Hunters are accurate marksmen, pathfinders and survival masters. Basically, they are ranged DPS class trying to handle the wild nature. They use Leather and Mail armory but generally rely on their abilities and pet.
From level 10 all hunters get their ability to tame animals. Every pet has its own unique skills and features and holds aggro while fighting enemy creatures.
Hunter has three talent trees. “Beast Mastery” is reinforcing your pet and making it stronger, especially for solo leveling.
“Marksmanship” is giving a powerful potential for damage, which doesn’t depend on a pet. “It is mostly PVE oriented.
“Survival” is focused on their melee combat abilities, traps and control (“Wyvern Sting” or “Freezing Trap”). Although hunter is not a melee class, their “Survival” talents give them a wide range of powerful skills, like “Raptor Strike” or “Wing Clip”, those can increase hunter’s damage in PVE and provide universality in PvP.
Leveling a hunter is considered to be the easiest. The main factor is a pet, who distracts enemies and protects its master from taking any damage. It decreases rest time between fights. Hunters do not rely on their mana as other classes do and their pet’s damage does not depend on hunters’ gear.
From level 20 Hunters get “Aspect of the Cheetah”, it increases their movement speed by 30%, but any damage dazing and slowing them. It allows you to travel faster and speed up your leveling progress.
Hunters can pull a large pack of mobs, using a pet as a tank, “Frozen Trap” to immobilize, “Wing Clip” to reduce movement speed and keep the distance. If it is a beast creature, hunter can use fear. But when a combat situation becomes too dangerous, hunter can use “Feign Death” and leave it.
Hunter is a great gold-making machine: gathering resources, farming Devilsaur leather in Un’goro Crater at level 60 or Maraudon and Dire Maul for great profit. No need to say about open-world spots as Felwood or Azshara.
In PvE, especially in raids, hunters are popular for their “Tranquilizing Shot” (removes 1 frenzy effect from an enemy creature) rather than their damage.
Hunters’ PVE rotation is rather complicated than others They have to combine auto-shot attacks with their abilities to maximize damage. Fairly they are losing to Mages, Warlocks and Rogues. Though hunters can easily find and join 5-men dungeon parties.
In PVP hunters are good at 1×1 mostly. They’re doing well due to control and universality of their abilities and they are able to keep the distance slowing the opponent down.
Their main weakness in PvP is “death zone”. The target standing at the right point from the hunter, may be too close for range abilities, or too far away for melee. Frost Mages can learn it quite well.
The racial choice for hunter is not that complicated. You can choose between Dwarf and Night Elf on Alliance, or Troll, Orc and Tauren on Horde.
Dwarves get “Stone Form” (immune to poisons, disease and blood effects for 8 seconds) and “Guns Specizlization” (increases guns skill by 5).
Night elves get “Shadowmeld” (giving stealth while not moving) and have higher base agility than Dwarves.
As guns are optimal for range combat for hunters in raid, night elves are preferred in PvE for their higher base agility. Dwarves are useful in PvP for their race ability.
For Horde, trolls receive “Berserking”(increases attack speed), “Bows Specialization” (increases bows skill by 5) and “Beast Slaying” (increases your damage against beasts by 5%).
Orcs receive “Command” (increases pets’ damage by 5%) and “Hardiness” (giving additional chance to resist stuns by 25%).
Taurens get “War Stomp” (stuns opponent targets) and “Endurance” (total health is increased by 5%).
Trolls are preferred in PvE for their “Berseking” and “Bows specialization”, which significantly increase their damage potential. Orcs are still good for PvE, but more preferred in PvP for “Hardiness”.
Profession choice for hunter is easy. Most people prefer either Engineering or Leatherworking. Alchemy and Herbalism is also a good choice, although it offers nothing special for hunter despite access to consumables and decent gold profit.
Engineering let you get arrows and bullet of better quality than just from vendors, and improve your range weapon while leveling. Engineering is also useful for PvE for crafted explosives increasing your overall damage. “Goblin Jumper Cables” works well with hunter’s “Feign Death” ability to resurrect your party members especially a healer.
Playing a hunter implies usage of different engineering devices in PvP, giving you great control abilities, survival and mobility. Engineering is considered to be necessary for all classes. It usually comes with mining to get reagents or with herbalism to earn more money and sell herbs to buy cheaper ore and other reagents.
Leatherworking is a good alternative as it gives an opportunity to create own gear and stuff that can be sold profitably.