Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4.2: Firelands

Image © Blizzard Entertainment.
   So, today marks the release of Patch 4.2.  This patch brings us a new PvP season, a new raid and set of tier gear, and a new daily quest hub with all new rewards.  It also brings us a plethora of new pets!  We're going to be getting very beautiful, eye-catching fire spiders, as well as three new spirit beasts, and a new rare cat and crab.  None of these pet skins have ever been tameable.

   Before I get too much into this, let me go back a bit.  Since the release of World of Warcraft, hunters wanting rare pets have had to compete with everything from griefers to loot-hunters to, more recently, people killing rare tameables for achievements.  Cataclysm brought with it the first "hunter only" mob: Ghostcrawler, a spirit beast located in an out-of-the-way corner of Abyssal Depths.  What made this guy special was his Raid Boss personality.  Not only is he not part of any achievement, but he also has the health pool of a raid boss and he hits like a truck--and hits harder the more people are there. 
One of the ten new pets added in patch 4.2.

   Elsewhere in Cataclysm, the other rare tameables are quite killable--but rather than loot, they drop the "Crystalline Tear of Loyalty," a gray-quality item with flavor text "The desire to serve as a loyal companion, coalesced into a single priceless crystal."  This "priceless" crystal doesn't sell for much, but instead is meant to deter people from killing rare beasts they find wandering Azeroth.  It's still not as effective as Ghostcrawler's strategy of simply being unkillable, though.

   So, with the release of the Firelands and the Molten Front questing area, we have a bunch of new pets released.  However, instead of being basically loot chests waiting to be opened, they've taken a page from the Spirit Crab's book and made themselves nigh-on unkillable.  In order for a hunter to successfully tame one of these new pets, they'll need to look up the strategy and come prepared.  Nobody stumbling across these mobs on accident will come away with any loot!

   First off are the three new Spirit Beasts.  These are accessible from the day of the patch, and consist of a spirit owl and two Gondria-style spirit cats, one white and one blue.  The "trick" to taming the owl is finding a place where one can tag him while he flies past: he has a very high-altitude patrol route.  The cats, on the other hand, have a far nastier trick: their attack power scales with your armor.  That means that if you have even one piece of gear on, these kitties WILL one-shot you.  Instead, you have to get completely nude before you make your tame!

   Once you're deeper into the dailies, you'll find a few more nice pets waiting.  There are five rare spiders with a multitude of trick tames; one requires you to sacrifice and revive a pet (or an easygoing friend) to it nine times before it can be tamed; another must be kited across a certain number of Ice Traps, etc.  These spiders are found throughout the new questing area, and come in fiery green (Kirix), orange (Solix), purple-blue (Deth'tilac), yellow (Anthriss) and red (Skitterflame).  If you want one of the new flame spiders without camping a rare, you can nab a common version of the red or yellow flame spiders in the area instead.
One of the ten new pets added in 4.2.

   Last but not least, we have two tameable rares added to somewhat remote rock outcroppings in the zone.  The first is a "gem crab" named Karkin, who has metallic or stone silver etching on a black base and a red-orange glow over the top.  The second is a new cat, one of the old "stone cats" of Ulduar.  This cat, named Skarr, is a black stone panther with glowing red eyes.  It's the same type of cat you control when doing the Oracles daily in Sholazar Basin--Soo-holu--or you can see the model lounging outside Bouldercrag's Refuge in the Storm Peaks.  Skarr is the first of his kind, however, to be tameable.

Well, there you have it--  Happy hunting, folks!

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