Sunday, May 2, 2010

Here there be dragons: Hematos

Ladies and gentlemen, I have returned! And I bring with me a new entry, with several more lined up.

The world of Azeroth has many cruel and ruthless groups vying for power, but few are as ruthless and powerful as the Black Dragonflight. The kin and offspring of the corrupted dragon aspect Neltharion (Better known as Deathwing), the black dragons tend to be cruel, aloof creatures, regarding other forms of life as little more than nuisances. With Cataclysm and Deathwing's return on the way, I thought it would be fitting to feature a black drake as today's entry.

Today's entry is about Hematos.

Who is Hematos, and where can I find him?

Hematos is a rare elite black drake found in the Burning Steppes in the Eastern Kingdoms.

Hematos can be found in a rather peculiar spot. On the far western edge of the Steppes, just south-west of the entrance to Blackrock Mountain, there is a large rock formation with a path running around it (the area is called "Draco'dar" on the map). Hematos will be found circling this formation at a respectable speed, flying along the small road on the north edge of the cliff when his route takes him there. Hematos is quite quick, so beware if you are exploring here with a character not ready to take Hematos on, as he might catch you unawares.

Drake hunting

Drakes are younger dragons, no longer whelps but not yet fully grown. Their power is respectable, but they generally only occupy the middle parts of the hierarchy of their flight. Black drakes are no exception, and the Burning Steppes are filled with these beasts, as well as their lesser kin.

In appearance, Hematos is quite like his lesser brethren in the area. If he catches up with an adventurer he will swoop in to attack with his claws and a fire breath. He has no other special abilities and no special drops, but his high health and damage can cause problems for weaker heroes.

Warcraft drakes have a quite distinctive model, with a "corncob" tail, a narrow head and a slender body. This has given them something of a unique identity, and provides an interesting visual link between whelps and full-grown dragons. Of course, there are some problems with the model. Noteably, when the drake model was created it was never given a "walking" or "ground" animation of any kind, so all drakes you encounter as enemies will attack while flying. However, I really do like the drake model a lot, finding it suitably impressive and well-animated. Thus photographing rarespawn dragons is always a pleasure.

Recently, when the drake model became available as a player mount, drakes were given a landing animation, and can now walk around on the ground just like dragons. However, this change has not yet been applied to the old-world drakes, and thus Hematos and his kin never touch the ground until they're slain. It's almost poetic.

What's his story?

First, a few words about his name. Hematos is one of three black dragons who have names derived from the ancient greek word for blood. Of these three dragons, Hematos and Hemathion are rarespawns, while Hematus is a quest mob in the Badlands. The naming convention for black dragons is much less clear than for the other flights, with all kinds of different suffixes use. Still, the suffix "os" would indicate a male drake.

The presence of a powerful black drake in this area hardly needs to be explained. Since Deathwing's son Nefarian chose Blackrock as his home, his fellow black dragons have spread over the surrounding areas in attempts to subjugate other races for the black flight. Hematos is most likely a lesser lieutenant of Nefarian, set to patrol the Steppes for intruders.

How will the release of Cataclysm affect the areas surrounding Blackrock? Nobody knows as of yet, and it is possible Hematos will no longer fly on his endless patrol very soon. Until then, feel free to take a flight over there and check for him, as he is quite an interesting sight.

Until next time, don't let those black dragons bite.



Samskeyti said...

Welcome back, and yay for an excellent dragon post!

Emma said...

Yea, nice to see a new post!

I just wondered about his coloration, is it the same for all black drakes, or do they have different color schemes?

Dragonshade said...

There's only one black dragon color in classic. I suspect you see it differently because it looks more vivid in the odd light in Burning Steppes... Can make the colors look different.