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Building a hunter towards a specific goal will involve four components: 1. The specialization, 2. The talents, 3. The glyphs, and 4. The pet. One cannot look at one of these four components in isolation, but must understand that all work in synergy.
- Main article: Hunter_abilities
The hunter has three specializations available in the game. The Beast Mastery specialization focuses on abilities that strengthen their pets, and gives the hunter the ability to tame exotic pets. The beast mastery specialization has long been favored for PvP. The Marksman specialization gives the hunter powerful damaging abilities, many that requires casting time. The Marksman specialization could be considered a big-single-target spec. The Survival specialization enables many AOE type abilities with emphasis on traps and dots, it could be considered a 5-man dungeon friendly spec.
In addition to the class-wide abilities gained by the hunter as he/she levels up, the specialization he/she chooses will enable a slew of additional abilities that will change the way the hunter plays, and how he/she can fight. When choosing a specialization, one should look for a number of factors.
- Passives vs. Abilities: How comfortable am I with having many on-use abilities? Would I prefer to have more passive abilities?
- What type of foes will I face? Players will in general ignore the pet and go straight for me, whereas mobs will have aggro tables.
- Do I want to bring utility to a group? Some abilities may hamper my raw damage output but will boost the group much more. Some abilities are great for PvP, but suffer in dungeons or solo.
Beast Mastery Edit
The beast mastery spec brings the following unique abilities to the table.
|10||Kill Command||Ability||Pet Damage||An instant, high-damage, attack from your pet.|
|20||Go for the Throat||Passive||Pet Focus||Your critical strikes cause pet focus regeneration.|
|20||Intimidation||Ability||Pet Crowd Control||Your pet stuns the target.|
|24||Beast Cleave||Passive||Pet AOE||Your Multi-shot causes your pet to issue AOE attacks.|
|30||Frenzy||Passive||Pet Buff||Your pets basic attacks can cause a stacking haste buff on itself.|
|32||Focus Fire||Ability||Buff||You can consume pet Frenzy stacks in exchange for a haste buff on yourself.|
|40||Bestial Wrath||Ability||Pet Mobility/Damage||Your pet break impairments (stun, root, fear, etc.) and attack at a high rate.|
|43||Cobra Strikes||Passive||Pet Buff||Arcane Shot has a chance of buffing your pet with 100% crit chance on 2 subsequent strikes.|
|50||The Beast Within||Passive||Mobility/Damage||The hunter also receives similar effects when using Bestial Wrath.|
|58||Kindred Spirits||Passive||Focus||Increases you and your pets maximum focus by 20.|
|63||Invigoration||Passive||Focus||Pet attacks may cause you to recover focus.|
|69||Exotic Beasts||Passive||Pets||The hunter may tame Exotic Beasts.|
|80||Master of Beasts||Passive||Pet Damage||Increases pet damage.|
|81||Cobra Shot||Ability||Focus||A shot that refreshes the duration of Serpent Sting and regenerates focus.|
The beast mastery spec is certainly focused around improving the damage output of your pet, which becomes formidable in both PvP and PvE. Multi-shot and Beast Cleave syngergize giving you some AOE ability, but in general the beast mastery AOE is rather weak. Arcane Shot will cause Cobra Strikes to proc, boosting your pet's damage output, and hints that the talent Thrill of the Hunt might be a good choice for this spec. The beast master hunter gains a terrific PvP tool in Bestial Wrath and The Beast Within - all casters fear the Big Red Pet.
One important note is that many of the pet's abilities revolve around the Basic Attack of the pet, which is either Bite, Claw, or Smack depending on the pet type. This is a rather costly ability and heavy use of other focus draining abilities will reduce the usage of the basic attack.
The marksmanship specialization enables the following abilities.
|10||Aimed Shot||Ability||Damage||A long cast time, high-damage ability|
|20||Careful Aim||Passive||Buff||Adds crit chance for Aimed Shot and Steady Shot on high-health targets.|
|30||Concussive Barrage||Passive||Debuff||Chimera Shot and Multi-shot dazes targets.|
|45||Bombardment||Passive||Buff||Crits with Multi-shot causes subsequent multi-shots to be buffed and cost less focus.|
|46||Rapid Recuperation||Passive||Focus||Focus regeneration when using Focus Fire.|
|58||Master Marksman||Passive||Buff||Steady Shot can cause Aimed Shot to become instant.|
|60||Chimera Shot||Ability||Damage/Heal||Heals you, and damages target.|
|63||Steady Focus||Passive||Buff||Steady Shot increases focus gain and increases haste.|
|72||Piercing Shots||Passive||Damage||Adds a DOT component to some shots.|
|80||Wild Quiver||Passive||Damage||Gives you a chance of delivering double attacks.|
The survival specialization enables the following abilities.
|10||Explosive Shot||Ability||Damage||A fire damage shot that synergizes with Black Arrow, and Traps.|
|43||Lock and Load||Passive||Damage||May make the next two Explosive Shot free, and have no cooldown when using Traps or Black Arrow.|
|50||Black Arrow||Ability||Damage||A DOT shot that synergizes with Explosive Shot.|
|55||Entrapment||Passive||Debuff||Some traps cause roots.|
|63||Viper Venom||Passive||Focus||Serpent sting's DOT component causes focus regeneration.|
|64||Trap Mastery||Passive||Damage||Reduces cooldowns of traps and Black Arrow and increases their effects.|
|68||Serpent Spread||Passive||Damage||Multi-shot causes targets to be affected by Serpent Sting.|
|70||Improved Serpent Sting||Passive||Damage||Increases damage of Serpent Sting and adds a DD component.|
|80||Essence of the Viper||Passive||Damage||Mastery increases magic damage delivered.|
|81||Cobra Shot||Ability||Focus||A shot that refreshes the duration of Serpent Sting and regenerates focus.|
- Main article: Hunter_talents
The hunter talent tree is broken into the following tiers: 15. Disengage, 30. Crowd Control, 45. Healing/Mitigation, 60. Focus, 75. Pet Damage, 90. Hunter Damage.
Disengage Tier Edit
|15||Posthaste||Narrow Escape||Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera|
At level 15, the hunter chooses a single talent which will affect the way his disengage ability works. Posthaste granting a movement speed buff after a disengage, Narrow Escape encasing nearby enemies in a web - rooting them, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera which reduces the cooldown of deterrence as well as disengage.
Crowd Control Tier Edit
|30||Silencing Shot||Wyvern Sting||Binding Shot|
At level 30, the hunter chooses a single talent which grants him a new shot that will aid him in crowd control: Silencing Shot which interrupts and silences the target for a brief time, Wyvern Sting which sleeps the target for a longer time but breaks on damage, and Binding Shot which is a small AOE root.
Healing/Mitigation Tier Edit
|45||Exhilaration||Aspect of the Iron Hawk||Spirit Bond|
At level 45, the hunter chooses a single talent which helps him in either damage mitigation or healing. Exhilaration gives an on-use ability to give full heal for the hunter's pet, and a 30% heal for himself on a 2-minute cooldown. Aspect of the Iron Hawk replaces Aspect of the Hawk by adding a 15% damage reduction buff to the hunter. Spirit Bond gives the hunter and his pet a passive 2%-per-2-seconds heal over time as long as the pet is summoned.
Focus Tier Edit
|60||Fervor||Dire Beast||Thrill of the Hunt|
At level 60, the hunter chooses a single talent which helps him manage his focus generation. Fervor gives an instant and over time focus regeneration effect. Dire Beast summons another temporary pet which when attacking will cause you to regenerate focus. Thrill of the Hunt is a proccing passive which will cause Arcane Shots to be free, and Multi-shot to cost only 20 focus.
Pet Damage Tier Edit
|75||A Murder of Crows||Blink Strike||Lynx Rush|
At level 75 the hunter chooses a damaging ability that will use a "pet" as the source of the damage. A Murder of Crows applies a physical DOT to an enemy in the form of a large flock, murder, of crows. Blink Strike causes the hunter's pet to teleport behind the targeted enemy and attack for a large amount, Lynx Rush will cause the hunter's pet to jump from target to target in a small area, delivering damage to all in range.
Hunter Damage Tier Edit
At level 90, the hunter chooses a damaging ability that he himself will deliver. Glaive Toss hurls two glaives towards the target - returning to the hunter afterwards, slowing and damaging anyone in their path to or back from the target. Powershot unleashes a damaging shot that knocks back the target and anyone caught in the shot's path. Barrage Is a channeled frontal cone AOE.
- Main article: Hunter_glyphs
The glyphs available to the hunter will make or break the build aimed for as they will synergize with specific talent abilities and specialization abilities towards a specific end. The hunter should choose his glyphs based on the talents he chose, and the purpose he would like to serve.
Unique to the hunter class, he can also specialize and choose pets. Some pets deliver unique buffs and abilities that help in various situations, and the pets themselves can be specialized towards a specific goal.
This section will discuss some choices the hunter can make to improve his performance, or make his game-play more enjoyable in a specific setting.
Player-versus-Environment (PvE) Edit
- Main article: Hunter_PvE_guide
These builds are specific to playing the hunter when focusing on fights involving mobs.
When the hunter is leveling, he will be doing quests solo, occasionally going into dungeons, and maybe do some PvP from time to time. This section will discuss a well rounded build for the leveling hunter.
As the hunter becomes a more frequent guest in normal and heroic dungeons, he might consider re-purposing himself to a more group-friendly build. This section will discuss how to accomplish that.
Boss Soloing Edit
At level cap, or even before, many hunters enjoy the strong capability of the class to solo various boss-type mobs in dungeons. This section will discuss what talents and glyphs are beneficial in certain scenarios.
Player-versus-Player (PvP) Edit
- Main article: Hunter_PvP_guide
These builds are created with the direct purpose of combat with multiple player-characters in mind.
In the Arena, the hunter will be pitted against a small team of opponents in mortal combat. The purpose of the arena build is to eke out the most performance possible to overcome various compositions that he might be facing.
In the battlegrounds, less emphasis on the perfect build is made as the scenarios might vary in what activities will be taken part in.