Last Updated June 10, 2018
Hey, everyone! 2 Months ago, I accidentally stumbled upon Vyragosa flying by the special spot from the Brunnhildar spawn.
Here's the proof:
("May the odds be ever in your favour!")
I didn't think that was possible and it made me realize I still had something to learn and possibly teach. That reignited a desire in me to study the TLPD again and try to refine the "hunting" process as much as I could. I've spent the last two months doing that.
I now believe it's not just possible but REASONABLE to get the TLPD in under 5 hours of "hunting" time based on the strategy laid out below. That doesn't mean it won't take longer. I'm just saying it's very possible ... because I've done it. I've personally killed the TLPD (seven) 7 times, now. Yes ... 7.
With that knowledge in hand, over the next few days / weeks, I'm going to refine what you see below to lay out some tweaks to the process. All of the principles below still very much hold true. They've just been polished now to a high gloss shine.
Oh, one other thing. If you DO want to get the TLPD, NOW is the time to go hunting. Competition is very light with BforA a ways off still. People have unsubbed, or aren't playing as much as they wait for the next expansion. Even after people come back ... they'll all be doing the new content, so the next few months are a golden time to get your mount. Stay tuned as I roll stuff out over the next few days. Good stuff is coming.
If you'd like to know how you can get your very own Time-Lost Proto-Drake mount, you've come to the right place.
(Ooooh, how I've waited for this moment ... )
I know people who've taken "years" to get their mount. I want to show you how you can get yours a lot faster. It took me three months, but that included a lot of time for experimentation. Knowing what I know now ... I believe it's quite reasonable to get one in about 6 weeks. If you're lucky ... sooner. A lot sooner.
How can I be so confident?
- I partnered with about 17 different people months ago and collectively we logged over 200 Vyragosa and TLPD kills. You make that many kills ... mix that with an engineering background and a penchant for logging things in spreadsheets ... and you learn a lot.
- Yes! You can commit smaller amounts of time than you might think (as little as 15 minutes camping at a time) and still get your TLPD. Your elapsed time may stretch out longer than if you go hardcore with your camping ... but your odds of being in the right place at the right time will dramatically increase which is over 80% of the battle. (Thanks Giordana for asking this question).
- How often the TLPD spawns.
- Where the best place to camp is.
- How to retrieve your loot if the dragon dies in an inaccessible area.
- How to minimize the amount of time you spend camping.
- When to log-in to minimize the amount of competition you're getting for a spawn.
- How long and when you can "safely" log off and take a break.
- And a whole lot more ...
- There's a ton of information here. To ease the difficulty of finding what you need this post is divided into two sections. They are TLDR ("Too Long Didn't Read") and Details. For you impatient types, stick to the former section. For those of you who want to understand in depth what you're getting into ... well, read the relevant set of details!
The Details section is (as you will see) very detailed. The goal is to try and make each section stand-alone and provide all the information you may require to successfully address any concerns with that topic. That said ... the comprehensive nature may be overwhelming.
To ease the pain a bit, I've attempted to break it up, and provide formatting and colors to help you find what you need quickly. Here's what to look for:
- Green Text refers to the key steps you must take ... and also serves as headlines for the details under each step.
- Blue Text refers to links outside the post that back up what's being said or provide additional clarity (like pictures of spawn point locations, or video clips that show key points of interest). Feel free to check them out as you feel is necessary.
- Red Text refers to information that is fundamental to your success. Ignore these details at your peril.
TLDR - The Steps:
Are you one of those ... "get to the point" ... kind of people? If so, this section is for you. If it's clear enough ... go for it. If you'd like more information before proceeding, "click" on the Step you want to get more information on and it will jump you to the relevant "Details."
- 1. Create a level 80 to level 90 Alliance Hunter on the realm “Emerald Dream.”
2. Get geared up (Loot-a-rang, Fetch and Skinning)
3. Hover in the “special spot” located above the pitched roof tower between the Frozen Lake and the Waterfall spawn points that lets you see both spots.
4. Waiting for a Spawn: Expect the TLPD to spawn about 1 in 10 times. Taking a 3 hour break after a spawn is fine as there's a low chance you'll miss the next one. Max duration between spawns is likely 8 hours. Before making your kill shot, aggro by flying through the dragon and pull to a flat open area.
5. Stay on Task!
Step 1. Create a level 80 to level 90 Alliance Hunter on the realm “Emerald Dream.”
- The TLPD Mount is an account bound mount so if you kill the TLPD, loot and use the reins on any realm, the mount will be available to any character you have on any realm. This is important to know because you can keep your “main” on your favorite server and create an “alt” for the purposes of hunting the TLPD on Emerald Dream.
- For simplicity sake … I will be using the names of US Realms … but the mechanics apply to EU / Asia / Oceanic realms as well.
Q: Why Emerald Dream?
- A: This is the single most important thing you can do. Skip this and you will literally waste weeks of time and effort. This is about pure economics. Supply and Demand. For what? For the TLPD spawns as well as other resources you will need to be fully prepared. You can’t make more TLPDs spawn (although I wish you could). You can only seek to reduce the amount of competition you have in getting a spawn when it comes. You will also want to arm yourself with the necessary kit ... for when the big moment arrives.
I learned the importance of this fact when I found myself on a Friday night competing for a kill with 7 other people camped on a single spawn point. I did the math and realized that if a TLPD did spawn while I was logged in … I had only a 0.375% chance of getting the mount (more on this later under Step 3). Those odds are stupid horrible.
At that point I knew I needed to have less competition for the mount. After extensive testing (see my self indulgent response to TygerDarkstorm below for details) I found that at its outer limits the Cross Realm Zone (CRZ) mechanic (which attempts to fill a zone with characters from other realms to make a zone more populated) has an outer boundary of Realm Type (i.e. PvE, PvP, RP, RP-PVP). CRZ will not pull characters from PVE realms into PVP realms or vice-versa. They won’t pull RP characters into non-RP realms. As a result, there is a way to “eliminate” competition by creating a character on a realm type with the lowest possible population. That realm type is RP-PVP.
Here’s the Stats on RP-PVP taken today (3/11/2017) from: Warcraft Realms
Realm Type - Population Percent
- PVE - 55.5%
- PVP - 27.2%
- RP - 13.6%
- RP-PVP - 3.7%
But why Emerald Dream over one of the other RP-PVP servers? Because you will want to get other resources (more on this in Step 2) and Emerald Dream has the highest server population count of all the RP-PVP realms (30,618) compared to the others (in the hundreds). This means the Auction House will be most full with regents and other necessary sundries (more on this in Step 2). You will also be able to use the trade window with people on this server … and with more available people … the better your chances of having someone to trade with.
Do yourself a MASSIVE favor and just create a new character on Emerald Dream.
- A: Similar to Emerald Dream as a Server … there are more Alliance characters (22,606) than Horde (8,012) so … more potential people to trade / communicate with as needed.
- A: Being able to tag your quarry at range is very beneficial. Yes, you could use something like a mage, or druid or something with a range spell, but hunters can have a pet skill called “Fetch” which can be critical for retrieving your valuable loot from your downed TLPD. More on that later.
- A: You want something that can withstand attacks from MOBs in the zone. But still aggro Vyragosa and TLPD when they spawn WITHOUT killing them. When you get to level 95 and higher it gets tougher to aggro the TLPD or Vyragosa by flying though them. We’ll cover this mechanic later in Step 4.
- A: Fast method: Character realm transfer or Boost a toon. Slow Method … create a new toon and start leveling.
Step 2. Get Geared Up.
I know you're ready to rock Northrend, but hold your horses, gryphons, or flying moose (Meeses? Mooses? Moosi? What's plural for a moose?). Let's make sure you've got what you need to be successful. There's a few things you're going to want in your bag of tricks. You could just head right over to the Storm Peaks and start camping for the TLPD … but even if you find him … you might not get your mount. Why? Read on …
There is a common expression among Navy Seals. “Two is one and one is none.” What does this mean? In short … have a backup. If you have two of something and one doesn’t work … you go with the other. If you have just one of something … and it doesn’t work. You’re screwed. The LAST thing you want to do is spend hours of your time camping the Storm Peaks, waiting on the TLPD to finally show it’s face only to have the corpse fly down a steep cliff ...
(Don’t even get me started about those eternally tall cliffs out by Ulduar!)
or caught behind a waterfall …
(The Frozen Waterfalls just north of K3 which is near one of the Spawn points are solid to you and me. But not a dragon. Go figure. I’ve killed Vyragosa over those falls and watched her disappear down behind them. Several odd camera angles later I was able to loot … but you’ve been forewarned. )
or caught up in a tree (just out of reach) preventing you from getting your loot. Can you say “Rage-quit?”
Bottom line … you need to be prepared to loot from an ODD kill spot. So, before you go bounding off to the ever so cold North … err, Northrend … let’s fix that problem before it starts. This is where that “Auction House on Emerald Dream” in Step 1 thing kicks in by the way…
Here's what you want to do:
- Get engineering to level 490 and get a loot-a-rang. Consider using a Macro for your Loot-A-Rang.
- Get Fetch for your pet. Consider using a Macro for looting with Fetch.
- Get Skinning leveled up to skin a felled dragon (optional).
Get engineering to level 490 and get a loot-a-rang. Consider using a Macro for looting with your Loot-A-Rang.
- You want to level Engineering to 490 and get yourself a loot-a-rang. Make it yourself or buy it off the AH. If either Vyragosa or TLPD gets “caught” somewhere … you may need to be able to extend your “looty reach.” The Loot-a-rang is just the tool for that.
- Q: How do you level Engineering quickly?
A: Check out: WoW Profession's Guide to leveling Engineering. Alternatively, if you get to level 90, you can just purchase yourself a Guide to: Draenor Engineering for 90g and level that way.
Also, while not totally required, having a macro in place will help you target a down corpse you may have lost focus on, and makes you feel Uber Cool as you hit just a single button that retrieves your hard earned lewtz. (It also comes in handy if you're farming for stuff later).
A Macro for the Uber Geek with a Loot-A-Rang (This one Auto Loots):
/run SetCVar("autoLootDefault", "1")
/run C_Timer.After(2,function() SetCVar("autoLootDefault","0") end)
Q. AAACK. This Macro thing blows my brain! Where can I learn more?
A. Remember. Macro's are optional. Feel free to skip it. Going all the way down the rabbit hole on Macros is outside the scope of this post but if you want to start learning about them, here's a decent place to start learning about Macros: Macros - What Every Player Needs to Know.
- Q: How do you level Engineering quickly?
- But what about that Seal saying … you say? (see how I did that … ). This is where Fetch comes in. As a hunter, you can use the Pet ability to “Fetch” loot from a corpse. It’s an amazing thing watching your pet go straight up (or down) a wall to loot a dragon … but there you have it. I’ve seen this work in places where loot-a-rang didn’t … and vice versa. “Two is one …”
- Q.Where can I learn more about Fetch?
A. More About Fetch: from WOWHead.
Q.How do I get Fetch?
A. How to get Fetch: from WOWHead.
Here's a Fetch Macro:
/cast [@target, exists][@mouseover,harm,dead]Fetch
Get Skinning leveled up to skin a felled dragon.
- Regarding the leatherworking skill skinning ... this is not at all critical, totally optional and may be entirely counter-productive based on the time you save compared to the time you put in! Use your judgement here. If you've heard the warning and decide to head out on a bender … you might as well come prepared. Respawn times start as soon as Vyragosa or TLPD despawn. When does that happen? 30 minutes after they are killed if you do nothing. Vyragosa can be skinned however. TLPD cannot. If you’re looking to speed up the next spawn and save 30 minutes … Skin Vyragosa, she’s gone, the respawn clock resets, and the camp begins again (oh joy).
- Q: How do you level Skinning quickly?
A: Check out: WoW Profession's Guide to leveling Skinning.
*** Note … The main reason I bring up skinning is this: The TLPD cannot be skinned. You can use this to your advantage. If some *cough* idiot announces in zone chat they downed TLPD … ask them for coordinates. If they say … “Oh, ermmm … I skinned him … he’s not here anymore,” they’re lying. Ignore them … and continue to camp. If they offer up the coordinates … feel free to go look. It’s a good chance they’re telling you the truth and that means you can have 30 minutes to go do something else … biologically related or otherwise. We’ll cover the timing thing more in Step 4.
- Q: How do you level Skinning quickly?
The point is this. With the advent of Warlord's of Draenor, and Vignettes, the rare spawn dynamic changed and the Addons needed to adapt. To stay with the times they now provide automatic audible alerts on WoD and newer rare spawns ONLY. They will still make an audible alert in an "on focus" event like a click, target or "mouseover" for older rares (like TLPD) ... but if you aren't looking at the screen ... what's the chances of that happening? Yeah, I hear you smarty pants ... maybe with a targeting macro ... but you won't spend days doing that. You'll break your keys and wear your finger down to a pasty pile of goo. Of course if you're into that undead thing ... that might appeal to you. BUT I DIGRESS. You're just gonna have to keep your eyes on the screen. Sure ... the occasional look away or something. But don't count on those Addons. OK? Good. Back to our regularly scheduled program ...
What about other in game items or skills like: Snowfall Lager, you say? NOT Necessary. Totally optional … take whatever you really feel you need to … but all you REALLY need in your pack of tricks is the stuff I listed above. Well, OK … maybe one more thing but it’s optional. It’s a special mount for “hovering on” while you are waiting for the spawn to happen. But I’ll cover that in the next step …
OK … head up to the Storm Peaks. You’re ready to start camping. Now you just need to know how … and where.
Step 3. Hover in the “special spot” located above the pitched roof tower between the frozen lake and the waterfall spawn points.
Are you in the Storm Peaks yet? Good. This next part is the second most important thing you can do. It can QUADRUPLE your chances of getting the TLPD. What follows is an explanation part and then a ... "do this" part.
- If you can follow instructions exactly and don't want to deal with all the "Why" behind my instructions ... skip from these stars to the next ones. If you want to understand "Why" keep reading ...
- Skip Technical Details Starting Here:
(FYI - This is most definitely not The Special Spot ...)
There's no easy way to do this with bullets. I've attempted to make this next part as clear and entertaining as possible but there's depth here that will pay off if you hang in there. So buckle down and get through this. Here we go ...
Now … conventional wisdom is that you will camp at one of the four spawn points that either Vyragosa or (if you’re lucky) the TLPD will spawn. As a side note, it will only ever be one dragon or the other. They are never up at the same time. It is totally random which one will spawn. (we’ll cover ratios and how often one or the other spawns in Step 4). It is also random which spawn point they will spawn at.
So, here’s the problem … if you camp at just one spot … and you happen to be logged in when something spawns … you have just a 1 in 4 chance (25%) of being at the right place.
Let’s see if we can make the odds better. What if there was a way to “be” in two places at once. If you could … your odds would double and go up to 50%.
Before you start crying foul … No, I’m not talking about bots or dual boxing. Nothing illegal, amoral … or most importantly … that would get you banned. Let’s suspend disbelief for just a moment though. Is there a way to detect a spawn … in two places at the same time … and have it be totally legit?
It turns out there is … but you must be VERY particular about where you are positioned. I call it the “special spot.” Very unoriginal … but hey … if you have a better name … I’m all for it.
Before I share the “special spot” (or how about the “Spot of Omniscience”) it’s important to know about two different things. They are “Phasing” and “Draw distances.” They play into where you need to be for positioning yourself in the right place when you camp.
First … Draw distances. There are two draw distances that come into play. They are horizontal and vertical. Horizontal draw distances kick in when you’re flying (or walking, riding, swimming) along parallel to the ground and something comes into view in front of you. This distance is relatively short. You can test this for yourself. Just go find a field of MOBs and walk around. The Valkyr in Valkyrion is a good place to check this out. You can also look at the Snowdrift Jormungar in the Snowdrift Plains. Then ride around on a mount at ground level. Watch how they come into and out of view.
Now … for some fun. Hop on a flying mount. Get right above one of the Jormungar and fly straight up (usually it’s just by hitting the space bar). Go as high as you can above them … and still see them. It’s a LOT further, right?
So, what did we learn … well … we learned that we can be way above an ordinary MOB and still see them. But we can only be a relatively short distance away horizontally and we lose sight of them. This bit of information is CRITICAL to understand because now … if we can go high enough … we can see over hills. We can see what’s happening on the other side of the hill. Something important. Like a dragon spawning. You see where I’m going here right?
How high can you go? I’ve been on top of the pillars at the top of the Temple of Storms … and been able to see Vyragosa all the way down in the plains near the Engine of the Makers located in the Foot Steppes. That’s REALLY high up.
(Vyragosa is in the Ellipse.)
You can get way above any hill and see what’s happening on the other side.
But what about the horizontal distance. That’s really short. It is … on an ordinary MOB. But Vyragosa and TLPD are not ordinary. They are very special. As a result … they have an extra wide horizontal draw distance. How wide? VERY wide.
To demonstrate … I can show you the distance without being there. First … you need to know where the spawn points are. A VERY good set of information on how to locate the spawn points can be found here: WoW Rare Spawns.
PLEASE NOTE … as helpful as that article is … there is some incorrect information in there (related to Addons). Not intentional, I’m sure … just use it to find the spawn points. Everything else you can ignore, OK?
OK … now I want you to locate the “Frozen Lake” Spawn point. If you watch the embedded video and stop it at 11 seconds … you will see where the first spawn is. Go fly to that spot and land there. Now. I want you to fly West from that Spawn point toward Valkyrion. It should look something like what you see in the following video from the 6:43 mark forward to 6:51: The Storm Peaks - Fly Through.
Here’s the catch though. I want you to stop just short of the wall of boxes on the edge of the village. You’ll see the wall at about 6:48. You there yet? You’re not on the Valkyrian village side of the boxes right? You’re on the frozen lake side, right? OK. Good.
Now, look back at the spawn point. If TLPD and Vyragosa were to spawn right now … you would see them. I swear by all things holy … you would see them. I tested it myself after an insta-kill from that spawn point. If you were there when I tested it ... you would have seen this ...
(The Spawn is at the sqaure. Vyragosa in the Ellipse.)
That’s how far their horizontal draw distances are for them. You can’t see the harpies flying around at the bottom of the hill … but by Odyn … you would see a blue or golden dragon if they were there!
And here it is ... "The Other side of the Hill" picture. It really is possible to see a dragon spawn from a far distance away.
(Vyragosa is in the Ellipse.)
So now what do we know … we know we can be very high above them …and really far off to the side and still see them. What we need to be doing is be up in the air ... looking down like a spy satellite … waiting for them to spawn. And when they do … we swoop down to get our prize.
Is there any place where we can see two spawn points if we do this? YES! We can see both Frozen Lake and the Waterfall Spawns if we’re up over the top of the hill that separates them.
WAIT … don’t go yet. There is a catch. (You knew there was a catch, right?). I haven’t told you about Phasing yet. You’re still at the wall of boxes on the frozen lake side … right? No … OK, go back. I’ll wait.
Right. You’re on the Frozen Lake side of the wall of boxes … now … go just inside the village. Just to the other side of the wall. Now … if you look back at the spawn point and Vyragosa or TLPD spawned … you wouldn’t see them. I swear. Just a few “feet” in the wrong direction and BAM … no dragon to chase. You must be VERY precise in your positioning or you will not be able to see the TLPD and Vyragosa spawn. I will show you where to go. But let me drive this point home.
Go fly over to K3. To the East of K3 you will find a line of signs. If you keep flying East past the signs … suddenly there is a thundering herd of MOBs running toward the west below you. Phase line! This is also a particularly bad spot to be chasing TLPD or Vyragosa … several people have watched them disappear here as they were flying East and thought they “despawned.” No … they were just in a different phase. If you followed the flight path back toward the spawn (the flight path for all spawns except Frozen Lake is counter clock-wise) and were patient … eventually Vyragosa or TLPD would come back into view … and you could get them. At some point you will be able to test this for yourself. For now ... you’ll need to trust the MOBs running along the ground … and know that there are phase lines throughout the Storm Peaks. Invisible lines where if you’re on the wrong side of them ... or your dragon is … poof … no visibility and your dragon is gone.
OK … now you're ready to head to the Special Spot. Head back toward the Frozen Lake spawn. Your flight should look something like this video … from 5:45 on: The Storm Peaks - Fly Through.
At 6:14 in the video you will see two towers. They will be in focus through 6:17. Fly over to the tower with the Peaked roof on it. In the video you will see it (and you should now be approaching it the same way) on the left.
Once you reach that tower with the shingled roof … land on the roof … right … smack at the top of the peak … equal distance from all edges. You want to be … exactly … in … the middle. You want to be facing away from the mountain (it should be behind you) and be facing toward the frozen river below. Now. Hit your space bar and fly straight up. Just like you did earlier with Jormungar.
How high up? Well there’s a bit of art to this. It depends on your monitor resolution. You should be about parallel with the top of the mountain behind the tower. You know your at about the right height if you’re a little above the white birds that are circling the peak. Did you notice how the birds seem to coming in and out of view. But they are only a short distance away? Phase line. Scary … isn’t it?
Right, now … I want you to go into your settings and set your camera distance to max. That way you can scroll way back without moving your toon … and get a wider field of view. Bring the camera above your toon so you are looking down at it. You should be able to see the Frozen Lake Spawn on the lower left of your screen and the Waterfall spawn on the lower right. (If you’re not sure where the waterfall spawn is … go back to the page I linked to above and find it).
You should be positioned something like this ...
(The Red "X" Marks where you land and go up vertically from. You can see a corpse of Vyragosa on the left in the ellpise at the Frozen Lake Spawn. The Waterfall spawn is marked in a Square on the right. This character is higher than you need to go. You want to go no higher than necessary. The higher you go the further you have to fly to get your kill.)
Take your time with this. Follow the instructions carefully and you’ll be in the right place.
(This height is better. Notice you can still see both spawns but are closer to the ground as evidenced by the trees now being visible down by the base of the mountain.)
You’ll now have a wide field of view and be able to observe two spawns simultaneously. If a dragon spawns … you’ll now have a 50% chance of seeing it happen the moment it happens.
There’s a hidden advantage of this spot, both the Ulduar spawn AND the Brunnhildar spawn will send the dragon to path into your field of view. Ulduar will come from left to right along the frozen river. Brunnhildar will path down along the right side of your screen. So it’s now possible to see two spawns instantly and have the other two path right in front of you. With just a little bit of luck you are now covering ALL FOUR spawns completely by yourself. That’s a 100% chance now! And two of them are being covered at the exact same instant.
And with a low population realm type … the chances of you getting to your dragon (or your dragon coming to you) is very good. In the next step … we’ll talk about how to reduce competition even more. But for now, … fly around … check out all the spawns. Look for phasing … know where the spawn points are … then get yourself into the “special spot” (or how about the name “Overwatch”? … See what I did there … C’mon … I’m trying hard!)
So, this next suggestion is optional but ... I’ve found it helpful. When you’re staring at a screen for hours … you want to minimize any distractions so that if you see a thing flapping its way across your field of view … you want it to be either someone else, or Vyragosa, or TLPD. You don’t want to visually desensitize yourself to flapping. So being on your own flappy dragon mount, or gryphon or whatever can be distracting. What’s a good option? The Disc of the Red Cloud Flying Mount. It’s very visually small compared to your character, makes no sounds and has no flappy bits. Here’s a video that will help you get it more easily. How to Get Exalted w/ Lorewalkers in 30mins and: Get the Disc of the Red Flying Cloud mount.
- Skip Technical Details Starting Here:
Step 4. Wait for a spawn. Kill and loot.
So, you’ve started camping for the TLPD. Inevitably questions around timing will come up. Questions like:
• “When should I be logged in?”
• “When will the next spawn happen?”
• “What are the chances that any particular spawn will be a TLPD instead of a Vyragosa?”
• “How long will it take me to get MY TLPD mount?”
Let’s tackle those in order.
Q: “When should I be logged in?”
- A: The overly simple answer here is … whenever you can … as often as you can … as long as you can. The more time you put to the task … the greater your chances of being logged in when a spawn happens.
OK. Now that I’ve put the “Captain Obvious” answer out there … let’s try to get a bit more precise. As I said at the very beginning of the post, there’s nothing you can do to make a Spawn happen (Supply). The only thing you can do is address the competition (Demand). The good news is … there is a time related aspect to your hunt which will reduce competition which may also seem a bit obvious but it’s worth mentioning. In short, you should log in during “off-peak” hours.
Let’s see if we can get that dialed in a bit tighter. There was a study done many years ago, regarding WoW player game play habits. Over 34,000 player’s habits were examined over a 2-year period. Most of the outcome of that study is irrelevant to this task … but 3 items were very helpful. They are …
• The number of players logged in by Day of the Week.
• The length of those play session by Day of week.
• The number of players logged in by Time of Day.
You can find that study here (look at slides 26 and 27): An Analysis of Player's Game Hours.
In short … if you only had 1 hour per week to spend on camping the TLPD, it would be best spent logged in on Wednesday from 4 AM to 5 AM. On that day, at that time of day … the least number of players are on and if someone else does log in, they’re likely to log back out sooner.
That’s probably not a surprise … but it’s rather precise and backed up scientifically. When I was hunting for my TLPD mount … I regularly got up at 5 AM … and spent a couple hours logged in, until I had to get ready for work. Somedays I got nothing … but over the period of a month I logged in 9 kills. One of which was my TLPD. So, does this work … absolutely. How many other people were there logged into Emerald Dream and in the Storm Peaks at the same time? Most days … ZERO. Read that again. I was totally alone in the zone. I had effectively eliminated ALL competition.
So, if you can swing it … make your sessions happen early in the morning on weekdays. It pays off.
Q: “When will the next spawn happen?”
- A: Right … so let’s allow the lawyer to answer first. No-one knows. It’s totally random. Anyone who tells you they are 100% confident when the next spawn will happen is lying to you.
OK … now that I’ve locked the lawyers in the closet … let’s see if we can put some guidance up.
I’ve got an ugly spreadsheet on which a host of crazy people (myself included) logged dozens and dozens of kills over the period of several months. For the numbers recorded below it’s important to note the following.
• This data set is based on 207 confirmed kills. (Confirmed kills were only counted if a second person visually saw the kill corpse and confirmed it over zone chat within 1 minute of the announcement of a kill).
• We had 65 instances where there was uninterrupted coverage between an initial kill and a second kill which allowed us to measure duration between spawns.
• Coverage implies we had someone covering every single spawn for the entire duration. Often there were multiple people at the same spawn points.
Here’s what we learned:
• The shortest ever recorded spawn duration was 47 minutes after the previous kill despawned.
• The longest duration was 7 hours 53 minutes.
• The CLEAR majority of spawns had a duration that fell between 3 hours 30 minutes and 7 hours 15 minutes.
• The most likely duration was around 6 hours (+/- 10 minutes).
• There was no discernable pattern between previous lengths and subsequent lengths. Your next spawn duration could be within +/- 10 minutes of the previous one or be +/- 5 hours longer than the last one.
On a side note: There is a belief floating around that if you killed all the rares in Northrend you could speed up a Vyragosa or TLPD spawn. We tried it out. I have no data confirming that theory. Is it possible? Maybe. Did it have a measurable impact on the durations we saw? No.
So, what are the takeaways?
1. If a spawn happens and you need a break … feel free to log off for 3 hours. Chances are you won’t miss anything.
2. If a spawn happens and you need a long break … feel free to log off for 5.5 hours. You may miss something but you’ll be coming back right around the most likely time something will happen.
3. If you log in … and all spawns have been covered for 7.5 hours or more … and no spawn has occurred … get to a spawn point immediately! Chances are something WILL occur in the next 30 minutes.
4. If it’s been 8 hours and no-one has seen a spawn … someone was asleep at the wheel (e.g. afk when something did happen), someone else got the kill and didn't announce it in zone chat and you now have no absolutely no insight when the next spawn might occur or how to act.
Of course, if you log in to a server and no-one else is on at the same time … there’s no way to know when they last spawn was. So just clock-in, spend the time you can and clock out.
Other than that, my advice is:
• Log-in when you can.
• Take Breaks per the “Takeaways” listed above.
• Be comfortable with the fact that you will miss spawns. It happens.
• Just keep plugging away.
- A: There’s a high probability the spawn rate is set to 10%. The actual, calculated value we got out of the total set of kills we had was 9.73% of the spawns were TLPD spawns. Given a reasonable margin of error, it’s most likely that 1 in 10 spawns are the theoretical number given several thousand runs.
I know people have put out a hypothesis that it’s somewhere around 1 in 6 or 1 in 7. From what I see in the data, it’s not that often.
Take in mind though, there’s four spawn points … so if you camp just one point, your odds drop to 2.5%.
Can you see why you want to be at the “special spot” I mentioned in step 4? If you cover two spawns … your chances are now 5%. Three spawns get you 7.5%. Given the choice … I’ll take the 7.5% with instant visibility to two spawns please.
Based on this number and the average duration between spawns we can do some simple math and figure out how long it will be between TLPD spawns. Assuming an average respawn duration of 6 hours, you can expect 4 spawns a day. Since it will take roughly ten spawns to see a TLPD it will take roughly 2.5 days for one to show up. That means in any given month … you’ll have 12 chances to snag a TLPD. Not bad. Not great … but reasonable.
What did we see empirically in our data? The shortest duration between Confirmed TLPD spawns was 4.5 HOURS. Yes … hours. Two TLPDs in 4.5 hours. That was an exciting day. The longest was 5 days, 23 hours apart. It’s all random. But at least you have a range to work with.
- A: There’s no way of knowing. I can give some stories based on the people I was hanging with on Dalaran (busy server).
On the short end (all on Dalaran) …
• Myraz got his in about three weeks. He was extremely lucky … but an awesome guy … so everyone was happy for him.
• Selenity got hers 3 days after Myraz. Also, lucky. She started at the same time as Myaz. So, about 3.5 weeks.
Medium Term …
• I (Merduin) spent the first two months on Dalaran with Myraz and Selenity and I was camping at least 8 hours a day every day and I only got 6 Vyragosa Kills. On month three I switched to Emerald Dream … was logging in only occasionally and got 9 more kills. Kill 15 was TLPD.
Note … I got 50% more kills in half the duration with less committed time camping. The power of switching to Emerald Dream. (Incidentally … I got Aeonaxx within just a fews days of switching over to Emerald Dream before I got TLPD. Go figure.)
Long Term …
• (Dude who shall remain nameless) took 6 solid months of camping. He was dual boxing. Was it karmic retribution? Maybe. I’ll let you decide.
Bottom line: The only way to know is to start camping. If you hang in there … your time will come. Hopefully with the bit of guidance I provided above you can make some slightly more informed judgement calls on when to log in. When to throw in the towel … and when to hang in there just a little bit longer.
As for Kill and Loot … let me reiterate again … in case you forgot. When your time comes … try to remember to fly through the dragon … lead him / her / it to a safe, flat, obstruction free place and then take what is rightfully yours. You’ve earned it!
We’ll tie off these last few points and any other questions you may have … in the next section.
Step 5. Stay on Task!
OK, we’re coming into the home stretch. Before we close out, I’d like to cover a few more topics that I think will be helpful. They are:
- Super- Hardcore mode
- Kill Etiquette
- Show off your lewtz!
- Think Bigger
- What Next?
You Need to Have the Right Mindset
- So … I lied. I said that the most important thing to getting your TLPD was getting on Emerald Dream. It’s not. Getting on Emerald Dream is the most beneficial step you can take to reducing competition. But it’s not going to get you a TLPD. It’ll just stick you on a server with less people. If you wake up early, like I suggest, then you’ll not only be on a “dead-ish” server, but the few people around will all be sleeping. So now you’re just freaking alone. And being alone sucks.
No BS. Getting TLPD was the hardest camp I ever did in WoW. This isn’t like circling Sholazar for Loque for a few days or waiting in one place for 9 hours to get Arcturis. TLPD will KICK YOUR @55.
This is a camp that you will be putting time into, day-in, and day-out and you may see literally nothing … for DAYS. You’ll have the Northrend soundtrack looping in your head even though you turned off music a week ago, (just turn it off now … save yourself the pain).
What else sucks? Killing 3, 7, 10, 12 Vyragosa’s and not seeing a TLPD spawn in front of you. Having multiple TLPD’s spawn … but just before you get on … or just after you get off and someone else get's the TLPD instead of you. The first time it’s a friend and so you are openly happy for them … but then just a little bit jealous on the inside.
But you’re big about it and keep your BS thoughts to yourself and move on.
Somebody yells in Zone Chat … "got TLPD!" You fly over … and there he is.
You congratulate them … for just happening to fly through on their way to Ulduar … and getting him. And you kick yourself for not logging in 3 minutes earlier and swallow the loss … and you keep at it. And then it happens again.
And again. And again. You actually start wondering if somehow the server code sees you camping and starts screwing with you.
So how do you deal with this? This next statement is going to sound a bit “Woo” but hear me out on this. Unless you DECIDE that you are doing this, every other piece of advice above is a total waste of text. You must DECIDE going into this that TLPD is yours. You already own him … just not yet.
How do you do that? You show up … you put in your time … and you just … keep … going. You start to look at all your Vyragosa kills as mounting evidence, not of your failures … but of your success. That you were in the right place at the right time and these are excellent opportunities to practice aggro-ing the dragon and pulling to a safe spot. They are opportunities to test the limits of draw distance and phasing. You’re deepening your knowledge of the Storm Peaks and where it’s difficult to loot a dragon from. You test and improve your Looting Macros, to the point that you know they are solid. Most of all you’re getting it done. You’re earning your ride. When the time comes … and you’re getting that whisper from someone saying ... “nice mount” you’ll know … you got it … because you DECIDED to. You committed to the process … you kept improving yourself and the inevitable happened. YOUR spawn comes … and you execute. You get it done. You take the Time-Lost Proto Drake down with a level of professionalism very few people will ever see. And … when it does … it’ll just feel right.
- Want to be a total bad-ass? Speed things up even more? Build two toons. Build a second one … just like the one above on Emerald Dream … but now put it on the RP server Wyrmrest Accord. That three hour break you can take above due to likelihoods dropping (See Step 3) bounce to the other server and keep at it.
Think about it. Your farming while keeping your potential likelihood kill time higher. Do you have to do this? No. Is this over the top? Abso-freaking-lutely. But … how bad do you want it?
- There's actually "good manners" associated with a Vyragosa or TLPD kill? Well ... yes. I certainly hope there is. If we follow the Golden Rule "Do unto others as you'd have done unto you" there are a couple suggestions I have about how to have "good form" after your kill. Here they are:
- 1) Go ahead and loot the kill. You've earned it and I know you're excited to get your lewt.
2) Announce your kill in Zone chat. This isn't about bragging. This is about letting others who might be camping know a spawn has happened.
3) Be prepared to provide coordinates so that people can come see the kill themselves. Again, not related to bragging. This is so they can confirm the kill and perform the next step.
4) Have the 2nd person announce that the kill is confirmed. That way people know there isn't an idiot just yanking people's chains. After camping for a long time ... people will welcome knowing when the spawn was ... so they can make a decision now to log out for 30 mins, 3 hours, or 5.5 hours if they choose.
5) Only after the steps above have been completed, should you skin Vyragosa. Obviously, It's tough to verify the kill if the corpse is gone.
6) Note the time, so if you stay logged in you know how long it's been since the last spawn, and if anyone else logs in, you can share the information. Why would you share the information? Because they might get a kill and share the details with you.
- 1) Go ahead and loot the kill. You've earned it and I know you're excited to get your lewt.
- When it finally happens ... and you get your mount, do me a favor would you? Post a comment here. I'm hoping all the work put into this post helped ... at least a little bit. Tell me in the comments below what you thought was most helpful. I'd especially like to hear about when you get your mount!
- But MERDUIN ... You told everybody about this. Now there’s going to be a BAZILLION people camping the Storm Peaks on Emerald dream.
Ummm. Probably not. Why? Because of the BS people tell themselves about what they can and can’t do (see Mindset above). 90%+ of the people who read this will just read it. They won’t do anything about it. Why? Because it’s hard. It’s not easy and their minds play tricks on them … and before you know it. They just throw in the towel.
But not you. You hang in there. You don’t quit … you have the right Mindset and you keep at it. So they lose out and you win. It’s just that simple.
But you told them about the mindset!!!
SO? Your point is? Look ... even if it's true for a while that people are all over the Storm Peaks … it won’t be forever. After Legion, there’ll be another expansion. And another one after that. When people go hog-wild during the launch of that new expansion … you go farm the TLPD.
And while it does last ... team up. Track spawns. Share the information so people can take breaks and you can encourage each other in your pursuit.
Or maybe … just maybe, go get yourself Aeonaxx.
Or a Grey Riding Camel.
Or a Poundfist.
Or an Unborn Val'kyr.
Or maybe … just maybe, it’s not about you. You can help someone else get their Loque.
(Only Hunters Need Apply ...)
Emerald Dream is a fully-fledged world. There’s opportunities everywhere. Go seek them out.
- So here’ where I let out the final secret. Why I did all this.
My hope with this post is to leave an impression. One that encourages service. To your fellow gamer. To your friend. To that human being behind the screen, and the one at the keyboard next to you, and the one walking by outside. Think about this concept for just a second.
"It’s not about you."
Listen. WoW is an amazing game. I have several great memories (getting TLPD is near the top) but the best memories are the ones where I helped someone else. The team-work. The friendships. The comraderie. That’s the best part.
Do something for someone else. Pay it forward. Maybe it’s in a post like this. Maybe it’s passing on some phat lewtz. Or maybe it’s taking your son fishing (for real fish).
Whatever your thing is … no matter how ridiculous or small it may seem to others … do it. Make the world better because you passed by this way.
My best to all of you … in all you pursue.