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Hunter Beginner Guide WoW – Overview & Builds for ALL Specs

Hunter Beginner Guide WoW – Overview & Builds for ALL Specs

Guide Written By: Dottz Gaming

Table of Contents

  1. Video
  2. Introduction
  3. Pets
  4. Specializations
    1. Beast Mastery
    2. Marksmanship
    3. Survival
  5. Contact Info
  6. Update Log

Video

Introduction

Welcome to DottzGaming.com’s beginner guide for the Hunter class in World of Warcraft! This guide will give you a brief overview to what the class has to offer, its specializations and new player focused talent setups to get you going on your adventures through Azeroth! If you are brand new to WoW and are reading this guide, I also recommend checking out my WoW Complete Beginner Guide, which will teach you all non-class specific things you need to know to get yourself started in WoW.

The hunter is a damage-dealing class that can play either melee or ranged. The hunter in world of warcraft is your stereotypical “ranger” class, with the ability to use a ranged or melee weapon to fight their foes, all while their trusty companion helps them in the battling of their enemies.

The hunter is a pure damage dealing class, meaning that it has no healing or tank specialization. However, each of the different hunter specializations focuses on something different, giving you a different feel based on which specialization you choose. Beast Mastery hunters focus on mastering the command of their animal companions, and building a powerful synergy with their companions by bringing several bonuses to both their own and their pets’ abilities. Marksmanship hunters are skilled sharpshooters, focusing on defeating opponents through powerful ranged attacks, using their pet primarily for support or gaining a damage boost for choosing to forego a pet entirely. Finally, Survival hunters – the melee specialization of the class – are rangers who can engage enemies up close or even at a mid-range, utilizing their pet, high mobility, utility and damage over time skills to wear down their enemy.

Hunters use a resource called Focus to cast their skills, which regenerates slowly over time or can be instantly restored with other skills! One of the great benefits that the hunter ranged specs is that many skills can be cast while moving, unlike many of the other casters in World of Warcraft. In addition, hunters wear mail armor, they utilize Agility as their primary stat to deal damage, and can wield bows, guns, crossbows, polearms, swords, axes and staves.

Races that can play the Hunter class are as follows:

  • Blood Elf (Horde)
  • Dark Iron Dwarf (Alliance)
  • Dwarf (Alliance)
  • Draenei (Alliane)
  • Gnome (Alliance)
  • Goblin (Horde)
  • Highmountain Tauren (Horde)
  • Human (Alliance)
  • Kul Tiran (Alliance)
  • Lightforged Draenei (Alliance)
  • Mag’har Orc (Horde)
  • Mechagnome (Alliance)
  • Night Elf (Alliance)
  • Nightborne (Horde)
  • Orc (Horde)
  • Pandaren (Alliance/Horde)
  • Tauren (Horde)
  • Troll (Horde)
  • Undead (Horde)
  • Void Elf (Alliance)
  • Vulpera (Horde)
  • Worgen (Alliance)
  • Zandalari Troll (Horde)

Now that we have a brief summary of the class out of the way, let’s get into the specs and what they have to offer. The following builds are going to be tailored to new players, looking to make your rotation as easy and straightforward while adding as few additional skills to your action bars as possible. If you’re looking for something more advanced and focused on dealing as much damage as possible, I recommend checking out Icy-Veins or WoWhead for builds more tailored towards end game raids, mythic+ and rated PvP. Thankfully, these builds in the article don’t differentiate too much from the “advanced” versions.

Pets

Before we get into the hunter builds, I do want to touch on the pet specializations, as knowing what pet to use plays an important role in playing your hunter! Hunter pets fall into 3 categories: Ferocity, Tenacity and Cunning. An easy way to think of it as a new player is that Ferocity pets focus on dealing high damage, tenacity pets focus on being tanky and protecting the hunter, while Cunning pets provide group utility. What I’d personally recommend is having a Ferocity pet for questing and group content such as dungeons and raids, having a cunning pet, namely a raptor, for PvP due to it providing a healing debuff on your enemies, and finally I’d also recommend grabbing a Tenacity pet in case you feel you or your pet is having trouble staying alive while questing. Since Hunters can have up to 5 pets they can choose from at once (but only 1 can be active), and more they can store in a stable in cities, the rest are totally up to you!

A good place to look into pets is WoW-Petopia!

Specializations

Beast Mastery

Click here to view the talent calculator.

Talents

  1. Animal Companion – Calls an additional animal companion from your stable to help fight your enemies! This pet will also respond to your kill command, which is a skill that causes your pets to attack a certain target for instant damage, making the ability even more deadly!
  2. One with the Pack – This talent makes your auto attacks have a 20% chance to reset the cooldown on barbed shot, one of your primary special attacks, allowing you to more easily maintain the bleed and the focus regeneration!
  3. Natural Mending – This talent lowers the cooldown of Exhilaration, your primary burst heal, with the more focus you spend!
  4. Thrill of the Hunt – A passive talent that gives you 3% increased critical strike the more you use Barbed Shot, up to 3 stacks! This gives us a nice critical boost and promotes correct used of Barbed Shot!
  5. Posthaste – Makes your disengage – a skill that makes you leap backwards away from your enemy – even stronger, giving you a burst of speed and removing movement impairing effects after you use it.
  6. Stomp – This makes your Barbed Shot also cause your pet to stomp the ground, dealing physical damage to enemies! So, this will not only make your Barbed Shot put a DoT on your opponent and restore focus to you, but you’ll also be gaining critical from Thrill of the Hunt and this talent will give you some instant damage! All the meanwhile, your auto attacks have a chance to reset Barbed Shot thanks to One with the Pack!
  7. Aspect of the Beast – A passive that gives you an incredibly strong damage boost by giving you and your pet a 30% damage and healing boost, all while making your pet’s passive bonus 50% stronger!
  8. Survival Tactics – A PvP talent that increases the strength of your feign death, by having it reduce your damage taken by 99% for 1.5 seconds and cause you to remove all harmful magical effects!
  9. Roar of Sacrifice – This skill has your pet give you or an ally a buff that prevents the target from receiving critical hits, but a portion of the damage is transferred to the pet.
  10. Wild Protector – Gives you and your allies passive damage reduction by having your pet protect anyone it’s near (within 8 yards), reducing their damage taken by 10%!

Recommended Pet: Spirit Beast or Core Hound. While in the pet section I said typically you’d use a Ferocity pet for dungeons/raids, Beast Mastery is a bit different. BM (beast mastery) hunters can tame special pets, known as “exotic” pets, that the other two hunter specializations are unable to tame due to their affinity to their companions. Therefore, spirit beasts – even though technically tenacity pets – become favored for group content.

Rotation

Dealing Damage

  • Since BM hunters have a lot of talents that focus on barbed shot, it makes the rotation very straightforward, making it a great specialization for new players. You simply want to focus on maintaining Barbed Shot on your enemy and use Kill Command on cooldown.  You will then continue to use Barbed Shot as it gets close to having 2 charges or when you get a proc from Wild Call that puts it at 2 charges, or if the bleed is going to wear off your enemy. If the bleed doesnt need to be refreshed and if you’re not maxxed out at 2 charges while kill command is also on cooldown, just fill with cobra shot (multi-shot instead if there is a ton of enemies). It’s a pretty straightforward 3 button rotation that you’ll get used to quickly!

Offense

  • Pop your Bestial Wrath and Aspect of the Wild whenever you want to deal big damage to your enemy!
  • When in a group, if using a Ferocity pet, use Primal Rage right when a big boss fight starts to give you and your group a massive haste buff, increasing the speed at which everyone can use their skills! (If you’re using a Spirit Beast don’t worry about this)
  • Use Kill Shot when your enemy is below 20% HP for a big burst of damage!

Defense

  • Use disengage to get away from your enemies or a negative spell in a pinch, all while granting yourself a nice burst of speed! If you need even more speed, use Aspect of the Cheetah!
  • Use Exhilaration when you need a big heal in a pinch, and Mend Pet when your pet needs one!
  • If you are taking a ton of damage and need to stop it so you can escape, pop Aspect of the Turtle!
  • Use Intimidation to stun your enemy and relieve some pressure off of yourself for a short time!
  • Freezing Trap can be good if you want to CC a particular enemy while you fight others. Keep in mind any damage will break this trap!
  • Tar Trap and Concussive shot are good for slowing enemies down so they have trouble reaching you!

Secondary Stat Priority

  1. Critical Strike
  2. Haste = Versatility
  3. Mastery

Shadowlands Specific Information

Recommended Covenant: Kyrian

Recommended Legendary: Memory of the Soulforge Embers

Marksmanship

Click here to view the talent calculator.

Talents

  1. Master Marksman – Your ranged special attacks that deal critical damage cause the target to bleed for 15% of the damage dealt over 6 seconds, giving you some nice consistent pressure against your enemies!
  2. Careful Aim – This talent causes Aimed Shot, your strong hard hitting shot, to deal 50% bonus damage to targets who are above 70% health, making it incredibly strong against high HP enemies to give you a big burst of damage! Aimed Shot may hit hard, but it is one of the few hunter skills that does require you to stand still to get it off!
  3. Natural Mending – This talent lowers the cooldown of Exhilaration, your primary burst heal, with the more focus you spend!
  4. Streamline – Increases the damage of your Rapid Fire skill, a skill that has you shoot tons of projectiles, by 15% and then cause your Aimed Shot to be cast 30% faster, making these two skills strong to use in conjunction!
  5. Posthaste – Makes your disengage – a skill that makes you leap backwards away from your enemy – even stronger, giving you a burst of speed and removing movement impairing effects after you use it.
  6. Lethal Shots – Gives your Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot, 2 instant cast special attacks that you have, a chance to reduce the cooldown on Rapid Fire, which will give you the opportunity to get more benefit out of Streamline!
  7. Lock and Load – Your ranged auto attacks have a small chance to make your next Aimed Shot free and instant cast, allowing you to cast one of your strongest skills while on the move!
  8. Survival Tactics – A PvP talent that increases the strength of your feign death, by having it reduce your damage taken by 99% for 1.5 seconds and cause you to remove all harmful magical effects!
  9. Roar of Sacrifice – This skill has your pet give you or an ally a buff that prevents the target from receiving critical hits, but a portion of the damage is transferred to the pet.
  10. Scatter Shot- Incapacitates the target for a short time and removing any effects that might break this crowd control, as incapacitates do break on damage. This is really handy to allow you to put a trap at your enemy’s feet!

Recommended Pet: None (PvE) or Raptor (PvP). You use no pet in PvE for the Lone Wolf passive, which increases your damage by 10% while you do not have a pet active. However, in PvP content, you need a pet for Roar of Sacrifice and for mortal wounds (healing debuff) provided by the raptor, so it’s worth foregoing the passive for those bonuses. However, if you’re questing and find playing without a pet difficult, you can absolutely use a Ferocity or Tenacity pet to help you on your adventures!

Rotation

Dealing Damage

  • Use Rapid Fire on cooldown to make sure you’re gaining the benefits from Streamline, and then use Aimed Shot on cooldown following it. After you use Aimed Shot, you’re going to want to follow it up with 1 or 2 Arcane Shot’s, as one of your passives, Precise Shots, increases the damage of the next 1 or 2 Arcane Shot’s following Aimed Shot! Continue to use Arcane Shot while your focus is high against 1 target, Multi-Shot instead if there are multiple. When you’re low on focus and Rapid Fire/Aimed Shot are on cooldown, use Steady Shot to generate focus back!

Offense

  • Use Trueshot when you want to deal a big burst of damage! You’re going to use the same rotation as above, you’re just going to be executing it faster since Trueshot reduces the cooldown of Rapid Fire and Aimed Shot significantly!
  • Use Kill Shot when your enemy is below 20% HP for a big burst of damage!

Defense

  • Use disengage to get away from your enemies or a negative spell in a pinch, all while granting yourself a nice burst of speed! If you need even more speed, use Aspect of the Cheetah!
  • Use Exhilaration when you need a big heal in a pinch, and Mend Pet when your pet needs one!
  • If you are taking a ton of damage and need to stop it so you can escape, pop Aspect of the Turtle!
  • Freezing Trap can be good if you want to CC a particular enemy while you fight others. Keep in mind any damage will break this trap!
  • Binding Shot, Tar Trap and Concussive shot are good for slowing/rooting enemies down so they have trouble reaching you!
  • Use Bursting Shot if you feel overwhelmed by enemies and need to create some space!

Secondary Stat Priority

  1. Critical Strike
  2. Mastery
  3. Versatility
  4. Haste

Shadowlands Specific Information

Recommended Covenant: Kyrian

Recommended Legendary: Memory of Surging Shots

Survival

Click here to view the talent calculator.

Talents

  1. Alpha Predator – Gives your Kill Command 2 charges and increases its damage by 30%. This is extremely helpful for Survival, as in this spec, Kill Command generates focus for us!
  2. Guerilla Tactics – Gives your Wildfire Bomb, an AoE damage skill that also puts a DoT on all enemies hit, a second charge and increase the damage of the initial hit by 100%!
  3. Natural Mending – This talent lowers the cooldown of Exhilaration, your primary burst heal, with the more focus you spend!
  4. Bloodseeker – Gives your kill command a strong DoT when the attack from your pet lands, and also causes you and your pet to gain 10% attack speed for every bleeding enemy within 12 yards, combo-ing extremely well with Alpha Predator!
  5. Posthaste – Makes your disengage – a skill that makes you leap backwards away from your enemy – even stronger, giving you a burst of speed and removing movement impairing effects after you use it.
  6. Mongoose Bite – Replaces your base melee filler attack with Mongoose Bite, which increases the attacks strength with each successive Mongoose Bite you use!
  7. Birds of Prey – Attacking the same target as your pet with Mongoose Bite extends the duration of Coordinated Assault, Survival’s burst cooldown that gives you and your pet a percent damage increase by 1.5 seconds, allowing you to deal massive damage for a longer period of time!
  8. Roar of Sacrifice – This skill has your pet give you or an ally a buff that prevents the target from receiving critical hits, but a portion of the damage is transferred to the pet.
  9. Mending Bandage – Gives you the ability to heal yourself or an ally in PvP if you escape from your target, by clearing all bleeds, poisons, and diseases and healing for 30% HP over 6 seconds. This unfortunately will break when damage is taken, so it needs to be used when you’ve escaped and arent effected by magical damage dealing skills.
  10. Survival Tactics – A PvP talent that increases the strength of your feign death, by having it reduce your damage taken by 99% for 1.5 seconds and cause you to remove all harmful magical effects!

Recommended Pet: Ferocity pet of choice for PvE, Raptor for PvP.

Rotation

Dealing Damage

  • When dealing damage as a Survival Hunter, you’re going to want to maintain Serpent Sting on as many targets as possible while you are attacking. You will then be casting Wildfire Bomb on cooldown to give the DoT as a high of an uptime as physically possible. Do not cast 2 Bombs in quick succession though, as you do not want to overwrite the DoT; use the 2nd charge it when you want to refresh it. After that, use Kill Command to get the Bloodseeker bleed up, and then start spamming Mongoose Bite (if outnumbered by a lot of enemies, use Carve here on cooldown)! From there, use Kill Command on cooldown to keep regenerating focus and maintain the bleed!

Offense

  • Use Coordinated Assault whenever you’re ready to deal big damage to your enemies, as it increases the damage you and your pet deal by 20%! It also gives a Kill Command a higher chance to reset its cooldown! Be sure to use a TON of mongoose bites during this cooldown so that you’re keeping it up as long as possible!
  • If you need to kite your enemies or deal all of your damage at a range, pop Aspect of the Eagle to give your Mongoose Bite a 40 yard range!
  • When in a group, use Primal Rage from your ferocity pets right when a big boss fight starts to give you and your group a massive haste buff, increasing the speed at which everyone can use their skills!
  • Use Kill Shot when your enemy is below 20% HP for a big burst of damage!

Defense

  • Use disengage to get away from your enemies or a negative spell in a pinch, all while granting yourself a nice burst of speed! If you need even more speed, use Aspect of the Cheetah!
  • Use Exhilaration when you need a big heal in a pinch, and Mend Pet when your pet needs one!
  • If you are taking a ton of damage and need to stop it so you can escape, pop Aspect of the Turtle!
  • Use Intimidation to stun your enemy and relieve some pressure off of yourself for a short time!
  • Freezing Trap can be good if you want to CC a particular enemy while you fight others. Keep in mind any damage will break this trap!
  • Tar Trap and Wing Clip are good for slowing enemies down so you can keep up with them or kite them out!

Secondary Stat Priority

  1. Haste
  2. Critical Strike = Versatility
  3. Mastery

Shadowlands Specific Information

Recommended Covenant: Kyrian

Recommended Legendary: Memory of a Wildfire Cluster

Contact

If you have any questions about the build, join our discord server and ask @Dottz about the build in the #wow-general channel!

Update Log

11/24/2020 – Guide created