A Hunter's Bookends


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A Hunter's Bookends

As a Hunter, there are many things that we are good at, but there are two things that you MUST be great at to play your class well: pulling and using your pet to tank. These two skills will make you a solo leveler, and a great team player. I've made a million mistakes in leveling Lechuza, but I can honestly say that we have done 1000% better since I improved these two skills. These two skills are the bookends of our class, the two skills that hold everything else up.


This first thing you need to do is read these two articles, The Zone of Ultimate Safety, and Hunter Pulling. Both of these articles explain why we are the best pullers, as a class, in the game. They will also give the basics, and step-by-step instructions on how to execute a perfect pull.

As a recap, a pull is executed when you choose one enemy, and can "pull" him out of a crowd, making one enemy move toward you and away from his friends. Any enemy not intended as the target, but that is pulled along with the target is called an "add" in game terms. A pull has different purposes while you are soloing or playing in a team, but the difference happens in the moments AFTER a successful pull.

Setting a pull up is key, and the smart use of traps, terrain, your pet and team will make a HUGE difference in your using your skills to the best of your ability.

The strategy of the pull is simple. By striking the enemy and causing threat (aggro), the enemy will turn his attention towards you and move towards you. If the enemy deals damage from range, either by spells or shooting, he will not be pulled as far others. If the aggro radius (the amount of threat by any attack has a radius. While your shot only damages a single enemy, the threat has a "splash" effect, and moves out) is too large, it may extend to adds (the other enemies around the target). The more damage a shot gives, the larger the aggro radius.

Ideally, this means that we want a long range shot, that causes very little damage. This means that you do not apply a Hunter's Mark until AFTER the initial hit. (440 Ranged Attack Power, 440 Attack Power (melee) if you have Improved Hunter's Mark (and you should) for everyone attacking the target. This makes it way too easy to cause a crit) I USED to use a Concussive shot, but this is not the answer. At higher levels, your Concussive Shot will still cause an aggro radius that extends out for several in-game yards, calling his friends (adds) towards you. Since your target is stunned, his friends (the adds) will reach you before your target. You may drop a Freeze trap, but this only hold an enemy for 20 seconds, and it uses some of your mana pool. If more than one enemy followed your target, you will have to switch your target at least once (Tab is your friend), trying to trap one enemy, and sending in your pet to fight one. The original target will snap out of hit daze, and you will most likely have to melee him since your pet is dealing with the add. After 20 seconds, the freeze trap wears off and you have one more add to the bunch. This was a BAD PULL. (The above scenario happened more than once to me. This is why I don't use a Concussive shot to pull anymore. It's also why I can fight a crowd somewhat successfully. :p) I tried Auto-shot, but a similar situation ensued, pulling the whole crowd instead of just one. The difference is that I could put Olm (My white owl, who unfortunately for him was my pet while I was making these horrible mistakes) on Passive, drop a Freeze trap, and as soon as my Target hit it, Feign Death. The other adds would run away, and I would re-target my original target, and we would fight. That's a LOT of mana burned through. I was drinking a lot of water with that strategy, and it was actually more efficient to send in Olm, hit Beastial Wrath, Mend Pet, and shoot from a distance. switching to the next target along with Olm.

Then one day, I spent a few hours with our macro system. I've read about some players trying to write a King macro, one button that is spammed in every fight that kills everything, heals everyone, brews a perfect cup of coffee, cures cancer, files your taxes, and grills your fajitas. I don't buy it. But I do believe that wise and judicial use of macros can make a big difference. What I tried was dragging my Arcane Shot (Rank 1) into my actionbar. I would target my enemy, hit Arcane Shot Rank 1, hit Hunter's mark. then my Auto-Shot would kick in, and cause a bunch of threat. :/ So I tried Arcane Shot, Esc, Hunter's Mark. That did it, :D but it was hard to execute even with keybindings. So, I learned the macro system.

I will admit that I am relatively new to using macros in the game. But now that I tweaked some macros that I wrote up, I'm loving them.

So I now present to you, my first Hunter's Macro for the guild. Use it wisely.

Pull Macro
/castsequence reset=15 Arcane Shot(Rank1), Hunter's Mark

The reset just means that if you do not complete the macro (you get interrupted, or decide not to use this particular macro to set Hunter's Mark) it will reset itself after 15 seconds. Of course, it automatically resets after completion. Once the shot is fired, you hit the button (or keybinding) a second time, and the Hunter's Mark is set on the target. This allows you to decide if you want to set the Hunter's Mark. (You do, of course, but you may want to use the Pet Attack macro I'm showing you later.)

What this does is simply strike with a very low damage shot, then stops shooting, and places a Hunter's Mark on him, showing your group who you've pulled, and of course giving everyone 110 RAP / 110 AP. growing to 440 of each with every hit (110, 220, 330, 440 max). Why did we go with Arcane Shot instead of Auto Shot? Arcane Shot is an Instant Cast shot, and it can be applied while moving. Which means it is ideal to start with when Kiting or Pulling.

This is extremely versatile.You can drop a Freeze trap, wait 10 seconds or more (up to 40 seconds) for your Trap cooldown to expire. Hit the macro and back up, keeping the trap between you two. He hits the trap, and you can move in ANY direction (guiding him to your tank, who is conveniently behind that corner over there). Drop another trap, wait for the first to nearly expire, and fire again(now you can use any shot you want, his friends are WAY back there), breaking the trap and pulling him in the new direction. Rinse and repeat. (this is a variation of Chain Trapping, by the way, which we will be discussing in another thread.)

You can drop the Freeze trap where ever the tank wants to fight, pull the enemy to the tank, and once the target is frozen, the tank can move in and take over (because the Arcane Shot (Rank1) is such a low aggro shot, the tanks will have no problem taking aggro from you on his first hit. If your tank is not sure about this, you can also offer to Feign Death once the target hits the Freeze Trap. This will immediately REMOVE you from the aggro list (completely from combat, in matter of fact) but because the target is Frozen, he will not run away.

In this way, your team can wait in a safe location, with the tank closer to you, but the squishies (cloth-wearers, otherwise known as healers and mages) safely away from danger, until the right moment. The beauty of this is that the group can take positions EXACTLY where each one wants to, because you know where the target will end up. The second benefit is that the Hunter can Feign Death if his pull shot crits and he draws aggro and adds. It's like a RESET button.

Advanced Pulling

The Pet Pull

The first advanced pull is a simple Pet pull. You can send your pet much farther than you can shoot. With experience, you can usually know exactly which path your pet will follow. Choose your target, send your pet in. Once he has aggro, hit your Passive button, and your pet will come right back to you, bringing his new friend (remember to switch back to Defensive / Aggressive if you had him on either. Of course, you usually keep him on Passive in a group Instance, don't you?) Lechuza uses owls and Texican has a boar and I can attest that flying pets have a distinct advantage here. They are able to fly using a straighter path up mountains, down valley, and over many (not all) obstacles. If your pet does grab adds on its way back to you, hit Attack again, and let him die (Sounds cold, I know, but he loves you, and wouldn't want to cause a party wipe). With practice, you can send your pet way back behind enemy lines, bring him back, and hit Attack (especially with my Pet Attack macro) and lock your target right where you want him. Since the target has only sensed your pet, it will not continue to your group as soon as your pet attacks, Of course you can use this with chain trapping all you want.

The Trap Pull

I am not convinced as to the usefulness of this technique, but is is kinda cool. This pull is used when you need to pull a target (or a group of targets. Actually, you WILL bring the whole group if there is one) From a room, or hallway, or on the other side of the mountain, to you and your group. You place a trap (if there is a lot of groups around, and you only want to bring one group, drop a low level trap (rank 1). If you want to damage the lot of them, but maybe bring a lot more, go with your max. If you only want one, albeit a random one, go with a Freeze trap.) Wait in the other room, hallway, or wherever you are, and watch your mini-map (You need to be tracking the type of enemy you are pulling, to cry out "Incoming" when they are on their way. You should be tracking all the time. If I EVER find out you are tracking gathering nodes (herb or mining) while in a group without asking your group leader, I will ban you from grouping with me. Seriously. Every Hunter in the group (usually only one or two per group) should be tracking the known enemy types in the Instance. In fact, gathering in an Instance should be discussed beforehand. Some PUGS I've been involved with forbade any gathering while in Instances, to avoid distractions. Ask your Group Leader, and all of them are different. But, I digress) Once the trap fires, the targets will start coming for you. Immolation and Explosive traps keep firing for a while, so they may keep aggroing other groups. This is , obviously a dangerous method, but one that has a few, rare, uses. Practice it on low level mobs before you bring it.

The Other Bookend, Pet Tanking

I am going to say this once. You are NOT a tank. If you want to tank, roll a Warrior or a Pally. At best, you may be an off-tank, but it you are in melee longer than it takes for you to lock someone with your Wingclip, you are playing someone else's class. The only time you should melee is if the target has closed, and you know that you can kill it with a hit. If not, Wing Clip, and move to range. If your Wing Clip doesn't proc within a few hits, Disengage, and move to range. (With this in mind, the exception to the rule is the simple fact that you need to keep your melee-weapon skills up. When you get a chance, go find some farming (beasts for leather, humanoids for cloth) who are green to you, or if necessary, grey. I got my Crossbow skill from 1 to 300 in an hour by farming AngerClaw Maulers for an hour. They were grey to me, so I was in no (or at least very little) danger of dying. Your skill goes up per number of successful hits, so keep your Pet on Passive, and go to town. If your Wing Clip is not procing, it's most likely because your Weapon Skill is too low)

That being said, your Pet may be, and probably is, an amazing tank. Onyx ( my black owl) is a High-DPS, Area of Effect stunner with incredible Armor and Hit Points. He can, and does, hold mobs 3-5 levels higher than himself easily, and fight groups of mobs his own level so well that I often lose the loot because I didn't get a shot in. (If the group of mobs is our level, I will Multi-Shot just to be sure I get a hit in so I can loot / skin) When I hit Bestial Wrath he becomes Vengeance Incarnate ©. It is a thing to see.

Pet tanking is no more than sending your pet in to attack a enemy, possibly a group of enemies, and letting him hold aggro so you can fire away. If you are playing your class, you will be causing much more sustained damage from range, Crit more often,and control your mana pool as long as you stay at range. If you are choosing your Pets skills properly (max out Great Stamina, Natural Armor and his attacks (if you have Bite and Claw, choose only one)), keeping him up to date, your pet should have no problem holding aggro.

My Pet Attack macro

/castsequence reset=15 Hunter's Mark, Mend Pet

Again, the reset is just if you do not complete the macro. Since Sending your pet to attack has no cooldown, and is not a "spell", it happens at the same time Hunter's Mark is applied. (If you use the Pull macro, and want to send your pet in after the target is clear of a group, this will set the Hunter's Mark instead. Try to avoid using Hunter's Mark twice, conserve your mana!) You can hit the button again if you wish to apply Mend Pet as an option. If you have taken the talent Improved Mend Pet, it has a chance to cure poison, and clear curses, etc, so I always add it if the target is (1) more than 3 levels higher than Onyx ( you want to keep your tank healthy so you can continue your rampage after this target is down. Minimize the down-time) or (2) uses poisons, curses, or other DOTs.

Learn these two skills, and their nuances, and you will become a force to be reckoned with. By getting these two concepts down, you will separate your self from the "huntards" that plague the realm, and give our class the "WoW starter class" reputation it has today. With practice, you will be one of the few, the proud, the Hunters who can Play Their Class.

Happy Hunting.

Don't Fear the Weapon, Fear the Man (or Tauren, as the case my be)
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I really appreciate your guide. I really like the hunter class, but I know I don't play it well. Do you have any updated links to the two documents referenced in your Guide? Those links appear to be dead.

Oh, one more question: What does "proc" mean? (e.g. "If your Wing Clip doesn't proc within a few hits...")
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Well, it seems that I can no longer edit my original post, so I'll update the first link here, but the second is nowhere to befound.

The Zone of Ultimate Safety

To make up for the lost link, I give you two more: Big Red Kitty and The Hunter's Mark.

Both of these are great blogs, with tips, advice and even VIDEOS explaining the how=to of being a hunter. BRK is the more popular, but THM is really more informative.

Now, if you can handle math and the "Slashdot" type of crowd, I recommend The Elitist Jerks forums. That link goes to one of their many thread chc-full of information.

Hunters are a great class, lot's of fun and seriously OP in teh right hands. :D