This page has been updated for Warlords of Draenor
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
Warlords of Draenor doesn’t change mechanics or introduce new ones. Playstyle is essentially the same as before. Other than adding the new talents, a few tweaks, and some (Ok, a lot of) 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, but that’s not really of interest when talking about leveling. Here are all the changes for Hunters in WoD.
Note that we’re not going to go into “flavor of the month” details, since that flavor will be different next week.
Like this page? Did we leave something out, miss anything or get it wrong? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
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. Note that any racials dealing with Hit or Expertise are gone.
- Pandaran: Better rest XP will speed up leveling.
- All races have something that adds to DPS/Damage. Draenei (Agility bonus,) Orcs (Blood Fury,) and Trolls (Berserking) might be “best” from a damage standpoint.
- For PVP: Humans and Undead have useful escapes and both have a racial that adds a bit of damage.
- More about races
- Beast Mastery – You and your pet make a great team. Generally BM is the easiest spec for all players, though the other two ain’t bad at all.
- Markmanship – Your pet is more of an accessory. More challenging than BM, but can level just about 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 100 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. Most of the pets’ crowd control abilities of the pets are dead in Warlords.
- 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
- Hit, Expertise, Resilience, and PvP Power are all dead.
- Stamina – Get enough to survive, especially at low level.
- Agility is is far and away your best stat otherwise, for all Hunter specs. For secondary stats, your attuned stats are:
- BM wants Mastery
- MM wants Crit
- Sur w
- 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. 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. (with item level 600+ gear the gems are only for secondary stats, not Ag.)
- Enchant for Ag., Attack Power, or Stam. (Same note as gems, no primary stats for iLevel 600+ gear.)
- 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 (which are being removed in Warlords.)
- Profession bonuses are dead.
- Warlords professions are worth getting, once you’re 90+.
- More professions
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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 handle multiple opponents (not in dungeons or PvP) 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.
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 talents:
- 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
- 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.
- Crouching Tiger shortens the cooldowns of a couple of important abilities.
- Binding Shot is nice if you’re fighting groups and it has its uses in PvP.
- Wyvern Sting – Puts the target to sleep for awhile. Lets you more easily get past guards or wandering opponents.
- Intimidation is just Ok, being a short stun on a longish cooldown.
- Exhilaration – And instant heal every two min, small for you, big for your pet. More useful for PvP or (less so) Dungeoning than for questing.
- Iron Hawk – provides 10% overall damage reduction.
- Spirit Bond is very nice for the constant heal. It will keep you at 100% for most of your questing.
- Fervor – 50 Focus right now, plus another 50 over ten sec. Nice for lining up bursts.
- Dire Beast – Summons up a big beast to attack for you for 15 seconds. Nice in dungeons and PvP. Also gives PvP opponents an extra target to sort though.
- Thrill of the Hunt – Chance for next Arcane/Multi-shots to be free. Free shots are free damage, sign me up.
- Murder of Crows is best for long fights which you won’t see much of while questing (things die too fast.) If you’re doing dungeons or PvP (where it’s also confusing to opponent players,) it’s a good pick.
- Blink Strikes – Pet teleports to the target and does damage. Puts your pet right where it has to be, right now.
- Stampede – All your pets attack the target (and do a lot less damage in PvP.)
- Glaive Toss – Throw glaives to damage and slow target and increase their damage taken. This is the most generally useful talent of this tier. The slow is esp. nice in PvP. It’s also instant, which is nice.
- Powershot – Nice damage and knockback to everything in it’s path. 2+ sec. cast make it less interesting.
- Barrage – Also an area effect attack, but it doesn’t hit as hard as Glaive toss and requires three seconds of channeling. Good for dungeons and some questing, but Glaive Toss will be more generally useful.
Level 100 Talents: Congratulations!
- Exotic Munitions – Bored or using the standard ammo? Now you can change it to Incendiary, Poisoned, or Frozen ammo with appropriate effects. This should add some nice flexibility in various situations.
- Focusing Shot – Medium shot that builds focus, takes three seconds, replaces your Cobra and Steady Shots
- The third talent varies by spec:
As you level you will learn some glyphs automatically, just as you learn your abilities. The glyphs are not installed, just learned. Other glyphs are picked up the usual way, through the Auction House of a friendly Scribe.
- At level 25, the following Glyphs are automatically learned by all Hunters: Glyph of Liberation, Glyph of Pathfinding
- At level 50 you get: Glyph of Mending, Glyph of Chimera Shot, Glyph of Black Ice
- At level 75 you will learn: Glyph of Misdirection
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.
- Aspect of the Cheetah – No longer dazed when struck, which might be even more useful on PvP servers.
With Cataclysm 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.
Warlords: No changes to who can be a Hunter. There are some ability changes, though. All racial abilities that added Hit or Expertise are now dead. Some of those abilities have been replaced. All races now have an ability that adds at least a little it to your damage.
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 greatly 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 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 (+Agility,) Worgen (Crit chance & sprint,) Dwarf (+crit damage.)
- Horde Damage: Orc (Blood Fury) and +1% pet damage ; Troll gets Berserking. Goblins get Haste and Rocket Jump (a useful escape ability.)
- PVP: Humans and Undead have useful escapes.
- Leveling: Trolls for Burst, higher XP from beasts. 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
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.
With Warlords the +1 Hit is gone, instead you will get an increase in Strength, Agility, and Intellect, scaling with character level, plus 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.
Warlords brings a 2% movement speed increase in addition to the dodge and Touch of Elune, which 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.
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.
In Warlords of Draenor: “The Human Spirit” adds to your Versatility stat.
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.
- WoD: 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 WoD: 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.
WoD: More crit damage
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 also get +25% XP bonus Vs. beasts. Given the number of beasts in the game this makes a nice increase to leveling efficiency.
A somewhat useful PvP ability is the reduced duration Trolls get from movement reducing effects. This doesn’t happen much while leveling
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.
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 WoD: Underwater Breathing is back, and it’s now indefinite. No 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.
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 stat that will add 5% to one of your stats, such as Haste. After level 90 you will get “Perks,” which are enhancements to existing abilities.
(P) = Passive
** = ability is removed in Warlords of Draenor (WoD)
Beastmastery fills a crucial role in the hunter class, the improvement of our pets. These talents will take the pet from being just an assistant 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 – pet lunges for the thraot.||10||Aimed Shot – Ready, aim… destroy. Usable while moving.||10||Explosive Shot – Burn plus DOT.|
|Go for the Throat (P) – your auto-shot crits give your pet more focus.||20||Careful Aim (P) – Massively increases crit chance on healthy targets.||10||Survivalist – More damage from Multistrikes, gain some health after killing target.|
|Beast Cleave (P) – after your Multi-Shot your pet’s attacks (and their multistrikes) hit all nearby enemies.||35||Kill Shot – try to kill enemy who has 20% (or less) health remaining.||10||Trap Mastery faster cooldowns on traps and they’re also more effective.|
|Frenzy (P) – chance for slightly increased attack speed.||30||** Concussive Barrage||43||** Lock and Load|
|Focus Fire – Consume all of your pet’s Frenzy to gain Haste.||30||** Silencing Shot||50||Black Arrow – hard hitting strike that can proc free Explosive Shots.|
|35||Kill Shot – try to kill enemy who has 20% (or less) health remaining.||45||Bombardment (P) – Critical Multi-shots empower followup Multi-shots.||55||Entrapment (P) – roots all affected targets|
|54||** Rapid Recuperation (P)||63||** Viper Venom (P)|
|Bestial Wrath – More damage and pet breaks out of effects.||54||Rapid Fire – +40% Haste for 15 seconds.||
|Serpent Sting – Multi-Sots and Arcane Shots also do poison damage (over time.)|
|Cobra Strikes (P) – more chance for your pet to crit.||58||** Master Marksman (P)||68||** Serpent Spread|
|** The Beast Within||60||Chimera Shot – Hits two targets for solid damage.||70||** Improved Serpent Sting (P)|
|Kindred Spirits (P) – both of you gain 20 focus.||63||** Steady Focus||80||Mastery: Essence of the Viper (P) – increases your magic damage.|
|Invigoration (P) – each of you has a chance to give the other additional focus.||72||** Piercing Shots||81||Cobra Shot – Does some damage and increases focus.|
|Exotic Beasts (P) – this is how you get that T Rex.||80||Mastery: Mastery: Sniper Training – Standing still gives you increased effectiveness.||90||WoD: Lightning Reflexes (P) +5% Multistrike from all sources|
|Mastery: Master of Beasts (P) – your pets do more damage.||90||WoD: Lethal Shots (P) +5% Crit from all sources|
|Cobra Shot – generates focus.|
|Animal Handler (P) +5% Mastery from all sources|
|Perks are simply enhancements to existing abilities, such as “adds 20% damage.”There are four perks for each spec, and you learn them randomly at levels 92, 94, 96, and 98. This means that two level 95 MM Hunters might have entirely different perks. Once both of those Hunters hit level 98 though, they will both have the same perks. All perk effects are passive, so no new buttons to press.Here are the perks, not necessarily in the order that you will learn them.|
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 no 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.
In Warlords you have lost Hit, Expertise, Resilience, and PvP Power. You’ve gained Multistrike and versatility and a 15% base crit rating.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Multistrike: Grants a chance for spells and abilities to fire up to 2 additional times, at 30% effectiveness (both damage and healing.)
- Versatility: Increases damage, healing, and absorption done. Reduces damage taken.
- 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.
- Intellect, Stength, and Spirit: are all useless.
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. Buy a guild tabard and 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 easily 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 with honor points though the various PvP vendors.
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, at level 70, 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.
80+ – Mists of Pandaria gear is available on the Auction House for levels as low as 81. Start looking for it when you hit 80. You can find gear at 81 that is almost as good as the best Cataclysm raid gear (and it’s not the questing greens that you’ll be otherwise getting.)
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.
level 90 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.
90+: If you got the nice gear on your way to 90, keep it until you find better. Warlords gear will be making it onto the AH, so keep an eye out, if you’re so inclined.
91: If you have way too much gold you can buy item level 640 crafted gear for various slots. Gear also drops from rare and treasure boxes. Quest gear earned has a chance to spontaneously upgrade to blue or even purple when awarded.
100: Gratz! Now you go grind that nice end-game 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 are few and far between and are pretty much only at level 100. The gems are also for secondary stats only and there are no socket bonuses. Non-Warlords enchants only apply to items up to ilevel 600. Warlords enchants can be added to your level 1 items, just as with the others.
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.
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. Your Narrow Escape talent will let you web pursuers, making it easier to gun them down.
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. They do provide some nice gear, especially at 90+, when you get the Draenor recipes.
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.
In Warlords you will soon find scrolls that will boost your skill cap in your non-crafting professions (herbalism, cooking, etc.) to 700. The crafting professions (eg: Leatherworking) will require a short quest. You will then be able to create some nice items.
LeatherWorking will allow you to make some of your gear, though it may not be worth the effort until 90+. Skinning is a complimentary profession.
- Alchemy can make a number of very useful concoctions to consume when needed, such as healing and agility chemicals. Take Herbalism with this, you’ll save a ton of gold.
- Enchanting can put some pretty nice buffs on things and disenchant other things. You can then sell or use the disenchanted bits.
- 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. Think gliders, boot rockets, bombs, etc.
- Inscription – Used to be that it was a really nice money maker. Take Herbalism with this, you’ll save a ton of gold. Make glyphs, caster items, some trinkets, and some misc other stuff.
- Jewelcrafting – Can be a good money-maker. Take Mining to go with it. Can make useful rings, neck items, and gemmed mounts.
- Blacksmithing – Nothing much here, move along.
- Tailoring – Nothing much here, move along.
- 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.) It’s more important in Draenor than before, for first aid, alchemy, and others.
- 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, since you’ll be killing lots of skinnable beasts.
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.
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 seriously changed and you should be able to use this stuff. PvE types will also be able to find some good info here. From Skill-Capped.
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!