With great power comes lots and lots of dps. But there’s also a responsibility we have as hunters. And it’s to our class, specifically those who don’t bring the awesomesauce like we do and maybe don’t know how.
If you’re reading the WHU, you have an interest in hunter-dom. It may be casual, it may be hardcore. You may be here to troll Frostheim with evil comments, or to stare longingly at his manly wrists (I’m mostly here for the latter, btw). But you’re here, which means you have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips about how to play every aspect of the hunter class: dps, soloing, PvP, tanking, leveling, etc.
Then there’s the huntard. It’s the stigma we must overcome, but there’s a reason that stigma exists. Huntards are usually unwittingly contributing to the ridicule they receive. They don’t have the tools or knowledge. That’s where we come in, and it requires more than a link to Elitist Jerks or the WHU.
Maybe you don’t have the time to train a PUG hunter whose top dps shot is Arcane Shot. But new players still exist on your server or possibly in your guild, and guildies in nearly every guild will constantly be rolling alts. I’ve “trained” probably about a dozen hunters (mostly alts) in some capacity, and some common errors and things to think about are below. Use them as necessary, as some will be more applicable than others in each situation.
Besides having a great guide to that here on the WHU for reference, it’s easy to point them to either BM or MM. Despite MM’s self-heal utility once you get Chimera Shot, BM does give a very real sense of “the pet is your personal tank” that isn’t ingrained in many non-pet classes, so that can be an important tool to acclimate someone to the class. Otherwise, use the WHU as your own resource to recommend things, even if the hunter you’re mentoring isn’t ready for such an investment.
A new hunter, or a newly-85 hunter, doesn’t want every detail. They want to know how to start playing well. Maybe not “best” but better than they would have otherwise. A few big, important points are good, not trying to get them to digest, say, haste plateaus and why they’re relevant.
Information overload can also lead to becoming intimidated with a new class, and subsequently dropping it entirely. So long as new hunters understand that all hunter gear is ours first, we want other hunters to tag along. A common example follows.
What To Avoid:
Guildie: Hey Arth, just dinged 85!
Guildie: How should I spec my hunter?
Arth: Well, if your gear ilvl is below raid-level, current dps parses suggest that SV is the way to go. Once you get into raid level gear or even all heroic-gear, you’ll want to try out MM. On average, it’s doing better than the other two at higher gear levels, and I was able to hit about 2K higher in MM on the dummies yesterday. Now if you’re only going to be questing, then I’d suggest MM for the self-heal or BM for harder tanking encounters. You don’t have any t5, do you? But for 5M’s, SV is probably best due to your AoE damage.
One Correct Way:
G: How should I spec my hunter?
A: Well, what did you level as?
A: Ok, probably start with that. You can do fine in all 3, but you’ll probably be better off in BM right now since you’re used to it. Do you know the rotation for it? Etc.
Another Correct Way:
G: How should I spec my hunter?
A: What do you plan on doing with him?
G: I was hoping to gear him up for raids eventually.
A: In that case, you may want to take a look at MM. Right now it appears to be doing the best raid dps once you’re geared, and it’s also what I seem to get the best results with. Do you know the rotation? Etc.
Levels of Mastery
By this I mean, is it basic knowledge, mid-level, or an advanced hunter skill?
A basic piece of information would be rotation. An advanced skill would be, say, jump-disengage-shotting. Obviously one should be prioritized over another when teaching a new hunter. But it’s not always as clear as that. The SV rotation is a necessary “basic” tool. In contrast, the idea that Kill Commands should occasionally be woven in between Explosive Shots instead of Cobra Shots when L&L procs and you’re topped out on focus…THAT’S a mid-to-advanced idea. Some rough ideas of how to proceed through the “tiers” is below. It’s important to tell newer hunter the best 1-2 ways to improve their play, not every single thing they could learn or do differently.
Standard Rotation, Cookie-cutter Spec, Glyphs, Rough Stat Priority, Hit Cap, Meta Gem, The Stats We Don’t Want (Strength, Expertise, etc.)
Use of “utility” shots like Silencing Shot and Tranq Shot, reforging advice, Aimed Shot hardcasting, Kill Commands in SV, the range of pet buffs and which to bring to groups/raids, advanced control of pets
Jump-shotting, kiting, tanking or kite-tanking, haste plateaus, aspect dancing, use of numerous hunter tools in quick succession in boss fights
Ok, so you’ve told them to get a Sporebat, but they ACTUALLY want to know what pet to use and when. Frostheim has gotten so tired of the question that there may be a lot of us who have never heard him legitimately answer it. And while the recommendations below could go into further detail, we’re looking for the bare minimum to tell someone so that they are playing acceptably without being overwhelmed.
- For leveling, questing, and soloing: Turtle/Beetle or Cat. Turtle/Beetle for survivability, a cat because a cat’s buff is the most useful to us personally. Things will die faster that way.
- 5M’s: Varies, but a cat is the safest way to have a hunter’s best buff. Have a cat, then some others that bring a group buff.
- Raids: Varies based on raid composition. There’s unfortunately no quick answer here. If they’re ready to raid, though, they’re ready for the long answer.
- PvP: Spider, or something with a stun or disarm. Or a Sporebat. They make rogues bleed from their anus, after all.
Why Is My DPS Still Low?
First, there’s this wonderful writeup from Frostheim dealing with this exact issue. But if you have the time, the best way to help someone is to sit in-group with someone at a training dummy or in a setting easy enough that it doesn’t require complete attention (5M’s usually). If you don’t have that time, and they already know the “basics,” there’s two things I’ve learned to tell new hunters that never fail to produce results:
- Don’t delay your signature shot. A LOT of dps is lost for newer players who aren’t comfortable enough with the rotation to be hitting their signature shot right away every time. Tell them to focus on this, they will see a change.
- Always be casting. In reality, this isn’t always true, but it’s good advice. One of the biggest things I notice on Recount parses between experienced hunters and novice hunters is the number of Steady/Cobra Shots cast. Haste can affect this, but mostly it’s the hunter’s ability to be casting while moving and accounting for latency with preemptive keystrokes. Downtime equals lost dps, it’s less focus and thus less signature shots, etc. etc. It’s usually around this time that they’ll realize the importance of AotFox, so Aspect Dancing isn’t a bad skill to introduce at that time as well.
If you’re a skilled hunter, it’s because you’ve invested time and effort into it. Same with any class. But it’s also because you’ve been able to track down useful resources and have had the help of other dedicated hunters. I wouldn’t be the hunter I am without Frostheim, or various others in the hunter community. So if and when you get the chance, pay it forward and help a new hunter. It will make you feel good inside, and chances are you’ll prevent the creation of a rogue at some point, which is always a good thing.