Yeah, yeah. I know this is supposed to be an RP blog, but sometimes I get all opinionated about stuff that isn’t RP-related.
Like … raiding with a beast mastery spec.
And not having a marksmanship or survival spec.
*waits for the boos and hisses to die down*
I know that BM is in bad shape. I’ve been BM since level 10. I leveled as BM, I raided as BM through all of BC, when it actually happened to be ~the~ spec for raiding. I raided as BM in early Wrath, when Sartharion was hard and Ulduar was just a gleam in the developers’ eyes. I stayed with the spec even after the great nerf of ’08, even though I suspected it was going to hurt and that, depending on my numbers, I might have to respec.
And then came my raiding guild’s first Sarth25-3D kill.
I’m just going to say this: I was behind everyone in my guild in both gear and Wrath raiding experience, because it took me almost a month longer to hit 80 than it did the rest of them (I am a terrible solo leveler). The night we got the kill, I was subbed in because one of the other hunters DC’d and couldn’t get back in. It just so happened that a) that was the night we got our guild’s first Sarth25-3D kill and b) I happened to actually be alive at the end of the fight. I was immensely proud, as I had a longstanding issue where I was always dead on first kills. So I was all “SLDJKSDLKFJS HUZZAH! XD”
And then I looked at the logs and saw that I had done a whopping 1500 dps, which put me below not only the tank, but at least one hunter healer as well.
I was horrified. At that time, I was doing well over 3k dps on Patchwerk, which wasn’t too shabby considering my gear and the absence of anything over iLvl … 213, wasn’t it? And that was with me still in a mostly Sunwell/BT/Hyjal epics. So seeing those numbers on Sartharion, even knowing that a high-mobility, pet-destroying fight was going to kill my dps, was utterly devastating – yes, as silly as it is, I was in tears for two days. What I saw as my own inability to perform, in addition to the fact that I couldn’t keep up the schedule anymore and I couldn’t tolerate having both my arachnophobia and my necrophobia triggered repeatedly on a regular basis, is what finally led me to quit progression raiding and transfer to Earthen Ring.
So why did I stay with the spec?
Well … I enjoy the spec. I’ve been BM since level 10. It’s been my spec for three years. I don’t consider it the “easy” spec, but I will say that it’s become like that awesome pair of shoes that’s broken in just right: it just feels good. I love it! I love it enough that I decided to stick with it in the Netherbane’s raids for two reasons: to see whether the developers would see that they nerfed us too harshly (which, lo and behold, they did!), and to see what I could do with a spec that was considered bad. (Sunwell raider, remember? BM was beast in my day.)
I had to relearn the spec I’ve played and loved for 3 years from scratch, largely on my own due to the lack of resources currently available for BM hunters, and the immediate results of my ‘see what I can do’ efforts were … well, not good at first. I outdps’d my guildies on ER largely because I had raid gear and they did not. Then they caught up and I lagged behind. Then I got angry – not because they were beating me, but because I like to try to kick my own butt on the meters and I knew I could do better than I was – so I made more changes to my spec, my pet’s spec, and my rotation, and you know what? I caught up. I figured out how to squeeze out as much dps as I could from my spec, then Blizz finally started to give back some of what the big nerf had taken away, and now? I’m in T9, consistently matching – and often overcoming – equally geared, solidly skilled survival hunters.
For reference, my guild started raiding very late in the game, but we cleared Naxx and Sarth+0, we’ve done parts of Ulduar including a couple of annoying hardmodes (T9 geared), and we got our first normal-mode ToC-10 clear last Tuesday. This week we took our first steps into ICC, where we two-shot Marrowgar, then got some really good attempts in on Lady Deathwhisper before a bad add spawn ate us for dinner.
And that’s not bad for an RP guild that raids once a week with really weird compositions.
So what’s my point here?
Well, part of it is to /flex. Not gonna lie. ^^; You see, I don’t consider myself an exceptional player by any means – somewhat above average, perhaps, as I should be at 3 years and with my experience, but not not world-class or even exceptional – but I managed to take my little-spec-that-couldn’t and managed to pull out some pretty respectable numbers from it. Yes, I am proud of that. If my raid leader asked me to respec – and now that we’re in ICC, I would understand if he asked me to – I would absolutely do it. If I went to a dedicated progression raiding guild working on hardmodes, I’d do it. But the fact that I’ve been able to do competitive dps with a gimp spec makes me feel surprisingly good.
And finding out that it’s actually normal for BM to be even with survival at least, that I’m not just doing well because the other hunters aren’t skilled, took a huge worry off my shoulders. I rock. The other hunters in my guild rock. And that makes Shizu’s heart smile. =)
The other point is this: No one has the right to force any particular spec or playstyle on you. If you’re in a guild competing for world or region or even server firsts, then yes, you’d better be prepared to switch to the top-performing spec. It comes with the territory. (Seriously, I know I’d get “GTFO”‘d if I tried to app to a high-end guild with my current spec.) If you’re in a guild working on hardmodes, you’re not geared past it, and you need every bit of dps, you should be prepared to switch. But if you’re in a casual guild, you’re progressing, your raid leader is satisfied with your performance, and you know you’re giving it your all and doing your job to the best of your ability and – most important of all – your raid is killing stuff? Then yes, the spec is perfectly fine.
So. Am I doing the absolute highest dps a hunter could do? No. Am I doing the best dps a BM hunter could do? There are things I need to tweak in my current rotation, but given my gear, I believe I’m pretty darn close. Is my raid leader happy with my performance? He seems to be, and I’m pretty sure he’d let me know if I was sucking. Is stuff dying? Oh yes.
And for where I am, that’s good enough for me.