This is the beginning of a Hunter 101 series, to welcome new hunters into the class and steer them in the right direction from the beginning of their hunter career.
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 use the physical hit cap and crit multiplier 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 nearly 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 with 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 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.
- 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. You can get a look at all the different amazing hunter resources out there at WoW Hunter Hall (which is itself pretty darned cool).
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:
- The hunter class is the only class in WoW with a minimum range. We cannot shoot a target that is engaged in melee with us. This makes the occasional boss fight a weird and harrowing experience (it’s clear that the developers occasionally forget about hunters when designing boss encounters) and makes PvP pretty horrible.
- Hunters are weak at PvP. We’ve had our ups and downs, but hunters have almost never been on the top of the pvp rungs. This is largely due to the minimum range issue, where if an opponent closes with us we cannot damage them, and our ability to regain our focus is crippled since we can’t shoot our focus restoring shots. Thus the right thing to do when fighting a hunter is to always close with them, whether your ranged or melee. The hunter community generally agrees that minimum range is a horrible, terrible, stupid, and unbalancing mechanic that Blizzard just needs to do away with.
- 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.