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WoW Rookie: The inner workings of instances


New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

Maraudon or Blackrock Depths, anybody? Instances are your opportunity to meet and work as a team with other players in the World of Warcraft. You'll combat pack after pack of minions and defeat unique, memorable bosses on your way to some of the most enjoyable play in the game. Instances, also often known as dungeons, offer your group (and later, your raid) your own personal copy of a dungeon. No players other than your own group members are able to enter an instance with you. Instances provide some of the most rewarding and well designed content, challenges and loot possible for your character.

The teamwork and cooperative effort required to down the elite mobs and tricky bosses within an instance require a new level of teamwork from your rookie character. We've touched on the basics of finding your niche within a group. Today, let's cover the mechanics of managing instances – becoming "saved" to an instance, resetting them, understanding respawn and more. (One note: this week, we'll discuss five-man instances designed for single groups along the path to level 80, not raid instances requiring 10 or more players to complete. We'll introduce raid instance concepts for fresh level 80 players next week.)

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Filed under: Tips, Instances, Features, WoW Rookie

WoW Rookie: Rares, elites and nameds

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

What's with the curlicue dragon graphic wrapped around the portrait of that mob? Aren't they usually gold? This one's silver. Hmmm ... And whoa, why does that Gnoll over there have a name? He's got one of those gold dragon things, too. Do you think -- CRUNCH!

Special names, special graphics ... Special attacks, special ZOMGWTFBBQ levels of health ... It's unobtrusive little details like these that might, just might, have something to do with the fact that you just got epicly pwned. Make no mistake: these are special mobs, the elites, nameds and rares of Azeroth and beyond.

WoW Rookie would never allow you to wander about the wilderness unaware of the dangers that lurk. Let's go over a few signs that suggest you may want to look before you leap.

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Filed under: Tips, Features, WoW Rookie

Seeking the Time-Lost Proto Drake


I don't know if we've mentioned this before, but even if we have, it's interesting enough to put out there again, I think. There is a dragon in the expansion that can be soloed, and drops a epic flying mount at 100% drop rate -- all you've got to do is find him. A few people have already nabbed the mount, and lots more are on the hunt right now. The mob in question is the Time-Lost Proto Drake: it's a rare elite spawn (but as I said, it's possible to solo it, especially at level 80) that shows up every six hours or so flying around the Storm Peaks. Unfortunately, none of the usual suspects have maps of where he's been seen yet, but we're hearing it's around the southern part of the zone. When he goes down, he'll drop the mount, a good chunk of gold, some Frostweave, and a random enchantment Talisman.

An interesting tactic on Blizzard's part -- on the one hand, this is definitely a big change from the huge questlines and rep grind from the netherdrakes: just kill this one dragon and you're guaranteed the mount. On the other hand, the rare spawn rate, and the fact that it is a 100% drop rate means there'll be a lot of competition, at first anyway, for the kill. But the good news is that the odds will only get better -- if you're willing to do some dragon hunting for a few hours and have some keen eyes for what's in the air, you could pick up one of the coolest flying mounts yet.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Mounts, Wrath of the Lich King

Take out the trash (timers)!


Over at Blessing of Kings, Coriel recently made the case for removing the respawn timer on trash mobs in raid instances:

"When you go into a 5-man instance, you expect to clear it, even if it is your first time going to that instance. You may wipe once or twice, but the general expectation is that you will finish that instance. In this case, an instance time limit is a good idea. If you hit the trash respawn, it's a sign that something is wrong, and perhaps it might be a better idea to try again later, maybe with a different group or after gearing up a bit more.

... In contrast, in a raid boss fight, you expect to wipe a lot. That the fight is intricate enough that learning and mastering it will take multiple hours. It took us two or three evenings to refine our strategy and master The Lurker Below, and he's generally considered an easy boss in SSC."

He makes a few more good points in the article, including the fact that for casual guilds, losing time to trash mob respawns could be better spent learning a new boss. Obviously this affects more casual raiders than hardcore ones, but I think Coriel summarizes his points well and is worth a read.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

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