Tag Archives: guides

Booster Shots

Cause they boost your damage. Eh? Eh?

Okay, cutting to the chase because I just had this blog post almost finished when Firefox decided to eat it for breakfast so I’m starting from scratch. Let’s take a look at some of the shots available in your Beast Master repertoire:

Steady Shot: Once exulted on high as your best friend, now your filler shot that you press when nothing else is available. You’ll still be using it a lot, though, and you’ll want to boost its damage up from “abysmal” to “mediocre” as much as possible, so keep a Glyph of Steady Shot on you. For great justice. And yes, this means you’ll be keeping Serpent Sting up. Anyways, when you can, you’ll be wanting to stick to Shots That Aren’t Steady Shot™ as much as possible…

Arcane Shot: Your new bestest buddy, you’re going to want to use Arcane Shot as soon as the cooldown is up. Ferocious Inspiration and Improved Arcane Shot are both mandatory talents– as if FI’s super-buff wasn’t awesome before, this talent now also increases your damage with Arcane Shot. Combine that with IAS and get ready to /giggle at your Arcane Shot crits, especially after Mirror of Truth procs.

Multi-Shot: I’ve had good luck with this one on the Training Dummies, it’s a reasonable damage boost that isn’t Steady Shot. This is one of those situational ones, though. You may not want to use it if you’re having mana issues (are solo or in a group without Replenishment); and you don’t want to use it when there’s CC about or there’s a chance you might hit (and aggro) another mob with it. I know CC and aggro and all that is kind of a non-issue right now but I feel that this is a piece of hunter lore that we should remember in case it becomes important in the future. Don’t Multi-Shot CC.

Aimed Shot: Most Beast Masters don’t take this unless they dabble heavily in PvP, and I don’t blame them– the damage increase is small these days and the mana cost is pretty prohibitive. Still, it’s a Shot That Isn’t Steady Shot™, and I find myself wondering if it would be worth it on a DPS dump fight (like Patchwerk) with lotsa mana Replenishment going on. I haven’t tested this one myself but I’d be curious to know if anyone else has and what they think.

Kill Shot: Use it when you can! Now that the cooldown is a lot shorter than it was before, you’ll probably be able to use this more than once on most boss fights. Take advantage of that fact!

And moving on…

What is my Shot Rotation, Pike?: At this point I don’t know if it’s a true shot rotation as much as a shot priority.

1.) Is Serpent Sting up? If yes, go to the next step. If no or it is about to run out, apply Serpent Sting and go to the next step.

2.) Is Arcane Shot’s cooldown up and ready to go? If yes, use Arcane Shot. If no, go to the next step.

3.) Use Steady Shot.

Basically every time you are ready to fire a shot you are going to mentally ask yourself those three questions and go from there. If you’re going to be using Multi-Shot and/or Aimed Shot, insert them appropriately between Arcane Shot and Steady Shot. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it looks– you’ll be watching cooldowns and managing your pet, yes, and it can be a little difficult at times if you stink at multitasking like I do, but you’ll get it. Oh, and when I say mentally asking yourself those three questions– you don’t have to, uh, literally do that. But you get the picture, right?

In closing this might be sorta semi-offtopic but I’ve been seeing a lot of comments left lately on some blogs I read that involve people of various specs talking about how their shot rotation/cooldown-watching/whatever is bigger and as such their spec is “harder” and hence, superior. May or may not be followed by quoting Ghostcrawler. And it all kind of bugs me because it’s twisting the complexity of hunters down into one oversimplification and assumption.

Here’s my own take on this, and you’re free to (respecfully!) disagree if you wish of course, but this is my opinion– shot rotation alone does not equal skill. Pressng more buttons does not make you a better hunter. Having more cooldowns does not make you a better hunter.

Being able to trap indefinitely, kite indefinitely, spec your pet best for whatever job he is doing, not break crowd control, know what shots to use and when, know what gems/enchants/stats you want, know when to bend those gems/enchants/stats rules, popping your “big” cooldowns at the right times, know to listen to the raid leader when he or she says “melee do this” cause you have to apply that to your pet… all of this combined with being able to pull off your shot rotation, regardless of spec, is what defines a skilled hunter to me. You can’t base skill or difficulty level off of one aspect of the class alone, especially when said definition of “difficulty level” is so dependent on opinion and an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

And while we’re on the subject, let me also point out that you don’t have to be a traditionally “skilled” raiding hunter to earn my respect; if you’re having fun with the class you’ve got my respect. Period. Hunters are for fun!

That’s all for today, and remember:


Test everything and come to your own conclusions! Don’t take my word for it (or any other blogger’s)– we’re a guide, not a rulebook. ^_^

(P.S. I promise this ramble wasn’t directed at any blogs that I read. Much <3 to you all)

Pet Specs Mega Post

I’ve had a lot of people requesting guides on pet specs. I am more than happy to share my thoughts on them with you guys! Pet specs are typically pretty straightforward because there are only so many talents that will increase DPS, etc. However, they are also pretty situational, depending on what you want out of your pets. If you are doing solo’ing and leveling with your kitty then you may opt to go for something different. And that is 100% okay. But here are Pike’s recommendations:

Ferocity Pet:


This basic 16-point build scoops up Cobra Reflexes, Dash, Bloodthirsty, Spider’s Bite, and finally, Call of the Wild and Rabid. Basically all your essential DPS talents. However, you may also opt for something like this which replaces Avoidance/Rapid with Heart of the Phoenix (currently bugged, though) and Lick Your Wounds. Don’t underestimate the power of Lick Your Wounds, I shied away from it for a while because I figured I used Mend Pet enough. Well maybe I’m just unlucky but my pets seem to have been taking massive amounts of damage in the heroics and raids I’ve done so far, and it’s saved his furry butt several times. So I’ve been sold on it. Really that choice with what you do with those remaining points is up to you.

And once you’ve got the four extra points, you don’t have to worry about choosing, and you can also nab Charge and then one point in Great Resistance– that is your filler point and I think it’s the best place to put it, it gives your pet a nice boost on resistances. So you’d end up with this:


Cunning Pet:

These guys are a little tricky because there are many different routes you can take with them: PvP, utility, leveling, and though I’ve yet to try a heroic or raid with a Cunning Pet it’s something I’ll be looking into because I think they’ve got some nice DPS talents too. So I definitely don’t see a talent path for these guys to be nearly as straight-forward. That said, this what I’ve done with Tux and Eltanin:


This is an all-purpose killing-stuff/utility build that also works decently for PvP (though I’d probably spec a bit differently for that). You pick up Cobra Reflexes, Dive, Owl’s Focus and Spiked Collar as your must-haves. After that things get a little hazy, I typically opt for Avoidance, Cornered, and just one point in Feeding Frenzy so I can nab both Wolverine Bite and Roar of Recovery with 16 points. Roar of Recovery is super awesome by the way, it makes me wish I had a Cunning pet out when I’m not using one. I <3 my Cunning pets. *clings to them* Really, I think that bottom portion of the tree is pretty customizable for your own needs. You may want to switch out Wolverine Bite for that extra point in Feeding Frenzy. Or for Carrion Feeder so you don't have to carry food around. It's a very flexible build, really. Once you get the four extra talent points you can stop worrying about it and do this:


You can snatch up the extra Feeding Frenzy point, Carrion Feeder, Bullheaded (remember, this is a utility build more than a DPS build) , and then drop the final filler point in Great Resistance. Overall I have found this build to be very nice build for leveling/grinding and it’s also pretty effective in the occasional PvP skirmish if you, say, play on a PvP server or do the world PvP events sometimes. I’d probably opt for slightly different, but similar, pet spec for dedicated PvP but this one certainly isn’t bad.

Tenacity Pet:

There are a couple different ways to do Tenacity Pets and for me, what you want it to make your Tenacity Pet a pure tanking machine. That means you’ll be skipping a lot of the DPS talents in favor of longevity ones. This would be my 16-point build:


Charge, Great Stamina, and Natural Armor from the first tier. Blood of the Rhino (very important talent!! Makes your Mend Pet epic) and Pet Barding from the second. Guard Dog is your other “must-have” in this tree. After that you have a couple of options, myself I like Avoidance and Last Stand. Last Stand is just like the warrior move and it’s gotten me through a few elite group quests and I <3 it very much. You do have to manually activate it, though, so make sure it's on your pet bar. Picking up the four extra talent points, I'd go for something like this:


You can pick up Grace of the Mantis as well as your two remaining last-tier talents, Roar of Sacrifice and Taunt. I have some problems getting Roar of Sacrifice to work well, but I think I probably just have to sit down and figure it out. Now as you can see, we skipped out on Cobra Reflexes and Spiked Collar, the two must-have DPS talents from the previous trees, in favor of pure survivability. I’ve tried doing difficult quests with both methods– a more DPS-spec’d tank, and a more never-gonna-die-spec’d tank– and I have had much more success with the latter. Remember, your Tenacity pet isn’t there to DPS, he’s there to be a meatshield on those tough group quests!

Well, you asked for it, so you got it: Pike’s thoughts on pet-spec’ing. As I said, pet specs are oftentimes really very situational, but pet respecs are very cheap, so it works out.

I don’t work today and most of my guild doesn’t seem to have anything major planned either, so we were thinking about having going on a wild badge-fest heroics-a-thon. So I’m off to do the IRL stuff and then log on. As always, I love your comments and corrections!

Aces High!: A Quick Guide

Okay so this isn’t exactly hunter related, but I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how much they hate this daily quest and since it’s one of my favorite dailies ever, I figured I’d let you guys in on my secret.


For starters, Aces High! is a quest and subsequent daily quest that becomes available to you at level 80. It’s in Coldarra and you need a flying mount to get up to where the quest giver is. This quest is basically about flying around on a dragon and shooting fireballs at other dragons.

“Oh that’s easy”, you may be thinking by now. “I’ve done that Defending Wyrmrest Temple a million times. This’ll be cake.”

Yeah, if you’re anything like me, you’re in for a very unpleasant surprise followed by vowing to never do this quest again.

See, the mechanics of this one are very different. Fortunately once you get the hang of it, as I finally did, it’s not that bad and actually becomes pretty fun.

This quest is very much based on HoTs, DoTs, and stacking them to open up and power up other moves. But you can pretty easily work yourself into a little rhythm to ensure you have little to no issues. Here’s how:

Your action bar will look something like this:


The first button is going to be your bread’n’butter Fireball move (called Flame Spike) that you have to stack to unleash…
The second button which you will use at the end of your Fireball stacking.
The third button is your HoT which you will want to stack on yourself throughout the duration of the fight.
The fourth button is a big heal which requires combo points done by your Fireball. I only use it in an emergency (and I usually don’t have to use it at all.)
The fifth button is a protective shield which you will be using sometimes when the dragon you are fighting does a certain move. You need combo points from your Fireball to use it. More on that later.
And the sixth button increases your speed and I only use it if I’m outnumbered and need to escape.

Before we begin, you will want to go into the interface menu and enable “Auto Self Cast”. This will make your life five million times easier. Yes yes, I know, I have an addon that lets me right click to self cast too. But it probably won’t work with this one. In fact, a lot of addons interfere with this quest, so be on the lookout.

And now we’re ready to begin!

The first thing I do is stack about five HoTs on myself. Just hit ‘3’ on your keyboard five times. While you’re doing this you can be flying around to find a dragon to fight, try to find one sort of on the edge so you don’t have to go into a big group of them.

Found a dragon? Tag him by pressing ‘1’. Now press it three or four more times (to stack it up), and then hit ‘2’ to trigger your big DoT. Then hit ‘3’ five times again to stack up your HoT again, and… that is how you do it. 3-3-3-3-3-1-1-1-1-2-repeat!


There is one other thing you have to look out for which I alluded to before. Sometimes the dragon is going to start doing a move called “Arcane Surge”. This move does a LOT of damage. Keep a careful eye on his portrait and when you see him start to cast it, toss up a few Fireballs (if you haven’t already) to get a combo chain started and then hit ‘5’ or press the appropriate button on the action bar. It will “bubble” you for a few seconds depending on how many Fireballs you had up. Typically I’m doing my spell rotation with my keyboard while I have my hand on the mouse hovering over that Flame Shield button so I can hit it quickly.

Beyond that, just use your big heal in the event of an emergency or your dash if you get outnumbered, and you should be good to go! This quest will give you 250 rep with Wyrmrest Accord every day and also give you lots of practice for the Malygos fight which will include a phase where you are riding a dragon and the controls are identical to the controls in this daily. So as you can see, if you are a raider, then practicing this quest a couple times is pretty much a “must”. Really it’s pretty easy once you figure it out and honestly I think it’s a ton of fun and I look forward to it every day because I’m a dork.

Okay, that’s all for now. I ding’d 25 today in real life, sadly this means I have no new skills to train but maybe I’ll get to open up a treasure box or two. Epics ahoy!

Glyphs for the Discerning Beast Master: Part Two

Continued from Part One:

Part Two: Minor Glyphs

Hunter Minor Glyphs are a tricky subject because there aren’t too many that are going to help you out in a PvE situation– it’s the PvPers who get luckier with them this time I think. Let’s take a look at all of them:

Glyph of Feign Death:
What it Does: Decreases the cooldown on your Feign Death by 5 seconds
Why it’s good: More Feign Death is never a bad thing. Even though I find myself using it less these days because WotLK tanks are monsters (in a very good way, of course!) I’m sure there are going to be situations in the future in raids where it gets resisted 99.9% of the time like it did for me in Burning Crusade *mutters*

Overall, a very nice little glyph.

Glyph of Mend Pet:
What it Does: Every time you use Mend Pet your pet gains 20 happiness. It’s a one-time thing (i.e., your pet does not gain happiness per tick.)
Why it’s good: Even though pet feeding is less and less needed these days what with pet talents available that almost make it a moot point, that doesn’t chase away certain scary memories in my head. Scary memories of starting a long boss fight and then watching my pet go from “Happy” to “Content” about ten seconds later cause I forgot to feed him before hand. That’s a big DPS loss and you can’t feed him until you’re out of combat.

Another scenario: a hard fight and your pet dies mid-action. You rez him and send him back. Previously you’d have had to send him in “Content” (and possibly even “Unhappy”). Now you just pop your Mend Pet a couple times and he’ll be good to go.

A hugely helpful glyph and an absolute Must-Have for Beast Masters.

Those are the two glyphs that I currently have in my spellbook. Let’s take a look at the others.

Glyph of Possessed Strength:
What it Does: Increases the damage done by your pet while in Eyes of the Beast by 50%
What it’s For: When I first heard about this glyph I think my reaction was akin to “… … … *blink*” But I’ve actually heard of hunters who are really into the whole gorilla-tanking-instances thing who this to generate threat. So I’m going to toss this one into the “Unconventional Solo Uses” category.

Glyph of Revive Pet:
What it Does: Removes pushback when you’re casting this spell
What it’s For: My pet rarely dies when I’m out solo’ing and chances are good that if you’re reviving your pet in an instance or raid, you’re not being attacked, because either you’re still mid-fight and the tank is taking the damage, or you’re recouping after a wipe. So this strikes me as being almost purely a PvP glyph. Especially seeing as pets seem to be everyone’s new favorite target in AV (they were the last time I was there, at least >.>)

Glyph of Scare Beast:
What it Does: Removes most of the pushback when you’re casting this spell
What it’s For: This would be really handy at low-levels when you’re cruising through the Barrens/Ashenvale pre-Freezing Trap. After that, though, this glyph seems to be basically for one thing, and one thing only: druids and hunter pets in PvP. And let me tell ya, this would be a pretty nice glyph for that purpose.

Glyph of the Pack:
What it Does: Slightly increases the range of your Aspect of the Pack.
What it’s For: Running back after a wipe… realliy I can’t think of any other circumstances where I use Aspect of the Pack, I’m afraid.

The Verdict:

So for a lot of us, we are left wondering what our third glyph should be. I don’t think there is really a wrong or right answer here and you should go with what you think will fit better for your own playstyle. If you PvP a lot, Glyph of Scare Beast has a lot going for it. Myself, I think I will probably wind up with Glyph of Revive Pet. I don’t feel like I need it, but I don’t see myself as having many more good options and I don’t PvP enough these days to warrant Glyph of Scare Beast.

And that’ll do it for my little dissertation on hunter glyphs. Hopefully it answered some questions for you. As always, lemme know if you have questions or if I’ve made a mistake or error. (And if you had a question for me on my last guide and I haven’t answered it yet, I will answer it when I get home from work. >.>)

Glyphs for the Discerning Beast Master: Part One

I’ve been getting a couple requests for guides lately and one of the popular ones seems to be glyphs.   So, Pike will go into teacher-mode and tell you about the glyphs she’s currently using and recommends for BM Hunters and why!

Part One: Major Glyphs:

Glyph of Steady Shot
What it does: Buffs your Steady Shot by 10%.
Why it’s good: If you are a BM hunter, then Steady Shot is a very hefty chunk of your damage. Boosting that all by 10%? Yeah. Yeah. The trick is to keep Serpent Sting up at all times in order to take advantage of this glyph. The DPS increase is huge. Even post-incoming-nerf I still think this is going to be important to help pull your Steady Shot back up to speed. Don’t leave home without it.

Glyph of Bestial Wrath
What it does: Decreases the cooldown on Bestial Wrath/The Beast Within by 20 seconds.
Why it’s good: Let’s talk about all the stuff that BW/TBW does. Firstly, it increases your pet’s damage by 50%. Secondly, it increases your own damage by 10%. Thirdly, it decreases the mana cost of all your abilities by 20%. Fourthly, it makes you and your pet basically immune to CC and Fear. Fifthly, it’s one of the most fun hunter abilities on the planet. Don’t you think? Now shave 20 seconds off the cooldown with this glyph. Now further decrease that cooldown with Longevity. If you are a BM fan and you aren’t drooling yet then I want to know who you are and what you did with the hunter that was previously reading this blog! D=

Those two are basically a given. Now let’s talk about the two contenders for the third spot.

Exhibit A:

Glyph of Aspect of the Viper
What it does: Increases your mana regen from ranged attacks when in Aspect of the Viper by 10%.
Why it’s good: The new Aspect of the Viper is a nifty concept, but not all good things are free and mana regen is no exception. When you are in Aspect of the Viper, your damage is nerfed by 50%. Now, us Beast Masters have it better than most. For starters, we have Aspect Mastery, which reduces that damage reduction down to 40%. And secondly, we have our powerful pet unaffected and still pounding away. So overall we lose less damage on this than others would.

However, we still want to spend as little time as we need to in Viper and spend most of our time in Hawk/Dragonhawk. Which is where this glyph comes into play. The more mana we regen the quicker we can hop back out to Hawk. It’s that simple.

Exhibit B:

Glyph of Serpent Sting:
What it does: Increases the duration on your Serpent Sting by 3 seconds (or 6 seconds, after a coming patch!)
Why it’s good: The longer your Serpent Sting is active, the more you can use your Steady Shot without having to spend a cooldown period refreshing your Serpent Sting. Six extra seconds would theoretically buy you four extra Steady Shots. Of course I imagine most of us are not D.A.R.Y.L. or living in a lagfree world and we’d probably only get in three extra Steadys, but still, that can make a difference.

So which of those two am I supposed to use, Pike?

The answer is… I’m still not sure. Today, in the name of science, I spent some gold on a couple each Glyphs of Aspect of the Viper and Glyphs of Serpent Sting and battered those training dummies silly, taking note of how much DPS I did with each after a set number of Dragonhawk/Viper cycles. The results were… inconclusive. Just as I was starting to think Serpent Sting was winning out, Viper suddenly came back with a big vengeance. Really it’s hard to say and I’m going to theorize that when you toss human error into the equation they’re fairly similarly good overall and you should either do your own testing, and/or go with whichover one is cheapest or more appealing to you. I personally am sticking with Viper for now. Warning though!: Results may change with the upcoming buff to the Serpent Sting glyph. I’ll get back to you on that. *nod*

Next time: Minor Glyphs and why Pike is only using two of them right now. Until then, as always, poke me if you have questions or if I have made some sort of dire mistake or ungodly typo. Hey, I’ve made those before.

Oh and before I forget again, thanks Brigwyn for making me the guest of honor and letting me be interviewed over at his site, The Hunting Lodge. And if you are absolutely insane and can’t get enough Pike Questions, there are rumors on the internets that she will be appearing in bigger venues soonish. Stay tuned!

Rez'ing Your Hunter: A Quick Guide

So you’ve got a hunter parked at level 70 who is an alt that you haven’t played in a while, and you want to get them to 80. Here are a couple quick tips to help answer the questions you may have… (warning: probably BM biased >.>)

So as you log in to your 70 hunter and are taking a look at your shiny new 0/0/0 spec with 61 talent points to spend, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. I am here to say that the spec doesn’t have to be perfect, you are just going to be leveling. I am also here to say that if you always wanted to try out some talent tree that you haven’t tried yet, then now is a perfect time to do so. All three specs are pretty viable now.

Let’s say you’re going into Beast Mastery whether because you like it or simply because you want to level with it. This is the spec I am currently leaning towards personally in terms of a goal of PvE endgame. No guarantees it’s perfect but it’s what I really like at the moment. It borrows a lot from pre-WotLK talents– for example, you still only need 4/5 in Frenzy– and then picks up new good talents like Aspect Mastery and Invigoration Longevity (WORST TYPO EVER).  The number of deep BM hunters I see running around without Longevity is somewhat mystifying to me… it’s such a godly talent!

You are of course free to move talents around as you see fit. For pure leveling you may opt for 5/5 Endurance Training and 3/3 Thick Hide– really it’s a better choice for the level grind, I’m just stubborn =P Spirit Bond is a much more valid choice now than it was before and I don’t think many people would fault you for choosing that over Animal Handler. Invigoration and Cobra Strikes may wind up being worth it for you. You may want to pick up Aimed Shot in the Marks tree. Go for what you like and try it out!

There are now three types of pets: Ferocity (PvE/DPS), Cunning (PvP/utility), and Tenacity (Tanking). Note that the description I put in parenthesis for each one is very rough. But you sort of get the general idea. Each type of pet also has their own talent tree which you can spec along side yourself. For the most part, I think you can spec your pets how you think you need to and how you think you will be using that pet. Just as an example I’ve been going something like this (without the extra points) on my kitty, Locke. As you can see, I’ve picked up all the DPS-type talents and Cobra Reflexes (the faster your pet is attacking, the more he is proc’ing Ferocious Inspiration for you and your raid.) Pet respecs are cheap so it’s not a big deal if you screw up. =P Oh, and the 51-point Beast Mastery talent will get you four extra talent points for your pets to use.

I see a lot of people in Trade asking about which is “the best” pet but really it’s very flexible and situational. Each pet gets a special unique family “skill” now so you may want to look into those and see which ones you like. Also, just because a pet is a Tenacity pet doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be leveling with it– I’ve been alternating between a Cunning pet and a Ferocity pet myself!

Exotic Pets
The 51-point BM talent lets you tame “exotic” pets. Exotic pets are stuff like core hounds, devilsaurs, giant worms, chimaeras… stuff like that. Exotic pets typically tend to have a special ability that is above-average and at some point Blizzard said they were going to buff the damage of exotic pets in the future, by 10% or something. In the meantime, for most hunters, I don’t think an Exotic Pet is really a necessity. They’re fun to play with though =P

Myself, I’ve just been picking up glyphs as I go and experimenting with them and replacing them at will. The must-haves I have found at this point are Glyph of Steady Shot (this is the big reason why Serpent Sting is awesome now for BM hunters) and Glyph of Bestial Wrath (can you really say no to that?) I have also found Glyph of Freezing Trap to be pretty nice for chain trapping but I dunno if it would be something I keep around at 80– it remains to be seen if trapping will even be seen much in five-mans anymore now that tank AoE got so buffed!

Well, since the title pledged that this would be “A Quick Guide”, I’d best stop here. If you’ve still got questions leave a comment, and I will see about making a Part Two!

So You Want to Play a Hunter? Part 12

I’m Level 70, Now What?

There you are.  A level 70 hunter.  You’re wearing greens and ready to take on the world.  Of Warcraft.

First thing’s first: stop and think, what do you want to do?  Do you want to PvP?  Do you want to raid?  Do you want to explore things and see what is left to see?

Because my first move upon hitting 70 is usually to begin the process of getting “geared up”, and what you want to do at end-game will largely determine how you go about  this process.  I’ve always thought that getting “geared up” is a delightful thing, because you’re watching your gear be replaced at a fast clip and you can really watch your stats increase and watch your character start to look more and more epic.   Judging from some of the comments I’ve received in the past, I’m not alone in my assessment.  So, where do we leap into the fun?

Pike’s opinion: You want to start by replacing all your greens with blues, and then getting those blues enchanted.

Let’s assume you’re going for PvE here.  You want items with agility, stamina, intellect, attack power, crit rating, and hit rating.  Do not underestimate the importance of hit rating.  Period.  To achieve getting this gear you will probably find yourself doing some quests, and doing a lot of five-man instances.

The Beast Lord Armor Set is a great thing to aim for.  Heck, Tawyn’s still wearing the helm and shoulders.  Granted, Tawyn doesn’t do a lot of raiding past Tier4, but the point is that it’s a very quality set and will grant you an amazing set bonus that will help very much with your chain-trapping.  You can collect pieces of it from Botanica, Shattered Halls, Mechanar, and Steamvaults.  With a decent group these instances are all pretty straightforward and will give you a lot of practice for raiding if you haven’t done much instancing until now.

“But Pike, I sit in LFG all day and all people want is healers and tanks and mages!  Nobody wants to group with an unknown hunter!”

Friends, I feel your pain.  Believe me when I say that I have spent hours in LFG, jumped on the rare person to say “LF DPS for [some instance I need]”, whispered them excitedly, got a response like “Sorry, the group filled up 🙁 ” and then five minutes later saw the same person yelling for DPS again.   I have spent hours in LFG and found a group only to have to have the group disbanded because nobody would tank.  I have been there.  But it is not impossible to find a group.  Idle in LFG while you run around doing your dailies or quests.  Keep an eye out for other new 70s who want a group.  Every twenty minutes or so announce that you’re looking for a non-heroic level 70 instance.  Play an alt if you have to, with LFG up.  Be patient.  It will happen.  And people will remember you as a good hunter and keep you in mind in the future.

“Is there a way I can get geared for raiding without having to do all the instances though?”  Hmm.  Well, some good stuff does come through questing or crafting, or random world drops, but most of the best stuff comes from five-mans.  Besides, honestly, if you want to be a raider, you need to practice your PvE skills anyway! =P

“What about the battleground epics or the Stalker’s Chain Battlegear that you get through rep?”  The battleground epics are indeed pretty shiny and the Stalker’s stuff definitely isn’t bad for a just-turned-70 but keep in mind that this is PvP-oriented gear and is sorely lacking stuff like Hit Rating which will make a huge difference in PvE.  If you love PvP and want to jump into Halaa/Arenas/AV with gusto, then grats!  This is the stuff for you.  But if PvE is what you’re going for then you are going to want the rewards you get from, well, PvE.  I have linked it before and I will link it again, this guide is an invaluable tool here.

Do some rep grinds.  You will need Revered with Cenarion Expedition for the head inscription and Honored with Aldor/Scryer for the Shoulder Inscription (Exalted for the best version.)  In addition, Aldor gives a pretty nice ring at Revered. And don’t forget to make sure your pet has the maxed version of all its skills.

Save up your money and gather mats for enchanting and gems.  Myself, when it comes to new-70s, I enchant anything that I imagine I will be using for a while– basically most blues I get at 70 or close to it.  I got lucky with Lunapike and knew from experience which of my gear I got along the way would be sticking with me to 70 and beyond so I got some of this enchanted early on.  Check out my earlier guide if you have questions on enchanting-for-hunters.

Stay balanced, stat-wise.  You do not want to go overboard too much with one stat.  If you get a piece of gear and it is better than your current piece in some aspects and worse in others, squirrel it away in your bank in the event of having to juggle around gear later as your stats fluctuate.  Gearing up is both an art and a science, don’t worry if it seems kind of confusing.

And once you’ve got yourself decked in blues and maybe an epic or two, and you’ve done your five-mans and practiced your chain-trapping and your pet control and your shot rotations— congrats, you are ready for the first half of Karazhan.

And there you have it.  How to get a hunter from the character selection screen to standing on Attumen’s butt like a good lil’ raider, and do it the right way.  Now you can go forth and read all those great hunter blogs and resources out there that are focused on endgame.  I hope that you newer hunters have learned something from this guide and if you still have any questions, toss them at me, to give me writing fodder!  SYWtPaH’s out, until someday when I re-do the pet portions of the guide and teach you how to get to level 80.


So You Want to Play a Hunter?

Part One: Introduction & The Birth of a Hunter
Part Two: Just Starting Out & Levels 1-5
Part Three: Levels 6-10 and Jump Shot Kiting
Part Four: Talent Points & Pets
Part Five: Life With a Pet
Part Six: Levels 12-20
Part Seven: Intro to Freezing Trap
Part Eight: Levels 21-30
Part Nine: Levels 31-40
Part Ten: Levels 41-60
Part Eleven: Levels 61-70
Part Twelve: I’m Level 70, Now What? [current]


/collapes somewhere backstage

So You Want to Play a Hunter? Part 3

So you’ve hit level 6 and you’ve got Arcane Shot. Great! This will make it easier for you to kill stuff before it gets to you. Now there seems to be some confusion, I think, involving when to use Arcane Shot. In all honesty, I don’t think there is a set “best rotation” for Arcane Shot in the low-levels. But the basics that you want to know is that you don’t want to use it too much, because it will eat up your mana and pull aggro away from your pet pretty easily. It does, however, round out most of the skills you will be using pre-level-62.

Hunter’s Mark is the other thing you learn at level 6. There is some debate over whether Hunter’s Mark is worth the mana. In my mind, it is: it provides a sizable DPS boost (particularly over time), and if you are spec’d for Improved Hunter’s Mark, it boosts your pet’s attack power by a significant amount, too. Think of it this way: if you are a Beast Master or Survival hunter, Improved Hunter’s Mark is basically like your own mini-Trueshot-Aura. And if you are Marksman, it’s more of the goodness! Rank 4 Hunter’s Mark is going to give you an extra 110 AP and the more you shoot it, the higher that bonus rises (for ranged only). Pike’s verdict: learn to use and love Hunter’s Mark.

Typical Lowbie Hunter Rotation:
-Hunter’s Mark
-Serpent Sting Opener
-Auto Shot until the mob is dead, throw in an Arcane Shot every so often to speed things up.

That’s really all there is to it. Before you have a pet, you are most advised to use your Arcane Shot whenever you can, though.

If you are looking into doing more PvP than PvE, Arcane Shot is going to become basically the cornerstone of your life and everything you hold dear, but us more-PvE types typically love our Steady Shot more.

And now you’ve hit level 8. And you’ve got Concussive Shot. Your mission, if you choose to accept it: put your kiting skills to the test and learn how to jump-shot-kite.

Jump Shot Kiting is accomplished by jumping, turning, shooting, and then turning back and landing, while moving. Sound complicated? It is, and it’s difficult at first, but if you practice a little, you will soon have the hang of it. It’s a little hard to describe through writing, so I’ve made a movie:

I don’t know if it is the clearest or most helpful movie, so let me know if you need clarification! Also, I have decided that Hellfire Peninsula is perhaps not the best place to hold many of these videos in the future, because over the overwhelming… red…ness… yeah. Note to self: Nagrand next time.

Well, congratulations, you have (hopefully) mastered the art of playing sans-pet. /diploma

And that’ll do it for this week’s installment of SYWtPaH. (pronounced Suit-paw…? Perhaps!) Be sure to join us next week when we go on a crazy pet-taming adventure!