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THE HUNTER FAQ V4.0Follow

#1 Dec 30 2010 at 5:22 PM Rating: Good
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Since Hyolith seems to have abandoned working on a FAQ, his cata guide is really a cata specific guide and I'm playing again I'm rewriting the FAQ from the ground up this time since hunters have changed so much. Any help while I'm writing this will be very welcome.
Below is the start of what will be in the FAQ, I will start filling this out over the next few days.

If you think I'm missing things, please post below or PM me


The basics
- why should I roll a hunter?
- races, specs and other info.

Leveling your hunter
- specs
- pets
- tips and tricks

Grouping as a hunter
- specs
- pets
- crowd control

PvP as a hunter
- specs
- pets
- utility
- arena specifics
- (rated) battlegrounds

Raiding as a hunter
- specs
- pets
- professions
- what can I bring to a raid?
- 10 man
- 25 man
- preparing for raids
- tips and tricks

Hunter resources/Credits
- websites and guides
- Hunter UI help

- Credits

Edited, Jan 8th 2011 2:41pm by Aethien
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#2 Dec 30 2010 at 5:22 PM Rating: Good
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The basics

Why should I roll a hunter?
Because there is no cooler, better, more fun or more awesome class than a hunter. But in all seriousness, we are a dps class that fits neither in the melee group nor the caster group because we shoot arrows or bullets and have focus instead of mana. We value our pets and frequently care as much or more about them than about the other aspects of our character which is why many hunters cheer when Beast Mastery is the best spec for what they like doing the most.
Furthermore hunters are a class that excels at soloing due to our built in pet tank, our strong crowd control and our ability to kite just about anything.

In short, we are the outsider dps class and we like it. (plus, we have fluffy pets to keep us company!)

Races, specs and other info

What is the best race?
PvE: For Alliance, Worgen. For Horde, Orc. Overall, Orc.
PvP: I'd go with Human or Worgen for Alliance, Undead or Goblin for Horde.
Does it make a big difference?
No. At ilevel 347 (a.k.a full heroic blues with some epic mixed in) the difference between the strongest and the weakest race is still only a difference of 300 dps out of a total of 14.5k under ideal circumstances. (with Orc being about 100 dps higher than the other races, so max 200 dps difference between others)
You might notice it but it's definitely not game breaking so pick what you can stare at for hours and hours and hours and well, you get me.

What are the specs all about?
Beast Mastery is, like the name suggests, all about your pet and the damage it can do. I think that every hunter has a bit of a weak spot for this talent tree due to Bestial Wrath and the destruction a BIG RED PET causes. It is also the leveling spec of choice for most hunters.
Marksman is there to provide the big hits and because of the burst damage this spec can provide it has often been the PvPers favourite as well a strong end game raiding spec.
Survival revolves more around utility, kiting and CCing along with a strong and constant stream of damage.

Edited, Jan 8th 2011 3:12pm by Aethien
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Theophany wrote:
YOU'RE AN ELITIST @#%^ AETHIEN, NO WONDER YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS AND PEOPLE HATE YOU.
someproteinguy wrote:
Aethien you take more terrible pictures than a Japanese tourist.
Astarin wrote:
One day, Maz, you'll learn not to click on anything Aeth links.
#3 Dec 30 2010 at 5:22 PM Rating: Good
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Leveling your hunter

Specs
Beast Mastery is, and has always been, the spec of choice for leveling as it turns your pet into a straight up monster.

Pets
Any pet can serve you well while leveling, however you should consider a few things.
Tenacity pets will generally be great for soloing, tanking for you and easy questing.
Ferocity pets, specifically cats, will be great if you do a lot of instances while leveling.
And if you're leveling through battleground you want to get a specialized PvP pet.
Not really focusing on any of the above? Pick one pet you like the most and use that for whatever you do as it can be hard to keep 2 or more pets up to your level while leveling.

Tips and tricks
Taking two gathering professions (Herbalism, Skinning and Mining) is a great money maker while you're leveling and your pet can distract mobs while you are gathering herbs or ore.


Edited, Dec 31st 2010 1:26pm by Aethien
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Theophany wrote:
YOU'RE AN ELITIST @#%^ AETHIEN, NO WONDER YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS AND PEOPLE HATE YOU.
someproteinguy wrote:
Aethien you take more terrible pictures than a Japanese tourist.
Astarin wrote:
One day, Maz, you'll learn not to click on anything Aeth links.
#4 Dec 30 2010 at 5:23 PM Rating: Good
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Grouping as a hunter

Specs

Pets

Crowd control

Edited, Dec 31st 2010 1:50pm by Aethien
____________________________
Theophany wrote:
YOU'RE AN ELITIST @#%^ AETHIEN, NO WONDER YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS AND PEOPLE HATE YOU.
someproteinguy wrote:
Aethien you take more terrible pictures than a Japanese tourist.
Astarin wrote:
One day, Maz, you'll learn not to click on anything Aeth links.
#5 Dec 30 2010 at 5:23 PM Rating: Good
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PvP as a hunter

Specs
7/3/31 Survival PvP
0/31/10 Marksman PvP
For both specs you can change the trap launcher glyph to the raptor strike glyph if you thin that you are focused regularly.

Pets
Most hunters seem to either be using a Monkey or a Spider, with most using a monkey as it's got an effect similar to Scatter Shot.
The differenced between the pet's abilities is that the spider roots for 4 seconds on a 40 second cooldown while the monkey blinds for 4 seconds on a 60 second cooldown.

Theo's Cunning PvP pet spec

Utility
Hunters don't bring very high burst to PvP but in return we have a lot of CC's at our disposal.
Frost and snake trap can be used to root targets, with frost of course also laying down a large area of ice to slow opponents with.
We also have Freezing trap for a solid, although not very easy to use, 10 second CC on a 20 second cooldown (assuming you have the PvP gloves) and Scatter Shot for a quick 4 second disorient on a 30 second cooldown.
Then, just because it isn't enough yet we can either bring a 3 second stun on a 30 second cooldown as BM, a 3 second duration 20 second cooldown silence as BM or a 1 minute cooldown 10 second CC as survival and with the right pet we also bring another root or blind.
All of this together makes hunters particularly good at controlling opponents and keeping them out of the fight or at least right where we want them.

When using a cunning or tenacity pet, you can also bring roar of sacrifice which is a good tool to reduce burst damage and can be a lot of help to your healer if used well.

Arena specifics
I'm just going to quote Theo here because he knows more than I do about this:
"As far as teams, I've heard that hunters pair well with paladins, shamans, mages, warriors, and ferals, but it's still early so who the @#%^ knows. Bloodlust/Time Warp is a bonus to any hunter team, though."

(rated) battlegrounds
Hunters will always be good at battlegrounds thanks to a lot of room to kite and because we get many more opportunities to stand in the back and wreak havoc upon our opponents in a battleground than we do in arenas.
Our large amount of CC's and slows also helps us with things like guaranteeing a flag carrier's safety.

Edited, Jan 8th 2011 2:40pm by Aethien
____________________________
Theophany wrote:
YOU'RE AN ELITIST @#%^ AETHIEN, NO WONDER YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS AND PEOPLE HATE YOU.
someproteinguy wrote:
Aethien you take more terrible pictures than a Japanese tourist.
Astarin wrote:
One day, Maz, you'll learn not to click on anything Aeth links.
#6 Dec 30 2010 at 5:23 PM Rating: Good
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Raiding as a hunter

Specs
Right now, Survival is the raiding spec of choice although buffs to Marksmen and Beast Mastery seem to be coming up so check back in here after the next patch Smiley: wink

The current Cookie Cutter spec is 1/9/31.
Why Careful Aim? Simply because it's more dps than an extra 20% focus regen for your pet or 20% extra attack power from Aspect of the Hawk.
Why only 1/2 Serpent Spread? Because 6 seconds of Serpent Sting is enough, most of the AoE damage you do comes from improved Serpent Sting and Multi Shot anyway plus you'll either shoot a new Multi within 6 seconds or the mobs are dead.

The Prime Glyphs should be fairly obvious, although you can substitute Serpent Sting for Arcane if you find that you are using Arcane Shot a lot. In ideal circumstances these two glyphs are currently pretty much equal in dps.
For Major Glyphs it is a little less clear. I find Mending to be very valuable as it gives your pet a lot more survivability when it takes AoE damage. Disengage should be pretty obvious as it's a great tool to avoid AoE or unnecessary movement with and a shorter cooldown on that is always good. The last spot could be filled by Trap Launcher, Ice Trap, Master's Call, Deterrence or Wyvern sting depending upon the needs of an encounter.
Minor Glyphs are standard and pretty straight forward.

How do I play this spec?
Keep Explosive Shot on cooldown
Keep Black Arrow on cooldown
Keep up Serpent Sting
Shoot Cobra Shots in between.
Use Arcane Shot to dump focus.

Or with a few more words: It's all about Explosive Shot.
Explosive shot has a cooldown of 6 seconds and with a global cooldown (GCD) of 1 second you can fit 5 GCDs in between Explosive Shots.
However, Cobra Shot has a base cast time of 2.0 seconds. You should aim for enough haste to get this down to 1.66 seconds so you can fit 3 Cobra Shots in between Explosive Shots.
This does create a conflict when you need to (re)apply Black Arrow or Serpent Sting as those are instant, what is currently thought to be the best dps is to use an extra Arcane Shot (so you're shooting 2 Cobra Shots and 2 instants) and delay your next Explosive Shot by 0.5 seconds.
During cooldowns such as Bloodlust/Heroism or Rapid Fire your Cobra Shot cast time drops a lot and you'll simply be firing more Cobra Shots and more Arcane Shots to dump focus in between Explosive Shots.

So what about Lock & Load?
Explosive Shot > Cobra Shot > Explosive Shot > Arcane Shot (Or Black Arrow if it's off cooldown) > Explosive Shot.

Why should I spec cookie cutter?
Because it's the spec that will get you the most dps and that's what we do in raids.
You're most likely not reading this to know more about the hunter theorycrafting but because you want the basic info you need to start raiding so you're best off using the cookie cutter spec. This is also why I'm not going into details about the other specs here, they're simply not competitive.
But I like spec Y or Z better than spec X!
They're really not very different so get used to it. All three specs need to keep their pets alive and whether it deals 10% or 40% of your total dps is just numbers. And shooting a chimera shot instead of an explosive shot doesn't really make any difference either. Get over your sentimental clinging to a certain spec or your desire to be unique through a different spec and spec cookie cutter so you can do the best at what you need to do in a raid: Dps.

Pets
Right now, you want a cat as it's the best dps pet by far.
There are other pets that bring raid buffs/debuffs that can be very good in certain circumstances but I'll pay more attention to those in the what can I bring to a raid section. For straight up Dps, you simply want a cat so if you don't have one yet, this is the time to tame one.

Professions
Leatherworking: Currently the single best hunter profession due to the 130 agility on wrists enchant.
Jewelcrafting: profession #2 because you can get agility.
Blacksmithing: A fairly expensive profession that has little to do with hunters but the option of gemming extra agility gems makes it good for dps.
The rest of the professions are more or less equal in dps.

What can I bring to a raid?
- 10 man

- 25 man

Preparing for raids

Tips & tricks


Edited, Dec 31st 2010 12:03pm by Aethien
____________________________
Theophany wrote:
YOU'RE AN ELITIST @#%^ AETHIEN, NO WONDER YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS AND PEOPLE HATE YOU.
someproteinguy wrote:
Aethien you take more terrible pictures than a Japanese tourist.
Astarin wrote:
One day, Maz, you'll learn not to click on anything Aeth links.
#7 Dec 30 2010 at 5:23 PM Rating: Good
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Hunter resources/Credits

Websites and guides
FemaleDwarf, the hunter spreadsheet/dps calculator and your main tool in figuring out how the %#@! you're going to get the most dps out of your hunter.
EJ's Hunter Forums, Elitist Jerks lives up to it's name but it does have the best info you can get on anything PvE.
Petopia, the tried and true hunter pet database.
TKAsomething, a hunter only forum with less theorycraft but lots more community than EJ.

Hunter UI help
Hunters, like any class, have their own specific needs when it comes to your UI. What kind of things do you need?

- A good way to monitor cooldowns, whether you keep your action bars around or go for a specialized addon to monitor your cooldowns you need to be able to clearly see your cooldowns in a way that you feel comfortable with.
I personally use ForteXorcist but there are many options and it's worth looking into this and trying out different things.
- Well placed unitframes, since we need to keep track of ourselves, our pets, our target, our pet's target, our target's target, our focus target and our focus target's target (and possibly party targets and arena frames as well) things can easily get a little cluttered so when setting up your UI make sure you account for all these different things so that they cannot be mistaken for each other, are easy to see without cluttering your screen and are of an appropriate size to their importance.

Credits
Theophany, for helping me out with the PvP parts of this faq so rate him up for the help.

Edited, Jan 8th 2011 2:29pm by Aethien
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Theophany wrote:
YOU'RE AN ELITIST @#%^ AETHIEN, NO WONDER YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS AND PEOPLE HATE YOU.
someproteinguy wrote:
Aethien you take more terrible pictures than a Japanese tourist.
Astarin wrote:
One day, Maz, you'll learn not to click on anything Aeth links.
#8 Dec 30 2010 at 5:24 PM Rating: Good
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Additional reserved post.
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Theophany wrote:
YOU'RE AN ELITIST @#%^ AETHIEN, NO WONDER YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS AND PEOPLE HATE YOU.
someproteinguy wrote:
Aethien you take more terrible pictures than a Japanese tourist.
Astarin wrote:
One day, Maz, you'll learn not to click on anything Aeth links.
#9 Dec 30 2010 at 5:53 PM Rating: Good
Psh, though I pretty much took all your info and tried to update it a bit for new Cataclysm stuff.
#10 Dec 30 2010 at 5:56 PM Rating: Good
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Yeah, but it's sunken down the page and you haven't touched it in about 6 weeks so I figured I'd write a new sticky as we need one anyway.
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Theophany wrote:
YOU'RE AN ELITIST @#%^ AETHIEN, NO WONDER YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS AND PEOPLE HATE YOU.
someproteinguy wrote:
Aethien you take more terrible pictures than a Japanese tourist.
Astarin wrote:
One day, Maz, you'll learn not to click on anything Aeth links.
#11 Jan 01 2011 at 11:56 PM Rating: Good
So why careful aim? I don't really like to play around with the spreadsheet that much but I would figure you spend a lot more time under 80% than you do above it where AP through the entire boss fight would be more beneficial than extra crit chance on an already high crit spec that only effects one shot in that spec, for only 80% of the boss none the less.
#12 Jan 02 2011 at 4:13 AM Rating: Good
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Because math says it's better than the alternatives, and for dps we listen to math.

Edit: I'll be nice and do the math even:
AotH is 638 AP @85
638 * 0.2 = 127.6 AP
1 AP = ~0.7 dps
127.6 * 0.7 = 89.32 dps.

Assumed:
5 minute fight, 1 minute spent at 80% health or higher.
Cobra shot hits for 5k, crits for 10k.
Hunter has enough haste to get 1.66 second cast time of cobra shot.

In 1 minute, you shoot 10 explosive shots, 3 black arrows, 1 serpent sting, 1 hunter's mark which takes 15 seconds.
45 seconds of cobra shots left you wll fire 45 / 1.66 = 27.1... cobra shots.
Out of those 27 cobra shots an additional 60% will crit which means 27 * 0.6 = 16.2 extra crits, each crit adds 5k damage for a total of 16.2 * 5 = 81k additional damage.
81k over 5 minutes is 81000 / 300 = 270 dps or about 3 times as much as the additional AP from AotH and this difference only grows and grows as gear progresses.

Even if you're incredibly lucky with Thrill of the hunt procs (enabling you to shoot a lot of arcane shots) as long as you shoot more than 9 cobra shots in the first minute (which you will) Careful Aim is better than the bit of attack power.

Of course, once we get to crit percentages of over 40% Careful Aim's use will start to diminish, but it won't be worse than some additional AP until you get some 85-90% crit without any better AP, weapon dps or any other stat than ilevel 346 average.

Edit 2: forgot to take in account Lock and Load which drops the number for Careful Aim a bit but not enough to change the outcome.
Any movement during that first minute will of course tip the scale back further to the advantage of CA as you'll be using AotF.

Edited, Jan 2nd 2011 12:24pm by Aethien
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Theophany wrote:
YOU'RE AN ELITIST @#%^ AETHIEN, NO WONDER YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS AND PEOPLE HATE YOU.
someproteinguy wrote:
Aethien you take more terrible pictures than a Japanese tourist.
Astarin wrote:
One day, Maz, you'll learn not to click on anything Aeth links.
#13 Jan 02 2011 at 10:34 AM Rating: Good
But you're getting 89.32 dps sustained over the 5 minute fight, where with Careful Aim you're getting 270 for 1 minute. If you divide that 270 over the 5 minute fight that's 54 dps per minute.
#14 Jan 02 2011 at 2:10 PM Rating: Good
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His Excellency Aethien wrote:
81k over 5 minutes is 81000 / 300 = 270 dps
its 81k damage over 300 seconds, or 5 minutes, that gives 270 dps.
The fact that you do all of that 81k in the first minute is irrelevant for the overall dps.

Edited, Jan 2nd 2011 9:23pm by Aethien
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Theophany wrote:
YOU'RE AN ELITIST @#%^ AETHIEN, NO WONDER YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS AND PEOPLE HATE YOU.
someproteinguy wrote:
Aethien you take more terrible pictures than a Japanese tourist.
Astarin wrote:
One day, Maz, you'll learn not to click on anything Aeth links.
#15 Jan 02 2011 at 4:26 PM Rating: Good
Whoops, shows how much I read that. Smiley: facepalm
#16 Jan 08 2011 at 4:28 PM Rating: Decent
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Quick edit for the PvP section, as in 4.0.6:

  • Bloodlust, Heroism, Time Warp and Ancient Hysteria can no longer be cast while in Arenas.

  • Ergo hunters don't care too much about it anymore for their arena teams. Smiley: lol
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    #17 Jan 09 2011 at 6:32 AM Rating: Good
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    Heh, now that's a pretty big change to arenas.
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    YOU'RE AN ELITIST @#%^ AETHIEN, NO WONDER YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS AND PEOPLE HATE YOU.
    someproteinguy wrote:
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    Astarin wrote:
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    #18 Jan 09 2011 at 2:48 PM Rating: Decent
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    His Excellency Aethien wrote:
    Heh, now that's a pretty big change to arenas.

    Yeah, and I wish they would have done it at the start of LK so that we wouldn't have seen ********************** shaman teams in 3s and 5s.

    I like that they made BM pretty much worthless in arena, though. Smiley: rolleyes
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    #19 Jan 14 2011 at 5:10 PM Rating: Decent
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    You mention cat as the DPS pet of choice for SV Hunters. What is the DPS pet of choice for BM Hunters or is it totally dependant on the needs of the party due to the unique abilities of exotic pets such as core hounds?

    I personally have a Devilsaur, a Spirit Beast (Loque'nahak), a Core Hound and a Wolf as the pets on my "Call Pet" spell at level 81.

    Any recommendations?
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    #20 Jan 14 2011 at 6:07 PM Rating: Good
    Cat is probably the best pure pet dps based off it's abilities. If your raid if missing a buff or debuff it's best to use whatever pet you need to cover that though, whether it's exotic or not.

    With kind of this more of a balance between specs its better to bring what you need rather than be the best without it. 7-16 other people's dps increase > your own.
    #21 Jan 14 2011 at 8:28 PM Rating: Decent
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    Good to know, that makes me happy, because I like my Spirit Beast, Azrael, more than I like my Devilsaur, and my Spirit Beast is basically a pretty cat with a heal.

    I'll have a look through petopia and make a list of the pets I want in my on-call stable besides Azrael based on their base abilities and Special Abilities...why have a normal pet when I'm a Beast Master? Only exotics for me if I can help it.
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