I guess at some level, I always knew this day would come.
That’s Kia, alright. Sporting a brand-new Survival spec.
Kia’s Brain: WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?
Kia: I know, right?
I’ve gotta be the last holdout. Although Euripides has put out new numbers now that we’re a couple of weeks into 4.3.2, and it seems that, amazingly, my abandonment has NOT signaled the total demise of the non-SV bastion. There are still some brave and stalwart hunters out there steadfastly holding on to their marks or beastmaster specs. As of three hours ago, I was among their (vewwy vewwy small) numbers.
But then I went to our guild’s usual Wednesday night raid and did a huge whopping 30k on Madness. I was dead last in dps and got beat by a lock and a shaman who hadn’t been there on normal before. It was humiliating. Sadly, this is not the first time it’s happened to me. Actually, I haven’t been in a raid where I haven’t been dragging along at the bottom of the charts, and I finally got fed up with feeling upset and guilty about it all the time. Mostly I haven’t been able to figure out whether it’s because I’m playing a spec that is most definitely sub-optimal, or whether it’s because I’m just… not a very good player. So the time has come to find out.
Fortunately for me, changing specs this time was SIGNIFICANTLY less traumatic than the first time I did it. As I have stated quite clearly before, Kia is a BEASTMASTER hunter. I absolutely love playing BM. I mean, really really really love it. I ADORE going BIGANDRED. I played BM from the moment I rolled the very First Kia on the first server I played on however-many-years-ago-it-was. BM is important enough to me and to the character of Kia in my head that it was absolutely heartbreaking three or four months ago when I finally decided to respec to Marks.
(Yes, I did actually cry. A lot. Shut up.)
At this point, I am sure that many of you are saying, “Kia, why don’t you just dual-spec so you can have your beloved BM spec and still do decent amounts of raid dps?”
As soon as I am able to intelligently convey exactly why I absolutely detest dual-speccing, I will answer that question. Probably with an entirely separate post, because I am just a wee bit irrational about it.
The point is, after many weeks of pulling up the rear, finally tonight I had enough and out came the big ol’ Spec Bat. I had a little conference with our Kat, best hunter I know (seriously, she’s epic no matter what she’s wearing), and she talked me through some basics. I stared at the “Yes, I do.” button on the hunter trainer respeccing screen for a couple of minutes before I finally clicked on it. Then it was lots of digging about on the WHU and so forth, and then it was off to a training dummy to try to get my fingers used to a completely different rotation.
And then after that, to a pair of dungeons to see if any of this kerfuffle is going to be worth it to me at all.
I will say this for SV – it definitely has a significantly easier shot priority. And the AOE is very tasty, compared to the rather crap AOE from the other two specs, thank you Serpent Spread. I’m still getting used to the whole Black Arrow thing; I mostly recognize when it’s off cooldown, but at least half the time I don’t have enough focus to bang the button again. I have already determined that I Arcane too much and Cobra too little, and I’ll need to correct that. Mostly I just feel clumsy, which from my recollections of the last time, is perfectly normal and will eventually wear off. I’ve decided to give it a week before I make any other judgement, from a desire to give SV a fair shot before I say “I hate it” simply because it isn’t Beastmaster and no matter how many times I spam my BM BIGANDRED macro, it is never ever going to work.
Just in case anyone was suspicious, my awesome guild has a specific policy that we don’t dictate what or how our guild members play. Nor did anyone in my guild seem to care (honestly, I’m not sure some of them even noticed) that my dps wasn’t up to par – or if they did, nobody mentioned it to me. So all of the angst and self-recrimination and guilt that I heap upon myself – and I do heap it, like unto the piles of dirty snow in parking lots at the end of winter – for not playing better is entirely and without reservation self-served.
On an intellectual sort of plane, I wonder and worry about my willingness to walk away from an important tenet that most of the WoW world (including me) says they espouse; namely, Play the game the way you want to play it. I remember cheering in solidarity with Vidyala (I always have to correct her name when I type it, because my instinct is to spell it like the onion, sorry, Vid) on the day that she posted that she had started raiding as a mage again, because that was what she wanted to do. It seems hypocritical of me to say that I admire and applaud Vidyala for doing what I am decidedly not doing, but I suppose sometimes that is the way of it. I am looking forward to my own triumphant post where I am giddy with glee because my spec now fits the way that I think of Kia and how I like to play, but I’m not there yet (MoP, with your tasty new talent thingies, come quickly). Right now, the guilt and embarrassment of not pulling my weight in a raid environment and the depression I get when I look at Skada and feel like I’ve failed again totally eclipses the desire to go back to the spec I love. I realize this makes me a poor ambassador for the School of Playing What You Want How You Want, but there it is.
If anyone were to ask me, I would say straight up, Be like Vidyala. It’s your fifteen bucks a month. If you’re a druid and you really really really don’t want to tank or heal, I am really really really okay with that and hope that your mad lasers don’t singe my bowstring when you hurl them past me at the boss. And if it means that we maybe have to cancel a raid or two because we don’t have enough tanks to go around – I really really really am still okay with that. From my experience waging my ongoing battle with my spec, I imagine it’s so much worse if you were changing roles and playing something you didn’t want to play. So don’t be like me, kids. Be like Vidyala.
Because someday, when either I get over the idea that I’m a total WoW failure or I figure out how to play BM and not be completely carried in our raids (or both), I am going to be like Vidyala, too.
Yeah, this has been kind of a whiny ranty post about something that certainly most people don’t care about, since how your average hunter plays WoW is about as interesting to non-hunters (and honestly, most other hunters) as watching grass grow. Fortunately, this is my blog, and if I want to occasionally be whiny, I will be. So there. =P
On that note, we’ll return to your regularly scheduled humor tomorrow. It’s much more fun to be funny.