Way back in my leveling days I went to help out a friend in a Zul'Farrak run. One of the other party members happened to be a Shadow Priest and a female just like me, and her and I got to talking. Almost a year later, we still talk at least once a week and occasionally step in to help each other when needed. Her perhaps moreso than me, being as how she's got
Now I'm as far from an expert on Hunter pets as they come, but I was fairly certain that none of the pets in the game were terribly unique. I knew about the extra-invisible cat in Darkshore and the rare spawn lions, but even they didn't strike me as particularly unique since so many people go for them in order to stand out. To be quite honest, I've seen so many of these 'rare' pets around that if it weren't for reading Petopia and BRK's blog, I wouldn't have known that they were rare at all. So when Shado announced her intent on taming some super rare extra special unique pet I didn't really raise an eyebrow. I didn't even pay attention to it much, just tossed out the old 'let me know if you need me for anything!' and went on my merry way.
This morning she whispered me to congratulate me on my dragon, and then she mentioned that she finally got her special pet. Oh, says I, congrats! Stay where you are, she replies. You have got to see this.
She flies to Terokkar where I'm fishing Golden Darters for my Healadins, and dismounts.
Holy God damn hell, is that a spectral wolf? Yes. Yes it is.
I'm assuming it was introduced in 2.3 since petopia says it comes from Dustwallow. It can't be tamed like a normal pet is, as it only exists as a summoned aide to a mob. You'd probably think, like I did, that any hunter could just trek to Dustwallow, locate the right mob and pick on it until it summons the wolf and then tame it, but no. Not quite that easy. See, the tame beast spell is a 20 second cast. The spirit wolf is only present for aproximatly 8 seconds, once summoned.
At some point, a Hunter out there decided to see if it was possible to tame it anyway. They enlisted the help of a Shaman for Heroism/Bloodlust (30% increased spell haste) and a leatherworker for Drums of Battle (+80 spell haste). Or possibly a Shaman leatherworker. On top of that, they socketed Mystical Skyfire Diamond in a meta gem slot (15% chance to reduce the next spell's casting time by 50%) and brought along a Priest.
That Hunter and his team then located this particular mob and had the Priest mind control it in order to be in charge of when the spirit wolf is summoned. He or she then had Heroism, Drums of Battle and the gem-proc all going at the same time and told the Priest to make the MC'ed mob summon the spirit wolf. After undoubtably many agonizing tries, he or she managed to cast Tame Beast the very second the spirit wolf appeared. It worked. The wolf died immediatly after, as it was scripted to die after 8 seconds, but the Hunter could ress it like any other tamed pet. And there it was.
I very much doubt it was planned by Blizzard that the wolf should be tameable, but someone found a way and then people began to copy it. (A statment has since been released, saying that Blizz won't change the fact that it is tameable.) My friend Shado heard about it from somewhere and set out to get it herself. And she did. Now she's trekking around Outland to level him up slowly but surely, as the wolf is only level 30 when summoned. She's the only Alliance to have it so far, and there's only one Horde with it that we know of.
She stands out.
It got me thinking about my own Winterspring Frostsaber, about the Spectral Tigers of two guys in my guild, about Tamashi's Raven Mount and all the other truly unusual pets and mounts out there that people invest time and effort into getting. It's all about standing out, of being able to show just how dedicated you are to this game, how much work you've put into it.
My hat goes off to each and every one of you out there who have gone for and achieved something that's special to you in this game (whether it's something you can show off or not). May there be a new goal on your horizon and best of luck achieving it!