Warning: This is an outdated Wrath guide. For current information, see the level 85 Cataclysm version of the guide Here.
The simple truth is that there isn’t much you can do wrong when leveling as a hunter. We have one of the easiest classes to solo through leveling content. You can level in any build you want – and you can even go through and choose the absolute worst talent mix possible and still have no problems.
However, if your goal is to optimize your hunter for leveling, you want to focus on the Beast Mastery tree. In general your goal is to focus on your pet – you want your pet to hold aggro and survive being attacked by several mobs at once.
We’ll go over the order to pick your talents and glyphs as you level your hunter.
Hunter Leveling Spec
You want to start in the Beast Mastery tree and always take the first opportunity to go lower in the tree. Let’s look at it tier by tier:
Spend your first 5 ranks in Endurance Training to buff up your pet’s health (and yours as a side effect). Survival is the first rule of leveling.
Next start with Thick Hide – again because our pet is going to be taking the hits and we want it to last as long as possible. Follow up with both ranks of Focused Fire for a nice little damage boost.
At level 15 you’ll be able to get a major and minor glyph. Your first major glyph should be Glyph of Mending to drastically improve your mend pet. Be aware, however, that all that healing will be giving you threat. Minor glyphs are largely useless for hunters, and we recommend going for Glyph of Mend Pet so you’ll never have to feed your pet again.
Start with both ranks of Pathfinding. When you’re leveling your hunter increasing the speed at which you can move around is going to speed up the process more than any damage increase. Then take Aspect Mastery, and finally the first two ranks of Unleashed Fury. We’ll pick up the rest of the ranks later.
2nd Major Glyph
At level 30 we have access to a 2nd major glyph. We’ll be changing our glyph choice in the future when we have better options, but for now we’re going for Glyph of Hunter’s Mark.
Start with both ranks of Spirit Bond – the passive healing is great for restoring your health without having to stop to eat or bandage, and of course it increases your mend pet healing. Next take Intimidation (great for bumping up threat) and then one rank of Bestial Discipline. Since that’s all the Bestial Discipline we really need at the moment, we’re going to jump back up to tier 3 for a third point in Unleashed Fury.
Start out with 4 ranks in Frenzy. With 4 ranks Frenzy will basically be up all the time. We’ll spend our last point in another rank of Unleashed Fury up in tier 3.
The first point here goes in Bestial Wrath where we finally get the infamous big red pet! The next 3 ranks should go in Ferocious Inspiration for a nice damage boost. Spend the last point in Catlike Reflexes for a significant reduction in pet damage.
As soon as we have Bestial Wrath we want to swap out our Hunter’s Mark glyph for Glyph of Bestial Wrath. More big red pet means more pet destruction!
All of our points here are going in Serpent’s Swiftness. This is a huge damage increase for us and our pet.
2nd Minor Glyph
We get a second minor glyph at level 50. Best bet here is to go for Glyph of Revive Pet. You won’t get much use out of it while leveling… but then we just don’t have good minor glyph options. Feel free to take anything else that strikes your fancy.
First point is The Beast Within, then the next 3 go to Longevity which increases our pet threat generating ability significantly. We’ll toss the final point back up in Unleashed Fury from tier 3.
Kindred Spirits – woo!
3rd Minor Glyph
Level 70 gives us yet another nearly useless minor glyph. Feign Death is our best option.
Beast Mastery – now we can tame exotic pets and, more importantly, we get more talent points for our pets.
Start out with five ranks in Mortal Shots, because big crits are fun.
First rank goes in Go for the Throat, at which point our pet should never run out of focus. Then we’ll hop back up to tier 2 and put three ranks in Careful Aim. Finally we’ll buy all 3 ranks of Improved Arcane Shot.
Our last 3 points will go into Improved Tracking.
You now have an excellent soloing build; however, as soon as you hit level 80 it’s time to respec to a group/raiding build. Again, just like when leveling, any raiding build will server you just fine while soloing, though Beast Mastery is much stronger at handling lots of mobs.