Introduction to the Hunter Class

Posted: by Frostheim

Note: the following was written by this site’s original author, Frostheim, but is currently being updated by me, Delirium. For the sake of posterity, I’ll try to keep with the spirit of Frostheim’s writing as much as possible.  For up-to-date hunter information, please refer to the Hunter Guides page.

So you’re thinking about playing a hunter? Good news — you are considering playing the greatest class in WoW: hunters have the greatest community, most versatility of any pure dps class, and are the best looking class to boot. This guide will give you a broad overview of the hunter class and how it fits into WoW as a whole, with a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the class.

Hunter Class Overview

Hunters are the original WoW hero class, designed to be the epitome of death-dealing and the glorious pinnacle to which we mortals strive.  In the course of the development of WoW, it quickly became evident that the hunter class would be the lynchpin of the game and the designers ended up building 9 other support classes just to enhance the hunter experience. Nearly every piece of World of Warcraft, including the other classes, were designed specifically with the hunter in mind.

It’s heady stuff. For some more specifics:

  • Hunters are the only physical ranged dps class in WoW, and as a physical class hunters make use of physical stats like attack power, and generally act the way other physical damage classes work, with crit or multistrike multipliers, and our DoTs not reacting to haste, even if our shots are doing magical damage.
  • Hunters are known for their pets: while some other classes have pets, the hunter class has access to a larger variety of pets with more customization options for those pets than every other WoW class combined. Hunters have access to dozens of pet families and special abilities and hundreds of different pet skins. Through our pets, the hunter class can bring every raid buff to the party, making hunters a strong utility dps raid member.
  • Hunters are also known for being an extremely mobile class. Hunters are able to deal substantial damage on the move, from range, with many abilities to reduce our opponents’ ability to close in on us. This makes the hunter class the preferred WoW class for kiting.

For a bit of fun, here’s our hunter anthem video, which will help give you a bit more of a feel for the hunter class (it’s Wrath era, so it’s getting a bit dated).

Hunter Class Advantages

Hunters have many advantages over other classes in WoW. As a pure dps class, a hunter is a radiant beacon of death; we are the death dealers of the World of Warcraft. When we go to war, we fight in the shade because it’s our arrows (or bullets) blocking out the sun. For this reason very few skilled hunters have a tan.

Among the advantages of the hunter class are:

  • Hunters can deal the highest sustained dps while moving of any class in WoW
  • Hunters can bring a wider selection of raid buffs to the group than any class in WoW
  • Hunters have smoldering good looks by nature, that sometimes reduces the opposite gender to a quivering pile of desire. Often the same gender too. We just look that good. It’s a blessing and a curse, except not actually at all curse-like.
  • Hunter pets are adorable, loyal protectors and lifelong companions. We can tame nearly any beast in the game and there are constantly more to tame. Cataclysm alone brought over 100 new pet looks to the hunter class.
  • Hunters are easy to level and produce strong dps in 5-mans even at low levels. You won’t need help from the support classes to do those group quests or elites — as a hunter you can handle it yourself (with your pet).
  • Hunters are capable of more extreme soloing feats than most other classes in WoW. Hunters are excellent at solo-farming mount runs and slaughtering raid bosses from previous expansions, or even soloing 5-mans from the current expansions.
  • Hunter pets are so badass that they can even tank current raid bosses. Not all of them, but on some hunter pets even do a better job than player tanks.
  • Hunters use the focus resource mechanic — a resource that we never run out of and can replenish by shooting (specific shots).
  • Hunters have the greatest community of any class in WoW. We have not only more different sites and resources than other classes, but we also have so many online resources that are just plain phenomenal.

Hunter Class Disadvantages

Alas, not everything in the life of a hunter is feeding your pet the entrails of your foes and listening to the lamentations of their alts. The downsides to hunter life include:

  • Hunters are the epitome of “easy to learn, hard to master”.  The sheer size of the hunter toolbox means significant time and effort must go into learning the arts of kiting and pet-tanking, or even just to maximize your DPS potential.
  • While it’s not a mechanical disadvantage, it is a disadvantage nonetheless that hunter simply have a bad rep in some circles. This is largely due to vanilla WoW when the hunter class was the easiest to solo play, and most gold farmers played hunters. The term “huntard” is often used by 14 year-old players who don’t realize that they are the problem.

Should You Be  a Hunter?

Let me be clear here, being a hunter isn’t all about having your needs tended by hordes of adoring followers with glistening bronzed flesh and very little covering that flesh: there are responsibilities as well. While hunters have a great many strengths, playing a hunter well is a significant challenge. This is true for all classes to some extent, but the movement, trapping, and tanking capabilities of hunters require significantly more practice to master than that of other classes.

But the rewards are greater too. Hunters can do exceptional things, and the hunter is a class that can pull a group out of some almost certain failures single-handedly. Also high among the rewards of hunterdom are wonders of the hunter community. In fact, here’s a video of the epicness of hunters in action.

Need more reasons to be a hunter? Here’s a list of 50 Reasons Hunters Are Better Than Every Other Class.

If you’re just looking for an easy ride for some easy soloing you’ll be better served by a death knight or paladin. But if you’re serious about working to become a skilled hunter, you will love the class and never look back. Whatever class you play hereafter, your hunter will always be your main.

Facebook Twitter Snailmail
  1. Omogon says:

    Ok…you are “preaching to the choir” here Frost. This needs to be on WoW insider or the opening dialog when you log onto the Blizzard site, so that the entire world can know how good we are :D

  2. smakendahed says:

    A thought popped into my head the other day when considering that we can bring the highest number of buffs or debuffs to a raid and we’re equipped to do multiple tasks required for raid success (aside from damage and dazing targets with our studliness).

    Are we a support/DPS class?

    /ducks and runs for cover

  3. Talearus says:

    That music video rocks! lol

  4. Worph says:

    I think all that means is Blizzard realizes that raids, even with all of our support classes, aren’t sufficient. Thus, the hunter was given superior powers to ensure that a raid can succeed. :)

  5. moy says:

    one debate ive heard a lot on is the horde racial hunters conversation. which is better an orc or a troll for racial hunter bonuses.

    orc gives attack speed and 5% to pets but troll gives the 1% crit increase with bows. does this make them one for one or similar so you can choose either or does one hold an advantage. been searching everywhere to try and compare.

  6. Tikio says:

    Ahhh life as a hunter. The hunter class is what makes me hooked to wow. I totally remember when I first started playing, I first tried other classes and found them boring. Then I played a hunter and fell in love lol. The only thing that bothers me about the hunter class is the minimum range. I’d like to see minimum range to go away or to see the hunter damage abilities to enhance our attacks. If in range, then you shoot, if in melee, then stab instead (like a Chimera stab or explosive stab). I’d be one happy hunter if that came true.

    • Ric says:

      “The only thing that bothers me about the hunter class is the minimum range. I’d like to see minimum range to go away”

      Oh but it will! Mists of Pandaria will end with the minimum range so we’ll be able to shoot even at mellee range

  7. Brock says:

    You should also mention that while most classes think Mages are OP, Hunters can just lol at them as we dance around dispelling their shields and destroying their faces. Also, we make rogues bleed from their anus.

  8. Bradock says:

    I would also add a disadvantage: Except with a spirit beast (only one spec), hunters have no heal.

  9. Bradock says:

    Oups, forgot the chimeara shot!

    • Frostheim says:

      And spirit bond (available to any spec if they really want it). I don’t think this is a significant disadvantage compared to other pure dps classes.

  10. Darggo says:

    You got that in just in time… !7:^D

  11. Bheema says:

    To the disadvantages i would add , our trap launcher system which is a bit wonky, and disengage the worst of the “get me out of here ” spells :/

    • Darggo says:

      I agree, Trap Launcher should just be Trap Shot. Could be shot to a reticle on the ground, or at a target directly.

    • Kalven and Hobs says:

      I agree and disagree. Trap launcher is wonky, but I would hate to lose dropping traps.

    • Ambev - Frostmane says:

      you didn’t just say disengage was the worst get me out of here ability… i know i misread that. If you truly feel that way I highly recommend practicing the use of this ability and thinking of outside the box ways to use it. When used thoughtfully disengage can single handedly turn the tide of a raid encounter or pvp battle.

      • Bheema says:

        Aye i stick by it , disengage distance is affected by a Terran a lot then a regular sprint and blink would be . Feign death don’t work in pvp at all. You might fool people in regular BGs but in arenas and rated BGs nobody falls for it :/

        Just though of this , we r affected by both disarm and silence :(

  12. Darggo says:

    Ah.. Wonderful. Frost, please make this article prominent in some way for new hunters to see when they visit here. I send several new hunters here every week. I also hope to see more H101 for them as well. This will indeed be the coarse that all Freshman Hunters will want to take!

    One more bonus to the class… Can anyone else dis-spell like we can? Tranq Shot is awesome, awesome, awesome. In PvP anyway, and did I mention how awesome it is?

    I’ve PvP’d a lot in the past few months. And in the past month or so I discovered Tranq shot. So many ties, I’d see a well geared Shammy or Druid just destroying a lesser geared Pally/Warrior/DK take your pick, its pure horror as they get ripped to shreds. They cant get past the buffs (Armor, damage reduction, HoTs, Blood Lust, Bubbles, etc.)

    I would come running in, gun blazing, “KAPOW, pow.pow.pow, KAAPPOOW” and barely putting a dent in this guy, we eventually take him down, pure awesomeness that he is; however, all his awesomeness is in his buffs.

    I now stand back in that same scenario and fire non-stop Tranq Shots, watching as his health begins dwindling faster and faster as each buff is removed, one after the other. He desperately tries to bring some of his important buffs back up, trying to keep his health from falling too fast. But, his mana begins to run too low. The health loss on my comrade he fights, begins to slow down or level out. Then I join in on the carnage, and he’s out of mana, and tries to run, only to discover he cant run, not with concussive shot after concussive shot by the hunter keeping him slowed.

    • Kalven and Hobs says:

      The enrage removal aspect of Tranq is also often called Soothe, which is the Druid’s equivalent. Rogues can also do this, but I wouldn’t depend on them.

      The offensive dispel is also done by all healers, Shadow Priests, and a Warlock’s felhunter, which can be depended on almost as much as a Rogue (not at all, that is).

    • Kalven and Hobs says:

      A Mage’s Spellsteal is also an effective dispel, with the added bonus of stealing it (greedy bastards). DPS Shaman can also dispel with Purge, which is also used as a generic term for the mechanic.

  13. Gossamer says:

    Excellent! But don’t get tooooooo many people interested in huntering. As awesome as I am, I still like to have a healer or two around. You know, to look pretty.

  14. Elly says:

    “Hunters have smoldering good looks by nature, that reduces the opposite gender to a quivering pile of desire. Sometimes the same gender too. We just look that good. It’s a blessing and a curse, except not actually at all curse-like.”

    Quite possibly the best lines in the article Frost!

  15. Darggo says:

    I had thought of this a long time ago, and having the hunter song in the blog reminded me of it. It’s hardly original, needs a lot of refining, but its beyond me.

    DPS is all inside your head
    She said to me
    Rotation is easy if you
    Take it logically
    I can help you with your shots
    If you just let me
    There must be fifty ways
    To bring your hunter

    She said the guild said that its time that
    I intrude
    Furthermore, I hope that Recount
    Won’t be lost or misconstrued
    But I’ll show data
    At the risk of being rude
    There must be fifty ways
    To bring your hunter
    Fifty ways bring your hunter

    You Just start the Attack, Jack
    Keep the Raids plan, Stan
    Send in your pet to decoy, Roy
    Just stay out of melee
    Shoot from the rear, Dear
    You dont need to Feign Death much
    Just do a DE, Lee
    And stay out of melee

    She said it grieves me so
    To see you have no raid pet
    I wish there was someplace I could take
    you so you can go tame it
    I said I can go find a nice cat
    And would you please explain
    About the fifty ways

    She said why don’t we both
    Just 5 man it tonight
    And I believe beleive that soon you’ll
    be raiding again allright
    And then she kissed me
    And I realized she probably was right
    There must be fifty ways
    To bring your hunter
    Fifty ways bring your hunter


  16. Taira says:

    Epic intro to the 101 series, Frost!

  17. Dave says:

    The statement “Hunters are weak at PvP” should be qualified by adding “at higher levels.”

    Hunters are quite strong in low level battlegrounds even the experience-off BGs.

    • Ambev - Frostmane says:

      I find that in 2s with a warrior I can tear things to pieces up to about the 1700 bracket. The other day a guildie friend and I made a random new team. Q’d for arenas and won 19/20 matches with out even getting on vent.

  18. Turrble says:

    “[T]he hunter is a class that can pull a group out of some almost certain failures single-handedly.”

    No doubt. Several times I’ve finished Ozruk solo after the rest of the group dies, staying alive through up to three of his rotations. We hunters can be the difference between success and failure, either bringing the success or being one of the huntards who causes the failure.

  19. Valmordang says:

    I agree that hunters are lacking in PVP. I know this because 1v1 I am dead. A good friend and fellow hunter on Azshara was recently banned from putting in a ticket about the current pre mentioned serious hunter bug. That bug we know as close range. So in honor of Ninjadawg of Azshara, I ask that every hunter submit a ticket in regards to this annoying and unbalanced bug we deal with. If we do this, and every last one of us do this I am sure they will not fix it, and be quite annoyed. But at least they may think about it… Though I mut state that in 5v5, everyone just ignores me, and they die for thier ignorance.

  20. Kalven and Hobs says:

    “Sometimes the same gender too.” Thanks for the shout out. WoW doesn’t normally take to kindly to this sort of thing.

    “very few skilled hunters have a tan” “glistening bronzed flesh” Wait, wat?

    • Tzivya says:

      Huntering has had some noteable GLBT people over the years, so we’ve broken the blogs in pretty well. I had some great convos with Brigwyn a year or two back over being trans in WoW and such.

      My experience is most people in WoW are only passively clueless about such things. I’ve hit a person or three who was very hostile, but in general even some of the more aggressive alpha personalities can still be reasonable if you talk to them about things reasonably. Yell at them call them out, they might get defensively worse, but I’ve had great success with taking people aside and explaining things to them. Made an ally or two who’d defenestrate the truly mean ones after, too, once they realised there was a PERSON out there!

    • Frostheim says:

      Very few hunters have a tan; however, but the hordes of hotties attending our needs do indeed have glistening bronzed flesh.

      • Kalven and Hobs says:

        Oh, it’s the hotties with the tan. Well, basking in the glory of awesomeness certainly can produce that effect.

  21. TisorkA says:

    To any noob hunters that have found there way here: READ EVERY GUIDE UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND!

    I’ve being playing WoW for about 4 months and picked a Blood Elf hunter as my main. Got up to 85 and generally thought I was doing OK till I started Heroic dungeons. Lots of dead ;O

    Read all the guides, did the stat maths, bought some glyphs and socket jewels as per the guides here and my dps average has gone from 5500-6000 trhough to 13500-14000 and I don’t even have epic gear in all slots!

    I’ve literally just done a dungeon and my DPS was the best in party and its all thanks to the guides here.

    Thanks Frost – you rock

  22. Chiba says:

    Okay… This seems much less like “Ok, here’s why hunters are cool.” and much more like “Ok, this is why hunters are better than every other class in the game.”. Hunters are not THAT great. They’re fun. They’re easy to solo with. They’re valuable raid members. Yes, hunters are good. However, in no way do they, or any other class for that matter, qualify as the best. Also, I see a lot of people complaining about how they are unsatisfied with the hunters melee ability, which is crap. Hunters have fantastic rdps. People bitch that they wouldn’t stand a chance in a melee fight. Well guess what. At range, THEY don’t stand a chance against YOU. And keeping the gap open is not hard at all. traps, concussive shot, maybe a spider pet, etc… You’ve got it made so quit you’re whining and play your “awesome”, face-roll highest dps class.