- Author: Passion
- Date: August 30, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
Welcome to our WotLK Classic leveling guide for Hunters! Hunters are known for their unique and intense connection to animals, bonding with one enough to fight side by side as equals in combat. Armed with a ranged weapon and supported by their trusted companion, Hunters are fantastic at dealing with any enemies, making them one of the best classes for leveling.
As a pure damage-dealing class, Hunters excel at killing enemies and supplement their weaknesses with their loyal pets. All three talent trees for a Hunter provide unique and engaging experiences, with Beast Mastery focusing on your pets, Marksmanship focusing on long-range attacks, and Survival focusing on traps and damage-over-time.
Leveling a Hunter will be a different experience to max level, focusing primarily on using your pet effectively and efficiently to deal with enemies as easily as possible. Because of this, the most common talent tree for leveling is Beast Mastery and that is the tree this guide will be focusing on.
In this guide, we’ll go over helpful tips, where to spend your talent points, what to look for when gearing, effective use of your abilities, and other general advice to make the leveling process as smooth and easy as possible!
- One of the strongest soloing classes in the game, making them one of the fastest and easiest choices for leveling.
- Excellent survivability with your pet taking most of the damage.
- A vast toolkit capable of dealing with almost any situation.
- Great at handling multiple targets.
- Excellent utility and crowd control with an array of traps, slows, and roots.
- Your pet is a massive part of your gameplay and effectiveness, requiring some micromanagement.
- Your options become significantly more limited in melee range.
- If your pet dies, you lose most of your damage and survivability.
- Lots of situational abilities can be overwhelming.
- Cute pets aren’t necessarily the best pets, sorry.
General Leveling Tips
Which pet you have matters. Pets come in 3 specializations depending on the type of animal. These specializations are Ferocity, Tenacity, and Cunning, and they each specialize in different aspects of gameplay. Ferocity pets tend to focus on damage output, with abilities like Rabid and Wild Hunt. Tenacity pets focus on tanking and generating threat, with abilities like Taunt and Last Stand. Cunning pets focus on utility, generally being seen as the PvP pet, with abilities like Bullheaded and Roar of Sacrifice.
Pets in the Ferocity specialization are things like Cats, Wolves, and Devilsaurs. Tenacity pets are generally bulkier animals, like Bears, Turtles, and Rhinos. Cunning pets are the more odd pets such as Nether Rays, Wind Serpents, and Chimaeras. Alongside their specialization, each species brings their own unique abilities like Stampede for Rhinos and Furious Howl for Wolves. You can absolutely level effectively with any type of pet you want, but there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
Most players prefer to level with Tenacity or Ferocity pets. Tenacity pets allow them to tank multiple targets with very little concern, especially with abilities like Thunderstomp. This playstyle is generally very safe and also good at dealing with elite enemies and soloing group quests. Ferocity pets on the other hand have the highest damage output, so if you are killing enemies one by one these will tear through them. They do tend to be on the squishier side though, so you might find yourself having a tougher time against elite enemies. In the end, what matters is what you prefer and if you think Mazzranache is the cutest thing to ever exist, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
As a Hunter you will learn many tracking spells, more than you can reasonably expect to use in most cases. Most of the time these aren’t very useful for questing, but sometimes they can come in handy. If you have a quest to kill a specific Humanoid enemy, use Track Humanoids, and hover your mouse cursor over the red dots on your minimap until you see the name of the enemy you’re there for! Track Hidden is also incredibly useful and should generally be your default tracking. This ability increases your stealth detection as well as showing red dots on your minimap for stealthed enemies. Never again will you have to wander around waiting for that last Panther to jump out of stealth to finish your quest.
Feign Death is your best friend and can get you out of so many sticky situations. Unfortunately, just because you can play dead does not mean your pet can. If you find yourself in an unwinnable fight, you can use Feign Death to get the enemies off your back, but if your pet is involved you will have to wait for them to kill your pet before the enemies retreat and you are safe again. Revive the noble sacrifice, give them a treat and carry on.
Hunters are a master of crowd control and have many tools that are incredibly useful if you ever get overwhelmed. Accidentally aggro too many enemies? Drop a Freezing Trap to completely remove one of them from the fight for 10 to 20-seconds. Melee enemies bothering you? Drop a Frost Trap and run circles around them on the ice.
For most of your combat you will want to use Aspect of the Hawk, replaced by Aspect of the Dragonhawk at level 74. Don’t be afraid of swapping Aspect on the fly though! Aspect of the Cheetah is a fantastic tool for running short distances or running indoors, just remember to turn it off if you’re about to get hit. Aspect of the Viper almost entirely removes the need for you to carry water while you level, regenerating large amounts of mana while active. Unfortunately, Aspect of the Viper also reduces your damage done by 50%, so you will need to swap it on and off as you need it.
When choosing what gear to wear, for everything except your ranged weapon you should always be focused on the stats they give. You don’t need to worry about defensive stats like Armor or Stamina as long as your pet is the one doing the tanking, and can instead focus purely on damage stats like Agility and Attack Power. This goes for your melee weapon as well, you don’t want to be hitting in melee range if you can help it.
Your ranged weapon on the other hand is where damage becomes important. As Beast Mastery you generally don’t need to worry about anything except the DPS of a ranged weapon, aiming for the higher DPS option always. Just remember, if you swap between a Gun and a Crossbow or Bow, you will need to swap ammunition appropriately too.
Hunters will always want to have a lot of ammunition with them at all times, no one likes having to stop in the middle of questing because you accidentally ran out of arrows and you don’t really know how to use that big stick you’re holding. Alongside ammunition, you want to always have food for your pet. An unhappy pet deals less damage, gains loyalty slower, and is more likely to run away from you permanently. Different pets will eat different things, so make sure you have a decent amount of whatever your pet prefers.
- Agility – This is your primary stat, giving you 2 Ranged Attack Power and 1 Melee Attack Power per point, as well as a small amount of critical strike chance. This is always valuable and something you will ideally want on every piece of gear.
- Attack Power – Similar to Agility but without the added Critical Strike Chance. The more Attack Power the better!
- Critical Strike Rating – Increases your chance to deal critical damage. This is a fantastic boost, especially when combined with Mortal Shots.
- Haste Rating – Increases the speed of all your attacks, allowing you to do more damage faster!
- Hit Rating – Increases your chance to hit with all attacks. This is a great extra stat, but while leveling you will rarely find enough of it to make it worthwhile.
- Stamina – Increases your maximum health! This is a fantastic stat that is already on most gear, so it is usually not something you aim at, instead something that comes naturally.
- Intellect – Increases your maximum mana. This isn’t something you should gear for, but it also doesn’t hurt.
- Strength – Increases your melee attack power. This is mostly wasted as your damage should be done with ranged attacks!
- Spirit – Increases your out-of-combat mana regeneration, which is almost entirely wasted. This stat is effectively useless as a Hunter.
Your rotation as a Hunter will often simply be “press whatever is ready”, but when multiple options are available you should definitely prioritize some over others!
Before any pull, make sure your pet is healthy and happy! Don’t neglect to feed them. A hungry pet might just decide to go find someone that won’t forget dinner. Make sure you also have an appropriate Aspect on, either Aspect of the Hawk, or Aspect of the Dragonhawk at later levels. As a Beast Mastery Hunter you can get away with fighting enemies with Aspect of the Viper active because your pet deals most of your damage, but make sure to swap back to Aspect of the Hawk when you’re back to high mana!
- Apply Hunter’s Mark (Unlocked at level 6) if the debuff is missing
- Apply Mend Pet (Unlocked at level 12) if your pet is damaged
- Cast Aimed Shot (Unlocked at level 71)
- Cast Kill Shot (Unlocked at level 71) if the target is below 20% Health
- Cast Multi-Shot (Unlocked at level 18) if you are fighting 2 or more enemies
- Apply Serpent Sting (Unlocked at level 4) if the debuff is missing
- Cast Steady Shot (Unlocked at level 50) or Arcane Shot (Unlocked at level 6) if you don’t have Steady Shot
Almost everything in the Beast Mastery tree works towards making your pet stronger, not yourself. Because of this, it might not feel like you are getting a lot stronger as you invest more points, but the deeper you get the more impactful your pet will become. Despite this, there are a few talents that give you big boosts alongside your pet.
There are a few key points in the talent tree:
- Unleashed Fury at level 21, increasing the damage your pet deals.
- Ferocity at level 26, increasing the critical chance of your pet.
- Intimidation at level 30, an on-demand stun and threat boost for your pet that goes a long way towards making sure your pet holds aggro.
- Bestial Wrath at level 40, a very strong 2-minute DPS cooldown for your pet
- The Beast Within at level 50, making Bestial Wrath also buff your damage.
- Invigoration at level 51, giving you mana back whenever your pet deals a critical hit.
- Beast Mastery at level 60, allowing you to tame “Exotic Pets” like Devilsaurs and Rhinos.
- Aimed Shot at level 71, a very strong instant damage spell.
A lot of players opt to skip Beast Mastery because exotic pets aren’t necessarily the best pets for leveling. You can skip it to go into Marksmanship earlier if you’d like, I just think they’re neat.
Glyphs aren’t always going to be the easiest to get a hold of while leveling, but if you happen to swing by an auction house you might find some cheap and useful glyphs to use.
Here are some of the Major Glyphs worth considering:
- Glyph of Hunter’s Mark – Increases the attack power bonus of Hunter’s Mark by 20%. Simple and easy more damage from Hunter’s Mark.
- Glyph of Serpent Sting – Increases the duration of Serpent Sting, not super valuable because most enemies will die before it runs out, but it is helpful for bosses or elites.
- Glyph of Steady Shot – Steady Shot deals more damage to targets debuffed with Serpent Sting. This should always be the case, so this is 10% more damage on the spell dealing most of your damage already!
- Glyph of Kill Shot – Reduces the cooldown of Kill Shot by 6-seconds. This is a great damage increase, but while leveling most enemies will die from one Kill Shot already.
- Glyph of Bestial Wrath – Reduces the cooldown of Bestial Wrath by 20-seconds. Lets you use your best DPS cooldown a lot more often, great if you use Bestial Wrath on cooldown already.
Here are some of the Minor Glyphs worth considering:
- Glyph of Mend Pet – Mend Pet also makes your pet a little bit happier. This is fantastic and drastically cuts down how much you need to feed your pet, making leveling cheaper and simpler. I strongly recommend you get this ASAP.
- Glyph of Revive Pet – Reduces pushback when casting Revive Pet by 100%, making it a lot easier to revive your pet in a pinch.
- Glyph of Scare Beast – Reduces pushback when casting Scare Beast, making it a lot easier to scare an animal away from you. Not useful often but it’s something.
- Glyph of Feign Death – Reduces the cooldown of Feign Death by 5-seconds. We don’t have a lot of great Minor Glyphs so some people might take this to guarantee Feign Death is always ready when they need it most.
Noteable Abilities To Train
- Serpent Sting at level 4, 10, 18, 26, 34, 42, 50, 58, 60, 67, 73, 79
- Arcane Shot at level 6, 12, 20, 28, 36, 44, 52, 60, 69, 73, 79
- Hunter’s Mark at level 6, 22, 40, 58, 76
- Concussive Shot at level 8
- Aspect of the Hawk at level 10, 18, 28, 38, 48, 58, 60, 68
- Mend Pet at level 12, 20, 28, 36, 44, 52, 60, 68, 74, 80
- Wing Clip at level 12
- Aspect of the Cheetah at level 16
- Multi-Shot at level 18, 30, 42, 54, 60, 67, 74, 80
- Aspect of the Viper at level 20
- Disengage at level 20
- Freezing Trap at level 20, 40, 60
- Track Hidden at level 24
- Rapid Fire at level 26
- Frost Trap at level 28
- Feign Death at level 30
- Flare at level 32
- Explosive Trap at level 34, 44, 54, 61, 71, 77
- Aspect of the Pack at level 40
- Volley at level 40, 50, 58, 67, 74, 80
- Steady Shot at level 50, 62, 71, 77
- Deterrence at level 60
- Kill Command at level 66
- Snake Trap at level 68
- Misdirection at level 70
- Kill Shot at level 71, 75, 80
- Aspect of the Dragonhawk at level 74, 80
- Master’s Call at level 75
- Training Lesson – At level 10 you will receive a quest from your local Hunter trainer, sending you around the zone learning how to tame various beasts, eventually giving you the ability to tame and train a permanent pet of your own. This is the bread and butter of a Hunter so don’t delay it!
- At level 50 all classes receive a quest taking them to the Sunken Temple. For Hunters, this quest is The Green Drake and offers a choice between Hunting Spear, Devilsaur Eye, and Devilsaur Tooth. I recommend Devilsaur Tooth but none of the options will last you too long.
Hunters are able to use Axes, Swords, Polearms, Fist Weapons, Staves, Bows, Crossbows, and Guns. You should always try to use whichever weapon is the best available, but swapping weapon types will typically require you to level the appropriate weapon skill as well. Swapping between Guns and Bows or Crossbows also requires you to swap which ammunition you are using, between either bullets or arrows.
Weapon upgrades will be your biggest damage increase while leveling. Most of your damage is done with weapon skills, based on your weapon damage instead of spell ranks.
Melee weapon damage matters a lot less than stats. A melee weapon that gives a lot of Agility will always be significantly more useful to you than a weapon that deals twice the damage. This is because we simply don’t want to be in melee combat, and we don’t want to be hitting with our melee weapon. Use your melee weapon as a “stat stick” instead of a sword!
Hunters are able to use Cloth, Leather, and Mail armor and ideally will always want to wear Mail armor after level 40 and Leather armor before level 40, but sometimes Leather gear will provide better stats at the cost of survivability, which shouldn’t be a problem with your pet taking the beatings! While leveling you won’t always be able to find optimal gear, so simply make do with what you have.
Professions can be hard to keep up while you level, but in Wrath of the Lich King, they give a lot of benefits. Something like Blacksmithing is very difficult to keep up while you level, but gathering Professions like Mining and Herbalism are incredibly easy to keep up as you go, and even if you don’t want to craft things yourself, you can sell the materials on the auction house to supplement other aspects of leveling.
While every profession gives some kind of stat boost, most of them give them towards max skill. Gathering professions instead give skills early that constantly scale as you level.
- Mining gives Toughness, a passive boost to your Stamina, starting with 3 Stamina at 75 Mining, and ending at 60 Stamina at 450 Mining.
- Skinning gives Master of Anatomy, a passive boost to your Critical Strike Rating, starting with 3 Critical Strike Rating at 75 Skinning, and ending at 40 Critical Strike Rating at 450 Skinning.
- Herbalism gives Lifeblood, an instant cast heal-over-time on a 3-minute cooldown. This scales with both Herbalism and your maximum health.
If you instead want to craft things while you level, Alchemy and Engineering are fantastic alternatives.
- Engineering allows you to craft grenades and bombs alongside a bunch of fun or niche utility items such as target dummies and fireworks.
- Alchemy allows you to craft your own potions, flasks, and elixirs which can all be invaluable for improving your leveling experience and speed.
Hunters can make use of a few different macros to make their leveling easier and reduce the micromanagement needed to properly control your pet.
This macro will cast Misdirection on your pet if they are alive and available, otherwise it will attempt to cast it on your current target. This is useful for making sure your pet has early threat.
#showtooltip misdirection /cast [@pet,exists] Misdirection
This gives you an all-in-one button to immediately use all your cooldowns, including DPS racials and trinkets, as well as sending your pet in to attack. You may have to press this multiple times to use everything listed, but it makes bursting an entirely thoughtless button.
#showtooltip /cast Bestial Wrath /cast Rabid /cast Rapid fire /cast Berserking /cast Blood fury /cast Call of the Wild /use 13 /use 14 /cast kill command /petattack
This macro will target whatever your mouse is hovering over, send your pet in to attack, start shooting, and cast Hunter’s Mark. You can use this as a simple one-button engage for whatever enemy you have your mouse hovering over.
#showtooltip Auto Shot /target Mouseover /petattack /cast !Auto Shot /cast Hunter's Mark
This is an all-in-one pet button. If you have a pet out and are standing still it will cast Dismiss Pet. If you have a pet out, are moving, and are not in combat it will use Feed Pet and use your food of choice with it. If you don’t have a pet out it will cast Call Pet. This is useful for reducing how many buttons you need just to handle your pet.
#showtooltip /cast [pet] Dismiss Pet; Call Pet /cast [nocombat][pet] Feed Pet /cast [nocombat][pet] putfoodnamehere