In lieu of this week’s EJ recap, I thought I’d share a few leveling tips based on my experiences in the beta. I’ve limited the number of spoilers to a scant few and those I have included are mentioned last, so if you want to completely avoid any hint of a spoiler, stop reading when you get to “quests.”
Those of you planning to try for a world-first have already practiced on the beta, been watching Kripparrian’s stream, and perfected your strategies; this article is not intended for you.
Frostheim recently wrote a nice guide on hunter leveling in Mists of Pandaria and it’s worth reading if you haven’t already. The Grumpy Elf wrote a general guide on leveling in Mists of Pandaria that is also recommend reading. I offer a few additional tips and notes here.
Specialization: I leveled through to 90 as Beast Mastery and then again as Survival and honestly it didn’t seem to make much difference as far as ease in leveling; they both worked very nicely and were a joy to play. We don’t get the chance to experience new expansions that often so my suggestion is to level with the spec you enjoy playing the most.
Pets: It’s worth noting that you can change your pet’s spec from ferocity to tenacity or vice versa at any time as long as you’re not in combat. I found that a tenacity pet was preferred for killing rare elites I came across and for AoE tanking when I pulled everything in sight for kill quests, but otherwise a ferocity pet will do. DPS-wise, Zeherah suggested that using a pet that brings the crit buff along with drums is probably the best option.
Glyphs: After some experimentation I decided on Marked for Death, Glyph of Mending, and Glyph of Misdirection. Since Misdirection is free and not on the global cooldown, you can macro it with any or all of your shots. I found it especially helpful to macro Misdirection with Multi-Shot for AoE pulls. The @focus line in the macro below is so that if I’m in a dungeon I can set the tank as my focus and mds will then go to the tank rather than my pet.
#showtooltip Multi-Shot /cast [@focus,exists,nodead] Misdirection; [@pet,exists,nodead] Misdirection /targetenemy [noexists][noharm][dead] /cast Multi-Shot
Note that the 10% mounted speed increase from the Pathfinding glyph doesn’t stack with the level 3 guild perk Mount Up. If you plan to spend a lot of time on foot or are not a member of a level 3 or higher guild, you might prefer Pathfinding over another glyph.
For minor glyphs, you might want to use the Glyph of Stampede, depending on your spec and stable composition. Glyph of Fetch and Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah can be useful for the other two slots. For a Fetch macro see Kheldul’s Hunter Fetch Macro with AutoLoot.
Experience gain bonuses: Based on my beta testing, the level 1-85 hunter heirloom gear pieces Inherited Cape of the Black Baron and Tarnished Raging Berserker’s Helm do not give an experience point bonus at level 85. However, the Standard of Unity and the Battle Standard of Coordination do function. The standards are available from any friendly guild vendor if your guild meets the requirements.
Talents: I choose Narrow Escape (fun for getting away from adds while your pet picks them up), Silencing Shot (many of the mobs cast interrupt-able fireballs and such), Spirit Bond for the constant stream of healing, and Thrill of the Hunt (it’s passive so one less button to press and it seems to proc constantly, which is great for multi-shot spam on AoE packs). Your choice for the level 75 talent depends on your personal leveling style.
New talents: At level 87 you’ll get Stampede. It provides a nice burst and I used it for elites and large trash packs. Note that once the mob you’re fighting dies, the stampede will wander off and aggro other mobs in the vicinity, so take care where you use it. At level 90 you’ll get to choose between Glaive Toss, Powershot, and Barrage. I choose Glaive Toss because not only does it do more damage than the other talents, it’s also the first time hunters have had the opportunity to use weapons similar to the Night Elf Sentinel’s glaives, and it looks and sounds cool.
Selecting Gear: I wouldn’t stress too much about selecting gear early on. If you have gemmed, enchanted Dragon Soul or Gladiator gear it should serve you well until you reach level 87-88. Once you reach Kun-Lai Summit and the Townlong Steppes, you’ll find the quest reward gear is starting to look good. If you’d like to plan out quests you want to do for particular rewards, see the MoP Hunter Gear Guide, which includes sources for all the gear. For PvP gear see Hunter Season 12 PvP Gear.
Quests: The MoP experience is balanced differently than past expansions; it takes only a day or less of play time at a relaxed pace to reach level 90. Once you reach 90, a large variety of reputation faction quest chains and dailies will open up. The bulk of the questing experience is thus centered on the level 90 reputation quests rather than on leveling.
If you’re skipping quests, one you might not want to skip is the Temple of the White Tiger quest chain in Kan-Lai summit, as it facilitates entry into your faction’s capitol city in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. The capitols have all of the amenities including trainers, auction houses, banks, and portals to the major cities.
One quality-of-life change introduced in Mists of Pandaria is that quest hubs are marked on your map with an exclamation point, so it’s easy to find quests even if you miss the breadcrumbs.
Factions: Unlike previous expansions, you won’t need to grind rep with a particular faction for access to head or shoulder enchants; shoulder enchants are now provided by scribes, and head enchants have been removed from the game entirely. Gaining reputation with the various factions does however grant access to unique mounts, recipes, and other perks. Faction rep is now also required to purchase gear with Valor and Justice points. Read Valor and Justice Point Gear for Hunters in MoP to see which gear is associated with which faction rep. For details on all of the factions see the faction previews at Wowhead. There is no longer a cap on the number of daily quests that you can complete each day; however, you are still limited to only 25 quests in your log at one time.
If you’re aiming for the legendary, you’ll need to gain reputation with the Black Prince (Wrathion). If you work on the quests associated with the Golden Lotus faction, you’ll simultaneously gain reputation with the Black Prince as you kill quest mobs in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
Scenarios: It’s definitely worthwhile to try out the new scenarios as soon as they become available to you. They’re fast and fun (at least the first few times through) and there’s a good chance to get ilvl 463 gear in your treasure cache along with Valor Points (ilvl 463 is equivalent to heroic dungeon gear). In scenarios, you’re much less dependent on the skill of your team-mates than you are in dungeons; as a hunter, you can pull out a tenacity pet and solo a scenario if things turn bad. The queues are also much shorter than dungeon queue times because no specific roles are required.
Screenshots by Tabana