The Hunter Leveling Guide for BFA

Pandaren Hunter
A Pandaren Hunter with his turtle attack pet.

Hunters are about the fastest and easiest leveling class in the entire game. Why would this be? Because they have an unbeatable solo capability due to an unmatched rapport with their pets. As Blizzard says, in the character creation screen, “Good at leveling and soloing.”

They’re pretty good at everything else, too. Leveling, PvP, and Raiding, the Hunter does it all well. This is all tied to their massive and consistent DPS and excellent flexibility.

None of this changes with Legion.

Also, 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. Heck, you can even go naked if you like.

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 just 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 do very well in PvP though, and there are a number of very highly ranked Arena Hunters.


Leveling Guide, Contents

Other Hunter Guides

Legion doesn’t change an mechanics, but it does kill off a few abilities, add new ones, and tweak the specializations (specs) to create a different feel for each. For example, Marksmanship can go petless starting at 15 (talent) and Survival is now the only spec that can use traps. The official change notes for Hunters are here.

Warlords of Draenor didn’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. Here are all the changes for Hunters in WoD.

WoD Patch 6.2 changes nothing for the leveling experience. You can see the 6.2 changes here, and all of the official patch notes here. Later patches are mostly bug fixes.

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.

Best Race: It doesn’t matter much, just pick the one the looks and feels right.

  • 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. Humans will be the best overall PvP pick, due to having three PvP trinkets (racial and two gear.)
  • More about races

The spec:

  • Beast Mastery (BM) – 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 (MM) – Your pet is more of an accessory and, in Legion, you can drop it completely at level 15 (talent) and get a nice damage bonus. More challenging than BM, but can level just about as fast. You will have to learn to “kite” more effectively than BM.
  • Survival (Surv) – Your pet is an accessory and you specialize in controlling the opposition with your trap arsenal. In Legion you are the only Hunter spec with traps.
  • 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.

  • 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 dies in Warlords.
  • Stamina – Get enough to survive, especially at low level.
  • Agility is is far and away your best stat otherwise, for all Hunter specs.
  • Attuned stat sare gone in Legion.
  • 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, unless you’re Survival. There is no minimum range for your ranged attacks, so you won’t need melee weapons.
  • 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.
  • Profession bonuses are dead.
  • Warlords professions are worth getting, once you’re 90+.
  • More professions

Click here to Get Leveled Faster


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Hunter Leveling Talents for Warlords of Draenor

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 so much in dungeons or PvP) at a time. The pet gathers the mobs and the Hunter “guns” them down. In fact, there are a few Hunters who tank 5 man dungeons with their pets.

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.

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.)

Hunter Leveling Talents for the Mists of Pandaria

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.

The talents show below 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.

Our picks for “best talent” are checked: Best talent. Descriptions are below the image.

Hunter leveling talents for Warlords of Draenor

Level 15 talents:

  1. 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
  2. Best talent 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.
  3. Crouching Tiger shortens the cooldowns of a couple of important abilities. You won’t often need more frequent use of those abilities while questing.

Level 30:

  1. Binding Shot is nice if you’re fighting groups and it has its uses in PvP.
  2. Best talent Wyvern Sting – Puts the target to sleep for awhile. Lets you more easily get past guards or wandering opponents.
  3. Intimidation is just Ok, being a short stun on a longish cooldown.

Level 45:

  1. 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.
  2. Iron Hawk – provides 10% overall damage reduction.
  3. Best talent Spirit Bond is very nice for the constant heal. It will keep you at 100% for most of your questing.

Level 60:

  1. Fervor – 50 Focus right now, plus another 50 over ten sec. Nice for lining up bursts.
  2. 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.
  3. Best talent Thrill of the Hunt – Chance for next Arcane/Multi-shots to be free. Free shots are free damage, sign me up.

Level 75:

  1. Murder of Crows is best for long fights which you won’t see much of while questing (things die too fast, especially if you’re in good gear.) If you’re doing dungeons or PvP (where it’s also confusing to opponent players,) it’s a very good pick.
  2. Best talent Blink Strikes – Pet teleports to the target and does damage. Puts your pet right where it has to be, right now.
  3. Stampede – All your pets attack the target (and do a lot less damage in PvP.)

Level 90:

  1. Best talent 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 also nice.
  2. Powershot – Nice damage and knockback to everything in it’s path. 2+ sec. cast make it less interesting.
  3. 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. Does not hit stealthed targets in 6.2 onward.

Level 100 Talents: Congratulations!

  1. Best talent Exotic Munitions – Bored of 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. With the Frozen ammo you can keep your opponent constantly slowed, which isn’t bad at all. Best for PvP.
  2. Focusing Shot – Medium shot that builds focus, takes three seconds, replaces your Cobra and Steady Shots
  3. The third talent varies by spec:
    • Best talent BM gets Adaptation, which gives your pet more damage and a number of useful abilities. Probably the best general pick for BM.
    • MM and Survival get Lone Wolf, which gives you a damage increase for running without your pet. Tired/bored of your pet? This is the one to take.

Hunter Leveling Glyphs:

Most glyphs are dead in Legion. The ones that remain are pretty much cosmetic only. Such as: Glyph of Lesser Proportion for a less imposing pet.


Hunter Races

Hunters get bowstrings in Mists of PandariaWith 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? It only rarely explodes…)

In Mists of Pandaria the Gnomes were still excluded, but Pandarens could become Hunters.

In Warlords there are 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. All races now have an ability that adds at least a little it to your damage.

In Legion Gnomes can now be 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 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 Horde 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.
  • PVP: Humans effectively have three PvP trinkets and the Undead have useful escapes.
  • Leveling: Trolls for Burst, higher XP from beasts. Pandarens for longer lasting rest XP.

Pandarens can be either Alliance or Horde, they choose when they leave their starting area. With the extra rest XP they’re the fastest leveling Hunters.

  • 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

Alliance Races


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.

They also have an increase to Jewelcrafting skill, which will get get a Draenei jeweler into those nice self-only gems that much sooner.

You also get an increase in Strength, Agility, and Intellect, scaling with character level, plus the heal takes effect over just 5 seconds.

Night Elves

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 level 1.

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.

You also get a 2% movement speed increase in addition to the dodge. Touch of Elune 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.

Dwarves are good with Archeology.

Might of the Mountain gives you critical strike bonus damage (not an increase to crit rating.)


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.

The Human Spirit” adds 2% to all of your secondary stats (Haste, etc.)


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.


  • The Escape artist ability is very nice for PvP, as is their small size (a bit harder to click on.)
  • More gives you +5% more Focus, which is always nice.
  • Short and quick and Nimble – +1% more Haste, which is a decent stat.
  • Resistance – Gnomes take a bit less arcane damage
  • Gnomes do like to tinker. Engineer give a boost to their Engineering skills.

Horde Races

Blood Elves

Of the horde races we’ll begin with the Blood Elves, a decent 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 the Belfs’ 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 is the preferred skill of the Tauren and they get +10% with it.

WoD: More crit damage


Possibly the best of all the races for Hunters. Trolls possess the Berserking racial, a potent DPS increase for a few seconds.

Trolls also get +25% XP bonus Vs. beasts. Given the number of beasts in the game this makes a nice increase to leveling efficiency. Obviously it’s not much use when you’re done leveling.

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 nice resistance to all stuns with Hardiness, which is rarely useful while leveling, but is quite nice 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 ability 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 briefly lost the Underwater Breathing ability (it returned, improved 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.

Goblins also receive vendor discounts and can summon a personal bank.

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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

Beast Mastery

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. 45 Bombardment (P) – Critical Multi-shots empower followup Multi-shots. 50 Black Arrow – hard hitting strike that can proc free Explosive Shots.
Focus Fire – Consume all of your pet’s Frenzy to gain Haste. 54 Rapid Fire – +40% Haste for 15 seconds. 55 Entrapment (P) – roots all affected targets
35 Kill Shot – try to kill enemy who has 20% (or less) health remaining. 60 Chimera Shot – Hits two targets for solid damage. 68 Serpent Sting – Multi-Sots and Arcane Shots also do poison damage (over time.)
40 Bestial Wrath – More damage and pet breaks out of effects. 80 Mastery: Sniper Training – Standing still gives you increased effectiveness. 80 Mastery: Essence of the Viper (P) – increases your magic damage.
Cobra Strikes (P) – more chance for your pet to crit. 90 Lethal Shots (P) +5% Crit from all sources


Cobra Shot – Does some damage and increases focus.
Kindred Spirits (P) – Increases the Max focus of you and your pet by 20%.  90 Lightning Reflexes (P) +5% Multistrike from all sources
63 Invigoration (P) – each of you has a chance to give the other additional focus.
Exotic Beasts (P) – this is how you get that T Rex.
Mastery: Master of Beasts (P) – your pets do more damage.
Cobra Shot – generates focus.
Animal Handler (P) +5% Mastery from all sources
Perks, as we knew them in Draenor, are dead.

BM Summary

  • More effective pet
  • Faster focus regen
  • Area attack with Beast Cleave.
  • Proc faster attacks


MM Summary

  • Pet is an accessory
  • Brutal single target attacks
  • Area attack with Multi-shot
  • Proc Multi-Shots

Survival Summary

  • Pet is an accessory
  • More effective and faster traps
  • Proc Explosive Shots with Black Arrow
  • Poison and magic damage


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Stunning Moves and Slows

Because what can’t catch you can’t hurt you.

Note that Diminishing Returns will make repeated effects less effective. For example, in a 15 second period your first slow might last for 6 seconds, your next for 3, the next (and any others) for 1.5 seconds. After 15 seconds with no slows it resets to the full duration.

If possible you’ll want to mix other effects in with your slows. Most quest mobs won’t last long enough for that to be a concern, but elites, players, and some dungeon mobs will.

  1. Concussive Shot, the old reliable. Use every 5 seconds to slow the enemy for 6 seconds.
  2. Narrow Escape (talent) webs the opposition
  3. Counter Shot for those times when someone is foolish enough to try and cast a spell at you.
  4. Freezing Trap locks down the opponent for a time, until damage breaks the effect or enough time passes.
  5. Ice Trap slows anyone entering the area.
  6. Nets made with your Tailoring skill root the target for 3 seconds. For example: Netherweave Net
  7. Frozen Ammo, from your level 100 exotic munitions talent, will act as a constant slow to your target.

Get Me Outa There!!

  1. Disengage lets you leap away from the target. Your level 15 talents modify this ability.
  2. PvP trinket – there is an heirloom trinket you can use to escape from sticky situations.
  3. Deterrence lets you take a lot less damage for 5 seconds.

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Pets & Pet Talents

In Warlords the pet mechanics and “how to” will remain unchanged. What did change were the abilities. All of the Crowd Control (CC) abilities were removed, though a couple are available through talents. There are some other, similar, pet changes. See them here.

Hunters can have up to five pets, any one of which is immediately summonable at any time.  You will gain access to these as you level. 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.) Mists of Pandaria changed it so any pet can be any of the three specs and you can change them almost 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, now they just stay happy and healthy and loyal without any input from you (yes, they used to run away if you didn’t care for them. No longer.) 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.

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How to Gear Your Leveling Hunter

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 and dodge, making it the best 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. At 80+ you might want to look into Mastery (esp. BM.)

  1. Agility – Your #1 stat over all else, by far, regardless of spec.
  2. Crit rating – the more the merrier, for any Hunter. You already start at a 10% Crit rating, now get more.
  3. Attack Power – You can never have enough, but in Cataclysm and beyond you’ll only find it with certain enchants and items.
  4. 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.
  5. Haste – Good stuff to get, but Agility still comes first and Crit second.
  6. Versatility: Increases damage and healing done. Reduces damage taken. Good PvP stat, falls behind Crit, though.
  7. Stamina– Your pet is taking the mob’s attack, so you don’t need a lot of Stam.
    1. 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.
    2. If you’re dungeon leveling then you don’t need much. Your tank should be taking pretty much all of the damage.
    3. If you PvP then you will want a lot more.
  8. Intellect, Stength, and Spirit: are all useless.
  9. Resilience (less damage from players) and PvP Power (more damage to players) appear on non-Draenor PvP gear. They both have value, but I don’t recommend gemming or enchanting for it. If you get the PvP gear then whatever is on that gear will be fine.

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.

How Much of a Challenge do You Want?

  1. Easy mode: Full heirlooms, or the best dungeon gear, on a PvE server.
  2. Moderate: Same as above, but on a PvP server.
  3. Hard: Only use the gear you earn from quests. No heirlooms, no gear bought from vendors or the Auction House or other players.
  4. Ironman: Only white quality gear. No, you don’t get to buy gear from that Tony Stark Gnome. No potions, enchants, etc.
  5. Hardcore: Like Ironman, but no talents, no glyphs, no groups, no professions, no enchants or gems, your only gold comes form what your hardcore character earns. Oh yeah, if you die you reroll. Just like the Diablo game.
  6. Completely Nuts: Hardcore on a PvP server.

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.

  • With Warlords you can now buy almost all of the heirlooms, for 500 gold each, from a special vendor.  For Alliance it’s Krom Stoutarm in the Library of Ironforge, which is found on the north-eastern edge of the outer ring. For Horde it’s Estelle Gendry in the south-western side of the Rogue’s Quarter of Undercity.
  • The 500 gold gets you an heirloom that levels to 60. More gold will upgrade that to one that will get you to 90 or 100.

The heirlooms will be better than any gear you will find while questing or dungeoning, except in rare circumstances.

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.)

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. If you got the nice gear on your way to 90, keep it until you find better.

91: If you have enough gold you can buy (or make) item level 640 crafted gear for various slots (630 for weapons.) You can then upgrade them to 705 for weapons and 715 for armor. Doing so is rather expensive.

Gear also drops from rares and from 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. 🙂

See our Dungeon Leveling Guide for tips on leveling via the various instances and our recommended leveling guide for blasting to the level cap.

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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. You won’t need gems, at all, if you’re in heirloom gear.

  • 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 the highest level 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. Or use a friendly guildie if you don’t have that level 85 character yourself.

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 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 your shot(s), 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.

If you want more you can see a good kiting guide at OrchishArmyKnife.  It’s pretty old, but much of it is still quite useful.

Other Tips

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 range 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. You have abilities intended 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 fighting 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.

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. Of course, if you’re in heirlooms you can forget about gear until those ‘looms cap out.

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. At 50 you will want to be in all Mail armor for the +5% Agility bonus.

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“How To” as a Hunter

See the section below this one for Trapping stuff.

Beast Mastery

Pretty decent PvE BM video. The rotation section starts at 2:25 or so. Note that this is aimed at the raiding Hunter, and much won’t apply to short lived quest mobs. But if you’re fighting dungeon bosses, elites, and even other players then you’ll find more value in it.

If you’re low level than use what you can. If you boosted to 90 then you should be able to make good use of it.


A quick video on Marksmanship. It’s aimed at level 100, but will give you some idea or what to do.


A really quick and dirty “how to” for survival. From Blizzard and it’s aimed at boosted 90s.


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.

PvP 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.


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+, when you will be able to make your armor and boost it to 715. Skinning is a complimentary profession. Your Garrison follower will allow you to make tents which will increase all your stats by 10%, are account bound, and are usable at any level.
  • 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, except the nets (For example: Netherweave Net.) Oh yeah, and various Battle Standards.
  • 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 and Warlords 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. 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.

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The Fast Hunter Leveling Guide

Why level the old way instead of just buying a high level character for 60 bucks (from the WoW store) and then working just those last ten levels? For one, you’ll still have to do those last ten levels. For another, there’s rep, gold, exploration, learning your character, etc.

Dugi's WoW leveling guides 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!

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9 thoughts on “The Hunter Leveling Guide for BFA

    1. Updating for legion soon. I plan to have rotations for various level ranges, too. Though if you’re questing it isn’t too important, especially with heirlooms.

    1. Sigh… no, that means I left it off the list. It’s expensive to level, but does let you make your own gear. The bracer enchant gives you a nice agility bonus. It’s as good as any other profession from that point of view.

  1. “Pick any two” – no. Pick herbalism and mining, because both give experience. Also, take up arch and battle pets as well, all over good exp and you’ll level that much faster.

    1. Hey. Good points. Guess I’ll have to add a page on the pets, hmm?

      Only problem with mining (and herbalism) is that you have to go a bit out of your way to make sure you have enough skill to move on to the next zone. While skinning gives no XP the mobs will be at your feet (or close) and you’ll probably be able to keep you skill up with no extra effort.

      Archeology and pets will also take you out of your way.

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