Leveling a new Hunter in Cataclysm

Good morning folks, and happy Monday.

If all the speculation holds true patch 4.0.3a, The Shattering, will be happening tomorrow. 

 When that happens I, like many others, will be rolling a shiny new Hunter. Like many others I also have a plan. Unlike many others I also happen to have a blog, so I am going to write about it. Actually I am sure that there are lots of others that are writing down their plans, but they are keeping them to themselves.

Not me I say. What better place for a blogger to put a copy of the plan so he doesn’t manage to lose it than his blog? Plus while I am at it I can share my thoughts on leveling up with you wonderful folks. Hell, I might even help out one or two lost souls that will wander past looking for a  leveling spec.

Not to say that this is the only way to do it, or even the best. It’s just how I plan to do it.

First thing I did was round up the stuff I plan to send him and have it ready to send over when he gets near a mailbox.

Not really a whole lot going on there, especially considering I have the heirloom chest and shoulders. Decado won’t be needing those till Outland. No sense speeding past stuff I have never seen before. In all he gets four Frostweave bags, a bit of gold, two Swift Hand of Justice trinkets, two Balanced Heartseekers, and a Charmed Ancient Bone Bow. 

Could I have sent more? Sure, but he doesn’t even really need this stuff.  If you really wanted to you could level from 1 to 80 (and probably 85) in the gear you start the game with. It might take you a long time, and might require different techniques, but you could.

The fact that he has it though does play a bit into my talent choices later on. I’ll mention it when the time comes.

Enough about that, on with the leveling part.


Azeroth, The early years


Level 1 – 10 Wake up and smell the graveyard.

Yes, you guessed it. I plan to roll as a Forsaken Hunter.

For the first ten levels there is really not much to say. Pick up my quests, kill what they tell me to, and my pet kinda follows me around on auto pilot.

I am not going to get into shot rotations or anything like that at this point, perhaps I’ll do that as another post later. Though I would suggest using Arcane shot lots, so long as you are not pulling off your pet, and hitting the occasional Steady shot to regen focus.

The reality is you could right click your way to 85 if you are soloing. Leveling using nothing but a Tenacity pet on defensive and autoshot is entirely possible, it would just be a bit slower. It’s not how I plan to do it, but it is doable.

BRK has some really good tutorial videos if you are truly new to the class. Just hit up YouTube and check them out. While you are at it head over to Aspect of the Hare and check out her Hunter 101 series of posts. They were written in the days of mana, but the basics hold true.

Anyhow, before you know it the starting zone is left behind you and you are hitting level ten.


Level 10 – 31 The free mana pot

Level ten is quite the milestone in your characters life. You can now start spending talent points to make yourself stronger. The screen you see will look something like this.

Personally I plan to select Beastmastery.

Now, you can level with any one of the three. In fact, my first Hunter was leveled Marksman back in the day. The biggest reason for my choice?

Rare Exotic pets, like the spirit beasts.

I do not plan to buy dual spec for this character until he is at the level cap. If I wander past a rare spawn I want to be able to tame it on the spot. Your mileage may vary.

Anyhow, once I select Beastmastery I am going to find I have a point to spend. That one, and the next two at 11 and 13 will go here.

The more focus my pet has the better, and the faster it regenerates the happier I will be. Synergy, it’s a wonderful thing.

Next up we have:

One of our top DPS buttons is Kill command. Things will be dying really fast at low level, but I want to get used to using it now. It will be important down the line. Well, that and it moves us on up to tier two.

Here, at levels 19 and 21 I will be taking:

Simply because I do like to be able to ride faster, and I will be getting my mount at level 20 as well. If it wasn’t for the fact that I am sporting a pair of self healing heirloom trinkets I would likely take Spirit bond here instead, and take Pathfinding later.

The last couple levels we have been focused on making ourselves more comfortable, how about this time we do a little something for Fluffy.

By picking this up we can cleanse most things off of our pet while we are out and about in the world. Yes, I know I could have gone with two points here for a 50% chance to dispel, but for leveling 25% is fine.

Now that our pet is all nice and cleansed let’s make him a little happier.

Nothing quite like getting to gnaw on bad guys faster to lighten Fluffy’s mood. I could have taken three points here had I waited for Mend Pet, but I think a 2% trade off in attack speed for a few levels is worth the 25% cleanse.

Yes, I know I only went for two points there. Patience grasshopper, we just opened up our free mana pot.

Ok, so we don’t actually use mana any more. This is even better. A free half tank of focus for both you and your pet every two minutes? Most excellent. Keybind it to wherever you used to have your mana pots and you are golden.

Now, back to making Fluffy happy.

Going back and grabbing the last point was kind of a no-brainer really. The faster my pet attacks the faster things die.

Thats less time before I can go rooting through their pockets looking for loose change.


Levels 31 – 49 The quest for the Big Red Pet

Next up we are going to do ourselves a favor, and our pets at the same time.

We will get a really good reason to be using Arcane Shot often, and that’s a good thing. Arcane is one of my favorite shots. While we are at it Fluffy gets to bite bigger chunks out of the bad guys a bit more often. Gotta love it.

You could also go 2/3 and pick up Focus Fire here, and come back for the third point later. personally I find that things die so fast while soloing that I don’t really need Focus Fire yet. If you are doing a lot of instancing I would pick it up and come back to the last point of Cobra Strikes later on.

I am starting to see a trend here with buffing my pets abilities, this next talent is certainly no exception:

Now, I don’t have Bestial Wrath yet, and I don’t really use Intimidation all that much, but it will come in handy. Not only that, but once again it buffs my pets attacks while helping me.

Speaking of me and my pet helping each other no other talent can top this one.

Just by virtue of being around each other we regenerate. Thats kinda awesome if you think about it. We draw strength from one another, the way it should be.

If you decided to take this earlier now would be a good time to pick up those points in Pathfinding. You could also go 1/2 in Pathfinding and grab that last point in Cobra Shots.

And now, the talent we have been looking forward to for the last 48 levels….

The defining talent of the Beastmaster Hunter.

The Big Red Pet.

The Beast does not feel pity or remorse or fear and it cannot be stopped unless killed.

I could try saying more, but really? How am I going to top that? I get goosebumps just reading it.


Levels 51 – 59 When you get to go crazy too

Well, after that ginormous buff to our pet it looks like we are back to buffing us both.

Actually this is right up there with Spirit Bond on the whole “I like to be around you” level. Hell, even other members of your party are glad to have your pet nearby.

Fluffy is just that awesome.


Remember all that extra gnawing Fluffy was getting to do with Frenzy back around level 30?

Well, now we can take that extra speed and use it ourselves. Not bad considering he can just stack it up again. Probably not going to see a whole lot of use for this one just out soloing in the world, but it will sure come in handy if I run a few randoms on the way up.

It’s almost like having a free haste potion to go with our free mana focus potion.

If you did a bit of shuffling on the way up you might already have this, if so grab the point in Cobra Shots or Pathfinding that you left off earlier.

I think next I will go with:

Though I am only going to go two points deep in it for the moment. A little extra attack power never hurt anyone.

With the last talent point  we will see in Azeroth we pick up another one of my favorite talents.

In the ultimate synergy Fluffy and I now go insane together.

A big red pair of friends.


Outlands, The lost years


Level 61 – 69  Oh, I have to wait how long to tame that?

After a visit to the mailbox to collect my chest and shoulder heirlooms, as well as a visit to the trainer to learn flight skills, the leveling picks back up where we left off. Once again we are buffing us both.

Having 110 focus is kinda like turning your stereo up to 11. It just rocks.

Now, just for a change of pace we will have our pets do something nice for us.

Well, besides the whole getting beat on so we don’t have to thing.

Since we have been so nice helping our pets out with all that wonderful crit they decided to give a little back in the form of more focus. Isn’t that nice of them?

Here we have the big one.

The big ticket.

The reason we went this far down the rabbit hole.

Now we can tame exotics.

Not only that, but with one of our talent points we just bought four for Fluffy.

Now that we have gone 31 points into a talent tree, we can diversify a bit now if we want to.


Northrend, the graveyard of alts.


Level 71 – 79 The last stand of the emo prince of Lordaeron.

I can’t really say I am looking forward slogging my way through here ever again. Such is life, I’ll do it and move on.

Anyhow, in our first foray outside the safe confines of the Beastmastery tree we find this little gem.

Letting my auto shots give Fluffy more focus makes Fluffy happy.

I like it when Fluffy is happy.

Then we go back to Beastmastery, finally filling this out.

Once again, a little more attack power is a wonderful thing.

The last two points are really up in the air at this point. I think I will go with

This is without a doubt a raiding talent. However, there are not really many other options that make a whole lot of sense.  You can have a  bit more Stamina with Hunter vs. Wild, or a bit of haste with Pathing. You could grab more Serpent Sting damage with Improved Serpent Sting, or even better Focus costs on some shots with Efficiency.

I am going with this simply because of things I have heard about the health pools of some of the things we will be questing against in Cataclysm. I am gambling that there will be times I might actually get off three kill commands, particularly if I decide to run an instance or two.


Cataclysm, Moving forward


Levels 81 – 85 The great unknown.

Since I have not been in the Beta I have not had the ability to check out anything beyond level 80. I wish I had something to tell you, other than I do plan to have a leveling guide and spec at some point.

Hell, I wish I had something to tell me.

Just taking a stab at a talent calculator based on what I have read this is where I see myself going once I get past 80.

So far I plan to put my first two points into

Since it will play well with Cobra Shot (or so I have read)

And my final three points into

Since stamina is going to be big in Cataclysm (once again, so I have read.)

A lot can change between the time I start this character and the time I make it to 85. I really have no idea at this point what things will look like then.


Until then, I leave you with the spec I plan to be sitting at when I ding 79.

As a matter of fact that’s the spec all three of my current 80 Hunters will carry into Cataclysm with them.

What happens after that is anyones guess.


Good hunting, and keep your powder dry.


4 Responses

  1. You must be thrilled that the time is nearly here!

    • To the point where I am annoying people with it. It’s like Christmas eve for a kid. (and yes i’ll be leveling a new toon on KT as well)

  2. I’m one of those that will be leveling his hunter “the hard way.” I.e., he has bags and about 200 gold and that’s it. Anything else he wants will either need to be picked up along the way, crafted, or grabbed off the AH for low, low prices. If he proves himself, he may acually get some shiny heirloom shoulders and a bow when he hits 58, but shouldn’t count on it. Nagrand is still my favorite area in the game, and I don’t want to blitz past it this time.

    Awesome guide, though…and I like a few of the ideas you had for speccing. Now to figure out what to tame to take him to 80…

  3. Hey… long time. Hope you are doing well.

    Undead hunter sounds fun! Ever since 4.0 came out, I have been on that rogue hunter I had parked at level 64. I have been an 80 now and am still on this toon 99% of the time. Woohoo, I had to take the day off yesterday due to a waterheater leak. I logged on for a short bit (parked in zul’drak in hopes of getting a spirit beast – Gondria… I will never camp an area but typically circle once a day). The moment I logged on the alarm went off – and I tamed my new pet — also got the terror spinner nearby). Anyhow, point is I’m having tons of fun.

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