Once upon a time, back before you could get showered in epics within a week of hitting the level cap, the most badass hunter weapon you could wield was Rhok'delar, Longbow of the Ancient Keepers. This amazingly impressive weapon did a whopping 44 DPS (later boosted to 53 DPS), making it clearly the best hunter weapon in the game. With the same quest you also get Lok'delar, Stave of the Ancient Hunters. Two epics in one! Acquiring the weapon required embarking on the most epic hunter quest the game has seen, even all these years later.
When you saw a hunter with Rhok, you could be certain she knew her stuff.
Yesterday Dawn talked about the priest quest to get Benediction (and poked me about Rhok'delar in the process). And she has a really good point -- who knows what will happen to Molten Core come Cataclysm? Hunters may not have the chance to do this quest much longer. Even though you can dwarf the DPS of Rhok'delar with a quick auction house purchase these days, I still think that going through the quest chain for Rhok'delar is well worth it for all hunters.
So join me after the cut as we go back in time and walk through the quest chain, both how to do it now and some reminiscence on what it was like back in my day.
Back in My Day...
The quest for Rhok'delar starts with a drop from the penultimate boss in Molten Core. Back when my guild was first clearing Molten Core in vanilla, and we got the quest drop, most of the hunters in my guild were shocked when I passed on it. I've always said that I don't use bows, but I don't think anyone really expected me to pass on the awesomeness that was Rhok'delar.
Fast forward a few months later and every raiding hunter in the guild had the drop item (about 10 hunters, back then) and the quest item drops again. By then I had been hearing about (and helping) the epic demon killing quests that other hunters were doing to get their Rhok, and it sounded like big fun. So I took the drop, and eventually I went through the demon killing quests -- which were just as frustrating and as fun as I thought. Back then the demons were a random spawn, and they'd only stay around for a short time. So we all spent a lot of time camped out looking for them, and you only got a few attempts in before they despawned.
But I stuck to my dwarven principles and I never turned in that final quest, have still never equipped or even trained in bows. My point here is this is how strongly I recommend this quest chain to hunters: I wanted to do it back when it was genuinely hard (sometimes brutally so) even though I had no intention of ever using the reward. The Rhok quest is one of the rites of passage of being a hunter, and even though it's trivially easy these days, it's still something that every hunter should check out.
- Defeat Majordomo Executus in Molten Core and get the Ancient Petrified Leaf drop.
- Head to Felwood to get the quests.
- Defeat the 4 demons in disguise, each with their own special mechanics. You must do this solo, with no help of any kind.
- Get the Mature Black Dragon Sinew drop from Onyxia (or other sources).
- Rhok out with your Lok out.
Your first stop is Molten Core to get the Ancient Petrified Leaf that starts the quest. This is a 50% drop from Majordomo Executus, the 2nd to last boss in the dungeon. Fortunately, we hunters are able to solo Molten Core and you can see the Hunter Extreme Solo Guide for more details (the guide includes links to hunter solo strats for all MC bosses).
However, if you don't want to learn to solo it, you can always just grab a healer to go with you and heal your pet while you smoke your way through. Priests in particular might be interested in joining you -- not only do we like priests as the healer most likely to accidentally heal our pet, but they also get their drop for their priest epic item quest from Executus. Every kill Executus will either drop the priest item, or the hunter item. Direct your priest buddies to Dawn's Benediction column to get them motivated to want to help.
You will need to clear every boss before Executus in order to access the Majordomo. Most of them are pretty easy for a hunter to solo these days, but some are still quite difficult, especially if you don't have the tier 5 2-piece set. Expect Golemagg to be the hardest. With a healer, however, they're trivial as long as you read up on the boss fight mechanics.
Felwood and the Quest
You'll need to find Vartrus the Ancient atop a small hill in northern Felwood. The coordinates should be about 49,24. Look for a hill in the middle of the green water. Once you climb up on the hill, three treant spirits will appear, Vartrus, Stoma, and Hastat. Vartrus gives you a quest to slay four demons. Stoma gives you a quest to get some Mature Black Dragon Sinew. Hastat gives you a quest to get some blue dragon bits (this one is not a part of the Rhok quest -- it just gives you a quiver).
Grab the first two quests and get to work!
Mature Black Dragon Sinew
The Mature Black Dragon Sinew is a 100% drop from Onyxia if you have the quest, and it still drops in the new Onyxia raid. You should be able to get it in either 10-man or 25-man. There are also reports that you can get it off of the black dragonkin that hang out all around the Burning Steppes. Whether this is still possible now that they aren't elites anymore I'm not certain, but it's worth checking out (if it is possible, they will also have a 100% drop rate).
Now for the fun part! There are four demons that you have to kill. Each of them is posing as a non-demon and wanders around a fairly wide part of a specific zone. You must fight them alone. You cannot have someone healing you. You cannot have anyone else DPSing. You cannot even use your pet! You must fight them completely alone. You can have other people buff you (this was a big thing back in the day) but not help in the fight. Once you kill them you can loot their head for the quest.
At level 80, these guys should be chumps. Each demon has particular abilities and a particular weakness. However nowadays a max level hunter can just unload on them and squish them into a Fizzlebang puddle in a few seconds. That said, I'm still going to briefly cover the way we had to do it at level 60.
The demons used to only be up for like an hour a day, and it was a lot of camping to find them, and frustrating when after several wipes they despawned. I did some looking around, and they seem to be up all the time these days. They are wandering in their human disguise, but when you talk to them they'll turn demonic and attack. They will, however, always show up on your minimap if you use Track Demons. Note that they show up as non-hostile in their disguise. Finding their pathing area is easy now with Blizzard's build-in quest tracker -- it will highlight the patrol area for you.
Klinfran the Crazed (Franklin the Friendly)
Klinfran paths around the southwest area of Burning Steppes, and has a pretty long route that he travels. In his disguise he looks like a human. He attacks only with his bare hands, but back at level 60 it was a lot of damage. He also periodically enrages, which at the time could be dispelled with Scorpid Sting, which also gave him a debuff that caused him to inflict only 1 damage with every hit.
The way we used to fight him back in the day was to Scorpid Sting to apply the debuff, then stand and melee him. We'd mentally keep track of the debuff timer, and Wing Clip and run out to Scorpid Sting again when it was about up. We didn't use much in the way of other shots because the fight was so long that we'd run out of mana if we tried, then have no mana left for Wing Clip and Scorpid Sting. When I first did him I had a few friendly guildies hanging out in the area to kill all the mobs that patrolled the same area so I could just concentrate on him -- though I did eventually have to kite him out of the way of some dragonkin they missed.
Now you just unload on him until he dies, of course.
Simone the Seductress (Simone the Inconspicuous)
Simone's disguise is a female troll with a wolf pet (Precious -- long before the Precious of the Plagueworks) and she paths around the southwest area of Un'goro Crater (around the Silithid mounds and west of them). She puts a debuff on you that reduces your ranged attack power by 1,400 (which, back in the day, was all of it) and casts a lightning bolt that used to hurt. Her fellhound would attack too, of course.
Back in the day we would trap her pet (keep in mind you couldn't use traps in combat back then -- so it required some planning) and then we'd melee her to death. Her melee attacks were really weak and we could take them. Her lightning bolt was a slow cast and Viper Sting would silence her. I remember her as the easiest to solo back in the day. I think I killed her on my second shot, with no one there to help. Once she's dead you'll have to kill her little dog, too.
Like Klinfran, just unload on her at level 80. What's a loss of 1,400 attack power to us nowadays?
Solenor the Slayer (Nelson the Nice)
Solenar patrols the far southwest area of Silithus disguised as a gnome. He has a deathcoil-like attack that fears you, and he continually spawns tons of bugs that hit surprisingly hard. His weakness was that Wing Clip caused him to be rooted for 30 seconds or so.
Back in the day this was a horrible fight that required keeping him rooted while kiting the bugs in circles. Our only weapons against Solenor were Serpent Sting and auto-shot, and having just a few of the bugs reach us could result in death. This was one of the harder demons that caused misery for many a hunter.
Now, you know: pew pew omg dead.
Artorius the Doombringer (Artorius the Amiable)
Artorius wanders around northern Winterspring disguised as a cow. He would put a debuff on you that would turn you into a demon with a nasty DoT that would kill you darned near instantly, so we had to stay at least 30 yards away from him at all times. He was also vulnerable to Serpent Sting, which would do crazy high damage to him.
Back in vanilla hunters used to talk about how the Rhok'delar quest taught you how to be a good hunter, or only a skilled hunter could do it. When they said that, they were talking specifically about this demon. The way we had to fight him was get to max range, and jump-shot kite him to death. We'd use Serpent Sting for the damage, and arcane shot rank 1 to keep him in combat. This was hard. The difficulty was that he would occasionally speed up or slow down. Get too far away and he resets. Get too close and he insta-kills you. It was on Artorius that I learned to jump-shot kite uphill.
Like all the rest now, a handful of shots will kill him before he can get an attack off.
Rhok Out With Your Lok Out
With the four demon heads and the dragon sinew, you can now return to felwood, turn in the quests, and be the proud owner of what was once the greatest ranged weapon in the game. A weapon that would literally have hunters in awe and asking you how you got it as they inspected you at the Menethil Harbor docks. It's a weapon that makes women weak in the knees, men want to start up a bromance, and dwarves snort in disgust. (The staff, alas, was never the best, but was often seen equipped on hunters while grinding just to look classy).
Bonus points to hunters who do the quests naked and with only downranked abilities that were available back then (auto-shot, Serpent Sting Rank 7, Wing Clip, Scorpid Sting, Viper Sting). Even naked with a weak gun, you'll still have it easier than we did back in my day (with 20 extra levels and better talents), but at least you'll get a feel for the glory of this achievement.
You want to be a Hunter, eh? Well then you came to the right place. You start with science, then you add some Dwarven Stout, and round it off some elf bashing. The end result is massive dps. Scattered Shots is the WoW.com column dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a Hunter. Each week Scattered Shots will cover topics to help you improve your Heroic DPS, understand the impact of Skill vs. Gear, get started with Beast Mastery 101 and Marksman 101, and even solo bosses with some Extreme Soloing.