Sunday, June 3, 2012

How not to be a huntard, not an exhaustive list

I love playing my hunter. Pew-pewing mobs while my pet holds them at bay makes me happy. However, I am more nervous playing my hunter in dungeons than I am with any other toon, not because I am unsure of how to play her, but because of other player's attitudes. I fear the dreaded slur "huntard." You see, everyone makes mistakes, especially in the relatively high-pressure environment of a dungeon or raid. But if you are a hunter, you will be held to a higher standard, and any mistake you make will be called out and ridiculed. The minute you zone into an instance, it is likely that other players will be watching you and waiting for a screw-up, which they will make you aware of in the snottiest way possible. For example, I ran Throne of the Four Winds on my priest this weekend, and before we hit even a single mob, the tank asked a hunter if he was "a huntard who is going to pull for me" or something to that effect. So as a hunter, your class alone means that you will be singled out for added scrutiny, and any flaws in your performance noted with disdain and perhaps even a kick.

So, you must make extra certain not to make mistakes when playing your hunter. As the dork tank's comment above reveals, the most typical mistakes involve pulling unwanted mobs, and this most often happens with your pet. Perhaps "huntards" should more accurately be called "pet-tards," as our pets are usually the ones screwing up. So learning how to better control your pet will keep it from embarrassing you in a group.

Before you even get into a dungeon, make sure that you have filled out the talent tree for your pet (press N and select "Pet Talents" tab). This is particularly important if you like to tame new pets like I do, as each one joins your stable with an empty talent tree. Without the points assigned, your pet won't do near the damage it is capable of (BTW, a good place for pet builds would be a website like Warcraft Hunter's Union or something similar).

First up is pet stance. Put your pet on passive (the little baby seal icon indicated by the white arrow). When in passive, your pet will only attack a target when you send it there, and not move on to other mobs in the area. This is a little inconvenient as your pet will run back and forth between you and a pack of enemies, but will prevent pulling any extra mobs in the area.

To make this process a bit easier, I use a macro that I found on WowWiki. The macro casts Hunter's Mark, sends my pet to attack, and begins my autoshot all in one keypress. I have the macro bound to my 1 key as it is always my first move:

/cast Hunter's Mark
/cast Auto Shot

To make the macro, press Esc in game, click the Macro button, and paste this text into the box. You can make an icon for the keybind too; I use the Hunter's Mark icon with the word GO added. After you've made your icon, drag it into your action bar and you're good to go.

The pet stance picture above also indicates with a black arrow the proper aspect for most dungeoning: Aspect of the Hawk. I haven't found much need to use the other aspects with Gallore, so Hawk is always on for her and not a problem.

The next thing to keep track of is whether your pet has any aggro-generating ability such as Growl. If so, turn this off for dungeons, as the tank would like to keep aggro thankyouverymuch. If present, Growl is represented in your pet action bar by an open beast mouth icon as shown by the white arrow, and is often auto-cast by your pet as indicated by the gold sparkly frame. So you will need to right click on Growl to turn it off for dungeons (but don't forget to turn it back on when you go back to questing!).

The next thing is perhaps the trickiest to manage, and the one I still forget from time to time. If your group is taking a shortcut to sneak past mobs, such as jumping onto a staircase from above for example, you must dismiss your pet first. Why? Because your dumb pet doesn't understand the whole shortcut thing, and will run the regular way to your location dragging every mob it passes with it. Dismissing your pet prior to taking such a shortcut will prevent you from receiving a great deal of grief from the rest of your party.

The last thing I would caution against is not something specific to hunters, but again, since your hunter will be up for special scrutiny, it's good to try to avoid making this mistake. When using an AOE strike against a pack of mobs (Multishot for example), make sure that there are no additional non-aggroed mobs behind them. Hitting a peripheral mob with a Multishot counts as HUNTER PULLS OMG and will get people's panties in a bunch. I actually have this problem much more frequently when using Chain Lightning with my shaman, so I assume any AOE damage ability may occasionally pull unwanted mobs.

That's it for my little hunter guide! Looking back over what I've written, it's clear that the topic gets me a little riled up. This is probably because I have a little hypothesis as to why hunters get so much grief in WoW, mainly:

Whether true or not, the perception seems to be that hunters are played by females, perhaps younger females, and this may be why some players feel that they can get away with abusing them in game. However, there is also a perception that hunters are an easier class to play (I don't agree with that), and so more likely played by new players. Either way, rage-prone players sense weakness in hunters, and subject them to worse treatment than I have ever seen or experienced on any of my other toons. I don't know what the solution to this is, aside from making hunters so OP that everyone is happy to see one join their group...


  1. I think they did that 2 patches ago, made hunters so OP that everyone wanted them again. It's funny how times change :)

  2. Your conjecture on why hunters are disliked is pretty empty. If you want real reasons, here's a short list:
    - Hunters have to live with the historic reputation of 'everything is hunter loot'. It's a joke now, but it was true for a long time, partly because...
    - Hunters are often recommended as the 'easy class', and thus rolled by new players who don't know what's good for them or understand the ettiquette of rolling. They're the 'easy class' because...
    - At low levels hunters are OP, and at all levels they have a few nice survivability tools. A well-played hunter is a massive frustration to anyone in a low- to mid-level BG, and their default setup gives them an edge in questing. But...
    - Their default setup has a tendency to cause parties grief. It's easy for a hunter to pull at range accidentally simply by right-clicking, something no other class does, and automatically targetting the next closest mob when your enemy dies had to be fixed earlier in cata because of the wipes it was causing. And all pets have Growl turned on by default. But speaking of pets...
    - In an expansion that removed any flavour content from all but one class, Blizzard had the gall to introduce content for that one class only. Crystalline tears of loyalty are a poor joke, and I personally want to thoroughly desecrate the home of whoever thought those and the hunter-only spiders in molten front were a good idea. Which leads into...
    - The idea that hunters are Blizzard's favourites, and so they get judged much more harshly by those of us who aren't favoured sons. Let's be honest, when your class can bring any buff or the best raid cooldown - supposedly as a balance measure - that's pretty much the designers admitting that they balance around the assumption you've got a hunter to fill in the blanks.

    That'll do for a start, but I suggest you take a look at the history and current perception of the class before making ridiculous remarks essentially boiling other players down to boys pulling the girls' hair in the playground. Some folks don't take kindly to that sort of thing.

  3. @iinteger- I did mention "hunter as the new player class" as a possible reason why they get such animosity in game, but I didn't remember the "hunter loot" issue until after I posted. Still, I generally feel that noob mistakes aren't a reason to get all up in someone's grill, as there are better ways to handle those problems than with abuse. I totally agree that the default setup has issues that make mistakes more likely, so that was what I primarily focused on in the post.

    I take your point that my suggestion that hunter-hate contains some undercurrent of sexism has little hard data to support it; that's why I labeled it a hypothesis in my post. But it's hard for me to understand how even all of the reasons you outlined above could generate such animosity for hunters specifically out of all of the other classes. The anti-hunter behavior I have witnessed in-game is so mean-spirited and nasty, it's hard not to tie it to something bigger outside of the game.

    1. In a perfect world, noob mistakes wouldn't be cause for animosity... but we're talking about a world where players' goals generally require them to regularly get dumped in a little sandbox with other people that they know nothing about, and meeting every mistake with a lesson instead of a barb quickly becomes frustrating. Many people don't want to be helped or simply don't care.

      Any class that appears favoured catches a lot of flak - see for instance frost mages in the PvP forums. As for the degree of animosity... remember that the hunter problems are *legitimate* and have been ruining groups for a long, long time. We're mostly talking core mechanics that haven't really changed.

      That means that huntards have been acceptable targets for long enough that it's developed its own momentum and become (arguably) part of the class identity... warlocks are elitists, paladins are ADD facerollers and hunters are huntards. After what, 8 years? of this, and absolutely everyone playing having experienced hunter-related mishaps, casual disdain and harsh dismissal from some people are pretty much a reality of the class.