the Beast Tamer
The hunter class performs pulling, threat redirection, crowd control, and primarily ranged damage. Hunters have pets that add to their DPS and help manage aggro. They can also track, tame and train animals and beasts found in the wild. The well trained pet, on countless occasions, has saved a hunter's life. It has been said by many, and throughout history, that hunters consider their weapons and pets to be their only true friends.
In some other games, such as Everquest, the hunter is a ranged/melee hybrid that can rely on both, when the need arises. In World of Warcraft, this is simply not the case. The survival tree offers some enhancement to melee defense, but the class's damage mitigation is poor compared to any pure melee classes and its melee abilities are few. In fact, besides auto-attack, Raptor Strike and a few others is all a hunter has as far as melee.
- Hunters tame the wild beasts of Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms, training them to fight at their side.
- A hunter can NOT tame some neutral beasts such as a Kodo, but the limitation appears to be based on model size. If a neutral beast falls into one of the various pet types, it usually can be tamed.
- Most elite beasts cannot be tamed, but a few can.
- Hunters are one of two classes that can have controllable combat pets (the other being Warlocks), however, they are the only ones that can name, feed, and assign talent points to their pets.
- Hunters excel in outdoor survival skills, such as tracking and laying traps.
- Hunters wear leather and cloth armor until level 40, at which they gain access to equipping mail armor. Hunters start with a two-handed axe and a gun, crossbow, or bow. They can use all other weapon skills except wands, maces, and two-handed maces. They are unable to use shields or plate armor.
- Hunters use many shots that either deal damage or apply a status effect that costs mana to use. Most other abilities are free to use such as Mend Pet or their Trap abilities.
- Hunters can take on various Animal Aspects that grant special abilities, such as improved run speed, or additional nature resistance.
- Hunters use Mana as their main ability-casting resource.
The hunter is a stalker in the wilds, living on his knowledge of survival and skill with a bow or rifle. He is deeply in tune with nature, and some of its mightiest beasts are his allies. Of Azeroth's many creatures, few can resist the hunter's call, and fewer can survive his fury. Hunters are as varied as the world's many climates, but they are universally renowned for their amazing abilities to find their prey and bring it down. They come from any race (players are restricted to eleven races, see below), though certain races naturally excel at the hunter's profession. Most hunters seek to aid the balance of nature along with their druidic allies. Elven rangers are not alone in their mastery of the wilderness. While an elven ranger prefers the bow, the hunter would rather get up close. A hunter is skilled in stealth, slipping through the woods like a ghost. Orcs of the Horde first learned the ways of the hunter from forest trolls on Lordaeron and tauren have been masters of the hunt since the dawn of the world. Like the shaman of the Horde, hunters call upon the spirits of the land, wind, and fire to aid them in their hunts and tasks. Their spells focus on the elements and the land.
The hunter is one of the oldest classes in history. They represent a deep connection between man and beast, and the hunters of Warcraft are not merely individuals who track animals and slay them for food, but custodians of balance. They understand the natural circle of life and death, and the part they must play in maintaining it not simply as researchers, but as active participants. The "Hunt" is venerated, and the prey they choose to stalk is given as much respect as the predators hunters choose to learn from and embody. All hunters create lifelong friendships with animal companions, who are also often their best and only friends, if the stereotype of the reclusive huntsman is to be believed. Hunters come in all shapes, forms, sizes and specialties, but in World of Warcraft, all hunters specialize to be marksmen (however, not all hunters choose to specialize in the marksmanship talent tree). Hunters are a curious mix of mysticism and rough wilderness know-how. They can learn to mystically align themselves with the aspects of various animals to assist them: the sharp eyes of a hawk, and the swiftness of a cheetah; they gift themselves with a higher resistance against the dangers of the most important thing of all in the rites of a hunter — the very Wilds he and his prey live in. Hunters use magically empowered traps (with a slight arming delay (2 sec) to maim and snare their prey. They have various shots imbued with magic or explosives to snare, poison, handicap and disorient their targets. They can even hold their breath and slow their heartbeat to a highly infrequent, inconsequential tap to give their pursuers the impression that they are dead.
The hunter is the choice of life for those who reject societies that oppress the natural role as prey and hunter, and also reject the druidic stance that we should be healers and observers rather than active participants in the "Great Hunt". They follow a life of reverence for nature complementing their tradition and willingness to use man-made tools. We are all tool-using creatures after all, and it is only natural to use that advantage afforded by nature to be better hunters, though there are also many hunters who prefer a more direct approach to tracking and hunting.
Note: The term "hunter" can refer to the combat class, as well as to those who go hunting as a profession, hobby, or survival skill. The two are not identical, as not all that hunt are a hunter class. The above lore only refers to the specific class.
Talents and abilities
Hunters have a vast range of talents and abilities. These can be roughly categorized into the following:
Ranged fighting requires a choice between a gun, bow, or a crossbow. When starting, this will depend on your race. Dwarves, Worgens and Goblins are given guns, Draenei, Humans and Forsaken start with crossbows, and the other races get bows. However, all hunters can still use the ranged weapons that aren't inherent to their race. In general, crossbows are relatively slow, but hit harder and are favored for increasing burst damage, while guns are relatively fast and good for steady grinding at the cost of using more ammunition than other weapons. Bows have moderate attack speed and are favored for sustained DPS. Initially, weapon speed will be inconsequential since the only available abilities consist of Auto-Shot and various instant casts. Guns can be crafted by engineers, but there are no craftable bows or crossbows, so most ranged upgrades will come from mob drops and quest rewards.
Prior to patch 4.0.1, all weapons used ammunition. Guns used bullets while bows and crossbows used arrows. Engineers could craft bullets. There were also specialty ammunition that had varying effects. All ammo was removed in patch 4.0.1.
For further information see the hunter tactics page.
Hunters have stings, which are specialized debuffs they can apply to targets to help them address specific situations. Only one sting per hunter can be active on any one target. Serpent Sting is by far the most useful utility in PvE, dealing damage over time. Viper Sting is useful for robbing enemies of their mana, while Scorpid Sting can rob them of their stats for a short time. There is also a Wyvern Sting which is only accessible via the Survival talent tree, which is useful for CCing enemies, in both PvE and PvP.
Hunters also make heavy use of special shots to supplement their DPS and provide utility to their groups. The bulk of a hunter's damage and utility will come from the use of these shots. The shots the hunter uses depend on his spec. Survival hunters use Explosive Shot, while beast masters and marksmen use Arcane Shot, while Aimed Shot is used if available. Steady Shot is used to build focus for Marksman, Cobra Shot for Survival and Beastmaster.
Pets are the most important tools in the hands of a hunter. They serve as aggro-management, additional DPS, and as tanks. The pet is essential to all specs, dealing anywhere from 10% of total damage for a Marksman and a Survival, to 50% for a Beast Master. Formerly, pets had anemic damage potential and weak AI that often made them more of a danger to a raid than an asset. But improved AI - pets now always attack from the back of a monster - and an innate 90% damage avoidance has made this no longer a concern.
Many beast-type mobs can be tamed, and each offer a set of unique active skills (there are special abilities just for wolves, just for cats, etc). In addition, certain pet types are tanking-oriented (such as bears and turtles), and others are DPS-oriented (such as cats and owls). Combined with the diversity of armor, stamina and resistance buffs, pets are allowed a great deal of customization. Many hunters have dedicated pets for specific instances, PvP, tanking, and so on.
Hunters have a pet at level one as of 4.01, these pets are based on the user's race (Night Elf gets a Nightsaber, Tauren gets a Plainstrider, Goblin gets a Crab, etc.). They are able to control the pet through various commands at level 10 as of 4.01. Hunters can have only one active pet at a time and 4 others out of the actual game accessible in the new Call Pet UI. The stable can house up to 20 additional pets as of 4.01 too.
Hunters have five different types of traps available for use. Some traps are a type of Crowd Control; others are a source of damage, although they do not scale well to the hunters level. Traps exist for 30 seconds, and have separate 30 second cooldown categores: Fire (Immolation Trap, Explosive Trap and Black Arrow), Frost (Freezing Trap, Frost Trap) and Nature Snake Trap and a 2 second arming timer once placed. A hunter can have one trap of each category placed at one time. Traps are within the domain of the survival sub-school, and although the basic traps are trainable by hunters of any spec, the survival tree contains numerous talents to enhance their use.
Hunters have six aspects at their disposal. Only one aspect may be active at a time. Aspects will only affect the hunter, unless stated otherwise. The aspects are part of the beast mastery school, and while the base aspects are trainable by hunters of any specialization, the beast mastery tree contains talents which enhance their use.
Aspects range in use from self-protection to speed boosts.
Hunters can track eight different types of units - Beasts, Humanoids, Undead, Demons, Giants, Elementals, Dragonkin and even Hidden units.
Talents are a way to specialize your character by enhancing your skills and/or learning new skills. Starting at level 10, you will receive a talent point every level.
There are three categories for hunter talents:
For further information see hunter talents, hunter talent discussion. Talent calculators can be found at various Vanilla talent calculator sites, the most popular being the WoWProvider Talent Calculator.
Hunters can learn how to use bows, guns, crossbows, thrown weapons, daggers, axes, fist weapons, swords, polearms, staves, two-handed axes, and two-handed swords. The only weapons they cannot use are wands and one-handed and two-handed maces. They were able to wield shields in the beta.
Upon reaching level 20, hunters can learn the Dual Wield skill. This allows them to wield two one-handed weapons at the same time.
See hunter weapon for an explanation of the value of the various stat bonuses and a list of melee weapons suitable for hunters.
A hunter's primary responsibility in nearly all raid encounters is to sustainably generate high DPS. They should know when to use Feign Death to get rid of aggro before they gain more aggro than the raid's primary tank, and then continue dealing damage. Hunters no longer uses mana for their abilities. But they still need to know how to keep their focus up for sustained DPS.
You will almost never be asked to trap during raids, but you might be asked during 5man groups and heroics. Trapping is a form of Crowd Control. This is typically done by laying down a Freezing Trap in front of you before the pull, using Distracting Shot to steal aggro after tank pulls, thus making the mob run at you and into the Freezing Trap. Hitting the Mob with a Concussive Shot as it comes to the trap is a good way to buy cool down time, making it easier to re-trap. The generally accepted raid symbol for this is a blue square, although it is very important to confirm this beforehand. The tank or off-tank will usually be responsible for taking aggro off of you when the group is ready to deal with the mob. A skilled hunter of any spec should be able to keep at least one target controlled indefinitely. For beast masters, the pet stun Intimidation is helpful. All specs can use Concussive Shot, Scatter Shot, pet tanking/Misdirection/sacrificing and Wing Clip to buy time while keeping a mob occupied.
A trap that hasn't been tripped will exist for 30 seconds, but comes off of cooldown after only 30 seconds. With the new wrath patch, hunters are able to drop three types of trap at one time(snake,ice,dps), but it is possible to lay a trap before the pull, wait 30 seconds to let the cooldown, trap a mob, and then move away a small distance and lay another trap. Whenever the first trap's effect wears off, the mob will usually run for you, and right into another freeze trap. This is called chain-trapping a mob. The 2-piece set bonus of Beast Lord Armor reduces the cooldown on your traps by 4 seconds, and some raiders gain only two pieces and equip them only for special boss fights were it is highly important Crowd Control, such as the Moroes fight in Karazhan.
When trapping in anything heroic level and beyond, if you know Misdirection will not be required on a tank in the next 30 seconds, it can be very useful to trap casters (such as the Spell Shades in Karazhan). This is accomplished by posting the pet out of line of sight or far enough away that a trap can be placed such that the caster will have to run into it before the pet is in its range. Once the mob is trapped, the pet can be sent into combat and a new trap placed on the other side. This is also very useful, such as with the spell shades, when dealing with mobs that constantly resist traps, as the pet will already be tanking the mob (most likely dying in the process). Still, this is much better than the hunter having initial aggro when things go wrong.
In some cases you will be asked to Kite one or more creatures that either cannot or should not be killed during a specific encounter, allowing the rest of the raid to focus on other needs in order defeat the objective. Kiting is a skill that is best accomplished by hunters because of their Aspect of the Cheetah, pets, and armor rating (mages are quite skilled at snare/root kiting, but few instances require such a technique and is intense in its use of mana) and requires a lot of practice). While kiting, you will need to shoot your target with instant abilities, and often use speed boosts (such as the movement speed enchantment for foot gear, speed potions, and/or using Aspect of the Cheetah). Kiting, for most hunters, is the hardest skill to learn, yet is considered by many to be the most important skill.
Hunters wishing to participate in end-game PvP will find any of the talent trees help them towards their goals of massive player destruction! In beast mastery, a PvP hunter will find the skills of Intimidation, Bestial Wrath (to include The Beast Within), and a deadly pet worthy of causing constant havoc (especially to casters); a beast mastery hunter would be considered ill-equipped in PvP without them. Bestial Wrath primarily enables beast mastery to be the hunter's primary anti-caster spec, although it can have more difficulty against the melee classes (warrior, rogue, paladin).
The marksman tree skills of Improved Concussive Shot, Mortal Shots, Barrage, Improved Barrage, Concussive Barrage are all excellent in a PvP setting, with the skills of Lethal Shots, and Silencing Shot being considered "must haves" within the tree. These talents in the tree enables the hunter to inflict immense Burst damage. In terms of targets, marksmanship can to some extent deal with either casters or melee equally well, but does not specialise against either.
Finally, the survival hunter has many tricks that allow them to escape the deadzone (Note: The deadzone was done away with in Patch 2.3, much to the dismay of mages using Frost Nova.) as well as dish out the pain, with such skill as Humanoid Slaying, Savage Strikes, Deterrence & Counterattack, and Master Tactician, followed by the "can't do without" skills of Hawk Eye, Improved Wing Clip, Entrapment, Survivalist, Killer Instinct, Wyvern Sting and Scatter Shot. As beast mastery is designed to deal most effectively with the caster classes, so survival is specialised, conversely, towards the melee classes, and likewise also has somewhat more difficulty against casters.
Some of these skills are considered universal abilities that should be in any PvP hunter talent build, no matter which tree you put the majority of your points into. These include Hawk Eye, which allows you to do damage from farther away, as well as Entrapment, which used with Frost Trap, can turn the tide of an entire battle if used strategically, and Lethal Shots, which provides a sizable increase to your critical hit rate for only 5 points into marksmanship.
- Hunters are the third most played class according to Warcraft Realms.
- The "OMG HUNTER LOOT" / "That's a hunter weapon!" : jokes exists for a reason. Don't forget you share your gear class with many other classes. It's very unlikely you're the only person who needs any given drop. Do not be surprised if other classes also compete with you for ranged weapons, even though, technically speaking, they shouldn't. From a use point of view, a warrior might vaguely be able to justify rolling on a high level ranged weapon; if he's a tank, he can use it for pulling. A rogue can not, unless it increases his attack power in some way. Still, a rogue rolling on a bow for stats against a hunter would be equivalent to a hunter rolling on daggers against a rogue for the same reason.
- While the hunter is an easy class to play at a superficial level, it can be a highly challenging class to play well. People will consistently tell you that damage is the only reason for a hunter's existence; in raids, and possibly in soloing that might be true, but in five man instances and battleground pvp in particular, it isn't. You can use traps as a form of crowd control, and you need to monitor your pet to ensure that it does not cause problems.
- In addition, in most MMORPGs, the hunter or ranger class variant is usually recognized as the ideal ranged puller in a group. World of Warcraft is somewhat unique in that within its culture, ranged pulling is generally not considered a hunter's responsibility, to the point where hunters in groups will actually be expressly forbidden from doing so. This is true despite the fact that, as with other games, in WoW Blizzard has equipped the hunter with numerous unique abilities (Disengage, Feign Death, Tracking) to assist them in the accomplishment of that task.
- In combat, hunters have the ability to quickly remove all threat they have generated on a target via Feign Death. This ability no longer removes you from combat when fighting raid bosses..
- Pets in instances should be controlled carefully and watched closely; one wrong click can very well get you and the party or even raid killed. You should set your pet on passive or defensive mode (pets have been known to respond to the presence of World Dragons when in defensive as if on aggressive) as well as disabling autocast for Growl and any other AoE abilities to be secure.
- Most hunters forget that they have Tranquilizing Shot. This is incredibly useful, as it can remove enrage from raid bosses like Magmadar, and other enrages from most world mobs, and in PvP in can strip a player of their buffs in short order.
- Patch 1.6.0 (patch date:2005-07-12): Fixed race condition allowing hunters to control a charmed unit and a pet at the same time.
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