Mists of Pandaria brought upon significant changes to many of the classes in World of Warcraft.
Hunters, who had been redesigned in Cataclysm, did not receive nearly as much tweaking as some of the other classes.
They continue to be one of the easiest classes to level, strong in both PvP and PvE, and allow for significant customization when it comes to the choice in their pets.
The Hunter is a class best played for those who wish a staunch ally by their sides, one that can be of any shape or size they choose, and who wishes to deal damage from afar, while maintain significant utility and control skills.
This Hunter Guide will highlight the optional choices for Race, Talents, Glyphs, Pets and Professions to make that grind to 90 all that much easier.
WoW Hunter Leveling Race Choices
Similar to the Warrior, almost all of the races of Azeroth can be Hunters.
Each Race starts with their own specific type of pet, but upon reaching level 5, a Hunter can head out into the wild and tame a pet to call their own.
Gnome Hunters do not exist, and are considered an abomination by the populace of Azeroth.
There are, however, some racial choices particular to individual races that are of a greater benefit to a Hunter.
Blood Elf – Arcane Torrent gives Hunters a short range AOE Silence. This can be used as a secondary interrupt when Silencing Shot and Scatter Shot is on Cooldown.
Draenei – Heroic Presence increases chance to hit by 1% for both Hunter and Pet, allowing for more stat allocation to DPS. Gift of the Naaru also gives them a self Heal Over Time.
Dwarf — Crack Shot increases critical strike chance with guns by 1%.
Human – Every Man for Himself effectively gives the Hunter an extra Trinket slot in PvP. While more useful in the past, with trinkets now having PvP Power and Resilience on them, this effect is slightly lowered.
Forsaken – Will of the Forsaken removes any Charm, Sleep, or Fear effects. Cannot be used when these effects are present on the caster.
Goblin – Rocket Jump is one of the most powerful Hunter Racials as, when combined with Deterrence, can allow the Hunter to escape far from melee combat.
Night elves — Shadowmeld gives the Hunter a second Aggro dump, acting as a smaller version of Feign Death.
Orcs — Command increases pet damage by 2%, and Blood Fury gives the Orc a DPS increase, similar to an extra Trinket.
Pandaren – Epicurean gives Pandarean double the effect of all Food Buffs (Significant at 90), Inner Peace (Very significant when leveling), and Quaking Palm, an excellent melee range interrupt.
Trolls — Dead Eye increases chance to critically hit with bows by 1%. Berserking also acts like an extra trinket.
In the modern era of 5.4, Trolls also gain a +5% damage bonus to beasts, very useful against the many Beast bosses of the Isle of Thunder.
Tauren — War Stomp is a short range stun, very useful for escaping from melee range.
Worgen – Darkflight gives the Hunter a temporary run speed buff, very useful when kiting troublesome melee players and NPC’s, and Viciousness gives a 1% increase to Critical Strike Chance.
The best choice Racial Choice for Hunters is very subjective. For raiding, in 5.4 the choice is Trolls, due to their +5% damage on Beast bosses, very significant in the days of 100k+DPS.
Their self-haste Cooldown and critical hit chance with bows gives them the all-around very good package.
Secondary to Trolls are Pandaren, especially for leveling. Their innate double Rested Experience will greatly assist a player when leveling to 90, especially one who does not play every single day.
WoW Hunter Leveling Specialization
Being a pure Damage Class, there is not a huge difference between the specializations, as seen in a class like the Druid or Paladin.
The three specializations, Beast Mastery, Survival and Marksmanship highlight the three primary aspects of the Hunter, Traps, Pets, and Ranged Damage.
There was a time when the three specs had their own highlighted use: Beast Mastery was for leveling and Questing, Survival offered PvP utility, and Marksmanship was for PvE.
As time has gone on the lines between the specializations have blurred, and all three offer their own strengths to the three aspects of the game.
It comes down to a subjective choice when leveling your Hunter.
Leveling as Beast Master generally means you’ll have an unstoppable force on your side, one that can kill monsters on its own with little to no help from the player.
Marksmanship gives the player the ability to frequently one shot monsters with Aimed Shot, and Survival allows the player to pull many mobs at once with damage over time spells.
For the absolute easiest time leveling, Beast Master will allow you to generally complete any group quests with no need for a partner.
Particularly skilled Hunters have been able to solo close to on level instances as BM.
WoW Hunter Leveling Pets
One of the major changes to Hunters in Mists of Pandaria was the homogenization of Pets.
While previous pets would come as one of three types, Ferocity, Cunning and Tenacity, each with their own Talent Tree, Mists of Pandaria removed that.
Now, any pet can be Ferocity, Cunning or Tenacity, and automatically gain skills. Gone are the old Happiness and Loyalty scores, along with the talent trees.
Generally said, Ferocity Pets are for pure DPS, Tenacity for Tanking, Cunning pets tend to have more utility, mixing both tanking and dps skills.
Generally speaking, pets are an aesthetic choice. While some schools of pets may work better for PvP (Such as Crabs and Birds, for their Disarm and Rooting skills), the vast majority are relatively the same.
Beast Mastery Hunters get a wider range of pets they can tame, Exotic Pets such as the Devilsaur and Spirit Beasts are unique to Beast Mastery.
WoW Hunter Leveling Talents
As the general consensus is that Beast Mastery is the highest DPS, the rest of this Hunter guide will be built around that spec.
At level 15, 30, 45, 60 , 75 and 90 the player can allocate Talent points. Each of these ranks has three choices, but some are more beneficial than others are.
There is significant argument on which is best at level 90, but this leveling Hunter guide will examine those best suited for leveling.
Level 15: These three talents are all aimed mostly at PvP, and mobility. Posthaste offers the best choice, for movement speed increases and removal of all snares and roots.
Level 30: Silencing Shot. Due to the lack of need for CC at most junctures when leveling, Silencing Shot offers a more valuable solution.
Level 45: These three talents are all essentially the same. Iron Hawk was chosen due to the slight advantage of allowing for greater AOE pulls while leveling.
Level 60: Dire Beast offers significant Focus regeneration, very useful for big packs, and the short Cooldown means it is available at almost all times.
Level 75: Murder of Crows is excellent for fleeing opponents, and Lynx Rush and Blink Strike are very situational. Some people do like Blink Strike, so I would suggest choosing based on subjective choice.
Level 90: Glaive Toss offers superior DPS, without the channeling time of Powershot.
WoW Hunter Leveling Glyphs
Due to the Change in the nature of Glyphs in Mists of Pandaria, some glyphs are very subjective.
Glyph of Marking
Glyph of No Escape
Glyph of Distracting Shot
These are all optimal glyphs for leveling.
There are three principal choices for Professions for Hunters to gain the best benefit. Again, this WoW Hunter leveling guide will examine choices best suited for leveling up to 90.
In WoW, for Hunters, there can be many choices, but these will offer the greatest solution for the leveling player.
Leatherworking and Skinning
Leatherworking is used to make leather and mail armor, the type that Hunters wear. Skinning is the complementary gathering skill for Leatherworking.
Since on many servers low-level armor is quite expensive, leatherworking can provide a good solution to buying overpriced gear on the auction house.
However, leatherworking is considered one of the most time consuming trade skills to raise, especially the hump with Heavy Leather, and many get discouraged.
Unless you are willing to spend time farming leather, this may not be a good choice.
Alchemy and Herbalism
By contrast, Alchemy is one of the easiest professions to raise. It offers versatility in the way of potions, elixirs, transmutes and a free, reusable flask that equates to extra points in your primary stat.
Many people level Alchemy, and it has very little resale value on the many potions that you make.
It provides an easier solution, but with not as many long-term benefits as leatherworking.
Herbalism + Mining + Skinning
Any combination of the above three gathering skills will allow you to earn extra money on the Auction House, potentially funding gear or potions.
If the player already has a significant amount of money, this may not be the best choice.
When leveling predominantly via the Dungeon Finder it can be very easy to fall behind in Gathering Professions, especially if wearing Heirlooms.