Well, I think, a “wall of of text” is not defined by the amount of characters. To create a wall of text you need two things: lots of characters, and lots of missing line breaks / paragraphs. I’m completely aware of that, and I’m always trying to section and format my texts in a manner that makes it usable for readers ;) I think the limit of 990 chars is not contributing to avoid walls of text. (It’s easy to build a a wall of text with only 500 chars, but I think you got what I mean…)
They seem to have expected some things, though, see adding pets with aquatic damage (gun and ooze) aswell as a resistant cockroach to stop us from cheesing everything with elementals. Yet, a fact their damage output is low combined with shields not checking for racial damage means this mechanic prevents a lot as you mentioned. The last boss has got an ability to remove basic shields so perhaps that was not in oblivion either… unlike the reactive damage. Also, an ability that forces swap altogether with an ability which prevents from being swapped, including critters? I can't say I like it.
Combat is turn-based and there is no time limit on each round in a PVE Pet Battle. You can take your time to determine which spell to use next. Some pet abilities have multiple round cooldowns, while others can do extra damage if certain conditions are met. Be creative and have fun testing which combination of attacks works best against different wild pets!
Each battle that you win will yield experience for each pet that participated. However, deceased companions will not receive any experience (so make an effort to keep them alive by swaping in a different pet). Experience gains are based on your pet's level compared to the wild pet. Defeating a higher level opponent will grant more experience than a much lower level one, but be ready for a tough fight!