Hello fellow pet collectors! Sorry for the wall-of-text-of-fury, but it's for a good cause!
I have a plan that might help all of us frustrated by the mess that is CRZ. By now, I'm sure a lot of you have spent enough time hovering in Felwood to realize that Minfernals are on either a very long or some sort of unusual spawn timer. I believe it has been confirmed that the Minfernal is not tied either to the other battle pets in the zone or to the Infernal Sentries in the spawn area. I have an idea, but first some context.
After hunting for one since day one of MoP, then reading threads and posts all over the place about the Scourged Whelpling, I found someone who hit upon a possible revelation. They noted that the SW popped on a server restart and got one, but then they went back the very next day at the same time the server had come back up. Lo, and behold! Scourged Whelplings aplenty again. They hypothesized that SWs have a 24hr respawn time based on when the server last booted. I myself checked it out by going to the spawn area on my own server/CRZ around the same time I knew the servers had come up the previous day. I patiently waited until the precise time the servers had come up and, bang, suddenly there were SWs spawned everywhere! Success! I believe this confirms a 24hr spawn timer for the SW, based on last boot.
My idea is to work out a possible spawn timer for the Minfernal using data gathered from the community. How I believe we can do this is by folks posting spawn and capture information along with details about their server times. Once enough people have shared information and the data has been analyzed, I believe we can work out a pretty accurate timer for the Minfernal (or perhaps discover that's it's truly random). Some might argue that CRZ will prevent this method from succeeding, but I argue that accurate and complete enough data will allow us to account for it.
How this will be most helpful is by giving as many details as possible and using a consistent format to post your success. Note that only actual confirmed spawns and battles are useful here, not things such as "I started camping and time X, stopped at time Y and didn't see a spawn." It's also especially helpful if the pet spawned right in front of you, as opposed to logging in to find one; however, in the beginning any data is good data.
TDS: Time and Date of Spawn/battle (use Realm time, because it's the CRZ host server's time that matters, not your local time)
HS: Home Server's name (I know that if you're on a CRZ that doesn't happen to be your home server it will introduce inaccuracy into the plotting, but after enough data points, this should normalize)
TSLB: Time and date of Server's Last Boot (be as accurate as possible here based on the latest rolling restart or server maintenance you witnessed and give the time the CRZ host server came back up, which can be different from when your home server came online. eg.) your home server showed as online and you could log into your capital city just fine, but when you tried to log into a toon in Felwood you kept getting the "World server is down" message for a bit. This tells you your home server is up but the CRZ host was down))
CRZ: First-hand confirmed realms you have seen in the zone with you (for plotting out CRZ members and possibly what realms or time zones tend to host the Felwood area)
TDS: 12-06-12 at 10:47AM
TSLB: 12-06-12 at 10:45AM
CRZ: Elune, Garona, Stormrage, Bloodhoof, Llane
In this (sadly hypothetical) example, I'm saying that I snagged a Minfernal right after the sever came up, I'm from Trollbane, and I saw a few other realms in Felwood at the time.
I think after enough people post in here about their spawns, it shouldn't be too hard to plot out what the spawn timer is, thereby giving all of us a sense of when we can reasonably expect to see a Minfernal pop. Some might argue that this will just cause more people to heavily camp the area around hypothesized times, but really, now that upgrade stones are available, as people succeed in getting the pet, the number of folks after them is going to decrease. Plus, not every single person hunting a Minfernal is going to be checking these forums, so people here should have a competitive advantage. Even if we discover the spawn timer is on the order of days or is an odd increment of hours, that's going to be helpful. I, for one, am probably never setting foot in Felwood again once I get the silly thing, but I want to be sure to help my fellow collectors along the way.
Please make any recommendations for changes and improvements to this idea in the thread. I'll check them out and revise this original post as needed so we can have the best shot of working this out. If statistical analysis of aggregated data could predict the last presidential election so accurately, surely it can work out a spawn timer in a video game!