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Filed under: (Hunter) Scattered Shots

How to play a boosted level 90 hunter

Night Elf Hunter with Wolf
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing how to get started with the hunter class.

Do you still need convincing on why you should boost a hunter to 90? Go check out my 10 reasons why from last week. So you've got a fresh level 90 hunter in front of you -- what now? What are all these abilities? How do pets work? We've got answers for all that. Without the benefit of having abilities and mechanics slowly introduced while leveling, you might be a little confused when you first log in. Don't fret, you'll be turning monsters into pin cushions and taming an army of pets in no time.

You can check out my previous getting started with hunters article for help in choosing a race and specialization for your hunter. Once you're past that step, we can dive into the meaty bits. We'll start with the absolute basics. What to do the moment you log in with a fresh 90 hunter. First, I want you to take a peek in your spellbook. Don't panic, we'll sort out what's important here.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: 10 reasons to use your level 90 boost on a hunter

Hunter pets
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing the reasons why you should be playing a hunter.

As you may have heard, Warlords of Draenor will be available for pre-order soon, and with each purchase comes one free level 90 boost. Still wondering which class you should use your boost on? I'm here to make your decision a whole lot easier. Here are 10 reasons why you should use your level 90 boost on a hunter.

1. Feign death

Hunters only die if we choose to die. Feign Death makes a hunter's repair bill is a mere fraction of what it would normally be. It's not just about repair bills though, it's about being able to avoid fighting things you don't want to fight. It's about avoiding corpse runs. And you would be surprised how often it fools people in PvP. Other classes are jealous of Feign Death, but they put up with it because we can mass resurrect to save them a corpse run. I put this at number one because it is, without a doubt, my favorite hunter ability. On second thought, it's probably tied with number three on the list. It's really hard to choose.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots, Warlords of Draenor

Scattered Shots: Hunting for transmog gear

Hunter & Loque'nahak
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing his favorite hunter transmog gear.

On my main hunter I count 61 ranged weapons, 11 complete tier sets, and 350 total pieces of transmog gear. I guess you could say transmogrification has become somewhat of an obsession of mine. As soon as I heard the feature was coming way back during patch 4.2, I began the hunt to to re-acquire gear I'd possessed in the past, or other gear which I always wished I had while it was relevant but never had the opportunity. It breathed new life into the game for me.

Hunters are well suited for farming transmog gear as we can solo things that other classes can't. We also have the freedom of transmogging any ranged weapon type into another, e.g. a gun into a bow. If you search hard enough, you'll find some really unique pieces out there which allow you to look like you're wearing armor from a different class. For example, did you know there's a mail armor eye patch available?

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Button bloat and its effect on hunter DPS

Hunter in Tsunami Armor
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing the strange cost of button bloat.

When most hunters think button bloat, they think of abilities like Eagle Eye or Distracting Shot -- completely situational abilities that many won't even bother to key bind. They may be superfluous, but these abilities are not the real bloat problem if you ask me. The true problem is having our damage distributed amongst a dozen or more DPS abilities. Having this many buttons for DPS ends up devaluing each one individually until single abilities cease to matter. Each expansion has added more, and it's beginning to get a little tedious.

It may seem counterintuitive to suggest less buttons can result in more compelling gameplay, but I believe it's the truth in the case of hunter DPS. Properly using fewer abilities with perfect focus management is more difficult than executing a long list of abilities in sequence. When you have so many buttons, using each one has less perceived impact -- as in how much the monster's health drops in response -- compared to a handful of strong, satisfying abilities. A large number of DPS buttons is only meaningful if there is a choice in what you're pressing. Currently, I feel there is very little choice here. You either hit all the buttons or you don't.

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Hunter etiquette

Feign Death
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing what it means to be a good hunter.

The level 90 boosts are coming Soon™ and I am sure there are some of you interested in picking the hunter as your first boosted character. You can check out my article on getting started with the hunter class from two weeks ago for a brief introduction to the class and picking a race. Once you are level 90 and want to start doing group activities, there are some things you should know about being a hunter. The last thing you want to do is contribute to that awful "huntard" stereotype.

We're going to start off with a little pet etiquette. First and foremost, turn off Growl autocast when you are in any kind of instance with a tank. Even veteran hunters make this mistake from time to time. You're out killing things on the Timeless Isle, and all of the sudden your queue pops and you forget to turn Growl off once you get inside. If you find that you are forgetful when it comes to this, you may want to look into getting the BadPet addon or something similar.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Beast mastery vs. survival raiding

Hunter in Nagrand
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing the differences between survival and beast mastery raiding.

It's been a long time since I felt the need to agonize over what spec I want to play on my hunter in raids. Usually there's one clear cut winner, but in Siege of Orgrimmar both survival and beast mastery are doing pretty darn well. Maybe we're not putting out warlock numbers, but we're well into the upper half of the charts when it comes to DPS. The recent hotfix to Aspect of the Hawk gave us just enough of a kick to keep us competitive as everyone continues to gear up. Marksmanship has cemented itself as a popular PvP spec in 5.4, and maybe it's OK that one spec is more PvP oriented. At least we have large numbers of hunters playing all three specs -- it's not a luxury we've always had in the past.

One of the most common questions I see from new hunters is what spec should they play for the best DPS? It's difficult to answer such a question, and it reminds me a lot of the "what is the best pet?" question. If we're talking about PvE it really comes down to beast mastery vs. survival. I haven't forgotten about marksmanship, but in my opinion it's just not as versatile for raiding this tier, or this entire expansion for that matter. As for choosing between survival and beast mastery, the best place to start is to learn the differences.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots, Mists of Pandaria

Scattered Shots: Getting started with the hunter class

Night elf hunter
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing how to get started with the hunter class.

Before we get into this week's column, I wanted to give a shout out to the Hunting Party Podcast. All good things must come to an end, and this Saturday, January 18 at 2 p.m. EST will be episode 200, aka the final episode. Retired hosts will be returning as well as some special guests. It should be a fine send off to this awesome hunter-specific podcast. If you miss the live show you will find it on their front page or Youtube. Now, back to your regularly scheduled huntering.

So you've finally decided to roll a hunter. Congratulations on coming to your senses and choosing the best class in WoW. Whether you are a veteran of one of the other 10 hunter-support classes, or a brand new WoW player, there are probably important questions burning in your head like which color of sporebat should you tame? Such questions will all be answered in due time, but first you should meditate on whether or not this is truly the class for you.

I think you'll have a hard time fully enjoying your hunter if the idea of hunting down and managing pets doesn't get you excited. Some players are just looking for that classic archer archetype and unfortunately WoW does not have that. There are other pet classes, but none compare to hunters. We get to choose from literally hundreds of different pets in the world (with many more added each expansion). We name them, fight with them, choose their specialization, and can collect up to 55 of them on a single hunter. We're the only class which can bring almost any buff or debuff to our groups. Oh, and we can play dead to avoid repair bills.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Hunter predictions for 2014

Hunter at Dark Portal
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing predictions for hunters in 2014.

Happy New Year, Hunters! I hope you're all enjoying our late Christmas present from Blizzard. For the past three years, Frostheim (former Scattered Shots columnist) has been doing annual hunter predictions and looking back at them to see how accurate he was a year later. I'm going to continue the tradition today with 2014 hunter predictions. Trying to guess what's going to happen in an expansion year is pretty tough compared to predicting what will happen during an already-released expansion, but that just lets me get a little more crazy with the predictions. I'll try to have a decent mix of realistic and outrageous predictions, but before that we'll start with doing a quick review of Frostheim's 2013 predictions which he made a year ago. At that point, patch 5.1 was about a month old and the Throne of Thunder was still a couple months away.

2013 predictions review
  • Hunters get a DPS buff. This one turned out to be slightly true. We never ended up topping the meters in Mists, but after getting some PvP-driven nerfs early in the expansion, we were finally compensated somewhat in 5.4 with signature shot buffs and having Stampede restored to full damage in PvE. There was also Aspect of the Hawk -- which started out this expansion as a 10% RAP buff -- now a whopping 35% after three mid-tier buffs.
  • Sniper Training or something similar returns. This didn't happen in 2013, but one of the level 100 talents (which could and probably will change), is called Snipe and can only be used while standing still.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Hunter pets we'd like to see in our stables

Diemetradon
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing potential new hunter pets in Warlords of Draenor.

Blizzard seems to have really enjoyed teasing hunters this expansion with the Dire Beast spell. Dire Beast is a talent which summons a random beast to fight for you for 15 seconds. Each zone in Pandaria has three different beasts it chooses from, and there are several instances where it will summon a beast which you're currently unable to tame. The most notable examples being the pterrorwings on Isle of Thunder and the gulp frogs on Timeless Isle.

There's also several beast families which have been in the game for a long time but remain untamable. Occasionally, these are added in a new expansion, such as the basilik and water strider in Mists of Pandaria. As a pet collector, I have high hopes that we'll see both old and new pet families added in Warlords of Draenor to fill our stables. Let's start with a family of beast so obvious that they already have a unique spell attributed to them in the game.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Challenge mode tips for hunters

Hunter in Challenge Mode Armor
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing how to succeed as a hunter in Mists of Pandaria challenge mode dungeons.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like challenge mode dungeons are the most underutilized new feature in Mists of Pandaria. It's something I didn't even touch for the first year of the expansion until I started to run out of other things to do. Cosmetic rewards don't get everyone excited, and I think some people are intimidated by them. Getting all gold medals is definitely a challenge, but you don't have to strive for that on your first run at them. Silver medals should be doable by any organized group, and bronze medals have a long enough time limit to be completed in a decent pickup group.

Gear optimization can help somewhat, but ultimately challenge modes are about skill and efficiency. There's still room for mistakes – even for a gold medal – but your group will be relying on you to maximize your DPS, crowd control, and interrupts. Hunters can be strong in challenge mode dungeons and any group will welcome a competent one with open arms. If you have the class aptitude to complete the gold medal in the proving grounds, you are ready to go for the gold in challenge modes.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots, Mists of Pandaria

Scattered Shots: Macro your hunter

Hunter Macros
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing hunter macros.

Macros are all about saving clicks and key presses. Next to addons, they are probably the largest quality of life enhancement you can add to your gameplay. For the uninitiated, macros are simple scripts that allow you to combine multiple abilities and conditional parameters into a single button. You don't need them to play, but the benefits are tangible and will improve your overall performance.

If you're an engineer, take Synapse Springs for instance. It's off the global cooldown, which means you can stack it on top of other abilities to maximize its uptime and not worry about remembering to use it. Sometimes certain abilities will line up closely with other cooldowns which makes it beneficial to macro it in instead of using autocast. Have you ever noticed how slowly your pet will switch targets sometimes? Or when you tell it to Kill Command on a new target, but it attacks its previous target instead? There's a way to fix it with macros. As a keyboard abuser, one of my favorite macro perks is being able to remove the error messages and "spell not ready yet" sounds my character makes as I spam my buttons.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Mining Celestalon's tweets for hunter information

Hunter in Draenor
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing new stats and the potential for hunter spec differentiation.

We're still patiently waiting for the Warlords of Draenor beta to get some more concrete information on hunters, but in the meantime we've had Celestalon to poke and prod on Twitter. Celestalon is a Technical Game Designer on WoW and has been very forthcoming with technical information regarding classes and the new gearing system in Warlords. We've learned a few new bits of information such as how new secondary stats will work and some vague plans for their intentions with the hunter class. If you missed the BlizzCon hunter recap post, be sure to check it out before we dive into the newer stuff.

The replacements for hit and expertise

You may have heard how hit and expertise are being removed from the game in Warlords of Draenor. I was very happy when I heard about this, but at the same time wondered if gear was going to get too simple since they're also removing reforging, and having less gems and enchants on gear. The good news is, those two wholly uninteresting stats are being replaced by 3 new ones, and if you've been raiding Siege of Orgrimmar their functionality may already be familiar to you.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots, Warlords of Draenor

Scattered Shots: Helpful hunter addons

Hunter with Quilen Pet
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing UI addons for hunters.

I've personally never been much of a fan of cosmetic UI addons, but I'm a big proponent of utility addons and feel like they can improve your performance dramatically. Therefore, I won't really be talking about unit frames or action bar replacements because frankly I'm not very current with them. If you're interested in giving your whole UI a facelift, you may want to look into an all-in-one solution such as ElvUI, or check out WoW Insider's addon spotlight. Let's start with the addons I can't imagine playing my hunter without.

Essential addons
  • Skada Damage Meter (Curse | WoWInterface): This one is my personal preference over Recount. I like being able to save individual parses for later viewing, and I like some of the plugins you can use with it. One of the best ones is SkadaExplosive. This one is entirely made for tracking the T16 4-piece survival bonus. It lets you know what your longest Explosive Shot streak was (every time I get a 10 streak I feel like it's Christmas morning), the highest damaging tick, and other Lock and Load stats.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Why every hunter needs a tallstrider pet

Hunter pets, tallstriders
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing how awesome tallstriders are, along with some other interesting hunter pets.

I still deeply regret abandoning my hydra pet back in Wrath of the Lich King. A bug in one of the daily quests in Sholazar Basin allowed hunters to tame a ghostly hydra, oozeling, or crocodile. Blizzard fixed the bug, but allowed everyone to keep their pets. In my defense, we were only allowed to have four pets in our stable at the time, and there was spirit beasts to be had. Do you know how heavily camped Loque'nahak was back then? You think cross-realm zones are bad?

Before Wrath added a couple of extra stable slots (which cost gold, by the way), hunters only had two stable slots throughout vanilla and BC in addition to our active pet. Then Cataclysm came along and let us tame a whopping 25 pets. I'm pretty sure the server hosting the Petopia forums spontaneously exploded in the back of a room somewhere, ruining some poor IT guy's day. It felt like it could never get any better for a pet collector. Then patch 5.3 came along and Blizzard said: "You guys want, like, 30 more pet slots? Sure, here you go."

The new slots were welcome, but just how does one tame 55 unique pets?. Once you've tamed every rare and hunted down every spirit beast, what else is there? The tallstrider, of course. Get one in every color and have your own fleet of tallstriders. Tallstriders are awesome! Maybe even more awesome than sporebats.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Lone wolves

Lone Wolf Hunter
Every Thursday, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be discussing the fourth hunter specialization masquerading as a talent.

If you missed Scattered Shots last week, you can go check it out for a summary of what we learned about hunters at BlizzCon 2013. Today, I want to focus on the most controversial of the new talents: Lone Wolf. By taking this talent (only as survival or marksmanship) you gain 30% increased damage when your pet is not active. I've read a lot of posts, tweets, and comments over the past week and it seems that hunters are split right down the middle with this talent, along with a few in the middle who like having it as an option for pet unfriendly encounters.

My initial reaction to Lone Wolf was very enthusiastic, but then I started to wonder how it was going to work with a class built around pets. It's going to have a cascading effect on many existing hunter talents and abilities, namely anything that works in conjunction with your pet. It's possible Blizzard will add secondary effects to these talents so they work without a pet, but if they spend the time adapting older abilities then why not just go all in with the idea? If someone is leveling up a hunter, shouldn't they be able to make a play style choice as drastic as this early on instead of at level 100? Then again, hunters are a pet class ... so why do we need this talent, anyway?

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

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