arcane shot dispel was kinda fun
That was in 2.0, not Vanilla, other than the last month or so before BC released.
Hunters were OK in Vanilla. Pre-normalization, hunters with slow weapons (ideally Ash'jrethul at 3.4 speed, but 3.3 speed blues like BSX/CSX were great too) did very good DPS, but the whole DPS metric was different - classes and specs varied very widely and blizzard didn't care at all if some were completely non-competitive, and the raids were 40m, so often even if a class was doing very middle of the pack DPS, it would be brought for various types of utility. You couldn't really do bosses that frenzied without us for instance, and we were quite handy for pulling in MC, BWL and Naxx (AQ40 pulls were simpler, the trash itself just sucked). Theory craft wasn't very widespread or organized either, so plenty of people of all classes just played wrong until late in Vanilla. THreat meters didn't exist most of vanilla and the real risk of pulling aggro and dying was something many classes had to contend with, since hunters and rogues were the only ones with a threat wipe (locks got soul-shatter eventually).
By Naxx hunter itemization was getting very good though, and theorycraft was a bit more organized and well known. Raids were also more demanding so comparing and maximizing your DPS was also more relevant. Hunters were relatively well off on damage meter position in Naxx, especially with the T3 6pc granting basically unlimited mana (although we had little to use it on) and the change to GfTT granting pets 50 focus on hunter crits, meaning hunter+fast bow+ wind serpent was great dps.
If you mean for PvP, it's hard to compare, because no one had resilience, PvE gear was better than PvP gear, both were hard to get, and casters had no armor and mostly little health - you could oneshot an undergeared mage with a single Aimed Shot crit for instance, and Aimed->Multi would bring most non-plate low if you crit. I've always been bad at PvP but could wreck people in BGs by late in Vanilla, because I had Naxx gear to run around in and most people were a tier and a half behind if that.