Congratulations, you have chosen to play a Hunter. If this is the first time you have played a Hunter you should find this information helpful to help get you going. Here we will give a general overview of basic Hunter play and some points on getting your Hunter on it's way too the higher levels A.S.A.P.
The World of Warcraft Hunter is kind of the overseer or baby sitter of the group. The Hunter is often used to attract foe's from a distance and draw them close to the group to divide and conquer. The Hunter is in charge of watching over the group, warning them of incoming foe's and keeping the group out of harms
way. Although the Hunter is unable to heal himself or resurrect himself, the Hunter stays clear of melee combat and is usually at the back of the group being defended by the other players in the group.
As a Hunter you will often be expected to store food and ammunition in your inventory and keep track of stuff like mobs, patrols and aggro. But the Hunter doesn't just sit in the background. The Hunter is the long range weapon expert and is the only character that can rapidly fire long range weapons using the Auto Shot skill. The Hunter also is the beast master of World of Warcraft, befriending wild pets to fight along side them.
The Hunter can be a challenging character to play in the beginning but it is a very powerful class that is easy to level up and considered to be very valuable to any group when played correctly.
Some points to consider when choosing a Hunter race:
When playing a Hunter race selection is very important, as which race you choose will determine how you will have to play your character. Both Alliance and Horde races are very adept to being a Hunter. The Alliance races to choose from are dwarf, night elf or if you have the Burning Crusade expansion, draenei. I personally prefer dwarves as Alliance hunters because of their Gun specialization and Stoneform spell but that certainly doe's not mean dwarves are the only good Hunters. Naturally stealth is beneficial when playing a Hunter so the night elf is a great choice due to Prowl and Shadowmeld abilities. Many players consider the night elf to be the best choice for an Alliance Hunter. Depending on your nature of play the draenei can be a excellent Hunter with it's Heroic Presence ability helping the Hunters pets and being able to heal themselves and their pets over time using Gift of the Naaru.
The Horde races are equally effective at being a Hunter.
Trolls are very good Hunters with their Bow Specialization and DPS bonus using Berserker. The trolls are very well rounded Hunters as they also have a damage bonus to beasts using Beast Slaying. And to top it off they can use Regeneration for health restoration. As a tauren Hunter you will find Warstomp a great asset to help you keep your distance from foe's and do your damage from afar. On the flip side the orc's use their Hardiness ability to reduce stun effect duration by 15% and they also use Command to give their pets a 5% damage bonus. Finally if you have the Burning Crusade expansion you may choose the blood elf as a Hunter using Arcane Torrent as an effective strike against enemy casters and it also is a fast way to replenish the Hunters mana.
At the very start, no matter what character class or race you are playing I recommend keeping it simple. For the first several levels simply get a feel of your character and what you are able to do. Whenever possible don't stay in the heat of battle too long. Use range weapons and spells to keep your character out of harms way. But don't misinterpret this as just fooling around. Pay close attention to questing and be sure to do every quest you can get your hands on. If you think you have completed all the quests in your present area check again to be sure.
Train, train, train.
Be sure to learn as much as possible from your available trainer before moving on to another area of World of Warcraft. And don't forget to look into what professions you might be interested in pursuing. Professions research is important, don't ignore them. Some professions are very good money makers, use this early level learning time to think about how you will build your character into the powerhouse you want it to be. It might be a little early to mention this but try to save a little gold. At level 20 you will be able to purchase a mount making it much quicker to travel in World of Warcraft. So keep that in mind
as you level up your character.
In the first few levels your Hunter will not have much of a choice of how to play. You start off with one long range attack, a melee attack, and Raptor Strike. Earn a little money and you will be able to learn Track Beasts which you should keep on hand at all times for now.
Always keep your distance, remember that the Hunter is a range weapons specialist so that is the attack you want to stick with. With the Hunters Auto Shot ability you will automatically keep firing upon your foe's until you come into melee range. Once you enter melee range use Raptor Strike to begin melee combat. Although the Hunter is a capable melee fighter you want to get back to using your range weapons as soon as possible.
Level 4 allows you to learn Aspect of the Monkey and serpent Sting, both of which will be very useful at this stage so keep Aspect of the Monkey on for now. Use Serpent Sting now, keeping yourself at your maximum range. You will use Auto Shot regularly now so get a good feel of it's abilities.
Arcane Shot can be learned when level 6 is reached along with Hunter's Mark which should be used before every confrontation. Use the divide and conquer concept frequently at this stage to prevent being overwhelmed by too many foes, but towards the end of the fight try to finish them off with melee attacks to conserve mana.
At level 8 learn Concussive Shot but don't use it exclusively, stick with Serpent Sting in the early stages of the battle then go to Concussive Shot if your foe's are getting a little too close for comfort. You will want to continue to divide and conquer to keep control of the battle and learn to snipe foe's as they run away to warn others.
Once you reach level 10 you will be able to have pets. Very cool. You will start off with Aspect of the Hawk which you will want to use at the beginning of each confrontation along with Hunter's Mark. Only go back to Aspect of the Monkey if you need to go into melee combat.
Be sure to use your pet to attack, keeping your foe's busy while you pick them off from a distance.