When it comes to specing your Hunter you have several options to choose from to establish a solid build. The real trick to figuring out what will work best for you is to determine...
When it comes to specing your Hunter you have several options to choose from to establish a solid build. The real trick to figuring out what will work best for you is to determine first what you want to accomplish. Do you want to be able to solo better, do you want a solid PvP build, are you looking to spec for groups or raids, or do you just want to become a beast at damage? All these are viable options through various builds using the three talent schools for the Hunter. Each school has a specific focus and will appeal to various play styles.
- Beast Mastery - This tree focuses on building up your pet abilities and increases your pet's damage output. The advanced section of this tree also allows you to tame exotic pets. Beast Mastery Hunters can provide a raid with strong dps and their buff Ferocious Inspiration is a beneficial proc buff for raids. The drawback is that the hunter's own DPS can suffer as a great deal of damage enhancing talents go to making the pet DPS its primary focus.
- Marksman - This is a high damage dealing school. It focuses on enhancing the Hunter's ranged damage attacks with damage enhancing talents. Marksmen can dish out a great deal of damage and in some cases enhance their groups damage output through talents like Trueshot Aura.
- This tree's big
perk is the ability to enhance your traps and use some of them to
augment your DPS. Damage with this build is among one of the best. With
the 3.1 updates, the Survival hunter has gained some useful new skills
that can make it very deadly.
Mastery PvE/PvP Build:
Building an efficient Beast Master hunter can be done by making sure you take advantage of all pet enhancing talents that work well together. For example, the Beast Master is given the option to train a tier 7 talent known as Ferocious Inspiration after they have invested 30 points into the Beast Mastery talent school. This talent provides the Beastmaster's pet with the chance ability to buff a party or raid after a successful critical hit by enhancing their damage by up to 3% for ten seconds. This alone can make the Beastmaster an indispensable tool of destruction and a well desired element for any group or raid. There are many talents in this tree that can help by enhancing your pet's damage and increasing their chance to land a critical strike such as Focused Fire. By building these talents you can maximize your pet's potential for dealing a critical strike and thus increase the possibility that he can aid a group or raid with the Ferocious Inspiration buff.
For this guide I have established a pretty solid build for the Beast Mastery line (link above). The excess points have been invested in the Marksman and Survival trees to add an increase to damage. The most important thing about being a Beastmaster is focusing on powering up your pet any way possible. If you follow the Beast Mastery build I have provided, you will have a few points left over that you can use to try different things with. In the build I have included, I make use of Marksman and Survivability talents, but you can change those out for other talents that might better suit your play style. The beauty of the Hunter is that there are no shortage of talent build variations and you can always find something different to try.
avoid as a Beast Master Hunter:
The Beast Mastery tree provides one of the best lines of talents for this class, but there are a few things talents you should avoid like the plague. You will want to avoid wasting points in Catlike Reflexes. I know an added dodge chance sounds tempting, but if you're doing your job as a Hunter you shouldn't be close enough to be getting hit anyway. Spend those three points somewhere more important. Pathfinding may sound nice for increased speed, but in the grand scheme of things it's pretty useless. Your mount speed will be more than sufficient for transportation once you have one and that will render this a pointless skill and it's more of a burden in dungeons and on raids since you get stunned when hit. The enhancements are minor and really not worth giving up points in other more important things.
The Marksman Talent school is focused on increasing your damage in ranged combat. If strait hunter damage is what you are shooting for, this may be a good choice for you. However, this build won't do your pet any favors and is a bit different for soloing as you'll need to be more careful with managng aggro since your pet won't be able to hold it as well. A Marksman may be better served in groups where a tank can hold aggro and leave you free to dish out damage without having to worry about the enemy shifting their focus to you as often.
The Marksman can develop a wide range of cooperative talents that can increase their DPS greatly. In their Tier 7 talent line, they have an ability they can train known as Trueshot Aura. This aura provides an attack bonus to party and raid members that can add a nice boost in DPS and make the Marksman a desired class for groups and raids. Other skills such as Chimera Shot and Serpent Sting work well together and can prove to be beneficial in PvP battles and on raids. You can choose to change my suggested build around a bit for some other flexible skills. If you need more hit chance, you can swap something out for Focus Aim. Improved Concussive Shot is not recommended unless you want it for PvP, but you would be better served to cross this off your PvE and raiding build list.
avoid as a Marksman Hunter:
There are a few talents to avoid in the Marksman line that are for the most part a waste of points. In the Marksman Tree, avoid putting points into Concussive Barrage and Improved Concussive Shot unless you want to substitute these skills for PvP. There are much better options to invest those talent points into and you would be better served to use them elsewhere.
The Survival Tree has some great skills you can put to use. With the 3.1 update this tree got a bit of a rework. Some things were moved and a new skill called Black Arrow was added. If you choose to go with this tree you will have the option to enhance your traps and gain another high damage skill known as Explosive Shot. These skills are very useful to a raid and can make you a useful tool for any encounter.
There are a few ways you can split your points between the Survivalist Tree and another to try and provide a hybrid build that can help enhance your DPS. The build I have put together above is useful for raids as and has become one of my favorites as it provides a nice boost in DPS and utilizes some of the useful skills of the other trees. It breaks down to a 1/15/55 build and is very useful for raids and all around high DPS.
In PvP this tree can hold its own with high damage attacks and useful trap skills to keep some enemies on ice when needed. By slowing or freezing foes in place with traps, this build allows other group members a chance to catch unfortunate enemies in a vulnerable position. In a straight face to face fight, Survival Hunters can hold their own, but they may be vulnerable against certain classes. However, from a distance, the hunter is a lethal foe with a strong advantage and capable of cutting their enemies to ribbons. So if you intend to PvP as a Survival Hunter, make sure you bring friends and keep your distance.
avoid as a Survival Hunter:
Ranged attacks are your best asset so try to steer clear of wasting points in melee related skills. After all, melee Hunters are one of the many Hunter groups of the community that have aptly earned the name a Huntard. If anything, invest a few points into enhancing your pet so that he can aid you by keeping aggro while you dish out the damage. As a Survival Hunter you will want to invest any additional points you might have into increasing ranged DPS. Steer clear of melee talents such as Deflection, and Savage Strikes.