Monday, July 28, 2008

So You Want to Play a Hunter? Part 4

Thanks for the comments on my last video. There were some concerns that the technique used in the video was hard to understand, which I was afraid of, but I went ahead and tried it anyway. I also had some concerns that the movie did not go "in-depth" enough with techniques for kiting, but in all honesty, the movie was supposed to be intended for a new hunter who isn't level ten yet (or who has never kited before) so hopefully it was okay for me to have skipped some of the more "advanced" tactics.

So you've hit level ten. Yay! Two different important things can happen now: you can use your talent points, and you can tame your pet.

Talent Points:

Before you, you see three possible talent trees to put your points in. I'ma summarize them really quickly: Beast Mastery focuses on making your pet stronger (and eventually making you shoot much faster), Marksmanship focuses on increasing your own Ranged Attack Power, and Survival focuses on critting a lot and using various tricks to survive or help out your party. You could say that Beast Mastery shoots faster but for less per hit, Marksmanship shoots slower but for more per hit, and Survival is slower and does less per hit, but crits all the time. Pick your playstyle!

If you are just starting a hunter and want to get it to endgame, then you should be aware of the fact that the Marksman tree is currently considered to be a rather weak tree compared to the other two; although hopefully this will be remedied (or at least improved a little) in WotLK. It's not such a big deal for leveling though.

In all honesty I do not see there as being a "one true spec" for leveling. They are all going to be reasonably effective. Beast Mastery is often seen as "the leveling" spec because it makes your pet more of a tank and thus you have little downtime, but Tawyn actually leveled Marksmanship until level 55 or so, and had absolutely no problems (though that was before the Growl-changes, so it may be different now). I regret to say I haven't leveled a Survival Hunter past level 17 because I've been so busy with other goals I want to accomplish, but I imagine that leveling Survival, while maybe not as fast as BM or Marks, is still going to be handy because you will rarely die. That is just my conjuncture, however!

A while back Znodis did a lot of testing and found that an interesting BM/MM hybrid (enough MM for Trueshot, then everything else in BM) was actually probably the best spec in terms of grinding and pet threat generation, but it might have changed since then with the growl changes. Regardless, his thoughts are worth a look if you are okay with crazy hybrid specs.

In all honesty I think you should level up in the talent tree that you find most interesting.

If you do want my advice, I am going to say Beast Mastery, and I am going to say spec something like this. Yes, it's a different talent spec than the "leveling spec" I posted a few months back. But I sort of waver on my own personal opinions of a leveling spec, so I change it up a lot. Anyways, the one I posted is basic cookie-cutter 41/20/0 but with some twists that hone it more for leveling and soloing: namely, you swap out Improved Aspect of the Hawk and Improved Revived Pet for Endurance Training and Thick Hide, which are considerably more useful for leveling. I am still thinking about the possibility of Catlike Reflexes instead of Ferocious Inspiration-- I know it sounds like blasphemy, but for leveling it's not a bad choice at all and I wouldn't knock you for it (so long as you respec later if you are going to be instancing/raiding).

If you are still unsure of what you want to do with your talent points and want some time to think about it, but also want to start putting your points somewhere, I'm gonna tell you to put five points in Lethal Shots in Marksmanship and then come back at level 15 (you'll hopefully have decided by then). Heck, all my hunters level Beast Mastery and almost without fail I put the five points in Lethal Shots first. But that's maybe cause I'm a crit fiend.

Anyways, I don't want to go massively in-depth on the subject of leveling talent points, but I might do that in a later post if enough people are interested or think it's a good idea.


Pets! Yay! My favorite part of playing a hunter!

First of all, be aware of the fact that you will have to do your pet quest in your race's homelands; at the first major town you encounter after you leave the level 1-5 starting zone. So yes, that means that if you pulled a Tawyn and ran your Night Elf to Elwynn Forest at level six, you will have to go aaaaall the way back to Teldrassil.

The pet quest itself is pretty simple and involves you going and "taming" a few different test pets that the quest giver will tell you to tame. You will do this for three different pets until you are given the skill to tame pets permanently. Then you are sent to your home city (Ironforge, Thunder Bluff, etc. depending on your race) to pick up a couple extra (and necessary! Do not skip this step) skills and then you will be good to go!

"Pike, what pet do I pick?" Well back in the day, boars were seen as the supreme leveling pet and for good reason: their threat generation was massive. But the Boar-Shaped PiƱata since been whacked into oblivion with the Nerf Stick so there is really no ultimate-leveling pet anymore. You may opt to go with something that has high armor, such as a bear-- keep in mind that bears cannot use Dash, though.

But see, my thoughts on pets has always been that you don't choose the pet, the pet chooses you.

Pike would tell her young Padawan to study Petopia closely, browse the available pets that are level ten or lower, and pick the one that jumps out to them. There are no restrictions, although remember that only some pets will be able to learn Dash/Dive at higher levels (which makes leveling quicker), and some pets are considered to be better for endgame (windserpents, ravagers, cats, and raptors fall into this category), but if you like a non-standard pet, then go for it.

What's that you say? You found a pet you like but it's on the other end of the world? ...what are you waiting for? You're a hunter! Go get it!

And I would walk five hundred miles
And I would walk five hundred more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door...

That's my level eleven dwarf hunter. In Durotar. Getting there was an adventure, it involved running through Duskwood (and dying a million times) and I would have died a million times in Stranglethorn Vale, too, but lemme tell you, having a level 70 priest put a bubble on you and then tell you "Run!" and follow you all the way through the zone makes things a LOT easier.

When I first got there, the dinosaur I wanted to tame was level eleven, and I was level ten. And, as you may or may not know, you can only tame pets that are your level or lower. So I grinded myself up a level on the random critters running around Durotar, managed to tame a rare Scorpion while I was at it and nab myself Claw 2, and finally abandoned him so I could tame my new dinosaur:

So cute!

Well, I'd like to go in more detail on pets and how your huntering strategy has changed now that you have a pet, but this blog post is already obscenely long, so we'll discuss that later. In the meantime, the afore mentioned Petopia is an amazing resource to peruse if you have pet-related questions.

As always... leave me your comments and questions!


DeluksZ said...

Well... I have been reading this blog for a while but I never made any comments. Habit broke now. I like you style of explaining things. You go into details and say everything very clearly even if the thing you describe is trivial. Keep it up.

I describe myself as a hunter fanatic also. I have 2 lvl70 hunter character and I think that's enough for the proof:) I made a video while I was levelling my second one ( maybe you are interested. It is nothing but a very little and basic trapping advice.

And say hello to your next regular comment maker:)

Across said...

Wow, lyrics from the greatest song ever made.

bobo&sgtpork said...

I agree with the way to choose a pet. I must have 20 hunter alts, each so I could have that certain hunter/pet combo :)

Awlbiste said...

Don't forget the ghost run method for taming pets, I used it to get my Belf a ghostsabre. Mania wrote about it awhile back but basically just die, run as a ghost to your chosen pet's zone (this is much much faster then die, rez, die, rez, etc). Find the nearest graveyard, log all the way out and back in and take the spirit rez. Voila, you're alive in your pet's zone.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I am actually getting back into playing a hunter.

I was curious though what action bar addon(s) do you use?

Pike said...

@ G.D. Hammel - I use Stellarbars.

@ Deluksz - great movie, I'm glad to see other people out there making "hunter guide" videos!

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I am going to check that addon out.