Classic Hunter Leveling Guide 1-60

Last updated on Jun 12, 2019 at 19:30 by Impakt 1 comment
General Information

Wlecome to our Classic leveling guide for Hunters. Here, you will learn how to efficiently level your Hunter all the way to Level 60.

1. Foreword

While leveling, your time spent can be put into three categories: combat, downtime, and travel. Hunters are widely considered to be the strongest solo leveling class in Classic WoW because they excel at all three in unique ways. Once you get your pet at Level 10, you will notice your kill speed increase and your downtime drop drastically. By using your pet to tank, you can kill enemies with Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting and Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot. This allows you to kill enemies without spending much Mana and only your pet losing health. If you keep your pet fed and use Mend Pet Icon Mend Pet frequently, your pet will stay healthy and loyal, allowing you to keep fighting with little to no downtime between enemies. Additionally, you will get Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah at Level 20, which will cut down your travel time until you get your first mount.

2. Leveling in a Group as a Hunter

Contrary to popular belief, leveling with a partner or as part of a group is not a terrible thing. In fact, for most classes, leveling with a partner is actually better than leveling solo. Hunter is the exception; your leveling speed in a group as a Hunter will not be better than by yourself, if you have experience leveling. Hunter is the best solo class in the game, so leveling with one or more people will be neutral at best. That being said, grouping with friends could help them level faster while not slowing you down much, which could be worth doing if you want to help them out.

3. Hunter Abilities

Hunters have lots of different abilities to learn, some more useful than others. Gold is going to be scarce while leveling and it is incredibly important to be saving gold for your first mount at level 40. Thus, you should not train every rank of every skill. It is important to have an idea of what skills are worth having and what you can live without.

3.1. Recommended Skills to Upgrade as a Hunter

If you are playing on a PvP server and are concerned about fighting other players, you can also choose to get Viper Sting Icon Viper Sting for fighting casters or Flare Icon Flare for fighting Rogues and Druids.

Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting and Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot make up the bulk of your ranged damage, combined with your Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot. For AoE, Multi-Shot Icon Multi-Shot, Explosive Trap Icon Explosive Trap, and Volley Icon Volley can all be great tools for killing multiple targets, but you always have to be careful to make sure you are not the one picking up threat; either your pet or a party member should be holding threat if you are trying to AoE.

Concussive Shot Icon Concussive Shot, Wing Clip Icon Wing Clip, Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap, Freezing Trap Icon Freezing Trap, and Scare Beast Icon Scare Beast are all valuable disengage and crowd control tools for both PvP and PvE.

Feign Death Icon Feign Death is one of the single most important buttons in your toolkit and is a unique mechanic to Hunters. Use this any time you need to get out of a bad situation and need to leave combat or drop threat.

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Level: 1

4. Talents for Leveling as a Hunter

Beast Mastery is the best leveling spec for Hunter. As Beast Mastery, your pet will take less damage and deal more damage, allowing it to hold threat more easily. Marksmanship is viable, but you will be more vulnerable to doing too much damage compared to your pet, making it harder to let your pet tank enemies. Beast Mastery also has important movement speed talents, along with Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath, an extremely powerful damage cooldown. Survival is the worst of the choices and will be outperformed by both other specs in all areas.

Hunter Talents Level 10 to 19 Hunter Talents Level 20 to 29 Hunter Talents Level 30 to 39 Hunter Talents Level 40 to 49 Hunter Talents Level 50 to 60
  1. Improved Aspect of the Hawk Icon Improved Aspect of the Hawk;
  2. Improved Revive Pet Icon Improved Revive Pet;
  3. Thick Hide Icon Thick Hide.

Improved Aspect of the Hawk Icon Improved Aspect of the Hawk is a huge damage gain when it procs, making it a solid choice for both leveling and at Level 60, regardless of spec. Improved Revive Pet Icon Improved Revive Pet is hugely important for if your pet ever dies during combat and just to make it easier to cast. Thick Hide Icon Thick Hide will reduce the damage your pet takes. Endurance Training Icon Endurance Training is a mediocre alternative, but max health is worse than reducing damage taken.

  1. Pathfinding Icon Pathfinding;
  2. Bestial Swiftness Icon Bestial Swiftness;
  3. Unleashed Fury Icon Unleashed Fury;
  4. Ferocity Icon Ferocity.

Pathfinding Icon Pathfinding will improve your travel time, which will make your life much easier until you get a mount. Bestial Swiftness Icon Bestial Swiftness will improve your pet's ability to engage enemies and run to new enemies as you need it to, reducing the amount of time you need to wait before you can attack new enemies. Unleashed Fury Icon Unleashed Fury and Ferocity Icon Ferocity are solid damage increases for your pet, which will also increase its threat generation.

  1. Intimidation Icon Intimidation;
  2. Ferocity Icon Ferocity;
  3. Bestial Discipline Icon Bestial Discipline;
  4. Frenzy Icon Frenzy.

Intimidation Icon Intimidation is a great ability to have for threat generation, crowd control, and as a survival tool. You should talent it before finishing Ferocity Icon Ferocity, or as soon as you hit Level 30. Bestial Discipline Icon Bestial Discipline is more of a personal preference for where you want to put this point, but is an average option, letting your pet do more damage through its Focus spending abilities. Frenzy Icon Frenzy is one of the most powerful talents you will pick up, and will help your pet's damage and threat immensely. It is also worth noting that once you pick up this talent, pets with faster attack speeds become much stronger, due to the higher uptime they will have from this talent.

  1. Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath;
  2. Improved Concussive Shot Icon Improved Concussive Shot;
  3. Lethal Shots Icon Lethal Shots.

Bestial Wrath Icon Bestial Wrath is an incredible damage cooldown that you should use whenever possible. This ability is what makes this spec viable at low gear levels at Level 60. After you pick up Bestial Wrath, go into the Marksmanship tree. For the first talent, this is a personal preference choice based on what type of server you are playing on. If you plan on doing no PvP at all, take Efficiency Icon Efficiency. If there is any chance you might encounter some PvP, take Improved Concussive Shot Icon Improved Concussive Shot. Improved Concussive Shot is one of the best PvP talents that Hunters have, and is essential for any PvP build. This talent is one of the reasons you will be the bane of any melee opponent. Lastly, Lethal Shots Icon Lethal Shots is a strong damage increase.

  1. Lethal Shots Icon Lethal Shots;
  2. Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot;
  3. Hawk Eye Icon Hawk Eye;
  4. Efficiency Icon Efficiency;
  5. Mortal Shots Icon Mortal Shots.

After finishing off Lethal Shots Icon Lethal Shots, pick up Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot. This will be your hardest hitting ability, and should be used as an opener on any enemy you fight. It is worth nothing that Aimed Shot shares a cooldown with Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot, so once you pick up Aimed Shot, you will rarely, if ever, Arcane Shot. The extra range from Hawk Eye Icon Hawk Eye is a nice quality of life increase, and will also make PvP much easier. The next point is personal preference just to unlock Mortal Shots Icon Mortal Shots, which, again, is a solid damage increase.

5. Leveling Rotation for Hunters

Once you get your pet at Level 10, you should be using it to tank enemies while you kill them with your ranged attacks. Your basic rotation for killing enemies should be as follows.

  1. Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot;
  2. Command your pet to attack the target;
  3. Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark;
  4. Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot;
  5. Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting;
  6. Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot;
  7. Aimed Shot Icon Aimed Shot if you are fine on mana;
  8. Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot if you are fine on mana;
  9. Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot until the enemy is dead.

5.1. Auto Shot

Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot is your most basic attack and your primary source of damage. Auto Shot in Classic is very different from modern WoW, however, and is more like a spell that needs casting. If your bow has a 3.0 second attack speed on it (shown in the tooltip), then you'll shoot an arrow every 3.0 seconds while attacking your target. However, Auto Shot does not take a full 3.0 seconds to shoot; it only requires that you stand still and do nothing else for the first 0.5 seconds of that 3.0 second window. For the remaining 2.5 seconds, you can move, use other abilities, or do whatever you want without costing you any potential attacks. This 0.5 second “cast time” for Auto Shot is consistent for whatever weapon or weapon speed you end up using. Part of maximizing your damage on a Hunter is never “clipping” your auto shots, which means ensuring that you are always shooting as soon as it is back up. It is also worth noting that Auto Shot is affected by Haste. So, if your weapon speed is 3.0 seconds, but you have 40% increased ranged attack speed from Rapid Fire Icon Rapid Fire, then the time between Auto Shots will be reduced by 40%.

6. Weapons for Hunters

Getting upgrades on any piece of gear will help the leveling process, but the single most important upgrades to look for are weapons. Bow or Gun upgrades can greatly improve your leveling speed. You should always be on the lookout for potential ranged weapon upgrades which have a higher DPS than your current weapon.

6.1. Weapon Trainers

In Classic WoW, you do not automatically know how to use all possible weapons. To learn how to use a new type of weapon, you will need to visit a weapon master. Weapon masters can be found in the major cities, each offering training in different weapon types. The full list is below.

Weapon Master location Weapon Skills available
Darnassus (around 57,46) Daggers, Fist Weapons, Staves, Bows
Ironforge (around 62,89) Guns, Axes, Fist Weapons, Daggers, Crossbows
Stormwind (around 57,57) Crossbows, Daggers, Swords, Polearms, Staves
Orgrimmar (around 81,19) Bows, Axes, Staves, Daggers, Fist Weapons
Thunder Bluff (41,62) Guns, Staves
Undercity (57,32) Crossbows, Daggers, Swords, Polearms

6.2. Weapon Upgrades for Hunters While Leveling

While any gear upgrades you get while leveling will be useful, nothing is more meaningful than getting a solid weapon upgrade. Your weapon damage from your bow or gun is the single largest factor in how much damage you deal. You should always be on the lookout for ranged weapons that have a higher average weapon DPS than your current weapon. Bow/gun upgrades can be so important that it is worth knowing where you can get some guaranteed upgrades through quests or vendors along the way. Below is a list of some potential upgrades that you will be able to get. It is worth noting that bow upgrades are much easier to come by and are much more common than gun upgrades.

The lists below are not complete lists, just guaranteed upgrades that might be worth buying or going out of your way to get. It is also worth mentioning that you could check the Auction House or world chat to see if people are selling random drop bows, which could potentially be better than any of the bows listed below for their level.

6.2.1. Alliance Bows

  • Hornwood Recurve Bow Icon Hornwood Recurve Bow - 2.4 DPS, requires Level 3, sold by Bow Vendors.
  • Ashwood Bow Icon Ashwood Bow - 3.8 DPS, quest reward from "Crown of Earth" in Teldrassil.
  • Laminated Recurve Bow Icon Laminated Recurve Bow - 5.8 DPS, requires Level 11, sold by Bow Vendors.
  • Reinforced Bow Icon Reinforced Bow - 7.5 DPS, requires Level 16, sold by Bow Vendors.
  • Raptor's End Icon Raptor's End - 12.1 DPS, quest reward in the Wetlands from "Ormer's Revenge."
  • Sturdy Recurve Icon Sturdy Recurve - 13.0 DPS, requires Level 27, sold by Bow Vendors in Darnassus and Ironforge.
  • Master Hunter's Bow Icon Master Hunter's Bow - 19.4 DPS, quest reward in Stranglethorn Vale from the quest "Big Game Hunter."
  • Massive Longbow Icon Massive Longbow - 22.0 DPS, requires Level 42, sold by Bow Vendors in Darnassus and Ironforge."
  • Verdant Keeper's Aim Icon Verdant Keeper's Aim - 28.2 DPS, quest reward from the Maraudon quest "Corruption of Earth and Seed."

6.2.2. Horde Bows

  • Hornwood Recurve Bow Icon Hornwood Recurve Bow - 2.4 DPS, requires Level 3, sold by Bow Vendors.
  • Hickory Shortbow Icon Hickory Shortbow - 3.8 DPS, quest reward from "Securing the Lines" in Durotar.
  • Laminated Recurve Bow Icon Laminated Recurve Bow - 5.8 DPS, requires Level 11, sold by Bowyer Vendors.
  • Reinforced Bow Icon Reinforced Bow - 7.5 DPS, requires Level 16, sold by Bowyer Vendors.
  • Raptor's End Icon Raptor's End - 12.1 DPS, quest reward in the Wetlands from "Ormer's Revenge."
  • Sturdy Recurve Icon Sturdy Recurve - 13.0 DPS, requires Level 27, sold by Bow Vendors in Undercity and Thunderbluff.
  • Master Hunter's Bow Icon Master Hunter's Bow - 19.4 DPS, quest reward in Stranglethorn Vale from the quest "Big Game Hunter."
  • Massive Longbow Icon Massive Longbow - 22.0 DPS, requires Level 42, sold by Bow Vendors in Undercity and Thunderbluff."
  • Verdant Keeper's Aim Icon Verdant Keeper's Aim - 28.2 DPS, quest reward from the Maraudon quest "Corruption of Earth and Seed."

6.3. Projectiles

Ranged weapons are the only weapon type that needs other items to function. For bows and crossbows, you need arrows, while for guns, you will need ammunition. It is important to keep yourself well stocked on whatever projectile you use while leveling because, if you run out, you will not be able to use ranged attacks of any sort until you pick more up from a vendor. These projectiles can be bought from General Goods vendors or Ammunition vendors. Your quiver or ammo pouch will hold the projectiles you buy, in addition to increasing your ranged Haste. Try to always have at least a few hundred projectiles and do not worry about buying too many; you will eventually use all of the projectiles you buy. However, do not buy more than your quiver or ammo pouch can hold, as it is a waste of bag space. Projectile upgrades are also incredibly important to watch out for, as they can be just as meaningful as weapon upgrades. Projectiles add damage to your ranged attacks, so with higher quality projectiles, you get more damage added on. When buying projectiles from a vendor, always buy the highest level ones that you can use.

7. Leveling Strategy as a Hunter

As stated above, time spent leveling can be broken into three distinct parts: travel time, down time, and combat.

Travel time is when you have to move between quests, towns, or zones. You will spend a significant amount of time traveling in your journey from Level 1-60, which is why movement speed increases like your mount are very important. Getting your first mount at or close to Level 40 can reduce travel time significantly, which will greatly improve your leveling speed. Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah is a great ability to help with this, allowing you to run 30% faster whenever it is active. Once you learn it at Level 20, it is important to remember to activate Aspect of the Cheetah whenever you have to move more than a few steps.

Downtime is the time that you are forced to wait to regenerate health and Mana in between killing mobs. If your goal is to level quickly, minimizing downtime is just as important as maximizing your damage. This is why using your highest damage rotation is not always the best idea. Most of the time, you will want to use your most efficient damage rotation, with the goal being to maximize damage while minimizing your Mana spent. For a Hunter, this means opening with Hunter's Mark Icon Hunter's Mark, then keeping up Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting while letting your Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot do most of the damage. Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot is an expensive ability and should be used sparingly to deal more burst damage when you have the Mana for it.

The last portion of your time will be spent in combat. Again, it is important to figure out your most optimal rotation based on your Mana pool and what skills you have. The goal is to kill mobs quickly while spending little Mana and not losing health. If you spend too much Mana too quickly while killing mobs, you will end up having to drink too much, which adds significant amounts of downtime, slowing down your overall leveling speed. If you let your pet tank and let Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot be the bulk of your damage, you will not have any issues.

7.1. Kiting as a Hunter

From Level 1-10, you will have to kill enemies without your pet to tank them. This is where Hunters can struggle the most, due to their low melee damage. The key to leveling before you get your pet is proper kiting while using Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot.

Kiting is when you move between attacks to put more distance between you and your target. For Hunters, this means moving during the down time between Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot hits. You start by casting an Auto Shot on your target, which takes 0.5 seconds (the animation time). After getting the shot off, you are free to move backwards or use other abilities until your Auto Shot comes back up. Once it is back up, you will want to stand still for another 0.5 seconds to get another Auto Shot off. At low levels, this usually looks like Auto Shot -> Move -> Auto Shot -> Move, and so forth. You can also cast other shots like Serpent Sting Icon Serpent Sting and Arcane Shot Icon Arcane Shot while moving in between Auto Shots for extra damage.

Kiting before Level 10 is extremely important because it allows you to do as much damage as possible before the target enters the “dead zone.” Hunters have a minimum range of 8 yards on our ranged abilities and Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot. Inside that 8 yard zone, you cannot use your ranged weapon to attack or cast abilities on a target. Most of the damage Hunters deal is with a ranged weapon, with their melee damage being significantly weaker. Killing targets quickly is all about getting as many Auto Shots off before they make it into your dead zone, and you are forced to use melee attacks and Raptor Strike Icon Raptor Strike to finish them off.

7.2. Advanced Tactic: Melee Weaving

If you are looking to push your leveling speed to the limit, then melee weaving is the skill to master. Hunters are unique in that they are the only class that has two separate basic attacks, both of which have a short “animation time” with down time in between each attack. The most important thing is that these attacks, your melee auto attack and your ranged Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot, do not share downtime. This means that you can attack a target with your bow, immediately turn and attack a different target with your melee weapon, and then turn back to use your bow once the Auto Shot's downtime is finished. While this can be difficult to do due to the quick target swapping required, it allows you to effectively kill multiple enemies at once.

In practice, this translates to a slightly different goal, which is to always be using your Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot. As you kite around an area with enemies, you should always be using your Auto Shot on a target from the moment you first attack to the moment it enters your dead zone and you can no longer shoot it. Once the target is within the minimum range you can finish it off with melee attacks. Melee weaving means that you weave those melee attacks on the closer targets in between Auto Shots on new targets that are farther away.

As an example, say that there are multiple boars that you would like to kill. You start by shooting boar 1 while kiting backwards, using Auto Shot Icon Auto Shot as much as possible until it enters your minimum range. Once inside that range, you would immediately use a Raptor Strike Icon Raptor Strike to melee it. Once you get the melee attack off, you would switch your target to boar 2 and use an Auto Shot. Immediately after the Auto Shot, you switch back to boar 1 and melee it again. This process repeats back and forth exactly like that until boar 2 enters your dead zone and you can no longer shoot it. At this point, boar 1 should be dead or close to dead, so you can finish it off with more melee attacks as you start to use Auto Shot on boar 3. You can repeat this process over and over, effectively killing 2 to 3 enemies at the same time. It is also worth noting that this tactic can be dangerous, and you can easily pull too many enemies and die if you are not being careful.

8. Professions While Leveling

If your goal is to hit Level 60 as fast as possible, it is not recommended to pick up professions while leveling. However, some professions are very useful for either leveling or at Level 60, and can be worth the time investment while leveling. First Aid is a must have profession at max level due to Hunter's lack of self healing, and learning it early on can be useful while leveling. Herbalism, Mining, and Skinning all are great choices for making gold towards your first mount, and can also be useful for helping to level other important professions later on, such as taking Mining to help level Engineering.

9. Changelog

  • 12 Jun. 2019: Page added.
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