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Hand me Downs: Hunter

June 5, 2010

Welcome to the second instalment of my 10 part series on how to best prepare for levelling a new character of a given class. This time, we look at the beast taming, gunslinging ranged DPS class, the Hunter! This guide will cover levelling specs, heirlooms and professions. It also assumes you have access to a level 80 character and a reasonable amount of gold.

Understanding a Hunter

Hunter is a pure ranged DPS class, with a permanent pet of your own choosing. All three talent trees are devoted to DPS, the first focuses on increasing the damage done by your pet and increasing the synergy with it, the second is a devastating focused dps tree, and the third is more of a DoT based PvP slanted setup. The recommended talent tree to level as is Beast Mastery, as Pets do a high amount of damage at the lower levels, and Beast mastery talents augment this nicely.


You should fill up the Beast Mastery tree before moving on to Marksmanship. Also, when purchasing Glyphs, you want to be using the Hunter’s Mark Glyph as soon as the slot opens up, and Serpent Sting Glyph next time you get a new major. The Steady Shot glyph should be saved till last, as you don’t train Steady shot until 50. When soloing, you should have your pet on defensive. Make sure to feed your pet with food it likes (you can find this out in the pets tab of your character pane) every time its happiness drops to yellow (the square on its portrait, if you use custom unitframes you may have to poke around to enable ‘Happiness’ or ‘Pet extras’ or something similar). You should have Aspect of the Hawk on whilst fighting, and Aspect of the Viper on for mana regeneration whilst out of combat. Aspect of the Cheetah/Pack is only acceptable when there are no nearby mobs, as being attacked whilst this is on causes a daze. Do not under any circumstances use Pack whilst fighting in a random dungeon, you will cause your group a lot of grief. Your basic rotation should look something like this:

Arcane Shot, Multi-shot/Aimed Shot (optional), Serpent Sting, Steady Shot

I noted the Aimed shot as optional. You wont pickup that talent till very last, and most likely will be respeccing to the far more raiding viable Marks/Survival at 80. However, Aimed shot is a good single target damager, and shares a cooldown with Multi-shot (activate one, put the other on CD.) Multi-shot does about twice the damage of Aimed shot on 3 targets. Be aware that this, whilst being nice free extra damage whilst fighting extra mobs, will break Crowd Controls. The idea with the rest is Arcane shot and Multi Shot whenever they are off cooldown, and Serpent sting whenever the DoT on the target falls off. Steady shot is the filler spell between these abilities, before 50 you will merely have to auto-shoot.

Hunters may also be called to use their Crowd Control abilities. These come in the form of magical traps. The most commonly used one is Freezing trap, which can be placed on the ground. The first enemy to step on the trap will be frozen in a block of ice, and unable to act until that expires. Damage will free the trapped target, and if you need to trap it for a long time, place a new trap at the base of the target when it’s close to expiring. Another trap used sometimes is Frost trap, which creates a slick of Ice on the terrain, slowing all enemies that cross it. It is a useful tool for controlling large pulls of melee, and both traps have many uses in PVP.

One of the main appealing things about Hunters is their access to pets. Pets are tamed at level 10 through a series of quests (I strongly advise you follow the entire quest chain, whilst it may look like you’ve finished and tamed a pet, a later quest in the series teaches you vital things such as feeding your pet and bringing it back to life.) You can have one pet with you constantly, and buy up to 5 stable slots from any Stable master. Visiting a stable master will allow you to swap pets. For a comprehensive database of pets that can be tamed, their abilities and talents, or just a search engine to find the pet that’s right for you, check out

Heirlooms & gearing for Hunters

Weapon: Balanced Heartseeker x2, both Enchanted with Enchant Weapon – Agility
Ranged Weapon: Charmed Ancient Bone Bow Enchanted with a Standard Scope
Shoulders: Champion Herod’s Shoulder
Chest: Champion’s Deathdealer Breastplate Enchanted with Enchant Chest – Greater Stats
Trinket: Swift Hand of Justice x2
The enchants are not vital, the main part you need is the Shoulders and the Chest for the experience bonus. The other items are just for optimum speed and levelling. You want to be looking out for preferably mail Gear with the following stats on it: Agility, Crit, Attack power.

Professions for Hunters

The main recommended profession for Hunters is Leatherworking – you will be able to craft lots of gear for yourself to wear, all the way from 1-80, and in Northrend levels you will be able to add Fur Linings to your bracers for insane boosts to Attack power, and very cheap leg enchants. Recommended Secondary profession is Skinning to support it, or Enchanting for the extra Attack power in Northrend, but that one is more up to you.


So there you have it! I hope this guide is most useful to you. Watch this space for the next class to be covered, and happy levelling!


5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2010 7:26 am

    Crai, to think I leveled 2 hunters to 80 before heirlooms or random dungeons so I’m not about to do another. Good guide though, I used the spec described above and it makes for the easiest leveling of all classes with just about zero downtime ever. Elites are a breeze too and you can just about solo anything that comes your way.

    Anyone know if heirlooms will work for 80-85 by the way?

    • Zal permalink*
      June 7, 2010 9:39 am

      Cheers 🙂 And there have been blues posts saying that heirlooms will most likely work in Cataclysm for 1-80 still but NOT for 80-85. However, Blizzard doesn’t always stick to their decisions.

  2. June 9, 2010 5:24 pm

    How handy! Soph links over here, and what do I find on the front page but a guide to leveling a BM hunter, just as I started leveling one?

    Excellent guide, thank you!

    • Zal permalink*
      June 9, 2010 5:35 pm

      😀 Cheers, glad it helps!


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