hunter abilities (WoW)  

The three hunter spheres are Beast Mastery, Marksmanship, and Survival. Beast Mastery skills are mostly centered around the hunter's pet, and Marksmanship focuses on the ranged combat aspect of the class. These are the two most important characteristics of a hunter. The third skillset, Survival, is mostly centered on ensuring these other abilities can get used!

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Hunters have a series of abilities called Aspects. A hunter can have a single aspect in place at a time, and they each produce a unique effect. A hunter can switch aspects at any time.

  • Aspect of the Monkey (level 4) - Increases chance to dodge by 8%. This is the defensive aspect.
  • Aspect of the Hawk (level 10) - Increases the hunter's ranged attack power. This is the hunter's offensive aspect.
  • Aspect of the Cheetah (level 20) - Increases the hunter's run speed by 30%, but becomes dazed when hit. Cheetah is mostly only useful in traveling due to the daze component, but it can be used carefully in combat and even PvP to kite an opponent.
  • Aspect of the Beast (level 30) - Makes the hunter untrackable. Very helpful in PvP, and nearly useless otherwise.
  • Aspect of the Pack (level 40) - Cheetah for the group. This is of limited use since it comes at the level players get access to mounts, but it can let your group run through instances and other indoor areas quickly.
  • Aspect of the Wild (level 46) - Increases the group's Nature Resistance. This ability works like a paladin aura.


Stings are a class of special shots, only one of which can be on a target per hunter at a time. Stings are considered poisons and can be removed by druids, shamans, and paladins.

  • Serpent Sting (level 4) - Does damage over time. A poison arrow, basically. This damage WILL break freeze traps and polymorph, so don't just fire it blindly. It also helps prevent a rogue from stealthing in PvP.
  • Scorpid Sting (level 22) - Lowers a target's chance to hit. This is the best sting for boss fights, although it will not stack with another hunter's Scorpid Sting since 20 hunters could make any target miss completely. In times where you actually care to spend the mana on a sting in PvE, this is usually the sting you want to use.
  • Wyvern Sting (Talent, min level 40) - Puts a target to sleep for 12 seconds, after which it has a dot effect on it larger than that of Serpent Sting.

Other Shots

  • Auto shot (level 1) - This is your version of Auto Attack for ranged. Only hunters get this, and only hunters need it. Caster classes do get an autoshoot for wands. Autoshot will continually fire arrows or bullets at your target so long as you are within range, standing still, and facing the right way.
  • Arcane Shot (level 6) - Instant attack which does decent damage. Keep in mind that it deals non-physical damage, so armor is ignored, but mobs can resist some of the damage or even be immune to it, (which is rather seldom.) Above level 44, ranks of Arcane Shot will also dispel one magic buff from the target.
  • Concussive Shot (level 8) - Very short-term snare effect. It might help you get another shot or two in on an approaching target or help keep it at bay longer while you are kiting it.
  • Distracting Shot (level 12) - Ranged growl. Using DS adds hate to your target to possibly get it to chase you instead. In situations where your pet is taking a beating, or in a group to peel a target off a caster, this can be a useful ability, but it doesn't see a great deal of use. It also makes a good choice of shot for use with Misdirection.
  • Multi-shot (level 18) - Fires an extra shot at your target that will also hit 2 nearby opponents. This is a big-time sheep breaker. When it is safe to use, it can also be a big addition to your damage and a big drain to your mana at the same time.
  • Aimed Shot (Talent, level 20 min) - It's a great opener for a battle due to the massive damage it deals in one blow, but isn't nearly as effective over the course of a battle. Starting with version 2.3, it also leaves a Mortal Strike-like Debuffs that reduces healing.
  • Scatter Shot (Talent, level 30 min) - A short-range shot that disorients your target for 4 seconds, allowing you to get into a better position, drop a trap, or simply run away.
  • Silencing Shot (Talent, level 40 min) - Fires an instant shot at your target that prevents them from casting spells for 3 seconds. On a fairly short timer and works well as a spell interrupt.
  • Tranquilizing Shot (level 60) - A fairly unimportant skill early on that calms enemies that "frenzy," which is not the same thing as berserk. It originally came from the first boss in Molten Core. It still retains some importance in select battles in The Underbog, Serpentshrine Cavern, and Zul'Aman.
  • Steady Shot (level 62) - A very important shot for damage since it deals cheap, reliable damage without a cooldown. However, it does have a cast time, which is the reason why "shot rotations" exist.

  • Hunter's Mark (level 6) - Hunter's Mark does two things. First, it increases ranged attack power of all attackers against that target, and an additional amount each time that target is hit by ranged. Second, it adds a huge bobbing red arrow over your target that says "Kill me now!" This causes a target to appear for you on the minimap, even if it is a stealthed rogue, and also lets players nearby know what you are attacking or singling out for them.
  • Rapid Fire (level 26) - Allows the hunter to fire ranged attacks with 40% increased speed for 15 seconds, basically an extra 6 seconds worth of attack time if it works completely.
  • Trueshot Aura (Talent, level 40 min) - This ability is an aura. (It can be used with an actual aspect.) The aura adds melee and ranged attack power to the hunter's entire group.

Pet Skills

Hunters have a variety of methods for handling their pets.

  • Tame Beast (level 10) - The basic ability for acquiring a (new) pet in the first place. Once you find a legitimate pet choice, you must stand still and channel toward it for 20 seconds without losing its attention.
  • Call Pet (level 10) - When your pet is not visible, this brings your pet back into play.
  • Revive Pet (level 10) - Returns your pet to life if it should fall in combat. Revived pets are usually significantly less happy
  • Feed Pet (level 10) - Gives your pet a chosen piece of food to improve its happiness. This leaves a buff effect on the pet that is terminated if the pet takes damage or enters combat. There should be no reason to repeatedly feed your pet.
  • Dismiss Pet (level 10) - Puts your pet "away" so it does not affect anything around you. It can then be recalled by using Call Pet.
  • Mend Pet (level 12) - Cast a heal over time on your pet to keep it alive during combat.
  • Intimidation (Talent, level 30 min) - Activated talent that lets your pet stun a target briefly.
  • Bestial Wrath (Talent, level 40 min) - also known as "Big Red Kitty," this skill makes your pet deal 50% more damage and be immune to Crowd Control effects for 18 seconds. The follow-up talent, The Beast Within, grants this immunity effect to the hunter as well.
  • Kill Command (level 66) - After the hunter manages a crit themselves, this ability gives the pet a chance to strike an additional time with some bonus damage.


Hunters can place traps any time, unless silenced. (Before Burning Crusade it was only possible when out of combat.) When an opponent crosses the trap, it will detonate, resulting in an effect depending on which trap is used. The traps stay in place, and invisible to anyone outside the hunter's group, for one minute or until triggered.

  • Immolation Trap (level 16) - Burns the opponent, causing single target damage over time.
  • Freezing Trap (level 20) - Freezes an opponent for a fixed amount of time. This is a very useful ability because it can affect almost any enemy type in the game, whereas most targeted Crowd Control is limited to particular creature types. Helpful for PvP, pulling, or just dealing with multiple targets.
  • Ice Trap (level 28) - Don't confuse this with Freezing Trap. When triggered, Ice Trap produces a huge field of ice that makes all opponents nearby run slowly. Has limited usage, but can be very helpful in group PvP or in pulling large groups.
  • Explosive Trap (level 34) - Causes AE damage to all enemies nearby when triggered. Most of the damage is instant, but there is a smaller over-time component. Hunters are not known for their AE, but when they need to, this is an ability that should not be forgotten.
  • Snake Trap (level 68) - Releases a number of snakes that attack any nearby opponent and inflict various poisons. Useful in PvP because of poisons that snare or slow spellcasting. However those snakes have very little health and a single AE spell will get rid of them all. In PvE, this trap can make crowd control troublesome as those poison dots will break/prevent most forms of crowd control and the snakes target the next enemy in range, so it is hard to "control" this trap.

Melee Skills

Hunters have a few skills for close combat. Note that this doesn't make hunters effective at melee combat so much as it makes them not completly worthless at it.

  • Raptor Strike (level 1) - Increases damage on the next melee hit. This is not an instant attack and only adds a flat amount to the next hit.
  • Parry (level 8) - Identical to the parry other classes get, this gives the hunter a 5% chance to deflect an incoming melee attack.
  • Wing Clip (level 12) - For many hunters, this is the most important melee skill because it lets them get out of melee and back to ranged. Wing Clip slows the run speed of a target for 10 seconds so you can get some distance. Note that the tip says slows speed TO 50%, not BY 50%. Higher levels of the skill read smaller numbers, and if not read carefully, actually seem like a downgrade.
  • Mongoose Bite (level 16) - A strange ability, Mongoose lets you deal a little extra damage immediately after you dodge an attack. It is not terribly effective or efficient, but it can make a difference in a situation where you are forced into melee (which is almost never the case outside of some PvP.)
  • Disengage (level 20) - Disengage lowers your threat toward a target on a successful hit, and deals no damage. With luck, the target will then attack someone else instead. The tooltip on Disengage is not clear in what it means by removes from combat. It does not take you out of combat; only feign death and the rogue's vanish do that. It only turns your attack off so you don't accidentally get a crit after it lands and immediately retake aggro.
  • Deterrence (Talent, level 20 min) - Gives the hunter a 50% chance to avoid incoming melee attacks (25% dodge, 25% parry) for the next 10 seconds.
  • Counterattack (Talent, level 30 min) - This ability works like Mongoose Bite for parries, except that it also immobilizes a target for 5 seconds.


Hunters gain the ability to see the locations of targets on their minimap. This works essentially the same way Find Minerals or Gather Herbs does, but for enemy types. Hunters eventually learn how to track every enemy type except for mechanical and creatures with no type (like insects.)

As of 4.0.1 Hunters can track anything and everything all at once. There is no longer a limitation on how many things can be tracked as once. So look for tracking humanoids and hidden to be very useful.

One particular tracking skill deserves some additional mention. Track Hidden is not a standard tracking skill. It is used to help detect stealth targets, but it does not simply pop up all the stealth targets nearby on the map. Instead, it slightly increases your stealth detection. If a hidden target is *extremely* close to you, it will show it on the map, but by that time it's probably about to attack you anyway. Track Hidden is not a highly-effective ability, but when it comes to detecting stealth Rogues, every little bit helps.

Other Skills

  • Scare Beast (level 14) - Fear a beast. It doesn't really get used that much except when dueling druids or other hunters.
  • Eagle Eye (level 14) - Zooms in a hunters view. Very rarely-used skill.
  • Beast Lore (level 24) - Gives information about a target beast. This ability is almost exclusively used when considering possible pets to Tame Beast, since it gives stats on the pet and states explicitly if something is tameable.
  • Feign Death (level 30) - Causes the hunter to flop on their back and exit combat if it is not resisted. There are many nuances to this skill and it is recommended to read the Feign Death article.
  • Flare (level 32) - More of a PvP ability, Flare will reveal stealth targets in a particular area.
  • Misdirection (level 70) - This ability transfers the threat you generate on your next three attacks to another target. While this can be used while soloing to make enemies focus on your pet, the primary purpose of this skill is during groups to help the hunter be effective at pulling. Misdirecting the hate from your first three shots to the main tank can make pulls where positioning is important much easier, and can also let healers and damage dealers be less cautious of pulling aggro. Be aware that only one misdirection can be active at a time on a target, so 3 hunters cannot all misdirect the MT at the same time. Useless in PvP.

This page last modified 2010-11-01 15:17:19.