Hunter-guide: Hunting for Adventurers

GUIDE: Adventuring in Azeroth as a hunter (Introduction)

This is intended as an introduction to starting out with the Hunter Class for new players in the World of Warcraft.

Durkon and Nimitz, early in their adventuring career

So, you’ve decided that the life of a simple hunter isn’t for you? Killing things for your villagers so that they may have meat, leather and so forth not engaging enough for you? Perhaps you are thinking that your stalking abilities, marksmanship, tracking skills and close affinity with nature could be better employed elsewhere?

For some, it is the pursuit of fortune that makes them take their first steps into the wider world. Others simply set out to explore, or to take upon themselves a more interesting lifestyle. Whatever your reasons, I hope here to provide you with an introduction to adventuring as a hunter.

Specialising
Hunters can broadly speaking be broken down into three specialisations. The Beast Master focuses on finding and training a powerful animal companion to assist him. Beastmasters maintain a good level of proficiency with their ranged weapons, but are much more vulnerable than other hunters if they are without their companion.

Marksmen focus primarily on developing their skill with ranged weapons. They also train beasts to accompany them but place a lot less emphasis on their beasts. A marksman masters her rifle or bow and has a wide array of different shots to choose from.

Survivors also place an emphasis on weapon mastery, but also on traps and improvised improvements to their firepower. Their emphasis on survival comes from rigorous fitness training and improved traps to hamper threatening enemies.

In an attempt to clarify, I should point out that Survivors are probably the most durable when solo. Hunters are very rarely truly alone, however; your animal companion will be with you at all times. When you cannot rely upon others for aid, Beastmasters will probably find their survivability highest. A Beastmaster’s pet is more durable, can deal more damage and is better at holding an enemy’s attention. If all else fails, the hunter can flee while his companion distracts the enemy before slipping away into the shadows to rejoin his person further down the road. Individually, a Beast Master is less capable than a Survivor or Marksman – a beastmaster entering battle on his own is a foolish (and likely dead) one indeed! Whatever your specialisation, your pet will do its best to help you; a Beastmaster’s pet is far better equipped to be successful in its attempt.

Specialisation will be covered in greater detail in a later part.

Combat
If you venture into the outside world, it is likely that you will be fighting something pretty damn soon. People will pay for creatures infesting an area to be killed, bandits and criminals may ambush you (or perhaps you will go after them), a mission to retrieve a lost artifact may lead to a demonic outpost. Whether you seek it out or not, an adventurer’s life almost always involves conflict. Knowing how to handle yourself and your companion in battle is key to success and indeed survival!

  • Hunters are best at range. You may consider yourself pretty handy with an axe or blade, but if you find yourself matched against a classically trained warrior in melee combat you may find your confidence fatal. Do your best to remain at distance, where you have the advantage.
  • You have an animal companion, use it! Your pet should be out at all times.
  • If you are working with other adventurers the following generally applies. Your pet should be in melee, attacking – not standing idly by your side. Your pet should NOT be growling or doing anything else that may attract attention unless there is no-one else in your group qualified to stand and take damage. You should be at range, firing your weapon and using your abilities. In summary: Turn off pet growl, remember to send your pet in and stay at range.
  • Always ensure that you are adequately supplied with ammunition. A hunter without ammo is as much use as a warrior without a weapon or a spellcaster without mana; that is to say almost none at all.

Know your enemy
When you are fighting, pay some attention to who you are fighting. It’ll help you out.

  • When faced with multiple foes, you’ll generally want to kill spellcasters first. They tend to have the least armor and do the most damage to you. Shoot them first.
  • Look out for the dragon around an enemy’s unit frame. This indicates an elite enemy. This target has probably claimed the lives of many adventurers before – you will probably want to seek help, particularly if you are of a lower level.
  • When working with others, you will generally find one adventurer designated to stand at the front and get hit a lot. You’ll usually want to target the same enemy as him. When assaulting a dungeon, it is YOUR responsibility to avoid attracting the attention of enemies! Once the tank engages, you may need to wait for a few seconds before you start your attack to ensure all enemies are sufficiently focused on him.

Know yourself
You need to have a firm grasp of the abilities that you and your pet possess, as well as how to go about improving them.

  • Hunters benefit most from Agility, while Stamina makes you and your pet more durable. Intellect will grant you more mana, but be careful: If you see an item with intellect and no agility, it’s probably not for you. When working with other adventurers, always be courteous and never try to take a piece of equipment that’s not intended for you. Strength, spirit, these things do nothing for you. If you roll on a sword with strength on it because it looks cool, you are going to irritate the warrior, paladin and probably everyone else. Be considerate and understand what items are for you, and what items should go to someone else.
  • Ranged attack power, haste (for non-beastmasters – beastmasters require no haste), critical strike chance, armor penetration and hit rating are all useful for you. Spell power, mana regeneration, melee attack power, spell penetration, expertise, defence, dodge, parry and block are not for you.
  • Know your abilities, what they do and when to use them. For example: Arcane shot is an extra attack that deals extra damage, use it whenever you can! Multi-shot is an extra attack that deals extra damage to multiple enemies. Use this too, but be careful: It WILL hit enemies afflicted by your freezing trap (breaking it) and enemies not currently attacking you (causing them to attack you).
  • Your pet also has certain abilities. Right clicking on an ability in your pet action bar will set it to autocast: your pet will use it whenever possible. If your pet has more than four abilities, you can open up your spellbook and see them under the pet tab. For example: Growl causes your pet to attract the attention of the enemy he’s attacking. It should be turned when you’re on your own, but generally turned off when you’re in a group.

In conclusion
As an adventurer, your hunting skills will serve you well – just remember that hunting deer doesn’t really prepare you for hunting down evil. Keep in mind the points discussed here, concentrate on staying at range and conduct yourself in a considerate and courteous manner towards other adventurers and you’ll get along fine. I look forward to seeing you out there!

To follow…
Choosing a pet
Pet Classes: Ferocity, Tenacity and Cunning
Specialising
Aaand more stuff when I think of it.

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