The hot button for pet collectors these days is the Darkmoon Rabbit. There's speculation on whether or not it was actually meant to be released with Patch 5.0.4, since it seems tuned for level 90. Was it a blunder that Blizzard couldn't take back?
Other questions include what's the actual respawn time and is there a way to force-spawn it and special way kill it?
We might have to wait for the answers to these questions, since it seems like Blizzard is awfully quiet about the whole situation. Normally when a new event or boss is released, the blues would be all over advertising it to boost interest.
This time around, though, I haven't read very much comment or mention of the Darkmoon Rabbit. Maybe Blizzard blues are too busy or don't really think this encounter is worth mentioning? It seems odd, doesn't it?
Personally, I feel that this world boss wasn't ready for release and should have been kept on the beta for more testing. The encounter is very buggy, easily griefable, and overall a can of worms that's been blasted open with a giant deathray.
If you've had the pleasure (or displeasure) of participating in the fight, you'll know what I mean by buggy. As soon as anyone that has agro steps too far from the original spawn point, the rabbit has a high chance of evade bugging.
The thing is, when the Darkmoon Rabbit uses its special attack and places the debuff on a player, that player has no control over their character. This means the evade bug could occur because a player was standing in the wrong spot at the wrong time and happened to be the lucky winner of the rabbit's rage. (Of course that's why raid leaders and other players need to make it clear that everyone stand at the very back of the cave, and stay there no matter what.)
That being said, if the bunny does begin to evade attacks, the entire raid has to wait until it resets which could take up to 30 minutes to an hour. But guess what?! If players keep attacking it while it's evaded, its timer for a reset will keep getting refreshed! :\
This makes the encounter VERY easy to grief. Get kicked from the raid or denied an invite and angry about it? Evade bug the boss and just stand there whacking at it to keep it from resetting. If you can't have it, no one can! Yea, vengeful people exist as do flat out jerks, and the way this fight is set up gives those people prime opportunity to act out their awfulness.
Even if someone doesn't intentionally cause the Darkmoon Rabbit to stay evaded, this means more waiting and headache for everyone else. One person's blunder could mean 39 other people's short fuses and depletion of patience.
Speaking of 39 other people... remember that can of worms I was talking about earlier? This world boss and everything around it is a breeding ground for drama.
This boss is unique in that it drops a vanity pet but requires a fairly large group to kill. Sure there are companions that drop in 5 man dungeons, but those are no where near as challenging as the Darkmoon Rabbit encounter. On top of that, a dungeon (heroic or normal) doesn't require nearly as many to clear. A 5 man and a raid just don't compare.
Since this boss is tuned for level 90, maybe we won't need quite as many in a raid to defeat it once we're all level capped. But still. I have never been a supporter of vanity pets (or most vanity items for that matter) dropping off of raid bosses. This only causes headache for the leaders of said raid and in-fighting and bitter feelings between raid members, since it's usually tough to decide who gets the item. When it comes to PVE and PVE gear, there are quantifiable factors to help determine who is most "deserving". But when it comes to fun items, there's not much to go by. Does one ever actually "deserve" a "vanity" item? It's arguable, but that's a discussion and opinion for another post.
So when it comes to the Darkmoon Rabbit, you can imagine all of the potential drama arising from it, right? 40 people in a raid, all competing for one item. The raid leader has the option of turning it ML and ninja'ing the pet. Random rolls could send the pet off to someone who will only wind up selling it. While everyone else is left with a repair bill and possibly an achievement.
I understand that Blizzard wants to make pets more desirable to a wider audience, especially with Pet Battles coming soon, but... well Yosarian says it best, "But suddenly progression guilds are camping a boss that only drops a pet."
This is treading a very fine line. Raiding plus pet collecting isn't exactly the best match. One is for player advancement in relation to other players. The other is for pure individual advancement and enjoyment. The keyword here being 'individual'.
PVE normally involves the help from other players that will ultimately impact your own experiences. On top of that, PVE is competitive and there are rankings, as well as certain tiers/levels of accomplishment.
In pet collecting, it's rare that others can influence your collection, outside of selling or trading you a pet. In addition, pet collecting isn't really all that competitive. Yea, you could compare your collection with someone else's and see who has the most, but that's about all you can do in terms of competition and ranking. "Rare" is subjective as is which pet is the "best".
See how these two styles of gameplay are pretty different? It's no wonder why they're not very compatible.
Except now with this rabbit raid boss that requires a large group of people and drops a pet that many could sell for a huge profit, everyone wants in, no matter what their gameplay preference is. Group and individual gameplay is essentially shoved together and are forced to compete with each other for the privilege to obtain the Darkmoon Rabbit.
Is this fun? The encounter itself is quite amusing if you don't mind the graveyard run method of killing the boss. But is the system fun? Is being in direct competition with someone that has entirely different motivations from you enjoyable? I say it's quite frustrating.
It would be like someone need rolling a BoE piece of gear just to sell it when someone else in the group could actually use and WOULD use it for PVE purposes. Blizzard has changed the looting system to try and curb these situations from happening, yet they go ahead and implement a world boss encounter that promotes this type of behavior?
Sure, people will argue that it's not the same since the pet is "just a vanity", but this isn't entirely true. Some players take pet collecting quite seriously and consider it an actual style of gameplay. Even more so now with Pet Battles being a thing. There are people out there who make pet collecting their main reason to play WoW.
Anyway, I've made a lot of criticisms about the Darkmoon Rabbit with little suggestion on how to improve it, so here is how I would have changed its implementation.
First off, I would have waited to release it with MoP. It's obvious that the fight could have used more beta testing since it's so buggy and easily griefable. Because the DMF only comes around one week per month, this rabbit didn't get nearly enough beta time IMHO.
Secondly, my idea for a reward after killing the Darkmoon Rabbit would be just the achievement. To get the pet, players would need to do an obscure quest chain that only unlocks after killing the rabbit. Much like the Mechanical Chicken quest was, the companion reward at the end of the chain would still be BoE. The rabbit quest would be account-wide so players would only be able to complete it once. This would ensure the pet's relative "rarity" in the world. Of course it wouldn't be anywhere as rare as it is currently, but I mean... how many Mechanical Chickens do you see on the AH compared to some other pets?
Not to mention if there was a quest chain attached to the Darkmoon Rabbit, just think of how many more Monty Python references you could stick in lol. :P
In the end, I would have done things differently. Maybe it will get better once MoP is release and everyone reaches level cap. Or maybe it won't be any better.
Overall, I just don't agree with how this fight and pet were implemented. However, this won't stop me from attempting to acquire a Darkmoon Rabbit of my own. As a pet collector, even if I disagree with how a pet is put into the game, I'm compelled to go after it. For me, there is little to no "option" (despite Blizzard and everyone else claiming that it's all optional) as this is one of the main reasons why I keep playing this game.
I also have to say that while there are things I find distasteful about the Darkmoon Rabbit and everything involving it, I am amused by the fight itself and enjoy the nod to Monty Python. :)