Friday, January 31, 2014

Concluding Remarks On WoW's 2014 Infographic

Blizzard recently released an infographic that includes WoW stats from almost every aspect of the game. The one portion that caught my eye was the mounts and pet statistics, more so the pets than the mounts. Apparently the Squirrel is the most common pet, the Tiny Red Carp is the rarest pet, and there's a total of 619 unique pets.

Um. What?

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.


  1. I was skeptical as well. I could believe that the squirrel is the most common wild pet, but the most common pet overall?

    1. @Gorman: Specifying what type of pet they're referring to really does make a difference, doesn't it? If only they had given the pet section of the info-graphic a little more thought and attention. =\

  2. What do you feel is the rarest pet in game? (Not counting ones that were only in china and stuff like that.) I think the hardest one for me is still that darn Firefly in Zangarmarsh. RAWR!

  3. I think I want to change my vote for Rare Pet for me. That darn Black Rat that you fish up. I *STILL* haven't got that. I single handedly got our guild most of the fishing achievements. Another Rawr!

    1. @Marlene Whitecourt: For me the 'rarest' pet is the Viscous Horror. It was implemented so poorly that it will be a while before it becomes more common.

      If you have any alts that need to level their fishing, you could always take them to Dalaran and try for the Giant Sewer Rat while increasing your skill. Two birds with one stone? Or you could always check the auction house lol. :P

  4. I can see blizz doing "only wild pets" since those are all obtained fairly easily by casual gamers and do not require killing or the auction house. Then if you consider fishable pets wild (since they are technicallu not a "drop"), there stats work. I would consider their statement 100 acurate if you follow those 2 rules. But I agree with your passion, with no descriptions of how the data is collected the data actually means nothing and is more of a slap in the face to pwt collectors who take pride im their stats and the pets they have.

    1. @Ish: It's something that I think often goes overlooked - even if the majority may not care that much about an aspect of the game, SOMEONE out there does. Although it shouldn't be Blizzard's priority to cater to these smaller groups of players, they shouldn't be discounted completely. A little extra care and thought would have been appreciated.

  5. Why doesn't the author contact someone at Blizzard and ask? Long shot? Maybe. But I'm always happy to provide people with information if they ask (no, I don't work for a gaming company but I do work in IT).

    It's probably that the person who came up with that graphic thought that the information was either unnecessary or uninteresting.

    @Marlene: I think you mean Giant Sewer Rat. Black Rats are a dime a dozen...

    1. @Fitty Stim: So far I haven't received or found any details regarding the info-graphic. It's unsurprising as Blizzard generally likes to remain tight-lipped about the inner-workings of things.

      And as you said, they probably don't view it as an issue that needs addressing. Only a small portion of the WoW community actually noticed and cared. Their ability to overlook and disregard smaller groups of players is what's most disheartening.


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