and at the beginning, we find a movie cliche.
the first rule of pet battles is there is no wrong way to do pet battles.
the second rule of pet battles is there is no wrong way to do pet battles.
that said, nobody like flopping around haphazardly like an orc wearing too-large boxer shorts, with no idea of where to go or what to do next. so i'm planning to lay out some suggestions and recommendations i've learned, either through reading in other places or through plain old trial and multiple errors. hopefully, some of it will be of some help to somebody. since my knowledge on this new mini-game is nowhere near complete and never will be, i'd be pleased to pick up some tips from you buggers as well.
i'm also planning to put some creative writing and artwork about my pets up here. if nothing else, this will amuse me. your mileage may be your own damn problem.
now that that's all out of the way, we can move on to battles. "which pets should i put in my team?" is a reasonable question, with several aspects to the answer. today i'm gonna talk about the pet family aspect, 'cause i'm gonna talk about the other aspects when i'm not talking about this one. now, there are a total of ten pet families, but when you go out into the wilds to level and capture, you don't find anything remotely like an even distribution. instead, there are lots and lots of critters and beasts, a bunch of aquatics (usually near rivers and lakes and oceans. duh.). once you've leveled up a bit, you'll run into a fair number of flying pets. if you go into tirisfal glades and the plaguelands, you'll get a lot of undeads, which makes sense. everything else - humanoids, mechanicals, dragons, elementals, and magics - often don't appear until you've leveled up a good chunk, and either way they are pretty rare.
starting out then, you'll win battles faster if you go with pets that do beast damage (25% bonus against critters), mechanical damage (25% bonus against beasts), and flying damage (25% bonus against aquatics). the faster you kill them, the less time they have to kill you, which means you win more often. typically this means going with a beast pet, a mechanical pet, and a flying pet, but there are a lot of exceptions too. for example, a lot of critters have attacks that do beast damage, while some mechanicals have elemental- or undead-damage attacks. blizzard did it this way either to make it more interesting or to annoy the crap outta you, depending on your perspective.
so that's one factor to consider. other factors, such as quality, long-term goals, and freakin' adorableness, will be covered when i get to them.