Newbie Hunter Guide

This is a guide I wrote for newbie hunters, after levelling a couple myself. It primarily concerns itself with starting a brand new character on a new server, for people who have played WoW before but never a hunter.

I originally posted this on the WoW hunter forums, but I thought I may as well stick it here too:

Hunters are the most popular class in WoW, but for some reason there is no newbie guide for hunters on these boards. So, in this post, I will attempt to answer the most common questions posed by new hunters on these boards.


1. Races
2. Talent Specs
3. Pets
4. Pet Skills
4. Profession
5. Weapons and Armour

6. Bows and Guns

1. Races.

What is the best race for a hunter for Alliance/Horde PvP/PvE?

Alliance: For PvE, the best race is Draenei. The primary benefit here is the draenei racial trait “Heroic Presence”, which gives you, your pet, and your group 1% increased chance to hit. The other racial “Gift of the Naaru”, can also come in handy for healing your pet or other group members in an emergency.

Close runner up is dwarf, primarily because of their bonus to gun skill and Stoneform.

For PvP, Both Dwarf and Night Elf have different racials that are useful. Dwarves best PvP ability is Stoneform. This ability cleans poisons from your character, which is excellent for avoiding the movement impairing effect of rogue poisons. It sounds very situational, but will be important much more than you could imagine.

For world PvP, the night elf ability to Shadowmeld is also very useful. Getting the first hit can often mean the difference between winning and losing in PvP.

In summation, if your primary goal in the end game is to Raid, then you should roll a Draenei. If you want to PvP, then consider what kind of PvP interests you most. For Arenas, Dwarves are Preferred. For Battlegrounds, both races are good. For world PvP, night elves are probably better.

Horde: This one is much simpler. The best race for a horde hunter is Orc. Orcs have 3 racials which benefit hunters superbly:

Blood Fury: Provides an attack power boost for 15 seconds every 2 minutes.
Command: Increases the damage of your pet by 5%. This is especially good now that Beastmaster Spec is the primary raiding spec.
Hardiness: Provides 15% extra stun resistance, invaluable in PvP against any melee class.

Additionally, Orcs get 5% bonus to axe skill, which while not very exciting, is better than nothing since Hunters can use both 1 and 2-handed axes.

Talent Specs:

The best talent tree for levelling from 1-50 is the beastmaster tree. The reason for this is simple: Your pet regenerates health and focus much faster than you do, so the more work the pet can take off your shoulders, the faster you can recover between fights, and the faster you can finish your quests and level.

The first 20 or so points of Beastmaster primarily affect the abilities of your pet, but after that you also get some very powerful abilities that affect YOU.

It is highly recommended that all hunters spec Beastmaster until level 50 at least. After that, feel free to branch out into other trees or try an entirely different build.

This is how you should spend your talent points from level 10:

Levels 10-14: 5/5 points in Endurance Training. This will increase the health of you and your pet, meaning your pet can take more hits. The bonus for yourself is just gravy. Ideally, you shouldn’t ever be getting hit anyway.

Levels 15-17: 3/3 points in Thick Hide. Increases you and your pets armour. See above.

Levels 18-19: 2/2 points in Focused Fire: Increases all your damage done by 2%. Some people take “Improved Revived Pet” Instead, but really your pet shouldn’t be dying very often, so the extra damage will help you kill stuff faster.

Level 20: 1/1 Bestial Swiftness. Making your pet run faster is good. It reaches mobs faster, and can chase down mobs that run away.

Level 21-25: 5/5 Unleashed Fury. 20% more damage, self explanatory.

Level 26-27: 2/2 Improved Mend Pet: This is the only way you have to remove curses, diseases and poisons from your pet, and also reduces the cost of healing your pet. You will be healing your pet A LOT. This talent is awesome.

Levels 28-29: 2/5 Ferocity: More critical hits = more damage. We will fill out the rest of this tree later, but first the next 2 talents are more important.

Level 30-31: 2/2 Bestial Discipline. This skill increases the amount of “Focus” your pet has. Focus is like mana for pets. The more it has, the more often it can use it’s special abilities. This is one of the most important talents for a Beastmaster Hunter, get it as soon as possible.

level 32: 1/1 Intimidation. This is a great new skill that enables your pet to stun a target, interrupting spells, stopping it from running away, or – most importantly – stopping it from attacking YOU.

Level 33-35 5/5 Ferocity. Get the remainding points in Ferocity now.

Levels 36-39: 4/5 Frenzy. Makes your pet attack faster for 8 seconds after it crits. Increases damage a lot, and faster attack speed is also great for slowing down the casting speed of monsters that use magic. Only 4 points here, mainly because that is usually enough to make sure your pet is frenzied all the time.

Level 40: Bestial Wrath: Awesome talent, makes your pet do 50% more damage and be immune to all forms of CC for the duration.

Level 41-43: 3/3 Ferocious Inspiration. Increases you, your pet, and party’s damage by 3% whenever it crits. As with Frenzy, your pet should crit so much with Ferocity and Cobra Reflexes that this is active most of the time. Great damage increase.

Level 44: 1/2 Animal Handler. This will help your pet hit more, and also reduce your mount speed. Not the best talent in the tree, but better than anything else available at this stage. You could also put the 5th point in Frenzy here instead, if you prefer. I personally like the faster mount speed, less time riding means more time killing.

Level 45-49: 5/5 Serpents Swiftness. Probably the best hunter talent in any tree, Serpent’s Swiftness mages you shoot your bow faster, providing a hude damage boost.

Level 50: 1/1The Beast Within. Makes you go big and red when your pet does. Gives 10% damage bonus and reduced mana cost of spells for the duration. For 1 point, this gives you a really good damage bonus, as well as a way to escape from Snare and Root effects. Great talent.

After level 50, Most hunters choose to spec into Marksmanship for Lethal Shots and Mortal Shots, but this guide will leave that up to the reader.

At level 50 then, your talent tree should look like this:

2. Pets

What is the best pet?

Different kinds of pets are best in different situations. For the purpose of this guide, I will explain what kinds of pets are best for levelling Solo from level 1 to level 60, since that is what the vast majority of you will be doing. For grouping, the choices are a little different, and will be explained later.

At level 10 you can train your first pet. You can tame most kinds of beasts in the world, so which one should you choose? The first thing you should realise is that no matter what pet you choose, it will be a huge help to you, and enable you – as a hunter – to level faster than any other class.

But since most people only like to have 1 pet, and to keep that pet for a long time, they want to have the best pet they can possibly have.

For levels 10-32, the best pet to have is undoubtedly a boar. There are many reasons for this.


Firstly, and most importantly, boars can learn the skill “Charge”. Charge is an ability that lets the boar instantly rush to your target, immobilising it for 1 second, and providing a large amount of damage and threat instantly. This will make sure you can start shooting your target faster without it attacking YOU.

Not only that, but boars can learn charge from level 10, and pretty much any boar you tame will have charge when you get it.

b.) Boars have high armour and high hit points.

If a hunter’s pet dies, a lot of the time the hunter will die shortly afterwards. Dying, while not really being a huge loss to your character, is annoying and causes you to waste time running back to your corpse. So you should really try to avoid dying whenever possible. Boars have good armour and hit points, meaning that they will die far less often than most other pets, which means you will die less often.

c.) Boars eat any kind of rubbish.

Different kinds of pets have different diets. Some only eat Meat, some like Fish or Bread, and some Pets only like Mushrooms or Fruit. Boars, just like real life pigs, will eat any old crud you have lying around. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you are low level, you don’t want to waste time (and money) running around buying food for your pet. Boars will eat basically any kind of food that drops from monsters, which means you don’t have to waste time collecting food for them.

Levels 32-60.

After level 32, A wider range of skills will become available both to you (through your talent tree) and to your pets (through the pet trainer and wild skills). So your choices become more varied at this point.

If you like your boar, there is no reason you can’t keep using it all the way to level 70 if you like. Boars are always one of the best pets you can have, so if you don’t feel like you need to change, don’t.

However, at this time, the other pets begin to catch up to boars because of the new skills that they learn, and through talents in the Beastmaster tree.

Most significantly, around this level you get to increase the amount of damage your pet does through the beastmaster talents “Unleashed Fury”, “Ferocity” and “Frenzy”. Your pet will also have more HP and Armour due to “Endurance Training” and “Thick Hide”.

What this means is that pets that deal high amounts of damage will do even better damage because of your talents. And boars, as good as they are, don’t do as much damage as some other pets. So for faster levelling, you want your pet to do as much damage as possible, you should think about choosing an offensive pet at this time.

At this point I will refer you to the wonderful site “Petopia” This site has a list of all the strengths and weaknesses of the different pet types, what they look like and where they can be found. This is an invaluable guide for all hunters of any level. Check it often.

As you can see from Petopia, the pets that do the highest amount of damage are: Cats, Raptors, Ravagers, Bats, Owls, Spiders and Wind Serpents.

So from now on, you should be thinking about getting one of those pets.

Unfortunately, at this level, if you don’t already have a Ravager or an Owl, you simply won’t be able to get one until much later on, because no pets of this type exist around level 32. You can tame an Owl at level 48, and a Ravager at level 60. But until then we will make do with the rest of them.

We will also forget about Spiders and Raptors at this stage. Sorry to those of you that would really love to have a Dinosaur or Spider pet, but they simply don’t stack up against the competition due to the lack of abilities they can learn.

So we will consider the remaining pets: Cats, Bats, and Wind Serpents.

At this stage, you will probably notice that pretty much every hunter in WoW has a cat, and not without good reason. Cats are easy to find, they do the highest amount of damage of any pet (equal with ravagers and raptors), they look cool, they eat meat, and they can learn good abilities.

The most important ability for a cat to learn is “Dash”. This provides a movement speed increase to your pet, making it get to the monster faster. Remember what I said about boars? The same idea is in play here, and although Dash is not nearly as good as charge, it is still good, and the damage your cat does will make up for it.

Bats and Windserpents can learn “Dive”. Dive is the same as Dash, but for birds.

The major difference between the 3 pet types is their secondary ability. Cats, Bats and Wind Serpents each have a special ability that makes them better than similar pets that can’t learn that ability.

Cats have “Claw”. This is an extra damage attack that takes place between regular hits. Raptors and cats can both learn claw, but Raptors can’t learn Dash, so a cat is ALWAYS better than a raptor. Spiders can’t learn either Dash OR Claw, which means they suck, and are only good for scaring people that are afraid of spiders IRL.

Bats have the ability “Screech”. Screech is a pet ability only available to Owls, Bats and Carrion birds. Screech deals instant damage to the target, creates aggro, and affects all monsters within melee range of the bat with a debuff that decreases their attack power. This makes the mobs hit for less damage (meaning your bat takes less damage, and also makes them attack the bat rather than you (if there is more than 1 monster). Both of those abilities are very, very handy.

Wind Serpents have the ability “Lightning Breath”. Only Wind Serpents can learn it. Lightning breath is a special ability that deals extra damage. However, unlike most pet attacks, lightning breath is a magical attack, meaning that it ignores the effects of armour. If you are fighting very tough mobs or PvPing, Lightning breath will do more damage because of this.

So which of these 3 pets should you choose?

Personally, I recommend the bat. Screech is a unique and extremely useful ability. You will frequently be fighting more than one monster at a time, and screech really shines in those situations. Additionally, screech provides extra threat, which means it will be pretty much impossible to pull aggro from your pet.

Bats aren’t for everyone though, in fact, you will very rarely see anyone with a bat. There are a few good reasons for this:

1. There is only 1 type of bat you can actually tame at level 32. The Kraul Bats and Greater Kraul bats in Razorfen Kraul. Unlike most pets, you can’t just waltz out into the bush and tame one. You will have to find a group (or a high level friend) to take you into Razorfen Kraul so you can tame a bat there.

2. Bats only eat Fruit and Fungus. Not all towns have NPCs that sell these kinds of food, and they rarely drop from monsters. So you will have to remember to stock up each time you go to the city. Also, you will need some on you for when you go to tame your bat.

2. Wings. Some people find pets with wings annoying. Personally, I learned to put up with it because of how useful they were, but if this is you, get a cat instead.

Note: Carrion Birds (Vultures, Buzzards, etc) are a good alternative to bats if you can’t find a group to help you tame one. They do slightly less damage but otherwise share all the same abilities. They are also pretty common throughout the world and have more armour than bats. So if you can’t get a bat, a Carrion Bird is a good substitute.

***** Note on grouping with pets:

All the above advice assumes you are sololing with your pet, and you are specced fully in the beastmaster tree.

If you are specced in the marksman tree, you should stick with a boar for soloing until level 70.

If you are running a lot of instances, you won’t need the charge or the high armour of a boar, since you will (hopefully) have a player tanking. In this case you pretty much just want the highest damage pet you can get, which at this level is a cat or wind serpent. You can even just keep one in the stable for when you want to run an instance, because as a hunter you really don’t need to group that much to level. At lower levels though, its not THAT huge a deal, so if you dont have a cat or windserpent, just take whatever you have.

When grouping with your pet turn off “Growl” and “Charge” (if you have it).


After level 60, ignore this guide, you should know all there is to know by then, and decide on the best pet for your own needs.

Pet Skills:

The pets mentioned above are good because of their special abilities. If you don’t train them with the abilities, then that defeats the purpose of having the pet to begin with.

To learn a pet ability, you first have to tame the pet that has that ability, and then fight with that pet until you learn it yourself. After that, you can teach the ability to any pet you have that is capable of learning it.

For example: If you tame a Stranglethorn Tiger, it already knows the ability “Dash 1″. After fighting for a few minutes with the tiger, you will get the message “You learned a new skill: Dash 1″. After that, you can teach any other cat that ability by using the “Beast Training” Ability in your general skills tab.

So, here are the relevant skills and where to get them:

Cobra Reflexes: Any pet can learn this ability at level 30. You need to learn it from the pet trainer, who is usually next to the hunter trainer. It increases the attack speed and DPS of your pet.

Growl: Learned from your pet trainer. Growl taunts the mob, making it attack your pet instead of you. Make sure you always train your pet the highest rank of growl you can learn. It doesn’t cost anything to teach your pet growl.

Claw (for cats): Learned from Scorpid Reavers in the Shimmering flats (Rank 4).
Dash (for cats): Learned from Stranglethorn Tigers in Stranglethorn Vale (Rank 1)
Dive (For Birds): Learned from Kraul bats in Razorfen Kraul (rank 1) OR Young Mesa Buzzards in the Arathi Highlands (for those of you who decide to take a Carrion Bird) (Rank 1)
Screech (For Birds): Learned from Salt Flats Vultures in the Shimmering Flats (Rank 2)

A full list of all the pet abilities and what beast has them can be found here:


Most people tend to take Skinning And Leatherworking for their hunter, because firstly, Leatherworkers can make armour for hunters, and skinning can provide the materials for the leatherworking.

I personally wouldn’t recommend this for a new character. If you already have a high-level character on your server, then feel free to take whatever professions you choose. You should already know what you want anyway.

However, for a new character, I can not recommend leatherworking for 2 reasons:

The first reason is that despite the advertising, you won’t really be able to make any good armour for yourself at lower levels. The way that World Of Warcraft is designed, you will need materials from monsters that are too high level for you to kill to make armour that is the right level for you. This situation persists until you reach level 70.

For that reason, I believe it is a waste of time and money to take a crafting profession before level 70. You are much better off simply making as much money as you can, and using that money to buy armour and weapons from the Auction house. For any class of character the auction house is your best friend.

So how then to make money?

Gathering professions. Mining, Herbalism and Skinning. These are undoubtedly the best way to make money on any server.

Mining and Herbalism are the most profitable, but since you can only track 1 type of material at a time, most people choose to take 1 of the two, along with skinning.

I personally would recommend Mining and Skinning, for a couple of reasons.

1. Mining provides a better cash inflow at lower levels than Herbalism does, even though Herbalism may be better in the end game.

2. Mining allows you the choice of taking up a crafting profession in the end game, as Blacksmithing, Jewelcrafting and Engineering all go well with mining. If you take Herbalism, you pretty much are stuck with Alchemy as a choice. Mining keeps your options open.

Mining and Skinning then, will be the best choices for any new hunter.

Also note that because you are taking skinning, you will often be able to just ask a leatherworker to make any stuff for you, and give him the skins to do it with. This might seem like leaching but hey, some people actually enjoy crafting stuff, so take advantage of it and then go back to swimming in your pools of gold coins.

Armour and Weapons:

Many new hunters are confused by the wide range of weapons and armour available to them. We can use almost any weapon and most armours. So what to get?

The first thing to remember is that even though Hunters can use a sword, axe or staff, we are not very good at it. Using your melee weapon should only ever be a last resort, or to just finish off a mob that ran away towards you (stupid mob).

95% of your damage will come from your bow.

Therefore, how much damage your sword or axe does is completely irrelevant. In fact, after playing a hunter for so long, I can honestly say that I can’t even remember the last time I looked at the damage output of my melee weapon, and have no idea how much damage my current weapon does.

The only important thing about your melee weapon is what stat bonuses it gives.

Stat Bonuses:

Most green, blue and purple items give you bonuses to various stats. For a hunter, The most important stats are Agility, Stamina and Attack Power.

Agility increases your attack power, your armour rating and your Critical Strike chance. 1 point of Agility gives you 1 point of attack power.

So, why bother with items that only give Attack Power when agility gives you all those other nice bonuses? Well, the main reason is that Attack Power is “cheaper”. The same level item could give you a bonus of 10 to agility, or it could give you 20 to attack power. Getting either one in that situation would be fine.

Unfortunately for hunters, It’s kind of hard to find stuff that has bonuses to agility, stamina and attack power all at once (at least until you reach level 60). Basically you have a choice: Get armour that gives you + Agility and + Stamina, or armour that gives you + Attack Power.

+Agility/+Stamina items are fairly easy to come by. You will recognise them by their name: “So and So Hat/Cloak/Sword OF THE MONKEY”. “Of The Monkey” is where you live, as a hunter. If every single piece of armour you have says “Of The Monkey” on it, then you are doing fine.

The problem is that, depending on your server, you might not be able to find “of the monkey” stuff on the auction house. In that case you might want to get some other stats like intellect or spirit (Of The Falcon or “Of The Wolf”). Try and get “Of The Monkey” whenever possible though.

+ Attack power items are also great, but harder to come by. These are simple to find, instead of “Of The Monkey” or “Of The Falcon”, they will just say “Of Power”. E.G. Barbaric War Axe Of Power. Anything like that is also great to have, but they are rarer than the animal-named items.

I personally try to update all my items every 5 levels. Sometimes you can’t find anything suitable, so don’t worry too much about it, at lower levels it isn’t that important.

Just remember that it is rarely worth spending big money to upgrade your armour or melee weapon. Nothing you buy from the auction house should cost more than 1 or 2 gold per item. You should save all your money for two things: Your mount, which you will have to buy at level 40, and your Bow or Gun.


Unless you have a strong preference one way or the other (some people think guns are too loud), there is no functional difference between bows and guns. You should choose the best bow or gun you can get for your level. I would recommend getting a blue (rare) quality gun at level 18-20 and doing your best to upgrade it every 5 levels from then on.

Even so, you shouldn’t have to spend more than 10-20 gold each time you upgrade, and sometimes much less.

A good, and fairly common weapon you can buy at the auction house when starting out is Little Timmy’s Peashooter.

I see this on the Auction House for less than 1 gold all the time. After that, keep looking for a new weapon whenever you visit the auction house (which should be a lot, if you took my advice and took mining and skinning as your professions).

Look for a Blue quality weapon that does good DPS that you can afford. Of course, if you are running instances you should also keep your eye out for good weapons. The best low-level weapon is Venomstrike, which drops in Wailing Caverns.

There are also good bows available as rewards from Battlegrounds like Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin, but you will have to do a lot of battlegrounds to get them, and that time would probably be better spent levelling. Nevertheless, if you like PvP and are going to do it anyway, then that is probably the best way to get a good weapon.


That’s it for this guide. I hope some newbies find some use for it. If there are any important questions that I missed, feel free to add them below and if I get enough request for the same question I will add it to the guide. Cheers!


9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tensun  |  November 13, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Wolf, you need to update the info on raptors! In patch 2.2 they’ve added the ability to charge to these awesome pets! Especially the BEM ones.

  • 2. Redmongoose  |  March 25, 2008 at 8:48 am

    great sitew really got alot of usefull info off thanks

  • 3. Jogurtek  |  April 26, 2008 at 8:18 am

    great site with awesome and simple help, thnx.

  • 4. Frogmaster  |  April 29, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Um there are some things in the tree build that i would have done diff, but all in all, a good guide

  • 5. Walrus  |  August 18, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Awesome guide, helped me a lot with the pet part. Thank you.

  • 6. krix  |  February 28, 2010 at 7:18 am

    of note , Draenei have access to ravagers at lvl 10 ( their are some in the northen part of the starter island ) and for a starter area with no boars , they are nothing to sneeze at 😉

  • 7. whisp  |  November 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    thanks really helped i got 231 gold and i’m just level 12

  • 8. Catherine Cole  |  July 30, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I feel a bit slow. Where is Endurance Training at? : o

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