I’ve recently gotten back into World of Warcraft after about a 10-month break. I’ve had my fill of raiding (actually, that happened a while before I quit last spring) and, frankly, I think it’s overrated. Players strutting around, showing their stuff to everyone, bragging about their latest kill or the latest piece of epic gear they have acquired. You know what? Us casual players can do the same, because some things in this game take just as much time and effort to obtain – just in a different way. ($10 says this sparks some lame casual vs. hardcore or raider vs. non-raider debate in the comments…who’s with me?)
What do I do, you ask? Well, besides being on a role-playing server and enjoying time spent with that aspect of the game, I’m a collector. One thing that WoW does share with standard console games is its collectible items, which mostly come in the form of vanity pets.
As a disclaimer, yes, I do realize you can make just about everything in the game collectible. You can collect anything from armor sets to achievements. But, the one thing that seems to be put into the game that gives you no advantage whatsoever are vanity pets. They’re there for one single reason: to be collected.
I enjoy collecting vanity pets because, first off, many of the pets are cool. Secondly, the majority of them are able to be collected by extremely casual players. Sure, some of them will be obtained quicker if you play 20 hours a day, seven days a week, but if you’re not worried about the speed at which you collect, it’s easily one of the coolest things to do in-game if you’re more casual, like myself.
Some pets can be simply purchased from vendors, some require the completion of quests to obtain, some require that your reputation with a certain faction be very high, some are rare drops from mobs throughout the game world or from daily quests. There are quite a few ways to obtain them.
To keep track of them all, I use one of my favorite WoW-related sites – WarcraftPets.com. It has a rather robust system of listing and tracking your pet collection, as well as ways to keep in touch with other pet collectors around the world. You can see my collection here, and I’m quite proud of it.
Why do I collect pets again? Besides the reasons I mentioned above, at one time WoW pretty much ran my life. Even after I quit, I still enjoyed the game – mostly the RP-ing, the friends and my characters. So, to stem any lingering desire to get involved in the game full-time once more (which, I assure you, will never happen again), I find other things to do that are fun for me, and that is where pet collecting comes in.
It’s a thing of beauty finally being able to obtain a hard-to-get or rare pet and waltz around one of the big cities with it at your character’s side. In fact, I feel the need to show off a few pets that I’m most proud of. Sure, I may not have some of the ultra-rare pets, but I’m getting there. Take a look!
This guy really was the bane of my existence for a long while. He’s obtained by finishing an achievement that requires you to read eight books scattered throughout Dalaran. They always spawn in the same spots, which was nice, but just because a book spawned in that spot doesn’t mean it’s the book you need. It could be just a random dummy book. Oh, and did I mention the books have about a three-hour re-spawn time and despawn three minutes after someone reads them for the first time?
One of the other things I love doing in WoW is fishing. This little guy – Muckbreath – is one of the four baby crocolisks you can acquire from the daily fishing quest in Outland. Not just any quest (much like it’s Dalaran counterpart), but only a specific daily quest that shows up at random. So, you could go for a week or more without seeing the quest needed to obtain this pet. Of course, completion of the quest isn’t a guarantee you’ll get it either. And, there are four of them, out of which I only have one.
I wanted this pet from the moment I heard it was going to be included in the game. It’s a rare drop from one specific breed of firefly mob in Zangarmarsh. Why do I like him so much? It used to have an homage to the show Firefly. Back before they changed the pets to spells, back when they were physical items you had to keep in your backpack to summon, the item had the vanity text on it, “Still flying…” If you’re a fan of the series, you will most definitely know what that is in reference to. If not, check out the comments here.
Have I piqued your interest? Are you a WoW player interested in collecting vanity pets in your spare time now? Here’s some points and advice for aspiring young collectors.
- Vanity pets do not take up bag space any longer, so you can collect as many of them as you want!
- There are achievements for collecting 1, 10, 25, 50 and 75 vanity pets. The 50 and 75 pet achievements reward their own pets in return. In addition, certain non-pet-related achievements reward you with pets.
- Patience is a virtue! Many of the pets are acquired as rare drops from world mobs, bosses or daily quest rewards. Sometimes you get them right away, sometimes it takes forever and a day. Your patience will be rewarded when you finally see that pet that you’ve been working toward so long sitting in your loot window.
- Don’t be greedy. If there are other players trying to farm the same mobs you are for whatever reason, don’t get all huffy and try to race them to mobs. Most of the mobs that pets drop from re-spawn quickly enough. If that doesn’t work, there are likely plenty of other pets you can focus on collecting. “Farming rage” is not the answer.
- Keep an eye on the Auction House! Some rare drop pets can turn up pretty cheap on the AH from time to time. You never know what you’re going to find there!
- Some of the rarer pets can be acquired only from special loot cards in the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game. There are also two pets on the Blizzard Store that you can purchase. These all will have to be acquired with real-world cash.
For more information on vanity pets and a plethora of additional tips to help you collect, I’d highly suggest checking out WarcraftPets.com.
So, what’s so great about collecting vanity pets in WoW? It gives me more satisfaction and more fun than I’ve had in raiding since vanilla WoW, it’s a great way to be involved in the game and yet not waste your life away raiding five nights a week and it is something Blizzard is supporting wholeheartedly, adding new additions to the dozens and dozens of pets in the game in each major patch. Whether you’re a hardcore WoW gamer or a casual player, collecting these mini-pets can be a fun and rewarding experience if you give it a shot.