Hunterdom Commandment #7: Know Thy Stings
We've got some great sting shots. Knowing what they do is obvious, but knowing when to use them is essential. You must know which stings stack and which don't. You must know which stings break crowd-controls and which don't. You must know which sting should be used while soloing, which should be used in instances and which can be used in PvP to totally freak your mana-chugging enemies.
Again, we wrote a big, bloated column on Scorpid Sting and how wonderful it is in instances as opposed to Serpent Sting. Your tanks may not understand Scorpid Sting mechanics, so be sure to explain to them how the 5% Miss could knock crushing blows off their possible-damage list. Don't miss out on the "That rocks!" accolades you so richly deserve.
It's pretty obvious that Viper Sting is very underpowered, but Viper Sting Rank 1 can be used against classes that love to cleanse. It costs more mana for them to cleanse Viper Sting Rank 1 than it does for you to cast it. If you fight a guy who loves to cleanse, smack him with rank one over and over again and watch him drain his own mana, wasting his time doing so.
Hunterdom Commandment #8: Just Because Thee Can Wear Mail Doesn't Mean Thee Must Wear Mail
When one finally hits level forty, mail armor becomes available. One must resist the urge to assault the auction house and re-gear with mail that is stat-inferior to one's leather. Generally, a hunter acquires his mail armor piece-by-piece as he levels through the forties, ensuring that the stats on the new gear surpass that of his current armor.
This also holds true at level seventy, but in reverse. While the traditional goal is to get the best mail armor one can find, there is nothing wrong with equipping a superior piece of epic leather that blows away your greenie mail. It is not permitted to steal armor from rogues or druids, of course, but if some beautiful agility/stamina/crit/attack power leather piece that is a good upgrade for you is about to be sharded, go ahead and ask for it.
Hunterdom Commandment #9: Thou Shalt Not Melee
Can you fight up-close and personal? Yes. Is it the most efficient use of your talents? No. Our melee weapon exists to boost our stats, not for melee damage potential.
There are a very wide variety of weapons that will help our ranged damage and survivability, so finding something nice shouldn't be too hard. But we should never exchange a good agility/stamina polearm for a two-handed axe that has a higher melee-damage rating but worse stats. Do not "upgrade" based upon rarity. Do not "upgrade" based upon a cool graphic. Do not "upgrade" based upon anything but the standard agility, stamina, attack power, etc. stats.
Enchants for melee weapons can be very expensive and hard to come by. If you cannot afford a +25 agility enchant for your level 45 two-handed sword and a guildie slaps on a free Fiery enchant, we're not going to pull your Hunter License. But the same forgiveness does not exist for level 70 hunters. Whether you get your melee weapon from a quest, the auction house, an instance or PvP, get the proper agility or attack power enchant for your talent spec.
Hunterdom Commandment #10: Honor Thy Ranged Weapon
Hunters provide massive quantities of sustained, ranged DPS. The delivery vehicle of this power is your ranged weapon. Upgrade your ranged weapon as often as possible. Get the most advanced scope you can afford every time you upgrade. Search the auction house for new and exciting guns and bows. Find out who in your guild is an engineer and what guns he can make. Learn which quests and instance bosses will drop The Good Stuff.
If your ranged weapon is five levels behind you, you're not doing enough to keep up-to-date. There are very few sights in the hunter community sadder than a level 70 hunter with a gun or a bow from Azeroth. This hunter will be scorned, but also pitied. But this also applies to up-and-coming hunters. Just because you're level 30 doesn't mean you're allowed to be running around with a bow you got in your kiddie pool starting area. Can't find good leather armor? Understandable. Can't afford mail gear at 40? Been there ourselves. All your money going to your blacksmithing? We sympathize.
Got a crappy ranged weapon? No excuses; fix that now.
This brings to an end our foray into the basic rules of hunterdom. There are many codicils, amendments, appendixes and "yeah, buts" that we know will be expanded upon in the comments, and that's fabulous. With more information and discussion, the more proficient and deadly we become.
And deadly is good. But just don't melee. Verily.
Daniel Howell continues his quest to turn all hunters into Damage Meter aficionados as the hunter-pet duo extraordinaire known to lore as BigRedKitty. More of his theorycrafting and slanderous belittling of the lesser classes can be found at bigredkitty.blogspot.com.