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:

/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!

31 thoughts on “Instancing Tips For New Hunters”

  1. I have a Hunter’s Mark macro that really helps my hunter out – both involve setting the party tank as the focus at the start of the run. (Target the tank then type /focus, for those of you reading this who might be new players.)

    /target focustarget
    /cast Hunter’s Mark

    This macro makes sure that: 1. You’re targeting the same thing the tank is targeting, 2. You and all other ranged DPS are maximized for pewpewing, and 3. Everyone else has a pretty good visual idea for whose face the tank is smashing in.

  2. Awesome advice, as usual.

    I’d like to add to this that while you do have a lot of shots to use, not all of them are good for instances – and some of them have REALLY specific uses, so you’ll hardly ever use them.

    I had to explain about Distracting Shot at one point, because the person wanted to use all of their toys, and didn’t realize that using it in an instance could cause a lot of chaos!

    So – when Pike (or anyone else) discusses a shot rotation, they don’t mean “use these and fit other ones in when you feel like it” – they really do mean “these are the spells/shots you should use 99% of the time”! (Obviously, there will be some exceptions, but that’s at least 202 level huntering!)

  3. Good info. I am going to start telling the lowbie hunters in my guild to start reading this blog. Most hunter sites are very much geared to 80s

    I am also levelling a Druid ( dual spec Resto/Kitty) He just got tree form at lvl 50 and I’m having fun healing as opposed to shooting. I agree that some hunters do VERY bizarre things in instances. No pet at all, never ever send pet to attack, never mend pet, rush in a bash away with their axe/sword/dagger/whatever. Not FD when attacked, not mend pet. I am consoled by the fact that most of the “huntards” are elves….the dwarves seem much more sensible 😉

  4. I’d also add something else.

    Several instances I’ve done on my lowbie lock I’ve watched a hunter raptor striking and got the same response

    “I’ve run out of ammo”

    If you do so – warn the group and teleport out if you were still in a city. As an alternative – try to carry at least 2k arrows/bullets, you can even pick up reagent addons that will warn you to do so or auto buy up to a certain amount.

  5. 🙂 oh my goodness I need to be better about being in the habit of turning off aspect of a viper, that takes down my dps more than anything else. But I agree, it should always be on between pulls. There are some handy mods out there for idiots like myself like viper watch.

  6. Excellent tips! Sadly, as is ever the case, those who most need to read them probably won’t, but if you’ve done your bit to eliminate even one of the endless stream of huntards my lowbie healer keeps running into, then it’s all for the good!

    Anyway, I’ll add a few more, specifically from a healers perspective.

    While you’re right that traps aren’t a lot of use in dungeons, it never hurts to drop a freezing trap just in front of the healer just before a pull – they will end up thanking you for it when something nasty gets loose! Hell, they may even end up healing your pet sometimes;)

    Aspect of the wild. Very situational, but there are a few places in certain instances (Maraudon, I’m looking at you!) where everyone is constantly getting horribly poisoned, and having this up can help quite a bit. Unless of course you have a shaman with cleansing totem who knows what they’re doing, in which case just DPS away as per usual!

    Cower. This is now useful. Turn it on auto cast & keep it there, your pet will get hurt much less, and the movement debuff is really nothing to worry about.

    Improved mend pet talent (assuming you’re BM). This is awesome. Just one point is enough, it’ll get rid of all the nasty stuff on your pet and means one less target for the healer to worry about cleansing/decursing, etc.

  7. I keep a full quiver at all times on my hunter-alt. Then again, I’m pretty OCD about raiding consumables: 10 of both types of flask (dps/tank), stack of haste pots, stack of health pots, jeeves, and a stack of 20 fish feasts wherever I go with Shieldbreakr.

  8. /cast Mend Pet
    /cast Cower
    (for those with Tenacity pets specced into it) /cast Last Stand

    I dont know where I first saw this macro, but it’s a (pet’s) lifesaver. Also great for AoE packs: send Snarlsalot the bear in, wait for Thunderstomp, hit macro, MD+Volley, profit.

  9. I thwack mend pet when I remember it … usually on fights when I know my healer is having problems. I’m also a longstanding player with the training of “If my pet dies, s/he dies. At least I got TBW off before he bit the dust.”

    Habit makes me burn my CDs early in a boss fight, because I know I could lose the pet. Only time that is excepted is when I know a boss fight is odd and I’ll need the extra kick on a later phase.

    On my Marks huntress I tend to drop Explosive and add volley on top of it. Its a personal prefrence. Good habit to get into if you plan to play with Survival later on. The Lock and Load Talent (if I recall correctly) makes use of a frost or freezing trap popping to proc the talent.

  10. Opps, forgot something else. I use a Hunter’s Mark / Pet Attack Macro as well. I hit F (assist) after clicking on the tank and then hit the macro, which marks the target and sends in the pet.

    My macro works as:

    /cast hunter’s mark

    I’ll be adding in the focus target line though. That’d be actually useful ^_^

    The Mark/Attack Macro is nice in those groups where a pet is on passive, and keeps you from forgetting that the pet needs to be in the fray. Its also a nice soloing tool. Now if only I could figure out how to delay a heal by 3 seconds THEN have it cast… I’d be entirely set.

  11. mend pet is awesome..especially with the minor glyph. I still carry some food with me, but mostly becasue I love animation 😛 but other then that, mend pet keeps my pet happy 🙂

    you have separate pulls? I think the only time we stop nowadays, even in lowbie instances is when healer desperately begs for a mana break (or pally tank needs to drink seeing as they don’t have spiritual atunement anymore :/) I’ve gotten int oa habbit of using my rapid fire with viper so that my damage remains more consistent and I regenerate mana faster

    (I’m leveling a third hunter…I’m not sure if you are inspiration or bad influence 😛 )

  12. Leah, I’d say Pike is a bit of both. I’ve lost track of how many hunters I have. Oh, and that reminds me… Pike… there is a Petopians guild over on Horde side of Nessingwary. Feel free to swing by, if you aren’t already there ^_^ .

    I’m playing as Zavae, since Tzia is taken.

  13. Three Additional Comments:

    1) Move Growl up the list. I still see too many hunters with Growl on in lower level instances.

    2) Growl IS different from aggressive. “Please turn growl off” “Pet is on passive” “Yeah, but is growl off?” “Uh, idk.”

    3) Just because a hunter and pet can solo an elite does not mean you should be doing so in a lower level instance (unless tank asks you too.) If you fail and the mob kills you, it’s not the tank’s problem. However, after killing you, it will turn on the healer and that IS the tank’s problem.

  14. @Leah – It’s not a massive deal that you use RF in that way but personally I’d just stay viper between packs as pike suggests. Mind you the content is so easy with everyone in BoAs Boss fights are often only Boss fights in name alone. Still its a good habit to stay in at least IMO. Plus if you’re using it with readiness it’s wasting the extra, aimed, arcane and chimera.

    @WB – My favourite argument for getting them to turn it off is: “you’re losing damage. Growl means your kitty has lesss energy to scratch the boss”. Even if they’ve point blank denied its been on I generally notice their pet’s threat drop after I say that.

  15. Great advices. Wish i had those when I leveled my hunter 😉 Even though Ididn’t do many instances back then. (Yes, now I know I should have done more 😉 )
    But this reminds me of one thing I experienced in naxx and didn’t find in your naxx posts.
    It is when fighting Thaddius. When jumping over to him, you shoould not forget to send away your pet and recall it when being near Thaddius.
    One time I did not do it because I thought that blizzard might have thoought about hunters and theirs pets and it would ne magically ported with you or something. But they did not. So I was jumping over but my pet (a Shattered Hand Warhound from Hellfire Ramparts, I was so proud when I tamed him being aboult lvl 60 and we all nearly died in this attemp) did not follow. Ok I thought he will be staying on the plattform to watch me fighting and assist me with his howl and buff and so on. But while in fight and running around Thaddius I could see him running down from the plattform, trying to reach me. In his attempt to come close to me and assist me my pet was swimming throught tihis acid thing and I could see his health getting lower and lower. No mend pet helped, and I could not keep it up, because I also had to fight Thaddius. I was really shocked watching my pet die just attemping to get close to me.
    I think this is the most cruel thing blizzard could do to hunters, at least it is the most cruel thing i’ve seen.
    So even if this is not for begining hunters, you might want to put up a warning for other hunters 😉

  16. One trap I consitantly use, if I have the mana, in lower level instances, is Freezing Trap (at the feet of our healer).
    It’s usually wasted, but for tanks-in-training, that extra 2 seconds of protection from lose mobs nomming the healer (plus nice visual of “Iceberg Over There!”) has gotten me many surprised praisings.
    It’s not something necessary 990% of the time if the group is good, but can earn some serious Hunter Rep when it works/needed.

  17. @Marc

    That’s a very good point I can’t believe nobody else mentioned it. It’s why sometimes I cry for the people playing hunter class. So many instance runs on my alts we’ve wiped trying to skip trash because the hunter doesn’t know how to dismiss pet!

    If there is no pathable route I do have a tip. On fights like Gunship where there is no way your pet can reach where you’ve got to there is a minor thing you can use. Set your pet to passive, then back to defensive then passive and it should port to you. It wastes a couple GCD’s but its often better than a useless pet.

  18. Don’t be too quick to Volley or Multi-Shot, especially early in the instance when you don’t know how good your tank is at producing AoE threat. It can feel like you’re not doing enough damage when you can’t see those glorious waves of yellow numbers floating up, but as long as you have your pet and yourself attacking with the Mark up and a shot or two, you’re doing fine. Get a threat meter and keep an eye on the threat already built up when you switch to the second target. If the tank is getting a good lead, you can start working in some AoE.

    Use Viper Sting when you get it. Learn which caster mobs will give you a lot of mana back, and which ones will not. Don’t fire it unless you can recoup the mana cost of the shot in less than two ticks or you’ll end up losing mana on the trade because the mobs won’t stay alive long enough. This will keep you from having to use Aspect of the Viper as much. Mages, warlocks and priests are good – hunters or paladins are usually not.

    Put your pet on defensive, but have a panic button ready in case it all goes south. I know the longtime safe advice is that pets should be on passive in dungeons, but these days that’s really not needed. I recently leveled a new hunter all the way to 80 using the LFG tool a lot, and not once did the pet cause an issue by itself. The benefit of doing this is that the pet doesn’t waste time running back to you between each target. With practice you can still control him. I start on one target assisting the tank (with Hunter’s Mark /petattack macro), then when it is close to dead add a Multi-Shot. This gives the pet two more things he’s allowed to attack. From then on I rarely cast the Hunter’s Mark macro in the same pack, as there just isn’t enough time left for it to be worth the GCD and the mana. I have a panic macro (/cast petpassive) that calls him back, but I had to use it just when I accidentally tabbed to the wrong mob and sent him after a new pack. That happened more times than I’d like to admit.

  19. Great article as usual. =D
    Just one question, did hunters always get Viper at 20 because I thought that I was always waiting for that talent until later?
    It’s just been so long since I’ve leveled a hunter. D=

  20. Hey Pikezilla, do you know of any wow dps bloggers that are still rather active in wow but don’t get too bogged down in theorycraft and numbers?

  21. @ Sunae – Used to be level 62 or 64 for Viper, I think. One or the other (Steady Shot being the other.)

    @ Donovitch – What class? You may check out my blogroll, I suppose.

  22. /petattack
    /cast hunter’s mark

    Is a good one – been using it for yonks. But would like to add a line where i could prevent the pet from attacking sometimes – ie marking up a boss before the pull.

    Also – on an Alt im tanking low level dungeons using the LFG tool, and i WISH that hunters wouldnt start thier rotation with multishot. It makes add management a nightmare sometimes.

    That and FD. FD + Omen is god. DON’T wait untill you pull aggro to use FD. Use it as soon as you APPROACH the tank in threat. That way if it fails – and it does quite often – you dont have an elite chewing your face off and an annoyed tank.
    Belive it or not, but threat management is a 2 way street.

  23. @Echo:
    In the Gunship Battle I set my Pet to stay somewhere near the Captain and set it to aggressiv. so whenever an enemy comes close it will attack. I think that’s the best your pet can do in this fight.
    Only when I have to enter a cannon the pet disappears and only returns at my feet when I leave the cannon again.

    I do not use a petattack, hunter’s mark makro. Most of the times I have my pet on defensive, even in dungeons. There are some dungeons or some situation I put it on passive, but most of the time defensiv is good for me. I use /cat hunter’s mark on a button, but only to quickly mark a target i am attacking. As a panic button I have

    /cast mend pet

    from there i can still send my pet to attack using CTRL+1 or set it back to defensive. (clicking with the mouse)

  24. @Ellifain

    /petattack [nomod]
    /cast hunter’s mark

    I’m not sure, haven’t tested it, it just came to my mind this moment. But this should work so that when you press your button it will cast hunter’s mark and send your pet to attak. But when using alt/shift/ctrl together with this button it should only cast hunter’s mark.

    If you want it the other way you could use

    /petattack [mod=alt]
    /cast hunter’s mark

    so only pressing alt with your button sends the pet to attack.

  25. I realize this would be a whole other post, but I am leveling BM with a bear. What are ideal pets to take into instances (have yet to do any as hunter). Guessing high dps pets?… as opposed to my bear-shield.

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