The term Hunter Weapon is often used as a joke. The joke started from the initial explosive popularity of the Hunter class combined with Blizzard's poor itemization for hunters. Since hunter gear is often beneficial more from general equipment bonuses than their direct melee utility, this led to the seeming over-exuberance of some of its adherents to claim that nearly any weapon that seemed remotely useful to a hunter was a "hunter weapon". This quickly escalated to calling any weapon or even non-weapons "hunter weapon" as sarcasm.
You will likely do much to improve not only your individual reputation, but that of the Hunter class as a whole, if you refrain from rolling at all (including Greed), unless the whole party is doing so on items that you do not intend to immediately use. Unless you are solo farming one that is much lower level of course, instances are not the places to be looking to make money.
Real Hunter Weapons
There are in fact several melee weapons out there which are very good for Hunters, especially when enchanted with +Agility or Massacre. The important thing to consider is the stat distribution rather than the listed weapon DPS. This allows the Hunter to focus on certain stats while also having a much larger spectrum of items to look through. This page should help you with that search.
However, it is important to keep in mind that a good hunter should pass a melee weapon to a melee class if the item is an upgrade to them; they would make 100% use of the item, where a Hunter would only benefit from the stats.
Broadly speaking, Daggers and Polearms are the two primary melee weapon classes of interest, with the occasional Axe. Although Swords can at times have stats which are beneficial to Hunters, you will nearly always be competing with another class for those, (either the Rogue, Paladin, or Warrior generally) and so you will generally find it better to wait until a suitable Polearm becomes available, since not only are the stats on it more likely to be specifically tailored to a Hunter, the other character classes usually have less interest in Polearms as well.
Staves are also overwhelmingly a caster weapon, and in nearly all cases will have stats on them that would be of far more use to a caster class (such as the Priest, Mage, Warlock, or the hybrids), however there are also quite a few higher level staves which are itemized for hunters and feral druids. with physical DPS stats such as agility, attack power and armor penetration rating. Keep in mind that druids gain feral attack power based on melee weapons' DPS, while hunters generally gain little benefit from melee weapon damage.
Most bows, crossbows and guns are itemized as hunter weapons, however there are a few exceptions, such as the , which is itemized as a StatStick for warrior tanks. Thrown of Uncommon quality and above are itemized for rogues and / or warriors.
Melee weapon uses
Before The Burning Crusade, raiding hunters generally preferred to dual wield weapons. Soloing or PvP hunters were more likely to end up taking a two-handed weapon because of the circumstances of Hunter melee: a Hunter should only melee once, while getting off a Wing Clip, and it is better to make that one hit as strong and heavy as possible. The Burning Crusade added a lot of hunter-friendly two-handed weapons. In addition, the Savagery enchantment further tilted the balance towards 2H weapons.
The value of stat bonuses for hunters
Hunters benefit most from the following bonuses:
- Hit rating: decreases your chance to miss, up to 142 hit rating, when you will not benefit from additional hit rating anymore. With regards to overall damage, the effects are very similar to crit rating, until you reach the hit cap. Talents, weapon bonuses and breed effects can lower the hit rating needed to stop missing. Below the hit cap, this is one of the most valuable stats, however after being capped, additional hit rating is nearly worthless.
- Agility. Each point of Agility gives 2 Ranged AP (since Cataclysm).
- At level 60: ~33 Agility gives 1% crit (14 crit rating)
- At level 60: 20 Agility gives about 1% dodge (12 dodge rating)
- At level 70: 40 Agility gives 1% crit (22 crit rating), and 1.6% dodge
- At level 85: 324.85 Agility gives 1% crit
- Agility also increases your armor rating slightly.
- (Ranged) Attack Power: 14 AP gives 1 base DPS. Many shots benefit from it as well. 22% of the hunter's Attack Power is added to the pet's Attack Power and spell damage.
- Crit rating: increases your chance to critically strike, therefore increasing your overall damage. The value of crit% scales with your base damage. There are also several talents and abilities that benefit from this.
The following stats are somewhat useful.
- Haste rating: Not that useful because hunters are cooldown-limited, but provides some DPS increase.
- Armor penetration rating: Most useful to marksmanship hunters. As of Cataclysm this stat no longer appears on gear.
- Stamina: each point of Stamina increases total hit points by 10 (10.5 to Tauren or hunters with the Endurance Training talent). Since about 35% of your Stamina go over to your pet, this also benefits your pet's survivability. The Hunter vs. Wild talent allows Survival hunter to gain attack power equal to up to 30% of their stamina. Stamina is more useful in PvP and solo levelling.
The following stats have been deprecated since Cataclysm.
- Intellect (deprecated): The tier 2 Marksmanship talent Careful Aim gives hunters up to 1 attack power per point of intellect at maximum rank. Each point of Intellect also increases total mana by 15. This also increases mana regeneration from Aspect of the Viper since its' passive regeneration rate is based on maximum mana. As of Cataclysm, intellect is no longer required as hunters no longer use mana.
- Mana/5s (deprecated): increased mana regen will allow you to perform more shots and abilities before running out of mana. The effect of this is insignificant during short fights, but rather significant for long encounters (grinding/farming and a number of boss fights). Since Cataclysm hunters no longer use mana.
Haste rating would also increase your damage up to a certain point, as increased haste means that you will attack more often per second, causing more overall damage. However, bonuses to haste rating are very rare on items that would otherwise be useful to hunters. Also, it is counterproductive if your base attack speed becomes too high, because it makes it impossible to run effective shot rotations (involving Steady Shot). This is especially true for Beast Mastery hunters, because their Serpent's Swiftness talent provides 20% bonus to attack speed already.
Spirit had some value prior to Cataclym, since it increased your mana and health regeneration. The latter is insignificant since a hunter typically does not suffer a lot of physical damage under usual circumstances. Because of the mechanics of shot rotations and the five second rule, your mana regeneration was better served by increasing your intellect (and using Aspect of the Viper) or using gear that gives you Mana per 5 seconds. Since Cataclysm, mana generation is useless to hunter.
Strength is almost completely useless, since on hunters it only increases your melee attack power, so any effects from strength are only visible while you are engaged in melee fighting, a situation that hunters should avoid as much as possible.
AEP is a system developed for rogues to quickly compare the value of different melee weapons. It works by equating the different bonus types (AP, crit rating and so forth) with agility. A similar method has been developed for hunters and it has become known as Hunter AEP, HAEP or HAP.
Regarding HAP, it is especially important to consider that the DPS value of many item bonuses scales with your damage potential. For example, crit rating becomes more important with increasing weapon DPS and attack power, because the (absolute) damage increase from critical strikes linearly depends on the amount of non-critical damage you would have caused. Therefore, any selection of HAP weights is only meaningful for a given set of talents, character level, shot rotation and equipment.
For these reasons, the HAP values given in this table are to be taken merely as rough guidelines, as they result from one particular instance of HAP, while your current situation (and evaluation of certain bonuses such as "Stamina") might differ considerably. The HAP values given here do have a certain application when comparing different weapons from a hunter perspective.
For optimal result, the following Enchantments are available for melee weapons.
- +30 Intellect each, for 60 Intellect (900 mana) total (if you have the Careful Aim talent this will also give you 27 AP total) (When using Aspect of the Viper this will increase your mana regen by up to 15 mp/5)
- +15 Agility each, to give +30 Agility total
- +20 Agility each, to give +40 Agility total
- +35 Agility
- +70 AP
- +25 Agility
Based on your preference for AP / Agility / Intellect, you may want to determine whether you prefer 1H or 2H weapons. Raiding marksman hunters will probably prefer to use 2x30 Intellect as this provides the best benefit in most cases.
Note: Mongoose does not proc off ranged attacks. (neither does Crusader, lifestealing, or fiery enchant)
|87||70||-||44||-||-||23||20||-||Battle of Mount Hyjal - Rage Winterchill|
|71,67||70||-||44||19||-||22||15||-||Black Temple - Mother Shahraz|
|65||70||-||44||33||-||-||21||-||Black Temple - High Warlord Naj'entus|
|64,67||-||22||44||31||-||-||-||-||Black Temple - Gurtogg Bloodboil|
|58||70||20||38||28||-||-||-||-||The Eye - Al'ar|
|57||70||-||48||-||-||19||14||-||The Eye - Al'ar|
|52.7||70||-||18||10||-||9||-||3 sockets +8 ap||Karazhan - Romulo|
|52||70||-||28||21||-||15||9||10 resilience||Arena - 1875|
|50.7||70||-||50||16||-||-||15||-||Karazhan - Prince Malchezaar|
|46||70||-||26||18||-||13||8||9 resilience||PvP vendor|
|45||70||15||30||-||-||-||15||15 dagger skill||Quest - Quest:Ally of the Netherwing|
|43||70||-||44||-||-||21||-||-||Blacksmithing - 375|
|43||70||12||24||12||-||-||11||7 dagger skill||Nexus-King Salhadaar - Quest|
|42||70||-||28||15||-||18||-||-||The Underbog - Swamplord Musel'ek|
|41||70||-||34||15||-||-||14||-||Hellfire Ramparts - Omor the Unscarred|
|41||60||-||22||8||-||14||10||-||Naxxramas - Sapphiron|
|40||70||21||22||12||-||-||-||-||The Mechanar - Nethermancer Sepethrea|
|40||60||16||-||-||-||14||10||-||Naxxramas - Kel'thuzad|
|39.6||70||-||30||13||-||16||-||-||The Arcatraz - Harbinger Skyriss|
|39.6||70||-||30||13||-||16||-||-||World drop - BoE|
|39.3||60||-||18||7||-||14||10||-||Temple of Ahn'Qiraj - Quest|
|39||70||-||40||12||-||11||-||-||The Slave Pens - Quagmirran|
|38.6||68||13||26||19||-||-||-||-||Ring of Blood - Quest|
|38||70||19||38||-||-||-||-||-||The Consortium - Exalted|
|38||60||-||14||9||11||14||-||-||Temple of Ahn'Qiraj - Quest|
|38||60||8||-||8||-||14||10||-||Naxxramas - Trash|
|37.6||-||11||40||10||-||-||-||-||Akama's Promise - Quest|
|35||70||21||-||21||-||-||-||-||The Scryers - Exalted|
|34.3||70||25||-||14||-||-||-||-||Blacksmithing - 365|
|34.2||60||11||20||9||-||-||-||3 mp/5||Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj - Quest|
|31.6||60||-||20||11||-||14||-||-||Temple of Ahn'Qiraj - Fankriss|
|30.6||60||-||20||9||-||14||-||-||Molten Core - Cache of the Firelord|
|28||70||15||26||-||-||-||-||14 sword skill|
|27.6||60||-||38||10||-||-||-||3 dagger skill|
|16.3||57||13||-||5||-||-||-||-||Stratholme - Maleki the Pallid|
|148.6||70||-||108||51||-||36||-||3 sockets +8 ap||The Eye|
|148,34||70||-||92||62||-||46||15||98 Armor Pen, 33 Res||Season 3 - Arena|
|131.2||70||39||94||58||-||-||-||2 sockets +6 ap||Zul'Aman|
|116.9||70||40||80||46||-||-||-||8mp/5||Opera - Karazhan|
|110||70||35||62||30||-||-||24||-||Shadow Labyrinth - Murmur|
|105||70||-||106||-||-||52||-||-||blacksmithing - crafted|
|100||-||-||80||50||-||27||-||-||World drop - BoE|
|98||70||-||100||30||-||28||-||-||The Black Morass (heroic)|
|97||70||-||98||-||-||48||-||-||blacksmithing - crafted|
|91||70||26||92||-||-||-||19||-||Thrallmar - Vendor|
|91||70||26||92||-||-||-||19||-||Honor Hold - Vendor|
|91||70||-||92||-||-||45||-||-||Blacksmithing - Crafted|
|84||70||-||108||-||-||30||-||-||Blacksmithing - Crafted|
|84||70||-||84||-||-||-||42||-||The Mag'har - Exalted|
|81||62||21||40||30||20||-||-||-||Zangarmarsh - Quest ("Now That We're Friends..."; Sporeggar: Friendly)|
|77||65||25||52||39||-||-||-||-||Blacksmithing - Crafted|
|76||-||54||-||33||-||-||-||-||Terokk's Legacy - Quest|
|68.6||-||30||30||22||-||-||-||9 ranged skill|
|68||62||-||68||51||-||-||-||run/speed increase||Cenarion Expedition - Honored|
|65||60||-||86||33||-||-||-||-||Blackwing Lair - Nefarian|
|64.6||61||-||80||37||-||-||-||-||Blood Furnace - Keli'dan the Breaker|
|61.6||60||41||-||31||-||-||-||-||Temple of Ahn'Qiraj - Fankriss the Unyielding|
|60.3||60||-||-||26||15||28||-||45 AP vs Demons
10 Nature res
|Stave of the Ancients - Quest|
|58||60||-||44||-||22||14||-||-||Zul'Gurub - High Priest Venoxis|
|44||58||-||60||-||-||14||-||-||Dire Maul - King Gordok|
|42||54||-||56||-||-||14||-||-||Stratholme - Magistrate Barthilas|
|30||47||-||-||-||-||-||30||+3str||World drop - BoE|