The rush for new hunters began again with Cataclysm, not only from players new to the game, but those leveling up new classes opened to hunters, and those who were sick and tired of watching the nerf bat slam into their class. With the speed of leveling these days, it seems that some of the hunters are arriving at 85 molded in the “huntard” class, with little understanding of what they’re capable of. So, if you’re new to the game, know a new hunter, or want to help one out, read on.
For leveling, Beast Mastery is a solid choice, but not the only one. I leveled my first character as a Marksman hunter, and the experience taught me key things I might not have learned as with BM. In an era when threat wasn’t displayed on the standard UI, I learned how to manage it and keep it focused on a pet. Learn to lay traps in Survival. Don’t be afraid to play around with all the specs, if you have the cash to do it. At the very least, dual spec choices are cheap enough; get a solid feel for 2 different specs.
Learn to use all the tricks in your arsenal. You’ll find some are better than others in certain situations. As fast as leveling is these days, learning how your different abilities are used won’t take much time from getting to 85. It is probably much more efficient to use a Steady Shot, followed by a Concussive Shot and repeated Arcane Shots. Have a pet engage and use Serpent Sting, and watch how well your DoT works, you’ll need it on longer fights. Each spec has different abilities, use these signature abilities enough to make it automatic.
Correct trap use defines great hunters. So learn to use them, and not just with the launcher. Learn to put down a trap before the mob charges your way, then step back. Freezing traps are great, but for dps work there’s nothing better than a bunch of snakes or a burning arm to make a mob feel pain. Learn the use of every trap early, and practice it.
Run Battlegrounds. Dealing with a PvP environment is a quick way to learn to use Deterrence and Disengage automatically. Both are going to come in handy when you’re forced to kite adds in raids, or for saving yourself while drawing a mob back to the tank. I would, however, caution against learning Disengage while in Eye of the Storm.
Aggro management is king. Learning how not to pull of the tank in an instance of any sort seems to be the bugaboo of many hunters out there. Let’s face it, hunters can be a powerful draw to a mob who’s tired of chewing on plate. Feign Death is a great tool, but not wisely used when the mob is almost on top of you … and you’re standing next to the healer. Use FD before you pull to reset. And, never forget that Misdirect is not necessarily the solution. If you use it to prevent from pulling aggro, remember that in 30 seconds, that misdirected threat is going away. So, if you’re still banging away, you may be in for a rude surprise if the mob is still alive. Misdirect is best used in the items below:
Learn to pull a mob back to the tank. Even if you’re doing everything correctly, there’s still a chance that some non-hunter noob will pull aggro and find a critter gnawing on their face. When that happens, time to shout out “Where’s my super suit?!” The best way to do it is to grab aggro with a distracting shot, kite back towards the tank and misdirect the mob as you get close. Once the tank slaps him once or twice, feign death and head back to range.
Learn the art of the LOS pull. Misdirecting to a tank behind a wall is a great way to deal with casting classes, particularly when you drop a freezing trap to strip away one or two as well. I seldom see this used any more – there are fewer walls, but go into some of the BC dungeons and practice just how to use it, then spring it on your tank. Go ahead, take credit, I don’t mind.
Never, ever, give up. In that boss fight, when the tank dies at 99%, keep going. If there’s no plate wearer, misdirect to the pet. It may only be a speed bump, but it might just bump enough. Kite the boss around the room. Sometimes, the cards fall into place, and you down the boss anyway. If the tank dies and the boss is at 50% however, run away, watch the other folks die, then Feign Death for the Win, Baby!