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