The main purpose of this site is to tell you the locations of trophy mobs. Usually I give you some single point on the map where you should look for each one. But in actuality, most mobs don’t have a single location, and this sort of information can be misleading.
To see why, let’s do an experiment. Let’s head down to Salisbury Plains to observe a mob named Oldest. We’ll use a level-50 character so Oldest will be gray to us, enabling us to stick to him and follow him as he roams.
The first thing we notice is that Oldest keeps moving from place to place. To be precise, he walks for a while in a straight line and then stops. After a pause he turns toward a new direction, takes another short walk, and stops again. Turn, walk, stop. Turn, walk, stop. The process continues indefinitely.
In order to write this article, I followed Oldest for a couple of hours and recorded the locations of 120 spots where Oldest stopped. During this time, Oldest didn’t die. Here’s what these points look like on a map:
The red dots show where Oldest stopped momentarily during his wanderings. I’ve drawn a black circle around them to show that they are distributed in a circle. If I had collected more points, the circle would probably have been a little larger. This circle represents the boundary within which Oldest was free to roam.
The key thing to notice is the size of the circle. It’s 6,170 units across. That’s pretty big. The diameter is almost one tenth of the distance across the entire zone. If you stood in the center of this circle in broad daylight, a mob on the outer rim would be close to the edge of clip range at the far setting.
Here’s a screenshot that illustrates this distance. The building is 6,170 units away from our character, who has his back to us. The character in the red circle is standing at the extreme edge of clip range. If he takes one step backward, he’ll disappear. Oldest’s roam area is so big that he could wander anywhere between our character and the building. About half that time he would be further away than the character in the red circle, and he would be invisible.
Now let’s consider the question that kicked off this article. What location should I give for Oldest on the website? The first answer that comes to mind is the center of the circle, because that’s the place where you have the best chance of seeing him.
If you’re technically minded, you’re probably thinking that I should give the center of the circle and its radius. And indeed, I could provide that info for every mob. For the map above, it would look like this:
Unfortunately, this table is misleading. Once again I have to tell you that things aren’t so simple. To show you why, after I collected the points shown above, I killed Oldest and waited for him to respawn. Then I went through the whole experiment again, following the second Oldest for a couple of hours and collecting a second set of 120 points.
Here’s a map that shows the roam areas of both these mobs. Locations of the first Oldest (before he died) are red. Locations of the second Oldest (after he repopped) are blue:
Well what do you know? The second Oldest had a different roam area from the first one. You might think these are two different camps, but they aren’t. There’s only one Oldest in Salisbury Plains, and the server assigns him a different center point each time he pops.
How many different center points can Oldest have? A lot. Here’s a map that shows 40 different instances (spawns) of Oldest. The red and blue circles indicate the spawns from the previous map:
At last we see the full picture. Oldest can be anywhere inside the black circle. This is his search area, the portion of the zone that we have to examine in order to be sure of finding him.
Oldest’s search area is enormous. It has a diameter of more than 20,000 units. If you stood at the center of it in broad daylight, with your clip range set to far, you could see mobs in only 12% of it.
I’d like to show a screenshot that illustrates a distance of 20,000 units, but it’s impossible because nothing in the game is visible at that range. The best I can do is show you what the building looks like when it’s half that far away. In other words, if the character in the next screenshot was standing at the center of Oldest’s search area, the building would be on the outer rim:
Now let’s return for the last time to the question with which we began. Which location should I specify for Oldest?
It should be obvious by now that the question doesn’t really make sense. Oldest could be anywhere in an enormous area.
Luckily, most mobs have much smaller search areas than Oldest. But the mechanics are frequently the same: many mobs roam within circles, and the locations of the circles vary. It’s useful to keep this in mind when you search for a mob.