Advancing Skills in Pet Battling: Experience
As in the case of your actual character, your battle pets also have an experience bar that they use to level up. Every pet can level up to a maximum level 25, at which point it stops gaining experience. Gaining a level will instantly restore a pet’s health up to its new maximum as well as award that pet the stat points that are to be allocated to them. If applicable, they will also learn any new abilities that correspond to the level gained. Pet experience can be increased by various sources, which I shall list below.
Pets can gain experience by participating in pet battles (excluding duels). Experience is earned at the end of battle, and if you do not win or do not complete the battle, your pets will not earn any experience (XP). Pets must be alive at the end of the battle to earn experience. Any pets that have died during the battle are ineligible to earn XP and the XP they would have earned will be added into the living pets’ XP. Distribution of experience also does not favor a pet for having begun the battle or for having finished it. If a pet participated, no matter how much, they will earn the same amount of experience as the other pets.
Pet experience is directly correlated to the difficulty of the encounter. If your pets are battling pets that are much lower level than the pets you have, you will earn very little (if any) experience. Pets that are more than 5 levels higher than the pets that they defeated will earn no experience. Conversely, if you’re battling pets that are your level or higher, the experience rewards are much greater. Trapping a pet also rewards less experience than if you had simply defeated it.
How a pet earns experience depends upon the type of battle that had occured. In wild pet battles/tamer battles, the experience gained is evenly distributed (or at least close enough to even) among the pets that meet the following criteria: they participated (even if only for 1 round) in the battle, they are still living at the end of battle, they are eligible for experience (the pet isn’t level 25). This means that if you have one pet alive at the end of the battle, they will earn all of the XP gained in the battle. The same is true if you use 2 level 25 pets and a lower level pet (we call this a “carry pet”). The carry pet will gain all of the experience at the end of battle because the other 2 pets are ineligible to gain any more experience, so what they would have gained is given to the carry pet. It’s a good way to get your pets a lot of experience, especially if you use carry pets during some of the pet tamer battles. During PvP battles, all of your pets will earn the same amount of experience, but what makes earning XP different in this way is that all of your pets, dead or alive, earn experience. Unfortunately, most pet PvP happens at maximum level so the experience gained does no good.
Level 25 pets are still capable of earning experience, but they do not actually gain any of it since they are already at maximum level. Instead, the experience they would have gained will be added back into the experience your other pets earn (if applicable). Obviously, a team of level 25 pets wouldn’t gain any experience at all because they are all already at maximum level.
Pet tamer battles reward more experience for defeating their pets than wild pet battles, due to the higher difficulty in defeating them. Just like wild pet battles, the more difficult the pet tamer, the more experience that your pets will earn. An exception to this seems to be the Beasts of Fable and Celestial Tournament pets. They do not seem to grant as much experience as they should for the difficulty involved in defeating them.
There are ways of increasing the amount of experience your pets earn. The most basic way is to use the Safari Hat, which you earn from completing the Taming the World achievement. The Safari Hat will increase the experience your pets earn by 10%. This buff does not have an expiration time, so use it as often as you can when pet battling. Another way to earn more XP for your pets is to use the Lesser Pet Treat. They increase your pets’ experience earned by 25%. This buff only lasts an hour, though, but it is additive with the Safari Hat, meaning that if you use the two together, your pets will earn an additional 35% experience. You can also use the Pet Treat from the Brawler’s Pet Supplies bag and it will increase your pet’s experience gain by 50%. It too is additive with the other effects, granting even more experience. Finally, there is the Darkmoon Top Hat which will increase experience gained by 10%. Again, it too is additive with the other effects, and if you use all of them in conjunction with one another, you can gain quite a bit of extra experience. (Be aware that the Darkmoon Top Hat can only be gained and used during the Darkmoon Faire. Once the faire is over, all remaining hats will disappear, so don’t go wasting your tickets on purchasing a bunch of top hats if you’re not going to use all of them during the faire.)
List of possible combinations of increased pet experience gained:
With Safari Hat only – +10% XP
With Darkmoon Top Hat only – +10% XP
With Lesser Pet Treat only – +25% XP
With Pet Treat only – +50% XP
With Safari Hat + Darkmoon Top Hat – +20% XP
With Safari Hat + Lesser Pet Treat – +35% XP
With Safari Hat + Pet Treat – +60% XP
With Safari Hat + Darkmoon Top Hat + Lesser Pet Treat – +45% XP
With Safari Hat + Darkmoon Top Hat + Pet Treat – +70% XP
With Safari Hat + Lesser Pet Treat + Pet Treat – +85% XP
With Safari Hat + Darkmoon Top Hat + Lesser Pet Treat + Pet Treat – +95% XP
With Darkmoon Top Hat + Lesser Pet Treat – +35% XP
With Darkmoon Top Hat + Pet Treat – + 60% XP
With Darkmoon Top Hat + Lesser Pet Treat + Pet Treat – +85% XP
With Lesser Pet Treat + Pet Treat – +75% XP
If you would like to know more about the mathematics behind the equations calculating pet experience, Jerebear posted a nice guide on pet experience over at WarcraftPets.
As you can see, with these items, you can truly earn some incredible pet experience in a short amount of time. It may take some time to acquire these items, but once you do, you’ll certainly be glad that you did.