By James Rolan
Trying to figure out the best leveling spec for hunter? We’ll discuss the two viable choices for a strong leveling spec, and what you need to do to make them really shine!
The first option is the simpler to play and less gear dependant Beast Mastery. BM hunters have respectable damage even in mediocre gear, which is handy for leveling as many players can’t afford to stay geared to the teeth. Second, the pet has improved aggro and tanking skills, meaning you don’t have to spend a lot of time Feign Death-ing and kiting. For a good BM leveling spec, focus on utility for your pet and improving your pets damage; your damage is important, but you REALLY want your pet doing as much as possible to improve its aggro. Mana isn’t as big a deal, since your pet does good damage and with Improved Aspects your damage in Viper Stance isn’t too bad.
The other possible choice for best leveling spec for hunter is Marksmanship. Marksmanship is capable of far more damage than BM, but your pet will be strained to hold aggro. You’ll want something with a pin or snare, like a crab or Hyena, and you’ll need good timing for abilities like Feign Death and Deterrence, so you can dump aggro and kite without loosing damage. If you do pull it off, though, Marksmanship is incredibly strong. Focus on talents that improve your shots and stings, and prioritize mana efficiency the most; the less time you spend in Viper Stance the better. Marksmanship is also a lot stronger in the potential gear department, as you get attack power from Intelligence, meaning Int gear is far better; of note is the Heirloom mail gear, which is okay for other hunters but completely amazing for Marksmanship thanks to a large dose of Int.
Hope this article helped you figure out which spec to go for. If you’re looking to level quicker, check out my comparison review of the top leveling guides and find yourself a good one – addons and the in-game quest tool don’t really compare.