The rare mobs in World of Warcraft generally are not more difficult to defeat than regular mobs of a similar level; the difficulty is finding them. Mid- to high-level rares often drop loot that is highly sought after, and in addition to spawning more slowly, they may have players camped out waiting for them to spawn. In some cases, the loot makes the wait worthwhile.
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Some of the lowest-level rare spawns are humanoid, and can be found in Elwynn Forest and Durotar. Most low-level rare spawns don't drop anything uncommon or impressive, but higher-level rare spawns have loot tables that can make them worth seeking.
Chief Engineer Lorthander, a blood elf in Netherstorm, drops one of the cards needed to create the Furies Deck, which starts another quest. Ambassador Jerrikar, a demonic mob in Shadowmoon Valley, drops a card used in a similar way to create another deck. And some drops aren't clear as to what they do -- Bro'Gaz the Clanless drops enchanted warbeads that cast a random enchantment on the wearer.
Rarely spawned animals can present something of a dilemma for hunters. Taming a rare spawn can give them a unique pet, but any loot drops will be lost. Turning the level 70 chimera Nuramoc into a pet will give the hunter an intimidating pet with the valuable ability to slow its enemies, but there's the chance of losing the leg pieces to the chimera armour -- but as the mob has the chance to drop legs for all different classes, it might be worth the risk.
Because hunter pets level with their master, finding a unique-looking pet without missing out on loot is easier at lower levels. Low-level rares drop much of the same loot as common spawns, so if you take the tameable spider Mother Fang outside Stormwind, you will risk losing less-valuable loot.
Several undead and demon rare spawns can be found only in instance zones. These spawn when the party enters the dungeon, and there is only a small chance of finding these mobs. Zekkis, the Spirit of the Damned, the Lumbering Horror, Dreadwhisper and the Bone Witch are all found in instances.
Like many undead, Dreadwhisper drops not only armour but the Invader's Scourgestone. The Bone Witch, the Spirit of the Damned and the Lumbering Horror can drop pieces of a compete set of Scourge Invasion armour.
There are not as many elemental rares as some of the other types of mobs, but the loot that they drop tends to be diverse. The wind elemental in Silithus, Huricanian, drops a variety of armour pieces for almost all slots, as well as shards. The Husk, found in Western Plaguelands, Smoldar from Searing Gorge and the Malfunctioning Reaver in Burning Steppes have similar drop tables.
Others, like the Bog Lurker in Zangarmarsh, have the chance of dropping all the pieces to a single set of armour -- in this case, the Bog set.
Some of the dragon rares drop some of the most unique player mounts in the game. Aeonaxx, the elite and rare stone drake found near the Temple of the Earth in Deepholm, has a guaranteed drop of the Reins of the Phosphoroscent Stone Drake, one of many flying mounts in the game.
Another dragon that drops a flying mount is the Time-Lost Proto Dragon. This highly desirable, high-level find can be killed by a single player, and is notable for several other reasons. Most sightings of the dragon require it to be pulled from the air, and it is on the same spawn timer as another rare spawn, Vyragosa.
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