Leveling your hunter: level 0 before you start

Welcome to all you new hunters out there!  Congratulations for choosing the best class in WOW :>)  The hunter is a predominantly ranged class, doing damage via a gun, bow or crossbow.  They are also not bad at melee combat, although they’re much more powerful from a distance.  They wear leather armor until level 40, and mail after that.  The other great thing about the hunter is their use of combat pets.  The hunter tames an animal from the wild, who then fights by their side, doing a lot of damage, and keeping the enemies off the hunter, allowing the them to stand at range shooting away.  The synergies between the hunter and her pet is the greatest strength of the class and makes it incredibly fun to play.

Level 1-10 is somewhat different from playing a hunter after level 10.  You don’t have a pet.  You get the ability to go tame a pet once you hit level 10, through a quest from your hunter trainer.  So for level 1-10 you will find your self starting off shooting from range, and then meleeing the mob (enemies/monsters are referred to as mobs in wow speak).  This is not all bad, it allows you to learn to kite and strafe (more later) in order to get to range and get more shots in, and gives you the time to learn your own skills without also having to think about micro managing your pet.  Getting to level 10 takes around 4 hours game play.

My leveling blogs will take you through the experience with my own little dwarf hunter, Smilla, say hello, Smilla.  “Hello there.” /wave

This means we will be looking at the dwarf/gnome starting area, although much of what is said applies to all starting areas, and I will make a comment about the others (I’ve tried them all at some point).

So.  After your little intro cinematic you find yourself in your starting area, in Smilla’s case, snowy Coldridge Valley.  Lets have a look at your spells and equipment before we run over and speak to the first quest giver.  On your tool bar you should see Button 1 assigned to Auto Attack with a melee weapon, button 2 to Raptor Strike and button 3 to Shoot with your ranged weapon.  Your food and drink (which is stored in your backpack) has also been placed on your toolbar.  Your spells and Abilities Book (on your special menu bar) contains these spells.  When you learn new ones from a trainer they are written into this book and you must drag and drop them onto your toolbar to use them.

I like to set up my toolbars from the beginning as I will use them later on.  At the moment I use an addon called Bartender 3 which gives me extra toolbars, however before that, I would make all the static toolbars visible – interface menu > action bars then click to show all the bottom and right tool bars.  I keep my most used spells at the bottom and things like hearthstone, food, potions, trade icons, and lesser used spells on the right.

I use hot keys a lot, so if my main hunter want to Raptor strike I press the 2 key on my keyboard rather than mouse over and click the button.  Because I am so used to where her buttons are, I set up any other hunter the same way.  You will have to experiment and find a setup that is right for you, I am not sure mine is the optimum one, just something I am used to.  But anyway, I have shoot on button 4, so moved Smilla’s shoot to that (leaving button 3 for wing clip when I get it).  If you can’t move it, you need to uncheck the Lock Buttons option in the interface menu.  (This should be checked during combat, as it is easy to accidently drag spells off you tool bars, been there, done that).

I also drag my active racial ability onto the toolbar, if its not already there.  For dwarves this is Stoneform, which removes posion, bleed and other effects.  It can be an incredibly useful spell, even at higher levels, e.g. removing the Garotte from Moroes in Karazhan.  Night elves get shadow meld, makes you invisible; Draenai get gift of the naruu a heal over time; Tauren get thunder stomp, great for getting to range; Orcs, Blood Fury increasing attack power; Trolls, Beserker increasing attack speed.

Another thing worth checking in the interface menu is the Auto Loot Corpse option.  This is a time saver, and allows you to automatically pick up all your loot as you go.  If you bags get full, and you are not near a vendor to sell stuff, just drag and drop the cheapest thing into space to destroy it.

Another time saver is the instant quest text option in the interface menu.  Means the quest givers don’t write out their quests by hand while you wait.

Any loot you recieve goes into you backpack.  To open/close all bags press Shift+B.  You have 2 your backpack and ammo pouch.  Always make sure you have enough ammo for your needs (I had a noob moment with Smilla the other day and ran out – had to pretend I was deliberately leveling my axe skills!)  You have space for 3 more bags, hope some drop for you.  If you have a higher level alt, mail your newbie some, so that you can pick them up around level 5 when you reach your first town.  If you don’t, start saving some money, and buy some from the auction house in a major city.  Big bags mean more loot, and less wasted time on trips to vendors.

Clicking C brings up your character window.  You can see your gear (is it made of paper?) and your toy gun/bow and axe.  When you receive cloth/leather armor loot equip it as its going to be an upgrade on this rubbish.  I use 2 little addons, which are very helpful, epecially at later levels, for comparing armor to see if something is an upgrade I want to equip – EquipCompare and RatingsBuster.  Read my Addons 101 before installing.  If you click the skills tab on this window you can see which weapons you can already use.  You might pick up an upgrade.  You can train (for money) to use lots of other kinds of weapons with a Weapons Master in a capital city – you will want to go visit them all when you can, as they train different kinds of weapons.

You don’t know any professions or trade skills yet.  Later you can can train 2 primary professions as well as all three secondary professions (cooking, first aid, fishing).  I highly recommend that all hunters get all 3 secondary professions and work on them to max them out.  They are incredibly useful for a hunter, and cooking and fishing can make you money.  For primary professions there are some recommended choices:

Either: 2 gathering professions to sell stuff and make money (mining and skinning, or herbalism and skinning); or skinning/leatherworking (makes leather and later mail armor); or mining/engineering (makes guns and ammo and other gadgets); or alchemy/herbalism (makes potions/elixirs and money).

OK I think that’s enough preliminary stuff for now, lets go over to our quest giver (the guy with the big yellow exclaimation mark over his head) and get on with the leveling.   Look at the key bindings (Interface menu) and the manual to see how to move around.  You can change the key bindings if you wish.  I tend to use the arrows to change direction; q and e to strafe, and have rebound auto run to the . key.  But its up to you to find the best set up for you.  I am stupid and don’t currently have a proper mouse (on account of playing on a laptop with a track pad, balanced on the arm of a chair, so my real life cat can sit on my lap – he likes wow – I sit still).  I’d be a lot more survivable against rogues in BGs on my higher level if I used a proper mouse to move around, and learned to jump shot and kite more effectively.  With my set up I have no problems kiting the defenders in heroic slave pens, but not so good again the rouges :>( (yes that was a deliberate mispell, sorry but you will never catch me playing a rouge).

Right, as Barnes in Karazhan would say, “On with the show…” (go to Leveling your hunter: Levels 1-10)

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