There’s been a lot of stuff I’ve learned the hard way in Classic WoW, and some stuff I learned from more experienced Hunters. That’s what I want to share with you today, all these little tips to help you out and improve your experience.
These are in no particular order; just the order in which I came up with them.
Pets are integral to the Hunter class. Below are my tips pertaining to our furry, feathery, or scaly, friends!
Only Level One Pet Until 60
This may perhaps be the biggest time-saving tip I’ve got.
Long story short, I have wasted so much time with various Hunters I’ve leveled up just experimenting with pets. I don’t just mean trying out different pets to see how they do. I mean by taming much lower level pets and leveling them up.
That cat looks cool! Only 20 levels under me too!
I fully endorse trying out every pet you can, just make sure it’s your level or damn close.
Anyway, my point here isn’t so much that as it is just picking one pet and sticking with it, though routinely leveling low level pets is a huge time-sink.
Now, if you decide you’d rather have a cat instead of a wolf, then that’s fine. However, stabling multiple pets and having to level multiple pets at the same time is what I’m referring to.
Pets level faster than we do as Hunters. So, you could stable an extra pet or two and when one pet levels to your level, stable it and grab the next one. Repeat and rinse for as many pets as you have.
It sounds good in theory. The problem is that pets only gain XP when you gain it from killing mobs. Pets don’t gain XP when you turn in quests, discover unexplored areas, etc.
As a result, there are times when you may level before your pet reaches the level you’re at. Now you’re say level 45 and your pet is still 43. If you’ve got another pet in the stable, then that pet is now 2 levels below you and you’ve got 2 pets to level up.
Of course leveling up pets means leveling you up as well, but it can prevent you from doing your normal questing routine and in turn slow down your leveling process.
Having additional pets may also mean spending more time searching out higher pet abilities to learn and train. Of course it also means more food which could mean more money if their diet is something finicky like fruit and fungus.
Ultimately, it’s your call and definitely play your Hunter how you enjoy. If leveling multiple pets is something you enjoy, or you just know you want pet X when you’re 60 but it’s level 20 – so be it. There’s nothing wrong with having more than one pet as you level. However, it will cost you some extra time and money and I know that’s a consideration for some players.
I also did an article on the best Hunter pets if you’re curious my thoughts on that subject.
Managing Your Pet
Managing your pet correctly is the difference between a good Hunter and a great Hunter. Luckily, there’s only a few simple things you need to do for proper pet management.
First, always have your pet on Passive mode. With your pet in Passive you have full control over it, otherwise it may get you into trouble.
Second, bind your pet’s abilities to something easy to use. You can bind everything (I do), but the important ones to bind are: Attack, Follow, and Stay.
I bind these to my mouse wheel:
- Attack = mouse wheel up
- Follow = mouse wheel down
- Stay = shift + mouse wheel down
This makes it really easy to control your pet in the middle of combat. The default binds are terrible and you do not want to be manually clicking these.
I’d also suggest binding your pet’s Growl too. I leave it off auto cast when I’m in a dungeon, however, if the tank goes down, or you need to peel something off your healer, then having an easy key bind to get a Growl off is crucial. I have mine bound to alt + mouse wheel up.
All my pet abilities are bound to a variation of my mouse wheel. It’s consistent and easy for me to remember.
Lastly, remember to use Dismiss Pet when you’re in a dungeon, or any situation, where you have to jump down somewhere. If you don’t, then your pet is going to path down to you and drag every mob between it and you on its way. Don’t be that Hunter.
Keeping Threat/Aggro on Your Pet
Hunter pets are the perfect partner because they keep mobs off you so you can shoot without taking damage. Learning to keep threat on your pet and off you can take some practice. Here’s some basic tips.
Make sure you keep Growl trained to maximum level. Starting at level 10, and every 10 levels after, your pet can learn a new rank of Growl. You’ll learn this at a Pet Trainer in any major city.
Likewise, keep any abilities your pet has at maximum level (Claw, Bite, Screech, etc.). Keeping those damaging abilities at max rank will ensure your pet is doing the most damage it can be and in turn generating more threat onto it and off of you.
If you’re not sure where to get what, check out Classic Petopia for a list of all pets and abilities.
Basics aside, my recommendation for starting your attack rotation is to try and let your pet get off 2 Grows before you start dumping big shots in.
Once your pet reaches the target you can start auto shot, or even just before it reaches the mob. Depending on your weapon’s attack speed, by the time your 2nd auto shot has gone off your pet should have 2 Growls in (or just about to). Now you can start your damage rotation and get that Aimed Shot in followed by Serpent Sting or Multi-Shot.
If you get an Aimed Shot in there before that 2nd Growl then you will be guaranteed to lose threat on your pet.
Also, just keep an eye out for your crits in general. A couple of auto shot crits early in a fight can pull threat. If you’ve got a few auto shot crits, then hold off on that Aimed Shot because you’ll definitely pull threat if you do.
Keep gauging your damage to determine when it’s safe to use bigger shots. You can even download a threat meter if you want to have a visual representation of where you and your pet stand with threat. It’s not really required as you get a feel for it after a while but it can be useful.
Faster Leveling with Dive/Dash for MM/Survival
If you’re Beast Mastery, then you can get Bestial Swiftness which improves a pet’s movement speed by 30%. This is an amazing talent and lets you take pets that lack Dive or Dash without slowing your grinding down too much.
However, for those of you not going the BM route, having a pet with Dive or Dash will really speed up your leveling and grinding game. The quicker your pet gets to a mob the quicker you can start attacking and the quicker it does. The quicker it dies the quicker you move on to the next.
With my MM/Survival build I’ve used pets that lack Dash/Dive and it’s fine. You wait a few seconds longer but it’s not the end of the world. Those seconds per-mob add up though to minutes and then to hours over the course of your leveling.
You don’t need to have a pet with Dash/Dive, but if you’re looking to level the fastest possible way, then I highly recommend it.
Learn Cooking & Fishing
Cooking and fishing pair well together so it’s easy to keep those both leveled as you play. Food buffs are always useful for any class, but knowing cooking and fishing is a great way to feed your pet for free, especially if your pet eats fish.
Feeding your pet uncooked items is less effective than their cooked counterparts. Your pet gets a max Happiness of 35 from foods that are appropriate level.
To check how effective a food is just click your Combat Tab when you’ve fed your pet and you can see. If you see less than 35 Happiness as your pet feeds, then you need to feed it higher level food items.
It’s worth noting that your pet does not gain food buffs. Your pet will eat a food that gives a buff, but it won’t get the benefit.
Saving money for mounts is something every class has to deal with. Sorry, Paladins and Warlocks don’t – but screw those two!
For the rest of us, we need to make money, and save money, to be able to afford those mounts. Not to mention if you want to buy some gear off the auction house.
Hunter Abilities You Can Skip
Most classes have skills they can skip learning to save money as they level up and Hunters are no exception. Here’s my list of skills you can skip if you need to save gold (alphabetical order).
- Aspects – The only Aspects you need leveling is: Hawk, Monkey, and Cheetah.
- Beast Lore – You never really need this if you use Classic Petopia.
- Distracting Shot – Rarely used threat generating shot.
- Eagle Eye – Useful in some situations but not required leveling.
- Eyes of the Beast – Very niche and situational ability.
- Flare – Very useful for PVP, but if you’re only doing PVE then this can be skipped.
- Scorpid Sting – Situationally useful sting.
- Track X – The only tracking abilities worth getting as you level is Humanoids and Beasts.
- Traps – You can get away with only learning Freezing trap. However, Immolation is great when fighting above your level. Frost and Explosive are less used and mostly for PVP.
- Viper Sting – Rarely used in PVE but useful in PVP. If you PVP, then get this, otherwise skip it.
- Volley – OK AE attack but barely used. I personally do pick this one up leveling though for dungeons.
Those are my suggestions for abilities you could skip to save gold. Some guides will also recommend skipping a few others, however, I find the ones they suggest skipping useful so I won’t bother covering those.
Simple one. If you want the fastest method of earning gold with professions, then pick yourself up 2 gathering professions: mining, herbalism, or skinning in any combination.
You could always drop one of the gathering professions at 60 and pick up something else.
Also, by only having gathering professions you don’t need as much bank space as you otherwise would. Everything you gather goes on the auction house. The only stuff you’ll need to store might be some gear, pots, food, etc. So, you won’t need to buy extra spaces in the bank and that in turn saves you gold.
As I mentioned above, having one pet will save you money. Some pets are easy to feed and won’t require you to buy food for them, but there’s others where you’ll really have no choice buy to buy food. So, this one is situational but worth noting.
Also, by only having one pet you don’t need to buy the extra stable slot. The extra stable slot is 5g, which is a hefty price for a low level Hunter.
Get PVP Rank 3
Everyone is aware that having a reputation of honored with a faction gets you a 10% discount with them. If you weren’t aware then you now are 🙂
What many people don’t realize is that if you’re PVP rank 3 or higher then you get another 10% discount for your entire faction.
Of course that’s universally useful, but especially when you’re going to buy a mount. Buying a level 40 mount and training only costs you 80g (90g if honored, 100g not honored). An epic mount and training only costs 800g (900g honored, 1,000g not honored).
So, do yourself a favor, even if PVP isn’t your thing, and get yourself to rank 3 before you plan on buying a mount. You can hit rank 3 in a few weeks, so plan ahead and save yourself some gold.
Basic Attack Rotation Explained
A Hunter’s rotation in a fight is a bit variable but not by a lot.
Start off any attack with auto shot. From there you weave in your other shots and stings between auto shots. The reason being that your other shots and stings do not take the place of an auto shot like Raptor Strike does in melee. To maximize DPS you want your auto shot going off without interruption, so that means firing other abilities between them.
Early on your rotation would be:
- Hunter’s Mark
- Auto Shot
- Serpent Sting
- Auto Shot
- Arcane Shot
- Auto Shot (until dead)
If you’ve picked up Aimed Shot then your rotation would be:
- Hunter’s Mark
- Auto Shot
- Aimed Shot
- Auto Shot
- Serpent Sting
- Auto Shot (until dead)
If you’re wanting to kill a bit faster (and use more mana), then you can:
- Hunter’s Mark
- Auto Shot
- Aimed Shot
- Auto Shot (until dead)
Note in that last rotation that there’s no delay after Aimed Shot into Multi-Shot. That’s because if you hit Multi-Shot immediately after Aimed Shot, then you’ll fire a Multi-Shot right after an auto shot. So, you get a very rapid succession of 3 shots for maximum DPS output.
The reason you want Aimed Shot early in the rotation because of mana regeneration. Mana begins regenerating after 5 seconds. If you were to do: auto shot, Serpent Sting, auto shot, Aimed Shot, then before the Aimed Shot went off your mana would begin regenerating. Aimed Shot would then go off and stop that, so you’d have to wait 5 more seconds for it to start again.
The general idea with your attack rotation is to front load all your mana using abilities so you can start regenerating mana as soon as possible. Then by the end of the fight you should be roughly back to where you were when you started. It’s the most efficient way to grind through mobs to minimize down time.
If you follow that advice, then you’ll rarely need to sit and drink while you’re leveling and grinding.
Agility, Agility, Agility
Agility is the most important stat for Hunters. Agility raises attack power (ranged & melee), improves crit chance, increases your armor, and increases your dodge.
- 1 Agility = 2 Ranged Attack Power
- 1 Agility = 1 Melee Attack Power
- 1 Agility = 2 Armor
- 26 Agility = 1% Dodge
- 53 Agility = 1% Crit
You can see how important agility is. Note that those references are for the Hunter and will vary with other classes.
If you have the choice between something that boosts agility or attack power, always take agility because it has a wider impact than pure attack power.
You’re also going to want intellect, spirit, and stamina as well to round out your Hunter, but be sure agility is stacked as high as you can get it.
Late game you can start collecting gear for +hit and +crit, but while you’re leveling you’ll not often encounter such items. It’s nothing you should really look for either until you’re getting into your 50’s and starting to collect your pre-raid BIS items.
I honestly only use one macro for my Hunter. You can find a ton of macros for Hunters. Probably more-so than any other class in the game. However, I’m not a big fan of macros.
The reason I don’t like macros is you become reliant on them. Instead of learning to play your class effectively, you’re utilizing a crutch and never truly get good with your class.
I realize that’s an unpopular opinion but one I stand by.
The one macro I have setup is for Feign Death + Freezing Trap. The macro is:
#showtooltip Freezing Trap /petfollow /cast [combat]Feign Death; /cast Freezing Trap
What that will do is pull your pet back to you, cast Feign Death if you’re in combat (otherwise it skips this step), and then casts Freezing Trap. You have to press this twice to work.
The nice part of this is the combat check for Feign Death. If you aren’t in combat, then it doesn’t cast it. This means this macro is useful all the time and you could use it to replace your stock Freezing Trap ability on your keyboard.
You can modify this macro for any trap you’d like by just replacing Freezing Trap with the one you want.
That about covers my simple tips for Hunters.
The Hunter class is one of the easiest classes to learn. I love the Hunter and think it’s a lot of fun, but it’s not overly complex and that’s one of the things I enjoy about it.
There is a high skill ceiling with Hunters though. It’s easy to get good with the Hunter, but learning to become great takes a lot of experience and skill.