This news has caused some concern and anger within the collecting community. We'll have to level even more characters if we want access to class-specific pets? Will all classes have a collectible battle pet from the Order Hall?
In regards to the last question - I speculate that yes, in time, ALL classes will eventually have an Order Hall pet. Some may have more than just one (Druids and Death Knights, for example), while others will share the same pet with another class (Demon Hunter and Warlocks).
I know some are hoping that these class-specific pets will stop with the new additions in 7.2, but I think that would be unfair to classes that have yet to receive an Order Hall pet (Hunters, Mages, Paladins, Priests, and Warriors are still lacking a class-specific battle pet).
If it truly is Blizzard's intention to release a battle pet(s) for each class, collectors have a daunting task in front of them should they desire to collect them all.
Locking pets behind a certain level on a certain class is a huge concern for some collectors. There are players that don't want to play more than a few classes, while others simply don't have the time to level up additional characters.
Since it's unlikely that Blizzard will back down from adding class-specific pets, I think consideration of these players and some compromise is in order. Here are some suggestions on how Blizzard can implement future class-specific pets. One or two or all ideas could be applied to a class pet.
(To be clear, I am prepared to level as many characters as I need to in order to collect each class-specific pet. However, I can ABSOLUTELY empathize with those that are unhappy with these pets. I also agree that it's a huge undertaking and completely overwhelming for those attempting to collect them all.)
1. Don't lock the pets behind a high player level, Order Hall talent, or additional RNG.
The best example for a compromise between multiple class-specific pets and player progress is the Shaman pet, Snowfang.
Players only need to reach level 100, complete the introductory quests to unlock the Shaman Order Hall, and then battle Snowfang the NPC.
Collectors get to experience a new/different class (and class hall), while not having to overexert themselves in order to collect a pet. They can level up, unlock the Order Hall, collect the pet, and then move on. Or, should they find that they enjoy the class, continue playing/leveling that character.
This method of collecting still requires effort and ensures the player experiences the class, but it does not lock a collector into a character for an undetermined amount of time, unlike the following pets.
The less favorable examples of obtaining class-specific pets are the Druid, Warlock and Demon Hunter companions. Not only does collecting these pets rely on at least player level 105, but it also requires a certain Order Hall level/talent AND RNG. All of these things compounded will only cause frustration for those playing certain classes just to collect the pets.
2. Have certain classes "share" the same pet.
Similar to the Warlock and Demon Hunter pet, there are some classes that could probably share the same class-specific pet. Priests and Paladins come to mind for a shared companion. This would give players the option to seek out the pet through one or the other. It would mean one less character to level, which would be a blessing for those that are not alt-aholics.
3. Make the class-specific pets cageable at the start of the next expansion.
Players will automatically want to participate in the new shiny content of the next expansion. Leaving the class-specific pets locked behind Order Halls is fine, but that will also mean players that want to collect the pets will need to extend their stay in the Broken Isles, rather than heading off into newer content.
If the class-specific pets become cageable at the start of the next expansion, both collectors that may not want to level alternate characters and those that play the classes but have zero interest in collecting the pets will have a chance to benefit. Everyone will be able to jump into new content without feeling as though they're missing out on anything. It would mean more are able to enjoy and appreciate these special companions.
I have to admit that this change would be somewhat controversial. The class-specific pets are indeed special - they are (relatively) unique to each class and the fact that they are BoP and not cageable only adds that uniqueness. It can be argued that by removing these two aspects, it also removes each pets' value/rarity.
But WoW is an ever-changing game and environment. It evolves and so must we. It doesn't happen often, but there have been a few times where aspects of certain pets has changed. And although it's subjective, I don't think the value of those pets has been altered to the point where they're completely unwanted. The majority of collectors will desire all pets, regardless of changes.
Side note, there was an interesting user comment regarding the "uniqueness" of the Order Hall pets. I hadn't even considered that some might feel these pets AREN'T unique and/or do not add anything to the class fantasy. If many collectors feel this way, there's not much reason to keep these pets BoP and not cageable since they'll simply be another item on a collecting-check list.
Blizzard has shown that they are leaning more and more toward implementing pets obtainable only through specific activities (Order Hall and PVP pets, just to name two). However, they're running the risk of alienating the very players that would even have an interest in these companions. This is why compromise is absolutely necessary. It's not the BEST situation for collectors, time and effort may still be required, but it lessens the otherwise overwhelming task.
There are many other ideas on how to make class pets more collector-friendly, not just the ones listed above.
I can only hope Blizzard takes into consideration the varying types of collectors/players, and implements future class-specific pets with compromises.