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Hunter Crest.png
Available to

Beast Mastery Beast Mastery (ranged DPS)
Marksmanship Marksmanship (ranged DPS)
Survival Survival (melee DPS)

Primary attribute
Weapon skills
Armor type

Mail; can also equip Leather, Cloth.

Signature abilities

Can tame pets, set various traps, [Feign Death], [Disengage], [Stampede]

Classes Deathknight Demon hunter Druid Hunter Mage Monk Paladin Priest Rogue Shaman Warlock Warrior
Starting a DK DH Dr Hu Ma Mo Pa Pr Ro Sh Wl Wr
Tactics DK DH Dr Hu Ma Mo Pa Pr Ro Sh Wl Wr
Class races DK DH Dr Hu Ma Mo Pa Pr Ro Sh Wl Wr
Quests DK DH Dr Hu Ma Mo Pa Pr Ro Sh Wl Wr
Abilities DK DH Dr Hu Ma Mo Pa Pr Ro Sh Wl Wr
Trainers DK DH Dr Hu Ma Mo Pa Pr Ro Sh Wl Wr
Armor sets DK DH Dr Hu Ma Mo Pa Pr Ro Sh Wl Wr
Useful macros DK DH Dr Hu Ma Mo Pa Pr Ro Sh Wl Wr
Class Halls DK DH Dr Hu Ma Mo Pa Pr Ro Sh Wl Wr
"The way of the hunter is one of mastery over the beasts of the world, an unparalleled precision in marksmanship, and the knowledge of how to survive in situations where others would perish."
Ranger Sallina

The hunter is a ranged damage dealing class. Master marksmen, hunters use a plethora of different shots to take down their prey, from venomous barbs and magical projectiles to explosive volleys and penetrating powershots. Hunters are also masters of survival, and their familiarity with traps and misdirection can allow them to manipulate their quarry's attentions, leading them into deadly ambushes or camouflaging themselves so well that even the sharpest-eyed of foes cannot fix their aim upon them. True to their name, hunters are also skilled huntsmen, capable of tracking even the stealthiest of targets with incredible accuracy.

Hunters have a powerful connection to the wild, and an uncanny ability to befriend even the wildest of beasts. Hunters form a deep bond with their pets, and are rarely to be found without a fierce companion at their side, ready to leap into battle at the hunter's command. Hunters can even call wild beasts and flocks of birds to assail their enemies, and in times of great need can summon a [Stampede] of faithful friends to their aid. Hunters do not use their pets only to deal ferocious damage to their foes, but can also draw strength and healing from their bond, regaining focus and inspiring their companions to surprising new heights. The powerful and intelligent animals commanded by hunters are themselves capable of a huge range of skilful and breath-taking moves, with each type of pet boasting its own selection of special abilities. Hunters are also capable of using their connection to the Aspects of various animals to empower themselves and their allies, augmenting their abilities according to the needs of the situation.

Hunters start wearing leather and advance to mail armor later on. They use agility and cunning to stay out of reach of melee attackers, commanding their pets to attack while they launch devastating volleys from afar. Hunters are at a disadvantage when their foes close in, and may use an array of traps and snares to slow and disorient attackers who threaten to draw too close for comfort. Hunters can also send their pets to taunt and distract enemies, overwhelming targets with a snarling attacker that demands their full attention, leaving them too busy to notice the deadly shot being carefully aimed at them.

Hunters expend focus for their most powerful abilities, while many others have no cost. Focus is capped at 100 (120 for Beast Mastery hunters) and regenerates slowly, but can also be regained through the use of numerous abilities. Hunter pets also use focus to fuel their most powerful attacks.

The hunter is a pure DPS class, meaning that all its specializations focus primarily on dealing damage. However, each type of hunter has its own strengths and priorities: Beast Mastery hunters are masters of the wild boasting a powerful synergy with their companions, bringing numerous enhancements to both their own and their pets' abilities; Marksmanship hunters are skilled sharpshooters, focusing on defeating opponents through unique and additionally empowered ranged attacks; and Survival hunters are rugged trackers favoring traps and venoms to overcome their prey.

Hunters are perhaps the most involved companion class of all. Hunters can track, tame, name and train a huge range of animals throughout the world, with a number of special rare beasts existing solely for hunters to discover, hidden from the eyes of any other class. Hunters will rarely find themselves fighting alone, and can count on the presence of their trusty companions at their side. The combination of hunters' powerful ranged damage capabilities and their pets' aggro management makes hunters an excellent soloing class, essentially a two-man team capable of tackling enemies far beyond the abilities of many other classes. A potent damage dealer with enviable abilities in kiting and crowd control, the hunter is a class that is easy to learn, but difficult to master.

Class overview

From an early age the call of the wild draws some adventurers from the comfort of their homes into the unforgiving primal world outside. Those who endure become hunters. As masters of their environment, hunters are able to slip like ghosts through the trees and lay traps in the paths of their enemies. These expert marksmen drop foes dead in their tracks with flawless shots from a bow, crossbow or rifle. With the ability to wield two weapons simultaneously, hunters can unleash a flurry of blows against anyone unfortunate enough to stumble into close combat with them.

The art of survival is central to the isolated life of a hunter. Hunters track beasts with ease and enhance their own abilities by attuning themselves to the feral aspects of various creatures. Hunters are known for the lifelong bonds they form with animals of the wild, training great hawks, cats, bears, and many other beasts to fight alongside them.[1]


A night elf hunter.

Note: The term "hunter" can refer to the combat class, as well as to those who go hunting as a profession, hobby, or survival skill. The two are not identical, as not all that hunt are a hunter class. The below lore refers only to the specific class.

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.

The hunter is a stalker in the wilds, living on his knowledge of survival and skill with a bow or rifle. He is deeply in tune with nature, and some of its mightiest beasts are his allies. Of Azeroth's many creatures, few can resist the hunter's call, and fewer can survive his fury. Hunters are as varied as the world's many climates, but they are universally renowned for their amazing abilities to find their prey and bring it down. They come from any race (players are restricted to twelve races, see below), though certain races naturally excel at the hunter's profession. Most hunters seek to aid the balance of nature along with their druidic allies.[2] Elven rangers are not alone in their mastery of the wilderness. While an elven ranger prefers the bow, the hunter would rather get up close. A hunter is skilled in stealth, slipping through the woods like a ghost. Orcs of the Horde first learned the ways of the hunter from forest trolls on Lordaeron and tauren have been masters of the hunt since the dawn of the world. Like the shaman of the Horde, hunters call upon the spirits of the land, wind, and fire to aid them in their hunts and tasks. Their spells focus on the elements and the land.[3]

A dwarven hunter shoots from the hip.
WoW Icon 16x16.png This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.

The hunter is one of the oldest classes in history. They represent a deep connection between man and beast, and the hunters of Warcraft are not merely individuals who track animals and slay them for food, but custodians of balance. They understand the natural circle of life and death, and the part they must play in maintaining it not simply as researchers, but as active participants. The "Hunt" is venerated, and the prey they choose to stalk is given as much respect as the predators hunters choose to learn from and embody. All hunters create lifelong friendships with animal companions, who are also often their best and only friends, if the stereotype of the reclusive huntsman is to be believed. Hunters come in all shapes, forms, sizes and specialties, but in World of Warcraft, all hunters specialize to be marksmen (however, not all hunters choose the Marksmanship specialization). Hunters are a curious mix of mysticism and rough wilderness know-how. They can learn to mystically align themselves with the aspects of various animals to assist them: the spryness of a monkey, the sharp eyes of a hawk, and the swiftness of a cheetah; they gift themselves with a higher resistance against the dangers of the most important thing of all in the rites of a hunter — the very Wilds he and his prey live in. Hunters also derive a system of hand-to-hand combat inspired by the attacks and counterattacks of various animals, and use magically empowered traps to maim and snare their prey. They have various shots imbued with magic or explosives to snare, poison, handicap and disorient their targets. They can even hold their breath and slow their heartbeat to a highly infrequent, inconsequential tap to give their pursuers the impression that they are dead.

The hunter is the choice of life for those who reject societies that oppress the natural role as prey and hunter, and also reject the druidic stance that we should be healers and observers rather than active participants in the "Great Hunt". They follow a life of reverence for nature complimenting their tradition and willingness to use man-made tools. We are all tool-using creatures after all, and it is only natural to use that advantage afforded by nature to be better hunters. There are however also those hunters who prefer a more direct approach to tracking and hunting.[citation needed]

Notable hunters

Name Role Affiliation Status Location
Alliance  Alleria Windrunner Ranger-Captain and lead scout of the Alliance Expedition Alliance of Lordaeron, Alliance Expedition Unknown Unknown
Combat  Fenris Wolfbrother Warlord of the Thunderlord clan Thunderlord clan, Iron Horde Deceased-Killable Hall of the Great Hunt, Frostfire Ridge
Horde  Halduron Brightwing Ranger-General of Silvermoon Silvermoon City, Farstriders, Horde Alive Various Locations
Neutral  Hemet Nesingwary Famed big game hunter Independent Alive Various Locations
Neutral  Huln Highmountain Leader of the tauren during the War of the Ancients, wielder of  [Talonclaw] Highmountain Tribe, Kaldorei Resistance Deceased Unknown
Horde  Nathanos Blightcaller Champion of the Banshee Queen, Ranger Lord of the Forsaken Undercity, Horde Active Various Locations
Horde  Rexxar Champion of the Horde Mok'Nathal clan, Horde Alive Various Locations
Alliance  Shandris Feathermoon General of the Sentinel Army Sentinels, Alliance Alive Various Locations
Horde  Sylvanas Windrunner Banshee Queen of the Forsaken Undercity, Horde Active Various Locations
Alliance  Tyrathan Khort Hunter in the Alliance army Stormwind, Alliance, Unseen Path Alive Trueshot Lodge, Highmountain
Alliance  Vereesa Windrunner Ranger-General of the Silver Covenant Silver Covenant, Kirin Tor Offensive, Alliance Alive Various Locations
Neutral  Zhu Longbrow Founder of the Zhu Province and Zhu's Watch Pandaren Empire Deceased Unknown


Marksman Boriz, a draenei hunter.
Scout Kurgo, an orc hunter.
Main article: Hunter races

The hunter class can be played by the following races:

Race Strength Agility Stamina Intellect Spirit Armor Health Starting Pet
Alliance Dark Iron dwarfDark Iron dwarf Dark Iron dwarf Battle for Azeroth N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Alliance DraeneiDraenei Draenei The Burning Crusade 21 20 21 20 23 40 56 Moth
Alliance DwarfDwarf Dwarf 25 19 22 19 20 38 66 Bear
Alliance GnomeGnome Gnome Legion N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Mechanical
Alliance HumanHuman Human Cataclysm 20 23 21 20 21 N/A 56 Wolf
Alliance Lightforged draeneiLightforged draenei Lightforged draenei Battle for Azeroth N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Stag
Alliance Night elfNight elf Night elf 16 27 21 20 21 54 56 Cat
Alliance Void elfVoid elf Void elf Battle for Azeroth N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Warp stalker
Alliance WorgenWorgen Worgen Cataclysm 23 25 21 16 20 N/A 56 Dog
Alliance/Horde PandarenPandaren Pandaren Mists of Pandaria 20 21 22 19 23 37 123 Turtle
Horde Blood elfBlood elf Blood elf The Burning Crusade 17 25 21 23 19 50 56 Dragonhawk
Horde GoblinGoblin Goblin Cataclysm 17 25 21 23 19 49 56 Crab
Horde Highmountain taurenHighmountain tauren Highmountain tauren Battle for Azeroth N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Bird of prey
Horde NightborneNightborne Nightborne Battle for Azeroth N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Cat
Horde OrcOrc Orc 23 20 22 17 23 40 66 Boar
Horde TaurenTauren Tauren 25 19 22 16 23 38 67 Plainstrider
Horde TrollTroll Troll 21 25 21 16 22 50 56 Raptor
Horde UndeadUndead Undead Cataclysm 19 21 22 18 26 N/A 66 Spider
Horde Zandalari trollZandalari troll Zandalari troll Battle for Azeroth N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Racial abilities

These are some relevant racial traits to hunters:

Other racial attributes can also be useful, but may not be specifically relevant to hunters as a class. As always, research into all the racial traits of each race will make a player's decision better informed.


  • Hunters tame the wild beasts of Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Outland, Northrend and Pandaria, training them to fight at their side. Hunters are one of five classes that can have controllable combat pets.[4] However, they are the only ones that can name and assign talent points to their pets.
  • Hunters excel in outdoor survival skills, such as tracking and laying traps.
  • Hunters can wear cloth, leather and mail armor. They are unable to use shields or plate armor. At Level 50, hunters acquire [Mail Specialization], which gives bonuses when a hunter is wearing an entire set of mail armor.
  • Hunters can equip all weapons except wands, maces, and two-handed maces.
  • Hunters use many shots that either deal damage or apply a status effect that costs focus to use. Most other abilities are free to use such as [Mend Pet] or their Trap abilities.
  • Hunters can take on various Animal Aspects that grant special abilities, such as improved run speed.


For a full list of hunter abilities, see Hunter abilities.

Ranged fighting

E'sad, a troll hunter

Ranged fighting requires a choice between a gun, bow, or a crossbow. When starting, this will depend on your race. Dwarves, tauren and worgen are given guns, draenei start with crossbows, and the other races get bows. Later on, you can train to use the ranged weapons that aren't inherent to your race. In general, crossbows are relatively slow, but hit harder and are favored for increasing burst damage, while guns are relatively fast and good for steady grinding. Bows have moderate attack speed and are favored for sustained DPS. Initially, weapon speed will be inconsequential since the only available abilities consist of Auto-Shot and various instant casts. Guns can be crafted by engineers, but there are no craftable bows or crossbows, so most ranged upgrades will come from mob drops and quest rewards. There are also a small amount of crafted weapons other than guns.

For further information see the hunter tactics page.

Stings and venoms

Hunters have stings and venoms, which are specialized debuffs they can apply to targets to help them address specific situations. Only one sting and one venom per hunter can be active on any one target. [Viper Sting] and [Scorpid Sting] were removed in 4.0.1 which leaves Survival hunters only one sting, the Damage Over Time sting known as [Serpent Sting], and other specializations with [Wyvern Sting].


A night elf hunter in art.

Hunters also make heavy use of special shots to supplement their DPS and provide utility to their groups. The bulk of a hunter's damage and utility will come from the use of these shots. Survival hunters use [Explosive Shot], marksmen use [Chimaera Shot], and beast masters (while technically not a shot) use [Kill Command] as their signature ability.

Since Patch 5.1.0, any shot, be it auto or cast-time, can be fired on the move, without any penalty. However, prior to Patch 3.0, the hunter could not move or fire their Auto Shot if they were casting another spell at the same time. The Auto Shot swing timer was still counting but would not fire over another shot. This was called "clipping Auto Shot" and would greatly reduce DPS. This mechanic was at first countered with [Aspect of the Fox], and later removed entirely.

In the past weapon speed was often critical to maximizing dps output, but the standardization of weapon speeds and disuse of shot rotations means that hunters should now simply use the weapon with the best dps and stats, regardless of speed. Previously, due to clipping consideration, weapon speed was crucial to maximizing dps with shot rotation, and a hunter would aim to choose a ranged weapon of an appropriate speed (2.7 for beast masters, 3-3.1 for survivalists and marksmen) to fit neatly between the cooldowns of their more powerful abilities. These days, however, all weapons have the same speed, and since shot rotations are not used, speed is no longer important.

Melee combat

Survival Hunters revolve completely around close-range combat, abandoning a bow, crossbow, or gun in favor of a melee weapon, such as a Spear or Axe. Survival Hunters fight in the thick of melee combat alongside their animal pet, tearing bleeding wounds in their foes and laying traps beneath their feet. The hunter emulates animals in some of their attacks, such as [Raptor Strike] and Mongoose Bite.

By coordinating their efforts, the hunter and the beast execute deft flanking strikes, dealing high damage while the other has the enemy's attention. The hunter is also unique among melee classes in that they have greater reach; because they specialize in combat with spears and polearms, their melee attacks boast a greater range than other classes, allowing them to attack with spearhead where other classes still have a small gap to close.

Combat pets

Main article: Hunter pet
A dwarf hunter and his pet bear

Pets are the most important tools in the hands of a hunter. They serve as aggro-management, additional DPS, and as tanks. The pet is essential to all specs, dealing anywhere from 10% of total damage for a marksman to 50% for a beast master. Formerly, pets had anemic damage potential and weak AI that often made them more of a danger to a raid than an asset. But improved AI - pets now always attack from the back of a monster - and an innate 90% damage avoidance has made this no longer a concern.

Many beast-type mobs can be tamed, and each offer a set of unique active skills (there are special abilities just for wolves, just for cats, etc). In addition, certain pet types are tanking-oriented (such as bears and turtles), and others are DPS-oriented (such as cats and owls). Combined with the diversity of armor, stamina and resistance buffs, pets are allowed a great deal of customization. Many hunters have dedicated pets for specific instances, PvP, tanking, and so on. Combat pets can be trained to enhance their abilities.

A troll hunter is crouching with his white wolf.

Hunters start with a pet at level 1 and can [Tame Beast] pets at level 10. They are able to control the pet through various commands. Although hunters can have only one active pet at a time, they have immediate access to 4 additional pets using [Call Pet] and they can house up to 20 pets in the stable.

In addition to regular animals, a number of special targets have been introduced into the game world specifically for hunters to track and tame. These beasts present a Taming Challenge and require special tactics to ready them for taming, much like the original epic bow quest in Vanilla World of Warcraft. While some of these are simply hard to find (and even harder to tame) those introduced in Mists of Pandaria are fully invisible beasts, able to be revealed only by hunters using [Flare], who must first find them by seeking out their subtle and elusive tracks. See Taming Challenge for a list.


Survival Hunters have access to a unique mechanic - traps. Traps exist in three different types; [Freezing Trap], which freezes an enemy in place, [Tar Trap], which lays an oil slick upon the ground, and [Explosive Trap], which erupts when an enemy steps upon it.

They have access to a few more traps and trap-like abilities, as well. [Steel Trap] is a talent that locks onto a foe, holdingit in place and dealing high bleed damage. [Caltrops] can be throw on the ground the deal damage and slow enemies.


Amongst many different aspects, two main variants remained in game.

Damage increasing Aspects:

  • [Aspect of the Eagle] grants Survival Hunters extra Critical Strike chance and more chances to gain Mongoose Bite charges.
  • [Aspect of the Wild] grants Beast Mastery Hunters extra Critical Strike chance and Focus per second.

Speed increasing Aspects:

  • [Aspect of the Cheetah]: The hunter takes on the characteristics of a cheetah, springing for 90% movement speed for 3 seconds, before 'jogging' for 30% increased speed for 6 seconds.

Utility Aspects:

  • [Aspect of the Turtle] has the Hunter enter a defensive stance, blocking all damage but making them unable to attack.



Hunters are the only class that can track any type of creature individually, or simultaneously over the minimap.


For a full list of specialization abilities, see Hunter abilities

Beast Mastery

Hunter preview Beast Mastery.jpg
Ability hunter bestialdiscipline.png
A master of the wild who can tame a wide variety of beasts to assist <him/her> in combat.

While all hunters value the assistance of their animal companions, Beast Mastery hunters have the closest bonds of all with their pets. Beast Mastery (BM) hunters place far more importance on the pet, dealing an increased amount of damage through the addition of numerous active and passive abilities, as well as through their mastery [Mastery: Master of Beasts]. The pets of BM hunters deal more damage, regenerate focus more quickly, can use their special attacks more often and benefit from bonus crits, splash damage and haste procs. BM hunters and their pets have the most focus of any hunters, with their animal bond contributing [Invigoration] to both parties. BM hunters are also the only hunters sufficiently attuned to the animal kingdom to be capable of taming [Exotic Beasts], allowing them to gain some of the most impressive and exciting pets in the game.

Among the most gifted hunters, there are those who have from birth felt a profound bond with the creatures of the wild. These beast masters are drawn to the perilous primal world, invigorated by its dangerous and untamed nature. Primitive landscape becomes home. Ferocious predator becomes kin. Whether in the thrill of the hunt or the heat of battle, beast masters call forth a litany of vicious animals to overwhelm prey and gnaw at their enemies’ will.[5]


Hunter preview Marksmanship.jpg
Ability hunter focusedaim.png
A master archer or sharpshooter who excels in bringing down enemies from afar.

Masters of ranged weaponry, Marksmanship hunters focus on honing their skills with the gun or bow. The standard hunter's repertoire of shots is significantly improved for Marksmanship hunters, with new types of shots and additional effects added to others. The powerful Marksmanship abilities [Aimed Shot] and [Chimaera Shot] are augmented along with [Steady Shot] and [Multi-Shot] to build to a devastating synergy of ranged attacks, dealing swift and explosive damage while granting disorients, bleeds and even self-healing. Marksmanship hunters' potent damage output is increased by their mastery [Mastery: Sniper Training], increasing their damage, range, and critical strike damage when they stand still for 3 seconds.

Marksmen, too, shroud themselves in the perils of the untamed wilds, perfecting the use of weapons that are deadliest from great range. They’ve maintained little interest, however, in gaining the loyalty of the many beasts inhabiting these crude landscapes. Instead, the marksman blends into the surrounding environment, surveying behavior of all manner of predator and gleaning deadly methods for stalking their own prey. A sniper in hiding, the marksman unleashes arrows and bullets with deadly precision, exposing the weakness in whoever—or whatever—passes through their crosshairs.[5]


Hunter preview Survival.jpg
Ability hunter camouflage.png
A rugged tracker who favors using animal venom, explosives and traps as deadly weapons.

Survival Hunters focus on the chaos of melee combat, fighting fang and claw alongside a loyal friend. Through peerless mastery of a spear, Survival Hunters are able to subsist in environments where others would fail, wielding only a blade and a pet. They slip traps under enemy's feet in melee combat, and use their weapon to tear bleeding holes in their enemies. Together, the Survivalist and the pet coordinate their attacks to flank the foe while one has their attention. With powerful Mongoose Bites, Survival Hunters ramp their damage up to terrifying numbers, which are only strengthened further by their mastery, [Mastery: Hunting Companion].

While all hunters feel a calling to the wild, some serve as a reflection of its brutality. To them, the hunt is defined by unrelenting ferocity, where survival means facing one’s enemy eye-to-eye . . . and is always accompanied by merciless bloodshed. Weapons of great range are abandoned for instruments of close-quarters combat. Survival hunters are instinctive and crafty on the prowl, employing loyal beasts and laying deceptive traps to see their enemies undone. For these hunters know that to truly understand what it means to survive, one must first become familiar with the cruel face of death.[5]

Pet specializations

See also: Pet abilities

Although each pet family comes with a default specialization, you can change your pet's spec whenever you are not in combat. Pet specializations are saved to your active Dual Talent Specialization.


Ability eyeoftheowl.png
Guileful creatures capable of skillfully mitigating lethal blows dealt to themselves and their allies.

Cunning is the most flexible of the three specs. These abilities focus on utility and mobility, which makes them especially valuable in PvP fights. But that same flexibility also makes Cunning a good all-around choice for soloing and small groups.


Ability druid kingofthejungle.png
Driven by a frenzied persistence to pursue prey, these beasts stop at nothing to achieve victory; even death is temporary for these predators.

Ferocity focuses on increasing your pet's damage. It is popular in groups and raids, but can also help polish off enemies extra fast in solo play and PvP.


Ability druid demoralizingroar.png
Stalwart and veteran defenders who unquestionably place their thick hides and protective exteriors in harm's way for their allies.

Tenacity has a variety of abilities for keeping your pet alive and keeping the enemy focused on them instead of you. It is excellent for solo questing, leveling, and can even tank for a small group in many situations.


Kalnuf Eagleheart, a tauren hunter.


Hunters can initially only wear cloth and leather, but at level 40 are able to equip mail, with the level 50 [Mail Specialization] rewarding them for doing so. See hunter sets for a list of hunter armor sets.

During the early beta days of World of Warcraft hunters could wear bucklers.


Hunters can use bows, guns, and crossbows. Usable melee weapons are daggers, axes, fist weapons, swords, polearms and staves. Most Hunters shun melee weapons, and are useless when they have them equipped. Survival Hunters embrace melee weapons and shun ranged once instead.

Upon reaching level 20, hunters can learn the Dual Wield skill. This allows them to wield two one-handed weapons at the same time.

Before Mists of Pandaria, hunters could equip melee weapons at the same time as their ranged weapons. Polearms were generaly considered the best melee weapon for hunters, due to disinterest from other classes, slow attack speed, and stats that could be utilized for ranged abilities. Thus, polearms tended to have stats for hunters. The slow attack speed ensured that the few swings the hunter may have to make maximized the damage possible for each swing. Another factor was looks, as the melee weapon was the only weapon that would regularly show on the hunter, while the ranged weapon would only show up while in use. Prior to Cataclysm, hunters were able to wield thrown items, and in the beta even had shields.

Today, unless you're Survival, there is no reason for hunters to roll on melee weapons available for their level, or to even purchase Dual Wield training. However, there is a wide variety of older content from earlier expansions that a hunter can solo for other purposes. The prime example would be  [Hydrocane] for water breathing. This can then be transmogrified to any two-handed weapon such as an old hunter polearm, or a two-handed sword or axe, like Gorehowl. If one does buy Dual Wield, this opens up roleplaying possibilities such as matching daggers, two  [Dragonscale-Encrusted Longblade], or fist weapon sets.

Attribute conversions

In mordern World of Warcraft, most attributes are affected by Diminishing Returns, making it impossible to assign absolute values to each attribute. The general priority of importance however, can be assumed below.

Level 100 Hunter PVE Special notes
Weapon DPS: The damage displayed on a weapon.
Agility: Increases attack power and critical strike rating with ranged weapons. 1 Agility = 2 Attack Power
Multistrike: Provides a chance for spells and abilities to fire up to two additional times, at 30% effectiveness (both damage and healing).
Versatility: Provides increased damage and healing, while also reducing damage taken for a lesser amount.
Critical strike: Doubles the players attack if successful. A theoretical 104.7% are needed to cap this stat.
Haste: Increases the amount of shots fired, focus regained and pet focus regained.
Mastery: Increases your damage depending on your specialization via: [Mastery: Master of Beasts], [Mastery: Sniper Training], or [Mastery: Essence of the Viper]
    • For exact figures of ones personal exact stat priorities and values, please do consult addons or sites such as,mmo-champion hunter forums, hunter forum or Elitist

End-game expectations


A hunter's primary responsibility in nearly all raid encounters is to sustainably generate high DPS. Hunters should be using [Misdirection] on the main tank (unless told otherwise) at the start of the fight,this ensures that the main tank gets the initial aggro of the pull and the boss doesn't one-shot one of the melee standing close by. They will also need to monitor their focus usage and regen using [Steady Shot], [Cobra Shot] or [Focusing Shot],depending on their Spec or talent usage. Your primary role is to deal DPS,as much as possible. To do this make sure all your gear is enchanted and gemmed accordingly to your Spec,make sure you have your pet out,and that its not on passive (If you aren't specced into [Lone Wolf]),make sure you choose the talents that bring you the most dps,for example, on Heavy AoE fights you might prefer [Barrage] over [Glaive Toss] or [Thrill of the Hunt] instead of [Steady Focus] etc. Make sure you have a flask/double elixir on and make sure you use a Potion (Agility is optimal) 1-2 seconds before the pull,this will give you the option to use another potion during the fight,preferably when your DPS cooldowns come back off cooldown. (Note that Healing Tonic (healing potion in WoD) doesn't share cooldown with DPS potions anymore,so bring a few of those aswell,your healers will thank you!).

Also note that you can negate some boss abilities completely with  [Deterrence], [Disengage] and  [Feign Death],to know what abilities you can avoid or negate you will have to experiment yourself during the encounters itself,or ask on one of the many forums for WoW!

Focus Management

Most important part,that many new or returning hunters miss is Focus Management. It is the most important hunter skill nowadays,and its sometimes more annoying than Mana Management ever was. You start off at 100 focus (120 for BM and MM),your [Steady Shot], [Cobra Shot] or [Focusing Shot] regenerate focus when casted,majority of other spells cost Focus to be used. If a big and important spell is coming off cooldown in the next ~3 seconds ( [Chimaera Shot], [Kill Command] or [Explosive Shot] / [Black Arrow] you have to "pool" your focus above the spells cost to make sure you can cast it INSTANTLY when it comes off cooldown. If you have too much focus use so called "focus dump" abilities to get rid of excess focus, For Marksmanship this is [Aimed Shot],for Survival and Beastmastery it is [Arcane Shot],try to never be focus capped (Spam too much Focus Generators) and never miss an important ability because your focus was low. If you have trouble with focus management,try using [Focusing Shot] in conjunction with [Steady Focus] (only 1 Focusing Shot cast procs Steady focus),you will have alot more focus then with other talent combinations,but you do run the risk of being focus capped if not played properly.

As with everything else focus management takes time and practice,and its an essential part of the class since Cataclysm Expansion and every hunter worth his gun should know how to do it properly!

Trapping in Raids and Dungeons

You will almost never be asked to trap during raids, but you might be asked during 5man groups and heroics. Trapping is a form of Crowd Control. This is typically done by using [Trap Launcher] & [Freezing Trap],to throw at the target to control. At lower levels or special occasions laying down a [Freezing Trap] in front of you, works just as fine. [Distracting Shot] and [Concussive Shot] can also help at this task.At level 48 you get the ability [Trap Launcher] which makes trapping targets much easier. The generally accepted raid symbol for a trap is a blue square, although it is very important to confirm this beforehand. The tank or off-tank will usually be responsible for taking aggro off of you when the group is ready to deal with the mob. A skilled hunter of any spec should be able to keep at least one target controlled indefinitely. All specs can use [Concussive Shot], pet tanking/ [Misdirection]/sacrificing to buy time while keeping a mob occupied,as a last resort you can use [Deterrence] to tank the mob until one of the tanks picks it up.


In some cases you will be asked to Kite one or more creatures that either cannot or should not be killed during a specific encounter, allowing the rest of the raid to focus on other needs in order defeat the objective. Kiting is a skill that is best accomplished by hunters because of their Aspect of the Cheetah, pets, and armor rating (mages are quite skilled at snare/root kiting, but few instances require such a technique and is intense in its use of mana) and requires a lot of practice).If you're kiting a pack of mobs,consider using [Ice Trap] to slow them all down,best spec for kiting as of Warlords of Draenor is Survival,because of the Lower Coolodown on [Ice Trap] and the increased duration of it + [Entrapment] which will root the enemies,giving you more space. While kiting, you will need to shoot your target with instant abilities, and often use speed boosts (such as the movement speed enchantment for cloak , speed potions, and using [Aspect of the Cheetah]).

Kiting, for most hunters, is the hardest skill to learn, yet is considered by many to be the most important skill.


Hunters wishing to participate in end-game PvP will find any of the talent trees help them towards their goals of massive player destruction! In beast mastery, a PvP hunter will find the skills of [Intimidation], [Bestial Wrath] , and a deadly pet worthy of causing constant havoc (especially to casters); a beast mastery hunter would be considered ill-equipped in PvP without them. Bestial Wrath primarily enables beast mastery to be the hunter's primary anti-caster spec, although it can have more difficulty against the melee classes (warrior, rogue, paladin).

The marksman tree skills of are all excellent in a PvP setting, with the skills of [Careful Aim], and [Silencing Shot] being considered "must haves" within the tree. These talents in the tree enables the hunter to inflict immense Burst damage. In terms of targets, marksmanship can to some extent deal with either casters or melee equally well, but does not specialise against either.

Finally, the survival hunter has many tricks that allow them to escape the deadzone (Note: The deadzone was done away with in Patch 2.3, much to the dismay of mages using [Frost Nova].) as well as dish out the pain, with such skill as [Humanoid Slaying], [Savage Strikes], [Deterrence] & [Counterattack], and [Master Tactician], followed by the "can't do without" skills of [Hawk Eye], [Improved Wing Clip], [Entrapment], [Survivalist], [Killer Instinct], [Wyvern Sting] and [Scatter Shot]. As beast mastery is designed to deal most effectively with the caster classes, so survival is specialised, conversely, towards the melee classes, and likewise also has somewhat more difficulty against casters.

Some of these skills are considered universal abilities that should be in any PvP hunter talent build, no matter which tree you put the majority of your points into. These include [Hawk Eye], which allows you to do damage from farther away, as well as [Entrapment], which used with Frost Trap, can turn the tide of an entire battle if used strategically, and [Lethal Shots], which provides a sizable increase to your critical hit rate for only 5 points into marksmanship.

Hunters excel at taking out soft targets like warlocks, priests, and mages from a distance, and should do so before moving on to hard targets such as warriors and paladins, though if a rogue is observed it is the hunter who is best equipped to track and expose the rogue by marking him with Hunter's Mark. Hunter's pets can also break an unseen rogue's stealth if he is close and the pet is on aggressive.

You may also want to look at getting a lot of stamina enchants so you will have more health to face a warrior or carry a flag in Warsong Gulch.


The Longeye, a troll hunter, and his raptor.
  • Hunters are the most played class according to Warcraft Realms as of 2015 at 15% of characters created being hunters.
  • The "OMG HUNTER LOOT" / "That's a hunter weapon!" : joke is derived from a time when some classes carried a ranged weapon and a melee weapon. Prior to the Cataclysm expansion, hunters could dual-wield daggers, axes, and swords as well as equip two-handed swords, polearms, axes, and staves as 'stat sticks'. Warriors and Rogues could equip ranged weapons, leading to hunters laying claim on many items and vice-versa. As noted, though, the joke lacks relevance as ranged weapons have been limited to guns, crossbows, and bows and are only usable by hunters. All melee weapons are no longer usable by hunters, and itemization of both reflects these changes.
  • While the hunter is an easy class to play at a superficial level, it can be a highly challenging class to play well. People will consistently tell you that damage is the only reason for a hunter's existence; in raids, and possibly in soloing that might be true, but in five man instances and battleground pvp in particular, it isn't. You can use traps as a form of crowd control, and you need to monitor your pet to ensure that it does not cause problems.
  • In addition, in most MMORPGs, the hunter or ranger class variant is usually recognized as the ideal ranged puller in a group. World of Warcraft is somewhat unique in that within its culture, ranged pulling is generally not considered a hunter's responsibility, to the point where hunters in groups will actually be expressly forbidden from doing so. This is true despite the fact that, as with other games, in WoW Blizzard has equipped the hunter with numerous unique abilities (Disengage, Feign Death, Tracking) to assist them in the accomplishment of that task. The advent of [Misdirection] has changed this a bit, with tanks often requesting that a hunter "MD that mob to me." In combat, hunters have the ability to quickly remove all threat they have generated on a target via [Feign Death]. This ability does not remove you from combat when fighting raid bosses.
  • Originally Survival hunters were intented to engage mostly in melee, and they had many talents to support this. Afterwards Survival was changed to be a ranged dps tree. However, one relic from those days survived up until Mists of Pandaria: [Counterattack].
  • The Survival tree was initially named Outdoormanship.
  • With the addition of gnome hunters in World of Warcraft: Legion, hunters will become the second class available to all thirteen playable races (the first one being warrior).
  • The hunter (prestige class) was replaced with the hunter (core class) in the World of Warcraft RPG.[6]



Patch changes

  • Legion Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19):
    • Survival hunters is now a melee class.[7]
    • Marksmanship hunters no longer fight with a pet.[7]
    • Gnomes can now be hunters.
    • Now begins with mail armor at level 1 instead of leather armor.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.3.0 (2013-05-21): Hunters now have 50 pet stable slots, up from 20.
  • Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28):
    • Minimum range removed.
    • Main hand slot is being changed to equip ranged weapons for hunters. Melee weapons can still be placed in this slot, however, they'll have no abilities that use them.
    • Hunters now benefit from Expertise as their ranged attacks can be dodged.
    • Any type of pet can now choose any specialization (Ferocity, Tenacity, or Cunning).
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12):
    • Focus has replaced mana as a new resource.
    • Ammo has been removed from the game. Quivers and ammo pouches have also been removed.
    • Up to five pets can now be stored with the hunter at all times (depending on how many "ranks" of the [Call Pet] ability have been trained). Any one of these five pets can be summoned via the [Call Pet] ability.
    • Hunters now start with a pet at level 1, rather than acquiring the ability to tame their first pet at level 10.
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.2.0 (2009-08-04): Traps now have separate 30 second cooldown categories: Fire (Immolation Trap, Explosive Trap and Black Arrow), Frost (Freezing Trap, Frost Trap) and Nature (Snake Trap). A hunter can have one trap of each category placed at one time. Also, the time that traps will exist in the world after being put down has been reduced to 30 seconds, down from 1 minute.
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): Pets now have their own talent trees. These can be accessed via the talent panel. Hunter pets can learn talents in one of three trees depending on family. Pets gain talent points starting at level 20 and earn an extra talent point every 4 levels.
  • The Burning Crusade Patch 2.3.0 (2007-11-13): Untalented firing range of 5-35 yards, eliminating the dead zone.
  • The Burning Crusade Patch 2.0.1 (2006-12-05): Traps can now be set while in combat, but require a 2 second arming time.
  • WoW Icon 16x16.png Patch 1.6.0 (2005-07-12): Fixed race condition allowing hunters to control a charmed unit and a pet at the same time.
  • Patch 0.9 (2004-08-17): The Hunter Class is now available to test.


  1. ^
  2. ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 73
  3. ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 80, 82
  4. ^ The Hunter's pet, and the Warlock's demon are standard class features. Death Knights (via [Master of Ghouls]), Mages (via [Summon Water Elemental]), and Shamans (via [Feral Spirit]) can all gain combat pets via specialization. Pets such as Shaman's elementals, Priest's [Shadowfiend], and Druid's [Force of Nature], as well as Engineer's various fighting pets do not have fine control and are considered guardian pets.
  5. ^ a b c Legion Class Preview Series: Hunter
  6. ^ World of Warcraft RPG Conversion Document, 1
  7. ^ a b chaud 2015-08-08. Dev Interviews, August 6-7 Hotfixes, Blue Posts, Pet Battle Bonus Event, Legion Art. MMO-Champion. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.

External links