I decided to try something a bit different this morning. I've changed temporarily to 41/17/0, not only to try it out but to also give me the necessary tailwind to get to 70 within a reasonable space of time. As much as I still love Survival, I think one of its' key mottos is, "Slow and steady wins the race." I'm entirely certain that I'm going to be respeccing back probably at 70; however for levelling, it's not entirely appropriate. I think the single main reason why I can't see myself staying BM permanently is because it's what everyone and his grandmother seems to be doing these days; if there's one thing I've discovered I need in life, it's a genuine sense of individuality. Tyler Durden might have said that we're not all beautiful and unique snowflakes; my own answer to that is that if I'm not, there genuinely isn't much point to my being alive.
I also joined a guild this morning which, from what they tell me, wishes to start raiding Karazhan in October. I'm a little worried that some people from the guild might read the above and reconsider the wisdom of having recruited me; however, they can rest assured that I have been in scenarios in game before where I have needed to follow orders, and can and will do so...the only thing which I will admit that I cannot have dictated to me is spec. That however doesn't mean that I'm going to be stupid, either. I'm well aware, for example, that Mortal Shots is entirely necessary in virtually any instance scenario; about the only time when I'd consider forsaking that now, (although I'd still get Lethal) would be for a temporary pvp scenario where I felt I needed the points for Deflection, Deterrence, and Counterattack instead. Once I start getting the daily quests, I'm going to be able to respec more or less daily as well, and I very much expect that I will be doing so. For raiding though once I start, I recognise the importance of uniform 41/20/0 or 0/21/40 builds entirely, and will not hesitate to commit to using such. 41 point Marksmanship has been largely discredited in the forums as a truly competitive raid spec these days, (at least without phenomenal gear, and a deep intimacy with the tree and what it provides) so I doubt that I would be subjected to pressure to respec in that direction anyway.
Probably the single most interesting aspect of the respec though were the entirely passive changes it made to my character sheet. Although my char sheet DPS went from 198 to 220, my Agility went from 488 to 425, my ap went down by about 100, and my crit dropped from 20% to 15%, which is purely the base 10% + Lethal Shots. I'm none too happy about this last point either, I'll admit...but I can live with it for the time being.
The message here seems to be that BM derives its' increased damage almost purely from increased attack speed, rather than from Agility or attack power as such.
This has some rather interesting implications, even for my usual Survival build. I'm thinking I might have to get into the Suggestions forum and ask if Blizzard would be willing to incorporate some 1.7-1.8 speed bows into the 65+ game as well, since I haven't seen any myself either in-game or thru Wowhead past the High Warlord's Recurve. As Survival I've had a lower level bow at that speed which I used for farming low instances, and I didn't have a problem timing shot rotations with it; so bows of that speed with scaled damage for level 65-70 would probably be really good.
To initially test BM out this morning, I decided to try soloing Zul'Farrak. I wasn't able to get through the entire instance before being disconnected, my server being what it is, but for what I was able to do it turned out that ZF was a good choice, since I was able to survive the pyramid battle, but had to use Bestial Wrath twice in order to do so. The Survival method of getting through that alive probably would have revolved around using Deterrence for the +25% dodge/parry for 10 seconds, but then using Readiness again to increase Deterrence for the full 20 sec. I also possibly would have come out of it with more health left via the Deterrence method as well, since with BW, even though I was doing more damage, I was still taking damage as well.
This however is possibly also a good comparitive illustration of the difference in approach with the two specs. Survival is, as the name implies, primarily defensively oriented, whereas Beast Mastery is apparently overwhelmingly offensive in nature. Even though I still plan to stay Survival on a more permanent basis, I suspect that a week or so with BM will still have much to teach me which, when I go back to Surv, can still be used to improve my performance with that spec.