As suggested on the Single Abstract Noun forums, since so many of us are getting started with levelling all over again and many of us are scraping the barrel for content like a meth cooker scraping the beaker for crystal, why not turn our experiences into guide form?
The problem is I’m not actually very good with levelling guides, because I’m really not that good at levelling. I’m a very happy camper at endgame when I can spend hours researching how to gear and spec and glyph and gem for content way more hardcore than I’m actually doing, but while levelling I tend to bumble around a lot, find the most inefficient questing paths possible, get sidetracked trying to level tradeskills strictly off mats farmed during said inefficient bumbling, and generally take two to three times as long to level as any other person that’s gone through this process once already. Going to me as authority on levelling anything is like taking painting tips from Stevie Wonder.
I am, however, good at snarking my way through things I’m not actually any good at, so I can at least get some material out of THAT if people find it amusing enough not to want to tell me to stuff it after the third or fourth ADD-alt guide to levelling something badly. So let’s kick it off with something I came up with during the process of realizing that I really prefer actually shooting at animals I hope to eat in lieu of playing a hunter in-game.
How 2 Huntar!
Levels 1-10: Welcome to being a ranged DPS class with no means of keeping enemies at range other than running away from them! Those of you who are playing their umptieth alt may use this period to master the basics of kiting and more advanced skills like jump-shotting; the rest of you will be meleeing away and wondering why you don’t get Raptor Strike until level 8.
Level 10: go get a pet. There is a quest for this, and the quest giver will be very coy about the mechanics of taming. Have an exciting time being chewed on. As far as your choice of pet goes, if you’re playing for efficiency you’ll get a bear or a boar; they eat everything and develop into excellent pet-tanks. Of course, you actually tamed the coolest-looking thing you could find, so enjoy your cat, raptor, or dragonhawk.
Also at level ten you get your first talent point. Hunters get three talent trees, each with its own unique flavor. Ponder in depth the kind of hunter you want to become- focused on increasing your DPS via a complex shot rotation, focused on synergy with your pet, or focused on the class’s other utility features; now put all that aside and level as Beastmastery because otherwise you’ll be spending most of your time tanking mobs with your face.
Levels 10-80: Tell your pet to attack the mob. Shoot the mob. You win. Keep your melee weapons levelled too if you want, who the hell cares. You have the option to instance if you want to experience your class in a group setting; as your options for groupings mostly consist of people even more clueless than you and will probably slow down your levelling, you will most likely opt not to. Besides, some warrior will probably keep stealing aggro from your pet and the healer probably won’t heal him at all. Who needs that kind of aggravation?
Level 80: As the meanest DPS class around, now it is time to go show the rest of the battlegroup what you’re made of. At this point, you have a chore; drag out your spellbook, hotkey all the blatantly ridiculous skills you may or may not have bothered to train like Distracting Shot, Misdirection, any and all traps, and start relearning everything about how to play your class except the part where you stay at range from the mob. (Unless you liked swinging your axe so much at level 8 you’ve been playing a melee hunter- what else are those talents in the Survival tree FOR?) Whether you elect to stay as Beastmastery, with its challenging two-button rotation, or explore the strange and foreign other trees, your spec will need to be entirely reworked. Alternatively, keep pressing the win button- it’s worked for eighty levels so far.
Optional: You may decide to raid. In this case you will definitely have to go the “relearn your entire class” route. Be advised that your primary role has changed from keeping your pet alive while alternating Serpent Sting and Volley. Now you must work out your optimal shot rotation, as the mystery of why you have more than one shot has been revealed via the utterings of the sage oracle “Recount” that people keeping putting in party chat at the end of the instance. You also must manage your pet so that it does not stand in bad or attack things the tank has not yet elected to attack. Most of all, be aware that your job in raids will be one of two things; either you will be standing still shooting either one thing or a target-swapping variety of things, or you will be assigned the oddball job in the raid. Whether it’s kiting hordes of zombies, tricking an angry cat lady, keeping slimes annoyed, or slowing any variety of other things down, this will add spice, variety, and ulcers to your life while the melee DPS and the magic froofs supplicate the god Recount.