Hit limits of player skill; want to learn but not sure how to proceed

tl;dr: newish player wants to improve player skill, particularly in
dungeons & raids. Find a guild with my current max-level character, or
start a new one and join a dungeon/leveling guild?

I’m a relatively new player; I’ve only been in the game for 5-6 months. I
hit max level with my main character (Beast Mastery Hunter) 5-6 weeks ago,
and my average item level is 435-440. My character is pretty powerful, but
I feel like I’ve hit a huge wall in terms of player skill, and I don’t know
how to proceed from here. At this point, content is either trivial and
boring or completely impossible. I’m particularly finding dungeons to be
really overwhelming: there’s so much happening on screen that I can’t keep
track of it all, and since I haven’t played enough to know how the various
dungeons work, I’m just desperately running along trying to keep up with
the other folks in my (pick-up) group. I’ve only tried raids a couple of
times; those have been a complete disaster: all the problems with dungeons
turned up to 11. (I’ve tried watching YT videos on the raids I’ve played,
but actually being able to do all of the things in person is something that
I’m going to need a lot of practice at, and the raid finder groups I’ve
joined have not been patient in that respect.)

I’ll only ever be a casual player, but I’d like to get past this block so
I’m not locked out of content. I don’t expect to be a hard-core raider, for
example, but I’d at least like to feel like I have a prayer of making it
through raids. It seems that I just need more experience (for me, not my
characters). What’s the best way to proceed? I’m in a guild, but it’s not
all that active, and they’re planning to shoot for Mythic+ dungeons, and
I’m not sure that starting there is going to work out well. So I might want
to find a guild that I can more easily learn with. But given my current
situation, should I stick with my current main, or should I roll up a new
character and find a leveling guild that I can do dungeon runs with?

Any and all suggestions welcome!

A few suggestions

  1. Guild
    If you are otherwise happy with your guild and they are looking to run M+s they might also be willing to help you by guiding you through some of the group content such as Mythic 0s. It doesn’t hurt to ask. If not, then you might start to look for a guild that is running Normal level raids and doing some casual Mythic +s as that seems to be the level you are aiming for.

  2. Guides
    There are guides for all classes and specs on Wowhead and Icy-Veins. They go from entry level right through to some more in-depth discussion of the nuances of your class. They are very much worth checking out.

  3. Discord
    There is a hunter discord that is chock full of experts plus guides and links to hunter specific websites. Here is a link https://discord.gg/trueshot

  4. Practice
    Like any skill, you kind of just need to keep trying dungeons, raids, other content you find difficult until you start to get better.

  5. Keybinding and muscle memory
    If you aren’t already doing it, you should be keybinding all your frequently used abilities and practicing your rotation (on a target dummy) until it’s second nature. The aim is to get to the point where it is muscle memory and you are not consciously thinking about it. That will free up your brain so you can pay more attention to what is going on around you and hopefully it won’t feel so chaotic.

  6. UI
    There are lots of ways to customise your UI to make it work better for you. If you find raids and dungeons too chaotic, there are ways (using addons) to tone down what you are seeing so you can concentrate on what’s important. There are ways to set it up so that when your important abilities come off cooldown there’s a big notification to alert you. Play around with addons, with how your UI looks and feels to get something that is comfortable and alerts you to what is going one without overwhelming you.

In regards to playing your spec optimally, memorize the rotation in the icy veins bm guide and use their talents. I would highly recommend using the weak auras 2 addon. It’s very easy to set up a few weak auras that will improve your performance. I posted this for someone else I’ll copy it here.

For BM, I have three colored horizontal bars under my character’s feet for barbed shot (debuff section), multi-shot (buff section), and focus (resource section). I can see them draining down in my peripheral vision, which is needed for timing with other skills as you will see in the icy rotations.

“Google “weak auras 2 curseforge”. Download the addon, and Copy the weak aura 2 folders to your WoW/retail/interface/addon folder.

Relaunch the game. Type /WA in game to bring up the menu. Click new aura, from template, horizontal bar, debuffs, Barbed shot.
Click bar color to change to preference, I set width to 225, height to 15.
Drag the bar below your characters feet.

I posted this for someone else. I would make one of these for kill command. It takes like 20 seconds to make these weak auras.

Type /WA in game to open weak auras 2.
Click new aura, from template, icon, abilities, pick swiftmend, adjust height and width to your liking. Click the “Trigger” tab, scroll to the bottom and change it to “not on cooldown”.

The swiftmend icon will show in the middle of your screen drag it where you want. I have it off to the lower left of my character.

Since we picked “not on cd”, you will only see the icon on your screen when it’s available to cast. After you cast it, the icon disappears. This lets me see the swiftmend icon “Pop Up” in my peripheral vision when I can cast it without having to watch a timer. If I need to see the timer it’s also down on my action bar.

Lastly, get the popular Details addon from curseforge. You need a dps meter At end game. This way you will see your performance.

P.S. I hope your not clicking skills to use with your mouse. This automatically makes you a bad player for several reasons. All skills need to be set up on hotkeys and mouse buttons.

In the LFR raid, some groups you get will be much better than others in terms of gear and skill of players. Also, some bosses are much harder than others. Just keep trying you’ll get some good groups that will down a lot of bosses. You can queue for all four wings of the raid at the same time. After you finish one wing, the queue will pop for another you won’t have to wait long every time. You can do everything at end game with PUGS you don’t need guilds or friends. The pre-made group finder is a godsend for normal/heroic raids and mythic + dungeons, heroic warfronts, etc.

A lot of it will come down to practice. There are a couple of “safer” options to get some practice in without as much group pressure.

The first, ironically enough, is to queue up for some epic battlegrounds. In this case, because there are so many people involved, it’s easy to blend into the crowd. (So, I’d avoid the regular battlegrounds at first as the smaller group size can actually be more stressful as a new player is easier to spot.) PvP is also inherently messy and dying is normal. Failure is normal. (After all, for one side to win, the other has to lose.)

If you want some practice in more challenging content without having to deal with players while you’re building confidence, there are a couple of options.

The first is horrific visions. (Wrathion will lead you into that content once you have your cloak.) These can be done solo, and are designed where you can’t progress very far at first, but as you upgrade your cloak, progress your titan research, and get experience in handling the challenges they have you’ll be able to go further and further into the vision. (And once you’ve cleared them, you can start adding “masks” to add even more challenge.)

Next, you can try soloing some harder content. Go into BfA dungeons solo on normal mode, and see how far you can get. Legion raids may also pose a challenge for soloing. (And with 4 different difficulties to try, there’s lots of options to find the sweet spot for a good challenge.)

Make sure you are using dungeon/raid addons like Bigwigs or Deadly Boss Mods to let you know when a boss is about to do something in a dungeon/raid.

When a new dungeon/raid becomes available to you, it’s useful to check out a youtube video or two about it.

Lowering your spell effects can remove a lot of clutter from other peoples spells in a dungeon/raid until you get used to the instance.

One thing I noticed right off is you don’t have enchants on your rings or your weapons.

Other than that, check the class guide at icy-veins dot com for talent recommendations, rotation, gems, etc.

I use an addon called Azerite Power Weights to determine which options are going to give me the biggest boost on my azerite gear. It’s available from Curse.

Practice your rotation in proving grounds and normal mode dungeons. You should be able to do heroics and entry level mythics with no issue. A lot of it comes down to being comfortable with your character and knowing the basics. As a hunter (albeit also a former Mythic raid leader, but it’s been a few expansions), I know going into any dungeon or LFR mode I can mostly snooze right through it. There are a few basic principles to follow: Keep pet alive, stay at a safe distance, don’t stand in bad. If I do all of those things, I can survive the fight 95% of the time without having seen it before or researched it at all. I have been playing a hunter for about 14 years though. A lot of that comes with practice.

If you’re having issues with too much going on in dungeons, try standing farther back. You shouldn’t be close to melee unless you’re Survival (I haven’t played SV since before it went melee because I don’t like melee). Scroll your camera out if you have it zoomed in. Playing from a first person perspective is going to make staying out of bad on the ground very difficult.

This is doubled because you have 20 corruption, which is going to give you a personalized void zone occasionally. You can cleanse the corruption off your items. You have to weigh the benefit of the extra on equips they give you with your ability to get out of the void zone.

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Bloodmallet dotcom has rankings for each spec for Azerite traits (separate rankings for single target and aoe), essences, corruptions, and trinkets. They also show you the extra dps you get for stacking multiples of the same Azerite traits.

Those are some good suggestions, thanks! Soloing dungeons never occurred to me; I’ll have to give that a try.

I’ve tried a few horrific visions, but I’m stuck on the first “real” one – i.e., I have the orb, but that’s it. Every time I’ve tried, I’ve just gone for the primary objective, and I always get killed before I make it into Grommash Hold or Stormwind Cathedral. I have switched to a spirit pet since the last time I tried, though, and adjusted my azerite forging options a bit based on some guides at wowhead, so maybe that’ll help. Should I maybe try some of the other objectives first, just assuming that I won’t make it to the main objective on the first few tries?

To be honest man if you can’t do the main objective you won’t be able to do the others.

What’s killing you?

If your item level 438, and having so much trouble killing only the boss in visions, you need to spend more time working on the proper rotations, talents, Azerite, keybindings, UI set up, weak auras, etc. Poor keybindings set up can also kill performance. An item level 410 character should be able to kill the boss. If you have not done so, watch the you tube runs for visions so you know the best strategies. I would Go to the training dummy that’s very Importent. Run more LFR and dungeons to practice your new memorized rotations.

I would get a Clefthoof pet from the WOD zones. They are incredible tanks better than spirit beasts, and clefhooves also have primal rage (lust). Spirit beasts are ideal for dungeons. Also, buy potions of power on the AH for bosses they are cheap, and buy food for the stat boost.

You can also get a clefthoof from Nagrand in Outland.

You want to focus on the main objective first, as that is required for the first few cloak upgrades (which will make you stronger in the visions.) Also, as Cadmeister said, doing the side objectives will be harder than the main one.

As a general rule for visions, if something is killing you, it means that you are missing a mechanic you are supposed to deal with. Many of the mobs have attacks you need to move out of or abilities you need to interrupt. You also need to learn which mobs are the most dangerous and focus them down first. (This is actually why they make for a great learning experience, as it’s what you need to learn to do in harder group content.)

As an example, the two guards in front of Grommash Hold do a frontal attack that hurts a lot. (And has a cast bar so you know it’s coming.) If you run behind them when they cast it, you don’t get hit. (The hard part is if one of them casts the fear while the other casts the high damage spell, but you can survive that happening once and should have one of them dead before it can happen again.)

Thanks much for the tips! In general, your suggestions for dealing with dungeons are what I’ve been trying to do. I think my biggest problem is just managing all of that at the same time, while paying attention to what the rest of the party is doing. In particular, I haven’t yet learned how to multitask enough to attack while moving out of bad on the ground (and, as you say, an effective corruption of 20 doesn’t make this any easier) – never mind bosses that put so much bad on the ground that one can’t effectively stay out of it. I expect that will just come with experience; probably time to start concentrating on running dungeons.

For gear enchantments, should I change professions? I’ve currently got skinning & leather working. Or just see if I can find a friendly enchanter anywhere?

Part of effective multitasking is keybinding all your abilities you use regularly and then having them locked in your muscle memory. That way you can easily move and dps. As a BM hunter you’re one of if not the most mobile ranged class and can move around without losing and dps.
Running dungeons can be frustrating, queued one’s (normal and heroic) will have people smashing through them. Some entry level mythic plus might be better.

Another option is to ask your build to help, they’re all generally be some knowledgeable hunters in there that can help you.

Enchants can be bought at the auction house or from an enchanter.


Ah, that may be part of the problem; I’m not always paying much attention to what my mobs are doing; I’m just trying to kill them as quickly as I can manage. I feel like I’m running up against the limits of my ability to multitask again; I need to find a way to get some practice at that. Perhaps dungeons and horrific visions might be a good way to do that.

I’m also a bit confused by Counter Shot. It’s supposed to interrupt a mob, but it doesn’t always seem to work. Does it only affect certain kinds of mob actions? Or is it just that I pretty much only use it in dungeons and thus can’t tell what its effect is because too much else is happening?

It will only interrupt spell casts. I assume you’re using the base ui so I believe it shows as a yellow/gold bar under their name plate. If it’s a red/orange cast bar that ability can only be stopped with a hard stun or knockback and a grey cast bar means you can’t stop it.
Remember some abilities are directional so you can just add easily move out of the way.

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Astryss: are Clefthooves really tanks? I grabbed one from Nagrand in Outland, and it’s listed as a Ferocity (damage) pet. Are the ones in WoD zones different? Or did you just mean that the clefthoof pulls aggro really well? Either way, the haste bonus is nice.

Technically, they are ferocity pets butmost ferocity pets in BfA make better tanks than the tanking pets dur to leach.

Clefthoof/rhinos have good family abilities that put them ahead of most other ferocity pets as tanks.

Other good pet family’s that make better tanks than most tanking pet families are corehounds, which damage anything that hits their skin, and spirit beasts which can heal.

If you are MM or SV spec or you are a BM who hasn’t learned exotic pets yet, a scale hide (Kodo) is a good ferocity pet for tanking. Slow attack speed but they hit like a truck.

Personally, I don’t care for corhounds, rhinos or kodo’s as I feel they are a bit too big and block my view in some situations. My go to pets are corehounds for out in the world questing - not-much less damage than a cleft hoof and somewhat smaller; For dungeons I typically use a spirit beast and for raids, some pet family that offers a group buff.