This is in reply to Alarand's question in the comments of an earlier post, where he asked if some disparaging comments I made about Beast Mastery on the Hunter forum were meant in earnest.
Truthfully, on reflection, no, they were not. I spoke in haste, and did engage in hyperbole.
Only recently I was experimenting with a primarily Beast Mastery oriented build for use not only as a farming spec, but also in Arathi Basin; in the latter scenario I found it enjoyable.
Although I've made other disparaging comments at times in the past, (which I shouldn't have) I have also continued to maintain that there are a number of Beast Mastery Hunters who I do have enormous respect for. In the very thread Alarand mentions, I later actually made a statement that Big Red Kitty's articles have been of tremendous assistance to me in learning about the class in general, and I stand by that statement.
I have also been asked recently in email to compile a class guide of sorts, which I am in the process of doing, and within that I will be treating Beast Mastery in exactly the same manner as the other two trees; no more negatively or positively. I have also on a couple of occasions advocated Beast Mastery to new Hunters, and will continue to do so, although not in a heavy handed manner, as I feel that a person's choice of spec should be just that; their own choice.
It is actually because of that, that I will admit what does draw my ire, and will, I confess, occasionally draw me into making unwise generalisations, is the attitude of a certain number of resident individuals within the Hunter forum who very forcefully attempt to assert their belief that everyone, regardless of background or any other factor, should be using Beast Mastery, and moreover that if a person is not using Beast Mastery, they should not be playing a Hunter at all.
In a more objective frame of mind, I am able to recognise that neither the tree itself, nor the majority of Hunters who use it, are to blame for the above. There exists a tragic tendency within the Hunter forum to insist on talent tree monoculture, and to be truly relentless in the degree of vitriol expressed towards anyone who would express dissent towards the idea of such a monoculture.
Prior to the release of the Burning Crusade, this monoculture was oriented around Marksmanship. Now, it is centred around Beast Mastery.
I will openly admit that those who advocate said monoculture do have the potential to make me extremely angry. This isn't, contrary to what it might have sounded like due to some admittedly stupid things I've said, due to my supposed hatred of Beast Mastery. It's actually because I'm tired of people refusing to acknowledge the value of all three trees.
To anyone who might suppose it, I can assure you that I would not want to see a Survival monoculture any more than I enjoy seeing the current BM one. Monoculture in general is extremely unhealthy in my opinion. My playstyle attempts to make use of everything I have at my disposal; I've tried to write about that here as well. Range, trapping, melee, DoTs...everything I have has a use, and at times gets used.
That is exactly the way in which I view the trees themselves. When a former guild I was in wiped three times on Murmur during my initial visits to the Shadow Laboratory, I immediately went and respecced to Beast Mastery afterwards. I did so precisely because I felt that if Survival (at least with my then current gear) wasn't what I should use to primarily assist the guild, then I should do whatever was necessary to find what would. If that was BM, then irrespective of whether I might feel that Survival was my more general use spec of choice, I'd use BM. If it was something else, I'd use that.
Although I admit at times that yes, I've tried to force myself to consider the idea of adopting the tree more permanently, and have been unable to do so, I will also say that there have been other times where I've willingly respecced to it for a weekend or so where I was under no duress to do so whatsoever, and on that temporary basis, greatly enjoyed the experience, particularly in Arathi Basin. I've even documented it at least once here when I have done so; that should hopefully demonstrate how I more genuinely feel about the tree.
People do, however continue to demonstrate, over and over and over again, that the gap between the three trees isn't the yawning chasm that the minority of monoculture advocates make it out to be. I do believe it's wrong for people who don't use BM to receive as much abuse as they routinely do from said minority, and I am going to continue to fight said minority tooth and nail.
However, I'm admitting here what I should have admitted there; that my beef genuinely is not so much with the tree itself, as it is with the small band of abusive zealots who try to insist that if people aren't using BM, they shouldn't be playing a Hunter at all. The majority of people who use the tree genuinely aren't like that, and I know that.
Another thing; probably the single most seemingly disparaging statement I made in that thread was that I mentioned the idea that non-Hunters disliked BM, or more specifically, Bestial Wrath. From the amount of complaining I've heard coming from the Priest community in particular, that is true. It also isn't any great slam against people who use the spec, either. I have said before that it sometimes worries me that the highly visible nature of Bestial Wrath is what causes the caster classes to continue to call for Hunter nerfs, primarily due to said casters' ignorance of the class in general, but again, that is not a personal attack on people who specifically use BW.
I apologise to Alarand and anyone else who may have been offended by my statements in that thread. As I have said, for the sake of anyone else who is interested, I later attempted to offer some clarification within the thread itself.