AoE Grinding in MoP

Posted: by Frostheim

I’ve decided to take a break from crunching numbers in the beta and do a little bit of leveling. But of course I hate questing, even when the quests aren’t buggy, so I decided I’d head out and do some grinding. This also has the advantage of getting a better feel for the leveling feel of the specs. I have to say that, at least from the perspective of leveling, I have never had so much fun grinding mobs as a hunter.

I currently have BM and MM set up and was switching off between them. Both are basically just about equally good at the AoE grinding game, but I’m having huge fun with BM and for the way I’m playing, BM has a slight advantage.

The first and hugest aspect of AoE grinding is that Spirit Bond is amazing. It went from being a pointless talent to being a truly meaningful chunk of self-healing. I combine this with A Murder of Crows on mobs under 20% health to have a flock of crows around me at all times and then the occasional multi-shot to trigger my pet’s Beast Cleave and we are an AoE machine.

In order to really benefit from A Murder of Crows I have to pretty much fight in melee range. If I’m off at normal hunter range the crows kill their almost dead target (I trigger it only when a mob is under 20% health so that the cooldown resets) the crows come back to me. They seem to only join in the fight if I’m almost in melee of the new target (or if crows are still appearing — those ones seem to be more aggressive in picking targets). Thus the process goes something like this:

  • Find areas with high mob concentrations
  • Repeatedly shoot all mobs in range so that they all come in to attack me
  • Drop the newly badass Snake Trap and an Explosive Trap
  • Hit Mend Pet for safety sake
  • During this time most of the mobs are attacking me
  • Multi-Shot to activate Beast Cleave
  • Tap a mob down to 20% and hit A Murder of Crows
  • Cobra Shot to restore focus
  • More Murder of Crows
  • Look at all the pretty numbers flowing past
  • Find more mobs

The delightful thing about this practice is that more often than not mobs are attacking me left and right. Eventually my beast cleaving pet picks up most of them. But due to the power of Spirit Bond I am being constantly healed up and never have to worry about health. If I happen to get more than 5 mobs hitting me for a while, my health might go below 75% health, in which case I can always Disengage for a quick extra heal with Exhilaration.

It’s huge fun.

Don’t get me wrong, questing is typically the most efficient way to level and you don’t need to do this kind of grinding that often, but it’s awesome fun to be able to do so. The extra self-heals will also be hugely beneficial when you have those pesky group quests that, being a hunter, you’re going to want to just solo yourself anyway.

I have to imagine that SV with Serpent Spread is likely to be even more effective at this, though with more AoE from Serpent Spread rather than Beast Cleave, you’ll have more mobs attacking you, which means you might need to Disengage every now and then for the Exhilaration heal.

Here’s a video of me playing around with masses of mobs:

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  1. Noctema says:


    I have to agree, being a hunter on the beta has never been more fun. Whilst I watch those silly mages, warrior, priest, warlocks, ect (you know support classes) ,pull 1-2 mobs at a time, me and my pet(s) are just running around grabbing them 5 or more at a time laying traps and laying waste. I went with Dire beast over Crows and SV over MM/BM and it is truly a fun experience. Dire Beast has also changed since your video, at some points you even get one of those GIANT dinosaur looking creatures to come PwN face with you, or a water strider of doom. Snake trap is AMAZING and to not use it on every cd is blasphemy. Happy hunting!

    • Onom says:

      Noctema I have to agree with you and Frostheim about the level of fun in the beta so far. I am questing in the SV and MM specs. I would love to get more input from eveyone on what they think of the no range aspect that is currently in the game. While it is making life as a hunter easier, I personally dont feel like a hunter sometimes becasue …well so much is being done in melee range. To me as nice as it is to have this advanatage I believe it has taken away from what makes us hunters. If i wanted the to play a game that was easy I would break out the playstation. Please everyone more comments on this!

      • Jork says:

        I only solo as a hunter and raid as a healer, but I can tell you that I look forward to hunters not having a minimum range. It is annoying (not game changing) to see hunter’s take extra damage( not being in range of aoe heals) because they can’t stack in melee range when raid strategies call for it. Now Cataclysm has made melee range stacking less important, but still will be nice to see the hunters stay with the group.

    • Hrist says:

      I am not sure what warriors you have been seeing but, as Prot spec, I have been able to find prime spots where (thanks to the dynamic spawning upped to 11 due to the mass of people in the beta) I am getting 5-8 mobs at a time. Just as I kill one, another spawns right on top of me. Thanks to being able to generally kill one before dropping below 70% health, I can Victory Rush to full health. Also, all of my AE abilities whittle them down nicely that I can chain VRs if I do take enough damage to be concerned.

  2. Ril says:

    i’ve been doing quests this way, as a BM, level 86. murder of crows is more of a fuss than anything. the mobs are dying way too fast. rather than micro managing the crows, i’d look for new mobs or minldessly spam multi shot/cs.

    additionally, latency seems to screw the KS/CD-free crow proc. i have to wait for the highlight first, which happens usally when mobs are below 10%. if i don’t, the crow CD is activated. this is quite annoying and a real pain in PvP on live.

    by the way, standing in melee range is always a good idea as BM, because beast cleave.

  3. Kheldul says:

    Where’s your video?

  4. Grogos says:

    As awsome as all of that is. . . I have a sneaking and dreadful premonition of a GIANT nerf bat coming soon

  5. Dis says:

    Snake trap is back to only doing 200-300 damage per attack for me in beta.

    Also, I’m not a big fan of questing either but I found a lot of the quests in Valley of the Four Winds to be fun. Sure a lot of them were silly but you can’t beat helping Chen Stormstout brew beer. Of course there’s always the Stormstout Brewery dungeon as well

  6. Jork says:

    Do you think Spirit Bond will see a nerf?

    • Ril says:

      I don’t think so. As of now, it can only counter dots and slow damage (like healers). Spirit Bond is very weak against burst.
      It is essential to make a real choice between Iron Hawk and Spirit Bond, so that both have their uses. As soon as there’re healers involved, SB loses a chunk of it’s value and is only viable in fights with weak but steady incoming damage sources.

  7. Deavande says:

    You bet it will. The first time the QQ hits the forums because someone in a BG can’t kill a hunter who has Spirit Bond. Same as any self heal we get. As far as being in melee range to do anything is wrong. We are hunters meant to be at range. No minimum range is not going to change anything except for the few fights where we have to stack. In BGs if you are in melee range you are stunned till dead or dead already.

  8. arizona says:

    Latest datamining from mmo-champion:

    “Fetch – Retrieves the loot from a nearby corpse”

    I really laughed out loud, now we send our pets to collect our loot *g*

    I hope it AOE-loots as well…

  9. Brutusdupont says:

    That looks super fun, Frostheim! Thanks for sharing!