Below are a variety of viable hunter talent builds, mainly to give WoW hunters who aren¡¯t sure what talent build is right for them an idea on where to put their talent points. Since everyone has their own playstyle and most talents are fairly balanced now, there are really no 100% perfect builds but some are slightly better than others depending on what you¡¯re trying to accomplish.
Best Solo and Leveling Hunter Builds
When it comes to leveling and questing, you will be playing solo a lot of the time. For this I recommend the beastmaster tree. Your pet can be a great tank, add a good amount of damage, are very gear-independent and make grinding very mana-efficient, decreasing downtime in between fights considerably. On top of that, they are fun and obedient companions to have with you on your journeys, and improving them by talents will let you kill enemies while leveling faster than any other build!
PvE Solo and Leveling Build (1-60) - 43/5/3
Mainly improving your pet, this will make leveling and questing solo a lot faster. If you¡¯re wondering what pet to get, it doesn¡¯t really matter since they are all similar, but some are slightly better than others. Just make sure you take pets you like, since you¡¯ll be spending a lot of time with them! Boars/bears are good to start off with since they are quite tough and eat pretty much everything (except gnomes). The boar charge ability is quite nice too. Later on, once you get the Frenzy talent, you might want to get a high damage pet with a fast attack speed, ideally a cat, for even faster leveling.
Since this is also a leveling build i will give some advice on in what order you might want to spend your talent points while you are leveling:
Lvl 10-14: BM: Endurance Training 5/5
Lvl 15-17: BM: Thick Hide 3/3
Lvl 18-19: BM: Improved Revive Pet 2/2
Lvl 20: BM: Bestial Swiftness 1/1
Lvl 21-25: BM: Unleashed Fury 5/5
Lvl 26: BM: Improved Mend Pet 1/2
Lvl 27-29: BM: Ferocity 3/5
Lvl 30: BM: Intimidation 1/1
Lvl 31-32: BM: Ferocity 5/5
Lvl 33-34: BM: Bestial Discipline 2/2
Lvl 35-37: BM: Frenzy 3/5
Lvl 38-39: BM: Cat Handler 2/2
Lvl 40: BM: Bestial Wrath 1/1
Lvl 41-43: BM: Catlike Reflexes 3/3
Lvl 44: BM: Frenzy 4/5
Lvl 46-49: BM: Serpent¡¯s Swiftness 5/5
Lvl 50: BM: The Beast Within 1/1
Lvl 51: BM: Frenzy 5/5
Lvl 52-56: MM: Lethal Shots 5/5
Lvl 57-59: Surv: Hawk Eye 3/3
Lvl 60: BM: Improved Mend Pet 2/2
PvE Solo / Leveling build (60-70) - 48/13/0
Lvl 61-62: MM: Go for the Throat 2/2
Lvl 63: MM: Aimed Shot 1/1
Lvl 64-66: BM: Catlike Reflexes 3/3
Lvl 67-69: BM: Ferocious Inspiration 3/3
Lvl 70: BM: Improved Revive Pet 1/2
A good build although there are, of course, many other options to take. Clarification on some choices: I find Spirit Bond a nice HP regen for the player (while solo) so even if you occasionally take a hit you won¡¯t need to worry about your HP, as it will regenerate even in combat. Aimed Shot won¡¯t be needed much at all, but it can be a great opening shot (for example after you trapped someone that tried to gank you or in Instances combined with the Misdirection ability). Hawk eye is always nice to have, but it does not contribute as well to solo or instance play as Ferocious Inspiration, although you could take the 1 point from Improved Revive Pet and put it in Hawk Eye (or Improved Mend Pet) instead if your pet hardly ever dies.
Best Raiding Hunter Builds
Raiding builds are designed to improve your or your guild¡¯s overall damage in current end-game content. Following builds try to increase your damage and usefulness in raids the most.Consider having at least one hunter with you with the Improved Hunter¡¯s Mark talent, for the boost to the melee damage from other classes (ideally this talent is best taken by hunters with a BM raiding build).Note that the following builds are missing Hawk Eye. If you¡¯d rather have this extra range (useful for avoiding some nasty AoE effects / curses especially during boss fights) then I would take the 3 points from Improved Barrage or Focused Fire / Impr. AotH and put them into Hawk Eye. Taking Hawk Eye with the BM raiding build is not recommended, as you will have to sacrifice points from GftT and / or Serpent¡¯s Swiftness, both important talents for that build.For the best use of the Go For The Throat ability, get a Wind Serpent, since their Lightning Breath ability has no cooldown and is the best focus dump (ideally a Son of Hakkar from Zul¡¯Gurub, which also already has the highest rank Lightning Breath).
PvE MM raiding build - 4/47/0
A decent raid build, mainly focusing on damage. Compared to some other raid builds it puts the focus on lots of crits combined with the Go For the Throat ability, which will let your pet do an additional 86-283 damage with claw / bite every time you crit. For a pet you might want to consider a Wolf for their Furious Howl ability, which gives you and nearby party members a physical damage buff on your next attack or a Wind Serpent, which makes best use of Go For the Throat! Note that as this build is purely designed for high DPS, it does not include Hawk Eye.
PvE MM raiding build (with improved hunter¡¯s mark) - 7/44/0
It¡¯s a good idea to have a hunter with you in your raid with improved hunters mark for a nice damage boost to your melee classes. This one also combines Impr. AotH for faster Autoshots and and a 2% dmg increase from Focused Fire to compensate for losing GFTT and Barrage.
PvE BM raiding build - 39/12/0
This is a bit of an out of the ordinary build, mainly relying on your pet to do a lot of damage. You won¡¯t have The Beast Within, but you¡¯ll have Go For The Throat, and combined with Impr. AotH, Serpent¡¯s Swiftness and Lethal Shots and a fast ranged weapon, your pet will be doing damage like crazy.
Also this build is ideal to use with Impr. Hunter¡¯s Mark, since you don¡¯t need Efficiency as much as MM Hunters, giving them the opportunity to put those 5 points elsewhere, to increase their ranged damage!
PvE Surv raiding build - 5/5/41
Having one hunter (with the most agility) with you in the raid with this build can increase DPS of the other physical damage classes considerably, thanks to the Expose Weakness proc. Most useful in 40-player instances since there are a lot of players that can take advantage of this talent, in it¡¯s current state not as good for 20- and later 25-player instances.Best PvP Hunter Builds
In Player versus Player combat, following builds can prove most effective in killing other players and / or helping your team win.
PvP MM / Surv build - 0/43/8
Mainly for Group PvP, this combines very high damage output with some useful talents from the survival tree. You could switch the points from entrapment to improved wing clip, which is better for dueling whereas entrapment can be useful in some other situations, especially in WSG.
PvP Surv / MM build - 0/21/30
Your damage will be lower than the 0/43/8 build but you get higher survivability, faster traps and more hit/crit chance. Whether to choose scatter shot or wyvern sting is a personal choice although i would suggest scatter shot, it has only a 30 second cooldown and there is no DOT afterwards which makes scatter + trap a solid option to get some range from your target.
PvP BM build - 43/5/3
In PvP Hunter pets are often underestimated. They can deal a nice amount of damage, and in the meantime interrupt caster¡¯s so it takes a lot longer for them to cast spells. Intimidation is a useful 3 second stun, giving you the chance to wingclip your target and get back into range if timed perfectly. With Bestial Wrath and The Beast Within, you and your pet will even be unstoppable for 18 seconds every 2 minutes! Make sure you get a pet with a fast attack speed like, for example, a cat. Currently the fastest attack speed pets in the game (1.0 attacks per second).