Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Buzz About Buzzards: Spiteflayer

When we last visited the Blasted Lands we saw one of that shattered region's sentient inhabitants, the ogre Mojo the Twisted. This time we're taking a look at a type of creature that can make a living in a devastated area like this... a carrion bird.

This entry is about Spiteflayer.

What is Spiteflayer, and where can I find it?

Spiteflayer is a rare mob carrion bird found in the Blasted Lands in the Eastern Kingdoms.

Spiteflayer looks exactly like the other carrion birds in the zone, making it hard to spot without nameplates on. Spiteflayer patrols from the edge of the Dark Portal crater up to the Serpent's Coil, flying rather slowly and meandering a bit as it goes. I have never seen it elsewhere, always in the eastern area north of the Portal outskirts.

Dangerous pets

Not that much to say specifically about Spiteflayer. It's a large carrion bird, much like the Bonepickers and Black Slayers found in the same area. It unusually possesses a curse (The somewhat common mob ability Curse of Blood which increases physical damage) but is not much of a threat, nor does it have a unique model or drops.

Once upon a time, carrion birds were considered very efficient PvP pets due to the fact that they came with an ability to interrupt enemy spellcasting by knocking them down. This was considered good enough that you saw many many hunters with carrion birds in the Battlegrounds. Eventually this was considered too good, and was removed. Today carrion birds instead come with the ability Demoralizing Screech. As usual, Petopia has more information on carrion birds as hunter pets.

Living off death

As I mentioned, I think it makes perfect sense for the Blasted Lands to be filled with various carrion birds, including Spiteflayer. Since the area underwent a rather quick ecological disaster with the opening of the Dark Portal, most of the local fauna and flora died out, rapidly or slowly. The remaining creatures even now struggle for survival against eachother and the many deadly threats introduced to the region, and corpses are common.

The carrion bird model in World of Warcraft has the telltale naked head and neck of a scavenger, which in the real world is useful for birds which stick their heads into carcasses (feathers only get in the way). Therefore these creatures must be the vultures and buzzards of Azeroth, picking clean the kills made by more dangerous predators. To have gained a name, Spiteflayer must have made an especial nuisance of itself, and whoever named the other birds in the Blasted Lands seemed to have a healthy respect or fear for these animals.

As ecologically sound as Spiteflayer and its brethren are, I have to say that I just don't like this bird model, built on the same basic frame that also created various birds of prey. It doesn't animate very well (the flight animation looks especially wonky) and is rather low-detail and dull. Some recent improvements have created birds like the Dragonbone Condors in Northrend, which look much better. Mayhap this means the older birds can also get a bit of attention and a sprucing up.

Until next time, wash that carrion before you eat it.


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