Loyalty Gain: Time and Experience

In-between packing for my cross-country move and searching for my husband’s escaped hamster, I spent some time this weekend continuing my research on loyalty. I now feel that I have a basic handle on what it takes for a hunter pet to gain a level of loyalty, although a good bit of verification remains to be done.


To Get From … To … XP Gain Required* Time Required
Level 1 (Rebellious) –> Level 2 (Unruly) 5% of hunter’s level 0 minutes*
Level 2 (Unruly) –> Level 3 (Submissive) 5% of hunter’s level 30 minutes
Level 3 (Submissive) –> Level 4 (Dependable) 5% of hunter’s level 45 minutes
Level 4 (Dependable) –> Level 5 (Faithful) 5% of hunter’s level 60 minutes
Level 5 (Faithful) –> Level 6 (Best Friend) 5% of hunter’s level 90 minutes


‘XP Gain Required’ refers to how much experience the pet needs to gain before its loyalty will increase. However, if the pet is the same level as the hunter, then the pet doesn’t actually get to keep this experience. The pet still conceptually gains the XP, it just doesn’t get to keep it. So a pet the same level as the hunter can indeed still gain loyalty.

Also note that 5% of hunter’s level means 5% of the total experience it would take for the hunter to get from their current level to their next level. Being almost all the way through a level on your hunter does not speed up loyalty gain for your pet. :> Also, although hunters don’t gain XP at level 70, there is still a theoretical 70–>71 amount that is used for these calculations.

The times are not cumulative. You can’t sit around for 4 hours straight and then go out and get your pet 25% of your level in experience and catapult him to Best Friend.

You can’t actually get from Rebellious to Unruly in 0 minutes because it takes longer than that to earn the experience. But as fast as I was able to gain XP I never ran into a time constraint, so I’m assuming that the time here is 0 minutes. Certainly it is less than 3 minutes.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions here, such as:

  • Does the pet need to be happy the entire time or can they be merely content? Does being content change the amount of time required?
  • What happens when the hunter levels while the pet is working on the next level of loyalty? Does the pet need the old amount of experience, the new amount, or something in between?
  • Does the experience and time requirements remain the same for higher level pets? I have evidence that the experience remains the same, but the time might well change.
  • Is the time component a straight-forward limit, or do our pets gain loyalty at a particular rate and what I am actually seeing is the amount of time it takes for that rate to ‘fill up’ the loyalty pool to the next level? Or is it the experience gain that fills the pool?
  • What happens when your pet loses a level of loyalty? Does it start over from the beginning with these requirements?

But I think this goes quite some way towards explaining what we’ve observed about loyalty gain. For example, it’s now clear why your pet will often gain a level of loyalty while you are sitting around in town (his time requirement has finally been met) but why you can’t just sit in town without hunting to gain loyalty.


I started with two assumptions:

  1. Assume loyalty gain requires both a time and an experience component. That is, assume that in order to reach the next level of loyalty, a pet must both gain a certain amount of experience and also be gaining loyalty (happy or content) for a certain period of time. (Note that I assumed content would work the same but I didn’t test it yet.)
  2. Assume that at low levels, the experience gain will be much faster than the time component and so the time component will generally be the limiting factor.

Then I took a low-level pet (a level 10 spider from Loch Modan) and a low-level hunter (a level 13 dwarf I had lying around) and ground out levels with a stopwatch in hand. Every time the spider gained a level of loyalty, I noted how long it had been since the last loyalty level was gained. Other than the first jump (from Rebellious to Unruly), all the other levels took a nicely rounded amount of time — which seemed to reinforce the idea that, with constant experience gain, the time was the limiting factor.

Once I had a baseline of times, I concentrated on experience. I started with another, identical level 10 spider. My dwarf was now level 15, but since I was looking at the pet’s experience gain that didn’t matter much. For each loyalty level, I sat around with the spider, keeping it happy but not earning any experience, until the same amount of time had passed as it took the first spider to reach the next loyalty level. Then I took this new spider out and killed low-level prey until his loyalty level increased, and noted the amount of experience that took. Then it was back to waiting for the next level!

Although the process took quite  while, I am pleased with the results. Unfortunately, now I really should test it out on higher level pets and hunters — which is going to take forever! But I’ll deal with that after we finish with our move.

64 thoughts on “Loyalty Gain: Time and Experience

  1. Arwendhil

    I remember when I was a young hunter and saw my hyena loyalty level-up to 3, some seconds after entering in Crossroad Inn …
    I still do not fully understand what happened there.
    Obviously it’s about resting but have you ever seen a pet XP bar turn to blue, even after months of rest ? :)

    Recently I have tamed a wind serpend (Netherstorm, level 69) and finish to level its loyalty during a Black Temple raid.
    I am sure that my pet win loyalty from trashs because he level up to loyalty 6 just before Supremus.
    Even in a raid I still win faction points until full exalted but I am far from that, that’s the explanation I guess.

  2. Pingback: The Hunting Lodge » Leveling Your Pet and Gaining Pet Loyalty

  3. Ranthol

    I have been through a wide range of pets and I have found that your ‘estimates’ (call measurements) are rughton the money! In particular when I tramed the Blackwind Sabrecat after I hit 70 and the timings from loyalty level to loyalty level where about what you noted. I used the dailies as the grind line for the pet and it worked like a charm! Thanks again Mania, from this Horde hunter!

  4. Keon

    Great research, I’m actually having a problem though. I’ve had a wolf forever, mainly because I’m a dog person as I know there are better pets. So for pvp sake I didn’t want to level a 66 ravager so I just grabbed one of those 70 cats up on the cliffs by skettis….I had this cat and it gained a loyalty level pretty quick then suddenly abandoned me…I’ve been a hunter a long time and have never had this happen….anyways, I went and got another one and I’ve had it for almost 3 weeks and it stays at lvl 1 loyalty….any ideas? I feed this thing so much food, it should be 400 pounds. Its kind of annoying not to be able to put claw, prowl, or dash on it and i’m getting tired of it.

  5. alex

    i am 67lvl hunter i have one pet 1Lvl.Could you tell me how the pet loyalty can go fast best friend ?he need only food ?

  6. t-rev

    im a level 70 hunter w a new lvl 70 pet… lemme just say ive outdone those time constraints considerably (got him from rebellious to unruly in about 2 days over the weekend… i.e. a good 10 hours of playing). at higher levels the xp constraint is KILLING ME lol. i hate to think how long its going to take to get him to best friend >< but i need him for arena…

  7. gX

    hey :) i’ve raised my level of 70 but i’m bored of my pet i got new one level 70 too, but its loyalty is level 0 what to do to go to level 2? fight mobs or sit and wait?? please answer :)

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  9. Mania

    KermoondiaGarona: Since Patch 3.0 (basically the launch of Wrath of the Lich King expansion) pets no longer have a loyalty level. So you can ignore this outdated information entirely.

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