These expert marksmen drop foes dead in their tracks with flawless shots from a bow or rifle. The art of survival is central to the isolated life of a hunter. Hunters track beasts with ease and enhance their own abilities by attuning themselves to the feral aspects of various creatures. Hunters are known for the lifelong bonds they form with animals of the wild, training great hawks, cats, bears, and many other beasts to fight alongside them.
Other Hunter Guides
The Hunter Overview
When I think of hunter, I think Beastmaster. No, not the actual talent build I mean the movie. It’s just that instead of commanding a pair of ferrets we get our pick of a few slightly larger and more powerful specimens. This change makes the pets more useful for killing momsters and players, yes, but they lack the inherent likability of ferrets. Leaving us instead with lean, mean, destruction machines – A regrettable downgrade.
However, pets provide us with an amazing synergy between what is the greatest non-player tank and what may be the highest solo DPS class in the game. A Hunter and his pet being almost the equivalent of a priest/warrior leveling team, just packed into a single class.
With proper mastery of their capabilities Hunters become one of the most powerful classes in the game, possessing numerous abilities dedicated to keep us both alive and continually capable of retaliating in any number of PvP and PvE situations.
Being as effective as they are some might argue that Hunters have it all “too easy.” Your Hunter might have to work a bit to set herself apart from the vast flock of players more aptly named “Huntards” by the majority of players.
The good news is that if you truly are a Hunter of exceptional skills it’ll be easily visible within, at most, a fight or two. This is due to difference between good and bad hunters being so dramatic as to divide them into almost entirely different classes, namely the huntards who bring ‘leet melee dps’ and those who actually take the time to lay traps and stick to their proper field of ranged combat, if at all possible.
The “Buffs and Nerfs ” Game
Class “balance” has always been something that the WoW developers strive for, but sometimes it’s a hit and miss thing. Especially after an expansion or big patch the balance between classes, or even builds within the same class may become a little iffy.
With the 6.0 patches (Warlords) this was certainly the case. Once day class A is in god mode, the next day it’s in the dog house. For example, today, Survival might be the top DPS spec. Next week it may be different.
Mists of Pandaria continued that theme and then Bliz shook everything up with Warlords of Draenor. The great “item squish” happened, which means that a fresh level 100 won’t necessarily be able to crush characters near his level. (An experienced on, of course, will have all that nice gear.)
The point is that we’re not going to play a “flavor of the moment (FOTM)” game here. We’ll present info that will make you a better Hunter and we’ll leave the balance dance to Blizzard and the FOTM game to the forums.
With Cataclysm Gnomes became the only race that could not be hunters and this problem went away in BFA. Now all races can 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. Your skills will far out shadow any racials.
Ok, if you’re an elite PvPer you might want to be human, at least half of the elites are.
If you’re interested in the details then here’s the racial rundown:
Pandarens are listed here since they get to choose, once they leave the starting area, whether they will join Horde or Alliance.
- Can choose to join either the Horde or the Alliance upon earning the right to leave their starting area. You don’t have to join, you can play as a “neutral” for awhile, if you want to experiment.
- Melee range stun has definite use, if you ever that close. You shouldn’t be, Hunters are no longer effective at melee.
- Inner Peace: Rested XP lasts longer for faster leveling.
- Epicurean provides increased benefits from food buffs, which is generally a very nice ability.
- Being “Bouncy” means you take less falling damage.
- Their Gourmand ability provides a +15 cooking bonus.
- A small heal (Gift of the Naru) is always handy for a class that has few heals. Also usable on others.
- Your Heroic Presence increases your Agility and it scales with your level.
- Draenei are good at gemcutting and love their bonus to their Jewelcrafting skill.
Lightforged Draenei – Starts at level 20.
- Your passion for hunting demons (Demonbane) is reflected in your earning an extra 20% experience from that action.
- You have two area effect attacks, Light’s Judgment and Light’s Reckoning. The former lets you call down a strike onto enemies close to you, with a three second delay, while Reckoning causes you to unleash the Light upon dying, damaging enemies within 8 yards and healing any allies for the same amount.
- Shadowmeld requires you to stay still. It drops aggro and can be used in combat. If you time ‘meld “just so” you can break incoming spells. The Nelf 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 drop aggro in PvE environments, allowing the tank to grab those mobs back. A very useful ability. Note: Shadowmeld does not stack with your Camouflage, but you can ‘ meld (dropping combat) and then go Camo.
- Quickness makes you slightly harder to hit (+2% Dodge) and slightly increases your run speed.
- Wisp Form: Get back to your body faster. Hopefully you’re not dying enough to make this an interesting ability.
- Resistance for 1% less Nature damage.
- Touch of Elune: Increases your Haste by 1% during the night. Increases your Critical Strike by 1% during the day. Both stats are good for any Hunter.
- Stone Form is a nice PvP talent, and occasionally useful elsewhere. It washes away bleeds, various magical effects, and adds a 10% damage reduction for a few seconds.
- Might adds 2% to your critical damage (not crit rating.)
- Resistance allows a small reduction to incoming Frost damage.
- Explorer – Dwarves are good with Archeology.
Dark Iron Dwarf – Starts at level 20.
- Your Fireblood removes all poison, disease, curse, magic, and bleed effects, just like your Dwarven “brethren,” but your ability increases your primary stat (Agility) by 600(!) (scales with level) +200 for for each additional effect removed. The effect lasts for 8 sec. with a 2 min cooldown.
- You’re a tunnel dweller and Dungeon Delver and you’ve learned how to move 4% faster while indoors, plus your people have the Mole Machine: While outdoors you can summon a Mole Machine that tunnels through the earth and can pop you up in a variety of places.
- The Human Diplomacy skill will allow for more rapid faction gain (very nice if you’re working towards any of the zillion faction in WoW).
- the escape ability is very nice for PvP, since it allows the use of two DPS trinkets. It will only rarely be useful in PvE or while leveling.
- Bonus Versatility adds +1% to your Versatility
Kul Tiran – Starts at level 20.
- Someone or something gets in your face? Unleash your mighty Haymaker upon your foe. Doesn’t hurt much, but does stun them for 3 sec and knocks them back substantially. 2.5 minute cooldown. Knock him back then disengage.
- Brush It Off – Increases Versatility by 1%. When you take damage, heal for 2% of that amount over 4 sec.
- Your Child of the Sea ability lets you swim a bit faster and hold your breath longer than anyone who is not Undead.
- You are a Jack of All Trades which increases all of your Tradeskills by 5. Unfortunately it does not give you free tradeskills, just a boost to the ones you actually learn
- Your Escape Artist ability allows you to break the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect.
- Plus, being so Nimble Fingers you have +1% Haste.
- Expansive Mind: Maximum Focus increased by 5%.
- And your Engineering Specialization gives you +15% to that skill.
Mechagnome – Starts at level 20.
- Hyper Organic Light Originator summons a couple of images of you to distract your foes. Added DPS or use it to give yourself a moment to set something up. See it in action here.
- And you get some Racial Passives:
- Combat Analysis: You gather and analyze combat data every 5 sec, increasing your Agility by 25, stacking up to 10 times. The data decays while out of combat.
- Mastercraft: You function as a personal Blacksmithing Anvil, Cooking Fire, and Mining Forge. In addition, your limbs include every profession tool.
- Emergency Failsafe: When you fall below 20% health, heal for 15% of your maximum health. This effect cannot occur more than once every 2.5 min.
- Skeleton Pinkie: Allows opening of locked chests and doors on a level similar to yours.
Void Elf – Starts at level 20.
- Your abilities have a chance to empower you with the essence of the Void, Entropic Embrace, which increases your damage by 5% for 12 sec. It has a 33% proc chance with 60 seconds internal cooldown. Nothing like a bit of Void energy added to your attacks, right?
- Spatial Rift: Tear a rift in space. Reactivate this ability to teleport through the rift. 30 yd range. 3 min cooldown. You can activate this, then change direction, hit it again, and be back to the original spot.
- Darkflight allows periodic quick movement, which is always useful.
- Increased crit chance (viciousness) is a good stat for any flavor of Hunter. .
- Flayer boosts your skinning skill.
- Run Wild lets you drop to all fours and run.
- Aberration provides resistance to Shadow and Natures damage.
- Arcane Torrent removes one beneficial effect from any nearby enemies (8 yards) and restores 15 Focus, on a 2 minute cooldown.
- And your Arcane Acuity gives you a bit more crit (1%.)
- Well ok, Blood Elves look good. A truly devastating Hunter ability. Really.
- Belves are good with Enchanting, via their affinity.
- Belves take slightly less Arcane damage, via their Resistance.
- War Stomp: Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yds for 2 sec. You will occasionally be in melee range, esp. in PvP, so this ability definitely has its uses.
- Brawn: Critical strike bonus damage and healing increased by 2%. This is not crit rating, just extra damage.
- Endurance: Increases your Stamina by 197 (scales with level) which is always valuable in the realm of massive PvP burst damage, where every point of health counts.
- Nature Resistance: Reduces Nature damage taken by 1%.
- Cultivation: Herbalism skill increased by 15 and you gather herbs faster than other herbalists.
HighMountain Tauren – Starts at level 20.
- Bull Rush is a short (6 yard) charge forward that knocks those enemies down. Nice for when they are in your face.
- Being versatile you get +1% Versatility (Mountaineer) and also take a bit less damage (Rugged Tenacity.) Both are nice passives for any Hunter.
- Your Pride of Ironhorn allows you to mine faster and adds 15% to your mining skill.
- Having gone to survival school your philosophy is Waste Not, Want Not, so you have a chance to gather more meat and fish from appropriate situations.
- Increased Haste when Berserk is very nice ability for any Hunter. .
- Your regeneration is increased, but it’s trivial and you’ll never notice it.
- More XP from beast slaying is very nice for leveling.
- Shuffle reduces snare (slow) duration.
Zandalari Troll – Starts at level 20.
- Your Embrace of the Loa ability allows you to choose which Loa you are associated with. Has a 5 day cooldown.
- Embrace of Akunda – Your healing abilities have a chance to heal their target. A Hunter, with healing abilities? Hmmm…
- Embrace of Bwonsamdi – Your damaging abilities have a chance to deal Shadow damage and heal you for 100% of the damage done. Pretty good general ability.
- Embrace of Gonk – Increase movement speed by 5%.
- Embrace of Kimbul – Your damaging abilities have a chance to cause the target to bleed over 6s. This effect stacks up to 3 times. More damage is always good.
- Embrace of Krag’wa – Taking damage has a chance to grant you additional Health and 66 Armor. Not much use for you.
- Embrace of Pa’ku – Your abilities have a chance to grant you +4% critical strike for 12 seconds. You live by the crit, so this is a good one for you.
- Regeneratin’ – Regenerate 100% of your maximum health over 6 sec, interrupted by damage. 2.5 min cooldown.
- Pterrordax Swoop – Slows your fall for two minutes. Time for some serious cliff jumpin’.
- Blood Fury increases your ranged attack power, which is a pretty nice cooldown.
- The slightly increased pet damage (command) makes the Orc one of the better Hunter races.
- Hardiness allows a 10% decreased stun duration, which is nice for PvP and only rarely useful outside of PvP.
Mag’har Orc – Starts at level 20.
- Your Ancestral Call will boost a random secondary stat (crit, haste, versatility) for 12 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown. The boost scales with level.
- Your love of the open skies increases your mounted speed by 10% and your…
- Savage Blood, you barbarian you, reduces the duration of curses, poisons, and diseases by 10%.
- Your pet has a 10% health boost, due to its Vigor.
- Your Touch of the Grave is a passive ability that will add a small amount to your overall damage and self-healing. It also allows indefinite underwater breathing.
- Will of the Forsaken is a nice PvP skill (anything that breaks Fear, etc is a nice PvP skill.)
- Cannibalize is useful when you just have to rub it in to that other player you killed. Maybe that’s good enough reason to go Undead.
- Minor Resistance (here) to Shadow damage.
- Goblins can Rocket Jump forward or away. which has its uses. Think of it as a Disengage that can go either direction.
- Their Rocket Launcher will be of little use to you,
- as will Vendor Discounts (lower prices) and your Personal Bank, though both are nice for other reasons.
- Haste adds 1% to your Haste, a good stat for most Hunters.
- Goblins are good with Alchemy (Chemistry)
Nightbourne – Starts at level 20.
- You can do an Arcane Pulse, which slightly damages all nearby enemies and reduces their speed for 12 seconds. Then you escape to a safer range.
- Can read your mail from anywhere, with your Cantrips ability.
- Your love of Ancient History give you +15% to your Inscription skill.
Vulpera – Starts at level 20.
- Bag of Tricks: Cunning thing that you are you can use a trick on an enemy to damage them or on an ally to heal them.
- Make Camp: Set your camp location outdoors and then you can use Return to Camp, which teleports back to your camp location. Basically another hearthstone.
- Nose For Trouble: Take a little less damage from the first strike inflicted by an enemy.
My recommendation for tradeskills/professions is to pick any two of: skinning, herbalism, or mining. This is a great way to earn a decent amount of gold throughout your career. Gather a bunch of herbs/ores/skins and send ’em off to your banker to sell. You don’t even need to have much skill to collect most of the herbs, ores, or skins, but you DO need to have enough skill to get anything other than fragements.
Generally, crafting skills should be avoided unless you have that excess cash, since those skills are very expensive to level. Besides the obvious benefits, each of the profession skills offers a special perk, such as increased crit rating from skinning.
In Warlords of Draenor all of the direct combat benefits of the various professions were removed. Professions are more for flavor, and gold making, rather than min/maxing. Note that most of the Draenor recipes can be made at skill level 1 and are generally simple to make.
Also note that the items to boost the item level of the pieces you make generally sell quite well.
You can assign a follower to you garrison profession buildings and that follower can provide you with some nice perks.
- Leatherworking – for some decent gear, especially at high level, but it’s expensive to level. will let you make entry level armor for raids (ilevel 640.) You can make the items to reroll the stats on those pieces as well as to upgrade the items to 715, at a cost far exceeding that of the original piece. You can also make Drums of Fury for a Heroism type buff (25% Haste for 40 sec.) Through the Leatherworking hut in your Garrison you can make single use tents that will increase all of your stats by 10% for an hour, though not in raids or rated PvP. These tents are account bound, so you can mail them to all of your alts.
- Skinning – to make money and support your leatherworking skill.
- Mining and Herbalism are great cash grinding skills.
- Inscription You can make some money with it, but it takes some work. If you just want your glyphs then, on most servers, it’s cheaper to buy them all than to level this profession. Very nice shoulder enchant provides 520 total Ag and 100 Crit. This one actually still exists in game, for example: Secret Tiger Claw Inscription. You can make items for casters and some trinkets, as well as items to upgrade those items.
- First aid is essential. Keep it maxed at all times, even if you’re raiding.
- Cooking is useful as many of the foods you create will have interesting buffs, as well as allowing you to regain health and mana.
- Alchemy has lots of useful potions and you can make yourself a pretty nice trinket.
- Jewelcrafting will let you make fine jewelry, item level 640, which like the leather working bit can be raised to ilevel 715.
- Blacksmithing doesn’t have any items that are directly useful, though your garrison follower can give you two nice buffs:
- Enchanting will let you make illusionary enchants, though your follower. These let you change the look of you other enchants.
- Engineering has a number of engie toys that are useful. Nitro Boosts and a nice Rifle (Shrediron’s Shredder,) to name two. Your follower will sell you, cheaply, some useful stuff. One of these is Walter, a repair bot and personal bank. You can also make rockets, a stealth device, and a shield.
- Need to get more gold? Check out Tycoon.
Hunter Abilities, Pets, and Leveling
Hunter abilities are distributed about 2/3’s into our own powers and such with the remaining 1/3 being the slew of pet specific talents such as mend pet, revive, etc. This number of pet abilities increases should you specialize into Beast Mastery.
Properly using a Hunter, of course, depends on the efficient usage of our pet, whether that be for tanking, as beast mastery, additional DPS as marksman, due to declining threat gain without talent tree buffs, or simply a distraction, as Survival in PvP.
Cataclysm made the whole taming and training system somewhat easier and added the ability to have several pets on call and store many more in the stables. Nowadays pets gain levels more quickly than ever before and their Happiness became much easier to maintain. In 4.1 happiness was gone. You no longer had to keep your pets happy or loyal.
In Mists of Pandaria it’s even easier. There is no pet maintenance of any kind. Feeding your pet heals it, but that’s about all.
In Warlords there are some changes to pet abilities, such as crowd control being removed. See this post for details.
Beast Mastery Hunters can train more exotic pets, such as the T Rex’s wandering around Ungoro Crater. In Mists of Pandaria this ability remains with Beast Mastery, but is called Exotic Beasts.
The Hunter’s Pets
In Mists of Pandaria and beyond any pet can become either Ferocity, Cunning, or Tenacity. Yes, this means your bat can take the tanking tree. In addition you can change pet specs on the fly, just like glyphs and talents. Your tanking Bat pet can DPS the next fight as Ferocity and be Cunning for the one after that.
- Pets automatically get their abilities, there are no more talents to learn.
- Pets immediately become your level when you tame them.
- No happiness or loyalty to worry about, no talents to buy or train.
- Each pet can pick from one of the three specs: Ferocity, Tenacity, and Cunning. They will automatically learn that set of abilities when they “learn” that spec, just like you do.
- The spec abilities are in addition to the regular pet abilities, such as Growl.
- You can swap pet builds whenever you want to. Ferocity to Tenacity to Cunning when you need it, then back again. At will.
- There is a pet tab in your spellbook, check all the pet abilities there.
Pets have three overall “builds/specs.” Note that the crowd control abilities will be gone in Warlords.
- Ferocity is for DPS pets. They can tank a couple of mobs just fine, but their main job is damage. Generally, in raids, your pet will be Ferocity. Past level 60 or so they don’t hold aggro as well as they do at earlier levels, but your skills should be such that this won’t matter. Much.
- The Ferocity abilities are:
- Rabid: Increases pet’s attack power by 50% for 20 seconds.
- Dash: 80% movement speed increase for 20 seconds.
- Combat Experience: Passive, increases all pet damage by 50%
- Heart of the Pheonix: When used you pet returns to life with 100% health.
- Spiked Collar: 10% increase to basic attack damage, attack speed, and crit chance.
- Tenacity is the build that your tanking pets will have. These pets will keep the attentions of several mobs, and survive, while you burn them down. A few Hunters even tank dungeons with these pets and then make the boss into a pet, such as with King Dred.
- The Tenacity abilities are:
- Last Stand: Your pet gains 30% health for 20 seconds.
- Charge: Your pet charges, stunning the opponent for 1 second, and gaining 25% Attack Power for the next attack.
- Thunderstomp: (level 20) Shake the ground doing minor damage to all enemies within 8 years and causing a moderate amount of threat.
- Blood of the Rhino: Pet gets 40% more healing, 20% more armor, 6% less chance to be crit from melee attacks.
- Great Stamina: More stam for better tanking.
- Combat Experience: Passive, increases all pet damage by 50%
- Cunning pets have certain special abilities that are useful in particular situations.
- The Cunning abilities are:
- Roar of Sacrifice: For 12 seconds your pet can make a target immune to crits, but the pet takes some of the damage done to the target.
- Bullheaded: Break free of all effects and take 20% less damage for 12 seconds.
- Dash: 80% movement speed increase for 20 seconds.
- Combat Experience: Passive, increases all pet damage by 50%
- Cornered: At low health your pet becomes resistant to crits and does more damage.
- Boar’s Speed: (Passive) Your pet moves 30% faster.
Under each of these classes there are a number of pet families. Each family will have certain special abilities and will cover a number of similar citters, such as “bears.”
Which one is “best?” That depends on you and how you like to play. As you level you will gain the ability to train additional pets, which you can swap as necessary. Additional pets can be kept in the stables. Pretend they’re Pokemon and catch ’em all.
Petopia has lots of info on Hunter pets.
Different pets require different foods. Some want veggies, some want meat, and you get to provide the food. (Sorry, but other players don’t count as “meat.”) You’ll have to either kill stuff, go fishing, or buy the food from the various vendors (such as fruit or meat sellers.) See the links above for pet lists and which foods they require. Higher level foods heal your pet for more than lower level foods.
All that the food does is heal your pet, out of combat. It does nothing else. Food used to do more, but that’s all gone now.
Other Pet notes:
- Pets inherit 100% of the Hunter’s hit, haste, and crit, and scale considerably from AP. All 3 pet types inherit the same AP scaling, so differences in DPS come from the pet’s basic abilities and their talents.
- Pets inherit nothing from your Strength
- Pet specific consumables are no longer available.
- If you’re Draenei your pet will inherit your hit racial.
Hunter Specs, Abilities, Talents.
When done right, Hunter Leveling can be compared to the pleasure of slowly sipping down a nice glass of (insert cold beverage of choice here) on a hot summer day, pleasurable and luxuriously easy – Just the way I like it to be when I level.
Thankfully, all three styles of Hunter builds are viable for leveling, catering to those who prefer to snipe from a long range or sick enraged cats on people. Not to mention the smaller, yet equally capable crowd, that likes the tactical challenge of survival from start to the level cap.
For info more specific to leveling check out our Hunter Leveling Guide for information, talent builds, and stuff. If you need a step-by-step guide to go from 1 to the level cap (or starting from any level) then check out our recommended leveling guide, below.
Each Hunter specialization (spec) will get from 10 to 13 abilities that none of the others get, such as Marksmanship’s Aimed Shot. These are in addition to the regular abilities that are shared by all Hunters and the talents.
Most, not all, of these abilities have been tweaked from their Cataclysm versions. A couple are new, some were talents. Hover over the links for descriptions. Remember that you can still use the Dual Build ability (learned from your trainer.) As with the regular abilities you will learn these automatically as you level.
In Warlords you will gain Perks instead of abilities at 92+. Perks just add something to a previously learned ability, such as additional damage.
Hover over the links for the ability description.
Beastmastery fulfills yet another crucial role in the hunter class, the improvement of our pets. These talents will take the pet from being just an assitant to something far greater.
Not only does this tree maintain the pet’s effectiveness at tanking, but also brings massive amounts of improvement in DPS, regeneration, and a variety of other abilities – via multiple talents that apply increases to both the Hunter and the Pet, notably The Beast Within.
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.
Most of your abilities are oriented towards making your shots faster and/or more effective. For example, your Careful Aim (lev 20) will make your opening Aimed Shot much more effective.
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.
Your Forte is Traps and Stings. Both are more effective than other Hunters and your Lock and Load ability gives you free Explosive Shots on trapped targets. Burn ’em down, baby.
|Exotic Beasts||10||Aimed Shot||10||Trap Mastery|
|Kill Command||20||Careful Aim||10||Explosive Shot|
|Go for the Throat||35||Kill Shot||10||Survivalist|
|Beast Cleave||45||Bombardment||10||Trap Mastery|
|Frenzy||54||Rapid Fire||50||Black Arrow|
|Focus Fire||60||Chimera Shot||55||Entrapment|
|Kill Shot||80||Mastery: Sniper Training||68||Serpent Sting|
|Bestial Wrath||90||Lethal Shots||80||Mastery: Essence of the Viper|
|Cobra Strikes||81||Cobra Shot|
|Mastery: Master of Beasts|
Talents are pretty simple these days, much simpler than they have been before. You have six “tiers” of talents, each with three choices. Any spec of Hunter can chose any one talent from any tier. Six total talents at level 90. You’ll note that each tier covers a certain general type of enhancement, such as Tier 1, which alters your Disengage ability.
Talent details are below the image.
Details on the Hunter Talents
Again, you can pick one from any one row, regardless of your spec. You can also freely change them at any time, with one dose of the appropriate reagent, such as vanishing powder.
Marksmanship Hunter Leveling
Marksmanship leveling follows the much loved style of nuking the opposition from orbit (or at least a fairly large distance,) as it’s really the only way to be sure of victory. To make things even better, you’ll likely kill your target before it even reaches you, making it fairly easy to continually pull mobs without a single second of downtime. Aimed Shot + Careful Aim is a brutal opener.
So, if that’s not enough to convince you, Marksman is both entertaining and easy. Try it if the image of a lone-gunman suits your playstyle. Of course, that kind of ranged damage will make you a valuable team member, as well.
Note that at level 100 you can take the Lone Wolf talent, which allows you to run without pets and do even more damage than before.
For more , see our:
- Marksman Hunter DPS page for Raids, instances, and dungeons, including your rotations, useful tips, gems, enchants, and more.
- Marksmanship PvP page for mowing down those players who chose the wrong faction. 😉
- Also see our Hunter Leveling Guide for lots of leveling info.
Beast Mastery Hunter Leveling
Despite all praises I may have for Marksman as a method of leveling, Beast Mastery somehow manages to surpass even this, setting a new bar for soloing capabilities only matched by a very few.
The majority of Beast Mastery’s overwhelming leveling speed comes from the fact that many Beast Mastery abilities not only improve the pet, but the Hunter himself (to a lesser extent.) More pet damage equals more Hunter damage, not equaling the level of marksmanship necessarily, but still more than enough to make you an even greater killing machine than ever before.
Finally the pet’s tanking ability becomes almost unstoppable with bestial wrath and intimidation, allowing you to run from fight to fight, even with elites, without ever taking a scratch and wasting barely ten seconds healing the pet from any damage taken. Having the pet as your tank eliminates the potential for mistakes and helps to make the pair of you into a very efficient killing machine.
See our Beast Mastery PvE page for using BM in instances and raids, including full rotations, gems, enchants, etc., and our Hunter Leveling Guides for more on leveling BM. If you looking to kill other players there’s the BM PvP page.
Click Here and get leveled to the The Cap, Fast
Survival Hunter Leveling
Survival, unlike marksmanship or beast mastery, seems more apt for providing a fun distraction from the usual grind of leveling while still maintaining speeds generally unreachable by any aside from Rogues or Fury Warriors.
The concept of spending more time on the tactical approach to combat via traps, as opposed to a run n’ gun style of play, appeals to both myself and many others, despite its relative slowness compared to the other styles of hunter leveling.
I’d recommend the Survival Tree for players picking up a Hunter to level for perhaps the second or third time. It provides a reasonable change in combat and overall playstyle and is a refreshing experience without becoming truly tedious at any time.
Stay out of melee – While Hunters can dish out enough melee damage to function for leveling it doesn’t work so well for PvP. Any other melee class will lock you up and shut you down. Use your abilities to get out of melee ASAP and get back to your strength, ranged devastation.
Hunters can be very effective at PvP, but like any other class they have to play to their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Hone the skills that keep the opposition controlled and away from you. Learn the skills that apply the highest burst damage for those times when you can just blast away.
Your damage is fine, your control is fine, your ability to escape is fine. Your #1 question is how well you can stay out of melee and the #2 question is how well you can keep casters interrupted and/or silenced or otherwise out of your hair.
While your pet will be completely unable to tank another player it can be a very valuable DPS addition. It can also initiate an attack, allowing you to get several shots in before the other player finds and targets you. Some pets, such as those with large wing spans, can obscure the vision of the other player. Other pets have special abilities which can also be useful. Monkeys (rude manners) and Spiders (webs) come to mind. Those special abilities are the reasons you’ll see so many of those pets in PvP.
Traps laid down in bottleneck areas, such as the tunnels in Warsong Gulch, or the entries to either base in Atarac Valley, or right next to (or on top of) a flag can be very valuable. Crowd Control abilities can be every bit as useful as raw damage.
Arena – There are plenty of Hunters in the top arena rankings, especially in 3s.
- See our Beast Mastery PvP gearing guide. Pretty much everything there will apply to any other flavor of Hunter.
- See Skill-Capped for all kinds of Hunter PvP info, get questions answered, and basically get better. Go Here. Now.
Gear, Stats, and Numbers
In Battle for Azeroth…
- Agility -Your #1 stat. Adds to your ranged DPS, your crit chance, and your dodge. Agi is, by far, your most important stat for damage (DPS) regardless of which spec you play.
- Attack Power – Directly increases your damage, but only appears with certain enchants.
- Haste – The affects both the speed of your shots, cooldown timers, and focus regeneration.
- Mastery – this stat is trainable at level 80. Its value will vary with your build and gear. Typically this is a weaker stat for Hunters.
- Versatility adds to your attack power, your healing, and your damage reduction.
- Resilience and PvP Power are dead on Warlords gear, but are still available on lower level PvP gear.
- Critical Hit will do 150% damage in PvP, instead of the 200% it does elsewhere.
- Stamina – Keeps you alive . You need more for PvP than either Raiding or Leveling. If you’re low level then we suggest piling on the Stam as it makes survival easier.
In Mists of Pandaria Focus became the “resource” that Hunters (and their pets) use for all of their attacks. It works very much like a Rogue’s Energy and it makes resource management something to keep an eye on. Almost every attack you make, that isn’t an “auto-attack,” will require X amount of focus. Various talents will either restore Focus or increase its regeneration speed, for both you and your pet.
Once upon a time Intelligence was an important Hunter stat, but that went away with Cataclysm and the introduction of Focus. Agility is now the #1 stat.
So, in general, you want to look for…
- Agility >> Crit & Haste > Mastery
Heirlooms note: You can buy most of your heirlooms with gold. They start with a level 60 cap, but you can upgrade them to carry you all the way to 120. For a price. (need more gold? Check this out.)
- At level 40 you get to wear mail armor and at level 50 you will get a bonus if you have mail armor in all appropriate slots.
- As of Warlords and later you can use any ranged weapon and most melee weapons, but you cannot equip them at the same time. Your bow/gun has zero minimum range, so skip the melee weapons. You will have to do a weapon swap to change from ranged to melee weapons and back again, so you will not be able to benefit from the stats on your melee weapons while using your bow. (You used to be able to equip both and gain the extra stats.)
- Level 70: If you like PvP then do enough before level 70 so that you can buy the level 70 epic (Brutal) PvP gear from the arena vendors.
- Mists of Pandaria gear starts appearing at level 80 and is better than Cata gear at that level. Keep an eye on the AH for your stuff.
- At 85 you will venture into the lands of M of P. You will eventually (well before level 86) find a vendor who will sell you all of your item level 377 gear, if you haven’t upgraded by this time. Higher level gear in on the Auction House.
- Note that you can find item level 417 M of P gear that can be worn at level 81. 417 is almost as good as the top Cataclysm raid gear (no gem sockets, so it falls behind.) If you can afford it you can likely be very nicely geared from level 81+.
- At 90 you can grind the Timeless Isle for decent gear and/or buy the Crafted Malevolent Gladiator PvP set.
- At 91 you can equip three pieces of crafted gear. Why bother? Because the armor is item level 640 and the weapon (a rifle) is 630. Both are way better than anything else you’ll find at 91. both can be upgraded by 75 item levels, but that will be expensive.
- Look for Wayfaring armor (recommend chest and legs, for the larges stat values) and Shrediron’s Shredder (gun.)
- Upgrade the armor with 3x Burnished Essence, 1x mighty Burn Ess, 1x Powerful BE.
- Upgrade the gun with 3x True Iron Trigger, Advanced Muzzlesprocket is next, then Taladite Firing Pin to finish.
- Level 100: Gratz!
- Balefull gear tokens can be found in Tanaan, If you have another character in that area then you may already have a few. Clicking the token gives you a piece of 650 gear. These can be upgraded to 695 with tokens found at your base in Tanaan, but each upgrade will cost 20k Apexis crystals.
- PvP Honor gear comes with a 670 PvE rating and a 700 PvP rating.
- Top level raid gear and the Conquest gear will be better still.
- And then you’ll be ready for Legion.
Enchants for Hunters
Short on gold? Most of the enchants below have similar enchants available, of lesser value, for less cash. We’ve linked to a couple of these. Check with the rep vendor or the Auction House for others. If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what this Addon can do about about improving your situation.
Note that the enchants can be added to any level item (yes, even your level 1 bow) and will scale appropriately. Crafter enchants,
Main and off hands
|Other enchants, for gear before Battle for Azeroth gear.|
Gem slots are few and far between. They do not appear on vendored gear (such as honor/Conquest gear,) but might on dropped gear. There is never more than one socket per item and all gems provide for one of the secondary stats. There are no Agility gems.
Note that Mists of Pandaria gems have twice the value for the secondary stats than they do for the primary stats, for example: 320 Crit Vs 160 Agility. Agility is still much better for any Hunter than any other stat, but with the high value of secondary stat gems it might be worthwhile to match Agility socket bonuses.
For PvP, the PvP Power gems were better than Agility gems, until patch 5.3 hit. Now you should gem for Agility or crit.
- Practice your rotations on a practice dummy, using a DPS meter like Recount. Make sure you maintain your routine for at least a few minutes on the dummy. This averages out the high and low spikes in your damage and gives you a better number. The more disciplined and automatic your routine is, the higher your DPS will be. See our Hunter DPS pages for rotation details (Marks, BM, Survival.)
- If you’re PvPing then you should mix in any abilities that might help even though they don’t increase damage, such as Concussive shot. Crowd Control will be a huge help in slaying the opposition.
- If you’re clicking your buttons, rather than using hotkeys, you’re at a disadvantage.
This video is really old (before Cataclysm,) but covers trapping basics nicely. Mentally add your Trap Launcher ability to what’s shown here and you’ll be good.
This next video is oriented towards Arena PVP and is quite a bit more advanced. It’s a Skill-Capped video and they have a lot more Hunter PvP videos and guides.
For Even Faster Hunter Leveling…
How to go a lot faster? Grab Zygor’s guide. It literally points the way, every step of the way, all the way. You’ll never again have any doubts about where to go or what to do.
You’ll never again have to check some website for tips and you might even never have to look at your quest log. Just follow the arrow and the steps and boom, boom, boom, you’re there.
Whether you’re brand new to WoW or are decked head to toe in Heirlooms, Zygor has your back and will get you to the the level cap faster than anything else.
Even if you’ve done it all before you’ll still find yourself leveling even faster than before. Plus, Zygor’s comes with a whole bunch of other goodies. Click here to learn more!
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Where to go next?
- Hunter leveling – Hunters are fast and easy to level and our leveling page with give you all the help you need.
- Playing the Best Mastery spec? Then see our Beast Mastery DPS page for raids and dungeons and such or the Beast Mastery PvP page if hunting down other players is your thing.
- Survival DPS for the raids.
- Marksmanship DPS for raiding and dungeons and if you’ll going after players, then our Marksmanship PvP page.