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Scattered Shots: What other classes should know about hunters

Brian Wood

Every Monday and Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. Frostheim of Warcraft Hunters Union uses logic and science (mixed with a few mugs of dwarven stout) to look deep into the hunter class. Mail your hunter questions to Frostheim.

Today at Scattered Shots, we're going to take a break from talking about hunters to other hunters, and instead we're going to talk to you other classes out there and discuss what you should know about us. We know full well that there are bad apples in our class, just as there are in yours, but at times, the term "huntard" is used when it shouldn't be -- when the failure is due to a lack of understanding of what we can and cannot do.

This is especially important information for you tanks and raid leaders out there. We know that you can't possibly keep in your mind all of the intricacies of every class; we're just talking the basics here. And as a nod of appreciation for your time in reading this, we'll refrain -- just for today -- from our good-natured mocking of other classes.

If you're not a hunter, please join us after the cut for a brief rundown of what we think is important for you to know and why there might just be a reason behind what we hunters are doing, and not just huntardism. And for you hunters out there, this will hopefully provide a handy link that you can provide to other classes.

If you want us to CC, please let us pull

Hunters now have an incredibly strong CC with Freezing Trap -- we can CC just about any mob type, and it lasts for a full minute. However, please understand that our trap is not targeted like sheep, and is not instant.

When you tell us to CC a target, here's the process: We hit our Trap Launcher, then hit the trap type. We then get the little green targeting circle, which we need to place under the mob, then click again to launch the trap. Once we launch it, the trap has flight time -- it's not instantly there -- and when it shows up, it takes a second before it "arms" and actually traps the mob.

What this means is if you ask us to trap something and then promptly pull, there is no way we'll be able to launch our trap and CC the target. By the time our trap reaches the CC target and arms, the mob is already well away. At best, we can hope to swiftly change plans on the fly, drop the trap at our feet, and then pull the mob to us and into the trap (if it's not a caster).

So the proper CC order is to let the rogue Sap, then while all the mobs are still standing there before any aggro, have us launch our trap, which will then aggro everyone onto us. At this point, we greatly appreciate your picking up the mobs before they beat us up (as they all will, even if we're in Camouflage when we trap). All targeted traps like sheep and Hex and Banish should happen after the hunter trap.

Also, the icon to indicate a hunter Freezing Trap is the blue square.

Our pets are important

Hunter pets are important members of the group or raid. It's not only our deep affection and lifelong bond that makes us care about them, it's also everything they contribute to the team. Even for marksman or survival hunters, our pets contribute thousands of DPS. Without our pets we are incomplete, and our ability to contribute damage and assist in taking down the boss is greatly weakened.

On top of this, our pets provide raid buffs. We can provide nearly every raid buff there is through our pets, whether the team needs the 8% magic damage taken, 4% physical damage taken, 5% crit, Heroism / Bloodlust, or just about anything else. When our pet dies, the raid loses that buff. Depending on the buff, that can easily be another several thousand DPS lost.

And sometimes, our pet needs heals.

Yes, we have Mend Pet, which can heal our pet a little bit, pretty slowly, and we have some other tools to help protect them. And you know what? About 90% of the time, our pet is going to be just fine -- they're pretty self-sufficient, and we can fill most of the gaps. But sometimes when they get tons of spike damage, they need heals, and any time the pet is taking so much damage that it's in danger of death, our Mend Pet is not going to be enough to save them.

We understand that you have higher priorities. We don't expect you to let the tank die or another player die. But if you can spare a global for the pet, we think that you should. It's not just to make us happy, it's because the pet is important and contributes to the team's ability to succeed at the fight.

Growl is not a taunt

Speaking of pets, our pets have an ability called Growl. This ability is not a taunt, as many tanks seem to think! All it does is generate additional threat. If you want us to turn it off, we will happily do so. But please understand that a pet with Growl on does far, far less threat than we do just by DPSing.

Within the hunter world, it's considered proper to leave Growl turned off; however, if you are having problems holding aggro against a pet with Growl, you're definitely not going to be able to hold aggro against our DPS. At times, hunters forget to turn Growl off, but at other times, we deliberately turn it on as a kind of safety net -- after all, if the tank loses aggro, we'd rather the mob went to the pet than to the healer (that is, after we Feign Death so that the mob is no longer going after us).

What qualifies as hunter loot

We know that this is a thorny issue, and it's complicated because a lot of hunters are asking for loot that is not optimal hunter loot. We even joke about all loot being hunter loot. But in all seriousness, here's the simple guide to what is good loot for hunters, so you know when your hunter actually deserves the loot he's requesting:

  • Max-level hunters only use mail. Now that we have Mail Specialization, hunters do not use leather.
  • Agility is our most important stat, which is more important to us than even hit rating. Hunter loot almost always has agility.
  • Hunters use two-handed melee weapons with lots of agility. One-handed melee weapons are suboptimal for us due to their itemization. Priority for those one-handed weapons is better given to other classes.
  • Ranged weapons are the most important single piece of gear for hunters, and the ranged DPS is the most important single stat. Remember how important agility is for us? Ranged DPS is better. When we look at two ranged weapons, the one with more ranged DPS is almost always better for us. We don't care if it has strength and spirit and parry rating on it -- if it has more ranged DPS, it will probably be the better ranged weapon. So yes, that "tank" gun could well be a DPS upgrade for a hunter. That said, obviously if the ranged DPS is the same, we want hunter stats on the gun, but do remember that ranged DPS is the biggest hunter stat there is. Every ranged weapon is loaded with the most important hunter stat, always.
Give us a bit of warning before you pull

We have Misdirection, and we very much want to use it on the tank to help those first moments of the pull go smoothly. This is much easier if the tank gives us 5 seconds or so of warning before pulling the boss. Without that warning, we're trying to guess, and it sometimes seems like they teach you in tank school to wait until just the instant that our Misdirection wears off to pull.

But if we get those few seconds of warning -- just on boss pulls -- then we don't have to try to guess, and we'll always be able to misdirect to you the instant you pull.

Please stay away when we're pretending to be dead

We're all on the same team here, right? It seems all to often that when the wipe is called and we find a quiet corner to Feign Death, there's always someone who has to run around like mad and kite the boss right on top of us to get us killed. I can appreciate, I suppose, the amusement in killing one of your teammates. But I think we can all agree that it's hardly appropriate team behavior -- not to mention the whole team would be better served by making the wipe happen as quickly as you can, by sitting down in a void zone or in front of the boss. Bringing the boss to us to snap us out of FD only prolongs the wipe.

So please leave us be when we're pretending to have an aneurysm in the corner. We're doing our part to end the wipe quickly; you do yours, okay? Okay.

Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter in Cataclysm. From leveling your hunter to optimizing for heroics to gearing up with pre-heroic loot and pre-raid loot, we've got you covered.

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