Main Page | Hunter Basics

Looking to find a bare basics guide to the Hunter class? Need that extra little boost of information to make sure you have a good start in becoming an excellent Hunter? Look no further than this basics page which will prove to be an excellent place to get started. Once you’ve gathered all the information you can here head on over to the other informativeon Hunter sections to answer more specific questions. Also be sure to check out our Hunter forums to get real input from other Hunters!

Getting off to a Good Start 

The first thing to consider before deciding to play the Hunter class is if it is the right class for you. Playing a class you don’t enjoy is not something anyone should do. The best way to decide if this is the class you want to play is to first look over what exactly the class does and see if sparks your interest. Here is a brief listing of what the Hunter class is all about:

  • Hunters use their bow, gun, or crossbow to deal the majority of their damage. They have several ranged skills that allow them to deal massive attacks.
  • Hunters can tame pets that go into combat with them. The pets can learn various skills and become formidable fighters.
  • Hunters carry a great deal of survival utility. They can track various types of enemies, lay devastating (and often times disabling) traps for enemies to run across, and even apply helpful auras to themselves and their groups.
  • Melee is a major downside for the Hunter. While Hunters can perform well in melee range with their swords, axes, or spears, they can’t really deal as much damage as they can from ranged.
  • Hunters can overcome their lack of melee offensive power with their defensive “aspects” and their pets. Their pets can easily tank enemies of their level while the Hunter stands back and deals massive damage from range.

If you are still not sure the class is for you a test run may be in order. Make a Hunter and start leveling, you should know if you are going to enjoy the class or not by the time you reach level 20.

The Races of World of Warcraft (Choosing Your Race)

So, now that you’ve decided to join the ranks of Hunters and you are determined to start with the right foot forward. The first big decision you will find yourself making is what race you will play. Race is a very important decision for any class and it‘s no different for the Hunter. While race selection for the Hunter won’t change your play style dramatically, how you feel about the race you choose could affect how much you enjoy playing your Hunter.

Picking a race is never easy, and there are a lot of good choices that can be made. Remember, it is your character and you will probably be spending tons of time playing it so be sure to be happy with your choice. If you find Trolls more visually appealing than Orcs then by all means pick the Troll. Who wants to stare at something they find horrid for hours on end? To aid you on your race choosing journey here is a list of the benefits each race provides:


Night Elf: Quickness reduces the chance that melee and ranged attackers will hit you. Night Elves also have the ability to stealth using Shadowmeld which can prove useful in a tight spot. Night Elves also possess extra Nature Resistance and as we all know extra resistance of any kind is never a bad thing.

Dwarf: Choosing the Dwarf race will provide you with Gun Specialization which increases your chance to critically hit with Guns, a very good choice for a Hunter unless you prefer Bows and Crossbows. Stoneform is useful for getting rid of poisons, diseases, and bleeding effects and it also increases your armor for a short time by 10%.

Draenei (Burning Crusade): The Gift of the Naaru will provide the Hunter with the ability to heal themselves or another target over 15 seconds, this ability could provide the small difference between life and death for you or your pet. Heroic Presence is very useful as it increases the Hunters chance to hit with all spells and attacks. Draenei also have extra Shadow Resistance and as mentioned before extra resistance is never ever a bad thing.


Tauren: The mighty Tauren get an increase in their base health with Endurance, providing any potential Hunter with a little bit of wiggle room before death befalls them. The Tauren's War Stomp is extremely helpful when attempting to escape back to where you can fire your ranged weapon. Tauren also have an extra resistance to Nature spells.

Troll: Berserking increases your attack speed by 20% and can very useful in increasing your DPS. Trolls also have the classic ability of Regeneration which increases the players Health regeneration rate in and out of combat. Trolls are also provided with Bow Specialization which increases your chance to critically hit with Bows. This ability can be very useful to Hunters for very obvious reasons. Finally for those who love PvP, Da Voodoo Shuffle, reduces the duration of all movement impairing effects.

Orc: While Hunters should avoid melee at all costs sometimes it can't be avoided of so the Orc's Axe Specialization which increases the players Expertise with Fist Weapons, Axes, and Two-Handed Axes can prove to be somewhat useful in a pinch. Blood Fury is similar, increasing the players attack power for a short period of time, this ability would be best used while soloing and forced to melee. More useful to Hunters is the Orcs Command ability which increases the damage dealt by the players trusty pet. Orcs also have Hardiness which reduces the duration of Stun effects and can prove useful especially in PvP.

Blood Elves (Burning Crusade): Arcane Torrent can be helpful in regaining mana and silencing any nearby enemies. The additional magic resistance given to Blood Elves is also good stuff.

Work, Work! (Picking a Profession)

Each profession can bring different benefits to you. With the introduction of Wrath of the Lich King these benefits have increased even further. Below is a list of Professions that can be most helpful to the Hunter. Use them as you see fit.

Leatherworking: Gives you a discount on making your Leg Reinforcements, and also offers you Fur Lining which gives you a more powerful Bracer Enchant.

Skinning: Gives the player Master of Anatomy which offers a passive bonus to your critical strike rating

Jewelcrafting: Jewelcrafter only gems which give you that extra edge over everyone else. Not as powerful a profession as it used to be, but still beneficial.

Alchemy: Training in Alchemy automatically increases the effect and duration of any flask or elixir a player is able to make. A good one for players who want a little extra bonus and like to save money at the same time!

Blacksmithing: Provides 2 extra gem slots on wrists and hands.

Enchanting: Allows the player to enchant both rings. Assault is the current enchant of choice for a Hunter.

Inscription: Provides a special shoulder enchant that is slightly better than the one available through Sons of Hodir and saves you the nasty reputation grind.

You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out! (Ranged Weapons and Ammo)

Ranged weapons are essentially a Hunter's bread and butter. These weapons are equipped in the ranged weapon slot which is located at the bottom of the character information screen (press C to display) near the melee weapon slot. Previously, Hunters were forced to carry around large amounts of ammo of different types, lower DPS (and cheaper) ammo for general kills, and higher DPS more expensive ammo for things such as boss kills. Most Hunters even carried around a special bag called an ammo pouch or quiver for their stores of ammo. Only able to carry ammo, this bag caused Hunters to lose valuable bag space.
Blizzard finally took mercy on Hunters in Patch 4.0.1 and removed ammo completely from the game. Thus allowing Hunters to kill what they please when they please without worrying about their stores of ammo. This new change also frees up an entire bag of space which should be appreciated by Hunters everywhere.

Cats, Wasps, and Bears, Oh My! (Pets)

A Hunter's pet is truly his best friend and a valuable asset. Able to do damage, tank, and cause a diversion long enough for the Hunter to get away safely, the Hunter pet time and time again will prove to be invaluable. There is so much to say about Hunter pets that they get their own special section in the guide.

The basics though are that the Hunter is provided with a basic pet at level 1. From there the Hunter must keep that same pet until level 10 is reached. At level 10 the pet taming ability can be learned by visiting your local Hunter trainer. You will also gain access to other important abilities pertaining to your pet at this point including: Control Pet, Tame Beast, Feed Pet, Beast Lore, and Dismiss Pet.

Operation Track and Trap (The Basics of Tracking and Traps)


Hunters gain the ability to track their  enemies starting at level two (with Track Beasts). Each type of enemy (beast, humanoid,  undead, hidden, elementals, demons, giants, and dragons) can be tracked using a  different ability. When an ability is active you will see any of thatose type of  those creatures on the mini-map (both friend and foe). Track Hidden of course  will only show nearby stealthed creatures and players and increase your stealth  detection. The Tracking ability is useful in both PVE and PVP settings.


Traps allow you to place a hidden trap on  the ground that can only be activated by the enemy. When they travel on top of  the trap it’s activated and whatever effect the trap had is unleashed on them.  Unlike some MMORPGs, there is no need to purchase the traps. You only need the focus in order to use a trap. Traps are placed directly below you and are very handy to use when someone (or some thing) is chasing you. A more recent change allows you to drop one trap from each element. 

  • Here are the traps currently available to Hunters:
  • Freezing Trap: A frost trap that freezes the first enemy that approaches preventing all action for up to 20 seconds. Any damage caused will break the ice.
  • Immolation Trap: The first enemy that walks over this trap will take Fire damage over time.
  • Ice Trap: Places a frost trap that creates an ice slick around itself for 30 seconds when the first enemy approaches it. All enemies within 10 yards will be slowed by 50% while in the area of effect.
  • Explosive Trap: Places a fire trap that explodes when an enemy approaches causing Fire damage and burning all enemies within 10 yards for additional Fire damage over time.
  • Snake Trap: A nature trap that will release several venomous snakes to attack. The snakes will die after 15 seconds.

Hunter Mastery and You

With the introduction of 4.0.1 players will be asked to spec into one of the three Hunter Specializations; Beast Mastery, Marksmanship, or Survival. The Hunter will need to place at least 31 points in the tree before they will be allowed to place points in any of the other specializations. Once a specialization is chosen the Hunter will immediately gain access to some powerful bonuses. These bonuses are as follows:

Beast Mastery

Intimidation - Causes your pet to stun the target for 15 seconds and makes the enemy monster more likely to attack your pet than you.

Animal Handler - Attack Power is increased by 15%.

Mastery: Master of Beasts - Increase the damage done by your pets by 13%. Each point of Mastery increases pet damage by an additional 1.7%.


Aimed Shot - A powerful ranged cast time shot that deals a large amount of damage.

Artisan Quiver - Ranged auto-attack damage increased by 15%.

Mastery: Wild Quiver - Grants a 14% chance for your ranged attacks to also instantly fire an additional ranged shot for 100% normal damage. Each point of Mastery increases the chance by an additional 2%.


Explosive Shot - A powerful ranged attack that deals fire damage over 2 seconds.

Into the Wilderness - Agility increased by 15%.

Mastery: Essence of the Viper - Increases all elemental damage you deal by 8%. Each point of Mastery increases the elemental damage by an additional 1.0%.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.


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