Best Hunter Professions for DPS

Posted: by Frostheim


Warning: This is an outdated Wrath guide. For current information, see the level 85 Cataclysm guides Here.

Most people choose professions to make money, some choose professions based on their class, and others just still have the profession that they started with. However if you really want to optimize every ounce of your hunter dps, your profession is one of your variables that can be optimized.

Blizzard has made an effort to try and equalize the benefits of all of the professions; however, as long as they’re different, they aren’t going to be equal. Unfortunately to truly compare them we have to translate each bonus into the raw dps advantage, and alas the only good way to do that is to use a spreadsheet, like FemaleDwarf.

The problem with this is that while the spreadsheets are really good at qualitative analysis of stats (which is better, and how much better) they aren’t really good at determining raw numbers. So keep in mind that when a couple professions are close, it could go either way, even if one shows a touch better.

The Buff Difference

One of the difficulties in determining which profession is best is that the answer changes based on what buffs you have. Different stats scale differently with raid buffs, and the engineering bonus doesn’t scale at all. So we’re going to take a look at them unbuffed, with the best  mix of 25-man raid buffs, and arbitrarily with the 10-man raid buffs that I have in my 10-man group.

The Short Version

Here’s the short version for those who just want the answer:

  1. Jewelcrafting
  2. Blacksmithing

The Hunter Profession Rundown

Herbalism
This nancy elf gathering profession gets you a heal over time in the form of Lifeblood. Good for extreme soloing, sure, but we’re all about the dps. Picking flowers will not make you a death dealer.

Mining
Toughness gets you 60 stamina. Again, nice for soloing, and tranlates to a teaspoon of AP for Survival hunters, but also not part of our path to dps.

Skinning
Now we’re getting to actual blood letting, and Master of Anatomy gets us 40 crit rating. Alas a crit rating isn’t as good as an agility.

Unbuffed: 27.76 dps
10-man: 34.8 dps
25-man: 37.28 dps

Alchemy
Not only can you make your own potions, but Mixology will increase the effect that your potions and flasks have. Specifically your Flask of Endless rage will go from 180 attack power to 260 attack power — for a net gain of 80 attack power. We’ll see this number a lot.

Unbuffed: 32.4
10-man: 36.16
25-man: 40.32

Blacksmithing
Blacksmiths can add a gem socket to their gloves and bracers, which can hold any gem you want (ie: agility gems). One of the great advantages to this bonus is that it’s flexible – if the best stat for us changes, you can just swap out the gems – it’ll always be good. This is a net bonus of 40 agaility from two epic agility gems.

Unbuffed: 33 dps
10-man: 38.96 dps
25-man: 46.48 dps

Enchanting
Enchanters can put enchants onto their own rings – 40 attack power per ring, for an 80 attack power gain.

Unbuffed: 32.4
10-man: 36.16
25-man: 40.32

Engineering
Engineers have all the best toys, and now that they put actual stats on them as well, we can make use of our Nitro Boosts and Flexweave Underlay. Woo! However, for dps, the engineer advantage isn’t the 1 extra agility from the cloak tinker, but the Hand-Mounted Pyro Rocket, which shoots off a rocket every 45 seconds. This is not on the global cooldown, so you can just macro it in with your shots, for an easy and cool-looking extra shot. The only downside is that the damaged is fixed and doesn’t scale with raid buffs. The rocket does 40.82 dps on average, from which we must subtract the value of the 44ap we could be getting from the crusher enchant.

Unbuffed: 21.38 dps
10-man: 15.52 dps
25-man: 10.86 dps

Inscription
Not only profitable, but it lets you escape having to go after the godawful Hodir rep, enchant your own shoulders for 120 attack power and 15 crit rating – 80 attack power better than Sons of Hodir (bastards) will give you.

Unbuffed: 32.4 dps
10-man: 36.16 dps
25-man: 40.32 dps

Jewelcrafting
The gem of the professions, Jewelcrafters can make their own super special gems. They can make several kinds of gems, so like Blacksmithing, this proffesion will continue to be great even if the top stat for hunters changes. They can put three of their Delicate Dragon’s Eye gems on their gear, better than the epic agility gems by 14 agility a piece, making it a new gain of 42 agility!

Unbuffed: 34.65 dps
10-man: 40.9 dps
25-man: 48.8 dps

Leatherworking
They have a special bracer enchant, Fur Lining: Attack Power that gives them a net gain of 80 attack power.

Unbuffed: 32.4 dps
10-man: 36.16 dps
25-man: 40.32 dps

Tailoring
Our final profession, dps tailors can add an enchant onto their cloaks, Swordguard Embroidery that gives them a chance to proc 400 AP for 15 seconds. Reports put the proc rate at just about once per minute — an average of 100 attack power, versus 22 agility you could otherwise get on your cloak. Wow, that’s really inferior compared to the others. Let’s call it the equivalent of a 60 AP gain.

Unbuffed: 24.3 dps
10-man: 27.12 dps
25-man: 30.24 dps

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  1. dd says:

    umm you forgot enchanting, with the attack power chants to rings

    • tevits says:

      :Enchanting
      Enchanters can put enchants onto their own rings – 40 attack power per ring, for an 80 attack power gain.

      Unbuffed: 32.4
      10-man: 36.16
      25-man: 40.32….
      Its right there you dumb dumb :]

  2. Greythorn says:

    The one thing that stands out to me, is there is only one pairing that complement each other (in terms of dps… which is what it’s all about :- ) ) – when you combine Blacksmithing with Jewelcrafting – you have more slots and better gems – making their bonus features that much stonger than the others

  3. Greythorn says:

    Basically combine any of the two professions and the only combination that nets you an additional gain is BS + JC = +28 Agil on top of what you already get from them alone

  4. From an RP perspective, I think they should make skinning and leatherworking have better buffs for Huntards. It just makes more sense. I know this isn’t really an RP game. But why in the hell would my Tauren Hunter give a rats butt about a hammer and anvil?

  5. Nnof says:

    I take you point and accept all the maths you done, but is it really viable to level up two crafting professions (say) Jewelcrafting/Engineering without having mining? Feasible I suppose, but I can’t begin to imagine the gold cost involved in buying all the materials (Unless of course you’re prepared to go to a gold seller…..hmmmm…..not for me). So using my basic monkey-maths and a gathering/crafting combo I assume skinning/leatherworking is the better real-world option?

  6. Malania says:

    Keep meaning to drop skinning for JC but never seem to have enough gold. managed to get the Nobles deck so I could sell that and use it to do my JC. If you wanna compare Darkmoon: Greatness to JC, that would be handy =P

  7. Ognib says:

    Hey Frost, I have the engineering profession and lost my hand mounted pyro rocket when I added the glove enchant – crusher (+44AP). Is the hand mounted pyro rocket actually a better enchant than the crusher for dps? Also, I am currently still equipped with the gnomish lightning generator trinket (+84 Crit, and 1530 – 1870 damage). Am I loosing DPS by not using a different trinket or by trying to integrate this attack into my shot rotation?
    As always – thanks for all the great information on this site.

  8. Jarnow says:

    I just dropped Skinning for JC (up to 444 woohoo!). I did it both for the gems and in an effort to make some more gold.

    @Ninof: If you’re a miner, just farm your butt off while leveling Prof. 1, and get as many of the mats as you can in advance before you drop Mining for Prof 2. I’m contemplating doing that for Blacksmithing.

  9. Spleet says:

    All the fancy extra AP, crit, and whatever else are nice but you fail to mention a key ingredient to this game….GOLD. Unless you are comfortable buying it online and getting your account hacked I recommend not taking on any professions other than gold-slut (IE-skinning, mining, etc…) until high level. I cannot tell you how many times in raid I hear an 80 say I cannot repair…I am broke. Un-friggin-believable! How in the @#$! can you have no gold at that level. Do yourself a favor and make the game easier on yourself by adopting brainless gathering professions early on. The benefits of the craftier professions only become truly realized at well geared 80 player levels. Prior to that they are simply too transitory in my opinion.

    Plus the leveling process in a chosen profession later becomes MUCH easier when you have the finances to bulldoze through it. By the way…Hodir rep (along with a bunch of others) can be farmed at the AH WAY easier than any other place.

  10. Fawatam says:

    With the engineering and leatherworking bonuses, you are forgetting to take into account the loss of enchants, thereby lowering their actual net gain. For example a hunter with JC and bracer and hand enchants will provide a bigger total net gain as opposed to one with Leatherworking and no wrist enchant.

  11. Frostheim says:

    Couple of responses here: Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing do not really have a lot of synergy – you can only use 3 of the special Jewelcrafting jewels, regardless of how many sockets you have. However blacksmithing does make the decision of where to put them easier.

    Two crafting professions is perfectly viable. Jewelcrafting is one of the most profitible professions out there – you’ll make a hell of a lot more money with jewelcrafting than skinning, for example.

    Hand-mounted Pyro Rocket is WAY better than the crusher enchant. And yes, if your trinket uses a global cooldown, you’re better off shooting explosive shot instead. There are much better trinkets, including Darkmoon Card: Greatness.

  12. iThumbs says:

    Thanks for this guide, i was hoping you’d do something like this :)
    So do you think that the Hand-Mounted Pyro rocket, is better than the hyper speed accelerator? It does annoy me how the hyper speed shares a cooldown with some trinkets, (the ones bought for triumphs for example) but right now i dont have any ‘on use’ trinkets so that doesn’t effect me.

  13. Arthemystia says:

    Awesome stuff. I leveled Jewelcrafting recently for entirely different reasons than dps, but it’s nice to know about this as well.

  14. Euripides says:

    Leveling any crafting professions is usually cheaper than you think. If you do nothing but dailies, you can grind out enough to max a profession within a week or two. Also, that’s assuming you buy literally everything off the AH and vendor everything you make. If you run something lilsparky’s workshop and focus on profitable items you can make a various places in the path to 450, you will not end up spending nearly as much.

    In fact, getting my enchanting to 450 made me 2000g.

  15. quivering says:

    i have 2 accounts. 80 hunter (Lw/eng) 71 dk (alch/ench). other account is 80 druid (herb/skin) and a 70 (mining/JC). flying around shalozar as a 70 mining must piss people off. ive learned where to mine, what mobs i can kill, how to land to not aggro mobs, paths to run if i do aggro mobs, letting my ghoul take the fall for me etc. is fun

    anyway, my hunter is LW cuz i thought that was THE proffesion for hunters (didnt do much homework when i levelled it). im engineering cuz i LOVE it. dalaran AH, parachute, nitro boots (paralytic toxin anyone?), jeeves, wormhole, chicken guardian, dragon guardian etc etc. i enjoy engineering.

    LW, on the other hand… meh. i can do the AP to wrist and i get insanely cheap leg enchants, but still. thats not much. 3.2.2 added drums for mark of the wild and kings, but still. im thinking of switching to BS. im gonna talk to my raid leader cuz i recently was awarded a rare LW recipe, so i may buy it off the AH and deposit it into gbank before i switch.

  16. deadrun says:

    I’m currently skinning/enchanting, the price of leather makes me weep.
    I’d already started thinking about dropping skinning for engineering I just need a miner to support it. I love enchanting it’s not going anywhere.

  17. Yodazer says:

    There are some trade skills that should be inherent to the class you take.

    It makes logical sense that Hunters take LW and Skinning to compliment their class
    Just like it makes sense that Mages take something like Tailor and Enchanting
    Just like it makes sense that Warriors take something like BS and Mining.
    and so on..

    When Blizz first brought in the bonuses for Mining/Herbalism/Skining gathering skills, they were definately matching the benefits with the class that should be using them.

    I will be sticking with LW, and crossing fingers that Blizz provide some added benefit for Hunters that stuck with it like good hunters should ;)

  18. Yodazer says:

    I heard a rumour that Cataclysm might be bringing in the possibilty for a 3rd profession.

  19. Frostheim says:

    Why is skinning & leatherworking logical for hunters? I mean, engineering makes sense — make bullets and arrows. But you won’t use any armor you can make in the endgame, so why?

  20. Yodazer says:

    Putting aside the current abilities/bonuses each profession gives, when you think of a Hunter, you would think make a few assumptions and associations. For example:

    Hunters:
    Hunt
    Skin their kills
    Use the Leather acquired from their kills
    Self contained to live off the land, etc

    So what i’m suggesting is that their should be more of bonus for WoW Hunters to gain bonuses for following these paths.

    We have Racial bonuses towards professions,
    It would be nice to have Class bonuses towards professions.

    Thoughts?

  21. Fradin says:

    Great post Frost always wondered about professions, I currently have 2 x 80 hunters ones a tailor / enchanter which is my main and the other is a miner/engineer as it would cost my main 200-300g a week in mammoth cutters. Maybe i should change one however not looking forward to the 450 level grind and enchanting costed me so much to level too, maybe my alt should become my main lol that sounds alot easier. Then all i would need is a 3rd hunter to mine for me .

  22. Greythorn says:

    Perhaps a little like talent builds you may use one set of professions for leveling and change to others for endgame (which is of course expensive, but blizzard is always looking for ways for us to make and use gold)

    So SK & LW are a great pair for leveling – good bonuses, farming potential for gold, and crafting for both use and profit. Then post 80, switch, level (yes yes costing gold gold gold) to maximize dps gain

    oh and sorry I didn’t know you could only equip 3 of the JC gems.. should have dome my homework better

  23. Tyrik says:

    As mentioned above by quivering, LW now has two new drums (forgotten kings and wild) that provide (party) buffs. Not sure how easy it is to factor in DPS-wise since they’re overwritten if someone else in the party is providing the “real” buff….. but something to keep in mind.

  24. Shootengiggs says:

    How are you marcoing Hand-Mounted Pyro Rocket?

  25. Ashamel says:

    Pretty easy… /use (slot #)… find out whatever equipment slot your gloves are on and badabing.

    Or say you had the rockets on your “Pansy gloves 101″ you could also macro it as /use Pansy gloves 101.

    Either way should work.

  26. Thundar says:

    Dont forget the LW drums are not Leatherworker use only anyone can use em. So its not a profession only buff.
    Its just a added buff like scrolls and buff food.

  27. Ulukai says:

    Just a question:

    Did you consider for Alchemy that it provides more mana-restore when using the potion? It’s a dps benifit to spend less time in viper.

  28. Shootengiggs says:

    Ashamel, sorry, I should have framed the question differently.

    What I meant was, are you linking the use of the Rocket to something else. Working it in to my rotation has been pretty easy (I’m a mouse masher,) but if there is a link between it and another ability that make things more efficient I’d love to know.

    Thanks for answering, though.

  29. Chimy says:

    Engineering and rockets… So, I’m a skinner/enchanter at the moment and was thinking about changing my skinning to engineering. Do the rockets replace hand enchants, and if so, was that considered in your dps numbers? (assuming everyone will otherwise enchant their hands with say.. precision/major agility/crusher?)

  30. Burazaazu says:

    Welp, this post convinced me–I’m switching over to Jewelcrafting.

    I was kinda surpised to see that Engineering (THE most fun profession, hands down) was a viable profession in terms of DPS gain (all my friends say that Engi is worthless)–I think I’ll make it my second prof. Only problem is, I’d still need an alt to go mine the mats for the engi ammo, lest I have to buy them from the AH…Guess I’d better get to work on my Rogue (ugh).

  31. Burazaazu says:

    Ah, scratch that, I’m going with Engineering, THEN Jewelcrafting; it’s just too much fun. I can hear my friends now: “Where the f*** did that rocket come from!?” XD

  32. Shenara says:

    Nice article Frost but was wondering why you didn’t include the haste boost from the Hyperspeed accelerator’s? Whilst I realise that the 340 haste boost they give is only for 12 secs the CD on them is only 1 min this stacked with rapid fire is a huge boost. Also just for that extra little giggle I’ve thrown the Frag belt tinker on as it can stack with an eternal belt buckle as it has no stat increase it self. I know it’s got a 6 min CD but it’s always fun to throw a bomb at the tanks feet and watch him go “What the F*** was that?”

    I’ve always been LW/Skinner till about 3 months ago and then I went LW/Engineer and have found it to make a hugh difference. I make my own ammo (and I go through alot as I’m sure we all do) and can make the nice new shiney patterns that drop in Uludar and ToC.

  33. Burazaazu says:

    I feel I should mention something here…I don’t know if it does this with all trinkets, but if my Loatheb’s Shadow isn’t already on CD, firing my Hand-Mounted Pyro Rocket will trigger a CD on the Shadow, as if I had just equipped it. (Glitch?)

  34. Arthemystia says:

    Unfortunately enough, Bur, some trinkets do share cooldowns with other trinkets or other on-use items (or in this case, enchants). Various sites like wowhead and wowwiki have fairly up-to-date lists on which ones do and don’t. You may have found a glitch, but it’s more likely that the two simply can’t be used in conjunction with one another.

    If you can’t find evidence that they share some sort of CD, I’d contact a GM to attempt to resolve the issue.

  35. Burazaazu says:

    It’s not really a normal CD, though. You know how trinkets can’t be used as soon as you equip them (you have to wait about 30 seconds or so)? That’s what happens–when I fire the rocket, it’s as if unequips and re-equips Loatheb’s Shadow.

  36. kyeema says:

    u forgot to mention saronite bombs also have no global cooldown so they can be used as well

  37. Absol says:

    I’m seconding Chimy’s question since it hasn’t been answered and I’ve been wondering too since this article came out. If you assume each pyro does 2000 (might be a bit lower but just a even number for easy calculation)on avg per 45 sec, that would put it at 44.444dps. Now if 80 AP is 40.32 dps, then losing the 44 AP glove chant is a loss of 22.45 dsp. So, 44.44 minus 22.45 is a net gain of 21.99 for 25 man content. If you were basing your whole reason for going eng on the glove tinker being better, then my calculations would lead me to reconsider. Personally I’m an engineer and love it for all its myriad perks outside of dps

  38. Zarruk says:

    All in all SK and LW are good for levling if u want to use the stuff u make, but personally i have found that if you MINE and SK it will net you tons of gold then you don’t even need to know crafting profs till later. I’m lvl 30 and have made over 4000g doing this. In turn i can just buy the best equipment and and pay someone else to enchant it. I am in no way saying don’t do crafting profs, im just giving everyone another option when figuring out how to have fun playing wow and getting rich in the process. :)

  39. gentlmanjack says:

    i chose jc and enchanting as i have a maxed miner.it has worked out splendidly,prospecting nets most gems i need and the benefits from having these 2 prof (with a miner to support it) are to many to mention

  40. shakazuloo says:

    if there are two hunters in group or raid, would it matter if both were survival, or would it be better to have one survival and one mm?

  41. Gnomemor says:

    I’m late to this party by a few months, but I think you left off the ability for an alchemist to create and use the Endless Mana Potion (2200-3000 mana that is not consumed and has a 1 min cooldown. This plus the 40% alchemy bonus makes this very attractive. I macro this into my steady shot and only have to dip into viper for 5 seconds or so on long raid fights. I never viper on 5man pugs. That has to be worth some additional DPS as well.

  42. Narfnarf says:

    great point Gnomemor, I wonder what the actual DPS gain is…all in all, I think the 2 most beneficial profs in the game are Alchemy and Enchanting. Not for dps, but just in general. I can’t even fathom the number of times I’ve had to vendor a now worthless epic soulbound piece of gear, and the ability to great the pots that pwn is very beneficial.

    I’m currently min/eng and wouldn’t change it for the world. Engineering just has that extra something that takes wow from “a good game” to “the best i’ve ever played”

    Cmon, the helicopter? pure pwnage

  43. Absol says:

    Ahh, I see you finally updated the engineering with my thoughts on it. Sadly this means I will indeed have to bid my first love goodbye. I’m going to miss my nitros and parachuting down on to hovering allies in Wintergrasp and nuking them while slowly floating down

  44. FatDwarf says:

    Nice overview of how much the professions actually help out on the dps department. I can’t help wonder how this would look with the new(er) MM-ArP build though…

  45. Willaam says:

    Don’t forget, for players stacking ArP, those extra 42 points you get from the Jewelcrafting gems are actually a lot more valuable for different players.

    Also, the extra slots from Blacksmithing will do quite a bit for ArP stackers.

  46. Dehvi says:

    Frost, I know you often comment that the Hand-Mounted Pyro Rockets are better than the Hyperspeed Accelerators; however, wouldn’t the extra Haste, in stacking with other procs, gain the multiplicative effect? I mean, in essence that’s only for the first 12 secs of the fight, since it’ll be macro’ed into all of my shots. Still though, it would also scale with raid buffs, whereas the Rocket would not. Is that correct?

    I see how this would be really difficult to test at the target dummy, considering part of the argument is that it is better when you use it with other procs, and part of target dummy testing usually involves getting rid of those extra procs to simplify the data. I’ve never done any Theorycrafting myself, but maybe this is something I could try to start on. Any insight you already have would be really helpful though.

  47. Mascaron says:

    Frost, put this in your Hunter Guides section. It really deserves to be in there.

  48. Papaoomowmow says:

    Good article, but……

    While I understand that every little bit helps,the DPS differences are relatively tiny. Changing professions just for an extra 4 dps or so in ten man seems like selling your house and buying the one next door just to get a couple windows that are an inch or two wider.

  49. Ellendra says:

    Just wanted to point out that Herbalism’s “Lifeblood” now provides a haste bonus in addition to its heal.

  50. Dagray says:

    @ lvl 80 this is a bonus of 240 haste over 20 seconds, w/ a cooldown of 2min.

    Therefore you’re going to average a bonus of 40 haste overall in addition to the small self heal every 2 min.

    It should also be noted that Alchemy no longer increases the attack power bonus of Flasks from 180 to 240. It now simply increases the time that flask is active for (2 hours instead of 1).

    In other words, while you used to be able to get self-heal + 80 AP bonus from the Alc/Herb combination, you’re now getting a very low 40 haste bonus w/ an even smaller self heal. I’m currently using this combination simply because I started out with it and I dont feel like changing things this close to Cata. However, I’m really hoping that they change things so that Alchemy gets a DPS boost from Flasks again.

  51. Dagray says:

    Update:

    Flasks are still affected by Mixology, however some players have reported the effect being bugged post 4.0.1. I submitted a ticket myself after speaking w/ another alchemist and the issue was fixed. The tool-tip alone will not tell you whether your account is bugged, you must actually look at your AP Before and After drinking a flask.

  52. Dagray says:

    Frost,

    I realize that you may not have time to do so with all of the recent work (Good Job BTW) on the WHU, however it’d be great if you could delete this page and/or replace it’s contents with the recent guest post’s contents and place a link in the guide portion of the website.

    Simply for the sake of convenience and clarity,

    -Dagray

  53. Aztec says:

    You forget LW drums Frost ;)

  54. Lexasius says:

    Help me. I am a little new. How do I combine Blacksmithing with Jewelcrafting, when there is now gathering. How do I level up without it?

  55. Checkyourmetrics says:

    You shouldn’t be vendoring your epic soul bound gear. Bank it, then learn enchanting before a profession change, disenchant, and continue on with desired profession.

  56. samisitsa says:

    Geez.

    After reading all the information posted by the website, and other characters. I feel I am just at a stand still. lol … I think I’ll keep my enchating/engerineeing. see what happens. Thanks for all the words.!! good to read up on these types of topics. =-)