The virtual world of World of Warcraft is divided between the normal "zone" areas shared by all players, and the dungeon "instance" zones which are shared only by a single party (or raid) of characters. Rarespawns, interestingly, can be found anywhere, be it a normal or instanced area. Today's rarespawn is not actually found within an instance, but he does spawn in the area immediately outside one. So while not inside the Uldaman instance, today's rarespawn still properly belong to the Uldaman area.
Today's rarespawn is Digmaster Shovelphlange.
How to find the digmaster
Digmaster Shovelphlange is a rare elite goblin found in Uldaman in the Eastern Kingdoms. Uldaman is accessed from the Badlands, and in the future I will tag all dungeon entries with the zone the dungeon is located in as well.
Shovelphlange can be found in four different locations in the dig area just outside the Uldaman portal. He can be found in four of the different rooms in the dig, but does not move, so he can be easily searched for by simply checking each room in turn. He has a rather long respawn timer, and since there are several quests located in the are the odds of finding Shovelphlange alive are rather slim unless you're searching for him.
Fighting the digmaster
Shovelphlange is a hostile mob, just like the rest of the creatures in the Uldaman area. As an elite, he has a good amount of health and can be a bit of a challenge for characters too low level. However, he is a rather unsophisticated melee fighter, assuming a defensive stance and using sunder armor to debuff his opponent.
As a result, Shovelphlange shouldn't be too difficult to defeat for any class, provided you clear out any potential adds first. When defeated, Shovelphlange has not one, not two but three drops unique to him! First off, his most common drop are a pair of rather badly itemized boots. Leather with strength and stamina? I have no idea what they were thinking even back then.
His other two drops are less common, but much more interesting. The first is a nicely itemized one-handed axe which looks like a spiffy mining axe. A rather attractive item for roleplaying, even if there are other more common options. The last item is also quite neat, a helmet that looks like a mining helmet and isn't engineer-specific. There are a couple of options, one is a bind-on-pickup quest reward, and the other is a somewhat hard-to-find zone drop from the Uldaman instance itself. Whichever you choose to pursue, it is quite a cool-looking helmet for anyone who has ever dreamed of being a miner. Something to consider for Halloween, maybe?
(Keep in mind that the helmet and axe are bind-on-equip as well, so you can give them away or send them to other alts if you so wish. Or sell them.)
The lore of the digmaster
While he is not found inside the instance, Digmaster Shovelphlange is actually the only rare mob found in the Uldaman zone. A lot of old world dungeons have rarespawns inside the instance, and some actually have several. But Uldaman only has Shovelphlange. Of course, he does fit into his environment quite well.
If you have never visited the are or done the quests related to it, Uldaman is one of the three major Titan laboratories left on Azeroth, abandoned for millennia. Within lie the secrets of the Makers themselves, a fact that has attracted many malevolent beings. The major force in the dig area seems to be the Dark Iron Dwarves, and presumably Shovelphlange is an unscrupulous prospector hired by them to help in the excavation work. As twisted as they are, doubtlessly even the Dark Irons have an interest in their own origins, and their affinity to the odd creatures called Earthen.
With his title, his position in the most interesting areas of the dig and his elite status, I speculate that Shovelphlange is the overseer of the entire operation, responsible for making sure the equipment works and everything flows smoothly. Doubtless he is not the planner behind it, nor does he have any form of supreme authority, but I will guess that he is the guy making sure things blow up good and the excavation doesn't collapse on their heads. He was probably recruited from some less moral goblin cartel, like the Venture Co.
With three unique drops and a good spot in lore, Digmaster Shovelphlange is a cool rare. I hope he survives into Cataclysm and can receieve a shiny new goblin model (maybe giving him that helmet?) but we'll see, as he future is still clouded.
Until next time, don't let the dig collapse.