Level 10 is when a Hunter gets their pet, so 1-9 don’t help you understand the class very well. (IMHO You don’t really get to know any class until you get your 31 point talent).
My first impression of the Hunter class supports what I’ve always suspected – they are very survivable and very easy to play. Something I didn’t expect is that Shuggie is turning out to be really good fun to play as well. Hopefully that will continue as he levels up. (I don’t like that he can’t heal himself, though 🙂 ).
Anyway, here’s some information on low level Hunter stuff. Remember this is information for the new Hunter. I don’t expect there will be any epithanies for you level 80s 🙂 …
Starting out as a Hunter is very easy. Just stand near to max range from the thing you want to kill and engage Auto-Shot. If the mob is still alive when they get to melee range, hit them with Raptor Strike. Now they’re dead.
The early quests in every starting area include a lot of ‘go and kill x of this mob’ or ‘go and collect y items looted from this mob’, so you get to do a lot of this. One issue I realized early on is if you right click on the mob when you’re out of range, then Auto-Shot kicks in as soon as you get in range. This can cause some small problems when you’re killing mobs that are aggressive to you. There were a couple of times I went to attack; realized I was out of range; saw a better mob to go for; got into range of the original mob while repositioning; found I’d aggroed one mob and shot at the other.
At level 4, you get Serpent Sting, and your shot rotation becomes: Serpent Sting at max range, auto-shot as the mob rushes you, Raptor Strike when in melee.
You also get Aspect of the Monkey at level 4 – keep it on all the time.
At level 6, you get Arcane Shot. Shot rotation is modified to Serpent Sting, Arcane Shot, Auto-Shot … Raptor Strike. (Repeat Arcane Shot if the mob is still at range when its cooldown is over.
At level 8 you get Concussive Shot. You now have the option of starting with Concussive Shot to slow the mob down, followed by the previous rotation. This increases the chance of repeating Arcane Shot before the mob gets to melee (and increases the chance the mob dies before it gets to you).
(Obviously, casters won’t run at you. That makes it easier for you because you just stand there hitting them with your shot rotation).
I’ve never played a class where strafing is particularly important before. I’m quickly learning how useful it is for a Hunter. If a mob gets you into melee range, you can strafe (Q and E keys by default) to get back into shooting range. Strafing is ‘running to the side’ – its faster than running backwards, and keeps the mob in your ‘ranged aim cone’ so you can shoot as you strafe. I try to strafe out of melee range, fire off a concussive shot, then keep at range firing Auto-Shot and Arcane Shot. You have to stop running to Auto-Shot, but you can do the others on the run.
The hard part is being aware of what else is around you. Its very easy to strafe into another mob. If I do aggro adds when strafing, I generally use a subtle technique I learned on my Priest and Mage – the technique is called ‘run for your life’.
(I suspect strafing will become less important again once I have a pet to hold aggro).
Another technique is to run through the mob, hitting him with Raptor Strike as you pass him. Turning slows him down, so you can get to range on the other side. If you’ve got good mouse coordination, you can jump and turn around as you run, firing as you go.
In the starting areas, grey gear drops quickly, so just equip what you can from drops and quest rewards – cloth or leather. At this level, you don ‘t get any itemization (just armor), so go for the best armor you can find and equip new weapons if they increase your DPS.
Anelf mailed Shuggie some low level crafted gear to await his arrival in Kharanos. The first green items (items with stats on them) become available from about level 5. I’m prioritizing Agility and Stamina at these low levels. Strength or Intellect is fine if they come from upgrading the two primary stats (Intellect > Strength). And Kibeth has sent him a level 5 gun she made.
I’m a terrible cook – in game as well as IRL. The highest level I’ve reached on any alt so far is about level 85. I didn’t bother learning cooking when I got to Kharanos, so Tin has had to explain to me very carefully and very slowly (using words of two syllables or less 😉 ) how important it is for a Hunter to be able to make food for their pet.
Learn First Aid. And start skilling up on the Linen Cloth that drops. Then you’ll be able to bandage your pet if he gets into trouble. (Rather then have him die and the mob come on to you).
For someone like me, who has never played a Hunter, the first thing you notice about bag space is how little you have. One bag slot is taken up by your ammo pouch/quiver. Later on – when you have your pet – you need to carry pet food around as well. This loses you 2-3 more spaces (probably more really, because you’ll want to keep the all meat that drops so you can cook it later). I tend not to go higher than 16-slot bags Netherweave Bags, as these are very cheap per slot (the price rockets for 18-slot and higher). But I can imagine a lot of Hunters are beating a trail to Haris Pilton 🙂 .
Keep an eye on your ammo. You get through 200 shots quicker than you realize. On the other hand, don’t do what I did and completely fill your ammo pouch as soon as you find an ammo vendor. Otherwise you’ll waste time grinding for the cash to buy your early talents.
Next up: Level 10 and your pet quest.