Blizzard is a sly company, and they know how to scratch itches many of us have. Many people who play Warcraft have a collector impulse, and I am one of them. In the real world, this impulse leads to a lot of occupied shelf space and more dusting of pretties than I like to think about. But in the World...of Warcraft, you can find something to collect that never needs dusting, doesn't require a purchase of a new display case or set of bookshelves, and in some cases doesn't even take up much of your characters' inventory. There are people who collect cool armor sets, people who collect mounts, people who collect vanity pets, and even some real masochists who collect it all.
I know there are a lot of things to pick from, but I'd like to get you started collecting vanity pets. These little guys range from the mundane to the odd to the pretty to the downright ugly, but no matter your level, it's something you can have fun with. For the purposes of this guide, I'm going to assume you are fairly high level and have some disposable income in game. So how do you get started?
Well first off, there are pets associated with each of the major starting cities from Vanilla and the Burning Crusade. While you won't be able to purchase them directly from opposite faction vendors, these pets are BoU (Bind on Use, which means the item goes away once you learn the pet) and can be sold on the neutral auction house. From the snake vendor in Orgrimmar, you can pick up black, red, and brown snakes. From the sad fellow under the stairs in the Undercity, you can get a pet roach. I'd say "Ew" but call me strange, I like the way the roach flutters around after you. From Thunder bluff, you can pick up a Prarie Dog Whistle, and finally from Silvermoon city, you can get three Dragonhawk Hatchlings. Now we jump the factional line to pick up Alliance pets. Keep in mind, you can usually find all of these vendor pets on the neutral AH fairly cheaply (white kitten being the exception), or just have a friend put some up for you. From the woods of Darnassus, you can get two owls, from snowy Dun Morogh, you will get a rabbit. The humans love their cats - Donni Anthania in the woods of Elwynn carries four kinds. While we are in the vicinity of Stormwind, check for Timmy - if he is wandering around, he will sell you a White Kitten. And lastly, the Draenei brought their moths, three colors to be precise, all the way from broken Draenor. These pets alone will get you your first pet-related achievements - you get an achievement for your first pet, and your 10th pet. If we are both counting right, you have 19 pets already!
You might have to be patient and wait for them to come to town, but the Darkmoon Faire offers a chance at purchased pets also - the child Flikk should have a Tree Frog Box and a Wood Frog box. The Wood Frog is a limited supply of one, so just check back later if he doesn't have one - he'll soon catch a new one and be willing to sell it to you. This might be a good time to look at some of the easier quest pets. If you happen to venture into Blackrock Depths via walking into the instance or using your Direbrew Remote if you had the good fortune of getting one, you can and should purchase some Dark Iron Ale from the bartender before you visit the Faire, because if you do, you can pick up a quest to help Morja lure her Jubling back. For your troubles, you can trade her another Dark Iron Ale for a Jubling Egg, which will hatch into a Jubling for you after a week.
Well, you got the easy ones, now it's time to start traveling a bit. In Booty Bay, a goblin by the name of Narkk will sell you two kinds of parrots on the cheap. If you are into the fowl, you should travel to Thousand Needles, where you will now have to track down "Plucky" Johnson to pick up your Ancona Chicken. Head on up to the Stormspire in Netherstorm if you are of an appropriate level or have alternative transportation means, and you can pick up a mana wyrm, blue dragonhawk, red moth, Siamese cat, and brown rabbit from Dealer Rashaad. Continuing our purchasable pet spree, you'll next want to take your factions' boat and flightpoint (or that alternate transport)) and visit the lovely and now largely abandoned city of Dalaran, where you can visit Breani in her shop and pick up a white snake, calico cat, and baby obsidian raptor. We are starting to get into pricier pets here, but these three plus the Ghostly Skull from Darahir in the sewers will bring us up to a grand total of 34 purchased (and one bonus quested) pets.
Here is where the rubber starts to hit the road. From this point on, you'll be picking up pets from quests, drops, crafters, reputation, and maybe even the AH if farming isn't something you have the patience for.
Let us next track down some crafted and tradeskill friends. First and foremost, you'll need an engineer - from them you can get crafted a fair number of pets. If they've worked on their skill since Cataclsym hit, you should be able to pick up a Mechanical Squirrel, Lil' Smokey, the Pet Bombling, a Personal World Destroyer, and a Deweaponized Mechanical Companion. As crafted pets from current content, beware - those last two can set you back quite a bit in terms of materials required. If your engineer has been lucky on drops and diligent about questing, they might have even more, but some of them aren't available anymore and I'm trying to stick to things that are fairly obtainable.
Also new to the game since Cataclsym are the Lantern pets. If you have a enchanter who you are on most excellent terms with, inquire about one of these. Again, as a pet from current content that has a rather costly ingredient, you might have to shell out a bit for this one, but it's pretty and currently fairly unique!
And last but not least, we don't want to forget about the miners among us, who have a small chance of mining up a Elementium Geode out of Elementium Ore nodes.
We hit briefly on quest pets back with the Jubling, let us return to that subject and cover some more accessible and lower level quest pets. In the revamped Darkshore, as Alliance you can just follow the main questline until you are given the little shrinking tree druid Withers as a quest reward. As horde, you can sneak into the cave above the waterfall and buy him off the Apothecary guy there, provided he isn't dead since part of that quest chain the Allies will be doing involves killing him.
If you happen to find yourself questing in Hillsbrad, and particularly if you like Plants vs Zombies, head to Brazie the Goblin and help him with his Warden problem. If you complete all levels of his Plants..I mean Peacebloom vs. Ghouls quests, you will be rewarded with your very own Singing Sunflower. Yes, she does sing snatches of Zombies on my Lawn.
Working our way up a bit more, once you get to the Burning Steppes, again just start playing out the questline. Somewhere around thirty quests into the zone, you'll get either "SEVEN! YUP!" or "Not Fireflies, Flameflies" depending on faction, the reward of which is, among other things, the Tiny Flamefly.
Continuing our quest pets by level climb, once you are firmly ensconced in the Plaguelands, look for Fiona near the river. Start her quests - once you have helped the first two members of her caravan and done the quests they give you, you can pick up Fiona's quest from the wagon. That quest will give you a buff - Fiona's Lucky Charm - which lets you sometimes pick up a "Hidden Stash" from things you kill while in the Plaguelands. Mr. Grubbs is a uncommon drop inside the Stashes. This one will take a little farming. An hour seems to be the average.
Our next quested pet is in the Outlands - when you arrive in Terrokar Forest zone, go find Skywing in the Bone Wastes. He asks you to escort him around - completing his quest gives you Miniwing, a pretty parrot type bird.
And finally, we round out our guide to your first pet based achievement pet by bringing up the fishing quests! The daily fishing quest in Stormwind (or Dalaran) has a chance to reward the Strand Crawler pet. You can also pick up the Shattrath daily fishing quest "Crocs in the City" which can reward one of four croc pets. Keep at that one, you can get all 4 eventually, you just have to be vigilant about picking up the quest when it comes up. You can *do* the quest with a fishing skill of one, but you have to be level 70 to get the quest. And by the time you get all of the fairly easy to obtain (though in some cases costly) pets mentioned in this guide, you should have dinged the Achievement "Shop Smart, Shop Pet...Smart" and have waiting in your mailbox the perfect reward for any pet collector...another pet :-)
You're on your own from that point. There are over 150 minipets available, so if this has given you a taste for hoarding tiny cute animals, you still have plenty of ways to go wild!