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- 1 Mists of Pandaria
- 2 Opening remarks
- 3 Solo Strategies and Tactics
- 4 Grouping strategies
- 5 FAQ
Hunter tactics for Mists of Pandaria are presented below. Be advised that the rest of the article is significantly out of date, and that while it may contain some strategies and advice that is still relevant to the current game, much of its content may no longer be accurate.
- Tips to playing a hunter (also known as The Hunter's bag of dirty tricks)
Mists of Pandaria
Pre-combat and general advice:
- Remember to keep your pet up.
- is your general purpose Aspect. Use if you plan to move around a lot.
- Remember to put on tougher foes.
- Beast Mastery hunters should open with , followed by and , since it takes a while for pets to get into range.
- Marksmanship hunters should open with , followed by Chimera Shot and .
- Survival hunters should open with , followed by and .
Focus generators (use when low on focus):
- deals more damage for Beast Mastery and Survival hunters.
- deals more damage for Marksmanship hunters. Marksmanship hunters should try to cast Steady Shots in pairs for the buff.
- is Beast Mastery's main Focus dump. You should cast it on cooldown.
- is Marksmanship's main Focus dump. You should cast it on cooldown.
- should be used when you've got spare focus and your more efficient focus dumps are on cooldown.
Other rotational abilities:
- Keep on your target. Beast Mastery and Survival hunters get it refreshed with Cobra Shot, while Marksmanship hunters get it refreshed with Chimera Shot.
- Use on cooldown on foes below 20% health.
- Beast Mastery:
- consumes all of your pets Frenzy stacks, restoring 6 Focus to your pet and giving you a 6% ranged haste bonus for each Frenzy stack consumed, lasting 20 seconds. Use whenever your pet reaches 5 stacks of Frenzy.
- gives your pet a 20% damage buff for 10 seconds, and (once you get at level 50, it also gives you a 10% damage buff and halves your abilities' focus cost for while. 1 minute cooldown, use for tougher fights.
Traps (each category shares a 30 second cooldown):
- is the only baseline Nature trap. The damage is fairly low, but they do apply and Mind-Numbing Poison. Provides a bit of extra damage for tougher pulls, and Snake Trap is Hunters' only source of the the cast speed reduction debuff. For Survival hunters, it also roots enemies for 4 seconds with the passive.
Other cooldowns and miscellaneous skills:
- slows an enemy.
- Use or to attempt to leave combat.
- can CC an enemy for 4 seconds.
- Use to keep your pet's health up.
- Use to dispel Enrage and Magic buffs from enemies.
- Use to CC a beast for up to 20 seconds.
- Use to reveale stealthed and invisible enemies.
- Use against healers.
- taunts an enemy, you generally shouldn't use it unless your pet or an ally's low on health.
- increases your ranged attack speed by 40% for 15 seconds with a 3 minute cool down. Save it for tougher fights.
- has a 5 minute cooldown, and resets the cooldown of every other hunter ability with a base cooldown under 5 minutes. Save it for tough fights and emergencies.
- removes root and movement impairing effects from your pet.
- temporarily transfers all threat from your next attack and all other actions for the following 4 seconds to the tagetted ally.
- protects you from incoming attacks and spellls and reduces incoming damage by 30% for 5 seconds with a 2 minute cooldown. You cannot attack while it's active. Save for emergencies.
- provides true stealth while you're stationary, and a weaker, stealth-like effect while you're moving. Use to avoid unwanted fights.
- Stampede summons 4 additional pets (using stabled pets if available and using copies of your current pet for any free spots) for 20 seconds, giving them a 75% bonus to damage while they're summoned.
- Beast Mastery:
Despite the beliefs of many, the Hunter is a complex class, particularly if competence in its use is desired. A willingness to study its nuances will not only make using the class more enjoyable, but will also assist in improving the class's reputation in-game.
Solo Strategies and Tactics
The general strategy for a Hunter is combat at range. This section will refer to PvE battles, not PvP.
The general strategy for a Hunter in solo play involves set up and kiting. As a pet class, a Hunter has a somewhat unique challenge present in solo play, in that he/she must carefully monitor their generation of threat. This can be done using the addon Omen3.
If the threat being generated by the Hunter exceeds that generated by the pet, the attention of the mob being attacked may be diverted from the pet to the Hunter, and the mob may then move into the Hunter's melee range.
If this occurs, the Hunter is then forced to either rely on her vestigial melee abilities to kill the mob, or to use the Feign Death ability to cause the mob to return to the pet. Given that Feign Death is not learned until level 30, it is of vital importance to new Hunters to begin to learn threat management as early as possible.
As Feign Death is not only on a 30 second cooldown, but is also prone to failure on occasion, the ability to regulate threat is a vital skill, which will serve a Hunter well throughout the entirety of their career.
At level 44 the Hunter has the opportunity to become the ultimate solo fighting machine. Previously only the gorilla had access to the Thunderstomp ability, but now it is a talent nested in the Tenacity pet tree learnable at level 44. This AOE tanking Tenacity pet will transform your typical ranged DPS hunter into, at times, a groups main tank or off tank plus Ranged DPS. Your pet's ThunderStomp spell is the root of his power, and if you combine that with Volley (learned at level 40) you'll be crushing 5+ normal mobs easily in seconds.
For Single Targets:-
- Apply .
- Drop an at roughly 15 yards from the target, if you can measure it. The addon RangeDisplay is invaluable for this. This also becomes partly intuitive with experience.
- Use as an initial low threat pull shot.
- Apply pre-emptively so it is active while the pet engages the target.
- Time sending the pet so that it reaches the mob when the mob reaches the Immolation Trap. Ideally this macro can be used to combine both applying Hunter's Mark and sending the pet at once.
- Jump backwards 4-5 times to re-establish maximum range.
- Apply .
- Commence fire with and till the mob is dead. If you get aggro you can use + to get distance from the target. Or you can to reset threat again.
For Multiple Targets:-
- If there are other mobs nearby and you only wish to pull one, use Arcane Shot Rank 1 as a pull shot to minimise aggro, and lead the mob to a safe distance away from the others. Determining safe pulls is one of the primary tasks of a Hunter, in both group and solo scenarios, but grows easier with experience.
- Set a if multiple targets are expected and you wish to freeze one. Alternatively, can be used to distract one target while the other is being fought.
- Apply Hunter's Mark.
- Apply Mend Pet if necessary.
- Send Pet.
- Attack from range with Auto-Shot, special shots like , or .
- Once the untrapped mob is dead, redirect the pet to the trapped mob.
- Re-apply Mend Pet if necessary.
- to clear any residual aggro.
- Jump backwards once or twice to acquire range, and to give the pet a moment to establish aggro.
- Apply Serpent Sting, and continue fire until the target is dead.
The reason to let the pet attack first is to establish aggro. This allows you to stay at range, where you are much more effective; hunter ranged damage is significantly higher than melee damage. Generally, the use of traps is reserved for special situations such as when you are expecting to pull multiple mobs. In that case, set a Freezing Trap and then send the pet in to establish aggro on your preferred target. Once the pet has activated the mobs use to aggro the add and pull it over the trap to immobilize it. Alternatively, the healing aggro from can pull the add off your pet and straight into your trap. You can dispense with the trap if your pet is strong enough to take the hits from multiple mobs. Do not DoT a mob you intend to trap.
Kiting is a concept that all Hunters should learn. Most Hunters will find it unnecessary until later levels, and might never use it if they never tackle hard battles. The basic premise of kiting is keeping your range while dealing damage. The generic way it's done is like this:-
- Snare or root mob using a ranged ability
- Use ranged attacks until mob enters melee range
- Snare or root mob using a melee snare
- Run to range
- Turn around, and go to step 1
To be Hunter specific:-
- the mob from as far away as you can get
- Use your , , , and Auto shot as much as possible until the mob enters your melee range
- Keep on using until it hits and applies its effect. If you have and you have it available to you, this is even better.
- Run to range ( can be quite useful here. Also if you are engineer and you have they will be useful too.)
- Go to step 1, but use a Jump Shot to fire off the .
If the mob is too strong for the melee Wing Clip:-
- Start by putting on the mob you want to kite
- Put on for an extra run speed boost
- If you can, start pulling the mob using at maximum range
- Use to slow the mob
- Use and
- Run away from the mob and try to stay at max range at all times
- When you are at max range you can stand and shoot with , you can also shoot off a Jump Shot with the
- Keep doing step 4-7 until the mob is dead
Remember:- Be sure before you pull that you have a safe run path so you don't get other mobs while kiting. If the mob is running faster than you, or you can no way get far enough away to kite this way, or there is no path you can kite on, you may need the help of a group instead.
Kiting Bosses in Instances When kiting bosses in instances, it is important that the mob doesn't strike you. This can be achieved by using , but to avoid the daze effect of being struck, it is best to stay out of melee range. As with any kiting, this can be achieved by shifting the camera by holding down the right mouse button and dragging either to the left or the right. If you drag by about 45 degrees, it will allow you to maintain your forward momentum in approximately the same direction, and allow you to use instant cast abilities such as Arcane Shot, Concussive Shot and Serpent Sting to make sure the boss keeps following you, but not get close enough to hit you. This would be of particular use when you need to pull a boss away from a large group of mobs that would come to its aid if you attempted to attack it directly.
- Watch your pet's health. If your pet dies, the mob(s) will then go after you. If your pet does die, attempt to kite the mob.
- Watch your ammo supply as you will be much less effective if forced into melee.
- If the mob has a powerful attack that uses mana, consider using .
Many of the tactics on this page are pre-BC. All hunters should take advantage of the powerful benefits of . Steady Shot has a casting time of 1.5 seconds and does not reset your auto-shot timer. This means that Hunters can fire Steady Shots while waiting for their next auto-shot to be ready. Depending on the speed of the Hunter's ranged weapon, multiple Steady Shots may be able to be fired before the auto-shot is ready. It is important to keep an eye on the auto-shot cooldown, as the casting of a Steady Shot will prevent an auto-shot from being fired. This is called "clipping", and will decrease DPS.
There are five different traps available to the hunter. A trap skill allows you to set a trap on the ground which will stay put for 1 minute, and will activate when a mob comes within range, performing their designated function. Since patch 2.0.1, traps CAN be placed while in combat, so running through a mob your pet is tanking while dropping a trap is now a possible tactic.
- is used for crowd control. It can immobilize a target for up to 26 seconds with talents. Good hunters should know how to chain-trap a mob for 4-5 times with this ability. See Freezing Trap#Raid.
- is used for added damage to a single target.
- is used to slow down multiple mobs, one possible use is if you know you will lose the fight because of too many mobs drop one and flee. Given that it does no damage to mobs, or provide any other effects, it should probably not be used in most cases, with preference given primarily to Snake Trap, or Explosive Trap, which can still do a reasonable amount of damage, especially when stacked with Serpent Sting.
- is good for hitting multiple mobs. Note that you may pull aggro from the mob not engaged by your pet. Good to put aggro on additional mobs to protect Priest
- available after level 68 is good when multiple mobs are encountered for the many effects it has.
See also: Hunter traps.
At level 3, Hunters learn . Along with 's 2.4 sec casting time, this is the hunter's only shot that isn't an instant. This used to create clipping problems, when Auto Shot would not fire when casting Steady Shot. This is no longer the case, so there is no longer any need for "Shot Rotations". Instead, Hunters use Shot Prioritization.
In short, shot prioritization answers the question: when two or more abilities are available and off cooldown, which do I use first?
The Shot Prioritization looks like this:
- Hunter's Mark
- Silencing Shot (MM) Note that it's off the Global Cooldown, it is a "free shot" every 20 seconds.
- Serpent Sting (MM)
- Explosive Shot, (SV)
- Black Arrow, (SV)
- Chimera Shot (MM)
- Serpent Sting (SV)
- Aimed Shot/Multi-Shot
- Arcane Shot for BM and MM Hunters
- Steady Shot
Hunters are an interesting class because of how they do damage. Common wisdom is that Hunters should never melee; Hunters will do far less damage in melee and can be a liability to parties.
The important thing to remember is to not melee while in instances unless absolutely necessary.
Dual Wielding vs Two Handed Weapons
There are arguments for both. The damage output is pretty similar overall due to the miss rate of the offhand of a dual wielder.
Throughout most of the game, it is better to use a two-handed weapon. They're cheaper both to purchase and to enchant, and also typically have stats more useful to hunters. One-handed weapons often have stats that favor rogues over hunters. This is especially true end game, as nearly all hunter melee weapons are two-handed.
Pet combat tactics
There are as many schools of thought about this subject as there are Hunters. Some say send the pet to initiate the pull and the fight. Some contend that it's best if the Hunter initiates the fight with a sting or Concussive Shot. Experiment until you find a method that works for your play style and use that as your unique way of dealing with Azeroth's enemies.
If you follow these simple guidelines, your pet should always be combat-ready. So go out and find a mob and repeat the strategies and tactics that work for you!
Managing your Pet
Assist Stance is used when the hunter want their pet to attack the same target as them.
Defensive is useful when soloing but can also be dangerous, particularly when fighting against ranged enemies. With this setting your pet will attack anything that attacks you first. You should be careful about using this setting in a party as there are often situations where it is better to pick off a ranged attacker from range than to run to it and risk bringing more enemies. A pet chasing down ranged attackers can often draw many more enemies into a fight and quickly lead to the deaths of the whole party!
On non-PvP realms, if you are attacked, and your pet is on defensive, any actions your pet takes without your command do not result in PvP-flagging. It will result in the "area is under attack" messages that are automatically generated by the server, usually bringing members of the opposing faction running, but they will be unable to attack you. If you tell your pet to attack, even if you do not take action against the guards, it WILL flag you, but the defensive response of a pet in defensive mode will not.
Passive is a safe setting and used when the hunter wants the pet to retreat, and in some cases if the hunter wish their pet to not assist in melee combat. It might sound annoying to have to tell your pet to defend you but it means you have total control over where your pet is and can prevent it from initiating fights you don't want to get into.
Hunters which have the and/or Go For The Throat talents will find that their pet generates much more focus than it can use with alone. It is highly recommended, therefore, to train the pet with extra abilities that can be used to turn that extra focus into more DPS. The best abilities for this purpose are those with low/no cooldown, and which can therefore be spammed by the pet. These abilities are often referred to as 'focus dumps', and include Claw, , and .
The main pets able to keep their focus low are cats, ravagers, boars, bears, windserpents, scorpids. This all depends on your crit chance however.
- Watch your pet. Your pet should never be set to Aggressive mode, 's autocast should be turned off, and you should macro or hotkey pet attack to ensure that your pet can easily switch to a different target when necessary. Hunters have caused groups to wipe through poor pet management, and may be asked to put their pets away. As long as you are able to control your pet, use it well and assure your party that you WILL be watching it closely, you should not need to put it away.
- The biggest dangers a pet can pose is when chasing after runners (make sure you call your pet back when a mob begins to run towards others) and when jumping off of cliffs. When you jump off a cliff or a ledge, your pet will take the long way and will trigger every mob on the way and bring it to you and your group (note that this only applies when you drop onto a ledge accessible by another route; in the case of a ledge only accessible by dropping from above, the pet will drop down with you). When you need to jump off a ledge, dismiss your pet. You can also tell your pet to stay, calling your pet again once it is out of range, which allows you to avoid the happiness penalty normally incurred by using the Dismiss spell.
- In pre-wipe situations, a Hunter is expendable, whereas the healer and the main tank are not. What this means is that you should have no hesitation about dying if, by doing so, you can keep the group alive.
- Although you should by no means do this when things are going well, if the tank is having to deal with multiple mobs, and his health bar indicates that he is about to die, don't be afraid to use Distracting Shot to pull one of them onto yourself, but make sure it stays on you. The healer can always resurrect you afterwards, and it may just give the tank the few seconds he needs to survive, and avoid further increase to his repair bill.
- There can be a great contention over what items a hunter is allowed to roll on, and some hunters (particularly at low levels) may roll on an item that does not benefit them. If an item has strength, intellect, spirit, or it is leather (above level 40) or cloth, the hunter should pass if another party member needs it. Also be aware that many weapons with a proc work only for melee hits, meaning they are useless to hunters who rarely use melee attacks.
- If your party is engaged with multiple mobs, it's useful to make sure all mobs which are not currently polymorphed, or crowd controlled in some other way, have active Serpent Stings on them. The additional damage adds up very quickly.
- Remember to "assist" the Rogue or other damage dealer, if you have one in your group, to ensure you focus your party's firepower on one mob. You can do this by selecting the damage dealer (use the F1-F5 keys to target group members) and then pressing "F". This way, mobs will die faster because everyone is concentrating their firepower on a minimum of targets. Whatever you do, do not assist the tank (Unless said tank is a Paladin. Due to the reflective nature of the majority of their threat, they will rarely, if ever, need to swap targets to hold aggro). A Warrior and Druid tank must do a lot of target switching in order to hit all the mobs he is tanking. If a Warrior or Druid tank is being assisted, it will most likely result in everybody attacking a different mob.
- Sometimes it is more efficient and expedient for one of the crowd control classes to impede an add's ability to reach the group until tanks are free to deal with it. An assisting tank or other designated group member may be assigned the task of handling adds while the majority of the group continues to follow the MA and cut down the main target(s).
- If you don't have a pure tank in the group, agree amongst yourselves who to assist and follow the procedure above to insure that everyone correctly assists that character. Although assist may not seem all that important as a concept at low levels, it's an important habit to train oneself in for later levels, some of which are going to be tough to get through solo.
- Explain to your group that chain pulling will not give you any time to regenerate focus, if you find this to be a problem.
Hunter's Role in a group
The Hunter as Damage Dealer
The hunter is one of the primary DPS classes, and can top the damage charts with the correct rotations, talents and gear. Dungeons require a different shot rotation to solo grinding, so do some research and practise (possibly on target dummies).
Multishot and other AoE abilities are very situational. Before considering using them, run this checklist through your head: Is there a possible add I may pull? Is there currently a mob crowd controlled that may break? Does the tank have aggro for all possible mobs? Use AoE wisely.
The Hunter as a Puller
Hunters can employ unique tactics when pulling, and can also abort a bad pull by using before the adds notice the rest of the group. If used properly, this can create a Perfect Zone of Ultimate Safety that completely protects the rest of the party from bad pulls 100% of the time.
allows pulling as a hunter to be very easy, simply because of the longer range when compared to most tanks. effectively puts all the threat generated from attacks to the target of Misdirection, rather than the hunter himself. Misdirection is good when used in combination with for single targets, or with when pulling a group of mobs.
The Hunter as an Off Tank / Aggro Manager
In this role, it is the Hunter's responsibility is to essentially protect others in the group by taking aggro on a mob. This can be done in multiple ways:
- Periodically using to help the tank maintain aggro.
- Off-tanking a mob with your pet (though be aware that your pet may be seen as expendible and not get healed).
- Trapping a mob who is endangering a group member.
- Using and your pet's to steal aggro from a group member, then kiting the mob (possibly towards the tank).
The Hunter as Crowd Control
Hunters are one of the most versatile Crowd Controllers in the game. Your job in this role is to take adds out of the combat for a while.
It is also possible to trap two targets at the same time. A trap can be laid, then once the trap has sufficiently cooled down, the hunter can place another, effectively chain-trapping a mob or trapping 2 mobs.
The Hunter as Pseudo Wipe Recovery
Hunters as a class have no resurrection ability. However, there are three Engineering devices available that have the possibility to resurrect another party member out of combat: , and . These all require a minimum engineering skill to use.
The Hunter in question must have the appropriate level of Engineering skill, and must in a safe location in anticipation of a party wipe. Once out of combat they may approach the corpse of a resurrecting class and use the cables. However, be aware that these tools are not 100% reliable.
The cables are not soulbound and may be passed to another player who has the appropriate level of engineering skill and who has not used the cables in the last 30 minutes.
If a Shaman is in the party, the cables should be tried before resorting to .
It should be noted that:
If you happen to party with multiple Hunters make sure each of you knows which Sting to use. Each Hunter can have only one Sting active on the mob at a time. If you have two Hunters, that's two Stings that can be on the mob. Ask your fellow Hunter to cast one Sting while you cast the other. Both Hunters should fight away from each other so if the mob attacks one of you, the other Hunter can still fire from range.
Multiple Hunters of different talent specializations also synergise extremely well. Have a Beast Mastery Hunter in your group focus exclusively on ranged damage, which is Beast Mastery's forte, while a Survival Hunter could be the dedicated crowd controller for a group, as Survival's damage output is not as strong as that of Beast Mastery, but it's crowd control options are among the most effective in the game. Marksmanship's specialty is extremely high powered burst damage over short periods, but it is not sustainable over time.
Hunters are great at dealing damage to mobs that try to run from the fight. Mob flight is a major concern because fleeing mobs may call friends to come help them with the fight. You can simply shoot a fleeing mob (their HPs are so low one or two shots will probably finish them off) or hit it with Concussive Shot to slow it down. If the DoT effect of the Stings and all the rest hasn't killed them by now, Wing Clip them and keep them from running away.
It has been stated that hunter’s pets aggro adds if they pursue a fleeing mob. This is incorrect. As most mobs in instanced dungeons are social it is the fleeing mobs that bring the adds. Not the hunter’s pet.
Will letting your pet initiate the fight reduce the experience received when the mob is defeated?
- Attacking a mob with your pet will tag the mob as yours after a certain amount of damage, but if you do not help your pet at all you will not gain experience from the kill and you will not be allowed to loot the corpse. Any damage that the player does to the mob prior to its death will yield the player experience, honor, and/or reputation. It should be noted that when grouped - at least in dungeons - pets that kill targets without any assistance from the hunter still yield loot and experience if any player in the group tags the mob. If the pet kills the mob all by itself it still won't yield loot or experience.
- Unassisted pet kills will not yield any reputation gains associated with the mob.
- If you assist someone and use your pet, either growl or the pet itself will drastically reduce the experience they receive from the kill.
What are the most important attributes for a hunter?
- Agility, critical strike, mastery, hit, haste and stamina (not necessarily in that order, depending on your spec).
- In the early game, the two stats of primary importance are Agility and Stamina. Hunter items with critical strike and mastery will generally not be seen before the Hunter reaches Outland at around level 60.
- Prior to Cataclysm, intellect was an important stat for hunters. It not only gave a bigger mana pool (essential for longer fights), but the talent also gave 100% of your intellect as attack power. Now that hunters use focus as a resource, intellect is no longer required.
- Do not itemise for strength at all, as this stat does virtually nothing for a Hunter. Each point of Strength grants one point of melee Attack Power only, and nothing else.
- Spirit also has no benefit whatsoever for a hunter.
- Hit Rating: There is some confusion amongst new hunters or people that don't know the class very well. They seem to think that Hit Rating is a wasted stat and that they barely ever miss without being hit capped. This is however a misconception. Being hit capped should be the most important thing to achieve if you're planning to start raiding. Hunters use a 2-roll system. Meaning that the game "rolls two dice" each shot you fire. First one roll to determine wether your shot is a hit or a miss. Then a roll to determine wheter your shot is a crit or a normal hit. Previously it was assumed that hunters only used a 1-roll system. Because hunters use a 2-roll system not being hit capped effectively lowers your chance to critically hit shots. Less hits = less chance for crits. With a 1-roll system that isn't the case, thus the confusion. Hunters need 32.8 hit rating for 1% to hit at level 80. The new hit cap is 8% rather than the 9% it was before.
- Main article: Hit
- Excluding special circumstances, e.g. being afflicted by a debuff reducing your Chance to Hit.
2. Hunter Chance to Hit from gear transfers rounded down to pet. If you have 262 Hit Rating (7.99% Chance to Hit) or 230 Hit Rating (7.0% Chance to Hit), your pet will have 7.0% Chance To Hit in both cases..
- Agility (AGI) Is the best friend of a Hunter. Each point of Agility leads to one attack power, a small boost to armor, and a decent boost to critical strike rating.
- Stamina (STA) The favorite of PvP Hunters. Each point of Stamina leads to ten health, a decent boost since at high level much gear has at least 10 to 20 stamina for hunters. Stamina is also important for Survival Hunters, but care must be taken to avoid focusing on it too much. There is a tradeoff in World of Warcraft between health and damage, and a Hunter who over-emphasises Stamina will find that they often cannot do enough damage. In the high-end game 7000 or 8000 hp for PvE will generally be enough, as a Hunter ideally should not be taking large amounts of damage; that is the tank's job.
- Critical rating: Increases your critical strike chance. At level 70 22.08 Critical Strike Rating was needed for 1% critical strike chance. At level 80 ~45.9 critical strike rating is needed for 1% critical strike chance.
- Haste rating
- Mastery rating
Dps of your ranged weapon!
- It sounds trivial, but do not forget the dps of your ranged weapon is the main determinant of your damage output! No matter how much attack power you have stacked, if you are still using a low level ranged weapon with low dps, your real damage output will be terrible. This is especially important for someone who are leveling up: you do not really need to care too much about the level of the other gear during leveling, but you should always make sure your ranged weapon is not already 10 levels lower than yourself!