Friday, May 28, 2010

Another tiny ogre: Enforcer Emilgund

I spent an earlier post talking about an ogre rarespawn in Loch Modan who was rather small. It's quite common for mobs to be bigger in high-level zones than in low-level ones, and to demonstrate I will offer another very small ogre rare mobs for your inspection.

This post is about Enforcer Emilgund.

The smallest ogre in the world?

Enforcer Emilgund is a rare mob ogre found in Mulgore, on Kalimdor.

Emilgund can be found in only one spot, and has a very short respawn timer. He will almost always be found standing outside one of the small huts in the Venture Company camp north of Thunder Bluff.

I have only done a very casual search, but it seems Emilgund is the lowest level hostile ogre you can encounter in the game. He is also the only hostile ogre found in all of Mulgore, and thus quite stands out among the goblins and gnolls! He is only level 11, and not an elite. He also has absolutely no special abilities or attacks, but hits quite hard. For any class that can soften him up at range he is a rather trivial fight, but he might cause some slight problems for a melee class.

Amusingly, his low level is matched by his stature. Emilgund is tiny!

He looks rather irate, trying to punch Melisandra out.

What's his story?

For once, the story is perfectly clear. A simple thing like a title or description in the name of a rarespawn really makes all the difference. Clearly Emilgund is an enforcer hired by the Venture Company to guard their projects in Mulgore. Quite a few of their operatives are making inroads to try to exploit the natural resources of the region. In response, the tauren are defending their lands against these reckless invaders who care nothing for the balance of nature.

An ogre is a perfect enforcer. They work for cheap (possibly even just for food), love bashing things, and lack the intelligence and drive to try and cause trouble other than getting into fights. Thus Emilgund probably fills his job very well, acting as cheap labor and an obvious show of force for the Venture Co.

Enforcer Emilgund rounds out my unannounced "starter zone" theme week. Next week I will return to a more mixed variety of rarespawns.

Until next time, never hire a goblin to do an ogre's job!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spotted nightsaber: Duskstalker

There are a large number of tameable cats in World of Warcraft, and for a long time nightsaber cats have been a popular first pet for night elf hunters, since these cats are found in large numbers on Teldrassil. Cats come in a variety of colorations and fur patterns, but the spotted type is one of the less common. Easily found as low-level mobs in Teldrassil, these cats are often discarded for more "exotic" looking felines later. Still, in Teldrassil they are common enough to have a rarespawn all their own.

This entry is about Duskstalker.

What is Duskstalker, and how do I find it?

Duskstalker is a rare mob spotted nightsaber cat found near Lake Al'Ameth on Teldrassil, in Kalimdor.

Duskstalker is not very hard to find. It prowls the area south of Lake Al'Ameth, and can be found almost anywhere directly south of the lake. Doing a quick sweep east-west should allow you to spot the beast, and since it is on a very short respawn timer, Duskstalker is almost always found there.

Story of the spotted cat

As with most rarespawns, there is little lore to tell us anything about Duskstalker. As I mentioned, the spotted variety is not seen very often. Generally this cat skin can be found in three areas (with the odd possible exception): Teldrassil, Stonetalon Mountains and inside the Black Morass instance in the Caverns of Time.

Now, fur patterns on carnivores usually act to obscure the outline of the animal in its natural environment, acting as camouflage, which is useful when stalking prey. Since all the spotted nightsaber varieties that can be found in World of Warcraft occur in densely wooded areas, it would seem that the spots act as camouflage among the dense undergrowth of older forests. Likely, the spotted sabercats split off from the striped variety through natural variation.

Duskstalker is likely an older specimen of spotted sabercat which has been named by the night elves of Teldrassil. Since it seems to keep some distance to the bigger congregations of regular cats, it may be an older male which prefers solitary hunting. Nightsabers do not appear to be pack hunters, or at the very least maintain only a very loose social structure. This is actually quite common in real-world felines found in forest regions as well. How various animal species got to this artificially created tree has not yet been revealed, but it seems likely they were intentionally transported there.

A nightsaber of your own

As with most cats, Duskstalker can be tamed. It is not unique in color, though, and actually looks exactly like any other spotted cat found on Teldrassil. If instead you chose to fight it, you will find it is an easy fight, with no really threatening ability. Neither does Duskstalker possess any special drops.

If anything, I would recommend seeking out and taming Duskstalker (or one of the identical spotted cats) just because it is very rare to see a hunter with one these days. It may be that people consider the skin to be too "plain" as it is found in a starter area, something which applies to a lot of hunter pets. For cats, you see many many people with King Bangalash or Pitch, but few with the "ordinary" cats.

Finally, it is interesting to note that the offspring of the troll goddess Har'koa appear as black spotted nightsabers with glowing red eyes when they are cursed. When uncursed they appear as their parent.

Until next time, chose a pet you like, not a pet that everyone talks about.


Sexual Dimorphism: Geolord Mottle

You may have noticed in a few of my reviews that I've been unable to even tell what gender a particular rare mob may be. This is not terribly surprising. After all, creating two separate models is twice the work, and outside of the player races gender equality is not as important. In most cases. Then again, whereas we still have not seen a female ogre or broken draenei, some races do have female models. Quilboars are one of those races.

This entry concerns Geolord Mottle.

Back to Durotar

Geolord Mottle is a rare mob quilboar found in Durotar, on Kalimdor.

Mottle is the second rare quilboar in this zone, and complements Captain Flat Tusk. Like Flat Tusk, Mottle can be found in several of the quilboar camps surrounding the western road to the Barrens.

What sex is my quilboar?

As indicated by the title, quilboars have two different models. It would be easy to assume that the "warrior" style quilboars (which use models similar to Flat Tusk) are male and the "caster" quilboars found wearing robes and using magic are female. Certainly there are several examples of "warrior" quilboars having male titles, and "casters" having female ones. Unfortunately, as demonstrated by Mottle here, it's not that easy. Mottle has the "caster" model but a male title ("Geolord").

Now, it is certainly possible that "lord" in this case is used as a gender-neutral title. It is also possible that male quilboars do become casters, but more rarely than females. A closer examination of the "caster" quilboar model does seem to indicate that it has breasts, though (this is much closer than I ever wanted to look at a quilboar *shudder*). As such, I feel it is fairly safe to call Mottle a "she".

It is interesting that such a minor race would get a proper female model, whereas some other very prominent races with which you have constant dealings (ogres spring to mind) do not. I guess someone at the developing team liked the quilboar a lot! It is also important to note that quilboar sexes are not as wildly differentiated as those of some other races (such as trolls or draenei).


The quilboar have strong shamanistic traditions, and often command powers associated with shamans. It is not uncommon to find quilboars commanding elementals or using totems, or replicating player shaman spells. Mottle (being such a low level mob) only uses two spells, but those fit well with the theme. She surrounds herself with a lightning shield and uses healing magic to heal her wounds (or those of any other mob involved in the fight). The fact that Mottle can heal herself up fully can make her dangerous for underpowered adventurers.

Despite this, Mottle is a significantly easier fight than Flat Tusk, and should pose little threat. She has no special drops.

A rather average rare, Mottle still serves as an early lesson about the danger of enemy healers, and the fact that quilboars have different models for males and females is an interesting curiosity in itself.

Until next time

Friday, May 21, 2010

We hunger for flesh! : Rot Hide Bruiser

Gnolls are another of those minor sentient races of the Warcraft setting that just never seem to get their own storyline or a big feature. When the biggest claim to fame for your entire race is a rather vicious level 11 quest mob who is famous for killing newbies... you just don't have too much to brag about. Gnolls are almost entirely lifted from Dungeons & Dragons, being hyena-like savage scavenger humanoids and that is about it. With no real history and no large context to place them in, gnolls are just kind of "there", monsters to menace the more peaceful races and harass new adventurers.

Today's entry is about one such low-level opponent, the Rot Hide Bruiser.

Undead gnolls in the woods

The Rot Hide Bruiser is a rare mob undead gnoll found on Fenris Isle in Silverpine Forest, in the Eastern Kingdoms.

Found inside Fenris Keep, the Bruiser dwells with a large number of other rot hide gnolls, and can be quite tricky to track down. He can spawn in a number of different locations, seemingly always indoors. However, given the huge number of possible nooks and crannies within the buildings inside the keep, finding him can be a chore. Using /target or some sort of tracking is almost required.

Annoyingly, several times when I located him he was parked facing a wall inside the ruined smithy inside the keep, with a number of other gnolls around him. Since he does not wander, it turned out to be impossible to turn him around for good shots. Fortunately persistence won in the end, and I found him standing in a much better spot inside one of the other buildings. Returning to hunt down a rarespawn twice or even more times just to get good pictures to post is actually something I do a lot, which is why you will sometimes see both night and day pictures within the same post.

The Bruiser's tale

Now, most rarespawns in World of Warcraft have a name. They are almost always named mobs, whether it is a given name or a title. Some unfortunate rare mobs don't have names, though, only being referred to by a rough description.

As such, the Bruiser is just that. An undead gnoll bruiser. The rot hide gnolls succumbed to the plague when the Scourge swept through Lordaeron during the Third War. Afterwards, the sorcerer Thule Ravenclaw, who had sworn his soul to the Lich King, became their ruler in undeath. Betraying all former bonds of friendship and loyalty, this hateful magus now rules Fenris Isle from the keep, guarded by a large number of rot hide guards. In all likelyhood, the Bruiser was just an unusually brawny gnoll who was thus reanimated as a warrior thrall of Ravenclaw.

While a rather unremarkable rare mob, the Bruiser does have a few things that make it stand out. First off, it is about six levels stronger than the rest of the mobs on the island. While not an elite, this makes him a rather frightening prospect for characters around level 16 visiting the island for quests. Secondly, he has not one but two unique BoE drops, a club and a belt. The club is not the same model as the bruiser wields (he goes with the more traditional board with a nail in it) but it is at least close enough.

Finally, as there is not much to say about the mob itself, a few words of opinion. The gnoll model is, quite frankly, terrible. While it looks very much like the Warcraft III rendition of gnolls, compared to the smoother and more detailed graphics of WoW it looks angular, undetailed and unappealing. The blocky feet and legs, the lack of detail on arms and hands... I believe this is the reason that gnolls have never been featured much except in starter zones and as odd NPC's. If any race desperately needs a model overhaul, gnolls would be my first pick.

Until next time, don't let the undead gnolls bite.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dark Seduction: Lady Hederine

As you may have noticed, some creatures become rare mobs more often than others. In World of Warcraft you can often notice a gradient of what kind of mobs are used, and how often their respective models show up is dependant on that. For example, in the original game you generally only encountered Dreadlords as bosses or very tough endgame mobs, and thus you would not see a dreadlord rarespawn in a lower-level zone. Also, some models are just not used as often as others. For example the wight model is very rarely seen, and was even more so in classic WoW. Today we spotlight a rarespawn that is the only one of its kind in the entire game.

This post spotlights Lady Hederine.

Who is Lady Hederine and where can I find her?

Lady Hederine is an elite rare mob succubus found in Darkwhisper Gorge in Winterspring, on Kalimdor.

Darkwhisper Gorge is a demon-haunted and corrupted region of Winterspring where Archimonde's forces staged their campaign to assault the world tree at Mount Hyjal. Interestingly the gorge also houses an errant high elf ghost and a greedy imp merchant. Within this accursed region, Lady Hederine can be found standing in one of several spots within the many canyons of the area. She does not seem to wander, and is thus fairly easy to spot among the many patroling succubi in the area. Despite not being the focus of many quests, the area is still sometimes farmed for Thorium, and thus finding Lady Hederine alive may be somewhat tricky depending on the population of your server. Her respawn timer is also quite long.

Temptresses of the Nether

Succubi are one of many demonic species forming the Burning Legion. Their proper species name is "Sayaad", although it is used in only one instance in the game. Presumably, "succubus" is a human or elven word for the creatures, which seemingly are quite well-known to the mortal races of Azeroth. Due to their seductive appearance and dangerous powers over the mind, they are often enslaved by warlocks, and used when a more subtle approach is needed. Succubi do not seem to rise into positions of power within the Legion very often, although they have leaders among their own kind known under titles such as "Queen of Suffering".

As mentioned in the introduction, Lady Hederine is (so far) the only rarespawn Succubus in the game. This is not a common thing, and she shares this honor with only a few other creature types. She does not have an uncommon coloration or any other remarkable features, but the succubus model is well-designed and animated, and thus looks quite good. The "monster" version of the succubus is identical to the warlock pet, which was revised rather early during classic WoW to be less scantily clad. However, this revision also made the model less angular and more detailed, so is overall an improvement in my mind.

The demons of Darkwhisper Gorge are all elite, and were never demoted to regular mobs at the time when most other world elites were. During classic WoW it was a dangerous zone to enter, even for a well-geared level 60. True to form, Lady Hederine is very dangerous in combat for adventurers around her level. She cannot be stunned, has a mind control ability that lets her take over both players and pets, likes to use fear on things she cannot control, and has a very strong Shadow Word: Pain. In addition to this her physical attacks are quite powerful. Take this into careful account before engaging her.

Although she has no unique drops, if defeated she has a good chance to drop Felcloth and Demonic Runes, very much in keeping with her demonic nature.

Demonic royalty?

The demon forces in Darkwhisper Gorge stubbornly remained even after the death of Archimonde and the dispersal of most of the Legion forces. Interestingly enough one can infer a bit about Lady Hederine as well. Tellingly, all types of demons inside the gorge have "Hederine" before their name (IE "Hederine Slayer"), so it seems almost certain that she is the leader of the remaining forces. This is also backed up by her personal power.

Interestingly, as I said earlier succubi are almost never seen in command of Legion forces. I am theorizing that possibly Lady Hederine was second-in-command or a lower-rank commander of the demonic forces stationed there, and that the higher ranking demons were all wiped out during the disastrous attack on Nordrassil. As the remnants of the forces withdrew, Lady Hederine decided that her time had come and seized control of the demons. Her epithet of "lady" may even be self-proclaimed.

Why aren't there more rarespawn succubi? I have no idea, honestly. They look more detailed and better animated than many of the creatures of which there are half a dozen rarespawn. Maybe Blizzard think that not making the various types of demons too common helps in making them feel more unique and more of a threat when encountered? As we will see, demons are not very commonly used as rarespawns overall.

Since Mount Hyjal will open as a zone with the release of Cataclysm and since Darkwhisper Gorge will gain an all-new focus as a quest area, the future fate of Lady Hederine and her demons looks uncertain. However she is an interesting and unique rare, with a nice place in lore, and thus deserves to be remembered.

Until next time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Straight to the heart: Heartrazor

If you have a Horde character, chances are you've flewn on the back of a wyvern at some point. Ever since the Horde came to Kalimdor, they have shared a special bond with these majestic flying creatures, and indeed one form of basic flying mount available to a Horde character is a wyvern. Therefore, it's not terribly surprising to find that there are wyvern rarespawns as well.

This post is about one such rarespawn, Heartrazor.

To find a wyvern

Heartrazor is a rare elite wyvern who can be found in Highperch, a small area located atop the high canyons of Thousand Needles. Located deep in the heart of Kalimdor, Highperch can be accessed by climbing a small path up the southern cliff walls of the Needles marked by a large tauren totem.

Heartrazor will be found slowly flying in a long path around the eastern edge of Highperch. He is most commonly found in the elevated area to the east (near Pao'ka Swiftmountain, a tauren questgiver for Horde players) and will slowly circle this part, reaching the edge of the slope leading down to the rest of Highperch as he does.

Heartrazor is quite easily spotted even at a casual glance. He has a pale coat of fur with a slight green-blue tint, and a purple mane. The regular wyverns in the area are all a mottled brown. Heartrazor is also the only elite among them as well, and always has been (that is, the regular wyverns were not once elite and later downgraded to "regular" mobs). He also seems to be a bit larger than the average wyvern.

What is his story?

Highperch is a wyvern breeding ground where these majestic predators lay and care for their eggs. The tauren have evidently known of this place for a long time and guided their new-found orc and troll allies here, where the bold may try to tame a wyvern. The less scrupulous may try to steal an egg or a young cub.

While wyverns are quite intelligent and very faithful once tamed, wild wyverns are still predators, and will fiercely defend their territory and young. Furthermore, some hunt the wyverns, making them even more reclusive and wary of outsiders. As a result, the wyverns of Highperch, including Heartrazor, are quite aggressive towards outsiders, something which can cause complications when escorting Pao'ka to safety.

Heartrazor is quite powerful and has a good amount of health, also injecting opponents with a strong venom through his stinger. He is in other words quite dangerous, doubly so because due to his patrol path a novice adventurer here may be surprised by him. Wyverns are disturbingly silent when flying, which no doubt helps them to stalk prey. Unfortunately, for all that trouble Heartrazor has no unique loot, nor can wyverns be tamed by hunters.

I should probably say that I have no idea what gender Heartrazor is. It might as well be a female, but calling it an it throughout this entry looked rather dumb, so I picked male pronouns and went with them.

That being said, I would bet that due to the odd fur color and the sheer power of this creature that Heartrazor is either the matriarch or patriarch of the Highperch wyverns. The pale fur could indicate age, and the strength could be the result of many years of competition and hunting. Maybe Heartrazor is the alpha male or female of all the wyverns there, and thus the one that gets to pick mates, gets the best kills and leads the pride in hunting.

Heartrazor is a nice-looking creature which can unfortunately cause a big headache due to his aggressiveness for those doing quests in the area. Nonetheless, he is a nice addition to the little zone, which is quite beautiful in itself and well worth a visit (especially with Thousand Needles scheduled to undergo dramatic change in Cataclysm).

Until next time.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Another Cataclysm preview: Engineer Whirleygig

By now everyone is probably well aware of Goblins becoming a playable race in the next expansion, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. But goblins have been around a long time in the Warcraft universe, fulfilling the roles of crazy tinkerers. Beginning in Warcraft II, they have been with us ever since. And there are, in fact, quite a few rarespawn goblins in World of Warcraft already.

This entry is about engineer Whirleygig.

Goblins, goblins everywhere

Engineer Whirleygig is a rare mob goblin found in the northern Barrens on Kalimdor.

Whirleygig can be found in one singular location, and is thus quite easy to track down. He is always found inside the command shack on top of the derrick in the Sludge Fen in the northern barrens. The area is crawling with hostile mobs, so take caution if you visit it at low levels. Whirleygig, if he is up, will be standing in front of one of the consoles in the small control room.

Fighting Whirleygig

Engineer Whirleygig has a fairly short respawn time (counted in hours rather than days at least) and can thus be found relatively often. He is hostile to both alliance and horde, and although he is not an elite has some interesting abilities. He constantly carries a remote around, and when engaged uses it to summon a harvest reaper (a compact version of a harvest golem) to fight beside him.

His second ability is also very fitting to his title of engineer, as he will start summoning explosive mechanical sheep which run towards his opponents and explode!

I really like when mobs have a "theme" that they follow, and this guy really does look like a crazed engineer, charging in gripping a remote and using gadgets to fight you. Unfortunately he provides no engineering-themed drops, only providing a standard uncommon quality drop when defeated.

What's his story?

Whirleygig is an employee of the Venture Company, a goblin cartel which can be found world-wide on Azeroth. The Venture Co. seem to be one of the least scrupulous of all goblin companies (not that most of them aren't rather shady to say the least) and can always be found performing some form of exploitation with little regard to wildlife or natives.

As such, it's no wonder we find an oil rig set up in the Barrens. There's even a mining operation nearby too, right on Thrall's doorstep. Both alliance and Horde adventurer often find themselves in conflict with the Venture Co. and the Sludge Fen is no exception, with several quests in the area. It would also be irresponsible of me not to mention that there are two more rarespawns just in this very small area. The Barrens has a lot of rare mobs.

It is a safe assumption that Whirleygig is the chief engineer of the operation, in charge of maintaining the technological aspect of the oil rig operation. His abilities fully support this and probably making him a valuable Venture employee.

On a closing note, with the massive overhauls to the Barrens with the release of Cataclysm, it's very uncertain if the Venture Co. operation and Whirleygig will survive the transition. If they do, Whirleygig may get a new model, much like the exisiting blood elves did with the release of the Burning Crusade. Only time will tell.

Until next time, I got what you need!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Terror of Durotar: Captain Flat Tusk

World of Warcraft is full of references, easter eggs, jokes, puns and tributes. Sometimes, the game even references itself.

This post is about Captain Flat Tusk.

Quillboar champion

Captain Flat Tusk is a rare elite quilboar found in Durotar, on Kalimdor.

Captain Flat Tusk is found in the small quilboar camps along the ridges just south of the road leading west to the Barrens. He has the common "warrior" quilboar design, carrying a rather nasty-looking axe. His title "captain of the battleguard" refers to the quilboar armed forces in the zone, of which many carries the title "battleguard". With his title of "captain", it is clear Flat Tusk is among the leaders of the Razormanes.

As I have touched on in the past, the quilboar claim lineage from the great boar eternal Agamaggan, and revere him and believe in his eventual rebirth to lead them to glory. They have a deep-seated hatred of other sentient races, and the Razormane quilboars found in Durotar are no exception, being thoroughly hostile. They have been driven out of their lands by the invading orcs and trolls, but still cling to their razorvine-covered settlements in many areas, waylaying their enemies and arranging raids.

Lethal threat

As an elite in a starter area, standing smack dab in a questing area, captain Flat Tusk is quite a nasty surprise for unexperienced heroes. He has a lot of health (666, actually), hits quite hard and can use a strong Heroic Strike to inflict extra damage. With the added potential for more quilboars being pulled into the fight, this makes Flat Tusk a dangerous enemy.

Low-level characters may find it worth it to battle this menace, as his guaranteed above-average quality drops are more useful at those levels. Also, located in the middle of a quest node often makes people engage him simply because he's there.

Now, about that reference I alluded to in the opening paragraph?

Now let's see. An elite in a starter area, with 666 health, does a lot of damage, stands in a quest node...

Does it sound familiar, alliance players?

I think it should.

Until next time, make sure you know what you're doing when you attack an elite monster.