The Hunter Leveling Guide for Mists of Pandaria
This page has been updated for Mists of Pandaria 5.4.8 with some Warlords of Draenor notes.
Hunters are about the fastest and easiest leveling class in the entire game. Why would this be? Because they have an unbeatable and unmatched solo capability due to an unmatched rapport with their pets. As Blizzard says, in the character creation screen, “Good at leveling and soloing.”
Currently they’re pretty good at everything else, too.
This is all tied to their massive and consistent DPS. In fact, Hunters are perhaps the least gear dependent of all classes. Of course, decent gear will make your leveling that much easier (not to mention heirlooms, buffs, etc.,) but it’s not required.
In the dungeons Hunters can generate a lot of DPS (Damage per Second.) With good choices in gear and some practice they can easily top the damage charts.
In PvP, Hunters take a bit more work. Having an easy time leveling makes one relax a bit too much, perhaps, and PvP can be a wake up call. Hunters can do very well in PvP, though, and there are a number of very highly ranked Arena Hunters.
Leveling Guide, Contents
Other Hunter Guides
With WoW 4.0 (Cataclysm) and beyond Hunters use Focus as their “resource” and you also start with a level 1 pet. The exact starting pet varies from race to race and you have control over most of your pet’s abilities, just like any other pet. At level 10 you will get the rest of the pet commands.
Mists of Pandaria didn’t change any of the above, but there were a few other changes… Mists of Pandaria completely revised the talent system and a few other things, but the mechanics of how you play your Hunter hasn’t changed this time around.
- We have also posted the patch notes for Hunters in 5.3 and in patch 5.4. All of the official patch notes are here.
- The old talent system (pre M of P) is dead, long live the new system.
- Many old glyphs, abilities, and talents are gone, other have been rolled into the Mists of Pandaria equivalents.
- The Prime glyph slow is gone and primes, those that made it over, have been rolled into Majors. You get three major and three minor by level 75.
- The third weapon slot is gone, so you cannot equip melee and ranged weapons at the same time. You can use melee weapons, but other than for some rele-playing purposes there is no point.
- Ranged weapons have no minimum range, so there is no reason to use melee weapons.
- You no longer need to train your pets.
- You DO need to pick your pet’s specialization (spec.) Yes, your monkey can now be Tenacity and tank stuff. And you can change pet specs whenever you like. You can change pet specs at any time, to suit your situation.
- Your bow now has a string. How’s that for an essential change?
- Various other changes.
Warlords of Draenor won’t change mechanics or introduce new ones. Playstyle will be essentially the same. Other than adding the new talents, a few tweaks, and some ability cleanup, you’ll be pretty much the same Hunter as before. How much Hunters balance with the other classes changes remains to be seen. Here are all the changes for Hunters in WoD.
Brief Hunter Leveling Notes
This is the short version of the guide, just hitting the main points. More detail is further down, including changes coming in Warlords.
Best Race: It doesn’t matter much, just pick the one the looks and feels right.
- Pandaran: Better rest XP will speed up leveling.
- Alliance Damage: Draenei, Worgen, Dwarf
- Horde Damage: Orc, Troll, Goblins.
- PVP: Humans and Undead have useful escapes Orcs & Trolls have burst damage and other goodies.
- More about races
- Beast Mastery - You and your pet make a great team. Generally BM is the easiest spec for all players. BM looks like the top spec for raids and PvP up through patch 5.4+, though the other two are certainly competitive.
- Markmanship – Your pet is more of an accessory. More challenging than BM, but can level just as fast.
- Survival – Your pet is an accessory and you specialize in controlling the opposition with your trap arsenal.
- If you need to blast to 90 as fast as possible then check out our favorite leveling guide.
Ferocity pets do more damage, Tenacity pets are better tanks, Cunning pets have special abilities, such as webs.
- Any pet can have any spec, see your pet talent page for details.
- Pick a Ferocity pet for the damage and if you’re not worried about it being a good tank.
- Tenacity pets, such as Bears, are generally better tanks and will allow you to gather groups and burn them down.
- More about pets
Gear and Stats
- Stamina – Get enough to survive, especially at low level.
- Agility is is far and away your best stat otherwise.
- Get mail armor at 40 and stick with it. You get more agility at 50 if all your armor is mail.
- Weapon: Get the highest DPS weapon available, preferably with Agility.
- Use ranged weapons only. There is no minimum range for your ranged attacks, so you won’t need melee weapons. You can use them, but there is no point.
- More stats
Gems and Enchants
Skip these if they’re expensive. You’ll level too fast to make most gems or enchants really worthwhile. High level gems in Mists of Pandaria are much better than Cataclysm gems, but require pretty high level gear. With 5.4 any enchant can be added to any level item, so if you have a ton of gold you can add the top level enchants to your level 1 items.
If you’re enchanting then upgrade as soon as you can. See our gold guide if you need the gold to do that.
- Gem for Agility, period.
- Enchant for Ag., Attack Power, or Stam.
- More gems
- Pick any two: Skinning, Mining, Herbalism. Why? To sell the gatherings and generate cash flow.
- Skip the crafting professions, they’re expensive and will slow you down, though they offer certain bonuses for the end game.
- More professions
Go to => Top
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. This won’t change in Warlords.
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.
If you plan on being “the best” Hunter in raids or PvP then you should pay attention to race.
That said, if you’re looking towards the end game… Orcs and Trolls are arguably the best Hunter races, with Humans for Alliance.
Note: In Warlords the Hit and Expertise stats are being removed and this will have an effect on all appropriate racials. You can see the coming changes in our Warlords Racials post.
Note 2: Resistance to fire, frost, etc. are not shown in the list below, as they’re not enough to be concerned about. They’re more for flavor.
- Alliance, Damage: Draenei (hit rating,) Worgen (Crit chance & sprint,) Dwarf (ranged weapon expertise.)
- Horde Damage: Orc (Blood Fury) and +5% pet damage ; Troll gets Berserking and Ranged Weapon Expertise. Goblins get a Haste effect and Rocket Jump (a useful escape ability.)
- PVP: Humans and Undead have useful escapes.
- Leveling: Trolls for Burst, dmg vs beasts, ranged expertise. Pandarens for longer lasting rest XP.
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. Nice for getting away from them. This is very similar to the Rogue’s Gouge ability.
- Rested XP (from Inns) lasts longer, for faster overall leveling.
- Increased benefits from food buffs, which is nice for all situations.
- Take less falling damage from being “bouncy.”
- Skilled at cooking.
- No changes in Warlords
All racials dealing with HIt or Expertise will be removed in Warlords. They will be replaced with others.
To begin with we’ll check out the Draenei, an all round good hunter race to choose a couple of reasons. First would be the presence of a small HoT, Gift of the Naaru, giving you a viable method of reducing downtime and surviving tough battles. More healing is always a good thing.
Second, and more useful for raiding at higher levels, is their +1% hit, a useful self-only ability for hunters once you hit the endgame Raids and PvP. Of course this also slightly improves your solo DPS capabilities.
In Warlords of Draenor:
- The +1 Hit is gone, instead you will get an increase in Strength, Agility, and Intellect, scaling with character level.
- The heal takes effect over 5 seconds.
A decent Hunter race, the Shadowmeld racial comes in handy for ambushing unsuspecting players in both world PvP, Battlegrounds, and Arena. Additionally, it can be used for hiding from higher levels/gank squads while leveling. It will also drop aggro in PvE encounters. It does not add to your Camouflage ability and while it’s somewhat redundant with that ability you can use ‘meld at a much lower level.
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. More often times this’ll happen in PvP, as opposed to PvE. Any increased defense is always a good thing.
In Warlords of Draenor:
- You get a 2% movement speed increase in addition to the dodge.
- Touch of Elune is a new passive ability which increases Haste by 1% at night, and Critical Strike chance by 1% during the day.
The stone form ability is rather nice, washing away bleeds and reducing damage taken by 10%. This is useful against Rogues (and various other classes) in PvP. It’s also nice at times in PvE or while leveling.
In Mists of Pandaria Dwarves get expertise with ranged weapons, which is a useful stat. They also have expertise with maces, which is useless to you.
In Warlords of Draenor:
- Your Stoneform removes more effects.
- Your ranged expertise is dead (as is the Mace expertise.)
With Cataclysm Humans finally got to be hunters (it’s never made sense that they couldn’t be Hunters.) They have nothing that’s specifically useful, though their escape ability is quite nice for PvP and their diplomacy ability will help with the reputation gains with the many factions of Azeroth and beyond.
Their expertise with melee weapons and their increase Spirit is of no use to you.
In Warlords of Draenor:
- Expertise is dead
- Human Spirit adds to your two best stats, rather than just Spirit.
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 nice for any Hunter, 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.
In Warlords of Draenor:
- No changes in Warlords
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. While leveling you will find little use for this ability.
Blood elves are good with Enchanting.
In Warlords of Draenor:
- Arcane Acuity is a new racial passive ability that increases Critical Strike chance by 1%.
Tauren are yet another “just Ok” Hunter race, gaining a 5% bonus to health that is always valuable in the realm of massive PvP burst damage, where every point counts (though it doesn’t amount to much at very high level.) You’ll also gain the benefit of Warstomp, an AoE stun that may allow you to gain range from melee classes, but, like any Hunter, Hunters want to avoid “melee range” like the plague.
For leveling you’ll find that the Stomp is nice when things get tight and extra Health is always a good thing.
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.
In Warlords of Draenor:
- Your health bonus will be changed to scale better with your level.
- More crit damage with maces. Oh well.
Possibly the best of all the races for Hunters. Trolls possess the Berserking racial, a potent DPS increase for this times when you need to do more damage.
Trolls get a Ranged weapon expertise, like Dwarves, which is quite nice since your shots can be dodged in Mists of Pandaria.
Trolls also get +5% damage bonus Vs. beasts. Given the number of beasts in the game this makes a nice increase to killing efficiency while leveling and in some raiding situations.
A somewhat useful PvP ability is the reduced duration Trolls get from movement reducing effects. This doesn’t happen much while leveling,
In Warlords of Draenor:
- Berserking adds a little less Haste.
- Ranged expertise is dead.
- Beast Slaying now increases XP earned from killing Beasts by 20%, instead of increasing damage dealt versus Beasts by 5%.
Orcs, on the other hand gain, are also a contender for “best Hunter race.” They get the benefit of Blood Fury, a great DPS increase, as well as a bit more pet damage via Command, and a 15% resistance to all stuns with Hardiness, useful in PvP situations.
The Orc Expertise with axes is of no use to you.
In Warlords of Draenor:
- Axe specialization is dead
- Command does less pet damage, it’s now !%.
- Hardiness reduces stun duration by 10%, down from 15%
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 abilitiy to have, especially in PvP. Naturally being able to eat the brains of those you kill frees up a blag slot (which would otherwise carry food.)
In Mists of Pandaria they drain life from opponents and have lost the Underwater Breathing ability (it will return in Warlords.)
While leveling the Drain ability will add a bit to your damage and health, Will of the Forsaken will only rarely be useful. even on PvP servers (where the attacker is likely many levels higher than you.)
In Warlords of Draenor:
- Your Will of the Forsaken ability now has a 3 min cooldown, up from two.
- Underwater Breathing is back, and it’s now indefinite. Now more water breathing potions, ever.
Rocket Jump has definite uses at times, especially as “gain range” ability in PvP. Rocket barrage is probably useless, but might be fun at times. An increase to Haste is generally useful and an increase in Alchemy skill is also nice.
In Warlords of Draenor:
- No real changes in Warlords, but their speed increase will be an official +1% Haste overall.
Server Types and Realms
PvP: On a PvP server players from Horde and Alliance can freely attack each other in most areas. With Mists of Pandaria, world PvP generally (not always) consists of level 85+ characters flying around the old world, dropping down, killing someone, and flying away. In short, world PvP is gankage. If that’s your game (either as ganker or gankee) then go for it.
Seriously, though, there is the opportunity for world PvP, between more or less evenly matched characters, here and there and esp. in the high level zones. Some PvP guilds do World PvP (as well as Battlegrounds and Arenas and Duels.) Sometimes they organize PvP events, such as city raids.
PvE: There is no world PvP so you can level in safety from high level (or any) gankage. Of course, you can’t do it to them, either. You can still do Duels, Battlegrounds, and Arenas. Horde and alliance wave at each other and the most violent thing is the occasional duel challenge or rude gesture.
If you accept the duel challenge or fight in the BGs then you will be PvP flagged for a few minutes. This means that any other character from the other faction can attack you immediately.
RP: In theory, these are the servers for the Role-Players. You aren’t required to role-play there and most don’t, but there are a fair number who do and there are more role-playing guilds on these servers than elsewhere. RP realms can be either PvP or PvE.
WarcraftRealms.com maintains stats on server population and other things. If you want to find a server with more Horde/Alliance, more or fewer people, or whatever, then check there before you create your Hunter.
Hunter Leveling Talents for Mists of Pandaria
For hunters the Beast Mastery tree is the best for straight leveling speed. It gives few buffs to the hunter himself, although they are there, but mainly it turns his/her pet into a war machine and allows that pet, alone, to solo multiple monsters at a time. The pet gathers the mobs and the Hunter “guns” them down.
However, the primary way which this aids leveling is not entirely on how much damage the pet deals, but rather that the pet holds aggro well enough to act as a reliable and durable tank. This is why the Hunter needs little in the way of gear, though obviously better gear always helps. In fact, there are a few Hunters who tank 5 man dungeons with their pets.
This combined aspect of both Hunter and pet dealing high damage and the hunter being capable of healing the pet quite easily makes the Hunter the fastest leveling machine of them all.
Note: While the Beastmastery Specialization is the fastest leveling tree this doen’t mean that you can’t have a satisfying experience with any other build. (And if you really want to level fast then check out a good leveling guide.)
In Warlords of Draenor the talent system is unchanged, though there will be some changes to particular talents and you get a new row at level 100. You can see all of the level 100 talents here.
(If you want to see the old Cataclysm leveling builds, for whatever reason, they’re here.)
The Mist of Pandaria talents were a big change for a couple of reasons.
- Any spec of Hunter can now pick any one talent from any row, at the appropriate level.
- There are no points in talents (or abilities.) You get the whole thing when you pick it.
- Talents can be changed like glyphs. Click a row (in your talent window) spend a dust/powder/tome (buy from your Inscription Supplies or Reagents Vendor,) and change the talent. You trainer can reset all of your talents.
Warlords of Draenor will add the level 100 talents, but won’t change things in the way that Mists did. You’ll be able to dive right in.
|Posthaste - Your Disengage breaks free from movement impairing effects and increases your movement rate.||Narrow Escape - When you Disengage you leave webs, snagging all targets for a few seconds.||Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera - Reduces cooldowns of Disengage and Deterrence.|
|Binding Shot, for keeping enemies where you want them.||Wyvern Sting - Puts the target to sleep for awhile.||Intimidation – Your pet now can stun the opponent for a brief time.|
|Exhilaration - Heal yourself and your pet.||Aspect of the Iron Hawk - Increase ranged attack power and reduce incoming damage.WoD: Changes to Iron Hawk.||Spirit Bond - You and your pet regenerate.|
|Fervor - Restore focus||Dire Beast - Summons a mighty beast to attack your target.||Thrill of the Hunt - Chance for next Arcane/Multi-shots to be free.|
|A Murder of Crows - A flock of crows will attack your target.||Blink Strikes – Pet shadowsteps to target and does damage.||Lynx Rush - Your pet charges from target to target, attacking each.WoD: Lynx Rush is dead and is replaced with Stampede.|
|Glaive Toss - Throw glaives to slow target and increase their damage taken.||Powershot - A mighty shot that knocks back opponents.||Barrage - A spray of shots that damages the target and enemies between you and the target.|
|100||Exotic Munitions: Allows different ammo types.||Focusing Shot – Line up a shot for decent damage and regain 50 Focus. Replaces Steady Shot and Cobra Shot. (The talent is the same for all three specs, despite what the tooltip says.)||BM: Adaptation – Your pet does more damage and gains several abilities.MM and S: Lone Wolf – Put your pet away and do more damage. Also provide raid buffs.|
Beastmastery Hunter Leveling Build:
You should go with Beastmastery (BM) as a leveling specialization (spec,) especially if you’re new to being a Hunter, as it’s the easiest to manage. The other specs will let you level just fine, BM is just that much easier.
Descriptions are below the image. The talents will work well for Marksmanship and Survival as well as BM.
Level 100 talents will be shown when they are a it more final.
The talent picks here should give you a nice margin of survivability and allow you to level quickly and easily. Talents can be easily changed, just pick a row with a learned talent and follow the prompts. You can pick up the appropriate reagents from the Inscription supplies vendor, a reagents vendor (and a few others,) or off the Auction House at an inflated price.
Level 15: Narrow Escape - When you Disengage you leave webs, snagging all targets for a few seconds.Great for escaping pressure when you attract too many opponents (maybe your pet just died,) or when kiting them, or when “getting away” in PvP. Posthaste is fine, but it’s more of a PvP talent since you’ll rarely need the escape while questing. If you’re PvP leveling it’s more interesting; as is Crouching Tiger, which shortens the cooldowns of a couple of important abilities.
Level 30: Wyvern Sting - Puts the target to sleep for awhile. Lets you more easily get past guards or wandering opponents. The other two also have definite use. Binding Shot is nice if you’re fighting groups and Intimidation is just Ok, being a short stun on a longish cooldown.
Level 45: Aspect of the Iron Hawk - Increase ranged attack power and reduce incoming damage (nerfed a bit in 5.4.) Hit harder and take less damage. What’s not to like? Spirit Bond is also very nice, but doesn’t let you hit harder.
Level 60: Thrill of the Hunt - Chance for next Arcane/Multi-shots to be free. Free shots are free damage, sign me up.
Level 75: Blink Strikes – Pet teleports to the target and does damage. Puts your pet right where it has to be, right now. Murder of Crows was buffed in 5.4, but it’s best for long fights which you won’t see much of while questing. If you’re doing dungeons, though, it’s a good pick. Lynx was also buffed and is a nice talent for fighting groups. Take Lynx if your pet positioning is rarely/never an issue.
Level 90:Congratulations! Glaive Toss - Throw glaives to slow target and increase their damage taken. This is the most generally useful talent of this tier and none of them were changed in 5.4.
Glyphs, Major: These handle the functional changes to your powers. Buy/make all that seem appropriate and swap them as necessary. This glyph set assumes you’re in Beastmastery. If you need the gold to buy them all then go here.
- Liberation: When you Disengage you are healed for a small amount.
- Mending: Your Mend Pet heals your pet for quite a bit more.
- Animal Bond - More healing to you and your pet. Esp. useful if you’re in a team.
- Endless Wrath - Your pet cannot be killed while in Bestial Wrath.
- No Escape - More damage against targets stuck in your Freezing trap.
Glyphs, Minor: These are generally cosmetic or of minor functionality.
- Revive Pet - Enemy attacks don’t slow down the casting of this spell.
- Marking - Changes the appearance of your Hunter’s Mark.
- Aspect of the Cheetah - No longer dazed when struck, which might be even more useful on PvP servers.
Hunter Specialization Abilities
Each spec of Hunter (and this is true for all classes) gets a set of unique abilities. For example, only Beast Mastery Hunters will have Kill Command. These are learned, along with the regular Hunter abilities, as you level. The talents, on the other hand, are available to any spec. Hovering over the links should result in the tooltip popping up.
Warlords of Draenor will, for the most part. not actually add many new abilities. At level 90 you will get a new ability and a “readiness” stat, after level 90 you will get “Perks,” which are enhancements to existing abilities.
(P) = Passive
Beastmastery fulfills yet another crucial role in the hunter class, the improvement of our pets. These talents will take the pet from being just an assitant to something far greater.
The marksmanship tree is the namesake tree for hunters, due to the spec’s emphasis on ranged combat. In this spec the pet is an accessory, not as much of a partner or tank as it is with Beastmastery.
This tree holds one key element of the entire class, traps. Improvements to traps result in a massive increase of our survivability, making it much more likely that you’ll prevent a multiple mob pull from getting out of hand. Some of the latter talents making you almost tank-like due to HP increases and dodge.
|Kill Command||10||Aimed Shot||10||Explosive Shot|
|Go for the Throat (P)||20||Careful Aim (P)||10||WoD: Survivalist|
|35||WoD: Kill Shot||10||WoD: Trap Mastery|
|Beast Cleave (P)||30||Concussive Barrage (P) (Dead in WoD)||43||Lock and Load (P)|
|Frenzy (P)||30||Silencing Shot (Dead in WoD)||50||Black Arrow|
|Focus Fire||45||Bombardment (P)||55||Entrapment (P)|
|Bestial Wrath||54||Rapid Recuperation (P)||63||Viper Venom (P)|
|Cobra Strikes (P)||58||Master Marksman (P) (Dead in WoD)||64||Trap Mastery (P)|
|The Beast Within (P)||60||Chimera Shot||68||Serpent Spread (Dead in WoD)|
|Kindred Spirits (P)||63||Steady Focus (P) (Dead in WoD)||68||WoD: Serpent Sting (P)|
|Invigoration (P)||72||Piercing Shots (P) (Dead in WoD)||70||Improved Serpent Sting (P) (Dead in WoD)|
|Exotic Beasts (P)||80||Mastery: Wild Quiver (P) (In WoD it’s Mastery: Sniper Training )||80||Mastery: Essence of the Viper (P)|
|Mastery: Master of Beasts (P)||90||WoD: Lethal Shots (P)||81||Cobra Shot|
|WoD: Animal Handler (P)||90||WoD: Readiness: Marksmanship (P)||90||WoD: Lightning Reflexes (P)|
|WoD: Readiness: Beast Mastery (P)||*||WoD: MM no longer has access to Arcane Shot.||90||WoD: Readiness: Survival (P)|
Pets & Pet Talents
In Warlords the pet mechanics and “how to” will remain unchanged. What will change are the abilities. All of the Crowd Control (CC) abilities will be removed, though a couple will be available through talents. There are some other, similar, pet changes coming, see them here.
Hunters can have up to five pets immediately summonable at any time and you will gain access to these as you level, though you can still only have one present at any given time. It works much the same way as the Warlock pets, you summon whichever one you want when you need it. The capacity of the Stables has also been greatly increased. While you might not be able to collect all possible Hunter pets, you can gather one from every pet family (there are 44) and will be able to create a nice, full stable.
Families are groups of similar pets, such as Bat, Bear, Gorilla, Serpent, etc. All pets of a class share the same stats and the same skill tree. Each pet family has one special skill.
Pet families used to be grouped as Ferocity (DPS,) Tenacity (Tanks,) and Cunning (special abilities.) With Mists of Pandaria any pet can be any of the three specs and you can change them whenever you like.
Ferocity pets are good for continuous damage, tenacity pets make good tanks, and cunning pets have unique abilities which can be very useful in certain situations. All the pets within any given tree will have access to the same talents.
For leveling try the Tenacity pets, since you do want your pet to be a tank. For dungeoning you should generally use a Ferocity pet. Make sure you have Growl turned off or the tank will yell at you.
What to feed that beastie:
Feeding your pet isn’t what it used to be. There’s not more happiness or loyalty to consider, how they just stay happy and healthy without any input from you. If they’re hurt then feeding them will restore some health. The higher the level food you feed them, the more health is restored.
- Meat is the easiest food type to obtain and pets that will only eat meat are not difficult to feed.
- Fish is not too much trouble either, as long as you are willing to catch them. You can also hunt coastal humanoids, like murlocs and naga, for their fish drops.
- Pets that will eat neither of these take a little more effort and planning.
- Dumpster pets, such as boars and bears, that eat just about anything, are really nice from an inventory management standpoint. You can toss any odd food drops at them.
Hunter Leveling Gear, Stats, Etc.
Hunters are somewhat less gear dependent than some other classes (Rogues, Warriors…,) but a nice bow/gun will help you kill things faster as will good stats on the rest of your gear. That said, you’ll still level quickly without the best gear.
Ultimately, when you start the gear race, what you want is to generate massive amounts of damage, which requires stacking Agility. Due to your numerous tools of survivability including feign death, traps, dodge, etc. you’ll find stamina a largely low priority stat, being Beast Mastery specced makes it even more so.
One point of agility equals an increase in attack power, critical chance, and dodge, making it essentially the wonder-stat for hunters in that it increases everything required at once. However, individual items possessing significant amounts of straight up +attack power or +critical rating are valued as well.
No spec of Hunters gets any extra bonus from Agility over any other spec and Agility is easily #1 for any spec.
Don’t worry too much about the secondary stats until you’re very high level, though if you come across some cheap gems or enchants then go for it.
The short version, for leveling, regardless of your spec: Agility & Crit.
- Agility – Your #1 stat over all else, by far, regardless of spec.
- Stamina – Stack this at low level, stop when you feel like your survival is not in question.
- Hit Rating is always a good idea, for any class, and especially when raiding. The better your Hit Rating the lower your chance to miss your target. Here’s what you need:
- 3% Vs same level opponents
- 4.5% Vs +1 level
- 6% Vs +2 level
- 7.5% hit is the “cap” so anything past that is useless.
- Hit is going away in Warlords.
- Expertise keeps your attacks from being dodged. (Yes, any attack can either miss or be dodged, so you’ll ultimately need both stats.) The Expertise numbers are the same as for hit, so to be raid capped at level 90 you will want 7.5% in each. PvP will only require 3% in each.
- Any Hit or Expertise over 7.5% is completely useless. It provides zero value.
- Your pet inherits 1/2 your Hit and Expertise ratings, but it only requires Hit and any Expertise it gets from you is applied to its Hit rating. So if you have 6% Hit or 6% Expertise or 3% of each your pet will have all the Hit it needs.
- Expertise is going away in Warlords.
- Crit rating – the more the merrier, for any Hunter.
- Attack Power – You can never have enough, but in Cataclysm and beyond you’ll only find it with certain enchants and items.
- Mastery – Mastery (trainable at level 80) improves what you do and varies with your spec. It’s a pretty darn good stat for BM Hunters, not quite so much for other Hunter flavors.
- Haste – Good stuff to get, but Agility still comes first and Crit second.
- Intellect is a useless stat.
- Stength and Spirit: Both are useless
- Stamina- Your pet is taking the mob’s attack, so you don’t need a lot of Stam.
- If you’re solo leveling via quests or grinding, then you want some. How much depends on how often you’re getting hit. Get enough to be comfortable with your survival chances.
- If you’re dungeon leveling then you don’t need much. Your tank should be taking pretty much all of the damage.
- If you PvP then you will want a lot more.
- Resilience – This is strictly a PvP stat. It was changed in 5.3 and 5.4. Now all characters start with 40% resilience (it goes to 77% when you hit 90,) even naked, and Res. has been removed from most high level PvP gear. It’s still there on some heirlooms and lower level PvP gear, but you’ll cripple your offense by trying to get a “reasonable” amount of the stuff, beyond what’s on that gear.
- Resilience is going away in Warlords.
- PvP Power is a new stat with Mists of Pandaria. It’s like Attack Power, but for PvP only, and appear on higher level gear. It was massively nerfed in patch 5.3.
- Readiness is a new stat which will reduce the cooldowns of various abilities. You will learn it at level 90.
- Multistrike is a new stat which will allow a chance for multiple strikes with your abilities, each of the extra strikes doing partial damage.
- Reforging is dead In WoD.
Gearing Up as you Level
Note that any of the items below can be enchanted with top level enchants. You will need to have a level 85+ character add the crafted enchants (such as the Leatherworking leg armor) to your item, but she can then ship it to your leveling character.
Heirlooms can be purchased from your guild vendor as soon as you get “Honored” rep with them. Even if you’re brand new to WoW you will be able to pick them up if you have the gold. Figure level 25 to 30 or so to get to “honored” and around 4500 gold for the three available items (which is rough for a new player.) Check out our gold tips for info on how to get that much gold.
Level 1-70: Generally your questing gear will be fine, but you can get better gear (with a bit of luck) through the dungeons or PvP
Level 70: If you like (or can stomach) PvP then do enough so that you can accumulate 2k Honor by level 70. You can then get the epic (level 70) PvP gear from the arena vendor. You can also do lots of dungeons and accumulate Justice Points. Spend these for nice gear in Shattrath. (THe PvP Gear is better and maybe easier to get.) You can also run the BGs and trade Honor for Justice Points (might as well get the PvP gear if you’re doing that… maybe he’s best used for gear that has “the right look.”)
By the way, that PvP gear is better than your heirlooms until 75 or so.
At level 77 you will be able to equip Cataclysm gear. This gear is way better than anything else up to and including most level 80 gear. If you’re getting the Cata gear then you can send most of your heirlooms to other characters. Keep the guild heirlooms, you’ll put them back on at 81. How do you tell which gear is Cata? By item level. It starts at about 270, where the “regular” gear for that level is 170.
80+ – Mists of Pandaria gear is available on the Auction House for levels as low as 80. Start looking for it when you hit 80. You can find gear at 81 that is better than any Cataclysm raid gear.
At 85 you should be fully equipped in nice M of P gear. If not, don’t fret. There are gear venders scattered around the M of P zones and they sell M of P level gear at a very good price. While not being “as good” it’s good enough to to keep you leveling quickly.
If you can get a group and hit the instances appropriate for your level you will get some nice XP and some nice gear. Otherwise your quest rewards will keep you in fine shape.
At level 90 (Congratulations!) you can buy gear off the Auction house, such as the Crafted Malevolent Gladiator’s PvP set, or grind the Timeless Isle for appropriate gear.
Gems and Enchants
So how rich are you? Eventually you will get gear with gem sockets. If you have some gold then pop in the best gems you can afford. Go for Agility with any gems you decide to pick up, for any Hunter spec.
- Agility gems in Cataclysm - These will be what you use until you’ve gained a few M of P levels.
- in Mists of Pandaria (MoP) – gems require an item level of at least 417. You will probably not see any gem sockets on MoP gear until you’re into the level 90 gear.
- Gems in Warlords will be a bit more interesting and there will be fewer sockets available. With the coming “item squish” the actual gem values should be very different from MoP values.
Enchants can be expensive. You will also be leveling quickly enough that you will outgrow your gear before the enchant is of too much use. Still, if you want them and have the cash, then go for it. They’re pretty much required (as are gems) for PvP and raiding.
You can find a list of high end gems and enchants on our Hunter Class Guide page. While leveling you can often find very inexpensive enchants, such as Stamina, which will be worth applying to your stuff.
In patch 5.4 there was a change to enchants. Previously there was an item level requirement for enchants, but this was removed. So yes, you can now apply what used to be the level 90 enchants to level 1 items. I would suggest only doing that with items that you’re going to keep for awhile.
Note that the crafted enchants, such as Lord Blastington’s Scope of Doom, will require a level 85 character to apply them to the item and then your lower level character will be able to use them.
Glyphs are nice. For the end-game they’re very important. Here’s a tip: sometimes the price on glyphs varies wildly. One glyph may be 240 gold one day and 5 the next. If you can plan your glyph (or any) buying ahead of time then you might get lucky and get the bargains. At least you might get a much better price.
- In WoD some glyphs will be learned automatically as you level, just as with talents and abilities. The details remain to be finalized.These glyphs will not be available for purchase, though all the rest of the glyphs will.
Rule of thumbs: Your enhancements should provide Agilty first and second, then crit rating and Attack Power after Agility.
Scrolls and potions can boost a variety of stats but don’t stack with each other. Scrolls of Agility are generally dirt cheap, so buy a bunch. They’re also considered to be Potions for stacking purposes, meaning you can’t have a potion and a scroll up at the same time.
Hunter Leveling Tips
Learn to Kite
Once upon a time you didn’t get your pet until level 10, so you would be “running and gunning” (AKA: Kiting) until that point. When kiting It’s useful to learn to be moving forward and then jump, half turn, fire Arcane Shot or Viper Sting, and land facing the original direction. Some jump and do a 360 degree turn, others half and back. Practice, it will become easy. Just run around and jump and spin.
When you get Concussive Shot it becomes easier, since you can now slow the mob and more easily stay ahead of it.
Kiting is also occasionally useful later on, such as when fighting tough mobs that might squish your pet. Turn off your pet’s “Growl” ability, to make sure that you have 100% of the mob’s attention, and then kite. The pet is added damage, but is safe enough. Skilled Hunters can take Elite mobs a few levels higher than they are. Of course, they need the enough room to run around safely or will get overwhelmed.
While you can use a variety of melee weapons you can’t equip them at the same time as your bow/gun. You shouldn’t be in melee very often and your bow/gun has no minimum range anyway, so you won’t need melee weapons. Save the bag slots and get rid of them.
When training new pets set up a freezing trap first. That way the “soon to be new pet” will spend a little less time trying to eat you while you tame it.
Always stay at range. Let your pet take the heat and you support the pet. Most of your melee skill are designed to slow the opponent for a reason: to let you get distance. There is no minimum range in Mists of Pandaria, but why make it easy for the opposition?
As your pet gets tougher, and your skills better, you can have you pet attack more than one mob, one after the other. It will be able to hold aggro, if you’re a bit careful, while the two of you burn them down. Simply have the pet attack the first, what it once, then run to and attack the second. Lynx Rush at level 75, will make this easier.
Hunters do have it too easy, which is why they’re often called “Huntards.” As your skills increase try to make things harder. Practice fighitng multiple mobs at once, higher level mobs, and so on. Practice your kiting skills. The end result is you’ll be a much better player at high level.
Always log out in an Inn, to get the 100% bonus rest XP. If you’re a Pandaren then that XP bonus will last longer.
Questing is much better than grinding for XP. If you grab all the quests in an area you’ll find that several are in almost the same place. Do all of those at the same time. Plan ahead a bit, know where you have to go, and try not to do quests that take you way out of your way, unless you’re hitting more quests along the way. Turn in a bunch of quests at one time and feel the power.
Dungeons are great XP and you get to practice your group skills. Obviously you’ll be a damage dealer (DPS) and if you’re new to dungeoning you might want to do your first few with friends. Guilds can be great for this.
PvP (battleground) leveling is more “interesting.” It’s great experience if your side wins and so-so otherwise. Battleground “Holidays” are even better.
Gear – You’re not as gear dependent as most other classes, so don’t feel you always have to have the best gear, all the time. Gear found by completing quests will keep you going all the way to the end. Save the gear grinding for PvP and Raiding.
You get to wear Mail armor starting at level 40, but since you’re hardly ever in melee it’s not such a big thing.
Professions and Gold
In Warlords the professions will no longer provide combat bonuses, such as Crit or Agility.
Make an alt that you will park at the Auction House. As you level just mail all the sellable stuff you collect to your alt (to sell) and then get back to the leveling. Log into your alt when you’re done and put the stuff up on the AH. See our gold guide for other tips.
Get the biggest bags you can afford and loot everything, always, unless you already have enough gold. Also, everything white or better, that you’re not keeping, gets shipped to your alt. Vendor the gray stuff.
If you have a ton of gold then leatherworking will provide some solid gear, both leather and mail, at the expense of that ton of gold and the time to level the skill up. If you’re not so rich then skip all of the crafting skills. Skinning will provide some of the raw material for your Leatherworking.
- Q: How do you make a small fortune in WoW?
- A: Start with a large fortune and then level up a crafting profession.
There are craftable items from most professions that do sell nicely and for a nice profit, but it takes some research to find them. Most of the gold making benefit from crafting profs is at the high end. Our suggestion is to skip the crafting professions while leveling, since they’re expensive and somewhat time consuming. If you just have to grab one then Leatherworking is perfect for Hunters and can make some pretty fine gear, including mail armor.
If you’re going to craft stuff in Mists of Pandaria be aware that a lot of the higher level items require Bind on Pickup pieces that you will find while grinding away. You’ll have to gather all of your own bits in order to craft those items. Perhaps that’ll change later, as it did with Chaos orbs.
All of the professions provide some form of self-only buff at high levels. The buffs are much nicer in Mists of Pandaria than previously and Warlords buff will be better still.
- LeatherWorking will allow you to make some of your gear and provides a nice bracer enchant at higher levels. Skinning is a complimentary profession.
- Alchemy can make a number of very useful concoctions to consume when needed. Take Herbalism with this, you’ll save a ton of gold. You get an enhanced effect from your own potions as compared to the other guy’s. You get better effect and duration from your own potions.
- Enchanting can put some pretty nice buffs on things and disenchant other things. You can then sell or use the disenchanted bits. This skill can also put an enchant on your own rings, but not the other guy’s.
- Engineering – If you’re rich and want to ride on of those Mechano Hog Motorbike things eventually. There are a lot of interesting gadgets in this profession so it’s worth a look. One useful gadget is Synapse Springs whish adds a massive amount of Agility for a short time.
- Inscription – Used to be that it was a really nice money maker. Take Herbalism with this, you’ll save a ton of gold. At the high end this skill provides a Shoulder enchants which is much nicer than any other.
- Jewelcrafting – Can be a good money-maker. Take Mining to go with it. The self-only gems will provide more agility than the normal gems.
- Blacksmithing – Provides an extra socket for nice gems on your gloves and bracers and keys to open locks, otherwise the prof is of little hunter-specific use.
- Tailoring – Not much there other that a cloak enchant which adds attack power and a flying carpet.
- Cooking can make interesting foods, some of which buff Agility, as well as other stats.
- Fishing can provide mats for cooking and food for meat eating pets (not crabs and birds.)
- Archeology can create, eventually, some rare pets and interesting items.
- First Aid is a very handy skill to have as it’s your only heal, outside of potions and Herbalism.
- Mining, skinning, and herbalism are your create gold on demand skills. Take any two, but we suggest that Skinning be one of them, especially since it also provide the much desired Crit Rating . Also, mining provide a health bonus, and herbalism a heal with a very nice Haste boost.
How to Trap
This is an old video, really old, but it covers the basics of Hunter traps nicely. You now have Trap Launcher, but that just allows ranged trapping.
Also an old video, but not much has changed and you should be able to use this stuff. PvE types might also be able to find some good info here.
The Fast Hunter Leveling Guide
Why level the old way instead of just buying a level 90 for 60 bucks? For one, you’ll still have to do those last ten levels. For another, there’s rep, gold, exploration, learning your character, etc.
With a bazillion quests in the game the leveling grind to the tops levels can be daunting, and it’s even more so as new expansions are released, such as Warlords of Draenor. There are always plenty of spots where people wonder where to go and what to do and how they can move faster to get into the end-game stuff.
To solve that problem we recommend an in-game leveling guide. You’ll never again wonder what to do or where to go next and you’ll never be the guy in chat asking, “Where do I go at level…?” The levels will just come, boom, boom, boom and you’ll hit the level cap a lot faster than otherwise, whether you’re brand new to the World of Warcraft or decked head to toe in Heirlooms.
Dugi’s in-game Leveling Guide takes care of all the “looking up stuff.” No more switching from game to quest log, no more asking questions in char or guild, no more browsing some website for tips. No more doubts or questions about what to do next.
Dugi’s guide appears as an in-game window (very small and moveable) which tracks the quests you’re on, and the objectives (kill this, collect that.) It automatically updates as you complete tasks and quests and provides all of the “where to go and what to do” info that you will need to level quickly. The window is also customizable for your needs.
Where it beats WoW’s in-game quest helper all to heck is by laying out the best path all along the way. Plus, if you spend some time in the dungeons or PvP leveling then, when you return to questing, Dugi’s will automatically update to your new level and show you where to go next.
Note: Dugi’s guide is always quickly updated for all patches and expansions, including Warlords, so is never obsolete. Grab your copy now and hit the level cap, fast!