Durendil Hunter Solo of Ragnaros

Posted: by Frostheim


Extreme soloer Durendil recently bagged the hunter world first solo of Ragnaros in a brutal survivability battle against an incredibly challenging boss. Watching his video of cycling through pet after pet and using every trick in the hunter arsenal unexpectedly triggered a chain of reminiscing. It brings me back to my first extreme soloing days back in Wrath, when I first soloed my way through Molten Core to finally bag Ragnaros… which at the time brought me back to my 40-man vanilla raiding days and the excitement of our raid team defeating Ragnaros for the first time.

It’s almost as bad as Onyxia, my first 40-man raid who I later soloed, and then became a current raid again… and later I soloed her upgraded form again.

Sometimes I really do feel like Grandpappy Frostheim, when I realize that the young kids from those Wrath days are today’s veterans, talking about how it was back in the old times of Wrath!

Here’s what Durendil had to say about taking on the huge challenge of Ragnaros:

Why hadn’t he been solo’d before? …I quickly understood when I saw 70K melee hits and my pet lasted 30 seconds.

That was… demotivating. At first. Then I realized that an 18-minutes berserk meant that I had a chance, if ever I could focus entirely on surviving. So I did what I had done for Sindragosa, Lich king, Beasts, Iron council, Gothik… I made up a strategy. By trying again and again, refining, taking breaks every 2-3 hours at most to think clearly about what were my problems and how to overcome them… I started with using 3 pets in phase 1, then I started destacking 2 in the transition, then i managed to use only 2 pets in phase 1 – not by dpsing more but by using my cooldowns better. Then I came up with the idea of rezzing my pet not only when he casted sulfuras smash but also when he wasn’t, simply by staying at max melee range.

And hour after hour, wipe after wipe, I started losing less and less health while rezzing my pet, having less and less wipes because I had let him die at the wrong moment, and after 13-14 flasks of the earth, I finally could tell myself: it was nearly impossible – but that means it was an extremely fun challenge for me, since it allies technical aspects (gameplay) and personal achievement. So in the end that soloing was just as  fun as the lich king, simply by it being possible but barely.

You can see the full movie of his solo on warcraftmovies (alas it does not appear that they allow embedding) and you can see his detailed strategy write-up on Elitist Jerks.

As Durendil points out, this is a fantastic soloing challenge for hunters really looking to push themselves, because it doesn’t require the best gear — just lots of practice and excellent execution.

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  1. Jaeger says:

    Wish I had the time and patience to attempt extreme soloing.

    Gratz to Durendil for having the skills and perseverance to down Rag.

  2. Mitch says:

    Nice kill! Also…

    “Sometimes I really do feel like Grandpappy Frostheim, when I realize that the young kids from those Wrath days are today’s veterans, talking about how it was back in the old times of Wrath!”

    I was just telling my fiancée last night (who I’ve just introduced to WoW) how we hunters used to carry ammo and spend two hours in trade chat looking for a tank. I was telling her how hunters had to manage their mana and pester their paladins for Blessing of Wisdom, for every bit counts. And how our pets needed buffing and healing, as well…

    • Arth says:

      Yeah, pet buffs. I drove my raid team crazy with that. BUT IT MATTERED (not that they ever agreed).

      It does feel weird though. I’m old as a Wrath baby, vanilla and BC babies are REALLY old, and Cata or MoP players are the newbs.

  3. Omogon says:

    I still have a hundred Shatter Rounds in the bank “for old times sake” and still have my Dragon Scale ammo pouch. I miss caring for my pet and I miss ammo. A good hunter NEVER ran out of ammo. The mana vs focus thing IMO does not make much difference.

    • Arth says:

      Heh. Well, to each his own. But…

      A good hunter never ran out of ammo, but it was also a pain in the butt. I’m glad it’s gone, nostalgia or not.

      Pet care was another. Made sense from an RP standpoint, but I’d have to worry about a pet running away if I forgot to log off and left my computer for any length of time. Especially given the genesis of taming challenges, this had the potential to create all sorts of griping. Or a random drop from happy to neutral in a raid that could go unnoticed for several boss attempts, nerfing dps. Being prepared should be required. Constant monitoring of a cursory and passive detail should not. I’m quite sure we’re better off without it.

      I loved Wrath, it was my favorite expansion. But my bits of wistful nostalgia lie elsewhere.

  4. Skortaran says:

    Durendil is sick. Any hunter interested in doing solo’ing needs to watch his videos. He’s pulled off some spectacular kills Good stuff.

  5. Ominous says:

    “the young kids from those Wrath days are today’s veterans”
    They’re not. They just think they are.
    They have experience. There’s a difference.

  6. Flint says:

    If you did not have to use Beast Lore to find the animals with the skill level you wanted then tame them, learn the skill and then train all of your other pets; you are not a Veteran. If you did not have to feed your pet and get it to be loyal along with keeping it well fed and happy; you are not a Veteran. If your pet never just randomly ran off in some direction after a rat during a raid right pulling aggro causing a raid wide wipe; you are not a Veteran. If you have never been in the middle of a tame of that rare you have been waiting for only to get sapped by a rogue only to have that rare kill you while the rogue looks on and laughs; you are not a Veteran.

    • Arth says:

      …says the old man. ;)

      The quality of life jumps from Vanilla to BC and then BC to Wrath were more substantial than we can ever see again. So it’s hard to argue with someone invoking these quirks of hunter history. Attunement, the absolute insanity of getting ANY purple gear, longer grinds, etc. etc. That said, I didn’t come into raiding until Wrath (though I played during BC), and there’s been a lot of change between the beginning of Wrath and now. As such, I think there are different levels of “veteran-ness.”

      Long story short, Frost is old and grumpy.

  7. Sazda says:

    Do we know why he is a clicker and not using keybinds? It seems a bit odd to me, that he min-maxes his gear and everything else to the extreme to complete something awesome like this – but does not take the time to learn to use macros and his keyboard to its full potential. I figured maybe there is a special reason like only having one completely working hand or something!? (I hope not though obviously)

    • Arth says:

      I actually think there’s a certain poesy to it if he is a clicker. It’s certainly not min-maxed, but it’s also certainly not impossible to be a great hunter as a clicker. Not that I’m near Durendil’s skill set, but some of my earliest pet tanking endeavors were written off by viewers as terrible because of clicking, regardless of what the actual accomplishment was like. While we have to acknowledge that it isn’t ideal, I’ve long thought clicking gets FAR too much negative attention in WoW.

      • Flint says:

        I click? This is going to sound arrogant, but in all the time I have played WOW and all the raids I have done I can honestly say I as a clicker have outplayed the vast majority of non click Hunters I have played with (that sounded bad). The only time I have seen a non clicker have a real advantage is PVP. I don’t PVP on any of my Hunters so it’s no big deal.

      • Arth says:

        Agreed, Flint. My point was that it always got undue criticism. We’re required to agree that clicking isn’t ideal, because we know the testing behind it, but it’s possible to be good or even GREAT as a clicker.

        This is especially true in PvE, as you mention, which doesn’t require a ton of mouse movements to play optimally.

        Like, when I pet tanked Patchwerk (which, as far as I could tell, was a world first), 60% of the youtube comments were, no joke, “fucking clicker. Learn to play!” Or something similar. Always made me skeptical of the anti-clicker crowd from then on. Now, I learned to keybind, and it DID improve my play. But it didn’t mean I was bad before, or even close to it.

        If Durendil clicks, as it looks as though he might, that’s just another data point in our column.

    • Skortaran says:

      Some people prefer clicking and to change styles would be a DRASTIC hit on their effectiveness. I am one of those people, for example. I know, for certain, that my performance is not being hurt by doing so (though I’m sure someone will rush in to claim otherwise) so I see it as a “if it ain’t broke…” situation. I imagine it’s the same for Durendil. It clearly isn’t broken for him…

      • Roachkilla says:

        Back when I started playing, 3-4 months before wrath hit, I was such a noob. I watched my friend play and I watched his mother play and I learned different tricks from them. I used macros and “keybinds” but WoW was the first and only CPU based game I had ever played.
        I took a year long “break” and when I came back I got “lazy” and started playing how my friend had by clicking with my mouse and moving with my D-arrows. I have always impressed people on how well I play my hunter clicking, but someday I hope to reclaim my former play style and go back to mashing buttons.

        I think it really has to do with my converting from console games to CPU. Move with the left hand and smash buttons with the right.

        Either way, Durendil is a “hero” in my eyes for those of use that do click. Grats to him for this awesomesauce!

  8. Durendil says:

    Well, the thing about clicking is that it may be not as good as keybinding, but it’s more than enough…
    Basically, what are the drawbacks of clicking?
    Simple: if playing a hunter was just pressing 5 dps buttons, clicking would be enough, since you just need to move your mouse fast enough to keep ahead of the 1 second GCD.
    However, that’s not the case. So when is clicking a liability?

    -when you need to react very quickly, and the ability you need is not away from your mouse.
    -when you need to press 2 buttons (at least one off GCD) at once
    -when you need to turn immediatly

    So we have 2 issues: reactivity and performane (the clicking 2 buttons)

    What you need to remember is that soloing is pve, not pvp – so nothing unexpected can happen. Especially, you always know his abilities will target the only player available: you.
    That way, the reactivity is rarely an issue – you can plan from miles away.

    Also, if you need to use many abilities at once, there is the keybinding option. In this video, for example: if I need to use last stand, I use the keyboard to dps/heal and the mouse to click. And when I had to rez my pet, I quickly pressed “1” (deterrence) and “r” (revive pet) and voilà. I also had passive and cower keybinded.
    So clicking is also about knowing what to keybind (usually interrupts/survival cds), and using them when needed. But I agree full clicking would make things verey very hard.

    So clicking is about speed – not losing time between GCDs – and using the keyboard for multiple abilities.
    What isn’t possible when clicking is – moving and using both mouse and keyboard. That happens like, nearly never.

    Now, the principle argument was that I min-maxed everything yet clicked. The reason is simple: I min-max clicking :p
    Basically, if clicking is holding me back on a boss – like I’m losing dps or, anything else – then I try him. And try him again. And I work on improving my dps.

    For example: on the Lich king, my goal was to get him to transition in less than 3 minutes 30 (7th plague). That was complicated, because I had to dps hard and use intervene manage pet survival and keep adds on pet (at the time, we didn’t have the mass misdirect glyph and pets couldn’t easily tank LK and 2 horrors. I seldom succeeded on my tries.
    Now that’s the kind of situation where someone would suggest keybinding.

    For the kill, I did it in 3 minutes.
    How? the answer is simple. That was my 400th try at least. So I could tell you exactly what ability I would be clicking at a certain time, and things like that simply because I had done it again and again and again.
    So frankly, the biggest drawback of clicking isn’t losing dps – it’s losing time. Because I can reach my top dps with clicking although it’s harder in soloing than in raids (where dps is nearly the only thing to worry about) for a simple reason: max dps is theoretically possible by clicking (at least for hunters). And what is the gap between theory and reality? Experience. So if I lack dps thought too much clicking, I find the right keybinds for that boss, and learn to click better. Soloing has done at lot more for teaching me how to play than raiding :)

    So I can solo bosses by clicking because I solo bosses by clicking and therefore improve myself – it’s a simple circle, once you’ve decide how to play – for me, it will always be the default UI and clicking – learn to do it well.

    So as Arth said, it isn’t ideal. But it’s like running a marathon with a backpack on: it’s easier to do it without a backpack, but with hard work you can still achieve your goal.

  9. Kyllea says:

    Bravo! :)