WarcraftPets users recently discovered that the extremely rare and elusive Viscous Horror suddenly became not so rare and elusive on US horde and alliance Auction Houses. Taking a quick glance at the Undermine Journal (US alliance and US horde), it would appear that yes, this pet has suddenly shot up in supply.
For those that don't watch the market or know much about the history of this pet, such a large number of Viscous Horrors on multiple auction houses across both factions is not normal. This pet is fairly difficult to come by, as it drops deep inside a raid instance and only from Normal or Heroic mode. Granted that Throne of Thunder is the previous tier, it's still a tedious clear. It didn't help that the pet was released in the last half of the tier, when ToT's relevance was slowly dwindling and coming to a close. All of these factors make the Viscous Horror highly desirable yet scarce.
Until now, that is.
About a month or so ago, checking the Undermine Journal would show maybe one to three available at any given time. Trust me, this pet is still missing from my collection so I used to check up often on its availability. Only recently did I stop keeping a persistent eye on it, but it appears that the jump in its numbers also only happened recently (likely starting in April).
So what could cause this increase in Viscous Horrors on the market? The first guess (as apparent by the forum thread linked at the start of this post) is duping. "Duping" (short for duplication) isn't a foreign concept for pet collectors. Although it's never been officially proven or confirmed, it's speculated (and wildly believed) that many of the highly coveted TCG pets that started popping up last year were the results of a game exploit. In other words, someone or a group of someones was creating the same pet over and over using unintended means. I won't go into how it's done, as I don't really know myself (I've only heard rumors), but IF it can be done, it's not surprising that the process can be altered and applied to a non-TCG pet.
But that's just one possible reason for the large number of Viscous Horrors we're seeing now. There are others, although they aren't as sensational or controversial. I have my doubts about these possibilities, yet I can't dismiss them without solid evidence.
- Increased number of players doing old content?Without seeing actual numbers, it's hard to say whether or not there's a sudden influx of players specifically aiming to clear Throne of Thunder up until Primordious on Normal mode each week. In my own small circle of the WoW population, most players are burnt out on the game and raiding. But like I said, my sample size is quite tiny and it's not uncommon for players to focus on older content for achievement and completion reasons towards the end of an expansion.
- Stealth buff to the Viscous Horror's drop rate?
The second possibility is harder to argue for; it would need confirmation from Blizzard. They've adjusted drop rates for content that was outdated before, but by this much and within the same expansion? I'm dubious about it. It's still something that we can't count out until we hear a 'yes' or 'no' from Blizzard.
Perhaps it's due to our attraction to the scandalous, but the "duping" idea is currently the most accepted explanation for the sudden burst of Viscous Horrors. It doesn't help that the "duping" of this pet was actually announced prior to any of this. A WarcraftPets user claims to have spoken with a duper in January of this year, and they report that the person mentioned the next pet in their sights was the horror. It's likely that this only added to the community's bias. Until we hear some official word, all we can do is speculate and wonder.
This increase in Viscous Horrors may be a blessing for some, as larger supply will slowly drop the price making it more affordable for more collectors, but a curse for others who used the pet as a bartering tool due to its high worth. It may yet be a curse for all of us if the horrors are indeed being duped and these pets-that-shouldn't-be can be tracked by Blizzard and revoked due to their unintended existence. I should note that I haven't heard of Blizzard taking back other pets such as the Ethereal Soul Trader and Spectral Tiger Cub, both believed to be victims of duping. So I don't know how likely it would be for duped Viscous Horrors to be taken away from legit players who were unaware of the nature of the pet they purchased.
We'll see how this impacts the pet market and community in the long run. The increase in Viscous Horrors and price decrease was bound to happen at some point in the next expansion, although at a much, much slower and smaller pace. So maybe this was just the inevitable occurring sooner rather than later, and at a breakneck speed. It's hard to say and now we'll never know since these (cloned?) pets seem to be here to stay.