10 x 85 Analysis: Hunter
There hasn’t been too much progress, honestly, in the 10 x 85 challenge I set for myself. I quickly topped out at 8 85s, but since then progress has been slow. Recently, though, I did pick back up my hunter and begin pushing through Outlands and Northrend, where I currently reside. I wanted, though, to begin the analysis of what I’ve learned since Mists may come out before I finish. Today we’ll start with the most recent toon I’ve been playing, and in coming correspondences, I’ll look back across the others, touching on some of my other experiences as I leveled heavily through LFD, PvP, and questing. This won’t be a continuous series, but instead will pop up from time to time.
The first and foremost thing I’ve recently learned is that all the jokes, all the comics, all the gentle teasing we direct at hunters about their class being ez-mode is 100% accurate. Hunters are ridiculously easy to play. It’s no surprise to me that the first (and I think at this point only) Iron Man was a hunter. While they may or may not be tops in PvP (they are) or PvE (they’re pretty damn good there, too), in solo questing, they’re extremely efficient. Unlike on any other character I’ve played, I’ve been able to chain pull almost indefinitely, pulling sometimes up to 10 equivalent-level mobs at once (the clustered vultures in Hellfire, to be specific, then more recently rhinos in Borean Tundra) and survive.
It could get a little hairy, but with (now) two AoE traps, a tank pet with an on-cooldown taunt, disengage, various slows and stuns, and of course feign death if things looked really bad, I’ve not died to a pull like that yet. Additionally, I’ve been able to handle two equivalent level elites plus several trash adds at once (a whoopsy pull in the magnatuar caves) and survive. Hell – I was able to beat the first round in the Ring of Blood at 66 by myself. With everything that got nerfed, it didn’t, and it was a rough fight that ended with me running and gunning when Brokentoe eventually got my boar down, but I still won.
It doesn’t end in solo questing, though. I’ve often been top dps in 5 mans (which may not be impressive since clearly a lot of people are just phoning their roles in nowadays) without looking up anything about rotation or keeping most of my gear up to date (I realized at level 70 that I was wearing a level 58 belt – whoops!).
It’s not much different in PvP. I queued last night thinking “Hey, I’m 70, might as well enjoy being at the top of my bracket,” forgetting that 70 is at the bottom of the bracket. Some players had twice my hit points or more, but with a mark, my pet webbing them, an aimed shot, a chimera shot, and some luck, I could down many of them before they touched me. Of course, if they did get near me I got obliterated, but hey, that’s PvP. I was able to help turn a losing match around to a 3 cap win simply by grabbing the flag while all the morons fought in mid, telling the two other competent players where I was running, handing off the flag when they met me, then slowing, stunning, trapping, or sacrificing myself while the FC got away. It was odd; I don’t think I’ve ever considered my contributions useful when I was at the bottom of a bracket, but that’s sort of my point: hunters are very, very good.
Now, I’m not so foolish as to not realize that the game’s gotten much easier over the years, and that my early leveling experiences do not and should not in any way be compared to the current leveling game. Still, keep in mind that I’ve leveled a mage from scratch, a rogue from early 60s to max, a DK from “scratch,” a shaman from scratch, and a warlock from early 70s since Cataclysm came out. With that in mind, I feel I can unequivocally say that if you want an easy leveling experience that takes little to no effort, play a hunter.
Stubborn (a.k.a. DavyOrckett and his lion, Cuddles)