Hunter Leveling Guide

Beginner Friendly80%
Leveling Speed90%


Hunter is one class known as the king of solo leveling and questing in World of Warcraft. Having access to a variety of tools to deal with enemies from range and a personal tank in the shape of a beastly pet, hunter is one of the safest classes to level. When it comes to difficulty, it is an easy class to pilot. But with enough time, a seasoned hunter can outpace even groups of players working together in leveling speed. The downside to this is that there are gonna be a lot of players going for this class come launch of hardcore servers, and no shortage of hunters. With enough practice, you will open up a lot of Elite quests that others will have a lot of trouble completing, and you will be able to tackle with ease once you know how to kite properly.



Orc – their Axe Specialization will affect you only if you are using melee weaving but to make up for that you get a lot of extra damage in the form of Command and Blood Fury.

Troll – they have very nice bonuses doing stuff that suit hunters. Bow Specialization and Beast Slaying are a nice passive combo while Berserking gives you an awesome cooldown that gets even better while on low health. To top it off you get Regeneration, which might not seem like much but it will add up over time if you decide to tackle multiple enemies while chain killing.

Tauren – are built like a beast and are a more defensive option compared to Orcs and Trolls. With passive increase in health pool from Endurance and AoE crowd control of War Stomp there are almost no situations that you won’t be able to get away from. You also get small bonuses of Nature Resistance and if you decide to go with Herbalism profession, Cultivation.


Dwarf – both Alliance options offer their own options to increase your survival in hardcore world, Dwarves get Stoneform to rid themselves of a huge range of debuffs you will encounter in your leveling journey. You will get a small offensive bonus of Gun Specialization as well as Frost Resistance and Find Treasure to track those chests, just be careful that those dots on your map don’t lure you to your death.

Night Elf – gets their own defensive in the form of Shadowmeld, that is especially good with hunter’s Feign Death. Enabling you to Feign + Shadowmeld even while surrounded with a group of enemies and wait out your Feign Death cooldown and have another go at escaping. Your offensive bonus is increased starting agility as well as passives Quickness and Nature Resistance. You also get Wisp Spirit but we hope you won’t be using that in your hardcore run.


For our spec of choice we are going with Beast Mastery due to the way our pet scales with levels. You will get better results pumping your talent points into bm spec while leveling and then respecing once you get to the endgame and get some gear.

Skill tree link

Notable talents

Improved Aspect of the Hawk vs Endurance Training – comes down to preference but it boils down to either increased chance to proc 30% attack speed buff or making your pet tankier, we do 1-4 split giving us a small chance to proc and a 12% pet health increase.

Unleashed Fury, Ferocity and Frenzy are your three milestones that will significantly boost your pet’s damage and make it better at holding aggro.

After rounding out your bm tree with Bestial Wrath, we recommend moving on to Marksmanship where you will have some flexibility to choose but main thing you are going for here is Lethal Shots and Mortal Shots.


You will start off your journey quickly learning Raptor Strike, Arcane Shot, Hunter’s Mark  and Serpent Sting. Use all of them in combination with your Auto Shots to get yourself to level 10 and unlock your pet.

At level 10 you would normally stop relying on Raptor Strike but a good hunter will run in and weave melee attacks while their pet tanks, given the chance or even keep shooting their pet target while hitting another with melee as they have separate cooldowns. This is what gives hunters their kill speed and a good chunk of leveling time.

Concussive Shot and Wing Clip are your ranged and melee slows to give you breathing room and keep a single enemy at a distance while you deal damage.

As you level up and rank up your Multi-Shot, you should start using it over your Arcane Shot because it becomes more mana effective, just take into consideration that it does hit mobs around your target as well.

Feign Death is in many cases a dangerous tool and should be used as such. There are many things to consider that we will list off here.
You can use it offensively, to drop aggro back to your pet or tank, or even lay down a damaging trap. You can also use your Freezing and Frost traps to give yourself some room or try to escape. If you do want to use it to run off, keep in mind that it has a chance to be resisted if the enemy is within 40 yard range and line of sight. It is better to use it early and decide where to go from there depending on the resulting situation than rely on it and fail just to die. And last but certainly not least, DO NOT stay in Feign Death until the end of duration. You will actually die when it runs out.


Bestial Wrath is your end of the tree talent spell that gives you a 2 minute cooldown giving your pet a big buff for 18 sec.

Rapid Fire also gives you a nice buff but this time is for you only and it comes with a big 5 minute cooldown so plan for it accordingly but don’t let it sit unused either.

Intimidation is bm exclusive cc that gives your pet a stun on their next attack, it is fine to use this for spell interrupts and kiting because it is only a minute cooldown.


Hunters have access to three different situational aspects that work similar to stances that warriors have or auras for paladin. You should pretty much always have one active.

Early on you will have only Aspect of the Monkey and Aspect of the Hawk that are your defensive and offensive aspects. As soon as you get to level 20, book it to your class trainer and learn Aspect of the Cheetah, this is what will give you your insane traveling speed out of combat and will act almost like a mount before you get enough gold to afford it.


These can only be laid down out of combat so it requires either to be planned for ahead of time or use of Feign Death that as a result puts you into danger of not having an escape tool.

Immolation Trap and Explosive Trap are your damage traps, single target and AoE. Immolation Trap puts a DoT on the first enemy that walks over it, Explosive Trap on the other hand leaves a patch of burning area when triggered that can deal massive group damage if used correctly.

Freezing Trap and Frost Trap are for cc, also st. and AoE versions. Freezing Trap will freeze one enemy for a while, and Frost Trap will slow down enemies in an area and can be used for both kiting and escaping large groups of enemies.


Hunters get access to multiple tracking spells but they are unfortunately exclusive to 1 active at any given time and that includes Find Minerals and Find Herbs if you have Mining or Herbalism as one of your professions. Skip training these as you level with the exception of Track Hidden, if you decide to learn it you will be able to see stealthed enemies as a marked node on the map the same way you would see herbs or minerals.

Class Specific Quests

Only notable class quest for hunters is the one you get at level 10, leading you to taming and training your first pet.

Taming the Beast will lead you to your race’s first village after exiting your starting area to talk to a Hunter trainer. After learning to tame beasts by going through the quest chain, you will be sent to the Capital city with Training the Beast quest to learn about your pet’s skill points and how to train them with new pet abilities and passive buffs.


Your class mechanic is your pet, learning how to command it and train it to equip it with stronger skills will be essential for your leveling. 

They come in different families and breeds, depending on what you chose to go with you will also have to keep their diet in mind, as they will get unhappy over time, decreasing their damage output and slowing down their progress to becoming your loyal friend.

Here are some stats to keep in mind.

FamilyCategoryHealth ModifierArmor ModifierDamage ModifierUnique Ability
Carrion BirdGeneral-+5%--
ScorpidDefense-+10%-6%Scorpid Poison
TurtleDefense-+13%-10%Shell Shield
Wind SerpentOffense--+7%Lightning Breath
WolfGeneral-+5%-Furious Howl

One of the most important stats for your pets is attack speed and it might vary even among members of the same family of pets. Most hunter experts agree that Wolves and Cats are best for endgame content as they can use both Claw and Bite abilities.

If you are looking for top shelf best of the best pets it will take some time to obtain.

Brokentooth can be found in Badlands as a rare spawn and has 1.0 attack speed where any other that comes even close is 1.2.

If you want something that will stand next to you at range, you will want to tame the Son of Hakkar found in Zul’Gurub and they boast the highest level of Lightning Breath in the game at rank 6.


Similar to Hunters, pets can acquire new skills as they level up. These skills are categorized as either active or passive abilities. Passive abilities are typically obtained from pet trainers who are usually located near Hunter trainers. On the other hand, active abilities are predominantly learned by taming animals that already possess those abilities. This also applies to acquiring higher ranks of existing abilities. For example, if you are leveling in Durotar, you might consider taming an Encrusted Surf Crawler along the western shoreline to learn Claw Rank 2. Once you have tamed an animal with the desired skill or ability rank, you need to have your pet utilize that ability before it can be taught to your other pets. This process may take some time, and it is recommended to let your pet engage in combat while exclusively using the new skill to expedite the learning process. Once your new pet has sufficiently utilized the ability, it should become available in your training menu for your original pet to learn. However, certain restrictions exist, such as Crabs being unable to use Bite, so it is essential to determine in advance the type of pet you desire and the abilities you want it to possess.

To teach your current pet an ability obtained from another pet, you can use the Beast Training ability found in your spellbook to access the training menu. This menu will display a list of available spells, which should include the newly acquired ability. To teach it to your current pet, you will need to spend some of its available training points (TP). Training points function similarly to talent points, as your pet accumulates more of them as it levels up. Loyalty level also affects the number of training points your pet has. The total training points can be calculated by multiplying the pet’s level by the loyalty level minus one.


Agility > Stamina > Intellect > Spirit > Strength

As a hunter in leveling, you benefit from stats the best in this order.

Weapon Progression

As hunters mainly rely on their ranged weapon, the big decision is guns or bows. Due to their rarity, crossbows are not worth considering. So deciding among the remaining two is gonna come down to purely availability of upgrades during leveling and with that, bow would be better. For Dwarves who have Gun Specialization, it is worth considering looking at quest reward guns if you decided to keep up with your weapon skills.

Hornwood Recurve Bow2.43VendorSold by all Bow Vendors
Ashwood Bow3.8QuestCrown of Earth in Teldrassil
Laminated Recurve Bow 5.811VendorSold by Bow Vendors
Reinforced Bow7.516VendorSold by Bow Vendors
Raptor's End12.1QuestQuest reward in the Wetlands from Ormer's Revenge
Sturdy Recurve13.027VendorSold by Bow Vendors in Darnassus and Ironforge
Master Hunter's Bow19.4Elite questQuest reward in Stranglethorn Vale from the quest Big Game Hunter
Massive Longbow22.042VendorSold by Bow Vendors in Darnassus and Ironforge
Verdant Keeper's Aim28.2Dungeon questQuest reward from the Maraudon quest Corruption of Earth and Seed
Hornwood Recurve Bow2.03VendorSold by all Bow Vendors
Hickory Shortbow3.84QuestSecuring the Lines quest in Durotar
Orcish Battle Bow5.59QuestCentaur Bracers quest in The Barrens
Laminated Recurve Bow5.811VendorSold by all Bow Vendors
Fine Longbow7.414VendorSold by all Bowyers around the world as limited stock
Reinforced Bow7.516VendorSold by all Bow Vendors
Bow of Plunder11.319QuestDangerous! quest in Hillsbrad Foothills
Venomstrike11.519DropRare world drop, you will be lucky if you get it at the right time.
Cliffrunner's Aim12.020QuestThe Sacred Flame quest in Thousand Needles, very dangerous.
Sturdy Recurve13.027VendorSold by all Bow Vendors in Orgrimmar, Thunder Bluff and Undercity
Massive Longbow22.042VendorSold by all Bow Vendors in Orgrimmar, Thunder Bluff and Undercity
Master Hunter's Bow19.428Quest (Elite)Big Game Hunter quest in Stranglethorn Vale
Highland Bow23.646QuestReturn to Primal Torntusk quest in Arathi Highlands
Verdant Keeper's Aim28.245Quest (Dungeon)Corruption of Earth and Seed quest in Maraudon
Satyr's Bow29.853DropDrops from Zevrim Thornhoof in Dire Maul East
Riphook30.254DropDrops from Shadow Hunter Vosh'gajin in Blackrock Spire


Engineering / Mining

As with almost any other class in hardcore, engineering comes in as one of the best choices due to its utility and access to Grenades and Dummies. But for Hunters even more so if you decide to go with guns for leveling. Giving you the ability to craft your own weapons and ammo, along with scopes to increase your damage, if you decide to pick up skinning and farm up some Light Leather and Medium Leather before dropping it and switching to Engineering, you can get yourself Flying Tiger Goggles and upgrade them to Green Tinted Goggles.

Alchemy / Herbalism

Hunters don’t have too much trouble sustaining health and even more so if you keep up your First Aid, where you can double dip and heal both yourself and your pet. Where alchemy does come in is enabling you to play more aggressively and giving you ability to use your mana potions fueling your shots, or healing potions if you get into rough situations. While leveling you will also be able to brew different elixirs, Swiftness Potions and alike, to give you even more of a boost.

Leatherworking / Skinning

Armoring profession that fits hunter nicely, starting off with leather gear and later giving you access to crafting some mail armor. Paired with Skinning you will have no shortage of leather to fuel your profession skill, considering that you don’t slack on killing beasts while zooming from quest to quest. While working to increase your skill in Leatherworking, make sure to craft up some Armor Kits and apply them to your armor, to give you some additional armor and increase your survivability.

Honorable mentions

Cooking / Fishing / First Aid

Cooking can give you many stat buffing food that increase your stamina and spirit while leveling. Paired with Fishing, if you want to spend your time on it, you can use the caught fish to either level up cooking all the way to max skill level or as food for your pet if its diet allows it. As mentioned before, you can use Bandages from First Aid to double dip and heal both yourself and your pet.


Hunter as a class does not bring much to the team other than damage and minor utility, but it can use all of the tricks that make him slippery and survivable outside of dungeons as well.

If the situation gets rough, consider using Feign Death and Frost Trap to help your team kite out the enemies. Be careful when using your AoE Traps and abilities not to pull aggro from the tank and get yourself into trouble. Last but not least, your pet can either massively help, or endlessly annoy your tank. Set its Growl ability off of automatic use, and choose yourself when you want your pet to take over tanking a mob or two. Just make sure to inform your tank and healer you will be doing this so they can act accordingly. Whenever the party is traveling from pack to pack, you can choose to use Aspect of the Pack and speed up your running speed at the cost of interrupting your spirit’s mana regen. Just make sure to switch back so as to not daze every1 and risk killing someone in the process.

Advanced Tips

As a hunter it is important to have an auto shot timer, but it is also imperative to have both melee swing timer and auto shot timer. There are multiple weakauras for hunters that get the job done but for beginners, you can go ahead and use WeaponSwingTimer

In summary, your ranged and melee attacks are on a different cooldown timer. So to make most use of both your weapons, you would shoot from range, then dip into melee to swing or use Raptor Strike, then get back out of range just enough to be able to shoot again.

You can also Utilize this by sending in your pet to fight one enemy at range, while pulling another to yourself, giving you another target to melee.


Auto shot, This will allow you to spam the button and not cancel your attacks. This macro will also automatically target a viable enemy in front of you if you do not have something already targeted.

#showtooltip Auto Shot
/targetenemy [noexists][dead][help]
/cast !Auto Shot

This will allow you to spam the button and not cancel your attacks.

Melee Macro, cancel your auto shot, que up an auto swing and use raptor strike in one button.

/cast Raptor Strike
/cast Mongoose Bite

Hunter’s Mark Macro, this one is useful while soloing, send in your pet and mark your target.

#showtooltip Hunter's Mark
/cast Hunter's Mark

Freezing Trap Macro, Feign Death and Freezing Trap at the same time, and also put your pet on passive, ensuring it won’t break the freeze.

#showtooltip Freezing Trap
/cast Freezing Trap
/cast [combat] Feign Death
/petstay [@pettarget, harm]
/petpassive [@pettarget, harm]

Scatter Shot Macro, self explanatory.

#showtooltip Scatter Shot
/cast Scatter Shot

Pet return Macro, in situations that you need to quickly recall your pet, is used well with Hunter’s Mark Macro above, in cases where you change your mind mid pull.

/cast Dash

Closing Remarks

Hunter is an excellent pick for any newcomer to the Hardcore community and veteran player alike. You can play it safe and take your time exploring World of Warcraft with a dash of danger, or speed run and tackle risk of the highest degree to slay elite enemies and challenge yourself. Either way, this class is sure to give you an enjoyable time with few challenging mechanics to explore and master.