My Rhok'delar Story

It seems I'm on a roll with success stories, and I haven't even posted about my guild finally getting Viscidus down... nonetheless, let's add to the good vibes with this story about me getting to complete a very challenging and fun quest and finally becoming a "real" hunter.

Rhok'delar, Longbow of the Ancient Keepers is an epic hunter bow that can be acquired via a quest chain in Classic. It starts from a drop in Molten Core and requires the hunter to really live up to the class's reputation as a capable soloer, as it involves killing a bunch of elite demons that you have to challenge on your own - without your pet even, and certainly without getting any help from other players.

I'm guessing that back in Vanilla, seeing a hunter with Rhok was impressive and made that person stand out as someone who really knew their stuff. In Classic... not so much, as years of study and optimisation have not just led to a number of guides being written, but also to the discovery of some very what I'd call "cheesy" strats - not literal exploits perhaps, but ways of using the terrain in such a manner that it basically completely circumvents the demon's intended mechanics. A social hunter in my guild told me that it was basically super easy now, and any noob could complete the quest even in greens if they followed the right tactics.

Considering that I started Classic raiding when I did and got lucky with the crossbow drop in Blackwing Lair, I kind of circumvented the whole issue anyway... but I have to admit it kept nagging at me a little. Getting that bow still felt like a sort of coming-of-age ritual for a raiding hunter, and it was so ubiquitous as well! Literally everyone who'd ever brought a hunter alt to raids seemed to have the damn thing. Even as some of the other hunters told me that it didn't matter since the crossbow was better anyway, my personal pride was dented. How would I ever know if I was a "real" hunter if I never did that quest?

Cue a social Molten Core run last Friday. My main mission on the evening was to collect some lizard hands, and while part of me was still hoping to maybe get the Ancient Petrified Leaf one day, I'd also kind of made my peace with probably never getting it, especially as our Molten Core runs are "community runs" with pugs and open rolling. I figured there was probably always going to be some newbie hunter in there, and I couldn't abide the thought of potentially taking the bow away from someone for whom it was actually an upgrade, pug or no.

Well, as it happened the leaf dropped and nobody else wanted it. Even better, when we did Onyxia right afterwards, the sinew for the bowstring dropped as well! (I remember some guildies taking ages to get theirs...) Well, that was clearly a sign. I didn't immediately run off to get started on the quest as I had other priorities that evening, but I was on a mission now.

Two days later I visited the Ancients in Felwood and read the Wowhead guide covering the quest chain to give myself an idea of what I was up against. (I was hoping to do the fights "properly" to actually test my skills instead of relying on terrain exploits or anything like that.) I noted that there were several mentions of having to go into melee and wanting to have maxed-out weapon skill in your melee weapon, plus that a big two-hander was preferrable to dual-wielding for these quests. So I decided to start by slowly killing some furbolgs in Felwood with my Zin'rokh (really glad I greed-rolled on that in my last ZG run now) but I didn't even manage to get a dozen kills before I got distracted and agreed to join a guild group doing the Fallen Hero of the Horde quest chain instead. It wasn't complete loss however, as I at least raised my two-handed sword skill from 216 to 260. Later in the evening I killed some more furbolgs and got up to 282.

After that I didn't do anything for several days, until I decided to spend some more time killing furbolgs by meleeing them to death, also in order to hit neutral with the Timbermaw and finally get rid of those two quest totems in my bags. After I'd achieved this, my two-handed sword skill was up to 292, which I deemed sufficient, so I decided to have a go at the first boss, Artorius the Amiable in adjacent Winterspring.

On my first attempt I died pretty quickly - the guide had mentioned a dot that caused "high" shadow damage, but what's "high" exactly? I thought that maybe you'd be able to survive it by chugging a potion or something... let's just say that's not how it works, as the debuff will eat your entire health bar several times over. Despite of that, I found it a very promising attempt, as the boss lost about a quarter of his health even during the short duration of the fight, which I took as a sign that I just had to be more careful.

The guide had suggested that Aspect of the Cheetah should be enough to comfortably stay ahead of the demon, but as that wasn't really my experience I made sure to also use Concussive Shot on cooldown in order to stay at max range at all times. This time he went down right quick! Though he did manage to get the dot on me at the end, which meant that I just about had enough time to loot his head before I died as well. Still, a win's a win!

Emboldened by my success I continued down to Un'goro to meet Simone the Inconspicuous. She patrols quite a large area and to be honest, the most annoying thing was simply finding her and then waiting for her to wander towards the hot springs (which were recommended as the best place to kite her). This one wasn't all that deadly, but very fiddly and involved a lot of feigning and starting over while I was refining my strategy. Things went wrong in a lot of ways, from the pet running into the freeze trap instead of her or getting a resist on the freeze trap, to running out of mana and having both of them catch up with me, or killing the pet too far away from her so that they both simply reset.

Once again patience was a virtue though, and I got it down in the end by once again modifying the recommended strategy and not worrying too much about trying to nuke the pet quickly but instead putting Aspect of the Cheetah on and running in circles for a really long time, as Simone could never catch up that way anyway. When her pet was near death I intentionally slowed down to let her catch up so that she wouldn't reset, and once it was just me vs. her, I chugged a mana potion and the rest was an easy game.

I was hopeful that I'd be able to finish off all the Kalimdor demons in one night, but Nelson the Nice eluded me (somewhat literally). After dying on my first try, the subsequent ones all felt like they were going pretty well overall, but I tended to either run out of mana and health, or the boss decided to reset because I hadn't attacked him in too long after bandaging or being feared.

The next morning I returned with some consumables in my bag, confident that they would be what would tip me over the edge. Spoiler: I just ended up wasting them all. The expensive shadow protection potion I bought was gone after the very first try, where it ate up the damage from one fear, just for me to have the boss evade shortly after. Damn it!

Funnily enough I actually ended up killing him on what I can only call the "famous last try", when I was all out of even basic things like drinks and telling myself that if I didn't get him this time I would have to take another break. Initially I tried to follow a recommendation that involved making use of a nearby ramp to kite the bug swarm he summons in a more manageable manner, but to be honest I only ended up doing worse than the night before that way. On the attempt when I was finally successful I just gave up on trying to control the bugs in any way towards the end and simply ran like hell away from the ramp (they are really slow and won't catch you if you keep running). I got the boss down with a sliver of health left myself and about a million bugs closing in on me, but they were easy enough to reset with a feign.

After a bit of a break I moved on to the last target on the list, Franklin the Friendly in Burning Steppes. I was curious about this one as I'd heard very mixed things about him, some stating that he was the hardest of the lot while the guide I'd read stated the opposite. I'm more inclined to agree with the latter, as the basic tactics are really easy: Scorpid Sting, melee twice, Wing Clip, run away and shoot once or twice until he enrages again, repeat until boss is dead. It's just quite a long fight and the hardest thing is basically sticking to your plan and not getting bored/tempted into trying to get an extra melee attack in before he's about to enrage again, because that almost always goes wrong.

The area where you fight him is the most active of the four demon's spawn areas and I was glad to see that none of the players that passed me by tried to interfere, as that would have killed us both. I was just a bit annoyed when a random mage stopped to stare and whisper me random advice about how I could exploit the fight - I mean, I'm sure it was well intended, but the last thing I needed was some stranger observing and critiquing my performance. I was actually kind of glad when Franklin chose that moment to despawn for a while, as it gave me an excuse to log off.

When I came back later, I got him down on the first try, with the only consumable used being a health potion when I found myself low. This was caused by the one thing that I've seen mentioned in some comments but that wasn't really explained in the guide I read - that if you ever end up using Concussive or Scatter Shot on him, he seems to gain a kind of immunity to the Scorpid Sting debuff for a few seconds, which can mislead you into thinking that it's safe to melee as he's got the sting on, but then he swings once and still takes half your health off.

Anyway, with all four demon heads lopped off I returned to the Ancients in Felwood and got my bow! It was a satisfying and educational experience. Lessons learned:

  • Guides are a good starting point but never be afraid to adjust tactics to something that works better for you
  • I suck at precision kiting but am happy as long as I can keep running forever
  • Nelson the Nice and his bugs can eat poop
  • I'm not entirely sure what's supposed to be so hard about Franklin as playing melee hunter was honestly kind of fun
  • While I was way overgeared, it kind of felt like this mainly negated/reduced the need for consumables, and I think I am in fact a "real" hunter now

Now to see if I can get in on an Azuregos kill for that quiver...


  1. Congratulations! It was a fun chain to do on my hunter, though I did it during Wrath so the only real challenge was finding the demons. I still use the appearance on my Night Elf hunter because it seems so appropriate.

    Oh, if you like melee as a hunter you might try Survival if/whenever you try out Retail again. That's the melee spec for them.

    1. I vaguely recollect doing it on my retail hunter in Wrath as well... probably after the Cataclysm announcement had come out and we knew that those quests were going to go away. But obviously it was easy mode back then. Much more interesting to do it the proper way!

      I've heard interesting things about melee Survival in retail. People seem to either love or hate it.

    2. Oh yes. I wish I could have done it at level or, at least, tried it at level. :) I might have been terrible at it. My son, who was helping me in MC, get the Eye of Divinity. He said that the bit in EPL was still hard at level 80 because you really had to understand how to triage things. I tried for that myself, but never got the drop on my priest. Ah well.

      I find Survival fun, but it isn't popular for raids given how many melee classes and specs there are. You'll see it mostly in PvP where it tends to do quite well.

    3. I did the Benediction quest line at 80 as well! I don't remember finding it all that hard though. I think it may have been one of those things where you just had to make sure to set up your UI in the right way so that you could pick your targets accordingly.

  2. Well, as it happened the leaf dropped and nobody else wanted it. Even better, when we did Onyxia right afterwards, the sinew for the bowstring dropped as well!

    I've a friend who I first knew when he was leveling his Hunter (he runs a Warrior now), and it took him months before he won the sinew. So really, it is a HUGE deal that you got the two so close together. The WoW Gods were certainly wanting to see how good of a REAL Hunter Tir is!!

  3. Congratulations!

    I always wanted to try that questline, but I would've had to grind out MC at 80 for that and I never did :( (Alt-only hunter here, and I think I only started playing him a lot in Cata and later.)