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A Beast Master Hunter’s Guide to Proving Grounds on Endless

You asked for it, so here it is: A Beast Master Hunter’s Guide to Proving Grounds on Endless: 6.1 Edition!

Before I begin, I want to note that a.) this probably isn’t going to get you to round 9283643 or whatever, but it should get you to round 30, and b.) not all of what I say applies to raids/instances (although much of it does.)

SPEC:

I ran with this spec.  Some of these talents are more important than others.  A brief discussion on them:

Tier One: Narrow Escape is actually probably the least helpful talent here but I was too lazy to respec from it and frankly it made little difference in the end.

Tier Two: I like Intimidation as a backup Counter Shot; Wyvern Sting probably works well in that regard also.

Tier Three: Doesn’t matter as you won’t be taking damage.

Tier Four: Dire Beast helps provide necessary burst and is currently the highest DPS choice for Beast Masters out of this tier.

Tier Five: I opted for Crows here over Stampede because it’s on much shorter cooldown and things die quick enough that you can essentially use it non-stop.  With all your other bursty tools at your disposal you should not need Stampede for this.  I can see Blink Strikes as being a potential option  but this guide was written with Crows in mind.

Tier Six: Barrage is the best for burst, AoE and overall DPS.

Tier Seven: Adaptation is far and away the best DPS choice in this tier.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

Repair, buff up (the grummle provides buff food or you can use your own), use a flask if you want.  Do note that certain buffs (augmentation runes, for example) don’t work here.

Make sure your pet is spec’d for Ferocity and set to Assist.

Turn on Aspect of the Cheetah; nothing should be hitting you throughout this entire encounter.

Turn on Trap Launcher, if it isn’t on.

GENERAL TACTICS:

Get in the habit of moving around a lot (in fact in many rounds you will essentially always be running) and of tossing an explosive trap in the center of the room between rounds for some free bonus damage.

The first ten rounds will repeat endlessly, albeit with slightly higher enemy health each time.  So round one is the same as round 11, 21, 31 etc.

SECRET WEAPON:

Mecha-Blast Rocket.  It drops from Blingtron gift boxes and does serious damage in a pinch.  Shhhh!  (I did do the achievement without using any of these, so don’t think they’re required.  But hey, I can’t say they aren’t without their uses.)

ROUND SPECIFIC TACTICS:

Round One:

You will have a group of small enemies in the center and three larger ones around them.  None of them do anything special and you should be able to take all of these guys down in about 30 seconds between Crows, Bestial Wrath and Dire Beast on the big guys and a Barrage and a couple of multishots on the little guys.

Round Two:

Before this round I run towards the back of the room (opposite of the entrance) because that is where the healer will spawn.  Take him out first, interrupting him with a Counter Shot as soon as you see him begin to cast his heal.

An Amber-weaver is going to launch globules around; these stun you for a long time if they hit you but if they hit another NPC then they cause that NPC to take double damage.  For this reason I tend to take them out last because the globules can be useful.  Keep moving in order to avoid those globules and take out the big guys.  Remember to stay behind them when they put up their shield.

A banshee will show up halfway through this round and if you don’t kill her within ten seconds the entire thing ends, so I save a burst for her (typically Barrage).

Round Three:

I open this round with a Barrage on all the little guys in the center.  Then I focus on the Banana-tossers one at a time with Crows and Dire Beast (not BW yet, for reasons that I will detail in a bit.)  Remember to keep moving because if a banana hits you it will kill your hit rate for several seconds.

Once the banana-tossers have been dealt with pop a Bestial Wrath for the cheaper focus costs and then proceed to spam multishots.  Between all your multishots and the resulting Beast Cleaves all the little guys should drop like flies.

Round Four:

A Berserking buff will spawn here but frankly I never need it on this round so if you don’t need it either then feel free to save it for later, more difficult rounds.  This is a fairly straightforward if DPS intensive wave.  Keep Crows up on whatever you are attacking at all times and don’t stop moving and trying to maneuver the amber globules into the big guys.  A banshee does spawn halfway through so keep a burst saved up for that (again, my preferred burst on a banshee is Barrage.)

Round Five:

You will have a VERY big guy in the center, plus a healer and a banana-tosser.  Ignore the big guy for now – he has a shield up anyway – and destroy the healer (remember to interrupt!) and the banana-tosser.  Begin work on the big guy, but save your cooldowns for now.  At some point you will get a banshee, which you can Barrage away, and soon after it’s dead the big guy’s shield should fall.  Unleash all your cooldowns on him and he’ll go down really quick.

Round Six:

As soon as this round begins toss a freezing trap on one of the healers – it doesn’t matter which one – and kill the other one.  Whether you focus on the other healer or the little guys in the middle next is up to you; the little guys in the middle go down fast with AoE (barrage + multishot/beast cleave) and the healers go down quick with Crows, Dire Beast and sustained DPS.

You do get another berserking buff here – again, I save it.

Round Seven:

Personally I find this to be the most difficult of any of the rounds.  There is a lot of DPS required to get through it all in a minute.  If you’re having trouble with it, don’t be afraid to use one of the berserking buffs that you’ve saved up.  There is no real secret to this round other than kill everything as fast as you can, keep Crows up nonstop, use Barrage when you can (there are no banshees in this round) and try to use the Amber Globules to your advantage.  Remember to keep moving or the bananas will get you.

Round Eight:

This round is deceptive – it looks simple to begin with, but there are three banshees that will show up later on to mess you up.  Open by disposing of the healer right away and then beginning work on the other guys.  This is usually when the banshees start showing up so save your cooldowns for them.  These ones last fifteen seconds rather than ten, but they also have more health, so stay on your toes.

Round Nine:

This is another DPS intensive round and there is a banshee that pops up halfway through so have Barrage ready to go.  Save the Amber-Weaver for last so you can use the Amber Globules on the big guys, and watch out for the banana-tosser.

Round Ten:

Patchwerk but with a twist: you need to save all of your cooldowns for the end.  Don’t worry about healers, bananas or banshees, this one is just you and the big guy.  Maintain a basic rotation (Cobra Shots, Kill Commands and Arcane Shots, plus your first Dire Beast) for the first ~38 seconds of the fight and then when you see that he only has a couple of seconds left on his shield pop EVERYTHING.  Trinkets, Bestial Wrath, Barrage, Crows, Dire Beast et al.  BM is a bursty enough spec that you should be able to get him down in time without using a Berserker buff but I like having one up at this point anyway… just in case.

After you beat this guy you will get a bonus ten seconds before the next wave of ten rounds begins, so give yourself a breather, and if Round Ten was actually Round Thirty – congratulations on your shiny new title!

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So yeah.  That’s how I did it, and that’s how you can do it too! Remember – it’s probably going to take practice and determination.  But I believe in you!  If I did it, then you can do it too.  Best of luck!

Beast Masters, have I got a WeakAuras script for you

Focus Fire is a very finicky and situational buff that Beast Master hunters have to be juggling a lot in order to maintain our top DPS.

WeakAuras is an addon that lets you import scripts that can tell you when and where to push buttons and things.

You can see where this is going.

Yes, there is a WeakAuras script that will display little bouncing icons telling you when to use Focus Fire and when to wait.  I put off installing this script for a while, because as I’m sure all three of you long-time readers that are still here recall, I was always proud of eschewing macros and scripts and things for, well, doing things the hard way.

Obligatory old-school raiding screenshot to break up the text.
Obligatory old-school raiding screenshot to break up the text.

But this script is great and, honestly, probably necessary because of just how much micromanagement you’ve gotta do with Focus Fire in order to get the most out of it.

Basically, install WeakAuras and then copy paste this entire script in.  Next, head to the nearest training dummy or proving grounds and watch in amazement as you’re suddenly doing more DPS because you’re timing Focus Fire correctly thanks to the WeakAuras alerts and warnings.  (With thanks to Summonstone for the tip-off).

Alrighty, that’s your guide for today.  Next time on How To BM Hunter: Ten Trillion Cooldowns, Juggling, and YOU!

Pike’s Three Easy Tips For Making The Most of Your SELFIE Camera

I have seen a couple of people mention that they aren’t a big fan of the camera because they dislike the silly faces that their character makes.  That’s fair, but selfies go beyond that.  Want my advice?  Here’s my advice:

1.) Take off your shoulders.  They can get in the way.

2.) Take off your hat, unless you’re specifically going for Silly Hat Day.

WoWScrnShot_040615_0510593.) Experiment with emotes.   Not only will emotes show up on your selfie, but the emotes can also combine with the default “selfie expressions” for often hilarious results.

WoWScrnShot_040315_172119

Still not a fan?  That’s fine – I can’t imagine that the selfies are for everyone.  But seriously, don’t write ’em off before trying my above tips.  More than once.  When you manage to snag just the right expression, you won’t regret it.

What are YOUR selfie tips?

Hunter Kindergarten: Damage Meters and You

Long ago, in a blogosphere far away, a wise man told me that the job of a hunter is to provide Massive Quantities of Sustained, Ranged DPS.  As I said, wise words from a wise man, but this is only part of the story.

Your job, as a hunter, isn’t just to top Recount.

It is also to look stylishly good while doing it.

Althalor demonstrates
Althalor demonstrates

Oh, wait, wrong thing.

Your job is to provide utility to the raid.  Back in the day, this meant things like crowd control, kiting and the like.  These days it usually means either “Don’t stand in the bad,” or “Stop DPS’ing the boss and DPS the adds”

Let’s talk about this last bit.  Say you’re fighting Brackenspore in Highmaul and those plant shooter things straight out of Plants vs. Zombies show up.  Unless told otherwise by your raid leader, your job is not to show Stabbymcstab what’s up by staying on Brackenspore.  Your job is to put both yourself and your pet on that plant shooter thing until it is dead.  Same deal those big tangly plant adds that look like they walked right out of Underbog show up (I’m not good with names, okay.)

For the most part, I think most hunters I see are doing this correctly.  In fact, the better hunters I see are doing this and still showing Stabbymcstab what’s up.

If you weren’t aware of this, though, that’s okay!  You’re probably newer and that’s what my Hunter Kindergarten series is for.

Remember, at the end of the day when you’ve hung up your bow or gun for the night and you’re sitting by your pet at the fire in your Garrison, the damage meters aren’t the only thing that count.

(But they’re up there.)

(So is looking stylish.)

(But I digress.)

Hunter Kindergarten: Dungeons 101

*dusts off desk*

*slowly walks up to chalkboard, baton in hand*

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Pretty sure my last Hunter Kindergarten post was written back during WotLK.  Well, ladies, gentlemen and robots and all others… class is back in session.

serenityguides2So you’re a brand-spanking new hunter in this World of Warcraft and you’ve decided it’s time to do some instances.  Awesome!  That’s the bread and butter of WoW and hopefully you have fun.

Before heading in, however, you do have a couple of things to keep in mind.

(Yes, long time readers: most of these are rehashes of posts I wrote five or six years ago.  But trust me, this is stuff I still see.  IN RAIDS.)

REPAIR: Personally I have this weird quirk where I try to be 100% repaired at all times.  I just default to repairing every time I’m in my garrison or, well, basically next to anyone who can repair.  If you’re not in this habit, you should at least repair before queuing up.  I understand that if you’re in LFG you may be out in the world or whatever whilst waiting for the queue to pop.  But you don’t want to be that guy whose gear is mysteriously red after one single wipe.  Right?

PET SPEC’D FEROCITY: Ferocity is the DPS spec.  It gets you and your pet both all the DPS bonuses.  I’ve just started keeping pets spec’d for different things with me at all time and I swap them in or out as needed.  It’s easy enough to just switch pet specs on the fly, so you don’t have to do that, but this does lead in nicely to my next point, which is…

TURN GROWL OFF:  Ten years later and I’m still seeing hunters with their pet’s growl on in raids.  This messes with the tank and leads to your pet dying, which leads to a severe drop in DPS.  Please, please make sure growl is off before going into the instance!  If you have trouble remembering then pick one of your pets to be an instance/raid pet and keep growl off on him at all times.

BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR AOEs: Barrage is awesome and a stupid amount of fun.  Like, I always wanted to be a human gatling gun.  (Er… elf gatling gun.)  But it’s not for places where you have to be careful with pulls, because it can and will accidentally pull the next pack of mobs – or the boss.  Same goes for Multishot!

BUFF UP: Maybe not a huge deal in low level instances.  Maybe not a huge deal if you’re a Mythic raider dicking around in LFR.  But otherwise you should probably use an agility flask and eat some food.  Oh, and I know Exotic Munitions isn’t the most popular talent in the world right now, but if you do use it, be sure to make sure you’ve just applied it.  (With Poisoned Ammo in most cases).

Okay, that’s about it.  No, really.  That’s it for Dungeons 101, at least.  Oh, there are other things you’ll need to know – things about shot priorities, character stats, and so on.  But those are all subjects for another day!  For now, these five tips should be enough to get you started.

Class dismissed!  Your homework: Play video games!  Hooray!

Beast Mastery Stuff 4.0

Okay I’ve played around with Beast Mastery a bit in heroics and stuff and I have some tips for it. Note that this is not a comprehensive guide and I haven’t done any rooting around EJ or any real math or anything.

OVERVIEW:

Beast Mastery is now providing a very different playstyle than it has in the past. See, we used to be all about burst. Now, we’re all about ramping up. Your AoE damage is gonna suck now that we’ve lost Volley and MultiShot is expensive, focus-wise. Your DPS is probably gonna suck if your group is full of warlocks doing 10k on bosses (did I mention that I’m back to leveling my warlock? >.>) and thus the bosses die within ten seconds. Where your DPS is going to shine is on longer fights that allow you to use Focus Fire, get some of those tasty Kill Command crit procs (can’t think of the name right now), and take advantage of the new Glyph of Kill Shot which is ridiculous and awesome.

In addition we have a lot of fun procs and a lot of fun buttons to press and while I still dislike the mechanic of Focus (until I get used to it anyway) I’m liking all the new stuff-to-do. I’ve spent some quality time with all three specs and I can honestly say that I find the new Beast Mastery to be the most fun– and I’d like to think that I’m not being biased when I say that, seeing that I really fell in love with Survival a couple months back.

ROTATION:

Basically on a single-boss fight you are spamming Arcane and using Kill Command when it’s up. Use Bestial Wrath when it’s up. View Steady Shot as a “Mini-Viper” of sorts (that made the transition to using Focus easier for me). I.E., when your gas tank is starting to run dry, pop a couple of Steadies to get it back up to speed. Use Focus Fire when you see the icon light up. I had a comment ask if they had to be watching their pet’s Frenzy stacks now– no, you don’t, as far as I’m aware, because Blizzard is nice and made it so you get a big shiny glowy effect on your Focus Fire button when you can use it. (Note: you also get the big shiny glowy effect when your Kill Command “Killing Streak” thing procs.)

Just like I view Steady Shot as a new Mini-Viper, I also view Fervor as a Mini-Readiness of sorts, because it restores Focus to you and gives you a few extra seconds of Fun Stuff To Do. That is, I’ll pop it a few moments into a Boss Fight, as follows:

TYPICAL BEAST MASTER BOSS FIGHT:

The Beast Within ->
Rapid Fire/Any Trinkets ->
Serpent Sting ->
Spam Arcane and use Kill Command when it’s up ->
Once Beast Within fades, pop Fervor… this will give you a little more juice now that you’re not getting the Focus cost reduction from TBW anymore. ->
Right around here Focus Fire is gonna light up, so use that. ->
Go back to Arcane/Kill Command and Steady as necessary. Serpent Sting again if you’ve got a ways to go on the boss. ->
Optional: Check Recount and feel special.

SPEC:
Pretty straightforward; scoop up the talents that give you DPS increases. Really the only choice you’ll be making is Spirit Bond vs. Improved Mend Pet. As usual I’m addicted to the latter but I imagine most people will pick the former, or perhaps put one point in each.

I had five non-Beast Master points left over, which I dumped into Go for the Throat and Efficiency.

GLYPHS:
Right now for Prime Glyphs I’m using Kill Shot, Steady Shot, and Arcane Shot. They’re sexy.

OVERALL SPEC/GLYPH SETUP:
I’m using this. Use at your own risk because I sort of just made it up as I went along.

PETS:
Corehounds are the current New Hotness because they get Bloodlust/Heroism. A lot of pets get a lot of great stuff though, check out this chart for details (I didn’t make it):

…of course, really the chart should have a line that says something to the effect of “Are you Pike -> Yes -> Use Whichever Pet is Prettiest” because you guys have to remember that I’m that person who refused to use a wolf throughout the entire duration of WotLK because I thought dinosaurs were much more awesome, so…

…yeah. *coughs*

THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
I’m not sure if it’s bugged or what but Kill Command sure likes to tell me I’m “out of range” and the like when I try to use it. DISREGARD THAT, just wait to use Kill Command until your pet is actually attacking something.

Also my pets seem to be dying a lot.

Dunno, I’ll get back to you on those.

Okay, I think that’s about it. Questions/comments/rants/raves/rambles? Lemme know! *points to commenting link*

The Black Arrow How-To

I had a request for this, so although I feel a bit silly writing this up mere weeks before everything changes, I am here to deliver!

I’ve been playing around a lot with Survival lately, and having a lot of fun. Black Arrow is tied to Lock and Load so you quickly learn not to “waste” Black Arrows. I don’t really have any hard and fast rules for this, other than what’s common sense:

  • Don’t use Black Arrow when the mob is about to die.
  • Don’t use Black Arrow if you are or are going to be in Viper.
  • Don’t use Black Arrow on mobs that are non-elite and/or going to die in a few seconds.

and etc.

Don’t feel too bad if you screw up– it has a fairly short cooldown so “wasting” a Black Arrow ultimately isn’t something to beat yourself up over; it’s just something to watch. (Lock and Load itself does have its own 22 second internal cooldown, which still isn’t that bad.)

Lock and Load will also proc from trapping things. You don’t get a chance to do this much in PvE at current but you’ll soon figure out moments and take them to your advantage (Hint: the ghouls during the last boss fight in ToC).

And that is Black Arrow.

As for me, I’m still plinking around with Netherwing Dailies. It’s going much faster than I was expecting. Guys: I’m not doing all of the dailies, I’m not going overboard with eggs, and I’ve skipped a few days because I’ve been busy or whatnot, and I’ve already hit Revered in two weeks. Easy-squeezy.

…did I just say Easy-Squeezy? You have permission to facepalm.

Trees Do It With Flailing Arms – Leveling Tips For New Resto Druids

I have two Trees: Tamaryn, the level 80 Tree, and Songlark, the level 62 Tree. Both were leveled as Resto back when leveling as Resto was seen as being at best a little unusual and at worst downright masochistic and insane. Either way: these days, with LFG and the ability to level pretty much without leaving a city, it’s much more feasible.

So, in the vein of my instancing tips for new hunters, here’s my advice for new leveling sproutlings:

1.) Rejuvenation and Regrowth are your friends. They are your bread n’ butter spells until you get higher up on the tree ladder. Use Rejuv as sort of a blanket heal, and use Regrowth to fill in the gaps.

2.) But what about Healing Touch? Acceptable as a pre-Nourish flash heal if you glyph and talent for it, but doing so is not mandatory by any means. Just be aware that unless you’re flash-heal-ifying it, you probably shouldn’t be using it (until you get Nature’s Swiftness). The cast time is too slow. Regrowth is almost as good, is a quicker cast, and has a HoT at the end.

3.) Who Should I Be Healing? In an ideal situation, the tank should be taking the most damage and you should be concentrating on that person. Obviously, there are things like AoE damage and the like. At low levels, the best you can do for minor AoE damage is to toss a Rejuv on everyone… it will usually take care of it. When crap hits the fan, you will need to prioritize your heals, in which case keeping the tank and yourself alive is probably the most important. Speaking of which…

4.) Watch your own health bar. I know this sounds silly, but I have this in here because this is a common mistake among new healers and heaven knows I had this problem for the longest time. I would be watching my party’s health bars like a hawk and suddenly die because I forgot to check my own. Don’t feel too bad– a lot of new healers fall victim to this. It’s just something to practice!

5.) When should I be healing? Back when I was leveling Tamaryn, I had to be veeeerrry careful about not healing too early, or I’d pull aggro. These days, thanks to greater tank threat generation, that problem is pretty much non-existent, although it’s still worth knowing about. Don’t unload all of your heals onto the tank right at the beginning of a pull. Toss on a Rejuv just as he’s running in and then go from there.

After that, thanks to the magic of TreePower, you will find in many lower-level dungeons that you don’t have a lot to do other than let your HoTs tick. Don’t worry, if you like casting, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to Heal Like a Maniac in raids once you’re all grown up. (*cough Valkyr Twins cough*)

6.) Tranquility? Awesome for when AoE damage gets out of your control. Causes a ton of threat, but again– that’s not as big of an issue now as it used to be.

A note here, for when you get into raids: It only effects the members of your party. That is, the five of you that you see in your party and not the entire raid. Still, don’t immediately dismiss this spell just because you are in a raiding environment. I think I was once laughed at for using it in a raid (I say “think” because what happened was that somebody made a non-specific snide comment right after I used it.) Assuming that was directed to me, what that person didn’t realize was that everyone in my party, myself included, was taking tons of AoE damage. Tranquility was perfectly justified and I got the last laugh. So there.

7. Barkskin is Awesome. You get Barkskin at level 44. Put it somewhere prominent on your action bars and learn to love it. Mobs on you? Barkskin. You’re taking lots of damage? Barkskin. You get one of those random huge DoT debuffs that various mobs like to fling at you? Barkskin. A lot of new trees forget about this spell, but it’s amazing, so get in the habit of using it!

8. What Do I Do With this Newfangled Lifebloom Spell? Use it when you need an extra HoT. Use it when you anticipate someone taking a lot of damage in the next five or six seconds. Use it when Clearcasting procs so you get free mana back. Bellweather has some awesome Lifebloom tips (as well as hot pictures of Gambit) over at her blog.

9. Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires: I know we’ve all heard “Don’t stand in the fire” a million kazillion times before, but it bears repeating if you are new to healing because sometimes, we just get so zeroed in on staring at those health bars that we forget to watch our surroundings. Don’t let that happen to you! Remember– you’re a druid and as such you have a bunch of heals that you can cast while moving. Not to mention that a quick shapeshift will get you out of most snares, and you’ve got Cat Form + Dash at your disposal if absolutely necessary. Don’t stay rooted (groan) to the spot when bad things happen.

10. Dance Often. Because you’re a tree, and not dancing is a crime.

TreeTime

Need More Info?: I talk about Leveling Resto Specs here and about general Tree’ings here. Happy Healing!

Instancing Tips For New Hunters

Since my last “Advice for New Hunters” post seemed to go over so well, I figured I’d make one specifically geared toward instancing. Now I made one of these a while back, but it was a.) during Burning Crusade and b.) Aimed more toward 70s/heroics. So, here’s one mostly directed for newer hunters!

See, in doing my random instancing I’ve seen a lot of things like hunters randomly using traps at strange places or complaining about why they aren’t higher on Recount (because, you know, Scarlet Monastery is serious business). So, here are some tips to make your instancing smoother:

1.) Know Your Shots. Until you get Steady Shot at 50, this basically means keeping Serpent Sting up, then Arcane Shot when you can, and Multi/Aimed depending on your spec. Don’t bother with Concussive Shot because it doesn’t do damage (but it does use up mana!). Distracting Shot is another one that you don’t want to use… not only does it not do any damage, but it taunts enemies to attack you instead! (Thank you to Anna for reminding me of this one in the comments.)

Once you hit 50 it means using Steady Shot when everything else is on cooldown. Pretty simple!

2.) Don’t Forget Your Pet. I’m not going to rant about using the wrong type of pet or anything because I do understand– you’re leveling, having a bear actually makes sense if you’re mostly questing and just hopping into LFG every once in a while. However, lemme tell you something I’ve learned when wearing the Tree Suit. 90% of hunters I’ve ran into in heroics– heroics— don’t use Mend Pet. Why? I have no idea. This baffles me. Seriously, read this and then remember that now we have Culling the Herd, too, if you have any questions.

Anyways, the point is that I think Not Using Mend Pet is a very bad habit, and it’s one to break now while you’re still leveling. I know it may seem like a lot to keep track of, but honestly, soon “checking your pet” while doing your rotation will become second nature to you, much like checking your rear-view mirror while driving. So: learn to keep an eye on your pet, bind Mend Pet to an easy-to-remember keybind, and you’ll thank me later! *nod*

While we’re on the subject of pets, turn Growl off while you are in an instance.

3.) Regarding Those Traps… Explosive Trap is acceptable for AoE damage pre-Volley. Once you get Volley (level 40), it’s much superior for instancing.

Most of the other traps involve situational usage. Freezing Trap was, long ago, near and dear to my heart but it’s rare that you’re asked to trap these days, particularly in a low-level instance. However, it’s still useful for things like mobs running at you if Feign Death is on cooldown. No guarantees someone won’t break your trap, though. Frost Trap is a similarly situational one. Immolation Trap really isn’t worth it (I use it in PvP, though.)

So for the most part… don’t worry about your traps.

4.) Viper between pulls. You get Aspect of the Viper at level 20. Learn now to get into the habit of using it between every pull and then going back to Hawk when you’re actually doing damage.

It is acceptable to use Viper during fights if you absolutely have to, but if you’re careful and use Viper between every pull you usually don’t have to.

5.) Don’t forget Hunter’s Mark! Another good habit to get into is using Hunter’s Mark on what you’re attacking. I see a lot of new hunters who forget about it. Binding it to Pet Attack via a macro is never a bad idea, either:

/petattack
/cast Hunter's Mark


6.) Attack What the Tank is Attacking
: This isn’t as big of a deal as it used to be because so much is just AoE these days, but if you’re in an instance and you’re getting attacked a lot, it’s probably the first thing to look at. “Am I attacking what the tank is attacking?” Make an assist macro if you have to: /assist tank's-name

Sometimes you will get tanks who are just starting out. Learn to compensate.

7.) And I know I’m beating a dead horse here but Don’t Roll On Other People’s Stuff. I know this can be a bit of a tricky gray area especially in low-level dungeons where a lot of gear is bizarrely balanced in terms of stat allocation. And I know that learning “how and when to roll on stuff” is sort of an art form when you’re just starting out. For the most part, if it has Strength on it, don’t roll on it, especially if you have a warrior/paladin/DK in your group. Same deal goes for Spell Power: it does nothing to help you out.

Okay, I can’t think of anything else that is super vitally important to put here, so we’ll call it good for now. Hopefully this will be of some use to you newer hunters/players. Have fun in LFG!

Practical Advice For Brand New Hunters

Note: This post is primarily directed to people who are not just new to hunters, but new to World of Warcraft as well. So if you already have fiftynine-thousand level 80s, you are free to skip this post. Or you can read and offer your own suggestions in the comments. Up to you!


There are a lot of WoW-related communities over at LiveJournal but my favorite, I think, is “WoW Noobs“, where people who are new to the game or to some aspect of it can come ask questions and receive friendly, non-judgmental advice. One of the really neat things about it is that a lot of the members are people who originally joined when they were new, themselves, and now stick around to pass on the proverbial torch. I’m one of those people; long, long ago, a BabyHunter Pike left a post there asking what the heck the meeting stone outside of Deadmines was.

I digress, though.

After all these years it appears that hunters are still the most popular class that new players pick, and it was a combination of a.) the sheer number of questions from new hunters who link their Armories on WoW Noobs and ask for help, and b.) all the hunters I’m running into in my warlock‘s random dungeons who roll need on strength gear, that inspired me to write this post. Remember, not everyone is an alt.

This is for you, new hunter! Welcome to the game! /wave

Here are some handy things to keep in mind as you travel through Azeroth (and beyond) as a hunter.

1.) Strength Is Not For You: If a gear has strength on it, you probably don’t need it. Exceptions are made if it has a ton of Agility on it, outweighing the strength. The fact, though, is that you are a ranged attacker and strength does nothing for ranged: it is a pure melee stat only! /nod

(While we are at it, Expertise is another melee stat that is not for you. Thank you to Argon in the comments for suggesting I add this!)

2.) Spell Power is Not For You: As hunters do not cast spells, spell power does nothing for you either!

3.) Agility IS for you!
: It effects your attack power, your crit, and (in a roundabout way), your pet’s attack power as well. Win-win all around!

4.) Max Out Your Talents: One thing I frequently see new players do is go through every spell in every talent tree and drop one or two points in each talent. If you are doing this, don’t feel too bad. I did it too. Yes, at some point in Tawyn’s long and sordid history, she was spec’d something like 2/5 Improved Hawk, 1/5 Endurance Training, 1/2 Improved Concussive Shot, 3/5 Lethal Shots, 2/3 Hawk Eye… yeah.

However, it is generally much better to max out those talents and to, for the most part, pick one talent tree and stick with it. Now, exceptions can be made to this “rule”, and there are some cookie cutter specs that involve not maxing out talents for various reasons. However, that’s generally not something you will have to worry about as a new player.

5.) Pet Control!: With the new LFG system, more and more people are doing dungeons at low-level, which is awesome. I recommend having your pet at least on Defensive, and if you’re really old-school and curmudgeony like I am you can even put it on Passive. Aggressive is bad.

See, if you are new not just to WoW but to MMOs in general, I can see how this could cause some confusion. It confused the heck out of me when I went into my first dungeon. I figured killing more stuff was good, so I put my pet on Aggresive. Bad idea. In a dungeon, you generally want pulls to be done methodically or at least relatively logically. Stay behind the tank and send your pet in on mobs the tank has aggro on.

While we’re on the subject, be sure to turn Growl off also! It’s your pet’s taunt and you generally don’t want things in instances attacking your pet. (There are situational emergency uses where it’s okay, but that’s more of a 300 level class and this is Hunter 101.)

6.) Massive Quantities of Sustained, Ranged DPS*: You are not a melee class. Do not do it. Leave it for your pet. You are designed to stand far away and unleash damage on things from afar.

I seem to keep running into lowbie hunters who roll Need on 2H axes loaded with Strength, and when asked why, proceed to tell me they are going to “try it out”. This always baffles me a bit. What is there to try out about it? Strength is a melee stat, and you will do much better if you just avoid melee. Trust me on this one. You are not a Rogue With a Pet. Although pretending to be one in PvP is hilarious. But that’s beside the point.

7.) Getting In Gear: Bad pun is bad. Sorreh. Aaanyway, As a hunter, you wear leather until level 40, and then you “learn” how to wear mail. This means a few different things. First of all, cloth is not for you… it doesn’t have your stats on it (minus a few hilarious “of the monkey” exceptions.) Secondly, not all leather/mail is for you. Remember, keep an eye on your stats. You are looking for Agility, Attack Power, and those sorts of things.

Thirdly, just because you’ve hit level 40, doesn’t mean you have to run out and replace all of your leather right away. Let it come to you. It will!

8.) About those shot rotations…: Sometimes I see low level hunters frantically concerned with shot rotations. Some of these hunters don’t even have Steady Shot yet. Here’s the deal: Until you get all of your shots (or at least Steady Shot), shot priorities isn’t something you have to worry about very much. Keep Serpent Sting up, use Arcane/Aimed when they’re not on cooldown, and you’re good to go. It is mostly a “learn as you go” thing, so don’t worry about it too much when you’re still knee-high to a grasshopper. And frankly, it’s a lot more intuitive these days than it was pre-WotLK, so learn it you will!

9.) Pick the Talent Tree You Want: I frequently see two different variants here: hunters who level up as some raiding spec they found on Elitist Jerks, and hunters who level up as Beast Mastery because it’s “the leveling tree”. I’m here to tell you: you can do those things if you want, but you don’t have to. It’s not going to kill you/ruin your WoW career if you don’t do SFK or Wailing Caverns as the level 22 variation of cookie-cutter Survival. And on the flip side of the coin, leveling as Marksmanship/Survival is nearly as easy as leveling as Beast Mastery. And it’s even easier now that you can basically level exclusively through LFG. Trust me. I say this as someone who has ten thousand hunters and has leveled them pretty much every way imaginable. Don’t stress about it too much. Try out what looks fun to you!

10.) There Are Jerks In This Game. Just as there are pretty much everywhere. You’re going to wind up in the group with the guy who is decked in heirlooms and spends the entire instance run talking about his five-million gearscore whatever. You’re going to wind up in the group with the person who tells you rather unkindly that you’re “doing it wrong” (though half the time, they’re doing it wrong themselves, as well.) It’s gonna happen. But you know what? It’s okay. Because you’ll also randomly end up in awesome groups with great people who are willing to help you out. Just have fun!

WELL, this post feels somewhat sloppy and half-completed to me, but honestly I think the best thing to do is get it out there and have you wonderful readers fill in the holes in the comments, since I know I left a lot of things out. A wise man once said “Release early, release often”, after all. And I think you guys would have a lot to contribute to this topic. What’s your advice to new hunters/new WoW’ers?

* Keeping the legend alive with this phrase, fo’shizzle.