I find myself wondering...can there be such a thing as a spec identity crisis? I'm fairly sure that's what I'm experiencing right now.
I did my first Shadow Labyrinth run with my guild yesterday morning. We wiped three times on Murmur before killing him. Although my trapping was solid earlier, I was dead last on the sacred damage meter.
That made me think; obviously my dps sucks, because if it didn't, I wouldn't have been at the bottom of the list, and we would have been able to drop Murmur a lot faster than we did. I'm also remembering the smug pronouncements that I've read on the forum about two Survival Hunters in any group (or even an entire guild, apparently) being a waste, due to both EW clashing and Survival's customarily abysmal damage output. My class officer and I are both Survival, and he hasn't expressed a problem with me staying Surv, despite me having spoken to him about it. I also figure that because I don't want to be a liability to the guild, I should do whatever I can to try and improve, damage wise.
So I go and respec BM again; a crap BM build as well. Completely by accident, I ended up getting a couple other things and missing BW.
Flash forward to this morning. I'm feeling extremely tentative and uncertain. Farming water motes in Nagrand was going fine, but then an RL friend with a 63 shaman msges me and suggests attempting we try and two man Ramparts. I say ok fine, although I have grave misgivings about our ability to do it. Ramps is actually one of the hardest instances I've done in some ways.
So we go in. First few pulls are tricky, but we get through. Eventually we get to a point which, despite it being a three mob pull that ordinarily (as Survival, of course) I could handle, due to having Wyvern Sting and less chance of trap resistance. I drop trap, lure one of the three mobs over to the trap, and put the pet on another. The mob that was supposed to get trapped resists, all three mobs congregate on me, they kill me, and then the shaman. We try again, trap gets resisted, same result. We try again, and exactly the same result. My repair bill by this point is nearly 10g, so we agree to leave it. I logged out, and came to write this post.
My problem is that I really don't know what to do spec wise at this point. I've spent the last close to 18 months playing Survival; it's got to the point where I feel as though to a degree the tree is instinctive, at least as far as trapping is concerned...and it is also a mirror of my own playstyle/psychology. My DPS is terrible, yes...but usually, when I'm soloing at least my CC can chunk it down enough for me to be able to cope.
People are hence going to say fine, play the way you need to, be Surv, problem solved. That isn't the solution to the problem. The single main reason being, that although in BRK's case, a Hunter might be a pure DPS class, in my own case that isn't the case.
As Survival, my DPS sucks. It's beyond horrible; I'm struggling to clear 300 in 5 mans according to the meters I run, and although I've been top a couple of times, I've been at the bottom enough to know that the only times I'm at the top are when the rest of the group are people who don't know what they're doing.
However, what I have become moderately ok at I think tho, is CC. Again you might be saying, fine and dandy, if Surv works for you, be Surv. Where this argument again fails though is that I've been reading that CC virtually isn't used in raids. In raids apparently, there is nothing other than DPS.
I want to raid, but my dilemma is, if raiding is only about pure DPS, then by playing the way I know how, the only way that I really feel that I can, I'm apparently only going to be a liability to the group I'm in.
I actually don't think I'm the only person who's experiencing this problem. According to a recent forum post I read, on the EU servers at least, the number of people speccing 35+ point Survival has risen by around 3.6% in the last few months. That means that there's going to be a lot more people who, like me, are caught in the dilemma of playing a (comparitively, at least) non-DPS spec for what is supposedly a pure DPS class. The single main reason why this is a problem is because of how difficult it then becomes for us to convince guild and raid leaders, and other Hunters, that we're both credible and necessary. It's like what Shadow Priests have undoubtedly experienced, except in reverse. Priests are socially expected to be a healing class, and so because when as Shadow they want to DPS instead, it isn't accepted because it goes against the majority's expectations. By contrast, Hunters are meant to be a DPS class, whereas Survival is largely about doing other things besides pure damage.
Something else also happened this morning that really made me think. I found myself thinking that if I didn't know how to play BM as a spec, all I'd need to do is go to BRK, read what he'd already written, and I could learn. That then brought back to my mind the comments that people have already left on this blog, that before me, for Survival, a resource like that didn't exist. At the risk of sounding horribly arrogant, (especially considering that I don't feel as though, being honest, I really have anything like the level of ability needed for this) apparently I've ended up becoming the Louis Skolnick of Survival. As someone who'd read this blog said to me on the forum last time I experimented with BM; "Mirsh, you've gone BM. That just seems...wrong, somehow."
It's caused me to realise, thinking about it now; I can't turn tail and run on this, to a spec which I don't know how to use anywayz. For a long time among the Hunter community from what I saw, a scenario existed where Marks was the dominant spec, BM was the fringe or "different" (but still tolerated) spec, and Survival wasn't something mentioned at all in polite society; it was as though the tree literally didn't exist. It was considered the domain of nerds, freaks, and the mentally unhinged, and if mentioned was again forgotten about as quickly as possible. Among WoW's social mainstream, before patch 2.1, speccing Survival simply Was Not Done. It isn't coincidental that posts on the forum where people ask about Survival are reminiscent of what it sounds like when people start realising that they might possibly be homosexual; Survival among WoW players has literally had almost a similar level of stigma attached.
Now, that is ever so slowly beginning to change. The number of people willing to look at the tree and experiment with it is rising; there are forum topics being made about it every day. Survival is, at long last, coming out of the closet. For the sake of being true to myself, and the sake of said people who are potentially going to need advice, whether I end up raiding or not, I need to stick with the tree for that.