OK, let us face it. You are probably here to ask a question. Chances are *somebody* has answered that question in the past, so before you start a whole another thread, please do everyone a favor and check to see if it has been answered already.
Where do you look? Why, right here!
This is my attempt to compile any and every common, useful question you might have to ask about hunters or otherwise use this forum for. While I am not a thread nazi, per se, I do get tired of answering the same questions over and over and over and over and…(get the idea?) At level 70, agi converts to crit percentage at a 40 to 1 ratio.
I do not pretend that this will answer *every* question, as the title indicates, but it should answer all the common ones. If you have a more complicated or unusual question and you do not see it, by all means start a thread for it. However, if you ask a completely blank open-ended question that is answered in this FAQ, like "what's the best pet?" or "what's the best race?" or "what's the best talent build for kicking ass?" or basically any other question that contains the word 'best' with no specific details, you will be mocked and rated-down. Consider yourself warned.
If you know a question that should be on this thread but is not, post a reply with it. (I would not mind if you also included the answer, assuming you know it. I am not the single authority on hunter-ing.)
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT WHICH GEAR TO GET AT 70 LOOK HERE.
Questions related to specific skills are found here.
Hunters are the ranged combat class in WoW. Since they do not (really) have magic, they have some limited combat abilities for if something does get in their face. They also have beast pets whose primary purpose is to allow them to use ranged combat while soloing.
After level 40, they wear stronger armor than any classes other that warriors or paladins, (but they can not use shields like shamans,) plus other defensive abilities such as a high dodge rate. They can also use all weapons other than maces or wands. Hunters are excellent soloists and arguably the best pullers in the game. Unfortunately neither of these skills come into play much during most groups.
Yes, hunters are fun. Any class in the game is fun or not fun, depending on who you ask. I personally despise playing warlocks and druids, but other people think they're the best classes in the game.
Hunters are not an in-your-face class like a rogue or warrior. They are not a powerful healer or AE damage dealer that has a concrete role in a group. But they are fun for being what they are. If the concept of a hunter sounds appealing to you, you will probably have fun playing one.
Do hunters suck at PvP? What is the dead zone? How do I jump shot?
Yes and no. The bottom line is that every class has it's strengths and weaknesses. A hunter, on average, can beat some classes easily, like rogues, and have a lot of trouble with others, like druids.
There are plenty of ways hunters are useful in a PvP environment. On a PvP server, Track Humanoid is invaluable, as is Freezing Trap. However, hunters once suffered heavily from the "dead zone," the space between where ranged attacks and melee attacks can be used; this was changed in patch 2.3 (Nov 2007)
In battlegrounds, hunters can often have very interesting roles, particularly defensively such as guarding the flag in Warsong Gulch or a node in Arathi Basin. Between tracking to see your opponents coming, and being able to put freezing and frost traps down to stop aggressors, hunters make good guardians.
The "jump shot" allows a hunters to deal limited damage while outrunning their opponents by jumping, turning 90 dergees shooting an instant shot and turning back. Performing a true jump shot is a complicated mess of pushing buttons on your mouse and keyboard in well-coordinated fashion, so I'm not going to take three paragraphs to explain how to do one. The easier thing to do is simply strafe, since you run just as fast as strafing, and as long as your target is more in front of than in back of you, you can still hit it.
This is as much as I am prepared to say specifically about PvP.
You'll have to use every trick in the book and think for yourself. There really is not much anyone can do to magically make you a better player in PvP besides reminding you of what abilities you have. As the posters at the official boards would say, L2P.
No race is the single best. They all have advantages. First, let it be said that STARTING STATS DO NOT MATTER. Do not pick a Night Elf over a Dwarf because of the difference in starting agility. A Night Elf with 650 agility would have around 643 as a Dwarf. Big deal.
As far as racial attributes go... Night Elves can go unseen with Shadowmeld, which is useful to hide from an enemy. Dwarves can cleanse poisons using Stone Form, and are slightly better at using guns. Draenei have a Heal over time, and increase their party members chance to hit by 1%. Tauren have extra HP, and can War Stomp to stun targets in close range to help them get back to range. Orcs have pets that do increased damage, and a minor damage boost every few minutes. Trolls have a bonus to using bows/thrown weapons, can give themselves a small haste effect every few minutes, and have increased damage against beasts. Blood Elfs can drain mana from their opponent and then silence nearby opponents to return mana.
All together racial attributes are not that important as you can see. Not one of those is a real must have, so do not chose a race because of their abilities if you can not stand the looks.
Dwarves should favor guns because of their racial bonus. The same for Trolls and bows. Engineers will probably favor guns because they can make their own (improved) ammo. For anyone else, it does not matter at all.
At lower levels, guns generally hit a little harder and bows fire a little faster. They have the same quivers/ammo pouches, same store-bought ammunition, and neither really has a distinct advantage over the other, except that engineers can make bullets. A hunter should know how to use either, and be prepared to use whatever the best weapon is that they can pick up, or whatever they personally prefer. (For example, some players do not like the constant noise a gun makes.)
Crossbows are exceedingly rare early in the game. They work just like bows - using arrows out of a quiver - but they have their own separate weapon skill. Crossbows as a general rule are very slow. Before patch 1.10 and "normalization" that took away most of the advantage of picking a weapon just because it was slow, crossbows were extremely popular. Before level 50, you might very well never see a crossbow unless you seek them out (with the exception of the Draenei starting lands.)
Use whatever has the best stats, and do not worry too much about damage on the weapons. Since a hunter's strength is fighting at range, they do not need to focus on their melee DPS.
Generally speaking, a 2-hander will have better stats, but a pair of 1H weapons offer greater flexibility. At endgame, there are enchants that can add 35 agi (2H only), 20 agi, 70 AP (2H only) or 30 Int. This comes out slightly in favor of dual wield.
In terms of actually meleeing, 2H is better during PvP when you are going to run by with a Raptor Strike and a Wing Clip and go back to ranged, because that one attack you make will be much stronger, but dual wield can do as much autoattack damage.
On that note, do not roll against a rogue or a warrior on a melee weapon that purely does damage and has no stats or other factors. You do *not* need a high DPS dagger with a chance on hit to do extra magic damage. This creates a lot of enmity toward hunters from other classes.
Pets - level 10 Dual Wield - level 20 Aspect of the Cheetah - level 20 Feign Death - level 30 Mail armor proficiency - level 40 Steady Shot - level 62 Aspect of the Viper - level 64 Kill Command - level 66 Misdirection - level 70 Shields - never. Plate armor - never. A well-defined group role - never.
Want to know about another skill? Check for yourself at the hunter trainer or on the Hunter Spell List.
In every major city, somewhere, there is a weapon trainer. Ask a guard where this person is. The weapon trainer for a city only teaches certain weapons, but if he does not teach what you want, he can tell you who (in another city) does.
Agility (which adds attack power and chance to crit) is number one. No questions asked. That does not mean you should switch items because one has a single point of agility more if you are sacrificing other stats, though.
Stamina and Intellect are of some benefit to hunters. Stamina is often preferred, but some hunters argue that a hunter should not get hit, and thus more HP is irrelevant...but more mana lets them fight longer, so they try to get intellect.
Later in level, you will start seeing other qualities on equipment. Agility is good because it increases your Attack Power and your chance to crit. There are items that specifically increase one of those two factors, and are important to your damage output. Mana per 5 seconds (MP5) helps you keep your mana high while shooting and thus keeps you doing damage for a longer time. There are also Hit Rating bonuses that make you less likely to miss.
While usually the last thing hunters look at, defensive attributes like armor and chance to dodge are of some limited benefit. Agility also increases your chance to dodge, as well as your armor.
How does attack power, chance to crit, and chance to hit work? What is DPS?
Attack Power (AP) and crit chance increase your damage in different ways.
AP increases your basic DPS by 1 DPS per 14 points of AP. Note that DPS stands for damage-per-second, and is a rate, not an amount per hit. So your attack power will scale to give slower weapons the right amount more that they should do. Certain abilities, such as Aimed Shot or Multi-shot, pretend your weapon have a speed of 2.8 so there is no advantage to faster or slower weapons.
Crit chance gives you better odds to get a critical hit. A crit will deal double damage, or if you have the Mortal Shots talent, x2.3 damage. A large number of crits creates "spiky" damage that can steal aggro early in the fight, and hunters that focus on "crit gear" will often have lower basic DPS since they lack attack power, but critical chance is another important way to increase your overall damage output. At level 70, it takes 22 points of crit rating to add 1% chance to crit.
Note that agility increases your ranged attack power by 1 per point (and 1 for melee,) and roughly every 40 points of agility increases a hunter's critical rate by 1%. This crit rate conversion is specific to hunters, and is the worst of all the classes in the game.
Chance to hit affects your accuracy. Loosely speaking, you have a 95% chance to hit an even-level target. (This is actually based on the difference between your weapon skill and the target's defense skill, so higher level creatures and warriors with lots of +defense will be missed more often.) Hit rating adds to this 95%. It takes about 16 hit rating to add 1% chance to hit.
Note: Some of these numbers change with level. Level 70 is assumed here. Pretty much anything with "rating" changes by level (hit/crit/parry/dodge etc).
In the early levels it's hard to get AP, so mostly hunters go for agility and stamina. As you progress you will see a larger variety of items, at which point you will have to do more analysis to figure out what's better.
Here are some basic numbers:
1 (Ranged) attack power = 1/14 tooltip DPS
Agility 40 Agility = 1% crit 21 Agility = 1% dodge 1 Agility = 1 Ranged Attack Power 1 Agility = 1 Melee Attack Power 1 Agility = 2 Armor
Crit/Hit 22 Crit Rating = 1% Crit 1% Crit = 1% of your tooltip DPS, or 1.3% with Mortal Shots 15.75 Hit Rating = 1% Hit Note: To prevent misses you need +5% hit when fighting opponents of your level, and 9% when fighting raid bosses. Since non-caster Draenei give 1% hit to everyone in their group, you'll only need 4% or 8% when grouped with a Draenei. Same goes with improved faerie fire (Moonkin druid talent) which improves hit chance by up to 3%. So if you often raid with a moonkin druid you'll need even less hit rating.
Intelligence 1 Intelligence = 15 Mana, plus some mana regen w/ Aspect of the Viper 1 Intelligence = 0.45 Attack Power w/ Careful Aim
On your character screen, select the dropdown for Ranged (or Melee.)
What are the best enchants for a hunter? Why are there no ranged weapon enchants?
The best enchants are the ones that add to the things mentioned in the "best attributes" question. Increased melee damage and weapon procs like Crusader or Mongoose are not worth the expense, although if you like the orange glow of a Demonslaying enchant on your spear, go for it.
Ask your guild enchanter what he can enchant that would be useful. I wouldn't advise heavily investing in enchanting before 70, because you will replace your gear every couple levels, but at 70, you might consider savagery (+70AP) weapon, +26 AP gloves, +12 agi feet, +24 AP bracer, and +150 HP or +6 stats chest enchants as a few examples.
In Outlands, some groups have head enchants for sale if you reach a high enough lvl of reputation. For hunters you can buy a head enchant from the Cenarion Expedition Quartermaster in Zangarmarsh. (Revered reputation required 34attack power/16hit rating.) For legs there are several armor kits made by Leatherworkers. (+40AP/10crit rating; +50AP/12crit rating or a bit cheaper to push your hit points +30sta/+10agi). With The Burning Crusade there are also new shoulder enchants. For those you need honored (or exalted) reputation with either the Aldor or the Scryers. The Aldor enchants focus more on attack power while the Scryers enchants are heavier on crit rating. Aldor honored (26ap) Aldor exalted (30ap, 10crit rating) Scryers honored (13crit rating) Scryers exalted (15crit rating, 20ap)
There are no ranged weapon enchants. This is where engineering comes in. Scopes can modify ranged weapons to add +damage effects the same way +damage enchants modify melee weapons. There is also a scope that adds 3% chance to hit and a scope that adds 28crit rating. Those scopes only affect ranged attacks (just in case those rogues and warriors ask you where to get those nice scopes.)
Once you enter Outland you will also find gear with sockets. In those you will want to add gems which contribute to your main stats. Survival hunters will go for agi (+6/+8 agi) while marksman and beastmasters will mainly go for attack power (+12/+16 AP) gems. There are also gems that have half of this bonus and half of something else, and count as other colors if you need to match the colors on your item. (That is only to get the socket bonus!)
A hunter's primary role in a group is to safely deal damage. They have other possible roles, but 90% of the time, your group will want you to just stand in the back and shoot. Note that that means not taking aggro, running into other creatures to get a clear shot, or breaking sheep.
Other things you can do for your group include: Crowd Control - Freezing Trap will work on nearly every creature in the game. It affects the first target to run across it, and it does not work extremely long when the effect is not broken by someone hitting the frozen target, freeze trap is still a very powerful tool. While survival hunters are masters of crowd control (due to talents like Wyvern Sting, Readiness and improved traps,) all other specs are still very able to do pull their weight. Also, your pet can sometimes off-tank things in a pinch; at higher levels, this is not usually recommended, as Fido will not weather too many hits from elites, but better your kitty than your healer! Pull - Hunters can feign death, take one creature out of the fight with freeze trap, designate a target with Hunter's Mark, and are masters of taking and dropping hate. At level 70 you will also get Misdirection, which lets you give someone the threat from your next 3 attacks. (Note that you cant abort the pull with FD if you do this.) Scout - hunters can track, meaning they can know if something is nearby without walking up to see it. Hunters can also use their pet with Eyes of the Beast to go exploring; even if the pet aggroes something, as long as he doesn't bring it back to the party, it doesn't matter. Tank - it's a pretty sad day when this happens in a group, but in some cases and with the right talents, your pet can tank single targets. (This is generally a much more acceptable thing to do before level 50 than after.)
"Hunter weapon!" is a running joke among players, mostly started by idiotic comments on a site similar to this one called Thottbot. At some point, it became a nominal standard to call any weapon a hunter weapon, just because hunters *can* use anything but maces, and certain hunters have a tendency to roll on anything they can use.
A true hunter weapon is a decent ranged weapon, or a melee weapon that helps a hunter directly increase their ranged damage or their survivability.
In reality, hunters don't cost more than other classes, but it sure seems that way after buying ammunition and pet food, plus all their other necessities. The costs of these things add up, but other classes have expenses too. Reagents, armor repairs, food/drink, poisons, etc. Do they compare to buying a stack of food and perhaps a full quiver/pouch of specialty ammo? I dunno, ask a level 70 warrior...and remember you don't need crafted ammo.
The real kicker is that hunters can typically pick up less stuff before they return to town because of the quiver. There's really little that can be done about this. Take tradeskills that do not involve gathering 10 different stacks of herbs or generating more leather than you can pick up if this is an issue for you. However, there are plenty of examples of how other classes face this problem as well...just not from level 1.
There are six choices that are considered somewhat normal.
1. Mining/Engineering. This lets you build guns and create ammo so you do not have to pay for it. The irony is that Engineering creates more headaches than it solves, because it takes up massive amounts of bag space, costs a ton of money to save you a little bit on ammo costs, and does not create anything you can sell. You do get Goblin Jumper Cables, scopes, and limited teleportation out of the deal, though. The main reason most players do engineering is for the “toys” – trinkets like the decombobulator ray and mind control cap.
2. Skinning/Leatherworking. A great choice in the beginning, but later on leatherworking starts to suck because there are very few mail recipes and the ones there are are both hard to make and also more often geared toward a shaman. This will definitely help you before level 40, though, and you can continue to sell stacks of leather later on. A huge upside to skinning is that unlike other collecting skills, it won't interfere with your tracking. After lvl 60 there are many more mail patterns available and it all ends up with a 3 piece lvl 70 set at 375 leatherworking.
3. Herbalism/Alchemy. Hunters benefit less from alchemy than most classes, but Elixirs of Agility and of the Mongoose are very helpful, and alchemy is one of the few tradeskills you can profit from if you know how, since everyone needs a potion or two at some point. Don't overlook this one.
4. Mining/Jewelcrafting. JC lets you make Rings, Necklaces and some Trinkets. Beyond a skill of 300 you can also start to cut gems to put in socketed items, which is the real highlight. The downside to Jewelcrafting is that it is more of a service profession, and because it is relatively new many players do not fully understand it or try to exploit the jewelcrafting market.
5. Mining (or Herbalism)/Skinning. This is the standard "collector" tradeskill set for farming items for others. People out to make cash often take this set-up to find things to sell on the AH. Unfortunately, this does not work as well with hunters as other classes because they have more limited bag space, but it can still work.
6. Mining (or Herbalism)/Enchanting. Enchanting helps you improve your armor but is a huge money pit, and thus needs a gathering skill to keep it up. If you know how to make money, enchanting can potentially make a lot of money, but this route is not recommended for anyone who is just starting.
Note that First Aid, Fishing, and Cooking are not technically tradeskills, and do not count against your limit of two. All hunters should do First Aid. Fishing and Cooking help feed your pet, but aren't necessary as they can be a huge waste of time. (If Blizzard would add some high-level cooking recipes that don't require fishing, maybe I could do something with my capped Cooking skill!)
Best in what way? There are countless high end weapons in raids. You can also get epic weapons through Arena PvP at lvl 70 and a few weapons can be obtained through Reputaion. The problem is that the “best” weapons only come from endlessly raiding high-end dungeons with a group of 25 people, require being very skilled at PvP-ing or an endless rep grind.
Also, there is no best. It all depends on your talent spec, what you do a lot, and what is obtainable for you.
Why does weapon speed matter? What is a rotation?
At lower levels, weapon speed does not really matter at all. You might use up more ammunition with a faster weapon, but overall you will do the same damage either way.
However, at level 62, hunters get Steady Shot, which changes things in situations where they are trying to pound out as much damage as possible. The problem with Steady Shot is that it is a very essential tool to hunters, but it has a 1.5 second cast time. During that cast, autoshot will not go off.
Because hunters generally want to use special shots as much as possible during boss fights, (for example,) and steady shot is the only damage shot without a cooldown, it gets used a lot. And if the timing of your steady shot is blocking your autoshot, you will be losing possible damage output simply because of your weapon speed.
High-level hunters that worry a lot about this plan out exactly the order they fire the shots. If they can get their shot speed to be fast enough, they will just fire one special between every autoshot. (You would the goal would be 1.5 seconds, but with server lag and reaction time, this ends up being closer to 2.0 seconds.) Some other hunters try to get 3 special attacks for every 2 auto shots, with the middle one being arcane shot or multi shot. To do this without losing auto damage requires a much slower weapon speed, slower than is available for anyone using a quiver.
As a result, most hunters are trying to get their attack speed to about 2 seconds. Because no epic weapon (at a level where you would have Steady Shot) has an attack speed under 2.7, Beast Mastery has a huge advantage here. Serpent's Swiftness and a 15% quiver makes a 2.8 speed weapon attack every 2.03 seconds.
The subject of shot rotations is more complicated than is being mentioned here, but the simple answer is if you are a Beast Master, you probably want to just fire Steady Shot after each of your auto shots. Otherwise, you will probably want to incorporate Arcane Shot or Multi Shot immediately after a Steady finishes on occasion. You will use much more mana this way, though.
If you want more information on shot rotations you can find great material at these links on tkasomething.com Shot rotation Macro How-to Shot Rotation Illustrated
Use whatever has the best stats. There is no single simple answer for this. Allakhazam is designed for helping you research items, so just look for items that have agility, attack power, crit rating, and other things that help your performance.
Before you get to Outland, this means mostly looking for random greens that have the stats you want. Afterwards, quest rewards are generally superior and dungeon drops are also very nice.
Beaststalker Armor is the basic set from the lvl 55-60 instanced dungeons like Stratholme and Blackrock Spire. Beastmaster armor is the upgraded version of Beaststalker, sometimes refered to as tier 0.5, or Dungeon 2. Giantstalker Armor is the "tier 1" set from the bosses in Molten Core. While awesome items, you will NEED a raid to see any of these items, and chances are, that means you will need to be in a raiding guild. Dragonstalker Armor is the "tier 2" armor. This comes from even higher level raid bosses like Onyxia, Ragnaros, and the major fights in Blackwing Lair. Striker's Garb comes from Ahn'qiraj and is generally NOT considered to be tier 3 because it is not a complete set, only having 5 pieces. Also, Ahn'qiraj, while more difficult than Blackwing Lair, generally does not result in significantly better equipment. Cryptstalker Armor is the 'tier 3' set and comes from bosses in Naxxramas, the toughest most challenging lvl 60 raid instance. (Note: lvl 60 sets are now hard to acquire because the raids aren't done often and also generally useless at lvl 70)
Beast Lord Armor and Desolation Battlegear are known as the Dungeon 3 (D3) set. These are acquired in level 70 instances like Shattered Halls and the Steamvault. Demon Stalker Armor is the "tier 4" set and is acquired in Karazhan, Gruul's Lair and Magtherdion's lair. This is the first of the lvl 70 raid sets and you will most likely need a raiding guild to see any of the setpieces. Rift Stalker Armor is the "tier 5" set and is aquired in Serpentshrine Cavern and The Eye. Gronnstalker's Armor, also known as "tier 6", is acquired in Mt. Hyjal and the Black Temple. This is currently the highest level armor and only very few guilds are strong enough to enter these raids.
Here are the lvl 60 PvP sets: Horde officer armor Alliance officer armor Alliance Field Marshall armor Horde Warlord Marshall's Armor
and the lvl 70 PvP sets. High Warlord's Pursuit is the current Battleground set. Gladiator's Pursuit is the first tier of Arena sets. Merciless Gladiator's Pursuit is the second tier of Arena armor.
If X is not 70, or 19/29 for a battleground twink, who cares? You're just going to replace it all in the next five levels.
No, but they are very good. They can move from target to target with little downtime, and can track to the next target to find it faster. The misconception of a hunter being able to fight while not taking damage making them be the best soloists is an often-repeated myth. Many other classes can solo as well as a hunter, it always depends on what you are fighting. There are so many different things you can (or cannot) solo, it is impossible to say which class is the strongest.
However, a beast master hunter can level on their own extremely well. While generally not as useful in a group as certain other characters, beast masters are incredible soloists.
Pulling is the act of taking a creature from where it is to some other place to fight it. Usually that means one person goes off and fetches it to a spot where the rest of the group lies in wait to ambush it. If you want to know about how to pull, NuklearPower's Brian Klevinger has a decent explanation of it here.
I will add my own caveats to his writing, though. Hunter pulling is only more effective with a slow methodical process. While technically it's a more improved method of pulling, it is not always better because it's sometimes like using a sledge hammer to squish an ant -- your shoe would do just fine. Not only does the group need to listen to you, and stay out of harm's way, but you need to carefully lay a trap, scope the scene, bring the group back, blah blah blah. The point is it is often easier for a random warrior with a gun to pull. Hunter pulling does become important in heroics and raids like Karazhan, where hunters have tools and tricks that allow them to coordinate the pull so the tank can get into position beforehand.
If you are asked to pull for a group, it pays to be thinking about your next pull, or even starting it while the group is still fighting. While I seldom get to pull for an instance group, in Molten Core I knew the pulls and would do my best to “chain pull” – bring another target to the group just as the last one dies. That isn't something any other class can do very well, mostly because of feign death.
At level 70, hunters get an ability called Misdirection that allows them to make shots and have someone else get the threat for it. At this point, the hunter can out-pull the "random warrior with a gun," but it does have a cooldown, so Misdirection is often reserved for big pulls.
Where does melee fit in with playing the class?
In theory, yes. In reality, no.
Hunters are a ranged-dominant class. If you completely ignore this, that would be like a paladin that wants to deal massive damage in a raid, or a rogue that wants to tank, because hey - they have skills that let them do it, right?
Melee is not something you should be accustomed to doing as a first choice. It's rare that running in and whacking things with an axe is the ideal strategy for you at any given time. You will always do more damage with your ranged. Past level 40 or so, melee can't even compare.
Hunters should be prepared to melee when the circumstances arise, such as when they can't get to ranged during PvP or in close quarters of an instance. Do not neglect your weapon skills completely. But realize that more often than not, you want to do what you can to get back to range, by Wing Clipping, Counterattacking, Trapping, Scatter Shotting, Intimidating, or whatever else you can come up with. Notice how many tools we have to get to range, though? And how many do we have for real melee damage? None.
Raptor Strike adds damage to a swing, Mongoose Bite does pathetic damage after a dodge, Counterattack is a defensive move that is not focused on damage, and Wing Clip is laughable as an offensive move...with one exception: if you have a weapon with a "chance on hit" effect, spam Wing Clip all you want because you might trigger that effect. HOWEVER, any weapon with one of those effects is better off in the hands of an actual melee character, so the odds of this happening aren't too high. (This strategy does work nicely for leveling your melee weapon skills, though.)
With the ability to use traps in combat, the CC power of a hunter has greatly increased. To chain trap something, set a trap before the fight starts. When the mobs are actually pulled, the trap cooldown should be almost up. So, after the mob is trapped, move to the side and place a new trap and stand behind it. When the trap wears off the mob will hopefully go towards you and get caught in the new trap. You can then set another trap soon afterwards, while the mob is still frozen.
Note that with the proper talents you can extend the trap time to almost completely cover the trap cooldown, which allows you to control a mob for a long time. The first set bonus for Beastlord armor also reduces the trap cooldown by 4 seconds.
There are a lot of little things wrong with every class. For hunters, some are there because the class was the last to get put in the game and many facets of the game weren't designed with hunters in mind. Some are because Blizzard keeps tweaking the formulas and code used on hunter abilities. Some are bugs that have crept into the code and Blizzard hasn't or won't deal with. Some are just whines for other stupid reasons, like getting owned in a duel.
There are some real hunter issues. You can read the official boards if you dare to sift through the muck for them. However, the most important thing is, every class is playable, and every class is fun. Do not let all the forum whiners get to you.
The truth is, hunters are one of the most versatile classes in the game, with very good survivability, high damage capability, and a decent amount of utility. It's up to you to figure out how to bring all these things to your character, though.
Petopia (top 100 pets)
Pet-related skills are in the pet section.
Hunters have a series of abilities called Aspects. A hunter can have a single aspect in place at a time, and they each produce a unique effect. A hunter can switch aspects at any time.
Aspect of the Monkey (level 4) - Increases chance to dodge by 8%. This is the defensive aspect. Aspect of the Hawk (level 10) - Increases the hunter's ranged attack power. This is the hunter's offensive aspect. Aspect of the Cheetah (level 20) - Increases the hunter's run speed by 30%, but becomes dazed when hit. Cheetah is mostly only useful in traveling due to the daze component, but it can be used carefully in combat and even PvP to kite an opponent. Aspect of the Beast (level 30) - Makes the hunter untrackable. Very helpful in PvP, and nearly useless otherwise. Aspect of the Pack (level 40) - Cheetah for the group. This is of limited use since it comes at the level players get access to mounts, but it can let your group run through instances and other indoor areas quickly. Aspect of the Wild (level 46) - Increases the group's Nature Resistance. This ability works like a paladin aura. Aspect of the Viper (level 64) - regenerates mana equal to up to 50% of the hunter's Intellect every 5 sec. The lower the hunter's current mana, the more mana will be regenerated. The best aspect to keep you going in long fights/grinding sessions.
Hunters can place traps any time, unless silenced. (Before Burning Crusade it was only possible when out of combat.) When an opponent crosses the trap, it will detonate, resulting in an effect depending on which trap is used. The traps stay in place, and invisible to anyone outside the hunter's group, for one minute or until triggered.
Immolation Trap (level 16) - Causes single target damage over time. The normal damage trap for soloing. Freezing Trap (level 20) - Freezes an opponent for a fixed amount of time. This is a very useful ability because it can affect almost any enemy type in the game, whereas most targeted crowd control is limited that way. Helpful for PvP, pulling, or just dealing with multiple targets. Frost Trap (level 28) - Do not confuse this with Freeze Trap. When triggered, Frost Trap produces a huge field of ice that makes all opponents nearby run slowly. Has limited usage, but can be very helpful in group PvP or in pulling large groups. Explosive Trap (level 34) - Causes AE damage to all enemies nearby when triggered. Most of the damage is instant, but there is a smaller over-time component. Hunters are not known for their AE, but when they need to, this is an ability that should not be forgotten. Snake Trap (level 68) - Releases a number of snakes that attack any nearby opponent and inflict various poisons. Great for PvP because of poisons that snare or slow spellcasting. However those snakes have very few hp and a single AE spell will get rid of them all. In PvE, this trap can make crowd control troublesome as those poison dots will break/prevent most forms of crowd control and the snakes target the next enemy in range, so it is hard to "control" this trap.
Hunters have a few skills for close combat. Note that this does not make hunters effective at melee combat so much as it makes them not completly worthless at it.
Raptor Strike (level 1) - Increases damage on the next melee hit. This is not an instant attack and only adds a flat amount to the next hit. Wing Clip (level 12) - For many hunters, this is the most important melee skill because it lets them get out of melee and back to ranged. Wing Clip slows the run speed of a target for 10 seconds so you can get some distance. Note that the tip says slows speed TO 50%, not BY 50%. Higher levels of the skill read smaller numbers, and if not read carefully, actually seem like a downgrade. Mongoose Bite (level 16) - A strange ability, Mongoose lets you deal a little extra damage immediately after you dodge an attack. It is not terribly effective or efficient, but it can make a difference in a situation where you are forced into melee (which is almost never the case.) Disengage (level 20) - Disengage lowers your threat toward a target on a successful hit, and deals no damage. With luck, the target will then attack someone else instead. The tooltip on Disengage is not clear in what it means by removes from combat. It does not take you out of combat; only feign death and the rogue's vanish do that. It only turns your attack off so you don't accidentally get a crit after it lands and immediately retake aggro. Counterattack (level 30 min) - See talents. This ability works like Mongoose Bite for parries, except that it also immobilizes a target for 5 seconds.
Hunters gain the ability to see the locations of targets on their minimap. This works essentially the same way Find Minerals or Gather Herbs does, but for enemy types. Hunters eventually learn how to track every enemy type except for mechanical and creatures with no type (like insects.)
It is important to note that only one tracking type can be active at a time, and this includes Find Minerals or Gather Herbs, or the dwarven racial skill of Treasure Finding. This can influence your choice of profession, or at least prove an aggravation.
One particular tracking skill deserves some additional mention. Track Hidden is not a standard tracking skill. It is used to help detect stealth targets, but it does not simply pop up all the stealth targets nearby on the map. Instead, it slightly increases your stealth detection. If a hidden target is *extremely* close to you, it will show it on the map, but by that time it's probably about to attack you anyway. Track Hidden is not a highly-effective ability, but when it comes to detecting stealth rogues, every little bit helps.
Stings are a class of special shots, only one of which can be on a target per hunter at a time. Stings are considered poisons and can be removed by druids, shamans, and paladins.
Serpent Sting (level 4) - Does damage over time. A poison arrow, basically. This damage WILL break freeze traps and polymorph, so don't just fire it blindly. It also helps prevent a rogue from stealthing in PvP. Scorpid Sting (level 22) - Lowers a target's chance to hit. This is the best sting for boss fights, although it will not stack with another hunter's Scorpid Sting since 20 hunters could make any target miss completely. In times where you actually care to spend the mana on a sting in PvE, this is usually the sting you want to use. Viper Sting (level 36) - Drains mana from the target over time. While Viper Sting works very quickly, it often does not work quickly enough. In a PvP battle with a mage, the mage will usually have enough mana to finish the fight anyway, so it is often better to just use Serpent and kill him quickly. Against priests and other healers, this is a different story. In PvE, you will want to Viper Sting any healer you can. Wyvern Sting (min level 40) - See talents. Puts a target to sleep for 12 seconds, after which it has a dot effect on it larger than that of Serpent Sting.
Autoshot (level 1) - This is your version of attack for ranged. Only hunters get this, and only hunters need it. Caster classes do get an autoshoot for wands. Autoshot will continually fire arrows or bullets at your target so long as you are within range, standing still, and facing the right way. Arcane Shot (level 6) - Instant attack which does quite ok damage. It has a fixed damage component (15 damage / 25 mana for rank 1; 273 damage / 230 mana at rank 9) and it also adds damage equal to 15% of your ranged attack power. Keep in mind that it deals non-physical damage, so armor is ignored, but mobs can resist some of the damage or even be immune to it, (which is rather seldom.) Concussive Shot (level 8) - Very short-term snare effect. It might help you get another shot or two in on an approaching target or help keep it at bay longer while you are kiting it. Distracting Shot (level 12) - Ranged growl. Using DS adds hate to your target to possibly get it to chase you instead. In situations where your pet is taking a beating, or in a group to peel a target off a caster, this can be a useful ability, but it does not see a great deal of use. It also makes a good choice of shot for use with Misdirection. Multishot (level 18) - Fires a free shot at your target that will also hit 2 nearby opponents. This is a big-time sheep breaker. When it is safe to use, it can also be a big addition to your damage and a big drain to your mana at the same time. Multishot ignores your weapon speed, (it uses a fixed speed of 2.8,) but uses normal shot damage for how much it does. If you use Multishot a lot, a slow high-damage weapon may be favorable for you. Aimed Shot (level 20 min) - See talents. It's a great opener for a battle due to the massive damage it deals in one blow, but is not nearly as effective over the course of a battle. Tranquilizing Shot (level 60) - If you don't know what this is, you don't need it. It originally came from the first boss in Molten Core, and is only useful in a very few specific fights. Steady Shot (level 62) - A very important shot for damage since it deals cheap, reliable damage without a cooldown. However, it does have a cast time, which is the reason why "shot rotations" exist.
Hunter's Mark (level 6) - Hunter's Mark does two things. First, it increases ranged attack power of all attackers against that target by 110 and by an additional 11 each time the target is struck by a ranged attack, up to a maximum of 440. (These numbers are for rank 4.) It's cheap on mana and should be up on every target you focus on -- if the target will last long enough for you to benefit from the buff. Second, it adds a huge bobbing red arrow over your target that says "Kill me now!" This causes a target to appear for you on the minimap, even if it is a stealthed rogue, and also lets players nearby know what you are attacking or singling out for them. When playing the role of Main Assist for a group, hunters will usually mark their targets. When pulling, hunters will often mark what they intend on pulling through a freeze trap so players *don't* hit it. Either way, it's a little anti-thematic, but has all kinds of basic utility usage. To rogues: Hunter's Mark is considered magic and can be dispelled, and does not actually prevent you from stealthing or allow anyone other than the hunter to see you. Cry more noob. Rapid Fire (level 26) - Allows the hunter to fire ranged attacks with 40% increased speed for 15 seconds, basically an extra 6 seconds worth of attack time if it works completely. Trueshot Aura (level 40 min) - This is a talent skill, and sort of like an aspect. (It can be used with an actual aspect.) If you already have 30 points in marksmanship, it's an excellent one point spend, but that's also an if. More in talent section.
Scare Beast (level 14) - Fear a beast. It does not really get used that much except when dueling druids or other hunters. Eagle Eye (level 14) - Zooms in a hunters view. Very rarely-used skill. Beast Lore (level 24) - Gives information about a target beast. This ability is almost exclusively used when considering possible pets to tame, since it gives stats on the pet and states explicitly if something is tameable. Intimidation (level 30 min) - Activated talent that lets your pet stun a target briefly. Flare (level 32) - More of a PvP ability, Flare will reveal stealth targets in a particular area. There are a few places where using it on rogue NPCs can be helpful, so don't forget about it, but it's not a main row ability for anyone on PvE. Misdirection (level 70) - This ability transfers the threat you generate on your next three attacks to another target. While this can be used while soloing to make enemies focus on your pet, the primary purpose of this skill is during groups to help the hunter be effective at pulling. Misdirecting the hate from your first three shots to the main tank can make pulls where positioning is important much easier, and can also let healers and damage dealers be less cautious of pulling aggro. Be aware that only one misdirection can be active at a time on a target, so 3 hunters cannot all misdirect the MT at the same time.
Feign Death (level 30) - Feign Death is an ability I could write a novel about. Here are the important things to know about feign death: -Causes you to flop on the ground and be removed from all hate lists. -Can fail, and fails more often against higher level targets and when facing more opponents. -Removes you from combat, which possibly allows you to drink during a fight, or walk away safely. You can easily return to combat before you are ready by being hit with an AE attack or aggroing something nearby, or if your pet is fighting. -Will not put you back into combat until you stand up. If you stay lying there until mobs finish off your pet, or if some AE-ing target goes running by and hits you with one as he passes, you will stay face down in the mud. -After 6 minutes of feigning you will stand up again. You simply cannot lie down and feign your death without end. There are gameplay and RP reasons for this. When you feign death, in theory you slow your heartrate and your breathing so that it can not be ascertained you are alive. The 6 minute maximum on feign death keeps people from safely hiding in a spot forever - while not as huge an issue in this game, this creates an ability to 'camp' things that would cause significant problems in other games, as FD often did when monks used it in Everquest. -While FD *does* work in PvP, players are not normally fooled.
This is always the first question out of anyone's mouth. Really, there is no best pet, and there's a lot more to know about pets than just "teh best".
If you're lazy and just want an answer, use a BOAR. Boars are good all-around pets, will eat anything, and can use every general skill except Claw.
What is your pet?
Please don't start another thread on this subject. Honestly, the "favorite pet" threads are getting old and everyone pretty much just the same thing every time. Expect a lot of "cat" answers, a couple "bears", and a few people who try to be original, plus the occasional "I don't like flying pets because they flap in my face," and "I don't like cats because everyone uses a cat."
And I use a cat. A random old generic cat. (Edit: I have been using an owl for the last year.)
There are three ways pets can differ.
The first is diet. Most beasts eat meat, or meat and fish. Some eat other things. To check a pet's diet, use the Beast Lore ability on it, or if it's already your pet, mouse over the little happiness icon in your pet window.
The second way is abilities. Some pets start with abilities when they are tamed. In fact, this is the only way to learn pet abilities other than growl. Pets are able to learn some skills, but don't usually start with them. However, not every pet can use every skill. For instance, non-flying pets can't learn to Dive, and flying pets can't learn to Dash. There are even some family-specific abilities, like Scorpid Poison (which only Scorpids can use.)
The third is their attributes. Pet statistics are only different in three places: 1) Hit points 2) Armor 3) DPS
Beasts will usually excel at one of those three, be average in a second, and poor in a third; or they will simply be average all-around. The differences in these categories are not huge, either, but enough to affect your gameplay.
All beasts of a certain type and level will be identical. It does not matter if you have a polar bear, I have an elite brown bear, and that guy over there has a rotting bear. If they're all level 50, they are all the same.
See Petopia for all you could ever want to know about pets.
All cats/bears/wolves are the same? What about elite pets?
Same answer. Same pet family, same level -> same stats. The one exception is caster pets, which are weaker in all aspects. More about caster pets can be found here.
The first thing you must do is the class quest in your starting area after level 10. Go to Dolanaar/Kharanos/Bloodhoof/Razor Hill/Azure Watch/Falconwing Square and look for your trainer. He will give you a series of lame quests to tame particular creatures in the zone. After you have finished, you will then be able to tame your own pet.
To tame a pet you first have to find one you like. Go out into the wild, and find a creature that is a "beast", no bigger than a bear, and not above your level, and click "Tame Beast". Your character will stand still while a bar goes by and the beast will run up and start beating you. This represents the creature's resistance to your efforts to tame it.
If you manage to withstand the attacks for 20 seconds without being interrupted, you will tame your target and it will stop attacking you.
You can NOT take any other action while taming or it will fail. Nobody else can interfere by healing you or tanking the beast. You must simply weather the attacks, but there's nothing keeping you from trying to not get hit. Use Aspect of the Monkey, stand as far back as you can, and maybe even start with Concussive Shot first. Freezing Traps are wonderful once you have that skill.
Why can't I tame a dragon?
Beasts are the only creatures hunters can tame, and only certain types at that. (See the Allakhazam beast family link under bestiary, or use Beast Lore if you aren't sure.) Dragons are considered to be too intelligent to be tamed as a minion.
Go to the side panel for Allakhazam, and under Bestiary, click "By Beast Family..." and pick the family type.
How do I feed my pet?
Happiness is your pet's current disposition. If your pet is happier, he will fight better, and be more inclined to gain loyalty to you. If your pet is unhappy, there is the possibility he might eventually abandon you.
To raise a pet's happiness, you must feed him. After giving the pet a piece of acceptable food, by clicking on the "feed pet" skill and then clicking on the food in your inventory, they will start gaining happiness at a rate of typically 35 per second. This effect lasts for about 10 seconds, and then you will need to feed your pet again. *Do not feed your pet before that, and do not send your pet to attack while he is "digesting" or you will cut short the effect.* (You can also feed your pet by "picking up" the food onto your cursor and clicking on your pet.)
The icon for their happiness will eventually turn from red to yellow, and then to green, with enough feeding. As your pet gains levels, old food will stop being as effective. If you start seeing your pet gain 17 happiness instead of 35, you need to get higher-level food. Unfortunately, this means at high levels you will be nearly forced into using Talbuk Venison. At lower levels, vendor costs for food aren't bad, random raw meat works for feeding, and cooking is still meaningful.
Loyalty serves two functions. First, each loyalty level provides training points to teach your pet new skills. Second, pets that are more loyal to you become unhappy more slowly, and require less feeding.
Your pet will reach a maximum loyalty level of 6.
No one is exactly sure what causes a pet's loyalty to go up at any current time, but it is widely believed to be a combination of time spent happy and experience gained.
What determines a pet's size?
Yes. They gain experience at a slower rate than you, but also take less to level. The pet tab in your character window will show you your pet's experience bar. A pet will not gain experience when it is your level, to keep the pet from outleveling you.
Each level makes your pet an effective level higher, raising stats and increasing their chance to hit and be missed. It also gives the pet a few extra training points and makes them a tiny bit bigger. All pets of a given type and level are the same size. If you tame some huge behemoth, it will shrink as it becomes loyal to you. (Funny and depressing at the same time.)
What are training points? Are they reuseable? Will a pet leveled from 10 to 70 have more or less training points than one tamed at 70?
To teach pets abilities, first you must know the ability yourself. You learn these skills from a pet trainer or from watching other pets you have had use them. Use Good Intentions' page to find out which pets automatically know skills when you tame them, so that you can learn from them.
Once you know a skill, you can teach it to any pet with the "Beast Training" ability in the general tab of your spellbook. Each ability will have a cost in points associated with it if your pet can learn it. If your pet can not, it might be a skill that type of pet can't learn, or he just might not be high enough in level. Make sure the first ability you train on a pet is the highest growl they can learn.
Pets gain training points every time they level or increase in loyalty. Overall this works out to the same amount in the end no matter how it happens. (The exact formula is level * loyalty-1.) Training points are now reclaimable like talent points, by visiting a pet trainer and having them reset the training points, so there is no difference in the number of training points you get, or whether you take a level 10 cat to 70 instead of getting one at 70.
There are passive and activated abilities.
Passive abilities are just that: passive. They provide a boost to some attribute, like armor, stamina, or fire resist. Rather than listing them all, I will simply point you to the pet training calculator and you can see for yourself.
Activated abilities are trained the same way, but a pet can only learn four of them, and not every pet can learn every skill. They include: Growl is the most important against NPCs. It raises the pet's hate on a particular creature, which lets it tank something for you even though it does much less damage. Avoidance reduces the damage your pet takes from area effect attacks by an additional 25% or 50%. This skill makes pets much more usable in raid encounters, especially boss fights, and is a must-have for every hunter who raids. Cobra Reflexes increases the pet's attack speed by 30%, but slightly reduces the damage an attack does. Overall this is an increase in your pets damage. A faster attack speed is a great thing in PvP since it interrupt casters more often. Beast Masters like cobra reflexes since it helps their pet to stay in frenzy, and increases the time ferocious inspiration is up. (More attacks = more chances to crit.) Bite, Claw and Gore spend the pet's Focus (which is kinda like rogue energy) to do damage. Claw and Gore uses Focus EXTREMELY quickly, so it is advised you turn it off unless that is all you want your pet to do. Cower is the exact opposite of Growl. It lets your pet reduce its hate, which is really only useful in group situations where a warrior takes over for something the pet was off-tanking. Dash and Dive are the same ability with different names. Dash lets your pet run very swiftly for a period of time. Dive is the same ability for flying pets.
There are more pet abilities that are limited to specific pet famillies, such as Prowl, Charge, Lightning Breath, Warp, Screech, and Furious Howl. You can find a complete list of pet abilities here.
We have no idea why they are *now* limited to four. You're going to have to pick and choose, and use multiple pets, if that's not to your liking. Oh, and go rant in the Blizz hunter forum with everyone else.
I am not going to even try to answer this one, especially since more abilities arrive with each patch, and because priorities are very different for different pets and playstyles. Just play with the darn calculator.
Because at loyalty level 1, your pet has 0 training points earned, but if you tamed a beast that comes with an ability, they are considered to have it trained already.
Your pet can disappear for a number of reasons. These include running away, dying, going out of range, being dismissed or abandoned, being stabled, or taking a flight somewhere. In other words, if you don't see your pet, don't panic.
If your pet is not visible, use the Call Pet ability. Unless you were neglecting him, and he ran away, he will always be somewhere even if he is not out. If he DID run away, I am calling PETA on you. Try feeding next time.
If your pet dies, he is not gone forever. You have an ability to Revive Pet, that costs a ton of mana. Your pet will come back with low health and much lower happiness. (I tend not to be happy about dying either.) Make sure the first thing you do after rezzing your pet is you feed it.
Pets also disappear while you are mounted.
Use the feed pet ability, and click on a piece of food that your pet will eat. Refer to the diet comments earlier if your pet "does not like that type of food." Your pet should then gain the "feed pet" effect and start gaining happiness, which you would see in the combat log. This leads to two important items: 1) Pets gain less happiness if you feed them food much lower in level than they are. A pet gets maximum happiness - 35 per second - only if the food is less than 20 levels below them. It can drop to 17, then 8, and then 0. 2) MAKE FULL USE OF THE GD FEED PET EFFECT! If your pet is already eating, don't feed him again. This serves NO benefit - not for happiness, not for loyalty, not for anything. Also, note that the pet loses the effect if it enters combat, so don't feed it and then send it off to attack something. Indigestion does not make me happy. Getting to chew my food does.
You mentioned feeding and training pets, but I don't have those skills...
You have to do a follow-up quest to the 3 taming missions that involves finding the hunter trainers in your capital city. Check to see if the hunter trainer that gave you the taming quests has another one for you.
The pet bar that appears when you call your pet has three sets of commands. The three on the left, Attack, Follow, and Stay, are direct orders. Attack sics your pet on your target, follow tells him to come with you, (or back to you rather than attacking,) and stay is for making sure he does not move. I recommend you bind the command for pet attack to an easy-to-reach key like the tilde since you'll be hitting it a lot and pressing ctrl-1 sucks.
The three on the right are for putting the pet into different attack modes. On aggressive, your pet will chase after anything non-friendly nearby and initiate combat with it. In defensive, the pet will protect itself or you from attackers, but otherwise do nothing. A passive pet will simply moan as it gets hit and let itself be beaten. You should almost never set your pet to aggressive, and strictly use passive in instances so your pet does not run off.
The middle slots start off empty, and are for placing trained abilities. All trained abilities can be set to "autocast" by right-clicking them, which will mean the pet will use them whenever possible. If your pet is not holding aggro, make sure he's growling. If you don't want your pet to tank, (because you're grouped with a warrior,) turn growl off and bite and claw on. You can also left-click the pet abilities to manually command your pet to use them.
Turn claw or gore off.
There are two potential problems. 1) Your pet needs to be growling (and not cowering.) If growl is turned off, or if all your focus is being drained by other abilities, your pet will not be generating much threat. Taking the talents Go For the Throat and Bestial Discipline can help this problem. 2) You're simply generating too much hate. Stop spamming your own abilities. There's no reason to be using multishot or stings in solo 90% of the time. Use disengage (or once you hit level 30 use feign death) if you do happen to take aggro, like if you start with an Aimed Shot crit.
Side note: Survival hunters have a MUCH harder time keeping aggro on the pet. There's not much that can be done about this, and it has to do with growl mechanics.
Yes and no. You can have one at a time, but you do not have to get rid of your current pet forever to get a new one.
In each town, usually in front of the inn, is a "stable master" who has two slots you can purchase to store your pets like putting items in a bank. This way, you can board your pet while you go looking for something with Bite 3, or just to have different pets for different situations (like having a DPS pet and a tanking pet.)
To put your pet away, Dismiss it. To get rid of it forever, right-click it's portrait and select Abandon. Note the difference in these two! A dismissed pet is simply hidden, an abandoned pet is gone for good.
Also by right-clicking your pet, you can choose to rename it. You can only ever rename it once, so be sure to name it what you want.
There is an ability called Eyes of the Beast that lets you take control of your pet for a minute. During this time you can run your pets wherever. When the duration expires, your pet will try to run back to you, and will despawn if he is now out of range. Eyes of the Beast can be a useful tool for very long-distance pulling, since the aggro transfers to the hunter after the pet is gone. It can also be used for scouting unfamiliar areas without risking yourself, or your party if you're in one, especially if you have a cat with prowl.
Pets can easily cause wipes. Pets do not always take the same exact route you do, and might run past things you do not if you were to jump off an edge and the pet takes the long route. They also will attack things and chase runners places you do not want them to go. Keep a tight leash on your pet in an instance. They do not aggro things as easily as you do, but they still can.
Your pet will mainly be used for support damage, but you can also use it as an off-tank to protect the casters in the back from angry adds that run up to them. Be sure not to attack something that is otherwise under control, however at least now pets will break off an attack from something that becomes controlled.
Because Blizzard says so. Taming a beast for combat training and taming it to be used as a riding animal are two different things. Hunters learn how to hunt, so that's what they teach their pets to do. Unlike warlocks who have 5 different pets and a mount summon, hunter pets are all the same flavor. (Yeah, I know it's not fair. I am sorry. I ca not make it better.)
This one. That's for the brainless. For anyone who cares to actually learn about their class, read on.
Where can I find what all the hunter talents are?
There is never any one distinct "best." Right now, many players will tell you Beast Mastery. Before Burning Crusade, players would argue between Marksmanship and Survival. In another few months it may change again. Each tree is simply different and has its own purposes.
Again, this is something that changes, but right now the best answer is Beast Mastery.
Tier 1 Improved Aspect of the Hawk (B+) Used by many non-beast masters, as it gives a good DPS boost. This does stack with Rapid Fire. Good burst DPS, great talent since Hawk will probably be your most-used Aspect. In the late levels, though, Viper may replace Hawk now and then. Endurance Training (B) 10% extra pet health is a must for a Beast Master, and the extra 5% health for yourself is a nice bonus. If you are not so much into solo playing, you can go for Improved Hawk instead.
Tier 2 Focused Fire (B+) Despite it's location low in the tree, this may be one of the later talents you pick up as a Beast Master. It's definitely worth the investment, however, especially after you get Kill Command at 66. It's also an excellent talent for marks hunters. Improved Aspect of the Monkey (C-) This is better for Survival hunters, but AotM is seldom used after you get your pet. Thick Hide (B+) 20% extra armor is great for tanking, and a little extra for yourself is also nice. Highly recommended. Improved Revive Pet (B-) If your pet ever dies in the middle of a tough boss battle, being able to call him back can turn the tide. Your Revive Pet will take just 4 seconds, cost about a third of your total mana, and brings your pet to life with 45% of his total health. Very good for 2 talent points.
Tier 3 Pathfinding (D) Loses its usefulness when you can get a mount. Bestial Swiftness (C) Useful, especially for pets that can not get Dash/Dive. Recommended but not priority. Unleashed Fury (A) 20% extra damage? Definitely.
Tier 4 Improved Mend Pet (A-) Excellent talent if you have the points. Although it takes three times as long to remove debuffs as in the past, the 20% lower mana cost is worth the talent points on its own. Ferocity (A) 10% extra crit chance is deadly, combined with the tier 6 talent Frenzy.
Tier 5 Spirit Bond (D) Very minor regen, only once per 10 seconds. Its usefulness is limited, and generally not recommended. Intimidation (A) Great ability for protecting casters, catching runaways, extra aggro, and interrupting casting. The stun is not broken by damage, either. Short cooldown. If all that were not enough, you need it to get Bestial Wrath. Bestial Discipline (B+) More focus equals more damage or better aggro control (or both). A must-have talent if you're this high in the tree.
Tier 6 Animal Handler (B+) The way this talent is worded is misleading. The important part of this talent is the +hit for your pet -- 4% more hits is essentially 4% more damage. The mount speed is just a bonus. Frenzy (A) Simply amazing. This talent (along with Ferocity) is essential to Beast Masters. Frenzy can reproc multiple times, and can proc off of special attack crits, effectively increasing the pet's damage by ~30% while active. It usually stays active once it is active, and some argue only 4 points are even needed.
Tier 7 Ferocious Inspiration (A+) A great little buff, for groups or for solo. Applies to all classes, melee, ranged, and spell. Bestial Wrath (A) Incredible DPS talent, cancels out any crowd control on your pet and makes it immune for the duration. Can be used frequently with just a 2 minute cooldown. Catlike Reflexes (B-) Another great tanking talent. The opposite of Animal Handler, 9% fewer hits is basically 9% less damage to heal.
Tier 8 Serpent's Swiftness (A+) An incredible dps talent, and not one to pass up if you're going all the way.
Tier 9 The Beast Within (A) Short version: Bestial Wrath affects you, too. The damage bonus is actually rather slight, in the long term, but the CC immunity and mana cost reduction more than make up for it.
Tier 1 Concussive Shot (C-) is an OK tool while leveling or a decent one in PvP, since it truly stuns targets 20% of the time you fire Concussive. This is not quite as helpful in most PvE since it is not often you're firing Concussive and 20% simply is not that reliable. Lethal Shots (A-) adds 5% to ranged crit rate. Hard to beat this for a tier 1 talent.
Tier 2 Improved Hunters Mark (B-) Improved Hunter's Mark adds up to 100% of the BASE value to melee AP, not the additional bonus AP after you've been shooting a bit. Still, it's handy to have for extra pet output or in a raid. Efficiency (B+) Often considered an essential talent for the hunter that is running out of mana.
Tier 3 Go For the Throat (A) Ironically, this talent is least useful for marksmen, but it's an excellent talent for anyone. Your pet will seldom run out of focus, even using a draining ability like claw or gore. Effectively, this raises your pet's DPS potential. Improved Arcane (B-) A solid talent, if unspectacular. Depending on your shot rotation, you might find a point or two here to help considerably, but Arcane Shot is a huge drain on your mana. Aimed Shot (C) Once a must-have talent, now Aimed Shot is really only a must-have-to-get-to-Mortal-Shots. Do not use this except as an opener, and be careful in case it crits. Rapid Killing (B-) Not a great talent when you do the math, but it sure looks neat when grinding and your Aimed Shot does 20% more damage.
Tier 4 Improved Stings (C-) You should very rarely be using Serpent or Viper Sting to begin with, except maybe during PvP. Improving those skills does not make them worthwhile. Mortal Shots (A) This talent is the solid backbone of many hunter's damage output. If you crit 20% of the time, you're effectively adding 5-6% to your damage, and it's more if you crit more frequently. Survival hunters will often see a boost of around 9%!
Tier 5 Concussive Barrage (F) Trash. Complete and utter trash. Scatter Shot (A) When the minimum range on Ranged attacks was 8 yards, this ability was essential because it was the hunter's only recourse for dealing with targets in the dead zone. It is still an awesome ability for emergency trapping, rescuing a healer from a runaway mob, or simple making good your getaway, and many non-marks hunters will go 21 into the tree just for Scatter Shot. Barrage (B-) A good talent if you're using Multi Shot every time it's up, but you might not be.
Tier 6 Combat Experience (C+) 2% to agility. Woot. But it does add 6% to your intellect as well, which a marksmanship hunter will actually want to look for for other reasons. Ranged Weapon Spec (A) 5% damage for 5 points is an excellent gain to your DPS. This is the standard other talents are usually compared against.
Tier 7 Careful Aim (B+) A modest gain to your attack power for 3 points, even if it compels you to start stacking intellect as well as everything else you need. Trueshot Aura (A-) A superb talent for an undergeared hunter, but the 125 AP starts looking less and less impressive as gear improves. Nonetheless, very handy and fairly unconditional damage boost, unlike Ferocious Inspiration or Expose Weakness. And only 1 point. Improved Barrage (B) If you picked up Barrage, chances are you'll grab this as well. The extra crit on multi is nice, and so is being able to use Volley uninterrupted.
Tier 8 Master Marksman (B+) At 2000 AP, you'll get about 40 AP per point. That's about 3 basic DPS on your autoshot, so overall it's a good bit more than that. Silencing Shot (B+) A heavily underrated talent. The ability to simply have a distant spell interrupt is great in its own right, as well as making certain pulls a lot more manageable. It's only real drawback is that it typically does not work on bosses.
Tier 1 Monster Slaying (B-) ...um, ok. So 3% to non-humanoid targets. Unless they're an elemental, or a demon, or non-typed, or mechanical... Humanoid Slaying (B+) With as many humanoids as there are in end-level dungeons, this talent ends up being pretty handy...and yes, it does work in PvP. Hawkeye (A) A talent that does not really *do* much, but is so extremely handy. Essential for anyone who has points to spare, but not an absolute requirement. Savage Strikes (C+) is the only melee damage boost in any tree, and mainly serves as extra damage on the "drive-by" strike-and-clip maneuver.
Tier 2 Entrapment (B) As with most of the early survival talents, this one is very much about choice. Entrapment is helpful if you use Frost, Immolation, Snake or Explosive traps. Deflection (B) This is about your only means of improving your Parry rate. Some argue it is a 5% chance to not die against high-level targets that will or will nearly kill you in one blow. Others maintain that hunters should just never get hit. Improved Wing Clip (B-) Almost a strictly PvP talent, the usefulness of Wing Clip in general is diminished noticeably by the fact that anyone you would want to snare can snare you, too.
Tier 3 Clever Traps (A-) Freezing traps normally last 20 seconds with a cooldown of 30, making it very hard to re-trap targets. Your traps will last 26 seconds with this talent. Oh yeah, and it helps your other traps as well. Survivalist (B-) Extra HP are great, but this talent most often gets used as a point dump to get further into the tree. Deterrence (A-) A heavily underrated ability by those who do not have it. Any time you get stuck in melee, Deterrence is a great answer to not getting whalloped as it reduces your chance to be hit by 50%.
Tier 4 Trap Mastery (B-) A vital talent if you want to be able to depend on your traps. For those on CC duty, you want to be able to depend on your traps. Surefooted (B) Extra chance to hit is great while leveling, and debatable at higher levels where there is a lot of hit rating gear. The chance to avoid resisting snares and roots is just a minor bonus. Improved Feign Death (C) This talent is a 4% chance to save your life when you are using FD to get out of trouble. Other than that, not too significant considering there are many other choices in the survival tree.
Tier 5 Survival Instincts (A-) The combination of effects makes this talent essential to anyone who is going deeper in the tree. Killer Instinct (A-) Talents deeper in the tree are based on your crit rate, and it is how Survival does a large part of its damage. 3% crit for 3 points is a good exchange. Counterattack (C+) A fun talent, but generally relegated to PvP or for combining with Deflection and/or Deterrence. Still, you parry more often than you might think.
Tier 6 Resourcefulness (B) A good talent for the trap cooldown reduction that often gets overlooked due to competition this deep in the tree. Lightning Reflexes (A-) Stacking agility is no longer quite as good as it was before Burning Crusade, but stockpiling considerable amounts of agility and then adding 15% more to that is a handsome gain. Having just 533 agility is enough to get 80 bonus agility, providing 80 AP, 2% crit, and about 4% dodge.
Tier 7 Thrill of the Hunt (B+) At a crit rate of 25%, you will conserve about 10% of your mana, the same as Efficiency. With more crit, and a survival hunter will often have more, this leads to greater savings. Wyvern Sting (B-) Each tree has a disabling move. Survival's has the longest duration, but suffers from quite a few drawbacks such as leaving a poison DoT afterwards that makes it hard to put other CC on that target. It's not a bad one point pick-up, but curiously many people ignore it anyway because points are so tight at the end of the tree. Expose Weakness (A+) Agility used to add 2 ranged attack power per point. Now it's just 1. But while this talent is active, that becomes effectively 1.25, and also adds that bonus to anyone else attacking your target. It does only activate after a crit, and only on your target, but it's an extremely potent raid buff and can easily outdo Trueshot Aura in just a group setting.
Tier 8 Master Tactician (C) This talent looks good on paper, but it's just not active often enough to be useful. You'll be lucky to average 3% crit from it. The worst part of this talent is that it becomes a 5-point anchor for Readiness.
Tier 9 Readiness (A-) An absolutely amazing emergency tool that is heavily bogged down by its placement in the tree. Most survival hunters want Mortal Shots, which makes it extremely challenging to get the other end survival talents and Readiness as well. Still a hunter that knows how to use this tool effectively can be extremely potent with extra traps and wyvern stings active at once, or simply resetting Deterrence and Feign Death to try to keep yourself alive a bit longer.
Note that the order of our trees is Beast Mastery / Marksmanship / Survival. Common builds include:
Mainly for raids (pure DPS):
41/20/0: Maximum damage. Currently the best build for a raider who is purely looking for dps.
5/20/36: Very high damage, with more utility. Another very good build for a raider. Expose weakness adds a really amazing raid wide buff to all melee classes (including hunters). Since expose weakness does not stack (only the strongest debuff will be up on the mob) you usually do not want more than one survival hunter in your raid.
0/20/41 Survival. This for those really in love with readiness. A very high damage build, but it takes master tactician instead of improved aspect of the hawk to get the 41 point survival talent readiness.
Mainly for groups (DPS and crowd control):
0/21/40 A build focusing on crowd control and DPS. Wyvern sting as additional crowd control, shorter trap cooldown for endless retrapping, scatter shot as an additional life safer. A good build for hunters who like to play around with crowd control in groups. (For more crowd control you can move points from Survivalist into clever traps and trap mastery, making you a tad more vulnerable, but further buffing your traps.)
5/43/13: "The marksman". A common build for everyone who really likes to be a marksman. Rather good damage, some nice utility from surival. Focused a tad more on groups than raids.
Mainly for soloing (buffed pet and crowd control):
41/0/20 Solo PvE. Makes your pet a great tank and gives the hunter nice crowd control.
When you spend your points while leveling you usually want to max out your main tree first and after that fill the remaining points in your second tree. That is because talents usually get better the deeper they are in the tree.
Also, keep in mind that very close variations of these trees are not uncommon. For example, some may want to have improved hunters mark; (at least one per raid group will spec this.) Others always have a shadow priest in their group and do not need efficiency.
I dunno. Just pick something and stick to it. If you really want to focus on efficiency, go straight up the Beast Mastery tree to Bestial Wrath. Having Intimidate at 30 and Bestial Wrath at 40 is a huge benefit in that level range, and your pet will require less maintenance as well. Furthermore, BM remains a strong tree after bestial wrath, as serpent swiftness is another great damage boost.
This guide was originally written by Azuarc, a long time poster and Administrator on Allakhazam. Since The Burning Crusade was launched much information got outdated and the cries for an updated version of the FAQ grew louder. Some regulars on the hunter forum took it into their hands and updated the information. Many thanks to everyone who contributed by providing text passages or searching for errors or giving suggestions as to how to make this thing better.
The original guide from before the Burning Crusade era can be found here.
Guide was Wikified by Dilbrt on 6/8/2008