Monthly Archives: January 2013

A Post in Which I Gab About Skyrim and Reminisce About Stuff

I bought Skyrim on Steam for 50% off a while back during the winter sale, at the urging of a friend who has sworn by the game for some time. I heard great things about the game, and having some free time now I figured, why not?

My first impression was “hey, the graphics are nice” which then turned in to “I don’t like the movement system” which was followed by “ok, I get how to move, but where are all the dragons?” and quickly succeeded by “This sucks.” I promptly returned to WoW and left it alone for a few days.

Convinced I wasn’t giving the game a fair shake, said friend encouraged me to try again. So I logged back in and gave it my best shot. I died about a hundred times (pro tip: don’t murder people in their houses, it doesn’t turn out well), forgot to save even more, and eventually declared I didn’t enjoy it and, once again, returned to WoW.

It’s taken me a while to realize that the problem isn’t Skyrim. The game isn’t too hard or too complex or too demanding. The problem is me. I’ve forgotten what it was like, 7.5 years ago when I decided to try out my very first computer game of the genre.

I’ve spent last better part of a decade becoming more than mildly proficient in WoW. I take a bit of pride in knowing everything that I do, in being able to play as well as I do, in being able to accomplish the things I have. But I’ve utterly forgotten what it took to get to this point where everything comes easily. I had forgotten what it was like to start fresh in a world you knew nothing about, in a game genre you’d never played before. I forgot what it was like to know literally nothing and to learn everything by trial and error. Lots of error.

I had forgotten that when I rolled my first forsaken, I didn’t understand at all about armor proficiencies. I kept trying to equip leather and mail armor on a mage and grew increasingly irate when I was told by the game that I couldn’t do that. I had forgotten what it was like to know nothing about spells or talent trees. When my druid was a wee level 18, I had talent points in every tree, and had equipped my armor to my action bar. I didn’t understand why I kept dying to simple Darkshore mobs until a friend (the same friend as above, in fact) kindly pointed out over my shoulder one day that I should equip my armor to my character, and put all talent points in the same tree for the best possible outcome. Ooooh…

I had forgotten that my very first character ever, a tauren hunter named Shaunii, died repeatedly in the level 1 starting area because I couldn’t figure out how to attack things that were attacking me. I remember when I thought rolling greed on an item meant you were greedy and rolling need on everything was better because at least then you weren’t greedy.

Now I look back at my first failed attempts at Skyrim and I remember. I remember that I’m brand new to the game, which is a hell of a departure from WoW’s mechanics. I remember that you always have to start at the bottom, and learn as you go. I remember that I died tens of thousands of times while leveling my various characters as I tried to navigate the world and the various perils of being a new low level player. I remind myself to shelve my WoW-ego and to accept that this game is brand new and I’m not going to master it inside of a few hours, or a few days. I remind myself that I can’t play my level 7 Skyrim elf the same way I play my level 90 Warcraft elf. It’s not the same game. Slow your roll, girl. This game is entirely new.

I realize now how much I miss that feeling. Once upon a time WoW was completely new. I had never seen it before, never experienced it before. Every new thing I encountered was incredible. Every new zone was awe-inspiring and every new class and race was so profoundly interesting. I remember I used to look at this game and my eyes got as big as saucers when I saw something I hadn’t seen before. Now I only get that feeling when a new expansion hits and, to a lesser extent, when a new content patch launches, but it isn’t the same. I will never feel that way again. I will never see WoW through the eyes of a new player again.

So I think the solution is to stop complaining that I die too often in Skyrim, stop whining because the mobs are too hard or I can’t figure out what to do, and just take it all in. Because after I’ve played for a year or so, it won’t be new anymore. I think it’s good sometimes to take a step back and feel like an incompetent boob, because it reminds us that even if we think we’re big bad somebodies in a game, we all started out as fumbling, bumbling clods who couldn’t put one foot in front of the other without keeling over dead.

I think once my second druid hits 90, I’m going to log back in to Skyrim and see if I can’t put my newfound philosophy into action. See you in Tamriel or Azeroth, folks.

A Blog Azeroth Inspired Post

I don’t visit Blog Azeroth very often, but I’m thinking that needs to change. While I don’t usually have trouble thinking up stuff to blather on about, I do sometimes have trouble finding a cohesive topic amidst my own rambling. I like to yammer about all things WoW-related, which is kind of a pain in the butt when it comes to knuckling down and actually producing interesting content. All my best laid plans for this blog aside, I still like to wax idyllic about WoW.

So this week’s shared topic is about your favorite class, and what you wish you could add to that class to make it better. It got me thinking about something that had occurred to me earlier today, so in order for this to make sense I have to backtrack a little bit. Forgive my “old person telling a story” waffling. There’s a point at the end…I think.

I was playing my worgen druid (I have four druids who were at max level in Cataclysm, and in true druid-junkie form I am in the process of getting them all to 90) and I was playing in the Jade Forest. I was in the little wooded area north of the Terrace of Ten Thunders, where you pick mushrooms and release animal spirits into the wild. Out of laziness I cast stag form instead of just mounting up between mushrooms, and it made me remember another MMO I played a long while back. A friend introduced it to me as the most pointless and entertaining independent game ever. Basically, your character is a deer, and you run around an enchanted wood. The end. No, seriously, that’s it. There is no plot, no story, no quests. You can’t even talk to other players. You don’t get a name. You can sort of communicate via emotes, but it’s very limited. You start as a fawn and after a set amount of time, you mature into a stag. And then you run around some more and do deer things in the trees. The deer have a kind of vaguely unsettling humanoid face. I think there are a few spots in this pretty woodland where you may interact with objects like flowers and tree stumps. There are no monsters to kill, no items to collect. It’s purely a “run around and hop up and down” kind of game. And it was actually mildly entertaining. Especially once I found out that certain areas of the wood would change your physical appearance.

If you licked this stump, you got flowers on your horns. Find this shining flower and you would sparkle. Some interactions changed your coat color, gave you neat designs on your fur, or put a mask on your face. This is the kind of utterly pointless stuff I actually fall head over heels for. I love this kind of thing. And I realized, as I pranced around the Jade Forest as a stag, that it would be a neat thing to see in WoW, too.

The point I’m making here is that even though every new deer starts out looking exactly alike, with a little exploration and some luck every deer can look unique and distinct. WoW’s character creation is laughably lacking in customization, and regardless of how you randomize your features everyone looks exactly alike anyway unless you get way, way too close to someone. The minor details you picked out for facial features and skin color get lost almost immediately with armor covering 90% of your character’s body. In addition to updating the character creation options (which I feel is absolutely necessary to be competitive in today’s game market), a little in-game customization that goes beyond what was available at creation could be really fun.

Back to the original shared blog topic. What would I love to see added to my class? Well, the answer is more customization. Druids sadly all end up looking alike, more so than any other class in my opinion. In Wrath we saw the different colors in the different druid forms, and that was a major step in the right direction. I don’t personally care to see my armor on my bear. I think it would look stupid. But I would love a way to customize my druid so that he stood out a bit from every other bear, cat or moonkin running amok in Azeroth. So my answer to this blog topic isn’t actually druid specific, because if druids get it I think every other class should too.

In keeping with the idea from the strangely fascinating deer MMO, I think the heart and soul of my suggestion is that these things that make your character aesthetically unique should be found out in the wide world of Azeroth. I think it would be serious fun to have a ton of different items scattered about the world, hidden in inconspicuous places which change frequently (so you can’t camp or memorize them) with long respawns. The idea isn’t “I am setting out purposefully now to hunt down X item”. It’s more like “Oh hey! I found something under this tree! Ooooh neat!”

There could be a tab, similar to the glyph tab, to keep track and activate them. In the deer MMO, the effects are permanent until you find a new tree/stump/mushroom to interact with which then applies its effect and overrides the other one, which is lost. It would be better in keeping with WoW to have them be permanent, however, and allow you to switch between the ones you collected. The possibilities are endless: change the color of your stag form’s hooves, apply tattoos to your characters arms or face, exclusive hair colors, different antlers (like moose or horns like kudu!), or maybe even different types of bear or cat models. The items could be class specific (but you’d never find one for another class) or general. They could even be race-specific, such as an item that gives you a Dark Iron or Wildhammer skins for dwarves or shaggy fur for tauren or a true to life timber wolf skin for worgen.

What would I personally love to have? I would kill for a wreathe of small, brightly colored flowers strewn through my travel form antlers.

Maybe this is the worst idea in the world and maybe I’ve struck gold. But I would love, above all else, to make my little bear druid stand out. Just a little bit.

And if anyone is interested, the deer MMO I keep references is called the Endless Forest, and is a long-abandoned indy game found here.

Minor Glyph Madness!

I don’t see a lot of real information on the web about minor glyphs. Most of what you tend to find is some variant of “use what you think is fun” and that isn’t very helpful to someone who is unfamiliar with their class or their class’ glyphs. And since my main character is a scribe I find it my business to know about glyphs. Especially druid ones. So here is a run down of minor druid glyphs and what I think of them, to better inform people so they can choose the ones they think will best benefit them.

Minor Glyphs:

All minor glyphs are cosmetic now. That isn’t new, but it’s new to this expansion. Minor glyphs used to give you some sort of combat benefit, like removing reagents for spells, but now all they do is change cosmetic things on your character. They’re useless. You can do just fine without ever learning a cosmetic glyph. They aren’t required to raid or to do well in the game. But they’re fun and who doesn’t like a little character customization? This list will be in order from least useful to most useful, starting with number 10. This is all subjective, of course. In the end, you really do have to pick minor glyphs based on what seems cool to you, but hopefully this gives some guidance.

10. Glyph of the Cheetah — Why? Why does this even exist? Who in their right mind wants to go back to looking like a congenitally deformed sausage cat? It gives you no benefit at all. Unless you seriously loathe the new stag travel form and are pining to return to the cheetah-print days of yore, skip this glyph.

9. Glyph of Charm Woodland Creature — This is so useless it’s almost funny. With the advent of pet battles and being able to catch literally any pet available in the wild, why do you need a glyph that does the same thing, but for one hour only? If you find a wee beastie out there that you simply cannot live without, catch it. Don’t waste a spot with this glyph.

8. Glyph of the Treant — Another glyph that really does nothing at all. If you’re one of those who laments the loss of permanent tree form for restoration druids, this glyph will make your day. But if you don’t heal or you didn’t like Rotten Broccoli Form, then skip it.

7. Glyph of the Orca — If you’re sick to death of the fugly sea lion aquatic form, then look no further. Cruise the waters in style as a Northrend-style orca instead!

6. Glyph of Aquatic Form — This glyph sees very limited usefulness, especially since you don’t spend a whole lot of time underwater. Ever. But 100% speed boost while in aquatic form (that’s 50% baseline and then an extra 50% from the glyph) is still nice on the ultra-rare occasion you need it.

5. Glyph of the Chameleon — The real benefit of this glyph is for people like me who adore all the colors of the druid rainbow, and pout when they are confined to only one. I love being a different color every time I shift. It means I can keep my druid’s hair color how I want it (dark blue; absolutely always dark blue) but still see more than the dark blue bear butt I am so used to.

4. Glyph of Stars — One of the more visually interesting glyphs, this is great for those who dislike moonkin form or who simply like their regular form better. Some of the races have neat casting and combat animations that are fun to actually watch, or you might have a great transmog set you despise hiding under your feathers. I just wish the visual effect was more…starry. A faint shroud of mist and a few cascading stars was not what I had in mind when I first saw this glyph.

3. Glyph of the predator — This glyph would rank higher if only it was useful to more than one spec. You can only use track humanoids as a cat, so only Feral druids will see the full benefit of this glyph. However, all druids can shift to cat if need be, so you can still benefit from this if you don’t mind skulking around as a cat. I have never honestly had need to track things that often, but I know others who very much prefer to see potential targets on their minimap. It’s a playstyle thing. It can be useful to locate a hidden quest mob, or to search for rare spawns, or in PvP to keep an eye out on your enemies.

2. Glyph of Grace — This is the only glyph that actually has in-combat applications. In cat form you take reduced fall damage. With this glyph that benefit transfers to any other form. It’s something you don’t think much about until a boss has flung you high in the air, or you accidentally run off the edge of a mountain. This is of no use to Feral druids, of course, but for those of us who don’t see cat form much it’s very nice to have, kind of like an ace up your sleeve.

1. Glyph of the Stag — This glyph ranks as number one purely because it embodies the true essence of druidism: shapeshifting. This isn’t a glyph to give you an extra form. No, it’s to make the travel form you already have actually useful. Druid are all about having a form for every occasion, and this glyph means your travel form now benefits one lucky friend too. It came in first place because I find it absolutely hilarious and wonderful to cart my guild members around on my back. Hi ho silver, away!

So there you go. An actual analysis of minor glyphs. I am using Orca, Stag and Chameleon glyphs on my main. It’s all cosmetic, yeah, but that’s the whole point. Obviously some of these glyphs only benefit one spec, such as Stars. If you’re a Feral druid using Stars, you’re doing it a bit wrong. If you’re a balance druid using Chameleon, you won’t get any effect. Other than some of that, these glyphs are really just a matter of “what do you like?” and “how do you play?” I think Grace and Predator are especially useful in PvP, while Stag is a good all-around glyph for every spec and playstyle. Grace may also be useful in raiding, for those bosses that like to hurl you high into the air. Remember that once you learn a glyph, you know it forever, so don’t be shy about swapping glyphs to fit your current situation.

A Tournament!

Back in November I registered for a pet battle tournament, and the date has finally come! It was difficult pre-selecting a team of pets two months in advance. I wish now that the battle pet teams could have been chosen closer to the tournament date, because I have so many new ones I would rather use. When I had to select my team in November I only had maybe 10 pets at level 25, and today I have 30. That’s a huge difference when it comes to piecing together the ultimate team and I feel that I (along with many others) was at a disadvantage because of it. Oh well.

The turn out was about half of what registered, which is disappointing, but it also means less competition. Hopefully this thing will grow and registration for Season 2 will be up! If you’re interested, registration for Season 1 is long over but you can check out the tournament at gpbl.gkick.net. It was pretty disorganized and delayed to start with but I expect those issues will be ironed out by next season.

I didn’t make it past the first round (fluxfire felines are heavily deserving of a nerf) but it was still fun and I encourage anyone who is interested to keep an eye on the website for the next season.

We’ll resume poking at pet battles in a day or two, and I have a few odds and ends to post about as well.

 

Defeating Aki the Chosen

Aki the Chosen is the final of the pet tamers you will face in Pandaria. She has 3 level 25 legendary battle pets and can prove to be quite formidable when underestimated. Defeating her will end your pet-battle journey in Pandaria and will award one Sack of Pet Supplies. Once defeated, she unlocks all of the Pandaria tamer dailies.

Location:

Aki the Chosen is located in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, which means you need to open that zone via the quest line in Kun-Lai Summit. She is standing on the shores of the lake at the foot of the Mogu’shan Palace, directly east of the Golden Pagoda.

Battle Pets:

Chirrup – level 25 critter. He heals himself and the back-line pets and also has swarm move.
Stormlash – level 25 dragonkin. The toughest pet in the battle, he uses Call Lightning to summon a storm to deal massive damage and Tail Sweep.
Whiskers – level 25 aquatic. He will Dive and Surge and has a Survival move.

The Strategy:

The common setup is to use one beast, one humanoid and one flying pet to combat Aki’s lineup. However, in my experience her dragonkin pet will decimate anything in two hits or less. It took me a long time to figure out how to turn Stormlash’s obnoxious use of Call Lightning to my benefit. Call Lightning turns the weather into a Lightning Storm, which hits any pet that takes damage each time they are attacked. The trick is to use an elemental pet. Elementals ignore all weather effects, meaning you wont be getting hit by lightning every turn. In addition, elementals have a lot of damage-over-time attacks. DoT your target up and watch his Call Lightning backfire.

For the cricket, any beast-type pet will do. He doesn’t hit hard but he heals himself frequently. I used the Kun-Lai Runt from this article to great effect. Being humanoid, he takes less damage from critters and he has beast-type attacks. Chirrup went down in three hits. Otherwise, stuns and DoTs, or any debuff attack which lessens healing, will help mitigate his healing abilities.

Whiskers is a push-over with a strong flying type pet. I used the Bat (again from one of my previous articles) and took him down with two Reckless Strikes. Flying pets also have the advantage of attacks such as Lift Off, which can be used to avoid damage from Whiskers’ Dive ability.

I used a Fel Flame to embarrass Stormlash. Using both Immolate and Immolation, the dragonkin will shock himself to death. Every time a DoT ticks (or when he strikes the Fel Flame, getting hit by Immolation) he gets hit with his own lightning. Sit back and laugh at his misfortune.

Rare Pet Watch: Nordrassil Wisp

Some pets are rare because they are unique. Some pets are rare because they do well in battle and are highly sought after. Some pets are rare because they spawn slowly, one at a time, in a highly populated area. That’s the Nordrassil Wisp.

If you’ve ever played a night elf and died a lot (I have!) or spent a lot of time in a night elf zone, you know these little guys. They’re small, glowy blue balls of light that have the vaguest resemblance to a ghostly elven face. They came to the aid of the night elves when Archimonde threatened Nordrassil. What they truly are is not known, but the lore seems to agree that they are nature spirits of some sort.

Where?

These little wisps can be found in Hyjal (a level 80 zone), specifically encircling the lake beneath the roots of the great tree Nordrassil. The wisps themselves are level 22ish. If you’re too low level to get to Hyjal via the portals in Stormwind or Orgrimmar, have a warlock friend summon you. There aren’t many aggressive mobs around the lake, so if you’re careful even lower level characters can sneak in to nab a wisp.

When?

They do not appear to be connected to any specific time or weather condition. However, hunting late at night or early in the morning may prove beneficial, as the area they spawn in sees a lot of traffic during the day.

How?

There’s no “trick” to spawning these guys. It’s simply a waiting game. They seem to spawn about once every half hour, in a slow but steady trickle. A few tricks to increase your luck: kill all critters and combat pets in the area around the lake. I can’t verify that killing critters works, but the theory is that each critter takes up a spawn point which could be filled by a wisp instead. You can also log in to a character that isnt phased through the quests in Hyjal. Try logging in on an alt who hasn’t quested in Hyjal to see if you find more of the wisps available to you.

How does this pet stack up in pet battles? Well, I can’t speak from experience. I was never able to find a rare one. However, I have heard from many people that the wisp makes an incredible little battle pet. He hits hard and fast and is quite useful against tamers.

Best of luck!

Battle Pet Spotlight: Silkbead Snail

If you’re searching for a dedicated tank pet that can absorb large amounts of damage, avoid incoming attacks, and heal its self while dealing damage, look no further. While a snail is a somewhat, ah, inglorious pet, the Silkbead Snail has more than earned its spot in my battle pet hall of fame. The Silkbead snail, and snails in general, are not flashy or powerful. Rather, their utility comes from their ability to whittle down the opponent while simultaneously healing themselves. Keeping Shell Shield up will reduce damage from all incoming attacks, so much so that some attacks (like DoTs, which hit for very little) are entirely blocked. Absorb will keep your snail’s health from dipping dangerously low, and Dive can be timed to avoid the most devastating attacks. The snail’s motto is, “Slow and steady wins the race!”.

I keep my snail armed with Absorb, Shell Shield, and Dive at all times. Ooze Touch is nice, but I find that the snail really does need the healing from Absorb to win against hard-hitting enemies like the Earth Elemental. Similarly, the damage reduction of Shell Shield is simply invaluable. I never use Acidic Goo. Likewise, Headbutt just isn’t worth using when Dive can avoid incoming attacks. With this setup, my little snail can pulverize any of the Pandarian elemental tamer’s elemental pets. I use him whenever a stubborn elemental proves to be too much for my Eternal Strider (hard hitter, but he’s got no defenses).

The only issue I can raise about the snail is Dive’s miss chance. With Dive being the snail’s only true attack (Absorb doesn’t hit hard at all, and can be easily mitigated by any heal over time effects such as those from the wind elemental pet) it can be devastating if Dive misses. I don’t know if the miss chance is currently bugged on live realms, but it feels like my pets miss far too often. If Dive misses more than once, I’m in serious trouble.

Even so, the snail is my first choice for the Pandarian elemental tamers. Being a critter, he laughs in the face of Earth’s Crystal Prison attack and shrugs off elemental attacks in general. It’s a good combination.

Where to find it: The Silkbead Snail is readily available all over the Jade Forest in Pandaria.

Breed ID: I feel like a broken record, but speed isn’t necessary here either. There are only two breeds available, 3/13 and 9/19. They both prioritize health and attack, and are both just fine.

Pets with similar skill sets: If you can’t find a Silkbead, or a rare eludes you, you’re in luck! All snails and whelks have the exact same skills. If you have any one of them, you’re good to go. Take note though that Scooter the Snail is uncommon by default, and should be upgraded via a stone to rare before tossing him in with the big boys. The following are snails with identical abilities to the Silkbead: Scooter the Snail (Children’s Week quest reward), Shimmershell Snail (Darkshore), Rusty Snail (Ashenvale), and the Rapana Whelk (Dread Wastes).

Pair it with: I’m stumped. My little snail doesn’t seem to have need of any true pairing, although I am certain he could be used together with another pet for maximum domination. Got an idea? Leave it in the comments.

Battle Pet Spotlight: Emerald Proto-Whelp

If you can manage to get your hands on one of these rare beauties, they make an excellent tanking pet. The emerald proto-whelp’s combination of Emerald Dream and Ancient Blessing heals can keep them alive through even the toughest battles. Indeed, mine is only level 23 and has already become a veteran grand master tamer survivor. He does well against hard-hitting magic pets and with Emerald Bite in the lineup can be a real disaster for any flying-type pets. Want him to really shine? Take him up against the Pandarian Air Spirit and relax: the emerald proto-whelp’s got this one in the bag.

Breed ID: This is yet another pet which doesn’t rely on speed to be effective. Look for high attack and health, as a hard hitting proto will also heal more and a larger health pool will allow this little tank to outlast the enemy. Any one of the breeds will be fine, but breeds 4/14 have the highest attack.

Where to find it: The emerald proto-whelp is an elusive little guy. He likes to hang out in northern Sholazar Basin, specifically in the Savage Thicket with all of his other dragon brethren. They’re rare and heavily camped, so prepare to invest some time in this one. I have been told that killing the whelps and eggs in the area will help these guys spawn, but cannot verify this as fact. Good luck!

Pets with similar skill sets: nothing matches the emerald proto exactly, which makes him a unique combo of healing and hard-hitting attacks.

Pair it with: the emerald proto does not need another pet to synergize with, but pets with group-wide speed buffs may be useful. Dazzling Dance may fit the bill, as the proto is a slow dragon no matter which breed you find. The proto works well on an all-dragon team against the Air Spirit tamer in Pandaria, so if you routinely struggle with that one you might consider giving this guy a chance at victory.

Battle Pet Spotlight: Kun-Lai Runt

Here’s another gem of a pet who stole his way on to my team and has certainly earned his keep. He’s on every team I have that requires a humanoid or a beast, and he shines in battle against the Pandarian elemental tamers. He’s huge, he makes loud roaring and stomping noises when he follows you, and he can terrify half the population of Stormwind if fed a pet biscuit. What’s not to love?

The Kun-Lai Runt is a humanoid pet with mostly beast-type attacks, which makes it the ultimate counter-pet to critters. Their attacks are weak against it and its attacks are strong against them. Rampage hits like a truck and Mangle applies a useful debuff that other pets can also benefit from on the target. Where this pet really shines though is with the combination of its second-tier abilities.

Use Frost Shock to apply a chill effect, then use deep freeze for a 100% chance to stun the target. Once stunned, Takedown does double damage, making the Runt an unholy terror against dragonkin.

I like to use Frost Shock in lieu of Mangle anyway just for the speed reduction. It can mean the difference between Rampage getting all 3 of its attacks off and the poor Runt eating dirt before the attack is finished. The Runt can’t heal, but the passive healing from being a humanoid is better than nothing.

Breed ID: I would take breeds 4/14 for this one. None of the breeds have enough speed to make a difference, and with Frost Shock you can usually tip the speed scale in your favor anyway. What you want here is a pet that hits hard, so higher attack is more valuable.

Where to find it: The Runt can be found all over the snowy mountain peaks of Kun-Lai Summit. It isn’t uncommon, though if you see too many foxes around you might kill them off to clear the stage for more runts.

Pets with similar skill sets: There are none. The Runt is truly unique.

Pair it with: the Runt needs no pairing. In fact, the Runt is offended you tried to suggest otherwise.

**If you know of another exemplary battle pet that deserves its moment in the spotlight, leave a comment.**

Battle Pet Spotlight: Bat

I picked up a rare bat back when I was leveling my team through Eastern Plaguelands. As it was both rare and one of my highest level pets at the time, I swapped it into my team…and it’s been there ever since.

The bat has a lot going for it early on: it’s a flying pet which means it will be effective against the masses of aquatics you encounter leveling up. It’s also a very fast pet due to it’s passive feature, which guarantees you go first in battle even against the toughest trainers. That alone makes it valuable. And in case you get knocked down below 50% health and lose the speed buff, it’s Screech attack will solve that issue for you. Reckless Strike paired with Hawk Eye can one shot aquatic pets even in tamer battles. I like fast, hard hitting pets and the bat delivers. Leech Life can help you recover some from being hit and doubly so if you pair the bat with a spider for the Webbed effect.

The bat is my go-to powerhouse for aquatic pets. He’s on every team that faces a trainer with aquatics, and he’s part of my old stand-by team for hunting rare pets in Pandaria. When I get down to power-leveling pets in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, the bat carries my lowbies to victory by demolishing the striders and toads in the area. He can go a lot of rounds without needing a heal, especially if he one-shots his enemies.

Breed ID: I’m not the best person to ask this, since I don’t pay much attention to breeds overall. But because a bat is a flying pet, it gets a massive speed boost as a passive trait. This means that as long as you don’t fall under 50% health you will always be the faster pet. Look for a breed ID that has higher attack and health, since high attack will also make Leech Life heal for more, and the faster you kill things the less damage they can do to you. Breeds 4/14 have the highest attack while breeds 7/17 have the highest health and a more balanced attack to speed ratio. It’s your call. Mine is a breed 4.

Where to find it: You can pick up just a plain ol’ Bat in Eastern Plaguelands, Mount Hyjal, or Tirisfal glades. They occur as primaries and secondaries and are quite common.

Pets with similar skill-sets: Only the Tirisfal Batling has an identical set of abilities, while the Vampiric Batling has the same moves in different slots. The first is purchasable from the Argent Tournament (Horde-side) for 40 seals and must be upgraded via stone to rare. The second was only available during a special event back in the Burning Crusade, so is no longer obtainable. The Bat is probably easier to get for that reason. Another pet with the Reckless Strike/Hawkeye combination is the Quiraji Guardling, which is not a flying pet.

Pair it with: a spider is a good mate here for the Bat. Use the spider to web your opponent and then switch to the bat to increase its healing power. This is useful if the opponent tends to hit hard, as the bat is not suitable for soaking damage. It’s a little better than a glass cannon, but not much, so making the most of Leech Life may save your skin.

**If you know of another exemplary battle pet that deserves its moment in the spotlight, leave a comment.**