Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stupidly rare: Zalas Witherbark

As I have mentioned before, rare mobs in World of Warcraft can spawn at different speeds. Some will reappear in 15-20 minutes, some will literally take days to respawn. Today we will be looking at a rarespawn with a very long respawn timer, who is quite difficult to find.

This post is about Zalas Witherbark.

Finding the rarest of the rare

This is a bit of an exaggeration, of course. Zalas Witherbark is not -the- rarest mob you can find in World of Warcraft. Zalas appears inside the cave south of Witherbark Village in the Arathi Highlands, in the Eastern Kingdoms.

Witherbark Village can be found directly south of the horde outpost of Hammerfall, and south-east of the alliance flight point Refuge Point. The cavern is not very large, but has a large number of hostile trolls inside it. Zalas can be found inside, near a small area containing a gong and a campfire. He does not appear to ever leave his spawn point, just wandering back and forth leisurely.

As I mentioned, not only does Zalas have a very long respawn timer (WoWhead reports it being as high as 72 hours, among the longest for any rarespawns), but the cavern is frequently visited by horde and alliance players who have quests within. These two factors combine to ensure that Zalas is very tricky to find.

Forest trolls in the World of Warcraft

Forest trolls are common in the Eastern Kingdoms. Once, the great Amani empire covered large parts of the northern continent, and trolls ruled the lands now claimed by high elves and humans. Forest trolls have a green skin tone and tend to be a lot more bulky than their jungle troll cousins, while sharing all their ferocity and savage combat skills.

The Witherbark tribe are one of the many forest troll tribes which allied with the Orcish Horde during the Second War. Led by the great chieftain Zul'jin, the forest trolls allied with the Horde with the promise that the orcs would help them retake their crumbled empire, driving the High Elves from Quel'thalas. This was not to be, as the orcs were unable or unwilling to fulfill that promise, and the alliance between forest trolls and orcs crumbled as well.

Much later, the young warchief Thrall regarded forest trolls with contempt, and the forest trolls return the favor. Today, the only forest troll tribe still allied with the Horde are the Revantusk of the Hinterlands. The rest have returned to worshipping their bloodthirsty loa gods, cannibalism and other acts of savagery in the hopes of one day reclaiming their lands. The Witherbark thus reside in the Hinterlands and Arathi, where they compete with humans, dwarves and orcs for territory.

Zalas and his tribe

Given that he carries the Witherbark name, it seems Zalas Witherbark would be one of the most important trolls in his tribe. His title of "Warband Leader" marks him as quite a respected figure, possibly even the chieftain or high shaman of his entire tribe. However, there are several other noteable Witherbark trolls, some of which will feature in this blog in the future.

In combat, Zalas displays the abilities of an arcane caster, controlling enemies with ice chains and polymorph spells while attacking with shadowbolts. Now, as the other rare mob Witherbark troll (Nimar the Slayer, we will get to him eventually) uses warrior-type abilities, it seems safe to assume that Zalas is the arcane authority of the warband. Oddly, he appears to be wielding dual handaxes and wear leather armor, not very fitting for a spellcaster.

Sadly, the rarity and interesting background for Zalas do not mean he provides anything useful. His drop table is the regular uncommon quality items, with nothing special at all. Given that he may only appear once every few days, this seems very unfair.

Finally, it is worth noting that the forest trolls underwent a visual upgrade with the release of patch 2.3, The Gods of Zul'Aman. To make them more unique, a new bulky troll model was developed for the Amani trolls, and this was also applied to forest trolls all over the old world. Thus, Zalas and his trolls suddenly became quite a bit beefier, although his equipment remains the same as before. Sadly I do not have a screenshot of his original model, as it was long before I started collecting rarespawn pictures, but wowwiki has one for those interested. I have to say I like the "bulky" forest troll look for these NPC's, and Zalas looks suitably savage.

In closing, Zalas Witherbark is an interesting rare, both in the context of what he is and in his extreme rarity.

Until next time, remember that the Amani never die!


Skulda said...

I like the bulkier models for the forrest trolls. Way cooler.

Emma said...

just a little typo comment, your entry calls the whitebark jungle tribe in th 6th paragraph (oh noes)


but its an interesing one, i never reflected on revantusk tribe being forest trolls, ill have to go check em out to see if they are beafier too.