Ah yes… Spiteflayer, the incredibly ugly, but also common looking vulture from the Blasted Lands. The average player would look at it and think, “why on earth would a Hunter choose a homely and annoying flying pet such as that one”? The answer was simple really.
Long before TBC, pets came with all sorts of different skills, as well as attack speeds. Carrion Birds were unique in the sense that they had 3 different attacks, where as a lot of other pets had only one or two. These were: Bite, Claw, and Screech. Claw and Screech had no cooldown on them, so a Hunter could turn Bite off and this thing would dump focus like nobody’s business.
The Carrion Birds were good pets for BM Hunters, because they were great for solo farming due to the Screech AoE along with their decent damage, health and armor. However, that’s not what I primarily used this guy for. Along with Deathmaw and the Slavering Worgs from SFK, this bird had the distinction of having the blazing fast 1.2 second attack speed.
While he was definitely not a group-friendly pet for PvE due to his big flappy wings posing targeting issues, he excelled for PvP. Spitfleyer ended up becoming my pet of choice when grinding AV. Flying pets were annoying as hell to opponents anyway, but when you tossed in a 1.2 second AS, Dive, Screech and then Bestial Wrath, they became really annoying. 😈
I ended up abandoning Broken Tooth in order to tame this pet, and I never looked back. After taming Deathmaw, the rare Worg from the Burning Steppes, I hardly ever pulled BT out of the stable again. Deathmaw fared quite a bit better in AV, which comprised about 80% of my play time back then. Broken Tooth was fantastic for PvP, but once that fact became too well known, he became a primary focus-fire target that went down quickly. I needed something that could take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ so to speak. Enter the Carrion Bird.
This bird had the same basic stats as a wolf, but with a lot more functionality. Carrion Birds came with: Bite, Claw, Screech and Dive; while wolves only had Bite, Furious Howl and Dash. Claw was superior to Bite, in that it had no cooldown. Furious Howl was fairly useless back then for Hunters (especially BM Hunters) because the damage bonus only applied to players within melee range of the wolf. MM Hunters would use them sometimes for raids, but just keep them out of combat and at their side to refresh the buff when needed. Screech was a nice substitute for Furious Howl because it offered a small AoE AP debuff and had no cooldown.
All of the pet’s stats looked great on paper, or web page rather, but how well would it actually perform for PvP? Well, I needed to go tame him to find out, so off I went to the Blasted Lands.
Blasted Lands is probably one of the least enjoyable places to quest or farm due to the desolate gaming environment, plus it also lacks an Inn. However, the interesting thing about the place, for Hunters anyway, is that it probably contains the highest concentration of tameable rare spawns in the entire game. BL is home to:
- Grunter – The level 50 black boar, while not uncommon looking, has the distinction of being the only black boar above level 11.
- Ravage – The level 51 purple Hyena.
- Spiteflayer – The level 52 black Carrion Bird.
- Clack the Reaver – The level 53 silver Scorpid.
All of these pets share spawn areas that are very close in proximity. Chances are if you head to the Blasted Lands, it’s very likely you’ll encounter at least one of them. The irony though, is that there is no Stable Master in the Blasted Lands. 😐
Oh… and yes, I have tamed all of the aforementioned pets at one time or another.
My taming story is not exciting in the least. I flew to the Blasted Lands, went to his patrol area and there he was.
Drop Freezing Trap, begin Tame Beast, and done. I was then the proud owner of a mangy vulture.
Out of the four rare spawn pets in the Blasted Lands, Spiteflayer is the only one who doesn’t stand out. The other 3 have unique skins compared to the other similar species in the area. Although vultures were often farmed for Ground Scorpok Assay and Gizzard Gum, the area that he patrols is away from the bulk of the other birds needed for those quests. This made Spiteflayer probably the easiest pet to obtain in the Blasted Lands. On the other hand, if you’re after Grunter, you’d better set aside some time. Boars were, and still are, heavily farmed in that area for quests and leather. In addition to that, Grunter sticks out like a big black sore thumb when compared to the other beige boars in the area. Grunter is arguably one of the rarest rares in the game in my opinion.
Spiteflayer was an incredible pet for PvP. I aptly named him “Pesky”, in reference to his ability to annoy casters and melee alike. He was not only great for interrupting spells, but also caused huge targeting issues for melee opponents. I just loved him.
With all of the pet changes that have gone on since then, there really is no reason to tame him anymore. Demoralizing Screech is a situational and average skill at best, not to mention there are far better choices for pets in the Ferocity tree than Carrion Birds.
If I ever find myself in the Blasted Lands I always run by the area where he roams, just to say hello, crack a couple brewskis and reminisce about old times. I’ve got this thing about targeting the rare spawns, but leaving them be. It’s sort of a karma thing for me. Plus, there’s just something about that Silver Dragon frame around the portrait that makes me happy.
So far I believe my passive nature towards the rare spawns in the game has worked to my advantage. I’ve had pretty good luck overall when trying to find and tame rare pets. Well, unless they’re Spirit Beasts. >.<