One of the biggest issues with pets is levelling. Unlike Warlock pets which stay in perfect lock-step with their master's level, hunter pets have their own independant level, and gain XP independantly of the hunter.
Typically, this isn't a huge issue. However, if you've got a pet that you haven't taken out grinding for a long time, or are trying to bring up a low level pet you trained (perhaps for its unique looks,) you're in for a long and painful grind.
The second oldest of my pets (in terms of how long I've had him in my stables) is Bisque, my turtle. Sadly, turtles don't make very good questing or grinding companions due to their sub-par damage and, by extension, threat output. As a result, Bisque has lagged pretty far behind my other pet, Tiddles.
However, I've been making an effort lately to bring the poor thing up to level 70. The trick with this is that hunter pets only gain XP on kills from which you would also gain XP. That means that if you are level 70 and your pet is at level 10, you have to kill mobs level 62+ or your pet won't get any XP.
That said, some mobs are better to kill than others. For my money, the best mobs to grind on when levelling up a pet are these chaps and chapettes:
The Firewing Warlocks are by far the best mobs to use for this purpose once you're at level 70, for several reasons:
- They're the right level: 62-63 for the most part, meaning you should have no trouble dispatching them even when your pet isn't really in a position to help.
- They're all in pansy cloth armour, meaning you don't lose too much damage against them.
- They drop tons of stuff you can sell off; trash, rep turn-ins and cloth by the truckload.
But most importantly: they're casters. That means that unless they're trying to escape you, they're just going to stand there chucking shadowbolts at you. This means you don't have to stuff about with kiting or traps or letting your pet tank. Here's what I do when I'm grinding on them:
- Hunter's Mark him. Let him know that you're coming for him, and that there's no escape. Running will only make him die tired.
- Send your pet in. Yeah, the poor thing's not likely to do much damage, depending on its level, but at least it won't be bored.
- Wind up an Aimed Shot. Nothing says "so long, and thanks for the XP" than an Aimed Shot crit to the face.
- Just before Aimed Shot fires off, hit Arcane Shot. They should both go off at the same time for that extra punch.
- If you're lucky, you might have gotten a double crit, which usually kills these guys outright. If not, just fall into a normal 1:1 Steady:Auto rotation. The warlock should be dead inside of four or five shots.
The reason I send my pet in ahead of opening fire is that the warlocks will typically start casting a Shadowbolt at my pet when they see him. Bisque is more than capable of taking a few shadowbolts, and it means I get to work my shot rotation without any pesky pushback.
You also shouldn't have any problems with runners; they don't tend to get very far once you're into your shot rotation.
And that's basically it. Just stay in the area around the mana bomb, and grind on them until you're covered in Elf blood from head-to-toe. Or your pet gets a level. Or you get bored. Or your bags fill with so much cloth that you have to go and unload. You know, whatever suits you.
One last piece of advice: put together some grinding music. Personally, I like stuff with a strong beat, stuff ripped from 90's video games, and Yakety Sax. Seriously, that song makes anything entertaining (warning: that second one is rated Very M for Lots of Blood. Thou hast been warned.)
For reference, when I ground on these guys to get Bisque from level 64 and a half to 65, I went through half a stack of water, ~1200 bullets and had the following in my bags afterwards:
- 40 Netherweave Cloth,
- 75 Runecloth,
- 4 greens and a lockbox,
- a smattering of various health and mana pots
- 70 Firewing Signets,
- 1 Arcane Tome and
- ~6 gold worth of vendor trash.