I came to LOTRO from other MMOs where landscape mob farming was a huge part of gaining better gear and becoming more wealthy. When I read that hunters were generally considered the best class for moving around quickly, mass killing large amounts of farm mobs and didn't involve wearing heavy armor while mindlessly beating on things (my view of melee DPS classes at the time), I chose then and there to have a hunter.
I do not regret it. They level super fast and are a great class to use for farming various materials. Their run speed buff (there were no wardens when I started), hunter ports, camp fire ports, ability to farm hides quickly with ranged attacks makes them a wonderful toon to level up first. It makes crafting go faster with later toons. My captain armorer loved letting my hunter prospect ore for him. My guardian forester and warden tailor loved having my hunter gather hides for them. All of my toons like having my hunter having finished Hytbold because it so fast to port around and finish Hytbold dailies.
Basically, I don't look at the hunter as a great grouping toon but rather an awesome support toon for your other alts. They're great for solo stuff too, I never really had any trouble leveling it as my first toon.
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