjusts the War Mode XP bonus each week to try to help out the losing side. Horde apparently been pretty much ruling PvP, currently War Mode giving 10% buff to Horde, 25% for Alliance (was only 20% Alliance last week but have seen it going as high as 30%).

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