This is part 2 in the Uber Basic Beginner's Guide To Huntering series. In this post,I'll cover levels 15-30, and we'll look at PvP / PvE, spells, where to quest and keybinds. For part 1, click here.
While levels 15-30 are often considered unmemorable rookie levels, I think they're great. You finally get to do battlegrounds, dungeons open up and after having to run everywhere you finally get a mount. So what's in store for first time hunters?
At level ten, you're able to go into battlegrounds. Not only do battlegrounds give you great XP, they also give you pretty good practice to think fast and mess with your spells to see well, what they do against an opponent slightly stronger than Hogger. As a hunter, you'll do pretty good damage. At the same time, you're pretty squishy too. The trick is to always try to keep your distance, but as warriors and the like have nasty charges, you can't always prevent them from getting all up in your grill. Luckily, hunters get a few spells/abilities for greater survivability rather early in the game, which compensates for your squishy-ness a little:
- Disengage. Available at level 14, this spell makes you leap away from your oponent. It has a cooldown however, and you need to be in combat in order to use it.
- Scatter Shot. Available at level 16. Scatter Shot will be one of your favorites in the battleground. Your opponent loses control of him/herself for a few seconds, giving you time to get away.
- Wing Clip. I'm not suggesting you should run up to the enemy just to Wing Clip them, but when they get all close, at least you get to slow them for 50%. Available at level 12.
- Concussive Shot. Like Wing Clip, it slows the target for 50%.
- Immolation Trap. Traps are your best friend in battlegrounds. This trap burns the first enemy that approaches you. You can put it on capping flags like the ones in Arathi Basin for example, or just throw it under someone's feet. Available at level 22.
- Freezing Trap. This trap becomes available a little later, at level 28, but will probably be one of your go-to traps in PvP. Any oponent that runs into this traps gets stuck in a block of ice, unable to move for a few seconds. One of the tricks I've learned to lure someone into walking into your icey trap, is to Scatter Shot them and then throwing a Freezing Trap right under their feet. Since they lose control over themselves, they can't really dodge your trap that easily.
When it comes to moving around, it is generally suggested that you shouldn't do any "keyboard turning", meaning, that you dont use the arrows to turn left or right. When moving, try to turn with your mouse, while running forward by either keeping the two buttons on your mouse pressed in, or by using the "W" key (the standard key for moving forwards). Another important part of moving through a battlefield in aan easy way is by doing something called strafing. These are keys on your keyboard that make your character move left or right with turning being done by mouse. This is great for running and shooting at the same time - which you will be able to do at a later stage when you have Aspect of the Fox - but is also great for lower level battlegrounds as it gives you a bit more control over your character's movement.
With every oponent that you kill or battlegrounds you win, you get awarded honor points. You can trade these points for gear or other supplies like flasks and gems. Some people like to trade them in as soon as they have the right amount together for a piece of gear - others like to save them up for when they reach 85 - since you'll be doing so much levelling anyway, you'll grow out of your low level PvP gear pretty soon - unless you will want to level through PvP only, I'd say you're better to save them up until you've reached level 85.
If PvP isn't really your thing, you can try your hand at dungeons at level 15. In PvE, your role as a hunter is simple. You are there for ranged damage and for ccing whatever enemies need to be cced to keep some of the pressure off your tank
As we hunters are naturally awesome even in the lower levels, we tend to sometimes be a little too awesome for the rest of our party (too powerful). Often this results in a hunter over-aggroing enemies. Since the other classes are naturally jaleous of our good looks, a fail can easily be blamed on you. So what to do? First and foremost, limiting your threat is the most important thing. You can do this by:
- Turning off "Growl" on your pets action bar.
- Put your pet on assist, or if your party is dodging/avoiding trash packs, dismiss your pet altogether for a second so it doesn't accidentally pull any mobs.
- Waiting a few seconds before shooting the target your tank is attacking. This way the tank can build up his threat without running the risk of losing it to your awesomeness.
- Wait with going "all out" (using your hardest hitting spells) on your target a few seconds into an encounter. You're less likely to pull stuff that way.
- Also, ease a little on the Multi-Shot. It's great for doing damage to packs of mobs, but it also increases your threat, so unless your tank has got them all under control, you might wanto to stick to single-target shots first.
Where to Quest
With so many options as how to level, there are similarly more than one place you can level up past level 15. While Heroes Call can give you a good idea of where to level next (they are usually pretty easy to reach by flight points), here are some of my favorite levelling areas for levels 15-30. for Alliance:
Levels 10-17: Westfall
Westfall got a make over in Cata and they've done a pretty nice job with the overhaul. In this story, you get to examine the murders of two farmers, NCIS style, that leads you to the workings of a mysterious underground gang, as well as discovering a completely different side of the Stormwind regime.
Levels 15-20: Redridge Mountains / Loch Modan
For me, Redridge has mainly served as a bridge between the level 17-20 gap, and while I didn't think it was the best of areas, it has got some interesting storylines and funny bits of humor that can see you through to level 20. If you're more into dwarves, you can go to Loch Modan, which has a lot of those: kill 20 of this and 15 of those kind of quests but will take you up to 20 quite easily. Plus that Loch Modan is home to some awesome rare beasts, like the blue fox Ashtail!
Levels 20-25: Duskwood
If you like the gothic, eerie feel of Gilneas, you will love Duskwood. Mystery and magic are the themes of Duskwood, plus at its heart an interesting and spooky tale of lost love and black magic.
Levels 25-30: Northern Stranglethorn / Southern Barrens
The jungle of Stranglethorn has long been one of ny favorite levelling zones. Maybe I'm just really partial to any questline that features Hemet Nesingwary, but his questline alone makes it a must-do for any hunter. For those of you interested in Alliance lore, go to Southern Barrens - especially if you also have a Horde character levelling up in the same place.
For Horde, I loved:
Levels 10-20: Azshara / Northern Barrens
I came into Azshara pretty late, but I have to say it's been one of my favorite levelling areas for the Horde. If you like the whole Goblin story, Azshara is certainly a must do. As for the Northern Barrens, while the questline starts a bit slow, I absolutely loved it once I got into the story. It sets the precedence for the storyline in the Southern Barrens and the struggle between Alliance and Horde. If you like Warcraft lore and Taurens, the Northern Barrens are a pretty good place to go.
Levels 20-25: Hillsbrad Foothills
Now we come to my most favorite levelling zone ever. I just didn't want to leave the place. Hillsbrad Foothills made me laugh so many times - it's a mixture of brilliant humor combined with serious Alliance vs Horde lore. Loved it.
Levels 25-30: Southern Barrens
The Southern Barrens tell the story of the struggle between Alliance and Horde, with the emphasis on the struggles of the Tauren race. Besides this being a great place to level for Horde players, I loved levelling both my Alliance and Horde character here - just to see both sides. As Alliance, you get to feel like the Horde are nothing but uncivilized savages that brutally kill anything that resembles Alliance. As Horde, you get to see how brutal the Alliance has been towards the innocent Tauren. On both sides, you really get to root for your own side, as well as knowing the two stories, which is something I think is really awesome.
When it comes to keybinds, it pretty much all comes down to your own preferences and play style. Changing your keybinds to a custom "template" can greatly improve your gaming. Some people love the standard Blizzard keybinds. Others, not so much.
What are keybinds exactly? They are pretty much where your spells and other abilities are located on your keyboard. If you go into Escape -> Keybinds, you get to see the list of number of spells and abilities and what key they are bound to, like Jump being bound to the Spacebar, "W" for moving forward and so on. You can change those spells by simply binding them to any other key you press in the box.
I changed my keybindings pretty late, until I was well into my level eighties - but ever since I've changed where my spells are on my keyboard, I've never been able to play the standard settings again.
This isn't really a hunter thing though, and if you have a main or an alt of another class you might use the template you like using for that other character, Just keep in mind that a hunter has a lot of instant shots so you might have to keybind slightly differently if you're not used to that.
In the standard setting, the main spells are built around number 1-0, with moving and jumping reserved for the lower situated keys on your keyboard. I have changed them around so that they are built around my left hand - leaving my right hand free to move with my mouse. My main spells are situated on the keys: 1-2-3-4, W-E-R-D-F, with A-S to strafe and Q to move forward. That's mainly because my hand is quite small and I want everything in my reach. Also, I've got a lot of spells I need bound to my keys and I don't have a gaming mouse - if you do you can bind spells to the additional keys on your mouse.
Playing around with what works best for you at a low level can be a great way of finding out what your playstyle is, what works for your set-up, etc. In the end, you can always go back to the standard settings if you don't like the changes you've made.
For a video tutorial on how to change your keybinds as well as adding some more actionbars, click here.
That's it for Part 2! In Part 3 we'll have a look at levels 30-58, a closer look at secondary hunter stats, UIs, where to quest past level 30 and the new spells and abilities and how to work them into your rotation - as you'll get a ton more spells in those levels. Anything you'd like to see covered? Suggestions are very welcome!