Monday, July 7, 2008

So You Want to Play a Hunter? Part 1


So you think you want to play a hunter, do you...?

Are you willing to accept the fact that you are going to be playing the most played class in the game and as such you will have to work hard to distinguish yourself if you want to stand out and prove yourself?

Are you willing to accept the fact that there are a lot of people who have given hunters a bad name and as such you will often find yourself in the position of being the WoW-equivalent of the kid who was picked last in gym class?: "Hey, there's a hunter in LFG." "..." "Yeah, we'll find someone else."

Are you willing to accept the fact that a lot of people are going to assume you don't know how to do your job(s)? Most people assume that mages know how to polymorph and rogues know how to sap. Yet in my experience... most people assume that I do not know how to trap, at least not properly. You have to show that you can.

Are you willing to accept the fact that a lot of people out there think that you are an overpowered and/or easy-mode class, and are you okay with being ribbed for it?

And despite the fact that you are often viewed as the easy-mode class, do you realize that you are going to have to do an incredible amount of micromanagement? Precisely timing your shot rotations. Controlling your pet. Keeping your pet alive. Chain-trapping. Kiting. Watching yours and the party's aggro. Doing massive amounts of DPS. All at the same time. Hunters are deep. Deeper than a lot of people will ever give you credit for. Are you prepared to find your own pride in your class because many other people will not give you the luxury of telling you themselves?

Are you prepared to give up a bag slot for a quiver or ammo pouch? Prepared to spend extra time going out and taming new pets so you can keep your pet skills up? Prepared to forego rested experience in favor of leveling up with your pets if you want to level up two at a time?

And perhaps most importantly, are you prepared to have an absolute blast?

If so, read on...

The Birth of a Hunter:

So there you are, at the character selection screen. Maybe you've already got faction picked out, maybe you don't. What race is best for your newfound hunterness? Well before I go any further, I want to say that honestly I think you should pick the race you think you'll most enjoy playing. Racials can be handy but in the long run the difference they make is usually not particularly huge. But here are the racials...


Draenei: Draenei hunters get Heroic Presence, which increases their chance to hit and also their pet's chance to hit by 1%. That might not seem like much, but it is actually going to be quite handy later on when you're trying to reach the hit cap, and of course, this is basically the only way except through the Animal Handler talent that you can increase your pet's chance to hit. Draenei also get Gift of the Naaru, meaning they can heal themselves or their pet in a tricky situation (I imagine a Mend Pet + Gift of the Naaru combo is very useful in emergencies). An overall solid race choice in my opinion.

Dwarves: Gun Specialization gives Dwarves an extra 1% crit when using a gun. This is quite handy, but on the other hand, if you wind up running into a really nice bow or crossbow that you'd rather use, then this racial becomes a moot point. Stoneform is going to come in super handy in PvP because it will remove a rogue's poisons, a warrior's bleed effects, and a hunter's stings. It also works in some PvE situations (for example, Moroes' garrote, or annoyingly long-lasting diseases). Again, a solid choice.

Night Elves: The "Night Elf Huntard" stereotype alone is enough to drive many long-time WoWers away from this option, and to be honest they're not missing much: while the Shadowmeld/Stealthed-cat combo is fun and can be quite effective, I myself have never found much of a need to teach a cat Prowl and I imagine most hunters would be in a similar situation. You also get a slight dodge increase (reasonably helpful in PvP), oh, and you can brag about getting back to your corpse faster when you die. *cough* Myself, I do have to say that I like night elves, because they have silly ears, and because I like proving people wrong when they assume that I am "just another night elf huntard". (In PvP too; nothin' makes the hordies mad like losing to a night elf hunter.) But they are probably the weakest choice for an Alliance hunter in terms of racials.


Blood Elves: These guys have Arcane Torrent and Mana Tap which can be pretty decent against casters or when you're low on mana. Really that's all you've got to help you out though, in terms of racials, and these spells depend on you being close to your target which you probably won't be most of the time. Blood elves do also get slight magic resistance which they can share with their pet, though.

Orcs: Orcs have a reputation of being the best choice for a hunter, period, which is why you see so many orc hunters running around (I do, anyway), and that reputation is well-deserved. Blood Fury is going to provide a very nice Attack Power buff (282 AP at level 70) which your pet will also glean some benefit from, Command is going to increase your pet's damage by 5%, and Hardiness gives you an extra 15% resistance to stun effects (super nice in PvP). You really can't go wrong with orcs.

Tauren: Tauren get a health boost (which in turn gives your pet a slight health boost) (thanks for the correction Sonvar!), Nature Resistance like Night Elves, and War Stomp, which can be quite useful when trying to get back into range. Overall the tauren racials really aren't as hunter-helpful as some of the other races but they're also not too bad.

Trolls: A solid choice for a horde hunter (though probably still second to orcs); trolls get Bow Specialization so they get an extra 1% crit with bows, as well as the ability to slightly increase attack speed (Berserk) and a beastslaying bonus which is useful for soloing or certain instances like Underbog. Again though, remember that if you wind up using a really nice gun or crossbow then your Bow Specialization becomes useless.

Once again, overall, I think that if one feels drawn to a certain race because of their backstory or the way they look, then by all means, play that race, even if the racials aren't the best. My own current three highest level hunters are a night elf, a tauren, and a blood elf, and if you asked me, I'd say those are the three "weakest" races in terms of hunter racials. And yet I adore playing those characters because I have stories for them. Don't be afraid to play whatever race you want.

Well, that sums up our first segment of "So You Want to Play a Hunter?". I imagine this will be a very long-running series because I have a lot to cover, and a lot of you guys left TONS of comments in my "Request for Comments" post, which shows me there is more of a demand for this type of thing than I initially thought. Got questions/comments? *points at Comment Box* fire away!


Goeben said...

One additional point of comparisson: avatar size. I play a Tauren hunter and he is huge, which can be kind of fun at times but is a huge pain in enclosed areas and in PvP.

Mister Adequate said...

I can confirm that mend pet + Gift of the Naaru is, at least in my experience, wonderful. Really helps with taking on elites.

lethal said...

I rolled an Orc Hunter named Corgak.
Loving the sweet DPS vs my Paladin

Nice reading

Anonymous said...

War Stomp is wonderful when you're soloing and you pull aggro off of your pet (which happens a lot with me because I'm too impatient to wait for him to gain aggro). I can't imagine rolling another hunter that isn't a tauren and losing that 3 second stun.

MW said...

What mister adequate said. My draenei hunter was the first Alliance character I got past 30, and at 31 I accidentally soloed Morbent Fel with her. (Didn't know he was there and didn't have the quest — aggroed him while exploring.) Mend Pet and Gift of the Naaru kept my pet alive until about two seconds before he went down, barely.

Viktel said...

Nice work.

And I indeed have an Orc hunter myself in addition to my nelf huter.

Looking forward to more.

Boothy20 said...

Nice blog,

My main's a Belf hunter @ 70 and amongst my many alts is a Troll hunter, currently @ 37.
The Troll seems very susceptible to stun effects. You only have to look at him funny and he's seeing stars. I don't recall having this problem with my Belf and was wondering if this could be a racial thing... Or what I need to do to make him more resistant.

Nomakk said...

Nelf's are cunning and clever! :) As a Nelf hunter, I have always been happy when me and my pet stealth in WSG. Someone grabs the flag, I aimed shot out of stealth and my pet gets a nice hit boost as well. It's fun to be a hunter-rogue sometimes.

Also, I suppose when i do something like tank maiden for 30 seconds (2 nights ago) I can attribute part of that to my extra dodge? :)

Anonymous said...

The Tauren's increased health doesn't go to your pet. As the pet only gets a bonus to health from a toon's stamina and the tauren's bonus just goes directly to their health not to their stamina.

And with what Orcs get I would agree that they are a better overall choice in PvE/PvP as far as their racials go.

Though I will always be fond of Draenei regardless of class. I don't know what it is about them but I love them as a race.

MW said...

Forgot to mention this earlier. Mana tap can be really fantastic for PVP in AV or for world PVP if it gets thick. It's a really nice way to shut down a healer or 'lock for a few seconds if you get sucked into the thick of things (which, thanks to my laggy computer and lack of skillz, I often do) and find yourself standing next to one.

TheBigBearButt said...

What a great post, and such a dead-on intro... awesome!

Anonymous said...

Just a quick thought that i have not seen mentioned,

I have a Tauren Hunter I use in Arenas and find the Racial Warstomp, combined in a Macro with aspect of the monkey and wing clip is not just a luxury in PVP but a necessity against Stealth.(Hunter's Bane). The reason I feel this is against a CC rogue u get 1 chance,(if ur lucky), to get in range attacks and I cant see how this can be done without warstomp? If there is some other alternatives that you could suggest I would very much appreciate them TY :)

Bikutanda of Nazgrel said...

Great write-up.
I quoted some of your post. Hope you dont mind too much :)

Watermist said...

War stomp is the eptiome of awesomeness.

I cannot recall how often War Stomp have saved my hunter's life (and her beloved wolf as well!).

Heck, why not - here's two stories of how War Stomp (and few other tricks) saved my life:

I was level 18. I was questing in the Barrens (the hunter being my first toon, and it was back in the 2005, and I was 15 years old at the time, so I didn't know what a horrible place the Barrens was) and my dad came and told me that I had to log off. So I found a nice little hill and climbed to the top and sat down and got ready to log out...

"You are in combat." (Howler, the wolf, was on defensive so he attacked the raptor while my Tauren [and me] went "Huh??")

Uhoh! A level 16 raptor! Kill kill kill kill it! Haha! Wait, what? "[Forgot the specific name of the raptor... Sun-something Screech-something] has shrieked for help!"


Bam! Something hit me... Howler immediately latched himself on ANOTHER raptor, and I saw ANOTHER raptor right behind it! Uhoh! Kill kill kill kill them! Wait, they killed Howler! (But I got the second one down, and the third one was at about 20% health.)


Rez Howler!

Kill kill kill kill it!


"[Insert specific raptor name here] has shrieked for help!"

You gotta be kidding me. (Remember, I'm level 18... recently dinged, too, so Howler was level 17. The raptors all were 16 and 17s. I was on a little hill not too far away from the Sludge Fen... tons of raptors.)

I just stood there, confused. Didn't I just killed all the raptors in the radius - BAM!

My loyal Howler decided that he didn't like the fourth and the fifth raptors who decided they wanted some hamburgers.


Kill kill kill kill them! Oh, no! Howler died again! (Killed the fourth... the fifth was 60% down.)

Yay! War Stomp can be used! WAR STOMPIN' TIME!!

Rez Howler! Kill kill kill kill it!

"[Raptor] has shrieked for help!"

Ha. I KNOW I've killed all the raptors within the radius so there are none around - BAM!

Two more raptors. You guessed it... Kill kill kill kill them! Howler died after the sixth raptor with the seventh raptor at about 30% health. War Stomp was ALMOST ready so I just ran around with a few Wing Clips and...


Rez Howler!

Kill kill kill kill it!

..Yay! No cry for help! HAHAHAHAHA, who's the queen of the hill!? Who's the queen of the hill, who's the queen of the hill, that's me! Haha!

The whole thing took me ten minutes. Tons of leathers for my Leatherworking and Howler dinged 18. Oh, and my dad was mad at me for "staying up so late" so I got grounded. Figures.

The second story:

I was in Winterspring (despite me starting WoW back in 2005, due to school and parental controls, I level sloooowly so I was level 57 at the time and BC had been out for about two months), grinding on the Frostsabers (leather and experience. Two birds with one stone).

You know, at level 57, those stalkers appear orange at level 60? And they tend to be level 60...

Anyways, I was happily killing cats right and left (I hate cats as hunters' pets with a passion because a real douchebag kept trying with all his might to make me respec to BM [no, I've been MM for 3 years. I'm staying that way. Besides, I have two more hunters, one being BM. Why should I respec my beloved main hunter?] and trying to make me ditch my beloved, wonderful Howler "for a GOOD pet" - I know wolves aren't great in BC, but Howler gets the job done!) so I enjoy murdering those kitties. (And ironically, in real life, I ADORE my fat old cat.)

One small thing... I forgot how crowded the stalkers are in that small area (Frostsaber Pride or Rock whatever that area is called).

Anyways... I spy a Stalker! Go, Howler! Gnaw on that kitty! Gnaw gnaw gnaw - yay! Dead - wait, what? A kitty right on me! Yah!

WAR STOMPIN' TIME and Wing Clip to let Howler catch the kitty! Haha! Kill kill kill killin' time! kiddin' me!? Another kitty! Second kitty died... Howler, sic that kitty! Gnaw gnaw gnaw - wait, what? Howler died!

Gah! Freezing trap time!

Rez Howler! Toss on Mend Pet and Feign Death to let Howler aggro the kitty. Kill kill kill kill! Bwahaha! (Forgot to mention... I was running all over the place via a mixture of shafting and jumping with a TINY bit of backing up.)

Bam! Fourth kitty! Howler, like always, was on defensive (no worries... I know to put him on Passive in instances) so he showed that kitty why one don't attack his mistress.

Kill kill kill killin' time! Ack, another kitty popped out stealth to hit me! No problem - freezing trap time! Haha, who's the boss, kitty!?

Wait, there's still the fourth kitty... and the Mend Pet didn't last so long on Howler (remember: the kitties were level 59 and 60... Howler and I were level 57, and with NO points in BM [Improved Mending Pet] at all). Ack! Mend Pet - wait, Howler died... but HAHA! Killed the kitty before he reached me!

Uhoh... kitty behind me thawed out - WAR STOMPIN' TIME!!!

Rez Howler! Mend Pet and Feign Death!

Kill kill kill kill that stinkin' kitty!

And so the total process took me about six minutes (I was chatting the whole time on guild chat. I'm known for my ability to fight and talk [via typing. I use a laptop so no mouse... so yes, I use keys to fight and move around] at the time effecitively). Five dead (three 'orange' level) kitties... more leather for Leatherworking! Yay, and I got a nice set of experience (Howler, however, was not happy with his two deaths. Here you go, Howler, some tasty birdies for you!).

...Yeah, you see why I love War Stomp. They've gotten me out of many crazy situations - and do you know how long it takes for a unspecced hunter to rez a pet?? Forever! Haha. I still look back on those two fights with fondness...

(By the way, I use those two stories to get that stupid "BM, cats, epic gear [I hate PVPing and raiding] IS THE ONLY WAY TO PLAY HUNTERS!" Oh, have I mentioned that he made his hunter only in 2007, compared to my born-in-2005-and-therefore-I-know-my-things-because-like-you-can-see-I'm-not-a-total-noob-despite-being-only-15 (raptor story)-and-17 (kitty story)-at-the-time TO FREAKING STOP TELLING ME HOW TO PLAY MY HUNTER. BWAHAHAHAHA. I RULE!!! BWAHAHAHA!!!)

Hope you enjoy the stories! :D

(BTW, I read all your blogs... I love them. I love the fact that you respect how we choose specs and pets, and that you respect that not everybody likes to PVP or raid. You're funny. You love Starcraft and you love Pokemon... you rock!)

(Erk. I'm not sure whether I'm double-posting or not. I hope not O.O)