GarsNotes: Hunter Stats

Attention: The following info is pretty ancient, but I’ve left it available on the site for those of you that wish to wax nostalgic or are perhaps running an old version of WoW.

Useful Hunter Stats

The following is a list of useful stats for hunters. If it’s not on the list, then it ain’t useful.

Base Hunter Stats

  • Agility – Agility provides hunters with one point of melee and ranged attack power per point of agility. It also provides some critical strike, dodge and armor.
  • Intellect – Intellect increases the hunter’s mana pool. Each point of intellect translates to 15 mana. Intellect also translates to attack power for hunters with the Careful Aim talent (which every hunter should have).
  • Stamina – As with any other class, stamina buffs the hunter’s hit points, (ie: health). For hunters with the Hunter vs. Wild talent (Survival hunters mainly), a portion of the hunter’s stamina will also translate to attack power.

The other two primary stats, Strength and Spirit, are not really useful to hunters. In short, just stay away from these stas. If you want an explanation, then read on…

The only benefit hunters see from Strength is one point of melee attack power per point of Strength, which Agility also provides. Any hunter stacking Strength to buff his or her melee damage has already lost. 😉 Strength also does not carry over to ranged attack power, nor does it buff pet damage. It is a very poor stat for hunters.

Hunters have no talents or abilities that enhance the benefits from Spirit, therefore it should be avoided. All Spirit does for a hunter is to increase health regeneration rates while out of combat (lame), and to increase mana regen rates (by a pitiful amount) while not casting (once again… lame). Also, the not casting bit refers to the 5 second rule, meaning you have to wait a full five seconds in between casts to see one measly tick of mana regen.

Pure DPS Hunter Stats

The following are stats that directly relate to the amount of damage we do in combat. Hunters are a pure damage class, so defensive stats such as armor, dodge, parry, expertise, etc… are ignored. If you want to go against the grain and try out a novelty build such as a Hunter Tank, then by all means, knock yourself out. However, this list only focuses on what’s pertinent for hunters.

  • Hit – Hit rating is the most important stat for a hunter to attain until they’ve reached the cap; at which point any more of it is useless (for PvE at least). For a more in depth look at what hit rating is and why it’s important, have a look at this article. For now though, I’m just going to tell you how much of it you need…
    • The hit cap for PvE is 8%, which translates to 263 hit rating at level 80. The amount of hit rating needed to achieve the 8% increased chance to hit can be reduced by:
      • Heroic Presence – The Draenei racial increases the chance to hit by 1%, therefore Draenei only need 7% additional hit.
      • Focused Aim – This talent reduces the amount of hit chance needed by 1% for each point invested. Therefore, hunters with 3/3 Focused Aim only need 5% additional hit rating (165 hit) to be capped.

      The PvP soft hit cap is 5%, which translates to 165 hit rating without additional buffs or talents. Some enemy players will have abilities and talents to reduce their chances of you hitting them, but 5% is the practical hit cap for PvP.

  • Attack Power – This stat increases damage – plain and simple. Attack Power translates to raw DPS.
  • Critical Strike – Crit increases the chance of attacks landing as critical strikes. A Critical Strike is an attack that does double the damage of a normal attack.
  • Armor Penetration – This stat increases damage by ignoring a portion of the target’s armor. Armor Penetration only applies to physical damage however, so damage from other schools such as Explosive Shot (fire) or Arcane Shot (arcane… duh…) are not affected.
  • Haste – Haste increases the rate at which hunters can fire auto shots, plus it also reduces the cast time on abilities that have a cast speed timer. Since hunters have a very limited amount of attacks with a cast timer (e.g., Steady Shot and Volley), haste is currently last on the list of useful combat stats for hunters. It’s not a bad stat, it’s just not as good as the others.

Last but not least…

Ranged Weapon Damage

Ranged weapon damage is definitely not a stat to be ignored. Regardless of what beneficial stats are on the weapon, ranged damage is always king. Don’t pass on a potential upgrade just because it provides less attack power than your current one. Hunters are ranged damage dealers, so it stands to reason that we want the gun or bow that is going to hit the hardest.

PvP Specific Stats

  • Resilience for PvPResilience – Resilience reduces damage taken. It reduces an enemy’s chance to land a critical strike against you, as well as the damage done by said critical strikes. It also provides a base damage reduction from all enemy attacks and reduces the effect of mana drains. For a visual example of resilience, see the tooltip image at right. That is the amount of damage and mana drain reduction that one can expect with 1290 resilience at level 80.
  • Spell Penetration – This stat is used to break through enemy resistances. Hunters do not cast harmful spells, but they do cast harmful physical attacks which can cause spell damage. Enemy players that have resistances to spell damage, such as Mages and Druids, can mitigate damage done to them by harmful spell damage attacks such as Explosive Shot, Chimera Shot and Arcane Shot, for example. Casual PvPers and Beast Mastery hunters don’t really need to itemize this stat, as it’s somewhat situational, and in the case of BM hunters, it’s not worth the trade-off resulting in the loss of attack power or survivability. For more serious Marksmanship and Survival hunters however, read on…
    • Each point of Spell Penetration counters one point of enemy resistance, with the magic number we want to shoot for being 75. The reason for this, is because it is roughly equal to the most active spell resistance buff out there – Improved Mark of the Wild. Anything beyond 75 Spell Penetration is not advisable because the stat requires you to sacrifice other stats in favor of it, plus it is useless against targets with zero resistances.

How Hunter Stats Affect Pets

Here is a look at how the hunter stats translate to the hunter’s pet:

  • Attack Power – 1 point of Ranged Attack Power provides the hunter pet with .22 AP and .1287 Spell Damage. With 2/2 in Wild Hunt, this changes to: .338AP and .18 Spell Damage.
  • Hit rating – Pets receive 100% of the hunter’s Hit rating.
  • Stamina – Pets receive .45 Stamina for each point of Stamina that the hunter has. With 2/2 in Wild Hunt, this changes to .63 Stamina. 1 point of pet’s Stamina is worth 10.5 health (due to the baseline 5% health bonus pets receive).
  • Resistance – Pets inherit 40% of the hunter’s resistances.
  • Armor – Pets inherit .35 armor for each point.
  • Spell Penetration – Pets receive 100% of the hunter’s Spell Pen.
  • Resilience – Pets receive 100% of the hunter’s Resilience.

So that’s how stat points shake out for Fido. Unfortunately, pets don’t receive any benefit from things like Crit, Armor Penetration or Haste. Perhaps in Cataclysm they’ll inherit some benefit from those stats, but for now the only thing we can do is feed them Attack Power.

Well that’s a look at which stats you should be looking for on gear. Hopefully this clears up some confusion and/or answers some questions as to which stats are useful for hunters.

Any additional questions or comments, please share your thoughts below.

Happy Huntering! 😀

23 thoughts on “GarsNotes: Hunter Stats”

  1. Actually, I think this article should be tagged as obsolete, perhaps even removed, as it is approaching harmful. Things changed significantly when 4.0.1 was released. Intellect and stamina have dropped from the list of useful hunter stats. ArPen???

    To put it in perspective, this is from Scattered Shots (

    BM stat weights, from highest to lowest:
    * ranged DPS
    * agility
    * hit rating
    * crit rating
    * haste rating
    * mastery

    • Do not delete it.

      It is nice to have refference to old versions of the Game. 😉

      It was very informative thank you after so many years!

  2. Any hope you can update this list for 4.0.1? I’m a little torn between Crit and Haste. I’ve seen conflicting arguments between those as to which you keep and which you should turn to mastery.

  3. Another question……the bow from 25 man ICC….is it really better than the 10 man? i was looking at the tradeoffs….and not really sure that it is. Anyways appreciate any feedback and keep up the best hunter site out there.

    • Hey Perceuss,

      Njordnar Bone Bow has better stats than Zod’s, but the proc and Zod’s higher damage make it a better choice. It’s actually pretty nice for BGs as well, since once in awhile you get that extra burst from the proc.

  4. Gar, I need an Arena guide for 2’s. My buddy and i play 2’s all the time but we cannot for some reason find the right combo and we hit a certain point and flail about. He’s a pretty decently geared Ret. I have tried going as Disc but have come to find out I am THE squishiest healer in game….Warriors do more damage to me then I can heal…not a good combo. We recently tried the dual dps team, I have gone in on my Hunter swiched to BM spec and go in with a core hound we only played for one day but we’re a few games under .500. I don’t know what to do we’re both decently geared and we’re both somewhat intelligent people that know are classes relatively well. Please help oh great hunter! 🙂

    • I can definitely tell you that you’ll be better off playing your hunter instead of your priest. I don’t think Rets are as strong in 2s as they used to be, but they seem to do alright with hunters – especially MM and BM. It’s also pretty crucial that at least one of you have a Mortal Strike in 2v2.

      That said… I’m not really qualified to write a guide on 2v2. I’m pretty much a perennial 1850 hunter, ie: I’m not great, but I’m better than mediocre. I have a few pointers, but nothing you haven’t heard me say here before. I do feel though that Ret/Hunter is not as strong as it was last season, and especially not as strong as it was in season 6. It is still a good combo though.

      Just to recap some of what I’ve said in the past…

      – Always keep Aimed Shot applied to your kill target.
      – Hard switches and focus firing one target are key with double dps – especially this combo.
      – Select your kill target and focus target as soon as possible. With limited heals, you have a short window to get down to business.
      – Always kill the Rogue first, unless they’re playing with an Elemental or Enhancement Shaman. in that case kill the Shaman first. 😉
      – CC is limited with Ret/BM, so use it wisely. Set up traps with Pally stuns.
      – Remember to use your Tranq Shot. This is especially key against other Pally teams or any target that has some sort of damage mitigation buff up.
      – Keep a close eye on your pet’s health and pull him back when needed. Also, make sure to keep him HoT’d up with Mend Pet while he’s in combat. Did I mention not to let your pet die..? 😉

      Those are just a couple of things that come to mind. There are certain rare cases where you can split DPS, namely vs other double DPS teams, but for the most part you and your Ret partner should stick together and focus down the same target.

      Your partner needs to be quick to know when to bubble or heal, or to stick it out and go for a KB even if you or he are low on health yourselves.

      The teams that will give you the most trouble are:

      DK/Resto Druid – The only chance here is to hope the Druid is in a lot of PvE gear, then switch to them when they go to Cyclone one of you. It’s near impossible to nuke a DK with Druid heals, not to mention this team has loads of tools to keep you snared.
      Priest/Lock – Shadow, Disc or Holy… all are really nasty in this combo. I usually like to go for the Lock in this case, but if they’re on the ball we have little chance.
      Ele Shaman/DPS – If you see an Ele Shaman, blow them out of the water as soon as possible. Bloodlust + their nukes are just too much to handle. if you don’t get them burned down quick, you’re toast.

      Most of the fights with this combo will be won within the first 30 seconds. Although your partner can heal, you really don’t want to rely on that. The heals are wimpy, plus it drains his mana big-time. Best strategy I’ve found is to play aggressively, but plan your opener carefully. Make sure you guys know who you’re burning down and who you’re CC’ing. If you’re using your Core Hound to debuff the healer, make sure you don’t send him when the healer’s CC’d.

    • No worries. Thanks again for the feedback and for pointing out my typo. 🙂

      I’ll add in the bit about weapon damage once I see a little downtime over the next few days.

  5. I think you have a typo in resilience — should be 40%, not .4% 🙂

    Also, I think you should include ranged DPS (on your ranged weapon) as one of the stats. It’s the single largest point for point contributor to hunter dps but too many hunters ignore it and focus only on the other stats that the ranged weapon provides (thus thinking that Rowan’s Rifle is bad for hunters). I think it’s a good idea to ram the idea that ranged dps is important into new hunters’ heads early and often!

    • Hey Frost,

      Yep, you were right, ‘cept I think you were meaning to say resistance. I had started to say .4 resistance per point, but it ended up as .4%. Fixed.

      Good call on the raw weapon damage. I’ll add that in when I get a sec.

      Thanks for the input. 😀

  6. I have to admit Garwulf, lots of interesting reading on this site. Keep up the good work. I know your pvp advice has proved quite helpful to me.

  7. Great post, thanks. So much info condensed into simple easy to read format. I’m not exactly a noob with a kingslaying hunter but still learned some things, especially on the pvp front.

    Only one request, please have a revision policy to keep the guides up to date. Things are likely to change a lot over time and better to have fewer articles that will always be right than many that become misleading post this or that patch.

    • No worries Bahzob. My plan is to “retire” these guides as WotLK guides and tuck them away in the archives.

      The Cataclysm ones will be given top billing however.

      Grats on Kingslayer btw. 🙂

  8. Gar, want to toss you feedback. Wonderful idea. I remember finding havens like WHU and the Lodge.

    This article doesn’t achieve your goal. It is targeted at Beginning Hunters. Assume they know nothing.

    “Primary” “Secondary” is misleading. It implies they are listed in relative order of importance. AKA I gem Int/Stam since it is a primary stat and better than Hit (You don’t btw). ArP is not a beginning hunter stat. It deserves more of a “don’t worry about this until later.” No need to explain why Str and Spirit suck. For hunters they do.

    You should list the stats in relative order of importance in relation to DPS.

    Don’t get into class specific stats yet. Your mention of ArP for MM will just increase the amt of noob hunter’s who gem straight ArP in T9 gear. Deal with unique concerns in later articles. Keep this one general for the majority of hunters.

    Shorten your pet section. Don’t need specific numbers, just a list of which stats you pet benefits from and a “if not listed they recieve no benefit.”

    I realize this reads harshly, but it’s my style. I am a dry writer and platitudes like “I think” “I feel” take up unneeded space.

    • Excellent feedback.

      There will be a separate gemming and enchanting guide that will cover which stats to buff. The intent of this guide was to show which stats are useful so that hunters will know which quest rewards to choose and what loot to roll on.

      Based on your input, I’ll re-read things and try my best to be subjective about it. I was trying to be brief while still offering facts.

      I understand where you’re coming from though, so I will revisit the guide and consider possible changes.

      UPDATE: I trimmed away a little of the fat based upon your input. I think it should be interpreted better now.

      • Thanks for taking my ideas into consideration. I could tell instantly scrolling down that you revisited the article. After rereading, I like it much more and rejoin your legions of completely adoring fans.

        Visually, I’m a fan of a whole section fitting on my screen at a time. I realize this varies per your computer, but each of the four can be read in one chunk without scrolling which helps it feel shorter and easier to digest.

        Very well done, Sir Gar.

  9. Gar, I can never thank you enough for all your hard work and dedication to this site, fellow hunters, and vast fans out there. I’ve greatly increased my numbers in PvE and with all that hard work searching, my PvP as well. Wouldn’t you know it, I read your forums a lot and I still learning. Salute goes out to all those who dedicate to this website…/salute


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