Just to recap, your goal now is to hunt for this mysterious monster by completing quests and expeditions, on which you may find "??? Rathian" tracks. It's going to take an awful lot of research to fill the bar for this critter, and as you go about it, you'll likely unlock more delivery requests and optional quests in Astera. Some of these should be available now, polluting Astera with their exclamation points, but because some of these delivery requests and quests unlock as you go out on expeditions, they'll be covered now and left up to you to complete as you will.
Note: As you complete quests in high rank mode, there's a chance that Zorah Magdaros related quests will randomly unlock. The chance for these quests to appear will increase the higher your Hunter Rank is, and it essentially allows you to repeat the assignment A Colossal Task to harvest more Zorah Magdaros materials. Check your Quest Board after every quest to see if this quest is available, if you have a mind to bother with it.
Armory R&D: Waterproofing
Talk to the Armory clerk and she'll tell you that she's been working on yet another new hunter tool, and once again, she needs materials. This starts the delivery request Armory R&D: Waterproofing, which tasks you with obtaining a Jyuratodus Scale+, a Jyuratodus Fin+ and 1,500 Research Points. You'll obtain these materials from a high rank Jyuratodus, of course, which you can find in its usual spot (AREAS 9 and 10) in the Wildspire Waste, and you can hunt it on an expedition, or by completing the quest Up to Your Waist in the Waste, which will unlock after you defeat the monster in the wild. Turning in this delivery will earn you the Waterproof Mantle hunter tool.
The Pied Bug Piper
You can find a "Hotblooded Fourth" wandering around Astera, either in the Tradeyard or the Canteen (or somewhere in between), varying depending on the time of day. Talk to him and he'll propose gathering some materials that'll help expand the research of fertilizers for the Ancient Tree. This stars the delivery request The Pied Bug Piper, which tasks you with earning 800 Research Points and obtaining a Tzitzi-Ya-Ku Photophore+. You can obtain this monster material by hunting a Tzitzi-Ya-Ku in the Coral Highlands, either in an expedition, investigation, or during the quest Say Cheese!. Your reward for completing this delivery is Thick Summoner Jelly. Yum!
Note: These new fertilizers will last four turns, and will boost the production bonus to its maximum value with one application, instead of taking two like normal fertilizers. Not surprisingly, it costs more Research Points (250) than normal fertilizers (100), so if you're just extending durations, using lower-quality fertilizers is actually most cost-effective.
A Mountain of Mushrooms
Want more new fertilizer? Great! Find another Fourth Fleeter - the "Sisterly Fourth" - walking between the Canteen and the Tradeyard and she'll give you the delivery request A Mountain of Mushrooms, which tasks you with obtaining a Kula-Ya-Ku Plume+ and 700 Research Points. You'll find a Kula-Ya-Ku in the Ancient Forest or in the Wildspire Waste, and you can hunt one via an expedition, investigation or by completing the quest **Keep Your Hands to Yourself!". Your reward for completing this delivery is Choice Mushroom Substrate, which will increase your mushroom yields
Grow, Greenery, Grow
There's another type of material at the Ancient Tree that doesn't have a fertilizer upgrade, so naturally there has to be another delivery request out there, right? Right. Find a Timid Fiver wandering about and he'll give you the delivery request Grow, Greenery, Grow, which tasks you with earning 600 Research Points and a Great Jagras Claw+. The Great Jagras, of course, resides in the Ancient Forest, and you cant hunt one in an expedition, during an investigation, or during the quest Hard to Swallow. Turning this in will unlock Mega Fertilizer at the Ancient Tree.
High Rank GAINS!
Pay everybody's favorite Felyne - the Meowscular Chef - a visit and he'll decide it's time for the Canteen to make some GAINS. Accordingly, he sends your scrawny self out to bulk both the Canteen and you up with the quest Chef Quest! Pumped to Deliver. This quest will be covered in its own section, below.
Whenever the Meowscular Chef has more busy-work for you, it's a good bet the perpetually lazy Fiver Bro will, too. Sure enough, talk to him and he'll pass on another task to you so he can continue to stuff his face. Considering all he's done since arriving in the New World is eat, it's amazing he hasn't made some GAINS of his own. Ahem. Anyways, this starts the delivery request Million Zenny Veggie, the objective of which is to obtain a Girros Fang and 400 Research Points. This is an odd request, seeing as how the Girros Fang isn't even a high rank material, but... hey, they all don't have to be hard requests, right? Just go kill some normal, low rank Girros until you get the material you need, then turn the delivery in to unlock a new ingredient at the Canteen.
Cultural Exchange: Gajalaka Linguistics
You picked this one up later, but you'll advance it while on expedition. Across the various maps you'll find Gajalaka Doodles, usually in places where Palicos or Grimalkynes gather, or where you encounter the hostile Gajalaka, themselves. Don't worry, there's no set number of these out in the wild - old doodle-covered locations will find themselves vandalized with Gajalaka doodles again, so you can return to old sites on repeated trips. When you have observed ten doodles, return to the Resource Center and complete the delivery request.
High Rank Materials
This first phase of your high rank adventure involves running around on expeditions, being largely left up to your own devices. Embark on an expedition (the destination area doesn't matter too much) and examine every monster track you can find, but especially any "??? Rathian" tracks. Be sure to pick up new bounties, and harvest minerals as you explore, as there's plenty of new stuff to be found. Generally the new materials don't vary much by locale, so the map you're in won't matter too much. The new materials you can mine/harvest include:
|High Rank Mining Materials|
Of course, lesser monsters will also contribute their fair share, as well. New materials you can obtain from them include:
|High Rnak Monster Materials|
Be on the lookout for opportunities to seize these materials as you pursue larger game, as you'll need them when you start crafting high rank gear. Getting a decent set of alpha armor should be a priority right now, as the high rank versions of armor will have more skills and more defense, and while the latter could be achieved through upgrading, you're better off saving your Armor Spheres for high rank armor.
Even simple pieces of armor like the Jagras Helm α and the Jagras Coil α may be worth getting for the skills alone, as those two items alone are enough to get you Speed Eating 3, which will make item usage much, much faster. Since it also increases the heal rate of items, it also makes Mega Potions viable again. Otherwise, the armor you'll want to obtain - and hence the monsters you'll want to hunt - vary by weapon loadout. In general, though, trying to nab armor with resistance skills isn't a bad idea in general. At this point in the game, your gear loadout should be highly flexible to cope with the different challenges monsters throw at you. Chinks in your armor (figuratively, of course) may have been annoying when fighting low rank monsters, but against high rank monsters, it can be fatal.
Of course, don't leave your weapons out of consideration, either. You'll want the extra attack and sharpness for whittling down the health of these high rank monsters, not to mention that some weapons may have decoration slots, allowing you to customize your skills a bit... this will probably be your initial usage of decorations.
Keep in mind that you can hunt any monster you encountered in low rank immediately upon entering high rank. You don't need to push through dozens of quests to get another shot at Odogaron, for example. It is worth noting, however, that the monster hierarchy that existed among low rank monsters still exists, although the gap between the floor and the ceiling is much narrower, now. The Great Jagras is still at the bottom of the large monster food chain, and foes like Rathalos and Diablos are still noticeably stronger than most other monsters, for example, so you may want to get gear from the easier monsters before tangling with any of the stronger ones. That said, no familiar high rank monster should be unbeatable right out of the gate, their difficulty will largely depend on the skill you accrued fighting the low rank versions, the weapon type you're using, and of course, the quality of the gear you possess.
High Rank Ingredients
Not only are there new materials to be found in hard mode areas, but you can also find new ingredients. In every area are unique resource nodes you can plunder, often gaining items that are worth Research Points, but occasionally obtaining ingredients. Indeed, many of these were subjects of quests the Meowscular Chef sent you on; Gourmet Shroomcaps from Unique Mushroom Colonies, Bauble Cactuses from Round Cactuses, Super Abalones from Conch Shells... you get the picture.
In hard mode, there are even rarer, more delectable ingredients waiting to be harvested, but they take a bit of doing to get. First, you can only find them in specific resource nodes, whereas other ingredients may have randomly spawned at any applicable node. Furthermore, these resource nodes won't spawn at all unless specific world conditions are met. On your map, each area has a variety of info, including "Locale Info", which usually informs you what resources are particularly abundant. Usually this nets you more or rarer materials when you harvest certain types of resources (bonepiles, flora, mineral deposits, mushrooms, etc.), which, while nice, isn't anything to really get hyped over. In high rank expeditions, however, if a specific Research Point granting resource node has a "flourishing" or "upsurge" event, you can find that one, rare node with the special high rank ingredient in it. Consult the table below for the Locale Info you're looking out for:
|Location||Target Locale Info|
|Ancient Forest||Flourishing: Flower Beds|
|Ancient Forest||Flourishing: Mushrooms|
|Wildspire Waste||Flourishing: Cacti|
|Wildspire Waste||Flourishing: Fruit|
|Coral Highlands||Upsurge: Conch Shell|
|Coral Highlands||Upsurge: Pearl Oysters|
|Rotten Vale||Upsurge: Ancient Fossil|
|Rotten Vale||Upsurge: Crimson Fruit|
Divineapple: One of the easier ingredients to get, you need merely travel to the Northeast Camp (AREA 15) in the Wildspire Waste and make your way north to the Grimalkyne chamber, where you'll find Tough-Skinned Fruit you need to loot to obtain a Divineapple.
Dragonbloom: During a Flourishing Cacti event, travel to the Wildspire Waste's Southwest Camp and from there head north until you find two paths ahead of you, both running north. If you take the eastern path you'll end up turning east before entering AREA 4 or AREA 5, while if you stick to the west you'll find another split, a rocky road leading uphill to AREA 5's elevated parts, or downhill into a pond.
Take the western fork and then continue uphill to AREA 5. When you reach another fork, ignore the dead-end with a spider web and continue northeast, and at another fork beyond that ignore a ledge to the northeast and instead turn east until you find yourself outside again. At this point turn south and climb some vines to reach a ledge with three Round Cacti, none of which possess the treasure you seek. Instead, turn north again and climb another pair of vine-covered cliffs, with the latter being the longer of the two climbs. Atop this second vine-cliff you'll reach the highest elevation in the Wildspire Waste, where you'll find some Honey and a Round Cactus node. Dig here to obtain the Dragonbloom ingredient.
Heavenberry: Travel to the Central Camp (AREA 11) in the Rotten Vale and make your way down into the adjacent AREA 10. Turn west and make your way into the chamber adjacent to the Odogaron's lair (the Odogaron's lair is AREA 13) to north of the Grimalkyne caves (AREA 15). Head over to the entrance hole leading to the Grimalkyne cave and turn east to spot some vines on the nearby wall. Climb these vines to reach a hidden ledge, where the shortcut passage to AREA 2 can be found (it's marked as a purple cave on your map). Just north of this cave is the Crimson Fruit node that'll bless you with a Heavenberry, when looted during an Upsurge: Crimson Fruit event.
Moonlit Mushroom: Travel to the Ancient Forest's Northeast Camp and you'll start out in AREA 11, which is where your mushroom is located. That said, it takes a bit of doing to reach, so... directions time! From the camp turn northwest and climb down some vines to reach a branch walkway. Turn south and swing across three vines to reach another branch walkway to the southwest, then turn north and follow the branch down to reach a stream. When you hit the water, turn south and push your way through a root barrier, then continue south and ascend a ramp to reach a dead end, at the end of which you'll find the Unique Mushroom Colony containing the Moonlit Mushroom.
If those direction weren't sufficient, you can also reach this spot by heading to AREA 12. From AREA 12, search for a stream bisecting the area east-west. At the western end of this stream you'll find several small waterfalls feeding it, while along the eastern edge of the stream (and the area) you'll find a branch you have to crawl under. If you crawl under this branch you'll reach a stream along the western end of AREA 11, just follow the stream south until you find a ramp running up to the southwest, at the end of which you'll find a Unique Mushroom Colony containing the Moonlit Mushroom.
Platinum Pearl: Travel to the Northeast Camp in the Coral Highlands and from there, crawl out the hole to the west, then turn south to reach AREA 12, specifically the depression in which Legiana tends to dwell. Head uphill to the east and not some vines on the wall to the north. Climb them along the right-hand side and halfway up the cliff you'll find a hole you can climb into, which leads to AREA 14 - a coral cave. You can also reach this area by heading to AREA 13, the heights upon which Legiana dwells. Find two vine-covered ledges, between which is a depression, and to the northeast, a third, smaller vine-covered cliff. Climb this third cliff and continue northeast into a cave, down another vine covered cliff to reach the same coral cave.
However you get here, your goal is a ledge along southern end of the cavern, near the top of the cavern. To get up here, you'll need to climb the vine-covered column in the center of the chamber, move around it until your back is to the ledge, then press [Circle] or [B] to vault off the column and onto the ledge. You must be near the top of the column, and proper alignment can be tricky, so just keep trying until you make it. On this ledge you'll find two Devil's Blight mushrooms and, in a cubby to the south, a Pearl Oyster which yields the Platinum Pearl... provided there's an Upsurge: Pearl Oyster effect in place in the Coral Highlands, anyways.
Sunkissed Grass: This one can be a pain to reach, at least from a descriptive standpoint, so let's take this step-by-step. Travel to the Ancient Camp in the Ancient Forest where there's a Flourishing: Flower Beds event and head southeast onto a branch. At a fork, turn southwest to reach a section of the canopy walkway where four paths converge. Continue west and take the path running north until you reach a platform with a Mandragora on it. Head up to where the Mandragora is and turn north, northwest to find some branches you can crawl under.
Do so and follow the path beyond to the north, then northwest where the branch you're walking on ends... or apparently ends, anyways. Run off the branch and use a vine to swing over to another branch to the west, then continue west to reach an over-sized nest, along the western edge of which you'll find a Flower Bed. Loot this particular node to obtain the Sunkissed Grass, then flee the area before whatever built this nest returns.
Violet Abalone: From the Southern Camp in the Coral Highlands, head north and leap off the cliff to reach the lower chamber of AREA 1. From here, make your way northwest, then north to and through AREA 3, taking the upper paths to reach AREA 9. Just southeast of the Paolumu lair at the far eastern end of AREA 9 you'll find a hole you can crawl through to the northwest, and when you reach a fork turn southwest to find a Conch Shell. Loot it to obtain this ingredient.
Wicked Fossil: You'll find this in the Rotten Vale, during an Upsurge: Ancient Fossil. From the Southeast Camp make your way into the tunnel to the west, then follow it uphill to the northeast to reach the large chamber in AREA 1. Turn west to find another passage past a bonepile. This passage ultimately terminates overlooking a toxin-filled chamber below (AREA 8), but fortunately you need not brave such hazards, as the Ancient Fossil node you need to loot is halfway down the passage, near a Mandragora.
Six Star Optional Quests
With that, you're good to go. You have multiple objectives you could be completing during these expeditions, including the aforementioned delivery requests, hunting down rare ingredients, and of course, researching monsters, including this mysterious "??? Rathian". At the risk of redundancy, remember that by researching and encountering new monsters you can unlock new optional quests and investigations for them. Don't be afraid to return to Astera and tackle some of these as the opportunity arises - you don't need to be out on an expedition to find "??? Rathian" clues, after all, and you certainly won't be hurt by earning extra Zenny and crafting new arms and armor. The new optional quests you can discover on expedition are listed below:
|Ancient Forest||A Hair-Raising Experience||Tobi-Kadachi|
|Ancient Forest||Googly-eyed Green Monster||Pukei-Pukei|
|Ancient Forest||Hard to Swallow||Great Jagras|
|Ancient Forest||The Sleeping Sylvan Queen||Rathian|
|Wildspire Waste||A Crown of Mud and Anger||Barroth|
|Wildspire Waste||Brown Desert, Green Queen||Rathian|
|Wildspire Waste||Keep Your Hands to Yourself!||Kulu-Ya-Ku|
|Wildspire Waste||Up to Your Waist in the Waste||Jyuratodus|
|Coral Highlands||Loop the Paolumu||Paolumu|
|Coral Highlands||Say Cheese!||Tzitzi-Ya-Ku|
|Rotten Vale||A Tingling Taste||Great Girros|
|Rotten Vale||Stuck in a Rut||Radobaan|
|Arena||Special Arena: HR Anjanath||Anjanath|
|Arena||Special Arena: HR Barroth||Barroth|
|Arena||Special Arena: HR Pukei-Pukei||Pukei-Pukei|
|Arena||Special Arena: HR Radobaan||Radobaan|
Note: While you complete expeditions, be wary of a new monster that now roams around the New World - the Bazelgeuse. This foe is probably stronger than all the other monsters out there right now, and while not insurmountable, it my prove to be a stiff challenge. If you fight it, be prepared for a struggle.
Anjanath in the Wastes
Whew! That's a whole lot of hunting to do! Remember, though, the main goal is to research those "??? Rathian" tracks. When your research for that mystery monster hits 50% you'll be prompted to return to Astera and talk to the Chief Ecologist. Do so and he'll ask you a favor; hunt a high rank Anjanath, who has roamed outside of its normal range and can now be found in the Wildspire Waste. This starts the assignment Tickled Pink, which will be covered below. If you need more incentive, talk to the Field Team Leader and he'll confirm that the Canteen will be expanded after fighting the Anjanath. More food? What's an Anjanath compared to a prize like that?!