Gearing Up the Hunter
Armor Plated Combat Shotgun Binds when picked up Ranged Gun 181 - 337 Damage, Speed...
For the first twenty levels you can get by pretty good on standard and green gear, but you will want to start looking for rare and epic items as you level up. Dungeon instances are your best resource for finding these items. You can sometimes find some pretty decent items in the auction house. Unfortunately, you have to be one of the Azeroth rich to afford most of them. For the most part, unless you really have the gold to waste, you will want to avoid buying rare and epic gear on the auction house and pursue them in the dungeons.
As a Hunter, you will want to start gearing up with equipment that will enhance your stats for your preferred talent build. Agility, and stamina should be your key focus. However, certain builds may have you focus on one more so than the other to support your chosent talent build at times. For example, a Beastmaster will want to focus on beefing up their armor and agility, as gear the Hunter wears also enhances their pet's armor. The same goes for stamina. A piece of gear that increases your stamina also increases your pet's and thus adds those valuable hitpoints. On the other hand, a Marksman will want to focus on buffing up their agility, stamina, and intelligence to aid in dishing out damage, increasing mana, and survivability. For the most part all Hunters use these four basic stats. Your build will dictate where you should focus.
Before you start to gear up your Hunter you should know exactly what will benefit you. After all, spending 10 gold on a strength based breastplate would be a waste of money. For a Warrior that would be a finely tuned instrument of destruction. For the Hunter it makes a nice suit to be buried in. So always know your stats before shopping around for gear.
- Strength - As the Hunter increases his strength he gains an attack power bonus to melee. Unfortunately, this doesn't really affect ranged damage so it isn't as useful as you might think. This is one of the least important stats for a Hunter. Unless of course, you're trying to spec a melee Hunter and in turn die a hideous death. Don't say I didn't warn you.
- Agility - This skill is great for increasing both the armor class and ranged attack power of the Hunter. As an extra bonus, this skill also increases the Hunter's chance to land a critical hit. This is perhaps the most valuable stat for beefing up your ranged attacks. Marksmen and Beastmasters will want to buff this stat up well.
- Stamina - Stamina is a big stat with all three schools, but it really aids with the Beastmaster where you need to boost your pet every way possible. Enhancing stamina will give both of you a needed boost in hitpoints. If you intend to do a lot of PvP fighting you will want to boost this up so that you don't end up taking a dirt nap at the beginning of a fight. Hunters deal good damage, but they don't take a beating very well.
- Intellect - Intellect can be used for all three schools for its mana increase, but it's a major one for the Marksman as you need a high mana pool to dish out all the attacks you'll be using for damage. There are also talents available that will increase your damage output by a percentage of your Intellect. Depending on how you spec you may want to boost this a bit more for that alone.
- Spirit - This may be the least used stat of your basic six. While extra natural regeneration is nice, it only takes effect outside of combat. This means that a good supply of food can serve about the same purpose, but a little extra through stats never hurt. Just don't expect this to be high on your list of priorities.
- Armor - If you're looking to boost your defense then armor is one key stat you will want to boost. Beastmasters will need to boost this stat up as it also increases their pet's armor.
For the first 40 levels you will wear leather armor, but once you reach level 40 you can acquire the ability to wear mail through your trainer. This opens up a lot of new options for enhancing your stats and defenses. Unless you spec for melee combat (which in my opinion is a waste of time) the difference between dual wielding and using a two-hander is more of a flavor thing than anything else. For the most part you should focus your resources in building up your ranged, traps, and pet features. These are the real bread and butter of a hunter.
When selecting a melee weapon you will need something to beat back enemies if they get too close or if you're foolish enough to run out of ammo. You can opt for the two-handers to attack with big swings and deal a fair amount of damage at the cost of attack speed, or you can go with the dual wield option. If you decide to dual wield I suggest you grab two decent attack speed weapons with fair stats and damage. You can find some decent weapons on the auction house most of the time, but anything above green will usually end up costing you way more than it is worth.
You can save yourself some coin by opting to use green items until around level 40. This will be perfectly sufficient for both groups and solo play, unless you intend to take part in a lot of PvP matches. If that's your choice you may want to work on trying to find some good blues early. The best place to look for gear like this is first and foremost the Auction House. The downside is that anything blue or purple on the auction house is insanely expensive. On my server there is one level 80 purple Armor Plated Combat Shotgun being sold as I write this costing over 2000 gold. So unless you're rolling in mountains of gold you will want to rely on dungeon runs, PvP and Honor merchants, and raids to gain better equipment.
DPS is going to be an important part of your Hunter so making sure you grab ranged weapons with good DPS, and if possible, some kind of nice proc effect is going to be the way to go. Once you reach level 29 I suggest you start looking around for some of the better Hunter guns (or bows) at that level. One gun I opted to use was called the Ironweaver. It's a rare gun that will last you a while. I grabbed mine off the auction house for 10 gold at the time, but they can also be found as world drops from certain level 30 mobs. They don't have any kind of special effect, but they do have decent DPS and a fairly fast attack speed for its level (2.60). This is by no means the best weapon out there, but it is one of many options you can track down as you level up your Hunter.