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WoW Classic Hunter Starter Build and Leveling Guide

WoW Classic Hunter Starter Build and Leveling Guide

Check out our recommended Leveling/Starter build for the Hunter in WoW Classic

Hunter Leveling Guide
for WoW Classic


If you are planning on joining the World of Warcraft Classic adventure make sure to check out our other related Guides below:

And Starter builds/Leveling Guides for all other character classes:

RogueRogue Leveling Guide DruidDruid Leveling Guide
PaladinPaladin Leveling Guide PriestPriest Leveling Guide
MageMage Leveling Guide ShamanShaman Leveling Guide
WarriorWarrior Leveling Guide WarlockWarlock Leveling Guide
Or if you are done with the leveling process make sure to check our Best WoW Classic Builds for level 60 characters!

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Hunter Class Overview

Hunters are ranged damage-dealers that rely on their loyal Pets when it comes to keeping their enemies at a safe distance. As a Class, they are easy to play and surprisingly difficult to master, as there are a lot of things that a good Hunter must learn and finetune (micromanaging Pets, Stutter Stepping, playing around Hunter's main weakness in PvP - a Dead Zone, etc.). Their high Damage output and good sustain, combined with their Pet companions, let them progress through levels at a pace unmatched by any other Class and even solo level-appropriate Elite Mobs without too much of a problem.

Hunters Excel in both Open World and Battleground PvP thanks to their high Damage output, surprisingly potent Crowd Control options, very high Range, and a Pat that can harass their Targets and be very annoying to deal with efficiently. Their main weakness in PvP is the so-called Dead Zone, which is an area around the Hunter between his minimal Ranged Attack and maximum Melee Attack ranges - between 8 and 5 yards around him (which means that Hunter can't attack Targets that are within that area). The Dead Zone can be exploited by experienced enemy Spell Casters and make Hunter's life rather miserable (but exploiting it well takes a lot of skill and is by no means easy). Their End-Game PvE DPS, while not the highest, is good enough to secure them spots in Raids when combined with their kiting and CC abilities that are simply necessary for some encounters.

This guide will aid you and your Hunter on your journey to level 60; it will help you choose a Race, present you with an optimal leveling Talent build, point you towards Dungeons and Quests that award worthwhile Ranged Weapons, provide some tips & tricks, and more.

Hunter's Strengths and Weaknesses

 Pros  Cons
 Good Mobility thanks to Aspect of the Cheetah and movement speed increasing Talents. Hunter can also boost the mobility of his group thanks to the Aspect of the Pack  Taming a pet will not scale its level (if you tame a level 5 Beast as a level 60, it will remain at level5)
 Personal Tank in the form of a loyal Pet makes Hunter very self-sufficient  You will be forced to abandon old and Tame new pets as you progress through levels because they level up slower than you
 Good self-Sustain, and high Damage potential  Pets require food to stay happy and might abandon you if you neglect them
 Quick to level thanks to mobility, good sustain, and a Pet  A dead zone between 5yd and 8yd from the Hunter (distance between minimum Ranged Attack Range and maximum Melee Swing Range) can be exploited by experienced enemies in PvP
 A versatile toolkit (Feign Death, Traps, Flare, and more) that comes in handy in both PvP and PvE  Ranged Weapons require ammo, and a Quiver/Ammo Pouch uses up an inventory slot
 One of the least Gear-Dependant Classes  
 Strong in Open World PvP (high range and great mobility make Hunter very annoying to deal with)  

Statistics Priority

  1. Agility -  Increases Armor, provides additional Dodge chance, Weapon Critical Strike chance and increases Ranged Attack Power. Agility will improve your defenses by a bit and massively increase your offensive capabilities. This is Hunter's primary statistic by far.
  1. Intellect - Increases total mana pool and raises Spell Critical Hit chance. It also increases the rate at which a character learns Weapon Skills. This is an important stat for a Hunter, as almost all His abilities use Mana and more Intellect allows him to spend it more liberally.
  1. Stamina - Improves your survivability by increasing your total Health pool. This is an important statistic, but it shouldn't be prioritized over Intellect and Agility. Stamina loses much of its value for a Hunter because of his Pet that acts as a  personal Tank.
  1. Spirit - Spirit increases Mana and Health regeneration in and out of Combat. As a Hunter, you don't need that much Spirit because your Pet absorbs most of the incoming damage and allows you to eliminate enemies without spending too much of your mana.
  1. Strength - Increases Melee Attack Power and the amount of Damage that a Shield can block. Hunters don't rely on Melee Weapons and can't use Shields, so Strenght is of very low value to them.

Leveling stat priority:

Agility ⇒ Intellect ⇒ Stamina = Spirit ⇒⇒ Strenght

Note:  Items with "Of the Falcon" Suffix are great for Hunters, as they provide both Agility and Intellect. "Of the Monkey" (Stamina and Agility) and "Of the Wolf" (Agility and Spirit) are strong second choices and you should Need on those, while in a group, as well. "Of the Eagle" (Stamina and Intellect) and "Of the Owl" (Intellect and Spirit) Items are quite serviceable as well.


The Best Hunter Races for Both Factions

Each Race has unique traits and abilities, some of which greatly benefit a Hunter, other - not so much. More competitive Players might even want to choose their Faction based on Racial traits of one of its member Races. We will take a closer look at all Races that can choose the path of a Hunter and determine which are the best for PvP and PvE.

Note: Please remember that a good Player will make all races work well, and a bad player will not get any better thanks to a Race choice. In other words - pick your Race and your Faction as you please, because after all, Fun is the most important aspect of the Game.

Alliance Races
PvP and PvE

Dwarf's Stoneform helps you keep your Distance from Targets, and the bonus to Skill with Guns is nice, but it is nowhere near as important as bonuses to Melee Weapons are for Melee Classes, while Night Elf's Dodge bonus and Shadowmeld have very limited impact, especially in PvE. All this makes Alliance Hunter Race choice rather simple, as Dwarf's racials are clearly better than Night Elf's for both PvE and PvP (although Shadowmeld enables some sneaky plays in PvP). If you want extra survivability, reliability, and a bit extra DPS (when using Guns, and good Guns are somewhat rare) pick a Dwarf. If you want to Ambush unsuspecting Players in Open World and Battlegrounds or have a quite reliable escaping tool (if you build up enough distance over your pursuers, drop Combat, and put some terrain between them and yourself, Shadowmeld can allow you to hide very effectively), pick a Night Elf.

Recommended choice: Dwarf

Second choice: Night Elf

Horde Races

Orc's ability to resist all Stun effect 25% of the time secures him the first place, and his 5% pet Damage bonus is a nice addition. Tauren's War Stomp adds a powerful Crowd Control option to Hunter's toolkit, provides him with an extra pseudo-interrupt and lets him escape from melee range more reliably. 5% increased Health boosts survivability a bit, and the Nature Resistance lowers Damage taken from Rogue's Poisons and some Elemental Shaman spells. Troll, with his Berserking and Bow Specialisation abilities, is a more offensive option and his power-level is very comparable to Tauren's, so the choice between these two is up to Player's preference and should depend only on one's playstyle.

Recommended choice: Orc

Second choice: Tauren or Troll


Troll's Bow specialization, while not as impactful as Melee Weapon specializations are for other Classes, provides a nice DPS bonus, and the Berserking is the only Offensive Racial Cooldown, that affects Ranged Attacks, available for the Horde as Orc's Blood Fury increases Melee Attack Power only. Orc and his 5% extra damage done by Pets is the second-best choice (if only Blood Fury worked on Ranged Attack Power...). It is also worth to remember, when picking an Orc over a Troll, that in Classic pets take full Damage from AoE spells and abilities, which means that they die on a regular basis in Raids and Dungeons. This limits Orc's viability as a Hunter in PvE even further. But. Orc's Stun resistance can randomly save your skin in some sticky situations (don't rely on it though). Tauren's Racials are the least impactful overall when it comes to rolling as a Hunter.

Recommended choice: Troll

Second choice: Orc

Talent Build and Talent Allocation Order

Optimal Talent allocation is essential for smooth leveling. Here, we will describe the most optimal leveling spec and lead you through the Talent Trees level-by-level.

Talent allocation for a Leveling Hunter (10-59)
Hunter Leveling Talent Build

You will want to start with the Beast Mastery Tree and make your way up to the very top of it:

  1. Level 10 ⇒ 1/5 Improved Aspect of the Hawk - This can randomly shave off a few seconds off your Kill times, which is nice.
  2. Levels 11-14 ⇒ 4/5 Endurance Training - Your Pet acts as your personal Tank, and we all know that Health is a very important Tanking statistic.
  3. Levels 15-16 ⇒ 2/2 Improved Revive Pet - your Pet will Die. Quite a lot, most likely. Picking up this Talent will make Resurrecting it much more efficient.
  4. Levels 17-19 ⇒ 3/3 Thick Hide - Another great Pet Tanking Talent. Most of the enemies you encounter during leveling deal Physical Damage, making this a very strong choice for PvE.
  5. Level 20 ⇒ 1/1 Bestial Swiftness - This allows you to harass enemy players in World PvP with your Pet and enables you to make more out of it if you are good at micromanagement.
  6. Levels 21-22 ⇒ 2/2 Pathfinding - This will shave off hours of your leveling time (traveling makes up a very large portion of the leveling process and this Talent reduces it by quite a lot) and allow you to kite enemies more reliably.
  7. Levels 23-27 ⇒ 5/5 Unleashed Fury - More Pet Damage = More Threat generated by your Pet = More Damage you can deal before Pet loses Aggro.
  8. Levels 28-29 ⇒ 2/5 Ferocity.
  9. Level 30 ⇒ 1/1 Intimidation - Very powerful Pseudo-Taunt/Stun ability that finds uses in both PvE and PvP.
  10. Levels 31-33 ⇒ 5/5 Ferocity.
  11. Level 34 ⇒ 5/5 Endurance Training.
  12. Levels 36-39 ⇒ 5/5 Frenzy - Very Strong Talent that naturally synergizes with the Ferocity.
  13. Level 40 ⇒ 1/1 Bestial Wrath - This allows you to turn your Pet into an almost unstoppable killing machine every 2 minutes.

At this point, it is time to switch to the Marksmanship Tree:

  1. Levels 41-45 ⇒ 5/5 Efficiency - This Talent's name says it all. It increases your Mana Efficiency.
  2. Levels 46-50 ⇒ 5/5 Lethal Shots.
  3. Level 51 ⇒ 1/1 Aimed Shot - Hard-Hitting active Ability that will increase your damage output.
  4. Levels 52-54 ⇒ 3/3 Hawk Eye.
  5. Level 55 ⇒ 1/5 Improved Hunter's Mark.
  6. Levels 56-59 ⇒ 4/5 Mortal Shots.
After reaching Level 60, you should visit a Class Trainer, reset your Talent Points and spec into an End-Game Build.


Ranged Weapon Progression

A lot of Hunter's Damage comes directly from his Ranged Weapon, which means that it is the most important piece of his Gear. There are three kinds of Ranged Weapons that can be used by Hunters: Bows, Guns, and Crossbows. Here, we will focus on Bows, as they are the most common and easiest to get. Guns are also quite viable (especially if you level up Engineering quickly and craft yourself some Rifles), but they are rarer and upgrading them consistently can be problematic. If you are a Troll Hunter this is great news, however, if you roll as a Dwarf, you might think that you lose out, thankfully Gun Specialisation is not that impactful, especially when leveling. When it comes to Crossbows... let us just say that you might not see a single Crossbow before achieving level 60 (there are a total of 19 different Crossbows in Classic, while there are 101 different Bows and 85 different Guns). The other reason behind us focusing on Bows is the fact, that you need to raise your Weapon Skills, which makes switching between Ranged Weapon types problematic.

It goes without saying that you should aim to upgrade your Ranged Weapon as often as possible because it will speed up your leveling process and make experience grinds much more enjoyable (at least for the next few levels after getting an upgrade). Below, we present you a shortlist of Ranged Weapons that you should try and get during your leveling journey. 

Note1: Listed Ranged Weapons are not organized in a strict order and you don't have to go for every single one of them. The list is meant to be a raw guideline for Hunter's Weapon progression.

Note2: There are a lot more Ranged Weapons than those described. We have mentioned just the easy-to-get and quite essential upgrades. BoE Wands were excluded from the list, as there is a lot of RNG involved in getting them.

Horde Alliance
Horde and Alliance Bow Progression
Hornwood Recurve Bow
Hornwood Recurve Bow
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Bow Vendors (Bowyers) in Capital Cities and starting Zones of both Factions. 
  • Level Required: 3
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.10, 3-7 Damage, 2.4 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Bow. 
Ashwood Bow
Ashwood Bow
  • Factions: Alliance
  • Source: "Crown of the Earth" Quest available from level 1 from NPC Tenaron Stormgrip, Shadow Glen, Teldrassil (Which means that you might want to skip this if you are a Dwarf).
  • Level Required: It is a level 11 Quest reward that can be acquired even around level 7.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.10, 5-11 Damage, 3.8 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Bow. 
Hickory Shortbow
Hickory Shortbow
  • Factions: Horde 
  • Source: "Securing the Lines" Quest available from level 7 from NPC Rezlak, by the road South of Orgrimmar, Durotar.
  • Level Required: It is a level 11 Quest reward that can be acquired even around level 7.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.00, 5-10 Damage, 3.8 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Bow. 
Laminated Recurve Bow
Laminated Recurve Bow
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Bow Vendors (Bowyers) in Capital Cities of both Factions. 
  • Level Required: 11. 
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.60, 10-20 Damage, 5.8 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Bow. 
Reinforced Bow
Reinforced Bow
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Bow Vendors (Bowyers) in Capital Cities of both Factions. 
  • Level Required: 16. 
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.20, 11-22 Damage, 7.5 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Bow. 
Cliffrunner’s Aim
Cliffrunner’s Aim
  • Factions: Horde 
  • Source: "The Sacred Flame" Quest available from level 20 from NPC Zangen Stonehoof, Thunder Bluff, Mulgore.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 29 Quest Reward that can be acquired around level 25, or earlier when in a group.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.30, 19-36 Damage, 12.0 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Bow. 
Raptor's End
Raptor's End
  • Factions: Alliance
  • Source: "Omer's Revenge" Quest available from level 22 from NPC Omer Ironbraid, above the Whelgar's Excavation Site, Wetlands.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 29 Quest Reward that can be acquired around level 25, or earlier when in a group.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.90, 24-46 Damage, 12.1 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Bow. 
Master Hunter's Bow
Master Hunter's Bow
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: "Big Game Hunter" Group Quest available from level 28 from NPC Hemet Nesingwary, western riverbank in the northern part of Stranglethorn Vale (completion of Tiger Mastery, Panther Mastery, and Raptor Mastery Quest chains is required to unlock this).
  • Level Required: This is a Level 43 Group Quest Reward that can be acquired quite easily around level 38, when in a 5-man group.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.40, 32-61 Damage, 19.4 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Bow. 
Massive Longbow
Massive Longbow
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Bow Vendors (Bowyers) in Ironforge, Thunderbluff, and Undercity. 
  • Level Required: 42. 
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.80, 43-80 Damage, 22.0 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Bow. 
  • Factions: Alliance
  • Source: "Wildkin of Elune" Quest available from level 52 from NPC Erelas Ambersky, located near the Darnasssus's Harbor. You have to complete escort Quest "Guardians of the Altar", available from NPC Ranshalla, located in the southern part of Winterspring beforehand.
  • Level Required: The Escort is a Level 59 Quest that can be completed around level 54-55 in a  small group.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.80, 52-97 Damage, 26.6 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Bow. 
  • Factions: Horde Alliance
  • Source: Shadow Hunter Vosh'gajin Boss in the Lower Blackrock Spire. Entrance: Inside the Blackrock Mountain,  between Burning Steppes and Searing Gorge. Drop Chance: ~17%.
  • Level Required: Weapon requires level 54 to wield and the Boss is a part of an Eng-Game 10-man Instance.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.20, 46-87 Damage, 30.2 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Bow. 



Your rotation will greatly depend on your level and will get gradually more complex as you progress through content and get access to more tools. 

Let us look at basic DPS rotations for different level ranges:

Very Early Levels (Below level 10)

At the beginning of your journey, your rotation will change rapidly as you will gain access to new abilities very quickly. You should try to implement every new ability to your rotation.

  • Your basic single-target Rotation looks as follows (Remember to Engage your Target at maximum Auto Shot range):

Hunter's Mark Auto Shot (Strafe away from your Target between Auto ShotsConcussive Shot* (Continue Strafing, but stop for Auto Shots - Attak Timer addon will make this easier) ⇒ Serpent Sting** ⇒ Arcane Shot***

From level 8 forward
**From Level 4 forward (you can skip this to save mana when fighting against Weaker enemies)
*** From level 6 forward (prioritize Arcane Shot against weaker enemies (lower level, casters, etc.)

You can use Raptor Strike to finish off enemies that got into melee Range (but this should not happen too often if you kite them well)

Levels 10 - 49

You should do your Pet Quest Chain immediately after reaching Level 10. After that, you should create a Macro that will combine your Hunter's Mark with your Pet's Attack Command (this will make grinding a bit less click-intensive and increase your control over your Pet).

Basic Single-Target rotation:

Hunter's Mark Auto Shot ⇒ Serpent Sting ⇒ (Arcane Shot Multi-Shot)*

* Repeat this sequence if a situation requires it or if you want to eliminate your Target more quickly, otherwise take advantage of the 5-Second Rule and finish off your Target with Auto Shots.

You should implement your Offensive Cooldowns into your rotation as soon as they become available to you:

  • Use Rapid Fire on Cooldown (from level 26 onwards)**
  • Use Bestial Wrath on Cooldown (from level 40 onwards)**

** These should be used at the start of Combat, immediately after your initial Hunter's Mark + Auto Shot sequence to maximize their effects.

Note: Do not forget about your defensive and utility Spells. Use Freezing Trap, Concussive Shot, Feign Death, and Intimidation if the situation demands it.

Levels 50 - 59

If you follow our Talent Allocation Order, you will gain access to the Aimed Shot ability at level 50. This will alter your Basic Rotation a bit and make it look as follows from this point forward:

Hunter's Mark Aimed Shot ⇒ Serpent Sting ⇒ (Arcane Shot Multi-Shot)*

  • Use Rapid Fire on Cooldown*
  • Use Bestial Wrath on Cooldown*

These should be used at the start of Combat, immediately after your initial Hunter's Mark + Aimed Shot sequence to maximize their effects.


First Aid
First Aid
First Aid is a must-have, get it as soon as possible and skill it up as you progress through levels. You should get enough Cloths from your regular leveling routine, but if you lack some, don't be afraid to grind them out (you will have to do some grinding from time to time anyway). First Aid will greatly increase your leveling efficiency because bandaging up with a level-appropriate bandage is much faster than eating. Moreover, Bandages can be used to Heal your Pet quickly and efficiently. They can also be utilized in a combination with Freezing Trap as a strong Combat Heal (Just remember to call off your pet beforehand and do not use Serpent Sting or the Trap will brake almost instantly). The Freezing effect lasts longer than Bandage channeling, so you will be able to take full advantage of its effect.
Engineering + Mining
Engineering + Mining

Engineering provides various useful (and sometimes quite dangerous) gadgets from its earliest levels, but the best Engi items come into play in the End-Game. During leveling, Engineering will provide you with some much-needed utility in a form of Grenades that will be very useful as additional source of AoE Damage and CC, and will be irreplaceable in Open World PvP (well-aimed Grenade can interrupt Spellcasting or stop fleeing opponent dead in his tracks and allow you to finish him off easily, even is he is a Druid that would be otherwise hard to pin down). It is also a source of quite solid Ranged Weapons, Rifle Ammunition (and you may need a lot of it), Scopes and Googles that come in very handy for a leveling Hunter. If you like World PvP and/or want to Develop your End-Game Raiding profession as you level up, pick this combination.

Mining is necessary here as it will provide you with materials for Engineering (you can also sell Bars on the Auction House if you need some additional Gold).

If you want to know more about all professions available in WoW Classic, please check out our WoW Classic Professions Guide.


Tips and Tricks for Hunter leveling

  1. Learn how to Stutter Step (Get an Auto Shot Timer addon and move between your Auto Shots), this will help you at low levels or when your Pet is dead and is also very useful in PvP. Also, your Instant-Cast Abilities can be used while moving, take advantage of this and move away from your enemy while Casting them.
  1. Tame Beasts that are at your level to maximize their value. There is no Pet level scaling and every Pet stays at its original level after Taming. This means that if you Tame a Level 10 Raptor at Level 50, you will have a Level 10 Raptor.
  1. Try to get a Pet with Rank 2 Fous-Consuming Ability. This will enable your Pet to take advantage if its resource and make it more effective in combat (lists of Pets that have access to Level 2 abilities are readily available on the official WoW Classic Wiki).
  1. Learn to micro-manage your Pet. Set up Pet Attack and Pet Recall Macros, and remember to put your Pet on Passive/Dismiss it during mob skipping in Dungeons (or your teammates will quickly start to despise you for causing unnecessary pulls/wipes).
  1. Preserve your Gold. Ideally, you should be able to progress through levels without any Auction House purchases (if you spot a great Wand upgrade, do not hesitate if it is cheap, however). When it comes to Skills - you should learn just the essentials from Class Trainers.
  1. Be mindful of the kind of Pet is the most optimal for you. Different Pet types have different Stat modifiers - these range from -10% to + 10% (for Damage, Health, and Armor). They also have type-specific abilities (Boar has charge, Bats can Stun and so on).  Also, different Pet types require different types of food. Keep these things in mind when choosing a Pet to tame.
  1. This might seem trivial, but remember to feed your Pet, dismiss it when you go AFK or it might abandon you while you are away, and always keep some of its favorite food in your bags.
  1. Keep your Ranged Weapon up to Date. Try to follow the Wand Progression route and remember that a lot of your Damage comes directly from your Wand (better Wand = faster kill times = faster leveling).

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Leveling process in the Classic World of Warcraft is different from leveling in the current game versions. This Guide should help you to prepare yourself for that legendary Vanilla Experience and allow you to progress through levels efficiently and with a good amount of fun.

We hope that you have found this Guide useful and informative.  If we have missed a piece of information that is important to you, please let us know! 

Please do note that this is an early version of our guide, and we will be happy to receive constructive criticism, that will help us improve it, so leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment Inc.