Unruly Loyalty: The 5% Rule

As you may remember, I’ve been trying to piece together the underpinnings of pet loyalty in my free time. Today I spent many hours logged in (although I wouldn’t exactly call it playing), taming new pets and waiting for them to reach loyalty level 2 (Unruly), stopwatch and notepad in hand. The data I gathered indicates some interesting possibilities, although I’m not quite ready to call it definitive.

The most useful thing I discovered: It looks like that, in order to get a newly tamed pet from Rebellious (loyalty 1) to Unruly (loyalty 2), the pet needs to earn experience equal to 5% of the experience you need for your next level.

In other words, let’s say I have a level 11 hunter. I need 8800 total experience to reach level 12. (It doesn’t matter whether I am just barely past level 11 or only a bar shy of 12 — I’m just looking at how much total experience it takes me to get from 11 to 12.) If I tame a brand new pet, I need to hunt with that pet until it gains 440 experience — 5% of 8800.

For pets that are the same level as you (and therefore don’t earn experience), it works just the same except that the pet doesn’t actually get to keep the experience. That is, if a level 11 pet would have gotten 100 experience for each level 11 enemy it killed, it needs to kill 5 of them (500 > 440 > 400) in order to level up its loyalty, even though it doesn’t actually get to keep any of that experience towards its level.

Most of the time, you can just look at your own experience bar and divide by 20 to figure out how much experience you pet will need to make it to Unruly. At level 70, though, you don’t have an experience bar to look at. But never fear — I tested it empirically! A pet needs somewhere between 40,524 and 41,138 experience to get to Unruly. (I killed level 70 Lost Torranche at 614 xp a pop until the pet’s loyalty increased.) This fits the 5% rule, assuming that the experience a hunter needs to theoretically get to level 71 is in the same neighborhood as the 69 to 70 amount.

There are a couple of important things to note here:

  • The family of the pet doesn’t seem to matter. I tested with boars, cats, and spiders.
  • The level of the pet doesn’t seem to matter. I tested with level 5, 6, 10, 11, 19, 20, 36, and 69 pets.
  • Earning experience seems to be necessary for the jump from loyalty 1 to loyalty 2. Twice I tried not earning experience at all but just keeping my pet happy, and gave up each time after 2 to 3 hours had past. I tried this with a level 10 hunter on the assumption that the time would be smallest at the lowest level.) In addition, every pet I tested increased its loyalty to Unruly immediately after a kill.
  • However, this does not rule out a time component in addition to the experience component. Nor does this necessarily apply to the jump between other loyalty levels. Certainly decreasing loyalty is a factor of time.

This research raises as many questions as it answers. But at least I’m getting somewhere finally!

Check out the updated info on this subject: Loyalty Gain: Time and Experience

26 thoughts on “Unruly Loyalty: The 5% Rule

  1. Marzix

    ive sat in shat before just feeding when it became unhappy, went out and killed like 2 things and it went up a level. ive also had it gain a loyalty level when ive dismounted before and it appeared.

  2. Mania Post author

    Marzix: *nod* There’s a good bit of research left to do on getting to the other loyalty levels. I suspect that either the time component for them is much stronger, or that there’s some sort of trade-off between time and experience on all levels that’s hard to measure for Rebellious to Unruly.

  3. cloudmonkey

    Hi Mania,

    I don’t doubt your research but I do think the pet loyalty process is just a little more complicated.

    I’ve had pets go up a loyalty level just following me around Orgrimmar. Maybe experience is required to get to Unruly but not for some subsequent levels?

    I’ve also had pets go up a loyalty level when I turned in a quest. It may have just been coincidence, but maybe experience earned by the hunter independent from the experience earned by the pet plays a role as well?

    I’m glad you’re looking into this; it’s always seemed a bit mysterious to me.

  4. Maahl

    I’m not a hard researcher, so I have no evidence nor work to back up my theories. I’ve noticed many times how pets only sometimes seem to go up by a loyalty level right after a kill–sometimes they go up by a loyalty level several minutes later, even though you’re just standing around.

    This lead me to presume this about loyalty:

    Loyalty works like happiness. It only increases when stimulated (happiness increase is stimulated by Feed Pet, loyalty increase is stimulated by experience gain or what would be experience game) but does not stop increasing right after the stimulant (food or exp) is gone–it works as an increase-over-time effect. After battle, loyalty begins to increase, and continues increasing for some period of time after the battle, tick-by-tick, same as happiness continues to increase after feeding tick-by-tick. This could explain a pet gaining a loyalty level while not battling, depending on how long loyalty continues to increase.

    Again, I haven’t done research–I would hardly know where to begin. But I figured hey, it can’t hurt to speak my mind, can it? ;)

  5. modulok

    This makes me wonder. I have a 39 twink hunter that I want to get a new pet with. Is it even possible for me to obtain a new pet and then have it reach “Best Friend” status and get training points and all that while I don’t gain any experience? From everything that I can tell the answer seems to be no. Which means that if you are planning on twinking with a hunter you should also plan for a pvp pet several levels in advance to make sure that you have the correct pet for your style of play by the time you hit the bracket level for your BattleGround. Please correct me if I am wrong on this.

  6. nobbie

    Interesting read, and now I have a difficult question for you:

    I’m currently playing with the level 70 tier-6 hunter on the 2.2 ptr, and tamed a red Blades Edge Mountains raptor at level 67 to test the new “dash” abilty on it. Since that raptor comes with no skills whatsoever, I’ll have to get it at least to “unruly” to gain some training points for “dash 3″.
    5 hours have passed so far, plus 2 hours pet feeding without mob grinding, and the raptor ist still at loyality level 1 (rebellious). It was tamed at level 67 and is now 68.5. The mobs I’m grinding are the level 67-68 raptors, spiders and wind serpents in the Blades Edge Mountains, so it should have leveled by now. What’s going on here?

  7. Mania Post author

    Znodis: Wow! You have a lot more patience than I do! Thanks so much for trying that and letting us know how it went!

    modulok: With what we know right now (chcek out Znodis’ post as well), it looks like you are going to have to earn some XP to get your training points. How much XP you’ll need is the question.

    nobbie: Can you tell me how much XP your pet has towards level 69 at this point? I would have assumed that your pet would have reached Unrult by now, so I’m really now sure what’s going on. I had heard rumors that some pets seem to get inextricably stuck, but since I haven’t experienced it myself I really don’t know.

  8. Tsani

    From my experience you NEED to earn xp to get to loyalty 2. I’ve grinded for hours and hours on grey mobs for leather with a newly tamed pet and got no loyalty whatsoever, went to higher level mobs that were barely green to me and an hour later *bang* Loyalty Level 2.

    From 2 to 3 seems to be a mix, but I’ve never tried finding out the math behind it. All other loyalty levels can be done with just time, since I got those once while doing nothing but fishing for AD writs or hanging around the Ironforge AH.

    Pets that are at or near the max level limit may have a slight change in the loyalty math or they are vunerable to a bug of some sort. Pets above L55 were pretty headstrong back in the max L60 days, and L68ish pets seem to have the same problems getting loyalty now that we are at max L70.

    Nobbie: If it is a bug, then perhaps forcing the loyalty/happiness to go down may enable it to get back up. I had the same trouble with a WS cat once, and after several hours of grinding in EPL I was about to give up. Got into a bit of a bad spot and my pet was killed 3 times in a row. Half an hour after that *ding – loyalty level 2*. One person’s experience may not be proof, but it can’t hurt to try… just make sure to bring plenty of pet food.

  9. Mania Post author

    nobbie: Yeah, that definitely doesn’t sound right. I don’t really have an idea, I’m afraid. Either your pet is bugged, you’ve hot some very odd condition (but it doesn’t sound like you have done anything unusual), or I need to go back to the drawing board with my theory!

  10. nobbie


    Considering that FD is severly bugged on the 2.2. ptr, it might well be the case that the raptors too are bugged since the “dash” implementation ;)

  11. Someone

    Yep, I’d vote for the bug theory and personally would discard anything from the PTR! I had a few chars there for one of my studies as well and dropped it as it’s way too buggy to be reliable…

  12. Guitgoin

    Hey Mania, this is my first comment and I’m incredibly happy I stumbled across your website. But over the weekend I tamed a ravager and got him to loyalty level 2. Then after that I went to work on leveling my skinning since I neglected it. But after hours of killing low levels my pet still stayed at loyalty level 2 and didn’t gain 3 until I started getting experience for my kills. I’m not saying this is inconclusive evidence, but I sure know I’m convinced that you need to get the experience to get your pet to loyalty level 3.

  13. boozedog

    Hi Mania, thanks for the excellent article. I just tamed a new pvp cat and indeed it took about one bubble of XP to gain loyalty level 2. What’s interesting is that this cat is at the same level as me — so she didn’t actually gain XP in the process, if that makes any sense.

    I decided to keep going, and grinded for another 9% (just about two more XP bubbles). Nothing happened so I went off to do some mining. A couple minutes later, I’m mid-swing on an iron ore, and I notice that the cat just gained another loyalty level. Interesting!

    Next I’m gonna try PvPing and see if she gains any loyalty there. Will keep you posted.

  14. Jerenn

    My guess is that each level has both a time requirement and an experience requirement. You must meet both in order for loyalty to increase. For example if it’s 10 minutes and 1000exp and you grind mobs really quick… it still won’t level until you’ve waited at least 10 minutes. You could probably run some pretty good tests to confirm this.

  15. Dmouse

    Hi ,

    I actually tamed a level 69 scorpid from SMV and started lvling him at the Lvl 66 beasts at Nagrand area. After 2 hours of grinding those beasts, i finally got my pet from level 1 loyalty to level 3, with 2 more bubbles to level my pet to 70. Anyway i am trying out this pet for pvp purposes and needed the skins from the beasts as well. Hope my info helped a bit.

  16. Baum

    i have one question… i have tamed a lvl 70 ravage from the netherwing mines on netherwing ledge. i have spend a hour farming mobs with the pet but it havent gainend a loyality level. is this a bug or game mechanics that i have to tame a pet that is below lvl 70?

  17. Ithiliun

    My guess? Since you need both rep and exp to increase loyalty, and it’s impossible to gain exp at 70, it’s impossible to increase the loyalty of a level 70 pet.

    Spend a few hours coming to this conclusion just by researching all the sites on hunters.

  18. Cavalier

    Except that I’ve been level 70 for around 9 months now and have levelled countless pets through 6 levels of happiness – including a ravager I’m now working on that I tamed as a level 70, so neither of us could get XP – he’s just gone up a happiness level.

    Almost certainly the 5% XP + time factor is the trick.

  19. kev

    i’m a lvl 70 night elf i’ve tamed a cat at lvl 70 so a pet doesnt need to actually gain xp to gain loyality there seemed some confusion about this above. however it did need kills to gain the loyality. i’m currently working on a ravager it is painfully slow to lvl but 1 thing i’ve have found before is you can take a low lvl pet eg 58 boar into a 70 instance it doesnt pull a load of problems but i suggest caution when i had the boar he didn’t even need to attack to gain xp and loyality whilist in a 70 instance my boar got 3 lvls and atleast 1 loyality lvl

  20. Big T

    If u wanna get new pet on lvl 70, lets say for arena and pet is also lvl 70 just spend some time whit pet killing mobs going to BGs untily u get 2nd lvl of loyalty, when u do that use train points to boost ur pet and then go to instances u will need to finish 1 instanc for 1 pet loyalty lvl, easyest way to lvl ur pet loyalty.

  21. Joe D.

    I am a 29 twink. I abandoned a pet and tamed a 26 level wolf to get BITE 4. I got it by spamming BITE 2. I have a 28 level bat from RFK (Blindhunter)> I have Bite 4 but I only have 3 training points available and it says I need 10 to acquire BITE 4 on my bat. How come? I thought once u learned a new pet skill the pet automatically acquires this skill? He is at the dependable level – I went out and risked some XP to the 99% level to get him these points but no luck. Still 3 points and he has not acquired this BITE 4 skill. His (pet bat) is 3.5 bubs into purple level too). Is i this bugged? I’m I doing something wrong. Joe

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