I get a lot of Google hits from people looking for a good Beast Master leveling spec. Probably because it’s a topic I’ve written about a lot. The reason I’ve written about it so much? Because for the past six months or so, every time a new patch has come out, I’ve had to come up with a new leveling spec. Yeah. (Oh, and let’s not forget the part where I’m leveling a million hunters. /cough)
I’m relatively certain things are at least… decently set in place now though, and it’s not like leveling specs are a super big deal anyways, so here‘s what I currently recommend:
Now remember, the best leveling spec is the one that works best for you. This isn’t really something that you min/max. Also, this spec isn’t designed to make your pet a supercrazy tank. If you’re looking for that, then I heartily recommend checking out Big Red Rhino!
However, when I level my hunters, I like to take a basic Beast Master DPS spec and tweak it a bit to add some extra pet survivability and talents that decrease downtime, while still maintaining enough DPS talents to allow me to perform reasonably well in an instance situation. When I level a hunter, I usually do a lot of solo quests and then sprinkle some instances into the mix… so my leveling spec is designed for that. We focus on pet survivability: Endurance Training, Thick Hide, 2/2 Improved Mend Pet– I have recently discovered that my pet can survive on Heigan with 1/2 Imp Mend Pet, but I’d still go 2/2 for leveling– and Spirit Bond at the cost of some DPS-oriented talents that we can do without while solo’ing. I have also opted for Invigoration over Cobra Strikes: I figure you won’t be critting all that much when you’re still leveling, but your pet will because his crit is based off of talents instead of gear, so Invigoration will help to decrease your overall downtime. (Not like we have a whole lot of downtime with Aspect of the Viper, but hey. Low-level hunters are the biggest mana hogs I’ve ever seen. x_x) Oh, and 2/2 Go for the Throat rather than 1/2. While 1/2 may be more than enough in an end-game situation (especially combined with Bestial Discipline), but as previously mentioned your crit probably isn’t all that hot while leveling, so go for 2/2.
Remember: You can level pretty much however you want to. I say this as someone who has leveled a druid to 70 as pure-resto. >.> Hunters obviously have it a little easier than that. When I leveled Tawyn from 70 to 80, I stayed with a purely DPS-oriented spec because I was in instances a lot (and because I’m a stubborn huntard) and I did just fine when I was out solo’ing. But I almost always give my lowbie hunters some variation of the above “leveling spec” and it’s worked out well.
So go ye forth and level!