A guide to Northrend rares (inc. Time-Lost Proto)


In case you have browsed through the achievements you can obtain under the category “Exploration”, you might have noticed two achievements: Bloody Rare and Frostbitten. Now you might think, that’s brutal to obtain.. well, yes and no. For now I will share my tactics on how to obtain Frostbitten and to have an actual chance on catching Time-Lost Proto Drake. Which you may know, drops Reigns of the Time-Lost Proto Drake, a rare proto mount.

In order to obtain Frostbitten, you have to slay 23 rare NPC’s across Nothrend. Now why would one take on this lofty task?

  • Each rare you kill drops on average 20 gold, a blue WotLK Binds when Equipped item (some of which go for quite a bit of gold on AH), and an Abandoned Adventurer’s Satchel containing a stack of frostweave cloth and a few crystallized fires, waters, earth etc.
  • You’ll have a legitimate excuse to kill a rare in front of a hunter who was hoping to tame it 😛
  • You can show off your rare achievement
  • You now know how to create a real chance to catch the Time-Lost Proto Drake.

So where do we start? First you need to get the add-on NPCscan (see Recommended addons). This add-on will notify (most times) that are rare has been spawned in your near environment. You’ll learn to love the heartattack you get when the alarm goes off :P.

Secondly, we need to know the system behind the rares. Basically the 23 rares of Northrend only spawn in specific locations. Typically, each zone contains the spawn points of 3-4 rares. These rares will not appear in other zones. In my experience, at least half of all rares per zone is up at all times. If there are a lot of people questing in the ares they may have been killed. But don’t worry, new rares of that area will spawn. Generally, if a rare has been killed it takes anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours before a new rare spawns. This can be the same rare (I’ve seen this happen on occasion), but most times its a new one.

Now what this mean for our hunting strategy? It means that, if Nothrend is relatively deserted and you start killing rares, new rares will spawn within 30 minutes and 2 hours and you can safely depend that the rare you just killed won’t spawn. This means you can slowly gain control of the spawns of all rares in Northrend. Therefore, if you use the following method, I can assure you you will have found and killed 50% of all Northrend rares in one morning!

My method:

  • Start early: get behind your PC at 6 or 7 am and work on this until 2 or 3 in the afternoon (lesser competition, especially on monday and tuesday morning)
  • Fly methodically: Start in one corner of the continent and work your way through it zone per zone (I’d recommend you start in either Howling Fjord or Borean Tundra)
  • Have a list ready which rare can be found in which zone and open your browser with each of the spawnlocations of the rares in that zone (available on wowhead)
  • Before starting in an area, figure out the fastest way to check all spawn points and you can start flying
  • Don’t assume you will see it from a distance.. you’ve never encoutered these NPC’s before, it might take a bit longer to load than the average boar or bear.
  • In general these rare NPC’s are huge and slow (there are exceptions). This means they are easily spotted and caught.
  • Do not trust 100% on NPCscan. It’s a great add-on, but especially in outland it has let me down many times (no alarm when NPC is in front of my nose).
  • Rare’s have relatively low health for their zone, rare raid bosses excluded (which we won’t be hunting here).
  • If NPC scan goes off, stop flying immediately, select the pop up frame (which auto-targets the rare) and you should be able to see the location of the rare on your mini-map. It also tags the rare with a green triangle, that always comes in handy :D.
  • Another benefit of having these rares up on a browser next to WoW, is that you know what they look like.. most times very odd-looking. They also have typical names, which distinguishes them from the rest.

Two rares we need to discuss seperately are Vyragosa and Time-Lost Proto Drake. In my case, Vyragosa was among the 2 last rares I needed for the achievement. As you may know, Vyragosa shares her spawn timer with Time-Lost. This means that they never spawn at the same time. People are guessing, but the estimate is that Time-Lost spawns 1 out 15 times. So you’ll mostly encouter Vyragosa. Since Time-Lost is still on most people’s wish list, you’ll have some competition. You’ll see horde and alliance hanging in midair amongst the snowy peaks waiting for Time-Lost. Do not feel intimidated. I approached a few and indicated that I was looking for Vyragosa instead of Time-Lost and asked if they would allow me the kill if she spawned instead of Time-Lost.

Now you may feel a bit discouraged to hunt either Vyragosa or Time-Lost, since they rarely spawn and if they do, it’s almost always Vyragosa. But remember the tactics above. If one rare is killed, another one spawns. If the rare is not killed, another one will not spawn. Some rares in the top of Northrend are almost never killed, and if there are too many rares up, you may never see Vyragosa or Time-Lost. This means: if you want to catch Time-Lost, you have to kill other rares. Especially rares from the same zone and and surrounding areas. If your friends are really kind, you can ask them to go rare hunting for you, while you wait for Vyragosa/T-L to spawn.

Here is a map of the flying routes and spawn points of Vyragosa and Time-Lost. I copied it off the internet a few months ago, couldn’t find its location, but would love to give credit..

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Specific tips for catching Time-Lost:

  • use the add-on NPC overlay to see the routes the Time-Lost flies when it spawns (its always some circle around some mountain, either clock or counter clock wise)
  • if you feel like waiting in one spot, I can highly recommend hanging in the air above the Broodmother’s nest, NPCscan will go off from three routes, the best I could find.
  • plan your kill!! Know how to get T-L down. It can be a long fall, and if you have engaged it into combat, it will despawn if you die!!!

Feel free to ask any questions and I will add an overview of the rares per zone seperately.. good luck all!! 🙂

p.s. It can be done!!!! > proof

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