Companions (a.k.a. non-combat pets, vanity pets, battle pets, mini-pets or small pets) are small creatures (or mechanical replicas thereof) that follow your player character around. Several of these companions have their own characteristic behaviors (see individual descriptions). Companions do not affect combat in any way, and are generally of no direct benefit to your character. Companions can be inspected and summoned through the Pet Journal. As of Patch 5.3.0 the game features 580 different companions.
With Mists of Pandaria, a whole new side has been added to companion pets with the introduction of the Pet Battle System. Players can battle their non-combat pets against others, with a unique system of turn-based combat. Pets have their own abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and gain experience from battling, growing in strength as they increase in level. Players can utilize their current non-combat pets or capture new wild pets to level them and battle them against others, although a select few cannot be used to battle. For more information see Pet Battle System.
Players can collect up to a total of 650 companions, and up to 3 of any one pet. Many companions can be caged and traded to other players. Players are also able to rename their companions.
You can own as many companions as you like. Each one you acquire is added to the pets section of your character sheet. You can only have one companion out at a time, and summoning another one replaces the one that's already out. Once summoned, companions will attempt to accompany your player character as you move about the game world. Some appear to be better at this than others. Jumping down from an elevated location will often send a companion off on a circuitous route to reach your new location. If your companion gets left behind, it may catch up and reappear, but may have to be re-summoned. There is no penalty for re-summoning. (The Tiny Snowman is stationary, and will not follow you.)
Companions cannot attack or be attacked in the normal sense, however, some such as and Lil' K.T. will kill critters, Clockwork Rocket Bots will battle each other, and Crashin' Thrashin' Robots "will fight other fighting robot companions", a PvP game within the game. Companions have a small hidden amount of health and can be killed by the pet swimming in lava, standing on fires, or other environmental means of damage, while some, such as the , may occasionally self-destruct. Certain companions such as Winter's Little Helper are unavailable outside of certain times.
The Blood Parrot, spawned from the , and the Coyote Spirit, spawned from , are exceptions and are summoned from the corresponding item. These are both items of apparel of some value in their own right, and having the item of apparel disappear when the pet is spawned would not be a welcome change. Because these two pets spawn differently, they are not true companions and do not count toward the pet achievements. Peddlefeet, when spawned by being shot with a , is also an exception and does not count toward the pet achievements.
If you are teleported or use any form of transportation that reloads the environment your companion disappears and has to be re-summoned. The only zeppelin or ships that don't is the zeppelin The Zephyr between Orgrimmar and Thunder Bluff, and the Kalu'ak turtle boats of Northrend.
While some companions can only be purchased by certain factions, most vended companions and many dropped companions can be traded at the Auction House. Companions obtained through quests are bind on pickup and cannot be sold.
Originally, pets you learned how to summon could not be learned again. However in the interests of the Pet Battle System, it is possible to collect many duplicate pets in order to differentiate by quality, and thus battle abilities.
- The main gameplay significance of companion pets is in the Pet Battle System. This provides players with a substantial sub-game, including direct duels with other players, a range of quests to complete, an automatic PvP Pet Battle queuing system, and a range of achievements, with some rewarding bonus companions or even titles.
- Some companions impact the game in some way. In particular, companions do not stealth. If your character uses stealth, your companion will reveal your presence. Mobs do not notice companions, so having one can be useful to indicate your location to party members. The possesses both of these capabilities, unless they are inebriated.
- A projects a "Disgusting Aura" when it accompanies its owner. The aura reduces the owner's defense and all resistances by 20, and colors its owner green as if the owner were poisoned.
- During and shortly after the Love is in the Air seasonal event, can be shot at your opponents to mark them with a Peddlefeet companion.
- Flying pets of any sort can sometimes interfere with clicking to target. This affects the pet owner, PvP opponents, and even party members desiring to buff or heal the pet owner. This is not normally a significant problem, but in the midst of frantic PvP combat, the interference can be noticeable.
- The will vend several items to its owner. One of these, , is designed for being used in combat (but see , the impact is minor). The other items are a set of costume items with no stats that allow you to dress up as an ethereal, a ball that can be played with in-game (there are others, such as ), , which will transform a non-combat pet into a fleshbeast, and , a conjured alcoholic beverage.
- The and the are spawned from items rather than learned, and are not currently counted toward the pet achievements. Similarly, the created by engineers remains an item due to its cooldown characteristics.
Certain pets can be traded, usually only the ones that can easily be reattained. To trade the battle pet, click right on the pet in the Pet Journal and choose
Put In Cage. This option will place them into a Pet Cage - the name of the cage will change based on what's placed inside.
Note: Currently only the player that places the pet into the cage can tell what's inside, everyone else will see the generic cage link.
There are companions that can be acquired for a time that aren't normally regarded as companions, but pretty much do the same thing as permanent companions. Many of these are in the context of a quest. Some examples are the orphans for Children's Week, Peddlefeet from the , Nass from  . None of these count toward the pet count achievements. When a temporary companion is spawned your current companion is despawned.
Companion-related achievements are awarded for collecting certain numbers of companions:
The Raiding with Leashes series reward players for collecting rare companions drops from older raid bosses:
Numerous achievements also offer new companions as rewards, including and many in the Pet Battles achievements category.
Lists of companions
- Breanni, a pet supplies NPC in Dalaran, is the only vendor for Fetch Balls, Happy Pet Snacks, Pet Grooming Kits and Red Ribbon Pet Leashes. However, these items can sometimes be found in containers such as rewarded through the Pet Battle System.
- All stable masters sell the normal Rope Pet Leashes.
Patch 3.0.2, Oct 14, 2008, introduced the companion inventory item, the container, as a charged item with a single charge that spawns the companion in your pets section. After the patch was introduced, all existing pet items (i.e. those in the mail, in your bags, in the bank, etc.) were disallowed from being put up for auction. The auction system would see the pet items as "an item with charges used" and would not post them. These items are still usable, but simply may not be auctioned. New pet items created after the patch, by purchasing from a vendor or receiving as loot, may be auctioned as before.
- Patch 5.4.0 (2013-09-10): Summoning a pet no longer dismounts the player.
- Patch 5.1.0 (2012-11-27): Players can now keep up to 650 pets.
- Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Most companions will be considered Battle Pets, and several can even be traded.
- Several new companions will be added nearing 500 available companions.
- Several new companions will be added nearing 500 available companions.
- Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): A number of companion-related functions have been added to the World of Warcraft API.