Blizzard has been adding Spirit Beasts to World of Warcraft since the Spirit Beast family was added at the launch of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.
But because they’ve only added one for each major patch — and there have only been four major patches in the Lich King era — we only have four Spirit Beasts.
Now four beasts isn’t a lot to keep track of … but on the other hand, four also isn’t too hard to overlook. I get a decent amount of e-mail from newer or returning hunters asking me, “What’s up with the see-through bear?” Or, “Have you seen that weird blue wolf?”
(Often, these helpful souls are writing to let me know that I am missing a pet, because that weird blue wolf is nowhere to be seen on the Petopia wolf page …)
But I actually quite enjoy these e-mails. First off, they mean that when I am missing something, someone will probably let me know sooner or later. And secondly, it means I get to introduce someone to a new Spirit Beast!
So let’s take a moment to round up our four spirit beasties, shall we?
Loque is also known as the Mate of Har’koa and shares an appearance with that leopard goddess. Calling them both cat-like is akin to calling a Lamborghini vehicle-like: technically accurate, but it doesn’t begin to capture their sleek beauty.
Loque is a man of mystery: We don’t know if he is also a loa of some sort, like Harkoa. We don’t know if he is Harkoa’s only mate or part of a harem. We don’t know how he became the mate of a goddess when he’s only level 76, or what he’s doing so far away from her home in Zul’Drak.
(And please, no questions about the logistics of their relationship! The disparity in their sizes is very much a private matter and none of our business.)
Our second Spirit Beast is also cat-like, although in this case that description is extremely apt. Gondria, level 77, is a spectral version of the Frostsaber Pride Watcher. He appeared in Zul’Drak in Patch 3.1.
Gondria is sometimes known as the STD cat due to his unfortunate name. Personally I call him the vertigo cat because being able to see the stripes on both sides of his body at the same time makes me dizzy. (And by the way, it’s spelled gonorrhea.)
His most striking features are his brightly glowing aqua eyes, which shine through his spectral body from all angles.
Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any lore concerning Gondria. One wonders why he, rather than Loque’nahak, is hanging out in Zul’Drak so close to Harkoa ….
Skoll first appeared in the Storm Peaks in Patch 3.2. He was the first Spirit Beast that didn’t look anything like a cat, which caused some confusion since the secondary family skill of Spirit Beasts is Prowl — a traditional WoW cat skill.
He’s also naturally level 80, the highest level Spirit Beast. I tell you, if Skoll has Furious Howl instead of Prowl he’d be the undisputed belle of the ball right now.
Although Skoll is apparently a spectral beast — the internal name of his model is ‘spectralsaberworg’ — he appears quite solid to the eyes. But blue isn’t exactly a normal color for saber worg, even if he shares his basic shape with those wolves. And most wolves aren’t covered with flickering lightning …
Skoll is actually the only Spirit Beast I’ve ever tamed on Mania — largely because he’s the only Spirit Beast I’ve ever seen on Mania.
And finally we come to Arcturis, the see-through bear introduced in Patch 3.3. Arcturis is the lowest level Spirit Beast at level 74. He is well-suited to his home in Grizzly Hills, a zone he shares with five other colors of bear.
Arcturis is unique among them, however, not just because he is a Spirit Beast (and see-through) but also because he is a maned bear, similar to the druid bear form. (Thankfully he doesn’t sport either the horns or those silly ears …)
Like Gondria, Arcturis has striking, glowing eyes. Unlike Gondria, much of his spectral light is concentrated in his head and neck so his eyes are not nearly so eerie. On the other hand, that means that his rump is almost entirely transparent.
The name Arcturis may be related to that of the star Arcturus, which in Greek mythology guarded the nearby constellations Ursa major and Ursa minor — humans transformed by Zeus first into bears and then into constellations in order to protect them from tragedies that were his fault to begin with. Zeus was like that.
Spirit Beast Notes
A couple of completely random tidbits about Spirit Beasts …
Despite the fact that all four Spirit Beasts look rather different, they all share the same family skills: Spirit Strike and Prowl. Spirit Strike is akin to the druid spell Moonfire, and quite appropriate for a Spirit Beast. But Prowl, which is shared with the cat family, is probably an artifact of the fact that Loque’nahak and Gondria, the first of the Spirit Beasts, look pretty cat-like.
All four Spirit Beasts are rare and elite, although none of them pose a particular challenge to tame once you find them. All four are also non-aggressive — they’ll leave you alone if you leave them alone. It’s unknown at this time if they are also more afraid of you than you are of them.
Killing Loque’nahak counts towards the achievements Northern Exposure and Frostbitten. Thankfully the other three Spirit Beasts do not count towards these achievements — which makes them just a tad easier to find since you generally aren’t competing with camping non-hunters who want to kill them. But none of the Spirit Beasts are exactly easy to locate.
And finally, a word of advice: Any of the four Spirit Beasts can make an excellent and rewarding pet for a high-level hunter. But if you go hunting them … make absolutely certain that you have the 51-point Beast Mastery talent required to tame exotic pets — or that you can swap specs to get it quickly – or you will be very, very sad when you eventually find your Spirit Beast.