I have a lovely husband.


He went into AQ40 with me tonight so we could take out the 4-packs and get me the last 3 bug mounts. The green one was #100. :)

Thanks to Sawyer for pointing out to me last night that the trash is soloable. (Though I needed a second person to do the multi-pulls.)

For the complete collection, check me out at Warcraft Mounts.


The Betrayer and the Sun King

Yes, I totally stole the blog title from an Echoes of War track. It's totally relevant, though - go check out my five most recent achievements.

Friday night I came home and got like, three whispers asking me if I wanted in on a Kil'Jaeden kill in Sunwell. (M'uru was apparently still a bitch, and I am to be glad I missed it.) I was amused to see Velen show up at the end - we've been killing him on a weekly basis for a month now.

So Sunday, after a fizzled attempted at killing the king in Ironforge (I think after a month they're finally on to us, and we were running light), we headed to the Black Temple to see Illidan. We apparently skipped two phases. (The raid leader kept saying about how he's going to transform into a big demon - no, no... we went straight from flaming sword elementals to ohai, Maiev!)

We had planned to just run Black Temple, but someone mentioned Hyjal, so we headed there next. (Port to Dalaran -> portal to Caverns of Time. Nice and fast.) Hyjal... was not fast. Stupid undead waves. /tap

Ulduar-25 is scheduled for Sunday nights, but we were on a roll, and the vote was to do Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep. We hit up Lady Vashj first - the fight would have gone faster if we didn't have to wait for orbs to drop. Then we fished up the Lurker Below for good measure and trucked ourselves over to Netherstorm.

Tempest Keep's trash was much less painful than I remembered from our past forays in there. There was a brief pause to ooo and aah at A'lar, and then we headed up to Kael'thas's room. The fight wasn't bad - we burned the advisers so fast we had to stop and wait for the speech timer to catch up. However, burning through the mind control phase too quickly apparently confused Kael a bit much, and he went all glowy from the waist up and got... stuck. We tried having the people he had "aggro" on die (yay pallies with Divine Intervention), but that didn't help, so we all hearthed, and the pallies (who popped back conveniently at the graveyard by the summoning stone) summoned us back so we could try again.

This time we followed the old Onyxia video - "DPS really ******* slowly" - and things went off fine, and he switched phases smoothly. No Ashes, though. We hit up A'lar on the way out for good measure.

So, that's another achievement done (Outland Raider) that I never expected to get done.


The leveling guide

The leveling guide, such as it is, is done!

Now, the posts in order of appearance, rather than the reverse-chronological that the tag gives you:
Cataclysm will change so much with the switch to Focus, but until then, hopefully it's at least an okay overview of what to expect leveling as a Marksman hunter.

Marksman 1-80: Level 80

Level 80

Welcome to level 80!

At level 80, I put the last talent point into Combat Experience, for that little stat boost. You also get a new major glyph; I generally go with Trueshot Aura, since this is a soloing/PVP build, and the aura isn't going to be overwritten.

Skills, Level 80:
  • 80: Aimed Shot (Rank 9), Aspect of the Dragonhawk (Rank 2), Call Stabled Pet, Freezing Arrow (Rank 1), Kill Shot (Rank 3), Mend Pet (Rank 10), Mongoose Bite (Rank 6), Multi-Shot (Rank 8), Volley (Rank 6)

You get a bunch of new ranks at 80, plus two new skills. One is Call Stable Pet. Right now it's on a 30 minute cooldown, but that's getting shortened to 5 in the 3.3 patch. It lets you swap pets without going to a stable master. I use it when I switch between my soloing and group specs, to go from my bear to my wolf, and also in Trial of the Crusader to pull out my hyena (for the hamstring) for the Faction Champions.

Your other new level 80 skill is Freezing Arrow. This lets you drop a Freezing Trap at ranged, which is good for pulling with a trap. (We were using it with some success on our Thorim-25 attempts, and with another Hunter, we duoed a couple level 70 heroics using simultaneous ranged traps.) It shares a cooldown with the other Ice traps.

At this point, if you're interested in 5-mans or raids, your spec isn't terrible, but isn't optimal; this is why I developed a raiding spec. It has evolved over time, depending on hit rating from gear and whether or not I was likely to have Replenishment.
If you want a nice pre-raiding ranged weapon, there are several options. The crossbow from Heroic Utgarde Keep is popular; Loken in the Halls of Lightning drops a nice gun; engineers can make you a nicer gun. There are other options - the Argent Tournament, Heroic Culling of Stratholme, Heroic Old Kingdom.

For other level 80 pre-raiding gear, there are shoulders and a good two-hander from the Ebon Blade, a head enchant from the Ebon Blade, a breastplate and a cloak from the Argent Crusade, good pants in both Heroic Halls of Lightning and Heroic Azjol-Nerub, a good BoE belt (Tasseled Lanterns), the amazingly long-lasting Eaglebane Bracers, good boots off Keristrazsa in Heroic Nexus, great gloves off Cyanigosa in Heroic Violet Hold, a good badge trinket (Mirror of Truth), a nice haste-proc trinket in Heroic Utgarde Pinacle, and various nice rings and necks. Assuming you don't go straight to buying stuff with Conquest Badges and pick up some tier 8.5 for the very nice 2-piece bonus.

You might want to pick up a wolf for groups if you haven't yet. No matter how much you love your soloing pet, people you PUG with who know anything about hunters will go, "Hm..." if you have something besides a wolf or maybe a cat.

Marksman 1-80: Levels 71-79

Levels 71-79

Talents in the 70s are more Marksman ones, leading up to getting Chimera Shot at 78. Improved Stings are great for it, and the bleed from Piercing Shot is a nice damage boost. (It'll keep rogues from restealthing for the duration, too.)

Skills, Levels 71-79:
  • 71: Explosive Trap (Rank 5), Kill Shot (Rank 1), Raptor Strike (Rank 10), Steady Shot (Rank 3)
  • 72: Immolation Trap (Rank 7)
  • 73: Arcane Shot (Rank 10), Serpent Sting (Rank 11)
  • 74: Aspect of the Dragonhawk (Rank 1), Mend Pet (Rank 9), Multi-Shot (Rank 7), Volley (Rank 5)
  • 75: Aimed Shot (Rank 8), Kill Shot (Rank 2), Master's Call
  • 76: Aspect of the Wild (Rank 4), Hunter's Mark (Rank 5)
  • 77: Explosive Trap (Rank 6), Raptor Strike (Rank 11), Steady Shot (Rank 4)
  • 78: Immolation Trap (Rank 8)
  • 79: Arcane Shot (Rank 11), Serpent Sting (Rank 12)
There's a lot of new ranks through the 70s, and you also get three new skills, on top of Chimera Shot from talents.

At 71, you get Kill Shot. This is sort of a ranged execute, usable when the target is under 20% health, with a longer range than other shots (for picking off runners). It has a 15 second cooldown, which can be reduced with a glyph. It hits hard and crits harder. (I've seen 12-13k on the Headless Horseman's head over the past couple weeks, and with damage boosts or on vulnerable bosses, you can get crazy numbers.) I wasn't initially sold on it for leveling until it saved my behind against an elite on a group quest in the Borean Tundra that I was trying to solo.

The next new skill you get in the 70s is Aspect of the Dragonhawk. It combines Apsect of the Hawk and Aspect of the Monkey, but alas, did not get Aspect of the Monkeyhawk (or Aspect of the Flying Monkeys of Doom) as its name. However, if you want to talk about survivability against multiple pulls or adds, it really helps. (I dodged Onyxia a couple weeks ago when the tank dropped at the start of phase three during a messy run. It was awesome. I immediately Feigned.)

You also pick up Master's Call at level 75. This will make your pet break you or someone else out of a snare. Although primarily a PVP skill, there are some boss fights where this can be helpful. (Hodir comes to mind.)

At 78 you should have enough points in Marksman to pick up Chimera Shot. This is a hard hitting shot that will hit harder if you have Serpent Sting up, possibly disarm your target if you have Scorpid Sting up, or give you a shot of mana if you have Viper Sting up. It has a 10 second cooldown which can be shaved slightly with a glyph.

Chimera Shot is the shot to which I have most other stuff macroed. I don't have any On Use: trinkets, or those could be included, as well.
/cast Chimera Shot
/cast Silencing Shot
/cast Kill Command
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear();
Ranged weapons are plentiful throughout Northrend, though they seem to favor guns. Or at least, as an engineer able to make Mammoth Cutters, I favored guns.

Marksman 1-80: Level 70

Level 70

By level 70, we've invested enough points in Marksman to pick up Silencing Shot; you get your third minor glyph, as well, so you can get the Revive Pet one.

Skills, Level 70:
  • 70: Aimed Shot (Rank 7), Misdirection, Mongoose Bite (Rank 5)
Not a lot of new ranks at 70. Silencing Shot, from talents, is both a silence and a real interrupt now, in case the target is immune to silencing. Great for trapping caster mobs, interrupting heals, and PVP. Also a nice little damage boost that may be worth throwing into your rotation. It's not on the Global Cooldown, but it has a 20 second cooldown, so you can macro it to another shot.

You also learn Misdirection, which lets you transfer some of your threat to another target (usually a tank). It can help for keeping things on your pet, as well. There are a variety of Misdirection macros out there; I use one like this:
/cast [button:1, target=focus] Misdirection; [button:2] Misdirection; [button:3, target=pet] Misdirection
/p A message to let your party know you're MD.
It can be shortened, but is basically left-click goes to focus, right-click goes where to your current target (if a player) or to what you click on next, and middle mouse goes to pet. Useful for pulling bosses.

Marksman 1-80: Levels 61-69

Levels 61-69

If you've gone with the Survival talents, you can pick up Scatter Shot at level 61. Woohoo! After that, it's back to the Marksman tree.

Skills, Levels 61-69
  • 61: Scatter Shot, Explosive Trap (Rank 4)
  • 62: Steady Shot (Rank 2)
  • 63: Raptor Strike (Rank 9)
  • 65: Immolation Trap (Rank 6)
  • 66: Kill Command
  • 67: Multi-Shot (Rank 6), Serpent Sting (Rank 10), Volley (Rank 4)
  • 68: Aspect of the Hawk (Rank 8), Aspect of the Wild (Rank 3), Mend Pet (Rank 8), Snake Trap
  • 69: Arcane Shot (Rank 9)
Scatter Shot used to be the 21-point Marksman Talent (similarly to how Readiness used to be the 31-point Survival Talent). It's a Disorient, and breaks to damage, so it can be used as a precursor to a Freezing Trap, as a brief stun substitute, or a spell interrupt. It's good for PVP, soloing, and for 5-mans where crowd control actually matters.

Skills are no longer just on even levels after level 60, so you'll want to hit up the trainer more often.

At level 66 you can learn Kill Command. This has been redesigned over time, and now buffs your pet's next three special attacks. Not as a big deal for Marksman as for Beast Mastery, but still a nice little buff. It's on a 1-minute cooldown and off the Global Cooldown, so you can macro it to something and mostly forget about it.

The last new skill you'll pick up in the 60s is Snake Trap. It doesn't share a cooldown with any other traps, so you can drop it in addition to the others. It'll release a bunch of little snakes which will run off (well, slither off) to attack and poison things in their vicinity. The snakes aren't always smart, and will run off to attack adds (and occasionall rats) in the area, as well. I love them; they make me giggle.

You're probably in Outland by now; you can get a decent gun in Nagrand from the Nesingwary quests, and if you go through Shadowmoon's chains, there's a nice bow.

Marksman 1-80: Level 60

Level 60

Level 60 lets you finish off the Survival talents requisite to getting Scatter Shot at 61. You can learn to ride flying mounts now at 60, at either of the starting towns in Hellfire Peninsula. If you've spurned both the Beast Mastery and Survival talents so far, level 60 is the earliest you can pick up Chimera Shot.

Skills, Level 60:
  • 60: Aimed Shot (Rank 6), Arcane Shot (Rank 8), Aspect of the Hawk (Rank 7), Deterrence, Freezing Trap (Rank 3), Mend Pet (Rank 7), Multi-Shot (Rank 5), Serpent Sting (Rank 9), Tranquilizing Shot
There are a lot of new ranks at level 60; there are only two new skills if you're waiting on Chimera Shot.

The first is Deterrence. Once upon a time, Deterrence was a Survival talent. Now it's a poor man's Evasion, buffing your Parry and give you spell deflection for 5 seconds. It's one of those things that may buy you some time to survive.

The other skill you get is Tranquilizing Shot. Once upon a time, this skill was learned from a book which dropped off Lucifron, the first boss in Molten Core. It was necessary at the time because it would remove Magmadar's Frenzy. Now it's been transformed to our Dispel, and it can remove certain enrages (Gluth's, possibly warriors' and rogues'). Very useful in PVP and for some boss fights.

Marksman 1-80: Levels 51-59

Levels 51-59

There are two ways to go with talents at this point - you can hop over to Survival to head towards Scatter Shot, or you can continue in the Marksman tree to get to Chimera faster. I've mapped out Scatter Shot first. This will also get you increased range and increased damage from having tracking on.

Skills, 51-59:
  • 52: Aimed Shot (Rank 5), Arcane Shot (Rank 7), Mend Pet (Rank 6)
  • 54: Explosive Trap (Rank 3), Multi-Shot (Rank 4)
  • 56: Aspect of the Wild (Rank 2), Immolation Trap (Rank 5), Raptor Strike (Rank 8)
  • 58: Aspect of the Hawk (Rank 6), Hunter's Mark (Rank 4), Mongoose Bite (Rank 4), Serpent Sting (Rank 8), Volley (Rank 3)
In terms of skills, the 50s are even more boring than the 40s. New ranks, but nothing new. I usually do the Jintha'alor quests in the Hinterlands around level 50-52 (trinket), then head up to the Plaguelands. If you go through all Blightcaller's quests up through killing the Scarlet Oracle, you can get yourself a pretty nice bow.

And then go to Outlands and replace it in Hellfire Peninsula, but still.

Marksman 1-80: Level 50

Level 50

The talent point for level 50 isn't flashy, but it's really handy - you can finish off Improved Revive Pet for 4 second pet resuscitation. You do pick up your second minor glyph slot, and the Feign Death is probably a good second one. If we had gone purely with Marksman talents instead of getting faster pet revives, level 50 is the earliest you can get Silencing Shot.

Skills, Level 50:
  • Serpent Sting (Rank 7), Steady Shot (Rank 1), Track Dragonkin, Volley (Rank 2)
Level 50 gets you a bread-and-butter hunter shot, Steady Shot. The cast time is 2 seconds, but when all your other shots are on cooldown, this gives you something to do on top of Auto Shot. At higher levels (the upper 70s to level cap), this shot is part of why you want to aim for the soft haste cap; getting your Steady Shot cast to 1.5 seconds lets you use it every Global Cooldown possible between your longer cooldown shots.

You also get Dragon tracking, which will be useful if you quest in zones with them, or if you want to farm for whelpling pets.

Marksman 1-80: Levels 41-49

Levels 41-49

Talents in the 40s give you some options. Improved Barrage is good to get for the removal of pushback on your Volley, and then you can get either Improved Aspect of the Hawk or Endurance Training over in the Beast Mastery Tree in order to pick up a reduced cast time on Revive Pet.

Skills, 41-49:
  • 42: Multi-Shot (Rank 3), Serpent Sting (Rank 6)
  • 44: Aimed Shot (Rank 4), Arcane Shot (Rank 6), Explosive Trap (Rank 2), Mend Pet (Rank 5), Mongoose Bite (Rank 3)
  • 46: Aspect of the Wild (Rank 1), Immolation Trap (Rank 4), Scare Beast (Rank 3)
  • 48: Aspect of the Hawk (Rank 5), Raptor Strike (Rank 7)
The 40s, like questing in the 40s can be, aren't terribly interesting. (Welcome to Tanaris. It's a big, monotonous desert. I almost always quest it out entirely, but the scenery... eh. The other option is Feralas, with the harpies. I prefer the desert.) Lots of new skill ranks; one new skill. The new skill? Aspect of the Wild, an aspect that lets you increase nature resist for you and your party/raid. Very useful for certain bosses, but not for general play.

Marksman 1-80: Level 40

Level 40

Level 40 used to be when you get your mount; now you're just going to pick up Trueshot Aura and your epic mount if you can afford it. You also learn to wear mail armor.

Skills, Level 40:
  • 40: Aspect of the Pack, Freezing Trap (Rank 2), Hunter's Mark (Rank 3), Raptor Strike (Rank 6), Track Giants, Trueshot Aura, Volley (Rank 1)
Aspect of the Pack seems dinky when you're getting your epic mount, until you realize you can use it when you're indoors. This is the "running back from the graveyard through a dungeon" Aspect, and as long as there's nothing to daze you, your party will appreciate it. Just remember to turn it back off when you get back to where you need to be.

Level 40 also gets you Giant Tracking, useful for several quests looking for wandering giants. A lot of giants in Azeroth are still roaming elites, too, so this can also be used for avoiding getting smooshed.

Trueshot Aura, your talent point, is a 10% AP boost. It is no longer a 30 minute buff, but it does still turn off when you die. It will get temperarily overwritten by Enhancement Shamans' and some Death Knights' 10% AP buff procs, making the glyph for it less useful in raids, but it's still a good buff to have overall.

Volley is your last new level 40 skill, and it is great. Even if you're leveling with a tank pet, you're probably going to be pulling aggro off it by now, but if you're careful about it, you can start doing some AoE fighting. Combine it with an Explosive Trap for extra oomph. When I was leveling my baby hunter, this is the skill I was impatient to pick up.

Marksman 1-80: Levels 31-39

Levels 31-39

Talents in the 30s are pretty flexible; I generally go with Focused Aim, Careful Aim, and Barrage. You won't have Steady Shot for a while yet, but the extra 3% to hit will help if you want to kill stuff higher level than you. As a Marksman hunter (at least till Cataclysm, when we get to learn to operate with Focus), Intellect is your friend, and more AP from it is good. Not everyone is a Barrage fan, but the damage boost on Aimed Shot is worth it.

Skills, Levels 31-39:
  • 32: Flare, Raptor Strike (Rank 5), Track Demons
  • 34: Explosive Trap (Rank 1), Serpent Sting (Rank 5)
  • 36: Aimed Shot (Rank 3), Arcane Shot (Rank 5), Immolation Trap (Rank 3), Mend Pet (Rank 4), Viper Sting
  • 38: Aspect of the Hawk (Rank 4)
New skills in the 30s aren't as flashy as some, but there some useful ones.

At level 32, you get Flare. It's been tweaked over time, in terms of both duration and cooldown, but right now it's a 20 second cooldown and a 20 second effect. It puts a flare on the ground that makes an area that will reveal stealth. Depending how a rogue or druid is specialized, it can be very useful in PVP. It's also useful for the stealthed cats and wolves you'll start running into in this level range. Oh, and those stupid stealthed infiltrators in Dustwallow... grr...

Anywho, you also pick up Track Demons at 32. Like most of the other tracking skills, the utility depends on if you're somewhere with demons. (If you run Dire Maul at level later, you can use it to keep an eye out for the patrolling Eye of Kilroggs that will summon a couple of mean Voidwalkers.)

Level 34 gets you Explosive Trap. This is an area-of-effect fire trap that will pulse for periodic damage. Now that traps are on separate cooldowns by fire/frost/nature, they're more useful, and more fun; you can drop a Frost Trap and an Explosive Trap together and have slowing plus fire.

I use a couple macros for traps to keep my bars less crowded; they're basically along the lines of:
/cast [button:1] Explosive Trap; [button:2] Immolation Trap
I have a separate one for the ice traps.

At level 36 you'll pick up Viper Sting. This is a bit more useful than it used to be, and the mana gain from it can be beneficial. Combined with Chimera Shot at later levels, it's sometimes better to use than switching into Aspect of the Viper.

Marksman 1-80: Level 30

Level 30

Level 30 isn't as exciting as it used to be; still, you can pick up Readiness with your talent point, and a second Major glyph slot is available. I'd go with whichever of Mending or Serpent Sting you didn't take at level 15.

Skills, Level 30:
  • 30: Feign Death, Mongoose Bite (Rank 2), Multi-Shot (Rank 2), Scare Beast (Rank 2)

In addition to the new skill ranks, your talent point here is probably Readiness. Readiness resets many of your hunter abilities that have cooldowns - shots, traps, Rapid Fire, Feign Death, and so forth. It's useful at the higher ends for resetting Rapid Fire for a little DPS boost, and it's useful all the time for resetting traps and Feign.

Speaking of Feign Death, you pick it up at level 30. Feign Death is what will let you sometimes get away with running through things you can't kill, or survive when the rest of your party wipes. It lets your hunter play dead. (Unfortunately, your pet will not play dead with you, so if you're trying to survive something with an area damage effect of some sort, tell your pet to go play with it while it's not by you, or otherwise send your pet somewhere else. You can always revive your pet, but you have to run back from the graveyard.)

Note that Feigning will shunt the aggro onto the next person on the aggro table, which may be your healer. Sometimes it's better for you to have the aggro if the healer can keep you up long enough to kill it. This is where knowing how to kite is more important than having Feign.

Feigning can also be resisted. Bosses in particular like to resist (or don't care if they think you're dead, they'll still hit you... one or the other). Some bosses won't reset while you're Feigning, so if you're in that situation, just stand up and die, or you'll make your party angry. (Attumen in Karazhan almost always resisted me. My best night: Feigning successfully on every Hydross attempt (about a dozen) for the three hours it took us to kill him the first time. Deaths for the night: 0 is awesome.


Ahem, #94

Totally unexpected.

Monday night I came home from gaming (D&D) and logged in to see inquiries about whether anyone else wanted in on a Darnassus raid. I had planned to just do Brewfest dailies on my alts and go to bed, but I decided to go. So! We one-shot Velen and Tyrande with 21 people with no problems, and get on the boat to Stormwind. Varian was at 9% when too many of the PVPers by the battlemasters came over and said hi.

So tonight, when we didn't have enough for an Onyxia-25 raid, we headed back to Stormwind. Varian went down this time with a raid of about 24 people.

Then we logged off in the tram.

For twenty minutes.

A few of us have Alliance toons, so we logged over to watch /trade and /localdefense. Eventually the Alliance got bored and stopped watching the tram.

So everyone logged back on after we lost Wintergrasp, and we hit Magni Bronzebeard with about 26 people. For the Horde!

Then hearthed, flew back to the Zoram Strand, went back up to Exodar and Darnassus and wiped out those bosses again.

Bears for everyone!



I think he looks rather sassy at that angle, don't you?

Yes, he's 310%, and I owe my guildies lots of props for the help over the past year - especially with Halloween and Brewfest; I can't remember at the moment whether the others required groups.

I also picked up the pink baby elekk this morning (#92 for small pets).

And, ahem, I was made guild master last night. Our GM of almost five years is crazy busy with school, and won't be able to play for much of the next... 6 months? year? Sad to see him go, even temporarily. We gave him a send-off in Booty Bay with Pirate Day going.

Second time I've inherited an online group - I got made leader of my clan on the MUD I used to play on after the previous leader quit playing. Hopefully I don't screw this up.


Race/class changes in Cataclysm

So, since I'm trying to consolidate down to one WoW-related blog and one non-WoW blog, there will be non-huntery posts here.

Anywho, I'm full on Bronzebeard. I have three toons under level 70, one being a level 66 death knight, a level 26 rogue (my bank guild toon), and a level 18 warlock. All the other toons have a profession at high levels, and I don't to transfer off my night elf hunter because I still want to be able to check the auction house over there.

The complication is that toons off Bronzebeard pretty much never see level 20. (The exception is a human paladin I transferred off when it was free, at level 36, to free up a slot. She's still 36.) I admittedly don't have a ton of interest in playing a goblin or a worgen, other than the starting zones. (I did the same thing with a draenei - starting zone, and that's about.)

No, what I want to play is a dwarf shaman.

I have an orc shaman; she's level 70, elemental, and tons of fun. I've never really played a dwarf - I have a level 2ish one somewhere, I'm sure, but I don't do anything with them. I have three hunters, two rogues, and I deleted my second priest. My warrior I'm content with having just one, and paladin just doesn't do it for me. I think these are major contributing factors to the lack of dwarf, besides that they're Alliance and I, ahem, am for the Horde.

I'll confess, part of it is the hair. My orc has the 3 foot braid, and when she casts, her hair does a flying-in-the-wind animation. Dwarf women have the same long-hair kind of options, I think, and I for some reason find the idea of a dwarf shaman intriguing.

Maybe on an RP server, but honestly, the only reason I ever talk to people on Bronzebeard is because my husband got me into a guild (which subsequently merged into a larger guild)... and I'm sure there are people in the guild who wish I would stop talking sometimes. I'm painfully shy around new people. Online I'm better, but I'm still not likely to approach people. So I'm not sure if there's a point to playing on an RP server if I'm never going to RP outside my own head.

And then there's the whole problem of my gnome (deleted at level 11) being my most-hit-on character ever. I'm wondering if a dwarf female would have similar problems.


Brief thoughts on the Cataclysm

The leveling guide will continue shortly.

In Cataclysm, hunters are going over to focus. I've heard that in the pre-release versions of WoW, focus was the planned resource system for hunters, but for one reason or another, we got switched to mana. This is probably the biggest change I saw for hunters coming out of the eventual 4.0 release; I'm looking forward to it. It'll take some relearning, but we simply have too many stats to watch right now. Cutting Int out of the equation entirely is good. I have a level 74 rogue, so I'm not unfamiliar with that style of resource.

Haste, on the other hand, will change some things. Haste will make focus regenerate faster, but since it won't affect our attack speed, that also means that our autoshot speed is probably going to be less mutable, and Rapid Fire and Improved Aspect of the Hawk procs will be more important to watch.

Attack Power on gear is going bye-bye. (/cheer) I loathed the switch from 2 AP from Agi to 1 AP from Agi and AP on gear since it happened. (From my enchanter's point of view, things are going to get... weird. All those Spellpower and Attack Power enchants are probably going away - possibly to be replaced with Agi, Int, and Str enchants? We'll find out!)

The change to talents - paring out passive stat/damage boosts for "fun" talents - should prove interesting. I play heavy MM in both my specs, and 5 more points means you should be able to invest enough into a 2nd tree for the first or second mastery bonus.

I like that we'll be coming back to Azeroth. I'm looking forward to underwater mounts. (I'm sitting at 90 pets/90 mounts right now.)


Marksman 1-80: Levels 21-29

Levels 21-29

Level 20 was busy for skills, and the rest of the 20s are no different. Rapid Killing, Go for the Throat, and Efficiency are probably good places for your talents in this level range.

Skills, Levels 21-29
  • 22: Hunter's Mark (Rank 2), Scorpid Sting
  • 24: Beast Lore, Raptor Strike (Rank 4), Track Hidden
  • 26: Immolation Trap (Rank 2), Rapid Fire, Serpent Sting (Rank 4), Track Elementals
  • 28: Aimed Shot (Rank 2), Arcane Shot (Rank 4), Aspect of the Hawk (Rank 3), Frost Trap, Mend Pet (Rank 3)
You'll pick up new skills every even level in the 20s; in addition to a new rank of Hunter's Mark, level 22 will teach you Scorpid Sting. The Vanilla version of this was a small Str/Agi reduction to the target; in the Burning Crusade it became a 5% reduced chance to hit. For normal soloing play, this is probably most useful on elites. In raid settings, this was a huge help on hard-hitting bosses that had the potential to 2-shot your tanks. (I'm looking at you, Prince Malchezaar.) It hasn't been as much of an issue in Wrath raiding, although I occasionally threw it up on Patchwerk. The Chimera Shot bonus for Scorpid Sting is a disarm effect, which can be useful in PVP.

Level 24 has a new rank of Raptor Strike, Beast Lore, and Track Hidden. Track Hidden is, ahem, basically useless. The increased stealth detection isn't nearly enough to make it useful in PVP (the rogue can still Sap you before he's in range of being seen), and the only PVE use I've ever found for it was the quest to find the Theramore spies in Dustwallow Marsh, because they blend in with the terrain too much even when you're close enough to see them, and they're neutral to you, so you have to hit them first. Beast Lore is a nice little utility spell that will give you a beast's stats, abilities when tamed, and diet in their tooltip when you mouse over them; it'll also tell you if they're tameable. So if you spot something cool and don't want to go to Petopia (because you'd have to tab out, etc.), you can pop this on the mob and see if it would be useful (oh, it's an family, I don't really want it) or if it would be a hassle to feed (cheese and fungus only?!).

Level 26 will let you learn new ranks of Aimed Shot and Serpent Sting, and you'll gain Elemental Tracking. The more exciting new spell at 26 is Rapid Fire, which your points in Rapid Killing will reduce the cooldown on by a full two minutes. You won't get a lot of use out of this skill unless you're in a stand-and-shoot situation (since the point of haste is basically Steady and Auto Shots, and you don't get Steady till 50), but for boss fights (and even some elites), the extra damage will be noticeable. When you pick up Rapid Recuperation later, your shots will cost less while Rapid Fire is active.

When you get to level 28, it begins to look more like your higher levels are going to - four new skill ranks, this time for Aimed Shot, Arcane Shot, Aspect of the Hawk, and Mend Pet. You'll also learn Frost Trap, which is your area-of-effect (AoE) ice trap. Unlike Freezing Trap, it doesn't freeze targets in its area, but slows them down. This makes it useful for kiting, and it's a staple for getting at range from enemeies in PVP.


Marksman 1-80: Level 20

Level 20

The 10's are always levels with lots of new stuff. Level 20 is no different, and really, is much more exciting than level 80, where you'll only pick up one new skill, and lots of new (expensive) ranks.

Skills, Level 20
  • 20: Aimed Shot (Rank 1), Arcane Shot (Rank 3), Aspect of the Viper, Disengage, Freezing Trap (Rank 1), Mend Pet (Rank 2)
Your level 20 talent point should go into Aimed Shot. After this, the order in which you take your talents to get up the tree isn't as pressing; you just really want to get to this shot as soon as possible. It's the hardest hitting thing you'll have till Chimera Shot (although Arcane Shot, when fully talented, can compete). Aimed Shot shares a cooldown with Multi-Shot, and it costs less mana, so you'll want to reserve Multi-Shot for when you really need to hit more than one target. It also adds a "Mortal Strike" debuff, which decreases healing taken by the target by 50%. (This refers to the classic Arms Warrior talent, Mortal Strike.)

In Vanilla WoW, and through most of the Burning Crusade, Aimed Shot was a 3-second cast and hit much harder; at one time it reset your Auto Shot timer, as well. "Clipping" Auto Shots used to be a DPS concern - losing Auto Shots to your special shots meant lower overall DPS. There was a golden period for Night Elves where it didn't break Shadowmeld until it went off, allowing Night Elf hunters to have serious ambushing capabilities in PVP. (Having played a Night Elf through that period, I will confirm that it was awesome.)

Alas, much of that is no more, and Aimed Shot is now an instant cast, 10-second cooldown, moderatly hard-hitting, Mortal Strike type ability. It's quite useful in PVP (that was much of the impetus of its change to instant Mortal Strike), and with it being an instant cast, it earns a place in the hunter shot rotation again, which it hasn't had since the days of Molten Core, save as an opener. Since you don't have Steady Shot yet, the rotation is fairly simple - just hitting Aimed and Arcane Shots whenever they're available. You're still beginning with Serpent Sting and possibly Hunter's Mark.

You may be noticing your pet not holding aggro very well, especially in the upper parts of a 0-9 range of levels. Pets learn a new rank of Growl on the 10's (automatically - pets are very low-maintenance now), so they're not pushing out as much threat as you in the upper ranges of the brackets. So when your pet dings 20 (you'll notice that your pet has its own experience bar, in his tab in your character sheet), he'll pick up a new rank of Growl and start holding on to things better again. He'll also pick up his first talent point, and get a new one on levels divisible by 4 (24, 28, etc.).

So! Besides Aimed Shot and pet skills and talents, you're going to pick up new ranks of Arcane Shot and Mend Pet, and then you have three new skills. You pick up an Aspect at level 20, the Viper. Viper is your mana regeneration skill. It used to be learned in the 60s, as it was a Burning Crusade addition to hunters; at that time, though it was a passive regeneration boost, and I basically raided exclusively in Viper. Now, though, it's a mix of active and passive, and you deal 50% damage while it's active. Basically, turn it on during down time, or when you run out, but keep Hawk up in combat otherwise.

Besides the new Aspect, you pick up Disengage, another hunter skill that has been completely redesigned since the days of Vanilla WoW. This used to be similar to the rogue's Feint - a melee attack that reduced your threat. However, it also stopped your attacks completely. It was useful in PVE - if your Feign was on cooldown, you could hit it once, maybe twice, and your pet could usually recover aggro. It was useless in PVP, though. So now, instead of reducing your threat, it flings you backwards through the air for up to thirteen yards. It is sensitive to the slope of the ground - you can't really Disengage uphill. Disengaging downhill can lead to flights much farther than thirteen yards (and falling damage). And you can disengage off cliffs, or into additional mobs. (Into lakes of fires. Ahem. I did miss the lake. But not the extra elementals...) If you're snared, you won't go anywhere.

The last new thing you get at level 20 is Freezing Trap. Freezing Trap is another ability that will, basically, save your life. If you pull multiples and you and your pet can't handle them, drop a Freezing Trap, and it'll be frozen, in a block of ice, for about 10 seconds. As your ranks increase, your Freezing Traps will last up to 20 seconds, and with the 30 second cooldown, you'll be able to chain your traps. But not yet. Traps have a 1 second arming time, so it's always good to drop the trap before you'll need it - if you're looking to pull a group, for example. It's handy in PVP as well, although its duration there is capped to 8 seconds, as most crowd-control abilities are. Combined with Disengage, which you also just picked up, Freezing Trap will be part of your arsenal in PVP to get at range.

Starting in patch 3.2, you can also learn to ride and buy your first mount. The cost is a far cry from the 100g or so it would cost you at level 40; now it'll be closer to... 4g. I would be jealous in a get-off-my-lawn kind of way if it didn't also mean my bank/auction toon will be getting a mount.

Marksman 1-80: Levels 11-19

Levels 11-19

Getting your pet quests done can easily get you a level or two, depending on your questing style. Levels 11-19 introduce a lot of your skills. You'll want to be putting your talent points into Lethal and Mortal Shots.

Skills, Levels 11-19
  • 12: Arcane Shot (Rank 2), Distracting Shot (Rank 1), Mend Pet (Rank 1), Wing Clip
  • 14: Eagle Eye, Eyes of the Beast, Scare Beast (Rank 1)
  • 16: Immolation Trap (Rank 1), Mongoose Bite (Rank 1), Raptor Strike (Rank 3), Aspect of the Cheetah
  • 18: Aspect of the Hawk (Rank 2), Multi-Shot (Rank 1), Serpent Sting (Rank 3), Track Undead
Level 12 makes your kiting easier, even though you now have a pet: you get Wing Clip, a melee attack to slow your target down. It no longer does any damage, but it's still quite useful in PVP, as well - you can use it to try to slow a flag runner in Warsong Gulch long enough for help to catch up if you can't kill it yourself. You also get another rank of Arcane Shot and learn Mend Pet. Mend Pet used to be channeled, but is now just a heal-over-time (HoT) on your pet, a vast improvement. You also learn Distracting Shot. This used to just be a high-threat shot, but it's now just an out-and-out taunt (which is important to remember much later, when you get Misdirection). Distracting Shot will be more useful to you later, when you're trying to pull mobs into a Freezing Trap, but you can also use it to pull a mob off your pet or a friend for kiting.

The Beast Mastery skills you get at level 14 are interesting, and fun to fool around with, but most of the time have limited application. Scare Beast is the most useful; you can use it to temporarily shed an extra mob, but it really shines in PVP, against druids in a Feral forms, and to a lesser degree against shamans in Ghost Wolf form. This means fearing the flag runner in Warsong Gulch. Enjoy. ;)

The other two skills you get at level 14, Eagle Eye and Eyes of the Beast, are of less frequent utility: they're basically scouting skills. As I mentioned when I was talking about glyphs, Eyes of the Beast was basically used for pulling two bosses in Molten Core, as it lets you put your sight into your pet and control it directly. (Running around on your pet, if it has Dash, and hopping all over is, admittedly, kind of fun. It can also freak out newbies unfamiliar with hunters.) Eagle Eye is similar to the shaman Farsight - you click on a distant spot of land, and your point of view is transported there. You can change your camera angle, but not move it. This is another skill that can be useful in PVP, especially places like Arathi Basin, if you're trying to find a weakly defended node to assault. All in all, though, they're more fun, or for scouting, than readily combat-useful.

At level 15 you can equip your first glyphs, one major and one minor. I'd go with either the Serpent Sting or Mending glyph for the major slot, and the Mend Pet glyph for the minor slot.

Level 16's skills are somewhat more useful - you pick up your final melee special attack, Mongoose Bite (which can crit nicely at higher levels with a slow two-handed weapon), another rank of Raptor Strike, and your first trap, Immolation Trap. Immolation trap is a single-target trap that does fire damage over time (a DoT). It's a nice bit of extra damage that keeps ticking while you're, if needed, kiting. (I'll include my trap macros when we get a second trap.) You also get Aspect of the Cheetah, which you used to have to wait till level 20 for (as of patch 3.2 - so not quite yet, but soon). Cheetah is a nice speed boost, as you won't get a mount until level 20 (as of patch 3.2 - originally it was 40, then 30), assuming you can afford it. The major detractor is that if something attacks you, you're going to get dazed. It's only a 30% boost, not the 40% shamans and druids get, but it's still quite nice.

When you reach level 18, you pick up new ranks of Aspect of the Hawk and Serpent Sting, and you get to track Undead. No, this does not include the Forsaken - they're under Humanoid tracking with the rest of your fellow players. You also pick up Multi-Shot, which is your first multi-target ability. For a long time, when Aimed Shot had a 3 second cast, Multi-Shot was in its position in the full Marksman shot rotation. Now, though, with its higher mana cost and Aimed Shot benefiting from the same talents, save Multi for actual multiple-target situations - it's especially nice in PVP, as you don't have to worry about pulling aggro off something (although you're likely to have someone in your face, regardless).

If you're playing Horde and have the Burning Crusade, doing the quest chain in the Ghostlands that leads up to "The Traitor's Destruction" will land you a nice blue bow. There doesn't seem to be an equivalent ranged weapon from quests on the Alliance side. If you don't want to hit up the Ghostlands or, alas, are playing Alliance, there's a slightly better bow from Lord Serpentis in Wailing Caverns.

Marksman 1-80: Level 10

I suppose you're all well past level 9 now. >.> Here's level 10!

Level 10

Level 10 changes the flavor of hunter-hood: Your hunter quests at level 10 will net you a pet.

Skills, Level 10
  • 10: Aspect of the Hawk (Rank 1), Serpent Sting (Rank 2), Track Humanoids, Tame Beast, Call Pet, Dismiss Pet, Feed Pet, Revive Pet
When you talk to your trainer for your skills at level 10, you'll get Aspect of the Hawk, a new rank of Serpent Sting, and Track Humanoids. You'll be using Aspect of the Hawk a lot. You'll also get your first talent point - start with Lethal Shots in Marksman so you can get to Aimed Shot by level 20.

Your trainer will also give you quests for taming pets. If for some reason you've left your native newbie zone, the local hunter trainer may not have the quest for you. Taurens need to go to Bloodhoof Village, Night Elves to Dolanaar, etc. Your trainer will give you three successive quests to tame some kind of local fauna, and then you'll get the skills to tame your own pet. Make sure you talk to both the hunter trainer and the pet trainer so that you pick up the full gamut of skills - Tame Beast, Call Pet, Dismiss Pet, Feed Pet, and Revive Pet. A lot of hunters wander around confused about the feeding process initially; it's usually because they missed the quest for the skill.

A couple pet-related macros:
/cast Feed Pet
/use 3 1
This will cast Feed Pet and select whatever food is in the specified bag slot. The location format is . Bags, from left to right, are numbered 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0 for the backpack. The slots inside the bag are labeled from the upper left-most to the bottom right-most; in a bag whose slots aren't divisible by 4 (say, a 10-slot bag), the left slot in the top row of two is slot 1. Just keep whatever food your pet likes in that slot, and when you click the button, you'll be feeding that food. If you prefer, instead of using a bag slot, you can use the name of a food, but if you have a pet like a boar or bear that eats anything and are just using randomly dropped food, the bag slot macro will be less of a hastle.
/cast [button:1] Mend Pet; [button:2] Revive Pet
This is a left-click, right click macro. I use a lot of these. This one casts Mend Pet (which you haven't learned yet) when you left click and Revive Pet (which you do have) when you right click. Even if you don't have one skill or the other, you can still use it for the other skill with the appropriate button.

Your pet is going to come with Growl, Cower, and some family-specific abilities. Petopia is an awesome source for browsing pets. Regardless of what you pick, you'll want to open your Spellbook, go to your pet's spell page, and drag Growl, Cower, and maybe some of his other abilities down onto your pet's action bar. Right clicking on an ability will toggle autocast; if there's a moving gold border around the spell, it's on autocast. You want autocast ON for Growl and OFF for Cower. (Note that in groups with a tank, the opposite is true.) Also keep your pet's basic special attack (Claw, Bite, etc.) on autocast. You can always left-click an ability to cast it, as well. Note that pet spells tend to be buggy and turn themselves back on to autocast if you don't leave them on the toolbar. This is why it's important to keep skills you don't want to use on the toolbar.


3.2 PTR notes

So, the 3.2 background downloader has started. 3.2 is probably going to pop before we down Yogg-Saron at this rate, but I guess that's ok. Hopefully Ulduar does not fall off the schedule just because something new is showing up.

Anywho! The current Hunter notes are on the PTR forums - who knows how much will actually go live, but there it is. Not much is changing that will affect Marksman talents.

  • Because of the mount changes, Cheetah will be learnable at 16.
  • Deterrence is no longer just frontal.
  • Traps only last 30 seconds before they despawn, but! They've finally broken traps out into Fire, Frost, and Nature. Explosive Frost Snake goodness!

Marksman 1-80: Levels 1-9

Because the 10's levels tend to have some major addition in terms of skills or other mechanics, I'm doing these in the pattern of 1-9, 10, 11-19, 20, etc.

Levels 1-9

As a hunter, you're going to start play with your Hearthstone, a ranged weapon, 200 units of ammunition, a 1-handed melee weapon, pants, a shirt, and possibly shoes. You'll also have a small quantity of food and water. (I don't know if you still get a quiver/ammo pouch by default, but you probably do.)

Skills, Levels 1-9
  • 1: Auto Shot, Raptor Strike (Rank 1), Track Beasts
  • 4: Aspect of the Monkey, Serpent Sting (Rank 1)
  • 6: Arcane Shot (Rank 1), Hunter's Mark (Rank 1)
  • 8: Concussive Shot, Raptor Strike (Rank 2)
Hunters begin play with two skills, Auto Shot and Raptor Strike. If your hunter has funding from another character and you want to make the trip to the mailbox, you can run over and train Track Beasts at level 1, as well. Tracking has its own mini-menu through a button on the minimap. The button is by the World Map button, and it will display what type of thing you're tracking. (You can also track certain types of vendors through this menu, in case you can't find something, like an ammo vendor.)

Depending how you have your settings, right-clicking on a target may or may not turn on Auto Shot. I believe the toggle that lets you automatically switch between ranged and melee attacks depending where your target is affects this. Having it enabled, you can turn on your Auto Shot with a right-click on the target, but you may also find yourself breaking a lot of your own traps when your target runs up to you and you automatically switch to melee. I'm a clicker, so I'll mention clicking on skills a lot, but if you're more comfortable with the keyboard, just hit the appropriate keybind.

You won't have a pet till level 10 or so, and you won't have a Freezing Trap for longer, so level 1 is a great time to practice basic kiting - especially since you're not likely to die to the mobs from the first couple quests. (And, if all else fails, you do have Raptor Strike for melee.) Target a mob, stand at maximum range (back up till the number on the skill turns red, then edge back in till it's white again), and either right-click on the mob, or click on Auto Shot, depending on your settings. The mob, of course, will come running towards you. If you don't think it's going to die before it gets to you, strafe (Q and E on the keyboard by default - I'm not sure how you do it with the mouse) to get some distance from it (you run faster than a lot of mobs unless dazed) and stop to do some more Auto Shots at it. If it gets close to you, either right-click on it to switch to melee, or click on your melee attack or Raptor Strike to switch.

Since you have no way of slowing mobs down yet, you're going to spend a lot of time meleeing. That's okay; it saves ammunition. Levels 1-3 are pretty much the same; learn Track Beasts at level 2 if you couldn't afford to at level 1. At level 4 you pick up your first Beast Mastery skill, Aspect of the Monkey (appropriately - you're meleeing a lot, so the dodge is good), and what has become a bread-and-butter Marksman skill, Serpent Sting.

Once you have Serpent Sting, get in the habit of opening with it, unless you're planning to trap (or otherwise crowd-control) the target. A lot of glyphs improve one or more of your shots when Serpent Sting is active, and when you eventually pick up Chimera Shot, Serpent Sting is a must. Once you have Serpent Sting, you can probably take Auto Shot off your action bars and almost never need it again. (Especially since clicking on skills for which you don't have the mana now turns on your Auto Shot.)

At level 5 you can learn professions, and it's also generally about when you'll finish your "newbie zone" quests, and move on to the town with the first mailbox and inn. You may have to do some traveling to get your professions if you pick something not readily available in the first town. Pick up First Aid, Cooking, and Fishing, as well, if you have the money available.

At level 6 you'll pick up Arcane Shot and Hunter's Mark. Arcane Shot is your basic magic arrow - arcane damage, instant (so castable on the run), hits fairly hard, 6 second cooldown. Once you have Arcane Shot, the basic kiting you were doing earlier becomes easier, since Arcane Shot can be use while moving. You'll basically be running, using every instant shot you can until you run out of instants or are at good range again, and stop for a short time to do some Steady and Auto Shots, and then start running again. Hunter's Mark is important if you pick up Marked for Death at higher levels, and is a good habit to get into, since the ranged AP boost is never bad. (I'm very bad about remembering to use it.)

Level 8 makes kiting even easier: you get Concussive Shot, which will daze your target for 4 seconds, slowing them down. You also get another rank of Raptor Strike.

You're probably not going to have to eat or drink much during these levels, but you'll definitely want to watch your ammo consumption. If you don't have an addon that tracks it, you'll probably want to drag your ammunition onto an action bar somewhere so you can keep an eye on how much you have. It stacks in 1000's now, so you can load up a bit without taking up too much space.

Next: Level 10


Marksman 1-80 (Part 8: Hunter Races)

It's been a while! I've been going through the process of applying to, interviewing for, and (I hope!) getting the job I've been doing for the past year. Now! Hunter races.


Your Alliance options for playing a hunter are Night Elves, Dwarves, and Draenei. (No humans, no gnomes.)

Night Elves' racial abilities are Shadowmeld (a kind of stealth during which you can't move), a reduced chance to be hit, better resistance to nature spells, and wisp form (you move faster while dead). If you're playing Alliance and want to PVP, Shadowmeld gives Night Elves another ace up their sleeve, since, combined with a cat for Prowl, your opponants won't have quite as easy a time getting the drop on you. It's also great for laying ambushes if you're on defense - a couple of Night Elves, or in combination with rogues, can lure opponents into an area by making it look unguarded. (My first character was a Night Elf.)

Dwarves' racial abilities are a bonus to hit with guns, Stoneform (increases armor and removes bleeds, poisons, and diseases), better resistance to frost spells, and Find Treasure (tracks chests and some other objects on the minimap). (They also have a bonus to maces, but since hunters can't use maces...) I've never actually played a Dwarf (mostly because I switched to Horde before I got around to it). However, some of my favorite pet models (the snow leopard, the black bear) are available in Dun Morogh. (Before Wrath, Dun Morogh was the only place to get a snow leopard.) The gun bonus is also nice. A Dwarf hunter with engineering would be able to make his/her own guns and ammunition, find chests, and blast them open with seaforium if needed. Lots of potential.

Draenei's racial abilities are Gift of the Naaru (a small heal), a bonus to party members' hit rating, a bonus to jewelcrafting, and better resistance to shadow spells. They actually begin play with crossbows, and are the only hunter race to do so. The heal and the hit rating bonus both make them a good option. (I have a level 15 or so Draenei hunter.)

Your Horde options for playing a hunter are Taurens, Trolls, Orcs, and Blood Elves. (Basically, you can't be undead.)

Taurens' racial abilites are Warstomp (an AOE stun), better resistance to nature spells, an herbalism buff, and increased hit points. Warstomp is fantastic in both PVE and PVP - you can use it to help chain Freezing Traps, or any time you need to briefly stun mobs to set up for doing something else. The herbalism buff is nice if you want to go into Alchemy or Inscription, or just for the cash. (My main is a Tauren.)

Trolls' racial abilities are Berserking (a haste boost), Da Voodoo Shuffle (reduces the duration of snares), faster hit point regeneration, a bonus to hit with bows, a bonus to throwing weapons (ahem, lol), and deal more damage to beasts. The haste boost and the bonus with bows both make Trolls an attractive option for a Marksman hunter. Faster hit point regeneration can also mean less down time. The snare reduction is fairly new, and I haven't actually tried it yet. (I have a level 13 or so Troll hunter on an RP server.)

Orcs' racial abilities are Blood Fury (an attack/spellpower boost), increased pet damage, better resistance to stuns, and a bonus to axes. Orc is the other race of hunters I haven't actually played (as a hunter, anyway). The AP boost and the increased damage both make orcs good hunter options, although the latter is more attractive to Beast Masters. The stun resistance is always nice in PVP. And a lot of good hunter weapons are axes.

Blood Elves' racial abilities are Arcane Torrent (an AOE silence which also restores some mana), a bonus to enchanting, and better resistance to spells. Blood Elves start with a larger mana pool than any other hunter race, so that favors the Marksman mana-intesity. The silence can be good both in PVE and PVP, especially before you pick up a spell interrupt through talents. (I'm currently leveling a Blood Elf hunter.)

So, none of the hunter races are particularly bad for the class, but if you're looking at a particularly niche (PVP, PVE, farming) or spec, some of them might have better perks than others.

Next up: the actual leveling guide! Woo! (Hopefully 3.2 patch notes don't make me revise more than Aspect of the Cheetah for what's already written...)


Missed Screenshots

There are quite a few screenshots I wish I'd taken, but just didn't think to at the time. (This applies to most max-level dings on my toons - I don't remember where most of them hit 60/70/80.) The one that comes to mind first, though, is the gnome in Warsong Gulch.

I used to do a lot more PVP, and despite how much I loathe it, I was, for whatever reason, in WSG. I think I was actually on my priest at the time, probably around level 59, probably getting marks for her level 60 undead pony.

Anyway, I'd just run into the Alliance base via the upper upstairs door, heading for the balcony. I was in that space between the balcony and the ramp when a little female gnome mage pops out. Now, my priest has always been mostly Discipline with a good deal of Holy, and this was well before the healing/spellpower change. She did most of her WSG by healing the flag runner, or running it herself until she died and someone else could pick it up.

The mage almost immediately sheeped me, and then, as I'm wandering around all sheepy-like, she pulled out a rocket launcher.


I so wish I'd gotten a screenshot of that.


Marksman 1-80 (Part 7: Pets)

Ok, back to the guide! This time...


Being a Marksman hunter, your pet isn't going to be as tough or do as much damage as a Beast Master's pet. Although a pet with the Tenacity tree may make leveling easier, it's not hard-and-fast required. (I've been using a tallstrider with my current baby hunter because it's a pretty blue.)

Your best source for pet information is Petopia. Between the skill information and the gallery, you can pick a pet that will fit your preferred playstyle and your taste. There are 11 cunning pet families, 11 ferocity, and 10 tenacity.

I haven't leveled with a broad variety of pets - I used a cat 1-70 on my night elf, a wolf 1-70 and a bear 70-80 on my tauren, and my blood elf has used a cat, crab, and tallstrider at varying points. I've played at some point with a cat, wolf, bear, tallstrider, crab, and hyena (and dabbled at one point with a boar and a spore bat), but other than taming most things once or twice for skill ranks (way, way back), I haven't done much with the rest.

At the upper end, for raiding, you'll want a wolf. Their AP buff now stacks with other AP buffs (Might, Battle Shout), but is hunter/pet only. That's okay - it's enough to give them a competitive edge over a cat. Cats are still solid DPS, and the difference in output between a cat and a wolf isn't huge. Noticeable, but not enough that you're likely to catch flak for it.

For soloing, the bear's swipe, combined with Thunderstomp at higher levels, makes group pulls easier. (Note that the bear will indiscriminately break your traps if you let him Swipe at will, though.) The crab's Pin and the hyena's Tendon Rip both help keep things at range longer. (The crab is sturdier, though.) The tanking pets are good for quite a lot of group quests if you have a healer with you - the bear tanked the Headless Horseman multiple times at 67 or 68.

If you're a Night Elf, Shadowmeld + Prowl (cat) never really gets old in PVP. It's not as sweet as when Aimed Shot was a 3 second cast and didn't break your stealth till it went off, but it's still nice. Tenacity pets, though, do generally fare better in PVP, just from their survivability. Cunning pets aren't bad (I hear the spider's Web is nice), but are a bit squishier.

Pet talents start at 20; there are several good combinations, but these are the ones I tend to use:
Note that I don't put points into the pet happiness talents in ferocity; I do in tenacity because it's an extra threat talent. I have the Mend Pet glyph (happiness from healing), and I always have food on me, so I figure it's a waste of points that could go to a better DPS boost. If pet happiness drops to yellow in combat, I just toss up a Mend Pet. I don't have talents for a cunning pet up because I don't have any, but you can easily gear them towards damage (Wolverine Bite, Feeding Frenzy, etc.) or utility (Roar of Recovery, etc.).

Regarding food, bears eat everything - you can toss them whatever random food you find while questing, and it's all good. Crabs are a bit pickier, but they'll do fish, so if you're fishing, you should be all set. Most pets eat meat, and if they don't eat meat, they probably don't eat fish (crabs and turtles are the exception) and will eat everything else (bread, cheese, fruit, fungus). There are some oddballs out there, but Petopia's got a good table if food type is important to your pet choosing process.

Current stables:
  • Duskhawk: wolf, bear, cat, hyena, tallstrider (wolf for raiding, bear for soloing)
  • Duskmoon: wolf, cat, crab, tallstrider (crab for soloing, wolf for instances)
  • Mabs: cat (she's only ever used the cat)
Next up, a brief analysis of hunter races, and then, the real fun: levels 1-9.


3.1.3 Hunter Notes

The first 3.1.3 patch notes are floating around out there, and the two hunter items are both nice for Marksman:
  • Hunter's Mark: The ranged attack power bonus from this ability has been increased from 300 to 500.
  • Master Marksman: This talent now also decreases the cost of Aimed Shot and Chimera Shot by 5/10/15/20/25%.
I'm curious to see if the changes to Master Marksman will be enough to let me move 2 points from Efficiency into Combat Experience. I'm pretty sure the increased Agi and Int will be a larger DPS increase if the mana consumption isn't too bad.


Marksman 1-80 (Part 6: Professions & Secondary Skills)

This time I'm going to go over what may be my real obsession, professions. I'll talk a bit about the secondary skills, as well.

Profession Notes

Hunters benefit reasonably well from leatherworking, engineering, jewelcrafting, alchemy, and enchanting. Inscription is useful to a lesser extent, but the offhands aren't really focused on a hunter, so you're probably better off buying your glyphs, unless you're doing inscription for the money. Blacksmithing produces some mail, and some useful weapons, but not enough to warrant taking it yourself. Tailoring makes bags, but the rest of what it produces isn't likely to be useful to you. If you specialize your leatherworking, dragonscale is the mail specialization. Whether you go goblin or gnomish engineering is mostly a matter of whether you want the sapper charges or the gnomish gadgets. Alchemy specialization depends more on what you want extras of.

Leatherworking is a good choice for making your own armor, and is fantastic for self-sufficiency while leveling. It will produce armor kits for you, and give you bracer fur linings, even after you upgrade beyond what you can craft. Several of the crafting bags are made by leatherworking, as well. If you specialize, Dragonscale makes mail.

Engineering is good if you want to make your own ammunition and/or weapons (guns) while leveling. It also produces an array of gadgets, trinkets, and explosives which can assist you while soloing. (The goblin landmine can render you a bit over-powered in the 30s and 40s.) Goblin and Gnomish are probably equally useful, and the difference is negligible at the upper levels. Engineering also makes scopes, which come in damage, crit, hit, and haste flavors. (You'll have to farm Molten Core for the hit scope schematic if you want it, though.) Seaforium charges aren't as important in Northrend, but going into Dire Maul (North) you'll probably want them to get to the last couple bosses, as well as in Shattered Halls to avoid the slime tunnel. (Seaforium will also open chests and lockboxes.)

Jewelcrafting will make you, at lower levels, mostly rings, necklaces, trinkets, and little statues that will heal you. The statues that heal you are pretty awesome - it's like a bandage you don't have to channel yourself. At the upper end, you'll get some of the best gems, and be able to make some awesome rings and necklaces. Gems are also perennial best-sellers on the auction house, for a ready source of cash.

Alchemy provides healing potions, mana potions, elixirs, flasks, a few miscellaneous concoctions, transmutes, and a handful of trinkets. The trinkets (at least a philosopher's stone, initially, and later upgrades of it) are required for transmutes - they also have decent stat boosts, and enhance your regenerative potions. Alchemists get potions specific to them which act like a rejuvination potion, plus give a random elixir buff. Some alchemy products sell well at auction. Specialists have a chance to create extra items.

Enchanting is useful because you can crunch all those greens you get while questing to either buff your own armor or sell for cash. Enchants can be put on scrolls and auctioned now, so it's a little easier to make cash without hanging out in town, but scrolls don't sell as readily as you might think. (It's a paradigm shift that hasn't quite happened.)

The gathering professions - skinning, mining, and herbalism - are easily paired with a crafting profession to provide materials, or can be used as a source of income. Mining and herbalism are both more lucrative than skinning right now, although arctic furs sell very nicely.

Secondary Skills

Cooking, Fishing, and First Aid are all useful to a hunter. Don't sell your cloth until you max that type of bandages. (I know, I know... wool is insanely overpriced in the auction house, but you can get money much more easily, later, with the oodles of mageweave you'll be getting.)

With the changes to out of combat mana regeneration, hunter mana regen is even worse than it's been in the past. So while you're probably going to be spending a bit of time in Viper, you're also probably going to be drinking quite a bit, especially if your health is down, too. In other words, you're going to be eating a lot. Cook your food for buffs; eventually you'll be able to make pet buff food, too.

You can talent your pet to not need food often, but sometimes it's still faster to just toss your pet a piece of food to make him happy. Fishing can both give you ready pet food for several popular pet families and give you access to nice buff food. You can fish anywhere at any level now - you may not catch anything useful, but you can skill up fishing wherever your fancy takes you now.

Next up: pets. (Yes, pets. You're still a hunter.)


Marksman 1-80 (Part 5: Glyphs)

So far we've gone over talents, stats, and gear. This time:


Hunters have a lot of major glyphs and... 6 minor glyphs.

Picking 3 minor glyphs is easy: Feign Death, Mend Pet, Revive Pet.

Revive Pet basically means less kiting, more pewpewing, and the glyph for it means you're getting it off in no more than four seconds (once you talent for it). Mend Pet means you're not feeding your pet as much, which will either save or make you money, depending how you get your pet food. Feign Death's shorter cooldown makes it easier for you to push aggro back onto your pet (or bail if things go really badly), which again cuts down on kiting time. I'd probably pick up Mend Pet first, and then either of the other ones next.

The other three really just aren't as useful. Scare Beast might be if you do a lot of PVP (where feigning really isn't as useful), and the Pack glyph may have situational uses (I've heard something about Yogg-Saron's brain), but really doesn't apply that much. The glyph of Possessed Strength is just... well... odd. The only thing Eyes of the Beast was ever useful for (besides prowled cat scouting) was pulling Baron Geddon and Shazzrah in Molten Core back into Garr's room where there was more room to maneuver. So, yeah... probably best to just skip those three for most purposes.

Major glyphs aren't as cut-and-dried; you have 27 options.

Glyph of Serpent Sting is important once you get Chimera Shot, because more Serpent Sting damage means bigger Chimera Shots. Glyph of the Hawk is also a solid DPS boost in group settings when you can mostly stand and shoot during your Hawk procs, to take advantage of the haste. It's probably not as useful for soloing, due to the amount of movement minimizing the boost (from extra auto shots) from the haste. Glyph of Steady Shot is also good during group play - more stand and shoot time, so more Steady Shots, and you'll rarely not have Serpent Sting up. Reduced cooldown glyphs are popular (Chimera, Aimed, Kill Shot), but are mostly a boost in fights where you can't stand and shoot; the Steady Shot glyph and the Hawk glyph will net a larger DPS gain in fights where standing still is viable. The overall net DPS for a raid may be about the same.

Those are mostly end-game glyphs, however. The Serpent Sting glyph is probably useful regardless of level; some of these may suit you better outside the raiding environment:
  • Arcane Shot: The mana return may be good for soloing, especially at lower levels where higher level glyphs aren't available yet.
  • Freezing Trap: Especially nice for PVP.
  • Mending: Increased healing means your pet lives longer - with a tenacity pet, may be especially nice for soloing.
  • Trueshot Aura: Better for solo play than group play - some of the other +10% AP buffs seem to overwrite the aura when they proc, minimizing this glyph's usefulness in groups with those classes; the DPS gain is about the same as that of the Glyph of Steady Shot, however, and given the more mobile aspect of soloing, the Trueshot Glyph is probably more useful.
Other glyphs may be of use to you depend on your play style, but most of the others are either better for other specs, or just not very useful.

Next up: Professions (and secondary skills).


Marksman 1-80 (Part 4: Gear Notes & Gems)

Having covered stat priorities for Marksman, next up is gear and gems.

Gear Notes

Marksman hunters, especially now that they get AP from Int via Careful Aim, should look for "of the Falcon" (Agi/Int) gear while leveling. Marksman has always been a mana-intensive playstyle, as well, so you'll want the mana, anyway. (The "of the Falcon" mail is stupidly expensive on the Bronzebeard Horde auction houses right now.) After that, Monkey (Agi/Sta) is the best option, then Tiger (Agi/Str), Wolf (Agi/Spi), or Eagle (Int/Sta). Straight up Agility or Attack Power doesn't hurt, either. Crit is good for a Marksman. You're not going to find much hit rating gear while leveling, so don't worry about that until you start getting closer to the top-end dungeons. I'd prioritize gear as Agi/AP, Crit, Int, Sta until you get to the point where hit rating and haste start to appear.

Ranged weapons are kind of spotty in old world leveling - they crop up a lot more (and in a lot more variety) once you get to Outland and Northrend. Questing, you'll find one every ten levels or so; if you run instances at level, you'll probably find upgrades more often. There are more bows than guns, but they're both fairly common; there are about half as many crossbows as either bows or guns, though. If you're not particular about which you use, you can carry some of either kind of ammunition and just switch as needed.

Bows: List from low to high
Guns: List from low to high
Crossbows: List from low to high

Your melee weapons are basically stat sticks. Don't worry much about two-handed versus dual-wielding; just go for the best combination of stat boosts you can get out of them.


Gems are mostly a reflection of your stat priorities. You'll of course want to meet the requirements for any meta gems first. If you don't care about your socket bonuses, gem for AP.

NOTE, 9/6/09: Agi has supplanted AP for some reason. I'm not sure on the math, but when AP goes bye-bye in 4.0, it's not going to matter anyway. I believe it has to do with more crits = more Piercing Shots procs, and more bleed damage is more damage.
  • Red Gems: AP. If for some reason you can't immediately get an AP gem, an Agi gem is good in a pinch.
  • Yellow Gems: Hit if you're not capped, crit if you are.
  • Blue Gems: Don't get a purely blue gem. Pick up a green or purple gem instead.
  • Orange Gems: AP/crit, AP/hit, depending on your hit rating. Similar to red gems, if you can't for some reason get an AP version, there are Agi versions to substitute until you can.
  • Purple Gems: AP/Sta. There are Agi/Sta, AP/mp5, and Agi/mp5 gems if you can't get the AP/Sta one right away.
  • Green Gems: Sta/crit, Sta/hit, depending on your hit rating.
Next up: Glyphs.

Marksman 1-80 (Part 3: Stats)

I'm going to talk about gear next, so first I should probably talk about stats.


Hunters all generally look for the same stats: Agility (Agi), Intelligence (Int), Stamina (Sta), Attack Power (AP), Critical Strike Rating (crit), Hit Rating (hit), Haste, and Armor Penetration (not worth abbreviating). For PVE, a Marksman hunter looks for them in basically this order:
  • Hit rating, until you reach 8%; this is about 165 hit rating with 3 points in Focused Aim at 80. This can mostly be ignored till you get past 70, at which point you'll want to start watching more for gear with hit rating. Leveling gear has pretty much none.
  • Attack Power, but make sure you watch AP contribution from all sources when comparing gear. You get 1 point of AP per point of Agi (this was nerfed down from 2:1 I think in the 2.0 patch; it was towards the end of Vanilla WoW one way or anther); you should also be getting 1 point of AP per point of Int. If you're looking for a net gain in AP when you switch gear, make sure you calculate for the Agi and Int, as well. Sometimes prioritizing for AP means using pieces with less straight AP and more Agi and Int, because the overall AP gain is larger. Valuing pure AP over Agility is mostly true for gems and enchants; in straight up determination of gear, you'll want to take your crit rating into consideration.
  • Agility, since it contributes both AP and crit. While leveling, you may want to value Agi over AP for it's crit contribution.
  • Critical Strike Rating, since a Marksman hunter is a crit junkie. You should be getting 10% from talents by the time you get towards the end of the tree, so you're going to want to aim for a minimum of 30% on your character sheet at 80. You'll have more like 12% at around level 50.
  • Intelligence, since it contributes AP and mana. You will always be a mana-reliant spec as a Marksman, so don't neglect it. (I used to enchant for it when BM was the favored spec and Int was scarce on hunter gear.)
  • Haste, since your goal is 1.5 second cast Steady Shots (they used to be, until they were tweaked to be 2 second casts). The "soft cap" - the point at which you get 1.5 second Steady Shots just from haste contribution from gear - is 522 or 523, however you want to interpret the math. You're probably not going to see haste from gear until you get to Northrend, which is okay - you're probably going to be moving enough that you won't get the full benefit from it until you're doing dungeons regularly. Besides, 5 points in Improved Aspect of the Hawk with the Hawk glyph will more than haste cap you when it procs. Any extra haste just means extra Auto Shots (which is nothing to sneeze at - they add up); hunters' global cooldown can't be shortened from 1.5 seconds.
  • Stamina, since it helps keep you and your pet alive. It's not something to ignore, but not something to stack for over things that make you hit harder or faster or more often.
  • Armor Penetration, since hunter damage is mitigated so much by armor, isn't something to ignore; it's also not terribly common until you get to Northrend, and not worth stacking in the place of AP/Agi/Int/crit. If you're at the haste cap, you probably would benefit from picking up some armor penetration.
In PVP, you're going to favor Stamina, resilliance, crit, and AP, in some order - there's only so much PVP gear, and it's all gotten through PVP anyway, so there's not a lot of debate about what pieces to pick up. You're probably going to be gemming for resilliance.

You don't need to worry about Strength or Spirit. If you see gear with Str and Agi on it, it's really meant for a melee DPS class. It's not terrible for you if it's the best you can get at the time, but you'll want to be looking for a way to upgrade to more useful stats. Spirit isn't common enough on hunter gear to be worth stacking, and our out-of-combat mana regen is terrible enough that it's just never going to be feasible to improve through Spi. You can also ignore Spellpower entirely, in all its flavors; it's not going to do anything for us. Spell penetration is similarly pointless (although it may still interact with some trap mechanics, that will eventually be fixed).

Marksman 1-80 (Part 2: Detailed Marksman Talent Notes)

Continuing the Marksman 1-80 information... This time I'm going to go through the Marksman tree's talent options.

Detailed Talent Notes

Improved Concussive Shot: Dazing talents can be nice while soloing (easier kiting), but when they took the stun proc off Improved Concussive Shot, I dropped the points from the talent. The stun was its entire appeal to me. But if you don't like some of the talents I've taken, they're not terrible choices for leveling.

Focused Aim: Although you might not pick it up right away, this is worth getting especially after you pick up Steady Shot at level 50. While soloing, you're more likely to have something jabbing at you while you're trying to cast it. The 3% hit rating is good as well, especially at higher levels when you're trying to get hit capped.

Lethal Shots: 5% crit is a must. Your first talent points will probably going here.

Careful Aim: Another talent you'll want eventually (your intelligence will be a solid AP boost), even if you don't get it right away.

Improved Hunter's Mark: Depending how much you like Hunter's Mark, this will buff it and make it cost nothing. There are better places to put your talents.

Mortal Shots: Increased crit damage is good. You need this to get Aimed Shot. Marksman hunters are big on crit.

Go for the Throat: This talent will keep your pet growling (or boost its DPS), dependent partly on your crit rating for usefulness. You'll want it for soloing to help keep stuff off you and on your pet.

Improved Arcane Shot: This is a talent you'll want to pick up at some point for the DPS boost. Arcane will be part of your rotation.

Aimed Shot: A must in the Marksman world. A mortal strike debuff for PVP, an instant, still somewhat hard-hitting shot. (Admittedly, it crits at 80 for about what it did at 70 when it was still a 3-second cast. Our burst is gone, but you still want the shot.)

Rapid Killing: This talent is useful for leveling in the next-shot damage boost you get from killing something. It's useful at the higher levels for the 3-minute cooldown on Rapid Fire.

Improved Stings: Something you'll want eventually - increased Serpent damage is increased Chimera damage.

Efficiency: Efficiency is a much debated talent - soloing, you'll want it. If you end up raiding at higher levels with persistent replenishment buffs, you can probably drop it. (I still have it in my raiding spec.)

Concussive Barrage: See Improved Concussive Shot. Not bad for PVP, not bad for kiting. You can't daze much of anything in a raid environment, so it's pretty useless there.

Readiness: This used to be a Survival talent; when they took Scatter Shot from us, this is what we got instead. It is awesome. This is a spare trap, back-to-back Rapid Fires, double Kill Shots, an emergency Feign, or whatever else you suddenly find yourself needing that's on cooldown. Plus, you want Trueshot Aura, right?

Barrage: This is another much debated talent, along with its followup. Its usefulness is partially going to be determined by whether or not you're using Aimed Shot in your rotation. (You should be.)

Combat Experience: A nice, solid talent. The extra Agility and Int are always nice. If I ever freed up any points in either of my specs, this is where they would go.

Ranged Weapon Specialization: 5% more damage is 5% more damage.

Piercing Shots: The bleed is a nice damage boost, and it'll keep rogues from restealthing. ;) (It's not a magic effect - it can't be Cloaked.)

Trueshot Aura: 10% AP boost is great. Death Knights and Enhancement Shamans can proc an equivalent buff, but this is persistent, and always useful.

Improved Barrage: Like its prerequisite, a debated talent. I love it for the uninterruptible Volley, and the crit boost is solid.

Master Marksman: This used to be an AP buff; now it's 5% crit and cheaper Steady Shots. Go for it.

Rapid Recuperation: A good leveling talent in conjunction with Rapid Killing, and nice for raiding because of its Rapid Fire component. I like it.

Wild Quiver: This is a nice damage boost - nature damage, to boot, so I believe it's not affected by armor as much.

Silencing Shot: Nice for soloing and PVP, and since it's off the global cooldown, you can use it as an extra damage pop in raiding, too. Also nice for instances and such where you have a caster you want to pull closer.

Improved Steady Shot: Not a bad talent, although you'll get more of a DPS boost out of Wild Quiver. Better for raiding than soloing, where you'll be in combat long enough to both get and use the proc.

Marked for Death: A good DPS boost if you remember to use Hunter's Mark. If you don't get it for a soloing spec, you'll want it for a raiding spec.

Chimera Shot: This will be your hardest hitting shot when you get it (besides Kill Shot). This is why you want to buff Serpent Sting as much as possible - the Serpent proc will easily keep this shot doing 5-8k on crits at 80.


Marksman 1-80 (Part 1: General Talent Notes)

I'm going to do this in chunks, because I've been writing it out and it's getting long. This won't be so much of a leveling guide as a Marksman guide. Leveling is pretty general - go to zones where you can get quests and don't die immediately walking out of town, and kill mobs and do quests. Leveling as a Marksman in particular, on the other hand, means knowing what you want for talents, what your skills are useful for, and what kind of gear you should be using. So then:

Marksman 1-80

A lot of people level as Beast Mastery. It's easy - send in the pet, turn on Auto Shot, let the pet do all the work. Marksman doesn't have to be hard, though. Leveling as a Marksman hunter can help you develop some skills useful later in the game, since you can't always count on your pet or your tank to hold every mob in a pull (and sometimes you don't want them to, either). Kiting and chain trapping will always be more in the realm of Survival, just because they have talents built towards minimizing snares on the hunter and maximizing traps. These skills can, however, be learned and developed as a leveling Marksman hunter.

General Talent Notes

I run with two Marksman builds; one is geared towards a generalist playstyle - soloing, casual PVP, instances - and the other is focused on raid DPS output. The former is the one you'll want to look at for a leveling or soloing build - 7/53/11. You'd probably want to do Marksmanship talents first until around when you've got Improved Barrage filled out, then pick up probably the Survival talents to get Scatter Shot. (Or, if you're impatient, toss the 7 points into Beast Mastery for a faster pet revive.)

Soloing Spec (7/53/11)
Raiding Spec (2/62/7)

Survival talents: Scatter Shot is fantastic in solo and small group play - it's short term crowd control, which you can use either to extend locking down a mob until your trap cooldown is back up, or use it to get a mob off your healer or a clothie until you can either get it trapped, or your tank picks it back up, or you can hit it with enough damage to pull it off to kite it. It's also another spell interrupt, and lasts long enough for most of a fast pet revive. Improved Tracking (5% more damage against most mobs), Hawkeye (another 6 yards of range), and Survival Instincts (4% less damage taken and 4% more crit for Arcane and Steady Shot) are good ways to get there.

Beast Mastery talents: Improved Revive Pet is awesome. If you're mostly soloing and your pet doesn't hold aggro well (and after a while, it probably won't, if your gear keeps up), use Endurance Training (10% more pet health, 5% more health for you) to get it, instead of Improved Aspect of the Hawk (10% chance to proc a haste boost) - you'll probably be kiting too much while soloing to really take advantage of the haste proc.

Next up: A more detailed look at Marksman talents.