After my Rogue twink was owned repeatedly by Hunter twinks, I decided to roll a hunter of my own to give the Alliance players a taste of their own medicine. Thus, Hookum (Tauren Hunter 20) was born.
I had no real intention of leveling the hunter up beyond level 19 because I wanted him to be a twink. But as I leveled with him and as I ran him through various battle grounds, I really started to realize that the hunter was a pretty fun class to play this time around. Hunter was the first class I ever rolled, because I was told it was easy and would help me get a feel for the game. The problem was, nobody bothered telling me how to use my pet, so I spent quite a bit of time in melee, and thus quite a bit of time in the spirit world.
But that was over a year ago, and I have a lot more experience with the game and how things work now than I did then. The following are the specifics of my leveling, along with the
Choosing My Pets
One of the main reasons I rolled a hunter was because I really wanted to play around with some of the pets. It’s actually pretty fun to run around all over the place hunting a specific pet that you want. Of course, if you’re only after normal pets then it’s not that big of a deal, but I like my pets like I like my steak: rare.
So the first thing I did, even before I rolled the hunter, was to go check out Petopia and did a search for all pets ranging from level 9-19. From that list I scrolled down through the pages and opened a separate tab in my browser for each pet that looked cool or had “Rare” or “Spawned” listed in the notes. After I went through the list I took a second look through all the pets and threw out the ones that didn’t interest me much.
The ones that remained after weeding through went into a spreadsheet like this:
|Mezzranache||Tallstrider (Rare)||9||Mulgore||Dust Cloud||Pink, as in PINK|
|Death Flayer||Scorpid (Rare)||11||Durotaur||Scorpid Poison||Big Black/Red|
|Bjarn||Bear (Rare)||12||Dun Morogh||Swipe||White Bear|
|Sri’skulk||Spider (Rare)||13||Tirisfal Glades||Web||Black/Red|
|Gorefang||Direwolf (Rare)||13||Silverpine Forest||Furious Howl||White/Grey Wolf|
|Krethis Shadowspinner||Spider (Rare)||15||Silverpine Forest||Web||Black/Red|
|Deathclaw||Bear||17||Blodmyst Isle||Swipe||Diseased/Mauled Look|
|Snort the Heckler||Hyena (Rare)||17||Barrens||Tendon Rip||Sort of Pink’ish|
|Takk the Leaper||Raptor (Rare)||19||Barrens||Savage Rend||Black/Green|
|Ishamuhale||Raptor (Spawned)||19||Barrens||Savage Rend||Red|
|Ghost Saber||Tiger (Spawned)||19-20||Darkshore||Prowl & Rake||Ghost Cat|
Before you read too much into the fact that I had two pets up there that are Pink, know that the only reason they are there is because the idea of a big, buff Tauren running around with some fluffy pink pets was just too funny not to at least consider. In the end though, my own manliness just wouldn’t allow me to even attempt it. I never saw the tallstrider, but I did see Snort and just killed him for his loot and skin instead.
After getting the list put together I went down the list again and decided which pets I knew for sure that I absolutely wanted to get. The only two that made the final cut were Deathclaw and the Ghost Saber. If I stumbled on to any of the others I was going to go ahead and grab them as well, but those were the two I wanted for sure and knew I wanted to keep. As it turned out, Snort was the only other one I ever saw up to this point, so I just stuck with Belle.
Leveling the Hunter: Locations
Levels 1-6: Starting area
Levels 7-13: Mulgore
Levels 14-19: Barrens
Levels 20: Darkshore
For starters, I absolutely hate, -HATE- the Tauren starting area. I’d rather roll gnomes and dwarfs all day and wander around aimlessly in a world of white. And if you had any idea how much I hate the gnome/dwarf starting area then you would know how deeply my hatred runs for the Tauren area. I’d throw a party if someone managed to blow Mulgore off the map.
I gave some serious consideration to just running him over to a different area to do all of his leveling. I thought about it long and hard, and then I realized that the very reason I would be doing that would be to save myself all the boredom and running around, and yet I would have to do all of that running around plus a whole lot more just to get to another area. So, I decided to just deal with it and quest in Mulgore. I did the quests, and I hated it just as much as I always do.
At level 3 I made the run to Bloodhoof Village to get access to the mailbox and had another low level engineering toon send over a rifle, some bags, and a non-binding dagger I had enchanted with Fiery Weapon that I now send to most of my toons to help get them started off.
The starting area went by pretty quick since I have at least done it enough times to be familiar with the whole thing. There’s a quest item sitting in a cave near where you kill the razorfen boss in the starting area that a lot of people miss. It’s not a great quest, but it’s easy and basically free money and experience. The item is a map sitting inside a cave right near that little mini-boss. Don’t skip it if you roll a Tauren through this area.
Mulgore proved to be the huge bore that it always is, but I stuck it out and did all the quests in the zone except for one. Any time I take the quest for Ara’chea that stupid kodo is nowhere to be found. The second I abandon the quest and go back to the area he’s there every time. I walked his entire path, back and forth, four times and then abandoned the quest and moved on into the barrens. Sure enough, on my way out I saw the scumbag, and killed him out of pure spite. Looted him, skinned him, and moved on.
In Mulgore I went ahead and tamed myself a cat, named her “Belle”, and used her as my pet to level up to 17. I made a really big Noob mistake when I got my pet: I did the quest chain to actually get my pet and then tamed my permanent pet, and then forgot to turn the quest in. The result of that is that I could tame, dismiss, or call my pet but that was it. Two key ingredients of all things pet related were missing: healing, and resurrecting. I just shrugged my shoulders and assumed I got it at a higher level. Four levels later, still no heal/rez and my pet had just died. I ran back to TB to try to find out what was going on, and that’s when I noticed I had a quest to turn in to my trainer where I then got the missing skills. /noob
Barrens is a really good place to level, but I really don’t like the area and I hate Barrens chat. (Lots of hatred in this post…) All that aside though, the Barrens is an excellent place for Skinning and Leatherworking, so I stuck around even though I really didn’t want to. While I was here I also did two partial PUG runs through Wailing Caverns though I didn’t get much of anything out of the runs. A paladin rolled need on the Gloves of the Fang and then gave them to me after he won them. I’m not sure why, but I’m not complaining either.
As soon as I hit level 17 I immediately made my way over to Bloodmyst Isle to tame Deathclaw. The details of how to get there are listed below. Just know that getting a horde character to the northern-most tip of Bloodmyst Isle is no quick and easy feat. Track Humanoids was a life saver, especially since I decided to go ahead and desecrate a few Alliance flames along the way since the Fire Festival is going on.
After I got Deathclaw I hearthed back to Barrens for a couple more levels before I went after the Ghost Saber. Getting to Darkshore is easier than getting to Bloodmyst isle, and it’s actually along the way to Bloodmyst. The only reason I didn’t snag the Ghost Saber on my way over was because of the level of the pet. Since you can’t tame pets higher than your own level, I had to save it for later. Ghost Sabers are a bit hard to find and you have to roam around an area filled with level 19 and 20 Nagas to find one, so all of the ones I had to kill while looking for my kitten got me two levels. Since the cat can be either level 19 or 20, I didn’t want to take try to force myself to stay level 19 for the sake of PvP and instead just killed everything around me until I found my cat. I was level 20 by the time I finally found the Ghost Saber, and so was she. Lucky for me I wasn’t trying to remain a 19 twink like I had originally planned.
As I mentioned before, getting a Horde character to the northern tip of Bloodmyst Isle is not a quick and easy task. As far as difficulty goes, it’s really not all that bad. The biggest pain is that it just takes a lot of time. The first step is to head for Crossroads in the Barrens. From there you run north into Ashenvale. Since I went there at level 17 the mobs in Ashenvale were mostly too high for me to take on with a trash pet and mediocre gear. To avoid the higher level mobs I used Track Beats to see all of the hostile ones on my map and did my best to avoid them. I did draw agro a couple of times, but my pet quickly drew the agro off of me and allowed me to run on.
I suggest you go ahead and pick up both Flight Paths while you’re in the area just in case you plan on questing here in your future. In my case, since I planned on taming a Ghost Saber at level 19-20 I made a particular point to pick up the FP on the coast to save myself that run again.
The next step is to continue on further north to get into Darkshore. Darkshore is Night Elf country, but it’s not going to trigger your PvP flag when you go in unless you do something to set it off. Some of the mobs in this area, especially in the southern half are up around level 20. I avoided all of these as well using Track Beasts and Track Humanoids both, and pretty well stuck to the road in most cases. Your destination in Darkshore though is actually the Night Elf town of Auberdine. Or more specifically, a boat that docks there at the town.
Going into a hostile city is never a good idea at level 17, so what you want to do is swim out to the end of the dock where your boat is found, and drown yourself. In Auberdine there are three boats that you can take, but only one of them takes us to our destination. The one you want is the one straight ahead as you run down the dock. Don’t take the ones to either side as they both lead to areas you don’t want to go.
When you drown yourself, make sure you are close to the surface of the water, and just a couple yards away from the edge of the dock. The reason you want to drown yourself is so that you can run down the dock and board the ship as a spirit and then rez on the boat itself so that you avoid the agro of the city guards.
Now, when you rez on that boat, there is only one place that you can actually do that safely, and that one place is up on top behind the captain. The captain is the only person on the boat that isn’t hostile. The reason why you want to drown near the surface of the water is because the captain of this boat happens to be pretty high up in the air. The first two times I did this I was too low in the water and never had the option to rez on the boat. So just make sure you die near the top of the water.
Once you rez on the boat, just hang out up there until it lands in Azuremyst Isle, land of the Draenei. Unlike Darkshore, you will get flagged for PvP when you show up here because it’s where the goat people’s capitol is found. Most of the mobs will not top level 12 in this area, so I stuck solely to Track Humanoids to avoid other players that would want kill me. The trash pet had to come to my rescue twice, but both time it was from NPCs and neither of us ever died.
Bloodmyst Isle is north of Azuremyst, so just keep on running north, avoiding hostile NPCs as best you can. Once you get to Bloodmyst just keep right on running up to the northern tip of this map as well. There you will find Deathclaw. Deathclaw happens to be a quest mob for the Alliance, so he’s pretty well always there unless someone else just recently killed him. If he’s dead though it shouldn’t take long for him to respawn.
NOTE: One thing I want to really point out about Deathclaw, is that in my opinion he has the coolest skin of all the bears in the game. The “polar” bears (like Bjarn) are cool too, but not as cool as Deathclaw if you ask me. One of the things that makes him look cool though is how big and ferocious looking he is. When you tame him though, he’s going to shrink down to about 1/6th of his size. He goes from Big Daddy to Mini-me in about half a second. He looks like a cub when you have him tamed, and though he keeps his unique skin he’s not nearly as impressive size-wise. But, the skin is what I was going for, so even though I was disappointed at his new size, he still looked cool.
You may have to deal with some demons and beasts on your way north in Bloodmyst, but they aren’t that hard. Some of the beasts and plant mobs will probably attack you as well, and they vary in level from 14-20 or so, but they shouldn’t prove much of a challenge.
Since I like the “RAWR” sound of the bear, I combine that with his brawling look and named him Brawrler.
Taming a Ghost Saber
The first thing to note is that since I already had Deathclaw and knew that I wanted to keep him, I made sure to put him in the stables before I went after the Ghost Saber. I then tamed trash pets along the way to draw agro off of me as needed while in higher level areas.
Ghost Sabers spawn from a tiny statue found in the north section of Darkshore. There aren’t a whole lot of them, the ones that are there like to hide from you, and there’s only a small chance that the actual cat will spawn when you loot the statue. Most of the time you get a trash item that’s just a figurine of the cat, though sometimes you can get a different statue that will actually let you summon one of the cats to fight for you for a short time. And every now and then you will loot the item and have a hostile Ghost Saber spawn and attack you instead. That’s the one that you tame.
Getting to Darkshore is pretty simple, though a bit dangerous if you do it at level 19-20. The easiest way that I found was to fly over to Crossroads in the Barrens and then run north into Ashenvale. From there you run all the way across the map to the north/northwest corner and on up into Darkshore. Some of the mobs in Ashenvale may very well kill you while you’re running. I used Track Beasts to know where they were and tamed trash pets that I set on Defensive to take over agro if one came to me. My trash pet died twice on the trip, but trash being what it is I really didn’t care. [Note: If you're looking for a trash pet to draw agro off of you, I suggest a wolf. Their howl ability acts like a buff that by itself will draw agro to the wolf. So even if the mob is too high for the wolf to hit, and thus draw agro, his buff ability will draw agro to him instead despite the enemies' levels.]
Once you reach the area where the cat figurines spawn it’s just a matter of running around all over the place looking for those statues while killing all of the nagas in the area as well. The research I did before going after the cat myself showed that most people found it after about 8 figurines and that it took anywhere from 1-2.5 hours to get it to spawn. It took me 10 figurines to actually get it to spawn, which was about 1.5 hours including the time it took me to get to the area.
Each time I found a statue I killed all of the Nagas in the immediate area, put the trash pet on Passive, cast Aspect of the Monkey, and then looted the statue. When I finally got the cat the first thing to do was Abandon the trash pet and then hit the Tame button. I had no problems at all in taming him, only took about 18% damage, and then had myself a classic favorite for my pet who I then renamed Genblossom.
All in all I actually enjoy running around with Brawrler more than I do Genblossom, but I haven’t had my little kitty for long so that could change after using her a bit more. Brawrler is an excellent tank, but I’m sure Genblossom will dish out better damage in the end. I’ll see which I prefer more as I get more time to play around with them.
The main strategy that you need to know for being a hunter is how to kite. It’s the best way for you to stay alive early on, it’s absolutely essential in PvP, and it’s a great skill to learn for every class in the game at some point. It’s basically just attacking while on the move to never let an opponent close in to melee range. If I can hit you, but you can’t hit me, then guess who wins. If I can slow you down but still move at maximum speed myself and never get within your range, then guess who wins.
Now, there’s more details to kiting than that, and there are many ways to do it. You can do it right from level 1, just fire a shot at an enemy and then immediately move away. When your attack timer is up stop and fire another, and just keep it up. After you get Serpent Sting go ahead and open up with it and simply do the same thing. Most mobs will be dead before SS needs to be reapplied, but if they aren’t you can cast it again if you need to. I highly suggest you learn how to strafe (using ‘Q’ and ‘E’ on the keyboard to move) if you don’t already know how. I also suggest you get familiar with using your mouse to change your directions if you aren’t already doing that as well. This is essential for what they call Jump Shooting or a Jump Shot, where you jump, spin around in midair to fire a shot, and then spin back around to face forward before you hit the ground again and by so doing continue to run away from your target. Backing up isn’t a good idea because you move at much slower speed. If you strafe, you can still attack even though you aren’t actually facing your target (you can shoot sideways, but not backwards) as long as he’s within about a 90 degree window.
One of the keys to successful kiting is keeping a maximum distance. It’s best to start off your attack from the furthest distance possible. It’s not required to be at maximum range, it’s just preferred. You can either do this by targeting the mob and then manually moving yourself away until you reach that distance, or you can do what I do and set your in-game options to include what they call “Click to Move”. This option allows you to right-click anything and your character will run to that point and interact with whatever it is if possible. If you right-click the ground then your character just runs to that point and stops. If you click on a node that your professions allow you to farm then your character will run to the node and then mine/herb/skin it. If you right-click a chest then you run to it and open it, clicking an NPC will have you run over and talk to them, a chair will make you run over and sit down, etc. Enemies on the other hand…
When it comes to to combat and clicking on enemy mobs/players/NPCs, Click to Move makes you run as close as you need to in order to attack them with your primary form of attack. And when you happen to be using a hunter, that means running close enough to shoot them (note: Hunter is the only class that Click to Move will cause to use a ranged weapon because ranged is their primary attack form. Every other class, even if they have ranged options, will move in to melee range.). If you’re already within range to shot then your character will immediately activate his Auto-Shot ability and fire at will. If you are out of range though, then your character will move to the nearest point from which he can shoot (maximum range) and then do so right away. This is the best way to keep maximum distance if you are not already within range. If you are within range, then you will need to manually move out if you want to keep max range. If I am already within range then I don’t bother backing out, personally, but do whatever feels best for you.
Talent Points and Professions
I’m still up in the air on some of my talent points, so for right now I’ll simply say that I stuck to Beast Mastery for leveling, and plan to stay that way for most of my leveling if not all. I haven’t had much time to research Hunter talents as I want to before offering advice on them, so I will leave you to your own searching on that issue for the time being. Once I have a more solid knowledge base then I will share my thoughts with you at that time.
For professions I went with Skinning and Leatherworking. To some extent I wish I had gone Mining and Engineering instead, but it’s not necessary. I do have a rogue who is an Engineer, so I think I can get by with just having him make the items I want for my hunter, and having Hookum take care of making gear for both himself and the rogue.
I have found a lot of useful Leatherworking gear for both the Hunter and the Rogue, so I do like the profession. The one thing that’s giving me trouble right now is that my skill is so high from all the skinning I’ve done that I can’t currently find the leather that I need to level the skill up further.
As I am still new to the Hunter class and am currently juggling 5 alts at the moment, I might not be moving fast enough for you if you happen to be leveling a Hunter yourself. As such, I want to direct you to an excellent source for all things Hunter-related: Aspect of the Hare.