Hello Fellow Hunters and Hunteresses,
I won’t be delving into talent builds or spell rotations in this guide, as one of the top Hunters in the world (Azortharion) has a very in-depth guide on Icy Veins. He provides a very thorough look at the talents, rotations, enchants, etc., for each spec (Beast Mastery, Marksmanship, and Survival) that every Hunter should read up on. I think for many hunters, my time spent in this guide is better used to highlight and talk about the pitfalls of the spec and the common mistakes Hunters in general make. The Hunter Class has earned a bad reputation in World of Warcraft, some of it deserved, some of it isn’t.
I should note, that most of my guide relates to the 2 ranged specs of Hunters, Marksmanship and Beast Mastery. I admittedly don't have much knowledge with Survival, as I don't play it. When I get some free time, I'll be giving it a try, but my personal opinion is that a Hunter is ranged, first and foremost, and it's why I chose it.
Hunters are the only ranged class in World of Warcraft that have an Auto Attack. This makes our class susceptible to either pulling before the group is ready, or pulling additional enemies in the current fight. This can cost the group in a multitude of ways, like causing a wipe on a raid boss or wiping the group in a dungeon. We don’t want that to happen, but unfortunately it will, no matter how hard you work at avoiding it. The auto shot timer doesn’t always reset at the end of combat, and the next target you select may get auto shot, even if you only left clicked, or even tab targeted it. It seems this happens more often when I haven’t de-selected my current dead target, and just target the next enemy in my way. My solution, a macro that cancels my current target and stops my attack. I’ll go over hunter macros later on.
The next thing that can plague the Hunter is their pet, if they are spec’ed for one. Pet pathing can cause all sorts of problems for the Hunter. Hunter pets, as with all pets in other classes, don’t like to jump off ledges, or similar obstacles. If you jump off a ledge to skip some enemies, and there is an alternate route that doesn’t involve the jump, your pet will take the alternate path. It’s going to run past all the enemies you were avoiding as it makes its way back to you on the lower level, dragging all of his new found friends. In Legion, this appears to have received a little corrective work by Blizzard, but I still advise to Dismiss your pet before any jumping occurs. Also, if your group is trying to hug a wall to avoid some packs of enemies, and say you have to hop on a rock to hug the wall, your pet may just go around the rock and aggro the enemies you were avoiding.
Something to note about pet specific spells, they cannot be placed on your normal action bar. These have to be in a macro to place here. Further below, I list a couple of my Hunter Macros.
Next up for ways that Hunters can ruin a party, is a couple of our spells, or shots. The famed Barrage is where I’ll start. Barrage is a talent choice in the Level 90 bracket. For Marksmanship spec’ed hunters, Barrage is the best single target and multi target DPS choice, bar none. Barrage is a unique ability that is supposed to be a frontal cone AoE. Barrage’s ranged is always max, period. Unlike most other abilities that end at the target, Barrage keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny. Currently, Mastery extends the range of all of your abilities. I’m currently at 9777 MS (22.5%) and my Barrage’s range is 50 yards. This means that if my target is 10 yards away, my Barrage is extending 40 yards beyond. In dungeons that are packed to the brim with enemies, or your trying to skip packs, you need to be very sure of your abilities range. In the BM spec, Barrage is a situational talent. Murder of Crows and Volley both provide a comparable damage, and could be chosen based on the encounter at hand.
In the BM talents, Stampede in the level 100 row, is the go to choice. Stampede, like Barrage also uses its entire range, every time. Stampedes, range is 30 yards, so it is much more manageable. Just be aware of the next group in front of you.
In the typical MM build, the level 100 talent choice is Sidewinders. Sidewinders has a range of 50 yards at my Mastery, by it stops at my target, unlike Barrage. Similar to Barrage though, it is a frontal cone shot. If you have enemies off to the sides you are trying to avoid, beware that Sidewinders, or Barrage can tag them and bring them into combat. I’ll be adding some diagrams of how positioning yourself can help to avoid some of the issues with Barrage and Sidewinders below.
Auto shot sniping – I use a macro to clear my target and stop attacking.
Pet pathing – Dismiss your pet whenever jumping off ledges or platforms. If you make it down and forgot to dismiss beforehand, dismiss immediately upon reaching your destination, and then Feign Death. This will reset the enemies your fluffy friend was bringing to the luau.
Barrage – This spell takes some practice, plain and simple. Here are some positioning tips to aid you in avoiding pulling extra enemies. Barrage can be aimed somewhat, and I advise to be holding your right mouse button whenever you use it. Barrage faces towards the enemy, and if that enemy teleports behind you, you turn to the appropriate direction. Holding your right mouse button down will prevent this from happening, 95% of the time.
Don’t be afraid to ask the tank to position a little different if you think it would help. In random groups this may not get any response, but my experience is that most tanks want things to go smoothly and if it’s not a big adjustment will gladly make the change.
Sidewinders – Sidewinders is not quite as difficult to manage as Barrage, but it can still pose a problem when used at max range. Since it is a conal ability, it gets wider the further away from you it gets. This, like Barrage, can pull enemies that are out of aggro range to the sides of the melee standing nearby, and add them to the current fight.
Volley – I didn’t mention it above, but Volley can have a few quirks to it. First, when you die, remember to reactivate it. For some reason, Blizzard defaults this off when you die.
Barrage, Sidewinders and Volley all have the possibility of pulling extra enemies that are above or below you. The abilities do not play in a 2-dimensional world, so when I say they are a conal ability, think like a big funnel. The area they encompass not only grows to the left and right, but up and down as well. Be aware of your surrounding before the use of these. Neutral or hostile birds flying well out of your field of view are easily pulled. Barrage and Sidewinder has been known to pull through walls as well. It hasn’t happened to me for a while now, and maybe that is because I’m more cautious in my use, but be aware that this may happen.
If you are unsure if Barrage or Sidewinders will pull extras into the fight, DON’T USE THEM. Lower dps on a pack here or there is better than running back from the entrance after a wipe.
If you do manage to pull some extra enemies, all hope is not lost in some cases. If they were far enough away, you may be able to Feign Death and reset them. Hopefully you are quick enough on the FD before the tank sees them and taunts them over.
Bartender – Adds button bars and lets you configure/place where ever you’d like on the screen
GTFO – Audible warning you are standing in stupid stuff, GTFO!!!
Healbot – Allows you to link mouse over macros to your raid frames.
oRA3 – Provides additional party information, who broke CC, and if anyone Tricks of the Trade or Misdirection’ed, and to who.
Shadowed Unit Frames – Movable Unit Frames for character and target, plus many more options
Tidy Plates – Unit Frames showing aggro, debuffs, combat status, and much much more. This is the only addon I hope every Hunter uses. It makes tracking MM buffs so much easier. Clear timers and icon to indicate Marked Target and Vulnerable Target.
Quartz – Movable cast bar. Lightweight addon.
I do not advocate a spell flash addon. The MM Hunter class doesn’t have a set rotation, and its priority is based on proc’s and/or CD’s, or a combination thereof.
Misdirection (for use with clickable raid frames, ie Healbot) this macro allows 1 click misdirection to any player in my raid frames. Just select the macro instead of a spell like normal.
/use [@mouseover,help,nodead] Misdirection
Counter Shot allows an instant interrupt, cancels everything happening to get that interrupt out-
#showtooltip Counter Shot
/use Counter Shot
Heart of the Phoenix
#showtooltip Heart of the Phoenix(Ferocity Ability)
/use Heart of the Phoenix(Ferocity Ability)
Aspect of the Turtle AotT has an 8 second long effect. To cancel early to get back in the fight use-
/cancelaura Aspect of the Turtle
If you need help with any hunter related thing, give me a shout in-game or make a thread here and we’ll work on getting whatever it is resolved.
Also, if you make a mistake that causes the group to wipe, don’t fret. Speak up, let the group know you are aware what you did was bad. Most players are willing to accept mistakes as long as they know the offender is aware and probably trying to correct it.
Wowhead BM Guide
Wowhead MM Guide
Wowhead Survival Guide
P.S. I'll be adding in some positioning diagrams as soon as I can learn to draw, or have access to CAD (should be this week). I'll also be adding a little more in-depth information on the MM & BM specs, but in all reality, Azorthorian's guides are top notch for Hunters. I do have a few things I differ on in my rotation that help me with my DPS that I think he doesn't cover well.