Disclaimer: this is gonna be a quite extense and biased post. You have been warned.
Back in November, the WoW community was caught by surprise when creative director Alex Afrasiabi tweeted a screenshot of a character screen indicating that not only Gnome Hunters will be coming to the game in the next expansion, but also mechanicals as a new Hunter pet family. Players initially assumed that this would work as an exclusive racial feature for Gnomes and Goblins, perhaps expanded to all Engineer hunters. In fact, mechanical pets will be available for both Gnomes and Goblins from the start, but it appears that hunters of every other race will also be able to learn how to “tame” and control these creatures, thanks to a special device crafted by Engineers- much like the Ancient Tome of Dinomancy from MoP, which allowed us to tame Direhorns.