Updated for Mists of Pandaria 5.3
5.3 patch notes for Hunters. Cooldowns for a few pet abilities were lengthened, though that’s probably more of interest to the PvP crowd. A couple of talents shifted around, your beast cleave was improved and your Exotic pets ability no longer reduces pet cooldowns. but the rest was just tweaks. With the changes BM is arguably the best of the Hunter DPS specs.
This guide is for improving your damage (DPS) as a Beast Mastery Hunter in PvE (Raids and other instances.) If you are looking for info on leveling or PvP check the links just below.
Beast Mastery Contents
|This Beast Mastery Hunter guide is primarily intended for use in PvE and Raids at level 90. However, the principals will still apply during the leveling process. If you’re looking for advice on leveling your Hunter, check out our Hunter Leveling Guide.
If you want the same in-game step by step leveling guide that we use to get to level 90 as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.
Other Hunter Guides:
Beast Mastery Hunter Talents
Keep a stack of Tome of the Clear Mind in your bags and switch talents/glyphs as necessary.
Each of these modifies Disengage in some way and offers no direct benefit to DPS.
- Posthaste gives us a speed boost when disengaging and breaks movement impairing stuff. Has it’s uses, but is a better PvP talent.
- Narrow Escape is unlikely to benefit us in any great way. Nice for some PvP and for those occasions when a bunch of trash takes a liking to you.
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera reduces the cooldown on a couple of our survivability options. This is my recommended choice although the other two can be viable depending on the situation.
- Silencing Shot does what it says. Having a silence/interrupt is never a bad thing, I recommend this.
- Wyvern Sting is decent CC, unlikely to majorly effect an encounter save on rare occasions.
Binding Shotwas moved in 5.3 (it’s now a Marksmanship talent) and it was replaced with
- Intimidation – your pet briefly stuns the target. 1 min CD.
- Exhilaration is a self-heal for a decent amount of health. Not a bad choice.
- Aspect of the Iron Hawk grants us great damage mitigation when using our preferred Aspect. This is my recommended choice as the damage you’d mitigate using this is undoubtedly superior to the healing effect of the other two talents.
- Spirit Bond is a minor, constant healing effect so long as your pet is active, which should be always. The healing is small enough that I can’t see a reason to take this over Aspect of the Iron Hawk.
- Fervor returns focus both instantly and over time. This choice is presently sub-optimal.
- Dire Beast is the recommend choice for this time as it provides the greatest DPS fo the three talents in this tier.
- Thrill of the Hunt has a chance to give you focus free Arcane Shots or reduced cost Multi-Shot, but the ultimate contribution of this talent is inferior to Dire Beast.
- A Murder of Crows is a decent DPS talent, but inferior to Lynx Rush for Beast Mastery.
- Blink Strike has little going for it at this time for PvE.
- Lynx Rush is my recommended choice, it gives us the best DPS as it benefits from our increased pet damage from being Beast Mastery spec. Put this in a macro with your pet’s Rabid ability for extra goodness.
- Glaive Toss is the optimal DPS choice for single target attacks.
- Powershot is inferior to the others, but could be useful in some situations.
- Barrage is better if you’re doing lots of Area Effect fights.
Any pet can be either Tenacity, Ferocity, or cunning and you can switch their specs at any time. Ferocity is generally the best choice as it provides the greatest DPS gain, but there may be situations where Tenacity or Cunning might have use.
For raid buffs and useful effects see this Pet Utility Table
Beast Mastery Glyphs
There’s very little in the way of direct DPS glyphs for Hunters, but dead pets (and Hunters) do no damage so there is a lot to be said for not dying. Change glyphs to suit, make sure you have a stack of Tome of the Clear Mind available to do that.
- Glyph of Animal Bond boosts the healing your pet receives by 10%.
- Glyph of Deterrence increases your survival when there’s enough raid-wide damage to be worth it.
- Glyph of Liberation provides a small heal when you Disengage.
- Glyph of Disengage Leap back further when you Disengage
- Glyph of Endless Wrath - yur pet cannot be killed during Bestial Wrath
- Glyph of Mending - increases the healing your Mend Pet does.
These are mostly cosmetic, so pick ones that suit your style.
- Glyph of Revive Pet - makes reviving your pet easier when things get iffy.
- Glyph of Aspect of the Pack
- Glyph of Fetch
- Glyph of Lesser Proportion
- Primary: Agility is better than any other stats, by a fair margin.
- Secondary: Hit and Expertise to 7.5% >> Critical >= Mastery
- Weak: Haste, excess Hit, excess Crit
- Useless: Hit and/or Expertise over 15%
Agility is your best stat, to the point where it’s worth ignoring most socket bonuses.
You will want to cap both Hit and Expertise. Your pet inherits half your Hit and Expertise ratings, so both of these have some value beyond the 7.5% cap, but your pet really only needs the Hit. Both your Hit and Exp factor into your pet’s Hit. So if you cap your Hit and Exp the your pet will have capped Hit and all is good.
Crit and Mastery work very well together
Haste isn’t so hot these days, at lower gear levels, but it becomes better than Mastery at high gear levels. If you find yourself with at least a couple of pieces of gear that randomly proc stats then you may find that Haste is even better than Crit, since lots of Haste will give you more Agility procs over time.
- Your #1 priority is to get Hit and Expertise to 7.5%.
- After that reforge weaker stats to Crit and Mastery, equal amounts of both.
In-Depth Rotation Guide
Attack from behind. Your shots can be blocked as well as dodged. Attacking from behind removes the chance to be blocked and will increase your DPS. Attacks from behind can be dodged and that is what your expertise is for. 7.5% Hit and Expertise means that you will never miss or be dodged.
Your first priority in any fight is applying Hunter’s Mark to your target followed by Serpent Sting. Serpent Sting should be maintained, but in this case we’ll be using Cobra Shot to do so therefore you should only have to apply Serpent Sting to a given target once.
Cast Kill Command on cooldown.
Focus Fire should be used when your pet has 5 stacks of Frenzy for maximum effect to grant yourself a 30% ranged Haste buff for 20 seconds. The only time you wish to avoid doing this is when you’re about to use Bestial Wrath in which case leaving your pet’s stacks of Frenzy going is the best choice for maximum DPS. When Bestial Wrath fades instantly use Focus Fire and continue as normal until ready to use Bestial Wrath once more.
Use Kill Shot when your target drops below 20% health.
All of your DPS cooldowns should be used as often as possible, meaning Rapid Fire, Bestial Wrath, Lynx Rush and Stampede. Save Readiness for after you’ve used Rapid Fire, Bestial Wrath, Lynx Rush and Dire Beast to instantly reset their cooldown.
Tier 4 Talented Abilities:
Dire Beast should be used on cooldown for maximum DPS and focus regen.
Beast Mastery Gems
In Mists of Pandaria (MoP) gems with secondary stats have twice the value of those with primary stats, for example: 320 Mastery Vs 160 Ag. This will make it worth matching socket bonuses in some cases, such as if the bonus is +60 Ag or better per socket. In all other cases just gem for straight Agility.
Several extra gems are shown here in case you need certain stats or colors, such as if you need to get more Hit or Expertise. Generally though you’ll go with a red gem or an orange or purple agility hybrid.
A gemming plan, assuming you do not need Hit or Expertise. :
- Meta sockets: Capacitive, if you can get it, otherwise Agile Primal Diamond
- Red sockets: Delicate Primordial Ruby
- Yellow: Deadly Vermilion Onyx or Adept Vermilion Onyx
- Blue: Glinting Imperial Amethys
- Belt buckle and Blacksmithing slots: Delicate Primordial Ruby
|Gems for BM|
|Meta||Capacitive Primal Diamond: +324 Critical Strike, and chance on melee or ranged hit to gain Capacitance. Requires the legendary quest line.
Agile Primal Diamond: 216 Agil & 3% Increased Crit Effect
|Red||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility
Precise Primordial Ruby: 320 Expertise
|Yellow||Smooth Sun’s Radiance: 320 Crit
|Blue||Rigid River’s Heart: +320 Hit|
|Orange||Deadly Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Crit
Adept Vermilion Onyx: 80 Agility, 160 Mastery
|Purple||Glinting Imperial Amethyst: 80 Ag, 160 Hit
Accurate Imperial Amethyst: 160 Expertise, 160 Hit
|Green||None are worthwhile|
|Prismatic||Delicate Primordial Ruby: 160 Agility|
|Cogwheel||Smooth Tinker’s Gear: 600 Crit – requires an engie helm, such as this.
Precise Tinker’s Gear: 600 Expertise
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 600 Mastery
Quick Tinker’s Gear: 600 Haste
Beast Mastery Hunter Enchants
Helm enchants are gone in Mists of Pandaria, shoulder enchants all come from the Inscription profession.
Short on gold? Most of the enchants below have similar lesser enchants available for less cash. Check with the Auction House for these. If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about improving your situation.
Enchant for Agility, where possible.
|Ranged Weapon||Lord Blastington’s Scope of Doom: Sometimes add 1,800 Ag for 10 seconds.|
|Shoulders||Secret Tiger Claw Inscription +520 Ag, 100 Crit, requires Inscription 575
Greater Tiger Claw Inscription: +200 Agility, +100 Crit
|Cloak||Swordguard Embroidery: Sometimes pops 4k AP for 15 sec. Requires Tailoring.
Enchant Cloak – Accuracy: +180 Hit rating
Enchant Cloak – Superior Critical Strike: +180 Crit rating
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +80 to all Stats|
|Bracers||Fur Lining, Agility: +500 Agility, requires Leatherworking.
Enchant Bracer – Greater Agility: +180 Agility
Socket Bracer: Self only, Blacksmithing, pop in a nice Agility gem.
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste: +170 Haste
Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery: +170 Mastery
Socket Gloves – Self only, Blacksmithing, pop in a nice gem.
|Belt||Living Steel Belt Buckle: put a nice gem into this slot.|
|Leggings||Shadowleather Leg Armor: +285 Agility & 165 Crit rating|
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Blurred Speed: 140 Agility and Slight run speed increase.|
|Rings||Enchant Ring – Greater Agility: +160 Agility, Requires Enchanting 550|
Note that Pandarens get twice the food buff. All food buffs last one hour and provide only one stat.
If you have the Alchemy skill the effect and duration of flasks and elixirs will be increased, including the value of secondary stats, by about 30% and an hour. Foods are available that provide secondary stats, but they’re only worth about 200 points.
Your Mail Specialization adds to all Ag. bonuses.
- Virmen’s Bite: 4k Ag for 25 seconds. If you pop one immediately before combat you will be able to pop another during combat.
- Master Healing Potion: Heals 120k HP
- Flask of Spring Blossoms: 1,000 Ag for one hour (better than any combination of elixirs.
Professions for Hunters
All of the professions provide some benefit for any class/spec, though clearly some are better than others. Even the gathering professions have some value, though you might be better served by using those to build a larger gold stash.
Most of the professions add an average of about 320 Agility. Since gems with secondary stats are twice the value of those with primary stats (320 Crit Vs 160 Int, for example)
Blacksmithing might be the most valuable profession if you’re just looking for the buffs. It depends on which holes you’re looking to fill. Since you will be able to use any gems in those slots you will have a certain flexibility that’s lacking with the other Profs.
Engineering has a very nice Ag. proc, Herbalism has a big Haste Proc.
|Tailoring||Cloak enchant sometimes adds 4k Attack Power for 15 seconds.|
|Leatherworking||Bracer enchant adds 500 Ag.|
|Jewelcrafting||Make nicer gems for your own use.|
|Enchanting||Enchant both rings, for a total +320 Ag gain.|
|Inscription||Shoulder enchant adds 520 Ag and 100 crit.|
|Alchemy||More effect from your own potions. Adds 320 Ag and an extra hour to your main flask.|
|Engineering||has lots of interesting toys, some of which have situational use, and Synapse Springs, which increases Ag by 1940 for a short time. If you take this use a macro to activate it along with other short term buffs.|
|Blacksmithing||gives two extra gems slots. Since gems with secondary stats have twice the value of gems with primary stats Blacksmithing might be a very valuable profession. For example, you’ll be able to socket the two gems for 640 Mastery instead of 320 Ag.|
|Skinning||provides 480 crit rating|
|Herbalism||Small heal and 2880 Haste for 20 seconds, plus you find healing spirits.|
With Catalclysm everyone but Gnomes were allowed into the Hunter crowd. Probably because they’re too busy repairing their city or they’re too short to use a bow (how about a Gnomish X4500GT Zarkomatic blaster rifle?)
In Mists of Pandaria the Gnomes are still excluded, but Pandarens can become Hunters.
The best racial choice for a Hunter is one that you enjoy playing. It doesn’t matter if one race has no special abilities if you like playing that race more than others. None of the racial abilities make that much of a difference and they are all overshadowed by your skill as a player.
That said, if you’re looking towards the end game… Orcs and Trolls are arguably the best Hunter races, with Humans for Alliance.
- Alliance Damage: Draenei (hit rating,) Worgen (Crit chance & sprint,) Dwarf (ranged expertise.)
- Horde Damage: Orc (Blood Fury) and +5% pet damage ; Troll gets Berserking and Bow crit. Goblins get a Haste effect and Rocket Jump (a useful escape ability.) Undead drain life and heal.
Pandarens (Mists of Pandaria) can be either Alliance or Horde, they choose when they leave their starting area.
- They can put enemies to sleep with a touch of the paw, but youi don’t want to be in melee range.
- Increased benefits from food buffs will be quite nice while raiding.
- Take less falling damage from being “bouncy.”
- Skilled at cooking.
- A small HoT, Gift of the Naaru, willhelp with survivability.
- +1% hit, a useful self-only ability for raiding hunters as every point of hit rating counts once you hit the endgame raids.
- Shadowmeld drops aggro in PvE encounters, but it’s redundant with your Feign Death ability. It does not add to your Camouflage ability.
- Night Elf hunters also gain the benefit of a 2% dodge chance increase, another bonus to stack with Aspect of the Monkey when forced into melee. This will only rarely be of any use to you in PvE.
- The stone form ability is rather nice, washing away bleeds and reducing damage taken by 10%, and the latter part of that will find occasional PvE use.
- Dwarves get expertise with ranged weapons, which is definitely useful.
- Dwarves are good with Archeology.
- They have nothing that’s specifically useful, though their escape ability is quite nice for PvP and occasionally of use in PvE.
- Their diplomacy ability will help with the rep gains with the many factions of Azeroth and beyond.
- Their expertise with melee weapons is of no use to you.
- It certainly makes sense that were-wolf type critters could be Hunters, what with their legendary sense of smell, not that said sense appears in-game.
- They have a general 1% increased chance to crit, which is a good stat for you, and they can “periodically move more quickly,” which definitely has it’s uses.
- Their increased skinning skill and speed is a nice convenience, but of no special value to Hunters.
- Of the horde races we’ll begin with the Blood Elves, a rather “meh…” race, as far as Hunters are concerned. Their big ability is Arcane Torrent, which can be used as an AoE silence/interruption when forced into melee range with caster classes. Paladins and Death Knights, for example. Ideally Hunters want to avoid “melee range” like the plague.
- Blood elves are good with Enchanting.
- Tauren are another “just Ok” Hunter race, gaining a 5% bonus to health that is occasionally useful, though it doesn’t scale well at high levels.
- You’ll also gain the benefit of Warstomp, an AoE stun that may allow you to gain range from the opposition. Stomp to Disengage, for example.
- Herbalism provides a nice little heal and a Haste effect, both of which are nice for Hunters and the Tauren’s increased Herbalism skill will get you into that heal just that much faster.
Trolls are possibly the best of all the races for Hunters.
- Trolls possess the Berserking racial, a potent DPS increase for sustained DPS.
- Trolls get Ranged weapon expertise, which is quite nice for you.
- Trolls also get +5% damage bonus Vs. beasts. Some of the trash mobs found in PvE content count as beasts, so this will be occasionally very useful.
- A somewhat more situational ability is the reduced duration Trolls get from movement reducing effects.
Orcs, on the other hand gain, are also a contender for “best Hunter race.”
- They get the benefit of Blood Fury, a great burst DPS increaser,
- as well as 5% more pet damage via Command,
- and a 15% resistance to all stuns with Hardiness, useful in PvP situations and helpful in rare PvE content.
- Naturally the Undead start with a giant spider as a pet.
- They have no special Hunter abilities, but their “Will of the Forsaken” can wipe off sleeps, charms, etc., a nice ability to have, especially in PvP.
- Being able to eat the brains of those you kill frees up a blag slot (which would otherwise carry food.)
- Undead can drain life from opponents and be healed for the same amount. This is a passive effect and happens occasionally with your damaging attacks.
- Rocket Jump has definite uses at times, especially as “gain range” ability when Disengage is on cooldown.
- An increase to Haste is just Ok and
- An increase in Alchemy skill, along with a greater effect from your own healing potions, is also nice.
- Goblins also receive vendor discounts and can summon a personal bank.
The Fast Hunter Leveling Guide
WoW’s in game quest helper is a nifty gadget, showing you where to go and giving you some idea of what to do. What it doesn’t show you is the most efficient path to take among all the bazillion quests and it misses by quite a bit in the “where to go and what to do” department.
Zygor’s guides misses nothing and show you the best path to take, whether Horde or Alliance,at all times, and even displays an arrow showing the right way to go. Zygor’s has gemmed for Int and, as a result, it doesn’t matter if you stop your questing to gain a few levels in PvP or the dungeons, you’re brand new to the game or you’re decked head to toe in heirlooms.
Come back to the quests and Zygor will figure out where you should be, based on your new level, and update the guide accordingly. It’ll even let you zap your obsolete quests.
You’re not even locked into any particular build for best results. Zygor’s guide has a talent advisor which will recommend talents for either Marksman, Beastmastery, or Survival, depending on what you like. About the only way to get to 90 faster is to buy a character off of ebay, but that will get you banned and Zygor’s won’t.
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