Hunters are a unique class in World of Warcraft as the only class that deals physical damage at range. Specializing in guns and bows, they’re one of the strongest solo classes thanks to their pet, many crowd control abilities, and solid damage output. All of this combined makes leveling a hunter far easier than most classes, but if you’re looking to master the class, then continue reading this leveling guide for hunter in WotLK Classic.
We’ll make sure you reach level 80 quickly and with all the knowledge needed to play your class effectively. Without further ado, let’s dive into this hunter leveling guide for WoW Classic (WotLK).
Best Hunter Leveling Spec
We’ll be using the Beast Mastery talent specialization for this hunter leveling guide. Marksmanship and Survival are not as effective because they focus on the hunter’s damage and survivability rather than the pet’s, and you will want to take advantage of your pet for the most efficient leveling and solo play.
Unlike in retail World of Warcraft, you will need to visit your class trainer in order to learn new spells as you level up. Trainers are located in every major faction city as well as each of the starting zones. You should train at least every few levels, because new ranks and new spells can make a huge difference to your damage and efficiency.
Gear and Stats
As a beast mastery hunter, here are the stats you should look for on gear, in order of importance:
- Agility is your strongest stat, with each point granting two points of Ranged Attack Power as well as some Critical Strike and Melee Attack Power. You should be able to get lots of it on your gear without having to look for it specifically.
- Attack Power increases the damage you do with most of your abilities and is the main secondary stat you should aim for.
- Critical Strike increases your damage by causing more of your abilities to critically hit.
- Haste speeds up your attacks, increasing the amount of damage you can do over any given window of time.
- Hit is much more important at level 80. You won’t see much of it as you level, but when you do, it’s good to grab.
- Stamina does nothing to boost your damage but is important for your survivability. It should come naturally on your gear without needing to look for it.
- Intellect increases your mana pool, which is always a bonus, although you don’t want to go gearing for it at the cost of other, better stats.
Hunters can use any type of armor except plate, with leather being the best until mail becomes available at level 40. But you should focus on the stats above rather than worrying too much about armor.
For your melee weapon, hunters can use both one- and two-handed axes, swords, fist weapons, staves, and polearms. For your ranged weapon, hunters can use bows, crossbows, and guns. Keep in mind that each individual weapon type has its own separate skill in WoW Classic. If you swap to a different weapon type, you may need to level its skill before you can be effective with it.
As far as choosing your weapons, your melee weapon is just a “stat stick.” You should choose the weapon with the best stats and not worry about its DPS. Your primary weapon is your ranged one, and that’s where the DPS stat starts to matter.
Best Heirlooms for Beast Mastery Hunter
Heirloom gear is well worth getting if you have a level 80 character and are able to purchase it. They scale with your level so that you don’t have to keep replacing your gear as you go. Chest and shoulder pieces also provide a buff to your experience gained, increasing your leveling speed significantly. Your mail heirlooms will automatically adjust to be leather at level 1, since mail doesn’t become available to you until level 40. So you don’t need to buy 2 separate sets of heirlooms.
These are the heirloom pieces you should look for if you are leveling a hunter:
- Shoulder: Champion Herod’s Shoulder
- Chest: Champion’s Deathdealer Breastplate
- Trinket: Swift Hand of Justice
- Trinket: Discerning Eye of the Beast
- Melee Weapon: Balanced Heartseeker x2
- Ranged Weapon: Charmed Ancient Bone Bow
Guide to Leveling a Hunter in WotLK
Now let’s get to leveling!
Ammo: You’ll notice that one of your bag slots is occupied by an ammo pouch. It’s important to stock up on ammo every time you’re near a vendor – you don’t want to run out in the middle of questing. If you’re using a gun, you’ll need bullets; for a bow or crossbow, you’ll need arrows.
Rotation: Starting out, you’ll just be using Auto Shot and Auto Attack. At level 4, you can start using Serpent Sting to apply and maintain its debuff. You’ll also get Aspect of the Monkey, which you should keep up for a nice defensive boost.
At level 6 you’ll get Hunter’s Mark, which you should always have up on your current target. You’ll also get Arcane Shot, which you’ll use to burn any excess mana until you get Steady Shot at level 50. Concussive Shot is learned at level 8 and will give you a way to slow enemies down while you shoot them at range.
Pet: Your pet is a significant part of your class as a hunter. You’ll get a quest from your trainer at level 10 that will walk you through taming your first pet. This will likely be whatever beast happens to be close by in your starting zone. Eventually you can have up to five pets, but only one can be active at any given time – the rest must be stabled.
For leveling, a ferocity pet is going to make for the quickest kills. A cat will do nicely to start with, but an owl or a carrion bird is even better due to their Screech ability. It’s a good idea to keep a tenacity pet like a turtle or bear in your stable for tougher fights.
Be sure to keep some food on hand for your pet. Happy pets deal more damage, and a really unhappy one could decide to abandon you permanently. Meat or fish will work for most pets, but they each have their own preferences.
Talents: At level 10, you’ll be able to choose your first talent. Here are the recommended talents for this level range:
- Level 10-14: Improved Aspect of the Hawk (5/5)
- Level 15-16: Focused Fire (2/2)
- Level 17-18: Improved Revive Pet (2/2)
- Level 19: Endurance Training (1/5)
Glyphs: At level 15, you will be able to use your first glyphs. Glyph of Hunter’s Mark is your best bet for a major glyph, while Glyph of Mend Pet will offer the strongest benefit for a minor glyph.
Rotation: In addition to all of your pet-related abilities, you’ll also learn Aspect of the Hawk at level 10. You’ll want to keep this up at all times now, replacing Aspect of the Monkey.
You’ll learn Aspect of the Cheetah at level 16, but you must learn to be careful using it lest you get yourself dazed while fighting. You’ll also get Multi-Shot at level 18, giving you a way to hit more than one target at a time.
Macro: Here’s a handy hunter macro that you can use to mark your target, send your pet in to attack it, and start auto attacking all in one button:
#Showtooltip Hunter's Mark /petattack /cast !Auto Shot /cast Hunter's Mark
Mount: You can buy your first mount at level 20! The basic ground mount has a speed of 60% and costs five gold. Head to the starting zone or capital city for your race to purchase a mount as soon as you can – it really makes everything a lot faster and easier.
- Level 20: Aspect Mastery (1/1)
- Level 21-25: Unleashed Fury (5/5)
- Level 26-29: Ferocity (4/5)
Glyphs: You won’t unlock any new glyphs until level 30.
Rotation: At level 20, you’ll learn Disengage and Freezing Trap, two useful utility abilities that will help you keep enemies at a distance. Freezing Trap in particular is extremely useful for keeping a beast CCed while you tame it.
At level 24, Beast Lore will help you figure out what beasts are worth taming and what they like to eat. You’ll also get Rapid Fire as a decent damage buff on a long cooldown at level 26.
- Level 30: Intimidation (1/1)
- Level 31-32: Bestial Discipline (2/2)
- Level 33: Ferocity: (5/5)
- Level 34: Improved Mend Pet (1/2)
- Level 35-39: Frenzy (5/5)
Glyphs: At level 30 you can use a second major glyph. Glyph of Serpent Sting is a solid choice.
Rotation: You’ll learn Feign Death at level 30, an incredibly useful ability for solo play. With it, you can completely drop aggro on an entire crowd of enemies. Keep in mind that if you have your pet out, they will have to die before you can safely stop playing dead.
You’ll also learn Intimidation through talents, giving you both a stun and a way to keep an enemy focused on your pet while you whittle it down from range. Thanks to the Improved Mend Pet talent, you also now have a chance at cleansing a debuff from your pet whenever you use it, which is nice when you’re up against tougher foes.
Mount: At level 40, you can upgrade your mount. An epic ground mount has a speed of 100% and costs 60 gold. You will most likely need to return to the same vendor you purchased your level 20 mount from.
Mail Armor: At level 40, you can begin using mail armor, which offers more protection than leather or cloth. It’s not urgent that you upgrade all of your leather gear right away. Continue to focus on getting the best stats. Mail just gives you more options going forward.
- Level 40: Bestial Wrath (1/1)
- Level 41-43: Ferocious Inspiration (3/3)
- Level 44: Improved Mend Pet (2/2)
- Level 45-49: Serpent’s Swiftness (5/5)
Glyphs: You won’t unlock any new glyph slots in this level range.
Rotation: At level 40, you’ll gain Volley, which can be handy for taking down large groups of weak enemies, such as when farming in low level areas. For enemies closer to your level, you’ll still want to use Multi-Shot. You’ll also get Bestial Wrath through talents, a solid damage cooldown for your pet.
- Level 50: The Beast Within (1/1)
- Level 51-52: Invigoration (2/2)
- Level 53-55: Longevity (3/3)
- Level 56-57: Kindred Spirits (2/5)
Glyphs: At level 50, you can use a second minor glyph. Glyph of Revive Pet will help when you need to resurrect your pet in a pinch.
Rotation: You’ll learn Steady Shot at level 50 and should start using it in place of Arcane Shot. Thanks to The Beast Within talent, you’ll also gain the benefits from Bestial Wrath whenever you activate it. While the damage boost and reduced mana costs are nice, the biggest advantage is that it makes both you and your pet immune to CC.
Zones: Head to Outland as soon as you reach level 58. The items you can get there are much better than those in the lower level zones.
Mount: At level 60, you can purchase your first flying mount. A basic flying mount has a flying speed of 150% and a ground speed of 60%, and costs 300 gold total. The Flying trainers are located in Hellfire Peninsula and Shadowmoon Valley.
- Level 58-60: Kindred Spirits (5/5)
- Level 61: Beast Mastery (1/1)
- Level 62-66: Lethal Shots (5/5)
- Level 67: Mortal Shots (1/5)
Glyphs: You won’t get any new glyph slots until level 70.
Rotation: At level 60 you’ll learn Deterrence, an incredibly powerful defensive cooldown that does come with the tradeoff of not being able to attack for five seconds. You’ll also gain Tranquilizing Shot, allowing you to dispel enemy buffs – make sure to get used to doing this, as this is a major role for hunters in the end game.
The Beast Mastery talent at level 61 will allow you to start taming exotic beasts such as devilsaurs and spirit beasts. While you can easily get by with something as simple as a Wolf and Bear, this opens up additional possibilities. You’ll especially want to try and get a spirit beast once you reach Northrend.
At level 66, you’ll get another major damage cooldown for your pet via Kill Command.
Zones: Head to Northrend as soon as you reach level 68. The quest rewards are much better and you can start working on the reputations you will need at level 80.
Mount: You can upgrade your flying mount at level 70 if you choose. An epic flying mount has a flying speed of 280% and a ground speed of 100%, and costs 5100 gold. But you will not be able to use it in Northrend until you train Cold Weather Flying. This can be done at level 77 for 1000 gold, or if you already have a level 80 character, you can purchase a Tome of Cold Weather Flight for your hunter to use as early as level 68. Northrend flying trainers are located in Dalaran, Storm Peaks, and Sholazar Basin.
- Level 68-71: Mortal Shots (5/5)
- Level 72: Aimed Shot (1/1)
- Level 73-74: Go for the Throat (2/2)
- Level 75-77: Focused Aim (3/3)
- Level 78-80: Careful Aim (3/3)
Glyphs: At level 70, you can use a third minor glyph. Glyph of Feign Death is a decent option. You won’t get the third major glyph slot until level 80.
Rotation: You’ll learn Misdirection at level 70, and should start using it on your pet before you pull enemies to ensure they target your pet instead of you. You can add it to your pull macro:
#Showtooltip Hunter's Mark /petattack /cast [@pet,exists] Misdirection /cast !Auto Shot /cast Hunter's Mark
Just make sure that you’re misdirecting to the party’s tank and not your pet if you’re doing group content. Otherwise, you could easily mess up aggro control and get everyone killed.
At level 71, you’ll learn Kill Shot, which is a fantastic execution ability. At level 72, you can get Aimed Shot through talents. These will complete your damage rotation, which we’ll lay out below. You’ll learn Aspect of the Dragonhawk at level 74 and should use that as your aspect from here on out.
- Misdirection on your pet when pulling (included in macro).
- Hunter’s Mark on your target if it’s missing (included in macro).
- Make sure your pet is attacking your target (included in macro).
- Mend Pet if your pet’s health gets low.
- Aimed Shot on cooldown.
- Kill Shot on cooldown if the target’s health is below 20%.
- Kill Command on cooldown.
- Multi-Shot for two or more enemies.
- Serpent Sting for one enemy if it is missing the debuff.
- Intimidation on cooldown.
- Steady Shot with remaining mana until a higher priority ability is off cooldown.
Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of this guide and level 80 on your hunter!
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Thanks for reading! Hopefully this guide has helped you with leveling your hunter through WoW Classic (WotLK). If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to High Ground for more useful guides!