Firstly the ding! Rillian has joined the Level 85 Club as of this afternoon, and the rest of the day was spent running around trying to get his gear up to where he could actually queue for the 85 dungeons. >.> Leveling mostly through gathering and archaeology doesn't make for easy gearing, just fyi.
He did get to do the Thrall questline, although he has a lot of questing to do in Hyjal before he can get to the Firelands. All I really want to get there is the ring from the first vendor, so it's not a huge deal, and once he has that he likely won't do another daily again.
With the cloak from the quest and a couple 85 pieces (including an epic dagger, compliments of Lark and a lucky greed roll) he now has the ilvl to get into the normals. Heroics will be another matter, but he'll get there. Sis's hunter Kel is also going to make him some stuff to help out (so long as she doesn't misspell his name and send it to the wrong person *cough*again*cough* >.>).
Now the decision. This isn't really a huge deal, but I think I'm calling off my spirit beast hunt for the time being. Biggest reason is simply this- patch 4.2 seems to have brought out the worst in people, as far as hunters competing against each other, tame-stealing, pet-killing, etc. Not to mention all the non-hunters that will kill a mob just to spite the hunter, for no apparent reason at all. This isn't even counting the people that will kill a rare thinking that it'll drop some fancy blue or epic (which they WON'T, people, so get the BC/Wrath thinking out of your head!). If you don't understand what I'm saying, just hop over to the Petopia forums and start reading the stories posted there.
(As an aside, I am SO glad I don't want Deth'tilac- eww spiders- because he seems to be the most-griefed pet out of all of them. Ugh.)
I've tried camping for Ban'thalos a couple times. I've seen him spawn once, a few days after the patch, and didn't even have a chance to try taming for all the other hunters that swarmed him. I'm glad he was tamed and not killed by accident, but he's hard enough that you can't just sit back and mash "tame", and when you're competing against 2-6 others that want him too, if you screw up one chance you won't get another. And after camping in a tree for 6+ hours and not seeing so much as a feather, I'm about to give up hope of even seeing him in the wild again.
Not to mention that when I'm not camping, I wind up thinking nonstop, "But what if he pops and I'm not there?" That's what finally did it. If I'm online, I want to be having fun and/or doing something productive, not sitting in a tree bored out of my mind, but afraid to do anything else for fear of missing my tame. And when I have other hunters all come over to camp the same place, even logging in right on top of me- well, I'm not holding out hope of me beating out every one of them. And if one of them happens to be a *fillintheblank* and deliberately messes up my tame so s/he can steal it.... No thanks.
I'm not happy with the decision. I still want my spirit-owl, almost as much as I wanted to tame Loque'nahak. But I don't want to go through who-knows-how-much struggle to get him.
Finding and taming Loque is still one of my high points in the game. I want my Ban'thalos tame to be just as wonderful. And I have the feeling that right now, it won't be.
I'm not giving up permanently. I'll get back and try camping for him again, and Magria too. But it won't be before the craze has died down. If I have to wait a year or so... well, I had to do it before, and I can manage again. It's only a matter of time.