Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

The OverAchiever: Hunting rares and you -- A guide to waiting around for months

Allison Robert

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, the thrills of real-life hunting (lots and lots of waiting around) are yours to be had in-game.

Admit it: You still get a little thrill of excitement whenever you run across a rare mob. There's always that thought that this -- this -- is going to be the time you kill something with a silver dragon around its portrait and something fantastically rare drops. Maybe it'll be a world drop like the Lei of Lilies. Maybe it'll be one of the game's first epics, a Staff of Jordan. Maybe you'll go out of your way to kill something and find a plate Of the Boar shoulder on it, and you'll wonder why you bothered in the first place. But hunting rares is, as they say, the triumph of hope over experience.

There are four achievements in the game concerned with hunting rare mobs, and they'll keep you running around Outland and Northrend for a while.

These achievements might get a lot harder when Mists of Pandaria hits due to cross-realm zones. They're not exactly easy to do right now, but they certainly won't get easier if you have to compete against a raft of off-server players. While we're not 100% certain that that's how things will function, right now I would classify these as achievements to do sooner rather than later. The only reason they weren't listed in that column is because I didn't think of them, but a few canny readers made the Cross-Realm Zones + Rare Mobs = Oh Shiznit connection.

The OverAchiever Be vewy, vewy quiet We're huntin' rares
The four achievements related to rare-hunting are as follows:... and you'll quite obviously get Medium Rare and Northern Exposure in the process of doing Bloody Rare and Frostbitten, so we'll just lump them together. Because Outland and Northrend are relatively empty these days, it's usually not tough to run out and kill one rare at any given time. However, getting all of them is considerably harder.

This week we'll tackle Frostbitten, so head to Northrend.

General tips and tricks
  • Download SilverDragon or _NPCScan and _NPCScan.Overlay. These are specialized mods dedicated to helping rare mob hunters, and whenever a rare spawns within range of you, you'll get a pop-up notification on the bottom of your screen. _NPCScan.Overlay is an addition to _NPCScan that will add the path of rare mobs to your maps as well. (It looks a bit like the highlights you get on maps from quest objectives.) Even though you'll have to clear your cache if one of the rares you're hunting turns up already dead, nothing will make these achievements easier than using one of these addons.
  • The average rare mob is bigger or more visually distinctive than its surrounding counterparts. This is one of the reasons why hunting them can be so tough. Yes, they stand out, but that's exactly what gets them killed so quickly by other players.
  • Respawn times vary by mob. The average rare mob respawns within three to six hours. Others will take longer. One, Vyragosa, shares a spawn timer with other mobs, and though I haven't been able to confirm this personally, many players think there are a few mobs here that actively despawn if not killed before the end of their path. (Grocklar in Grizzly Hills has especially been singled out for this.)
  • Most of your competition for achievements like Bloody Rare and Frostbitten is going to fall into one of two categories: people who luck into killing a rare mob while they're just running around questing, and people who are specifically hunting them, like you. There's really nothing you can do about the former, but they're slightly less likely to be out and about while something interesting (e.g., a holiday or event) is happening elsewhere on the server, and you won't find as many of them in later questing zones. (Players will leave Outland for Wrath of the Lich King content around 68, and Northrend for Cataclysm content around ... well, you actually can't pick up those quests until level 80 anyway, but they'll probably still hit that before reaching Icecrown and Storm Peaks.) For the latter, they'll likely be hunting the same mobs you are in roughly the same pattern and aren't as likely to be dissuaded by things going on elsewhere.
  • If you're having real problems getting one mob in particular, position your character next to a known spawn point right before a server reset. This definitely isn't foolproof, since most of these mobs have multiple spawn points, but it'll help somewhat.
  • Some of these mobs are extremely frustrating to hunt. A few spawn close to major questing hubs, some stick out like a sore thumb and are thus found and killed by players quickly, and there's one mob in Outland that paths maddeningly close to Shattrath and often gets killed by the guards outside the city.
  • Just keep swimming going. Honestly, there's really no grand strategy here in the long run. A combination of timing and sheer rotten luck may keep you hunting some specific mobs for weeks, if not months. That's normal.
The OverAchiever Hunting rares and you A guide to waiting around for months THURSDAY

Frostbitten sends you to Northrend in pursuit of 23 different rare spawns spread out more or less equally across the continent.
  • Borean Tundra Fumblub Gearwind, a mechagnome in a Turbo-Charged Flying Machine, paths in an oval around the Geyser Fields. Icehorn, a white rhino, can be found on the tundra east of Taunka'le Village, south of the Temple City of En'kilah, and occasionally around Death's Stand. Old Crystalbark, a purple-hued Ancient of Magic, paths around the Nexus in Coldarra.
  • Dragonblight The Crazed Indu'le Survivor, a tuskarr, pops up in a series of locations in western Dragonblight. Unfortunately, his pathing brings him close to Stars' Rest, so it's very common to find him already killed by Alliance players questing in the area. Scarlet Highlord Daion, a Scarlet fighter on a blood elf paladin warhorse, can spawn in one of three locations in eastern Dragonblight: under Naxxramas, around the northern Scarlet camp, or in New Hearthglen. Tukemuth, a large gray mammoth, spawns and paths around central Dragonblight's wastes, usually north of Wyrmrest Temple.
  • Howling Fjord King Ping, a large penguin (ha ha, Blizzard), spawns on the southwestern islands of the zone (either the tuskarr island on which Kamagua is located or the pirates' island just south of it). Perobas the Bloodthirster, a white worgen, spawns in the northeast part of the zone in an arc around Fort Wildervar. Vigdis the War Maiden spawns on the eastern plateau east of Nifflevar and north of the Explorers' League Outpost. Unfortunately, she is hugely noticeable as a female vrykul on a black proto-drake, so players tend to pick her out from the surrounding landscape and kill her rather quickly.
  • Grizzly Hills Grocklar, a big storm giant, spawns on the western side of the zone and will always be found on the upside-down trapezoid of land created by the rivers south of Zeb'halak and west of Amberpine Lodge. Seething Hate, a mob with the same model as the priest's Shadowfiend, spawns between Granite Springs and Grizzlemaw. Syreian the Bonecarver, a female vrykul hunter in blue kit and carrying a bone bow, spawns on the eastern side of the zone and paths around the small plot of land below Drakil'Jin Ruins and north/northeast of Camp Oneqwah.
  • Zul'drak Zul'drak is difficult because the mobs here spawn in pretty random locations. Griegen, a large, shambling zombie, spawns on the west side of the zone (the lowest of the Zul'drak terraces) in one of eight different locations. The Terror Spinner, a spider, spawns on the eastern part of the zone (the top or second from the top terrace) in one of seven different locations. The Zul'Drak Sentinel, a golem with purple markings, can be found on one of two paths: around Zeramas on the lowest tier or around the Argent Stand (and the road running from Grizzly Hills to the Altar of Sseratus) on the third.
  • Sholazar Basin Aotona, a parrot with the same coloration as the Hyacinth Macaw but bigger, can spawn in one of several locations around the central portion of the zone. King Krush, a large green devilsaur, spawns in one of three locations: a path below the Maker's Terrace in the northwest, south of the Glimmering Pillar, or south of the Skyreach Pillar. Loque'nahak, one of the game's most famous rares and something that you will probably be fighting a legion of hunters in order to get, can spawn in one of seven different locations all around the zone with no rhyme or reason as to where, so I'd recommend just looking at the map on Wowhead. Every time I've gone looking for this cat, I've encountered a hunter trying to find and tame him before someone else gets to him, and each time, the guilt's sent me elsewhere. Blizzard, you gotta program another spirit leopard into the game somewhere.
  • Storm Peaks Dirkee, a mechagnome, spawns in one of four locations, three of which are in the central part of the zone and one of which is all the way over by Thunderfall. Vyragosa, a large blue dragon, flies around most of the valleys west of the Terrace of the Makers and Brunnhildar Village. You probably know her better as a rare that shares a spawn timer with the Time-Lost Proto Drake, so if you see her up or recently dead, you can call off an immediate search for the TLPD.
  • Icecrown All of the Icecrown rares share one characteristic: They're enormous. High Thane Jorfus, a huge vrykul in death knight armor with a purple runeblade, spawns in one of the three locations: The Fleshwerks, the bone field northwest of Icecrown Citadel, or around Sindragosa's Fall. If you get lucky, it won't be the latter because he's noticed instantly by players in and around the Argent Tournament. Hildana Deathstealer, an extremely large val'kyr, spawns around Jotunheim or in the central portion of the map at Ymirheim. Putridus the Ancient, a big flesh giant, paths the bone field in an arc stretching from Corp'rethar to Mord'rethar.

Enjoy working on achievements? The Overachiever is here to help! Count on us for advice on patch 4.3 achievements, our guide to Mountain O' Mounts, and a good, hard look at what's wrong with archaeology and how Blizzard could fix it.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr