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The Hunter In Cataclysm: Leveling Faster
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The Hunter In Cataclysm: Leveling Faster

When you log into your World of Warcraft game and "create a new character" you will see a section that show the "best role" for your new hero. A Hunter's best role? Soloing and leveling. People have long said that the Hunter is the fastest leveling class in the game and, all things being equal, that's probably true. I certainly don't think anyone will go faster.

A Hunter's biggest strength is that he's really two characters in one, and they're both pretty capable. The pet, of course, brings a lot of damage to the equation, but there are many kinds of pets and some of them bring additional perks. On the other end, the Hunter has attacks that, in addition to doing lots of damage, can slow, disorient, and otherwise inconvenience the target. (If that makes it sounds like the Hunter might be pretty good in Player Vs Player (PvP,) that's because they are.)

Another big advantage of the Hunter is a lack of dependence on gear. Not that good gear won't help you level faster, but you don't need it to be effective. Heck, a Hunter can pretty much level, quickly and easily, while nearly naked (a good weapon is recommended, though) and I did just that for awhile. There's even a technical term for that on PvP servers: dead bait. If your Blood Elf Huntress is going to run around in her bikini, then I recommend doing it on a PvE server.

Now About That Pet...

Pets come is several flavors and a bunch of families. Basically though, you have your Damage pets (DPS,) along with Tanking and Cunning pets. Tanking pets (eg: Bears) are better at keeping the opposition paying attention to them, as opposed to coming after you. DPS (eg: cats) pets are better at laying down the hurt, but might not keep the enemy from attacking you. Cunning pets have special abilities that have value in certain situations, such as Spider webs that entangle and hold the opponent.

Hunter Specs

Hunters come with three possible specializations ("Specs":) Beast Mastery (BM,) Marksmanship (MM,) and Survival (S.) The BM Hunter has the closest relationship to her pet, MM and S use the pet as more of an accessory. BM is what most people chose for leveling, though the others will work just fine. The BM hunter's relation to her pet almost makes leveling a trivial exercise. Send the pet, get a shot or two off, then go to the next opponent.

My recommendation for leveling your Hunter, especially if it's your first Hunter and/or you're not an expert player, is to go with Beast Mastery. When you pick the BM spec at level 10 you will set a set of abilities that improve your damage and that of your pet. While there isn't enough space here to go into a full Hunter leveling build, there are a couple of things to look for.

One is the Beast Mastery talent. You'll be level 69 when you have enough points to buy this. It will let you tame a wide range of exotic beasts and be more effective with them. When planning your build you want to get that talent as soon as you can.

The other is to simply pick talents that increase your (or your pet's) damage or focus. Do that and you'll be fine. The same applies to your pet's talents.

Gear and Such

As I mentioned above a Hunter really doesn't need to be decked head to toe in the best gear to level quickly, not that it hurts. Grab a good weapon and you'll be Ok.

As for the gear that you do get, whether it's hot or not, you want to make sure that it has Agility as part of its description. Agility is, by far, your #1 stat. You'll need some Stamina, but not much since your pet will be taking most of the heat.

For secondary stats go for Critical rating and Haste, though you won't see much of either of those until 60+. For your weapon, your best stats is the raw damage done by that weapon, followed by Agility. Any potions, scrolls, or foods you can find that buff your Agility are good things to have.

In addition, you'll probably want to max out your First Aid skill and maybe even have a few Potions of Healing ready. Just in case, you know. While you're grabbing that First Aid skill, also grab Skinning and Herbalism. You'll find that those two skills will let you build a nice gold supply and you'll get some extra crit rating, a heal, and a Haste effect in the bargain.

Where to Level?

Questing is the most low-key and is fast and easy and you excel at it. What could be better? Just grab all the quests you can and try to organize them such that you can efficiently knock them off.

PvP leveling opens up to you at level 10. Queue up for a Battleground in the PvP tool and go kill some of the other guys. Your experience gain can be very quick if your teams are winning and it's not too bad even if they aren't. You'll also gain Honor Points which can be traded in for some sweet gear later on. At level 30 you can gain the "dual build" ability, which allows you to switch back and forth between two specs. If you're PvPing then the Marksmanship spec might be better for you. Then switch back to Beast Mastery when questing.

Dungeon leveling is also an option. Queue up with the Dungeon Finder tool, join a group and get lots of experience and a shot at some nice gear. Run a lot of dungeons and your gear level will be better than otherwise.

All in all Hunters in the World of Warcraft are great fun to level and are pretty versatile characters, Give it a go and we'll see you at level 90.


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