How To: Leveling a Hunter 1-30

One of my friends (actually the one who convinced me to start blogging) asked me if I would be willing to write up a guide to help his friend level his new Hunter. And since his friend leveling a new character convinced him to re-activate his account, I was more than happy to oblige. I was hoping I wasn’t stepping on any toes, especially Pike’s awesome Hunter Kindergarten series. I still plan on cutting together the Illidan video, but I refuse to do it in Windows Movie Maker.

This post is a little different than my normal ones, as it is talking about low level things, rather than my incessant ramblings on raid progression or level 70 mechanics, so hopefully you can bear with me. I actually plan on putting together a quick Flash tool for shot damage calculations later today once I get another free moment.


How-To: Leveling a Hunter

Levels 1-10:
Leveling at the beginning can be tricky. You don’t get your pet till level 10, so you have to survive without one till that point.

Up until level 10, your selection of skills is limited. You have Auto Shot, Raptor Strike (Rank 1 and 2), Serpent Sting, and Arcane Shot as far as damaging shots go. In reality, this should be more than enough to get you to level 10. And then things get easier.


Taming and choosing a Pet:
At level 10 you get a chain of quests to be able to tame a pet. You will have to tame three different animals and at the end you will get the skill Beast Training. You will also get Tame Beast, as well as the ability to call your pet, dismiss your pet, feed your pet, and of course, revive your pet.

At level 10, choosing a pet is really a matter of personal preference.At level 10, choosing a pet is really a matter of personal preference. Since we are not concerned about maximizing raid DPS, make sure you choose a pet you enjoy the most. It can be one you like the look of, the type of animal it is, or anything of the sort. If you need help choosing a pet, make sure that you look at and bookmark Petopia. It will tell you everything you need to know. Everything from base stats, how much more base DPS they do in comparison to other pets, unique effects, everything. Find one that you will enjoy. :)

Pet Trainers will be able to teach you base skills, such as Great Stamina, Great Armor, etc.One things that is important to note is how you acquire more pet abilities. Browsing Petopia, let’s take a look at a new tamely tamed pet. Perhaps you are a fledgling Night Elf Hunter and tamed yourself a Moonstalker Runt. By default, the Moonstalker Runt comes knowing Cower (Rank 1). Pet Trainers will be able to teach you base skills, such as Great Stamina, Great Armor, etc.

But the Moonstalker Runt can also learn Claw, which your pet trainer does not have. So in order for your new cat to learn claw, you will have to find a pet that already has Claw, tame it, and then use that pet enough (usually it happens the first time they use it or you click it) to where you learn the ability and it gets added into your Beast Training skill. You can then teach all your pets who are capable of learning Claw that ability.

But remember, you will need to find animals on your own with the different ranks of skills. Your pet doesn’t automatically learn new ones. For this reason it is highly advisable to tame pets as you level with various abilities so you have them at a later date.


The Talents:
Now that you have a pet, leveling should be incredibly easy from here on out. In addition, we need to consider the talent points we also received. When it comes to leveling, there really isn’t a right or wrong spec. Even though BM might be the top raid DPS spec, it doesn’t make it better or worse than the other two specs for the up and coming Hunter.

Personally, if I was to level another Hunter, my first 21 talent points, getting me to level 30, would look something like this.

Why? 5% increased critical strike chance is awesome regardless of level. There is a reason so many classes have a similar talent to close to the bottom of the tree. In addition, picking up Aimed Shot now for those pesky healing mobs and Scatter Shot for utility just screams “versatile” to me. But it is definitely not the only choices you have.

I could just as easily spec into something like this. Leveling BM is just great, and puts a heavy focus on your pet at an early level. While I wouldn’t take Thick Hide at level 70, fighting mobs at low levels you will find that this can make a difference. Alternatively Focus Fire is still a great talent if you don’t want the extra armor. Intimidation is on a longer cooldown than Scatter Shot, but for leveling, it serves a different purpose. It generates more aggro for your pet, and can interrupt a ranged caster rather than being an escape mechanism, although it still can be used as that too.

Ad for the sake of using all the trees, we have this for Survival. Counterattack, which I don’t recommend at 70, can be great for leveling when employing Aspect of the Monkey.

The most important thing to consider is what while some talents are not effective for raiding content, they take on an entirely different purpose when you are at low-levels or soloing some content.


General Leveling Tips:
Now that we have a pet and a talent plan, let’s work on getting to level 30. A popular strategy for Hunters is to set down an Immolation Trap, which you get at level 16, and pull the mob through it for additional damage. It is an effective strategy, especially when you pull aggro off of your pet. Using Wing Clip and opening a gap to unload a new ranged barrage works great.

But if you can get your pet to hold aggro, they can tank most quests that you are going to come across. With good use of pet aggro as well as effective employment of Frost Trap, you can easily find yourself killing 3 or 4 mobs at at a time. One thing to remember is to not freak out if an extra mob is beating on you. As you level, you are capable of taking some hits. Mobs will not 3-shot you. So quickly finishing a mob your pet is tanking and then opening a gap with the mob that was hitting you is quite easily done.

You will easily find yourself soloing elite quests with good pet management and actively casting Mend Pet to help keep it alive.One skill I don’t see enough Hunter’s employing is Mend Pet. You will easily find yourself soloing elite quests with good pet management and actively casting Mend Pet to help keep it alive. If your pet is taking more damage than it is getting healed, pull your pet back and hit the mob with Concussive Shot to get your pet some free ticks of Mend Pet without an incoming damage to help gets their HP a little higher. I still employ this strategy when farming trees in Skettis and my pet took a couple unlucky critical strikes.

As you level, this will be (and should be) the most you are going to melee in your Hunter career. Despite what the tooltip description says about the Hunter class, we do not fight alongside our pet once we finish leveling. Pulling aggro off of our pets will happen. But voluntarily going into melee combat is wrong. Casting Wing Clip and running out after someone closes the space between you is one thing. Choosing to bring fat Raptor Strike DPS is something completely different. If you have grand plans of dual wielding weapons to smash some face, the Hunter class is not for you. Roll a Rogue, Warrior, or Enhancement Shaman. They do it better.

That’s all I have to post for now. This certainly isn’t all-encompassing, but it should server as a decent starting guide for those who are interested in trying out the Hunter class. BRK, Pike, and Petopia all are excellent resources on everything from learning to do a jump shot for kiting, Chain Trapping, or what animal has Dash 3. All great to learn to become a great Hunter. And definitely stop by The Hunting Lodge. Ran by Brigwyn, the forums is populated with some of the smartest Hunters around and void of the retardation found on the official WoW Hunter forums.

Questions, comments, corrections, or concerns. Post a comment!

About Drotara

Drotara (or BehemothDan) considers himself a geek on many levels. A web developer and programmer by trade, he has no shortage of geeky hobbies. When not fulfilling husband and daddy duties, he enjoys WoW, the WoW TCG, Magic: The Gathering, and great board games with friends and family.