When rolling a hunter, your first choice to make is which race to choose? First you need to decide what your priorities are. Do you want to raid? PvP? Mostly just quest and do solo content? Unless you are looking to really min/max your DPS, you can be successful with any race, but there are a couple of races for each faction that make the most sense for a hunter.
This guide lists the races in order of best to worst as far as racials go.
- Viciousness [Increases critical strike chance by 1%] Crit is our number one secondary stat and having a racial that gives you extra crit no matter what weapon you are using is incredibly useful. This racial alone is why I’d say Worgen is the top choice for an Alliance hunter.
- Darkflight [Activates your true form, increasing current movement speed by an additional 40% for 10 seconds] This ability has an incredible amount of utility in not just PvP situations but in raids, dungeons and even just running around when you’re not mounted. Having that extra burst of speed to get you out of bad situations is amazing.
- Aberration [Increased resistance to harmful Nature and Shadow effects] Increased resistance to anything is helpful, but being that the last couple tiers of content have had bosses that pump out massive amounts of nature and shadow damage, this racial is extra useful for current content.
- Flayer [Skinning skill increased by 15 and allows you to skin faster] Not really a super helpful skill specifically for a hunter since the increased crit from skinning is a less desirable profession bonus than others out there, but skinning pairs great with leatherworking, which is an amazing profession for a hunter, which makes this racial great for a hunter without bottomless pockets.
- Heroic presence [Increases your chance to hit with all spells and attacks by 1%] At max level, you’re usually looking to reforge out of as much hit as possible, but while leveling, hit on gear is not something you see very often. This is an insanely good racial to have while leveling a hunter. It also gives you the ability to pick and choose a different stat to use that extra 1% of hit for. If your gear is giving you plenty of crit, but you need a little more haste or mastery, guess what. You have extra hit that you can reforge.
- Gift of the Naaru [Heals the target for 20% of their total health over 15 seconds] The benefit of this is obvious: a pure DPS class with a built in HoT? Awesome. Hunters have amazing survivability, this just adds to one of the things we can do to help keep ourselves alive. It may not seem like a lot, but that little heal could mean the difference between living and dying.
- Shadow Resistance [Increases your resistance to harmful Shadow effects] Like with worgens, having an increased resistance to shadow damage is incredibly useful for current content. Combine this with the hunter ability of Aspect of the Wild and you’ve got your resistances covered.
- Gemcutting [Jewelcrafting skill increased by 10] This is an obvious choice for a hunter since those Jewelcrafter-specific gems are consistently one of the most useful profession bonuses for our class.
- Gun Specialization [Your chance to critically hit with guns is increased by 1%] Since crit is our number one secondary stat, this is an obvious great racial to have. But the last few tiers of gear have had a serious lack of raiding hunter guns, so this racial is slightly less beneficial than the Worgen’s crit racial. The PvP guns are a good raiding alternative since the stat we give up for resilience tends to be a less desirable secondary stat like haste or mastery over the equivalent raid drop bow/crossbow, but it’s still not a proper PvE weapon. If the 4.3 legendary is a gun, which I suspect it might be due to the severe lack of guns over the past few tiers but the racial still remains, Dwarves will oust Worgens for the #1 hunter race.
- Stoneform [Removes all poison, disease and bleed effects and reduces damage taken by 10% for 8 seconds] This racial is so amazing it’s almost overpowered. I see this as being substantially more useful in PvP situations than in raids, but there are several boss mechanics where having the reduced damage taken while *still being able to attack* is really, really helpful. Other similar class-specific mechanics like ice block, deterrence, hand of protection, etc either prevent physical attacks from being cast or prevent you from attacking altogether, so this is a really great racial to have when you need some extra defense but don’t want to stop DPS.
- Frost Resistance [Increases your resistance to harmful Frost effects] Very useful back in Wrath, not so useful now in Cataclysm. Some benefit still remains for PvP when going up against a Frost Mage, though.
- Explorer [You find additional fragments when looting archaeological finds and you can survey faster than normal archaeologists.] Completely useless racial unless you are the sort of person who really wants to level archaeology, which is the absolute worst profession in the game, in which case anything that can make that horrible grind of a profession go faster is something worth mentioning.
- Every Man for Himself [Removes all movement impairing effects and all effects which may cause loss of control of your character. Shares a cooldown with PvP trinkets.] Humans get a free PvP trinket. Why is this AMAZING for a hunter? Because being able to equip two DPS trinkets gives us a huge, huge advantage in PvP. Hunters are not the strongest class in PvP and every little advantage helps. Having a built in PvP trinket can also help on fights where you need to get out of a boss-induced fear or snare [Blood Queen in ICC, I’m looking at you]. This is essentially the only racial that has any real benefit for hunters, but if you’re looking to PvP on your hunter, Human is the way to go.
- Diplomacy [Reputation gains increased by 10%] Useful for getting gear from vendors that require reputation.
- Nature Resistance [Increases your resistance to harmful Nature effects] As stated with previous resistances, this is really useful for current content.
- Shadowmeld [Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until cancelled or upon moving. Any threat is restored versus enemies still in combat upon cancellation of this effect.] Seems like a cool racial until you see that you can’t move, and when you cancel your meld, all the threat you were attempting to drop comes right back. Really, really situationally useful. Not that great anymore.
- Quickness [Reduces the chances that melee and ranged attackers will hit you by 2%] Not necessarily a hunter-specific benefit, but it’s always nice to add a little extra dodge in there.
- Wisp Spirit [Transform into a wisp upon death, increasing speed by 75%] Good for… faster corpse runs?
- Can’t be a hunter. No one likes gnomes anyway.
- Bow Specialization [Your chance to critically hit with bows is increased by 1%] This racial is what sets Trolls as the top Horde race for me. The top hunter weapon in this tier is the bow from Ragnaros and having an extra 1% crit on top of having the best bow is incredibly useful. Plus, you know there is always going to be a bow in every tier.
- Berserking [Increases your attack and casting speed by 20% for 10 seconds] This racial is insane at both low and max levels. Having the increase in attack speed as a lowbie is great because shaving time off those 2 second Steady Shots and almost 3 second Aimed Shots is an amazing cooldown to have. At max level, having another haste cooldown to pop in addition to Rapid Fire and Bloodlust means more DPS when it really counts.
- Da Voodoo Shuffle [Reduces the duration of all movement impairing effects by 15%] It’s no free PvP trinket, but being able to get out of a stun or snare 15% faster means 15% less time spent not killing things.
- Regeneration [Health regeneration rate increased by 10%. 10% of total Health regeneration may continue during combat] This racial is almost better than having your own personal HoT. Not only can you slowly regenerate health while in combat, you can heal 10% faster once you manage to get out of combat.
- Beast Slaying [Damage dealt versus beasts increased by 5%] Great bonus to have while questing and when fighting against feral druids.
- Command [Damage Dealt by pets increased by 5%] This racial makes Orcs a very strong contender for the top Horde race for hunters, especially if you are a Beast Mastery hunter. Pets make up a pretty good chunk of our DPS and having a boost to that pet DPS is amazing.
- Blood Fury [Increased Attack Power for 15 seconds] A very useful ability like Berserking that can periodically increase the damage you do. When paired with other DPS cooldowns, this racial is very powerful.
- Hardiness [Duration of Stun effects reduced by an additional 15%] Exactly the same benefit as Troll’s Da Voodoo Shuffle, except you can look 15% scarier while getting out of that stun 15% faster because you’re an Orc.
- Rocket Jump [Activates your rocket belt to jump forward. Other effects which slow the rate of falling cannot be used within 10 seconds after using this ability.] Essentially a free disengage for us, which when chained with disengage [or double disengage if you are Marksman and pop Readiness] can get you so far out of reach of your enemy, nothing they can do will catch up to you. Just don’t try to Rocket Jump + Parachute from Lumber Mill to Blacksmith because that 10 seconds might kill you.
- Time is Money [Cash in on a 1% increase to attack and casting speed] This racial is incredibly useful and is a racial passive rather than an on-use ability, so you have it all the time.
- Rocket Barrage [Launches your belt rockets at an enemy dealing fire damage] Not a particularly strong attack, but useful when you need just a little more DPS that doesn’t cost any focus.
- Better Living Through Chemistry [Alchemy skill increased by 15] Alchemy is one of the top professions for a hunter, so having this racial to increase your skill makes leveling it a heck of a lot easier.
- Pack Hobgoblin [Calls your friend Gobber, allowing you bank access for 1 min] Especially useful for lowbie questing, since bag space is often quite limited. Also good for non-engineers because you don’t need to carry a Jeeves around with you.
- Best Deals Anywhere [Always receive the best possible discount, regardless of faction] Doesn’t stack with the guild perk (no double-discounts for a Goblin), but if your guild isn’t high enough level, this can make things a LOT easier on your gold supply.
- Nature Resistance [Increases your resistance to harmful Nature effects] The usefulness of this racial has been covered many times on other races. Nature resist is good.
- War Stomp [Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds] Hunters should never be within melee range of their enemies, but if something does manage to close the gap, this is a good tool to use to try and get away.
- Endurance [Base health increased by 5%] Having more health is always useful. But we should be avoiding all damage anyway, so this racial is wasted on the hunter.
- Cultivation [Herbalism skill increased by 15 and you gather herbs faster than normal herbalists] Not directly a good racial as herbalism isn’t the best profession for a hunter, but it pairs well with alchemy which is very good for a hunter.
- Will of the Forsaken [Removes any Charm, Fear and Sleep effect. This effect shares a 30 second cooldown with other similar effects.] Not quite a PvP trinket but it’s damn well close enough. Plus it doesn’t share the entire cooldown of the trinket, so you could ostensibly double-trinket almost back to back.
- Shadow Resistance [Increases your resistance to harmful Shadow effects] Again with the resistance. Benefit should be obvious by now.
- Cannibalize [When activated, regenerates 7% of total health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. Only works on humanoid or undead corpses within 5 yards. Any movement, action or damage taken will cancel the effect.] Ew. Very ew. Train First Aid, carry some food, bring a healer, I don’t know. Just…. ew.
- Underwater Breathing [Underwater breath lasts 233% longer than normal] Can’t see any obvious benefit to this outside of hiding deep underwater to pop out for PvP ambush. I dunno.
- Arcane Affinity [Enchanting skill increased by 10] Enchanting is a very useful profession for a hunter, so this is a great racial. Unfortunately, it’s the most useful of all the Blood Elf racials, and it’s never good when a race’s profession benefit is the most appealing part of the race.
- Arcane Torrent [Silence all enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds, interrupts spellcasting for 3 seconds.] Again, hunters should never be within melee range of their enemies, but this is a good way to shut down a healer or other caster if your other interrupts are on cooldown.
- Arcane Resistance [Increases your resistance to harmful Arcane effects] Almost completely useless except against a small handful of attacks.