I was about to respond to this via e-mail, when I thought maybe it would be better put to use as a post. So, I’ve elected to keep the sender’s name anonymous and answer their questions right here on the public forum so that others may benefit from it as well.
Since the e-mail was fairly lengthy, I’ve broken it down and attacked each question or comment individually. My comments are immediately following the blockquotes.
I am a noob at wow (only 8 weeks in) and like so many others, I am struggling with the complexities of the role. Most people I’ve tried to speak with about hunters tend to dis them or dump them at lower levels in favour of “easier” specs.
I want names!!!
I am a 71 BM at present and have just tamed my first “exotic” – Tyrantus – or “Fluffy” as he is known to me! I love the hunter and aim to see out the journey to 80 and beyond. There’s heaps of info out there on hunters, but most is old patch, 80+, or focused on specific personal preferences. Soooo, all that having been said – here are my questions if I may…”
Are you planning at some stage (or can you suggest where I might find) a Noob hunter primer?
I may at some point try to tackle something like that, but it’s not in my immediate plans. I don’t know of a specific Hunter Primer, but I do know there are loads of resources concerning Hunters and leveling. Chances are some of the people commenting on this post will have, or know of helpful sites and articles they can direct you to. 🙂 Since you’re a Beast Mastery Hunter at present, I have to mention Pike. If you haven’t been to her site, then check it out. It’s full of delicious info on Beast Mastery.
Most everything I’ve read is geared to 80+ and as I don’t have some of the good Aspects or shot spells yet I am floundering. Is mana preferable over critical chance?
Don’t concern yourself too much with crit while leveling. A larger mana pool is more favorable due to less downtime. Crits from the Hunter can result in unwanted aggro gains, so the main thing you want is attack power. You want to buff “Fluffy” as much as possible, not yourself so much. Pets inherit attack power from their masters, but not crit rating.
Do I turn my auto-shot off and run manual?
If by “turning off” auto-shot you mean enabling “Stop Auto Attack” in the Interface/Combat settings, then by all means yes. I think you would have to macro in a /stopattack into every shot to truly “turn off” auto attack. 😉
Enabling “Stop Auto Attack” just means that your auto attack will turn off once your existing target is dead, or if you switch targets while in combat. This is a good feature because it prevents the possible breaking of crowd control effects.
As soon as you attack a mob or player your auto attack is enabled. That is a good thing, especially for BM Hunters since the majority of the Beast Master’s ranged damage comes from auto shot white damage.
How do I understand what my stats are telling me? Whats “par” in terms of acceptable stats for different levels?
You can hover over your stats in the character pane to see how they translate. There isn’t really a stats “par” for different levels per se. Unless you’re pausing along the way to “twink” yourself in a particular bracket for PvP, your stats are not terribly important until you reach level 80 and start running heroic dungeons and raids.
Just choose gear that has the folllowing: attack power, agility, intellect, stamina, hit rating, crit rating, haste and armor penetration.
Avoid gear with: strength, spirit, spellpower, defense, expertise, dodge, parry
Also, note that Rogue and Feral Druid gear is often nicely itemized for Hunters as well. Don’t be afraid to equip a piece of leather if the stats on it are better than what you currently are using in that slot.
How nice it would be if someone took the time to write a “12 point guide to playing The Hunter” in general noob terms and then 3 similar yet more specific for BM, MM and SV? I fully appreciate that the obvious come back to this is asking what role I want my hunter to fill – at this stage it isn’t critical – its all about leveling.
There are loads of Hunter sites, including this one, with quite a bit of information concerning how to utilize your Hunter. You just need to dig through the archives a bit. 😉
The other thing I should mention is, “at this stage it isn’t critical – its all about leveling”. 😆
Other forums and sites all rave on about stacking points into this or that (everyone has an opinion), but no one shows a logical point by point build. I have blundered and guessed my way to where I am and have a permanent gold pass to the Guild of Spirit Healers I have visited there so often…
Unless it’s agility or attack power, there is no point in stacking anything until you are clad in full raid epics. Since you’re a Beast Mastery Hunter, I recommend gemming and enchanting for raw attack power since it translates better to your pet.
Apart from agility and attack power, hit rating would be the only other stat to concern yourself with. haste is another good stat for Hunters, but because you’re a hasted Beast mastery Hunter you don’t need to gear for it. It’s already inherent in your build (as long as you follow my build suggestion).
The stat I think you’ve read about is armor penetration. It’s not a bad stat, but it’s currently only being recognized as a valuable stat for either endgame MM Hunters, or for PvP. Pets don’t receive any benefit from armor penetration, so it’s not as valuable for Beast Mastery Hunters.
While I grasp the concept that my pet stats are directly linked to my own, as the owner of an aggressive pet, should I be looking to “balance” his agression by building armour or more crit chance? Once again – I’m lost.
Since your pet is Ferocity, I would spec it for damage all the way. There’s no need to neuter him by selecting stamina and armor enhancing talents when he’s been designed to chew faces off. Bloodthirsty, Spirit Bond and Mend Pet will keep him up just fine while questing.
Shot rotation – like most noobs (I assume) I’m running Apect of Hawk for max dps, Hunter’s Mark, send in pet, Serpent Sting, Concussive Shot, Arcane and cycling through Steady and Multi (assuming 1 mob) till Arcane is ready to go again.
On low mana, I switch to Viper or start drinking bottles of blue! It was only reading your excellent macros section that I realised that maybe I should be using kill command and rapid fire somewhere too?
Your shot priority for questing and such sounds fine. I’m not so sure Concussive Shot is needed in there. After your pet charges, growls and attacks the target, he should have gained some pretty decent aggro. I don’t think you need to waste mana or a global cooldown by throwing a Conc Shot in there. You should be able to just rip through one beast after another and get your ass to 80 in no time as a BM Hunter. 😉
If you’re finding that pet is having trouble maintaining aggro, then you can always throw a Misdirection on him. Set your pet as the focus and use the ol’ handy dandy Misdirection macro:
/cast [target=focus] Misdirection
This will allow you to generate some threat for him while maintaining pew-pew on your current target.
You might want to utilize Aspect of the Viper more often than you are now. You really shouldn’t need to swill down mana pots while leveling. Using Viper more will decrease downtime and help you manage your threat better. Switch to it at maybe 20%-30% mana, that way if some respawns pop up or your pet accidentally should pick up additional aggro you’ve got the juice to deal with it.
Macro Kill Command with Bestial Wrath. It’s on a similar cooldown provided you follow my build suggestion. You receive maximum benefit from the skills when they’re utilized together.
I wouldn’t worry about Rapid Fire too much unless you’re fighting an elite mob or a dungeon boss. Unless your pet or other party member has enough aggro, Rapid Fire is pretty sure to direct it towards you. In this case you’ll then be running around kiting the mob and thus negating the effect of the spell. Rapid Fire is a great spell, but a situational one.
If you do use it while questing, activate it when you’re low on mana and switch to Viper. It will help replenish your mana pool, while also preventing you from gaining threat.
OK I’m not asking for answers to all my questions (although some would be appreciated!!) – what I’m trying to get to here is that some resource for leveling Hunters in simple plain to understand language would be such a great add to an already wonderful site.
PS – found your site looking for info on Krush!! great series of blogs and (yup, you guessed it) as soon as I ding 76 I’m going to be out there getting run over by the Jolly Green Jurassic :)))
Patience young Grasshopper… He who seeks to tame King Krush at level 76 shall wind up as snacky for T Rex. Honestly, I don’t recommend setting out to obtain Krush until you’re level 80. He hits way too hard for you to be able to survive the tame at a lower level.
If you do try it, bring a Priest or Shaman with you.
A few more notes…
A Hunter primer is one of those things I’d eventually like to get around to. Problem is, there’s so much that I want to talk about that it’s near impossible to tackle everything. However, this post could be considered as a mini-primer if you will. 😉 Even better, because it’s all the stuff you want to know about. 😀
First of all, make sure your spec looks like this at level 71: My recommended BM spec. Pay attention to the glyphs used as well.
This build will give your pet enough firepower, health and focus to tear through anything and everything while leveling. Leveling with a Devilsaur is fine, but you’d have an easier time with a Tenacity pet. Reason being is, they are better aggro magnets and are capable of grabbing and tanking multiple mobs. However, if you like your Devilsaur then by all means use him.
This is how I would spec him at level 71: Devilsaur spec.
At level 72 I recommend you start dumping points into Cobra Strikes. Once you max Cobra Strikes out you can go a few different places… I’d suggest you look at these talents:
- Catlike Reflexes – Provides a little added DPS as well as survivability. A good all around talent for leveling.
- Focused Aim – Mostly needed to bolster your hit rating. Stick a few points in here if you find you’re missing a lot. Hit isn’t terribly important until end game, but still… missing always sucks.
- Aimed Shot – Imperative for PvP if you plan on dabbling in BGs along the way.
- Improved Arcane Shot – Buffs the damage of Beast Mastery’s highest damage shot (apart from Kill Shot).
As your dinosaur levels, you’re going to want to pick up Rabid and then 2/2 in Shark Attack.
This talent build and pet spec will make leveling pretty easy, while also allowing you to do some pretty decent damage if you decide to run some instances.
I hope this post answered the readers’ questions appropriately, and perhaps helps some others who may stumble upon it looking for answers.