Sunday, April 18, 2010

The crawling terror: Clutchmother Zavas

Sorry for my sporadic posting lately. As it turns out, I'm going for a brief vacation next week, and the blog will probably take a week's hiatus during that time. As for the recent spate of delayed entries, I have not been feeling entirely well, and have also been preoccupied with some other things. I shall try to shape up!

Onwards to today's entry.

Silithids are another of those recurring plot threads that runs through classic World of Warcraft. You encounter the first hives of these odd, arthropod creatures at low levels in the Barrens, but do not get to experience the full horror of their power and alien background until Silithus, a zone now rarely visited by new players. However, silithids can be found across several other zones on Kalimdor, and the lush Un'Goro crater is one such zone.

Today's post is our first silithid rare, Clutchmother Zavas.

Where can I find Clutchmother Zavas?

Clutchmother Zavas is a rare mob silithid (the "reaver" or "tank" form) found inside the Gorishi hive in Un'goro crater.

Zavas can be found in several different chambers inside the hive, but as the tunnel system is not very extensive, finding her should be easy. She can also be tracked and targeted through the ground, as is the case with many underground-dwelling mobs.

Swarming invaders

As I mentioned earlier, silithids are spread over most of southern Kalimdor. In Un'Goro, the local hive is the Gorishi, which fills most of the central southern part of the zone. The creatures do not seem to have spread that far yet, but that's possibly unsurprising going by the large number of very deadly creatures which call Un'Goro home. Silithids exist in several different forms, or "castes", each of which has separate duties within their hives.

As indicated by her name, Zavas seems to be a breeder for the Gorishi hive. The fact that she is always found in one of the large chambers containing eggs supports this nicely. She has an appealing greenish carapace with black mottling, probably well-suited for camouflage in the Crater. One interesting feature of silithid reavers are the vestigial wings. These portrude slightly from their dorsal carapace, and flutter during movement and combat. It is unknown if these are merely a result of reavers being evolved from flying forms, or if they still serve some purpose.

Zavas is not the leader of the Gorishi hive, though. That honor belongs to the unnamed Gorishi Queen which you can slay as part of a questline which starts in Tanaris. This means that Zavas is likely a lesser breeder, working under the control of the Queen in the bee-like hierarchy of the silithids.

Physiology and combat

Once upon a time, silithids (even those sharing models with other creatures) were untyped mobs which could not be tamed, but with the release of Wrath of the Lich King, this changed. You can now tame several types of silithid, though some types remain untameable (like silithid wasps, which I will cover in future installments).

Zavas, like almost all silithid reavers, is now tameable by a Beastmastery hunter with the "Beast Mastery" talent. She does not have a unique, or even uncommon coloration, but does look cool in my opinion. As pets, silithids are cunning pets, sharing the ability to web an opponent in place with spiders. As such, they are quite handy in PvP, where an extra snare is always useful. As usual, consult Petopia for more information on silithids as pets.

Should you instead choose to fight Zavas, take care. While her physical attacks are not terribly dangerous, she will continously lay eggs which hatch into ravenous grubs. Thus she will create her own adds, and keeping these under control is adviceable. Also, at low health, Zavas will call for help, attracting any nearby silithids into combat. Cleaning her chamber before engaging her is probably the best choice. If defeated, she yields the normal uncommon item.

Funnily, sometimes I have encountered this mob literally climbing the walls of the silithid structures, either appearing half inside a piece of terrain, or perched on the side of it (see picture). The idea of silithids skittering across walls and ceilings is frankly somewhat unsettling.

I find Clutchmother Zavas to be a nice rare to showcase our first silithids. Her title and ability to spawn grubs gives her a clear role in her hive, and her appearance is sleek and deadly-looking. The fact that she can be tamed is an extra bonus, although she does not have a unique enough appearance that you have to hunt her specifically.

All in all, a quite interesting rare.

Until next time!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bears and wolves: Old Vicejaw

Bears are rather popular animals in World of Warcraft, just like in the real world. Whereas we hate and fear wolves and large felines, bears look a lot cuddlier and more benevolent (even if they in the real world can be easily as dangerous). Literature and mythology are also filled with noble, wise and heroic bears. Interestingly this is also reflected in the rarespawn fauna of WoW, where there are quite a few rare mob bears. The fact that my main is a feral (bear) druid certainly does not change my opinion on bears in any way. And you're silly for even thinking it.

Today's rare mob is Old Vicejaw.

In the accursed forest

Old Vicejaw is a rare mob bear found in Silverpine Forest in the Eastern Kingdoms.

Silverpine was once part of Lordaeron, and is the zone that directly borders Gilneas, Lordaeron's neighbor to the south. Now a dark, twisted area ruled by undead or madmen like the archmage Arugal, Silverpine nevertheless retains some natural life.

Old Vicejaw can be found in the forested area surrounding the road running from the Greymane Wall to the Undercity. He can be seen wandering around a bit off the road, often close to other bears. In comparison with the other local bears, Vicejaw is a lighter brown and quite easy to spot.

An average bear

Old Vicejaw isn't the most unique rarespawn bear in the game. He's a standard color, has no really special abilities and no unique loot. He's just basically a named bear a few levels larger than the average.

For a hunter, a bear is a rather nice tenacity pet. They eat many types of food and have a quite excellent racial ability for a "tank" pet, namely Swipe, similar to the feral druid ability of the same name. However, Vicejaw's average appearance may not make him too desireable to seek out and tame.

It's always hard for me to write any lore speculation about these very average rarespawns. Old Vicejaw is one of several bears carrying the "Old" epithet, indicating he may be a particularily large specimen, who has been in the region long enough to earn a name. Vicejaw indicates that someone (likely more than one person) has ended up on the receiving end of a very nasty bite. Maybe the nearby Dalaran mages named the bear after encountering it preying on their livestock?

While Vicejaw spawns rather close to Shadowfang Keep, I doubt he has any connection with Arugal, whose favored pets and minions are wolves. More likely, Vicejaw was here before the intrusive archmage appeared on the scene, and is merely minding his own business. Maybe a worgen or two has found themselves on the receiving end of his jaws too?

In conclusion, Old Vicejaw has little unique about him, but at the very least he looks good and has a nice name.

Until next time;

Monday, April 12, 2010

The five-year glitch: Lord Maldazzar

Most people who play World of Warcraft have experienced glitches, those annoying bugs in the game that can ruin your plans completely. Sometimes it's unexpected server shutdowns, sometimes you fall through the world, or get stuck, or get a bugged mob. Today's rarespawn appears to have been continuously buggy since the release of the game, even up to the very day I write this. This is something of an accomplishment, considering how many people say they have reported this over five years.

Today's post is about Lord Maldazzar.

Chasing invisible mobs

Lord Maldazzar is a rare mob human found in the Western Plaguelands in the Eastern Kingdoms.

More specifically, Maldazzar spawns in Sorrow Hill, just east of Chillwind Point, the alliance flight point. Now actually finding Maldazzar in Sorrow Hill is something of a bother. You see, he often spawns underground.

Very often.

If it is not entirely clear from this picture, my hunter is standing right where Maldazzar is on my minimap. However, while I can target him, I cannot reach him or find line of sight to him. My pet can't find a path to him. There's no underground tunnel here at all, the Sorrow Hill crypt has no tunnels extending this far. This means that Maldazzar spawns under the ground for some reason.

Under normal conditions, I have seen Maldazzar stand by one of the open graves in the area. I believe that this is how he is "supposed" to spawn. However, sometimes this appears to bug out, placing him underground. The unfortunate thing is that while you cannot attack him, he may still aggro you if you are of a sufficiently low level, and will start spamming shadowbolts at you. This has been reported to cause the death of unprepared characters many times over the years, begging the question as to why this has not yet been fixed.

I took the screenshot of Maldazzar underground the same day this post is written, meaning that Lord Maldazzar has been spawning underground and sniping passing players for over five years now. Quite remarkable.

If you CAN find him...

Now, while the bug aspect of this mob is quite frustrating for those trying to kill, photograph or avoid him, sometimes Maldazzar does spawn correctly. When he fights fair, he is not a terribly dangerous foe.

He will primarily spam shadowbolts, as well as summon up to 3 rather weak skeletons to fight for him. Occasionally he will use drain life to try to recover health. He does, however, not hit that hard and does not have too much health, so downing him should be easy if you get to this point.

If defeated, Maldazzar yields the standard uncommon quality drop, as well as the possibility for an Invader's Scourgestone and a bonus of 50 reputation with the Argent Dawn. A nice little package if it hadn't been for the sheer buggyness of the mob.

Servant of the Scourge

Lord Maldazzar is a human, and as he still registers as a humanoid he has not yet transitioned to become an undead of the Scourge. His abilities and attire point to him being a necromancer or warlock, and his ostentatious title may indicate that he has some form of command position within the Scourge or the Cult of the Damned. Possibly he is an overseer of some form, or sent out from the nearby Scholomance. As he always seems to stand near an open grave or tomb, it always makes me think that he's busy examining the body within for reanimation, or possibly searching for something that was buried with a certain person.

His odd manner of dress, with a stylish black robe paired with a flamboyant red helmet makes him stick out visually. He also carries a black crystal staff resembling the classic Illusionary Rod design common in the old world. Sadly he does not drop any of these items as unique drops. His outfit is very similar to that of Maleki the Pallid and other necromancers in the Plaguelands, indicating a strong connection.

As a final note, the name "Lord Maldazzar" actually originates from Warcraft 3, where it was the name of a randomly generated Death Knight hero. As the World of Warcraft mob seems to be more of a necromancer (a caster at least), has no horse or runeblade, this may be pure coincidence. I also doubt a Death Knight of the Scourge would be overseeing minor grave robberies in the Plaguelands.

Lord Maldazzar is very memorable, unfortunately mostly due to his erratic spawn behavior. Still, he does look cool and has that air of mystery I like in a raremob, and for that I can forgive him the occasional ganking. Now if only Blizzard could fix him...

Until next time;

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Highway robbery: Thuros Lightfingers

If there's anything constant in the many realms of the World of Warcraft, it is the fact that conflict is everywhere. Not even the heartland of the human kingdom of Stormwind is free of dangers, and the farmers and low-level adventurers there have to contend with gnolls, kobolds, murlocs, rabid wolves... and bandits.

Today's rarespawn is Thuros Lightfingers.

Wanted: Thuros Lightfingers

Thuros Lightfingers is a human rare mob found in Elwynn Forest in the Eastern Kingdoms.

Finding this guy is a bit tricky. He can spawn in four different bandit camps across Elwynn: North of the tiny Mirror Lake in the western part of the zone, north of Crystal Lake (just east of Goldshire) and directly south from Crystal Lake across the road. The final spawn point is to the far east, in a tiny camp east of Ridgepoint tower. I would recommend consulting wowhead for the coordinates and a detailed map.

Fortunately for those seeking him Thuros is on a very short respawn timer. At one point most starter area rares would respawn within 1-2 hours of being killed, but observations since have shown that this time has been cut down significantly (I have tested this myself). It appears that Thuros and his ilk will reappear within 15-30 minutes of being slain, making getting hold of their loot much easier than it once was.

Since he spawns in Elwynn, sometimes quite close to Goldshire, I recommend seeking him outside of peak hours. Goldshire can test anyone's patience to the breaking point. This is why all these screenshots are taken at night.

Hobbies: Robbery, assault, fishing

One thing I always liked about World of Warcraft (And other similar MMO's) was how storylines slowly advanced across different areas as you uncover new quests and new details that give a bigger picture. The story of the human starter areas and neighboring zones is largely dedicated to the Defias Brotherhood, a villainous organization out to sack Stormwind.

I have touched on the Defias in a few earlier posts, and will do so again in the future. Since Thuros wears the standard red bandana of a Defias, it seems clear he's in their employ. Since he doesn't really have any dangerous combat skills and is easy to defeat, he is probably little more than a notorious robber, just like the ill-fated Garrick Padfoot. Most likely Thuros is there as a gangleader for some of the Defias operations in Elwynn.

However, Thuros does have a small claim to fame. Once upon a time, an ambitious player named Draznar wrote a small guide to fishing in classic WoW. Included in this was Draznar's personal favorite fishing outfit, compromised of various items from across the game. And, lo and behold, on that list he included a pair of gloves called Fingerless Gloves. Guess where you get them? Yes, they're a unique drop from Thuros Lightfingers.

While the same model of gloves (or a close approximation) can be found elsewhere, this nevertheless is Thuros' claim to fame (He actually has a second unique drop, the Thuggish Shield). It's also led to some fan speculation that Thuros himself is a fisherman, no doubt compounded by the fact that he usually spawns near a lake or stream. Hey, a man has to have hobbies when he's not shaking down farmers and merchants, right?

As a minor part of the Defias storyarc and being mentioned for one of his drops, Thuros has a bit more fame than the average rarespawn. I'd say the guy has done pretty well for himself!

Until next time, stay out of Goldshire.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Elemental rock: Rumbler

The idea of different "pure" elements which exist in other dimensions is an important part of the cosmology of the Warcraft setting. Earth, fire, water and air all influence and interfere in the physical world, some with benevolent intents and others much more sinister. Many of the great elementals are known to serve the malevolent Old Gods and command legions of lesser creatures in their crusades against the mortal races. Other elementals are slaves to summoners, or simply exist as sentient forces of nature on Azeroth and Outland.

Today's rarespawn is Rumbler.

Identification and location

Rumbler is a rare mob earth elemental found in the Badlands in the Eastern Kingdoms.

The Badlands are a desolate area which greatly resembles the canyons and mesas on distant Kalimdor. Rumbler can be found along with the most powerful regular earth elementals in the zone, in the southwestern corner of the map. There are two areas here, one to the southeast and one to the northwest of the ogre cave. Rumbler can spawn in either area, and wanders around a bit. Visually, it is identical to the other elementals, and must thus be identified via its name.

An elemental's story

Earth elementals hail from the plane of Deephome, where they presumably exist in vastly different conditions than life on Azeroth. Earth elementals are also often allies to shamans, summoned to smite their enemies, and some are ancient and wise beings which give advice to mortals. Like most other elementals they will manifest most often in areas filled with their native element, and the Badlands certainly has its fill of rocks and stone.

As noted, Rumbler spends his time with his fellow elementals, but he does have an ability which sets him apart from the rest. Rumbler has an AoE knockdown attack which while not terribly dangerous can interfere with healing and spellcasting. If defeated, he will drop the standard uncommon quality drop.

While we don't know anything about why the earth elementals in the Badlands are there, there are a few quests involving them. The gnome researcher Lotwil Veriatus has a small camp in northern Badlands and is studying the local earth elementals to find more efficient ways of summoning and controlling them.

Elemental invasion?

It is believed that most elementals do not occur "naturally" on Azeroth (or Outland), they are transported there either by accident or by intent via interdimensional portals. It would seem that some elementals remain after such a crossover, and presumably try to make the new area their home as well as they can.

Elementals can often be controlled by elemental shackles, magical bracelets affixed to the creature which allow it to be safely controlled and commanded by a spellcaster. To this end, Lotwil is seeking to improve shackles for earth elementals by studying those in the Badlands. Mayhap these elementals were stranded after some ancient dimensional rift and have remained to this day, or maybe they were once summoned and abandoned. Presumably Rumbler is an elder among them.

Will his work be successful? Or will elementals continue to run rampant across the world in service to the Old Gods and unscrupulous mortals? We'll just have to wait and see. For now, Rumbler and his kin seem content to be often-overlooked mobs in a remote corner of a desolate area of Azeroth.

Until next time, keep those elemental shackles close by.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Angling for shellfish: Lord Angler

Today we dive deep beneath the waves to take a look at an aquatic rarespawn. There's a few rares in the World of Warcraft that you will find almost exclusively underwater, and depending on their location these may be very hard to find for a casual searcher. Most likely these will only be found by someone doing a quest in the area, or collecting crafting materials. Today's rare lives in such a remote part of a zone.

This entry is about Lord Angler.

(I have to apologize for the quality of the nameplate screenshot here. It wasn't until now that I realized I never got a screen taken from above-water, and thus the stupid breath meter is right there, clipping into the frame. My apologies for this.)

Who is Lord Angler, and where can I find him?

Lord Angler is a rarespawn makrura found in Dustwallow Marsh, on Kalimdor.

Lord Angler is always found in a specific area of Dustwallow, namely around the shipwreck just west of Nat's Landing in the Dustwallow Bay. He is usually found wandering around the area underwater among the other makrura, and can be distinguished visually from the rest by his green/yellow carapace. The other makrura in that area are dull-colored.

The curse of deliciousness

The Warcraft RPG notes that the makrura have the extreme misfortune of tasting delicious to most predators, even intelligent ones. As a result these creatures are wary of most other races, preferring to keep to themselves.

In a setting stuffed to the brim with large, dangerous carnivores, this seems like utterly sensible behavior. Makrura are a relatively minor race as a result, primarily found in Kalimdor. Similar creatures called bogstrok exist in Outland, but it is unknown if these are in any way related, or a convergent evolution of form. If they are related I find it plausible that the naga, upon moving to Outland with Illidan, brought makrura with them as slaves or food, and that these unfortunate creatures ended up being mutated into the bogstrok. Certainly, bogstrok seem to exist only in Zangarmarsh, the base of operations of the Outland naga.

The angler's tale

What about Lord Angler? Well, we don't know anything about him, really. There are to my knowledge three named makrura total in the game, with two of them being rarespawns, so we don't really know anything about their naming conventions (and very little about their soceity). The title "lord" could either signify his standing as a leader among the makrura, or be a whimsical epithet given to the creature by the other intelligent races in the marsh. Maybe Nat Pagle saw the makrura and chose to name it for his favorite pastime?

At any rate, there's not much to distinguish this makrura from the rest. He has no special abilities or drops, and no real signifying traits. He is merely an odd-colored crayfish-man wandering a lost ship in a remote corner of a marsh. As the makrura hate and fear the naga, it is likely the Muckshell clan who dwell here have fled to these filthy, coastal water to escape them and other predators. It might not have worked entirely, as one of Nat's quests has you lure out a shark from the wreck itself. Maybe this beast now feeds on the hapless makrura?

At most, Lord Angler is an unusual discovery when doing a quest or some exploration, there's not an awful lot to him.

Until next time, don't smear yourself with that fish paste.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Anniversary post! Warleader Krazzilak

Yes folks, believe it or not it's now been a full month since I started this blog. A one-month anniversary may not seem like much to you, but to me it's a milestone. In honor of this occasion, we visit one of my favorite five-man dungeons of all time, Zul'Farrak.

Today's post concerns Warleader Krazzilak.

Like finding a troll in a desert

Warleader Krazzilak is a rare elite troll found outside Zul'Farrak in Tanaris, on Kalimdor.

Krazzilak can be found Sandsorrow Watch, a loosely organized area just south of the Zul'Farrak entrance. Sandsorrow has several small clusters of troll buildings, and Krazzilak can be found in one of the burned-out watchtowers, if he is up. I have always found him on the first floor of the watchtowers, overlooking the area.

Fury of the sands

Krazzilak, like other native trolls of Tanaris belongs to the Sandfury tribe. Once part of the Gurubashi Empire which spanned all of Old Kalimdor, the Sandfury have long since evolved for survival in arid climate. As a result, Krazzilak and his brethren have tough, dull-colored skin and tend to wear clothing and armor to camouflage them in the desert.

The Sandfury are today fairly self-reliant, with their fortified village of Zul'Farrak as their base. They regularily send out war parties to ambush travelers or hunt native creatures for food, making them a dangerous element in Tanaris. With his title of "Warleader", it would seem Krazzilak is the leader of such a raiding party, likely tasked by the Sandfury chieftain Ukorz Sandscalp to bring back plunder to Zul'Farrak.

More about Krazzilak

As befits his status as warleader, Krazzilak is a powerful opponent. He hits hard, sports a dangerous stun, disarms opponents and uses various other warrior tricks. He should be engaged carefully by adventurers around his level.

Unfortunately Krazzilak has no special drops. However, I'd like to talk a little about his equipment instead. I really do like the look of his gear and how it matches his dusky-colored skin and his orange mohawk. Of particular note are his leggings. Now, while it is not entirely right to say that NPC's in World of Warcraft are "wearing so-and-so gear", their gear is certainly often modeled to look identical to gear available to players. In this case, Krazzilak's leggings look a lot like the Devilsaur Leggings, a well-known leatherworking recipe back in the days of classic WoW.

While there are several pants with a similar design, I like to think that Krazzilak really is wearing Devilsaur Leggings, and that he led a hunting party into the neighboring Un'goro Creater just to hunt down and slay such a beast for the leather. Things like this make mobs in the game come alive to me, even if it's just my own idle speculation.

A cool-looking troll who's a tough nut to crack, Warleader Krazzilak is a neat rarespawn.

Thanks to everyone who's read, supported, commented and helped out with this blog. You're all great, and without you and your support it wouldn't exist. I hope to meet you here for many many months to come, and see many exciting new glimpses of Azeroth with you.

Thank you;