So after raiding a couple of times post-nerf, then browsing through the charts posted at various forums, it’s pretty clear that the current spec for highest hunter DPS is Survival. As I have stated previously, I am a BM hunter for my own sanity and because it is what I enjoy the most. The idea of seeing my pet shrink in significance from trusty-companion-and-teammate to mere accessory status causes no small amount of mental anguish. For this reason alone, I would probably just stay BM and go along my merry way. Except for a couple things.
Last night, I had a talk with the SO (who also is one of our raid leaders) about my hangups over the Great BM->SV Exodus, and where that left me. He was quite understanding and pointed out that I’d still be taken in raids regardless of spec, because my old spec — while no longer topping the meters — still performed highly enough to put me in the upper half of the DPS group. I do not search for raid spots beyond what our guild offers, so I have no issues about whether or not I’ll be accepted outside of that setting. This left the choice to re-spec purely in my court. Which, as we all know, will quickly lead to a lot of inner turmoil and self-reprobation stronger than anything somebody else could dish out.
Our guild has always been supportive of everybody playing the spec that makes them happiest, and tried to accommodate off-specs even in raids if the attendance allows it. This has primarily been a policy that has effected tanks and healers, but BM spec would probably fall under this category now as well. However, many of our guildmates (I can think of two shaman, a priest and a couple of tank-types just off the top of my head) have taken it upon themselves to re-spec as needed for raiding purposes to be better contributing members on the whole — oftentimes at great and recurring expense to themselves.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from these people, it’s that the social aspect of the game encourages us to bend in ways that we wouldn’t otherwise in a more self-motivated (single-player RPGs, say) environment. They juggle multiple specs to do their best in raids and suit themselves in their downtime. There is really no reason why I couldn’t be doing this as well, especially when we’re talking about a 25% increase in damage that could help our guild progress that much faster through content. Especially when we do not yet have Naxx on farm-status, our people are still getting geared, and we need to bring everything we’ve got to each and every fight.
Then there’s the part where my own words come back to bite me. When I wrote up the class lead mission statement for the guild, I included a bit about how leads should “be familiar with the different specs available to their class, ideally having played each one enough to have a solid grasp of the mechanics and specific details needed for each tree.” Admittedly, I have not touched the other trees since the expansion, and that was just plain complacency on my part. With the majority of the class now switching to another tree, it becomes necessary to understand survival more fully to better aid other hunters in the guild when making their own speccing choices.
So with that being said, Galena will be going survival when the realms come up this afternoon. I’ll probably take my cat along on raids until I finish leveling up a wolf for the additional raid buff. [Never mind… our warriors’ battle shouts will override Furious Howl. Looks like my flappity moth is coming to raids after all… that should make the tanks really happy ;-)]
This will probably stay in effect until we have a few good survival hunters to fill raid spots, allowing me to slink back to BM unnoticed. Or until Blizzard figures out where all the hunters went and nerf survival as well. When not raiding, my hunter will probably see a lot less use as I will be concentrating on leveling my balance druid, who is proving to be quite an enjoyable little DPS-monster herself. She was a healer during Burning Crusade, and might be doing a bit of spec flip-flopping as well, depending on what the raid needs. Guess it’s time to stir the pot and see what floats.
…or maybe I’ll just go level my death knight and be done with it. Heh.