I made a little fuss about these stats on Twitter already, as I couldn't really believe it when I first saw the infographic. But upon further discussion on the topic in the WarcraftPets forum, I've become fairly disillusioned with the whole thing.
There are three main questions that should have been answered from the get-go: What data did Blizzard use, when was the snapshot of this data taken, and what was the criteria for "rarest" pet?
Without answers to these questions, it leaves players like me in the dark and scratching their heads. The data just doesn't match up.
Two sources (WarcraftPets and GuildOx) both list the Viscous Horror as the "rarest" pet. Both of these websites could be lacking in data that Blizzard has access to, but it's difficult to ignore this kind of information. Especially when it's the only data that players have. If Blizzard had included some of the details behind how the stats were generated, it would have shed some much needed light on things.
Many players speculated that Blizzard only took into account pets that were only available in game and not from promotions. Even then, there are a few pets that could have fit the criteria for "rarest" pet. Viscous Horror being one, unless raid pets don't count as well. The Vengeful Porcupette being another, unless vendor pets weren't considered too. It's possible that the pet statistic was gathered when the carp pets were first implemented in-game, which meant they would of course be super rare. But again, there's no information on the time frame of this infographic.
On top of the rarest pet issue, there's another concern that went overlooked by most players and even Blizzard. The infographic claims there are 619 unique pets, however, after doing some research, I've found that there are currently only 616 pets (including the not yet released Treasure Goblin). 617 if you include the newly datamined Dread Hatchling. What are the last 2-3 pets? Or rather, what does Blizzard consider as the last few pets (since those "pets" are likely not actual, permanent vanity pets)?
It's unsettling how there are so many unanswered questions. I'm left confused with conflicting data, and a real sense of...well, what is it? Why am I so bothered with some WoW stats that appear to be incorrect?
Perhaps it stems from the fact that pets and pet collecting have always been somewhat overlooked or seen as a lesser activity. The stigma revolving around pets was reduced somewhat when Pet Battles came out, but there's still a small fear in me that those who participate and adore pets/collecting aren't viewed as important. Pet data? Insignificant. Just throw anything out there and it'll be fine, it's not as crucial as presenting accurate PVP and PVE statistics. No one will really care anyway.
But some do care about facts and being properly represented. Including the pet stats was great, but presenting us with possibly untrue information is a disservice and insult to the community that was built around that specific gameplay. And then to top it off, not divulging the details to go along with the data to explain and clear up any confusion? Even if it wasn't intentional, it does feel like a slap in the face.
In addition to my biased feelings towards this, it leaves me wondering just how much truth is in the rest of the infographic. If one portion was wrong, who's the say the rest isn't as well? The doubt begins to build up, with nothing to keep it in check.
This negative impression I have probably could be sorted out and dispelled had Blizzard released some additional information. Answers to the important questions and an explanation would have been much appreciated. Perhaps I'm just nitpicking, but I'm of the personality type that takes offense if I feel my intelligence is being insulted. I simply cannot accept something blindly without knowing the details and coming to my own conclusion.
Overall, I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. The infographic is supposed to inspire wonder and amazement, and yet all I feel is that what I enjoy most about this game is overlooked and not given a second thought. My gameplay isn't seen as important as the PVE and PVP aspect.
Am I taking this way too personally and making a mountain out of a molehill? Probably. I've come to expect a lot from Blizzard though, and they have met those expectations 99% of the time. So when Blizzard does slip up, it comes as quite a shock to me, especially when I have such a high stake in the subject in question. I guess you could just say that I'm entirely way too passionate about pets and pet collecting.
Blizzard makes mistakes, they are only human afterall. I don't think there was any malicious intent, and it was probably just an oversight. Regardless, I'm human as well and as a human it's only natural to feel a certain way when presented with unpleasant circumstances.