Hey all, been a while since I posted, but I figured I'd get this one out while I thought about it.
I've been playing the Beta recently, with one main focus in mind. Pet Battles! As an altoholic collector, the Pokemon themed Pet Battling that will come about in Mists of Pandaria is awesome. Not only is it fun, it's also challenging, forcing you to use strategy to defeat the other team.
Hints & Tips:
Don't worry about those unique pets that other people have. So, you weren't around from Vanilla WoW, and don't have Tyrael's Hilt. You didn't go to a Blizzcon, and don't have a Murky code. Fuggedabowdit.
I ran a little experiment with the Argent Tournament Elwynn Lamb vs. a rare quality Black Lamb that I caught in a pet battle in Elwynn Forest.
After leveling them both to level 6, here's their stats.
As you can see, the Black Lamb has substantially higher DPA (Damage per Attack), Haste, and Health, making it the better choice.
So if you want the best battle pets, you're gonna have to capture them. Don't even bother leveling poor thru uncommon pets though, only put effort into leveling the rares that you catch. But how do you catch rares?
Welllll, until there's an addon created that identifies them as rare when the pet battle begins, the only way to do it is by trial and error while battling. Hover over their portraits to see their DPA/Haste numbers, and look at their health. If those numbers are a lot higher than your pets, or if they have the little chevron showing that they have first hit capability, they're probably a rare. You'll get the hang of judging whether they're rare or not after a while, so don't sweat it. You can also capture one, then on the next battle, open your Mount/Pet tab, to see if the stats on the one you own are substantially lower than the one you're fighting.
If you want to get rares quickly, you can start pet battles, check the pets, and end the battle if you don't see stats you like.
Oooh, also, Aquatic pets are the bomb! Most of them have single target or group heals, which can come in handy for restoring health to your 3 pets without running back to a stable master, or waiting 10 minutes for the ability to come off of cooldown. 1 DPS pet and 2 Aquatic = EZ mode. The frog/toad ability to /Kiss is also pretty sweet, with ramping damage, plus the ability to CC your opponent.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and prognosticate a way to move gold from one server to another, with Blizzard's blessing. All the pets you catch in the wild can't be put in a cage to be sold on the Auction House, which kinda sucks. However.....all those vendor bought pets CAN be. Not exactly news, since they could be put on the AH for years now. Here's the twist though; you buy/obtain a pet on one server, and you're free to transfer it to any other server/faction side you want! Since the pets are shared account-wide, and you'd be able to cage them from any character you have, it makes sense that you could sell it anywhere you choose. No more starting broke on a new server, just sell off a pet and make a chunk of gold!
Another prediction I have is that people will level those vendor bought pets. Why? For someone who is starting to do pet battles, it realllly makes a difference to have a high level pet to be able to swap in. If you're battling a level 10 pet, and have a level 5 and level 25 pet, all the level 5 needs to do is survive 1 round, then swap out for the 25. The level 5 will get a huge chunk of XP, allowing him to level up a lot quicker than by battling pets around his own level. Think of it like getting run through RFC at level 10 by an 85; as long as you don't draw aggro, you get lots of XP for just hanging around.
Anyways, just wanted to share those thoughts for anyone that's interested in pet battles.