Despite the beliefs of many, the Hunter is a complex class, particularly if competence in its use is desired. A willingness to study its nuances will not only make using the class more enjoyable, but will also assist in improving the class's reputation in-game.
Solo Strategies and Tactics
The general strategy for a Hunter is combat at range. This section will refer to PvE battles, not PvP.
The general strategy for a Hunter in solo play involves set up and kiting. As a pet class, a Hunter has a somewhat unique challenge present in solo play, in that he/she must carefully monitor their generation of threat. This can be done using the addon Omen3.
If the threat being generated by the Hunter exceeds that generated by the pet, the attention of the mob being attacked may be diverted from the pet to the Hunter, and the mob may then move into the Hunter's melee range.
If this occurs, the Hunter is then forced to either rely on her vestigial melee abilities to kill the mob, or to use the Feign Death ability to cause the mob to return to the pet. Given that Feign Death is not learned until level 30, it is of vital importance to new Hunters to begin to learn threat management as early as possible.
As Feign Death is not only on a 30 second cooldown, but is also prone to failure on occasion, the ability to regulate threat is a vital skill, which will serve a Hunter well throughout the entirety of their career.
At level 44 the Hunter has the opportunity to become the ultimate solo fighting machine. Previously only the gorilla had access to the Thunderstomp ability, but now it is a talent nested in the Tenacity pet tree learnable at level 44. This AOE tanking Tenacity pet will transform your typical ranged DPS hunter into, at times, a groups main tank or off tank plus Ranged DPS. Your pet's ThunderStomp spell is the root of his power, and if you combine that with Volley (learned at level 40) you'll be crushing 5+ normal mobs easily in seconds.
Initially apply an Aspect if necessary: Aspect of the Hawk for optimal damage, Aspect of the Monkey if you expect melee, and Aspect of the Viper (at level 20 and higher) to regenerate mana to support an aggressive shot rotation.
For Single Targets:-
- Apply Hunter's Mark.
- Drop an Immolation Trap at roughly 15 yards from the target, if you can measure it. The addon RangeDisplay is invaluable for this. This also becomes partly intuitive with experience.
- Use Arcane Shot (Rank 1) as an initial low threat pull shot. This is no longer beneficial due to the changes to down ranking. Using a lower rank now results in higher mana usage.
- Apply Mend Pet pre-emptively so it is active while the pet engages the target.
- Time sending the pet so that it reaches the mob when the mob reaches the Immolation Trap. Ideally this macro can be used to combine both applying Hunter's Mark and sending the pet at once.
- Jump backwards 4-5 times to re-establish maximum range.
- Apply Serpent Sting. The use of Serpent Sting and Immolation Trap in conjunction is mathematically verifiable as the most mana-efficient method a Hunter has for killing individual mobs, although it is somewhat slow.
- Commence fire with Auto Shot and Steady Shot till the mob is dead. If you get aggro you can use Wing Clip + Disengage to get distance from the target. Or you can Feign Death to reset threat again.
For Multiple Targets:-
- If there are other mobs nearby and you only wish to pull one, use Arcane Shot Rank 1 as a pull shot to minimise aggro, and lead the mob to a safe distance away from the others. Determining safe pulls is one of the primary tasks of a Hunter, in both group and solo scenarios, but grows easier with experience.
- Set a Freezing Trap if multiple targets are expected and you wish to freeze one. Alternatively, Snake Trap can be used to distract one target while the other is being fought.
- Apply Hunter's Mark.
- Apply Mend Pet if necessary.
- Send Pet.
- Attack from range with Auto-Shot, special shots like Aimed Shot, or a Sting.
- Once the untrapped mob is dead, redirect the pet to the trapped mob.
- Re-apply Mend Pet if necessary.
- Feign Death to clear any residual aggro.
- Jump backwards once or twice to acquire range, and to give the pet a moment to establish aggro.
- Apply Serpent Sting, and continue fire until the target is dead.
The reason to let the pet attack first is to establish aggro. This allows you to stay at range, where you are much more effective; hunter ranged damage is significantly higher than melee damage. Generally, the use of traps is reserved for special situations such as when you are expecting to pull multiple mobs. In that case, set a Freezing Trap and then send the pet in to establish aggro on your preferred target. Once the pet has activated the mobs use Multi-Shot to aggro the add and pull it over the trap to immobilize it. Alternatively, the healing aggro from Mend Pet can pull the add off your pet and straight into your trap. You can dispense with the trap if your pet is strong enough to take the hits from multiple mobs. Do not DoT a mob you intend to trap.
Kiting is a concept that all Hunters should learn. Most Hunters will find it unnecessary until later levels, and might never use it if they never tackle hard battles. The basic premise of kiting is keeping your range while dealing damage. The generic way it's done is like this:-
- Snare or root mob using a ranged ability
- Use ranged attacks until mob enters melee range
- Snare or root mob using a melee snare
- Run to range
- Turn around, and go to step 1
To be Hunter specific:-
- Concussive Shot the mob from as far away as you can get
- Use your Stings, Arcane Shot, Multishot, and Auto shot as much as possible until the mob enters your melee range
- Keep on using Wing Clip until it hits and applies its effect. If you have Counterattack and you have it available to you, this is even better.
- Run to range (Disengage can be quite useful here. Also if you are engineer and you have Nitro Boosts they will be useful too.)
- Go to step 1, but use a Jump Shot to fire off the Concussive Shot.
If the mob is too strong for the melee Wing Clip:-
- Start by putting Hunter's Mark on the mob you want to kite
- Put on Aspect of the Cheetah for an extra run speed boost
- If you can, start pulling the mob using Aimed Shot at maximum range
- Use Concussive Shot to slow the mob
- Use Arcane Shot and Serpent Sting
- Run away from the mob and try to stay at max range at all times
- When you are at max range you can stand and shoot with Auto Shot so you don't use mana (also good when you run out of mana while kiting), you can also shoot off a Jump Shot with the Arcane Shot
- Keep doing step 4-7 until the mob is dead
Remember:- Be sure before you pull that you have a safe run path so you don't get other mobs while kiting. If the mob is running faster than you, or you can no way get far enough away to kite this way, or there is no path you can kite on, you may need the help of a group instead.
Kiting Bosses in Instances When kiting bosses in instances, it is important that the mob doesn't strike you. This can be achieved by using Aspect of the Cheetah, but to avoid the daze effect of being struck, it is best to stay out of melee range. As with any kiting, this can be achieved by shifting the camera by holding down the right mouse button and dragging either to the left or the right. If you drag by about 45 degrees, it will allow you to maintain your forward momentum in approximately the same direction, and allow you to use instant cast abilities such as Arcane Shot, Concussive Shot and Serpent's Sting to make sure the boss keeps following you, but not get close enough to hit you. This would be of particular use when you need to pull a boss away from a large group of mobs that would come to its aid if you attempted to attack it directly.
- Watch your pet's health. If your pet dies, the mob(s) will then go after you. In your pet does die, attempt to kite the mob.
- Watch your ammo supply as you will be much less effective if forced into melee.
- If the mob has a powerful attack that uses mana, consider using Viper Sting. Silencing Shot can be effective as well.
Many of the tactics on this page are pre-BC. All hunters should take advantage of the powerful benefits of Steady Shot. Steady Shot has a casting time of 1.5 seconds and does not reset your auto-shot timer. This means that Hunters can fire Steady Shots while waiting for their next auto-shot to be ready. Depending on the speed of the Hunter's ranged weapon, multiple Steady Shots may be able to be fired before the auto-shot is ready. It is important to keep an eye on the auto-shot cooldown, as the casting of a Steady Shot will prevent an auto-shot from being fired. This is called "clipping", and will decrease DPS.
There are five different traps available to the hunter. A trap skill allows you to set a trap on the ground which will stay put for 1 minute, and will activate when a mob comes within range, performing their designated function. Since patch 2.0.1, traps CAN be placed while in combat, so running through a mob your pet is tanking while dropping a trap is now a possible tactic.
- Freezing Trap is used for crowd control. It can immobilize a target for up to 26 seconds with talents. Good hunters should know how to chain-trap a mob for 4-5 times with this ability. See Freezing Trap#Raid.
- Immolation Trap is used for added damage to a single target.
- Frost Trap is used to slow down multiple mobs, one possible use is if you know you will lose the fight because of too many mobs drop one and flee. Given that it does no damage to mobs, or provide any other effects, it should probably not be used in most cases, with preference given primarily to Snake Trap, (due to mana efficiency, the snare effect, and the snakes having their own aggro table) or Explosive Trap, which can still do a reasonable amount of damage, especially when stacked with Serpent Sting.
- Explosive Trap is good for hitting multiple mobs. Note that you may pull aggro from the mob not engaged by your pet. Good to put aggro on additional mobs to protect Priest
- Snake Trap available after level 68 is good when multiple mobs are encountered for the many effects it has.
See also: Hunter traps.
- Serpent Sting - This is the sting you want to use to deal the most damage and bring the mob down the quickest. Its high mana cost/damage causes many hunters to avoid it if mana conservation is necessary.
- Scorpid Sting - This sting is the Hunter's main debuff. It will help keep tanks alive longer. Another very important use of Scorpid Sting is to cancel the effect of Serpent Sting and Viper Sting for when the Hunter wants to stop the Damage over Time effect (so Freezing Trap or Scatter Shot isn't broken).
- Viper Sting - This is the Hunter's main anti-caster sting. The usefulness is debatable. In PvP, many caster classes can either efficiently cleanse the debuff or kill the Hunter before the sting drains enough mana. Viper Sting can be effective on targets with small mana pools (such as Hunters, Paladins and Shamans). Serpent Sting may be better against caster mobs because of their low health.
- Wyvern Sting is only available through talents. It will put a mob to sleep for 12 seconds. Upon waking, the mob takes X damage over 12 seconds. Great way to interrupt a caster or short CC an add. Due to the DoT the mob will not be able to be re-CCed unless Scorpid Sting is applied after the mob breaks the sleep effect.
The Hunter Shot Cycle
At level 50, Hunters learn Steady Shot. Upon learning this shot, the Hunter's shot rotation will change drastically. Steady Shot has a 2 second cast timer, and certain weapon speeds will be optimal for hunter specs: Beast Master hunters desire fast weapons because of Serpent's Swiftness (they want to have a speed of 1.6) and Marksman/Survival hunters want slightly slow weapons.
At lower levels, the Hunter's shot rotation centered around Arcane Shot
- Arcane Shot is instant attack, but it has a 6 second cooldown (5 seconds with talents).
- Steady Shot takes 2 sec to cast but has no cooldown.
This means that a new rotation is possible. For example, if a hunter uses a ranged weapon with 1.6 sec attack speed:
- Hunter casts auto shot.(1.6)
- Hunter casts Steady Shot.(1.5)
- Auto shot is ready.(1.6)
So your auto shot comes 0.1 sec after your steady shot.
Now imagine that the Hunter uses ranged weapon with a 3 sec attack speed:
- Hunter casts auto shot.
- Hunter casts Steady Shot.
- Hunter casts Steady Shot.
- Auto shot is ready.
These examples assume that there is no lag and the Hunter has perfect reflexes; in reality, a Hunter will not likely be able to cast two Steady Shots between an auto shot using a 3.0 weapon.
Some Hunters choose Arcane Shot over Steady Shot because Arcane Shot is not affected by armor. However, the way to maximize DPS is to work up a shot rotation. For a BM hunter, the rotation is typically 1:1. This means one Steady Shot per auto shot. For Marksman/Survival hunters, the rotation depends on the speed of the weapon. Their rotations typically include Arcane Shot as well as Steady Shot.
Hunters are an interesting class because of how they do damage. They are the only class that can efficiently use ranged weapons, yet are forced into melee quite often until taming a pet at level 10. Common wisdom is that Hunters should never melee. For the most part this is true; Hunters will do far less damage in melee and can be a liability to parties. However, it is important to keep melee weapon skills high for a couple of skills:
If you PvP a lot, weapon skills should be capped. This will ensure that Wing Clips hit as often as possible. Also, if you're rooted in melee, you can get off a couple of Raptor Strikes before escaping.
Another consideration is the Defense skill. A competent hunter can keep mobs at range nearly all of the time. This keeps the hunter from being hit by melee attacks, but also keeps his Defense skill from increasing. If the Hunter's Defense falls too far behind, mobs will always crit him.
The important thing to remember is to not melee while in instances unless absolutely necessary. Your group invited you to DPS, not skill up polearms.
Since a few patches ago, the minimum range of ranged weapons has been reduced to equal the maximum melee range, thus removing the "dead zone". This has made it possible to perform a movement that alternates melee and ranged attacks increasing the DPS while conserving your mana in very short-range fights. This movement has been called by some the "hunter dance". This hunter dance is well known as a good way to skill up any weapon skill, as you're getting as many weapon swings while still killing mobs faster, ie rendering your skilling more useful.
NON AGGRO DANCE:
This is the easiest and basic version, and is performed when the targeted mob is attacking someone else.
Basically, the hunter stays at the limit between ranged and melee zones and steps in and out to alternate the two kinds of attack. Since the two weapons are independent the hunter can use them both at the same time: this means that while your auto shot is loading its next shot you will be able to step forward, start an auto-swing, and step backwards into ranged zone. Just shoot your auto-shot and as soon as you hear the bow's/gun's sound step forward into melee range, then as soon as the swing animation starts step back again. This is possible since you only need to be in melee range for a split-second to deliver your auto swing, even if you're already out of range when you actually see the swing animation.
This is the harder but more useful version of the dance. When a non-caster mob is attacking you, either because you got the aggro over your pet, or your pet's dead or otherwise occupied, it will be the enemy to try and come within melee range. In this situation you will only step backwards to get in the ranged zone, and the enemy himself will follow you to get your auto swing.
The mob must be constantly wing-clipped or otherwise slowed down, since you'll usually need more than a step backwards to be able to auto-shoot; freezing trap or serpent's venom should also work fine. While aggro-dancing you'll wanto to use the aspect of the monkey and be ready to mongoose bite.
When dancing instant shoots can be used, while raptor strike is to be avoided for it is possible to toggle it after the auto swing, thus stopping all other attacks until it has triggered. No need to say that the dance is useless against most bosses that have special attacks which will make you prefer to fight from as far as possible.
The best choice would be to have such ranged and melee weapons that their final attack speed is equal: e.g. if the final speed (modified by quiver and talents) of your bow/gun is 2.4s you would get the best results using a melee weapon with the same speed, which would result in alternate attacks at a rate of roughly 1.2s. If the speeds of your weapons are different you would have to wait for the slower one to activate, slowing down the other one's cycle.
Actually as a BM hunter with RAspeed about 2s and a slow 2Hweapon (more than 3s) the difference in speed is so high that dps is better if i use 2 shots between each melee attack, and this can only be performed in the non-aggro version. If you can get a feeling with the dance and want to use it at high levels you may want to use 1-h weapons instead.
Dual Wielding vs Two Handed Weapons
There are arguments for both. The damage output is pretty similar overall due to the miss rate of the offhand of a dual wielder.
Dual Wielding for a hunter can be considered foolish because most people advise that hunters stay out of melee combat. However, in PvP everyone knows that the hunter's greatest ability is his ranged attacks; Kiting can be difficult for a hunter because the opponent will try to close range. In skirmishes involving multiple opponents it can be difficult to use and Freeze Traps because your allies may not expect your attempt at crowd control and use DoTs or AoE abilities that will break the trap.
Dual wielding weapons may make you more efficient in melee combat because you are dealing damage more quickly. This can be effective in delaying casting time. Another perk of dual wielding is that you can get two enchants. The main concern is the inherent miss chance of dual wielding.
It could arguably be good to have two weapons with melee bonuses when forced out of range. For example, the has a damage proc. When rooted in melee, the Hunter could switch weapons and use a melee-centric set until he has gotten back into range. This is a viable tactic since weapons and shields are the only equipment that you can change when you are in combat.
Two Handed Weapon
The biggest argument for a hunter to use a two handed weapon in PvP is that Raptor Strike is based on weapon damage. At only 2 talent points into the survival talent tree you can buff your chance to crit with Raptor Strike and Mongoose Bite by 20% which makes it fairly potent. If you are skilled at kiting you will usually only use Raptor Strike and Wing Clip as players find their way to you. The point of kiting players in PvP is to only get in one melee hit before retreating to range again. This means that it would be better to have a weapon that hits harder, even if it is much slower.
Throughout most of the game, it is better to use a two-handed weapon. They're cheaper both to purchase and to enchant, and also typically have stats more useful to hunters. One-handed weapons often have stats that favor rogues over hunters. This is especially true end game, as nearly all hunter melee weapons are two-handed.
Pet combat tactics
There are as many schools of thought about this subject as there are Hunters. Some say send the pet to initiate the pull and the fight. Some contend that it's best if the Hunter initiates the fight with a sting or concussive shot. Experiment until you find a method that works for your play style and use that as your unique way of dealing with Azeroth's enemies.
The main thought to keep in mind here is that you need to keep your pet fed, healthy and happy. The more your pets' happiness drops, the less effective they are in combat. If your pet participates in a kill, it gains happiness. If it dies, it loses happiness. Happiness also decays over time, so simply standing around with a pet doing nothing loses happiness as well.
You also need to ensure that you've taught your pet every ability you have at your disposal that its pet-class can use. If you haven't learned all the available pet abilities, go to the nearest pet trainer and see if they have any available for you to learn. Then stable your current pet and tame a pet that has the abilities you're missing. Take the new pet out fighting, and after a few battles you will receive a message in your General Log indicating you've learned a new skill, for example, Prowl Rank 3 or Bite Rank 6. Abandon the new pet, unstable your main pet and teach them the new abilities using his available training points. This is no longer necessary after WotLK. All pets will learn new abilities at the appropriate level.
If you follow these simple guidelines, your pet should always be combat-ready. So go out and find a mob and repeat the strategies and tactics that work for you!
Managing your Pet
Extreme care should be used when using Aggressive as your pet will automatically attack any enemies within close range of it. This can result in your pet initiating fights continuously in busy areas before you've had a chance to stop and recover from a previous fight. Using this setting in a party will quickly result in unpopularity as your pet keeps the fight going before the group can recover from a difficult encounter. Most hunters would not use Aggressive very often, if at all! Aggressive stance is best used for:
- Detecting and reacting to stealthed or prowling enemies quickly. An aggressive pet will turn and face any stealthed players it detects. An aggressive pet will begin attacking a stealther at any provocation.
- Fighting large groups of enemy players or mobs. An aggressive pet uses a threat list just like any other monster and will focus on whoever is creating the most aggro (usually due to damage dealt to you or your party, but possibly from threat abilities), using your pet as a main assist is an easy way to prioritize targets. Be careful in battle grounds though, as this makes your pet susceptible to Stoneclaw Totem and other taunt abilities like the growls of other hunters' pets! An aggressive pet may not do what you tell it to if something else catches its attention.
- Fighting in confined spaces, for example defending a Tower or Bunker in a Battleground. Knowing that your pet will auto attack any intruder gives you one less thing to concentrate on when fighting in small areas. With Track Humanoids you should know when an enemy player is approaching, but any time saved in the heat of battle can be invaluable.
Defensive is useful when soloing but can also be dangerous, particularly when fighting against ranged enemies. With this setting your pet will attack anything that attacks you first. You should be careful about using this setting in a party as there are often situations where it is better to pick off a ranged attacker from range than to run to it and risk bringing more enemies. A pet chasing down ranged attackers can often draw many more enemies into a fight and quickly lead to the deaths of the whole party!
On non-PvP realms, if you are attacked, and your pet is on defensive, any actions your pet takes without your command do not result in PvP-flagging. It will result in the "area is under attack" messages that are automatically generated by the server, usually bringing members of the opposing faction running, but they will be unable to attack you. If you tell your pet to attack, even if you do not take action against the guards, it WILL flag you, but the defensive response of a pet in defensive mode will not.
Passive is a safe setting and probably wisest to use while grouping, especially in a dungeon setting. Your pet will not attack anything unless you instruct it to. Even if you or it are attacked it will not fight back. It might sound annoying to have to tell your pet to defend you but it means you have total control over where your pet is and can prevent it from initiating fights you don't want to get into.
Hunters which have the Bestial Discipline and/or Go For The Throat talents will find that their pet generates much more focus than it can use with Growl alone. It is highly recommended, therefore, to train the pet with extra abilities that can be used to turn that extra focus into more DPS. The best abilities for this purpose are those with low/no cooldown, and which can therefore be spammed by the pet. These abilities are often referred to as 'focus dumps', and include Claw, Gore, Scorpid Poison and Screech.
The main pets able to keep their focus low are cats, ravagers, boars, bears, windserpents, scorpids. This all depends on your crit chance however.
- Watch your pet. Your pet should almost always be set on Passive mode. Growl's autocast should be turned off, and if you have a boar, Charge's autocast generally should be as well, since the skill is bugged and will break Crowd Control if present.
- The biggest dangers a pet can pose is when chasing after runners (make sure you call your pet back when a mob begins to run) and when jumping off of cliffs. When you jump off a cliff or a ledge, your pet will take the long way and will trigger every mob on the way and bring it to you and your group (note that this only applies when you drop onto a ledge accessible by another route; in the case of a ledge only accessible by dropping from above, the pet will drop down with you). When you need to jump off a ledge, either dismiss your pet or use Eyes of the Beast to force your pet to jump off. Better yet, put your pet on stay and move forward yourself, calling your pet again once it is out of range. This allows you to avoid the happiness penalty normally incurred by using the Dismiss spell. Let your group know that you will be watching your pet.
- Hunters have caused groups to wipe through poor pet management, so they will be frequently asked to put their pets away. As long as you are able to control your pet, use it and assure your party that you WILL be watching it closely. If you're uncertain whether you can manage it or not, it might be best to put him away.
- In pre-wipe situations, a Hunter is expendable, whereas the healer most especially, and preferably the main tank, are not. What this means is that you should have no hesitation about dying if, by doing so, you can keep a healer alive.
- A Hunter's equipment generally also costs far less to repair than that of plate wearers. For plate wearers, this cost is a powerful incentive against tanking. Although you should by no means do this when things are going well, if the tank is having to deal with multiple mobs, and his health bar indicates that he is about to die, don't be afraid to use Distracting Shot to pull one of them onto yourself, but make sure it stays on you. The healer can always resurrect you afterwards, and it may just give the tank the few seconds he needs to survive, and avoid further increase to his repair bill.
- Oftentimes there is great contention over what items a Hunter is allowed to roll on. It might very well save a lot of headache if you confirm the loot rules before you start adventuring. Otherwise you may find that the one piece of equipment you've been searching for and find yourself denied on rolling for it. As a general rule of thumb, in addition to your ranged weapon of choice, daggers and polearms are the only two melee weapons a Hunter should roll on. An occasional exception is the axe class, but be wary.
- If your party is engaged with multiple mobs, it's useful to make sure all mobs which are not currently polymorphed, or crowd controlled in some other way, have active Serpent Stings on them. The additional damage adds up very quickly.
- Remember to "assist" the Rogue or other damage dealer, if you have one in your group, to ensure you focus your party's firepower on one mob. You can do this by selecting the damage dealer (use the F1-F5 keys to target group members) and then pressing "F". This way, mobs will die faster because everyone is concentrating their firepower on a minimum of targets. Whatever you do, do not assist the tank (Unless said tank is a Paladin. Due to the reflective nature of the majority of their threat, they will rarely, if ever, need to swap targets to hold aggro). A Warrior and Druid tank must do a lot of target switching in order to hit all the mobs he is tanking. If a Warrior or Druid tank is being assisted, it will most likely result in everybody attacking a different mob.
- Sometimes it is more efficient and expedient for one of the crowd-control classes to root, or otherwise slow down an add's ability to reach the group until tanks are free to deal with it. An assisting tank or other designated group member may be assigned the task of handling adds while the majority of the group continues to follow the MA and cut down the main target(s).
- If you don't have a pure tank in the group, agree amongst yourselves who to assist and follow the procedure above to insure that everyone correctly assists that character. Although assist may not seem all that important as a concept at low levels, it's an important habit to train oneself in for later levels, some of which are going to be tough to get through solo.
- Explain to your group that you use mana. Direct them to Thottbot if needed. It's absurd how many other players assume Hunters do not use mana and refuse to give them buffs like Arcane Intellect, give them water, or even allow them time to drink. If you are low on mana but don't have time to type it out in Party Chat, type "/oom" to announce it like any other emote.
Altrought Hunters-are-mana-class is very basics of the game, so group members who dont know that are often laughted out of the group. Hunter's mana bar indicates clearly that s/he uses mana.
Hunter's Role in a group
The Hunter as a Puller
It is debated whether or not Hunters truly pull better than other classes. Many people would disagree and would rather have their Warriors pull so the Warrior can obtain aggro and generate rage. The counterargument is that hunters can employ completely different tactics when pulling than any other class, including an extremely high chance of completely aborting a bad pull. If used properly, this can create a Perfect Zone of Ultimate Safety that completely protects the rest of the party from bad pulls 100% of the time. Hunters can, of course, pull using the same tactics that warriors and other classes are forced to use, but other classes cannot pull using the same tactics a hunter can.
The Misdirection spell, added in The Burning Crusade, allowed pulling as a hunter to become more common, simply because of the longer range when compared to a tanking character. Misdirection effectively puts all the threat generated from the shot fired after applying the spell on the target of the spell. Misdirection is good when used in combination with Aimed shot but even better when used in combination with Multishot when pulling a group of mobs.
When the hunter is given a long enough distance (as in the bridge between Drakk's room and the room before it in UBRS) the hunter can leave mobs behind from clusters. The Hunter lays down his trap where the mobs will run, and opens with Wyvern Sting. When the hunter reaches the warrior, the warrior should charge the mobs that were running free. When the Warrior enters combat, the hunter feigns death. The wyvern stung mob and the ice trapped mob will be too far to aggro onto the warrior, and they will return to their original spots. This means that out of a group of 5 targets, the group only has to fight 3. At this point, the Warrior can either hold every mob, or one of the three can be placed under crowd control. I've done this (in UBRS). -Veldren
The Hunter as an Off Tank / Aggro Manager
In this role, it is the Hunter's responsibility is to essentially protect your casters. This can be done in multiple ways
- Laying a trap between the mob and the caster
- Using Distracting Shot and your pet's Growl to steal aggro from the caster
- Make certain to remind your party members that if they need a Hunter's help that they should not run towards you. Hunters are weaker at close range, and running right at us forces us to use our limited melee skills.
- Let your party members know that Hunters can pull aggro off of them, but we frequently do so via our pets. If they're running (towards, away, across, whichever), our pet might not be able to catch up with the mob to grab aggro.
The Hunter as Sustained DPS
The Hunter is one of the premiere DPS classes in World of Warcraft. With proper shot rotation and spec, you will top damage charts along with your mage and rogue peers.
Shot rotation is the process of rotating between a set of predetermined shots and stings. It also requires you to not only respect your mana consumption, but the five second spirit rule (your mana will not start to regenerate until five seconds after your last use of mana). This is why it's suggested to shoot all of your shots off in bursts, rather than throughout a fight. Here is my shot rotation setup:
- Apply Hunter's Mark
- Simultaneously begin Steady Shot and send in my pet. If timed correctly growl and the shot will hit at exactly the same time. If Steady Shot doesn't crit, growl will hold aggro.
- Sting (depending on the situation)
- Aimed Shot
- Arcane Shot
If the mob isn't finished off by this time, I'll just leave on autoshot until it's dead. If they begin to run, I'd suggest a Concussive Shot to slow them down while your pet eats them alive.
Dungeons and solo grinding require a bit different shot rotation. Generally they are the same, but I may shoot off two rotations granted the mobs have more health and armor. Multishot is a very situational shot. Before I consider using multishot, I run this checklist through my head: Is there a possible add I may pull? Is there currently a mob sapped, frozen, or polymorphed? Does the tank have aggro for all possible mobs (also if the OT has aggro)? Use multishot wisely.
The Hunter as Crowd Control
Your job in this role is to take adds out of the combat for a while. You can do this by utilizing Freezing Trap. Freezing Trap can be used for this purpose to take a mob out of combat for at least 15 seconds, with a maximum of 20 seconds per trap. With the Clever Traps talent Freezing Trap can be as viable at crowd control as a mage's Polymorph, taking a mob out of combat for up to 26 seconds. The cooldown since Burning Crusade has since decreased and can be used in combat, much to the boon of Hunters everywhere. A trap can be laid, then once the trap has sufficiently cooled down, the hunter can place another, effectively chain-trapping a mob. Hunters can also learn the talent-ability Wyvern Sting to sleep any non elemental (targets that are immune to ice trap are also immune to Wyvern Sting) targets for 12 seconds, then causing mid-level nature damage once released.
Since The Burning Crusade, Hunters have become one of the most versatile Crowd Controllers in the game. Armed with Wyvern Sting, a hunter can trap one mob, fear one beast, and sleep one humanoid, while pet-tanking one more -- all at the same time. A chain-trapping Survival Hunter with Readiness is also capable of freeze trapping a total of three mobs simultaneously.
The Hunter as Pseudo Wipe Recovery
Hunters as a class have no resurrection ability. However, there are three Engineering devices available that have the possibility to resurrect another party member out of combat: Goblin Jumper Cables (requires Engineering 165) and Goblin Jumper Cables XL (requires Engineering 265) and Gnomish Army Knife (requires Grand Master engineering.
The Hunter in question must have the appropriate level of Engineering skill, and must Feign Death in a safe location in anticipation of a party wipe. If your feigh death is on cooldown, Gnomish Cloaking Device may come in handy. Once out of combat (s)he may approach the corpse of a resurrecting class and use the cables. Both cables share a 30min cooldown and a low success rate (the XL cables work 50% of the time, the other is close to 33%).
The cables are not soulbound and may be passed to another player who has the appropriate level of engineering skill and who has not used the cables in the last 30 minutes.
It should be noted that:
If you happen to party with multiple Hunters make sure each of you knows which Sting to use. Each Hunter can have only one Sting active on the mob at a time. If you have two Hunters, that's two Stings that can be on the mob. Ask your fellow Hunter to cast one Sting while you cast the other. Both Hunters should fight away from each other so if the mob attacks one of you, the other Hunter can still fire from range.
Multiple Hunters of different talent specialisations also synergise extremely well. Have a Beast Mastery Hunter in your group focus exclusively on ranged damage, which is Beast Mastery's forte, while a Survival Hunter could be the dedicated crowd controller for a group, as Survival's damage output is not as strong as that of Beast Mastery, but it's crowd control options are among the most effective in the game. Marksmanship's specialty is extremely high powered burst damage over short periods, but it is not sustainable over time, due to that tree's mana efficiency issues.
Multiple Hunters can stack stings on an individual target with a few limitations. Get to know your stings and in what situation to best use them.
A combination of different stings will stack together however, with the exception of Serpent Sting, the effect of more than one sting of the same type will not stack.
Use common sense to work with other hunters for maximum effect. If there are two hunters, designate one hunter to stick to Serpent sting and the other to choose between Scorpid Sting , Viper Sting or Serpent Sting based on the mob being attacked.
Hunters are great at dealing damage to mobs that try to run from the fight. Mob flight is a major concern because fleeing mobs may call friends to come help them with the fight. You can simply shoot a fleeing mob (their HPs are so low one or two shots will probably finish them off) or hit it with Concussive Shot to slow it down. If the DoT effect of the Stings and all the rest hasn't killed them by now, Wing Clip them and keep them from running away.
It has been stated that hunter’s pets aggro adds if they pursue a fleeing mob. This is incorrect. As most mobs in instanced dungeons are social it is the fleeing mobs that bring the adds. Not the hunter’s pet.
I've heard rumors that letting your pet initiate the fight will reduce the experience received when the mob is defeated, I will test this when I get a chance, but does anyone else have an answer to this?
- Attacking a mob with your pet will tag the mob as yours after a certain amount of damage, but if you do not help your pet at all you will not gain experience from the kill and you will not be allowed to loot the corpse. Any damage that the player does to the mob prior to its death will yield the player experience, honor, and/or reputation. It should be noted that when grouped - at least in dungeons - pets that kill targets without any assistance from the hunter still yield loot and experience if any player in the group tags the mob. If the pet kills the mob all by itself it still won't yield loot or experience.
- Unassisted pet kills will not yield any reputation gains associated with the mob.
- If you assist someone and use your pet, either growl or the pet itself will drastically reduce the experience they receive from the kill.
What are the most important attributes for a hunter?
- Agility, Critical Strike Bonus, Intellect, Attack Power Bonus, Stamina (not necessarily in that order, depending on your spec).
- In the early game, the two stats of primary importance are Agility and Stamina. Hunter items with Intellect, Attack Power, and Critical Strike chance will generally not be seen before the Hunter reaches Outland at around level 60.
- Intellect has become a more favoured stat for hunters with the coming of Wrath of the Lich King. The talent Careful Aim, which used to be a top end Marksman talent, has become available for all specs. It has taken a place in the second tier of the Marksman tree and as such has become an essential talent. Careful Aim gives you a percentage of your Intellect as Attack Power. 1/3 gives 33% of your Intellect as Attack Power. 2/3 gives 66% of your Intellect as Attack Power and 3/3 gives 100% of your Intellect as Attack Power. Because of this change a lot more gear choices have become available and Intellect does become worth it. Not only does it give a bigger mana pool which is required for raiding, it also gives attack power.
- Do not itemise for Strength at all, as this stat does virtually nothing for a Hunter. Each point of Strength grants one point of melee Attack Power only, and nothing else. Also, although marginally useful for mana regeneration, Spirit also should not be sought on items as a priority, as it will consume space far better allocated to Agility.
- Hit Rating: There is some confusion amongst new hunters or people that don't know the class very well. They seem to think that Hit Rating is a wasted stat and that they barely ever miss without being hit capped. This is however a misconception. Being hit capped should be the most important thing to achieve if you're planning to start raiding. Hunters use a 2-roll system. Meaning that the game "rolls two dice" each shot you fire. First one roll to determine wether your shot is a hit or a miss. Then a roll to determine wheter your shot is a crit or a normal hit. Previously it was assumed that hunters only used a 1-roll system. Because hunters use a 2-roll system not being hit capped effectively lowers your chance to critically hit shots. Less hits = less chance for crits. With a 1-roll system that isn't the case, thus the confusion. Hunters need 32.8 hit rating for 1% to hit at level 80. The new hit cap is 8% rather than the 9% it was before.
1. Both Hunter and pet require +8% Chance to Hit to never miss* against raid bosses (Level 83). 0% Chance to Hit gained from talents/Draenei racial: 263 Hit Rating. 1% Chance to Hit gained from talents/Draenei racial: 230 Hit Rating. 2% Chance to Hit gained from talents/Draenei racial: 197 Hit Rating. 3% Chance to Hit gained from talents/Draenei racial: 164 Hit Rating. 4% Chance to Hit gained from talents/Draenei racial: 132 Hit Rating.
- Excluding special circumstances, e.g. being afflicted by a debuff reducing your Chance to Hit.
2. Focused Aim does not affect pet Chance to Hit. Even with 3/3 Focused Aim, your pet will still miss if you have less than 263 Hit Rating (230 with Draenei racial).
3. Hunter Chance to Hit from gear transfers rounded down to pet. If you have 262 Hit Rating (7.99% Chance to Hit) or 230 Hit Rating (7.0% Chance to Hit), your pet will have 7.0% Chance To Hit in both cases..
- Agility (AGI) Is the best friend of a Hunter. Each point of Agility leads to one attack power, a small boost to armor, and a decent boost to critical strike rating.
- Stamina (STA) The favorite of PvP Hunters. Each point of Stamina leads to ten health, a decent boost since at high level much gear has at least 10 to 20 stamina for hunters. Stamina is also important for Survival Hunters, but care must be taken to avoid focusing on it too much. There is a tradeoff in World of Warcraft between health and damage, and a Hunter who over-emphasises Stamina will find that they often cannot do enough damage. In the high-end game 7000 or 8000 hp for PvE will generally be enough, as a Hunter ideally should not be taking large amounts of damage; that is the tank's job.
- Intellect (INT) Has become a lot more important with the coming of Wrath of the Lich King . Careful Aim now being a lower tier talent in the Marksman tree makes it available for all specs and converts 100% of the Intellect to Attack Power.
- Spirit (SPI)This is a very important stat for hunters. It speeds up our mana regen, you should always try to look for items with a lot of spirit. Else you'll run OOM very quickly.
- Critical Rating: Increases your critical strike chance. At level 70 22.08 Critical Strike Rating was needed for 1% critical strike chance. At level 80 ~45.9 critical strike
rating is needed for 1% critical strike chance.
- Attack Power (or Ranged Attack Power)
- Haste Rating
- Armor Penetration
Dps of your ranged weapon!
- Sounds trivial, but do not forget the dps of your ranged weapon is the main determinant of your damage output! No matter how much agility, attack power or critical rating you have stacked, if you are still using a low level ranged weapon with low dps, your real damage output will be terrible. This is especially important for someone who are leveling up: you do not really need to care too much about the level of the other gear during leveling, but you should always make sure your ranged weapon is not already 10 level lower than yourself!
- Hunter: Working with Other Classes
- Hunter: PVP Tactics
- Hunter: Tips and Techniques (also known as The Hunter's bag of dirty tricks)