The level 90 boosts are coming Soon™ and I am sure there are some of you interested in picking the hunter as your first boosted character. You can check out my article on getting started with the hunter class from two weeks ago for a brief introduction to the class and picking a race. Once you are level 90 and want to start doing group activities, there are some things you should know about being a hunter. The last thing you want to do is contribute to that awful "huntard" stereotype.
We're going to start off with a little pet etiquette. First and foremost, turn off Growl autocast when you are in any kind of instance with a tank. Even veteran hunters make this mistake from time to time. You're out killing things on the Timeless Isle, and all of the sudden your queue pops and you forget to turn Growl off once you get inside. If you find that you are forgetful when it comes to this, you may want to look into getting the BadPet addon or something similar.
On pet etiquette, or how to make Fluffy behave himself
Aside from the Growl problem, you should also be aware of how a pet moves through the environment, especially in a dungeon or raid. About to jump off a ledge? Dismiss Fluffy before doing so. Pets will usually jump with you if they have no other way down, but if their AI can find a pathing solution, they will take it. Even if it takes them halfway across Kalimdor, they will take it. Best case scenario, your pet despawns from getting too far away from you. Worst case, Fluffy eventually catches up to you and your group with half the instance in tow.
Generally, you are pretty safe with just leaving your pet on assist mode. By doing this, they will attack whatever you are attacking, but beware of a slight delay in their target switching reaction. If you need them to switch targets fast you have to manually tell them to attack or macro it. If your pet is getting into trouble, or you're having a tough time keeping tabs on him, you may want to consider keeping the pet on passive stance and manually commanding it to attack each time. I have pet attack and pet follow commands bound to my forward and back mouse thumb buttons. You should have these bound somewhere prominent instead of clicking the tiny pet bar buttons.
On choosing the right buff
One of the perks of being a hunter is the ability to always bring two buffs to your group, one of which can be almost class buff in the game. It can be tempting to use the pet which will give you the best personal buff, but a good hunter will look at what benefits the group the most. For example, if your group is missing both melee and spell haste buffs, you should look at how many melee (including hunters) and casters you have. If in your 10-player raid, there are 4 caster DPS and 1 melee/ranged DPS, it's probably best to bring out the sporebat for its spell haste buff even though bringing out a serpent for its melee/ranged haste buff would be more beneficial to you personally.
If your buff UI says 8/8 and you think everything is covered, you should look into what target debuffs your group could possibly be missing. Increased physical/magic damage or armor penetration are often missing from some raid compositions. I wrote a whole article about lesser-known raid buffs that you should check out.
On raiding etiquette, or doing the jobs no one else wants to do
Need a DPS to go up to the tower on Galakras? Send the hunter. Need someone for the conveyor belt on Siegecrafter Blackfuse? Send the hunter. Need someone to kill the Siege Engineer? Send the hunter. Does any of this sound familiar? I'm not sure how we inherited this, but historically hunters have always been assigned those jobs no one else wants to do. Back in vanilla, it started with things such as kiting the final boss in UBRS, and it hasn't stopped. If a special job needs to be done, a hunter is usually the first choice. Being able to DPS on the move and get out of sticky situations makes us ideal for these sorts of things. Having extra responsibility can be a little daunting, but if you want to down the boss someone is going to need to step up.
Feign Death is one of the best hunter abilities out there. Collectively, it has saved hunters millions of gold in repair bills over the years, and it has saved our raid members from running back from countless wipes. However, you should be careful when using this ability in combat. If new adds enter the fray which have not been picked up by a tank yet, do not be a selfish hunter and Feign Death to save yourself. All you are doing is transferring those adds straight to the healer. Instead you should be popping Deterrence and/or casting Misdirection to help get them on the tank. Feign Death is an ability best used proactively, not reactively (unless you are sure the tank is second on the threat list).
Aspect of the Pack is something you should only really use when running back from a wipe, and even then you need to be very careful in a PUG situation. Some players tend to freak out when they see that Aspect of the Pack is active. This is due to past negative experiences from negligent hunters leaving it on during combat. If you notice another hunter has left it on accidentally, let them know in a whisper instead of starting the witch hunt in raid chat. Come to think of it, you may just want to avoid using it all together in a PUG situation.
On fellow hunter etiquette
You're in the hunter club now. There's an unspoken rule amongst hunters when it comes to rare pets. Never, ever kill a rare pet. Instead of killing it for vendor trash, ask the hunters in general chat if anyone is in need of said pet. Any hunter who loots a Crystalline Tear of Loyalty should be forced to revoke their hunter card immediately. If you are searching for a rare pet and find that another hunter is already camping for it, please be respectful. We have to deal with other classes killing our rare pets already, so we don't need hunters making it worse for other hunters. If they start the tame first, let them have it. Congratulate them and try your luck another time. Don't be the jerk who kills Loque'nahak out of spite. The pet will always spawn again.
If you are in an area where a particular rare pet spawns, but you're not looking to tame it and are doing something else (pet battling, fishing, etc.) then it is considered polite to not have that pet summoned. Most hunters use NPCscan to help them find rare pets. If you have the pet summoned it will cause a false alarm on their end, crushing their dreams and forcing them to clear their cache to get the addon working again. The one exception would be if you just tamed it, in which case it's actually benefical to let other hunters know it has recently been tamed and won't be up again for hours. Some hunters get discouraged when they fly to a pet spawn point and notice other hunters in the area, so I try to always let them know that I'm not here to camp for the pet. Most of the time they're very appreciative, and you might even get yourself a hunter buddy who will help you look out for any rare spawns you may be missing.
Back in patch 5.1, arcane wyrms were added as tamable beasts. I headed out to Silithus late one night to try my luck with Acroniss, the only red arcane wyrm available. There was already another hunter waiting for it to spawn. This hunter told me the last two spawns had resulted in Acroniss being killed in the crossfire from other hunters fighting over it. I assured them I wouldn't do that, and went AFK for a while. When I came back, Acroniss was staring me in the face. My hunter pal was still there but was also AFK. I decided to wait and give them a chance since they had already been camping it for the better part of a day. They eventually came back, tamed it, and thanked me profusely. A couple of weeks later I received a whisper from the same hunter letting me know Karkin was up in the Molten Front. It just so happens that I still needed that particular shiny crab, so I flew there quickly and successfully tamed it. It's a little thing called hunter karma. Oh, and I did get Acroniss a couple days later.
If this was being written two years ago I'd have to give a big speech about loot etiquette and how not every melee weapon in sight is a hunter weapon, yadda yadda yadda. Thankfully, our weapon loot was changed in Mists, making it one less hunter stereotype to overcome. It all comes down to respecting your fellow players and being the best hunter you can be. Do these two things and I guarantee that any time you get called a "huntard" it will be meant in the most endearing way possible.
Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. From raiding tips and hunter addons to learning the DPS value of skill, we've got you covered. If you're stuck in one of the ten support classes, why not move up to the big league and play a hunter?