Time Lost, But Not Forgotten: Hunting the Time Lost Proto-Drake


A look into what farming the elusive bronze proto-drake from Blizzard’s World of Warcraft does to those hellbent on chasing it.

To provide a bit of backstory, I’ve been playing Warcraft a gross amount of time. Although I played like I didn’t have thumbs in Vanilla (what the fan-base refers to as World of Warcraft’s first expansion), I did play. To stay on topic, you could only use a ground mount in Vanilla. Horses, wolves, rams, etc. Rare mounts were introduced into the game that had incredibly low drop chances (Deathcharger’s Reins) or was achieved through special parameters (Black Qiraji Battle Tank).

Then came Burning Crusade. Burning Crusade allowed players to access flying mounts. With this came more interesting ideas for flying mounts. A phoenix, flying carpets, dragons with and without armor, and more! Flying was a mind-boggling concept that some players argued would ruin the game, making the game feel less vast. Despite vocal opposition, Blizzard has flying mounts in the game still to this today.

Finally, we reach the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Widely considered one of the best expansions of the Warcraft universe of all time, some unique mount concepts followed. This is where we finally land on the Time Lost Proto-Drake.

Proto-Drake’s are your typical dragon if they combined them with a dinosaur. An interesting look and Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK for short) were the first to use this new model. There were many variations and in a multitude of colors. Green, red, black, blue, some other variations, and finally the mustard-colored Time Lost Proto Drake.

This is where things start getting a little ridiculous. The Time Lost Proto Drake (TLPD for short) is still available in the game now. With how little it spawns, people still hunt it now. The TLPD has some very narrow and difficult to track spawn parameters, and they are as follows:

  • It can spawn in one of four locations, three which are decently close to each other, and one that is outlandishly far away from the others.
  • The TLPD shares a spawn time with another rare dragon, Vyragosa. The reported chances of seeing the TLPD instead of Vyragosa is 1/6, but that’s speculation. No one really knows for sure.
  • TLPD and Vyragosa once killed, won’t respawn for two hours at least, and then might not spawn for up to eight, creating an incredibly large window.

With all that factored in, then comes the player element. Most consider the Warcraft community fairly wholesome and non-toxic. When you have something that has this much Warcraft clout attached, you see dark sides of people. A player I’m associated with named Bernzar, has more or less begun conducting espionage and subterfuge against other players. Bernzar gives false information on spawns, sightings, etc. All to throw them off the scent.

Not only that, Bernzar has enlisted at least 3 other players to monitor each area. A common practice, but when so many players follow similar behavior, it’s hard to trust information. Bernzar has since bypassed this and brought in only his closest friends, keeping them in voice chat, and having them aid him in hunting this elusive creature.

Then came tracking the damned thing. This leads to botched sleep patterns to maintain the spawn timer. The party Bernzar had assembled would consistently run on four hours of sleep, since the spawn timer had such a small window and nobody wanted to lose track of it.

This behavior continued for a week straight, usually allowing the party to turn in around 3am to 4am. The thrill of the hunt fueled them. They wouldn’t be sated until they saw the TLPD. It got to the point that none of them cared who got it, as long as one of them did.

Unfortunately, one-timer did not line up. This timer caused the players to be up until 8:00am, with Vyragosa spawning at 7:53am. This mentally broke all members. They went to bed hungry, exhausted, and unsatisfied. They had seen a total of 20 spawns of Vyragosa, a probability that they should not have encountered.

Following this incident, the party vowed to not spend hours upon hours in the Storm Peaks, instead of dedicating their time to other attainable mounts and gear throughout the game. They suffered the same fate many do, after being given so many poor hands they folded. Every so often they would fly by to see if any of the other players who had inhabited the Peaks still hung around, but that is as far as they ventured.

Weeks pass, Bernzar, and his party get the courage to head back out to the Peaks. It had once again consumed them, but far from as aggressively as it had the first time around. Due to the previous week’s incidents, the group had learned something called “moderation”. No more 8:00am spawn timers, no more four-man posts, and no more four-hour naps.

Moderation also led to smarter approaches, as the mount was the only goal. Some players want to acquire their mounts on their native server, or the server their character calls home, there’s a sense of pride in doing so. At this point, the party didn’t give a damn. With cross-realm play being implemented some time ago, it was easier to find a mount if you “server hopped”. Server hopping is joining players from other realms to have access to their realm’s timers.

Saving their sleep patterns and their mental fatigue, this was the new approach to take. The party sacrificed their pride of acquiring the TLPD on the realm they called home and it paid off. Not only did one party member acquire the mount, they all did. The screams of excitement were brief and the sighs of relief were longer.

This ended this one party’s quest to get their hands on the TLPD, but many are still stuck in the Storm Peaks. Some do it casually, logging in and out just to see if they got lucky. Others do what Bernzar did, screwing over his fellow adventurer for their own selfish gains. Regardless of the tactic, an immense of time gets lost hunting the TLPD.

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