"There isn't a pet planned for this year, no. We plan to reserve this sort of celebratory bonus for the most notable milestones or events in the future." - Daxxarrithis is very disappointing news considering there have been two anniversaries where a companion pet was gifted to players that logged in for the anniversary. one of which doesn't seem like much of a "milestone" (4th anniversary).
this change to gift players with pets for more notable events (i'm guessing blizzard's thinking along the lines of 5th anniversary, 10th, 15th, and so on) is yet another curve ball. the inconsistency only makes players feel somewhat cheated and that something is being taken away from them.
something that was mentioned in the thread linked above is that blizzard has the time to create vanity pets to sell in the PetStore but not a free in-game gift for the celebration of another year of gaming success? that does seem a bit... shady, doesn't it? i'm sure blizzard has its reasons, but this is where i'm reminded of one of my older posts where i discuss pay-to-pet companions and the pros and cons of putting them on sale.
i have very little issue with the sale of vanity items as long as there is a balance that's maintained. the sale of pets is fine as long as the same detail and attention is paid to the companions that are free to obtain within the game. ("free" in the sense that you do not have to spend more than the usual subscription fee for a chance at obtaining it.)
in this situation one could argue that the balance IS being kept due to the large number of companions that will be "freely" available in the expansion. however, on the other hand, it could be said that although the developers do have quite a few planned pets for us in the future, players will still have to spend extra money in order to acquire/access them (paying for the expansion). to most, this does not fall in line with a balance of rl money pets vs free in-game pets.
in general, it just looks bad on blizzard's part no matter how the story is spun. another year of wow's success isn't considered a milestone? many players staying loyal and supporting a company and game for however long isn't noteworthy?
i'm pretty disappointed but that won't stop me from logging in for the game's anniversary. nor will it discourage me from purchasing the PetStore companions once they go on sale. my confidence in blizzard DOES waver in situations like these, but i will give them the benefit of the doubt for now. perhaps i just need more time to get a better view of the bigger picture. or perhaps i'm a blind fool who is being led by what some consider a money-hungry gaming cooperation. time will reveal all.