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Hunter Leveling Tips

Updated Thu, Jul 07, 2011 by Martuk

 

The Hunter is one World of Warcraft's tough guys. With their wide assortment of attacks and the added benefit of a pet, this class can handle most challenges they face. However, the Hunter isn't without its weaknesses. While they can solo better than most, the Hunter lacks the ability to go toe to toe with many enemies alone, making their pet a very needed asset in their battles. Every few levels you gain new skills with the Hunter. I have broken these down into ten level segments. Each segment will detail how you can fight successfully as a solo Hunter and what key skills you will get between those levels.

Levels 1-10

At level 10 the Hunter attack pattern is limited due to skills, but the general method of attack is as follows.
  • Use Aspect of the Hawk to increase ranged attack damage
  • Cast Hunter's Mark on your target to increase ranged attack damage
  • Pull with Concussive Shot to slow the target's movement speed
  • Fire Serpent Sting
  • Fire Arcane Shot
  • Finish off the enemy with melee and Raptor Strike

From levels 1-10 you will use your melee skills as your primary source of combat. You can use ranged weapons, but you will only get off one or two shots before your enemy is in your face making you resort to the Gnomish style of fighting (using your face to smash the fists of your opponent). The first skill you begin with is called Raptor Strike, but you can also train your first tracking skill at level 1 called Track Beast. For the first four levels these will be your primary tools of combat.

From levels 1-4 your primary fight tactics will include pulling with your bow/gun and fighting up close with melee. Raptor Strike will be your only special skill so make use of it every time the cool down timer ends. The first four levels go really fast so it won't take long. Just grab a few of the quests from your starter area and by the time you finish them you'll be level 4. You can then train a new skill that will help you avoid some of those hits to the face called Aspect of the Monkey. Once activated, this skill increases your chance to dodge attacks by 18% and gives you an overwhelming desire to eat bananas. You'll also get Serpent Sting, a new ranged attack that deals Nature damage over time, so you should use this to pull since the enemies will be in melee range after a shot or two. The damage will still hit them periodically until it ticks out.

At level 6 your combat tactics will change a bit. You'll gain two new skills called Hunter's Mark and Arcane Shot. From here on you should first mark your target with Hunter's Mark, pull with Arcane Shot, fire off a round of Serpent Sting, and then get ready to use Raptor Strike. Sometimes this will down an enemy before they even reach you if you're lucky with critical strikes, but more often than not you'll have a short melee fight on your hands. At level 8 you'll get Concussive Shot which slows an enemies movement speed for a few seconds. Use this as your new pulling attack to buy yourself a few seconds to land some additional ranged shots. This method of attack will easily defeat any encounter you come across until you reach level 10 where you will earn your first pet.

At level 10 you will advance the quest chain "The Hunter's Path" to "Taming the Beast." At the end of this quest you will gain the ability to tame your own pets. You will need to speak with one of the class trainers in your area to receive the quest. This is a must do quest for every Hunter.

Alliance
Quest Giver
Race
Location
Huntress Kella Nightbow
Draenei
Azuremyst Isle
Grif Wildheart
Dwarf
Dun Morogh
Dazalar
Night Elf
Dolanaar

 

Horde
Quest Giver
Race
Location
Lieutenant Dawnrunner
Blood Elf
Farstrider Retreat
Thotar
Orc
Razor Hill
Yaw Sharpmane
Tauren
Bloodhoof Village

 

Levels 11-20
By now you should have your first pet tamed, fed, and happy. Keep some food on hand because they are ungrateful little bastages. Your pet will often start to slip into unhappiness and require food to keep them appeased. Keep them well fed and they'll get an attack bonus. The good news is that from here on your fighting style will change somewhat. With a new skill called
Aspect of the Hawk you can enhance your ranged attack damage and with a pet you'll move away from melee combat and more towards ranged attacks. You will also be able to start earning talent points after level 10. You should invest those in whatever tree you choose to focus on and avoid splitting them up too much, but that's a story for another guide.

From levels 10-12 you should use your pet to tank enemies and attack with your ranged skills. Your early pets are a bit weak and will take a fair bit of damage. There will be times when they end up getting blasted into fertilizer. Luckily, at level 12 you will get your first pet healing skill called Mend Pet. Once you have that in your arsenal you will be better equipped to keep your pet alive.

Your DPS will get a nice boost with your pet by your side, but early pets aren't great at keeping aggro. Many times they will lose it and force you back into melee battle. Certain talents of the Beast Mastery tree and pet talents can help make your pet a walking aggro beast, but until then you'll need to rely on damage moderation and other skills to allow your pet to keep aggro. The alternative is to blast away and try to kite enemies around while firing off ranged attacks, or switch to melee once they come running. You can stand your own in a normal melee battle, but if you get adds, you'll need to use your pet for off tanking or to take one for the team. Trying to melee two or more mobs as a lower level Hunter usually ends badly.

At level 16 and 20 you will earn two valuable tools of combat with your first traps. At level 16 you'll get Immolation. This allows you to set a stationary trap that will activate when an enemy approaches dealing fire damage over time. You can plant these when you begin a battle or creep up on an enemy while your pet has its attention and plant it right under him. Either way you can boost your dps with this little helper.

At level 20 you gain your first crowd control trap called Freezing Trap that can freeze an enemy in place and prevent them from attacking for a short time. This trap is very useful if you over pull or just need to make a run for it. Use this to put an enemy on ice. It can also be used as a great tool for taming beasts as it gives you a few seconds to advance your tame before they start beating on you. It's also an effective tool for covering your escape. Sometimes you will lose your pet and need to make a run for it and this trap can be all that stops you from getting an enemies foot firmly planted between your muffins.

There are several places you can choose to level, but you'll need to master your skills as a Hunter to survive. Luckily, as a Hunter, you can solo many creatures alone and often times up to five levels higher than yourself if you play smart.

Areas to Level in the Eastern Kingdoms
Zone
Primary Faction
Ghostlands
Horde
Loch Modan
Alliance
Silverpine Forest
Horde
Westfall
Alliance
Redridge Mountains
Alliance/Horde

 

Areas to Level in Kalimdor
Zone
Primary Faction Settlements
Bloodmyst Isle
Alliance
Darkshore
Alliance
The Barrens
Horde/Neutral
(Ratchet is a neutral town accessible by both Horde and Alliance)
Stonetalon Mountains
Alliance/Horde

Levels 21-30

At level 20 the Hunter has quite a few new skills and can have the added benefit of a pet. Therefore the attack method changes.
  • Use Aspect of the Hawk to increase ranged attack damage
  • Cast Hunter's Mark on your target to increase ranged attack damage
  • Pull with Concussive Shot to slow the target's movement speed
  • Send in your pet to tank and hold aggro
  • Use Mend Pet often to heal your pet
  • Fire Serpent Sting and Arcane Shot
  • Use a Freeze Trap for crowd control if needed
  • Optional: Plant an Immolation Trap for additional damage
  • Optional: Use Aspect of the Viper if your mana gets low

You will get more of your class defining skills between levels 21-30. One in particular is Feign Death which can be your saving grace in many situations. This will allow you to drop aggro from attacking enemies unless it's resisted and it's your answer to dealing with bad pulls. The only problem is that your pet can create an issue as it doesn't lose aggro, and if you choose to move once you have used it rather than wait out the fight for your pet to die you can get aggro all over again. Given that Feign Death has a pretty lengthy cool down this can prove to be a fatal move. So the best way to lose aggro if your pet has it is to either dismiss him before you use it, or try to run out of range forcing your pet to despawn.

At level 20 you will get Aspect of the Viper which is a great skill to keep your mana in good supply. You'll be using mana fast so this will be very useful as it provides a mana regeneration buff while active and allows you to regain a portion of your mana when you deal damage. This is best used by juggling it between your damage boosting aspects as needed.

Generally from here out you will use similar fight tactics to deal with most standard one on one encounters. Pull with Concussive Shot or your pet and then deal damage with your ranged attacks. Traps can either be used to boost dps or contain any unwanted company. You'll gain additional skills that can enhance your range attack damage such as Rapid Fire and a new aspect that can enhance pet and melee damage called Aspect of the Beast.

With a fresh new set of skills and a few levels on your pet you can move on to one of the following areas.

Areas to Level in Kalimdor
Zone
Primary Faction Settlements
Ashenvale
Alliance/Horde
Thousand Needles
Horde
Stonetalon Mountains
Alliance/Horde
The Barrens
Horde/Neutral
(Ratchet is a neutral town accessible by both Horde and Alliance)

 

Areas to Level in the Eastern Kingdoms
Zone
Primary Faction
Redridge Mountains
Alliance/Horde
Duskwood
Alliance
Hillsbrad Foothills
Alliance/Horde
Wetlands
Alliance

 

Levels 31-40

Level 30 provides you with a lot of new skills and survivability options.
  • Use Aspect of the Beast to increase pet damage
  • Cast Hunter's Mark on your target to increase ranged attack damage
  • Pull with Concussive Shot to slow the target's movement speed
  • Send in your pet to tank and hold aggro
  • Fire Serpent Sting and Arcane Shot
  • Use Rapid Fire to increase attack speed
  • Use a Freeze Trap for crowd control if needed
  • Use Feign Death if things get out of hand and you need to drop enemy aggro in a hurry
  • Use Mend Pet often to heal your pet
  • Optional: Use Frost Trap to slow enemy movement speeds
  • Optional: Plant an Immolation Trap for additional damage
  • Optional: Use Aspect of the Viper if your mana gets low

Level 40 brings a big change for the Hunter as you gain the ability to wear Mail armors. After 40 levels of getting monkey stomped in leather you will appreciate the change. However, the ability to wear Mail armors isn't the only perk you receive between levels 31-40. You'll also get Volley and Explosive Trap. These two skills are both area of effects attacks and can be a great asset to your soloing endeavors. By now, if you have chosen the Beast Mastery path, your pet will be able to hold aggro well and you can put both of these skills to use by pulling two and sometimes three mobs at a time. The trick is having your pet hit each target a few times to get aggro. Once your pet has the enemies attention you need to plant an Explosive Trap near them. It will periodically deal a burst of damage to all enemies within range. Next, pour on the damage with Volley and switch your pet's target as needed to maintain aggro. This works great with normal mobs, but if you try this trick with elites they'll be scraping Hunter parts off the surrounding area with a spatula.

Firing Volley is costly in mana so another little trick you can use is to put on Aspect of the Viper while doing this. You will almost always have mana for another shot, but the trade off is it cuts your DPS down. The method I use is to start with Aspect of the Beast and then switch to Aspect of the Viper when the mana bar gets low. That way you can keep blasting without interruption.

You have a nice list of hunting grounds to choose from for these levels.

Areas to Level in Kalimdor
Zone
Primary Faction Settlements
Desolace
Alliance/Horde
Thousand Needles
Horde
Dustwallow Marsh
Alliance/Horde
The Barrens
Horde/Neutral
(Ratchet is a neutral town accessible by both Horde and Alliance)

Areas to Level in the Eastern Kingdoms
Zone
Primary Faction
Alterac Mountains
Contested
Arathi Highlands
Alliance/Horde
Stranglethorn Vale
Alliance/Horde
Badlands
Horde

 

Fighting single enemies:
  • Use Aspect of the Beast to increase pet damage and aggro
  • Cast Hunter's Mark on your target to increase ranged attack damage
  • Pull with Concussive Shot to slow the target's movement speed
  • Send in your pet to tank and hold aggro
  • Fire Serpent Sting and Arcane Shot
  • Use Rapid Fire to increase attack speed
  • Use a Freeze Trap for crowd control if needed
  • Use Feign Death if things get out of hand and you need to drop enemy aggro in a hurry
  • Optional: Use Frost Trap to slow enemy movement speeds
  • Optional: Plant an Immolation Trap for additional damage
  • Optional: Use Aspect of the Viper if your mana gets low

Fighting multiple enemies
  • Use Aspect of the Beast to increase pet damage and aggro
  • Cast Hunter's Mark on a target to increase ranged attack damage
  • Pull with Concussive Shot to slow the target's movement speed
  • Send in your pet to tank and hold aggro. Switch between targets to keep them on the pet
  • Use Mend Pet often to heal your pet
  • Use Serpent Sting for extra damage
  • Use Rapid Fire to increase attack speed
  • Use Volley to deal damage to a cluster of enemies
  • Plant an Explosive Trap for additional damage near the enemies and keep them together
  • Use Feign Death if things get out of hand and you need to drop enemy aggro in a hurry
  • Toggle Aspect of the Viper if your mana gets low
  • Use a Freeze Trap for crowd control if needed

Caster vs Melee Battles
When you engage an enemy in a melee fight you can generally stand your own in a one on one battle. Unless of course, the enemy is elite. If you intend to melee an elite enemy, just have your Hunter take the first ride to Northrend and march him out onto the battle field with a blind fold. Trust me, it's a quicker way to commit suicide. As a Hunter, you can take out elites better than most, but you need to do it smartly. Use your pet as a meat shield and you act as DPS and healer. Should your pet die, or the enemy makes a break for you, you'll need to use Disengage or Feign Death to drop aggro. If all else fails, lay a Freezing Trap and make a run for it. Hunters are, if nothing else, well equipped to make an escape.

Casters hurt in battle, so don't be afraid to utilize your pet as a damage buffer. Let them tank and take the damage. The good thing about fighting a caster is they can't take a lot of damage. Pour on the damage and burn them down quick. Keep a few healing potions or bandages on hand as a few shots from a caster can burn your health up pretty quick. Try to keep aggro on your pet by using the skills at your disposal, and if you have to run, lay a Freezing Trap or Frost Trap along the way or Feign Death. Casters have a pretty good range and they can get an attack off if they get within range. When dealing with a caster it's not a long walk from BRB to BBQ.

Handling the "Bad Pulls"
The most skilled of pullers will eventually make a mistake and grab way more than they can handle. From levels 1-30 there are only a few ways to handle this mistake. You can try to fight it out and use your pet to tank, but there's the possibility that the pull will be more than either of you can handle. If it looks like your pet isn't going to make it, cast a Mend Pet and start running. Just give Fippy Darkpaw a snausage when you revive him later and he'll be happy all over again. While you're making your getaway, make sure to drop a Frost or Freezing Trap to cover your escape.

Once you reach level 30 things get a lot easier as you get Feign Death. This is your best tool for dealing with a bad pull. Unless it gets resisted you can drop all aggro immediately. At level 40 this can be used with the Volley/Explosive Trap method I mentioned earlier in this guide to help manage aggro and keep it on your pet.

Tracking
You will gain several tracking abilities as a Hunter that will allow you to track undead, beasts, giants, humanoids, dragonkin, and many more. These are all useful skills and key to fighting as a Hunter. Not only will they allow you to find enemies easily, but through the Survival talent tree you can enhance your tracking to give a damage bonus to enemies you are tracking at the time.

Conclusion
Don't overlook the damage provided by your auto shot when attacking. It can provide a good portion of your dps, so take this into account when you work up a rotation. Using a skill and then allowing time to execute an auto shot can increase your dps greatly.

If you wanted a class that fits well with groups and can solo with the best of them, the Hunter is for you. Once you have a pet there is little the Hunter can't do on his own. They can take out several enemies at once with skilled tactics and pet manipulation, or they can take down an elite all alone and still be in good shape afterwards. A skilled Hunter doesn't need a group, but they are an invaluable asset to one and their solo skill ranks among the best.

 




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